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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Skating Away

I quote one of my favorite Tull songs, "Skating away on the thin ice of a new day." I find this phrase, which could also make a clever Haiku, quiet appropriate as I look out my home office window and see the once ice covered lake showing thin layers and cracks, like vericose veins on Mother Earth's legs.

2010 is winding down as 2011 is winding up...which begs to ask the question...are you winding down...or are you winding up? Either way, you must skat away on the thin ice of a new day. Are you content to fall through and drown in whatever excuses you manufacture for your current condition....or are you "balls to the wall" as you manuever expertly through the cracks and thin layers of life, excited to take on yet another challenge?

The song goes on, "one day you'll wake up in the Present Day ---a million generations removed from expectations of being who you really want to be."

Lace those skates up and conquer the new day as you become who you really want to be!
Sir Hook the Skating Guru of Warrick

Thursday, December 23, 2010


This morning found me waking up earlier than usual. After a few tosses on my side of the bed I decided to get up and look to see what time it is...4:14am.

Sometimes I like to have fun with numbers, especially with time. Whenever you become aware of time and it is, let's say, 5:55, I call that Trinity Time. It's a special time when my awareness of time and awareness of self meld and I receive divine inspiration. This morning, I decided to look up what happened during the year 414 A.D.

414, know in the Roman world as the Year of the Consulship of Constantius and Constans, was basically an uneventful year, at least according to history. The one thing that stuck out to me was religious in nature, and also demonstrated that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In the year 414, a Christian Bishop, Abdas of Susa, in what is now the country of Iran is blamed for the burning down of a Zoroastrianism Temple in his zeal to spread Christianity throughout the Persian Empire. This act is followed by the political reaction by King Yazdegerd of Persia who orders the destruction of all Christian Churches in the Empire. That's the headline if the Times where publishing in the day; however, here's the rest of the story...

Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Persia (Iran). In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil originates from Him. Thus, in Zoroastrianism good and evil have distinct sources, with evil (druj) trying to destroy the creation of Mazda (asha), and good trying to sustain it. In some form, it served as the national- or state religion of a significant portion of the Iranian people for many centuries. Its leading doctrines were adopted by other religious systems, like Jewish and then Christian religions. It was ultimately replaced by the spread of Islam in the 7th century A.D.

Abdas had a Zoroastrian mother. She educated him in good virtues, which made him loved by everyone. After Abdas had gained an excellent education and grown up in virtuous life, he was ordained a priest, and built up in his hometown a monastery and a school, which he took personal care of and which grew to have around 60 teachers. This caused the local magi to become jealous of him and his teachings.

King Yazdegerd began his reign being not only tolerant of Christianity, but also to help it spread in his attempt to keep the Zoroastrian religion in check to increase his power. He later would turn on Christianity and promote Zoroastrianism for the same reason. It was during this later time that the incident involving Abdas occurred.

So, in doing some historical investigation and applying human behaviour to the equation the following facts come to live on this case:

1. Abdas, being raised by a Zoroastrian mother, is highly unlikely to promote the burning of Zoroastrian Temple. In fact, he pleaded innocence when accused by the magi.

2. Yazdegerd was tolerant of all religions; however, he used their emotional volatility to his political advantage.

3. Humans being humans, it's highly likely that the jealousy of Abdas' success was the motivating factor of the magi to accuse him.

4. It is also highly likely that agents of Yazdegerd actually carried out the burning of the Temple to set up the Christians.

5. When Abdas was ordered by Yazdegerd to pay for the restoration of the Temple, Abdas refused based on his innocence. This gave Yazdegerd the green light to order the destruction of all Christian Churches as a result.

Religious intolerance, ignorant masses, manipulative leaders, violence and political gain are still very much alive 1,596 years later!  Know what you believe and why.

Sir Hook the Tolerant of Warrick

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Living History Today: Lunar Eclipse Merges with Winter Solstice

If you are like me, you live in North America, and made sure to get up to celebrate a rare occurances in the wee hours of the morning...the merging of a Full Lunar Eclipse with Winter Solstice.  That's a Cosmic Combination that will make any Druid Drool!

There are not many days like Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. The last time the solstice coincided with a total lunar eclipse on the same calendar day was long before any of our lifetimes, experts say. The year, according to Geoff Chester, public affairs officer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, was 1638.  

