Friday, August 15, 2014

Not An Unexpected Topic. . .Entirely

The qualifiers that were shown for the World Pipe Band Championships this morning were most enjoyable to watch and to hear. On the watching end of things, I was particularly taken with the logos that the New Zealand Police Pipe Band and the Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band wear: both incorporate Scottish elements with the New Zealand fern, which is clever, but more than that, they're just very pleasing to the eye. (The logos in question, of course, can be seen in the headers of the respective websites of the two bands.) Most importantly, both bands turned out impressive performances, Canterbury winning through to tomorrow's final.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

And Here It Comes Again

Yes, the World Pipe Band Championships are this week. The format has changed yet again, now with the qualifier on Friday and the playoffs on Saturday morning. This page shows you where you can tune in.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

All the News Here

We were taking a water break during an outdoor rehearsal this evening when something glinted in the scrubby lawn. "If that were only a beetle," I thought, astounded by the impossibility of the colours. I looked again and, wonder of wonders, it was a beetle, and a quite a beauty for these parts, something called a Figeater Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis). I had no way to get a picture at the time, but here's one from BugGuide, which has a gallery of good shots. The interesting part about watching one of these on a lawn was, as brilliant as the green elytra look in the picture, they are actually. . .well, what I'd classify on a guitar as a "matte finish," not glossy. So between those and the stripes of beige at the edges, the creature would have blended in perfectly with a California high school lawn in the depths of summer, were it not for the gleaming of its emerald undercarriage. I thought it one of the loveliest things I had seen in a long while.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day

Here are the Commodores, the US Navy's own jazz ensemble, with the Stars and Stripes Forever.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Just because there is no such thing as too much Bruce Molsky, especially when he's singing along with his fiddle. (Thanks KDHX, St. Louis, for the virtual front-row seat.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Today is Memorial Day in Newfoundland, a tribute to the horrific losses sustained by the 1st Newfoundland Regiment at the Somme (Beaumont-Hamel, to be exact) on July 1, 1916. Some points of that history were more recently set, by Bob Hallett, to the old Scottish tune of "Twa Recruiting Sergeants." Here, he sings it.