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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Born on A Bayou!

In about 2 hours from when I post this blog it will be exactly one year from when I went spinning down I-20 and became a bloody pulp of broken bones as I hit a bridge head on in a Louisiana bayou. That was just the start of an exceedingly scary and thrilling ride, which continues today. As I look out my window writing this the storm clouds are billowing, thunder clapping and rain is falling, just like that morning in Northwest Louisiana. But like Creedence Clearwater sings, "I was born on the bayou!"

That day is when I faced my mortality for the second time in a five year span. That day is when I was, to put it in neocon terms, "born again". As I lay in my broken state, in my broken car, I had two choices, the same two choices that we all face everyday when we become conscious, to live or to die. I discovered in a state of clarity that only a situation like this can reveal, that both choices are very easy to make. I chose life and was literally born again in a Louisiana bayou, as my old life was washed away by the pouring rain coming through my broken windshield.

Oh, I lived before, but somehow I had strayed from what truly motivated me. My open heart surgery was just a warm-up for that day in Louisiana. All my baggage of my previous life was literally thrown out the window. I realized through my pain that I was given a great blessing, to start anew. I was thankful, as I still am today.

Today's reading, appropriately enough, from God Calling by A.J. Russell was about Gratitude. "Give my the gift of a brave and thankful heart. Man proves his power to see causes for thankfulness in life. When life seems hard, and troubles crowd, then very definitely look for causes to be thankful. Seek diligently for something to be glad and thankful about in every happening, and soon no search is required. The causes for Joy and Gratitude will spring to greet your loving hearts."

Sir Dayvd has turned me on to an English motivational speaker, Jo Cameron. In her recent newsletter she states, "Challenge is a sign of living and without it we wither. Barriers are a test of our resolve. Hurdles are a sign that we aspire. Setbacks are the bumps in the road that we need to ride if we want to get somewhere higher. Rejection means we want a better life but we just haven't worked out how yet. When we get to where we want to be it's sunny and bright, it's peaceful and calm and worth all the pain getting there. It's worth fighting for because it was our idea, so keep going today when you feel like giving up. As John Ruskin said: 'The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it."

I rode my bump in the road on this day last year and I am thankful for what I have become because of it!

Sir Hook "Born on a Bumpy Road in the Bayou" of Warrick

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A New Journal and Fear

The symptoms are familiar: My heart pounds, I feel like I have “butterflies” in my stomach, my hands tremble so badly that I can’t write.

I admit that I suffer from B-MAD. B-MAD? B-M Anxiety Disorder.

Okay, okay: Blank Moleskine Anxiety Disorder. There, I said it. Are you happy?

Though there is no easy definition to this complex disorder, basically B-MAD is the paralyzing fear a journalist faces when faced with a brand new, clean, blank, Moleskine Journal.

The fear of the blank page is a real barrier to the creative process. The thought of scarring it with ink can throw a person into an anxiety attack elevated to the point of acute fear and grave sickness. B-MAD is an anxiety disorder producing persistent fear leading to writing impotence.

Moleskine Journal open, pen in hand: What’s the first mark to place in my new journal? Name, right? Not that easy. I’m reminded of the time when a psychology professor gave me his new pen and asked me to try it. I, of course, signed my name. The specific statistics have faded, but the lesson is still clear: A majority of people -- when given a new pen to try -- will write their name. What did he always write? In order to buck the status quo, he always wrote, “I will not write my name.”

So, if not my name first, then what? After all, this is “…the legendary notebook used by European artists and thinkers for the best two centuries, from Van Gogh to Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway...”

Who am I to scar a legacy like this?

Well, my Moleskine therapist would probably tell me, “You paid good money for it – you own it. It’s up to you to create without judgment – especially judgment from yourself!”

Still, what if I make a mistake, or mispell (oops, I mean misspell) something, or I hate my doodle or….? B-MAD taking over! Must. Have. Courage!

Am I alone? Do you ever suffer from B-MAD? What is the first thing you write on the blank page of your new Moleskine?

As the little pamphlet that accompanies every new Moleskine reads:

The legendary black notebook is once again being passes from one pocket to the next; with its various different page styles it accompanies the creative professions and the imagination of our time. The adventure of Moleskine continues, and its still-blank pages will tell the rest.

Sir Bowie “Endeavoring to Defeat B-MAD” of Greenbriar

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In Heaven There Is No Beer

Sir Davyd of Oxfordshire has submitted this Gem for our review. is a rather quirky web site for Irish Tourism.

Being married into the Celtic Clan, and siring my share of halflings, I have always been fascinated with the culture and history. You'll find all of that here. Lady Allwinky presented me with a gift from her recent travels the other day, a Irish Yoga T-Shirt. That's the subject of another blog.

One of the great traditions of the Irish are pub songs. Sir Dayvd shares one with us whose author remains unknown, but has been covered by the Pogues, the Dubliners and Dr. Demento: In Heaven There Is No Beer! Below are the lyrics and Sir Dayvd's thoughts.


In Heaven there is no beer
That's why we drink it here
And when we're all gone from here
Our friends will be drinking all the beer.

In Heaven there is no wine
So we drink till we feel fine
And when we leave this all behind
Our friends will be drinking all the wine.

In Heaven there is no fear
So we worry too much here
And we drink ourselves full of beer
To help us when we deal with the fear.

In Heaven there are no drugs
That's why we hang with thugs
And when the Lord pulls the plug
All the thugs will still be selling drugs, yeah.

Thugs and drugs

In Heaven there is no sex
So let's do that next
And when our muscles no longer flex
Someone else will be having sex.

In Heaven there are no wars
Or cars, or movie stars
And when we no longer are
The world will probably still be having wars.

What the heck! Yeah!

Sex and war,
Bars and cars.
Drugs, thugs,
And delicious food.

