Friday, February 29, 2008
As St. Patty's Day is fast approaching I thought it appropriate to share what I consider one of the finest voting propaganda posters I've ever seen. It promotes the registration of St. Patrick's Day as a National Holiday. I came across, our should I say, I saw it in the bathroom at Faldo Irish Pub in Columbus, Ohio.
At least this exit poll is highly accurate, unless your aim is slightly off from too much Guinness! Perhaps our national leader's should consider exit polls in pub bathrooms to get a pulse on what the REAL AMERICAN thinks!
Remember, pull your lever, vote for number one or number two and give a hearty battle cry for the Green Party of St. Patrick's Day. This announcement has been approved by Sir Hook of Warrick.
This message does not really exist due to the date being 2/29, which doesn't happen every year. Certain restrictions apply. See you local bartender for details.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Yes, it's time to bring the Luck o' the Irish to Ye, me Boyo! The official kick-off of Old Chicago's St. Patrick's Mini Tour began last night and runs for 20 days through St. Patrick's Day. It's kind of like a drunken mini lent! This is a time when Old Chicago, birthplace of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale, becomes O'Chicago and all who grace it's pub fancy themselves as Irish, either by blood or spirit.
For me, I married into the "fair people" and spawned new little Leprechaun's. However, if you're family originated from "across the pond" on the British Isles then you're more than likely to have Celtic blood anyway. This is my claim. After all, St. Patrick himself was from a rich English family and only adopted the land where he was formally a slave. So if calling yourself Irish because of a physical connection is good enough for St. Patrick, it's good enough for me. Besides, my lady and I enjoy the conversation of whose on top, the Irish or the English?!
The beer list is a new selection of Irish Lagers, Ales and Stouts. The only one that has my nose turned up is a mixture of Guinness and Sierra Mist called a "Shandy Gaff". I never heard of it and I'm trying to bribe the bartender into substituting another "pure" Guinness for me so that I can earn my T-Shirt without the Shandy Gaff passing my lips! If someone can tell m that's a traditional Irish drink, I'll do it.
Whatever you do, don't forget the "bonus" points for doing a shot of Bushmill's Irish Whiskey!
Sir Hook "the Irish because I married a Slattery" Wells
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
After reading Sir Bowie's blog about Trademarks and Beer Labels, I started reflecting on how we use labels in all facets of our lives. What seems easy on the surface becomes very difficult inside when we truly realize how labels form so much of who we really are as a person. It all starts with a question. For me it came last night from Lady Allwinky over a dinner discussion about a friend having to "put their dog down", human speak for kill the dog! Sure we believe it's the humane thing to do, so why don't we use the same logic with human beings who can no longer function without pain and suffering? Good question! The answer, labels! It's labeled brutal, sinful, trying to be like God, etc. when applied to humans; however, it's labeled as the right thing to do for cats and dogs. The same theory applies to the control of sexual reproduction. Sex itself, a very natural function, has long been a taboo in our society. It always has a label associated with it, depending on what perspective you are coming from This is when simple answers are not enough for me, because simple answers are often the drug of simple minds. But there I go labeling again. Some would say it's as simple as my lack of faith. Perhaps they're right; however, there's that Cherokee blood that flows through my veins that leads me to view ALL LIFE as Sacred. The trees, the grass, the birds, the asshole who cut me off on the bypass today. A very wise and open minded priest (hard to find now days) once told me that all creation and creatures are good and are meant for USE. It's when when we ad the AB in front and make it ABUSE that the problems begin. (This is actually a teaching of St. Ignatious of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits) So the next time you naturally fall into labeling events and all created things that are alive in their own special way, remember, life is not meant to be like a grocery store where you like only the "brand" or "generic" labels; life is a grand banquet, or better yet, your favorite pub, full of safe things, crazy things, wonderful things, horrible things, brand names, generics and a exotic choices waiting for your USE, not ABUSE. That is why I embrace the philosophy (really the way of life) of Unity through Diversity. It is also why I find the Catholic Church in it's "TRUE foundation", as the closest place for me to "formally worship" the living God, because Catholic at it's essence means UNIVERSAL and it's the one Church throughout the world that is truly Unified through Diversity (Like when I witnessed a Mass in Hawaii using traditional music and the hula at the altar under a Samoan Warrior Jesus). So, remember to read and apply all labels carefully and to Think, Drink and be Merry!
Sir Hook of Warrick
We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Part of the fun of this "Beer Discovery Journey" I'm on is discovering new masterpieces in art.
I love beer label and beer advertising artwork: Logos, fonts, graphics, positioning lines...
I was searching useless beer facts today and noticed a fact about one of my all-time favorite beers: When Britain enacted its trademark registration statute in 1876, beer was first and second in line: Bass’s Red Triangle became U.K. Reg. 1 for pale ale, and its Red Diamond for strong ale became U.K. Reg. 2.
By the way, America’s oldest brewer, Yuengling, Co., established in 1829, has been selling beer (branded Yuengling®) longer than any other company in America.
So, the next time you hoist a cold brew, take a moment to really look at the label and remember the important role beer has played in trademark history.
