Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The "Bagpipes"

The history of the bagpipes is an interesting one.

They are thought to have originated in the middle east and imported to the Scotland by the Romans. Bagpipes are mentioned (though not by name) in the Bible and there are numerous carvings, paintings and sketches of bagpipes going back several centuries before Christ. While this is all interesting, I was carrying my pipes upstairs to practice and it suddenly hit me as to what a simple name they bear. They well could have been named by a preschooler.

Teacher: What would you call these Johnny?
Johnny (4 years old) points to the drones, chanter and blowpipe: What are those?
Teacher: Those are pipes.
Johnny points to the bag: What is that?
Teacher: That is a bag.
Johnny: I call it bag-pipes.
Teacher to Johnny's parents: Your boy is a genius!

Voila! So let it be said, so let it be written!

Try doing that with just about any other instrument:

Piano: Pee-an-o? If you told someone to draw that you can only imagine what it might look like.
Trumpet: Trum-pet? Sounds like an activity that would get you charged with a felony under animal cruelty laws.
Drum: I'd be temped to use it as an adjective to describe a plump, boring person. "Yeah, I've met that guy - he's a bit drum."

What genius dreamed up those names? Let's see, I have a wooden box with a neck on it and some strings that when plucked will make wonderful music. I'm going to call it ... a stringplucker! You'd have to be an idiot to call it a guitar! Gi-tar - something a dinosaur might become extinct in.

Obviously the Scots were very practical people. Why waste time dreaming up some odd name for something when what it is speaks for itself. Bagpipes - simple!

I wonder what the guy was thinking when he came up with Sax-o-phone?! HEY! Get your mind out of the gutter!

Friday, January 2, 2009

On to Nauvooooooooo!!!

I got an email yesterday from the Nauvoo Pageant folks and they have accepted our application for the 2009 cast! Yippeeee, we're going to Nauvoo!

For those who don't know, the Nauvoo pageant has a Pipe Band and we have been accepted to play in it. Here's an article about the band: The Pipers of Nauvoo

Teagan isn't as excited as my wife and I are; I think it smells a little too "Churchy" for him. Well ... he's a teenager, so unless it involves food, video games, air soft guns, sports, girls or best buddies, it's probably not going to peek his interest too much. Nevertheless, I think once there he will discover it to be a fun and exciting experience (probably will find that at least three of the above listed items apply) and will be asking us to do it again in 2010.

We'll be in Nauvoo from July 12th through the 25th, so if you make the trip look for us.

Now we have to make reservations for a place to stay and start saving up some $$$$$$.

Mr. Grumpy

Being the New Year, I decided I need a change in attitude. Well ... there are several changes that this plump, old, lazy, couch potato needs to make, but let's start with attitude and the rest may fall into place.

I have recently been reading a friend's blog and have discovered that I have been referred to from time to time as being somewhat of a sour puss - that's not a quote, but it expresses the occasional impression. I don't think that is her overall impression of me, but I concede that indeed I probably come across that way many a time, especially when it comes to issues with the Pipe Band.

I readily admit up front that I'm not a great piper. I'm generally inconsistent with my playing skill; probably because I'm inconsistent with my practice. I state this because I am probably in a poor position to pass judgement on anyone or anything having to do with playing the bagpipes. At the same time I can be quite opinionated when it comes to how people treat each other; whether or not expectations seem realistic; and how well run an organization is. That is where I run into trouble.

My friend has been effected by the same issues in the band that I have and yet she remains optimistic and upbeat. In fact, she has suffered through one incident with an influential band member that still makes me angry to think about and yet while I know it upset her, she has treated it with humor and moved beyond it's caustic influence. She's my Pipe Band hero!

So, I will vow to quit being a sour puss this year and strive to remain more positive. That's not to say I won't voice my opinion, but once said I will move on.

... let's see how long this will last?!