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The Obituary

"How much does it cost to have an obituary printed?" asked the caller?
"It's five dollars a word, maam" said the newspaper guy. "Fine," said the women. Get a pencil & some paper then take this down: MacTavish...Dead"

The reporter waited for the women to go on. Nothing, "That's it?" he asked.

"That's it," she said.

"I'm sorry, I should have told you ma'am, and there's a five-word minimum."

"Yes, you should have, young man," snapped the woman. "Alright, let me think. Okay, I've got it take this down. "MacTavish dead. Bagpipes for sale."

How do you recognize a bagpipe nerd?
(Responses collected from the rec.music.makers.bagpipe newsgroup. Thanks!)

I dinna play piano, accordion or tuba,
I neer been to an opera or ballet,
I canna tell the difference between soprano an baritone,
I dinna ken any Alisdair, Malcolm or Hamish, tho Im sure they are fine musicians,
Single malt is jus fine fer brekkie, or just about any other time,
2/4, 6/8 an' 12/8 are nae hockey scores,
My alarm clock starts off with two drum rolls,
Jig an reel have nothin da do with fishin,
A strathspey has more life in it than the one you were out with last night,
My PM is not Jean Chretien,
I dont need any amplifier, fuzz box or mixer.
There are two volume settings on my pipe - on and off!
I play for me, and anyone within a mile of ground zero.
My entire vocabulary is comprised of G,A,B,C,D,E,F,g and a.
I doona crush my doublings, an I really throw my D's.
My name is Rick, and I’m a Piper.

Rick McFarlane

Bagpipe nerds:

         Do not turn their radios down; they just put various amounts of tape on the speakers.

         Drink their milkshakes with a blowpipe. (Yes, it has to be upside down.)

         Floss with black hemp.

         Smoke yellow hemp.

         Confess their sins to the Pipe Major.

         Use their old pipe bags to make giant haggis.

         Can type native BWW, BMW, PiobMohr, etc., faster than normal English words.

         Sit in meetings and automatically gets the piobaireachd face.

         Don't eat lunch with "Buffy and Tom" at the newest neat little Italian bistro that everyone is talking about... instead they're in the car working Crun's on D, screaming in anger when they miss it.

         Intermittently run to the bathroom to run their hands under warm water to keep them limber when the AC's too cold.

         Get strange looks in the men's/ladies' room when singing Cantairreachd.

         Finger tunes on all thin straight objects at all times, most especially during prayers at church (nothing is sacred).

         Rub nose and checks for continued production of birl balm.

The Piper of This House

1.      Shall be addressed as: piper piper, pipe major, pipee, etc., never as old leather lungs, haggis or stupid.

2.      Will not tolerate whining children and nagging during periods of physical or mental practice.

3.      Will have meals served promptly. He will be served first (in bed, upon request).

4.      Shall have bath water drawn to proper temperature with sufficient, prior time to heat bathroom.

5.      Insists that teenagers and bellowing "!?" limit telephone conversations to 3 minutes. At other times telephone must be left off hook. Telephone ringing during piping periods will not be allowed.

6.      Will not allow clothes washing, lawn mowing, child thwacking and loud talking during piping sessions.

7.      Will only permit television viewing when pipes or changer are not being played.

8.      Will not be responsible for minor chores such as plumbing, lawn mowing, painting, housework, chauffeuring, gardening, wood chopping, etc., or any other act which may damage the fingers.

9.      Must have top priority re: purchases of reeds, books, new bags, bag dressing and other items of equipment in apparel. All other financial matters are of secondary consideration.

10.  Extends an invitation to all other pipers at any time. However if he asks them to play he doesn't really mean it.

11.  Will resist by any means the bringing into the house of toy drums, trumpets, whistles, kazoos, or any other such rubbish by well-meaning relatives and friends.