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Monday, February 25, 2008
Hope & Anchor are two very important words to a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale. Hope makes all things possible and our Anchor is the beliefs we hold dear to our hearts, beliefs worth fighting and dying for, but more importantly, beliefs worth living for! While I was away playing music on a Cursillo Weekend, Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire was enjoying great beer and music at the Hope & Anchor in London. Here is his journal on the adventure:
"After gallivanting, cavorting and general wassailing all week in London and all points of the island (most notably at the Hope & Anchor Pub in North London, where the Clash and the Sex Pistols, amongst others started out, and where I suitably got into a Rugby style melee when a bout of fisticuffs broke out between two of the bands playing in the cellar). This errant Knight decided last Saturday to hang up my Ball and Mace and have an evening of Pipe and Slippers next to the fire in the Great Hall, complete with a strong pint of original Port Stout.
By thunder, you can chew this stuff like tobacco! It's the sort of hoary stuff your great great Uncle would give you when you were six and tell you it would put hairs on your chest and make a man of you, and I tell you, going to first school looking like Big Foot with a Basso Profundo voice lingers long in the memory. So here's to a beer that is as black as the Black Knights underpants and tastes of pure chocolate and malt. And by the way, pass the comb, my pecs need grooming!"
Sir Dayvd "The Punk" of Oxfordshire
Thank you Sir Dayvd for sharing your adventure. Remember, as a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale, you're Original, Superbly Smooth, often imitated, but NEVER EQUALLED!
SIr Hook of Warrick
Sunday, February 24, 2008
My recent bout with the flu has forced me on the couch watching a lot of movies and TV. As I was flipping though the stations last night, I stopped at the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and George are trying to sell a TV show concept based on their own lives.
George: "I think I can sum up the show for you with one word: NOTHING."
The network heads are obviously unimpressed; After all, it has to be about SOMETHING!
In a way, I think the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale is a lot like Seinfeld. We're spontaneous -- we have no specific goals that we want to attain. Nothing is going according to a plan, because there is no plan. And it's wonderful!
The Buddhist have a saying, "If you meet the Buddha on the path, kill him," which means if you're following a spiritual script written in advance, bury it. Awakening, they believe, doesn't happen according to a plan. I'm not saying that you should throw away all your religious books and teachings, I'm just saying that I believe that there is an element of CREATION that we must create for ourselves in our own lives.
When we started the Knights of MSA, we basically said, Let's just begin where we are right now and see where it goes -- without judgments, or struggles to meet a certain goal.
Today, I'm thankful that you've all decided to coming along for NOTHING. Isn't it something?
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Saturday, February 23, 2008
When you read my body of work, I'm sure that you'll notice many typos and mispellings, oops, make that misspellings. I swear that I proof read my work and it looks just fine when I hit the publish button. I go back an hour later and there is a glaring mistake. I was telling a copy editor of mine about this and she sent me the following that might help explain why people don't catch their own mistakes.
If you glance at the next paragraph, you might think that I was drunk or hungover when I wrote this, but give this a chance and read it:
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?
Tihnk, Dirnk, and be Mrery.
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Friday, February 22, 2008
Today we toast George Washington's Birthday. Born in 1732 into a Virginia planter family, he learned the morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman.
A couple of things you have to admire about George Washington is that he didn't let defeat keep him down and he enjoyed a good beer.
I'll start at a little dot on the map called Ft. Necessity. The confrontation at Fort Necessity in the summer of 1754 was the prelude to the war fought by England and France for control of the North American continent. The struggle was known in North America as the French and Indian War and spread around the world as the Seven Years' War. The action at Fort Necessity was the first major event in the military career of George Washington and he had his butt kick -- entirely because of his own ignorance. It was the only time he ever surrendered to an enemy. But, he got back up to help defeat the French (this is where you on the other side of the pond can cheer).
Turn the page a few years...
In 1775, The Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, appoints Washington commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. Well, I'll let your read the rest of his amazing story for yourself.
So, with what beverage do we toast the general and first president of these U.States? It turns out that's an easy decision, because our first president had a definite preference when it came to beer. He loved the English style of beer known as porter and ordered them by the gross to keep Mount Vernon well stocked -- American brewed porter. "We have already been too long subject to British prejudices. I use no porter or cheese in my family, but that which is made in America: Both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality."
And it turns out that Washington was also a "home brewer" himself. Here is his recipe for small batch beer:
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste -- Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gall. into a Cooler put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler. Strain the Beer on it while boiling hot
let this stand til it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold cover it over with a Blanket. Let it work in the Cooler 24 hours
then put it into the Cask. leave the Bung open til it is almost done working -- Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.
So today Knights, let us toast to George Washington. It's a perfect time to sip a porter and reflect on where we are and where we came from.
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Thursday, February 21, 2008
"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write." Yes, words a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale would embrace in our quest. Words written and lived by the man we call the 2nd President of the United States, John Adams. Being a history "nut", HBO subscriber and frequent visitor to the local post office, I have been bombarded with this iconic message. A testament to my profession, marketing, I am anxious to watch this mini-series bring to life a true hero of our country. John Adams was a man who personified "Unity through Diversity". More than just words in his time, it was a philosophy that built a great nation. John Adams was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, yet successfully defended five British soldiers from the Boston Massacre, hardly politically correct in colonial days. He fought Alexander Hamilton's policy of creating a huge standing army that almost brought us to an unwanted and unneeded war with the French, and which also polarized our country politically. Sound Familiar?! His strength of character and integrity brought our nation and its people together at a very venerable and violent time. Not to mention that his cousin was Samuel Adams, namesake of some mighty fine beers! It's times like his, and now ours, where Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale are needed the most. Yes, we'll face a lot of opposition; however, the fruits of our labors will be sweet in the end. LET US DARE TO READ, THINK, SPEAK AND WRITE!
