F 1 D 0 - 2003 01 26 at 1145 Loudspeakers: Every man with a weapon must rush to the streets http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43667-2003Jan25.html I'm not in agreement with this article, really. The author, Molly Moore, makes it seem like the bad government is ganging up again on the poor defenseless people who live there. I'm thinking that this is a place where the defenseless people all have a few automatic weapons in the basement, waiting for some announcement, like the one quoted above, to summon the people to fight. I used to wonder about this. Why oh why would people get their children to throw rocks at an armed tank? Have they lost all hope, and figure why not? Or is this a way to provoke a fight, so that they can feel justified about spending food money on amunition? I found that article when checking out http://news.google.com Who knows what will be there when you go see it. It is the luck of the draw. And I wanted to read some articles at http://www.upi.com but their site was down. In fact, I couldn't even get DNS (name service, conversion from something dot com to a number like 22.214.171.124) for their servers. Oh well. Wait a few minutes, and the news isn't even fresh from there anyway. Last night was Burns Night. Robbie Burns was remembered at Old Fort William and at a supper of the Scottish Country Dancers of Thunder Bay. Fort William is the old name of this city, or at least a southern portion of it. The side I live on is Port Arthur. I find the towns very different, even though they've been amalgamated. In fact, there are two other towns too. Current River, and West Fort. Ooops, also Murillo, and Kakabeka Falls. I regress. OLD Fort William is a place of Historical Reenactment. In the winter, they have trouble attracting crowds. This has been a music festival week. Dave Y was conscripted as a volunteer to play there, and so he drafted me. But that was fine. We played for a crowd of other performers. Dave warned me about that. You know a performance is valuable when (level 1) other people on the show listen to you, (level 2) strangers come to listen to you, and don't have to pay extra just show up, (level 3) strangers pay to come listen to you. They had 10 Scottish dancers making a lot of banging sounds with their feet to recorded music. That was fine. Then a few people, scottish dancers, took up playing penny whistle and cello for some Robbie Burns songs. Excellent, it was our turn. But I got a good look at the audience. This was a crowd where all we should do is Simply Practice. Not perform. There was a sound system. At the very instant when we are no longer tuning up, and ready to start our material, the furnace comes on. It is a strange furnace, because I think it is hybrid. It burns wood and also natural gas. The problem was the electronic portion of the furnace control made very loud popping and scratching in the speakers. The amplifier they used was crackling so very loudly, we had to go acoustic. But wait! My electronic piano needs amplification. I brought my small speakers, and they do well. But I wanted to use the amp and speakers for the room, since it was already set up. Sigh. Also, if I'm singing, I don't want to have to yell. Time For Plan B. When we can stand the nonstop crackle, we play a piano and banjo song. I like the banjo. Dave's is a G instrument, and we did songs in G that I may have otherwise done in F or even D. No worries, with the exception of my voice, I like to play in almost any easy key. So A is fine, G is fine too, but A flat isn't so fine. The piano isn't an ideal instrument for playing a melody. I'm used to making simple chords witht the right hand. These don't wander as freely as recorder, whistle and fiddle. So I chose fiddle for playing Lime Hill. I might not be a strong fiddler, but something about having an audience made it all worthwhile. I felt my adrenalin pick up, and that makes the instrument sing. So our set went well. Robbie Burns dinner at the church was ... interesting. Way too organized for me. We had to stand for official toasts, including an Ode to the Haggis. Long speeches. I'm still not sure about this question, which was answered at length. "Why do we celebrate Robbie Burns night?" "We don't have a Shakespeare Day. ... We celebrate this day because Burns was One Of Us." Really? I don't mind the concept, but it felt funny to nearly worship someone who wrote songs and poetry. So folks arrived at 630pm, and the program started with a piper leading the head table in. After that our evening was handled like a catered event. Thank you goes to the Girl Scout Pathfinders. I was hoping for a lot of dancing. That started at 1030pm. For many people, that was far too late. But we as a group were primarily scottish dancers, so it was nice to see the hall filled with four sets of four couples each. Many people were happy just waiting on the sidelines too. Not a surprise, actually. Many of the dancers brought their partners, who don't dance, or only do it rarely. I experienced a Dance Card for my first time. I'm not sure whether I think it is a good idea or not. I don't want to miss **any** dances. And I think I'm a meanie because I'll snatch a partner for the next dance while I'm still warm from the one we just finished. The dance card encourages people to find all of their partners before we leave the supper table! My complaint with it is very thin, mind you. There is no question: You make a date, the name is Right There, next to the dance. Also, when that system is in place, I tried to find partners the old fashioned way. Just walking up and asking people. It wasn't effective. I didn't think I'd ever hear these words in real life: "I'm sorry, my dance card is full." That's all I know.