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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Open Season for NaNoWriMo 2008

The 2008 season for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins on November 1st. A quick introduction for those who are not in the "in."

30 days (November 1st through 30th) to complete a 50,000+ draft of a novel.

It's a community thing, and it's a great deal of fun. Sign up and finally get that novel written! There's really no pressure... it's more about quantity than quality at this point. I assure you that the revision process (starting on December 1st or thereabouts) can be just as fulfilling. I am self-publishing my first NaNoWriMo effort soon. I am still doing literary fiction this year... even if it doesn't pay :-) I can't wait to start. November 1st can't come early enough for me. I feel like a character in "Gladiator" waiting for Russell Crow to say "At my signal... unleash hell."

Sign up at www.nanowrimo.org

Sir Joseph Gould of Exeter

A Couple of Cool Knights




We lost a great one this week. Paul Newman, one of the last of the great 20th-century movie stars, died Friday at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 83.

He acted in 65 movies over 50 years. He was Hud, Fast Eddie, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy, and dozens of other great renegade characters.

But the movies and the occasional stage role were never enough for him. He became a successful racecar driver, winning several Sports Car Club of America national driving titles. He even competed at Daytona in 1995 as a 70th birthday present to himself. In 1982, as a lark, he decided to sell a salad dressing he had created and bottled for friends at Christmas. Thus was born the Newman’s Own brand. More than 25 years later the brand has expanded to include, among other foods, lemonade, popcorn, spaghetti sauce, pretzels, organic Fig Newmans and wine. (His daughter Nell Newman runs the company’s organic arm.) All its profits, of more than $200 million, have been donated to charity, the company says.

He was married to the same women (second marriage) for 50 years. Mr. Newman and Ms. Woodward’s was striking for its endurance. But they admitted that it was often turbulent. She loved opera and ballet. He liked playing practical jokes and racing cars. But as Mr. Newman told Playboy magazine, in an often-repeated quotation about marital fidelity, “I have steak at home; why go out for hamburger?”

One role that Newman didn't get was that of Cal Trask in East of Eden. Who beat him out? None other than James Dean. I mention this because this is the anniversary of James Dean's death.

From History.com:

On this day in 1955, movie star James Dean dies at age 24 in a car crash on a California highway. Dean was driving his Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed "Little Bastard," headed to a car race in Salinas, California, with his mechanic Rolf Wuetherich, when they were involved in a head-on collision with a car driven by a 23-year-old college student named Donald Turnaspeed. Dean was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:59 p.m. Wuetherich, who was thrown from the car, survived the accident and Turnaspeed escaped with minor injuries. No charges were ever filed against him.

James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana. He studied drama at the University of California, Los Angeles, before moving to New York City, where he appeared in plays and TV shows and took classes at the Actors Studio with legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg.

Dean rose to stardom in 1955 with his role as Cal Trask in East of Eden. Dean's performance in the film, based on the John Steinbeck novel, earned him a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. It was the first time in Oscar history that an actor was nominated after his death. The young actor's next film was "Rebel Without a Cause," also released in 1955, in which he played a rebellious teen named Jim Stark. The film, which co-starred Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, turned Dean into the poster boy for disaffected youth and cool. Dean’s final film "Giant," released in 1956 after his death, was an epic tale of a Texas cattle rancher and his family. Dean starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson and was nominated posthumously for a second Oscar for his performance as Jett Rink.

Dean's success as an actor enabled him to pursue his passion for racing cars and motorcycles. Despite his short life and brief acting career, he endures as a Hollywood icon. He is buried at Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana, where fans continue to flock to his grave every year. People also pay tribute to Dean at a memorial located near the accident site in Cholame, California. (end).

Above: Dean and Newman from screen test for East of Eden -- a couple of very cool Knights!


Sir Bowie of Greenbriar


Monday, September 29, 2008

All Are One

While Sir Hook rests up from his arduous journey, I thought that I would share part of an e-letter I received from Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversation With God series. I don't he'll mind my sharing it with you; it speaks, I believe, to many of the "world going to hell in a handbag" issues we've been discussing here.

My dear friends...

I want to tell you about the most important petition ever launched . . . a petition that could lead us all toward a new humanity, a new earth, and a New Spirituality.

Humanity's Team is collecting 50,000 Signatures to get the United Nations to declare a Oneness Day, a day set aside and embraced by individuals, communities and nations for humanity to celebrate, discuss and experience our similarities as well as our rich cultural diversities-our Oneness-a day to unite with the entire universe as one human family.

What I ask you to do is to join the thousands of others who are now signing a petition created by Humanity's Team. The idea here is to help humanity raise its consciousness by having a Oneness Day every year, celebrated worldwide. As we remember who and what we are on that day, we will soon realize who and what we are every day! And then we'll have heaven on earth!

To read the petition, follow this link:
http://humanitysteam.org/sai/oneness-petition/document

To sign the petition, follow this link:

http://act.humanitysteam.org/t/2014/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=80

Special times call for special action. We are in special times right now. Humanity is divided and faced with so many life-threatening crises that we need to change our world view if we wish to preserve life as we know it.

This is a dramatic statement, but it's true. The status quo doesn't work anymore.

We've got to stand together and declare that terrorism and anti-terrorism, the financial collapse and selective government bailouts, ecological devastation and uneven environmental enforcement, and the many other divisive and destructive conditions and policies in this world have to end if we are ever to begin creating our dream for all of humanity.