Sir Hook of Warrick
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Sometimes we have an experience so powerful that it motivates us to change our entire lives – an epiphany. This is not one of those stories. But, I did have an epiphany of sorts while drinking a class of Birra Moretti (Italian) the other night: “I wonder how much beer I lose in my mustache?”
Which lead me to this interesting story from Reuters: According to beer brewer Guinness, mustaches are wasting nearly a half-million pounds of its stout a year.
“New research by Guinness revealed that an estimated 92,370 mustache-wearing Guinness drinkers lose up to 162,719 pints of the dark stout each year. This amounts to approximately 423,070 pounds ($675,000) each year.
The company issued a statement saying that a genuine mustache has been proven to contribute to significant Guinness wasting, as a result of inter-fiber retention at every sip, according to Reuters.
Guinness estimates that each pint is raised 10 times, and each time, 0.56 ml is absorbed into the mustache. This process, for me, has been going on for nearly three decades! To put my mustaches and its related costs in perspective, I'm losing approximately $19 a year. For those of you with a full beard, you could be setback as much as $37 in lost beer per year (although Guinness' research did show that the amount varies according to the thickness of the facial hair).
Now, I guess that I could shave off my mustache (though it might freak out my two daughters who have never seen me without one), but wouldn't I be doing my mustache a great disfavor. Think about it, don't mustaches have the right to drink and be merry?. Mine does!
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
P.S. Many people think that to “wet your whistle” means taking a drink of beer. But, according to many sources I've read, many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim of their cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. Perhaps that's where the refrain “Blow it out your ear!” came from?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sitting in Fado, an Irish Pub in Columbus, Ohio, I was reflecting on Sir Bowie's Cell Theroy. As the Smithwick's went down easier I was content to just observe three sets of couples and how they communicated and reacted to each other. Couple A was first on my list. In their early 20's the conversation flowed from one to the other without missing a beat, while their eyes connected continuously. The only heisitation came when she would go outside to smoke (Ohio State Law) and she would say, "Don't miss me too much!" Couple B were in their late 30's. It was actually a set of two couples of that age. The female of Couple B was swaying to the music, getting up and pumping her fist into the air and generally connecting to the joyous universe, an action obviously not joined in by her mate. The look on his face was one of disgust, embarrassment, and jealousy all rolled up in a scrunchy ball of stress. Couple C I found the most intriquing. It was an obvious fight, probably stored up for weeks, waiting for releash at just the right time; a dark Irish Pub with good beer. Their whole conversation continued without any eye contact. The female would stick her head in his face, making her point while pointing her finger. The man would look straight ahead like he just got caught pissing in his pants in second grade. Then, it was his turn. He would get in her face with the look of a high school football coach on Friday Night Lights while she would turn her head the other way and cover her face with her hands. This went on for at least 20 minutes, after which it was so painful for me to watch, even in my facination, that I had to return to Couple A, still basking in the energy of Love. I asked myself, how do we get from Point A to Point C? Better yet, is it possible to get back to Point A from Point C? The answer is yes. On so many levels; physical, mental, spiritual, keeping love alive keeps you alive. I concluded my night in the Zoo by writing this poem:
Open to Life
A Mystic Dance
Into the Unknown
Propels the Spirit Towards
Sir Hook "The Lover" of Warrick
A good friend of mine owns a bar. I was introduced to him and his establishment, Legends, around two decades ago. For years I would sit at the bar and watch people walk up to a little window behind the bar, order drinks, and then wander away. Where were these people coming from? What were they doing over on the noisy side of the wall? Why were they wearing such funny looking shirts?
It turns out that there was a bowling alley attached to the bar. Bowling?
I don't know exactly how it happened, but somewhere along the line I got too old to play softball and Bill (soon to be knighted Sir William of Kegglers) invited me to bowl on his Monday night league team. Having never bowled before, I hesitated.
"You like to drink beer?" asked Sir William.
Yes, I did have to admit that.
"You like hanging around with the guys and drinking beer once a week, don't you?"
Yes, I did have to admit that, too.
"I'll see you Monday!"
That was several years ago and ever since then I've met a long line of kegglers, characters, and many new friends. I've learned that bowlers -- like Knights -- are a Diverse group. They leave the world of engineering, sales, music, advertising (just to name a few) and enter a world of Unity -- trying their best to knock down pins and knock down beers. The guys on my team are no exception. But, are they Knights? After all, I don't know them to journal and I don't know them to enjoy a variety of ales and lagers; However, I do know them to be exceptional in quality and to be very merry -- especially after winning a quarter (quarter of the year-long tournament, not a coin) like we did last night.
Like the Guiness Ad campaign states: "Good things come to those who wait."
Here's to the good Sir William of Kegglers, Sir Cock of the Walk, Sir Allen of Wall, and Sir Norman (Norm) of William Nottingham. Congrats on winning the quarter and becoming Knights.
The next time you're in Evansville, Indiana, stop in to River City Recreation and say hi to Sir William of Kegglers. And, if you're out on a Monday night after 8:45 p.m., stop in and buy us a round!
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Monday, February 18, 2008
No, not a jail cell!
I was reading a book by Deepak Chopra last night and he hit upon a very Knight idea that I thought I would share. From Chopra's book The Book of Secrets came a line that describes what's been happening to this merry band of Knights. "No matter where I look," he writes, "I sense what cosmic wisdom is trying to accomplish. It is much the same as what I myself want to accomplish -- to grow, expand, and create..."
