Keydet Piper I'm thinking bagpipes

Monthly Archives: December 2008

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Happy New Year!

A few hours early.  May your 2009 be filled with happiness, peace, friendship, resolutions not broken, and a president who is not a moron.

Ever notice that…. #2

Some people who drive vans, big pickup trucks, and big SUV’s (all of which get really bad gas mileage to start with) drive them in such a manner as to increase fuel consumption even more?  Driving fast, accelerating fast, weaving in and out of traffic, that kind of stuff.

Yeah, I’m talk to you, idiot in the forest green Suburban somewhere near Waterbury, CT.

Ever notice that…. #1

brushing your teeth right before bed makes the morning breath worse?

The simple pleasures of life

There’s no doubt the holiday season in recent years has become more and more materialistic.  As was proved to The Grinch, “maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”  Even if you don’t follow a religion, the holiday season is a time to be with friends and loved ones, to reflect on the year past, and to share warm wishes and festive thoughts with people in general.  I’ve found that the best moments don’t come while unwrapping boxes, but from the little things that don’t have to be bought.  Here’s a partial list of some of my favorites.

  • New socks, especially nice thick wool ones.  This is the ultimate and the first thing that comes to mind.
  • A quiet moment with someone special
  • Getting together with old friends
  • Doggy or kitty lovins
  • Puppy skunk breath and needle teeth
  • A child’s laugh
  • The first glass of egg nog of the holiday season 
  • Watching someone open a present from you

Breaking from tradition

The House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band is certainly one of the top bands in the world today.  They’ve won the World Pipe Band Championships fifteen times since 1948, and have placed in the top three every year since 1993, including five wins.  Shotts is a dominant force that attract top quality players from all over the world, and are always contenders for the top prizes.

It was very surprising, therefore, that they pulled off this stunt at the Worlds this year.  In the last tune of the medley, every piper turned around 180 degrees to face the audience instead of the center of the circle.  Turning around will inevitably lead to a decline in unison playing and lower marks from the judges based on the technical performance, but perhaps riskier is being marked down for doing something different.  The band broke no rules except tradition, which can be quite strong in its own right.  For a contending band to do something different that would jeopardize the chance of winning takes courage and confidence. 

Shotts Pipe Major Rob Mathieson has called for reform of the pipe band competition format, pointing out that we are really the only musical groups that perform with our backs to the audience and judges.  It makes good musical sense to have all the musicians in view of each other, but not very good entertainment sense to block out the listeners. 

Perhaps something like the arrangement in this concert, where only the pipe major has his back to the audience.  That’s the St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band from Ireland in concert in Pittsburgh, PA in November 2007, by the way.  The majority of the musicians are facing out and everyone can see the one who is directing.  It makes better sense to me, but trying to get the pipe band world to accept it, or any change to “the way things have always been done,” will be a slow process.

In case you’re wondering, Shotts finished fourth in the medley and third overall at the Worlds.

I found it!

I was poking around my classroom today, trying to find a gizmo for the whatchamacallit, and I got to thinking about some of the really absurd things we Americans (and others maybe?) say when we’re looking for things.  Some are blatantly obvious, some are hyperbolic statements, some are just asinine, but none lends any value to the search. 

  • “Where could it be now?”  And just who are you expecting to answer?
  • “I just saw it.”  Well, no, probably not.  If this were true, you would have found it.
  • “I can’t find it anywhere!”  This is just an unfinished sentence.  It should be “I can’t find it anywhere I have looked.”
  • “I’ve looked everywhere.”  Obviously not.  If you had, you would have found it. 
  • “It must be somewhere.”  Um, yeah.  It can’t be nowhere, now can it? 
  • “I’ve looked high and low.”  Any chance it could be somewhere in the middle?
  • “It was in the last place I looked.”  Well duh!  This is true by definition, unless you keep looking after you find it.

These come from a human’s requirement to babble incessantly and not look like a moron.  Especially if there are multiple people looking, saying things like this make the initial searcher seem like less of an imbecile.

People are funny.

Good old Maine

Winter is officially here.  Well not officially because it’s not yet December 21, but for all intents and purposes it is.  At 3:15 this afternoon it’s 16 degrees F (-9 C).  Good and cold, that’s the way Maine is.  Looks to be a good winter if it’s this cold and not even Christmas yet.

The Secret Life of Teachers

It’s a parody, but it’s not far from the truth.  We watched this in the teacher’s lounge, of course; where else?