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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wing Bowl Celebrates Gluttony

We here in the States love the Super Bowl, Chicken Wings, Eating Contests, Gluttony...

The following story celebrates all of these:

(Information from Reuters Life! By Jon Hurdle) -- At 5 a.m. on a freezing January morning more than 15,000 Philadelphians crammed into a sports arena on Friday to witness the city's annual festival of gluttony and lust.

It's the Wing Bowl, a competitive-eating extravaganza in which 27 men try to eat the largest number of chicken wings in 30 minutes.

They are assisted by legions of bikini-clad young women called "Wingettes", and encouraged by a baying crowd which stayed up most of the night to take part in the spectacle.

Jonathon Squibb, a 23-year-old computer technician from Berlin, New Jersey, won the event and a $30,000 Mini Cooper after eating 203 wings without getting sick.

Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff Photographer

The Wing Bowl has become a major event in Philadelphia on the Friday before the Super Bowl. It was started in 1993 as a consolation for fans of the Philadelphia Eagles football team which usually fail, as they did this year, to qualify for the national championship.

Organizers can't explain why thousands of people endure freezing temperatures to attend the Wing Bowl.

"It isn't hard to understand, it's impossible to understand," said Al Morganti, the founder of the event and co-host of the WIP morning show.

Michael Berger, a New Jersey flooring contractor who calls himself The Eating Machine, defeated hundreds of other eaters by putting on a preliminary "stunt" that qualified him for the final. He wowed the judges by eating 32 ounces of mayonnaise in 1 minute, 30 seconds, a feat that gave him odds of 4-1.

David Spector, a 20-year-old student from Rutgers University, qualified by eating 10 whole lemons in five minutes while playing the saxophone.

Despite the humor, eating is a serious business as 27 men in T-shirts sat at long tables stuffing wings into their faces and taking rapid sips of water and trying to keep the food down, with not all succeeding.

Faith Casciano, 55, mother of contestant Michael Casciano, aka The Caveman, supports her son out of loyalty not approval of the event.

"The gluttony is not anything that a mother should really be proud of," she said. "I would rather he did other things with his life, but if this makes him happy ..."

- - -

Sir Bowie "who can't say anything because I USED to eat a can of Planters Cheese Balls and drink a six pack of beer a night" of Greenbriar

Friday, January 30, 2009

A BOFFIN has used a scientific formula to solve one of the movie world's biggest cliffhangers – what happens at the end of The Italian Job.

Fans of the classic film were left wondering how mobster Charlie Croker could have got his gang – and the gold bullion they had stolen – out of a mountainside pickle.

In the closing scene the bus the gang made their getaway in was left balancing precariously over the edge of a cliff on its way back to Britain.

The gold nicked from Italy is at one end – and the gang at the other.

"Hang on a minute lads – I've got a great idea," says Croker, played by Michael Caine.

And then the film ends.

But now an IT specialist has found a way of getting the ten-strong gang safely out of the bus without losing their booty.

John Godwin, of Godalming, Surrey, won a Royal Society of Chemistry competition to come up with a solution by breaking down the task into three steps.

The first step involves punching out the third set of windows in the middle of the Bedford bus with the heel of Croker's shoe.

This would relieve some weight from the back of the bus hanging over the cliff edge.

But more importantly it will let the crew lean out and punch in the front windows.

The next stage is to open the access panel to the fuel tank, sited inside the bus halfway along its axis, and to drain the tank of its 36 gallons of petrol, or start the engine till the fuel runs out.

Once this fuel is drained, Mr Godwin said there should be enough weight in the front of the bus to allow one crew member to leave.

So the third step is to lower one of the crew from the broken windows so that they can let down the front tyres.

This will reduce the vehicle's rocking motion and make the front end more stable.

Then he will bring back ballast, in the form of rocks, needed to counter the effect of someone crawling along the floor to retrieve the gold bars, which could be piled up at the front end before being carefully removed.

And, with the gold out the crew would be safe too.

( they would of course have to hide the gold, and walk to the nearest town and get another vehicle to go back and get the gold... but you get the picture )

Godwin said gathering the data he needed for his equations, like the fuel efficiency of a 1964 Bedford VAL14 (the bus), the weight of a window or the price of gold in 1968 — needed to establish the weight of the haul — was fairly easy. “The Internet’s a great place,” he said.

