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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thinking Allowed

Sir Dayvd (Letting Luck Make Him the Last Matchstick in the Box) of Oxfordshire

Saturday, August 30, 2008

That Time of the Year

Yes, it's that time of year again here in the States – College Football.

Since the University I attended didn't even have a football team, watching college football is really just for fun and games. As I write this, my favorite team from the time I was a little kid appears to be well on the way to another “First Game of the Season” embarrassing loss for the second straight year. Ouch.

But, now to another great college tradition: Tailgating. Here's a brief history; however, as you'll read, no one really agrees on the origins:

According to one popular tailgating website:

The Origin of Tailgating v1.0
Tailgating dates back to the very first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869, when fans traveled to the game by carriage, grilling sausages and burgers at the "tail end" of the horse. Today tailgating is a part of most athletic events, especially college football.

The Origin of Tailgating v2.0

It all began at Yale in 1904. At least that's what they'll tell you. Is it true? Well, other schools claim the honor, but the Yale story has been verified by, you guessed it ...Yale. Seems there was a train made up of private railcars that brought fans to a Yale game. The train stopped at the station and the fans had to walk the distance to

the stadium. When they arrived at the stadium, they were hungry and thirsty. So the idea was born to bring along a picnic hamper of food for the next game. And so Tailgating was born. Necessity the mother of invention, right? Well, so they say.

The Origin of Tailgating v.3.0

Actually, tailgating started in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1919, when the Packers were first formed. The farmers would back their pickup trucks around the edge of an open field, drop their tailgates to sit on and eat a prepared basket of food while they watched the team play. That's where the term TAILGATE came from.

SO, what's the number one favorite item to have at a tailgate party this year?

Have fun at your tailgate part!

Sir Bowie “always for the underdog” Kuhn

Friday, August 29, 2008

Off WIth His Head

Today is a Catholic feast day of the "Beheading of St. John the Baptist". The Church celebrates this supposed anniversary date of John losing his head when Herod Antipas orders it to be done in a drunken mix of bravado, sexual tension and power lust. John's head is delivered on a platter, as a "request" by his wife's (formally his brothers wife...thus the rub by John) daughter who just performed a rather exotic and sexually charged dance for the King which lead him to ask her to request for anything she desired. We all know the result!

I always loved Eric Idle's interpretation of "Off with his head!" This famous line was first made famous by Shakespeare in many of his plays, it was also shrieked loudly by the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. And of course, Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein singing "I ain't got no body" while looking for the AB Normal brain is always a scream!

There's nothing like a good beheading to strike fear and fascination into the hearts of those who oppose the powers that order this unique style of execution, or to bring about a feverish pitch of zealot emotions in those who witness this event for the shear pleasure or the ideological belief in it.

Beheading is very useful in giving the crowd what they want...ordered violence...while meeting the political ends in which it was designed to achieve. Most of the Royalty and Gentry of England during the Middle Ages through the Reformation became famous for either using or becoming victims of this style of execution. None were better known as being such an astute practitioner of this art for political gain than King Henry VIII. Lands, money, sex and power all were gained by this famous Tudor under his executioners steely blade. Nothing though quiet says beheading better; however, than the French Guillotine! Made infamous by the French during their Revolution in the late 1700's, it has become the "hands down and heads off" favorite icon of this brutal form of capital punishment.

Today were are still witnesses to the use of beheading to control the masses. The fundamental Muslims use beheading to control any behavior not deemed appropriate by their "narrow" views of humanity. Of course, I have been just as guilty of beheading those who don't fit into my way of thinking too! Not that I've actually chopped off someones head in the physical sense, but I've certainly have done a masterful job of doing it in a spiritual and mental sense. So on this day of celebrating "Rolling Heads" I ask myself and you, why do we feel like cutting off the heads of those we don't agree with? Why is beheading so attractive, yet so repulsive to us? When have you been guilty of mentally beheading others? Why did you do it?

The need for control is a strong human emotion and perhaps nothing says I'm in control better than cutting off the control center, the head in its physical and allegorical sense. Have you lost your head or caused others to lose theirs? Perhaps you like me, need to look into the mirror to see.

Sir Hook the Headless Executioner of Warrick

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big Strapping Beer Chugging Lads or Big Breasted Bar Maidens?

