• Brevard Renaissance Fair 2018 – Stary Olsa – Part 20 (Ave Maria)


    Stary Olsa performs “Ave Maria” at the 2018 Brevard Renaissance Fair in Melbourne, Florida. (2018-01-21)

    The album this song is on can be found here: https://amzn.to/2Hdm3xH

    From Stary Olsa’s web page:

    “STARY OLSA is a mediaeval Belarusian music band. It was founded in 1999 by its present leader Zmicier Sasnoŭski and now consists of six musicians. It takes its name from a brook in the west part of Mahilioŭ Region (Belarus).

    The band’s repertoire includes Belarusian folk balladry and martial songs, Belarusian national dances, works of Belarusian Renaissance composers, compositions from Belarusian aulic music collections (e.g. Polack Notebook, Vilnia Notebook), Belarusian canticles of the 16th – early 17th centuries, as well as European popular melodies of the Middle Ages and Renascence.

    STARY OLSA cooperates with many knightly clubs from Belarus and Europe, museums and research centres, masters of early instruments, bands of folk, aulic, sacred and city avital music, as well as with solo performers using old instruments, as well as with fire show theartes.

    The band’s music makes it possible to restore sounds of many forgotten instruments. STARY OLSA uses for its performances maximal exact (in appearance, technology and materials) copies of old aged Belarusian instruments such as Belarusian bagpipe, lyre, gusli (Baltic psaltery) , svirel (reed pipe), jew’s-harp, ocarina, Belarusian trumpet, birch bark trumpet, hudok (Belarusian rebec), tromba marina and drums.

    The purpose is to completely reconstruct (whenever possible) musical traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania where Belarus was the main cultural and geopolitical part in the 13th – 18th centuries, and where there was a unique combination of Belarusian folk and aulic music with European musical achievements of that time. In order to revive this cultural peculiarity the band’s members mix early Belarusian instruments sound with all-European mediaeval instruments such as lute, rebec, cister, flute, Arabic drum.

    Besides its own theatrical concerts, the band performs at mediaeval culture festivals, spear-runnings and folklore festivals.”



  • France Shows What You Actually Get with Democratic Socialism

    Strikes and blockades have spread across France as President Emmanuel Macron spends his time touring Europe with a new EU agenda. The French state-run railway service, SNCF, is currently dealing with massive strikes on both the regional and the high-speed inter-city lines. The unions CGT and SUD-Rail are striking in opposition to any change in the status of SNCF (the public rail service) personnel. It should be noted that government reform is very moderate since current employees of the SNCF hired to that professional status will keep all the benefits and privileges associated with it. The changes are merely affecting new employees.

    Massive Public Infrastructure Strikes

    The labor union activists are equally upset by the liberalization of the rail market which is being initiated by the European Union. Through the “Mobility Pack” coming from Brussels, Paris will be obligated to open regional train travel to competition from next year on. With a highly inefficient public service in this area, the SNCF is right to be worried about the potential price competition on its major lines.

    As of now, the service is confronted with the fiscal burden of both massive debts and deficits. Given the monopoly on all transport lines, this is actually a phenomenal “achievement.” It truly takes a government-run system to produce services that operate this poorly. And yet, SNCF employees seem determined not to let the government change a thing. Out of spite, the union plans to run fewer trains than normal until June. However, when the decision to reduce the number of operating trains was made, the union didn’t consider how that might affect their own cause.

    After planning a rally in support of these new changes, the union realized that the lack of trains meant fewer people had access to the transportation needed to attend the rally. One union leader commented on this, saying:

    For this rally, we thought about everything, except the fact that the trains weren’t running.

    You couldn’t make it up.

    The strikes in the public railway sector are paired with equally intrusive strike actions on France’s publicly held airline AirFrance. After more than nine days of strikes, the board had suggested a deal to the union: 2 percent of salary increase in 2018, then a 5 percent over a period of three years. The union responded by demanding an immediate 5 percent increase and announced that the strike would continue.

    With AirFrance being one of the few airlines that connect the country by air, and with almost all train lines paralyzed, the behavior of the AirFrance union seems deliberately coordinated. This trade union behavior only seems confirmed by the fact that in a number of cities, union activists blocked the inter-city buses run by private companies. The German bus travel provider Flixbus had seen a massive spike in reservations following the strikes, and even ran ads online, saying “during the strike, take Flixbus!”

    Being the second-largest strike-friendly country in Europe with 125 days of strikes per 1,000 employees is one thing. Blocking the access of private companies which are merely trying to get people to their workplaces, that is having true resentment for those who work.

    Universities Blocked by Their Own Students

    While paid employees decide not to show up for work, unpaid people also go on strike. A number of French universities, notably that of the Sorbonne University in Paris, are being occupied by their own students. Radicalized students are blocking the entrance for professors and other students and hold general assemblies in which they “vote” regularly on continuing their protest.

    What are they protesting against? They oppose the government’s new “Law for the orientation and success of students” (ORE), through which the Macron administration suggests to select students more through their performance in high school. Until now, no qualifications apart from a baccalaureate were needed to get accepted to a university. This, paired with the fact that French students pay virtually no tuition fees and benefit from large student and housing subsidies, has made faculties considerably over-crowded.

