Scotland

Catching Up

So it’s been a while since I posted anything. So let’s catch up, shall we?

The reasons I haven’t posted are several. I had a killer head cold for about 2 weeks, that I couldn’t shake (same one I mentioned in my Celebrate Good Times (Come On)! post).  My work issued laptop died on me, and I’ve been so busy at work that when I get home and I feel like crap due to the cold, I had no desire to sit in front of any PC. When you consider how much computer time I log at work, it’s rather surprising how much I use one at home.

But not everything was bad. I bought a new SiriusXM radio for my aging truck. It’s an external device that plugs in through the aux port on the existing radio. I also stream, mostly the “Classic” (oh, how I hate that term. Can we go back to AOR please?) stations. I like SiriusXM over the local radio because the DJs don’t think they have to be funny so they can get hired and go to a larger market. SiriusXM’s market is North America. Quite a bit bigger than any terrestrial market. Plus these DJs know what they’re talking about.  I also like SiriusXM over most streaming services (Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, etc.) because they play the music the way it was recorded. One thing that always pissed me off with the various streaming services is they tend to cut apart songs the segue into each other. A classic example is Jackson Browne’s “The Load Out/Stay”. Streaming radio turns those into two separate songs. It increases the total number of songs in their library, but it totally screws up the listening experience.

My office replaced my very small Micro$oft Surface Book with a beautiful 17″ HP laptop.  This thing is a beast! An i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and this wonderful huge screen! These tired old eyes can see again!

Wifey® and I have planned, and made the deposit on, something that is on both of our bucket lists. A trip to Scotland, the land of our heritage. We’ve both did the Ancestry DNA tests. I’ve posted about this before.  Turns out both of our DNA points directly to Scotland/Ireland/Land of the Vikings. I’d like to try to find the ancestor that made the trip over the pond to settle in America before we go. But that costs money, and right now we’re trying to save, not spend so we can blow the whole wad while in Scotland.  I’m hoping the duty-free shop in the Edinburgh airport has a good selection of native scotches.  I will have a separate post(s) about the trip as things get closer, and when we are in country.

We had a wonderful dinner the other night with my brother and his wife here at my house.  I smoked three whole chickens. Not that I expected we would eat them all that night, I planned on leftovers so we (as in Wifey® and son-the-younger and myself) could make pot pies from the leftover chicken and other veggies we made that day.

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Yup, there are 3 whole chickens in there!

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We ended up with 10 pot pies of varying sizes

I confirmed something I learned the last time I smoked chicken. From now on I’m only buying leg quarters. There were 4 and a half breast quarters left, but only one leg quarter. Seem we prefer the dark meat!

And I’ve read a couple of good books too. I won’t write any reviews.  If you want book reviews, there are plenty of sites that have them (I recommend Once Upon A Spine).

I’ll leave you with a video. Has nothing to do with this post, but the opening line “Been away, haven’t seen you in a while”, fits with the theme. Plus it’s Dave Mason.  I’ve been a fan of his since his days with Traffic.

So what have you been up to?

Peace,
B

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Tartan Day

Wear yer tartan ye filthy cur!

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Scotland For Ever!

A video from Albannach. The name roughly translates to “Men of Scotland”

And of course, “The Campbell’s Are Coming”

And you can’t leave out “Scotland The Brave”

Peace,
B

 

St. Patricks Day

Uh… NO!

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And why does everybody wear green? If you’ve read your history, you would know that the Catholics wore green, while the Protestants wore orange. So pick you color appropriately.

‘Nuff said.

Peace,
B

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New Favorite Band

So this past Saturday Wifey® and I, along with some friends (invited my brother too now that he lives in the area, but he had some lame excuse about moving trucks delivering furniture to his new house or something. Whatev’ bro) spent the day at the 41st Central Florida Scottish Highland Games. It was chillier than usual, right around 60° F. Not bad, but we prefer it a bit warmer.

