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Thursday, January 31, 2008

...and Be Merry!

I’m half German and half Irish.

Having said that, I’m embarrassed to say that I have not been much of a “pub” drinker and singer. Unlike other German and Irish families, our family was never into drinking to the point of breaking into a ballad or polka (with the exception of going to the Duck Inn and listening to my brother, Sir John of Rosedale, mesmerize the locals with his rendition of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport). I’ve missed something along the way – a lot of public drunkenness and being merry... to a tune.

One “person” I’ve failed to meet along the way is Charlie Mops (I’ve never even heard of Charlie Mops until recently). Charlie Mops, it turns out, invented beer! At least, that’s what this famous Irish “pub” tune claims:

A long time ago, way back in history,
when all there was to drink was nothin but cups of tea.
Along came a man by the name of Charlie Mops,
and he invented a wonderful drink and he made it out of hops.

(Chorus) He must have been an admiral a sultan or a king,
and to his praises we shall always sing.
Look what he has done for us he's filled us up with cheer!
Lord bless Charlie Mops, the man who invented beer beer beer
tiddly beer beer beer.

The Curtis bar, the James' Pub, the Hole in the Wall as well
one thing you can be sure of, its Charlie's beer they sell
so all ye lads a lasses at eleven O'clock ye stop
for five short seconds, remember Charlie Mops 1 2 3 4 5


A barrel of malt, a bushel of hops, you stir it around with a stick,
the kind of lubrication to make your engine tick.
40 pints of wallop a day will keep away the quacks.
Its only eight pence hapenny and one and six in tax, 1 2 3 4 5


The Lord bless Charlie Mops!

- - -

So the next time we meet, let us raise a pint and salute Charlie Mops. I don't know if I'll break out in song, but the Lord bless all good Knights and Charlie Mops.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"The Great Soul"

It's difficult to write about "Spirit" and "Unity Through Diversity" without quoting Mahatma Gandhi.

"Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed."
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
"Hate the sin, love the sinner."
"An eye for an eye makes the world blind."
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers."

60 years ago today, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, is assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic.

Gandhi organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise agreement with the South African government (regarding the
plight of Indians in South Africa).

There is so much to this man and his life that I don't pretend to know or understand. But, he was like a Knight for justice in this world through nonviolence. Long story short, Gandhi's persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.

Once asked what he thought of Western civilization: "I think it would be a good idea."

I don't think that Gandhi would have wanted to be a Knight; however, I believe that this Knight would love to be a little bit of Gandhi.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You were lucky...

I lived in a shoe box in the middle of the road!

Pubs/Bars are, of course, a wonderful place to meet friends and enjoy each other’s company. It is also a convenient place to play the all-to-popular game of “Negative One-upmanship.” Monty Python’s Flying Circus lampooned this in a skit “Four Yorkshiremen.” Their conversation shifts subtly negative and then, over time, the one-upmanship becomes relentless. Various example are on You Tube. Here is a link to the script:

When it comes to brilliant comedy writing, Monty Python is very high on my list.

But, I digress!

Where was I? Of course, Lilly Tomlin. Ms. Tomlin says that “Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.”

Which brings me to one of my biggest resolutions this year: STOP COMPAINING!
If you’re like me – even to a small degree – you owe it to yourself to read an insightful little book: A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen. Inside you will find his recipe for ending the dis-ease of complaining, gossiping, and criticizing.

As a result of reading this book, you will now see me wearing a purple bracelet. What’s it all about? Check out for more details.

Part of the motto of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale is: “We are sovereign rulers of our own lives.” My new purple bracelet will help me recognize that I have the power to control my thoughts, words, and deeds. May you soon see me as a more positive force in this universe and sense my new vibration of optimism and hope.


Sir Bowie of Greenbriar.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Customer of the Day & Virgin Meat

OK, so now you know my favorite drink at "4 Bucks"! That's right, Sir Hook was granted the estate and all its privilege of a Free Venti Latte all week with the title of Customer of the Week. The only problem is, I won't be here all week. This road weary warrior must once again mount his silver steed and roar away into the heavens. The plus, I'm going to Clearwater, FL. Serious, it's business. Of course I always make fun my business! So once again I leave you in the capable hands of Sir Bowie of Greenbriar for daily words of wisdom. But, before I go I must share what you can find in the world of Diversity while hanging out at Starbucks.

Here it is in living color, and I kid you not, they were both in at the same time. I couldn't believe my good fortune and belly laugh (Sorry for using these innocent people, but give me a break!) Ladies & Knights, meet "The Virgin 05" and "You Can't Beat Our Meat". Truer words have never been said, or for that matter, worn! So the next time when you are in Starbucks fantasizing about Virgin's, remember, You Can't Beat Our Meat! Or, I should say, they won't beat yours! Here's to Unity through Diversity in all its splendid and glorious forms.

