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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Strange Brew...Stuff!

While Sir Hook rests up from his arduous trip and writing of two excellent posts, I thought I would offer you something completely different.

Here are a few strange beer items I discovered recently on

If you drink enough beer, you’ll probably be inspired to dream up some fantastic new inventions that would benefit mankind. For some people, they go beyond merely dreaming and create very unusual beer-related products. Some of these have novelty value, while others are simply quite surreal.

Beer + Milk = Bilk!

Do you need some extra vitamins and nutrients in your daily diet? Well, perhaps Bilk will help you. Combining the power of beer and milk, this product sounds like something you would drink before bedtime to help you sleep better.
The product was devised by Japanese brewers as a practical solution to a milk surplus problem. Bilk contains 30% milk and is said to look and taste much like regular beer, although it has a milky aroma.

Guinness-flavored Marmite
If you have ever tasted Marmite (a food spread made from yeast extract), you either love it or hate it – there is generally no middle ground. So, a Guinness flavored Marmite is targeting a very niche market. For this special edition, Marmite used a recipe with 30% Guinness yeast to provide an alcohol-free Guinness flavor.
Guinness is famous for adding robust flavor to stews, but as something to spread on your toast – an intriguing thought!

Beer for dogs

Is your dog jealous of your beer habit? When you crack open a dusty bottle of Leffe, does he look longingly, sniffing the air expectantly? If so, a Dutch brewery has developed beer for dogs, so Rover can join you in enjoying a regular tipple.
Named ”Kwispelbier” (Kwispel being the Dutch word for tail wagging), it’s a combination of beef extract and malt and is tagged as “a beer for your best friend”. Incidentally, the beer does not contain any alcohol, although commands a premium price of $2.14 per bottle!

Beer scented candle

With this beer scented candle, you can waft a beery aroma around your home, without spilling a drop of your drink! If that isn’t appealing enough, the Hotwicks website offers some complementary scented candles to help you recreate the mood of some very special locations. Such candles include The Urinal Cake Candle, The Stripper Candle and the Hippie Candle.

Pizza flavored beer

The trend for flavored beer has given us some interesting combinations, but I think pizza flavored beer is in a category all of its own. Created by Chicago brewer, Tom Seefurth, the beer is endowed with the essential flavors of a margarita pizza: tomato, oregano, basil and garlic. No prizes for guessing what food pairing they might suggest with this drink.

Fake beer for kids

Just when you thought things couldn’t get stranger than dog beer… We’ve all seen humorous photos of small babies holding beer bottles. Well, here’s a product idea that takes things one step further – fake beer for kids. The packaging is designed to resemble a six-pack of beer and the beverage even has a head of foam when poured. The drink itself is merely apple juice, however.
A surefire way to help your kids develop an early fondness for the world of alcohol, this may not help you win parent of the year award. (end)

There's more odd beer novelties and other fun stuff on

Sir Bowie "off to buy some yummy marmite" of Greenbriar

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Music City Part 2

Music City Part 2's opening act shreds some flaming guitar at a private party held at the Country Music Hall of Fame. They hired a photographer with a Mac to take pictures on a green screen and then place the background. Until I arrived everyone was doing the traditional pose and covering up the guitar. After my solo...everyone started to do what I did with very interesting combinations. Let's get this party started! Just one of the things this errant, yet humble Knight does best!

With best intentions to make Saturday Vigil Mass before the DMB concert, the timing just didn't happen. So, after a convention and concert surrounded by beautiful girls, I trekked down for the 11 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral on West End for some Jimmy Carter (I lusted in my heart) confession and communion. By the time I arrived 5 minutes late I had to stand in the back...good news for the Church...bad news for Sir Hook...because shortly after this creature of loveliness arrived after me and parked herself in front of me. I couldn't resist taking this shot during the second reading. God help me! You can bring the Hook to Church...but you can't take the Hook out of the man!