12.  Does not necessarily take responsibility for the views expressed above.

The Wish Fairy

As a guy walks through a forest, a fairy suddenly appears and offers him a free wish. He removes a pocket atlas and points towards different countries: "Here is suffering, there, hunger, and over there people are tortured. I want all people to be free and healthy. Can you do that?" The fairy sighs and says: "Well, this is very difficult, even for me. Is there a chance that you can come up with another wish instead that would make it a little easier?" The guy answers: "As a matter of fact, there is. You see, I play the bagpipes, and have such a difficult time with the embellishments. Do you think you could...".
"OK - let's look at that atlas one more time".

They Rich Piper (I’ve never meet one)

So anyway, there's this piper who's never made the money he wanted, that's piping. He gets run over by a bus and due to his unruly life, goes to Hell. He's standing at the iron gates when a bellowing voice calls out, "A piper are we? Go to corridor C, door 78!". So on he goes, pipes in hand. As he walks down the corridor he's struck dumb by this absolutely amazing pipe music. He follows the sound until he finally comes to the source of the sound. He can't believe his luck when he opens the door, all the great pipers are here. One looks over at him and says, "Join us". He starts piping, dumb-founded with his luck. If this was Hell, then he'd happy spending eternity here. Just then the door opens and in walks in Satan himself: "'Right lads!, Break time over! Take your places.....A-one-two-three-four, 'Left a good job in the city...'".

Three Myths Dispelled

Myth 1: It takes hard work and talent to play the bagpipes.
Fact: The only talent most pipers have is for avoiding work.

Myth 2: You can make fairly decent money playing the bagpipes.
Fact: People will pay you much better money to stop.

Myth 3: Your bagpipes will make you friends wherever you go.
Fact: This is true if you never go anywhere.

In Belfast…

A fellow enters a pub in Belfast with a plastic bag under his arms.
The bartender asks him, "What might that be you're carrying?"
"About twelve pounds of semtex", replies the fellow.
"Glory Be! I t'ought it was bagpipes!"

The Clan Chief

A clan chief regularly employed a local piper to play during his elaborate suppers. On one such occasion the piper, Hamish, was overlooked as to his usual dram before commencing play. To revenge the chief, the piper provided a bad example of his art. This caused the chief to rebuke Hamish harshly, and demand explanation.
"The pipes play verra, verra hard this evening", explained Hamish.
"Tell me what shall soften them?" queried the chief.
"Och, whusky. Only whusky shall help sir".
With a perfunctory wave of the hand, a servant was quickly sent for a glass of the aforementioned spirits which Hamish hastily downed his throat.
The chief was infuriated. "Hamish! You scoundrel! Did you not say it was for the bagpipes?"
"Aye sir. But these pipes are most peculiar. They prefer the whusky to be blawed in."

The Pipe Band Goes Away to Compete

It seems that a pipe band on its way to a competition got lost, and after many fruitless hours of searching down dirt roads in the dark, they came upon a farm house, and decided to ask to spend the night there. The farmer told them he would be glad if they spent the night, but he said "I only have two spare rooms, some of you will have to stay in the barn.  It's clean, dry, and warm, but I keep a cow and a pig in there."  The band, after discussing it among themselves and tossing a coin, decided that the P/M would stay in one room, the drummers would stay in one room, and the pipers would stay in the barn.  So they all went to bed.

A short while later, there was a knock on the door.  It was the pipers.  They said "There's a cow in there. He's mooing, urinating, defecating, passing gas, kicking the stall, and guys, we just can't do it.  Besides, we hate cows." So the drummers said that they would stay in the barn, and they all went to bed.

A short while later, there was a knock on the door.  It was the drummers.  They said "There's a pig in there. He's oinking, urinating, defecating, passing gas, wallowing in the mud, and guys, we just can't do it.  Besides, we hate pigs."  So the P/M said "You guys aren't men enough to take it.  I'll stay in the barn."  So they all went to bed.

A short while later, there was a knock on the door.  It was the cow and the pig.

A Piper Walks Into a Bar…

A guy walks into a bar and announces "I have a great new bagpipe joke!" The bartender says "Let me stop you right there son. You see that karate black belt hanging up behind the bar? That's mine. And I play the pipes. See that ornery lookin' feller in the Harley t-shirt? That's my brother - and he plays the pipes. And that big ugly old guy in the corner with the big scar across his face? That's my Paw - and he’s a piper. Now, are you sure you wanna tell that joke in here?"
"Hell, no. Not if I'm gonna hafta explain it three times!"