Sir Richard of Windsor shared this rather interesting article with me earlier today!

Are we Big Strapping Beer Chugging Lads, or are we just turning into Big Breasted Bar Maidens? (No offense to our fine Ladies of the Realm)

Sir Hook (My Breasts are Getting Bigger) of Warrick

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Wake-Up Call!

Sir James of Taylor and I have spent a lot of time discussing things we’d like to do before we die – mostly regarding careers. Lady Suzanne and I have had countless discussions about getting away (Suzanne would like to visit every beach). Recent posts here have highlighted “The Bucket List” and Sir Dayvd has introduced us to his favorite saying, “If not now, when?”

So, I was not surprised when Sir James sent me the following ironic headline from recent news:

Dave Freeman, 47; the ad executive who co-wrote '100 Things to Do Before You Die' has died.


Freeman died after falling and hitting his head at his home in Venice, said his father, Roy.

Published in 1999, "100 Things" was one of the first contemporary books to create a travel agenda marketed with a title that reminded mortal readers that time was limited.

The title meant "you should live every day like it would be your last, and there's not that many people who do," Neil Teplica (who co-wrote the book) told The Times. "It's a credit to Dave -- he didn't have enough days, but he lived them like he should have."

"This life is a short journey," the authors wrote. "How can you make sure you fill it with the most fun and that you visit all the coolest places on earth before you pack those bags for the very last time?"

Together, the authors had visited almost every site in the book, which included the familiar (the Academy Awards ceremony, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain) as well as the more exotic (the National Hollerin' Contest in North Carolina, Australia's Nude Night Surfing contest).

Freeman also saw some things he certainly wished he never had:
On Sept. 11, 2001, he was eating breakfast in his sixth-floor New York co-op when the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. From the roof of his building, he saw the second plane crash into the south tower, just blocks away.

Deeply affected by the terrorist attack, Freeman decided to move back to Los Angeles in 2002 to be near his family.

To be honest, I have not read the book, but I know that it – and many others that followed – have me thinking of Freeman’s motto: "Do it before you die"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Knights Tale

At the weekend I got to meet again one of my favourite Knights, a drink swilling glutton, incorrigible rogue and all round, in many senses of the word, fun-maker. In Elizabethan costume and regaling a full tavern, I can imagine he would love the KMSA.

I refer to of course, Shakespeare's Immortal character Sir John Falstaff. What makes portly Sir John so entertaining? How is it, when his actions would repulse many in both a modern and medieval context, we find ourselves so attracted to this lying tub of lard? Speculation over the years has produced many possible answers, one no more likely than the next. Whether or not the Queen of England truly requested Merry Wives of Windsor... for herself because she was so fond of the "huge hill of flesh" (Henry IV pt I, Hal, Tavern Scene), most do find some sort of affectionate connection. Possibly his openness in his crimes, his lack of loyalty being so apparent — essentially his frankness (not so much honesty) in life, and his grinning self-determination, self observance.

So there we were, meeting up with other members of the London " If You Write It...They Will Come " Culture Club, at the Founders Arms on the South Bank of the Thames opposite St Paul's Cathedral, a few blocks from the Globe Theatre, where we were to see that evenings performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Of course we got there in good time to have a hearty Falstaffian meal of Beef Pie, Chips and Swede all washed down with a good quaff of foamy Young's Special 6.4% Ale. Then fully watered, our jolly crocodile wove its way through the ancient streets to the Globe Theatre.

The Original Globe where Shakespeare premiered many of his plays went up in flames. On June 29, 1613, during a performance of Henry the Eighth, a theatrical cannon, set off during the performance, misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale. Although it was rebuilt, it was once again shut down to decay completely away, by the Puritans in 1644.

Then in the 1990's, due to the amazing Vision of the American Director Sam Wanamaker, a third Globe was funded, constructed and opened in 1997, a completely exact copy, in every beam and design, of the former which stood not 200 yards away.

The dusk turned dark blue, the crowd thronged noisily into the heart of the theatre just as the peasants did in the original over 400 years ago. They chomped on hazelnuts and drank ale, but we were full to burping, and huddled close, under the clouds that scudded between the thatched roofs.

