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2017-01-01 10:55 am
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Broken Heart

First post that isn't connected to LJ. Goodbye LJ. Damn I miss what you used to be.

So I wrote a song year before last when the cowards in this country were freaking out over the prospect of letting in (Muslim) refugees from war-torn countries. I wanted to fight their imaginary terrors and help them back to reality or at least bravery again. It's called The Golden Door and it's about the Statue of Liberty and the idea of the USA as a nation of immigrants, made stronger by the infusions of many cultures over the years.

I don't seem to have posted the lyrics anywhere, which isn't like me, so I'll do it here now.

The Golden Door
lyrics by Catherine Faber and Emma Lazarus
melody by Catherine Faber 2015
youtube video here  (I may have an actual mp3 recording I can post somewhere if people want one.  I'll check later.)

   C                 G           C              F
My parents came from Holland, a better life to find,
Dm                F            G
Full of hope, as many came before.
        C                                     F          
In the flower of their youth they left their families behind
    Dm           F              G 
To make a new together on this shore.
C                            F        G     C
Two among the thousands who sought a wider sky
      G            C             F
Where Liberty has made a welcome here;
     C                             F                  C
She stands in New York Harbor and holds this message high
     F                G                    C
Its meaning somewhat tarnished, but still clear:

              C               F
Give me your tired      your poor
      Dm             F                   G
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
     C                               Em
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore
      Dm                 Em               F
Send these the homeless tempest tossed to me
   Dm              F              G
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Some came here for adventure, and some to look for gold
And some in chains, with all that that entails.
From all our imperfections, a nation did unfold, 
For home is where the heart at last prevails.
Words in every language, skin of every hue
Where these got slender welcome, that's our shame,
For folk of every country gave Liberty her due
Each brought their dish to potluck as they came

America is mighty, too strong to yield to fear
We don't bend beneath some bloodstained thumb.   
People fleeing carnage should find safe harbor here
Their children strengthen what we will become.
Let voice on voice be lifted in welcome and in song
Immigrants have built this country's crown.
We still proclaim the message that stood so high so long.
Nor will Liberty's proud tablet tumble down.

Anyway, this turned out to be quite popular (for "for me" values of "quite popular") even with some of the people in this area--weirdly enough since most of them were Trump voters. (I actually have a mental model for how this might work but let's not go there right now; I'm not at my best today and perhaps I am being unfair.)

I have been asked for it a couple of times since the election and have mostly been able to gget out of singing it. It is particularly heartbreaking when somone I know damn well voted Trump asks for it. Like, didn't they fucking LISTEN to it?

Last night I got asked for it again. The person who did it wasn't a Trump voter. They are just as dismayed by him as I am. They meant well. So I tried to sing it. I mean, I *did* sing it, which is kind of impressive, since I began leaking tears by the second line and shut my eyes and played without the music, leaking tears through the whole thing and still managed to actually sing, which suggests my vocal control is better than I thought and also I have that song pretty well memorized, both the lyrics and the countermelody, so all the work I put in on it paid off.

Which is a huge fucking pity because I'm not going to sing it again. It's not true. It turns out it never was true. And I had to stop here and blow my nose I a couple of times and I can barely see what I am typing.

It's not fucking true and I am not going to stand here and sing bullshit anymore so that Trump voters can pretend that everything is okay and they didn't smash something important and precious.

So here are the new words.

A Statue’s Resignation
Lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2016
(TTO The Golden Door by Cat Faber)

By the bitter water I stand upon the shore
Beside a shining city sprung from clay
I’m cold inside, and hollow, and now I feel it more
For never was that fitter than today.
A majority they weren’t, but now their will is shown:
They cast me off. No longer on their side
I stand in New York Harbor, abandoned and alone
A symbol of a shining dream that died.

For I am tired, heartsore.
Though huddled masses crowd around my knee
They are no longer welcome on this shore
Where fear and hate now govern what will be,
Douse my lamp, and bar the golden door.

I’m just an empty symbol—my people made it true,
As far as we were ever truly great.
By work and strife and struggle, a better life they grew
And won their place, but now rise those who hate
Anyone who’s different, preferring to believe
They aren’t human, or they don’t belong,
And don’t deserve equality—t’would make a statue grieve
You’d think that they had never heard my song

Now I am tired, heartsore.
Though huddled masses crowd around my knee
They are no longer welcome on this shore
Where fear and hate now govern what will be,
Douse my lamp, and bar the golden door.

You think me whining loser—a useless copper scold--
Well, prove me wrong; the chance is yours to seize.
Give welcome to the stranger; I hear that you were told
To shelter and protect the least of these,
Till everyone is safe here to love, and work, and dream,
Shaded by their fig tree’s tender stem.
That’s not a thing accomplished by a small resentful scheme
To take your country “back”--away--from them.