Finally, free from sin for a few seconds...I headed back down to the Music Row on Broadway for a Sunday Brunch of the world famous Jack's Bar B Que. Not caring about Swine Flu...I "Pigged Out" on Bar B Que Pork Shoulder, Texas Style Beef Brisket and St. Louis Style Ribs...complete with Tennessee style green beans, vinegar based cole slaw and generous portions of good ole' Southern Sweet Tea! I once wrote a blues song about Southern Sweet Tea:

I thought it was Mother's Milk child
But it was Grandma's recipe
I said, I thought it was Mother's Milk child
But it's that deep brown dark shit
They call Southern Sweet Tea

Sunday afternoon's are the best time to catch some great country music in the Honky Tonks on Broadway. In the evenings you catch the up and coming stars, but you also get the standing room only crowds. On Sunday afternoon's, you get the seasoned veterans, session musicians, just off tour backing musicians...and at Layla's Bluegrass Inn you get a 40 year old, part man-part Tasmanian devil, legend of Broadway...Todd Bolton.

Todd Bolton brings a high energy, eclectic mix of country standards, originals and classic renditions of rock n roll hits. A bass player, my first guitar instrument, he whips the patrons into a feeding frenzy of good old fashion fun!

Of course, I started the run on his CD's for $5 and had to indulge in the next best thing to Southern Sweet Tea in Nashville...PBR...Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer! A true...and even truer now...American lager beer. And no Sir doesn't taste like horse piss!

Another tradition in Tennessee on Sunday's is the family reunion. Here is Todd's best friend, who just moved back to Nashville, taking a turn on the drums for a set. Todd's father and mother also rode in from California on their Harley, a six day trek, to be here this particular Sunday. Of course I met his father, a giant of a man in the bathroom...where we struck up a conversation about road trips, his son and how great life is!

Here's Todd's drummer enjoying his break by the front door. I loved his T-Shirt! No doubt he's performed a few procedures wearing that shirt in his day!

One of the beauties of wireless technology is the fact that you can play and sing about anywhere you like. Here's Todd doing something he's famous for, in fact he's been arrested for playing in the middle of the street before. He takes his act outside to stir up those walking by to perhaps come inside and enjoy his music for awhile. It's a great marketing ploy! Everyone piles out of the bar with cameras to take pictures. It creates the mystic that there's something happening in there! That's Todd's dad's Harley in the background.

Being successful in bringing in a party of 25 girls celebrating a friend's birthday...two of them began the traditional country line dance to the delight of all!

Here's the tip jar for the band. Of course the best tip is on the jar. Please tell your pants it's not polite to point!

Here's Todd's dad taking the stage for a five song set of country classics. He had a tremendous voice...kind of a cross between Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.

It's obvious that the family has musical talent. Todd's daughter, Presley Bolton, shows up with her pink guitar to play a couple of songs with her dad. She's just 8 years old, but already can hold her own with the band!

It's about time to hit the road again, so one last trip to the bathroom. Here's a play bill on the bathroom door promoting an act that will be there tonight. I was intrigued by the title, "Beatnik Cowboys". Sir Jack of America would be proud!

Having my fill of Southern Sweet Tea, PBR, Jack's Bar B Que and another wonderful road experience...I point my metal steed Northwest to Southern Indiana and home. Armed with a Garmin GPS (which I don't need on this trip), iPod filled with 36,858 songs, my Indian Dream Catcher and Celtic Cross...Sir Hook enjoys another, and hopefully accident free, wild ride!

Sir Hook the Mad Music Man & Beatnik Cowboy of Warrick

Music City Part 1

One of the advantages of living in Southwest Indiana, besides the Tulip Trees, is the fact that we're only on average between 2 to 3 hours from either Louisville, KY...St. Louis, MO...Indianapolis, IN...Cincinnati, OH...and my favorite...Nashville, TN.

Lady Allwinky and myself, and sometimes just myself, make the trek to Nashville quiet often. Aside from it's beauty, great food and friendly people...the real draw is the music!

Best known for it's Country Music Roots, the Grand Ole' Opry and Honky Tonk Bars, like Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and Layla's Bluegrass Inn, it is also home to the Contemporary Christian music industry and a growing Rock N Roll scene.

The past week I had the good fortune to combine business with music pleasure while attending the Ambulatory Surgery Center convention at Opryland Hotel. After a couple of days of productive business, a vigorous workout and relaxing massage...I pointed my steel horse towards Vanderbilt University on the West End to take in a Dave Matthew's Band concert. It was AWESOME!