Finding our way to the front...there he was...the Knight Colossus, Foaming, Fun and Fulsome. the indefatigable Falstaff, flirting with the married Ladies, who secretly loved his attention, never winning, but living life to the full, and leaving us to chuckle our way back to the Tavern to toast his flawed but very Human soul. A good Knight was had by all.... All Hail The Ale.

Sir Dayvd (me? flirt with married, not me) of Oxfordshire

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dublin Village Tavern & the Urinals of Ireland

While Sir Bowie and Sir Dayvd have been doing a very fine job in blogging about "Heady" matters the past few days (in which I am also guilty of adding my humble observations to the "Pot" in the form of comments) I have been busy with business in Dublin. Dublin, Ohio that is! Now Dublin, being part of the greater Columbus, OH area is a very fine place to be. Almost everyone is of Irish descent. Green banners fly in the summer sky along the storied streets proudly marketing that "Irish is an Attitude". Something I know all too well being married to a Strapping Lass of Emerald Isle blood! It appears that I will be frequenting these parts often, like I was in Harrisburg, PA last year. So, of course, I have been shopping around the past few months for the perfect Pub to call home. Deciding to stay in Dublin instead of the Easton area, where Fado's is located, I am pleased to say that I have found the "McGrath's of Ohio" within the historic walls of the Dublin Village Tavern. Founded in 1889, the year my Grandfather John Thomas Baker was born, DVT on 27 South High Street has been an important "watering hole" for this fine community since that time. I knew I was home when I sat down at the bar and was immediately accepted as part of the community, something I don't always experience in my travels. Like McGrath's, it is also just a short distance from my hotel, so I can enjoy myself without legal worries. Above is a picture of the pub sign hanging above the entrance to the two story tavern. My immediate thought was that it could use the artistic touch of Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire (see yesterday's blog). The real "deal sealer"; however, of making the Dublin Village Tavern my new home away from home was my first trip to the urinal.

Greeting me there as soon as I opened the door was this full size picture of Marilyn Monroe. Now, no matter how old or young you are, you have to say that Marilyn had Mojo! I always had a fondness for her because her baptised name was Norma Jeane Baker. My mother's name was Doris Jeane Baker. Now, my mother never looked this sexy, which was probably a good thing for my mental health, but she did have a rather large personality about her. The funny thing was that I had finally signed on with my iPhone and read Sir Bowie's blog about Jessica Simpson's buying a beer company. I noted that I'd rather be drinking with Marilyn!

While standing at the urinal you are confronted with a montage collection of photographs of urinals from famous pubs and castles in Ireland, titled "The Urinals of Ireland". Now, I've always loved bathroom humor, but this brings it to a whole new dimension of subtlety! I was reminded of Sir Dayvd's blog on the see through bathrooms in Europe and of my own bathroom blogs from McGrath's and most recently, from Tootsies Orchid Lounge in Nashville.

So, without further adieu, I give you the Urinal of the Dublin Village Tavern...

...and it's mirror image, Sir Hook of Warrick enjoying himself way too much in the bathroom! Of course this picture was taken on my last stop of the night after drinking 4 pints of Smithwick's. As Neil Young and the boys were singing 4 Dead in Ohio, I was singing 4 Flushed in Ohio!

Sir Hook the Traveling Urinal Minstrel of Warrick

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Inn Ebriate

Talking to Lady Suzanne about my job as Local Artist / Sign maker of Oxfordshire, it struck me that one of the benefits of the Job is that I get to paint a great many Pub Signs and ergo get to go to a great many local Inns.

Free Ale aside, this means I am never more than the breadth of a hair on my brush from one of my great joys of my life, history, and naturally, Inns and especially Inn Signs are a great indicator to the history of a local area.

The use of the word arms in pub names is so wide spread in England, because inns used to display the coat of arms of the nearest bigwig under whose protection it operated. This was not so much for identifying the pub but as a warning to brigands that raiding the place would bring the posse down on their heads.

During times of warring it wasn't only customers who switched allegiance. Pubs too often hurriedly changed names for political reasons. The heraldic sign of Richard the Third was a white boar, which lead to countless White Boar Inns springing up. "Shilling " coins issued at the time also displayed the creature. Nicknamed a "Hog" the shilling bought a whole raft of ale, hence "going the whole hog". But after Richard's defeat at the battle of Bosworth Field, landlords were contacting Sign makers to get out the tins of blue paint to change their signs to the coat of arms of the victorious Earl of Oxford, hence the prevalence of Blue Boar Inns.