I'll go with the first three verses...not too sure about the rhyming scan or some of the sentiments in the rest...but hey, the world has been like this pretty much since we we learned to walk actually I can't see it changing anytime soon either. I imagine a good old mountain tune...five pints of heavy Irish beer and the rhyming wouldn't matter, and I'd sing it at the top of my voice along with the rest of the bar and believe it too..:) Like everyone else, I am a Million different things All at the same time.

Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire

Monday, July 28, 2008

Last Call!

20 years ago a small congregation of regulars at a tiny bar named Legends (Evansville, IN) would occasionally press the right combination of letter/number on the corner juke box and Elvis would come alive and belt out the song Rock-A-Hula Baby. The bar would also come alive, dancing and singing along (the patrons, not the building itself).

One night, as legend has it, someone suggested a “Rock-A-Hula” Hawaiian-style party. The next weekend a few decorations went up, a few Hawaiian themed covered dishes went out on the serving table and a dozen or so people enjoyed the first Legends' Rock-A-Hula.

There are people in this world who are completely happy with the status quo, and then there are rare individuals such as Sir William of Keglers, proprietor of Legends Lounge and River City Recreation bowling. Bill is the type of personality who continually seeks to raise the bar. The following year was a little bigger. And, each year, the proverbial limbo-bar was raised higher and higher (yes, I know that lower is better in limbo). Okay, raised lower and lower.

(Above: Sir Hook and Lady Allwinky at their first)

The event expanded so much that Bill ended up completely closing the bowling alley for three days, building a dance floor and stage for live bands over the lanes (a far cry from the juke), smoked tons pork for hundreds of guests, and basically threw once of the biggest and notorious parties in Evansville.

Bill (second from right), two sons (left), and brother take the stage to sing My Girl)

Zen and the Art of Rock-A-Hula tells us that all things arise and fall: This year was the “last call” for Legends' Rock-A-Hula. The party has simply gotten to large for the reward. Besides, twenty is a nice number to say “aloha.”

As I commented yesterday, 75% of the people who show up don't ever see the huge commitment and sacrifice of time and money it takes to throw such a huge event such as Rock-A-Hula. They simply come each year to eat, drink, and be merry – which is fine. But, I had an odd feeling come over me early Sunday morning as it was all winding down and people were chanting “one more year.” Seems to me that, like most of society, people want to come to the party, but they don't ever want to host one.

The Vukovich family – and countless volunteers – is a rare and special exception.

Thanks for the memories.

Sir Bowie “too old to rock-a-hula, too young to die” of Greenbriar

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Last night Lady Allwinky and myself joined Sir Bowie and Lady Suzanne for the 20th and Final ROCK-A-HULA party held at Sir William of Kegler's bowling ally, converted into a Hula Rock Fest Hall. I will defer to Sir Bowie on the history of this storied event, since I am a relative virgin, at least until last night when my Cherry got popped! In the picture above is Sir Bowie being attacked by a rather large Parrot, while Sir William is in the background wondering what the hell is going on! Notice also one of the most unique features of the evening...

The Bowling Pin shaped Budweiser bottle! Or should I say InBev bottle? I wonder if Belgium will embrace Bowling?

We began the evening in the main bowling area, which has plywood laid over the lanes to create a dance floor and additional seating. The party spills over into the "Legends" bar, a true American bar, where the party originated 20 years ago. Outside the bar is a beer garden with decks and tiki torches for a quieter environment. Here we see Sir Seamus of Marion's band, Avalanche Rose, warming up the crowd.

Sir Seamus is trying his best to look like a cross between a Carribean Pirate, Tom Petty and John Lennon. Only Sir Seamus, being the ecletic being that he is, can pull this off.

Towards the end of the evening we were setting outside in the beer garden and were joined by some old friends who became members of KMSA last night. I am honored to introduce to you Sir Charles of Warrick and Lady Deja of Vu.

Roast pig, hot sauce, rock music, flowing beer, Comeoniwannalaya Pucnh, Elvis movies, old and new doesn't get much better than this! This errant Knight was glad that he attended the last Legend's ROCK-A-HULA!

Sir Hook-A-Hula of Warrick

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scars: Part 3 "The Birth of SCARBUCK'S!"

I finally got to unveil the newest scar behind the mask yesterday. I must say it is a little bigger than I had imagined! A nice addition to my repertoire. Like Harvey Dent, the scaring of my face has left me with some mental issues to deal with. So I decided to create a new alter ego to deal with this new trauma. But what to name myself? Scar Face is already taken by Al "Say Hello to My Little Friend" Pacino. Harvey Dent's transition to Two Face was actually much more dramatic than mine, so Two Face won't work. Then it hit me...

SCARBUCK'S! Perfect! I'm assisted by my trusty side-kick, "Bloody Wacky Batty Woman". In today's economy you have to be totally crazy to spend 4 bucks for a coffee! My mission is to scare the hell out of everyone at Starbuck's and bring about it's demise...HA HA HA HA HA, that's Freakin' Hilarious!!!!!! Oh, I forgot, The Texas Bush-Whacker is already doing that job. Oh well, I'm off to Starbuck's to enjoy telling my story, drink a 4 dollar coffee and read today's paper. Cheerio...or I should say Scario!

Sir Hook alias "SCARBUCK"S" of Warrick

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up!

There’s a new little movie out that getting so little attention that I doubt many of you have heard of – though I think Sir Hook made reference to it the other day. I think it’s called… what is it? Oh, Batman, The Dark Knight!

Okay, I’ll admit it – I’m a huge Batman fan. I grew up on the comics and TV show and have seen all the movies. Sir James of Taylor was kind enough to give me (I mean, lend me) Batman Begins. As my daughter Lucy and I watch it, I realized that Batman is not only highly entertaining, but Batman stories also have a lot to TEACH us.

Batman has so much to teach us, in fact, that another fan, rabbi Cary Friedman wrote a book titled Wisdom From The Batcave. How to Live a Super, Heroic Life. He wrote the book while a chaplain at Duke University, “…because of my love for the Batman (and what he represents) and my desire to help regular people…translate his heroic ideals in their everyday lives.”

