Saturday, January 01, 2022

The Forty-Five 2022 Edition: A Primer

 Greetings and welcome to 2022!

Last year at this time I published an introduction to The Forty-Five as (at that time) the numbers were going up.  Well, the numbers went up even more (again, assuming I am not the focus of Russian and Ukraine monitoring, as my geographic "Where people are viewing you from" chart suggests) and now literally tens of people have stopped by (a kind thank you to all who have linked the blog).  So another round of "Who we are and what we do" seems in order.

So welcome to The Forty-Five (again)!

I am your amiable host, Toirdhealbheach Beucail ("Toridhealbheach" is a version of my name in Old Irish Gaelic; "Beucail" means "booming or roaring", as in the sound of a cannon. If you ever met me in person, you would find I have only two volumes:  silent and "ON").  I have been camped out here on this corner of the InterWeb, writing about this and that for what will now be my 17th year and somewhat over 4000 posts of varying value and worth (in other words, one gets what one pays for, and we do not charge, so...).

A very brief history: I grew up in a small town somewhere deep within the bowels of Baja Canada, the same town my parents and my mother's parents had grown up in - not quite the "Small Town" of John Cougar Mellencamp, but close enough. I went away to college for two degrees that have nothing to do with what I ended up actually doing, then came back home and lived in and around that area (referred to here as "Old Home") until 13 years ago, when due to a layoff we had to move (to the uncreatively named) "New Home".    Due to an unexpected health issue with both of my parents (see here, Moving TB The Elder And Mom), I now spend about one third of the year at Old Home, and the other time scheming to get back there permanently to The Ranch (see below).

I have a variety of interests.  I am a practitioner of Iaijutsu, a Japanese martial art which is (somewhat crudely but correctly) defined as the "quick draw" of sword techniques (my style has existed since the 16th century).  I make cheese and other dairy foods.  I train with weights.   I garden.  I write (perhaps somewhat obviously). I throw in Highland Games (or at least have, not so much in the last two years).  I have blackmithed a bit (and would like to do more).  I study languages, both current as well as the dead ones.  I read voraciously - primarily history and theology, but also philosophy, agricultural books and "old style" (say pre-1985) science fiction and fantasy.  I travel (not always willingly).

And I will try almost anything once.

Dramatis Personae:

        - The Ravishing Mrs. TB:  To whom I have been married for over 25 years now and who actually makes sure the trains run on time and things get done.

     - Nighean Gheal: Number one daughter, currently a college graduate awaiting starting her full time job in summer.

    - Nighaen Bhan: Number Two daughter, currently a Junior in college. Hopefully getting out this year.

     - Nighean Dhonn: Number Three daughter, currently a Junior in high school.

     - The Actor:  One of my two best friends from High School and still currently one of my best friends.  Lives in Old Home and has more than a small theatrical bent (far more creative than I).

    - Uisdean Ruadh: The other of my two best friends from High School and still currently one of my best friends.  Also lives in Old Home.  Deeply Catholic, loves traditional Catholicism, planes, and history.  

  - The Berserker:  My weight training coach.  I have trained with him for 6+ years now.  I live in fear of his weekly training regimes, although they have been very successful.

- The Shield Maiden:  A friend I met throw Highland Games 9 years ago?  10 years ago?  I do not keep track of such things now.  She lives much farther away than she used to (almost Alta Canada but not quite).  We chat via the InterWeb every day.

Important Places:

- Old Home:  Where I grew up and lived up to 13 years ago.  A combination of the small town I actually grew up in (which is how I use the phrase now) as well as the larger areas there which we lived in before moving to New Home. 

- New Home:  Where I currently live. An urban area also buried in Baja Canada.  A place I am trying to actively get out of.

- The Ranch:  The Ranch is the property my parents own and live on in <insert yet another undisclosed location here>.  It is approximately 90 acres of land in the mountains which has been our extended family for over 60 years.  You will see plenty of pictures from here.  This is where I am ultimately trying to get back to.

What do we do here?

Like most budding bloggers, when I started this blog I had great visions of this being a mighty bulwark of discussion and thought that would be a beacon of light (and, coincidentally, would let me write full time). It only took about 10 years to realize that neither of these things were going to happen.

What I did find - and what I still believe in - is that blogging represents the Social Internet (not a phrase that I came up with, but one I love): the ability of people to read, think, and discuss things on the InterWeb (as opposed to Social Media, which I detest).  What has come about, over the years, is the importance to me is creating a place where we can discuss subjects - some deep, some completely shallow - in a way that hopefully encourages thought and helps to build connections in a society which values neither thought nor connections except of the most shallow kind (otherwise known as Social Media).

What you find here most days (I hesitate to say "every day", although that has been the case for the last two years now) is a combination of personal on-line journal, thoughts or concepts that have run through my mind, book reviews, occasional fiction, things that are just "going on" in my life, ruminations, and the occasional meme.  It is a smorgasbord of my existence (there are literally times I sit down to write with no idea what will be written, and no-one is more surprised than I am when it shows up).

Important Pages:

Ichiryo Gusoku Philosophy:  My overall guiding policy on my philosophy is here.

Ichiryo Gusoku Goals:  My overall goals are here (to be fair, these are always in a bit of flux).

