Scotland, a land of its own?


Unlike England herself and the Gaelic lands of Wales and Ireland, the Gaelic land of Scotland is the only part of the British Isles with no extant language of its own — although it does have a Robbie Burns dialect of English known as Scots (scotch is the name of a whiskey).

On Sept. 18 this year, Scotland will decide whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom.

The land of the thistle has, of course, long been ensconced among English-speaking people of Albion. Jamestown in the New World was named for the King of Scotland, for example (and Virginia, by the way, named in honor of the Virgin Queen Elizabeth of England).

The year 2014 is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, when Robert the Bruce led the Scots to victory over King Edward of England. The Act of Union that finally paired the two countries was signed in 1707.

Not much would change in the daily life of the Scots if the referendum should favor independence. Queen Elizabeth II would remain the head of state. Scotland will remain in both NATO and the European Union. The British National Health Service would still cover Scotland. The only likely change would be a removal of the largest collection of weapons of mass destruction in Europe, namely the Trident nuclear weapon system that’s conveniently located far from the centers of political and military power in England.

Howelings has family members living in Scotland, our nephew Richard Lamplugh, his wife Christine and their two lovely daughters. They report they’ll be voting “no” in September’s referendum.

“In my heart it would be good to see Scotland independent,” Richard tells us. “But when I look at it with my brain, independence would not be a good thing for Scotland if we’re then ignored in the world and feel like we’re like we’re living in a small country.

“The yes votes are relying on oil as our savior, a very risky strategy as the oil is getting harder to find and production goes up and down.

“I see problems ahead if there ends up being only a small swing between yes or no, making things very divisive and leading to a lot of soul searching.


Now it’s time to kiss goodbye to football season here in America with words from one of the sweetest books in our literature, “Visions of Cody” by Jack Kerouac, featuring his car-thief buddy Neal Cassady as Cody (a work never published in its entirety during either of their lifetimes).

“So the gang jumped in the car, a ’37 Ford for the ride north to Wyoming, the sun just then going down in a vast unobserved event over the madding souls of people, and Cody, above the objections of everyone, insisted on driving to show his skill and fantastically wheeled the car clear out of town with spot-shot neatness and speed and the guys and the girls who were prepared to criticize his driving and give pointers and stage false hysterical scenes forgot they were in a car and fell to gabbing happily about everything — Suddenly Cody saw a football game going on among kids in a field, stopped the car, said ‘watch’ and ran out leaping madly among kids (with noble seriousness wearing those tragic lumps in their uniforms like the muscles of improvised strongmen in comedies), got the ball, told one blond-haired boy with helmet tucked underarm to run like hell, clear to the goal post, which the kid did but Cody said, ‘Further, further’ and the kid, halfway doubting the ball would get that far, edged on back and now he was 70 yards and Cody unleashed a tremendous soaring, wobbling pass that dropped way beyond the kid’s most radical estimate, the pass being so high and powerful the boy completely lost it in eyrieal spaces of heaven and dusk and circled foolishly but screaming with glee.”


Quote for the Week:

“I tell you what, this is a great hell here. I’m a partying fool but I have one brain cell left and it’s still working. And when you die it can only get better.”

— “Big G” of New Hampshire, late great conga player at the Hog’s Breath

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