Held outside in the Football (Not that sissy soccer game...but real man football) Stadium under a clear 70 degree twilight to clear night was the perfect setting to let the Spirit flow! I was on the field the entire evening surrounded by 30,000 screaming fans in the stands.

The opening act was Jason Mraz, who is surprisingly much better live than on his records; however, he played the perfect background music to stand in the beer line for 20 minutes to buy your two pints at a time limit. While in line I was feeling quiet generous and gave a young college girl some money, when I saw her frantically looking in her purse for more money, so she wouldn't have to get back in line. I also struck up a conversation with a young 19 Delta soldier, my son being 19 Kilo, who just got back from Iraq on his second 15-month tour, who is getting out of service next month. I bought his beers.

Once Dave took the stage, I was overwhelmed with the aromatherapy of marijuana, something that I hadn't experienced since my college days. I could have closed my eyes and thought I was back in 1973, with young girls in peasant skirts, tie dyed tank tops and headbands swaying barefoot to the music. It was a great circle of life moment for me!

The Band opened up with of my favorite songs. "Bartender please, pour a drink for me, the wine that set Jesus free after three days in the ground."

I made it to the third row in front of the stage and mind melded with the crowd and the Band. I recently have been taking Yoga classes, and the site of the barefooted ladies made me decide to join them in being grounded to the earth while reaching for the heavens. My feet were being massaged by the well kept grass on the playing field and the vibrations through the earth from the music.

Nature soon called, which required a 100 yard run to the other end zone, where the portable toilets were stationed. It became a surreal trip as I remember weaving through bodies as a wide receiver towards the end zone in my younger days.

I moved with speed and determination as I picked my next cut through the natural seams being presented to me. A slight head bob to the left and cutting right to miss the bearded boy coming straight at me. A high step over a beer cup as a young lady was reaching back to grasp either it or my leg. I was Sticky Fingers Wells once again. OK, the nickname wasn't from the Rolling Stones album, or from sexual actions, but from the fact that if the ball was anywhere close to my hands...I CAUGHT IT!

After making a 100 yard Touchdown Reception at Vanderbilt Stadium, I was rewarded with a shit filled porta-potty and another interesting encounter. Making sure that I didn't spill my beer, not falling in and keeping the gag reflex down...I transcended the moment when the music bounced off the plastic walls inside. It was the absolute best place to listen to the music! Sonic purity at its precise point! Every bar, church, stadium has it.

I realized, after finally coming back down from this musical high, that I was there to SEE Dave Matthews, and I couldn't bloody well say, "Oh yea, I saw Dave Matthews in concert inside a porta-potty!" So, I headed back down to my third row front stage area for the last few songs.

The Band was awesome with its new sax player and Tim Reynolds making the tour on guitar with them. Two highlights besides the opening number, where actually covers, the Talking Heads "Burning Down the House" and Bob Dylan's made famous by Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower".

After the concert ended, I decided to make the 10 minute drive down Broadway to Music Row and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. I was greeted by the house band with a guest female fiddle player, who looked like Taylor Swift but played like Charlie Daniels running from the Devil! She was awesome! I stayed and helped a squad of Marines on leave shut the place down at 3 a.m.

The perfect end to the perfect night in Music City! Stay tuned for Part 2.

Sir Hook the Music Man and Party Animal of Warrick

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Knight's Lesson Learned (well, maybe)

As Lady Suzanne mentioned in her blog the other day, I took off this weekend to the woods and to participated in a pre-1840 Mountain Man Rendezvous. It’s basically a group of old boys shooting muzzle loading rifles, throwing tomahawks and knives, open fire cooking, and primitive tent camping. Throw in a little “white lightning” and ale and you’ve got a recipe for one hell of a weekend.

Thanks to Sir James of Taylor for the photos:

Above: Sir Bowie blowing the crap out of a target in the deep woods.
Below: Yes, Sir Dayvd, I was running around in the woods with my "hawk"
(no animals or humans were hurt in the making of these photographs)

Now, you wouldn’t think that a man primitive camping would need much – maybe his gun, powder, lead balls, patches, a knife, a hawk, a little food…
Yes, you would think that. But, Lady Suzanne can attest to the fact that I packed more “essential” items than an army on a month-long march, including, but not limited to: Gun, black powder, extra powder, lead balls, extra lead, patches, cleaning supplies, a tent, tent poles, tent stakes, ground cloth, rope, a dutch oven, a skillet, three cups, cooking utensils, spices, a cooler of food and ice, eating utensils, a lantern, candles, flint and steel, matches, a pipe and tobacco, beer, whiskey, two sets of clothing plus extra, bug spray, sun screen, a journal, reading glasses (I can go on and on).