A simpler route was often to call the Inn, The Crown, and this would cover any King or Queen who got into power.

These knightly battles raged all over the island during this period, and the phrase "giving no quarter" - meaning to show no mercy, stems from medieval times

In those days a knight was worth more alive than dead. Once captured, he could be ransomed back to his King or to his estate. While the price of his return was being haggled over, the knight was given living quarters in the best inns, befitting his station. Through his practice, the showing of mercy came to be known as "granting quarter(s) ".

Now I can tell already before I have even posted this blog that Sir Hook and Sir Bowie will be drooling into their moustaches at the sight of a sign that proclaims; FREE HOUSE. well sorry to disappoint you boys... this just means that the Inn is not owned by a brewery, and the landlord is free to serve whatever choice ales he thinks his customers will relish,....The Ale is NOT free, so put the passports back in the draw.

Still its nice to know, that the next time I get out my trusty mahl stick, and tins of enamel, that I can proudly claim to be a member of the Peace-keeping forces in the UK. I'll drink to that.!

Sir Dayvd ( ok, the signs finished where's my free beer ) of Oxfordshire

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Black, White, Green, Red, Harry Chapin, and Life!

Sir Dayvd's post the other day on black, white, and gray areas got me thinking about Randy Pausch. Though we never met in person, Mr. Pausch is one of my heroes.

Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he went on to present a lecture that literally took the world by storm, titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” It's now more commonly and simply called "The Last Lecture" (if you haven't seen his lecture, you can check it out on You Tube; the book version is a national bestseller).

Because Pausch was a computer scientist, he was used to seeing the world in black and white, on and off, true or false. There was very little gray areas for him. In fact, he used to joke about his crayon box having only two colors: black and white.

But, at his last lecture, he brought along several hundred crayons of all colors (in the confusion of what was going on, they did not get passed out, but here is his intent):

“My plan was this: As I spoke about childhood dreams, I'd ask everyone to close their eyes and rub their crayons in their fingers – to feel the texture, the paper, the wax. They I'd have them bring their crayons up to their noses and take a good, long whiff. Smelling a crayon takes you right back to your childhood, doesn't it?”

Grown men and women with crayons? Why not! It's so true about the potency of a crayon and the ability of just one whiff to take us back to a time when teachers encouraged us to use every color and parents hung our masterpieces on the refrigerator.

This is where Harry Chapin comes in. Harry was an awesome artist, poet, songwriter, performer and humanitarian (yes, with flaws). He wrote a song that happened to be on a CD I was listening to right after I read Sir Dayvd's black and white post. This song has to do with art, kids, and seeing things the way they “should” be seen:

Flowers are Red
by Harry Chapin

The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said.. What you doin' young man
I'm paintin' flowers he said
She said... It's not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There's a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You've got to show concern for everyone else
For you're not the only one

And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

Well the teacher said.. You're sassy
There's ways that things should be
And you'll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me.....

And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

The teacher put him in a corner
She said.. It's for your own good..
And you won't come out 'til you get it right
And are responding like you should
Well finally he got lonely
Frightened thoughts filled his head
And he went up to the teacher
And this is what he said.. and he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

Time went by like it always does
And they moved to another town
And the little boy went to another school
And this is what he found
The teacher there was smilin'
She said...Painting should be fun
And there are so many colors in a flower
So let's use every one

But that little boy painted flowers
In neat rows of green and red
And when the teacher asked him why
This is what he said.. and he said...

* * *

Well, unfortunately, we know what he said -- what too many of us and our children have been trained to say.

But, there still must be a way to teach our children – and adults – that life should be fun; that there are so many colors in a flower -- So let's use every one!

So, yesterday I purchased a box of 120 crayons and Monday you'll find them on my desk. Why? That way, when things start getting too black and white or too serious, I'll take Randy Pausch's advice and feel one, sniff one, breathe it in, color with them, and dream!

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Friday, August 22, 2008

Simpson On Tap?

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousands gulps (oops, I mean "words").

