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Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallows Day and An Open Heart on the Day of the Dead

Today is the Knight's of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale Feast Day: All Hallows Day. Another day that the Christians borrowed (or took) from the Pagan's to celebrate good over evil. This was the day that evil spirit's would roam the world. The Viking culture would pray to their heroes to come back to combat this evil.Today is also the 6th Anniversary of my Open Heart Surgery. It was, and still remains a "Hallowed Day" for me and my family.

I'll never forget being wheeled into the operating room feeling a bizarre blend of fascination, fear, peace, determination, surrender, despair and hope. No stranger to death in the past, this was a new frontier for me, being literally filleted, spread open and exposed as never before.

Surrounded by surgeons, nurses, surgery techs, lights, IV's, machinery (especially the lung-heart machine for my bypass to keep me alive) and coolers for my organs in case I didn't survive (I'm an organ donor, which has now taken on a whole new meaning for me.), I felt like I had been wheeled into Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory. It truly was a Halloween to remember!

It is at these times you discover who you are and what you really believe. Tested to the ultimate limit, I felt a strange peace come over me as a lay prostrate before those who will soon saw through my breast bone, spread my chest open and grab my heart. They were performing Open Heart, what they didn't realize was, they were also playing a part in Opening my Heart.

My life and outlook on life has never been the same sense October 31, 2002. My Open Heart Surgery was the Key to Opening my Heart like never before. Facing death as a friend is a profound thing for a human to do. My faith, a faith I now embrace in a whole new dimension, became so real, so tangible, that my last thought before going under was, how bad can this be? All Soul's Day and All Saint's Day would welcome me into that next phase we all have to face some day, or I would wake up alive and renewed with my family and friends.


Today in Mexico, and in Mexican American Homes, they are celebrating the Day of the Dead. They make altars of food, drinks, memorabilia for their departed loved ones in their homes and then transfer the feast to the cemetery to commune with their loved ones. It's a beautiful way to celebrate the great mystery of life and death.

Confucius said, "Death and life have their determined appointments." Facing death, embracing death and accepting death is the key to living life with an open heart.

Sir Hook the Open Hearted of Warrick

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Note Your Vote: The Presidential Campaign as Movies

However you may Note Your Vote next Tuesday (If you are a registered American voter that is.), the real winner may well be determined by the box office trends based on this year's Presidential Campaign as seen in the Movies.

First we have Superman transformed into Big "O" Man (not intended as a racist comment on anatomical genetics). Big "O" Man, starring Barack Obama cast as the Savior of the American Dream, is viewed through the eyes of the silent majority as this campaign's nominee winner! But is there a "Dark" secret that's turning the Red, White and Blue into the Black and White? Only the skin heads, red neck's and FOX News viewers know for sure! Big "O" Man is expected to do very well at the box office on Tuesday, especially with frustrated suburban white women. Right Wing Critics give it a 5 Kryptonite rating, while the Silent Majority Critics give it a Balls of Steel.

Next we have a real sleeper! (Not intended as a geriatric poke in the right eye.) A revamped stump speech of Citizen Cain, not so cleverly disguised as the same old propaganda of the self-serving...Citizen McCain. We hear mixed reviews about Citizen McCain's box office potential starring John I'll Do Whatever it Takes McCain; however, we do know that it is best viewed from the right wing of the theater. Right Wing Critics give it a It's All We Got rating, while the majority of Critics give it a 5 Geritol rating. (Note the Vote News Flash: Citizen McCain's campaign failed to realize that Viagra is today's Geritol.)

Designed to give "rise" to a "slumping" running mate and economy with massive appeal to the knuckle dragging middle class males, like Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack...Who's Nailin' Palin is expected to not necessarily over run the "Box" office (no pundit pun intended), but to do very well in hotel rooms, portable DVD players and confessionals across the country, thanks to it's real life producer Larry Flint. We think it would have potential to "Go Over the Top" if it starred the real Sarah Palin; however, the "Pole Blowers" union would "Boy"Cot. All Critics give Who's Nailin' Palin 2 Thumbs Up! (They're just not saying where.)

Finally, not to be under done by the "Box" office thriller Who's Nailin' Palin, this chilling "talk and talk and talk dirty to me" movie from the DNC starring Say it Ain't So Joe from Scranton (not intended as a derogatory comment on his speaking and speaking and speaking ability) brings Joe Biden as Joe Biden in Who's Ridin' Biden in your face as never (and hopefully never again) before! All Critics give Who's Ridin' Biden a Tongue Lashing rating. (They'll leave that rating up to your imagination.)

So there you have the movie versions for next Tuesday. Choose wisely a
nd remember to butter your popcorn, or whatever you like to put butter on!

Sir Hook the Political Entertainer and Joe the Producer of Warrick

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do You Speak English? Lesson #2

It's time once again to get with the Program...or is that the Programme?


British Words and the American Equivalent

Loo/Bog..........................Bathroom
Dust Bin/Rubbish Bin...........Trash Can
Cooker............................Oven
Back Garden.....................Back Yard
Loft...............................Attic
Flat...............................Apartment
Flat Mate........................Roommate
Lift................................Elevator
Flannel...........................Washcloth
Torch.............................Flashlight
Blower............................Telephone
Pram..............................Stroller
Chips..............................French Fries
Crisps.............................Chips
Biscuit............................Cookie
Tomato Sauce...................Ketchup
Banger............................Sausage
Beer Mat.........................Coaster
Nosh..............................Food
Bobby/Copper...................Policeman
Barrister..........................Lawyer
Big Girl's Blouse.................Wimp
Lollipop Man.....................Crossing Guard
Yank...............................American
Slapper............................Flirt
Spotty Youth.....................Teenager
Sprog..............................Baby
Tart................................Whore
Weed/Boffin......................Nerd
Wanker/Git.......................Jerk
Cake Hole.........................Mouth
Bollocks...........................Balls
Arse................................Ass
Trainers...........................Gym Shoes
Vest................................T-Shirt
Waist Coat........................Vest
Trousers...........................Pants
Pants..............................Underwear
Knickers...........................Panties
Jumper............................Sweater
Nappy..............................Diaper
Pavement.........................Sidewalk
Motorway..........................Highway
Boot................................Trunk
Petrol..............................Gas
Garage.............................Gas Station
Lorry...............................Truck
Car Park...........................Parking Lot
Hooter.............................Car Horn
Tube...............................Subway

And there you have it! Let's have a go shall we (Let's try it out).

