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The Philosophy of Bladesmithing, a.k.a. what the %$@# were you thinking?

The philosophy in these pages is like a good knife: handmade, wickedly sharp and still showing some forge marks, the scars of its birth and formation. There's no apology for it being what it is: a tool for cutting and stabbing, useful both creatively and destructively. Its beauty lies in its function and how its function formed the lines and edges of its shape.

Please email me at if you'd like to add something to this page.

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation" or, Why is Johnnie so sad?

If you don't know what I mean by this, lucky you. The situation is that most of us are not spending our days like we'd like to. We're being crushed and squeezed for our juice. One of my favorite essays on this is called Someone is stealing your life by Michael Ventura, read it and weep.

This page is under construction, but here's the gist of it. I believe that a man should be able to live his life doing something that he finds pleasureable and meaningful, in the setting that he chooses and free from the dictates of lesser men. A man should be able to walk proud, without having to look to someone else for approval or safety, with only the skills of his hands and mind and the bright fire in his heart to guide him. The value of a man's life lies only in the value that he places in it, not in what others can make him do for them.

Freely substitute the word 'man' with 'woman', 'child' or 'cat', as applicable.

There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way. - Christopher Morley

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived. - Thoreau

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.." - Preface to Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman

"What is money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and inbetween does what he wants to do." - Bob Dylan

"Using your mind in the way that we normally do, is about as appropriate and efficient as using a magic sword to open a can of beans." - Benjamin Hoff

I have learned that if one advances in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. - Henry David Thoreau

Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. ~ Orrison Swett Marden

Successful men and women in any art don't consider the odds. They just sneak up at night and cut their own holes in the fence. ~ Wells Root, Writing the Script, 1987

"To be yourself, in a world that tries, night and day, to make you just like everybody else - is to fight the greatest battle there ever is to fight, and never stop fighting." - e. e. cummings

"Walk away from the 97% crowd. Don't use their excuses. Don't talk the way they talk. Don't watch what they watch. Take charge of your own unique life." - Jim Rohn

"There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself." --Anonymous

"We are all born originals--why is it so many of us die copies?" --Edward Young

Ek hou van 'n man wat sy man kan staan,
ek hou van 'n arm wat 'n slag kan slaan,
'n oog wat nie wyk, wat 'n bars kan kyk,
en 'n wil wat so vas soos 'n klipsteen staan.<<--- Hear me read this in Afrikaans

"The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought." - Emma Goldman, American anarchist and feminist, 1869-1940

"The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." -- Jack London

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -- R. A. Heinlein

Things I believe in:

  • crazy-grained wood
  • blue steel
  • oiled leather
  • old tools
  • poetry
  • The Lead Pencil Club


How to get started in just about anything, a.k.a. the Lilliputtin' Way of puttin' it away!

People I believe in:

  • Walt Whitman
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • *Mister* William Burroughs
  • Castaneda

As you should have learnt by now, don't just believe everything I say, try it out for yourself. A small caveat, to quote from King of California: if you don't believe me, look it up.

Some more quotes:

"Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days." - Bull Durham

Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. ~ Abraham Lincoln

You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play. ~ Warren Beatty

"I dream my painting and then paint my dream." - Vincent Van Gogh

"You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don’t take." - Wayne Gretsky

"The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible." - Richard M. DeVos

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs." -- Henry Ford

"We tend to get what we expect." - Norman Vincent Peale

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." - Mary Pickford

"Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent." -- Marilyn vos Savant

"When you get right down to the root of the meaning of the word "succeed," you find that it simply means to follow through." - F. W. Nichol

"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped." -- Anthony Robbins

"Do the next thing." - John Wanamaker

"Fall down seven times; stand up eight times."- Japanese Proverb


"To Jack Dillinger and hope he is still alive.
Thanksgiving Day November 28 1986"

Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shat out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin' lawmen,
feelin' their notches.

For decent church-goin' women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for "Kill a Queer for
Christ" stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody's allowed to mind the
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories-- all right let's see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

"So I felt this burning summer. In form I might
belong to humankind; in reality I seemed one of a
ravenous self-destroying horde of rats.
I am glad there is no God. If there were,
I cannot imagine that we rampant, myopic, and
insatiably self-centred creatures should
be allowed to survive a single day more."

John Fowles,
British Author

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself." --Harvey Fierstein

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God! Your playing small doesn't' serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."--Nelson Mandela (1994 Inaugural Speech)

"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." --Will Rogers

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