Friday, July 25, 2008

Highland Games

The Gnu Herd traveled to the mountains for a quick vacation. It was good to take time off from work. I still had class assignments to do, so it was a working vacation, sort of. Still, The Skating Gnu and I managed to find some free time to go take in the sights at the annual Highland Games taking place down the road.

A good time was had by all, and The Skating Gnu even got a quick lesson in playing the bagpipes from a pipes master visiting from Aberdeen, Scotland. Might just have to invest in a pair of those myself, one day. Can you imagine yours truly, kilt-clad piping away in the backyard? According to Scottish Tradition, the bagpipes are supposed to only be played outdoors - the more likely reality is that the poor piper's wife threw him out of the house to go play somewhere else! Still, in the hands of an expert, there is a haunting beauty to the sounds echoing across the Glen...

Some pictures below for you. Click on the thumbnails to see them full-size:

Grandfather Mountain

Musical Guest Performer Colin Grant-Adams

Piping Competition

Wee Lassies in Scottish Dancing Competition

Tossing the Caber (click on the picture for a larger view!)

All pictures (c) 2008 The Smoking Gnu
All rights reserved

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Sojourner's Toast

As we celebrate the birth of our Republic, let us remember those who are still fighting to protect our freedoms from the rapacious barbarism of enemies foreign and domestic. Sadly, there are enemies within the gates, those pathetic few who take for granted all that real, loyal, grateful and intelligent Americans hold so dear: those God-given rights and blessings of Liberty that stand as a shining beacon to the world.

This is why we fight.

Remember, no one is flooding the borders of any third-world hellhole or clamoring for admittance to some tinpot communist dictatorship, nor are they washing ashore on the sands of Araby to grovel in utter misery at the clay feet of a false prophet. The hopeful flock here, where they know they have a chance at a greater future for themselves and their children.

This is why we fight.

Ours are the White Shores of our Age, and this is why the darkened and stone-hearted hate us, even those who are already here, basking in our freedoms protected by a country they hate, gifted to all of humanity from a God they choose to deny. They will do anything to extinguish the light of Freedom; to them, it is better to lie in squalor for all eternity in darkness than to face their own reflection in the light of truth.

This is why we fight.

From all of us real Americans, who love our Liberty and defend our freedoms through vigilance, hard work, loyalty, discipline and responsible citizenship, to all the troops, home and abroad, willing to stand in harm's way to keep the dream of America alive for one more generation, and to their families waiting at home, praying for their safe return,


A stirring tribute to the flag of our Great Republic from the National Sojourner's site:

Sojourners Toast to the Flag

Here's to the Red of it!
There's not a thread of it,
No, nor a shred of it,
In all the spread of it,
From foot to head,
But heroes bled for it,
Faced steel and lead for it,
Precious blood shed for it,
Bathing it Red.

Here's to the White of it!
Thrilled by the sight of it,
Who knows the right of it,
But feels the might of it,
Through day and night?
Womanhood's care for it,
Made manhood dare for it,
Purity's prayer for it,
Keeps it so white!

Here's to the Blue of it!
Beauteous view of it,
Heavenly hue of it,
Star-spangled dew of it,
Constant and true;
Diadem gleam for it,
States stand supreme for it,
Liberty's beam for it,
Brightens the blue!

Here's to the whole of it!
Stars, Stripes and Pole of it,
Body and soul of it,
O, and the roll of it,
Sun shining through;
Hearts in accord for it,
Swear by the sword for it,
Thanking the Lord for it,
Red White and Blue!