And for those divisive and destructive conditions and policies to end, the underlying beliefs that created and perpetuate them must change.

We've got to realize something we already know deep in our hearts; we've got to now officially declare it once and for all, for the World Entire to see and to consider: that we are all part of a unified whole, with multiple dimensions, each complementing the other: We Are All One. The sooner we recognize this, that is, re-cognize it (that is, know it again), the sooner the world's life-threatening crises will end.

That's another dramatic statement, and it's also true.

After signing the petition, I will ask you to do something else: own it. Own it by using its built-in link to spread the word by forwarding the petition to as many people as possible. And continue checking back for the signature count. We can bring about a truly historic change, but only when we all take responsibility for getting the job done.

Neale

# # #

Here is a link to the CWG home page: http://www.cwg.org/main.php


Sir Bowie "Easier to Say 'we're one' than to live it -- but, I'm trying" of Greenbriar

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Good things come in small packages. That was the first sentence written in my newest Moleskine a couple of days ago in Fados Irish Pub in Easton, OH after completing business on a Friday afternoon.

You see, I have been struggling to not only write in my Moleskine, but to actually carry it. I decided it was the carrying that was blocking the writing
after I spied this new miniature edition at the Book Store across the street.

It's ruffly a third of the size of my standard Moleskine. I call it my "Small Big Idea Book"!

Under the guidance of a pint of Magic Hat #9, a thought enhancing elixir brewed in the mountains of Vermont, I broke through the barrier with lightning speed.


I have to admit, being a bit of an obsessive-compulsive personality, I also found it difficult to just jot down ideas in my "main" Moleskine, preferring for that vehicle to be preserved as the next literary Nobel Prize winner. My Small Big Idea Book has freed me from my mental tethers to soar wherever I want to point my considerable beak towards.

Of course that was a trip of 30 miles to Dublin, OH where I landed in my "McGrath's of Ohio", the Dublin Village Tavern. I celebrated my new found freedom with several pints of Boddington's, did some recruiting (as seen in the picture of our coasters behind the bar next to Sir Joseph of Dublin pouring a Guinness) and joining in the tavern camaraderie as we watched the debate between Obama and McGain while doing shots everytime McGain said, "My Friends" and Obama said, "Change".

Sir Dayvd will be proud that not only did his crest creation take over the bar at DVT, but the English have once again taken over Dublin! This time not by force, but by a forceful personality. Of course that is my humble opinion. You can keep yours to yourself!

Cheers!

Sir Hook the Victor of Dublin Upon Boddington of Warrick

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I came, I saw, I conkered

Sir Bowie's lovely paean to Fall, or Autumn as it is in England, ( KMSA blog Sept 26th 2008 ) brought to my mind the word Conkers, a word guaranteed to put a glint in the eye of any schoolboy in the UK. For this is the time of year that the nuts of the Horse Chestnut tree are to be found, shaken down, and split open, by the rough north winds, amongst the ochre carpets of the huge hand-like leaves, or in times of breezeless Indian Summers, forced down by well aimed thick sticks, snapped from tumbled branches.


Generation apon generation of boys have bolted through the school gates as soon as the bell has rung to end the days learning.. ...to rush off to the nearest ranks of the mighty trees ( called Horse Chestnuts because the stem of the leaves where is joins the tree is U shaped and leaves a mark like a horseshoe when it falls away ) to be first to shuffle through the crisp bed of leaves for the prize "conker" that could make them King of the Playground, in the time honoured game of Conkers
Conkers is a game traditionally played by children in Britain. The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns to strike each other's conker until one breaks.

The name comes from the dialect word conker, meaning snail-shell (related to French conque meaning a conch), as the game was originally played using snail shells.
  • A hole is drilled in a large, hard conker using a nail, gimlet, or small screwdriver. A piece of string is threaded through it about 25 cm (10 inches) long (often a shoelace is used). A large knot at one or both ends of the string secures the conker.
  • The game is played between two people, each with a conker.
  • They take turns hitting each other's conker using their own. One player lets the conker dangle on the full length of the string while the other player swings their conker and hits.

Scoring

  • The conker eventually breaking the other's conker gains a point. This may be either the attacking conker or (more often) the defending one.
  • A new conker is a none-er meaning that it has conquered none yet.
  • If a none-er breaks another none-er then it becomes a one-er, if it was a one-er then it becomes a two-er etc. In some areas of Scotland, conker victories are counted using the terms bully-one, bully-two, etc.
  • The winning conker assimilates the previous score of the losing conker, as well gaining the score from that particular game. For example, if a two-er plays a three-er, the surviving conker will become a six-er.
As we grow up and get older...you'll be hard pushed not to find any man in the streets of England who can resist walking through a park of these trees in a town or countryside and not still look for Conkers for old times sake... and then surreptitiously pick them up and put them in their pockets... to fondle them with rose-tinted memories as they go on their way...and to find them months later when cleaning out their coat pockets, and to crazily sit them on shelves at home till the wife or partner throws them away. ( I know this as I have two of this years crop sat with me this minute by my computer. )

Of course things always move on and get serious...and indeed there is a World Conker Championship held every year in the UK, where people, who are far too grown up and strong take things far too seriously, and harden their conkers in a hundred different ways, and cheat and argue and Japanese TV turns up to film all this Tweedy Eccentric Englishness..

