Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
As mentioned in my earlier blog this week....Lady Traci and I had the great fortune during our visit to Spain to be taken by her daughter Lady Brittany and her gallant Spanish knight Sir Roberto of Murcia to the beautiful and medieval city of Granada. Granada is set in the southern highlands of Spain, nestled against the foot of the Sierra Mountains.
Sitting high about the city is a fabulous fortress called The Alhambra (in the background behind Lady Traci and myself ). The Alhambra is the lasting symbol of the Nasrid kingdom which ruled over Granada and the last symbol of of Muslim power in the Iberian Peninsula we now call Spain today. The Alhambra was built and rebuilt as a series of castles and fortresses by the Moors from the 700-800 AD period until 1232 AD when Muhammad ibn Yusf ibn Nasr took power as the Sultan and made the Alhambra into his private palace and source of power. The Moors ruled Granada (23 sultans in all) for over 254 years until the Christian armies drove them out.
The Christians retook the Alhambra (without a fight I might add!) in 1492 and continued to add structures on the mountain top. Today...the site hosts over 6 million visitors a year....and Lady Brittany informed us you have to make reservations for your visit weeks in advance if you hope to gain access to the site on the day you desire!!
We loved walking through all the courtyards.....castles.....and gorgeous artwork that adorned the walls all around the Alhambra. There are acres of beautiful, well-kept gardens and fountains and pools throughout the site. It also helped that the day we visited was a beautiful sunny 22 deg C!
At days end.....Sir Roberto wanted to take us for a real treat: to a tavern that had a Knights of the Templar theme (as the Knights flourished in this area of Spain during the 12th and 13th centuries. We soon found ourselves in the El Antiquidor....and also available to a vast array of brews from around the world. Sir Richard thought...."Surely this must be a view of heaven!"
Lady Traci also took control of the camera....and made her way around the tavern to get THIS view of the Knights of the Round Table of Granada.....Legend has it that the Knights would draw lots....for who had to go out and bring in the last keg of the night.....and who also picked up the check....
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Yes, it seems that 7-Eleven has launched its Own, Private-Label Beer: Game Day!
Cans of Game Day Ice and Game Day Light, two new beers offered by 7-Eleven, are shown in a cooler Monday, April 19, 2010, at a 7-Eleven store in Kent, Wash. 7-Eleven, home of countless beer runs, is getting into the business itself with Game Day, a store-brand lager. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)
"American beer drinkers are seeking great-tasting beer at an affordable price," said Dan Skinner, 7-Eleven's category manager for alcohol beverages in a statement. "Even more so in this tough economy, they're looking for value and ways to make their dollar go further. Game Day satisfied two of a beer drinker's interests by offering a premium lager beer at a below-premium price."
Hmmmm? Wonder what the definition os "premium lager" is?
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The Morris - An Explanation
Morris dancing is a custom with ancient origins. Many people believing that it is descended from pagan spring and summer fertility rituals or “good luck” ceremonies. Some of the dances we do today still reflect the origins of these ancient ceremonies, with their apparent emphasis on rebirth at May time, the seeking of good health for the crops and animals, and the hoped for guarantee of continuing fertility for all. What is certain is that morris dancers have been performing in the City of Oxford since the 15th century.
The dances survived in the Cotswold region long after they had ceased to be popular elsewhere. Even here the custom almost died out at the end of the 19th century, but for the efforts of folk dance enthusiasts who began to collect the dances. Oxford played an important part in this revival, as the first serious collecting of these dances was carried out by Cecil Sharp in Headington Quarry, in Oxford ) after he had seen morris men perform on Boxing Day 1899.
Oxford Morris Men were founded in 1938 and were formed to compensate for the temporary demise of other Oxford sides at that time. The Oxford costume - red and blue ribbons, white clothing and traditional bell pads is based on that worn by the Headington Quarry Morris dancers at the time. Since 1959 we have had the privilege of wearing the City of Oxford crest on our baldrics - thus becoming.
So there you have it. The pictures I have shown you here, I took in the town during the day, when i counted upwards of twenty different bands of dancers all performing to big crowds on plazas and squares under the shadows of the ancient buildings they were first performed under...and long may they continue through the years.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Last week....we returned from Spain with some awesome memories of some great people and great surroundings. We definitely hope to return.....
Watching Pedro and Paco warm-up before Sir Richard joined them on the red caly court....he got a lump in his throat watching these two strapping pros pound their beautifully trained ground strokes back and forth across the dusty clay court. Now we know why Spain wins the Davis Cup world team competition every year these days!......
Afterwards....Pedro immediately insisted we partake on the club grounds...the art of tapas and drinking local favorite beer Alhambra. This Knight was overwhelmed with the hospitality...and in fact....we were all communicating incredibly well after that 5th round of Alhambra ales and 6th plate of tapas....beer IS the international language understood by all Knights. This Knight was also introduced to a favorite local delicacy of the Murcia region....Pu Puo....otherwise known as "grilled octopus". Lady Traci of Pong did all she could not to hurl....but Sir Richard made the proclamation : "Tastes like swordfish!". Pu Puo went on to become a favorite tapas of Sir Richard the rest of our 10 days in Spain....much to the chagrin of Lady Traci!