Tally Ho!
Sir Hook or Warrick

Jesus, Buddha, Thomas and the Knights

No, this is not the title of a new Elton John song! It's a song as old as time itself, which is without end, so it's a new song. We must keep singing this new song before we regress to object thumping Neanderthals in some cave in France. All great Spiritual Leaders challenge us to embrace the Holy in every day life. Not to separate from it.

Our challenge today is to embrace what makes us unified instead of focusing on what makes us different. If you truly understand the meaning of being "awake", then being Unified
through Diversity brings a marvelous positive energy to your life and those around you.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the great Doctor's of the Catholic Church, which at his time was simply called the Church. Catholic means universal, yet somehow we have done a great job of alienation with our Christian brother's while they have done a great job of demonizing us. Where is the Unity through Diversity? Many fundamentals will point to St. Thomas as the motivation behind the absolute authority of the Church; however, how many have actually read his works, or understood his influences and truly know what he believed? That's what I would like to share today.

"Aquinas viewed theology, or the sacred doctrine, as a science, the raw material data of which consists of written scripture and the tradition of the Church. These sources of data were produced by the self-revelation of God to individuals and groups of people throughout history. Faith and reason, while distinct but related, are the two primary tools for processing the data of theology. Aquinas believed both were necessary - or, rather, that the confluence of both was necessary - for one to obtain true knowledge of God. Aquinas blended Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine by suggesting that rational thinking and the study of nature, like revelation, were valid ways to understand God. According to Aquinas, God reveals himself through nature, so to study nature is to study God. The ultimate goals of theology, in Aquinas’ mind, are to use reason to grasp the truth about God and to experience salvation through that truth. Aquinas believed "that for the knowledge of any truth whatsoever man needs Divine help, that the intellect may be moved by God to its act." However, he believed that human beings have the natural capacity to know many things without special divine revelation, even though such revelation occurs from time to time, "especially in regard to [topics of] faith." Aquinas was also an Aristotelian and an empiricist. He substantially influenced these two streams of Western thought."

Wow! Faith and Reason? Aristotle? I thought he was a stupid Greek bastard-heretic! (Just kidding) He also embraced Metaphysics and Logic, the Alchemist's of the day. The Irish writer, James Joyce, counts him among his great influences.

I read with joy in the paper yesterday about a Church in Harrisburg, PA, home of McGrath's, that is going to start a bar ministry were they will hang out, have a few drinks and be open to talk with strangers who need to talk, share ideas, communicate. Yes, they don't know it, but they have just become Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale. When the Pastor was asked why he is doing this he responded, "We're only doing what Christ did. We have to go where the people are going." That my friends is a perfect blend of faith and reason!

Enjoy your day,
Sir Hook of Warrick

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Being A Nonconformist

Emerson said, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist." I couldn't agree more! Not to be sexist (That's why I honorably cropped certain "naughty bits" from the original sent to me by Sir Duke of Conlin ) but it appears that this statement should hold try for whoso would be a woman.

Nonconformity in its non destructive state is one of the benchmarks of a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale. We are driven to seek the truth in all things, to express life in its fullest, and to communicate this to those we encounter. It is the essence of Unity through Diversity.

So, the next time you hear someone say, or yourself for that matter, "I would never do that!" Stop and ask, WHY?! You might be surprised by your answer, and your might realise that either you already know the truth, or you will have to unlearn "your truth" to begin anew. This is the great challenge and battle that a true Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale must face to bring his gifts to the world. Do not fear is a great spiritual lesson, so I bow before the Lady in this photo (obviously a Lady of MSA who doesn't know it yet) who is strong enough to ride through a camp holding a beer between her breasts. As Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire says, "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beer Holder!"

Carry on my wayward sons and daughters,
SIr Hook of Warrick, NC

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's what people know about themselves...

The classic spaghetti western High Plains Drifter (written by Ernest Tidyman) was on the other night and I just had to watch – again. In the opening of this classic, Clint Eastwood's character, The Stranger, walks into a saloon as only Eastwood can. All eyes are focused on him.

The Stranger: Beer... and a bottle.
Bartender: Ain't much good, but it's all there is.
[brings drinks]
Bartender: You want anything else?
The Stranger: Just a peaceful hour to drink it in.

Of course, all hell breaks out and so much for that peaceful hour. 

The American West and cowboys have long been associate with a “White Knight-like” spirit: riding your horse into the unknown, bravery, adventure, battling evil (usually in black). In American literature and early cinema, the good guys (in tall white hats) usually had their codes, prayers, creeds, or rules they followed. For example, this from perhaps the most Knight-like of them all:

The Lone Ranger Creed

  1. I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.

  2. That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

  3. That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.

  4. In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

  5. That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

  6. The “this government, of the people, by the people, and for the people” shall live always.

  7. That man should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

  8. That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

  9. That all things change, but the truth, and the truth alone, lives forever.

  10. I believe in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.

Eastwood's The Stranger's creed? I couldn't find one, but I imagine it to be something like: “Shoot 'em all and let God sort 'em out. Then you live with it!” Yes, Clint Eastwood's character was one bad ass. But, The Stranger had many Zen-like truths worth remembering, including:

Sarah Belding (a woman he had just slept with): Be careful. You're a man who makes people afraid, and that's dangerous.
The Stranger: It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid.

