Sunday, January 01, 2023

The Forty-Five: A 2023 Primer

Greetings and welcome to 2023!

As has become a tradition, the first post of the New Year is dedicated to a primer on this blog and the people and places that inhabit it in the hopes that it makes context a bit easier to gather for the writings that you will find here throughout the year.

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 18th year and am up to  over 4500 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 uncreatively as "Old Home") until 14 years ago, when due to a layoff we had to move (to the also 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 wprking to get back there on a more permanent basis 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 have thrown in Highland Games (at least prior to an injury last year).  I have taken to hiking with a vengeance, having completed hikes both in the Grand Canyon and to the top of Mount Whitney.   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 as willingly as might be hoped for).

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, a college graduate with a degree in International Business now living in The Big, Big City.

    - Nighaen Bhan: Number Two daughter, also a college graduate with a degree in Communications and pursuing a Master's level program.

     - Nighean Dhonn: Number Three daughter, currently a Senior in high school and selecting colleges.

     - The Director:  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, currently living in The Cabin at The Ranch with his mother  A Mhathair na hUisdean Ruadh .  Deeply Catholic, loves traditional Catholicism, planes, and history.  

  - The Berserker:  My weight training coach.  I have trained with him for 7+ 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.  She is a reservoir of wisdom and the much needed lectures I will get from no-one else.

-La Contessa: My very good and old friend (post high school, so not quite as long as The Director and Uisdean Ruadh, but almost as long).  We regularly have dinners once a month when I am in Old Home.

-The Outdoorsman:  My brother-in-law and hiking partner in crime.  What started as lark of an idea (hiking the Grand Canyon) has turned into 3-4 smaller training hikes and a single big hike a year.

- The Cowboy/The Young Cowboy:  A father and son team, they have kept cattle at The Ranch for almost 20 years now.  They are regularly present there and help to keep an eye on the place when I am not present.

Important Places:

- Old Home:  Where I grew up and lived up to 13 years ago.  Originally a combination of the small town I actually grew up in  as well as the larger areas there which we lived in before moving to New Home, I use it more now to indicate my hometown.

- New Home:  Where I currently live. An urban area also buried in Baja Canada.  

- 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.  Either because of obstinance or foolishness (I am guilty of both) I persevered.

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 become critically important to me  s creating a sort of InterWeb agora, 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 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.  It has not been continued for a year, but likely should be picked up.

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. Nylon125:35 AM

    Thanks for posting the primer again TB, first time reading it and a lot of blanks were filled in for me.......... :)

    1. Nylon12 - You are more than welcome, and suddenly realized that somehow even though I thought I had linked it over on "Pages", it was not there. Problem (hopefully) rectified. And thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments and readership!

  2. Anonymous6:40 AM

    Thank you for posting this. I read your blog regularly, even though I don’t comment too often.

    1. You are very welcome, and thank you for reading regularly! Hopefully this will help to address gaps.

  3. Fetch My Flying Monkeys8:07 AM

    Thank you TB for your writing and thoughts. I have been reading your blog daily for a few years (first comment) and always look forward to the smorgasbord and the way you share and comport yourself.
    Could you clarify the term Baja Canada? I have no idea of what area you are referring?
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    1. FMFM - Thank you so much for your regular following (and your first comment)! I am grateful the "smorgasbord of ideas" can make a difference.

      "Baja Canada" is simply my way of referring to the United States, as opposed to "Alta Canada", which is Canada proper.

      Happy New Year!

  4. Anonymous1:30 PM

    I was directed to your blog by the feral Irishman. I really do enjoy reading it. Please keep up the good work. I look forward to it daily

    1. Thank you so much! And thank you for taking the time to comment.

  5. Let's look forward to a better 2023. Huzzah!

    1. Indeed John, indeed - although to be fair, it remains a pretty low bar.

  6. Enjoyed reading this summary again, TB, as I did last year. Good to be refreshed on some of your code language. I don't stop by every day, and some of my comments are stale by the time you see them, but I do enjoy your posts and more than once have come away with something to think about. I especially appreciate your candor about your career ups and downs (which all of us have, but don't always admit to the negatives). Best wishes for 2023.

    1. Thanks Bob. Hopefully I get all your comments - and trust me, no comment is ever stale.

      2023 process to be an "exciting" career year, one way or the other. Here is to what is hopefully a great 2023.

  7. Although it feels like I've been reading your blog for much longer, I don't recall ever seeing one of these posts (and I've even read through a good share of your archived posts!).

    It also reminded me of Seneca's absence. I had forgotten about him until you mentioned it again. It reminds me of a book I promised to write this winter and have been so busy doing other things that it probably won't get done... again.

    1. Ed - I think the first time I really did this was last year (although I have now posted it over on the Pages link). I probably have done it in dribs and drabs before, but to be honest, sometimes it helps me keep track of things as much as other people.

      It is not that Seneca's story took a break - I actually ended up writing more entries. It is that I did - but like posting, it remains a good activity to stay on top of for making me write.

  8. I’m new to the things you write about here. Thanks. I’m happy.

    1. Dave - Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I hope you enjoy your stay.


Comments are welcome (and necessary, for good conversation). If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!