The Collapse:  A rather long running fiction series (in a series of letters) about a man watching society slowly collapse is here.

Moving TB The Elder And Mom:  As mentioned, my parents suffered a series of health reversals in 2021.  This page pulls together the experience in hopes that others that have or will have the same issues will benefit.

What are the rules?

There are only four.

1)  Be kind in your comments:  In all my years of writing here, I have had to not publish only a handful of comments because, frankly, they were mean.  You can certainly poke holes in my theories or my writing or the responses of others.  I just ask you do it kindly.  Everyone you are responding is going through something.

2)  No profanity:  My mother was an elementary school teacher and a lovely Christian woman, so comment as if you were speaking directly to her.  Any profanity will simply not make itself a visible comment, no matter how relevant or good the comment is.

3)  We do not argue current politics:  Politics as it is practiced currently is simply an exercise in "It is your fault!  No, yours!" followed by vulgarity and crudeness.  Political Science (the practice of forming political societies and their functioning) is far more useful to actually reach a solution.

4)  We do not argue religion:  I state up front I am Christian (useful background for some of what I write) and will happily discuss my own trials and travails and thoughts.  What we do not debate is the nature of religion or different religions.  Again, see the previous comments on kindness.


Reading anything is an investment; taking the time to comment is more so.  Thanks so much for taking the time to spend a few moments of your precious time (a commodity which we cannot make more of) with me.


  1. I discovered and started following your blog this past year, and thoroughly enjoy it. Your posts are interesting and thought provoking.

    1. MaryP - Thank you ever so much, and thank you for the knd comments! What every blog author wants to hear, that someone is deriving some level of benefit from their writing! A lovely way to start the New Year.

  2. I needed this primer when I first landed on your blog. It took me awhile to put all these pieces together the old fashioned way.

    1. Ed, I thought long and hard about essentially "re-doing" a post (you will probably have noticed about 75% is the same as last year). But for reasons I do not fully understand, I "gained" significant amount of views last year literally starting at the first of the year (again, assuming it is not the Russians!), and thought it might be useful to those wandering in - as you say, I tend to scatter things hither and yon and at some level hope it makes sense. You do remind me it might make a useful pinned post, though.

      Happy New Year!

  3. By heck TB that is rather a concise post and an eye opener to boot.
    Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year my good man.

    1. Thank you John! To be fair, 85% of this was based on last year's post of the same name. It just makes sense - as Ed says, I tend to be all over the map in my writing, so it probably is very confusing.

      Happiest of New Years to you as well my friend, and high hopes for a better one (and healed shoulder!).

  4. I found you last year. I don't remember how, but that is of little consideration compared to the joy of reading what you post, and interacting on Mars Hill.

    Thank you for a sane corner to run to. I do appreciate it.

    1. STxAR, I mostly think this was Glen's doing. For which we probably both owe him. So glad you made it here, and super glad you find this a sane corner of the InterWeb to be at. One of the things I am hopeful in creating.

  5. Anonymous9:36 AM

    As I am a new reader this year I was intrigued with your post. Cleared up some things. But I do have questions. How did you end up in a Japanese practice with a Gaelic background? A lost blog 'chickens in the road' written by a suburban mom who moved to West Virginia and learned how to do all sorts of things. Lots of recipes and she taught herself cheese making. Lots of trial and effort with what worked and didn't. Very interesting and blog is still up now. It had lots of good info. Of course this is just all my curiosity. Your rules are certainly valid in this time we are in and I have enjoyed your "story" and all the various topics. Happy New Year to you and your family and all your readers, Russians included. May 2022 be better for all of us. Margi

    1. Margi - The story is much less exciting than it could be, I suppose. I had a life-long interest in things Japanese (since the 5th grade or so) and a slightly less life-long interest in things Celtic and Gaelic (Post College). When we relocated to New Home in 2009, I found active ways to incorporate both of those interests into my life - although trying to find a unified "Celtic-Japanese" stream continues to be challenging.

      Thank you for the recommendation and the kind words. One of the things I am most appreciative of inheriting from my father TB The Elder is a willingness to try anything at least once and being okay with being "okay" at something.

      Happy New Year's to you and yours as well. Indeed, may it be a better year for all.

  6. This is a handy-dandy post. You should link this on the sidebar above or below the Forty-Five Manifesto; just a humble suggestion. Also, I may steal the idea of a "Primer." 8-)

    1. Warren - Thank you very much and yes, I suddenly realized as well that this would be the perfect thing to pin on the sidebar.

      And surely, use the idea! That is how we all get better, right?

  7. Yes, very helpful to learn a little more of who you are. I was one of your new ones this year, so this is timely. I look forward to more stimulating conversation!

    1. Thank you Bob, and glad you are here! Hopefully this fills in some of the blanks I probably unconsciously refer to from time to time.

  8. Thanks for this! Some I had figured out on my own, but nice to piece it all together properly.

    1. You are welcome Kelly! I am glad you were able to piece together anything at all, although it disturbs me a bit my life has become complex enough that I essentially need a program to explain it.

  9. A blessed New Year to you all, TB. Be safe. :)

    1. And so much to you as well, Linda. Thank you so much for your continued support and well wishes.


Your comment will be posted after review. If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!