So, what's your creed? It's something to think about the next time you drift into your favorite saloon and order a bottle and a beer.

May you have a peaceful hour to Think, Drink, and Be Merry.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lady of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale

Our esteemed Honorary Founder and Creator of Graphics, Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire came up with this outstanding image after a few too many Belgian Wheat Beers at his local Pub. He said that this beer was flavored with strawberry and after about three pints he felt like he was having a party in his pants! Now, that's some good beer! Anyway, this is his Knightly vision of what a Lady of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale looks like after he made his way home.

The beer is called Fruli, and as their web site proclaims, "It's not served everywhere like Stella, it's only served in the very best pubs." They also claim that, "Fruli is for those who find it." Here's to finding the best beers, the best Ladies, the best Knights and Strawberry Fields Forever!

Sir Hook of Warrick

Some "Canned" ideas are great!

When I was a kid one of my favorite hobbies was beer can collecting.
Today, this Knight is not a beer snob; I freely admit enjoying a beer from a can.
One of my mottoes:
A beer in a can in the hand is worth two on the shelf.

On this date January 24, 1935:
1935 : First canned beer goes on sale

Canned beer makes its debut on this day in 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger's Finest Beer and Krueger's Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.

The concept of canned beer proved to be a hard sell, but Krueger's
overcame its initial reservations and became the first brewer to sell
canned beer in the United States. The response was overwhelming.
Within three months, over 80 percent of distributors were handling
Krueger's canned beer, and Krueger's was eating into the market share
of the "big three" national brewers--Anheuser-Busch, Pabst and
Schlitz. Competitors soon followed suit, and by the end of 1935, over
200 million cans had been produced and sold.

The purchase of cans, unlike bottles, did not require the consumer to
pay a deposit. Cans were also easier to stack, more durable and took
less time to chill. As a result, their popularity continued to grow
throughout the 1930s, and then exploded during World War II, when U.S.brewers shipped millions of cans of beer to soldiers overseas.

Today, canned beer accounts for approximately half of the $20 billion
U.S. beer industry. Not all of this comes from the big national
brewers: Recently, there has been renewed interest in canning from
microbrewers and high-end beer-sellers, who are realizing that cans
guarantee purity and taste by preventing light damage and oxidation.
(source: History Channel)

Pop a top fellow Knights and toast the Beer Can.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Have You Had Your Java?

Today as you arise from your Knightly sleep you will more than likely reach for your morning Java. Before 1996 that would have clearly meant a nice, warm, robust cup of coffee (perhaps spiked with your favorite spirit). Since 1996 Java has taken on a dual meaning in our society. Today marks the day in that fabled year that the Java computer program was released by Sun Microsystems, a program that has changed how we view the world through a small electronic box. It makes me ask myself, "What have I done to change the world?" A humbling question that I will ponder after enjoying my two forms of Java this cold Indiana morning. Cream and sugar? One lump or two?

Sir Hook of Warrick

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Your're an Origianl...Baby!

How long to sing this song? (U2) You're an original baby! (Sheryl Crow) Now, I know that it has become fashionable to criticize Bono of U2 because of his political views made very public on his stage. My question is, "What the hell would you do?" I also know that Sheryl Crow almost had to eat crow for promoting using only one ply of toilet paper to wipe your ass to conserve. My question is, "Did you try it?" Though the Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale does belong to a larger group, it is a group that embraces the idea of being unified through our diversity. In simple English, don't be like me, be with me! First and foremost, especially in matters of battle, the Knight of MSA acts through the center of his soul, often on the field alone, and must trust in his God given talents and strengths to seize the day. So the next time you find yourself in a crowd of all I want to do is please the crowd types, remember, be bold and be you, which usually translates to be bold and be yourself. Ultimately, you're the only one you have to live and die with forever, so remain true to yourself and through this you will embrace and be embraced by the beauty that is being unified through our diversity! For sharing their songs, and being strong in themselves, I nominate as honorary members of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale; Sir Bono of Dublin and Lady Sheryl of Crow.

By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.

Your conformity explains nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now.

Sir Hook of Warrick

Monday, January 21, 2008

National Give A Hug Day

That's right Packer's Fans. If you can't beat 'em...hug 'em! At least now you won't get a 15 yard penalty! What a fantastic day to celebrate after the "Borg like Pats" go off to face the "Other Manning" in Arizona. I'm going to have to give the good old Edith cry during the upcoming Super Bowl..."ARCHIE!!!" Or, is that ELI'S COMING!!! Or, I guess that's how Eli got here! Which furthers my point that today is a great holiday. Go hug somebody today. You may never know what will happen next?!
Hugs to All,
Sir Hook of Warrick

Sorry To Our Green Bay Knights...