But I am tired, heartsore.
Though huddled masses crowd around my knee
They are no longer welcome on this shore
Where fear and hate now govern what will be,
Douse my lamp, and bar the golden door.
I will not be your symbol anymore.
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2016-11-25 10:29 am
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The Way I Was Raised

Accountability post, Trump Year 0, Nov 25

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I didn't do anything important (had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat and played Pokemon Go and caught two dittos, which are new kind of Pokemon that just started appearing a couple of days ago.)

This morning, prompted by a post by a friend that I'm not linking here because I'm not positive they are comfortable with that, I wrote a new song:
Just the way I was raised.
Lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2016

When I was a girl life was simple and  bland
Till truths I thought bedrock turned out to be sand
But the way I was raised gave a lifeline to hold 
For finding my footing and taking my stand.

  That's just the way I was raised
  With kindness and fairness expected and praised.
  With love as my guide I'm not easily fazed;
  That's just the way I was raised.

When I was a girl, blacks were treated as prey
Though the means grow more subtle we still find a way;
When blacks are shot dead with no gun in their hands
Even a kid can see that's not okay.

Women are astronauts, seeking the stars,
Yet even our bodies aren't treated as ours;
When a man who grabs crotches is chief in the land,
Even a kid can see this will leave scars.

Of queer folk and trans folk I once had no clue,
But the hour I encountered the concepts I knew,
When humans just ask to be treated the same,
There's only one answer my values held true.

Deal with it; that's just the way that things are.
For mercy and justice at home and afar,
Though hate held in secret come out in the sun,
I'll speak for my truth and I'll follow my star: 
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2015-03-15 04:53 pm
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New song

Reddit is doing something cool: inspired by Terry Pratchett's depiction of how the names of the dead were sent home by clacks along the Grand Trunk Line on Discworld, they are working out ways to do the same for Sir Terry here in the real world.

And that inspired this song: Send Him Home

The mp3 is linked at the top left, just under the title.
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2015-03-12 09:51 pm
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New Song

I upgraded my operating system, and in the process broke the program I used to maintain my website. So I have no way to put the tune up for this--I am in fact in the process of downloading the fix for Finale, so I can write out the tune. But as a place holder:

Into The Reaper's Care
lyrics and melody by Catherine Faber 2015

Sunlight would pour like molasses,
And over the DiscWorld creep
From the heights of the mountain passes
To the lard mines below it would seep

Part of our myth is this lovely land
And deep in our hearts we all know
That the elephants hold up the disc, and stand
On the back of the Turtle below.

I've ridden his books like a rover
From hub highest clifftops of gray
To the edge that the ocean spills over,
In eight-colored rainbows of spray

Into the black does the ocean fall
Veiling the elephant's limbs
The turtle, of course, stands on nothing at all,
But raises her flippers and swims

Sunset must pass on this spinning blue ball
No matter how golden the light
Death is a bedtime that comes to us all,
Sleep softly, Sir Terry, good night..

In Memoriam Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015
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2014-05-24 05:32 pm
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New Song

Ha! It's Alice Day* again!

I have been assiduously doing my reading for the Hugo awards. I was looking forward to _Ancillary Justice_; I had heard good things about it. I enjoyed it very much. _Neptune's Brood_ conjured big ideas of things outside my head, but _Ancillary Justice_ made me look at the *inside* of my head in a new way, which I found very fun. I was also utterly charmed by the idea of a character that sings harmony with herself.

So I wrote a song. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: One Esk. The mp3 and the pdf sheet music are linked under the title on that page as usual.

*My friend Alice encouraged me to get back into writing filk more often by asking me to put up new songs for her to learn. It's not much fun to write songs if there is no one to sing them to, but she pointed out I could put them up on the web. Now the days when I do this are called "Alice Day" in her honor.
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2014-02-27 08:42 pm
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The Fourteenth Song

This morning I wrote the fourteenth song, finishing the FAWM challenge.

I was stalking around the house thinking about a song for which I am obviously not the intended audience, muttering to myself "honestly, you can write a song about underwear without being vulgar..."

And then I paused and glanced over at my iPad and said "I think. I mean, *I* could. I'm pretty sure..."

And then I walked over and picked up my iPad and twenty minutes later said "I thought so."

The Underwear Song at (mp3 linked at the top as usual.)

The Underwear Song at FAWM

Special trans-friendly bonus points!
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2014-02-24 05:40 pm
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Another new song

This song refers to an actual event in Kip's D&D game a few weeks ago, written up mostly faithfully:

The Remarkable Bargain at or at my fawm page.
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2014-02-21 08:46 pm
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And another Alice Day

Another new song: Clockwork Assassin, at my site, and also on my FAWM page.