American: I'm a flirt and teenage whore who loves to take the subway because I'm a wimp who is scared of trucks and car horns.

Translated to English: I'm a slapper and spotty youth tart who loves to take the tube because I'm a big girl's blouse who is frightened by Lorry's and Hooter's.

So pardon (excuse) me whilst (while) I unzip my trousers (pants), drop my pants (underwear) and wet (soak) the flannel (wash cloth) to clean my bollocks (balls) and arse (ass) in the loo (bathroom).

Sir Hook I'm No Lollipop Man of Warrick

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who do you think you are?

I just returned from a weekend of living a primitive life deep in the wood. I’m part of a group that gets together a couple of times a year, shoots muzzle loading black powder guns and recreates a pre-1840 rendezvous – American pioneer and mountain man camp life.


The weekend included a lot of skill competitions including, shooting matches, tomahawk and knife throwing, open fire cooking, and a unique woodwalk shooting match along a "dark path" in the wood.


Under a blanket of stars, the evening was spent sitting around the camp fire, telling lies, drinking porter, and even sipping on Kentucky moonshine from a mason jar.


I’m new to the hobby, but one thing that I’ve noticed is that re- enactors spend a lot of time talking about their “persona”: What is the time period? Where did you come from and how did you get here? What style of clothing, guns, and tools do you use? What knowledge do have a world events?


Basically, “Who do you think you are?”


That's a question I used to get a lot when I was a kid. I remember the nuns from grade school scalding me with it when they were especially pissed off at me: “Mr. Kuhn, who do you think you are (saying or doing) that!?”


Barbara Sher’s book Wishcraft talks about this:


“Who do you think you are? Does this sound familiar? Most of us heard that question at some time during our growing up – usually at the vulnerable moment when we ventured some dream, ambition, or opinion close to our hearts.


The premise of her book is to imagine those words being spoken in a curious, open, wondering tone of voice, for once.


The first exercise is to ask the question, but don’t answer it with the customary: age, sex, race, occupation, marital status, parental / child / sibling, income, social status…


Who do you think you are? Don’t list your demographics, list your talents and gifts. List what you love to do and be! What do you do with energy and joy? That is your identity, your core.


“It’s your vital design that needs to unfold and express itself through the medium of your whole life. And so the unique pattern of talents and gifts that lies hidden in the things you love is also the map of your own life path.”


So, there I was this weekend walking dark paths and camping. This solitary “pioneer” had a lot to think about while shivering in his primitive tent, too uneasy and uncomfortable to go to sleep (after all, it was my first attempt at this and the temp dropped to 41 degrees). Somewhere along the line I found myself asking, Mr. Kuhn, who do you think you are… playing silly pioneer games in the middle of the wood?


I think I was striving to be alive in the moment. I realized that I do enjoy re-enacting pioneer life, but that I don’t need to do it every weekend or every month. Still, it is an important reminder to myself to continually, as one song I heard on a CD on the drive up to camp, “to live in the moment and make every moment last.”


Thank all of you out there who have walked along with me through dark wood, given me special moments, helped me grow and see myself through different eyes, and changed me for the better… for good.


“Who do you think you are?” Perhaps that’s a question that we should never stop asking on our woodwalk path (sometimes dark) of life.


Sir Bowie “Trying to make every moment last” of Greenbriar






Monday, October 27, 2008

The Virginia Statute

In doing some research work on early American texts, I came across a new one to me, The Virginia Statute, and it seems to be one that has been airbrushed out of modern thinking.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is both a statement about freedom of conscience and the principle of separation of church and state. Written by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Virginia General Assembly on January 16, 1786, the Statute is the forerunner of the first amendment protections for religious freedom. Divided into three paragraphs, the statute is a statement of Jefferson's philosophy.
The first paragraph is both a statement of natural right and Jefferson's deism -- that is, the belief that God created the world and along with it, man's capacity to rule himself. Deists believe that although God is the creator, He is not actively involved in worldly affairs. God has granted individuals freedom of conscience in religious matters and any attempt to limit or restrict it is wrong.

I. Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burdens, or by civil incapacitation's, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was his Almighty power to do . . .

The second paragraph is the act itself, which states that no person can be compelled to attend any church or support it with his taxes. It says that an individual is free to worship as he pleases with no discrimination.

II. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

The third paragraph reflects Jefferson's belief in the people's right, through their elected assemblies, to change any law. Here, Jefferson states that this statute is not irrevocable because no law is (not even the Constitution). Future assemblies that choose to repeal or circumscribe the act do so at their own peril, because this is "an infringement of natural right." Thus, Jefferson articulates his philosophy of both natural right and the sovereignty of the people.

III. And though we well know that this assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the act of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such as would be an infringement of natural right.

I particularly like the First Line that I have highlighted; Almighty God hath created the mind FREE. Seems old Thom might have had some original KMSA thinking going on back there, even though he did hang onto his slaves at Montecello a bit longer than he should.

Still, I shouldn't be mean about him, at least he got the ball rolling, and as another great American President, Roosevelt, once said;

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly".



Sir Dayvd ( in the arena, failing while daring greatly ) of Oxfordshire

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Life's A Long Song and Various Movements of the Hobo Soul

All the muse of Scotland, Hobo's and what I call the "Power Season"...FALL, has got this errant Knight running errands to find his Hobo Mojo, that lost soul that revels in nature's music and lessons.