A good friend of mine owns a bar here in Evansville, Indiana called “Legends.” Bill is a sports fanatic and makes any big televised game an event at his bar. The ultimate party is the ultimate televised game (at least here in America): The Super Bowl, the championship game of the National Football League. Now, one of the things Bill always does – if possible -- is feature a beer from the area that the teams are from. It's too bad the Green Bay Packers lost yesterday and won't be advancing to the championship game this year. If they had, Bill would be serving a variety of Leinenkugel's.

Still, here is some information on “The Pride of Chippewa Falls.”

The family has owned Jacob Leinenkugel's Brewing Co. for just over 140 years. Leinie fans of this Upper Midwest beer know it to be one of more creative brewers in the United States. These faithful take the creativity a step further and mix different flavors to create their own recipes (there are 11 different styles to work with).

Go to for more details.

So, this Super Bowl (or anytime) open up to a unique Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss, Honey Weiss, Red Lager, Creamy Dark, Sunset Wheat, or even a Big Butt Doppelbock and enjoy.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar


Sorry Scott, I really was on your side!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

1703, Harry Potter,Two Doors Down and the Tudors

Now that I'm well rested after my East Coast swing, and properly fed on pizza and beer with the Founder's Council at Turoni's, I wanted to share some good Pub and travel
information with my fellow Errant Knights. While in Baltimore I discovered another Pub gem, the Fordham Brewing Company, founded in Annapolis in 1703, making it the nations oldest formal brewery! Recently resurrected, the beer is outstanding! It was a good place to wash down my sorrows of watching the Colts lose to the Chargers. Yes, Karma was alive in Baltimore, former home of the Colts!

While in Washington, DC, I had to visit the Kennedy Library of Ethics housed at Georgetown University in Healy Hall. Once again I found myself in (Sorry Sir Dayvd of Oxforshire...but for us Yanks) ancient surroundings. Georgetown is the nation's oldest Jesuit College, Healy Hall is the nation's oldest college building and inside is this wo
nderful library. I felt like I was a character in a Harry Potter movie! I waved my magic wand but the only thing that came out was ink on paper. Not an horrible result!

Two doors down from J's Dinning Saloon on M Street in Washington, DC is the original, and still private, City Tavern with it's Sign of the Indian King. It was founded in 1796. Being of Indian descent (Cherokee) but not a member, I was refused entry; however, the food and beer at J's more than made up for it. I could only imagine how many twists of fate occurred over a few frothy mugs at City Tavern? The nice thing about being a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale is that even though we are technically a secret society, we do however welcome all into our presence. This is how we become unified through our diversity!

The only go
od thing out of my marathon flight home from Baltimore to Evansville, via Atlanta to Charlotte to Atlanta to Evansville, was that 29 hours later I finally had time to watch the Showtime Series, The Tudors, on my iPhone. The cinematography is amazing, the sets and props superb, and the acting fantastic. Not to mention the gratuitous sex and violence! I'm not sure how historically accurate these fables are, but being a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale deprived of sleep, I was spellbound. Check it out!
Sir Hook of Warrick

I went to the woods to...

Left: Walden Pond

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
-- Henry David Thoreau

It snowed a few inches the other night and I just had to get out into the woods and "live deliberately," if only for an hour. I wasn't exactly in a dense woods; civilization was only a quarter of a mile away. But, I got to thinking: Oh shit, what if I have a heart attack out here? I sat down on a fallen tree and wrote this:

Winter blackness
When the wind
Turns from the north
The falling snow
Gently touches me
As if to announce its presence
Without startling
My Memory

Looking forward
A virgin path into the woods
Inviting me to leave a moment
And live this moment
On my journey
Looking back
The snow fills
The void of
My memory

Each step
Satiated by drifting
The next day's sun melting
All evidence of my odyssey:
When I make my final footprint
On this earth
Will anybody even know
My Memory?

(After a hike in the Wesselman's Woods after dartk. 1/17/08)

I love and admire their spirit, but I honestly don't know how Thoreau, Boone, Kenton or the other great woods-knights did it.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Early Valentine

Last evening a few of the Knights met to celebrate, among other things, Hook's safe return from his snow-crippling east coast trip and...the Knights of MSA's 100th Blog which was posted this week. We decided to meet at Evansville's only remaining brewery: Turoni's Pizzery & Brewery on Main Street.

As we stand around the bar waiting for a table I begin to write in my head this blog: I will write about Evansville's rich brewing history and how Turoni's is the lone survivor. However, my thoughts are soon washed away by the uplifting sounds of polka music. Scanning the room, we eye an
energetic older gentleman gliding from table to table and serenading the delighted crowd... with his accordion.

Now, the motto of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale is: Think, Drink, and be Merry. Part of the blessing of being a Knight of MSA is the ability to be open to new ideas and meeting people who have a passion for life and a willingness to share that passion with others:

Meet Mr. Ed Valentine.

“I've been playing accordion since 1941,” he told us.
We ask him to play us his favorite song. “Favorite? How much time do you have?” Like Paul McCartney, Ed, too, has his “play list” attached to the top of his accordion (Hofner Bass in Sir Paul's case); after hearing him play, I believe that each is his favorite. His music is as contagious as his smile, and before long everyone in the room is smiling and clapping along. "Dark Eyes," characterized as a Russian gypsy song, is next.