Seems that Jessica Simpson's the new face (and other body parts) of Stampede Light Plus beer from Dallas-based Stampede Brewing Company.

Not only is Simpson, 28, serving as the beer's spokeswoman, but she also owns a 15 percent share in the brewer.

"Jessica found out about Stampede after trying it in Dallas and [liked] it so much that she met with the founder and became an owner," her rep told the Daily News (not John Stewart) on Wednesday.

Simpson liked the beer because it was "consistent with her healthy lifestyle and values," her publicist said.

So, if you want to "Be Smart" like Jessica Simpson, evidently you have to "Drink Smart."

Good Luck with That.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Thursday, August 21, 2008

From my numerous discussions with various people on the subject of existence of God, my conclusion can be best explained by the following analogy:

If we imagine that blind faith is jet black, absolute non-belief is pure white, and all possible inbetweens as a grey scale, then every individual's belief is some shade of grey - his/her own personal equilibrium of rationalism and faith.”

This position is usually not firm - it moves in either direction during various phases of the person's lifetime - but what's funny is that every individual firmly believes that his/her current position on the grey scale is the correct one, and everybody else is either too dogmatic or too rational.

As James
Randi said:

"Inventing a deity greatly simplifies life for the believer, and makes thinking unnecessary. If there's a puzzle — "why am I here? — for example, the "God" card trumps all others, immediately and completely, with no discussion or work needed. No, the invocation of a deity doesn't explain a difficult quandary, but it makes an answer unnecessary, for the believer."

One of the more curious shades of grey is the position that religion may not be true, but it is a necessity nonetheless to keep ignorant masses in line - it's like the traffic light system of life without which navigating the paths of life would be very hazardous. Basically this position discards all the parts of religion that conflict with science (origin, existence, evolution, etc), but accepts the one part of religion that science does not invade - the moral code. People who take this position believe in science, free enquiry, etc, but also believe that absolute morality as mandated by religion is perhaps better than letting people develop their own personal moral codes based on education and life experiences. Richard Dawkins, in a debate with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, on the existence of God, labels these people the "know-alls":

"Religious people split into three main groups when faced with science. I shall label them the "know-nothings", the "know-alls", and the "no-contests". The "know-alls" (I unkindly name them that because I find their position patronizing), think religion is good for people, perhaps good for society. Perhaps good because it consoles them in death or bereavement, perhaps because it provides a moral code. Whether or not the actual beliefs of the religion are true doesn't matter. Maybe there isn't a God; we educated people know there is precious little evidence for one, let alone for ideas such as the Virgin birth or the Resurrection, but the uneducated masses need a God to keep them out of mischief or to comfort them in bereavement. The little matter of God's probably non-existence can be brushed to one side in the interest of greater social good."

Assuming that we are smarter than the rest, and thinking that we know what is good or bad for the masses, is a smarter-than-thou snobbish elitist position. Besides, it is also very dangerous territory. As Carl Sagan warns us in his book The Demon Haunted World :

    "We are not wise enough to know which lies, or even which shadings of the facts, can competently serve some higher social purpose - especially in the long run."

I will urge all the "know-alls" to read this book, especially the chapter titled "Newton's Sleep" that ends with the above quote. A well rounded perspective is the only way people will ever co-exist.

Sir Dayvd ( spending way too much time thinking and not working ) of Oxfordshire

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The debate lives on.

I already know what Sir Dayvd thinks of our American beer. Basically, “Put it back in the horse from which it came!” But, here’s a lite beer story that is an “American Classic.”

One of the greatest advertising campaigns in history was the famous “Great taste, lessing filling” ad for Miller Lite. For years, Miller Lite drinkers, including notables like comic Rodney Dangerfield, football coach John Madden, and baseball legend (for being mediocre) Bob Uecker bickered back and forth. Some said the drink tasted great. Others said it was less filling.

Was it a successful campaign? You bet your beer foam it was.

