Monday, August 04, 2008

Ah, The Highlands!

Four of us stepped out of a small Ford compact that featured a steering wheel on its right hand side. We took in a strong dose of diesel fumes, Evan proclaiming, "Ah, The Highlands!"

Inverness, Scotland. For some mysterious reason, we two then-married couples had decided to travel together through England and Scotland. Twenty years ago this summer.

Having seen My Dinner With André (1981, 1982) and read Paul Hawken's The Magic of Findhorn (1975), one of the places we drove out from Inverness to see was the Findhorn eco-village, situated at the edge of a noisy RAF Nimrod base. Things are not always how you imagine they'll be.

We didn't see any giant radishes nor monstrous zucchini, more like a modest commune with New Age overtones.

Keeping our feet on Earth, we also checked out the nearby grounds of the Culloden battleground, where Highlanders were broken by Hanoverians in 1745. Bagpipes and kilts and clans driven underground, people sent packing for the American colonies, Bonnie Prince Charlie fleeing to the Isle of Skye.

I was reminded of this particular 1988 trip at the point of stumbling upon a six-pack of Old Thumper Extra Special Ale recently in Detroit -- still tastes delicious two decades later.

The day we returned to the USA, the American military shot down Iran Air Flight 655, a large passenger jet, over the Persian Gulf / Strait of Hormuz with 290 people on board.

The ex-wives may be long gone and long remarried, but the ramshackle Iranian Revolution persists, and the US Navy remains in menacing force in the Persian Gulf. . . . .

But ah, The Highlands!

Today's Rune: Movement.


Charles Gramlich said...

I could go for some Old thumper about now.

Johnny Yen said...

Funny how just five years before, the United States had rattled its sabre so loudly after the Soviet Union inadvertently shot down KAL 007, a Korean 747, killing over 200. Things are different when the shoe is on the other foot.

the walking man said...

My grandpa was a Stewart immigrant from Scotland. He was an an old thumper when he was younger.

Funny how when one takes a look at the Vincennes and IR586 and Lockerbie how it all ties neatly into a nice package of action and revenge.

I don't see where in todays world the threats from the Middle East are diminished any, I don't think I would, in todays world, classify the USN as a menacing force in the strait of Hormuz. When the Chinese step up to police that area of oil passage then we can leave.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all for the comments!

Old Thumper, good stuff.

Johnny, all pretty tragic, really, once we strip away nationalities and call them people.

WM/Mark -- indeed. I'm not using the word "menace" lightly -- nor do I endorse the Iranian Revolution. But if a bunch of aircraft carriers and floating cruise missile launchers were patrolling right off our coasts, we'd feel pretty menaced, don't you think?

Cheers all!

Lana Gramlich said...

Charles; I could go for some "old thumper" about now, too...if you know what I'm saying. *wink wink wink*

the walking man said...

Absolutely Erik. Just as when we felt threatened by Soviet boomers and trawlers that took up Yankee station of our coasts for fifty years during the cold war era.

There is a difference though, even if this current administration openly showed our aggressive side. An act you know I did not agree with from the outset even though it showed what had been a covert policy; overtly.

It has been shown that both IR 586 and the Vincennes were in Iranian airspace and Iranian waters. Now we are openly in international waters policing the choke point for the flow of Arab oil. We are not dependent on that oil but our allies are, most notable Japan which has no real navy that can protect their interest, so we do it.

If the Middle East were more benign to outsiders of every political ilk it would not be necessary. With the Soviet there was Mutually Assured Destruction. The Arabs are not mindful of the obliteration nuclear weapons would pose to their populations therefor there is no deterrent to the things they export beyond oil.

Personally I feel the Chinese should step and take over the worlds policing role. Something they will never do, because it is not expedient to their own hegemony. I feel that it is a world order necessity to have the armaments that keep a shaky working order in the area.

Once the world finds its way on the path to green energy then I agree, get the hell away from every coast, stand down and let the oil barons eat their product.

Erik Donald France said...

Mark/WM -- excllent points. Thanks for the followup!

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