It happened at a pub that a dear old lady from beyond the Tweed spied a Scottish piper, with his instrument of torture, and begged for a tune. For a solid hour the Highlander marched up down performing. "Dear me," said a nervous lady, "I suppose it's very fine, but it does sound a little like an air raid siren, doesn't it?"
"No madam," replied an exasperated pub patron, "it sounds like an air raid."


Indian Scouts

Picture pioneers pushing farther and farther into the Badlands of the American West with native Indians serving as scouts. As they kept the monotonous trek, they began to hear the rhythmic sound of beating drums in the direction they were headed. A few of the scouts traded nervous glances, however the lead scout convinced the explorers nothing was amiss. The following day the sound of drums became more emphatic, but the lead scout assured the nervous white men. On the third day, much to everyone's terror, the pounding drums became almost deafening. On some sort of unknown cue, the drums simultaneously ceased. The terrified scouts flung down their packs and fled into the wilderness. When the captain queried the lead scout he was told, "Never have fear as long as drums make sound. When drums stop, very bad sign: next come bagpipe solo".

Marry a Piper and Live Longer (or at least it will seem like so)

A man goes to a physician. The doctor says, "I'm sorry to tell you this but you've only got six months to live."
The man says, "Doctor are you sure? Is there anything I can do?"
The doctor says, "Well, you could marry a piper."
"Will that make me live longer?"
"No, but it'll make your six months seem like six years."

From The Isle of Skye

Donald MacDonald from the Isle of Skye went to study at an English university and was living in the residence hall. After he had been there a semester, his mother came to visit.
"And how do you find the English students, Donald?" she asked.
"Mother," he replied, "they're such terrible, noisy people. The one on that side keeps banging his head on the wall and won't stop. The one on the other side screams and screams all night."
"Oh Donald! How do you manage to put up with these awful noisy English neighbours?"
"Well, mother, I just ignore them and stay in my room and play my pipes."

In the Dark Jungles of Africa…

An expeditionary force was making its way through the deepest darkest jungle in Africa with its native guides when the faint sound of drums was heard reverberating around the distant hills. The guides shivered and looked uncomfortable, but the head guide assured the party that nothing was wrong. On the second day the drums grew louder and the natives were very agitated, but still the head guide assured the party that nothing was wrong. But on the third day the drums grew even louder to an ear-shattering intensity and the guides were panicking. Suddenly the drums stopped and the guides ran screaming into the jungle. Only then did the head guide speak up. "When drums stop, bad sign - next come bagpipe solo".


Kiss Me and I Will Be a Famous Piper, Said The Frog

Two girls are walking along when they hear. "Psst! Down here!" They both look down and see a frog sitting beside the road.
The frog says to them, "Hey, if you kiss me I'll turn into a world famous bagpiper and make you both rich and famous!"
The two girls looked at each other, and one of them reached down and grabbed the frog and stuffed it in her pocket. The other girl said, "What did you do that for?"
The first replied, "I'm not stupid. I know a talking frog is worth heaps more than a famous bagpiper any day!!!"


The Piper Dies and Goes to Heaven

A piper died and went to heaven. St Peter asked whether he played an instrument and he replied "Yes, the bagpipes". "Excellent" said St Peter; I think we have a vacancy in our pipe band.
"What is God like as a Pipe Major" asked the Piper.
"Not too bad" said St Peter, "although occasionally he thinks he's [insert favourite piper]"

Fergus sees a farmer with his sheep and walking up to him says "if I can guess how many sheep you have will you give me one?".
"Sure" says the farmer.
"Ok, you have 1,795 sheep" replies Fergus. The stunned farmer lets Fergus take his sheep.
"Wait a minute," says the farmer, "if I can guess what you do for living can I have my sheep back?".
"Certainly" replies Fergus.
"You're a piper, aren't you" smirks the farmer.
"That's incredible - how did you know" says Fergus.
"Well put my dog down and I'll tell you."


