Monday, March 10, 2014

International Bagpipe Day

Yep. That is today. It has taken place the last several years, but I am never quite sure what it is, because googling "International Bagpipe Day" generally brings up websites concerning events from previous years - nice, if you are in the know, and were at one such celebration, but somewhat frustrating for those of us who genuinely curious about the thing. But, I am a piper, and I should not let such a celebration go by without some sort of mention, now, should I? So here you go - pipers..... being pipers....I have mentioned before that pipers are an odd lot of people, haven't I? 

There is, of course, the Unipiper. I'm willing to bet you've never been confronted with something like this when you are taking a casual stroll, now have you?

There is this piper, whose dog sings along with him. (Dogs do that. Sam-the-Dog makes and incredibly deep solemn ooooooooooooooo when I play. He sounds mournful, but his tail wags the whole time, so I have no idea if he is happy about it or not.)

And then, there is the piper who gives lie to the accepted belief that one cannot play bagpipes and sing at the same time:

(For the first minute he is just using the drones to accompany his singing. You can listen to that if you want, but if you skip about a minute into it, he plays and sings.)

Here is something a little different - a tune called Corryvreckan by William Jackson. It is the first tune I can ever remember hearing that integrated pipes into a band this way. I was quite obsessed with it for a while, and I still think it is a braw fine tune:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Remember, Man, That Thou Art Dust

Prepare yourself...Lent is coming

Indeed, it is here. And not matter how late in the year it comes - this year it is very late - Lent seems to come much sooner than I want it too. The Spirit might be willing, but the Flesh is very weak, and it quails at the thought of straightened rations, early rising, curtailment of the weekly meat allowance, and general penitence. One feels peckish and deprived:

On the other, now that the seasons have completed their rounds, and the Season of Penance draws is here again, I definitely feel as though I've a year's worth of failings and imperfections to atone for. I have let myself get rather slack, and there is a hit-and-miss quality towards my duties towards God and Man. I have gotten sloppy. So truly, I am quite ready for a good stiff bit of training, and strengthening up:




(One does not want to remain a Kili sort of fighter forever ;-)

Besides, there is something rather beautiful about Lent - a sense that one is following in the footsteps of Our Lord; taking the cross up voluntarily; walking beside Him along the road to Calvary. It is heartening, and purifying and good.

Lenten Practices: Make your Lent a profitable forty-day period of prayer, penance, and spiritual exercises in preparation for the proper celebration of Easter.

So, once more into the breach! Here's hoping that I make it a good Lent. A very holy and blessed season to you all.