But for me the real business of Conkers, is that halcyon time between 7 years of age till 11... at your first school... where the echoes of Knights and Jousting and becoming a warrior, are first given their head, and with a simple nut, given freely by nature you learn all about winning and losing.

Sir Dayvd ( still playing with his nuts after all these years ) of Oxfordshire

Friday, September 26, 2008

Equal Days and Knights

In the language of science, an equinox is either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect. Basically, day and night are of approximate equal length.


Avebury Seasons (A collection of eight paintings) by Ric Kemp

Autumn Equinox shows Silbury Hill from neighbouring Waden Hill [’pagan hill’] with Wiltshire corn figurines indicating the end of harvest; a spectral megalithic avenue is suggested in the middle distance. At a megalithic cairn on a hill at Loughcrew in Ireland, the rising sun at the equinoxes illuminate the passage and chamber.



With all the political and economic news happening this week, I failed to notice that the earth and Universe continues to march on as it has done for billions of years. Monday was the autumnal equinox (Sept 22, 2008; 11:44:18 A.M. EDT), the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.


Autumn is here. How could I have missed the grand opening of my favorite season?

As busy as my father always was, he never missed an opportunity to load my mom, two brothers, sister, and me in the car and head to some State or National park and just let us romp. I can hear him say, "Don't run too far ahead; stay close."


A lot of times he'd pack a picnic or even be brave enough to load a grill and some hamburgers to grill out under a canopy quilt of reds and yellows . Those autumn days will always be some of my favorite recollections of being with my family (below: twin brother Jeff, Mom, Sir John of Rosedale, Sir Bowie, Karen).

When I became a father, I tried very hard to continue the autumn tradition with Lady Suzanne and my two girls. I hope they enjoyed those days and will never forget them. Now that Lucy is away at college and Amy is working full time, I've come to the realization that I'll not have too many more opportunities to share these special days with the loves of my life. Something else to miss.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago, I knew that those autumn romps in the woods with him were gone. He passed away a year ago this autumn.

Autumnal equinox has come and gone. Today I'm reminded that I not only missed that special day, but I also sorely miss my special friend – my father.


As I write this, I look out the window and see that the huge maple tree behind us is really starting to put on its autumn cloak – it's not listening to the trials and tribulations of human beings. It's listening to, and still knows that it's one with, the Universe.

I smile through my tears of pain for I know that my father is one with the Universe as well. Yes, I did miss the autumnal equinox, but I will not miss the season and the opportunity to romp in the woods. I also, will never stop missing my father -- his memory will be there, too, saying "Have fun, but stay close!"

Dad, my twin brother Jeff, and me - a LONG time ago.


I'll always stay close. I love you, Chico (our nickname for him).


Good Knights, to paraphrase Sir Hook, 'Endeavor to Engage Autumn – and all those in our hearts.”


Sir Bowie of Greenbriar





Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Dream Ticket?

I’m usually not too eager to enter into any political debate, but I just had to throw this out: It’s obvious to me from reading these many posts and comments that a majority of you believe that Barack Obama is the best qualified candidate we have for President, and Sarah Palin is the best qualified person for Vice President. So...


How about President Obama with Vice President Palin?



Yes, just when I think I finally understand how the U.S. election process works (or doesn't work), I get thrown a Constitutional head fake.


It is looking more and more possible that On Nov. 5, the presidential election winds up in a electoral-college tie, 269-269. What happens then? Well, I can only assume that the Democrat-controlled House picks Sen. Barack Obama as president. But, the Senate, with former Democrat Joe Lieberman voting with Republicans, puts the vote for VP in a deadlock at 50-50.


What happens then? According to an archaic system in the Constitution, the current Vice President steps in to break the tie. Who do you think he’ll pick as his successor? I’m guessing Republican Sarah Palin.


Sound impossible? It’s not. According to an article in the Washington Times this week, there are at least a half-dozen plausible ways the election can end in a tie (based on polling and last election results).



Absurd? Possibly, and get this: there is not complete agreement among constitutional experts on whether a newly elected Congress or the currently sitting House and Senate would make the decision. Wow. Can you say never-ending law suits? And there's more.


From Washington Times:

So try this scenario: The newly elected House, seated in January, is unable to muster a majority to choose a president after a 269-269 tie, but the Senate, which is expected to be controlled by Democrats, picks Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. from the Democratic ticket. If the House is still deadlocked at noon on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, Mr. Biden becomes acting president.


Or try this one on for size: Neither the House nor the Senate fulfills its constitutional duty to select the president and the vice president by Jan. 20, so House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, becomes acting president until the whole mess is sorted out.


That would cause all kinds of lawsuits: We would have 50 Floridas, and we might not know who the president is for two years,” said Judith Best, a political science and Electoral College specialist at the State University of New York in Cortland.


The archaic system in the Constitution was set up in the days of oil lamps and horse-drawn carriages. After the presidential vote on the first Tuesday in November, electors have until the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, this year Dec. 15, to reach the state capital, where they cast their ballots for president.


The electoral vote is then transmitted “sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the Senate,” according to the 12th Amendment. If there’s a tie, the 1804 amendment says, the House of Representatives “shall choose immediately, by ballot, the president.”


The Constitution says ‘immediately,’” Mr. Hess said. “It’s that word ‘immediately’ that makes me believe it’s got to be the outgoing Congress that makes the decision, because we know that the Electoral College ballots are counted in December.”