The cells in our Knight's bodies have no problem fully participating in the mystery of life. Theirs is a wisdom of total passion and commitment. The following are 10 facts of daily existence at the level of your cells. To me, they sound like great Knights of MSA qualities:
1. A higher purpose.
2. Communion with other cells.
3. Awareness and open to change.
4. Acceptance for all others as your equal.
5. Seize every moment with renewed Creativity.
6. Your being is cradled int he rhythms of the universe.
7. Efficiency: Go with the flow.
8. You feel a sense of connection with your source.
9. You are committed to giving as the source of all abundance.
10. You see change against the background of immortality.
Many people withdraw from the challenge of everyday life. Would the cells in your body accept such defeatist logic? Would Knights? NO!
I have no idea where the book is trying to take me or whether I will follow; However, the early lesson is simple: Live like a cell!
I'll end by sharing a section of an article that Sir Paul of Lyon sent to me:
Go out today and move some furniture.
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Life and Beer
You may have heard a version of this used as a spiritual illustration, but this may just possibly be closer to reality...
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter.
He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. This time the students were sure and they responded with a unanimous "YES!"
The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar -- effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children?things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else. The small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued "there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.
"Take care of the rocks first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.
The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Saturday, February 16, 2008
It's more than ironic that I found this information from Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire in my inbox this morning after spending most of the night last night in search of the perfect liquid companion on a Waxing Gibbous evening. Waxing Gibbous, a name that has always fascinated me, is when the moon is more than half full, but not full enough. Gibbous is often a comment on my own life, whether good or bad, because it always seems that I'm just not full enough! I even thought it would make a great name for a beer someday. Anyway, Sir Dayvd was obviously mind melding with me across the pond and in the tradition of my ancestors did some poaching. This time it went through a check out line, into a basket, into his house and into him with great satisfaction. At last, the Gibbous has found what its missing!
The beer is brewed by a family brewery, Hall & Woodhouse, since 17777. It must have been popular with the red coats of the day in helping them deal with us pesky colonists. The logo includes the badger, a feisty creature, who would rather nosh on your face than to look at you, so obviously we know the character of the beer! They have a long line of "Badger" Ales like: Badger's First Gold, Tanglefoot and England's Gold. They also brew seasonal casks with great names like: Pickled Partridge, Hopping Hare, River Cottage Stinger and Fursty Ferret.
Here's what their web site has to say about "Poacher's":
Seeking out the treasures of the countryside and making the most of local ingredients is an art shared by Badger and the wily poacher.
Badger Poacher's Choice is a smooth, dark ale enhanced by a touch of liquorice for spicy sweetness and damson for a soft, subtly fruity taste. Its robust flavours combine well with game, desserts and mature cheeses.
Available in 500ml bottles, this rich, warming 5.7% ABV bottled beer is our fourth winner of the prestigious Tesco Drinks Awards. A gutsy ale that's well worth tracking down.
Availability: Available exclusively in selected Tesco stores and in our online shop www.badgerdirect.com.
So there you have it! In the words of a well imbibed Knight, "A Poacher in a Bush is better than a Hand in a Badger!" I'll let you discern on that one. Perhaps it's best to quit waxing my gibbous and end in the words of Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire, "Highly recommended in Sir Dayvd's Banqueting Hall!"
Sir Hook of Warrick
Friday, February 15, 2008
Those who know me know that my elevator doesn't exactly go all the way to the top. Yesterday, I proved it.
It’s a scene I’ve seen innumerable times on television shows and in the movies – though it usually involves a pregnant woman – the good ol' stuck in an elevator plot. I always wondered what I would do in that situation. Well, yesterday I got my chance to find out (sans pregnant woman). Somewhere between the second and third floor of my office building my elevator stopped. Stuck. Fortunately, the emergency phone did work. “We’ll send someone out right away!”
“Right away” is a relative term.
Knowing that I was in no real danger, I tried to stay calm. This is the perfect opportunity to practice my Sitting Zen Meditation. Aware of my breath arising and falling, arising and falling, arising… What’s that noise? Damn. Fancy me mad, but I was living Poe's Tell Tale Heart, “I knew that sound well too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.”
I became aware that my heart was racing faster than Helio Castroneves, only not as graceful.
The harder I tried to quiet my mind the more my monkey mind kept screaming “GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!” It's hard for me to put into words how this “calm and cool” Knight was reduced to panic of the unknown and of being stuck. I was literally “out of control” and it started to suck. (I was eventually rescued; If you ask me how long I was in there the minutes will increase each time I tell the tale! Let's start with 20 minutes). Some lessons learn take a lifetime, others 20, I mean 25 minutes. What did I learn?
Well, until there is a law that all elevators come with a fully stocked mini-bar (and believe me, I'm going to start working on that), I'm going to offer a little advice: Pack a bag before getting on any elevator. Here are some Items to bring with you every time you get on an elevator: Cell phone, book(s), battery powered reading light, a power bar, beef jerky and parched corn (for those with a frontier spirit), a six-pack of your favorite beer iced down in a small cooler (a case if you're taking the elevator on a Friday – just in case you're there for the weekend), an empty plastic bottle (because we never buy beer, we just rent it), flask full of whiskey (if you get tired of peeing into the bottle. Also, Bloody Marys or Screwdrivers will be a suitable substitute if riding in an elevator in the morning), a pillow and blanket (or better yet, a blow-up chair), radio or mp3 player, a portable DVD player with several of your favorite movies (I'm not sure that Towering Inferno or Speed would be a good choice, but other than that...), your Moleskine Journal and plenty of pencils and pens.