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The music lineup was as good as always, Albannach, Off Kilter, and Rathkeltair are some of our favorite Celtic/Rock bands.  But this year we had a newcomer. The Screaming Orphans. An all-girl band from Ireland that did everything from traditional Irish songs (in Gaelic and English), reels to get you dancing and some pop sounding tunes, easily on par with The Bangles or the Go-Gos. (Sorry if you’re not into their music – we enjoy it).

Here are two videos to showcase their talents.

First is the oft-covered “Whisky In The Jar”.  (Off Kilter closed out their first set with this song as well).

And then “500 Miles” another song that’s been covered many times.

They did do some original music as well, but due to all the loud drunks all around us, and the girl’s heavy Irish brogue I couldn’t get the names of the songs. Even though for once I was not on the drunk side during this festival. We estimate this is our 16th or 17th year attending.

Check them out on their webpage The Screaming Orphans. You’ll find links to their FaceBook and Twitter there as well! And everything they played was outstanding. Their vocals blend so well, it was simply amazing. Thank you ladies! We hope to see you at more of the Celtic festivals in our area.

Peace,
B

The Tears Of A Clown

(Many thanks to Kiersten over at Once Upon A Spine for the inspiration for this post)

And no, this is not a sad post, but the only song I could come up with that has “clown” in the title is “Cathy’s Clown”, and that’s not one of my favorites.

So, let’s go back in time, shall we?  The year was 1981, Wifey® and I were not yet married (although we were dating).  Wifey-to-be® and I took my oldest niece and nephew to a function at their school. But that was many, many beers ago and neither of can remember what the event was. At this event was Hi-Pockets The Clown. Hi-Pockets had his run in various circuses until he tired of the constant moving. So he left the circus and became a firefighter of all things, still continuing his clowning at parties and such.

Then he had a stroke, and his firefighting days were over, but he could continue clowning, just at a slower pace. He would go to the local schools perform a little and try to recruit folks for his clown alley. I was hooked the minute I saw his pitch.

I immediately signed up. As both Wifey-to-be® and myself were working at Metro Zoo (now the Miami Zoo), I had an in to get us into a face painting setup. We charged $2 to paint a face.  We kept $1.50, the zoo got the rest. Not a bad scheme.  We would also warm up the audience for some of the animal shows.  When we would walk from our spot by the gift shop to the amphitheater, the Bengal Tigers would go nuts. They would pace up and down their open enclosure following us.

So one of the first things a clown needs to do is design a face. I sat down with paper and pencil trying to come with something rather unique.  Unfortunately, only one picture of me in makeup survives.

 

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Skeeter the clown. I was about 22 then.

 

I had just finished putting on the face and still had the scarf on keeping my rather long hair out-of-the-way when my dad took this picture. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you “Skeeter the clown”.  Hi-Pockets told me this face is registered with Ringling Brothers, but I have no proof. But I hope it is.

One of my most beloved props was an Orangutan puppet named Merlyn.  I bought him from a festival that was being held at the zoo. At the time, it cost me every penny I had, but the laughter and love Merlyn has generated has come back many times over.

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Granddaughter-the-elder with Merlyn

Merlyn has seen quite a bit. Not only at the zoo, but he’s entertained friend’s kids, even went to a strip club with me once. I would guess he’s about 36 years old now.  The first time I brought him out to Granddaughter-the-elder®, she was about 2 years old. She had no idea what it was. She wasn’t exactly scared, just very unsure. But it didn’t take long for her to warm up to Merlyn and ask me to go get him.Merlyn is enjoying his retirement awaiting the next generation to play with.And just to prove that I am not all clown, here is a photo, totally unrelated to this post, here is a picture of Wifey® and me in our kilts. Let’s face it, the Central Florida Highland Games are in about two weeks.  We already have our tickets! If you’re in the area (dear ol’ brother mine) come join us. We’ll be over by the beer tent listening to Albannach.

 

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Black Watch Tartan – The Campbell’s are coming!

 

Here’s the video to go with the title.. not the best I know. If you have a better song leave a comment telling me so.

And just to go with the kilts, here’s Albannach. The band name roughly translated means “Men Of Scotland”.

Peace,
B

P.S. I’ve never understood the clown phobia. I know people that are very afraid of clowns, and I feel for them. ‘Cause clowns are cool!