Nothing quite personifies that spirit to me as the Scottish born, UK bread, Southwest England living (home of my ancestors) Minstrel in the Gallery...Ian Anderson, and of course his music through the band of all bands...Jethro Tull. Give me a fire at midnight and a cup of cheer while listening to his music, wit and general unique spirit under a star lit fall evening, and
I'll give you a portrait of heaven for me!

I realized how far away my soul as strayed when commenting on Lady Delanie's post I quoted the title of one of my favorite Tull songs and got it wrong. It's "Life is a Long Song", not life is a short song as I wrote. Shows where my head's been lately. Getting sucked into all the negativity of the economy, election, etc. I woke up this morning to find my head firmly planted up my arse! It's dark in there. Time to lighten up!

No, my friends (no reference to a certain politician with his head up his arse), Life is a Long Song, and as it further states, "If you wait to play it, you'll play it out of tune." Time to tune up!

So, Lady Allwinky and her Hobo with Mojo are loading the metal camel for a trek up to Brown County, Indiana to take in two crisp and cool sunny fall days surrounded by the colors of nature, good food, great beer and great fun...listening to Tull all the way! Life's a Long Song and I'm Ready to Play it in Tune!


Speaking of Hobo's with Mojo...I present to you the hosts of NightLife on WKMS, that 100,000 WATT power house that sets in the middle of Murray State University's campus. This picture was taken in 1978. That's me on the left and Lars on the right. (Kind of looks like Ian Anderson here) Note: The funny lines around our heads are from esacto knives, where we cut our heads out of this picture to create another one using our heads. This was way before the days of Photoshop!

Lars, aka Larry Lewis, aka Sir Lars of Harpslips floats in and out of my life like the true Hobo he is. We met while we served as managers of the city pool in Fairfield, Illinois in 1974 (Yes, he was part of that earlier story of the nude diving contest). I first met Lars when I showed up to the pool to get it ready for another season and he was inside getting shaggy with a girl in the ladies locker room on top of a bunch of boat cushions. We became fast and long friends since.

We were room mates in college, co-hosts of the area's most popular radio show and road manager of my band Barbary Hawk. It was during our college radio show that I developed my full rounded appreciation of music. The studio's were located on the top floor of the Fine Art's building, where we would sling out a backpack that held a fifth of whiskey and a one-shot pipe to get us in the mood throughout the night.

After college, Lars went to Wyoming to be a ski instructor and weekend weather man. I came to Evansville to work in broadcasting. Just one short year later, Lars came back to work at a TV Station in Southern Illinois, where we would meet at the Garden of the Gods and camp out listening to Tull music. Later, Lars moved back to Evansville where we once again became roommates. He joined me on my trip to Jamaica where I met Lady Allwinky and later on the three of us did our impression of "Three's Company".

Lars was my best man in my wedding, as I was his. I grew up to become the business man I am, while Lars could never let go of his Hobo Spirit. He lived in Jamaica for a while, worked the race track circuit, joined a sailing crew and generally floated in and out of my life for many years, usually when he needed help...like bailing him out of jail one Christmas Eve and paying off all his debts so that he would be free, buying back his Grandfather's 1920 Martin D-20 from the pawn shop three times and buying him tickets to Jamaica.

Well, Thursday night Lars showed up again, running camera while I was being interviewed at a fund raiser for March of Dimes. He's back in town as a camera man for the FOX station. It was grand to see him again, still looking like just an older version of the picture earlier. We always get interesting looks as we hook up for lunch, Lars wearing a Rasta hat, red converse tennis shoes and 3 day old clothes, while I'm in my suit. But, we are brother's! A bond that can not be broken. And I have to admit, there are times that I'm not sure if he's the one that is more successful?! We are Unity through Diversity.

Reminds me of another Tull song were Ian sings, "I'm going back to the ones who know me, where I can be who I want to be."

Cheerio!

Sir Hook the Hobo with Mojo of Warrick
I read something very special the other day that got me thinking (I know, a dangerous thing) about comets.

Almost 10 years ago, NASA launched a unique spacecraft with even more unique mission. The NASA probe called American Stardust launched with something called an onboard “Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyser (CIDA). About 5 years later this probe actually sped through the tail of a comet at 15,000 mph and collected… STARDUST!

So, NASA manages to successfully land this thing back on earth. Scientists were then able extracted particles-each much smaller than a grain of sand, sliced them up and doled them out to 50 labs around the world for analysis.


Now, here’s the amazing thing (at least to me). Some researchers have “proven” that all life on this planet had its origins in stardust. I guess these scientists said they found evidence of a co-enzyme similar to pyrroloquinoline-quinone (PQQ) that is a pre-requisite for life as we know it. Of course, I don’t have a clue what all that means.


But think about it… basically, we’re all made of the same stuff – stardust!


That makes us sort of like “comets” here on earth.


That led me to jot this in my Moleskine:


God didn’t discover comets
He created them.
We are made in Her image
So, we can choose to live dimly in fear or
Choose to create love and happiness
And shine even brighter
For ourselves and for those we love!


One more work in progress:


Out of the empty darkness
Comes a Comet
To remind us
Who we are

If even for an instant
A flash of light in time
Caressing a comet
Focused hearts sublime (stolen from Milton)

Are there oxygen masks on comets
As we fly through dark skies
Someone to assists us
Before we brighten others’ lives?

Yes, out of the darkness
Comets shine so bright
Memories that will never fade
Of their illuminating light

Comets streak into our lives
By nature, soon depart
Leaving comet dust prints
Dust prints on our hearts


Here's to all the comets in my life -- and all those who have streaked on to other heavens.


Sir Bowie "Stardust" of Greenbriar

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just another day...

Woke up to a wet, cold autumn day here in central Illinois. I like this weather but lets just say, it isn't Glasgow or Scotland. The two here, this type of weather and the location, just don't quite fit together.