Pedro and Paco would like to become Spanish Knights of the Moleskine...in fact.....this Knight was informed that the famous movie from the 1960s El Cid was filmed in southern Spain....and the Knights of the Templar were residents of the historic city of Granada. This Knight will also give an account of our visit to this beautiful city and the world famous Alhambra (Moorish castle on mountain top overlooking Granada).
Sir Richard remembered the far-fetched accounts of his late father Sir Richard Sr....that we were in fact descendants of King Richard the Lion-Hearted of England who fought in the Holy Wars against the Moors in this region....but this Knight also remembered that the Courtney family actually came from County Cork in the southern-most point of Ireland. He smiled and appreciated his late father's gift for embellishment.
I also want you to see how a traditional Spanish family....the Sandovals.....celebrate a normal Sunday lunch.....wow. Lady Traci and I were overwhelmed with their hospitality.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I always have a hard time conveying what Country Music I do like and what CM I don’t like (music wise anyway) in general enough terms… so maybe this will clear it up and why:
It’s the old-school uber redneck man’s man wild west mentality type of country music I enjoy. The simple. The honest.
I don’t know what the heck happened to that movement. If you look back to the days of the “family singing groups” dropping gospel garbage on A.M. radio consoling the uneducated masses across the plains with peaceful sounds of a better tomorrow coming once your carcass is full of worms, the reckless fun-loving lyrics and antics of bands like the Outlaws was a welcomed breath of honesty in a nation steel guitar’ed to sleep with package mediocrity.
The only saving grace is that those earlier ninestone cowboys faded away into CMT informercials and desolate county fairs.
Unfortunately the “new country” isn’t much different. Neither, of course, is anything music/art/entertainment-wise. Safe begets wider marketability and profit. And it’s a lot easier to sell cookie-cutter subpar horseshit than it is to cultivate a following for a creative genius.
None of that is noteworthy but it is what makes someone like Billy Joe Shaver so amazing. At 70 some odd years old he’s been around the barroom… but unlike your grandfather this man isn’t a withered old Gabby Hayes in need of a new hip.
He’s been covered by… everyone. Played on stage with… everyone. And yet a gigantic chunk of the general population has no idea who his is or that he wrote that song they sing in the shower.
And best of all (to me anyway) is that this old country nubbin is still full blown nuts… more punk than any skin head, more “gangsta” than any 18 year old with grill. You think you represent? You think you don’t let nobody be disrespectin’ you? then take a look at this:
On March 31, 2007 Mr. Shaver shot a guy, Billy Coker, in the face with a .22 caliber pistol… (to quote Mr. Coker’s testimony he was shot in the “Moustache Area”… which is a fantastic description.I think it should be used instead of whatever the hell the correct biological fancy latin words for that part of the face are).
In the face, son!
It was ruled self defense this week at a court in Waco. And then Shaver.. keeping with the old school country mentality (that whole “crazy” thing I mentioned) dropped this to a crowd before singing "Georgia on a fast train" at a show later that night in Houston:
“They asked me [mumble ]what are you going to do about this boy you shot? I said I’m getting the damn bullet back. That’s true. [laughs] You all think I’m joking. I mean it. Walking around being famous with my bullet in him. Stealing all my press.”
And that’s what crazy smells like. That’s the only kind of country music and musicians I like. Boot-scoot your-achy-mmm-bop cack out of here.
My question… my only real question… is how does he plan on retrieving the bullet? I hope… for the sake of up holding his bad ass wild west persona… he doesn't try to shoot it out.
Sir D of O
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
What an interesting web site with way cool language and art work by Heather Brennan, see more of her work here: www.heatherbrennan.carbonmade.com
From her site:
I am currently in 4th year Illustration at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. I recently produced artwork for a beer label and website for beer company Brewdog www.zeitgeistbeer.com
My interests include photography, film, computer games and contemporary dancing.
Today, as I was fighting the good fight at work, I thought of a line from their site:
"The slaughterhouse of conformity is not my destiny." (unfortunately, if feels that way at work most days).
So, I was thinking, Good Knights...
What does "The slaughterhouse of conformity is not my destiny" mean to you?
Sir Bowie of Greenbriar
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
I shot a number of images at this event. As I try not to shoot with flash, I was testing out my newish camera at a high ISO from 2000 to 5000 and a new (used) 70 - 200 2.x lens. While editing the 230 plus images, I happened to noticed a familiar figure in the background of some that, alas, didn't make the final cut. Last night I e-mailed Sir D of G saying I thought I had captured this elusive image and this morning with the blog, it was confirmed.
As Sir Hook of Warrick was on the opposite side of where I stood and sat (All three of us in the suicide seating), no shots were blocked in the making of this film.