To go back home, never more to roam, is my dearest wish of all.

Bob Simon: Is it possible to be socially acceptable to be a teetotaler on this island?

Ailsa Hayes: Yes.

Bob Simon: Are there any?

Ailsa Hayes: Yes. But– I’m not one of them.

Over the years, the island’s people have learned how to entertain themselves, often at gatherings called Ceilidhs which feature traditional dance and sad songs, mostly about leaving Islay and yearning to return.

[Man sings: “To sit with my love on the bridge above the rippling waterfall. To go back home, never more to roam, is my dearest wish of all.”]

If this looks and feels a lot like Ireland, that’s no coincidence. It’s only 25 miles away. They come from the same tribe, share the same Celtic culture and Gaelic language, not to mention a love of good whisky that gets them through stormy weather and the long winter nights.

There are no movie theaters on Islay, no dry cleaners, no supermarket, and no McDonald’s…at least in the fast food business. Jim McEwan says there is a long list of things that Islay doesn’t have…and doesn’t want.

Jim McEwan: We don’t have any crime, we don’t have mugging, carjacking, house breaking, rape, just dope, drugs, we don’t have that. You can keep that. You’re very welcome to it.

Bob Simon: How do you explain the fact that there’s no crime here? There’s crime everywhere else.

Jim McEwan: There is no crime. If you commit a crime in a small community, you’ll be ostracized and have to leave. Not only that, your family, your children and your children’s children will be remembered as the children of the man who committed the crime.

~ Bob Simon, excerpt of an interview on 60 Minutes in a segment titled Whisky Island. Simon visits Islay, a magical place in the Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland, known for making some of the great single malt scotch whiskies in the world.  Find full report here.

And, sometimes, it comes down to the “Third Rule”

lamb-james-rebanks-cute

My job is simple: get around the fields and feed and shepherd the different flocks of ewes— dealing with any issues that arise.

First rule of shepherding: it’s not about you, it’s about the sheep and the land.

Second rule: you can’t win sometimes.

Third rule: shut up, and go and do the work.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

Tradition

grandfather-sleeping-old-man-alone

My grandfather is asleep in an old brown armchair that is for his use, and his use only. He has read the local newspaper and fallen asleep in it after his midday meal. He is old and tired because he starts early and works too hard for an old man. But I wish he would wake up. Sometimes when he is not working he tells me stories. He loves to tell stories. True stories. This is how he passes on his values. How he tells me who we are. They have morals, these stories.

We don’t give up, even when things are bad.
We pay our debts.
We work hard.
We act decently.
We help our neighbours if they need it.
We do what we say we will do.
We don’t want much attention.
We look after our own.
We are proud of what we do.
We try to be quietly smart.
We take chances sometimes to get on.
We will fail sometimes.
We will be affected by the wider world …
But we hold on to who we are.

It was clear from his stories that we were part of a tradition, that long pre-dated us, and would long exist after us. The stories left you feeling proud to be part of that tradition, but very aware that as individuals we were bound by duty to carry it on, bound to try and live by those values. His main lesson was above all to get along with people; don’t burn your bridges or they will stay down for a long time. Having the same families live and work alongside each other for many centuries created a unique kind of society with special values.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

Belief in God = Morality and Good Values?

values, generational, God, religion,morality,values


Source: Wall Street Journal Statshot: Carl Bialik, ‘The Numbers Guy’

Character 101

Jon Stewart


This Jon Stewart quote reminded me of another by Chekhov:

“There should be more sincerity and heart in human relations, more silence and simplicity in our interactions. Be rude when you’re angry, laugh when something is funny, and answer when you’re asked.”

– Anton Pavlovich Chekhov


Source: themetapicture.com

Blurred Lines

1976.  July.  Mid-morning.  The stillness of the mountain air foreshadowed heat coming later in the day.  We were stepping from rock to rock heading downstream at Pass Creek trying to locate a suitable fishing eddy.  Aunt Olga grins and asks: “That song.  The one you are whistling.  Do you know what it is about?”  I had no idea but said “sure.”  I accelerated my pace creating some distance, recognizing that there was a message in there somewhere, but I wasn’t going to wait to find out.  She let it go.

I never listen(ed) to lyrics.  Never, that is, until I arrived home later in the day and waited for the song to play again.  My transistor radio crackling out the tune.  Aha.  OK.  Got it now.  Red-faced just thinking about it after all these years.

Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
Gonna grab some afternoon delight…
Sky rockets in flight
Afternoon delight
Afternoon delight
Afternoon delight

2013.  Memorial Day weekend.  Poolside.  Solo guitarist singing wide range of covers: Bruce.  Lumineers.  Petty.  Cash.  James Taylor. Dave Matthews.  ‘Wedding singer plus’ offering pleasant background music on a glorious day. [Read more…]

We’re No. 11, and falling?

We feel it. We see it. We know it.  We’re worried about it.  We’re slipping.  Friedman nails it as to why.  Tom Hood (guest blogger) shared this NY Times Op-Ed article by Thomas Friedman (NYT: We’re No. 1(1)!) where he explains why Newsweek has ranked the United States #11 of the 100 best countries in the world.  “We’ve had a values breakdown…we are unwilling to postpone gratification, invest for the future, work harder than the next guy and hold our kids to the highest expectations – this is why China and India are closing the gap.”  Read more where he explains why…powerful.

[Read more…]

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