The Symphonic Musician Encounters the Genie

A musician from a symphony orchestra one day ran across an old lamp at a garage sale, took it home, washed it up, and out popped at genie. "Thank you kind sir for releasing me from this old lamp. I regret to say that you have encountered a poor, less powerful genie, and I can only grant you one wish, but wish away." said the genie.
"Oh that's wonderful. I think I would really like to make a difference in the world with my one wish.", said the musician. He thought for a moment and then reached for his atlas. "Here's a map of the Middle East. The people who live there have been fighting for years and years. For my one wish, I would like to bring peace to this land."
The genie, a little caught off guard, said "Oh, well, ah... that's a little bit too much for even this old master to handle. Aah, ya see, these people... they're involved in that touchy religious stuff, and aah, the kids, aah, they begin fighting when they're just teenagers. I'm afraid you're going to have to make another wish."
"Well, okay." said the musician. "For my one wish, I would just once like to hear a pipe band play in tune, in time, and with musical feeling."
The genie thought for a moment and replied, "Um, let me take a look at those maps again."

BAND STRUCTURE -- The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Drum Major:
Leaps tall buildings in a single bound
Faster than a speeding bullet
More powerful than a locomotive Walks on Water
Talks to God

Leaps small buildings with a run-up
Is a crack shot
Pulls railway carriages
Fords rivers
Listens to god

Side Drummer:
Vaults over fences
Is allowed his own sidearm
Can read a railway timetable
Knows how to put on fishing gollashes
Believes in God

Tenor Drummer:
Can open and walk through a door
Knows which is the dangerous end of a gun
Has his own train set
Wears Wellington boots
Talks to himself

Bass Drummer:
Trips over matchsticks
Is NEVER allowed near firearms
Says "Look at CHOO-CHOO"
Plays in puddles
Nobody listens to him and finally.

Lifts tall buildings and walks underneath them
Catches bullets in his teeth and chews them
Kicks locomotives off their tracks
Drinks entire oceans
He IS GOD!!!!

Murray's Laws Of Piping

by P/M Murray Martin, Army, Navy, and Air Force Pipes & Drums, Belleville, Ontario.

1. No matter when you change your reed, it only blows out as you march off.
2. Any reed changed just before a parade will be too hard to blow.
3. When the Pipe Major is watching you, your drones will never start right.
4. Clean white shirts will get dirty in the clothing bag.
5. Careful accounting of your gear the night before means that you will forget something.
6. Months of practice on a six-part tune means you will only remember one part on parade.
7. If you call "By the Right....." - sure as hell someone will start on the right foot.
8. When someone important is watching, the Drum Major will always call the "Halt!" on the wrong foot.
9. Some band members rise to their own level of incompetence - then stay there.
10. When the band sounds good - wait till the next tune.
11. Bandsmen come and bandsmen go - but screw-ups continue.
12. The degree of band screwing-up is in direct proportion to how important the event is.
13. If the band plays an easy tune long enough - they will screw it up.
14. Any chanter reed that will blow, will blow 30 seconds before march-off.
15. Any drum head that breaks, will do so 30 seconds after march-off.
16. All Pipe Majors believe that their bands will get better with practice.
17. All pipers have a scheme to break-in their own reeds, none of which work.
18. You will always remember to take your hose out of the dryer on the way to the parade.
19. There is never time to do it right, but we find time to do it wrong.
20. Every time the Bass Drummer tries a new beat, the pipers just hear a double-beat and quit playing.
21. The bus is never on time, but when it is, it's not your bus.
22. At least once every parade, a drummer will drop or break a stick.
23. When all is going correctly, look out, something is wrong.
24. When more than one piper cannot shut off his drones properly, its the Pipe Major's fault.
25. All important parades must be done during the pipers' holidays.
26. A good band practice does not mean a good parade.
27. A bad band practice does not mean a good parade.
28. Some pipers claim that "Preparation" is a piper's best friend.
29. Pipe reeds only come in one type - too hard for your pipers to play.
30. Side drums only stay in tune until you have to play them.
31. A full turn-out at band practice does not mean a full turn-out on parade.
32. Band members' clocks are always one half hour behind the Pipe Major's.
33. Any person who wants to be a Pipe Major is CRAZY!

