11 Facts About Bagpipes That’ll Make Your Hair Stand On End

Eleven Pipers Piping

11 Facts About Bagpipes That’ll Make Your Hair Stand On End

Bagpipes were considered a weapon at one point because they were used to frighten the enemy

  • The bagpipes took the place of trumpets in battle in 1549 at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh
  • The shrill, penetrating sound works well in battle
  • Bagpipes can be heard up to 10 miles away
  • The sound of bagpipes can reach 111 decibels which is louder than a pneumatic drill, power saw and power mower

Bagpipes were made from an inside-out goat

  • Pipes can be made of wood or plastic
  • The reed can be made from water reeds, animal antlers, brass, metal or plastic
  • The chanter is the pipe that can play multiple notes while the drones play a single note
  • The chanter is never silent and its volume does not vary
  •  The bagpipe can only play 9 notes from G to A with no sharps or flats

Not invented in Scotland

#3 – Famous people love the bagpipes

  • Roman emperor Nero was an avid piper. It was during his reign that legions are thought to have introduced bagpipes into the British Isles
  • King Henry VIII owned five sets of bagpipes, but the Reformation he helped to kick off associated bagpipes with Catholicism and they fell out of favor in England
  • King Rama VI of Siam (Thailand) ordered the Great Highland Bagpipe replace the oboe as the official instrument of his elite Wild Tiger Corps
  • Queen Elizabeth II is awakened at precisely 9:30AM every day by her personal piper. Prince Phillip doesn’t enjoy this nearly as much as the Queen does.

#4 – The bagpipes were banned in Scotland by George II

After the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden, an Act of Parliament was passed in 1746 banning various aspects of Highland culture such as wearing kilts and tartans as well as owning weapons and bagpipes. Owning bagpipes brought a death penalty such as that dished out to piper James Reid. Reid was a POW captured at the Battle of Culloden and hung for owning bagpipes. He protested that they were merely a musical instrument, but they answered that an army never fought without a piper at its head and the bagpipes were qualified as a weapon of war. The Act of Parliament banning highland cultural elements was repealed in 1785.

#5 – Bagpipes are in the Aerophone family

Bagpipes produce sound by causing a body of air to vibrate without membranes or strings or the vibration of the instrument contributing significantly to the sound. They are also qualified as a double woodwind instrument.

#6 – The song “A Flame of Wrath for Patrick MacCrimmon” is based on a historical event

Donald Mòr sought vengeance for the murder of his brother, Patrick Caog. He went to the village of Glenelg and set fire to eighteen houses because they would not turn his brother’s killer over to him. He is said to have stood on a hill playing his vengeful tune while the village burned.

#7 – There are more pipers in New Zealand and the United States than there are in Scotland

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom use bagpipes in their military ceremonies and in police services.

#8 – Pipers were banned from playing into battle in 1915 due to the unbelievable carnage of WWI

3000 pipers were killed “going over the top” in the face of relentless German machinegun fire. The practice of having pipers lead troops into battle was suspended in the face of the horrific casualties experienced in Tommy Charges during The War To End All Wars

#9 – Flaming Bagpipes!

#10 – March 10th is International Bagpipe Day

#11 – The Elf Queen got me tickets to see the Red Hot Chili Pipers at the State Theater in on March 15th!

Outdoor Family Fun To Wrap Up The Christmas Season

World Snowboarding Day

Outdoor Family Fun To Wrap Up The Christmas Season

During the winter it’s easy to hole up inside like a pack of bears hibernating. However, humans are not bears and there’s a lot of fun to be had outside. This Christmas season, take your family outdoors, get some sunshine and have some good old-fashioned family fun. Here are five ways to have outdoor family fun this Christmas.

#1 Snowbowl

Have a phenomenal game of touch or tackle football in the snow. If you have enough friends together to have eleven people on each team, great. If not, divide the group you have evenly. Dig out the end zones and use cones to mark the corners. It might help to have scarves or hats that are the same color so you can tell who’s on your team, but it’s not a requirement. Hit the snowy gridiron and have some fun!

#2 Sledding

Sledding is fun for all ages and you don’t even need a fancy sled. Plastic disc and toboggan style sleds are available inexpensively but you can also use the lid of a garbage can or a cardboard box in a pinch.Find the biggest, fastest hill you can get to and enjoy a day of rip-roaring fun!

#3 Build a family snowman

This is a great outdoor activity for kids of all ages. Everybody loves to make snowmen. Adults and older children can help pushing the snowball around when it gets too large for the little ones to manage. Young children can be tasked with finding items to adorn the snowman with.