Note there is an mp3 linked just under the title at the site, and of course, it's right at the top of the FAWM page because that's how FAWM rolls.

This one was prompted by a phrase in the previous one, Filk Reverie. I just started wondering what a Clockwork Assassin might be, and this popped out. I played it for the barbershop bunch but they had trouble following it, and I'm wondering if that's just a lack of science-fictiony background or whether I really didn't get enough of the story into the lyrics. Let me know what you think.
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2014-02-20 08:49 pm
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Alice Day AGAIN! (And the crowd goes wild...)

So this is my latest FAWM song, Filk Reverie. It is up at my site and also at my FAWM page.

It is just a bit of fluff, really, but it sets up the next song so nicely.

As usual, an mp3 is linked just below the title on the page.
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2014-02-19 05:04 pm
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Alice Day (or FAWM day) again

I have another new song: The Silver Snail. It is up at my site (the previous link) or at my fawm page.

Unabashed wish-fulfillment, steampunk, and filk. :-)

I think I will need to cut a verse; it is awfully long as it stands. But I'm having trouble deciding how to cut it.
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2014-02-14 04:10 pm
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FAWM is keeping me busy

I recorded another song today. It is just a little piece of fluff called "Borrow And Lend" but it has some nice acapella harmony.

It is at

It is also at my website.
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2014-02-13 08:22 pm
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And another new song

 FAWM has done an excellent job of getting me writing again.  Here's a little ditty about how elves feel about us.  Note that the mp3 is linked at the top of the page, just under the title / copyright info.

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2014-02-12 05:05 pm
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Alice Day

It's Alice Day again. Expect a few more of these, because I signed up for FAWM (February Album Writing Month).

This is my fourth FAWM Song, My songs can be found here on the FAWM website, or here on my website.

Gift Enough
lyrics and melody by Catherine Faber 2014
mp3 here
C      F          G          C
As the snow makes all things holy,
Hushed and softened, draped in white,
Here my heart is lifted slowly
By the beauty of the night.

As forgiveness, hurt redressing
Soothes a hundred bitter scars
Coming as an unsought blessing,
Like a thousand falling stars

Am Dm G C
All the world the snow is holding
C Em Dm
Turning every twig to lace.
Am Dm G7 Bmdim
Silence guides, in slow unfolding,
Am Dm G F
All my heart can know of grace,

One brief life is all we're given,
Treasure I will not rebuff.
Lying under snow new-shriven,
One real world is gift enough.

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2014-02-02 09:31 pm
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 FAWM stands for February Album Writing Month.  This year I am a "fawmling," meaning I am trying it for the first time.  I now have two songs up at as "calicocat."  Or if you prefer, Dragon Games and Fourteen Songs In Twenty-Eight Days are also available at my usual website.

My plan is to put all my FAWM songs up both places.  But the pdf sheet music may lag a bit behind as this will be rather a fast pace of songwriting.  We will see.

Also I have finished the pdf songbook of sheet music for Dr. Faber's Medicine Show except that I can't figure out how to put the page numbers on the blessed thing.  I can't do it in Preview, Finale PrintMusic starts every song with page 1, and I had a copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro but it's ten years old now and won't run on this system.  Kip thinks someone at Carson Newman may be able to help me.
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2013-09-06 01:16 pm
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New Song

I mentioned in my last post that I wrote a new song.  In the midst of all this scratch track work it wasn't particularly hard to record it, so it is now available on the website:

Fluster A Duck

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2013-08-22 03:17 pm
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Got Inspired Again

Antoinette Tuff is my kind of hero. She foiled a school shooter, by keeping him talking and eventually talking him down. She saved, at the bare minimum, *his* life, since he was apparently planning suicide by cop. She very likely also saved her own life, and her coworkers, and the lives of an unknown number of students in the grade school where she was working at the time.

So I wrote this song:
My Kind Of Hero
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2013
mp3 here and pdf sheet music to come

D                           C
Antoinette Tuff spends her mornings at work
      C                    D      A
At a Georgia school, as a filing clerk,
   D              C            G          D
A cheerful black woman, quick-witted and hale
     G             D        A        D
She once talked a man into going to jail

          D                   G            D
     Without any weapons to slaughter or stun
          G        D                    A
     She foiled a desperate man with a gun
      D                           G          A
     Sometimes it just takes the courage to say
          G             A     D
     You don't have to die today

A parent buzzed in and he slipped in behind
And entered the building with mayhem in mind;
Black-clad and laden with weapons, he bore
A rifle intended for killing in war.

He said call the media; give them a hail.
She just kept him talking and told him her tale.
A marriage withered, a job gone away,
How life can be ruined and come out okay.

When finally, surrounded, he knew he was done.
She said set the pack down, and lay down your gun.
She said life's not over; you took a bad turn
But every mistake is a ticket to learn.

