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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Lakeview 12

Just across the northern fence from Volunteer Park on Seattle’s Capitol Hill is Lakeview Cemetery, founded in 1872. It is a history lesson in and of itself. It is the resting place of many Seattle pioneers, Civil War veterans, community leaders, and locals from many cultures. Its gravestones are as diverse as the people buried beneath them.

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Lakeview is a tourist hot spot because Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried here. As you enter the front gate you can see a large white heart on the hill. Go towards that, and behind a nearby evergreen hedge you will find the father and son who met their tragic ends all too soon.

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I have better photos of these graves, but these are the most recent. Martial arts legend Bruce Lee was buried in 1973 and his son was buried next to him almost 20 years later. The men who carried Bruce to this place included Chuck Norris, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, George Lazenby, Dan Inosanto, Ray Chin, Taky Kimura, and Bruce’s brother Robert.  Brandon, as people of my generation will never forget, was killed on set during the filming of The Crow. 

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People leave all sorts of mementos on Bruce and Brandon’s graves. There are often coins and candles and trinkets to the point that I sometimes wish the graves were fenced off. I’m concerned about the wear and tear to the headstones.

Now look a little to the left. Right next to Bruce Lee’s grave, a resident of Lakeview Cemetery since almost a century before Bruce, is one P.J. Malone.

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P.J. came from County Mayo in Ireland and was 42 when he died. He was 10 years older than Bruce when he passed and 14 years older than Brandon. I’ll bet his marker once stood upright and like most of that vintage has been laid flat.

Unfortunately, visitors walk all over P.J. as if he’s not even there. Not only has weather taken its toll on P.J.’s stone, but he’s so close to Bruce that he’s become an afterthought as people traipse over his coffin. I don’t know that a lot of people notice this marker.

So who was P.J.? I don’t know. In the grand scheme of things, he was just as important as anyone around him. He is equally loved by his Creator. I just feel bad that he gets stepped on so much.

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Just a short distance north of Bruce Lee’s grave is that of Jesse Glover. If you know your martial arts history at all, you know that Jesse was Bruce’s first student and first assistant instructor.

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Here are people paying their respects at the Lees’ graves and almost no one realizes Glover is nearby. It’s possible they don’t know that he passed.

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Ed Hart is right by Jesse.

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The cemetery is a beautiful and peaceful place.

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In parts of the cemetery you can still see intriguing features like marble curbs.

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In the distance you can see Lake Washington.

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Someday I hope to learn P.J.’s life story. Until then, Bruce Lee fans, please watch your step out of respect for this Irish immigrant and the preservation of his gravestone as well. The Civil War was recent past when he stepped into eternity.

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Seen on the bulletin board at the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Thank you to whoever posted this and took the time to rightfully put the cemetery’s flag at half-staff. 

Scalia

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Seattle Highland Games 2015 1

Every July in Enumclaw, Washington, near the southern border of King County, a fabulous festival is held at the old fairgrounds. There is something for everyone– all genres of Celtic music from the traditional to modern Celtic rock, athletic events, food, a kennel show, livestock, clan booths, lectures, processions, pipe and drum competitions, dancers, and dramas that showcase real weapons.

Bellingham, Tacoma (Graham), Skagit County, Whidbey Island, Prosser, Kelso, and Spokane all have similar events during the late spring and summer that are worth attending. The 69th Annual Pacific Northwest Highland Games and Clan Gathering can easily attract 25,000 to 30,000 people because of its rich offerings. You don’t have to be Scottish to attend– as on St. Patrick’s Day when everyone is Irish, here everyone is at least a little Scottish (the Welsh always have a booth too). And keep in mind that not everyone who is Scottish is white– Scottish descendants come in all shades and sizes.

There are always certain dignitaries present at these events. During the formal kickoff of the games midday, they are introduced and a benediction is given. Seattle Highland Games 2015 2

These formalities are followed by a procession of the clans in alphabetical order followed by the traditional dog breeds featured in the kennel show. Here, Clan Buchanan takes to the green (which was pretty crispy looking after an unusually hot summer lacking any meaningful rain).

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Note the leather shields and weaponry. It’s refreshing to be in open carry sword territory.

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Mr. and Mrs. Nessie accompany the Seattle Genealogical Society. Later I found them posing for photos near the entrance to one of the exhibit halls. Normally elusive, they know they’re among friends at the games.