The probability of a tie in 2008 is about 1.5 percent, which is slightly higher than we calculated at about the same time back in 2004,” said Paul Sracic, associate professor in the department of political science Youngstown State University in Ohio, who enlisted the help of the university’s math department to come up with a possible 1,024 combinations with the current 10 states now considered tossups.


# # #


Eventually, only members of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale who have contributed intelligent posts and/or comments on this blog may be in the running. All just something to think about.


Sir Bowie “Yes, I know that leaves me out of the running” of Greenbriar



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon

The Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon

Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?
A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction.

Q: But the inspectors didn't find any weapons of mass destruction..
A: That's because the Iraqis were hiding them.

Q: And that's why we invaded Iraq?
A: Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.

Q: But after we invaded them, we STILL didn't find any weapons of mass destruction, did we?
A: That's because the weapons are so well hidden. Don't worry, we'll find something, probably right before the 2008 election.

Q: Why did Iraq want all those weapons of mass destruction?
A: To use them in a war, silly.

Q: I'm confused. If they had all those weapons that they planned to use in a war, then why didn't they use any of those weapons when we went to war with them?
A: Well, obviously they didn't want anyone to know they had those weapons, so they chose to die by the thousands rather than defend themselves.

Q: That doesn't make sense. Why would they choose to die if they had all those big weapons with which they could have fought back?
A: It's a different culture. It's not supposed to make sense.

Q: I don't know about you, but I don't think they had any of those weapons our government said they did.
A: Well, you know, it doesn't matter whether or not they had those weapons. We had another good reason to invade them anyway.

Q: And what was that?
A: Even if Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was a cruel dictator, which is another good reason to invade another country.

Q: Why? What does a cruel dictator do that makes it OK to invade his country?
A: Well, for one thing, he tortured his own people.

Q: Kind of like what they do in China?
A: Don't go comparing China to Iraq. China is a good economic competitor, where millions of people work for slave wages in sweatshops to make U.S. Corporations richer.

Q: So if a country lets its people be exploited for American corporate gain, it's a good country, even if that country tortures people?
A: Right.

Q: Why were people in Iraq being tortured?
A: For political crimes, mostly, like criticizing the government. People who criticized the government in Iraq were sent to prison and tortured..

Q: Isn't that exactly what happens in China?
A: I told you, China is different.

Q: What's the difference between China and Iraq?
A: Well, for one thing, Iraq was ruled by the Ba'ath party, while China is Communist.

Q: Didn't you once tell me Communists were bad?
A: No, just Cuban Communists are bad.

Q: How are the Cuban Communists bad?
A: Well, for one thing, people who criticize the government in Cuba are sent to prison and tortured.

Q: Like in Iraq?
A: Exactly.

Q: And like in China, too?
A: I told you, China's a good economic competitor. Cuba, on the other hand, is not.

Q: How come Cuba isn't a good economic competitor?
A: Well, you see, back in the early 1960s, our government passed some laws that made it illegal for Americans to trade or do any business with Cuba until they stopped being Communists and started being capitalists like us.

Q: But if we got rid of those laws, opened up trade with Cuba, and started doing business with them, wouldn't that help the Cubans become capitalists?
A: Don't be a smart-ass.

Q: I didn't think I was being one.
A: Well, anyway, they also don't have freedom of religion in Cuba..

Q: Kind of like China and the Falun Gong movement?
A: I told you, stop saying bad things about China. Anyway, Saddam Hussein came to power through a military coup, so he's not really a legitimate leader anyway.

Q: What's a military coup?
A: That's when a military general takes over the government of a country by force, instead of holding free elections like we do in the United States.

Q: Didn't the ruler of Pakistan come to power by a military coup?
A: You mean General Pervez Musharraf? Uh, yeah, he did, but Pakistan is our friend.

Q: Why is Pakistan our friend if their leader is illegitimate?
A: I never said Pervez Musharraf was illegitimate.

Q: Didn't you just say a military general who comes to power by forcibly overthrowing the legitimate government of a nation is an illegitimate leader?
A: Only Saddam Hussein. Pervez Musharraf is our friend, because he helped us invade Afghanistan.

Q: Why did we invade Afghanistan?
A: Because of what they did to us on September 11th.

Q: What did Afghanistan do to us on September 11th?
A: Well, on September 11th, nineteen men, fifteen of them Saudi Arabians, hijacked four airplanes and flew three of them into buildings, killing over 3,000 Americans.

Q: So how did Afghanistan figure into all that?
A: Afghanistan was where those bad men trained, under the oppressive rule of the Taliban.

Q: Aren't the Taliban those bad radical Islamics who chopped off people's heads and hands?
A: Yes, that's exactly who they were. Not only did they chop off people's heads and hands, but they oppressed women, too.

Q: Didn't the Bush administration give the Taliban 43 million dollars back in May of 2001?
A: Yes, but that money was a reward because they did such a good job fighting drugs.

Q: Fighting drugs?
A: Yes, the Taliban were very helpful in stopping people from growing opium poppies.

Q: How did they do such a good job?
A: Simple. If people were caught growing opium poppies, the Taliban would have their hands and heads cut off.

Q: So, when the Taliban cut off people's heads and hands for growing flowers, that was OK, but not if they cut people's heads and hands off for other reasons?
A: Yes. It's OK with us if radical Islamic fundamentalists cut off people's hands for growing flowers, but it's cruel if they cut off people's hands for stealing bread.