Come to think of it, why not bring a pregnant woman to keep your mind off your troubles. Surely she won't drink any of your beer, and her going into labor could be quite entertaining. Oh, and maybe bring a camcorder to record the entire event.
Finally, remember to write your elected officials. Clinton, Obama, McCain: Are you listening? Knights demand a fully stocked bar on every elevator.
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar (Temporarily yesterday: Sir Bowie of 2 and a half)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
A perfect day to break out the roses and clink glasses with the love of your life. I doubt that you can find this in the States, but if you can (or bottle, pardon the pun) offer her a Cupid's Ale: "a tawny, lightly nutty, brew, with a touch of ginseng dryness. It is made by the sinfully-named brewery Cain's, of Liverpool."
Or, when in doubt, chocolate. Some chocolate flavored beers to try are Rogue's Chocolate Stout, Samuel Adams' Chocolate Bock, Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout, or Young's Double Chocolate Stout.
Every Knight needs a get-away. Thanks to Sir Scott of Paradiddle (temporary name until he gets back with me), I'd like to introduce you to the Duke and Duchess of Sugar Tree Valley (Paul and Sonja Ramey). Their Dukedom is is a privately owned 145 acre wildlife refuge and horse farm located just three minutes from Eddy Creek Marina on Lake Barkley in Lyon County, Kentucky. And the good news: There's a cabin to rent for a modest investment of your mortal money. I say “investment” because the money traded is well worth the sanity break.
This is paradise for Knights looking for a quiet place to relax after a long day on the lake, or for those who would like to explore the many hiking trails and perhaps glimpse a variety of wildlife that could include deer, wild turkey, and native birds. Occasionally a bald eagle has been seen soaring high above the Valley.I left one of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale beer coasters back at the cabin and sure enough, like a shiny lure to a bass in Barkley Lake, Paul took the bait and navigated to our humble blog. He emailed me and enthusiastically wanted to be included in our merry band of brothers and sisters (okay, I added that part about "enthusiastically"). Even though he's more of a spirit drinker than ale his much needed wisdom and civility is a welcome addition to our group. I also pick Sonja to be on MY jousting team. When you go down to STV you'll enjoy watching her exquisite equestrian nerve and patience as she works the horses in the field or rides through the woods (Of course, she has to have patience to put up with Sir Paul, Sir Scott and Sir Me).
So, don't hesitate to call on Sir Paul of Lyon (on the Barkley) and Lady Sonja of Reins (actual name to yet to be determined).
If you would like to talk to someone directly concerning questions that you may have, call Paul and Sonja Ramey at 270-388-0984 and check out more information and photos at
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
P.S. Paul wanted to be Sir Oldmandowninthehollerinlyoncountyky; however, we felt it best to shorten it to Sir Paul of Lyon.
Of course, this works both ways. That's what makes love go around and around and around and around. Those of us who have been blessed with over 20 years of marriage "to the same person" know that it's easy to focus on the faults of our partners. Far too often we are excellent critics; however, deep within that hardened crust we call life lays that soft, warm, beating heart, longing for what all mankind long for; unconditional love. You see we're created from love, for love, to love. That's why we're miserable when we don't love, can't love, refuse love. The Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale declared St. Valentine's Day an official Feast Day...Lover's Day, because of this belief. Remember, it's the "Charm" that works every time, so let's focus on that. There are plenty of other days to get sucked up into what is wrong! In the words of Stephen Stills, "Love the one you're with!"
Sir Hook the Lover of Warrick
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
After I "picked up the pieces" of the broken glass in my yard last Saturday, Lady Allwinky and myself drove down the Ohio River by our house on the way to dinner. This inspiring sunset caught our attention and of course, I had to get out of the car and take a picture. It was only in reading a daily devotional that evening, God Calling, by A.J. Russell, who recounts the locutions given to "The Two Listeners" in a daily format, that I understood why. I conclude this Triology by quoting:
"Think of My trees stripped of their beauty, pruned, cut, disfigured, bare, but through the dark, seemingly dead branches flows silently, secretly, the spirit-life-sap, till lo with the the sun of Spring comes new life, leaves, bud, blossom, fruit, but oh, fruit a thousand times better for the pruning. Trust, never be afraid, never cease to rejoice in joy."
Sir Hook of Warrick
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I've debated with myself for the past 6 months whether to share this photo; however, after my meditation on how to "pick up the pieces" I felt comfortable in doing so. You see, I don't want your sympathy, only your understanding of the illustration of how to "pick up the pieces". This is me in the LSU Trauma Unit after breaking my back in an auto accident in Shreveport, LA on business. This was snapped by my Lady after recovering from surgery in the ICU and allowed to enjoy my one of many vices, Starbuck's. The brace you see was molded to fit me to provide support during my recovery. I went through four of such devices during my recovery. During that time I resigned from the company I help to start and started a brand new company on my own. Some said I was crazy and just reacting to another set back, having had open-heart surgery just 5 years ago. Others thought I was on drugs (which I obviously was) and didn't know what I was really doing (which I obviously did). This is when a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale must sometimes trust himself and stand on the battlefield alone. Not an unfamiliar situation for me, but never comfortable, or for that matter a sure result. But stand I do. I "pick up the pieces" and move forward to a better life and way of living. It is through being broken and the ability to allow yourself to be molded by the experience that true strength comes from. Like my back brace, molded to support me, I found all the support I needed already inside me. I just had to be broken to find it.