Yes, I needed and used a lot of items, but I have to admit that I left 75% untouched. To make a long story short, I’ll never joke about all the stuff my girls pack when we go on a weekend trip.

So, what’s the lesson? I thought I was being prepared like a good boy scout, but I was breaking the old KISS rule: Keep It Simple Stupid. History is littered with stories of pioneers who ventured out to new horizons packed down with so much stuff they ended up tossing most of it just to lighten the load to survive.

It’s true, all other things being equal, simplicity is almost always the best approach when it comes to getting positive results. So, the next time I head out I will ask “Does it matter? If so, how much does it matter?” K.I.S.S.!
(unfortunately, I probably won't learn the lesson so easily).

Sir Bowie “Squire no-neck Bowie” of Greenbriar

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Past, Present and Future.

Having kept my life interesting by often changing horses in my careers and getting involved with new projects, its always fascinating to see the new paths I take criss-cross old paths and have them bump into new ones.

Running my own Graphics company this last ten years, means that when the phone rings I never know what long passed facet of my life is going to walk back into my present life.

On leaving college, and already living and working in Oxford's rich scientific biochemical background, I found myself as a research assistant to two very famous real life Knights ; Sir Hans Krebs, and Sir Richard Doll ( both who now have extensive Wikipedia pages ) I worked in that arena till late 1983.

Fast Forward to 2008 and I get a call from the facilities manager at the Richard Doll Building, a clinical research establishment built to further his work into carcigenics and opened just before his death in 2005.

Typical in scientific circles they had taken all that time to sort out the exterior signage, which I duly designed and completed for them. Then this week I get a call asking for some interior signage, in particular a new large interior cafe that had just opened for the workforce inside.

This is where the Indiana knights and ladies will perk up.

A few years before his death Sir Richard planted himself a large Tulip Tree, of which he was rightly proud. I was called into design a logo for the cafe which was to be called Tulip Tree Cafe.

Yes I know, you can tell which way this is going, but hold still. So I go back home and research Tulip Trees, in hope of finding some sort of iconic feature about them I could use as a motif.

And what do I find?? ... that it is indeed the the State Tree of the nineteenth State of America...our new old favourite place: Indiana.

So there you have it....old paths bump into new paths and the Celtic knot of life goes on. I duly find the leaves of the tree in the border of the State Seal of Indiana...........with what appears to be a drawing of someone who looks like Sir Bowie on his Birthday chopping down a tree, while scaring the buffalo..from there I created a motif for the cafe highlighting the creamy yellow magnolia flowers.
Who'd have thought that way back in my callow, hirsute youth I would have travelled such a circle, experiencing all I have inbetween, but as my father is so fond of saying; "The greatest gift that 'God' ever gave to humankind, is the inability to foretell the future"
Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday, April 25

There is a book that has been sitting around our house for a couple of years:
Evansville in Motion / walking and running paths of Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

It is an excellent publication listing 27 plus a bonus site complete with maps, parking information, and safety tips.

Of course, there is also information about studies that show aerobic exercise helps 12 different areas of physical and mental aspects of our bodies. And hints about walking shoes, dressing for the weather and stretching exercises to warm - up and cool - down.

What this brochure doesn't do is get you up and out the door.

It takes a group of like-minded people to do that. In my case, it came up in a discussion earlier in the week when a few of us women had met at Hornville Tavern to have a cold beer and catch up on our lives.
This group was formed by me when we all had children in the fifth grade and we kept running into each other at school events, ballgames, scouts (I was the scout leader for a long long long time, but I digress!) and we noticed that most of what we were doing was running with our kids. So the "Lunch Bunch" was born - lunches out while the kids were at school.

First rule: we only allowed 5 minutes of talk about kids and teachers, school, etc.
Second rule: we called each other by our names, not " so and so's mother"
Third rule: we went to restaurants that our husbands and/or kids didn't like
Fourth rule: we had fun!