The society's chief executive Richard Pike said he received around 2,000 entries to the competition and many were ingenious, devious, quirky or just outrageous.

Mr Godwin won a holiday in Turin, the city where the 1969 film was made.

Sir Dayvd ( you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off )

of Oxen-ford-shire

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Primitive Indiana

Well, some of you might have noticed that we failed to post a blog (or blog a post -- however you say that).

No excuses. Okay, maybe one: Several inches of ICE and snow blanketed the region yesterday knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people -- including the Knights of Greenbriar.

Faced with no power, thus no heat, we made the most of the situation by building a fire in the fireplace and breaking out a primitive "corn boiler" to make coffee and boil water for hot chocolate and tea.

It was also the perfect time to break in my new Dutch oven (which was a goal of mine). Over the course of the day I baked cornbread, then beans and meat balls, then a peach cobbler. Primitive, but hot food that nourishes the body and soul.

After dark, I opened a bottle of beer that I've had tucked away for a special "round the campfire" occasion. I figured a house with no heat and an outside temp dropping to 14 degrees was special enough: Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer, Bamberg's Specialty.

Here's some information on this unique, smoky beer from Germany:

Bamberg and Smokebeer (the Germans call it "Rauchbier") belong together, a liaison which was not without consequences. The greatest of which is the Schlenkerla: the most productive, most visited and most traditional Smokebeer source in Bamberg. It originates in the middle of the old town, directly underneath the mighty cathedral, from a half-timbered house on which the geraniums effusively glow in the summer. Anyone who did not come here and try the strong, unmistakable taste of Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer (in German: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier) cannot claim to have been to Bamberg.

Schlenkerla has become a magic word for a long time, but many do not know where this word originated. Its roots lie within the Frankish vernacular, in which "schlenkern" is an expression for walking not straight - just like a drunken person does. Allegedly one of the former brewers had a funny way of walking due to an accident, or maybe due to the beer, and so he was called the "Schlenkerla" - the little dangler. The ending -la is the typical diminutive for the Frankish dialect. After a while, the residents of Bamberg also called the tavern Schlenkerla, and even though the sixth generation of brewers now taps the beer, the name has remained. Even in the phone book and the internet you can find the brewery under the name Schlenkerla. Today it stands for the tavern, the brewery and, most importantly, for the Smokebeer.

Smokebeer from Schlenkerla is a dark, aromatic, bottom fermented beer with 13.5 percent original extract, which is equivalent to an alcohol content of 5.1 percent. No doubt: there are stronger beers, but nevertheless, one should not underestimate

... it can make you "schlenker" quite a bit. Its smoky flavor is being achieved by exposing the malt to the intense, aromatic smoke of burning beech-wood logs at the Schlenkerla-maltings. After mixing it with premium-class hops in the brew, it matures in 700 year old cellars, deep down in the hills of Bamberg, into a mellow, magnificent-tasting beer, best drunk directly in "Schlenkerla". An Original amongst the beers, even amongst the Bavarian beers. You can drink it in the "Alte Lokal" at white-scrubbed wooden tables - covering them with a tablecloth would be a sin - underneath an old timbered ceiling, even darker than the beer. You can drink it in the "Klause", a former monastery, built in 1310, or you can drink it in the inner court next to a 500-liter wooden-keg. All this is the Schlenkerla.

The connoisseur drinks it slowly with relish, but steadily and purposefully. He knows, that the second "Seidla" (half-liter) tastes better than the first, and the third even better than the second. He drinks during the morning pint and during the afternoon break. He drinks it in the evenings, drinks it alone and with company, especially with company, as "Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier" makes one talkative and exuberant. It brings together the local with the stranger, as it is common in Franconia to share your table with others.

Even if the brew tastes somewhat strange at the first swallow, do not stop, because soon you will realize that your thirst will not decrease and your pleasure will visibly increase.

That is written on the coasters, and the coasters are right!

Sir Bowie "back in power and out to find another bottle" of Greenbriar

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Search: Beer and Snow...

I love Google.

Here in Southern Indiana, we've received a wintry mix of ice, snow, more ice (and more snow on the way -- up to 8 inches forecasted by noon tomorrow).

