sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


For those of us who have lived in Scotland, there is a deep and abiding understanding that nobody is capable of celebrating in the new year as completely as the Scots. 

The observation of Hogmanay is not like a Robert Burns birthday celebration where they pipe in the haggis and everyone wears the kilt.

This year, it began last night (the night before New Year's Eve) with a torchlight Viking parade down the streets of Edinburgh. (see photo) There is nothing quite like starting a drunken orgy off with a Viking parade. 

Living in California as I do (land of fruits and nuts), and as eccentric as people tend to be here, I am prohibited from wearing armor, and marching down the street carrying a torch in celebration of the new year. No, it has nothing to do with the berserker orgy, it has everything to do with the prohibition against open fires, which apparently harm the environment. Thus I must content myself with something short of what's going on in the 'old country'.

Hogmanay Do's and Don'ts (as observed in Scotland)

(1) When in Scotland on Hogmanay you may wear a toga, when partying but it may not be white - only tartan is allowed. Any clan's tartan is ok except for the treacherous Campbell tartan, which should not be worn in the Highlands unless you are ready for a good arse (their word) kicking at the behest of Clan McDonald - who still smarts at their defeat at the hands of the bloody Sasonacks* at the pass of Glencoe. (Clan Campbell fought with the English as their hirelings in this engagement to their everlasting shame)
*A Sasonack= Anyone who lives in England. It does not apply to Americans. Highland Scots are none too fond of the English - thus the Scottish national song, "Oh Flour of Scotland", which I memorized out of necessity.
(2) Hogmanay begins on New Years Day and runs for a solid week. Even though January 2 is an observed bank holiday in Scotland, the country (sort of part of the UK) is closed for the entire week. When walking on the sidewalk in any city, you must take care to avoid the barf (slimy and slippery). If you slip on the wet sidewalks (wet from both inevitable rain and barf) and slide into the gutter, you are likely not to be hurt because you'll be falling onto somebody who is already there.

(3) Vodka is not consumed on Hogmanay. If it's your beverage of choice, you need to set that preference aside for a week. Yes, there is an exception. After the first night of Hogmanay, nobody really knows what you're drinking and you can slip from bitters and whiskey into anything you like, so long as it has been distilled and is not served mixed with anything. 

(4) Hangovers are not allowed during the week of Hogmanay. There is plenty of time for that once the week is done. The cure for the morning after the day after the night before is Iron Brew. One of the sad ironies of living in the vast American economy is that they don't sell Iron Brew over here. A Scottish conspiracy? Maybe.

(5) You can fall in love on Hogmanay. However the Scots lassies are just as likely to be eating pickled eggs (horrible belches and farts) as the laddies and you should proceed prudently. Farting is encouraged on this holiday of holidays as explained by Billy Connolly (from Glasgow) below. You are also allowed to light your farts on Hogmanay with no loss of decorum. 

(6) Can you observe Hogmanay for a fortnight (two weeks)? Yes. Many do. May you bathe during that time? It's optional. Most who are celebrating have killed off the brain cells that know what a bath is, one week into the party.

(7) May you get in a fight (legally) on Hogmanay? I guarantee you that you will whether or not you want to. The one thing that most Scots do when they're deeply into their cups is fight. However at a 4.0 blood alcohol most of them think that they are fighting more adeptly than they really are.

(8) Will you learn to "speak Scottish" on Hogmanay? Difficult to predict, however I have heard drunken Chinese trying to speak with a Scottish accent on Hogmanay and there are few things funnier.

(9) Is sheep shagging allowed on Hogmanay? Apparently not only on Hogmanay...but it's illegal in the USA unless you are celebrating the Scottish national holiday of Hogmanay.

Wishing you a very happy Hogmanay.

New Years Resolutions

It's time for me to make New Year's resolutions the same
way that people make Las Vegas wedding vows - which
are half-assed promises made by drunken idiots.
Have fun on New Year's Eve and when you're deeply into your cups tonight and you see the best looking woman/man that you've ever seen, remember the difference between love and herpes...herpes lasts forever. And when you're at the karaoke machine singing, remember that if men could sing songs that made women love them, Bill Cosby wouldn't have had to put rohypnal in the wine.

Now for my resolutions for 2015:

1.  Study the Kama Sutra. Yes, of course I come by it naturally, I'm a Navy man. But study and practice makes perfect. Now all I need do is buy the book and find a tutor.

2.   Finish a chap-stick. There's a back story to this. I only use them when I'm at high altitude, which means that I use them on off-road trips in the Rocky Mountains and then they end up sitting in my truck, which heats up in the summer and melts them sideways in the tube, and ruins them. If I finish a chap-stick, that means that I'm where I need to be rather than in the flat lands with the inner city people.

3.  Throw away fortune cookie messages. I have a habit of putting them into my pocket and then reading them again later when I empty my pocket. I need to leave them at the Chinese restaurant. I don't need the affirmation, and they don't come true anyway. Blogger Race Bannon claims that they're not even printed in China - which is disappointing beyond all rationality.

4.   Don't be accepting. With the assault on all that's good and decent, I need to keep up the fight against that which society finds correct like homosexual marriage, the 'nobility' of inner city thugs, NSA domestic surveillance, legalized narcotics and all things Kardashian/Beverly Hills Housewives.

5.   Spend less time interacting with real people and find the time to join instagram and all of the social networking sites that I now ignore.

6.   Be less perfect. Perfection, combined with my sublime humility, annoys people around me. I need to work on that.

7.  Switch my username to "password" and my password to "username" to make it impossible for North Koreans to hack my computer.

8.  Only go to Costco when they are serving the really good free samples. Yes, it's the prime component of a bachelor's eating lifestyle. Figuring out the sample schedule even if it means co-opting key Costco employees by discovering personal matters that they'd rather keep hidden -- and having them call me when the good stuff is going onto the sales floor to keep personal matters personal.

9.    Always finish what I

10.   Eat bacon once a day.

Happy 2015!

Go buy some firearms and ammo - and practice with them.