Friday doesn't seem to hold that magic much any more with all the stuff I need to do on my large to-do list. At least I get to sleep in a bit on Friday, due to not having any office hours. But yet, there is something that is missing. At this time, overwhelmed by school and students, I miss the easy going atmosphere of Europe. I miss the long lunches and opportunity to socialize like they do. Here it is rush, rush, rush. I eat at my desk most days and I know I could make the excuse to get up, off my duff and go outside or somewhere else, but lunch time usually rolls around office hours.

The American lifestyle has its advantages but I think we have lost the sight of what it truly means to be a global community. Humans crave social contact. We must debate the issues and set the worlds to rights. I think our high incidence of health issues would decrease if we took on some of our European brethren philosophies.

Two summers ago when I was back in Glasgow for my graduation, I relished the time with my friends. I relished the moments I could take out of that busy time to just sit with them and talk, talk. The last day, I spent at Babbity Bowster for one last meal. I showed you a picture in an earlier post; the one of haggis, neeps and tatties. I promised myself to take my time and just soak up the moment. I alternated reading John Steinbeck and writing in my moleskine, when a group entered. I recognized some from Strathclyde and they took the table opposite me, across the room. They were from the physics department, probably graduate students. I caught snippets of their initial conversation, about the post-graduate experience.

I had to laugh. Here at this moment, I had reached the last strides of my own experience. I had obtained my PhD and was starting afresh back in the States. And yet, my gut ached and hot tears threatened my cheeks. I felt that familiar constriction of my throat when deep pangs of emotion grip you. I took a sip of my cola to temper down the rising ache. I sat and listened to them for two and half hours. I was vicariously lifted on their journey to the realms of quantum physics and other Einstein theorems. Some I understood, some I didn't. But I felt as if I was to the stars and back.

I left them there sitting before the peat fire, still debating the spiritual and the science. As I drifted back towards George Square, I took my time to walk through the streets I had walked on those first few days here in Glasgow. Snippets of conversations and visual images ran through my mind. The cabbie that told me, upon seeing my teddy bear with its green and blue rugby shirt and dropping me off not too far from the Babbity at the student dorms, "Lassie you'll have to make a decision." He was referring to diplomatic nature of my teddy's apparel and its obvious attention to Celtic and Rangers footie. I laughed and, knowing that Scots love a good shot back, "How do you know I didn't do that on purpose because sometimes you can't get too much of a good thing." He laughed and I followed suit.
Corinthian Ceiling Moleskine at the Corinthian
Corinthian by Lost in Scotland/Lady Delanie


I made my way back through Merchant Square and then down to the Corinthian. I slowly walked toward the Art Museum and the statue of Nelson, capped by the cone bandits. I skitted past Costa coffee house, tempted to stop for one last coffee. I stopped and breathed when my footfall fell on the pavement of Buchannan Street. I looked one way and then another. I stopped and listened. I breathed.

David Gray's "From here you can almost see the sea", is playing right now on my iPod touch and those images of Scotland are dissipating into the mist of my mind, for the time being. I have walked along a great deal of Scotland and this country but no where, have I smelled, tasted, and felt the journey than on those bonnie shores.

More later....I have to return to grading papers and get ready for lectures.

Signs of Life

All this talk, recently, of Hobos and indeed Autumn, made my mind leap back in time to an incident that happened ten years ago to the month, when I was being generally errant, while driving a whale of an Oldsmobile "on the road" south from Tawes Point, Michigan to Detroit,

to hook up with some buddies, where amongst other things we visited the old Motown Studios and posed singing in Studio A.

It was while i was driving on the road round Lake Huron, that i gave a ride to a hobo, a fairly clean hobo...but a hobo none the less.. His said his name was Troy, was in his forties and had been on the road all his life. Travelling and working. He was Interesting to talk to. Anyway,when we got to Royal Oak, where he said i could drop him off. I said i was hungry and said i'd buy him a coffee and a subway.. and he said great, but he'd spotted another eatery that was "very Good".

He'd previously said it was his first time in Royal Oak, so i said how did he know it was good?....and when we got to it he pointed out an 18" chalked "target" sign on a side alley wall of the eatery, that he'd noticed as we drove by it.

I was intrigued and inside, when eating the "Non Corporate food" he told me about all the signs that Hobos leave to tell each other about any given situation when walking through a neighbourhood, put in subtle places only they know where to look. For a free meal I got him to draw out as many as he could remember in my journal book.... and when i eventually got back to the UK....i drew them up as if they had been chalked on a wall, or out building, or road or fence post.

So here then for your enjoyment, is the sign language of a group of contemporary philosophers who live their own leisurely life untouched by the hectic tempo of our success-crazy world ~ the secret communication symbols of the knights of the road, The Hobos.


Sir Dayvd ( I'm a man of means by no means ) of Oxfordshire.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jazz Metaphors and Creating...

I know that I’m dating my self here, but I just attended my 30th Class Reunion this past weekend. A very special time!

Sir Scott of Paradiddle’s (also, class of ’78) band “Better Than Nuttin’” played on Saturday. I got see his passion for playing music and creating a lot of happiness for his old classmates.

Okay, so today I was listening to a little "Bela Fleck and the Flecktones" and started thinking about life and music – especially the jazz metaphor. So, I decided to do a little light reading on the subject of “Organizational Science on Jazz Improvisation and Organizing” (It’s amazing what’s out their on the www).


First, I’m NOT a musician (hell, I can’t even play “Chopsticks”), so the idea of improvisation having rules and being organized seems a little odd to me. On the other hand, we often “improvise” well within the rules of our lives (socially, morally, organizationally…). So, I guess it makes sense.


But, can “improvisation” become too predictable?


I think that is what I love so much about Autumn: It’s the chance to go and play “outside” our structured lives. Autumn is like Miles Davis surprising his band and disrupting the routine by calling unrehearsed songs and choosing “odd” keys (at least that’s what I’ve read about him). Every day of Autumn looks, smells, and feels totally different and unrehearsed. But, I think that we have to endeavor to engage it – to create our experiences in it (hopefully I'll become awake enough to do this everyday, no matter the season).