So, while waiting for a job to come in, I decided to Google "Beer and Snow." What I found was something that will be near and dear to many a Knight:, "A simple poem each day to celebrate life's simple pleasures."

For example:

Sometimes I wonder
Can beer save the world? - Don’t know…
But it’s worth a shot.

It appears that we can thanks "Captain Hops" for this one. In addition to daily beer haikus going back to 2005, there are beer links, Beer Haiku merchandise, and something called Beer Session. "
The concept is simple. On the first Friday of each month, bloggers the world over write about the same beer related theme. The host compiles a list of links to all the contributions - usually with witty commentary. Beer enthusiasts read all the entries and are educated, enriched and entertained. Comments and discussions proliferate. Lifelong friendships are formed. The world becomes a better place. A month later, we do it all again."

So, snowed in or not, check out

Sir Bowie "Googler Inside a Snowglobe" of Greenbriar

Pressing Onwards

With the season to be Jolly now behind us, and my various projects and strands of business from last year ticking along nicely in this, I decided last week to push forward with one of my "If not Now, When? " list.

As an artist in my own right, I was keen to reproduce more of my work , but not in the standard modern digital way, but by way of one of my other loves, that of engraving, lithograph, and print. There is something inherently beautiful in the individuality of a hand made print, something of the human, in the inked imperfections, and textures of the woven paper that make it so compelling.

Ideally I'd like an actual Gutenberg press... but of course they no longer exist, Modern One-Pull Presses are very expensive for a beginner hobbyist, and antique book-presses are hard to come by.

Looking at the pictures of modern presses, I was struck by how like they were to the antique washing wringers my Mom used to use, the key ingredient of wooden rollers sprung together to squeeze, would I surmised, with a carefully designed flatbed, do the same job, for a fraction of the cost.

Wringers too are hard to come by, but I found one on the Net,

for $100 at an Architectural Reclamation yard, in Leominster on the Welsh Border, not two hours away, so as this last Saturday was due to be very fine, I planned a driving adventure up the "lost" corridor of fertile sunny Uplands caught between the mountains of Wales on one side, and the south to north Motorway the M5, a main artery in the UK that seems to mark the start of the Industrial Midlands.

Setting off just after dawn, I tracked due West to the lower end of the corridor around Monmouthshire, and swung North to Leominster. I was endeavouring to take in as many of the Castles and old sites that are round every twist and turn of road, in a part of England, that far away from the Commercial centres has been almost left to organically grow in its own slow ways.

Key to this was an ancient manuscript I had found in the Oxford Bodlien Library archives, called the Red Book of Hergest, one of the most important surviving Medievel Welsh Manuscripts,

which documents many of the features still around today..

I started at Pembridge Castle, a late 12 Century to early 13th century castle, which is oddly thirty miles south of Pembridge. It falls into that classic castle design that we would all love to own, and sadly this one is, so I could get no closer than to Photograph it.
Still onwards and upwards, along snaking tight, rural roads to Pembridge village itself, which appears to be a Tudor Village lost in time. Every one of the hundred or so houses is of the original Black and white Tudor style, most of them without a straight line amongst them. The houses, by dating the tree rings in the beams date back 800 years. Simply a hidden gem.

Further west to the very Welsh Border, I find my goal, Hergest, amid the towering high pointed hills of Hergest Ridge (The name of Mike Oldfield's second album, after Tubular Bells was an overnight success, he came here to isolate himself). I decamped from the van, and rucsac on my back I took to the Hills, striding towards the Summits, and beaming brightly at the views that lay before me.
Behind me the agricultural valleys of Herefordshire, before me, woolly and mountainous Wales. The Composer Elgar strode the Malvin Hills whose dinosaur backs I could see in the haze to the east. I could easily see how Mike, too, had been so inspired.

Refreshed, I sped on my way the last 24 miles to Leominster, to purchase my wringer, then spend a further hour in the huge reclamation yard, looking at Architectural fitments rescued from demolished buildings from across the Island. Tudor Tiles, Victorian Fireplaces, Gothic stained glass windows, and Georgian bathroom porcelain...the list went on. I asked the owner to email me if he came into possession of any old interior pub signs and fitments, as I am starting to see such pieces sell for very high prices in the South.

