Entries tagged with “Guinness”.


Having been in Scotland a week, here’s some observations.

  1. The thought of haggis is much worse than the taste of it. That said, you’ll probably never see “haggis-flavoured” anything on your grocer’s shelf. 
  2.  The people are wonderfully friendly and very accommodating. They’re bright, interesting and good conversationalists. Plus, they hardly ever sucker punch you.
  3. Many people speak with a “Scottish” accent. What’s with that? 
  4. Europeans require much less space than Americans. The cars are smaller, hotel rooms are smaller, houses are smaller. They are also gentler to the planet with eco-friendlier diesel engines and smart ideas like requiring your hotel key be placed into a slot to access electricity in your room.  BTW, if you’re ever in the U.K and have a chance to stay at a Dakota property, jump on it. High tech meets high comfort– I wish this concept would come to America.       

    Not all Scottish homes are smaller...

    Not all Scottish homes are smaller.

  5. Have yet to see anything “butterscotch” on a menu. Spooky.
  6. The Scots are very precise in their pours of their fine whiskeys. They use silver short stubby measuring cylinders and carefully pour the amber love to the brim, then into the glass ye go– and not a drop more! Pity they don’t pour more generously, but apparently it’s a legal tax-related thing. That reasoning for a stingy pour is no reason to a thirst man!
  7. To see a Scot wince, ask for ice to accompany your fine whiskey.
  8. I’ve seen men in kilts, and I’d sooner wear a fuchsia taffeta backless number that rode high on me thigh– I have adorable pumps for that get-up and can accessorize  perfectly.
  9. British is not synonymous with English. The Scots like the English about as much as the Irish do. Still, they’re all British and proud of it in war times (although a Scotsman told me a disproportionate number of Scots and Irish spill their blood in the cause).
  10. Although most pubs have Guinness, it’s rarely poured here. Tennents and Belhaven’s Best flow freely, however, and they drink right nice.
  11. The Scots are not terribly overweight, but the restaurants serve mammoth portions of foodstuffs. “Chips” are usually platefuls of sheer, utter disappointment– thick wedges of limp, under-cooked potatoes. Slabs of starchy mush. It’s time these good people cranked the heat on the deep fryer and gave the chips a longer bath to crispdom. The same goes for England and Ireland. How ’bout it U.K.– serve some crisp on your chips!
  12. Beans for breakfast? Is that any way to start your day? You do live amongst fellow humans, you know…
  13. Golf is a religion here and my game is agnostic, at best. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the courses, the people and endless challenges presented by wind, weather and trickster greens. 
  14. Many people here are actually from there. Last night, our waitress was from Pittsburgh. This morning, the waitress was from Poland. This evening from Budapest. You’ll hear many accents over here, some of them are even Scottish. 
  15. Edinburgh is one great city. It has an incredible history, stunning beauty and wonderful people. I’ll be back here, aye, I will.         

    Scottish Fields Forever

    Scottish Fields Forever

  16. The Scottish countryside is easy on the eye with gently rolling hills and fields of rape seed that are absolutely resplendent in the sunlight. You see them and imagine Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion running up over the hill.
  17. If you have an ad account in the U.K., call on The Union, an excellent ad agency in Edinburgh, and rest soundly. They’re smart, likable people who are quite genius at coming up with good adverts and such. 
  18. My ears cannot acquire a taste for bagpipes. Sounds a bit too much like cats being tortured.
  19. Although the Scottish golf courses I played were magnificent, Irish golf courses are more challenging. The roughs are rougher, the terrain more challenging and the caddies more caustic. Still, Scottish golf is hardly a walk in the park. For me, it was more of an endless hunt in the gorse.
  20. The basic food in Scotland is tastier than that served in Ireland (or London for that matter).
  21. Soccer is football here and Manchester United is the New York Yankees of football clubs (the manager is a Scotsman). There are Scottish teams, but most of the buzz was about “Man United.” People are also keen on their rugby, which I was told is a sport at the finer and more exclusive schools. A Scot told me there’s an old saying, “Football is a game for gentlemen played by hooligans, and rugby is a game for hooligans played by gentlemen.” I nodded my head knowingly not knowing anything about any of it.
  22. Scottish dance is like mad ballet and a perfectly beautiful punishment for naughty feet.
  23. I’ve become too reliant on the digital teat. I had shot over 200 pictures with my digital camera when suddenly it informed me I had no images on my SanDisk 2 GB flash card. I’ll see if this can be remedied in the States and I will be hate-filled if it all that shutterbuggery goes into the digital ether. I had so many great Scottish images caught, it’s a shame to leave them to my pathetic analog memory (the pictures above were taken with my iPhone). Has anyone else ever had this problem with digital cameras? Was it fixed? Am I digitally screwed?
  24. Although Robert Burns and Tom Morris are gods here, don’t you dare try and read poetry on a tee box. Ye won’t make many friends.
  25. If you’ve never visited Scotland, do so. There’s a reason it’s inspired so much poetry.