Batman is a classic battle between good and evil (sometimes, like Batman, that battle is within us). The stories teach us universal lessons in how to deal with people, battle adversity, and become the heroes on our own lives (and others). “Batman comics,” Friedman writes, “naturally affirm those things which we all most want to believe: that Good can ultimately triumph, albeit in dark and often mysterious ways.”

Here are a few of the topics that Rabbi Cary Friedman writes about:

The Blessing of Family

How to Triumph over Adversity

Recognizing the Extent of Human Potential

The Value of Willpower

The Value of Hard Work

The Value of Inspiring Others

The Value of Friendship

The Price of Greatness


Sir Davyd wrote about Dark Knights (see full post of July 1) in part:

Plate Armour and textiles in the 14th to 16th Centuries, came in cheap off-the-shelf or expensive. So if you were a man of means , and admit it girls you always like a man of means, you would have bought the "Black"smiths, best produce, that would have been finished in black, and usually engraved around the "Bullet Points", as "proof" where they had fired crossbow bolts at it, to show it was impenetrable and the best armour. The cheap "silver" colour plain armour would have been bought by first time knights with no real money and land to their name.

Should we not all strive to become “Dark Knights”? I think the answer is “YES!”

Perhaps we should think about a name change: The Dark Knights of Moleskine. Spirit, and Ale. If nothing else, induct the Batman as an Honorary Member of Merry (and Scary) band of Knights.

Sir Bowie-man “It's not exactly a normal world, is it?” of Greenbriar

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Drink Beer

Knights and Ladies. I feel the time is ripe to update Mary Schmich's 1997 MIT "Advice" speech for special use by the KMSA

Drink Beer

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, Beer would be it. The long term benefits of Beer, drunk in moderation, have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself in a Bar and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine, Hey, but you are as fat as YOU LOOK!

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to drink a yard of English Stout Ale and not get soaking wet. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. (Sir Hook take note)

Do one thing everyday that scares you (if you can't think of anything, take a look at your pension plan statement, it works every time)

Sing (you'll sound better when you have had a couple of pints, so drink them)

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Drink their beer while they are in the restroom and leave.

Floss, after eating bar snacks.

Don't waste your time on jealousy, you don't live on the wonderful island of the UK so deal with it. You're never ahead, most times you're behind…the race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself. So buy yourself a cold one.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how, as i love dishing out insults, and I can always add that as a P.S.

Throw away your old love letters and your old bank statements. Both will incriminate you if your present partner finds them.

Stretch. Put the Beer Cooler box just out of reach

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, most of them still don't at 40 years old, and most of those then join the KMSA (and still don't know )

Get plenty of calcium. Guinness Yogurt is highly recommended.

Be kind to your knees. You'll need them. Come the judgement day there'll be a whole mess of forgiveness to be begged for.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you'll just be lucky and won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you'll be really very lucky and won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40 and head off on a 30 year road trip around the bars of the world, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary and really regret not doing the road trip while you had the chance…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are your own stupid fault, so are everybody else's. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can (fill it up with beer)…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.. even if it is just a tuba first thing in the morning on the throne.

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it except an alley, but take care not to spill your drink.

Read the directions on the beer bottle, even if you don't follow them.

Do NOT read beer magazines, they will only make you feel thirsty and frustrated.

Get to know your parents, ask them for money, you never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to pay your bail if you end up in the drunk tank

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on, and get them to get a round of drinks in. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young, to carry you out of the bar to your car.

Live in New York City once, write poetry or a novel, but leave before it makes it hard to miss out on the fun when you do eventually go; live in England once, but leave before it makes you too happy.

Travel, study different philosophies, and drink foreign beers

Accept certain inalienable truths, beer prices will rise, politicians will philander, there is nothing but the empty Void and you will get old, and when you do you'll fantasise that when you were young beer prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders...and the Void? oh that was still empty back then too.

Respect your elders, unless you are 117, in which case, that's it can flip the finger!!!

Don't expect anyone else to support you when you fall down in a bar. Maybe you have half shares in a brewery, maybe you have a wealthy spouse who has the other half. In which case, neither of you will run out, but will simply wait for the other to drop.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time it's 40, it will look 85. Use Beer Shampoo.

Be careful whose beer you buy, and, be patient with those who pour it. Barroom pontificating is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. No, sorry that's getting remarried.

But trust me on the beer..

Copyright :David Carr 2008 Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire

With apologies to Mary Schmich

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Scars: Part 2

Just a few days ago Sir Bowie treated us with a very good blog about scars. It was a timely article because yesterday I had the privilege to adorn my battle scared body with yet another scar. This one will be yet another one on my face due to the removal of Basil Cell Cancer. My face has many scars, which over time have modeled themselves into Sir Hook. My first scars on my face where from Cystic Acne. My second set where from a motorcycle wreck during high school, where I had to have skin graphs and large chunks of gravel plucked from my face. The third set came from the removal of a benign tumor on my neck.

I was refereed to a specialist across the river in Owensboro, Kentucky. Owensboro is famous for its share of high profile NASCAR drivers like Darryl Waltrip, so when I saw the Craftsmen mechanics tool box in the surgery room I knew that I was in the right place! My father, after his baseball days, eventually became a car dealer. Later on he sold his business and enjoyed the life of a shop foreman. As long as I can remember I have associated my dad with baseball, cars, mechanics and Craftsman tool boxes. Later in life I associated him with hospital rooms and surgery suites as he battled lung cancer.

At first they thought that they would have to shave off my entire mustache. That would have been very strange because I haven't shaved my mustache off since 1983. Lady Allwinky and my children, as well of the majority of my closest friends, have never seen me with a naked lip. Fortunately, they only shaved off the lower portion of the stache and marked the area where they would start digging for gold.