"Do you really want to hear one of my favorites?" Of course. He pauses, closes his eyes as if meeting the love of his life, and breaks into “Our Day Will Come.”

We thank Ed for his gift of music, and in exchange for a Knights Beer Coaster, he graciously allows us to have our photo taken with him. Mr. Valentine then breaks into another polka as he sails off into the sea of pizza munching, beer guzzling Turoni's patrons.

Before he's out of earshot, we immediately recruit Ed Valentine into our merry band of Knights and dub him Sir Valentine of Bellows. (Ed, if you'd like to choose a different name, email me and we'll take care of it: )

Thank you Sir Valentine of Bellows for reminding us by example to: "Think love and wear a smile" (a line from Ed's favorite song).

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar
Sir Hook of Warrick
Lady Winky of Warrick
Sir Richard Lion Heart of Beaver Creek

(Stay tuned for more on the history of Evansville Brewing and Turoni's)

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Strength of a Knight

While Sir Hook rests up from his arduous travels...

So, Wednesday I have one of the worst days ever at my job. The stress and frustration level rose to record highs in proportion to my blood pressure (thank goodness for Diovan). Anyway, I went home and gave myself a couple of options to deal with it: Drink myself into oblivion or go to the gym (No, “the gym” is not the name of a bar – though that's a pretty good idea).

First, I checked my email and did a little research on a project I'm working on. Then, something rose to the top of the cesspool of Google information that reminded me of an old newspaper columnist named Sidney Harris. Mr. Harris was a great writer and cartoonist whose work appeared in the 1970s and 1980s. A very witty man. Every now and then he’d write a column entitled “Things I Learned While Looking Up Something Else.” Anyway, while I'm looking up something else, I came across this Guinness World Record:

Tom Gaskin lifted a 137-lb, 8-oz keg of beer above his head 902 times in six hours at Laska House, Newry, Northern Ireland.” (this is a 1996 record, so it's possible it's been broken).

Holy crap! I can't lift my arms above my head 902 times much less with a 140-lbs keg of beer.

That got me thinking how out of shape I really am.

So, as much as I would have liked to drown my sorrows by lifting a record number of 12-oz beers, I went to the gym...then I came home and enjoy an A-B's Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale.

Oh, and if you want to just “throw” a kegger, check out this site:

Sir Bowie “The Weakling” of Greenbriar

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's a New Day Yesterday...But an Old Day Now

I finally arrived home after 29 hours of being awake, smelly, tired, sired and generally irational from my travels. This reminded me of Ian Anderson and the Jethro Tull song, "Its a New Day Yesterday...But an Old Day Now!" After 30+ years of listening to this favorite I finally got it today! This lead me to check out their website where I found this handsome photo of Ian, news of their 2008 World Tour and his 2008 New Year's Resolutions, which I'm sharing with you now:
2008 Resolutions
My New Year’s resolutions are many: mostly involving tidying up work spaces. The office, the studio, the warehouse where all the musical equipment is kept – all in need of the annual pre-Spring clean. Hopefully my stomach will shrink of its own accord, requiring only a few less vegetarian curries than last year to help it along. My hair has started to grow back at an alarming rate, or it seemed in a moment of wild optimism this morning. Oh, yes – did I mention my new spectacles….I must remember to be nice to children and grannies. I will try harder to be a good and tolerant person. Especially when made angry by the occasional drunken Philistines and boors in our audiences in certain countries. The NY Times says that in recent years, excavations in Israel established that the Philistines had fine pottery, handsome architecture and cosmopolitan tastes. If anything, they were more refined than the shepherds and farmers in the nearby hills, the Israelites, who slandered them in biblical chapter and verse and rendered their name a synonym for boorish, uncultured people. Archaeologists have now found that not only were Philistines cultured, they were also literate when they arrived, presumably from the region of the Aegean Sea, and settled the coast of ancient Palestine around 1200 B. C. Well – they are still drunken Philistines to me….I will try not to indulge in childish, sexist commentary whether from the stage or in private oratory. Lavatorial humour is definitely out, unless provoked. What provokes lavatorial humour? Well, dodgy lavatories for a start. The sooner our theatres and auditoria get round to refurbishing the backstage areas along with the front-of-house restorations they are so volubly proud of, the better I will feel; the better I will dumpy-do. I will congratulate my fellow musicians when they play well; commiserate when they know they haven’t. I will treat drum roadies with the respect they deserve. I guarantee never to use my Doctorate or MBE attached to my name lest housebreakers and chainsaw murderers decide that I must be successful and wealthy and harbouring the crown jewels. And a D. Lit or MBE never guaranteed a leg-over, did it? Well, DID it? Sir Paulie Mac isn’t doing well in that department, is he? Sir Mick is now doing penile (sic) servitude and Sir Elton is, like me, beyond caring. Not that we don’t think about it on Sundays and high holidays.OK – now it’s time to get back to the basic purpose of this message: Happy New Year to you all and sundry and may the Good Lord Bless you if He is not busy doing something more important. Not really believing in an interventionist god, I think we might carry out our own tiny and earthly blessings on those we love, admire, appreciate, merely tolerate or - even rank along with the Philistines. For ‘tis the season of love, forgiveness and renewal of the human spirit. And paying off the credit card bill, refinancing the mortgage, speaking in strange, high-pitched voices to grand-children and smothering the cats with sentimental affection and lobster.