Sir Hook of Warrick
It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, - "Always do what you are afraid to do."
Monday, February 11, 2008
Several days ago we had a very powerful storm that came through our area of the country. It picked up our patio furniture around our pool and shattered the glass top into thousands of pieces across our patio and back yard. This past Saturday we had a very beautiful and warm day, so I decided to go outside and "pick up the pieces." Little did I know it would become a Zen meditation on my current state of being. This picture doesn't do it justice, but this image began my inward journey. It reminded me of how many times my life has been shattered like these pieces of glass. Through the process of "picking up the pieces" what appears to be a huge mess on the surface is actually a big puzzle waiting to be formed back together into a completely new life. I also noticed how the sunset was catching the edges of the glass and they glistened like diamonds waiting to be harvested. Thus is life, the willingness to be shattered and reformed. Shinning diamonds in the sun awaiting The Hand of the Divine to motivate us to "pick up the pieces" and begin life as a new creation. The same elements, but reformed and molded into a better and more inspired you. Of course, there's the rub. It's ultimately our choice to reform or remain broken. We can remain divided within ourselves like shattered glass and remain weak and helpless, or we can "pick up the pieces" and move toward a new and exciting way of living. The fact is, we will be broken many times in this life. Your question is, how many times are you willing to "pick up the pieces?"
Sir Hook of Warrick
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do."
Sunday, February 10, 2008
You might remember an earlier blog written by Sir Bowie of Greenbriar about 450 kegs being stolen directly from the Guinness Brewery in Dublin last December. Unfortunately, this audacious act happened on the exact day that Dublin Police had launched a new crime prevention program called Freeflow. Obviously the word worked, but not they way they had intended. In fact locals have taken to a new name for the program, "Coldflow". Well, they are proud to announce the following:
Irish cops bust beer thieves, but hunt isn't over
Detectives still looking for accomplices after audacious 450-keg robberyDUBLIN, Ireland - Ireland’s national police force has arrested two men in connection with an audacious robbery last week on the landmark Guinness Brewery in Dublin — but said Thursday they were still looking others involved in the beer banditry.
The Garda Siochana police force declined to specify how many kegs have been recovered following the Nov. 29 raid, when a lone man drove a truck into the brewery, hitched up a trailer loaded with 450 kegs and drove straight out through the security gate into rush-hour traffic. Guinness called it the biggest robbery in the 24
8-year history of the brewery.
Police said they recovered an unspecified volume of the stolen beer Monday at an undisclosed location in County Meath, northwest of Dublin, and arrested two men Tuesday on suspicion of involvement with the theft.
Thieves crash hijacked beer lorry
The lorry was stolen in Bridge Road, Southall, at 1150 GMT and the vehicle then jack-knifed minutes later on Merrick Road.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the lorry driver got out of the cab when two men flagged down the lorry or crashed into it.
The suspected thieves then lost control of the vehicle at a roundabout.
'Held at gunpoint'
Jags Khokhan, assistant sales manager at a Honda garage near the crash site, said the lorry overturned.
He said: "A large lorry came towards the roundabout and as it started turning it lost control and toppled over. A guy jumped out of the lorry and ran down the road.
"The owner of the van came down [the road] and said the driver had been held up at gunpoint."
The police spokesperson said: "There are early reports of a gun being seen, but it is not clear at this point exactly what happened in Bridge Street."
The driver was said to be "very shocked" by the incident, but uninjured.Police have appealed for witnesses to contact them.
So there you have it! Even though a good pint here in the US will cost me up to $5, I still prefer to drink my beer the old fashioned way! I Earn it! Well, at least I pay for it.
Sir Hook of Warrick
Saturday, February 9, 2008
About the only thing I can remember about the 4th year of my life was the night my sister HAD to watch some ridiculous TV show call The Ed Sullivan Show. All she talked about for days (and years after) was The Beatles.
Yes, on this date in 1964 we were part of the record 73 million viewers that saw The Beatles make their first U.S. Appearance on Ed's show. The rest, as they say, is Beatlemania History.
After that night, teenage boys began boycotting barbers as teenage girls plastered their walls with the "Fab Four." Daughters were wearing out all the needles on their phonographs that their dads weren't breaking because, after all, “Pop Hates the Beatles” (a rare reference that perhaps only Sir John of Rosedale will get).
Now, how do I tie this in with the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale?
The Beatles were Great writers, artists, and thinkers. Obvious.
Merry. These four lads from Liverpool came to America armed with good cheer and wit.
Beer. Did you know that there is an officially licensed beer can out there with The Beatles on it? Here are the facts presented from rarebeatles.com:
In 1987 EMI Parlophone in the UK put together a promotion with Heineken Beer, unusual for the fact that the Beatles have rarely loaned their name for advertising purposes. Specially printed cans of Heineken Beer featured a red banner across the top that said "The Beatles - A Unique Cassette." Along the bottom, the Beatles' names repeatedly circled the entire can. By sending in four pull tabs from the cans and approximately $5.00, consumers received a special custom pressing of a unique EMI compilation cassette titled Only The Beatles (Parlophone SMMC 151).
The tape featured twelve songs from 1962-1967, including "previously unreleased stereo" versions of This Boy and Yes It Is. This is the first and only time that a special pressing of Beatles songs was ever issued for the promotion of a commercial product. The cassette, along with the original can and inserts, is very hard to find as a set and is now worth from $150-200.00.