Here I am in the car afterwards with the bandage that is my constant companion for the next 3 days. I told the surgeon that I felt like "Harvey Dent", famous as "2 Face" from the Batman series. By the way, if you haven't seen the Dark Night yet, it is a must! Anyway lying beneath my bandage will be my newest addition to my collection of scars. I can't wait to see it! Not to repeat myself; however I will, I am going to close this blog out with a comment I posted on Sir Bowie's Scar blog:

Scars aren't always a sign of stupidity, though my body bears some of those, but scars show the fragility of life and a sign that you have been given the opportunity to continue to live it. With my open heart scar and now my back surgery scar exactly across from each other like the North and South Pole of my body, I joke that for Halloween I need to find a sword that I can attach the hilt to my back and the blade coming out of my chest because it looks like I've been run through. The truth is, I have, but I live to tell the tale and share the experience that is the beauty of living and dying in a new state of grace. Perhaps I am too simple for some in my profession of faith in a Savior who bore his scares for me, but I do believe, and now have first hand knowledge, that by your wounds you are healed!

Sir Hook the Scar Bearer of Warrick

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Greatest Show Off Earth

Knights and Ladies..

You know me, from the blogs, as that crusty old Brit who is always keen to be proud of the greatest Island in the world, and to happily take a few pot-shots across the pond, at the ex- colonies, with their new world, naive ways, their weak cold beer, their mass legal system, their bad clothing, their gas guzzling cars.....their guns ... (oh, you know I could go on and on and I do ....)

But there is one thing that America has done, a thing of immense bravery and courage, that I willingly doff my hat too and salute. YOU HAVE PUT TWELVE HUMAN BEINGS ON THE SURFACE OF THE MOON.!!

Lets think about that for the moment. 12 superhumanly brave men, bold New Knights, have actually walked on that sunlit ball of rock that arcs (or that we twist round in front of) over the back of my yard of a nighttime...yes yes, you started out in desperation to keep up with the Russians who were creaming you, but hey when you got the bit between your really came through.

I say this with the awe of a man who did the Gemini and Apollo Space race as his High School science Project, while it was actually happening, and sat through hours and hours of TV in the first years of the 70's totally in reverence at what he saw happening on the moon. I was watching the future unfold.

Spin forward 40 years..and now the quickest way to get me into a barroom fight is to tell me it never happened, and for good luck throw in stupid facts like; the flag waved 'in the wind' on the moon, and they also showed how it was done in the film "Capricorn One " didn't they!!!

Its been a hard battle, not helped that up until now NASA has been reluctant to write many books about one of the greatest things that ever happened, and release all the footage that was taken at the time. The conspiracy theorists have all but neutered the youth of today.... REM even sang that " if you believe, they put a man on the moon..., etc. , etc.."

But I kept the faith, and now dear Knights and Ladies we can at last all revel in the truth, and any disbelievers will get an email with these links in, so they too can marvel...hopefully in added shame. this is what I give you. Go to this site, then click on Apollo Multimedia, which is in the menu on the left hand side. This will quickly bring you to a full compliment of audio and video material from all the Flights of the Apollo Project.

You will soon see that, in the late sixties they of course didn't have magi-cams the size of a dime tucked away everywhere. Heck, my mobile phone that hangs off my belt everyday has got more telemetry number crunching computer software in it than the mother ship even had. So from Apollo 8 to Apollo 10 it is all Audio, when a quarter of a million miles away. Then 11, and the first Giant steps in camera technology followed too. Till we get to Apollo 15 to 17, where the whole project had run out of ideas, and taking camera footage to prove it had all happened was considered to be one of the major tasks.

So tune in, sit back and marvel at the sheer bravery and skill of twelve supreme men and six unbelievable pilots. ... and if nothing else, just watch these 4 short highlights in silent awe, then i will allow you to say, God bless America.

1) Apollo 15 : Lunar Lift off filmed from Lunar Module Window and Hadley Rille Flyover (silent)

2) Apollo 17 : (Real Video) Return of Lunar Module Challenger from the Lunar surface as seen from the Command Module "America"

3) Apollo 17 : Immediately below 2, the reverse view from the Lunar Module.

4) Apollo 15: The Lunar Landing, filmed from the LM window. (with sound)

One last fact before you get back to work. As a potential astronaut, it was good to have the brain of Einstein, and a first class degree from Harvard, all on a body of Hercules, and with the bravery of a Congressional Medal of Honor winner thrown in. But if you couldn't stand 7 G's i.e.: your body feeling SEVEN times as heavy as normal, for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES!! Then you FAILED.

Sir Davyd (wishing he could stand on the moon, but happy to watch on this occasion) of Oxfordshire

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Nashville Unity Through Diversity Tour

The Nashville Unity Through Diversity Tour began at the bar at Merchant's on the corner of 4th and Broadway. Across from the bar where a couple of young "hotties" talking about where to go shopping next while an Amish Gospel Group was setting up to sing across the street in front of an abandoned Irish Pub. Two totally different worlds separated by brick and glass getting ready to clash. At the bar I was joined in an interesting discussion with a late 60's couple and some young 20 something dudes about the Alison Krauss & Robert Plant concert that we where all going to attend in just under an hour. We were all there for different reasons. The older couple were big bluegrass fans, the younger dudes where Bonaroo Veterans who say the duo there and were raised on Led Zeppelin music by their parents, and this errant Knight who was reading himself for another night of adventure through the hallowed halls of Unity through Diversity! The other thing we discovered that we all had in common was the love for a Micro Brew out of Atlanta, Sweetwater 425 Ale!

The concert was Awesome! Listening to Raising Sand, I knew that the vocals of Krauss & Plant complimented each other, but to hear them live was truly inspirational! What's worth seeing them live, and is missing from the CD, is their blues, bluegrass, folk, rock covers of Led Zeppelin and Plant covers. Totally amazing arrangements making the old new, the obvious not so obvious. Where Plant once ruled the stage with primal screams and falsetto's, now Krauss has taken that role while you hear Plant's voice at the bottom. It was transcending! This concert was a prime example of Unity through Diversity. Blending British invasion rock, American folk, bluegrass and blues with a hint of Gospel and world rhythms. It created a beautiful meritage of music! In an interview after the concert they asked Plant if he planned to buy a house in Nashville. His answer really struck home with me about the world in which I'm moving now. He said, "I'm at the age now where I feel as if I have a flag of a privateer vessel above my head. I like the idea of descending on environments and being besotted by conditions and places and groups of interesting people. What that means is, if you stay there, the reality rubs through, and in the end it's not quite as magical. I think at this stage of my life I want to keep landing."