I don’t really understand creating jazz -- but I like it – maybe because it’s more like a n unexpected conversation (as some have suggested) than a speech (symphonic orchestras playing a set music score).


Playing outside. Calling on different, unrehearsed songs. Choosing odd keys.


Sounds like a beautiful way to spark improvisation in our lives – to play the same song in a different way; to create a spark in a life that has become too organized and predictable; to make the most of this very short “jam session” we have on this earth.


Don’t get me wrong. I think that there has to some structure in our lives or it will just become noise. To continue the metaphors, I think we need balance in everything,: Classical music with minimal improvisation; Swing with constrained improve, and Bebop and post-bob with more extensive improvisation of structure and rules.


Thanks Scott, Sir Hook, and all those musicians out there who have reminded me that we all sometimes need to…


Endeavor to improvise and to play “outside” with all the “odd” notes you can find.



Sir Bowie “off to find some Miles Davis” of Greenbriar





Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday mornings...


Hobo Eggs
Originally uploaded by Lost in Scotland
Let us not forget to break our fast over some good, simple foods. I love Sunday mornings. I'm not a church goer but seen reverence in the cathedral of nature.

Fog lifting on the walk to school
See what I mean...

And Sunday, if not grading papers, is my perfect time to sit down to simple fare and enjoy the day. I usually sleep in, waking no later than 830am and continue to burrow in the soft sheets, thinking. Sometimes I linger, pulling a moleskine from the drawer and jotting down snippets of phrases that I've been playing around with in my head. For some reason, salt encrusted door has been taking up space and I have yet to tease out that poem. At some point my body reminds me that it is time to get up and go in search of something to eat. Sundays are when I treat myself to old favorites. Simple foods my grandfather or mother used to cook for us. Hobo eggs is one such dish.

First, set a griddle to heat over medium heat on the stove. Light grease it with olive oil. Take two of your favorite pieces of bread. I like Brownberry's double fiber bread for this recipe. Then I fetch a juice glass from the cupboard (a small diameter) and cut out the center of the bread. Now you can use butter for the next part, but I love olive oil. I put a bit in a bowl and take out my pastry brush. I lightly brush the bread pieces, both sides, with oil. Now that the griddle is hot, put the slices and 2 circular pieces on the griddle to brown. Let the one side brown a bit before cracking an egg into each hole. (I tend to use, for less chloestrol, one whole egg and one egg white for the other). Let the egg cook till it is sold on the bottom, flip all pieces. Let the egg cook til bread is brown and egg is desired consistency. (It is best if you have a bit of runny yolk left over). Plate up, light salt and pepper and enjoy. I usually drink a glass of oj or right now since the apples are coming in, fresh apple cider (non-alcohlic of course--thats for later)....

It is simple yet satisfying....

Do You Speak English? Lesson #1

An interesting study in English found inside the "Beverage Bible" at the Pub


British Words and the American Equivalent
Football..........................Soccer
Queue............................Waiting Line
Fortnight.........................Two Weeks
Kip.................................Nap
Postcode..........................Zip Code
Snogging/Getting Off...........Kissing
Shagging..........................Having Sex
Fags/Ciggies/Rollies............Cigarettes
A4 Paper...........................Legal Pad
Having a Row/Barney............Argument
Knackered/Shagged.............Tired
Cheeky.............................Flippant
Cheerio............................Goodbye
Cock Up/Bugger Up.............Mistake
Daft/Thick........................Stupid
Dear................................Expensive
Duff................................Useless
Fanny Around/Dither............Procrastinating
Hash................................# (Pound Sign)
"Horses for Courses"............"To Each His Own"
Nick/Lift..........................Steal
Off Your Trolley..................Crazy
Pissed/Ratted/Wankered.......Drunk
Sod/Bugger Off..................Get Lost
Spend a Penny/Use the Loo....Go to the Bathroom
Swot Up/Revise..................Study Hard
Taking the Piss/Mickey..........Making fun of someone
Waffle On/Ramble..............On Talk on and on
Throw a Wobby..................Temper Tantrum
Cack-Handed/A Clot/Oaf......Clumsy
Up the Duff......................Pregnant
Jammy Beggar...................Lucky
Doing Porridge...................Serving Prison Time
Big Dipper........................Roller Coaster
Casualty Department...........Emergency Room
Surgery/Clinic...................Doctor's Office
Chemist..........................Drug Store
Dosh..............................Money
Hole in the Wall................ATM
Johnny...........................Condom
On Holiday......................Vacation

I find it interesting that there are three words for being drunk. Are they for different degrees of inebriation? The best we could do would be "drunk" or "drunk as hell/shit". I also find it interesting that the same derivative for sex is also used for being tired. Which comes first? No pun intended! Of course we'll have to differ to Sir Davyd of Oxfordshire, our resident English Pub Professor as to the accuracy of the above list. Lesson #2 will be even more enlightening.

Sir Hook I Speaky English of Warrick

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Third Down on the One Yard Line

If you go into some of the really old rural pubs on England you'll find hanging over the bar, on its side, on two brackets, a Yard Glass. A Yard (or Yard Glass ) is a very tall glass used for drinking beer; a Yard (or Yard of Ale ) also refers to the (variable) quantity of beer held by such a glass. The glass is approximately 1 yard long, shaped with a bulb at the bottom, and a widening shaft which constitutes most of the height. Because the glass is so long and in any case does not usually have a stable flat base, it is hung on the wall when not in use.

Drinking a yard glass full of beer is a traditional pub game. The object is to drink the entire glassful without pausing for breath, and/or to drink it as quickly as possible. The tradition is most often associated with drunken and disorderly tomfoolery in party-like environments.
( WhoooHooo )
Because of the shape of the glass, once it is raised and the liquid starts to flow, it is difficult to pause. When attempted by the novice, the liquid may flow out in a rush and soak the person holding the glass, usually I have noted when the sudden in-rush of air into the bulb creates a Tsunami of ale. To counteract this the glass is usually rotated as it is held. Another good tip ( as the drinker is usually offered what ale he would like in the Yard ) is to choose an ale that isn't cold or fizzy, lager drinkers take note, as you can imagine the consequences of wrapping yourself round 2 pints of that in a hurry.