So it was homeward to Crumpets, Walnut cake and Tea, weighed down by my cast Iron trophy bouncing in the back. But one more Broadway Folly at sunset.

The gateway to the Cotswold's, my own district, The 1794 folly stands much like the Castle Inn in Edgehill, on the same plateau shelf that plummets suddenly to the lowlands and the river Avon. Its views unmatched as another day ends on the Counties laid at its feet. It was built simply because Lady Coventry wanted to know if she could see such a thing 22 miles away at her home. English Aristos eh?...doncha just love them.

A long day then, but I still managed to sit up and research till the early hours, fuelled by a very tasty Poachers beer.

I slept well.

Sir Dayvd ( King of all he surveys ) of Oxfordshire

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Knight Time" in Louisville

Taking up the mantle laid out by Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire, The House of Warrick took "Knight Time" on the road to Louisville, Kentucky for some history, great food, first class theater, drinks, a classic movie and great times! We booked a room at the historic Seelbach Hotel, now run by Hilton, on 4th Street in downtown Louisville. The historic post card is from its Grand Opening in 1905.

Here's a view from the Grand Stair Case looking down at the lobby. The Seelbach is named after its founders, two German immigrant brothers who "done good" in Louisville in the late 1800's. Every President except for Nixon, Carter and now Obama has staid here since 1905. Movie stars, European Royalty and 1920's Gangsters loved this place too, especially around Derby time!

Here's the opposite view of the Grand Stair Case. Kentucky's only 5 Star restaurant, The Oak Room, and the World's 44th Best Bar are just up the stairs to your right.

Here's Lady Allwinky inside The Oak Room. Al Capone loved this restaurant! Just to Lady Allwinky's left is a private dinning room where Al and his boys would play Blackjack, dine and drink their illegal stock while checking in on their "Southern Investments". A fake Oak Panel Door leads to an escape stairway for a quick getaway! The food was Excellent!

Here's a scene of the Seelbach at night from a 1907 postcard. We left a similar scene as Derrick from Albania, who is studying Political Science at the University of Louisville, took us in the hotel courtesy car to the Kentucky Center for the Art's to take in the Broadway Musical, Wicked.

Wicked is an excellent musical based on a book written by George Maguire in 1996. As the by line says, "So much happened before Dorothy dropped in." It's an excellent commentary on what is really evil and good! It sort of stands common wisdom and the land of Oz on its head and takes it for a spin! Without spoiling the fun, you either need to read the book or see the play. A true master piece! Having seen the musical on Broadway in New York, this stage production and crew were actually superior to that experience! Of course, it didn't hurt that we had front row center aisle seats either!

After Wicked, we decided to hit the 4th Street Live section of downtown across from the Hotel for some fun and several night caps! Renovated from an old downtown glassed in mall called "The Galleria", 4th Street Live is now teaming with bars, dance clubs, comedy clubs, rock concerts and restaurants. We ended up in "the Pub"...Authentic British...well as authentic as we can get here anyway. We enjoyed great music, Old Speckled Hen on draft and the night life!

Still being "wired for sound" at 2am we decided to turn on the 52" LG Plasma TV in our room and take in a movie on HBO. Dune was playing, a cult classic from 1984. It's a very strange movie, but I love it and never grow tired of watching it. It's based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name.

Dune's star is Kyle MacLachlan, who plays the character of Paul Atreides.  You might know him more now as Dr. Orson Hodge, the husband of Bree, on Desperate House Wives.  Paul Atreides is the "Chosen One" who brings an end to the Spice trade and Peace to the planets after kicking everyone's arse! Lot's of fun sci-fi-quasi religious overtones in this one! Killing words are my favorite! And of course "The Water of Life", which in the case of Sir Davyd of Oxfordshire means a neat Scotch!

The last victim of Paul Atreides is Feyd Rautha, played by non other than (at the time) new rock god, Sting, from the Police. He actually did a great acting job in the film. I laughed at this poster as it states that Dune is "now available on videocassette"! Wow! That predates Sir D's CD player!

Here's another historic postcard from the Seelbach, which depicts its real treasure located in the basement. It's called the Rathskeller, and is modeled after a Bavarian Castle great hall close to where the Seelbach brothers grew up in Germany.