According to Wikipedia, Advertising Age magazine has that campaign as the 8th best advertising campaign in history. In the prime of the campaign, television commercials typically portrayed a Miller Lite drinker noting its great taste followed by another who observed that it was less filling. This usually led to a parody of Wild West saloon fights in which every patron got involved in the dispute for no real reason, though in this case it was always a shouting match, and blows were never thrown. The campaign was developed by the ad agency of McCann-Erickson Worldwide.Well, now we’ll have a chance to debate again. MillerCoors LLC is reviving its "Great taste, less filling" tagline, which was created more than 30 years ago. The company says that the tagline will appear starting Sept. 1 in revised TV spots of last year's "More Taste League," an advertising campaign that airs during football (real football, not Football Lite – a.k.a. soccer) season. All national Miller Lite radio spots immediately will start using the "Great taste, less filling" tags, the company said. Marketing materials in stores will feature the slogan as well.

As our merry band of Knights grows, we must recognize that we will have a loyal contingent of lite beer drinkers (unity through diversity -- even diversity lite). Why? Great taste, of course. Or, is it less filling?

Sir Bowie “would be better off drinking lite beer because his six pack is more like a keg” of Greenbriar

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creating Warriors

From time to time the word “warrior” pops up in these posts. Knights certainly are a form of warriors (King Arthur is a legendary example), but in our case, warriorship does not refer to making war on others. Aggression is one of the sources of the world's problems, not the solution. In our case, “Warrior” here means “one who is brave.”

Yesterday, Lady Suzanne, our older daughter Amy, and I dropped off our daughter Lucy to become a Knight of Bellarmine University. Our world needs new warriors to help solve the myriad of very serious problems facing the world today. Fortunately, there are men and women and universities out there that are teaching the basic human wisdom that can help save us from ourselves. I have grown to believe that this wisdom must not come from any one culture or religion, but from a collective effort. Though Bellarmine is a Catholic University, around 50% of its students are of other faiths. It seems that the one of its missions is a common Knight theme: Unity Through Diversity.

While everyone -- united -- has a responsibility to help the world, we can actually do more harm than good if we try to impose our ideas and ideals on the world. With all the problems now facing human beings, it’s is more important than ever to find simple ways – nonsectarian ways – to work with each other and share our understanding. Where do we start? We must first look inside ourselves. In spite of all our problems, there is something basically good about ourselves. As Sir Hook wrote in a previous post, unless we can discover that ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others.

According to the Shambhala tradition, there are several principles of warriorship. The first, and key, is not being afraid of who you are (and that takes a very brave person). When we are not afraid of ourselves, we open up and share our wisdom with the world.

Yesterday, while moving Lucy in and setting her free, we experienced some of that unity and diversity. We also experience some of what makes life such a wonderful experience: fellowship with family, the generosity of strangers, the bright blue sky, freshness of a wooded campus, breaking bread with friends, and finally riding into a glorious sunset as we left our daughter in the hands of wise men and women who will work to awaken her inner “warriorship” -- to grow brave and wise!

Sir Bowie of Greenbrair

Monday, August 18, 2008

Calling All Knights

Hear ye, hear ye, calling all Knights of the KMSA Realm. A Call to Arms for all Brothers and Sisters to join in back to back Council Feasts!

You'll remember a few posts ago about the concept of joining in celebration if you're lucky enough, as we in the "Founding Garden of Southern Indiana", to have a large contingent of strapping lads and lovely ladies gather once a month in joint celebration of Our Unity Through Diversity.

Sir Hook hereby calls for such a gathering at the Brew HaHa to be held at the Evansville Museum on Saturday, September 27. Our October gathering will be the very next Saturday, October 4, at the Deer Head Tavern around 8pm to enjoy another session with the Shaggy Wonda boys from Bloomington. Of course, it is also our intent to have our other Brothers and Sisters in Arms to join in celebration where they can at the same time!

It is time to arise from our dungeons and become a Visible Force in our ever changing world. Recruiting new Knights and Ladies is needed as well. So, join me and Sir Bowie in these Grand Council Celebrations.

Sir Hook the Party Animal-Beta King during the Week-Alpha King on Saturday's of Warrick

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Magical Hoosier Brewery Tour

It's late Sunday morning, perhaps early Sunday afternoon?  The House of Warrick & Greenbriar, along with a bevy of other Ladies and Knights of this regional realm invaded the "Southern Indiana Brewery & Winery Festival" last night, held as a benefit for The Southwestern Indiana Regional Council on Aging.  