I used to chose a good soft Mild when they had it on sale. ( I still wait for the day that it comes on tap again. ) Porter is a good second option.
The "Yard of Ale" is sometimes associated with Rugby team rituals, and with the compulsory "drinking of the fish from the bulb of the yard" imposed upon a newly qualified submarine sailor by one's qualified shipmates at a tavern ashore.
The glass most likely originated in 17th-century England where the glass was known also as a "Long Glass", a "Cambridge Yard (Glass)" and an "Ell Glass". Such a glass was a testament to the glassblower's skill as much as the drinker's. The diarist and Fellow of the Royal Society John Evelyn records the formal yet festive drinking of a yard of ale toast to James II at Bromley in Kent, 1683.

Its good to see that my county of Oxfordshire still hold the record for guzzling one of these beauty's, as the fastest drinking of a yard of ale in the Guinness Book of Records is 5 seconds: Peter Dowdswell of Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, England, ( the next door county ), drank a yard of ale containing 2 imperial pints (1.14 litres or 1.20 U.S. quarts) in 5 seconds at RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire on May 4, 1975.

Sir Dayvd ( with a Field Degree in Tomfoolery ) of Oxfordshire.

Monday, October 20, 2008

That time of year...

Here in central Illinois the weather has finally reached a point where I can venture out without experience the hot, humid and sticky of summer. I love the autumn. I love the fact that we are heading into the cold, crisp days of winter. It is time to think of comfort food and nice hot drinks. I long for the fare of Scotland most at this time and proudly look to my wall display of Scottish recipes. I dig out the Scottish cookbook (wait a minute, why didn't I have this open all year round--stupid git, eejit). Its time to dust the cobwebs off the clay cooking pots.

I miss Scotland terribly right now. The sun is setting at 3pm now and footie is in high gear. People are spending more time in the pub, enjoying the roaring fires, good times and food.

DSC00002
Originally uploaded by mickthefiddler

The music seems more vibrant and lively. I used to love going into the pubs in various parts. I loved it when man and beast took up their place at the bar. I remember one time in small town between Aryshire and Kilmarnock, when an older gent walked in with his two lovely Brittany Spanials, settling at the bar. The dogs trotted over to the peat fire and nestled down for the night. Pub life in Scotland is a way of living. To be savored and cherished. You forget that there is tv or any other form of entertainment. You can live there for hours and learn what it is to live.

Now is the time for Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, for steak bakes and venison stew, for grouse in clay pots and anything salmon. And to wash it down, cider or my favorite lager. Half pint will do.

So, to design or not to design...

Ah, my first post in the Knighthood...hello all, I'm Lady Delanie, aka Lost in Scotland over at Flickr. I've been the quiet one in the Great Hall, sitting in the corner, near the grand hearth, sipping ale or cider, writing, drawing and just listening. Yet, today for some reason, I have something to say. Well, show.

I've been doodling in my Moleskine, contemplating my own little corner of the keep. I have livedin about 750 square feet in the a small space in Glasgow (a not verra nice tall cement tower) till about 2 years ago and now take up just a little over 1000 square feet here in the newest abode here in Illinois. It is not that I want to move out of the Castle but well, there is always this itch to have a space of ones own. We could always use a bit more light. So, I give you my latest drawing. I did this the other night while waiting for my fare to finish cooking and watching the Penn State football warriors battle those from our rivals, Michigan.

It is patterned after our Norse neighbors and their Langhus. It has a modern twist of glass with wood or, the newest invention, steel timbers. It is a bit more on square footage about 1200-1400 square feet (that is an estimate). I think I could build this for $50,000.

Hence, I wanted to just let you know...what I've been drawing, doodling in my Moleskine beside the usual story, poetry or mind map.

Hope all are well...

Pub Crawl and More...the Drinking Chronicles of an Errant Knight

Always being one to mix business with pleasure, I decided to venture out beyond the hallowed halls of Dublin Village Tavern on my recent 4 night tour of Ohio. After a 6 hour car ride to Marysville for my first meeting, I ventured the relative short drive from there to Dublin and made my first stop at the Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern on Perimeter Loop Drive.


The Rusty Bucket is housed in a Stone and Wood structure that gives one a feeling of a tavern that has seen its share of troubadours, adventurers and Knights. It's a comfortable fit after a hard day at work, or on the Jack Nicholas designed Murifield Golf Club just a good 3 wood away. I being one of 4 in business attire, with 7 in golfing attire, made up the beginnings of a good evening sitting around a rectangular bar that is positioned in the middle of the establishment surrounded by booths and tables. Lady Hillary of Bradenton was my recent convert and tender of the bar.


She poured me a fine draft of the Beck's Oktoberfest Beer in a handsome, slightly fluted glass. I entertained myself with conversations with Lady Hillary, a salesman from Huntsville, Alabama who has a 13 year old son who can throw an 85 mph fastball, and a marketing guy from Cardinal Health who recently moved to Dublin from Edmington, Canada...hey. I also enjoyed the music being played, so I pulled out my "Small Big Idea Book" and decided to make a Pub Crawl play list from all my visits to the various establishments encountered.


In keeping with my love of bathroom art, I took this picture hanging prominently in the "Male Stall" of the Rusty Bucket. I found it rather appropriate for the occasion!


Night 2 saw this Errant Knight, being the creature of habit that I am, settling into the comforts of the Dublin Village Tavern, like a pair of comfortable slippers by the fire. It was a crisp fall night and the pints of Boddington's where flowing freely along with a plate of DVT Meatloaf comfort food. Life doesn't get much better than this, if you're going to be alone at a bar. Of course, I'm now known as the "Indiana Norm" by the patrons and bar keeps. We all voted to watch the Red Sox come from behind victory over another so, so debate between Big O and Little John.