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The Corgis– a favorite of the Queen of England– are one of many Celtic breeds strutting their stuff.

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The 79th New York Cameron Highlanders are a fixture at such events and provide a three-volley salute at the opening ceremonies. Everything at their encampment is meant to appear authentic, so if you blocked out the surrounding tents, you’d suddenly find yourself in another century.

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From the modern to the ancient, all manner of wares are sold here. Yes, you too can own a cannon and use it to jolt your oblivious neighbors back to reality next time they have a large crowd singing drunken karaoke classics of the ’80s until midnight.

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The Romans made an appearance for the first time. They occupied Britain for hundreds of years and are a huge part of our history. Arthur himself may have been at least part Roman. One of my clan names has Latin roots.Seattle Highland Games 2015 9

Our Viking brethren camp out with the clans and remind us of the other large invasion that integrated itself into the local culture and gene pool.

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The Scottish Court. I remembered to curtsy after taking the photo.

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There are always traditional Highland animals on hand, such as sheep, cattle, and ponies. This mama cow and calf were interested in all the people wanting to pet them, but mama’s horns easily clanged against the metal fencing, unintentionally startling many.

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Do you know the caber toss? The crowds get very involved with this event. The caber is a pole nearly 20 feet long that weighs 175 pounds or so. Competitors must pick it up and toss it so that it flips end to end, trying to achieve the straightest toss possible. You should see the size of some of these guys. The announcers made the athletic events especially entertaining this year (what was that about the guy from Baton Rouge and The Waterboy?).

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Looking over the grandstands to the south. The weather would be hot, then cold, then sprinkle, then burst out in sunshine. We were putting our jackets on and taking them off so often we must have looked like a flash mob doing some sort of routine.

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More big burly men in kilts. This weight throw event seemed to be populated by Stone Cold Steve Austin lookalikes with one supersized Guy Fieri-esque contender. The ball and chain they are throwing weighs well upwards of 50 pounds– and these guys could throw.

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What’s a Scottish event without a good weapons cache? This is one of many vendors at the games.

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An indoor stage.

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This fine chap attends every year. This time he was accompanied by a Scottie that evidently didn’t mind his blaring bagpipes.

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One of the many bands competing at the games, the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band, who received several awards.

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Pirates beware: your curly fries are a hot commodity.

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Each clan booth has its own decor and insignia. If you’re from that or an associated clan, you can hang out at their booth like family… because you are.

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There were many beautiful dogs here, among them Gordon Setters. You can stop and pet each breed. Some handlers even keep a dog up on a table for easy access.

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Bagpiping isn’t just a man’s game. Pipers and drummers are male and female, young and old.

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Here CJ Henderson, Aaron Shaw, and Tiki King of the Wicked Tinkers rouse the crowd with their high energy Tribal Celtic madness. At first glance you might wonder what a didgeridoo is doing among kilts, but this Aboriginal alpenhorn and its Bronze Age cousin make this group.

Henderson can do things with a didgeridoo that I didn’t know a didgeridoo was designed to do. He and his enviable circular breathing can turn the didge into a beat box, brass band, 2000-foot deep beluga, bass clarion, and a bevy of other functions. He also used it to poke the awning above to drain off pooled water, cheering loudly along with the audience as he found yet another use for his caber-like companion.

These guys sing, play multiple instruments, banter, and even parade off and on the stage during performances. Henderson also plays a mean bodhran, and Shaw is like the Slash of pipe players.

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This might look easy. It’s not. These women are competing in the sheaf toss, which means securing a 10-pound burlap bag on a pitchfork, then tossing it behind you in an effort to clear a bar that can be set 20-something feet high. One world record was nearly set today– the woman in that class was nearing 30 feet.

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Tent art.

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Why not pick up a shield for the kids? They can be used for fighting, sledding, home defense, fort building, serving meals, and when not in use, as bedroom decor.

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At the closing ceremonies, all the pipe bands come together on the main lawn and march to the grandstands. It really is like seeing an army assembled.

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The master of ceremonies announces the results of the weekend’s competitions.

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The musicians march forward as they play in unison. If you’ve never heard hundreds of bagpipers at once, you need to. Put it on your bucket list. It will rouse your Scottish blood something fierce. Note the looming clouds to the north.