We did our best to kill as many brain cells us encroaching seniors to be could, armed with a $25 ticket, a 2 ounce shot glass and all the brew you could swallow in copious 2 ounce amounts!  This morning I awoke feeling more like a bloated Walrus!  Coo..coo...cachoo!   The tale of "The Magical Hoosier Brewery Tour" began inside by sampling the best that Indiana Brewers and Distributors have to offer.  I must say that I'm proud to be a Hoosier because of the fine selections we found.  Some I was familiar with, others were just an amazing surprise.  It was a sensory overload of mind, taste buds and physical dexterity!

The first stop was at a selection of beers brought in by the Cavalier Distributing Company, from Indianapolis.  Jason Hepley turned us on to the Founders Brewing Company and some of their fine selections.  OK, I'll confess, their selections were not from Indiana, but at least it flows through the State.  Founders is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We sampled the Dry Hopped Pale Ale. Then we hopped over to the next selection they represented from Stone Brewing Company out of San Diego, CA., called Arrogant Bastard Ale.  Needless to say the name was attracting to me, and Lady Allwinky confirmed with Jason that I "fit the bill".  I'll let their advertisement speak for itself.

After I became one with Arrogant Bastard, I hopped back over to the Founder's selection for the next logical choice...Dirty Bastard! I was not disappointed.  Dirty Bastard is a Scottish type ale with a strong malty sweetness with hints of caramel and raisins, and at 8% alcohol it kicks some ass!  So where does an Arrogant-Dirty Bastard go after this?

Go find Dirty Helen! 

We found Dirty Helen pouring her sexy body into our glasses at the Barley Island Brewing Company, based in Noblesville, Indiana.  Dirty Helen was accompanied by her cell mate, Barfly IPA.  It was a coupling made in heaven.  Now we're sampling the best that Indiana has to offer!

Right next to Dirty Helen and her crew were a couple of fine lads, one being John Templet the head brewer, of a brew pub in Kokomo, Indiana called Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery. They name their brews after local celebrities and notable events and landmarks from Kokomo.  We sampled Elwood's IPA and Cannon Cream Ale.  I felt like hanging a Full Moon after firing the Cannon!

Across the way was another brewer based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
 Warbird Brewing Company uses famous WWII aircraft to represent their beers.  My favorite was also my favorite plane of that era, the P51 Mustang...Gold Ale.  Next door to them was the Power House Brewing Company, based in Columbus, Indiana.  Their Power House Porter is one of the best Porter's I've ever tasted anywhere!

Finally, it was time to step outside for some fresh summer evening air and to sample what was some of the best of the evening.  Meeting us at the door was one of my favorite Indiana brewers, and the one I was most familiar with, Upland Brewery, based in Bloomington, Indiana.  I love their Upland Wheat Beer!  It makes me want to sing John Mellencamp songs all night!  

We then hit the plethora of beers offered by the Ohio Valley Hombrewer's Association who offered over 19 hand crafted-home brewed beers to choose from.  My two favorites were brewed in my home village of Newburgh, the Newburgh Wheat and a British Bitter.  By this time the conversation was flowing as freely as the beer.  I ran into one of my doctor's who disagreed with me on the best selections of the evening.  I questioned her knowledge about what drugs she has me on based on her beer selections!  It was a fun heckling session!

Afterwards we joined a crew of Knights and Ladies for more food and beer at the Deer Head Tavern on Columbia Street in Evansville.  We filled a room with a long table behind the band.  It was like a great hall of battle hardened lads with their lovely ladies watching over them as we celebrated into the evening.  The band was awesome, another product from Bloomington, called Shaggy Wonda.  They had a blend of rock, jazz and hooks galore in their original music.  I was very impressed, and I let them know after every song with my Cherokee Battle Cry!  I had a room mate in college whose aunt we called Wicked Wonda.  She would come to college and try to pick up all the young guys.  I was kinda fond of Wonda, as Neil Young sings.

It was a Magical night that we didn't want to end, so Lady Allwinky and myself closed down a new Pub in Newburgh, on the Ohio River, called the Abscher Ice House.  I finished the evening with one of my favorite Indiana selections from Three Floyd's Brewery, based in Hammond, Indiana.  It's called Alpha King Ale.  The label shows the results!
The Magical Hoosier Brewery Tour did not end last night.  In fact, we have a standing invitation to visit the lads at Half Moon in Kokomo and Jason Hepley is planning on a bus tour to the Founders Brewery in Michigan.  It's time for the Knights of Moleskine, Spirt and Ale to expand its influence in the Mid-West.  Tighten up your Bible Belts Boys, here we come!