Night 3 brought an evening of interesting contrasts. After a full day at work, I was invited to attend a fundraiser for a Republican candidate for County Commissioner in Columbus at the Scioto Country Club. Located next to Dublin on the North Shore, the Scioto Country Club was founded in 1916 and among its notable accomplishments are being the Country Club where Jack Nicholas got his start, hosting the US Open in 1926, the Ryder Cup in 1931 and the PGA Championship in 1950. Beautiful grounds surround the crusty upper crust inside. After suffering through the standard boring board room discussions over a generous gin and tonic, I made my escape to downtown Columbus to Byrne's Pub.


Byrne's Pub is a classic neighborhood pub, voted best in Columbus several years in a row by Alive Magazine. They have a whole room dedicated to Dart League, where they don't honor the winners, but the last place team. The prominent sign in this room is a big banner that reads, "Drink Like a Champion!" Behind the bar are various nick knack's like Irish Road Signs, and pictures of John F Kennedy and Willie Nelson. Now, there's a pair!


Fancy another pint love? That's the question at the bar of America's best try at an authentic British Pub experience. The Pub is one of 12 that are branching out of the Cincinnati, Ohio area, where this Errant Knight spent night number 4.

They have over 20 English beers on tap, as evidenced by my pint of Old Speckled Hen beginning to settle. Next to my pint is their "Beverage Bible", which lists all the beers, history and brewing techniques, a two page section on English versus American version of words and their meaning and even a copy of "The Philosopher's Song" by Monty Python:

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out consume
William Friedrich Hegal,
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just a sloshed as Schlegel.
There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya
'Bout the raising of the wrist.
Socrates himself was permanently pissed.
John Stewart Mill of his own free will,
After half a pint of Shandy, was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away,
Half a crate of whiskey every day.
Aristotle, Aristotle was a
bugger for the bottle,
And Hobbes was found of his dram.
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart,
"I think therefore I am!"
Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
A lovely little thinker,
But a bugger when he pissed.


On prominent display on the hand carved oak bar was a bottle of Sir Dayvd's favorite summer drink, Pimm's #4. I wanted to try it, but I was too thrilled to actually get real English beer on tap! The Old Speckled Hen went down as smooth as mother's milk as I swot up like a jammy beggar whilst in a queue to spend a penny at the loo.

And did I mention the slapper's in kilts that keep you drinking, laughing and wankered!


In the loo above urinal number two is this picture about being a wee bit different. Little did I know how true it would be. As I'm enjoying my piss I hear the sound of high heels coming around the corner. My first impression was that one of the kilted slapper's was on her way to greet me, instead I'm greeted by a daft bugger wearing a black kilt, high heel pumps, thigh high black stockings, silver hoop earrings and lipstick. He proceeds to smile at me as he lifts his kilt to expose a pant less way to piss. Now as the English say, "Horses for Courses", meaning to each his own, I was trying very hard to practice my belief in Unity through Diversity while not wanting to laugh, cry or just beat the living hell out of this "Off Your Trolley Dick Smoker"!


Now, for the "and More"! After my return home, Lady Allwinky and myself were invited to attend an annual event known as "Greek Night". I crawled into another culture after my pub crawl with "con mucho gusto", or "opa" as they say in Greece! The above advertisement says it all. We ended up befriending a table of hard charging Greeks from Cypress doing shots of Ouzo, breaking plates and throwing napkins, yelling and engaging in some belly dancing!

A picture is worth a thousand words! OPA!!!!

Sir Hook the Suddenly Speechless Irish, English, Greek, Errant Knight of Warrick

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hyper-Cerebral Blogosis

Dateline 11:1:008: Indiana USA -- Doctors are blaming a rare electrical imbalance in the brain for the bizarre death of a blogger whose head literally exploded in the final week of the 2008 election!
No one else was hurt in the fatal explosion but a small room at the blogger's residence was sprayed with blood and brain matter when Sir Bowie of Greenbriar's head suddenly blew apart. Experts say he suffered from a condition called Hyper-Cerebral Blogosis or HCB .

"He was deep in concentration with his eyes focused on the screen and his fingers frozen over the keyboard," said Indiana early responder, Miguel Wilsonista. "He seems to have hit 'Post' for what had to be the 3,456,856th item of inept political photoshopping and Metaphysical Opinion, this year, when the blast occurred.

"His browser history documents for the last 5 minutes before the tragedy, show that he went from Drudge to Real Clear Politics to the History of Karaoke to Instapundit to Craft Beers to the New York Times to Soup Recipes to MSNBC to Kos to Roger Simon to Pumpkins to Little Green Footballs to The Corner to Atrios to Google News to Willamsburg Va to Allah to Belmont Club to Wonkette and finally, and probably fatally, to the new Sarah Palin Nekkid Flickr forum... All of a sudden his hands flew to his temples and he screamed in pain. Birds and Deer in the neighbourhood fled, startled by the shrieks of agony cascading down from his windows.. Then, as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium, Sir Bowie's head popped like a firecracker."

Incredibly, Sir Bowie's is not the first case in which a blogger's head has spontaneously exploded during these last few days of the campaign. Five bloggers are known to have exhibited HCB in the last week.

The most recent explosion occurred just two days ago at KMSA Central, when Sir Hook of Warrick's skull burst but his blog kept on updating itself oblivious to Sir Hook's absence. while Documents unsealed in London UK today, disclosed that fading blogger Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire's head actually exploded in early 2004, but duct tape, chewing gum, and love has kept his blog posting keyboard humming in the grisly aftermath.

"HCB was once an extremely rare physical imbalance," said Dr. Anatoly Martinenko, famed neurologist and expert on the blogging brain who did the secret autopsy on Sir Dayvd in 2004. "It is a condition in which the circuits of the brain become overloaded by repetitive punditry and philisophical imponderables. The explosions happen during periods of increased and intensely boring political activity when lots of current is surging through the blogger's brain but no new connections are or can be made. Victims are highly intelligent people with great powers of concentration. Both Sir Bowie and Sir Dayvd were intense people who tended to keep those cerebral circuits overloaded. In a way it could be said they were literally too smart for their own good."