Q: Don't they also cut off people's hands and heads in Saudi Arabia?
A: That's different. Afghanistan was ruled by a tyrannical patriarchy that oppressed women and forced them to wear burqas whenever they were in public, with death by stoning as the penalty for women who did not comply.

Q: Don't Saudi women have to wear burqas in public, too?
A: No, Saudi women merely wear a traditional Islamic body covering.

Q: What's the difference?
A: The traditional Islamic covering worn by Saudi women is a modest yet fashionable garment that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers. The burqa, on the other hand, is an evil tool of patriarchal oppression that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers.

Q: It sounds like the same thing with a different name.
A: Now, don't go comparing Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are our friends.

Q: But I thought you said 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11th were from Saudi Arabia.
A: Yes, but they trained in Afghanistan.

Q: Who trained them?
A: A very bad man named Osama bin Laden.

Q: Was he from Afghanistan?
A: Uh, no, he was from Saudi Arabia too. But he was a bad man, a very bad man.

Q: I seem to recall he was our friend once.
A: Only when we helped him and the Mujahadeen repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan back in the 1980s.

Q: Who are the Soviets? Was that the Evil Communist Empire Ronald Reagan talked about?
A: There are no more Soviets. The Soviet Union broke up in 1990 or thereabouts, and now they have elections and capitalism like us. We call them Russians now.

Q: So the Soviets ? I mean, the Russians ? are now our friends?
A: Well, not really. You see, they were our friends for many years after they stopped being Soviets, but then they decided not to support our invasion of Iraq, so we're mad at them now. We're also mad at the French and the Germans because they didn't help us invade Iraq either.

Q: So the French and Germans are evil, too?
A: Not exactly evil, but just bad enough that we had to rename French fries and French toast to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.

Q: Do we always rename foods whenever another country doesn't do what we want them to do?
A: No, we just do that to our friends. Our enemies, we invade.

Q: But wasn't Iraq one of our friends back in the 1980s?
A: Well, yeah. For a while.

Q: Was Saddam Hussein ruler of Iraq back then?
A: Yes, but at the time he was fighting against Iran, which made him our friend, temporarily.

Q: Why did that make him our friend?
A: Because at that time, Iran was our enemy.

Q: Isn't that when he gassed the Kurds?
A: Yeah, but since he was fighting against Iran at the time, we looked the other way, to show him we were his friend.

Q: So anyone who fights against one of our enemies automatically becomes our friend?
A: Most of the time, yes.

Q: And anyone who fights against one of our friends is automatically an enemy?
A: Sometimes that's true, too. However, if American corporations can profit by selling weapons to both sides at the same time, all the better.

Q: Why?
A: Because war is good for the economy, which means war is good for America. Also, since God is on America's side, anyone who opposes war is a godless un-American Communist. Do you understand now why we attacked Iraq?

Q: I think so. We attacked them because God wanted us to, right?
A: Yes.

Q: But how did we know God wanted us to attack Iraq?
A: Well, you see, God personally speaks to George W. Bush and tells him what to do.

Q: So basically, what you're saying is that we attacked Iraq because George W. Bush hears voices in his head?
A. Yes! You finally understand how the world works. Now, that enough, its way passed your bedtime.

Goodnight.


Sir Dayvd ( Reale Politick ) of Oxfordshire

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Scatter Brain


















It was one those words that make you go: "yep, that's me!".


The fact is that I am interested in too many things, and nothing gets my undivided attention. I did not choose to be like this -- I am like this. Sometimes I wonder how it would've been if I were one of those people who are able to prioritise their time and are able to say to themselves "I'm gonna spend my time on this, this, and this; and the rest can "go to hell". Do they end up with a feeling that they do not know too many things that they should have.

If I were able to get myself to spend my time with family, career, friends, and a couple hobbies, and nothing else, would I be a happier person? I can see that I could probably have a more fulfilling career because I'd devote more time and attention towards it, but would I lose out on other things?

For example: I spend quite a bit of time and energy in learning about the nuances of personal finance and investments, and it had certainly been a very enriching experience (both emotionally & materially). My knowledge in this area makes me extremely comfortable about my money matters, about my financial future, etc.

If I weren't a scatterbrain, I'd never know what I know about finance simply because it's totally unrelated to the rest of my life. My long term financial wellbeing would suffer from my own financial stupidity, and I'd perhaps even be robbed by some smooth talking scumbag financial advisor who'd put my money into some 5% front loaded 2.5% ER high turnover mutual fund B-shares under a 2% fee wrap account.

How would it be if I didn't read about science and put my head in the sand thinking god will solve all my problems if I prayed hard enough?

How would it be if I didn't know about the Law of Infinitesimals and took myself to a homeopath when I was miserable from an ear infection?

On the other hand, I'd spend more time writing that Great American Novel, concentrate more on my career to perhaps become a kickass supergeek, take better photographs, perhaps bring about my Destiny that Sir Bowie wonderfully wrote about in the KMSA blog 22nd sept 2008. Life it seems is always being caught between what I want to do and what I have to do.

Which way is a better tradeoff? All my life I've been hearing the crap about finding the right balance - can somebody please tell me where that annoyingly elusive balance point is?

Sir Dayvd ( the scatterbrain ) of Oxford-shire

Monday, September 22, 2008

Only One!

Here's something to do and THINK about the next time you pick up a glass of your favorite ale, take a sip, and put it down: Take a long look at your fingerprints on the glass.