Sir Hook the Shaggy-Arrogant-Dirty-Alpha King Bastard of Warrick

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can't We all Get Along? Yes, We Can!

One of the most basic tenants of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale is the belief in "We are Unified through our Diversity." Following closely is, "We are Sovereign Rulers of Our Own Lives. Free to Create without Judgement."

I actually slept until 8am for the first time in a while, and decided to leisurely explore my latest edition of my AARP Magazine. Yes, I'm a card carrying member of the over 50 crowd, and damn
proud to be as well! In my readings I was glad to receive confirmation that we still enjoy sex, look for deeper and more meaningful spirituality, become less afraid to embrace our true self, etc.

All good and well, but I was most intrigued by their Navigator section, which highlighted a rather unique organization located in Denver, CO called Common Tables.

It appears that they promote a "Recipe for Understanding", by forming groups of open minded peoples of different faiths, religions and beliefs, who gather to sit down and discuss openly at dinner their differences, but more importantly to realize their common ground. It's called "Breaking Bread...Breaking Barriers". It's goal is to promote tolerance and keep expanding the circle of understanding.

Now, as a Founding Father of KMSA, I find our goals and mission to be very similar. We are choosing the pubs, bars, taverns and drinking halls for our mission, but the results are the same. I would dare say, we have a slightly more dangerous mission because passions are always fueled by alcohol; however, I have been more than pleasantly surprised by the open mindedness of the patrons I have approached with our particular "Message of Hope and Unity".

So as good Knights (and Ladies), I propose a toast to the good folks at Common Table and invite them to join our Merry Band. Speaking for myself, a Zen-Christian Catholic-Crazy Man, I always like to indulge in a fine wine after breaking bread!


Sir Hook the Not so Commonly Tolerant of Warrick

Friday, August 15, 2008

Buon Ferragosto: Evolution of a Feast Day

Today is a feast day, no matter how you look at it. The people of the Roman Empire (yes, those who have determined how wide our railroad tracks are, which roads we travel, and the size of Space Shuttle booster rockets) celebrated this day, August 15, as a feast day to honor the goddess Diana. Diana was the goddess of fertility, and she seemed a natural choice to have as its patron after a long time in the harvest fields.

August derives it's name from Augustus Caesar, the Caesar we Judeo-Christians all know and love! It seems that Augustus, being the man about town, decided to declare this feast in his own honor and to expand it into a month long Toga Party! Thus it's Roman name became, "Feriae Augusti" (The Fairs of Augustus). From the Latin name "Feriae Augusti" comes the present day Italian name of the holiday, "Buon Ferragosto".

Buon Ferragosto is still celebrated on this day in Italy, much like we Americans celebrate the 4th of July, by having barbeque's and going to the beach (or any water source where you can scantily clothe yourself will do). It seems that the Italian government has discovered that by not having the resources of Augustus, a month long holiday is not good for the economy, thus it has been shortened to one day.

At least in Italy the holiday remains intact in its original Toga Party form because a few centuries after Augustus, the Catholic Church came rolling into town devouring all pagan holidays and turning them into Church Feast Days, of which, Buon Ferragosto, has become a "Holy Day of Obligation" in celebration of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Mary seemed an obvious choice, since the original Patron of this ancient feast was a female deity, something that Mary has become, even though the Church does not call her so, nor will they ordain women, etc., but I deviate from my original "Party Platform".

So there you have it! A feast day to celebrate fertility (one of my favorite activities), ancient history (one of my favorite subjects), partying (what I live for), taking a day off from work (haven't thought about that for today until now), and going to Church (something I will do today). It only makes perfect sense that the "Evolution" (to use a spiritually nasty but yet scientifically logical word) of this Feast Day continue. As a founding father of the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale...I declare this an official KMSA Feast Day to be know as:

BON FERRACONMUCHOCUSTO! (Kind of like mixing Teguila with Peroni)

Sir Hook the "Ferraconmuchogusto Meister" of Warrick