Ancient Piping Joke...

The lads are marching into battle, with the piper playing away like mad... 
The enemy's arrows, swords and spears are creating bloody slaughter all through the Irish ranks... 
Ten men down, and the piper plays on...  Twenty men down, and still the pipes ring out...
Finally fifty men have fallen, and the chieftain says to the piper: For heaven's sake, can you not play something they like?"

The bass drummer was walking down the road one day, a penguin was walking alongside him holding his hand, and looking adoringly up at him.

The pipe major shouts across the road to him Hey bassy, take that penguin to the zoo.

So the bass drummer, a bit embarrassed, shouts back, OK, pipey.

Next day, bassy is seen again by the pipe major, penguin by his side. The Pipe Major shouts to him, Hey, I thought I told you to take that penguin to the zoo.

I did, replies the bass drummer, were off to the pictures today.


Actually, we hate you!

You are a slow-moving, privileged group of quasi-musicians who are constantly tinkering with your various items of hardware - while we wait. You occupy the front ranks and get all the glory while we keep you in time and constantly advise you of which part of the tune you are on.

When the public calls, they call for a piper! If a stranger approaches - he comes to a piper. You are always first. Even the haggis needs you - but not us!

We are your slaves; at your beck and call. As though all of this isn't enough, when we are ready for your royal command, you further humble us by deciding to re-tune your obnoxiously eccentric instruments.

What a rotten deal! We drive through rain, fog, ice and snow to come to you. We sacrifice our work, our women, our families, our recreations, our money, and sometimes even our food and drink to guide you through the unknown.

And yet we come to you; you draw us like the Pied Piper of Hamelin drew his rats. Although we hate you, we are faithful; we return year after year to be at your backs, because we know that if you did not give us those beautiful and stirring melodies, we would not play at all!

God bless you!
I guess we love you!


Lord, give me the words to explain to everyone else the lofty purpose of this wonderful organization, the Pipe Band, even though no one else seems to know that either.

Give me the charity to make some sense of the rules that came with the chanter of office.

May I always have the patience to bear the opinions of those band members who do nothing until I have done something, and then tell me how I should have done it.

Help me to keep both feet on the ground, and in step with the band, even when I don't have a leg to stand on.

Grant me the tact to make a point without making me an enemy.

Lord, you know I can't balance my cheque book, but help me read financial statements like an economist.

When the people holding the purse strings won't let go of them, may I have the persuasion of Moses and the wisdom of Solomon. And, when no one has a clue where the money to meet our expenses is going to come from, give me the faith of Abraham, who didn't know where he was going either, but went anyway.

Help me to forgive those members who never show their faces, or fail to practice; and to tame the "lions" who ferociously guard "their" territory.

May I always know when to threaten, and when to cajole; when to suggest, and when to drop to one knee and plead.

Make no mistake about it Lord, I am the pipey. I'm not always sure how I got here - or why I ever accepted the position. But in your great mercy, give me all that I need to do the job well.

And when I have finished my term, give me the grace to let the next person take over.

And, keep my mouth shut!



1.      Practice?  At home?  Naww, I only do enough to learn the band tunes.

2.      I've got these great new pipes from Pakistan!  They're so cheap, we could afford new pipes for the whole band!  Don't they sound great?

3.      That's not right -- that's now how I learned to play it.

4.      Hope you don't mind, but I'm wearing my over the calf tube socks cause I forgot my hose.

5.      What's a 6/8?

6.      I don't NEED band rehearsal; I'm playing too much below my level."

7.      [insert tune name here] again?!? We play that too much!