See you along the way in 2008.

IA England, Dec 31st 2007

I also hereby add, as a Founding Father of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale, Ian Anderson to our nobel role as our second honorary Knight. Welcome Sir Ian!


Sir "Can't Keep My Eyes Open" Hook

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Survivor: Atlanta Airport (Airs Thursday's at 3am)

I originally intended on posting the next blog about 5 hours from now, after a good night's sleep in my own bed, about several brew pubs I visited in Washington, DC and Baltimore earlier yesterday; however, thanks to an unusual winter weather pattern I'm stuck in the Atlanta Airport posting this red-eye blog. It began January 16 at 5:25pm Eastern Time. I boarded my flight in Baltimore to Atlanta only to be delayed on the tarmack for 30 minutes due to weather in Atlanta. We took off and began to circle between Georgia and South Carolina for about an hour past our arrival time. That's when the Captain informed us that we had been re-routed to Charlotte to refuel and try to get back to Atlanta. We sat on the tarmack in Charlotte for another hour waiting to refuel and that's when everyones true colors began to show. One of the guys across the asle from me started to complain and I told him that we were actually in a hidden camera reality show, a new edition of Survivor. After 7 hours on a plane, long lines and no hotels, I sit here listening to vacum cleaners, cursing passengers and alarms set off by "don't give a shit if you're tired and about to kill me" workers! Stay positive, I tell myself as I try to sleep on a fake marble floor. Easier said than done, but a great lesson in patience. (My family Motto is: I overcome difficulties with patience.) Anyway, I've made up my mind that I'm going to win this damn show!

Sir Hook the Weary

The Great Experiment

It's sort of like killing snakes.

I saw a documentary once where a farm community went on a snake killing-spree thinking that they were doing a good thing. Funny thing about trying to do the "right" thing: sometimes it bites you in the butt. In this case, small farms were literally overrun with RATS!

It was sort of like that in the United States just a few short decades ago.

From The History Channel Web Site (edited for length):
On this date in 1919 : Prohibition takes effect
The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes," is ratified on this day in 1919 and becomes the law of the land. The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. Prohibition took effect in January 1919. Nine months later, Congress passed the Volstead Act, or National Prohibition Act. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department. Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, repealing prohibition.

Yes, it truly was time that made men want to cry in their beers and denied them the beer to cry in.

But resourceful people found creative and profitable ways to continue to brew beer.
And one source I read, in order to stay in business, Anheuser-Busch produced Budweiser Yeast. They sold a 5 pound cake of brewers yeast, hops, and other ingredients and items necessary to brew beer. They knew America was drinking as much beer as they were before prohibition and figured whoever was going to make it still needed ingredients and supplies. They wanted to keep their vendors and supply lines open and ready to go when the Great Experiment failed.

In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed
and ratified, repealing prohibition.

Here's to snakes and the failure of the Great Experiment!

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Knights Coasters Make East Coast Pub Crawl

Last night this errant Knight hit the sacred water hole in Harrisburg, PA, McGrath's. It's all full cirlce now. This is the Pub where I met Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire and shared the ruff outlines of the concept and design that Sir Bowie of Greenbriar and myself started last May. Sir Dayvd designed our excellent Coat of Arms, and now they are being distributed throughout the land and across the pond! I got to see Sir Fox of Hopps who is doing quite well after heart surgery and Lady Flo of McClay who is now assisting this errant Knight in his business practices. Good times, good friends, good laughs, good beer and good coasters! The night before I was a James Joyce Pub in Fells Point in Baltimore, MD. Another fun place. It was open mic night and I heard some tremendous music. Wish I had my guitar. The most interesting was a black jazz guitarist doing a jazz version of the Beatles "Blackbird". So, I've been waiting for this moment to arrive and now I must fly!

Travel well,
Sir Hook of Warrick

I read in The Wall Street Journal...

To be honest, I’ve always wanted to start an article this way. Quoting TWSJ, I presumed, would make me sound as if I were an intellectual. The only problem is, truth be told, I don’t read The Wall Street Journal.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I took the back entrance into our office building and discovered the steps littered with old Journals (I assume delivered to a previous tenant who did not forward their address). I picked one up and, for the first time, read an issue. Okay, with all candor, I only skimmed the headlines; however, one article did catch my attention:

Dateline: January 14, 2008
“Why CEOs Need To Be Honest,” by Kaja Whitehouse.

The truth (and this might shock you): Some CEOs have a problem telling the truth.

Why are these men and women less than honest?