Genetically, you are unique. No one has ever had your exact genetic makeup. Your DNA, the genetic blueprint in each of your cells, is as unique as your fingerprint.


Of course, we're also shaped and molded by our life-experiences. Where we've live, whom we've interacted with, what we've learned... all contribute to our uniqueness.

Like ales and lagers, each of us offers something unique. It's up to us to take maximum advantage of our unique skills and talents to provide the greatest service to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

So, take another sip, examine your unique fingerprint, and ask yourself What's my unique destiny? Start filling that Moleskine today with your wonderfully unique ideas -- then go forth and conquer your destiny.

"Destiny is not something we wait for. Destiny is not something that happens to us. Destiny is a choice, and we can choose to be the people (Knights) we want to be." -- Walter Anderson

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SIR Brit on the Ohio

After our spirited blogging yesterday I decided to jaunt down by the Ohio River a few "Yards" from my humble home to take in some foreign relations. (By the way did you know that Sarah Palin didn't get a passport or travel outside the country until 2007 when she decided to visit some Alaskan National Guard members in Kuwait and Germany? Now, that's experience!) Sorry, I lost track of my story. The last Sunday in September always features the SIR BRIT car show on the banks of the Ohio in our little village of Newburgh.


That's right! We have more foreign experience in Newburgh than you might think! We even have a sister city in Newburgh, England, and we're relatively old (I know that gets to Sir Dayvd) being founded in 1803. As we like to say, we are "The Best Town By a Dam Site"!


Unfortunately this year's show was not as well attended by car owners. I suspect that's because of the economy and they either didn't want to spend the money in gas to drive here, or they don't own their cars anymore. Hard to say, but there were still plenty of beauties like this bright red MG against the Ohio. By the way, that's the foreign country of Kentucky in the background. Do you know what a Kentuckian thinks Roe vs. Wade means? An argument about how to cross the Ohio River! LOL! (Sorry, Lady Suzanne...a native Kentuckian...I also carried its citizenship during my college days.) Speaking of Kentucky, in Louisville it appears that the US just might kick some European Ass in the Ryder Cup. (Sorry, Sir Dayvd) It's about the only thing we're doing right this week.


Here's another MG. Can you tell I like the old MG's?! The bend in the river heads towards Evansville. Just about a half mile down is the Abchier Ice House Pub where I down those 3 Floyd Ales!


Here's the interior of a red MG. Beautiful! If you've never driven a car sitting on the left side and down the left side of the road you haven't really lived yet! I've had the privilege to do so in England, Bermuda and Tortuga BWI. (I told you I've had plenty of foreign experience.) I'm not quite sure how the British came up with the lefty system, or why we went rightly (Perhaps it is a mirror of our countries political leanings?), but I am sure that Sir Dayvd will be able to educate us on this subject later.


So, here's to another Red, White and Blue! I'm proud to wave the British Flag on my shores and know that we have friends from the Mother of all Countries and the 51st State!

Cheerio!
Sir Hook the Brit Loving MG Lusting Pirate of Warrick

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Corporate Greed & The Socializing of America




























It appears that the one thing the Bush Administration will be remembered for is not Katrina, not the wars in the Middle-East, but the fruition of the Right Wing Conservative Republican Dream...Corporate Greed.

The problem is, it didn't quite turn out the way they have always been taught while sucking on that silver spoon.

No, American Corporate Greed, made manifest in today's Mortgage Crisis, has ushered in an unprecedented event. The socializing of America by a Republican ran Federal Government.

After FDR quits rolling around in
his grave, he will be most pleased with the irony that the party who made sure he wouldn't serve 4 more years actually completed what he started.


Corporate America has not only lost touch with reality, but has also lost any sense of fairness and accountability to its share holders.

The golden parachute for CEO's is nothing but a "Piggy Bank with Lipstick". It has flipped the appropriate way a capitalist company should be ran, rewarding its officers, employees and shareholders for good performances...or, everyone losses for bad performances. Not so at the top.


In today's environment, the CEO is actually rewarded more for a dismal performance.


Case in point, the financial crises that we Americans now find ourselves in due to the mortgage crisis.


Let's look at these numbers:
1. 201 Million
Dollars: That's the amount that the CEO's of the 8 Corporations that are at the heart of this mess where awarded in compensation in 2007.
2. 626 Million Dollars: That's
the amount that 4 of the above CEO's where awarded in a "Piggy Bank with Lipstick" this year when asked to leave.
3. 41 Billion Dollars: That's the amount of losses posted by the above 8 Corporations in just the last quarter!

Let's see, shareholder's paid nearly in the phrase of Dr. Evil with his pinkie in his mouth, "One Billion Dollars" to loose 41 Billion a quarter?! That's not capitalism, that's stupidity!

But now, we the American People, are the major share holder's of the above companies once the, let me put my fist in my mouth, "One Trillion Dollar Piggy Bank with Lipstick" is approved by Congress and implemented by the same people who brought you the "Katrina Clean Up" and "The War on Terror". In my humble I'm more qualified than Palin opinion, the first Tuesday in November and January 20th can't get here fast enough!


The same party that called Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and John Kerry crazy for wanting to spend, pinkie to mouth, "One Hundred Billion Dollars" a year to bring Universal Health Care to the American People...are now the ones who have given us stock that's not worth shit for ten times that
amount!

That makes perfect sense, if you're a moron!

