Scots, Scotch and Scotland A
What this world needs is ANOTHER "newsletter."
Right? Well, that depends on who you ask and the need, if any
exists, of the content that such an instrument might address.
Over the past few months, since the inception of my website,
(http://www.scotchdoc.com), I have sometimes felt like I was
a Dr. Laura, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Ann Landers, all at the
same time. I have been pleasantly surprised, and flattered,
by the number of readers of my site that took the time to comment.
Those who had sufficient confidence and respect in me to consider
my knowledge sufficient authority to address their questions
really stroked my ego. After some time, and experience, of addressing
numerous questions from all over the world, I began to consider
the action of what I am officially announcing at this time.
Scots, Scotch and Scotland, my newsletter, of which this may
be considered the inaugural issue, is now on line. It will be
an attempt to address the several issues that you have expressed
concerning the topics of Scots, Scotch and Scotland.
As this communications instrument develops over the next few
months, I will be very interested in your opinions concerning
this effort. Please let me know what you like about it, what
you do not like about it, what else you would like to see addressed
in this format, and anything else on which you may have an opinion.
I am also interested in, and collect, books and other artifacts
related to whisk(e)y and prohibition. I would be interested
in knowing what you may have that you think would be of interest
to our readership.
The format for this instrument will be of a "diary"
and/or chronological presentation of the data that I obtain.
You will want to "mark" your reference points to avoid
seeing the same data each time you access this document. I DO
have a reason for this. There are many new readers of The Scotch
Doc who log on each week and will find the "old" information
interesting and/or useful. Please exercise YOUR option of utilizing
your electronic eraser, your DELETE key, at any time. Remember
that the primary purpose of this instrument is EDUCATION so
much of the data will remain in place for long periods of time.
The future potential for such a newsletter as this is unknown
at best, but exciting for certain. I see future issues taking
advantage of the digital photography technology that is making
the imaging process more convenient and immediate. I am in the
process of determining which of the digital cameras will best
meet my needs.
It may be argued that the inaugural issue of an instrument of
communication such as Scotch, Scots and Scotland should be profound.
This argument carries even more weight of substance once one
fathoms the complexity of the topic and broad scope of such
an undertaking. In fact, it gives cause for one to revisit the
meaning of the word "profound." A first general impression,
for many, of the definition of "profound" is usually
related to the intellect. A further investigation, however,
deals with the emotional implications of this complex word.
It is my desire that the content of this newsletter encompass
both of these definitions. To do otherwise would be to shortchange
and misrepresent the subjects and title of the newsletter.
The history and physical beauty of Scotland is diverse, rich,
complex, romantic and practically unfathomable. Mere words lie
helpless on the surface of the manuscript when it comes to describing
or imparting the "essence" of Scotland. Only after
several extended visits can one begin to appreciate this geographically
small, but inherently, "large" country. It places
second to no other country on the planet when it comes to per
capita contributions to society and mankind. My many contacts
with its extraordinary people has caused me, on several occasions,
to paraphrase an old Will Rogers phrase, "I've never met
a Scot I didn't like." Now that the publisher has sufficiently
revealed his intellectual and emotional biases concerning Scotland,
let us proceed.
Let me first answer the question of how the mission of The Scotch
Doc came about. Whatever I have learned and accomplished in
my pursuits in the world of Scotch Single Malt Whisky: The Taste,
History and Mystique, has been a wonderful by-product of my
intrigue with my ancient ancestors, the Celts. It was my interest
in their history that would involve me in Scotland, only to
learn that the original McCoys may very well have originated
in Scotland. They were definitely of Celtic heritage. The name,
McCoy, I discovered, is one of the several Anglicized variants
of the Gaelic name of "Mac Aodha," with others being
MacCooey, MacKay and McKay. What a great "present"
it was that history presented to me. I now knew the reasons
for the unexplained "feeling" that I had always had
Once my interest in Scotland developed, it was just a matter
of time until I was introduced to the Scotch single malt - an
action that would change my life. After sampling a few single
malts, I became fascinated and my interest became an insatiable
passion. A trip to Scotland, with visits to several distilleries,
was the next step in my quest. After making the acquaintance
of distillery officials who recognized my passion for knowledge
of their "nectar of the gods," and who were willing
to help educate me, my course was set. After weeks of intensive
study, and overcoming a near-fatal automobile accident during
my first trip to Scotland, the concept of my well-known "Scotch
Single Malt Whisky: The Taste, History and Mystique" seminars
and tastings began to take shape.
