Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Beg Your Pardon

The View from Thursday Night's Dining Venue
Please forgive this very short post today, I am, how do you say, "under the weather."

After a busy and productive week in which I perhaps did not sleep as much as I ought, I awakened this Saturday morn with a bit of a chest cold. Monsieur le Rhinovirus felt that now would be a good time to pay me a visit.

Le petit salaud!

Ah well, we are approaching what the medical types like to call the "cold and flu" season. So I guess it's just the luck of the draw.

Perhaps tomorrow I will feel well enough to regale you with some tale of derring-do and dash.

More likely t'will be a tale of some half-remembered and juiced up exploit from my youth.

We shall see, for now, I bit you adieu.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Okay, Seriously?

Saw this on a Ford pickup truck heading home from work.

Seriously?

Perhaps I should get one for the Honda that says:

My Truck Was Built with Precision Tools, Not Forks and Spoons

Makes about the same amount of sense.

People can be such idiots.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Scotland

Badge of Clan Gordon*
The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. Having entered into a personal union with the kingdoms of England and Ireland following James VI's succession to the English and Irish thrones in 1603, Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with England on 1 May 1707 to create a single Kingdom of Great Britain. This union resulted from the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and elsewhere. Great Britain itself subsequently entered into a political union with Ireland on 1 January 1801 to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Scotland's legal system has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and private law. The continued existence of legal, educational and religious institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union. In 1999, a devolved legislature, the Scottish Parliament, was reconvened with authority over many areas of home affairs following a referendum in 1997. In May 2011, the Scottish National Party won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament. As a result, a referendum on independence will take place on 18 September 2014. Wikipedia
Scottish independence?

As Thursday approaches I have lots of odd feelings bouncing around inside of me.

While I am an American born and bred, I learned a fair bit about Scotland at the knee of my paternal grandmother. She was born near Aberdeen, the one in Scotland, not the one in Maryland.

Then there was my maternal grandmother, her people hailed from Scotland as well. She made sure we knew that Clan Gordon was in the blood.

So a lot of the blood running through my veins first arose in the Highlands of Scotland. A fair bit originated in the lowlands as well, but we don't speak much of that. Heh. Not to mention the not insubstantial sang français from my paternal grandfather's family.

This referendum on Scottish independence tears at me. On the one hand it is a romantic ideal, not really seen since The Forty-Five.
The Jacobite rising of 1745, often referred to as "the Forty-five", was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The rising occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession when most of the British Army was on the European continent. Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie" or "the Young Pretender," sailed to Scotland and raised the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands, where he was supported by a gathering of Highland clansmen. The march south began with an initial victory at Prestonpans near Edinburgh. The Jacobite army, now in bold spirits, marched onwards to Carlisle, over the border in England. When it reached Derby, some British divisions were recalled from the Continent and the Jacobite army retreated north to Inverness where the last battle on Scottish soil took place on a nearby moor at Culloden. The Battle of Culloden ended with the final defeat of the Jacobite cause, and with Charles Edward Stuart fleeing with a price on his head. His wanderings in the northwest Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the summer months of 1746, before finally sailing to permanent exile in France, have become an era of Scottish history that is steeped in romance. Wikipedia
Tradition and family gossip indicate that I probably had ancestors on both sides at Culloden!

So on the one hand we have William Wallace bellowing "Freedom" in the closing scenes of that movie (which is very ahistorical!), and on the other hand we have the certainty that Scotland, by itself, is probably not a viable political entity. In my opinion, a "Yes" vote would make the old country just another pawn for the Eurocrats to push around.

Trepidation, that's what I'm feeling. I'm sure the professional politicians of the Scottish National Party (SNP) are salivating at the prospect of being independent from Britain. So what's this bunch of politicos that has the people over there so worked up?
The Scottish National Party (SNP; Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba, Scots: Scots Naitional Pairtie) is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence. Wikipedia
What the Sam Hill is a social-democrat?
Social democracy is a political ideology that officially has as its goal the establishment of democratic socialism through reformist and gradualist methods. Alternatively, social democracy is defined as a policy regime involving a universal welfare state and collective bargaining schemes within the framework of a capitalist economy. It is often used in this manner to refer to the social models and economic policies prominent in Western and Northern Europe during the later half of the 20th century. Wikipedia
I highlighted the scary bit for you. That's the piece that really worries me.

So yeah, trepidation is the word of the day for Thursday.

Here's praying that they don't do anything foolhardy.

Of course, I said that about the U.S. in 2008, then in 2012 again.

D'oh!






*"Clan member crest badge - Clan Gordon" by Celtus (Celtus @ english wikipedia) - Own work by uploader. The stag's head is adapted from an out-of-copyright book.). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clan_member_crest_badge_- _Clan_Gordon.svg#mediaviewer/File:Clan_member_crest_badge_-_Clan_Gordon.svg

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Roses and More


As many of you know, from the many pictures posted herein, The Missus Herself has created quite a nice garden. I can spend hours there. I have at times done exactly that. Sometimes I'm not chasing the lawn mower but actually just sitting in the shade of one of our trees...

Smelling the breeze...

Listening to the birds singing...

And watching the clouds roll by.

Back in the Fall of '99 we moved into this house. Our very own house. Our very first. Twenty-four years of being nomads was over. We were home.

The yard was grass, much of it of the crab variety. The backyard had been the domain of a rather large (though friendly) dog, with all that entails. Holes, patches of dead grass and (though not the dog's fault) a small pile of what appeared to be roofing debris. I believe that at some point in time, the previous owner had either re-done the roof of the shed or had planted shingles and such in the hopes that a brand new shed would spring from the ground. (It did not, I'm here to testify.)

My lovely wife threw herself into the task of creating an oasis of beauty in this desert of drab and listless grass. (And futile attempts to grow new sheds.)

Take a look at some of the results. But listen to this song while you do. I enjoy this song, it's very apropos as to my feelings for the beautiful young lady who left her native land to travel the world with this grumpy old sergeant. Along the way, God blessed us with three beautiful children, their awesome significant others and three lovely grandchildren (so far). Now I sit in the garden and thank my Maker for all of my many blessings. They number more than the grains of sand on the beach.

Really.


Flowers and shrubbery along the eastern ramparts of Chez Sarge
More shrubbery and a tree which began life as a small twig. Seriously.
The roses are legion in m'Lady's garden. The aroma being most pleasant.
Not sure what these are, they look kinda alien. But they're kinda cool too.
A selection of cosmos, these remind The Missus Herself of home. Her Mom had quite a few.
My sainted mother-in-law is gone, the flowers remain. As does the memory of her smile.
Where I sit and contemplate life and eternity.
(And quaff the occasional malted beverage!)
The colors in her garden leave me breathless at times.
More cosmos. In front of another of our beloved trees.
The Missus Herself refers to these as "autumn blossom" - regardless of what they're called, I love 'em.
And so it goes, in our wee garden by the Bay.

Did I help with the garden? Of course.

This being New England, I do believe I dug up most of the rocks dragged down from Canada during the last Ice Age. Oh yeah, I also dragged away the flotsam and jetsam from the "shed garden."

Yup.


I pick things up. I put them down.

Monday, September 15, 2014

In Memorium

LT Nathan T. Poloski, US Navy
(Photo courtesy of  LT J. "Gandalf" 
Molcsan)
"Ode of Remembrance"
Laurence Binyon

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labor of the day-time;
They sleep beyond America's foam