Now the last of those kids have left for college. We could be more appropriatley called the "Bar Bunch". Being women, we feel as if we need to be productive and not just sit around drinking, though we do that too!

SO this morning, we put on our walking shoes, stretched out, warmed up, grabbed our water bottles and made the first walk on the list. Twice. Yep, we had so much fun, we did it again!

Then we dated and initialed the walk and planned for the second walk.

Stay tuned.

Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar
who is out walking while Sir Bowie is tent camping to celebrate his birthday

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Knights & New Sites

The past few days have been particularly productive for the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale. Sir Dayvd has been slaving away developing the KMSA Shoppe, where you can now purchase Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale merchandise to express yourself in whatever way you like.

You can visit the KMSA Shoppe by clicking on the logo on the left side of the blog, or here in this post. Check it out!

We also added two new Knights to the Realm yesterday. First, my cousin, who is a far better man than I, submitted to the sword and was dubbed Sir John of the Rangeline. Sir John's father and my mother where siblings, so besides sharing our tastes in wine, women and song, we also share the same DNA! You can read his eloquent request for membership in the comments on Wednesday's blog. The picture below is Sir John teaching a theological class in Georgia (not USA, but next to Russia Georgia)

Sir Timothy of Dunleary, the proprietor of one of our Sacred Watering Holes, the Dublin Village Tavern, also requested to be knighted. He shared a very interesting letter with us via email yesterday, which I would like to share with you today with his permission. I believe it sums up a lot of what the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale stand for.

Sir David – I’ve been wanting to write this email for some time now. I just could never find your contact info/email. I am Tim Picciano, owner of the Dublin Village Tavern, and I want to thank you for your patronage and most kind words about our establishment. And yes… it is OUR establishment, because I’ve let the customers define who and what we are since we’ve opened. If you are a regular at the DVT and we see you thru the window, your drink is waiting as you come thru the door.

All my life, I’ve loved and visited watering holes and restaurants like the DVT everywhere I go and I am pleased to have built one now and humbled that it’s been recognized as a Sacred Watering Hole by such a prestigious group! We display our Sacred Watering Hole plaque proudly on the chimney that comes up thru the bar.

I must give credit to my General Manager, Geri Ziemba, as she has been with me from the start and has overseen the tavern’s development and personality to ensure we would meet the standards and expectations of people like the Knights.

As far as myself, I would be honored to be considered for membership in the KMSA. I am 56 years old, half Scotch Irish (Gallagher) and half Italian (hell of a mix!). I have loved beer since I’ve been 10 years old and I continually try new brews as I come across them but there are so many new beers being created today I cannot keep up. I subscribe to “All About Beer” magazine which keeps me in the loop about the beers that are not available in Ohio.

I was raised Catholic but I don’t go much for the “organized” religion thing. Years ago as a kid, when I was attending Catholic school, I got up one Easter morning and was so excited about the basket of chocolate that I ate some. Well, when my family went to Mass that morning, I was not able to receive communion due to the church’s fasting rules and was not able to turn in my communion ticket (yes, the school actually handed out communion tickets to the students to turn in when you received communion so they could check up on you). On Monday, I was called to the Principal’s office, since they didn’t see my ticket, and chastised heavily for my sinful behavior. I thought I was going to hell at that moment.

That night, we visited my late Aunt Grace Moffa and the story was told to her. She took me aside and said “Timmy, there are two sets of rules. There are the church’s rules which are made by man, and there are God’s rules. The only important ones are God’s rules!” I never forgot that powerful piece of wisdom!
I consider myself a spiritual person, but not in the organized or recognized sense. It’s a private thing. I pretty much believe in the concept of Karma, what goes around comes around. I do a fair amount of community volunteering in Dublin (because of my great staff at the DVT which allows me the time to do such) and help design, plan and execute community events with the City of Dublin. Because of these efforts, I was named Dublin’s 2009 Business Person of the Year in March which was quite a surprise and an honor. I didn’t even know I was nominated. I call it a group award since my staff at the DVT is so good that they provide me the option of spending time doing other things.