There you have it. And always remember
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Friday, February 8, 2008
First, do not fail to scroll down and read Sir Hook's "Warrior Angel" blog today.
Second, the sunshine we're experiencing today gives me a chance to dry out my very rain-soaked Moleskine Journal. Here is an entry from the other day while we were experiencing another torrential downfall:
By David Kuhn (a.k.a. Sir Bowie of Greenbriar)
I forgot that she even existed
I neglected her
I closed her out
I unfold her
Armor to protect me
Yet, she is frail
The tempest invites her
To turn on herself
Having no choice but to oblige
Reminding me to ask
Who is my protector?
Have I forgotten her?
Have I neglected her?
Have I closed her out?
I will hold her
I will unfold her
And love her
Yesterday, I received the following comment,
"I enjoy the quirkiness of this site and visit often. Maybe I should try to join (Sir Richard of Montreal?) but I'm more of a wine man myself so I'm not sure I qualify. Sir Hook, you seem like a really interesting guy. Raised fundamentalist, Baptist pastor and now practicing Roman Catholic, appreciator of spirituality in general and merry bon vivant. I'm intriqued by that sort of spiritual journey and would love to know how it all happened. Do tell us."
First, Sir Richard of Montreal, or for that matter the remainder of you silent majority that visit us, you do qualify for membership. Though the preferential drink of the Knights is hop based, we've been known to let a few grapes, potatoes, cactus and worms pass through our lips in a fermented state. It's the willingness to imbibe with joy rather than through necessity that counts in this category. More importantly is your openness to the spiritual journey, whose landscapes never quit changing or become less challenging. The "Piece de Resistance" is the willingness to share your insights with others, thus this blog is just one of the tools I choose.
I would love, and actually do love, to tell my story. But alas, it's not ever finished, it's only just beginning one day at a time, and I'm afraid would take up too much space in this format. I have entertained writing books along this line. Do you think that would be a good idea? Let me know. I will say that what you see and read here is what you see and hear when you meet me. The way of the Warrior, the way of the Spiritual Masters, and the way of the traveling minstrel have always formed who I am. I guess to sum it up, I used to think you had to be one or the other, not all at the same time. But after all, my God is actually three persons at the same time, so why can't I, who created in His image, be the same? Right, you can! So I remain open to what and who calls to me daily in my spiritual journey, OPEN being the Key, Heart, Mind, Soul. I enjoy life as we are all called to do. I help those less fortunate than I and learn from those who are more fortunate than me. And finally, if we just can't get along, I'll kill you and pray for your soul. (Figuratively speaking of course...so far) I am a Warrior Angel. More to come. Welcome Sir Richard of Montreal
Sir Hook of Warrick
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I'm sure you all are as sick of watching these six candidates slinging shit as I am, but with the writer's strike, post football and history channel reruns, what's a good Knight got left to do? My first impression, as one who was born ignorant, was to start traveling down the Road to Hell with these six carrying me in their hand basket. Then I remembered Confucius saying, "Ignorance is like a dark night, but without stars and a moon." This enlightened me and brought be back from my cave man mentality of just wanting to beat the shit out of everyone, to maybe I should put on my armor of a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale and discern the diversity here.
Considering that Edwards is out, I'll look at the remaining five. Beginning with Diversity at its finest, we have a woman and a black man who can seriously be nominated by their party for the first time in our history. On the Republican side there doesn't on the surface appear to be as much diversity, but being raised by southern conservative parents I was able to put my childhood lenses on and discovered that:
1. Romney isn't one of us by being Mormon and Very Rich, though he tends to flop more than the pancakes at IHOP.
2. McCain is the brave war hero that everyone respects but something happened to his mind in that Prison in Vietnam and he came out speaking his mind, something that scares the hell out of thick-skulled conservatives like Rush Limbaugh (Thus his basing of McCain not being conservative enough because he wants to reach out to people who don't believe like they do! Really, Rush is just worried about his job after January.) Besides, McCain has the thirty year younger trophy wife, no offense to her.
3. Huckabee being cut from the same cloth as me, a Southern Baptist minister (yes, I confess Father, I was one once.) who is not afraid to cross the bridges that the majority of Southern Baptist wouldn't dare, like playing bass in a rock band, and cracking jokes with Stephen Colbert.
So, there really is a lot of unity through diversity going on here under the surface and spin doctors. My suggestion, stay informed and drink plenty of strong ale to help your brain process the bull-shit from the good-shit!
Sir Hook of Warrick
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Sir Hook "the Black Light" of Warrick
P.S. Just to clarify why Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter always seem different. It is based on the Gregorian Calendar, which is based on other ancient calendars. Easter is actually determined by two distinct occurrences that are slightly less embraced by fundamental Christians: The Spring Equinox and a Full Moon. That's right, each year Easter is selected as the Sunday of the First Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. You back up 40 days from there and the Wednesday before those 40 days is Ash Wednesday. So mankind has been celebrating this great Feast for thousands of years. Unity through Diversity!
Beads in one hand and a beer in another was a tactile reminder that it was time to ring in another Fat Tuesday! Sir Richard the Lionheart of Beaver Creek and your humble servant, Sir Hook of Warrick made a pilgrimage to Old Chicago, Sacred Founding Place, of our inspired and errant band. The perfect beer to Ring in this occasion is anything brewed by the Bell's Brewing Company in Kalamazoo, MI. As they say, "Inspired Brewing!"