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The Scottish American Military Society folds our flags.

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See the menacing cloud lowering itself to the left? This is why the emcee told the audience he was going to hurry. I also hoped that the doves that were just released would hurry home because there were at least three eagles soaring on updrafts close by. Go doves, go!

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All pipers and drummers 10 years of age and younger were called forward to be recognized. Seattle Highland Games 2015 33

Almost done… fists in the air like you just don’t care… WHOOO….

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Just as the bands retreated, the floodgates of heaven opened. Even the bumbershoots were Scottish on this day.Seattle Highland Games 2015 35

Despite the torrential rain and thunder, this merry band of competitors found an available shelter and continued to play and cheer.

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The fairgrounds emptied quickly. We were soaked to the skin in about two minutes.

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These two gentlemen were among the last off the lawn as they sprinted for shelter.

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Next year will be the 70th Annual Pacific Northwest Highland Games and Clan Gathering. This year it cost $17 per adult per day and $12 per child over five. The two-day passes are a better deal. Admission is cash only, so if you didn’t bring enough, the onsite ATM charges nasty little fees. Parking costs about $5; many homeowners across the street and the hotel down the block offer parking spots.

There is a beer garden and pubs, and some performers, in the Celtic tradition, emphasize the importance of drink, so us nondrinkers might not find that appealing. But there is more than enough for both adults and children to do otherwise.

Given the caliber of the musicians performing, speakers, and athletes competing, it is well worth your dime, and you get get to be among your brethren as well. You can see this year’s schedule, showcasing the variety of events, here.

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For that is the mark of the Scots of all classes: that he stands in an attitude towards the past unthinkable to Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation. -Robert Louis Stevenson

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Seahawks 3

 

Oh, and from the Kirkland Views blog, the cow and coyote statue in downtown Kirkland, Washington…

Kirkland Views Seahawks Statue

Kirkland Views/Terri Fletcher

Kirkland Views Seahawks Statue 2

Kirkland Views/Terri Fletcher

 

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Spycar

You had me at illuminated manuscripts.

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with author Tom Lukas about his first book in a developing series, Special Operations. Standing by his ultra-hip 1972 Volvo p1800e coupe dubbed Spycar, which he’s touring  the country in to promote his series, he offered inside access to a mind always wired for writing, but that didn’t take the plunge until his 30s. At that point he exited a carpentry career to earn a degree in English literature. Readers will be glad he did.

Having recently read Special Operations, I can see how Lukas’ rich and varied life experiences, tinted by both triumph and tragedy, developed into a thriller that showcases the best and worst traits of the human soul. Knowing my interests in forensic psychology, he’d mentioned the complexity of the villain’s character. As you delve into the book you find that some bystanders begin to laud the antagonist’s missions and find yourself wondering how far you would go to protect innocents.

But is it protection, revenge, the indulging of a grossly overinflated, demonic god complex in a garish, theatrical bonfire of narcissism, or all of the above? Or more? What the Illuminator, the shadowy figure who captures key community figures, does is unquestionably over the top and excessive. But in bringing such a character to life, Lukas takes the revenge fantasies that victims of certain horrors might well have indulged and injects them with expired steroids. Some of these stygian twists and turns are so gut-wrenching they’re difficult to read, but they are not beyond the realm of possibility. That’s what makes them so terrifying.

How the Illuminator got from point A to point Z on the sadism spectrum really made me stop and think. I had to build a mental timeline to zero in on how an arguable hero became a butcher who seems like the next incarnation of Josef Mengele. This was especially intriguing because on the very first page, we learn that the Illuminator might be a woman. The MO and signature are not typical of a woman.

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Without giving away key plot points, I could see how certain events contributed to this, although how we respond to such events is often a matter of choice. But there was some other factor at play, something whispering behind the curtain that I couldn’t put my finger on until later in the book. This missing puzzle piece nearly floated to the surface by the final pages, shocking in its stark reality, and causing readers to question how often such things happen in the real world.

Also of particular interest to me were the law enforcement characters. I’ve known a lot of cops in various contexts– as a friend, as a spouse, as a coworker, as a student, as a survivor, and so on. Detective Nick Giaccone resembles some of the veterans I know, guys who now do consulting or side work as they age out of the ranks. Those are also some of the best investigators I know.