    At a large student protest in the streets of Toulouse, one interviewed student bemoaned the fact that new reforms could lead universities “to choose the students it prefers” and that students that performed better would have better chances.

    The mere notion of merit seems absolutely foreign to French students. Any form of merit-based system is antithetical to their convictions, which have been built over years on three premises:

    1. The government’s responsibility is to make people more equal
    2. Government interventionism improves society
    3. There is a social heritage (welfare) that needs to be protected no matter what

    Why the Upset? Don’t They Already Have Socialism?

    The reforms on public rail and in the realm of universities are minimal reforms compared to what France would actually need. The protests are more of a power play by trade unions and student groups, to see how far they can push the Macron administration. And in fact, they notice that they can indeed push very far. Strikes that began in early April are still continuing right now.

    But why isn’t a society built on this social-egalitarian mantra promoted by what Bernie Sanders calls “democratic socialism” (we still call it socialism in Europe), so discontent with its benefits? French people get all the perks that the Vermont senator asks for, including government-run health care, pension systems, tuition-free universities. And yet, they spend a fifth of their work-time on the streets, bemoaning the overtaking of the “neoliberal order.”

    Here’s the truth: there is no end goal in socialism but to take more and more. No demand is big enough, no social welfare program extensive enough. If you believe that you could satisfy those who argue for any kind of social welfare program by giving it to them, is fundamentally mistaken. On the same side, the result is more devastating for the poorest in society, with larger unemployment, and economic opportunities. Those who fail are unanimously seen as victims of the capitalist system, and those who succeed must have done so through vicious greed and reckless exploitation.

    This is why the innovators and creators of the world reside in the United States, and not in France.

    So you want to be more like France?

    Bill Wirtz

    Bill Wirtz is a Young Voices Advocate. His work has been featured in several outlets, including Newsweek, Rare, RealClear, CityAM, Le Monde and Le Figaro. He also works as a Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center.

    This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

  • Digital Archaeology: Codex (Floppy Disk) #8 (part 11)

    A summary for those that haven’t been keeping up with this series:

    I found a bunch of 5.25″ disks at a thrift store a number of years ago. I finally got around to acquring a 5.25″ disk drive and extracting the contents a while back. Since then I have been posting the contents here.

    Based on the contents, at least some of these disks were apparently once owned by someone named Connie A. Buys who used to run the “Close Encounters” Special Interest Group (SIG) on Delphi in the mid 1980s.

    A specific definition of this SIG was found in a previous document on one of the disks: “This SIG, known as “Close Encounters”, is a forum for the discussion of relationships that develop via computer services like the Source, CompuServe, and Delphi. Our primary emphasis is on the sexual aspects of those relationships.”

    Everything was text based from whatever terminal program you used to dial in to Delphi’s servers. Many of these disks have forum messages, e-mails and chat session logs. All of this is pre-internet stuff and I don’t know if there are any archives in existence today of what was on Delphi in the 1980s. In any case, much of this stuff would have been private at the time and some of it is quite personal.

    I’ve been splitting up the contents of this disk (descriptively labeled “File Disk”) since it contains a number of documents, some of which are pretty long. A 5.25″ floppy disk can still hold an impressive amount of info when it is just text. (see the previous parts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

    The contents of this post includes the contents of a document called NEWFORUM.DOC. It appears to be a message about some new commands available on Delphi when in a Forum. It is dated October 11th and I believe this is from 1985.


    list newforum.doc
    File NEWFORUM.DOC was not found.
    WS> list newforum
    6568 11-OCT 13:22 FLAgShip Archives
         NEW Forum Commands
         From: DEB          To: ALL
       Delphi has made some (long requested) changes to the DIRECTORY command in
    the FORUM.  The two new options are a directory of a range of messages
    (specified by two numbers separated by a colon) and for messages
    containing a particular group of characters, word, or phrase in
    the subject.
       You can also string options together on one command, such as
       DIRECTORY FROM DEB TO ALL SUBJECT "new forum commands"
    which should list this message!
    In short, all the DIRectory options are:
    * FROM 
    * TO   
    * NEW
    * SUBJECT  -- this will search for specific strings withing the
    message header itself.  Those strings with imbedded spaces need to
    be enclosed in quotation marks. Search strings which include one word
    will not need the quotes.
    * :  -- will scan a range of lines.  Reasonable abbreviations are
    allowed, such as
    DIR 100:200 - scans message headers for numbers 100 to 200.
    DIR :200 - lists messages below and including 200
    DIR 200  - lists messages starting with 200.
    THREAD - when used with a number or range, lists the thread containing
    the specified message.  When used alone, lists the thread containing
    the current message.  It can also be used with the SUBJECT qualifier.
       In addition to these exciting new search parameters within the DIR command
    on the FORUM, You can now also use WHO and SEND from any FORUM> prompt, just
    the same as it can be used at the *FLAGSHIP* prompt.