#4 Snow forts and snow angels

Who doesn’t like to make a snow angel or build a fort? If you live in a snowy area it’s almost a required outdoor activity. Depending on how much snow has fallen, you can dig down to create a trench and use the snow you’ve excavated to help build your fortress walls. You can pack the snow by hand or use plastic storage boxes to create snow bricks of different sizes. Sandwich boxes, quart boxes and diaper wipe boxes are great options for making snow bricks or you can go to the toy store and buy snow brick makers.

#5 Snowy obstacle course

Build ramps, hurdles and other obstacles in the snow and challenge each other to run the course. The fastest time wins. The great thing about doing it in the snow is that if you fall, you’ve got a lovely cold cushion to crash onto.

#6 Snowboarding, skiing and tubing

If you have the time and a resort nearby, you can have a great day of family fun out on the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding are great exercise and a lot of wintry fun. A more family-oriented activity on the slopes is to go snow tubing. The tubes are available in single and group-sized. Sledding down the slopes in your snow tube is a great day with friends and family.

#7 Ice Skating

If you have a local pond that has frozen over, ice skating is an age-old way to have fun. People have been skating for winter entertainment for centuries. It’s quite relaxing to glide around dancing on the ice with your loved ones.

Other fun things to do

You can also simply enjoy a hike, walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the Christmas lights or sing carols to your neighbors.

There are a number of outdoor activities to enjoy during the Christmas season. Find one that’s right for your family. Create new family traditions, enjoy spending time together and make it a Christmas to remember.

Goodbye 2017

goodbye-2017

Goodbye 2017

Well, it’s been a fun year but we’ve got to say goodbye. Christmas may not be over yet, but 2017 will be at midnight tonight. Why not party down while the clock ticks away?

If you like the excitement of a Times Square ball drop party without the crowd, police checkpoints and freezing temperatures, you can watch the whole thing starting at 5PM Eastern at the official site of Times Square!

New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

If you’re entertaining for family and friends tonight, you’ve got a lot of options for a marvelous year-end wingding. You’re going to want to determine if you’re planning to have a supper or just appetizers and drinks. If you’re having a supper, are you providing all the food or are you having a potluck? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

If you’re planning to have a supper, then your appetizer count should be about 4-5 per guest. If you’re just doing finger foods and drinks, you’re going to want to allow for at least 12-15 per guest. With a sit-down option, you can provide appetizers that can be eaten with a fork. If it’s a standing mingle, you’ll need to stick to finger foods. Likewise, if you’re having a formal get-together you’re going to want to avoid sticky or heavily sauced items that can get on nice dresses and suits. If you’re having a casual affair, messy snacks are perfectly appropriate but be sure to provide a lot of napkins so they won’t be tempted to wipe fingers on your furniture.

Another key point for a wonderful party is providing a variety of drinks. Providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is key. New Year’s Eve is commonly associated with excessive drinking, but keep the kids and the designated drivers in mind. Cocktails and mocktails can be prepared to give a broad selection of flavor profiles. Mocktails are the non-alcoholic versions of their spiked counterparts. Pina Coladas, Margaritas and Daiquiris can be just as delicious without the booze but be sure to make it obvious which is which so the designated drivers and teetotalers don’t get an unfortunate surprise.

Holding a potluck dinner is a great way for family and friends to bond as the year draws to a close. Guests can bring their favorite foods to share with everyone and create an awesome year-end feast. This kind of comfort food can serve as a marvelous backdrop to a happy gathering. It also takes a lot of the stress off of the hosts both financially and in consideration of time and preparation.

However, if you insist on being the hostess with the mostest, you might opt to prepare all the food for the feast. If you are a hardcore foodie, this might be therapy for you. Some people absolutely love cooking and preparing food for others and this can be an excellent expression of your fondness for your guests. If you’re just a masochistic control freak, this could lead to a lot of stress just before the end of the year. Be kind to yourself. If you love cooking for your loved ones, by all means, go for it. If you’re just feeling like you need to pull out all the stops to keep up with the Joneses, do yourself and your guests a favor and just don’t. You should be getting together to have fun as you wrap up the year. Getting stressed out of your brain is going to make you an awful host and the butt of a lot of jokes in the coming weeks.

When it comes right down to it, as long as you are with your favorite people on this final night of the year it doesn’t much matter what you prepare to eat and drink. Dollar store soda and generic chips & dip are going to be just as memorable as a five-course meal and exotic cocktails if you’re having fun. What really matters is ringing in the new year with your loved ones. End the year on a high note and don’t stress about the victuals.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year!

Not my Santa

parallel santas

Not My Santa

TXT Stories gives us a glimpse at a parallel universe where Santa has no sense of direction. I’m really glad our Santa doesn’t have these problems!