It didn't take long for reality to rub in after the concert! The Unity through Diversity Tour should have ended with the Spirit that was intended by Krauss, Plant and the gang; however, let loose on the streets of Nashville at midnight, it didn't take long for humanity to reveal it's true ugly nature. I made my way to one of the many music-bar spots along Broadway to catch more live music. I was greeted at the bar by this tip jar, where I was reminded that while I was watching young ladies dirty dancing on the floor that "I should tell my pants it's not polite to point!" I got the message, but unfortunately for a young man from Penn State, he didn't either read the message or understand it, or both. The result was a scene straight from a Western...the Saloon Fight!

It didn't take long for the Police to arrive and restore order. It turned out that the Penn boy had insulted a wedding party from Chicago. He discovered something that I learned a long time ago, since my native State is don't take on a Chicago Mob alone! I was reminded of the evening that Lady Allwinky and myself experienced with another wedding party in Charleston just about a month ago. I decided that the night couldn't get any more interesting that it already had and retired my bones to the relative comfort of my Hilton King Size Bed a few blocks away.

I woke up late the next morning and decided to have a late breakfast-early lunch at the World Famous Jack's Bar-B-Que on Broadway. Without a doubt the most delicious bar-b-que you will ever find.

After lunch , I picked up where I had left off the night before. The Stage on Broadway. Nothing better than a morning after cold brew on a Sunday afternoon listening to young country artists trying to make their mark.

Finally, I stopped by one of my favorite haunts on Broadway, the Ernest Tubb Record Store. Nothing like escaping the 100 degree heat with hot music and rubbing your fingers in the history of music, as well as finding out a few hidden gems of the past, like Uncle Dave Macon and "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy" After spending 2 hours and $120 I had the most interesting conversation with the "Dan the Record Man" behind the check out counter. We started talking about last night's concert and he shared that Robert Plant had come into the shop when he first came to Nashville to talk to Krauss about the project. He wanted to immerse himself in the old American music scene and asked Dan two things: 1) "I want something old and earthy." 2) "I want to hear a real American song writer that's living today." The two selections he left with were Bill Monroe and Townes Van Zandt. On Townes Van Zandt's CD is the song "Nothin' ", which he wrote a few years ago. That song made it on the Raising Sand CD with Krauss & Plant. So of course, I had to go get the CD as an add on sale. Money well spent!

Sir Hook the Unity through Diversity Musician of Warrick


I’m certainly not a huge fan of smacking myself in the chin so hard that I bust it open and bleed all over the floor, but I did it anyway this weekend.

I was doing some demolition and construction work with Bill (Sir William of Keglers) when a particularly stubborn window I was trying to remove fought back and gave me a violent upper cut to my chin. My first thought was, Shit, I hope nobody saw me do that!

My second thought, after seeing blood splatters (just like a CSI crime scene) on the ground was, Shit, I hope I don’t need stitches. Fortunately, some ice, several paper towels, and a bandage later, I was back at work, thinking, This is going to leave a mark!

“Scars,” says the old cliché, “are but a sign of victory.”

Actually, in my humble experience, they’re a sign of getting smacked around; on the other hand, I’m around to tell the stories.

I was thinking a lot about scars this morning as I was carefully shaving around my latest gash – soon to leave a scar – trying very hard not to slice it open. It’s coincidently right next to a nice scar I received playing football (the real football, not soccer). Other scars on my tired body include the one where a good doctor sewed back one and a half fingers after a table saw accident in college. There is the one on my knee from where they took my joint apart to remove automobile windshield glass after one hell of an accident. And, though I can’t see it, one from where they attempted to fix my lower back. The pain that I'm in almost daily is a reminder that the scar is there AND that the surgery was only an attempt.

I know that my scars are very minor compared to many others – including my daughter’s and Sir Hook's who have each had heart surgery. Still, I can’t help thinking how grateful I am to have been victorious over the trials and tribulations that created my physical scars.

Sure, I could have felt victimized by the linebacker, the driver of the car, the table saw, the window... But I know that I must take responsibility for my own actions – even the really stupid ones that leave scars.

Sir Bowie "Scarred for life" of Greenbriar

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Press the Key for Problem Solving

Just get one of these keys on your keyboard, solves all the problems.. Sorry so short boYS...... have just gotten in from a fabulous day at a giant Music Festival....Locally... am blootered on real ale, covered in cut hay... have seen a bunch of my fave all time bands.... and am nicely sunburned....whoooo hOOO...
Sir Dayvd ( I'm so happy its embarrassing ) from Oxfordshire...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Zero-Gravity Thinking

I love it when I come across a new phrase that immediately sparks a "What the #$@*&?"

That's exactly what happened when I came across an article in Entrepreneur titled "Zero-Gravity Thinking."

It starts with the recognition that sometimes what we do best actually hampers our creativity and innovation. “A company's (and we're all CEO of our own company – us!) own way of doing things, its own expertise can get in the way of doing things better and more innovative,” says Cyntiia Barton Rabe, author of The Innovation Killer: How What We Know Limits What We Can Imagine.

She suggests that we rejuvenate our thinking with what she calls Zero-Gravity Thinkers – Renaissance-type thinkers who are in no way connected to our company or our work. They might have related expertise in the area needing assistance but not psychologically connected to us. A Zero-Gravity Thinker will ask questions that force us to challenge our most basic assumptions and come up with fresh approaches.

I think that this is what happens when Knights get together in a pub booth and start doodling on napkins. “I've got this problem...” turns into a stack of solutions drawn out on bar napkins and backs of coasters.

