Volume XI Number 2 - February 2003


And not just in the Middle East. Looks like the latest WUSPBA fiasco has games organisers up in arms about raised fees and new judging requirements. Not to mention that, under the NEW judging rules, there are VERY few judges now qualified to adjudicate in the future. Some current judges are miffed because they won't be 'grandfathered in' under the new system - which is as yet incomplete. There's NO written test in place, and NO study materials available. Games organisers are furious; member bands are furious; hell, I'm not even a member and I'm furious (not really, I'm laughing my ass off!). What WILL it take to get this organisation to get in line with its fellow band associations regarding rules and judging qualifications?

Speaking of war...yes, kids, it looks like we'll be bombing Iraq in a week or two - or three. I don't normally make political comment, BUT when you've got a snake-oil salesman for a President it follows that American Foreign Policy (where's John Foster Dulles when you need him? or even Henry the K?) goes right in the toilet. Every time Shrub opens his mouth he derails anything Colin Powell is trying to achieve. The latest from Shazzam is that the Columbia disaster ' a sign from Allah....' Right. And I've got nine bridges in Baghdad you really should buy before the AirFarce hits them with PaveWays. NOW THAT'S ENOUGH POLITICS!

In the Not So Odd Department: I've recently had several inquiries from members of the military about care for pipes in hot dry climates (Jeez, I wonder WHERE they're going???). Basic common sense, use of a humidifier, and careful storage are the three guidelines. Of course it would be easier on everyone to just get a set of delrin pipes for Da Desert, but not everyone can pull that off.

I don't know about you, but in light of everything going wrong in the world at the moment, the Columbia shuttle disaster seems much less terrible than it ought. When Challenger blew up everyone was shocked; somehow this doesn't seem as horrific. Maybe we're so blase about the whole space program we don't really care that much? It's a major setback to an already strapped NASA budget, except for military ops, which are carried out by Atlantis,which I believe is the newest of the 'fleet.'

Speaking of Future Military Operations, the Marine Pipers Association has asked me to be an Honorary member, for which I feel extemely honorary. I only hope I won't be called upon to play officially for them at any time in the near future (I HATE those screaming trips to the cemetary). Captain Justin Stodghill, currently in Kaneoe, Hi., will be sending me the Marines Piper's Manual to review once it's done.

On the Sick List this month: Ron Teague, the Man from Fresnose, having a (hopefully minor) cardiac procedure. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and we all hope he doesn't have to go for the Aztec diet....shudder!

Update on Feb. 8: Ron and his ticker are doing fine. No drastic measures were required, and the Aztecs packed up their flint knives and went home unhappy. We look forward to hearing from the Cheesester himself in the near future!

WHO'S ON FIRST DEPARTMENT: At this time of year we start paying for booth space and scheduling events we'll attend and/or participate in. Whilst checking the roster, we noticed that the Dan Reid Memorial is listed for the same weekend as the Woodland Games.

Now, I'm as open-minded as the next guy BUT I can't be in two places at once. Since I have to make a living, I will be in Woodland that weekend, and the Dan Reid Memorial will have to get by without me. Ozzie, WHAT were you thinking?????

NEW GADGET, GIZMO, AND EPHEMERA DEPARTMENT: BeckValves, we've been carrying them for several months now, I just haven't gotten around to putting them on the site. This well-designed little water trap/valve combination simply plugs into the bottom of your blowstick stock. It sounds like an elephant with emphysema until you get the bag blown up, but once you strike in, it goes completely silent. A great little water trap for medium-wet blowers as well, only $19.95; pic on our reeds page, right at the top..

We also now have, courtesy of Jamie Cavin, some really striking custom belt designs. take a look at the bottom of the Highland Dress Accessories page for some shots of these interesting and original interlace patterns. Also on the Highland Dress page, our new 'standard' sgian dhubh patterns.


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