8.      Can we dress like Braveheart this year?

9.      [insert fake Scottish accented speech]

10.  No I'm not, I am in tune!

11.  Piper's Mother: Kevin's instructor has told me you're not to touch his reed anymore - you've been making it too sharp for his solos. -- True story

12.  I like my reeds wet.
(After P/M has just tuned the band, piper has his chanter in his mouth, sucking on the reed.  P/M asks: "What the hell are you doing!!!!???") --  True story

13.  Let me hear YOUR D (after P/M asks piper: "Let me hear your D").

14.  Quit tapping you foot so slow.

15.  What do you mean I have to play through the whole medley?

16.  Your lifting your foot too far off the ground.  How the hell are we supposed to know when the beat is?!!

17.  You're NOT my boss.

18.  Why are you just picking on me?

19.  That's not how ______ plays it.

20.  Are you SURE that's where the accent is?

21.  Yeah, but you're not a drummer...

22.  I think it sounds better my way.

23.  So who elected YOU king/queen?

24.  I was just LOOKING at the chanter reed.

25.  I always play better after (a/several) (beers/shots/pints).

26.  Yeah Dude, OK, whatever.  Sheesh.

27.  You must be wearin' something REAL tight under that kilt o' yours.

28.  Wanna hear me play Star Wars?

29.  At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits.

30.  It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.

31.  I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

32.  I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

33.  I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't care.

34.  Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

35.  Of course I don't play it right, YOU taught me!!!

36.  Is it okay if, like, 10 people in the band pipe better than you?

37.  Of course I haven't been at band practice in a month, practice is boring!!

38.  Do we REALLY have to practice marching, too?


1.      You suck less than you used to.

2.      Thank you.  We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

3.      I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

4.      I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.

5.      I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

6.      I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

7.      Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.

8.      No, Thursday's no good for me.  How about never?  Is never good for you?

9.      I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.

10.  I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

11.  You sound reasonable. Time to up my medication dose.

12.  I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.

13.  I don't help here. I'm a consultant.

14.  Who me?  I just wander from room to room.

15.  It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.

16.  I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

17.  This person has delusions of adequacy.

News Article -- They're still weapons of war . . .

TORONTO (Reuters) -- A Canadian man who protested mass layoffs by playing the bagpipes high above a factory floor was saved by a little amazing grace this week after a court refused to convict him of mischief. Daniel McCaig, 25, was arrested outside a Toronto factory one year ago after he hoisted himself three stories into the air on a crane, unfurled protest banners and blasted out repeated versions of Auld Lang Syne and other Gaelic folk songs.

The kilt-clad McCaig, who also took requests from cheering employees during the unusual 4 hour serenade, was angry the owner of the factory, transportation manufacturer Bombardier Inc. had moved to lay off about 130 workers.

McCaig, an experienced mountaineer, was eventually plucked from his rooftop perch by police and charged with mischief over C$5,000. Bombardier said the protest had forced a temporary work stoppage and cost the Montreal-based company C$200,000.

An Ontario court, however, allowed McCaig to go free on a peace bond Tuesday provided he did not break out the bagpipes near the Bombardier plant anytime soon. "I forced them to confront the issue," said an unrepentant McCaig, who now works as a tow-truck driver. "I wanted to communicate to Bombardier that what they were doing was wrong."

Despite advice of several prominent defense lawyers, McCaig refused to plead guilty for fear that a criminal record would haunt him for the rest of his life. His cause was finally adopted by five law students from York University in Toronto who crafted a defense based on constitutional issues.

The Loving Octopus

A guy walks into a bar carrying an octopus. After ordering a drink he declares that his very talented octopus can play any instrument in the room and will bet

50.00   on it.

So the fiddler accepts the bet and hands over his fiddle; the octopus takes it and plays beautifully; the fiddler hands over his 50.00. Another chap hands a trumpet to the octopus whereupon the octopus plays a thrilling trumpet solo; another 50.00 for the octopus. The same thing happens with a guitar and a set of drums -- just imagine 8 arms playing the drums!!! Another 50.00 each.

Then Hamish McTavish hands over his bagpipes and the octopus turns them first one way then the other.... The octopus looks rather puzzled. Nothing, not a sound.... 

Hamish says to the octopus: "That'll be 50.00 please since you can't play it!"

"Play it?" says the octopus, "I'm going to screw it as soon as I figure out how to get it out of its pajamas!!!"



Music of Elegance and Distinction

by Dr. Raphael Pazo, Highland Bagpiper 


2004-2019 All Rights Reserved.