Here's a modern view from my iPhone. It's been a bar, a restaurant, party room, etc. over it's 104 year history. It is covered in glazed pottery from a kiln in Cincinnati, and is really a remarkable site to behold!

Here I am, enjoying my morning Starbuck's at the empty Rathskeller bar before our drive home. Lady Allwinky and I decided that we must rent this place out for a Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale party some day!

So there you have it! Books, plays, movies, beer, history, food and nameless entertainment!

Sir Hook the Master of Knight Time of Warrick

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Burns Night

Greetings, good people...
I wanted to wish you all a wonderful Burns day. It is the 250th anniversary of the bards birth and today should be spent in the company of friends and strangers alike. So here I am. Tonight take a minute before the fire, before the hearth, raise a glass and cheer the bard. Enjoy!

Slainte Mhath


Yesterday was a perfectly clear day to meet up with a group of like-minded men, step back in time, and shoot muzzle loading rifles. Despite the 20 degree weather, it was great to get back to nature and make some smoke! (Paper targets only. No animals were killed or injured in the making of this post).

While home and thawing out, I read Sir Dayvd's blog (dubbed by Sir Hook, "Knight Time). It made me realize that I needed to pick another book off the shelf to start. I choose Pioneer America, It's First Three Centuries (Carl Drepperd, 1949). The first chapter alone is full of insightful and colorful ideas.

First, the meaning of the term "pioneer." (It turns out that these are also great Knights of MSA qualities):

"To be a pioneer is to have a certain state of mind that can be characterized as full of faith (migrating to the unknown). To be a pioneer is t0 be at liberty to indulge in constructive contemplation. And to be a pioneer one must have freedom of action; freedom to do. Thus to be a pioneer is to have, to be, and to do."

The handmaiden of faith is the willingness to "wander through the mysterious, unfathomable repositories of possible things... The epitomization of American success can well be stated thus: We have delved deeper into the cosmic mine of possible things, and the spade we have used is faith."

Today, it seems to me, too many people have lost their pioneer spirit and are looking to the government to provide for their needs. Is it that they have lost faith in themselves?

There is a pioneer lesson here -- especially today in this challenging economic time: The secret is common wealth creation where all people share (this is NOT done by government mints). The pioneer formula for success is the conversion of a luxury into a staple. Think about it, every staple that we use today, started life as a luxury. It was those artisans who created ways of turning the luxuries of the day into stapes (for the common good of all people) who created wealth.

Yes, we each have the inalienable right to possess the pioneering state of mind. You have the right to delve into the "unfathomable repository of all possible things."

Sir Bowie "endeavoring to be a pioneer" of Greenbriar

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Year, New Feature

Knights and Ladies, seeing as contrary to evidence, I am much more comfortable in life , being a conduit, rather than up on a soap box, where I feel unwieldy and not so comfortable...combined with the fact that although I love the debates on KMSA...I am always more thrilled when I get given, in a blog, a signpost to a new fascinating subject / author /artist etc, which I then ravenously explore.

I would like to propose a new feature for KMSA, where once a month ( or more, if popular ) , at random. whenever... we each put up a list, in brief, of anything up to, say, ten things that we are currently enjoying, Reading...Watching...etc, ( and in the We...I am fervently hoping this includes all the Knights and Ladies in that wonderfully long list at the bottom of the blog, who can add theirs in the Comment section if that is the simplest way )...and in doing so we ratchet up the enlightenment quotient in the group, rather than any beery opinion.

I'm trying to think of some humorous Knightly title for this feature, but I'll leave that to the wittier ones amongst us... and seeing as we usually agree that anytime spent culturally is Quality Time, then I will call this first punt upfield. Sir Dayvd's January Quality Time.

1) Music : In my CD player these days is a brilliant Seattle band called the Fleet Foxes, who's lovely harmonies are gracing my halls as I write. The album : "Fleet Foxes" is the best I have bought this year.