To be honest, I don't know if the term Zero-Gravity Thinking is one that I'll embrace, but I love the idea of sharing brainpower with people unique to my business or projects. Who knows what a tall beer and a “What if...?” question can lead to?

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Friday, July 18, 2008

Room with a view

Knights and Ladies,

Re one of our previous blogs, where we discussed the very human quandary of Space Toilet malfunction, and our core realisation that we are very basic sentient beings on many levels, with our caveman / hunter / hunted days not that far behind us, when taking in the whole sixty odd billion years of age of the earth.

What we have left behind is our cavalier way we, to put it politely and not put you off your early morning waffles, go to the toilet, ( as we brits say ) or go to the Restroom ( as you colonials would say ). That time in the throne room, when only four strong walls and a closed door will do, and when, on the hunted scale of being Human we are at our most vunerable for being attacked and eaten. ( and very tasty we are too by all accounts. Tigers can't get enough of us, after the first taste, and even Cannibals call the white man "Longpigs").

Generally, places like airport toilets, with their lack of roof, with huge gaps under the doors and walls, and with lots of other people and "sounds" present, is about as relaxed as we can manage in a public place.

So what would you make of this. Here's a picture of a public toilet in Switzerland.

Now that you have seen the outside view of the Toilet, Looks okay Huh?

but when you are inside,

That's made entirely out of one-way glass. No one can see you in there, it looks like you're sitting in a clear glass box.

Now you have to ask yourself : WOULD YOU USE IT??????????!!!!!!

Sir Dayvd ( the shaved ape ) of Oxfordshire

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Old Knight and Old Taverns

Sir Dayvd’s post about the British Pub Crises got me thinking about our own versions of pubs here in the U.S.

A quick look under “Taverns” in the Yellow Pages shows over 60 in Evansville and surrounding areas (I know of dozens more not listed). They range from small neighborhood taverns on the city’s West Side, to taverns out in the old German communities where county roads cross every 10 miles or so.

Many are named after owners such as Buck’s, Becky’s, Bullock’s, Smitty’s and Spanky’s. There are also taverns scattered about the countryside named after the community they are in: Darmstadt, St. Phillip, St. Joe, Old Buckskin. One of my favorites is on top of a hill on the west side. It’s called The Hilltop (not very imaginative, but great Brain Sandwiches!).

I believe that I will make it my quest to visit each one before they -- or I -- fade away, leave a Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale coaster, and report my experience on this blog.

I promise to look for the good in every one.

This should be one happy journey; I hope that many of you can join me from time to time.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

British Pub Crisis

Should the British pub get a government sub?

With pubs across Britain shutting down at an alarming rate, the great British pub is in danger of losing its place in the hub of village life, says Gillian Hargreaves.

According to the British Beer and Pub Association, there were 1400 pub closures last year, compared to 200 the year before. That works out at about 27 a week.

Community pubs - essentially "the local" - are being particularly badly hit. In Scotland the situation is less acute, but in England and Wales more and more pubs are facing last orders.

The cost of supermarket alcohol - making it cheaper to drink at home - and the smoking ban and rising costs of food are cited as some of the reasons for staying away or staying in.

'Parish asset'

Reach, a village in Cambridgeshire, used to have a shop, a primary school and a post office.

We provide a reason for people to be in the village rather than going to work elsewhere
Frank Feehan, pub landlord

But when the pub was under threat of closure back in 1999, 49 villagers clubbed together to buy it, some contributing as little as £250.

It is now a parish asset, and cannot be sold or turned into a private house.

Bryan Pearson, the chairman of the consortium which bought the pub, says: "If we hadn't got a pub this place would become a dormitory. We have a village hall but that is very much for set piece events at certain times, but a community needs somewhere where it can just bounce ideas off itself and be at peace with itself."

Frank Feehan, the landlord, points out that as a successful pub, Dykes End is rapidly becoming a big employer in the village.

"The main thing we provide in this village is employment - I employ three full-time staff and probably half a dozen part-time staff, training men to work in our micro brewery. We provide a reason for people to be in the village rather than going to work elsewhere."

And he points out that while the government is trying to reduce the amount we drink, pubs are a part of the British way of life.

"This government and other governments say they want to introduce a cafe culture into this country. We already have a kind of cafe culture, but it's a pub culture. It doesn't mean binge drinking and it doesn't mean over drinking, it means coming to a place like this and enjoying yourself, having a locally-brewed pint and having a good time."

Community life

We want the government to recognise the value of pubs and the work they do in the community
Janet Dean, Labour MP

A group of politicians, the magnificently named All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, have just finished a two-year inquiry into the state of the pub.

They plan to make recommendations about what the government could - or should - do to help.

The MP for the Midlands' brewing town of Burton-on-Trent - and author of the group's report - might well turn out to be the pub trade's Good Samaritan.

Janet Dean has spent two years trying to find out why pubs are going under, and if the government could - or should - help. She wants some form of state intervention for pubs that can show they contribute to the life of a village or town.

"We want the government to recognise the value of pubs and the work they do in the community.

"In some instances we have heard of post offices being established in pubs, toilets being used as public toilets and community involvement with football teams. The government could recognise this and other aspects with some form of rating relief."

Government pressure

The Politics Show is on BBC One on Sundays at 1200 BST
Or catch up at BBC iplayer

Subsidies may not go down well with the government. Chancellor Alistair Darling put four pence on a pint in the last budget, with the expectation that duty would rise year on year. Something Ms Dean, a Labour MP, wants scrapped.

"Some of us are concerned about the alcohol escalator in the budget. I can understand why he put duty up - as he was looking at supermarket prices and it's supermarket prices that have been maintained, if not reduced, over the last 10 years - whereas cheap supermarket prices has put pressure on pubs," she says.

The pub industry itself is also urging the government to give the industry tax breaks.

The British Brewing and Pub Association has conducted a survey, asking voters about tax on beer. Eighty-two percent said the inflation increase was unfair on sensible drinkers, and 77% said it will threaten pubs.