She helped him surrender instead of go nuts,
Talking him down with compassion and guts;
You keep your Rambos and Conans and stuff--
Give me a hero like Antoinette Tuff!
It is also at my website, at

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2013-08-19 05:34 pm
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A most unusual Alice Day

I don't often write purely instrumental pieces, but last week I did. It's called "The Clockwork Chicken" and the mp3 and pdf are available from this page.
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2013-08-15 04:33 pm
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That worked out better than it might have...

So, there's this article that has been popping up on my Facebook feed, about a family that tried to leave the US, disgusted with taxes, abortion and gay people. The short version is they tried to sail to Kiribati, didn't know how to navigate, and ended up drifting for months in the middle of nowhere. They were finally picked up by a cargo boat and kindly dropped off in Chile, and speaking of taxes the State Department flew them back home to Arizona.  There's an example of the article here.

Miles suggested someone should write a song about this, and well, here you go:

Wave Them Away
Lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2013
mp3 here

     D                 G          D
The Gastonguay family left us in May
 G   D               A
Way hey, wave them away!
      D                  G         D
They hated abortion and also "teh gay"
 G            A                         D
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away!

They left San Diego and sailed to the west,
Way hey, wave them away!
And those who had noticed all hoped for the best.
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away!

Complaints about taxes; they had them down pat.
Way hey, wave them away!
Sailing--they weren't so practiced at that!
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away!

Believing in miracles, hopeful and awed,
Way hey, wave them away!
They left navigation to Fortune and God.
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away!

And that worked exactly the way you'd expect,
Way hey, wave them away!
They ended up drifting, their sailboat half-wrecked.
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away!

A cargo boat found them, and gave them a hand;
Way hey, wave them away!
A fishing boat ferried them kindly to land.
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away!

The land they were leaving stepped up at that time,
Way hey, wave them away!
To fly them back home on the taxpayer's dime!
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away!

I wish them the best as new plans they conceive
Way hey, wave them away.
May it work better the next time they leave!
Hope for the best and we'll wave them away.
Hope for the best, we can hope for the best,
Let us hope for the best, as we wave them away! 

This and all my newer songs can be found at my website,
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2013-02-14 02:17 pm
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New Song

I have been kind of jet-lagged after getting home from England.  It's only been the last few days that I started actually doing things.  I finally 1) figured out how to get the Focusrite box I got for Christmas hooked up to the computer, 2) correctly hooked my mic up to the Focusrite box, 3) got sound running to the Focusrite box and from there to the headphones, and 4) got sound running from the mic through the Focusrite box to the computer, and recorded my not-so-new song, _Today Is The Day_.  

It is now up at my website. Today Is The Day  I hope you like it.

Today I have actually gotten my new printer that prints to CDs (among other things) hooked up to the wifi, so great on that, PLUS I found the mp3s from ConFluence, PhilCon, and OVFF which I had put on a different computer than I thought when clearing everything off my SD cards to have room for QuarterTone.  I'm so impressed with myself that I am dillydallying before getting back to work, which I should probably quit doing.
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2013-01-02 02:29 pm
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New Song

So a while back I heard about Sybil Ludington. She completed a ride like Paul Revere's, except that she went about three times as far, through bandit-infested country, and was sixteen years old at the time.

There are a couple of poems about her, but I thought I would try my hand also, and here is the resulting song:

Ludington's Ride
lyrics and melody by Cat Faber 2012
mp3 here, pdf sheet music here

   Dm                     C     Dm
A cantering horse in the rainy night
 C                           Dm
Lacking an escort or even a light
     Dm            F        C     
The red coats are coming inland again
 F                 C         A
Colonel Ludington calls his men

    Dm                    C        Dm
   Out of the forest and past the farms
    Dm       F        G       A
   Sibyl is summoning all to arms!
        F                   C        
   The regiment marches at break of day.
    F                       A
   Leave your blankets and come away;
    Dm                      C     Dm
   Leave your blankets and come away!”

She rattles the shutters to give account
Saving the seconds it takes to mount
Wake up! You're needed in Danbury
To harry the enemy to the sea!

The British have landed at Compo Beach
Danbury village within their reach
As soldiers, you know what they came to do
Burn our provisions and houses too!

The oil and lard of the burning meats
Runs like water in Danbury streets
The British, enjoying our rum and wines
Warm their bellies and cloud their minds.

Wake the others, and arm and see
Go straight to my father; don't follow me
I've miles to ride ere my job is done
Yes, I'll be careful--now rise and run!

Sybil Ludington stayed her course
Home at dawn on a weary horse
The life she lived, I can't deny
Never rose to the public eye--
     Dm       F           C    Dm
Her depth of courage held ever by.