Friday, April 29, 2016

What I Do or Who Am I?

Besides spending half of my day travelling to and from and the time spent at work, I am a member of my local Scottish society.  One of our biggest events is the annual Celtic Festival.  My responsibility is the care of merchandise and food vendors.  I take great pride in making sure that we offer quality merchandise and food.  There are a few tinkers I have inherited and hopefully one day, I can weed them out.   But this is not the story.
Over the last few years, many Scottish Games and Celtic Festivals have been "going out of business".  A variety of reason to include lack of funding and lack of volunteers to keep them going.
We are self funded and I see that a lot of them disappearing have been funded by the local governments - who are running out of money. 
On hearing of another Celtic Festival folding this morning I shared these thoughts with our committee.
It is indeed sad to hear of another event being cancelled. 
I think back to the day when it was announced that we cancelled our festival that bleak year in 2011.  I was upset and a wee bit miffed, which is probably what made me start to get involved.  Little did I know what was in store!   As much as I feel like packing it in on rare occasions, I once again revert to insanity and say to myself, why?  I do enjoy what I do and the people I work with, both the committee and our vendors.   To see everyone's smiling faces the day of is well worth it.  To hear the gratitude of the attendees makes it well worth it.  Sometimes, I even get to take a moment to myself and just look around - the music wafting from all stages, the skirl of the pipes, the parade of clans, the clacking of dancers shoes, the laughter of children (and as the day goes on, the tippling laughter of adults), the smell of cooking and burning peat, and I think well done us.   Even the rain is authentic of our cultural lands.  Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention, you know it is coming, the men in kilts. 
Appreciation only comes from knowing how much time, how hard we have worked.  We are indeed fortunate to have a bevy who are dedicated and passionate about not only our heritage, but the love of sharing it through the Society events and the Festival. 
That is just one of my passions.
I know I know, I can get into a lot of trouble for the skirt bit.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Liberator Is Never Free

the Liberator is Never Free

One of the most enthralling pieces I have read recently.  Letters written to his wife from an American soldier (I think he was medical and could have been a doctor) focusing on the letters written from Dachau and about its liberation.

"The Wilsey cache of letters is invaluable, and perhaps even unprecedented, because of its volume—hundreds of letters, sent over a span of nearly five years—and the bluntness of its depictions of the war. Along with the executions of SS soldiers, the letters described instances of heroism (“trying to save a good-looking German eight-year-old who had stepped on a mine with resultant nine holes in his intestines, half a foot off, and hundreds of minor fragments in his upper legs, arms and face”); withering criticism of Wilsey’s commanding officers (“such incompetent, unqualified, mentally inferior people”); racial bigotry (“the colored boys have been accepted ‘whole-heartedly’ (if not ravenously) by women-­across-the-Atlantic”); and widespread looting of Nazi possessions, much of it, in all likelihood, previously looted by the Germans from their Untermensch victims across the continent."
A captured escapist was tied by the SS naked to a post, and three of these huge Dobermans (after four days of being starved) were turned loose on him while thousands of internees witnessed it all standing at attention. Hans withstood the calves torn off, withstood the thighs torn off, withstood the guts (yes, guts) turned out. But he turned his head and vomited when the Dobermans had torn the lungs and heart out. The first thing the liberated internees did was to shoot the Dobermans and their horrid handler.
One reads stories of veterans who never talk about their war experiences and can only imagine what horror did they see that would prompt such a response. 
It also puts our WWII boys in a different light.   Some of their behaviour goes against all we have been taught.
And it definitely gives pause to sober thinking.  I would like to read them all.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Irish Humour

A Garda stopped at a farm in Co Galway and talked to an old farmer. He told the farmer, "I need to inspect your farm for illegally grown drugs." The farmer said..., "okay, but don't go into that field over there...", as he pointed out the location. The Garda verbally exploded and said, "look mister, I have the authority of the garda Síochána with me!" Reaching into his rear back pocket, the arrogant garda removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the farmer. "See this badge?! This badge means I can go wherever I want... On any land! No questions asked, no answers given! Do you understand old man?!"
The farmer kindly nodded, apologized, and went about his farm work. Moments later the farmer heard loud screams, he looked up and saw the garda running for his life, being chased by the farmers big Bull Mc Cabe With every step the bull was gaining ground on the garda, and it was likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified. The old farmer threw down his tools, ran as fast as he could to the fence, and yelled at the top of his lungs......
Ya facking eejit


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why Would I Need Reason - It Is There Waiting For Me

Found this rather amusing little ditty over at  Paco Enterprises

22 More Reasons to Drink Whiskey
Yes I spelled it with an e on purpose.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Should We Save Endangered Species?

Ooops I mean, societies. 
Interesting read and not really something I have thought about before. 
I can see the pros and cons of either argument.  We cannot interfere to "save" them without ruining their society, yet if we let them pass does not a small part of our collective human soul die?
What say you?
Should we save endangered cultures?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Critics of Islam Are Right

The critics of Islam were right
We who have carelessly thrown around the Islamophobe label including Glen Greenwald, Reza Aslan, and Karen Armstrong should lower our heads in shame and guilt. Few things are as morally depraved as attacking someone who criticizes Islam (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) rather than attacking the Islamic apostasy and blasphemy laws teaching Muslims they should kill her. We must now live with the knowledge that we've abandoned and betrayed our principles. Though we claim the mantle of human rights, free speech and equality, we lack the courage of our convictions when it offends someone. We make the cowardly lion look like Churchill.

Slowly Slowly the awakening begins.....