Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day and Other Bad Ideas

Today is, as nearly everyone except three people in Greenland who've been out of communication for a while, St. Patrick's Day, wherein all those who have a claim on Ireland, no matter how specious, join to celebrate and otherwise indulge themselves.

I'm no different, and my claim is better than some, because my mom was born a Gallagher, and her birth people were Irish by way of Nova Scotia-so I get to claim Canada as well.

However, this day is also famous for another Bad Idea, and I am indebted to The Scotsman for bringing all this to my attention. The Scotsman is a most interesting news service ( I commend it to you) and it graces my cyber table along with the Los Angeles Times, Der Spiegel, and Animal Net for my daily fare.

Of course, it goes without saying that our Scots brothers take their history very seriously indeed, because a lot of it ended up rather badly with many Scots folk getting smitten, slain, looted, stripped of their raiment and otherwise laid out as cold as last week's haggis.

March 17 was also the birthday of James IV of Scotland. Why is that significant?

It is because James IV, crowned head of Scotland, invaded England on behest of the French, crossing over into Northumbria in August 1513. At the Battle of Flodden Field, the Scots army, reduced by desertion, got itself a severe whuppin' at the hands of the English. James himself died in a self destructive attempt to bring Surrey, commander of the English, to a personal trial of arms.

What James IV ignored to his detriment was the advisability of taking the side of the French against Englishmen. This has been a bad idea nearly every time it has been tried, and people who ignore this rule or discount it generally end up badly.


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