I figure, for as much as I’ve taken from the world through my decadent behavior in the past, I can at least give something back now!
I thank you again for your inclusion of DVT in your journals. Being a small, independent place of business, we don’t get much press like the big boys. But I’m fine with that, because I like it just the way it is. Next time you are in town, if you are so inclined I’d love to meet you for a pint or two. My contact info is below.

One last item, check out our new web page (still under development)… you guys are recognized on the home page (

Most sincerely,

Tim Picciano, or…
Sir Timothy of Dunleary (if approved)

Sir Hook Who Prefers to Remain Decadent So That I Will Always Have More To Give Back of Warrick

Thursday, April 23, 2009

St. George's Day

By George!!

To Americans, anybody on our sceptred Isle is a Brit ( or a limey depending on how much has been drunk) To a Brit, we are either Scottish ,Welsh, Irish or best of all English.

I am a true Englishman, ( though i do have more than a fair jollop of Swedish Viking and Welsh in me ) and April 23rd is the only day of the year we English are seemingly allowed to wave the English Flag...........

(The St George Flag, not the Union Jack, which incorporates the George in it, in the broad red cross at the horizontal and vertical )

.................and be mighty proud about it without being branded a small minded "racist?" Little Englander, standing on the ramparts bellowing at the migrant hordes.

It is St George's Day. and St George, for a variety of different reasons totally lost on me, and never fully explained in school, is the patron saint of England.

Sure he was a Roman Soldier with a bit of a Christian leaning...but we all know him as the guy who slew the Dragon and undid the ropes on the screaming maiden. How the fire breathing reptile (in roman times ?) had managed to tie up a fair maiden, and why, was lost on my pedantic school boy mind...but he seemed a shiny suited, brave chivalrous knight in all the pictures, so he'd do for us.

Actually a small mythical aside to all that, is, the spot he supposedly killed the dragon is in my county of Oxfordshire at the base of the ancient White Horse Hill in Uffington, with the small patch of chalk on its summit, where the blood was spilt and the grass wouldn't grow.

Another fine local legend.
With the UK in the last 12 years being governed by New Labour, which is basically a Scottish cabal run by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and all their Scottish friends, The notion of St Georges Day and being English was frowned apon. While the Celtic Scots, Irish, and Welsh were encouraged to get drunk at huge events to st. Andrew, st. Patrick and st. David, on their Days, respectively, The English were marginalized and made to think European, the flag denied being flown in favour of the horrid Euro Flag, till its last stand was only at Wembley Stadium in London in support of the National Soccer team.

With the new dawn of Global Protectionism, and the effective end of New Labour , yesterday, with the Treasury Report speech in Parliament, a new patriotic zip is in the step of the rose wearing Englishman, and you can feel a whole new national pride emerging in the face of being all but Bankrupt.

St George Flags are gradually appearing proudly on houses, overriding the fact that the fascist British National Party also appropriated it for a while, tarnishing its image.
Of course Englishmen have a far better reason for celebrating the 23rd of April, and that is because it is the Birthday of the greatest of Englishmen, William Shakespeare.

And...better still, Will did something i always think would be a pretty neat trick to do myself, ( in my warped sense of humor way ) and that was he Died on April 23rd too.. His Birthday!!!
Way to Go William!!!

As the Great Man probably meant to write....
"To beer or Not To beer, that is the question" To which I answer " Yes I will, By England and St George, I will !!"

Sir Dayvd ( The Good Knight that was had by all ) of Oxfordshire

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Presidential Correspondence

I, like many other Americans, was moved on January 20, 2009 to express my joy and hope in the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Regardless if you voted for him or not, it was a historic moment in the relative young life of the United States of America.

It was especially poignant for me because I was raised in a small town in Southern Illinois that never had, nor to this current day, a black resident. My father, God rest and forgive his soul, was a complete racist, unless the black man played baseball (still can't figure that one out), who voted for George Wallace back in the 60's. I often bemuse myself in thinking what he would have done if he were still alive during this past election...because the only thing my father hated more than blacks,Arabs and Japenese, was Republicans, especially Bush Jr. He never voted anything but Democrat his whole it would have been interesting to see if the ex-Navy man would have voted for fellow veteran McCain...or pulled the tab on Obama. Perhaps it was his great grace to have died before making such a momentous decision? But, I digress.