Although Dr. Martinenko says there are probably many undiagnosed cases, he hastens to add that very few bloggers will die from HCB . "Most people who have it will never know. Their heads will explode and they will keep right on posting. At this point, medical science still doesn't know much about HCB . And since fatalities are so rare it will probably be years before research money becomes available. This tragedy today is just another instance where human embryo stem cell research could not have made a bit of difference, but we'd have been glad to have the money from the Federal Government anyway."

In the meantime, the doctor urges bloggers to take it easy and not think too hard for long periods of time about the Future or their Lives, during the last week of the election, and to also, Get Out More!

Sir Dayvd ( I started out with Nothing and i've still got most of it left ) of Oxfordshire

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Burger and a Beer

One of my favorite meals of all time is a pepper-cheese burger and cold beer at the Darmsdadt Inn (Darmsdadt, Indiana). Sometimes, when I'm REALLY hungry, I'll order a double. That's a half pound of meat.

That's a lot of meat and cheese, but it's NO MATCH for Brad Sciullo.

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A 21-year-old Pennsylvania man says he spent nearly five hours eating a burger containing 15 pounds of beef and more than five pounds of toppings.


Uniontown resident Brad Sciullo said he actually "trained" in order to consume the $50 Beer Barrel Belly Buster in record time at Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pa., the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said Friday. When asked what possessed him to eat a burger that big, Sciullo said: 'I wanted to see if I could. (PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


"I'm all trained up, I'm real hungry and I got to do something," the competitive eater said before Monday's over-sized meal.


Sciullo said in order to set a record time for eating the mammoth meal, he had to not only down the base burger but also consume a cup each of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and relish.


When the smoke cleared and the crumbs were wiped away, Sciullo beat the eatery's previous record time by 21 minutes with a final time of four hours and 39 minutes.


The Tribune-Review said Sciullo won $400, three T-shirts and a certificate.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Sir Bowie “pass me a napkin and a by-pass surgery” of Greenbriar

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Cross to Bare: "Godisgood"

A recent article on the 27th Great American Beer Festival lead me to The Lost Abbey of San Marsoc, California (I traveled by world wide web, not actually in person).


Standing under a banner promising "Inspired beers for Saints and Sinners Alike," proprietor and former altar boy Tomme Arthur had a confession: He's using God to sell some beer.

"It's the oldest story ever told — the struggle between good and evil," said Arthur, 35, a product of Catholic schools, "There is a battle being waged between those who make good beer and those who make evil beer."


According to, ERIC GORSKI | AP Religion Writer:


Charlie Papazian, author of "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing," the undisputed bible of the craft, can cite many intersections of beer and the divine. Mayan and Aztec priests controlled the brewing of beer in pre-Columbian days, monks in Bavaria brewed strong bocks for sustenance during Lent and the first brewery in the Americas was founded by Belgium monks in Ecuador in 1534.

Before Louis Pasteur pinpointed yeast as the culprit in the 1850s, brewers didn't know what caused fermentation, said Papazian, president of the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association. So they invented one run-on word to describe the mysterious stuff at the bottom of the bottle: "Godisgood."

"As you drain a glass of beer, look at the yeast at the bottom and be reminded that God is good, because that's the way it feels," Papazian said.


Which leads me back to the The Lost Abbey of San Marsoc, California. Their tap handle is a Celtic cross. Now, I can’t say that the historical facts from their web site are, well, factual. But, here goes:


Every brewery project starts with a set of beers and a need to be able to identify them. In developing a portfolio of beers paying homage to Monastic Brewing traditions, we felt it was important to integrate some classic images into our logo and artwork. You will find that in The Lost Abbey artwork we have incorporated the Irish or Celtic cross. Though we will not be making beers solely in the Irish Tradition, we felt it was important to adopt this icon for numerous reasons.

The Celtic and Irish cross shape itself has been widely used by many ancient peoples, long before the arrival of Christianity. Its four arms were perfect for denoting the four elements, the four directions of the compass, and the four parts of man - mind, body, soul and heart. Brewing was once a very seasonal activity centered around the four seasons of each year as well. Working as brewers, we are also acutely aware of the four main ingredients that are used in the brewing process- Barley, Water, Yeast and Hops. There are also four founding partners working on this brewery project. Everywhere we turned, there were relationships of four we felt it was important to remember.

The addition of the ring around the cross making it Celtic in origin played a major role in our adoption as a symbol for The Lost Abbey. The ring around the cross has many explanations. An Irish legend tells how St. Patrick created the first Celtic cross by drawing a circle over a Latin cross to incorporate a pagan moon goddess symbol. For an Irish Catholic, the circle in the Celtic cross may be a symbol of eternity. The addition of a pagan moon goddess symbol reminds us that life is made up of those who believe and those who choose not to believe. It is quite certain that there will be those who choose to believe in The Lost Abbey and those who will not. The ring around the cross connects the elements of brewing together and each of the four pie shapes which make up the circle represent the commitment of the four founding partners to this project.

For us, the circle joins the four points of the cross with a fifth element that Gina, Jim, Tomme and Vince believe represents the spirit of the people that will energize The Lost Abbey on a daily basis. This notion of five points will extend to the brewing process where the traditional 4 brewing ingredients will be combined with this radiating circle resulting in fifth ingredient that we know as Passion. The Celtic cross we are using was developed by our artist Sean Dominguez. On each point you will find one of the traditional four brewing ingredients (barley, yeast, hops and water). Each of these four ingredients is then tied to one another through the circle of passion that binds this project (end).


You can read more about The Lost Abbey at: http://www.lostabbey.com


And at: http://www.portbrewing.com/


While alcohol and religion don't always mix, no less a figure than our old friend Ben Franlklin, once said: "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."


Sir Bowie of Greenbriar