Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Clan MacLeod Dance Books

The Clan MacLeod Dancing Heritage

The MacLeod Dance Books, the definitive collection of Scottish Country Dances relating to the Clan MacLeod, are available in archival museum quality editions which are hard bound gilt embossed and printed on acid free paper that will last for centuries.

Among the seventy nine dances in the collection, two, “MacLeod of Harris” and “MacLeod of Dunvegan” are taken from Mary Isdale MacNabs’s collection, and they are found in Volume Two “If The Ghillie Fits”. The dances range from simple beginners dances (level one) to level four for advances dancers, and cover the whole spectrum of reels, hornpipes, jigs and medleys. A few of the dances are very old, indeed one dates back 1590. Many of the finest contemporary choreographers have written dances especially to be included in this collection.

These books took thirteen years of dedicated work to produce, and I do not know that they will ever be reprinted. The cost of the books was arrived at my merely dividing the cost of printing by the number of volumes. We will never recoup or cost. They are beautiful books however.

Available in a two volume Limited Edition set
“Dances of An Island Clan” and “If The Ghillie Fits...” Each book is illustrated and contains the story of MacLeod related dances, each with its choreographic description, original musical score, and diagrams of the significant dance movements. The books are packed with the legends and tales of MacLeod lore, and for dancers and non-dancers alike who love the clan history the books are a delight.

Wonderful presents for enthusiasts, and a must in any clan library, the books are available for $25 each and $45 for the set, plus postage and packing.

Please contact: Neil McLeod by email only: for mailing instructions

Postage and packing: USA - $ 8.00, Canada - $ 11.00, Britain - and elsewhere $18.00 per book
(Note: cost of postage may vary, we reserve the right to ask for additional postage if necessary, if a less costly alternative can be found we will gladly use it and make refunds accordingly.)

Success and Significance

This picture must look vaguely familiar to many. Any parent who has been involved in Junior Varsity Football with a son on the field or a daughter on the sidelines will know what it is like to get the children ready, clean the uniforms and do all the extra driving to make sure they are “there on time”. Well my buddy Jim Covell told me one day that there were two phases in a man’s life. In the first we strive for success, but in the second it is for significance. This poem, though brief, is about the transformation.

Success and Significance

By any measure
Accomplishing your goals is called success.
Yet in and of itself
When all is said and done it means little.

Success is not the measure of the man,
But what comes after it -
After the struggling and the inward perspective
Comes significance,

That greater purpose
For which we all should strive,
To matter, not to ourselves
But to the lives of others,

“Hello”, he said
Eyeing me in the football stand,
And with diminished accolade
Expounded, “Your Roddy’s dad.”

And in a twinkling
The true measure came to me,
That in his world, and that of my son
I had attained significance.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Hats Off To Checker Cab - Fighting Back Against Scandalous Advertising

I dropped my car off for service, and took a cab to work.

What would you do if you had dropped your car off and the cab that had arrived to take you to work had an advertisement of the top which offended you? Take the cab anyway? Call for another cab? It is a tough question. But every day we are confronted by attention-drawing exploitive imagery which is gradually getting more suggestive and inappropriate. It desensitizes us to normal bounds of propriety and scandalizes the innocent. Under the guise of the right to free speech marketing gurus are manipulating our appetites and creating demands for products and services we would be better off not using. Under the cloak of normal capitalist practice the fabric of our society of slowly, inexorably being torn apart and the silent majority is sitting back doing nothing because of our inertia and the belief that we as individuals can not have an effect. Well it is not true, the little guy, you can make a big difference.
Here is a cab with roof top advertising the type that I have often seen used for "gentleman's clubs".

If just a few of us complained every day about what did not work for us, if we drew attention to offences to good taste, we could form a collective army of public opinion which could drive this country in the direction we want it to go.

Let me give you an example. The cab I didn’t take had an advert for some dirty bar where prostitutes sell their services. The idea that my dollar was going to finance a promotion for such a business galled me. So I wrote a letter complaining to the Checker Cab Company, and to their credit they got back to me and told me that such advertising was to stopped forthwith. I was pleasantly surprised. I share my letter and their response with you.

So what, big deal you might say. But consider this if every time you saw an offensive advertisement you complained to the producer, and then asked other people who employ that producer whether they want to be associated with and represented by a company that uses business methods which are destructive of moral values, what would the accumulative effect be. Would they react like the Check Cab Company? If so then you and I can play a part in cleaning up America, the land of which we are so proud.

Take a look at these bill boards and ask yourself what other company is also using that marketer, Viacom or Regency or whatever, to promote there products. A letter to the company suggesting that they not endorse such free speech, and implying that with their tacit support of it, you feel that you would prefer not to use their service or product. Such and expression of condemnation might do a lot to change the permissive way advertisers get us to absorb their subliminal and not so thinly veiled messages.

Now take a look at this window treatment in a shop window on Sunset Boulevard. I am asking myself what was going on in the mind of the owner when this was allowed to be displayed.

I have heard that if you look for the bad you will surely find it. But where do you draw the line?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Falling In Love And Staying There

Well it is that time again when we are obliged, not that it is a chore, but we are pressured to be a little more romantic than may be usual. I welcome and embrace the Saints Day. It gives me a chance to tell how blessed I am to have been married to my sweetheart, and that to this day our loves grows day by day.

I look at the ring on my left hand and I remember the poem I gave to my wife, Nancy, when we were only two years wed. It still rings true today.

Ecclesiastes 4:12
I gave my love three bands of gold
On a summer's day so fair,
All bound they were and intertwined
As braids of her golden hair.

Three bands I gave to my sweet love
Each one to pledge my troth,
To love, to cherish, have and hold
No matter where we rove.

Each golden band I gave to her
Will ever a symbol be,
To love with body, heart and mind
The flower she gave to me.

And summer days will come and go
And time will play his part,
But nought will dull the luster
Of the love within my heart.

And on my hand I wear a band
Of three wound rings of gold,
They 'mind me of my promise to
The love I dearly hold.

January 7, 1992
On the other hand, the expectation that someone will tell you that they love you can be a demand that spoils the spontaneity of freely expressed passion, and this next poem addresses this point.


Do not ask me to say I love you
And look sadly up to me with those deep dark eyes
Do not be like some timid furry animal
Unsure of my affections and fearing I shall say go.

Do not ask me to say I love you
Those words rob me of my free choice to say I truly love
And compel me as though I were cornered
And have to argue.

If I say nothing
You'll stir and sigh,
Or answer, you'll doubt the reply
For no more than an idle phrase.

Rather say “come love”, then kiss me
I shall follow till from the wave's crest
I'll say the real words.
For like the waves love comes and goes.

So do not ask.