Map of Boston produced on Christmas, 1638
Chester said his research took him back to the first year of the common era and involved consulting with "a number of well-respected sources." His finding, essentially was this: "It's a comparatively rare event."  

If you live long enough to make it to December 21, 2094 you will get the chance to see it again.  Let's see, that will make me 148 years old.  Glad I got up this morning!

Sir Hook the Drooling Druid Who Makes it a Habit to Celebrate Rare Events of Warrick

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Should Cardinal Fang Run the Vatican Bank?

Cardinal Fang from Monty Python.  Click on the Post Header to visit his official website!
It appears that money continues to disappear at the Vatican Bank.  Perhaps it is time to call Cardinal Fang out of retirement to re-establish it's "credibility" in the financial world...after all..."NOBODY SUSPECTS" that the Vatican is actually laundering money for the Mafia, holding money illegally gained from Germanic Jews by Nazi Germany, or simply using the funds to keep pedophile priests under wraps.

Nobody suspects because nobody actually knows...including the Pope, as made evident by an article in the Wall Street Journal from 2009:
As part of Pope Benedict XVI’s campaign for transparency, the secretive Vatican bank gets an overhaul with Italian economist Ettori Tedeschi being appointed the new chief executive, replacing a predecessor that was in position for 20 years. The bank’s supervisory board has also been revamped. The venerable head of the Catholic Church has ‘shaken up management at little-regulated Vatican bank.’ One Vatican official says, “We expect deep change.”

Only a ‘small group of cardinals and, ultimately, the pontiff, regulate the bank.’ There have been various ‘abusive practices stemming from a lack of oversight’ that have emerged over the years. In the late 1980s, the bank got embroiled in a massive banking scandal where ‘the Vatican paid $250 million for contributing to the collapse of another bank.’
Though no reasons were given by the Vatican regarding the major overhaul of its bank, it is said that the Holy See has ‘long sought to shake up the bank’s management in a bid to modernize its operations.’
The objective now is transparency but that is ‘likely to run up against the Vatican’s long tradition of maintaining a low profile when it comes to managing Church finances.’ It is the lack of transparency and oversight that has led to the abusive practices over the decades.
Not to mention this article from Associated Press just 5 days ago!!!!  (See how efficient Rome really is!  LOL)
So, murder, intrigue, laundering money, sexual scandals...sounds like the Catholic Church is doing a great job putting the "Father" back into "God"!  
"Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever."
Or is it, The Lord giveth and the Vatican Bank giveth it back!
Sir Hook "the Practicing Catholic (tho sometimes I question why) Who Wants His Share from the Vatican Bank" of Warrick  (I'll make you a deal you can't refuse!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's the Economy Stupid!

"It's the economy, stupid" was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H. W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War. 

The phrase, made popular by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.

That message is ringing loudly again for President Barack Obama. It will get worse before jobs get better. Congressional Budget Director Douglas W. Elmendorf recently predicted that unemployment will continue rising into the second half of next year and peak above 10%.

So, what's an errant Knight supposed to do? LAUGH! That's right! Laughter is the ultimate "stress buster" and actually can lead you to enlightened insights to deal with what "Ales" you!

In that Spirit, I share with you the following observations about a "year-gone-bad":

The economy is so bad that I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

I ordered a burger at McDonald's, and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you have to call them and ask if they mean you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonald's is selling the 1/4 'ouncer'.

Parents in Beverly Hills and Malibu are firing their nannies and learning their children's names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

BP Oil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into the Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!

And, finally...

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, and our bleak future, that I called the Suicide Lifeline and was connected to a call center in Pakistan . When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck!

Remember, Perception IS Reality.  Shape your thoughts well!

Sir Hook the Economist of Warrick

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Use to Love Christmas

Not to be a Scrooge, but Christmas, at least in the secular form, has started to loose a lot of its luster in my Moleskine!  The lost innocence of a time gone by, the commercialism and the grubby, greedy minions waiting on sales, while they knock each other out with physical or verbal abuse begins to make the fresh cut Christmas tree smell a little stale.

So, what is an errant Knight to do?  Well...Think...Drink...Create and Be Merry...OF COURSE!  Which is exactly what I did with this song "I Use to Love Christmas"!

Sir Hook the Minstrel in the Gallery of Warrick