Friday, December 30, 2005

I don't make beer like this

Apparently Kopi Luwak coffee beans are all the rage among the rich these days. These coffee beans are imported from Indonesia and cost upwards of $175/pound! They must be very good, eh? Well wait until you find out how they are harvested. Apparently there are some palm civets in the country, small, house-cat-sized nocturnal tree climbers, and they just love to eat the coffee berries. After they eat the fruit, the seed (bean) falls to the jungle floor with, poop and they are harvested there, roasted and packaged for rich Americans to show off to their poor Jamaican Blue Mountain drinking friends.

Now if I can just figure a way to make money like this from the road apples I make, I'll finally be able to live at the standard to which I want to grow accustomed.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The night Pelosi stole the libs' Christmas

'Twas the night before recess and all through the Senate
Not a Demo would stand, every seat had one in it
The libs wre all seated all snug in their chairs
Hoping that trashing Bush would make congress theirs
Teddy was staring at Pelosi with glee
Mumbling something about clarified butter, or ghee

Then what did his lecherous eyes turn to next
But the sight of Nan's face falling off on her chest
Seems the botox grew brittle and the skin had turned hard
And the seam twixt the two had come deftly ajar
Not exactly comic, it was somewhat disturbin'
It bounced like a marble and landed on Durbin

He wore it like bozo but it wasn't so funny
When he started to flop around screamin' 'bout Rummy
Still no eyes in that august body did widen
When Dick flipped it off smartly to land it on Biden
Joe stood there and thought, "what's this thing that I wear?
And my God, I hope it don't mess with my hair"!

As he shook his frozen locks and the mask flew-ooh, scary!
It landed anon on the head of John Kerry
Who turned to his colleagues and, nuanced at that,
Exclaimed, "here's proof! It's my long-lost lucky hat!
I lost it at Christmas in Cambodia one time
When we were fighting, illegally, across enemy lines"

That's when Nancy, recovering from losing her face,
Stepped up and snatched it from Kerry's coifed pate
She spoke not a word but went straight to the task
slapping Fix-adent all over the inside of her mask
Then donning the pelt and seating her tush
She missed not a lick of her griping 'bout Bush

Then the face that won't break when it falls on the floor
Or goes bouncing down hallways and slams into the door,
Began smiling a grin that was from ear-to-ear
And she said that the season was more about cheer
All this griping and moaning and kvetching 'bout Bush
Should stop at this moment and the lib crowd just hushed

"Her loss caused her pain" "It's PTSS",
the libs all cried out like Dr. Phil on CBS
"She can't feel this way. It's the stress, that's all"
But Pelosi had lost more than face at this hall
She lost her ability to mime the lib bleats
She lost her attachment to thespian cheats

And I heard her exclaim 'ere she traipsed out of sight
"Speak truth to power. Merry Christmas, alright"?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

"Tis the Reason for the Treason...

It's no secret. The Democrats, at least the strategists and pundits who don't have to worry about getting elected, are fully admitting it. The Democrat strategy to win some seats back in congress includes, as it's centerpiece, playing politics with the Iraq war.

Oh, you'll hear the actual politicians denying it, saying it's patriotic to disagree with the president and to voice that disagreement. You'll also hear them saying they aren't crtiticizing the troops, just the administration (We support our military but disagree with it's mission). Come now. Isn't that excuse a little like the rap adage, "Don't hate the playa, hate the game"? In other words, an immoral act committed by a person in an immoral contest should be considered...moral? Yeah, that's kinda like the reasoning used by these politicians.

The reason for all of this treason-yes, treason-is no more important than gaining a seat or two in the legislature. For this the majority of the Democrat party is willing to endanger our position in the world, encourage terrorists, embarrass the country and denigrate and endanger our military.

For a quick primer on the tawdriness of this "strategy", one needs to look no further than the Democrat response to Joe Lieberman's favorable evaluation of the war effort and encouragement to our troops to stay the course. Singled out by DNC chairman Dean as perhaps the only dissenter in the ranks. See also the admittedly partisan political purpose behind this constant carping about a war these people voted FOR.

Politics is certainly not an honorable profession, but this type of behavior is shameful even for a politician.

here is the source for this rant.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bush Family Vacation

The Bush family during a recent vacation in New Orleans. (Who knew you could catch such a nice striped bass in the French quarter?)

As Cindy Sheehan and the normal group of True American Patriots descend upon Crawford, Texas for yet another attempt to explain the opinion of the majority of Americans to President Bush, I wonder if the president is planning another vacation in the area for the holidays. As most unpatriotic Americans are preparing to enjoy a non-political holiday with friends and family, these heroes are doing what they can for the rest of us poor, unenlightened sheeple. I certainly thank them for their generous use of their precious time. Kind of gives a little real meaning to the much commercialized idea of Thanksgiving, doesn't it?