Some of the qualities quoted:
* Must always appear in control
* Have to conceal defeat of their programs and ideas
* Hard to admit they don’t have all the answers
* Want to imply confidence
* Need to put the best light on a bad situation

“What does this have to do with me?” you ask?

Simple: We are each CEOs of our own lives and our “board” is our family, friends, co-workers, and even trivial contacts. Also, to me, part of the “Spirit” of Knights of MSA is the courage to be truthful. I know, "Easier said than done!" But, no one ever said that being a Knight was easy.

So, today, thanks to The Wall Street Journal and Kaja Whitehouse, I am reminded to ask myself: “How honest am I with my board of directors?”

I raise a pint and toast the courage to be truthful.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

P.S. If the tenant comes back looking for yesterday's copy of The Wall Street Journal, don't tell him that I took it (damn, this integrity thing IS hard).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Moleskine Exhibit

I think it's always good to revisit our sacred roots: Journaling.

Bring a journal -- especially a Moleskine journal -- into a bar or pub and you're sure to spark people's imaginations. As you sip a pint of your favorite malt beverage, you can feel the "I wonder..." energy in the air: "I wonder what he/she is writing?" Soon, one brave soul asks you and an impromptu meeting the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale has been called to order. 99% of the curious will move on, but the 1 that stays is usually a Knights' soul-mate that, at least for one night, feels the spark of the Moleskine mission of independent expression. was nice enough to feature our small, but growing, band of Knights few moons ago. Today, I notice that the web site has started an exhibit worthy of checking out.

Quote from site:

"We're excited to celebrate the fourth birthday of Moleskinerie with a retrospective of selected works from our friends and supporters around the world. We would like to recognize this group of writers, artists, bloggers and thinkers who have been featured on the blog in the last year and have consistently used Moleskine in their professional or private pursuits.

The works will be displayed in a permanent gallery on Moleskinerie, updated monthly, starting January 12th, 2008. To honor the participants, Moleskine has created for the artists a limited edition of notebooks and diaries.

This is only the first of what we hope will be many editions of the Exhibit. We hope that you will enjoy the gallery and that it will inspire creative dialogue and foster deeper understanding between cultures."

See the gallery

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ramble On

Yes, it's time to Ramble On...Sing my song! An hour away from missing the Colts playoff game while this Warrior of the Light and Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale takes to the air for an East Coast swing. Included in my ramblin' trip is a meeting at the Kennedy Library of Ethics (kind of an oxymoron) at Georgetown University in DC. Perhaps I'll find some ethics, but no doubt I'll find plenty of adventures to write in my Moleskine while drinking great beer! Just like Robert and Jimmy, I don't get older, just better! I leave you in the capable hands of Sir Bowie of Greenbriar.

Peace and Love,
Sir Hook

Saturday, January 12, 2008

When it comes to Great Writing and Great Writing about Beer, nothing beats the television show “Cheers” (1982-1993) IMHO.

Here are just of few of my favorite beer liners:

Sam: What's new, Normie?
Norm: Terrorists, Sam. They've taken over my stomach and they're demanding beer.

Woody: Pour you a beer, Mr. Peterson?
Norm: Alright, but stop me at one. Make that one-thirty.

Woody: Would you like a beer, Mr. Peterson?
Norm: No, I'd like a dead cat in a glass.

Carla: If the Brady Bunch crashes in the Andes who would they eat first?
Woody: Well probably the maid, 'cause she's not kin
Cliff: Yeah, but if they were smart they would ask her the best way to prepare herself. (I bet she would go great with a pale ale).

Norm: You know what I love?
Sam: Beer Norm?
Norm: Sure, I'll have one.

Everyone: NORM.
Coach: What's new, Norm?
Norm: I need something to hold me over until my second beer.
Coach: How about a first beer?
Norm: That'll work.

Woody: What do you say to a cold one, Norm?
Norm: See you later, Vera; I'm going to Cheers.

Norm: Morning, everybody!
Woody: Beer, Mr. Peterson?
Norm: Little early in the day isn't it, Woody?
Woody: Little early for a beer?
Norm: No, for stupid questions.

[while having a debate with Cliff]
Norm: Hey, Frasier, you're a doctor. What happens to old, dead skin?
Frasier: Apparently it sits on barstools and drinks beer all day.

And my personal favorite:

One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to his buddy Norm. Here's how it went:

"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

Cheers! Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Friday, January 11, 2008

Where Good Beer Comes From

Thanks to some research from Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire, we now know the story behind Wells Bomardier English Premium Bitter.

First: The History of the Charles Wells Family Brewery.