My unique and self-directed course of study has now resulted
in a collection of over two hundred books and videos on Scotch
whisky and Scotland. I have assembled a collection of almost
seven hundred sealed, full- size bottles of Scotch single malts
representing one hundred and twenty-seven distilleries. They
are on constant exhibition in prominent locations for the enjoyment
of the single malt fan. My personal bar in my den contains over
250 different and OPEN single malts - which may make it one
of the best-stocked Scotch single malt bars just about anywhere?
Through my seminars/tastings, Scotch Single Malt Whisky: The
Taste, History and Mystique, I have shared my knowledge with
audiences in Paris, France; Scotland; and in many places in
my native country that includes Harvard law students, functions
at Disney World, a fund-raising event with General Schwarzkopf
and many others. The various events for which I have had the
pleasure of hosting have resulted in my socializing for hours
at a national political convention and sharing the taste and
legacy of the ancient Scotch single malt with internationally
known businessmen and women, dignitaries and public figures.
My fundraising efforts have led to the endowment of scholarships
(through my "Scotch For Scholarships" program) for
economically disadvantaged students, fund raisings for physically
impaired children and for several health organizations. My intensive
and detailed four-year photographic study of the Scotch Single Malt Whisky production process is unique. With the development
of my educational website (http://www.scotchdoc.com), my e-mail
address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the future publishing of
my basic "primer" on the Scotch single malt, I believe
that I have only just begun to help "educate the masses"
about the Scotch single malt. (Could it be that this is the
secret to world peace?) The Scotch Doc really does have a prescription
for those seeking one of life's true simple "medicaments."
Now, a wee-bit about where all of this started.
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Scotland: Some Facts,
Figures and Folks
With the attention given Scotland in recent
years by the motion picture, "Braveheart," the popularity
of the scores of Scottish Highland Games and Festivals that
increase every year and other media events, the general population
has become most interested in this ancient society and rich
culture. A cursory examination of the history of this country
reveals, surprisingly to many Americans, great and significant
contributions greatly out of proportion to its population's
size. As one ponders these phenomenal accomplishments, we must
wonder what might have been the result if Scotland had been
blessed with the variety of natural resources, social stability
and infrastructure that some other countries have had. Examine
the following statistics and decide for yourself.
Scotlands geographic area amounts to only 31,510 square
miles in area. This is equal to one of the smallest states in
the United States. The state of Maine has 33,215 square miles.
Scotlands borders fall within a geographical area that
is 274 miles long (north to south), and from 24 to 154 miles
wide. This includes the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Island
groups, which comprise a staggering total of 787 islands, of
which only 62 have an area in excess of three square miles.
Several famous "Americans," we now know, were actually
immigrants from Scotland, some of which were educated in Scotland.
Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, John Muir, and James
Watt are a few. An even greater number, who helped to make the
United States the world leader that it is, are of Scottish ancestry.
In fact, 31 of the United States Presidents have proven Scottish
ancestry and are quick to tell you so. Other famous Americans
of Scottish decent include: Neil Armstrong, The Reverend Billy
Graham, Charlton Heston, Warren Beatty, Johnny Cash, Malcolm
Forbes, Mel Gibson, Katherine Hepburn, Washington Irving, Shirley
MacLaine, Andrew Mellon, Dr. James Naismith, Peter OToole,
George C. Scott, James Stewart, Donald Trump, etc.