TXTMAS #11 – SANTA’S LOST | by txtstories

TXTMAS EP. 11 – when santa needs a little guidance. 🗺
#txtmas

Posted by TXT Stories on Sunday, December 24, 2017

Let the music play

Christmas Music

Let the music play

One of the many special things about Christmas is the music. No other holiday or season is attended by a month of 24×7 radio stations dedicated to playing music specially dedicated to the season. This extended playlist of sacred and secular, traditional and contemporary tunes grows every year with new interpretations, nuances and with original creations.

Some groups bank on their fame to promote the playing of their versions of various traditional tunes. It’s thought that because pop music is pushed off the radio for the season, popular performers want to keep their voices within earshot of their fans and the general listening populace. It could be that they also want to cash in on the popularity of Christmas music in general.

Likewise, bands and performers typically release new albums during the holiday season in order to help boost potential sales in the form of Christmas gift purchases for fans. They will also release holiday music albums to add to the variety available for the radio.

Others depend on talent alone to justify their addition to the corpus of the continuous collection. These guys fall into that second group.

 

Posted by Classic FM on Thursday, December 14, 2017

Music at Christmas time is important to stir the holiday spirit. Everyone has particular Christmas songs and carols that are favorites, maybe for the melody, the lyrics or because they are reminders of special memories.

The most popular Christmas song is said to be White Christmas. It’s popular even in warm and tropical climates where people sing of ‘dreaming of a White Christmas‘, which wouldn’t be very practical.

Other popular Christmas songs and carols are: Silent Night, Away in a MangerO Holy Night, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Angels we have Heard on High. Each of these songs are sacred as they are all about the story of Jesus’ birth. Of note also is Handel‘s majestic ‘Hallelujah Chorus‘, which is a favorite that choirs like to sing because of the splendor embodied in the music.

Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song is a contemporary favorite. It evokes happy holiday themes and moods such as you find in songs like Sleigh Ride and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Among secular Christmas songs, there are also funny ones such as I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas, All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth and I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ For Christmas.  Another sub-genre of secular Christmas songs is the character songs such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Dominic the Donkey.

Christmas music is such a broad field that it makes it possible to choose songs for any occasion. There are songs for general listening at home, for a fun informal party or for a formal dinner. As an example, Christmas songs can be chosen to create the right mood at the start of a party, followed by more lively music when the party is in full swing, and still more to slow down the pace when the party is winding down.

Professional choirs, symphonies and orchestras often record performances of Christmas music on albums. For true music aficionados, these albums will provide wonderful listening experiences and make splendid Christmas presents. Listening to albums of these performances is almost as immersive as attending live concert.

Whichever selections of Christmas music are your favorite, it’s guaranteed to create a festive mood and imbue the holiday spirit wherever you go.

Elves’ Day Off

Elves’ Day Off

Well, we probably don’t need to know this much about elf dating but the folks at TXT Stories decided to follow the rabbit hole as deep as they could go.

TXTMAS 2018 #7 – ONE NIGHT OFF |by txtstories

TXTMAS EP. 7 – elves get one day off all year… 😏
#txtmas

Posted by TXT Stories on Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Personally, I’d expect the elves are getting carpal tunnel syndrome therapy on their day off considering they spend all year making toys but we all have our own ideas of how Santa’s helpers unwind.

Nativitygram

Nativitygram

My goodness, can you imagine if they had text and social media back in Bible times? The creative folks at TXT Stories have their ideas of how that might go.

TXMAS 2018 #5 – NATIVITY SCENE | by txtstories

TXTMAS EP. 5 – texts. visions. miracles. ✨
#txtmas

Posted by TXT Stories on Sunday, December 17, 2017

LOL, can you even imagine?

On a personal note

I made my darling daughters each a hand sewn pillow. The “fat quarters” from the Walmart fabric area were just the right size. My elder daughter is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, so I found some TMNT material for one side of the pillow and orange (Michaelangelo’s color) for the reverse side. I also bought a Michaelangelo applique for the orange side of the pillow. My younger daughter likes Wonder Woman, so I found some WW material and matched the magenta color in the background and borders for the reverse side of the pillow. A bag of stuffing for each pillow and a bit of hand stitching later and my daughters have snazzy character pillows as a handmade gift they can enjoy as a decorative throw pillow or just to rest their busy heads on.

Mikey Pillow Stuff Wonder Woman Pillow Stuff

Did you make anything awesome for your loved ones this year? Let us know all about it

I’m going on the Naughty List

I’m going on the Naughty List

…and I’m PROUD of it! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Okay, let’s review the history of Christmas. Certainly, there’s the Nativity Scene aspect of it, but there’s also the secular or pagan aspects of the holiday. Going back to the days of Saturnalia and to the medieval celebrations with the Lord of Misrule, the Yuletide has come with its own tricky traditions like Christmas Crackers and kissing under the mistletoe.