Back to the subject today...a Presidential Correspondence. On January 20 I was compelled to go to the Whitehouse web site, where President Obama's official (as opposed to personal) email address can be found. I sent him an email expressing my feelings and sharing some of the above, and concluded with a poem I wrote about the inauguration:

The colors of mankind

Collide on common ground

The Stars share the Stripes

Of those who built this place

A Great Society perched on a hill

Finds its Voice

No longer slaves to defeat

We all Dare to Dream Again

I did not expect a response; however, last night I was intrigued when checking my email the following showed up: The Whitehouse-Presidential Correspondence....subject: Thank you for your message. WOW! So, I would like to share my email from President Obama!

Dear David Wells:

Thank you for your recent note, and for sharing your thoughts
with me. Your kind words echo the messages of millions of Americans who have welcomed me and my family to the White House with an outpouring of goodwill.

On January 20th, Americans spoke with one voice, choosing hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. Our Nation faces serious challenges, but we will overcome them if our imagination is joined to common purpose.

Now is our time to work together, reaffirm our enduring
spirit, and choose our better history. With your help, we will renew our Nation's promise to carry forth the great gift of freedom to future generations, as our forebears have delivered it to us.

Barack Obama

Perhaps now we need to invite President Obama to join our ranks? Choosing hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord, overcoming challenges with our imagination joined to a common purpose. Sounds like the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale to me!

Sir Hook the Proud & Hopeful American Who is Choosing a Better History of Warrick

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Blue Max and Mom

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Blue Max (1966) staring George Peppard, James Mason, Ursula Andress.
The movie is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest war flicks of all time!

It's the WW1 story of German fighter pilot Bruno Stachel (George Peppard) who becomes a flying officer after a couple of years in the trenches. Most of the officer corps comes from Germany's aristocratic elite and Stachel feels out of place. This does not dampen his ambition and single-minded pursuit of his goal: to be awarded the Blue Max given for shooting down 20 enemy planes (though I've read the historical accurate number was 16).

Turn the page a few years and you'll find me with my family at the U.S. Airforce Air Museum in Dayton, OH (At least that's where I think we were). Anyway, there in the museum gift shop was a replica of the Blue Max. I was overcome with a single-minded pursuit of purchasing the medal, but I knew that it would exhaust every penny of my limited vacation money; being a frugal German, I left it in the case). Heartbroken, we left the museum, piled into the car and headed home. Somewhere down the road the regret overcame me and I couldn't hold in my grief. Tears flowed like a baby sprayed with mace (where did that come from?). When my parents asked what was troubling me (Probably more like, "Why the hell are you crying?!") I told them how much I really wanted the Blue Max. I'm sure my dad said something like, "We're not turning the car around!" and my mom yelled, "Tough! Now stop crying!"

Christmas that year I found a small box under the tree with my name on it. I'm pretty good at guessing presents; however, this one had me completely puzzled. You can probably guess the rest of the story: I opened it and found, to my surprise, a big button that read...

"I'm A Big Crybaby!"

Okay, no it wasn't. It was the Blue Max. When we got back from vacation, my mom phoned the museum and ordered it (pre-internet days).

I still have it -- hanging on my original Blue Max movie poster in my office.

I was reminded of this story because this day in history(from

In the skies over Vauz sur Somme, France, Manfred von Richthofen, the notorious German flying ace known as "The Red Baron," is killed by Allied fire.

Richthofen, the son of a Prussian nobleman, switched from the German army to the Imperial Air Service in 1915. By 1916, he was terrorizing the skies over the western front in an Albatross biplane, downing 15 enemy planes by the end of the year, including one piloted by British flying ace Major Lanoe Hawker. In 1917, Richthofen surpassed all flying ace records on both sides of the western front and began using a Fokker triplane, painted entirely red in tribute to his old cavalry regiment. Although only used during the last eight months of his career, it is this aircraft that Richthofen was most commonly associated with and it led to an enduring English nickname for the German pilot--the Red Baron.

On April 21, 1918, with 80 victories under his belt, Richthofen penetrated deep into Allied territory in pursuit of a British aircraft. The Red Baron was flying too near the ground--an Australian gunner shot him through his chest, and his plane crashed into a field alongside the road from Corbie to Bray. Another account has Captain A. Roy Brown, a Canadian in the Royal Air Force, shooting him down. British troops recovered his body, and he was buried with full military honors. He was 25 years old. In a time of wooden and fabric aircraft, when 20 air victories ensured a pilot legendary status, Manfred von Richthofen downed 80 enemy aircraft.