Some famous inventions by individuals of Scottish ancestry include:
the steam engine, steamboat,
telegraph, telephone, television, transistor, Penicillin, asphalt,
bicycle, artificial ice, electric clock, fountain pen, nylon,
the "religious ritual" that causes intelligent adult
men to knock the hell out of a tiny ball with a big long stick
so they can go find it and knock the hell out of it again. The
final, all-important objective of this ritual is to ultimately
to knock this tiny ball into a small hole only slightly larger
than it is. It is called "golf." Oh my goodness, I
almost forgot. The Scots also invented Scotch whisky, also,
of which the Scotch single malt was first. Seriously, this is
an amazing record that becomes even more astounding when one
considers the exceptionally small population from which so much
has come. Is there any question, now, why so many on the planet
occasionally searches their family tree in the hope of finding
a distant Scottish ancestor somewhere. (Pardon my "Mc-Bias"
here. I promise to keep it in check in the future.) Please read
Please keep in mind that I speak ONLY of those accomplishments
that have a direct connection to the United States. Be prepared
to spend some time if you take this study to the international
stage. The Scots have contributed universally.
If you will, please permit me one more digression, in the form
of a theory. As a serious student of history, I firmly believe
that if the Scots had been in charge of the British Empire during
the 18th century, it may still be in existence and the United
States would still be a willing and loyal "colony."
You see, if the Scots had been in charge there would have never
been a Boston Tea Party. The Scots would have been shipping
Scotch single malt and NOBODY would have thrown that nectar
overboard or would have allowed anyone else to commit such a
crime against humanity. The colonist probably wouldnt
have even griped about the taxes. We will never know.
Now that you have some idea as to the contributions of the Scot
to the United States, along with my unsolicited biased opinions,
let us get back to the present and examine our topic from other
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Part of The Scotland I Have Come To Know
As a scholar and visitor, I have been fortunate
enough to traverse the length and breadth of Scotland on several
occasions during the past six years. I never cease to be amazed
by new discoveries that reveal themselves to me each trip. The
most impressive element to me is the kind and generous people
of Scotland. You may rest assured that I have had ample opportunity
to avail myself of their hospitality. My experiences range from
spending several days, on many occasions, at whisky distilleries
as I photographed the entire production process of the fascinating
Scotch Single Malt Whisky. The other, and less desirable, end
of that "experience spectrum" included spending three
weeks in the Inverness Hospital as a result of enjoying the
beautiful Highlands scenery at the expense of tending to my
automobile driving responsibilities. Once again, however, the
Scotland expertise came to the forefront in the form of exceptional
medical science and surgical skill to restore my physical well
My most enriching and enlightening Scottish experiences have
come from my informal associations with various individuals
and families as I have traveled this country. The lengthy conversations
in the small pubs, over a dram of single malt, are always enjoyable.
Being invited to sing some of my favorite country music songs
in the Community Center at the 1998 Dallas, Scotland Annual
Ceilidh, on a July 4th no less, was worth the trip. The opportunity
to sing, eat, drink and socialize at this extraordinary level,
with some of the finest folks you will ever meet, is fantastic.
The details of another Saturday night that I spent in the quaint
little Dallas Hotel Pub in Dallas, Scotland, (population 203)
remains indelibly fixed in my mind. The local folk, of all ages,
made me feel so welcome and appreciated as I helped Jim and
Pauline, the proprietors, tend bar. An elderly gentleman approaching
ninety years of age told me more political jokes than I had
ever heard. Her Majesty, the Queen, and our American President
bore the brunt of most of the jokes content. He also included
a good number with the subject concerning the fairer sex, some
that would surely land him in deep trouble with our politically
correct American society. Much later in the early morning, as
I sat on a barstool beside this "reservoir of Scottish
culture," I finally removed his arm off my shoulder and
refused his "one more for Texas" drams at three a.m.
and went upstairs to my room. I dont think that he really
believed my "time zone, biological clock, etc." reason
for needing to go upstairs and to bed "this early."
He was nice about it, though, and pointed out several times
that night his "special like of big, tall Texans"
and was quite insistent that I "bring J.R. with me next
trip." Something tells me that he and J. R. would get along
very well if J. R. could keep up with him.
Such "real" Bed and Breakfast experiences with the
common folk of Scotland always leave me with a feeling of indebtedness
to them as I reluctantly board my plane for the trip home. I'm
always able to escape my departing depression, however, by immediately
planning my return trip.
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