2) Surfing: I am an absolute, mad fan these days, for Google Earth, and if you aren't already connected to this breath taking feature on your computer yet...then do so ASAP..:)) With it I can scooch around the world as my mind on a whim takes me...maybe float down to the Riviera in France, along the Mediterranean shore...up over the Middle East and explore inside Israel...then..flip...back over to Hollywood USA... and zoom along the Sunset Strip, with the unique US street photos feature...onto The Alamo in St Antonio...over to the islands between Russian and Alaska...and finish off maybe zooming in on the houses of Maracaibo in Venezuela, which until I had Google Earth, I never knew existed and thrived the north coast there. I wish I'd had that in my geography lessons at school.

3) Book: Bill Bryson's "Short History of Nearly Everything", a must read for anyone who wants to understand the world, and the incredible selfless scientists and curious people who have discovered all the knowledge we now take for granted these days.

Biography of John Adams, the second US President. A most remarkable man. Did you know he died on the exact same day as his eventual pal, Thomas Jefferson, on July the 4th , Independence day...1826

4) Film : Slumdog Millionaire : Went and saw this last night. A most remarkable and enjoyable film, that I highly recommend.

5) TV : This is a little more problematic... seeing as our respective shows air on each corporation, years apart...still I will flag up once again
"Around the World in 80 Faiths"...with a link for you to look at
and also

"Oz Clarke and James May Drink to Britain" series.
where Oz and James go on a tour of the UK's distilleries and breweries

6) Cooking: Might I recommend a Scottish Soup I made the other night
called "Cullen Skink", where the US knights and ladies could use their own local smoked white fish instead of smoked haddock, which warmed the cockles of my heart on these grey evenings...:))

Get Surfing Knights and ladies...and I look forward to exploring your links in return. I'm hoping in this first effort that all the links work, but if not... get in touch with me in the comments box and I will make sure you get something that works, for you to explore.

Sir Dayvd ( Conduit is my real middle name ) of Oxfordshire

Friday, January 23, 2009

A quick gulp!

Miller to show one-second ads during the Superbowl Call it subliminal advertising that's not really meant to subliminal -- just cheap. Miller High Life and its lovable oaf of a spokesperson/beer-carrier Windell Middlebrooks will advertise in one-second bursts during the Super Bowl.

A normal 30-second spot costs a cool $3 million during the Super Bowl, making the one-second ads a still-outrageous $100,000.

The idea is not original. A band submitted a one-second Superbowl ad last year but was denied. Also, the ads will only be played in 25 markets due to an agreement with Anheuser-Busch that makes it the only brewer able to advertise nationally. It's not clear whether Kansas City is one of those 25 markets (The only two confirmed cities are St. Louis and Milwaukee, for obvious reasons.)

Even if you miss the commercials on the television, they'll be available at Miller's specially designed Web site, which has put up several of the ads that didn't make the cut -- including Middlebrooks saying "one Mississippi" and another where he sings a one-second clip of the National Anthem.

Last year, Miller had Middlebrooks riff on other ads from the Superbowl. Choice lines included "If I want flavored water, I'd suck a lollipop" and "If you're looking for work, it helps if you're a lizard."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

He’ll Drink To That!

Just a couple of Obama beer stories to round out Inauguration Day (from several sources):

New York & Boston: A beer named after President-elect Barack Obama, which Red Hook-based Six Point Craft Ales stopped selling after Election Day, was tucked away by some barkeepers for Inauguration Day celebrations.

The ale, which became very popular with its touch of citrus, had made its debut in March during the Democratic primaries, and it sold out in just six days.

But Six Point brought it back Hop Obama from August through Election Day, donating part of the proceeds to Project Vote.

"It was our fastest-selling beer ever," the New York Daily News quoted Six Point spokesman Jeff Gorlechen as saying.

The beer became so popular that barkeepers, who still have a keg or two left with them, decided to use it for the bigger occasion, Obama's inauguration.
--- ANI

Obama Beer on Tap in Kenya

Sarah Childress reports from Nairobi, Kenya:

The Obama inauguration wasn't hard to miss here, the East African country where Obama’s father was born and is buried.

Big screens popped up across Kenya for outdoor viewing of the festivities: at the University of Nairobi, where Obama gave a speech in 2006; out in Kisumu, the largest city in the land of the senior Obama’s tribe, the Luos; and in the village of Kogelo, where Obama’s father was born.
On tap in the bars: “President” lager. Kenyans used to toast with Senator beer, a popular brand nicknamed “Obama,” back when he announced his run for president.