Charles Wells, after whom the company is named, was born in Bedford in 1842; he left school at the age of 14 and ran away to sea by boarding the frigate 'Devonshire' which was bound for India. In the late 1860s, Wells was promoted to Chief Officer when he fell in love with and proposed to a Josephine Grimbley. Unfortunately, his prospective father-in-law put paid to his plans when he announced that no daughter of his would marry a man who would be away at sea for months at a time. And so Wells, desperate to marry his sweetheart, left his sea-faring career and in 1876 established the Charles Wells Family Brewery to provide beer for the local population of Bedfordshire.
In 1875, a two and a quarter acre site came to auction on the banks of the River Ouse as it ran through Bedford. This site contained both a coal depot and a brew house; included in the price were 35 pubs, mainly in Bedford and the surrounding area. Wells thought that beer would always be in demand, and with the help of his father he purchased the site and began work to turn the small brew house into a fully fledged brewery which could serve the county. As water is an essential ingredient for any beer, good quality water is needed in order to create the best beer. In 1902, Wells climbed a local hill a couple of miles from the brewery and sank his own well to tap into an underground reservoir of water, purified through layers of chalklimestone. All Charles Wells beer, and with the recent joint venture with Youngs all Youngs beers, are made with water drawn from this well. Exactly 100 years since the Brewery was established, the Brewery moved from its Horne Lane site to a brand new site on Havelock Street, the Eagle Brewery. The move came about due to an increased demand for the companies beers, spurred on by the Breweries deal with Red Stripe brewery Desnoes & Geddes. This offered the company the chance to install the most up-to-date brewing equipment, and a state of the art Bottling line. Today, the Company is still in the Family's hands, with the fifth generation coming into the business. There are currently three members of the family who work at the brewery, all serving on the boards of directors for both Charles Wells and Wells & Young's. The Company now has an estate of more than 250 pubs across the Eastern region, and has its beers sold by Well & Young's in bars across 23 countries through its John Bull enterprise.

Second: The History of William Thomas Wells, aka, the Fighter Billy "Bombardier" Wells

William Thomas Wells, also known as, Billy "Bombardier" Wells (August 31, 1889June 12, 1967) was a English heavyweight boxer. Fighting under the name 'Bombardier' Billy Wells, he was British and British Empire Champion from 1911 until 1919. In 1911 he became the first Heavyweight to win the Lonsdale Belt. He was also famous for being the second person to fill the role of the "gongman" - the figure seen striking the gong in the introduction to J. Arthur Rank films.

Third: The Beer!
Bombardier Bitter (4.3% ABV)

An award winning flagship English bitter which is described by Alastair Gilmour (British Guild of Beer Writers) as a "Superlative bitter with an unexpectedly light, fruity flavour and a mere suggestion of malt settles on the palate after a lap of honour over every curve of the tongue." Available in bottles at 5.2% ABV.


Sir Hook of Warrick

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Knights and Warriors

The Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale is also a Warrior of the Light. I owe a deep gratitude to Brazilian author, Paulo Cahello, who has written so many great novels based on the the philosophy of the Warrior of the Light. First and foremost, we were founded on the very principles of this concept. Seeking the truth, revealing the truth, enjoying all of life. That is why I would like to share the latest online newsletter I received from Warrior of the Light Online: The Warrior of Light and the new year.

Knowing how to wait
The Warrior of Light needs time to himself. And he uses this time to rest and contemplate and contact the Soul of the World. He manages to meditate even in the middle of a combat.
On some occasions the warrior sits down, relaxes and lets everything that is happening around him go on happening. He looks around him as if he were a spectator, does not try to grow or diminish, just commits himself unresistingly to the movement of life.
Little by little everything that seemed so complicated becomes simple. And the warrior becomes happy.
Discovering the objective
When we want something, the whole Universe conspires in our favor. The Warrior of Light knows this.
That is why he takes great care with his thoughts. Hiding under a bunch of good intentions are desires that no-one dares confess to themselves: vengeance, self-destruction, guilt, fear of victory, macabre happiness at the tragedy of others.
The Universe does not judge: it conspires in favor of what we want. That is why the warrior is brave enough to look at the shadows of his soul and tries to illuminate them with the light of pardon.
The Warrior of Light is the master of his thoughts.
Understanding routine
There are moments when the warrior’s path goes through periods of routine. Then he applies a lesson given by Nachman of Bratzlav:
"If you can’t manage to concentrate, or if you are bothered about your day, you should repeat just one simple word, because that does the soul good. Don’t say anything else, just repeat that word no end of times without stopping. It will eventually lose its meaning, and then take on new significance. God will open the doors and you will end up using that simple word to express all that you wanted.”
When the warrior is forced to perform the same task over and over again, he uses this tactic and turns his work into prayer.
Celebrating the year that is ending
The warrior has lived each and every day of the year that has gone by, and even though he has lost some great battles, he has survived and here he is. This is a victory. This victory has cost many difficult moments, nights of doubts, endless days of waiting. Since ancient times, celebrating a triumph has been part of the ritual of life itself.
Commemorating is a rite of passage.
His companions look at the happiness of the Warrior of Light and think to themselves: “why does he do this? He could be beaten in his next combat. He may provoke the enemy’s fury.”
But the warrior knows the reason for his gesture. He gains strength from the best present that victory can offer: confidence.
The warrior celebrates the year that has come to an end so he can be stronger for tomorrow’s battles.