Volume XIX Number 4 - April 2007

Soooo - it's April and it's still cold here - intermittantly. By 'cold' I mean in the 50s (12-15 centigrade) and some of you will fall over laughing. Being April, we remind you that the Woodland Games will be on the 28-29th of the month, and we wil be there in force, with banners flying...AND sports fans, this month marks our TWENTIETH YEAR in this bidness. Zowie! Now if only I had something to show for it monetarily...also coming up is the 2007 Dan Reid Memorial on May 5th. If you can get to San Francisco for this recital, do so, as it is a premier competition, with talent like Jack Lee, Stuart Liddell, Angus McColl (last years overall winner), Ian K. MacDonald, Andrew Hayes, Jori Chisholm, Matt Pantaleoni and Glenn Brown all under one roof. This really is a premier performance, the likes of which is not seen outside Scotland. Now if we only could get Ozzie to drop the speeches....

Some Marine news: For the first time since World War II a US Marine has been awarded Britain's Distinguished Flying Cross. Stars and Stripes wrote:

In a Buckingham Palace ceremony in London, Queen Elizabeth II pinned the medal on U.S. Marine Maj. William D. Chesarek Jr. He has served as the weapons and tactics instructor with the British 847 Naval Air Squadron since 2005 as part of an exchange program between the two countries.

His actions during a deployment last year to the British area of operations in Iraq, centered in the southern city of Basra, were cited in receiving the prestigious award, roughly the equivalent of the American Silver Star.

NEW PRODUCT DEPARTMENT: well, not really new product, but it looks like we have a new knitter, Margaret Myles. Welcome aboard, Margaret! We received the first pair of Fearg hose from her last week, and the quality is really there. There is some bad news, in that the price is now $109.95 for all the patterned handknit hose, and $119.95 for the Braemar bicolour top hose (when we get them). More patterns will be available soon, as well as our usual colour range.

HIGHLAND DRESS DEPARTMENT: we close our series with a few comments on what is considered 'proper.' So some of you will say I'm stodgy - but - there is madness to my method.

First off, I see a lot of people wearing dirks, daggers, battleaxes, swords of all description and prescription, and other impedimenta at Highland Games. LEAVE IT ALL AT HOME! Unless you're a legitimate (or illegitimate) re-enactor, all the extra clankage looks ridiculous, along with the belly dancers, Roman legionnaires, Ren Fairies, and other beyond-the-fringers we now see. People from Scotland laugh when they see some of the eejits out there tramping around the Games with swords, guns, crossbows, and other stuff hanging off them...

In addition, much of that stuff is highly illegal in many states, especially out here in Kalifornica. Some people think that because it's part of a 'national costume' it's OK - guess again, campers, it's not. You can get busted for wearing a sword in public here, or a gun, or a crossbow; same in New York, Chicago, or just about any major urban area. Some places out in the boonies, and in some states, they may not care, but you really need to check your local laws before you wander around in public armed to the teeth. IT'S ALSO A MATTER OF SAFETY. If you ARE a re-enactor, make sure your stuff is accurate (kilt and Renaissance tunic - sorry, no)....and make sure some twit can't yank it out of the scabbard...and ladies, keep the bladewearing down to a minimum - the image of a woman armed to the teeth and with tattoos of 'Freedom for Scotland' on her arms is not appealing....OK, back to reality.

Dirks - should only be worn with evening dress. It's just a practical thing. If you want to wear one of the $49.95 cheapies, do it at home, or leave it hanging on the wall. Unless you're in a military uniform of the correct type to wear a dirk, don't wear one. Same for swords. Some of you will brindle and carp about your 'right to wear what I damn well please,' but that doesn't make it right, proper, or legal.

Sgians - ONE only, in the right or left stocking top; and all the stories about it being a 'weapon of last resort' are just CRAP. The sgian came about as a tool, descended from a gralloching knife used for cleaning game - and didn't appear until the 1820s. The early sgians had short, clip-point blades, about 2" long, like a penknife or a blac powder patch knife, and used for cutting string, hemp, or sharpening a quill pen or a pencil, not for stabbing enemies.

Other Highland Jewelry - fancy belt buckles, sporrans, brooches, and so on - really look better with evening dress, and how'd you like it if some nyaff spilled beer on your beautiful antique sporran, or you lost the by-knife from your $3500 dirk, or your antique plaid brooch? One of my students has his 'drunk' kilt, his 'games' kilt, and his good kilt - each for the specific's really just about being practical...'nuff said!

Black Part - we're waiting!


(The management of Cuillinn Craft takes NO responsibility for any editorial statements made by John Eric Partanen PhD. Any and all comments should be directed to BLACK PART)


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