Volume XVII Number 2 - February 2006

SOOO - Punxatawney Phil didn't see his shadow again - SO WHAT? It's not like we ever get a real winter here on the Left Coast - but just go a hundred miles or so inland and they've got white stuff everywhere. Ah, California - it's got everything for everyone...BTW this marks the beginning of out TENTH year here on the net - back in '97 we never thought - aw, can that crap!

Thanks to some really good after-Christmas customers, we had a really GREAT month in January, so I went out and bought one of the last made Wilkinson Marine Mameluke swords from Michael D. Long in England, who still have a few left for those interested. There's NOTHING like a Wilkinson sword - and I'm not talking razor blades here. It's really a sad state of affairs that the only big commercial swordmakers left are in India. Sic Transit Gloria Vanderbilt and all that. If my brother were still alive, I'd give it to him. Damn.

For years real wind musicians (yes the ones who sit down to play) have been maintaining their reeds with a product called ReedLife, which stabilises, rejuvenates, and preserves the elastic properties of cane. We now carry this excellent product, only $14.95 for a 250ml bottle with soaking cup. Twenty minutes in a ReedLife bath will bring back an old dog from the grave, reed-wise. IT WORKS!

I had a brand new set of IV3 full imitation ivory Inveran pipes here from Brian Donaldson - for three days before they went out the door to a very happy customer. Elegant, elegant lines, beautiful bores, and gorgeous, ringing tone in this pipe. I'll have another in a few short weeks, hopefully(!), with new pix up when they come in. No big changes, just a slightly different projecting mount pattern which really spiffs up the overall look. Our recommended setup for this pipe - Ross bag for more temparate climate, Roo hide for drier climate, with Duatone drone reeds and a McCann chanter reed - yummy!

Recently found two Cold Steel 'mini-culloden' sgian-type knives on eBay - pity the Cold Steel people didn't try to market them to the Scottish community as sgians, because these things have WICKED blades - serrated all get out. Looks like the Scottish Ginsu from Hell. So I stripped one down, ground down the tang, and am mounting it in silver on a staghorn handle (thanks Jamie) - I'll have pix up when it's done. I have a spare one of these if you'd like one done up - or send me your own and I'll mount it in silver and ebony. Too bad the marketing people for this company tried to sell it as a 'neck knife' - sheesh!

One more note, this one a little sour - the Black Watch Pipes and Drums are currently touring the US and Canada with the band of the Welsh Guards. We're sure it's going to be a good show, almost identical to similar tours made by different regiments over the years. The big difference is that this will be the LAST tour of the Black Watch before the regiments amalgamate in April, and it may be the last Black Watch tour period. Rumours are flying about that Whitehall hath decreed an end to regimental pipe bands, and that there will be ONE pipe band for the whole Royal Regiment of Scotland, with six pipes from each batallion. There has been nothing confirmed on this, BUT, knowing the MoD, it's probably true. Imagine the donnybrook to follow...we'll keep appraised and apprised of news regarding this as events unfold.


Ol' Black Part hied himself to Lost Wages last Friday for the WUSPBA AGM, on Stupor Bowl weekend as per usual. We'll be interested to hear what went on, who done what to who, and all the rest of the dirt that usually flies when he shows up. Hell, we might even truck on down to The Boat this year. More on this after the 12th of the month - when the Ol' Pirate lets fly with another broadside at the inefficiencies and inequities of life on the Left Coast....

AND HERE HE IS (Feb. 14):

Black Part 'appeared" at the recent WUSPBA AGM in Las Vegas the evening of February 3rd. Yes, the 'ol nemisis himself strode into the Executive Committee meeting, still in progress at 8:30 PM. Tartan trews, buckle shoes, black blouse, plaid, cocked hat and ostrich plume, and armed to the teeth with swords, pistols, knives, etc. And awesome sight it 'twas. Also armed with a small parlour pipe which he played to the great enjoyment of the Executive Committee. "Yer all been a workin' tare hard and tae lang", says 'ol Black Part. "Yee's gats tae remeber it 'aint the politics that matters, it the music, just the music, and nuthin' but the music. All of ye take a break an' go git sumtin' tae eat!" And with that the Executive Committee meeting was over! Yeah! 'Ol Black Part knows how to get things ended, if not started!

The next day, 'Ol Black Part also attended the AGM, but this time not in costume. And a well behaved old pirate he was too! So here's what went on:

There were 38 people in all at the AGM, 9 of which were members of the ExecutiveCommittee. Each Committee chairman presented their reports. The most important being theTreasurer's report and proposed budget. The good news is the WUSPBA is not broke, but has $25,503.31 dollars in the bank, after the expenditures for the 2006 budget. The bad news is that none of this surplus is earmarked for helping bands, contest sponsors, or solo members. It is intended that this surplus be retained in the bank for some unkown purpose. Hmmm! Can a non-profit association have an "investment account", as this surplus was labelled? Hmmm!

In 2005 there were 43 bands registered, 18 contest sponsors, and 546 solo members in the WUSPBA. Membership growth is steadily increasing. With only 38 people in attendance, a quorum was determined to be in effect, and business
then was conducted, and voting as follows: (It was later declared that there were 18 bands in attendance, and 5 to show by proxy vote, or whatever! Hmmm!)

Bylaws Proposals: (By this time it was 1:45 in the afternoon and only 36 people were in the room! Hmmm!)
1. Notices on the association website. PASSED!
2. Splitting the Registrar into two new positions. PASSED!
3. Splitting the Executive Secretary into two new positions. PASSED!
4. Removal of Elected Officers. Moved for action into the ByLaws Committee. Just
who is on the ByLaws Committee though? I nominate Mary Miles and John Partanen!
5. Life Membership Clarification. PASSED!

Contest Rule Proposals: (By this time on 34 people were in the room!!)
1. No Leets - No Playoffs. PASSED!
2. New Snare Drum Solo Events. PASSED! (Hurray! More Solo Events!)
3. Tenor Drummer requirement in Grades III, II and I bands. PASSED!
4. Instructor Rule for Grade IV Bands. A lot of debate on this one, but it PASSED even though it may take some Grade IV Bands out of contests this year. This new rule is not scheduled to take effect until May 5, 2006!
5. Change the Score Sheets for Soloists. No more numerical Scores. PASSED!
6. Grade IV Bands may not play the same medley for the QMM and TLM. PASSED!
7. Membership in the WUSPBA or an ANAPBA affiliated association required. PASSED! (ANAPBA affiliated associations include the RSPBA, the Piobaireachd Society, and the Competing Pipers Association).

Then there was the election of officers. President Stu Baker announced that he had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and would not seek re-election. Two nominees present were Andrew Morrill of the Great Basin Branch, and John Partanen. A secret ballot was held, but no campaign speeches were allowed until the voting was nearly complete! (Interesting! Very Interesting!) Anyway, between the two nominees, the WUSPBA stood to WIN! Andrew Morrill was elected. New people were nominated for the new Executive Committee positions and there was no other nominations except for the position of Solo Registrar for which John Partanen was also nominated. This time a short speech was allowed BEFORE the voting, but John Partanen was not elected.

Another interesting note is that the WUSPBA is scheduled to host the ANAPBA 'SUMMIT' in 2006. Looks like Andrew Morril will have his hands full this year. Best of luck Andrew!

Ol' Black Part

(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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