Giaccone is unwittingly drawn into this case just as he’s about to retire and is pulled deeper and deeper into a tragedy involving a rookie officer. In his investigation he realizes that he should have been paying more attention to his spider sense all along– and this despite his seasoned instincts. As he replays conversations and dredges up old memories, he is able to piece together the bigger picture, leading him to an epic showdown with a surprisingly formidable enemy.

In my writings on sociopaths and domestic violence, I like to remind people of what Gavin de Becker said in his bestseller The Gift of Fear, a book a trusted cop coworker introduced me to over a decade ago. Trust that uneasy feeling you get even if it doesn’t make sense– don’t dismiss it. If someone says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, pay attention.

In The Gift of Fear, de Becker tells us of a man who walked into a convenience store, but had an odd feeling and wound up leaving without buying anything. Shooting erupted soon after. Similarly, domestic violence victims often say that they sensed something was off when they met their abuser, but were charmed by their words anyway. That gut feeling isn’t prone to inaccuracies.

This is the voice that rises in Detective Giaccone as he teams up with a noted professor to interpret clues, particularly bits of illuminated manuscripts positioned at crime scenes. As Professor Canon Nailor and Giaccone connect over their shared second language and common cause, they become the odd couple of policing, at least for a time. We realize there could be more to Professor Nailor when the “dragon” enters, his vehicle of choice. But is there? And why would there be?

Ultimately this book reminded me of what a Holocaust survivor said about Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann– that Eichmann lives in all of us. Human passions and desires, unchecked, can lead straight to hell. There is a point at which the desire for justice  or revenge can cross over into the very territory that the justice seeker wishes to conquer. The abused can become the abuser; the advocate can become the vigilante. In our quest to set the world right we can become something even worse than the monster that violated us or those we love.

Special Operations starts like a roller coaster ride through a haunted house– if you remember the old Flight to Mars ride at the Seattle Center you’ll think you’re inside of that. Safely inside the standard formulaic crime novel, you buckle up and prepare to meet the usual cast of characters. Standard and usual, however, do not apply here. By the end of the book you’re out in the open, ten stories above the city at the top of the tracks not knowing when or how you’ll plummet down in book two.

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Lukas knows evil, and as a Christian who studies the dark souls among us, I am reminded of just how dark the night is inside a soul surrendered to forces that strengthen unholy desires. I am also moved to acknowledge how powerful love, devotion, and loyalty are, especially when there is justice to be sought.

In conclusion, Lukas has a gift for descriptive prose and a deep empathy and compassion for victims of sex crimes. For a guy who’s never worked in law enforcement, I appreciate how tuned in he is to the nuances of cops and the frustrations of some of the more seasoned investigators. My only major criticism, other than a smattering of choppy sentences that I tend to write with as well, is that at times I had trouble understanding how many years had passed between a key character’s death and this storyline. At times it seemed like a decade or more; other times much shorter. When I read it again sometime I’ll pay more attention to that. But first I plan to get my hands on a review copy of book two when it’s available. Lukas is actively conducting research to make the next installation at least as realistic and jarring.

Special Operations is published by Spycar Books and Yancastel Inc. in Seattle, Washington. Visit Tom Lukas’ website, Spycar Books, to learn more about this series, the car, and the man who had the courage to switch careers to start chasing his dreams.

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Are there, infinitely varying with each individual, inbred forces of Good and Evil in all of us, deep down below the reach of mortal encouragement and mortal repression — hidden Good and hidden Evil, both alike at the mercy of the liberating opportunity and the sufficient temptation? –Wilkie Collins

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

 

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Seahawks

Here in the Seattle area it sounds like the Fourth of July outside. The brisk night air bristles with the acrid smell of fireworks as screams and cheers reverberate throughout our neighborhoods. People are literally out in the streets celebrating. The Seahawks, after 38 years, have finally won the Super Bowl. And they didn’t just win it, they steamrolled Denver 43 to 8. (more…)

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Having to cancel some other plans for today turned into a blessing– I was able to attend the 64th Annual Veterans Day Memorial Celebration at Evergreen Washelli’s Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery.

Evergreen Washelli and their volunteers did an amazing job hosting this event. For starters, there were employees in maze of roadways directing parking. It could have been chaos without them. As I met up with some people close to the staging area, total strangers were chatting with one another and offering to help each other out. (more…)

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