"The indications from the polling are quite clear, the public believe pubs are under threat. They think higher taxes will increase that threat - and not tackle the problems of binge drinking, which we all want to try and resolve," says Rob Haywood of the BBPA.

He claims that by 2012 a pint of beer in London will cost £6.50 a pint, if the alcohol escalator is retained.

But the government told BBC One's Politics Show where pubs provide evidence of their importance to community life, they may get help to stay open. And Parliament plans to investigate the role of the pub companies.

The future of the great British pub, it seems, is now on politicians' minds.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Comic Stephen Wright once said, “You can’t have everything (long pause), where would you put it?”

This morning I’m wondering where InBev SA is going to put all that Bud?

Yes, I guess it is official: the King of Beers is now InBev SA. (Yes, that is a Photoshop "artist rendering" of what we might soon see).

AB said early Monday it had agreed to a sweetened $52 billion takeover bid from InBev. $52 Billion!? Is that all?

InBev is now not only the largest brewer in the world, but it says it will be the world's third-largest consumer products company by market capitalization (whatever that mean) after P& G of the United States and Nestle of Switzerland.

InBev said it plans to use St. Louis as its North American headquarters, and that it will keep open all 12 of Anheuser-Busch's North American breweries.

A lot of Americans are as pissed as a middle aged man who has had too many Buds! “It’s not what this country was founded on!” they’re screaming.

What? Hell, it was a global economy that founded this country.

Trade. We exported. We imported.

Someone once told me that business exists pretty much for two reasons:

To do what you do better than anyone else (or at least strive for that).

To make a profit! If you’re not making a profit, it’s just a hobby!

I really don’t have a moral to this story other than to say that America is not a hobby! It is, however, a free country (okay, far from free, but still…). As Knights, we recognize that we are sovereign rulers of our own lives. So, if you don’t’ want to drink “Belgian Budweiser,” then don’t. On the other hand, if a Belgian company wants to offer you $52 Billion dollars for your company and you jump at it, all power to you. I imagine you can start a lot of new little “American Made” companies for that kind of seed money – and the cycle will continue!

InBev, this Bud’s for you!

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar.

Leasing vs. Purchasing

In today's economic environment, everyone is examining their financial situation closely. The American dollar sunk to a new low today, so we must choose our investments wisely. Sir Tigger of Kidd shares with us today the age old argument of "Leasing vs. Purchasing". You do the math!

The math on the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce is as follows:

After 5 years of marriage, he paid her $49 million. Assuming he got sex every night during their 5 year relationship it ended up costing him $26,849 per time.

This is Heather.
On the other hand, Elliot Spitzer's call girl, Kristen, an absolute stunner with a body like no other, charges $4,000 an hour. For anything!
This is Kristen.

Had Paul McCartney 'employed' Kristen for 5 years, he would've paid $7.3 million for an hour of sex every night for 5 years (a saving of $41.7 million).

Value-added benefits are: a 22 year old hot babe, no coaxing, never a headache, plays all requests, ability to put BOTH legs around you (!!!), no bitching and complaining or 'to do' lists. Best of all, she leaves when you're done, and comes back when you ask her. All at 1/7th the cost, with no legal fees.

Sometimes leasing makes far more sense.

Sir Hook the Mathematician of Warrick

Monday, July 14, 2008

Semantically Speaking

Lucky Knight that I am, working in the field of Signwriting, and historical art design, I continually come in contact with the English language in terms of its etymology, and I am constantly surprised and amused at the altered meaning of familiar words, and am always thrilled when some dark corner of history is illuminated, by a simple phrase or word we use in everyday conversation...

In a recent KMSA blog about Black armour... I noted they tested out the armour by firing crossbows at it, and the resulting dents the "Bullet Points" were much prized when trying to sell the item, as proof of its thickness. "Bullet Proof"

The other day a friend wrote me wondering what Grog was, and I was pleased not only to note that it was a potent mixture of (usually) rum and water used in the Navy rations... but where the term staggering around in a daze...comes from.

Drinking has always thrown up neat words for being drunk, Tiddly is a word used for being a little bit tipsy, and comes from the word Tiddlywink, an unlicensed public house, usually a small shed attached to a farm or cottage where beer or cider was brewed.

Other little gems you might want to impress your friends with over an ale later...(but don't
Pontificate as that is something only a Pope or Pontif could decree) are :

Sham, which in the 17th century, was a set of false (clean) sleeves fitted over a dirty shirt, or indeed a set of fancy sleeves fitted over a plain shirt.

A Bible was really a name for any small book in Scotland from 1300 to 1700.

To Croon was originally a word to describe the bellowing of a disquiet ox, which I'm sure Bing Crosby would be thrilled to hear.

Ouch, was a blow given by a Boars tusk, from the French for notch (oche).

Thrilling started out as piercingly cold.

Posthumous meant that you were born after your father died, and while we are on that subject, Fornicate means vaulted like an oven or furnace, an Archway, and came into use because Roman brothels were situated in subterranean vaulted parts of the building.

Manure has come to mean dung et al, but its original Tudor meaning was to "Cultivate the Mind ", and the term Smart-Money was not being clever, but really another word for a fine and designed to punish you by making you Smart, or in conning terms Sting.

I couldn't end this piece without a flourish....a bit of Panache, a suitably Knightly word, where a knight who was full of himself with pride would decorate his fighting helmet with a
panache, which was an upright colored plume or bunch of feathers, from the Latin penna, which is where we also get the word Pennant.

Sir Dayvd ( Words Worth ) of Oxfordshire

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Survey Says!

The results are in for the latest Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale survey. The survey says:

What is your Spirituality?

50% Protestant

25% Catholic

25% No Formal Believe

How often do you journal?

40% More than 7 times a week

20% 5 to 7 times a week

20% 3 to 5 times a week

20% 1 to 3 times a week

How often do you drink?

66% 1 to 3 times per week

16% 3 to 5 times per week

16% 5 to times per week

What it is your age?