The party of unregulated government is now making the people of America pay the price for their serious errors in judgement.

The crazy thing is, they still think they're right!

I propose a better solution to end this economic crisis. One that I'll even let the current
administration handle, because I know they could pull this one off!




















It's simple really. Either the above CEO's surrender their entire net worth, including salaries, property, "Piggy Banks with Lipstick", pension plans and insurance premiums....or they get to go hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney sometime before January 20th!

The stockholders, that's now the people of America, have spoken! Now that's Socialism at its finest!

Pay up you morons, your share holders are growing restless with your horrible performance.

Hell, I'll even buy Dick the shells!

Sir Hook the I've Now Found What Cheney is Good For of Warrick

Combine Ideas

It's no secret that combining unrelated ideas is at the heart of creative thinking. The ancients mixed soft copper and even softer tin to create hard bronze. Gutenberg combined the wine press and the coin punch to create movable type and the printing press. Frank Farian combined Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus to create the greatest music duo in pop history: Milli Vanilli.


Recent news has taught us that when you combine an alcoholic malt drink with caffeine you get, among other things, the attention of at least 25 states attorneys general.


Introducing Sparks (and not the great 70s band Sparks -- a vehicle for brothers Ron and Russell Mael – one of my all-time favorites).


What is Sparks?
Sparks, Sparks Light and Sparks Plus are caffeinated alcohol beverages with a blend of caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng extract. Sparks and Sparks Light have 6% alcohol by volume (ABV) – Sparks Plus, 7% ABV. According to the Sparks web site (By the way, one VERY COOL web site:
http://sparks.com/home.jsp#/home) it is not an energy drink and not marketed or sold as an energy drink, and there is no non-alcoholic version of Sparks.

They are very proud that this is a "caffeinated alcohol beverage"!
Now, a 16-oz can of this stuff reportedly has no more caffeine than one 8-oz. cup of coffee, but MillerCoors (and others) is still taking a lot of heat. Wednesday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said there have been several studies linking the citrus and caffeine-filled malt drinks to underage drinking and serious health risks. "The scientific evidence clearly shows the grave dangers these products pose, especially to young consumers," Madigan said in a statement.


What is Miller’s response to studies that cite the adverse health effects of combining caffeine and alcohol?
There is a limited amount of scientific data out there on this topic, but alcohol and caffeine have been consumed in combination or in sequence for decades.”


I guess when you combine the two bodies of "scientific evidence," somewhere you get the truth. Anyway, good Knights, what do you think? Recipe for a good time, or a recipe for disaster?


Sir Bowie “Pouring a pint of ale and a cup of coffee, putting on a Sparks LP on the old turntable, and thinking about it” of Greenbriar




Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrrrrrr! Talk Like a Pirate Day!


Aye, me salty dogs of the sea, it's one of the most venerated days in the Knights, of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale calendar...Talk Like a Pirate Day! Prepare to be boarded!

Here's Captain Hook of Warrick about 15 nautical miles off the coast of Hispaniola preparing to board whatever or whoever will let him. This is the look you get when he's throttling your throat because you either pissed him off, won't give him what he wants, or just won't get out of his conquesting ways!


After a good day of rape, pillage and plundering, Captain Hook likes to clean himself up and head down to the nearest pub for pint of grog to count his booty and look for booty!


Arrrr! Now that's some booty! X marks the spot of me booty! I'd like to fire me cannon through her porthole! That's how Lady Allwinky, aka the Pirate Wench of Jamaica, appeared to Captain Hook on his travels to Jamaica. My navigation's couldn't find Port Royal, but I did find the Royal Port!

Which leads to the introduction of the latest pirate wench, Lady of the Knights, Lady Hussy of Roby. She was inducted into our merry band during a board meeting (That's right you scurvy peg legged scoundrels...a boarding meeting) by Sir Hook of Warrick, Sir Tigger of Kidd and Sir Duke of Conlin while downing pints of grog at RiRa's Irish Pub, located on the closest thing we have to the sea, the Ohio River.


Which brings us to the latest news! After reading Sir Bowie's blog about voting for the newest St. Pauli's Girl, I navigated me Internet ship towards their site only to find out that countless other desperate men of the sea had already had their way with her.


I introduce to you the newest St. Pauli Girl, all 5'10"- 35x25x36 of frothy fun, Irina Vironina from Russia. Aye, those Russian blonde's have been dominated the sexy beer modeling scene for some time. She does live in LA now, and has recently stared on Reno 911, so we know she has a sense of humor. Irina may never find this out, but being that she is officially a beer icon now, it is only fitting that as a Founding Father of KMSA, I hereby induct her into our merry band as Lady Irina of Dzerzhinsk, or otherwise known to us scavenger's of the sea, the Blonde Babooshka Bombshell!

Now, me wanna be mating Mattie's, hoist your silks, drink a few yard arms and give a good ARRRRRRR for the KMSA today!

Sir Hook (That's Captain to you, you One Eyed Pox) of Warrick

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Something to Think About


"You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his." Can you tell me if it was a communist philosopher or a Christian philosopher who said this?
I have been fascinated watching the State Ownership of Corporate America continue to roll out. People of America...you now own 80% of AIG, so soon you will be like Russia and own it all.