Recently discovering their pleasures over the holiday season, I found myself staring down the barrel of a 10% limited addition "mother of all beers", the Hopslam! The name says it all, both in flavor and in results. Many beads were shared as I hopped on the hopslam wagon. Try it, you'll like it! Now, how do I get off this wagon to write about Ash Wednesday?
Sir Hook "the Slamed" of Warrick
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I woke up this morning to today’s headline screaming that a Knight Quit. More precisely, “Bob Knight Calls it Quit.”
Bobby Knight is, of course, the greatest basketball coach in the history of the world! (Did I just write that?). You can’t argue wins and losses: 902 victories, three national titles, 32-0 Season at I.U., Olympic Gold, and an unforgettable chair throw.
I’m not sure that Bobby Knight would want to be a Knight of MSA. He doesn’t seem like much of a joiner. I don’t know if he “Drinks” and, even though I have seen evidence of a terrific sense of humor, I don’t think we can exactly call him “Merry.”
But, he is a brilliant “Thinker” and Knight, like all good Knights, is a fervent reader of biographies – especially of successful men and woman.
You can say a lot about Bobby Knight, but he is a winner. Do the means justify the ends? Should I hate the sin but love the sinner? Should I judge him for his actions?
The way I see it, I cannot, as a Knight of MSA, judge him – at least until I’ve walked a mile in his sneakers (Sneakers, now there’s a word you don’t see much anymore!).
So, a toast to the Knight of College Basketball. Whether you remember him fondly as you drink your pint, or curse him “good riddance” as you piss your ale, here’s remembering the legacy of Bobby Knight.
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Monday, February 4, 2008
Cheers to the Giants and Don Shula's Boys,
Sir Hook of Warrick
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Keep your eyes focused at least through half time...it's Tom Petty for Christ's sake!
Sir Hook "for the Giants" of Warrick
Saturday, February 2, 2008
This is Frenchie's Rockaway Bar & Grill on the beach in Clearwater, FL. I was told about this place by Lady Lori of Lover's Lane, who got engaged on the beach just outside. She was correct, it is a true Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale hang out! Great live music, great beer, great people and right on the beach and open sea air. For a moment I considered creating a new branch called Pirates of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale. After all this is the home of Buccaneers, both presently and historically. However, instead of raping, pillaging and plundering, I decided to be more Knightly and skip the raping!
The bartender that evening was very pleasant company, a fine looking lass of the sea who was an artist in acrylics and welding metal sculptures. She was sharing with me a book she was reading about the similarities of Einstein's theory of relativity and Picaso's paintings. Now that was grounds for immediate membership into KMSA! So, Lady Gina of Rockaway has joined our esteemed ranks! I left a couple of coasters for future recruiting and drove back to my hotel with a smile so wide the rest of me had a hard time fitting into the car! Keep those waves coming and your brain cells engaged!
Sir Hook "the Pirate" of Warrick
I thought it appropriate to share this photo, a revelation actually, of me on the beach at sunrise in Clearwater, FL. Some will say, "That's not you, that's just your shadow." While they may be scientifically correct, metaphysically speaking, if I wasn't there, neither would my shadow be. We actually are more than we can ever imagine! Like in the photo, I am at least 30 feet tall, something that I could never imagine without this experience. I transcedned time and space as my soul projected from my body towards the flowing sea, towards infinity itself. Even though I was 30 feet tall, I felt so humble at this moment in time, forever frozen in this picture. It reminded me of the evening before, while drinking a beer at Frenchie's Rockaway on the Beach and reading my Jesuit meditation of the day on my iPhone. The gospel reading was about Jesus teaching by the sea. The reflection was to pick a word or a phrase from the reading and make it your word. Like a bar of music it can echo within you all day. The Word of God will bear its fruit in you. My phrase was Mark 4:1, "AGAIN he began to teach by the sea." That phrase and the word, AGAIN, had never rang its chord in my soul as it did that night and at this moment of the photo. It reminded my of how every time I walk the beach I feel so alive and in tune with nature, with God, with living, and how many lessons or visions of what can be I have had in this sacred environment...AGAIN...and AGAIN...and AGAIN! So, on this Groundhog's Day I challenge us all to crawl out of our comfort zones, our holes, and let your shadow grow 30 feet tall. We really can be more that we every imagined when we allow the Divine to flow through us! It's time to let the "Winter of our Soul" to pass away.
Sir Hook of Warrick
Friday, February 1, 2008
Today is the first "Official Celebration Day" of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale. It was a mere three months ago that our Council of Founders decided to make Saint Brigid our official Patron Saint, mostly on the advice of one of our favorite Irish bartenders at Ri Ra's, Sinead.
Known as "the Mary of the Gael," Brigid founded the monastery of Kildare and was known for spirituality, charity, and compassion. St. Brigid also was a generous, beer-loving woman. She worked in a leper colony which found itself without beer, "For when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty." Brigid is said to have changed her dirty bathwater into beer so that visiting clerics would have something to drink. Obviously this trait would endear her to many a beer lover. She also is reputed to have supplied beer out of one barrel to eighteen churches, which sufficed from Maundy Thursday to the end of paschal time. A poem attributed to Brigid in the Brussel's library begins with the lines "I should like a great lake of ale, for the King of the Kings. I should like the family of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal." Next official celebration day is our Founding, Cinco De Mayo. We're planning a big party in 2009.
Here's to you and your health!
Sir Hook of Warrick