 

He chased the snakes, now he chases the blues

He chased the snakes, now in honor of him, we chase the blues with green beer.

    I got my under-under-under graduate degree from St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Hubbard, Ohio. It was back in the days when nuns scoured classrooms in search of children under the influence of Satan. They wielded rulers of punishment and itched to dispense swift corrective discipline to evil wrongdoers. I still have the red palms to prove their mighty swings.

    At St. Pat’s, St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal. Although the student population was probably 80% non-Irish kids, everyone wanted to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. I was Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, and pretty much every day, and I resented these freeloaders hijacking ‘our’ holiday. All the Italian and Slavic kids sported lots of green on St. Patrick’s Day. In protest, I never wore green on the sainted day.

    “Hey, Scullin,” Bobbie Vespucci would accost me dressed in green necktie and shamrock lapel pin, “you’re Irish, right? Where’s your green?”

    “I don’t have to wear green,” I’d say coolly, wishing I had a shillelagh to clobber his skull, “I don’t have to pretend to be Irish–– I am Irish.” This would cheese off all the wannabes in their green. I’m sure they’d have liked to pummel me until I wore red dripping down my shirt. Let’s face it, nothing is more threatening to kids than the one who won’t succumb to peer pressure (“you’re all jumping off the cliff? No thanks, I’ll pass.”). Rebelling was a beautifully Irish thing to do.

The wearin' of the green, it's enough to make you vomit green

St. Paddy's celebration is enough to make you vomit green.

    Today I still rebel against St. Patrick’s Day. You won’t find me in some faux Irish pub trying to swim upstream through the sea of oppressive flesh to get my jar of Guinness. I shant drink the black love until the foam seeps up my gullet and back up my gob (your body’s subtle way of saying it’s “FULL”) and have my innards projectile onto some stranger’s Timberlands. It’s amateur hour, the whole St. Paddy’s Day bar-hopping-pub-crawling-beer-guzzling-puke-encrusted-shirt affair.

    St. Patrick’s Day has grown in importance and popularity thanks to the marketing efforts of beer companies and booze distillers. The holiday is now an alcoholic tidal wave that the masses gladly surf. As an adman, I don’t begrudge these marketers anything (I do have contempt for the florists and greeting card people, though–– the shameless money-grubbing hucksters). St. Patrick’s Day has grown in popularity because adults just don’t seem to have much fun anymore. At least not sanctioned fun.

    Like Halloween, St. Pat’s is a holiday where it’s fine for adults to get silly and let their inhibitions down (the liquid courage comes in handy). It’s Christmas without the presents. The growing popularity of St. Patrick’s Day proves that society is pretty uptight and could stand to let off some steam.

    Maybe we need to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day year ‘round. This doesn’t mean we have to get blasted and stumble home. But perhaps we could loosen up, have a wee bit of the fun a wee bit more often, without beer companies telling us it’s time to do so.

    Maybe we could not be so slavish to our Blackberries or iPhones. Perhaps we could try and resist being in a perpetual state of frantic pandemonium; dodging deadlines and covering our arses with voicemail and e-mail crumbs.

    Imagine actually slowing down a tad, not living by a self-imposed over-scheduled schedule of kiddie activities and obligation to our TIVO as it gathers gobs of entertainment for our escape from reality.

    Imagine stopping, for just a moment, breathing deeply and exhaling slowly. Maybe stretching, sitting and doing nothing but letting your mind wander (a free range brain is a beautiful thing).

    Indulge, babes. Take a nap. Call an old friend. Write a letter and thank an old teacher, mentor, client or associate. Listen, actually listen to some of your favorite music. Re-live those moments of your life when you heard those songs for the very first time and let the movies of the past play inside your head. You don’t need popcorn or Junior Mints.

    Visit the priceless vaults of your memories. They’re yours and they pay handsome dividends over time.

Rebel, what a beautifully Irish thing to do

Rebelling against the norm-- what a beautifully Irish thing to do.

    St. Patrick earned his chops for chasing the snakes out of Ireland. This St. Patrick’s Day, try to chase some of the snakes out of your hectic life. Enjoy your life more.

    Stop running full bore trying to keep up with your life. Slow down and enjoy your life and all those in it who make it worth living. Try and celebrate with them more often, not just on the sanctioned holidays but every day.

    That’s my message of good cheer–– given like a nun whacking your sweaty palm.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day–– I raise a pint to ye.

    I’ll be the one not wearing green. Cheers!