So tonight... I plan to break out my copy of The Blue Max (did I mention it stars Ursula Andress) and toast The Red Barron and... my mom -- who gave me one of the most precious material Christmas gifts I've ever received.

Sir Bowie "Pour Le Merite (For Merit)" of Greenbriar

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Couple of 2009 Anniversaries!

A couple of 2009 Anniversaries caught my eye this weekend:

In Chicago, locals are planning to toast Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago turning 100 this year (See October 8, 2008 "Make No Small Plans" about The Chicago Fire and Burnham),

What might be a good beer of choice to toast The Windy City? How about Guinness?
Guinness turns 250 in 2009. (The exact date of its first pour is lost in the murk of history) and the brewer releases its new Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout on Friday.

According to history, Arthur Guinness had a long-term outlook. In 1759, Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin with a total outlay of about $16,400 over 250 years.

(From a Chicago Tribune Article by Mike Espositto): If you are wondering whether that's the cheapest rent ever, a place to check is the Guinness World Records. First published in 1955, the book was the brainchild of Guinness managing director Sir Hugh Beaver. He and some hunting companions disputed which game bird was fastest—the golden plover or the grouse. An instant success, the book probably prevented hundreds, possibly thousands, of bar fights. Though the record book parted from the brewer in 2000, it continues to publish annual editions.

From Daniel Burnham comes a great "Knight's Lesson": Endeavor to make no little plans.

Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir humanity’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.

Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical plan once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.

Remember that our sons and daughters are going to do things that will stagger us.

Let your watchword be order and your beacon, beauty.

Think Big.

Happy Birthday Chicago and Guinnes!

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Testing, testing one two three

Sir Hook so kindly invited me join the blogging world - so here I am!

Just getting my feet wet for today.

In the future, I will bring more deep thoughts!

Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar

Hold Life Lightly

Yesterday morning I had a meeting with one of my clients in Columbus, Ohio. It was a beautiful cloudless 70 degree day. The cool breeze ushered in a overwhelming feeling of gratitude for being alive.

I had to make two trips from my car, as I was delivering some brochures we just designed. My first trip I ran into an older oriental lady who was coming out of the office complex. Being the chivalrous Knight and courteous gentleman I am, I decided to open and hold the door open for her to ease her trip outside. We exchanged a short pleasant conversation about the beauty of the day.

On my next trip out I caught her a bit surprised as she was leaning down and picking the purple flowers planted along the sidewalk. My first impression was one of humor of her first expression...but when I didn't complain about her thievery, her expression went from surprise back to one of being lost in the beauty of the flower, complete with a divine smile of appreciation while holding the freshly picked flower.

I too was lost in her moment of fixation. In a matter of seconds I was transported to a Japanese Zen Garden while contemplating the simple beauty and complexity of life.

That is when I could hear the flower screaming, "Please, I was just enjoying this beautiful sunny day with you. Now, clutched in your hands that plucked me from my life source, I am dying."

Perhaps its the Cherokee in me, that all living things are sacred, even flowers. They are not to be possessed, but to be admired.

Hold Life Lightly
Hold Love Lightly
Hold Each Other Lightly

Why does mankind always desire to possess?

Waving in the wind
The purple flower inspires
As it dies a beautiful death

Sir Hook the Zen Cherokee Colonial Brit of Warrick

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Founders' Day!

Today marks the 2nd Anniversary of the founding of The Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale (and they said it would not last -- whoever "they" are).

Sir Hooks sends his greetings from on the road:

Having a bite at Dublin Village Tavern! Celebrating Our 2nd Founders
Day with the crew here. I'll be traveling today.


Founded in Evansville, Indiana on April 18, 2007, during the Cinco de Mayo Mini Beer Tour at Old Chicago, the Knights of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale are dedicated to Journaling, Drinking Good Beer and a Spirtual Way of Life. "Libertas de Juditium. Unitas per Variantia."

May all your days be Knights days.

Sir Bowie "I remember the first part of the evening, but it got a little foggy later" of Greenbriar