Well, my own naughty Christmas tradition is pranking my kids. This year, my son will be receiving a well-wrapped present. Now, when I say well-wrapped I mean an entire roll of red Duck Tape and the better part of a roll of clear packing tape. If he wants his watch, he’s going to have to work for it.  😆 If you’re not feeling as puckish, you can click here for some more responsible uses of Duck Tape in your holiday wrapping and decoration.

Christmas is many things to many people.

Some folks look at it as a time to be sad. Loved ones we miss or even those who we lost during the holidays can bring a melancholy over the whole holiday season. Those who are alone in this world can view the holidays with a jaundiced eye. Some people whose political views see the holidays as a celebration of the worst excesses of capitalism can become quite miserable during the last month or two of each year.

On the other hand, there are some people who are so into it. The holidays are replete with opportunities for happiness, fun, love and togetherness. Family get-togethers, office parties, gift exchanges with friends or just hanging out with the people you enjoy sharing time with watching Christmas movies are all very excellent ways to share the magic of the holidays. Baking cookies for your family, friends, the neighborhood or even for sharing with people you don’t even know is a great way to share the Christmas Spirit. Some people like to decorate their houses for their own enjoyment while others like to decorate their homes and yards with lights that could very well be seen from space.

However you choose to celebrate the holidays or to leave them pass you by, we wish you the peace and joy that the best Christmas carols speak of.

As a parting thought, here’s something that may or may not be pleasing. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Either way, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours from me and mine!

What Star Is This, With Beams So Bright

What Star Is This, With Beams So Bright

The Gospel of Matthew 2:9-11

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Every bit as famous and central to the story of Epiphany as the Wise Men is the star they followed to find the Christ-child.

Three Wise MenWhat star is this, with beams so bright,
more lovely than the noonday light?
‘Tis sent to announce a new-born King,
glad tidings of our God to bring.

‘Tis now fulfilled what God decreed,
“From Jacob shall a star proceed;”
and lo! the eastern sages stand,
to read in heaven the Lord’s command.

While outward signs the star displays,
an inward light the Lord conveys,
and urges them, with force benign,
to seek the giver of the sign.

True love can brook no dull delay;
through toil and dangers lies their way;
and yet their home, their friends, their all
they leave at once, at God’s high call.

O, while the star of heavenly grace
invites us, Lord, to seek thy face,
may we no more that grace repel,
or quench that light which shines so well!

To God the Father, God the Son,
and Holy Spirit, three in One,
may every tongue and nation raise
an endless song of thankful praise!

This Endris Night

This Endris Night

The earliest manuscript containing this traditional carol is from 1475 in the period of the later reign of Henry VI and the beginning of the reign of Henry VII. “This endris night” is a term from the period meaning something that happened recently.

NativityThis endris night I saw a sight
A star as bright as day;
And ever among a maiden sung,
“Lullay, by by, lullay.”

This lovely lady sat and sung,
And to her Child did say:
“My Son, my Brother, Father, dear,
Why liest Thou thus in hay?”

“My sweetest bird, thus ’tis required,
Though Thou be King veray;
But nevertheless I will not cease
To sing, By by, lullay.”

The Child then spake in His talking,
And to his mother said:
“Yea, I am known as Heaven-King,
In crib though I be laid.

“For angels bright down to Me light:
Thou knowest ’tis no nay:
And for that sight thou may’st delight
To sing, By by, lullay.”

“Now, sweet Son, since Thou art a king,
Why art Thou laid in stall?
Why dost not order thy bedding
In some great kingès hall?

“Methinks ’tis right that king or knight
Should lie in good array:
And then among, it were no wrong
To sing, By by, lullay.”

“Mary mother, I am thy Child,
Though I be laid in stall;
For lords and dukes shall worship Me,
And so shall kingès all.

“Ye shall well see that kingès three
Shall come on this twelfth day.
For this behest give Me thy breast
And sing, By by, lullay.”

“Now tell, sweet Son, I Thee do pray,
Thou art my Love and Dear—
How should I keep Thee to Thy pay,
And make Thee glad of cheer?

“For all Thy will I would fulfill—
Thou knowest well, in fay;
And for all this I will Thee kiss,
And sing, By by, lullay.”

“My dear mother, when time it be,
Take thou Me up on loft,
And set Me then upon thy knee,
And handle me full soft.

“And in thy arm thou hold Me warm,
And keep Me night and day,
And if I weep, and may not sleep,
Thou sing, By by, lullay.”

“Now sweet Son, since it is come so,
That all is at Thy will,
I pray Thee grant to me a boon,
If it be right and skill,—

“That child or man, who will or can
Be merry on my day,
To bliss Thou bring—and I shall sing,
Lullay, by by, lullay.”

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