75% are between 35 and 54

25% are between 55 and 70

Here's to celebrating another example of Unity through Diversity!

Sir Hook the Catholic, Part Time Journaling, Drunken Fifty Something of Warrick

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Most Unusual Gin

Taking a cue from Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire when he shared how the English switch from the heavy beers to a more refreshing "summer drink" like Pimms No.1 Cup, and his latest adventure at Tesco, I had to go to Sam's Club to replenish my office supplies and came across this Gem of a Gin.

Of course, being in marketing, a was an immediate sucker for their positioning statements: A Most Unusual Gin, Loved By a Tiny Handful of People All Over the World, It's Not for Everyone, A Gin Made Oddly, Preferred By 1 out of 1,000 Gin Drinkers.

Now, how can a guy like me resist such a temptation to be 1 of a 1,000 Unusual and Oddly Made Person of the World. I wasn't disappointed when I opened the cork top and poured my first drink on a balmy 90 degree Friday afternoon!

Hendrick's is a hand crafted gin made in Scotland, where the technique they use "bathes" the gin in vapours instead of boiling, and as they say, "The fact is no other gin tastes like Hendrick's, and this truth only enhances the experience."

From their advert, "Despite the possibilities of surprise, most people shy away from what is odd. Our gin is for those rare individuals who are excited by what is strange and different." Sounds like a battle cry for the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale!

Best of all, they compare the odds of drinking Hendrick's like two people in love. "When you meet is everything. You must encounter Hendrick's at a time in your life when you are fully open to the deliciousness of new possibilities, no matter how unusual they may be."

Lady Allwinky and I sat by the pool like two people in love and toasted the evening away by encountering life and all it's delicious new possibilities while Hendrick's Gin and Jimmy Hendrix helped us to "Kiss the Sky"!

Sir Hook the Odd of Warrick

Friday, July 11, 2008

History 101 - BEER

In reviewing the information on Franziskaner's website after a Knight of general joy and mayhem, I found a section where they share the history of beer and how it led up to the current Weissbier of today. Seeing how my brain cells are in recovery, I thought it best to let the Monk Professor, not to be confused with the Monk Confessor, teach us about BEER!

Weiss Beer - a Beer with a Long Tradition

The Most Important Facts From a Millennia-Old History.

2000 BC - Marduk, the Beer-Brewing God of the Babylonians
The age-old tradition of weiss beer (wheat beer) can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians. The earliest known brewer's emblem is the pickaxe wielded by the Babylonian god Marduk.

1600 BC - Beer in the Realm of the Pharaohs
The first description of a brewery can be found on a clay tablet from ancient Egypt.

800 BC - Beer on German Soil
A beer amphora from the early Hallstatt Period, discovered near the town of Kulmbach, proves that beer was brewed on German soil as early as 800 BC.

4 BC - Beer Conquers the Teutons
By the time of Christ's birth nearly all the Germanic tribes knew how to produce beer and enjoyed drinking it. Even the Romans, who called it a barbaric concoction, were not averse to a sip.

600 - Beer Sacrifices in Bavaria
By the early Middle Ages the art of beer brewing was already being practiced in the foothills of the Alps. An Irish missionary travelling through the lake district of Bavaria records beer being sacrificed to a heathen god.

719 - Lex Alemannorum
In his code of law, the 'Lex Alemannorum', Duke Lantfrit decrees that all bonded peasants must pay tribute in beer to their lords.

815 - Beer in Munich
The earliest evidence of beer brewing in Munich dates from the year 815.

1363 - Franziskaner Beer in Munich
First documentary evidence of the 'brewery near the Franciscans' in the Residenzstrasse. Franziskaner is thus the oldest privately-owned brewery in Munich.

1380 - Bottom-Fermentation Beer from Bohemia
Until now beer was primarily top-fermenting, with the advantage that it could be brewed throughout the year and at very short notice. Unfortunately, due to improper use of 'wild yeasts' floating in the air, it quickly turned sour. Now bottom-fermentation beer arrived in Germany from Bohemia. Although this beer can only be brewed in the cold months of the year (the brewing temperature has to be kept low), it is not nearly as perishable.

1516 - The Bavarian Purity Law
Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria issues the Purity Law. Now beer can only be brewed from malt, hops and water.

1520 - Wheat Beer from Bohemia
Top-fermentation weiss beer ('wheat beer') arrives in Germany, once again from Bohemia. This beer can be brewed throughout the year, but violates the Purity Law by using yeast.

1567 - Weiss Beer Prohibited
Being perishable, weiss beer is declared unhealthy and finally banned altogether by Duke Albrecht IV of Bavaria.

1602 - Weiss Beer Brewing Becomes a State Monopoly
Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria recognizes that weiss beer, far from being hazardous to health, is an ideal refreshment for the population. He gradually places every Bavarian brewery that produces top-fermentation weiss beer under state ownership, thereby creating a state monopoly on the brewing of weiss beer. His goal is to balance the state budget, for since 1572 weiss beer has been taxed four times as heavily as brown beer. In compensation for violating the Purity Law, Duke Maximilian agrees to pay a fine to the chamber of representatives.

1683 - Bavarian Troops Drunk with Victory
The Bavarian troops stationed at the gates of Vienna to fight the Turks are supplied with weiss beer via the Danube. They win in the end.

1798 - End of the Bavarian Weiss Beer Monopoly
Weiss beer becomes less and less important during the 18th century as beer drinkers gradually turn to brown beer. In consequence, Prince-Elector Theodore of Bavaria suspends the weiss beer monopoly.

2000 - Weiss Beer on the Upswing
Weiss beer witnesses a steady upsurge from the 1960s. More and more breweries add this Bavarian speciality to their range of products. Today the Bavarians are once again world champions in the art of brewing weiss beer. The former aristocratic monopoly has become the pleasure of the entire world. Thanks to its constantly high quality, Franziskaner weiss beer too has found many admirers all over the globe and has emerged as one of the world's leading weiss beer brands.

Sir Hook the Beer Professor Confessor of Warrick