Now that he’s won, though, you can’t order up a Senator anymore. East African Breweries Ltd., which brews Senator, has introduced the special-edition President brand, advertised for “those who know they can make a difference.”

The formerly Senator beer is a unique liquor from the company because it is brewed without malt. Following the innovation, the government of Kenya waived some taxes from the product, making it the cheapest in the market.

The Senator beer gained its fame when Obama, an African-American was elected as a Senator of the Illinois State in the USA, whose roots can be traced back to Kenya. In fact, most Kenyans nicknamed the brew ‘Obama’.

However, things have changed since then. Obama is no longer a senator, but a president of the US. This as well, has got the EABL marketing department thinking. As a result, the name has been rebranded in a sequence to trail the ‘Obama glory’. The beer is now ‘President’.

“This is what the customers want. They have always associated the drink to Barack Obama, and we have to keep with the pace,” said Lemi Mutahi, now the ‘President’ brand manager.

The name ‘Obama’ has however been used world over by different companies as brand names to market various products due to ‘Obamamania’ which has rocked the world in the recent past.

So, Knight there you have it. You can have your president and drink him, too!
Sir Bowie “not drinking it, just reporting it” of Greenbriar

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Praise Song For The Day

Did I miss something yesterday?

I opened the paper this morning and see that -- while stuck in my office yesterday -- I missed seeing a black hand on the Lincoln Bible.

(Photo of Lincoln's first Inauguration)

I missed the swearing in of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States. I missed one of the most inspiring and challenging inauguration speeches ever given. I missed the images of countless faces weeping with joy. And, not to trivialize any of that, I also missed a short poem written and shared by Elizabeth Alexander, a professor at Yale University. A poem commissioned by Barack Obama.

"Obama hasn't commissioned a poem so much as he's commissioned someone to make the moment mean something bigger than ceremony or political poses," said Todd Boss, a St. Paul poet. "To poets, and to those who draw meaning from poetry, the only real shock is that this kind of thing doesn't happen more often."

How often? A quick internet search reveals that Alexander is only the fourth poet to read at an inauguration, following Robert Frost in 1961, Maya Angelou in 1993 and Miller Williams in 1997.

(Frost was so blinded by the sunlight that he scrapped the poem he had written for the occasion and recited one he knew from memory)

It got me thinking, Why do we even write poetry?

What compels someone (including many of you Knights of MSA) to arrange their thoughts in words (poems and song lyrics) that have form and rhythm? And why does this shift from sentences to stanzas heighten a moment or an emotion?

From an article By KIM ODE, Star Tribune (Minnesota) Edited for Length:

“People have been making poetry for thousands of years -- the word poem is from the Greek for "a thing made" -- long before words were put to stone, much less paper. We tend to think of a poem as art, but its genesis in fact was as a device, as a way to tell a story using cadences and rhymes that made it easier to remember, and so to be passed along.”

Obama himself had a few poems published in the student literary journal of Occidental College in 1981. "He's got the attitude of a poet, which is a large part of his success," Minneapolis poet Tim Nolan said. "When he's giving a speech, he's very particular about his choice of words."

And again arises a comparison with Abraham Lincoln, who also had some poems published. Granted, Nolan said, "they weren't very good. But when you think of the Gettysburg Address ..."

"Even though people are afraid of poetry in some funny way, as something beyond them, it's also the most democratic of forms," said St. Paul poet Phebe Hanson. “Most of us have tried to write a poem, she said, whether for a tribute… or for working through a trying moment.”

But it's no less important -- and perhaps more so -- to read poetry. We all need to do our part, for as Walt Whitman once observed: "To have great poetry, there must be great audiences, too." (end)

Elizabeth Alexander was asked: How did it feel to be asked by Obama to play such an important role in the Inauguration? Alexander: “Overwhelming, humbling, joyful. So many of my poet friends and I were hoping that he would decide to have a poem at the Inaugural, because we felt that it would be a signal of his own evident value of the possibilities of language. What we have is his understanding that the arts do have a place in day-to-day life, that poetry can still us — that is, let us pause for a moment and, as we contemplate that careful, careful language, hopefully see situations anew, from a different angle. That's so much of what art and poetry offer. I think that he is showing that moments of pause and contemplation in the midst of grand occasion and everyday life are necessary. To have that affirmed by the President-elect has really been an exciting thing for poets.”