Christian fundamentalists injected "One nation under God" and "In God we trust" into our lives apparently to differentiate us from the communists arguing that all the evils of communism come from them being atheists.
However, even a little bit of rational thinking about communism will reveal that the real problem with the system was (1)an absolutist and authoritarian system of governance with too much concentration of power resulting in its abuse, and (2) a socialist economic system ("From each as he can, to each as he needs") that doesn't reward industry and chokes wealth creation. Which one of these two doesn't apply to Christianity? As far as absolutist and authoritarian politics go, communism and theocracy score top ranks.

About (2), probably all I need to say that the quote at the beginning at the post is by St .Ambrose. Both communism and Christianity demand exactly the same thing from individuals: sacrifice self for the benefit of the group.
So you think oh I'll dodge all this by the "renunciation of materialism". It is held at very high regard, especially by Hindus I believe , but if everybody starts becoming sadhus and heads to the Himalayas, who's going to be left to produce food for feeding humanity, or research medicine to find a cure for the children with leukaemia, or basically produce any goods and services that keeps the economic engines moving and moving people (albeit slowly) from poverty to higher standards of living? ( I'm sure the more knowledgeable of the Bible amongst our merrye band can now tell me the number of the passage that end "....who will feed the sheep ".)

People who have renounced a normal lifestyle in search of mukti or higher spiritual enlightenment for themselves,( is that selfish?...another : debate opens ) even I'm not sure what they end up finding, ( as commented on by Sir Bowie in his Nowhere Man add-on ) but from my point of view they are net consumers (little consumption minus zero production) of human society. On the other hand, Bill Gates, probably the poster child of the "evil materialists", started the philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, which is working very effectively towards eradicating malaria from all corners of the world. Now I'm beginning to think that Bill Gates ( even tho he is screwing me into buying his products so I can Blog ) is a person of higher morality than the worthless sadhu with long beard in search of his own nirvana.

Okay, let the debate begin...all diverse views welcome :))
Sir Dayvd ( "lets all watch the world go to the devil" ) of Oxfordshire

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Legs that Launched a Dwarf

What happened when the world's smallest man met the woman with the longest legs?

To boldly go where no dwarf has gone before...beam me up Scotty!

Sir Hook the Curious Treckie of Warrick

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Palin vs. Wells: Decision 2008

Just to make my point about how ridiculous it is to compare Palin to Obama, since it's really McCain and Obama, I decided to take the email chart that has been floating around the Internet that compares Palin to Obama and insert myself into Obama's place. The results were very surprising. It appears that in fact, I might be more qualified than all of them! So the scary question is, if this is how we decide who will lead the free world, then do you think I'm qualified for the job? I'll let you decide!

Sir Hook the Experienced Candidate of Warrick

Palin vs. Wells Comparison Chart







Get Out and VOTE!

Now here's an election that we should all get involved with: St. Pauli Girl beer kicks off Oktoberfest by looking for its next St. Pauli Girl spokesmodel. And NO, Sarah Palin is not in this race!

Fans can visit maxim.com/stpaulgirl to peruse preliminary photo shoots of four finalists: Tara Rice of Valencia, Calif., Brooke Long of Chino Hills, Calif., Katrina Van Derham of Slovakia and Jessica Hall of Quartz Hill, Calif. Ballots will be counted through Nov. 10. Successor to the reigning St. Pauli Girl, Irina Voronina, will be announced in January.

“Each year, thousands of aspiring models and actresses compete for the title of national St. Pauli Girl and this year we’re involving fans of the beer more than ever, making the fans a part of the St. Paul Girl tradition,” said Tom Willett, brand manager with Crown Imports, Chicago, which handles the German brew.

Get out the vote!

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Monday, September 15, 2008

In the Dark!


My hometown of Evansville, Indiana is a little over 900 miles from where Hurricane Ike went ashore in Texas. So, it was a little surprising when we were hit with 50-plus MPH winds for over 6 hours yesterday. Ike (what was left of it) slammed us and knocked out power to about 70% of the area.

With no electricity, we lit a few candles and spent a quiet evening reading by candlelight (as romantic as that sounds, candlelight is hell on the eyes. Thank goodness for electricity).
I choose a short book by Robert Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker magazine.

Here are a few notes that I though all creative Knights might enjoy:

The problem with many artists and writers is that they get a new idea, then they like to take a year or so to perfect it, and then a few more years to ruin it. Cartooning is idea creating in overdrive!

It's not the ink, it's the think. "A little more inking and a lot more thinking."

There is no reality testing in cartoons, because the mind is creating its own reality. In cartooning, the mind changes what isn't into what is.

Collect ideas from everywhere all the time. Getting ideas is like getting a loan. If you already have money, it's easy to get more.

The basic process is: change something, then change it again, and again and...

Creating is dreaming while you're awake -- making new things out of old.

Start with "what if..."
"What if _____ were ______ ? (totally unrelated).

The journey of creativity is on in which you know where you're going only when you get there.

The game is a mind game. That's the only place it can happen because ideas occur only in one place -- year head.

Facts are boring. The truth is too restrictive. Lying is very creative. The bigger the lie, the better the cartoon.

It's the clash of the ordinary with the extraordinary. Imagine the real and then create your own new reality.

In the "real" world, getting sidetracked won't help you solve a problem. But in the creative process, getting sidetracked is the key. Often, the sidetrack turns out to be the main track for some great new idea.

# # #

So, here's to getting sidetracked and creating something great this week.

Sir Bowie "usually in the dark" of Greenbriar





Sir Bowie "usually in the dark" of Greenbriar