Yes, I missed something yesterday. A short poem written by a poet not afraid to express herself. Here it is:


Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer consider the changing sky; A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.”

We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, “I need to see what’s on the other side; I know there’s something better down the road.”

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

Jan 20, 2009 12:34 ET .EOF

Simple words creating complex images. Words to consider; reconsider.

Does it make you want to read more poetry? Does it make you want to write? As the poet suggest, “Take out your pencils. Begin!”

Note: Keep scrolling down to read Sir Hook's excellent history lesson "Resolute."

Sir Bowie “A poet and don’t realize it” of Greenbriar

Resolute: The American - British Connection

Resolute describes the tenor of President Barack Obama and of the American people as we enter into a new era with its unique challenges.  Resolute also describes a unique connection that the American and British people share, which I thought appropriate to bring back to light on this first day of the new administration.

The desk in the oval office upon which American Presidents have led and labored since President Hayes in 1880 is a gift of the British people, more specifically from Queen Victoria, fashioned from the timbers of HMS Resolute.

HMS Resolute was one of four Royal Navy ships under the command of Sir Edward Belcher that patrolled the arctic in the early 1850's in search of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin.  Resolute became engulfed in ice and after one year of trying to free the ship, it was abandoned by its crew who walked to other ships outside the ice to sail back to England.

Resolute broke itself free of the ice and was set adrift the following summer.  It was found by an American fishing vessel under the command of James Buddington and towed back to port.  Congress appropriated the ship and spent $40,000 to refurbish it and had it returned to England to be presented to Queen Victoria as a sign of good will between our countries.

Resolute entered back into Royal Navy service until its retirement, at which time Queen Victoria ordered its timbers to be used in part to construct the current Oval Office desk as a gift to the American people and another writing desk for her use at Buckingham Palace.

In the words of Paul Harvey, "Now you know the rest of the story."

Sir Hook the Resolute of Warrick

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2009

Today we say good-bye to Bush 43 and welcome to the 44th President of The United States of America. It's a great day in American history! The first Black President (though he is also half white, which the prejudiced person conveniently ignores) of the U.S. Here in the Midwest, I am already hearing prejudiced jokes about Obama in the Whitehouse like, "Their getting rid of the rose garden and planting a watermelon patch." It reminds me of Clinton's Inauguration speech when he said, "Nothing big comes from being small!"

Inauguration Day comes on the heals of Martin Luther King Day, the day that celebrates the man who gave his great "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Lincoln stands proud behind both of these great men of our nation, a nation that he led through a difficult period in history that helped to make this day possible.

King was prophetic from the beginning of speech when he said, "I am happy to join you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation."

Other great speeches on this day, which go beyond the brief historic sound bite, echo in the hope that we now have for our country's future! Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." John F. Kennedy in 1961, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what American will do for you, but what we can do together for the freedom of man."

A forgotten speech, one that I believe fits very well for today, was delivered by Gerald Ford in 1974 after the Watergate scandal. It mirrors the mess that Nixon, and now Bush, left this country in. Ford states, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. As we bind up our wounds, let us apply the Golden Rule to our political process and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and hate."

Abraham Lincoln ended his Inauguration speech with words of poetry and hope for us that still ring true today, "The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

God bless American and God bless President Barrack Hussein Obama!

Sir Hook the Proud and Hopeful American of Warrick

Monday, January 19, 2009

It Works! The Hooky Natural Selection Playoff Poll Pays Off!

It works! The Hooky Natural Selection Playoff Poll upsets the pundits and proves itself 100% accurate in determining the Super Bowl match up for February 1st!

Let's recap who brought us here:

Cardinal Fang...Cardinal Girl...and the Cardinal!

Steeler Man...Steeler Girl...and Big Ben's Cottage Cheese!

Now we have to wait until February 1st to determine if the Hooky Natural Selection Playoff Poll goes the distance with the selection of the Cardinals as the 2009 Super Bowl Champions.

As Sir D says, you can't argue science!

(The Hooky Natural Selection Committee)

Sir Hook the Monkey's Uncle & Wise Guy of Warrick