What would we do without these patriots? Probably just go on living our lives in an unaware manner, happy to let others (well-trained and voluntarilly doing the job) make our lives safer and more secure. The dangerous people in the world need to be kept in check by these freedom fighters. Most of us are too busy actually living our lives to take on the challenge, but Cindy and her friends are there to take up our slack! How else would we be able to enjoy street theater portrayals of our president as a madman, bent on destroying and subjugating the poor people of the world, or see lovely handmade signs and banners, artfully describing our armed forces as the tools of a misguided colonialist, imperial power? Let's not forget the wonderful musical renditions of such patriotic ideals as "America hates poor minorities, every one" and "We support our troops even when they are fighting for a lie".

I know many of you feel that you are safer this holiday season and more secure in your freedom because of our efforts abroad on behalf of our volunteer military. Be assured, though, that Cindy and her friends know better. It is a volunteer force of patriots that is keeping you safe but not the one you're thinking of. It is the Army of Dissent, backed up by the supporting forces of political haymakers, that is truly securing our future in this world. And what a future it is...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Lions Eaten at Colliseum!

OK, it wasn't at the Colliseum, but the Lions were eaten by the Falcons yesterday. I liken the Lions performance in this critical game to the Democrats' ideas of how to conduct a difficult campaign against insurgents in Iraq. Just give up, it's a debacle! Well, they tried some changes to make it look like they wanted to win but almost no results accrued. A different quarterback makes little success when he is "protected" by the same, lame offensive line. Michael Vick, the Zarqawi of the Falcons, was emboldened by this cut-and-run strategy to tromp accross the filed as though he was playing the football equivalent of the New York Nationals/Washington Generals of the NFL. Itwas no contest.

Steve Mariucci, the John Kerry of the Lions (has successfully engaged other enemies in other conflicts, but seems hellbent to failure in this one), continued his practice of having his quarterback pass for eight yards when they need ten for the first down. Perhaps he was listening to Jack Murtha (the offense was placed in an over the horizon position-but ready to strike when needed)?

My favorite moment of the game was when, after the crowd began filing out of the stadium in the early fourth quarter, Aikman commented that the crowd was leaving but they were leaving "a great stadium"! That was hilarious! It doesn't hurt a fan when the commentator lets them know that, while they have a worthless team, they DO have a nice stadium. I guess that comment was done for PR purposes. After all, the Super Bowl, an event the Lions have never attended, will be held at Ford Field in January. Lions owner, William Clay Ford, really knows how to build a stadium, if not a team.

Well, anyway the food was great-thanks to my lovely wife, the incomparable Mrs. Beerme-and the beer was great-thanks to me-so the entire day wasn't lost. The Red Wings will play today in an attempt to regain some of the lost respect of the hometown fans.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Lies and the lying liars that tell them

Please excuse me for using the title of an Al Franken book to describe the behavior of the liberal Democrats in our legislature this year. I felt it was appropriate and a bit ironic that the title of a liberal Bush-basher's book would so accurately describe the Democrat leadership in our Senate. What am I so upset about? Mainly the behavior of Senators Reid, Kennedy, Biden, Durbin and Kerry, but to a smaller degree the Republicans who seem content to let them rail on about what they call deceit and treachery, without nary a retort or explanation as to why the railing is wrong and traitorous.

I feel it is because the President's poll numbers are down that these partisan hackjobs are so emboldened to spread their lies. Now that they see W's blood in the water (Libby's indictment, dissatisfaction with the war, big oil's big profits, the Katrina debacle, etc.), they are like sharks surrounding the wounded.

First of all, it is a given that there is NO truth to the claims that Bush lied to the American people or the congress about the reasons for going to war in Iraq. If, as Ted Kennedy has said, "What was said before does matter. The President's words matter", then I presume that what Ted has said before also matters. I will not trot out all of the quotes of Durbin, Reid, Kennedy, Kerry and Pelosi to prove the fact that all of them said much the same things about Hussein and Iraq as was said by George W. Bush prior to the Iraq War. Most of you have seen it before. Perhaps, though you could remember Hillary Clinton's words the next time some liberal tells you that there was no connection between Hussein and Al Quaeda, "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capabililty, his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists including al-Qa'ida members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons...I can support the President because I think it is in the long-term interests of our national security". This quote indicates that all of the intelligence suggested that Hussein was not only holding chemical and biological weapons, and developing a nuclear program, but that the world intelligence community believed, rightly, that he would use them. NO LIES!

What brought about the change of heart for these Democrat senators? Well, that's a toughie. Because it is hard to say when these people are being truthful and when they are dissembling (I know, just watch their lips!). I mean, was Senator Clinton being truthful when she declared that she knew that Saddam had all these weapons and it was right to go to war against him? Perhaps, as Clintons are won't to do, she had consulted the polls and found that Americans were solidly in favor of backing the President in his decision to go to war. This fact, make no mistake about it, was more important to her than any grandiose ideas of Truth or Patriotism.

Now we see the polls have changed. Blame it on the non-stop liberal leaning media efforts to discredit the President or on the lack of backbone in the Republican congress to ignore polls and do what is right, but the fact is the country is swinging against the war. What used to be said by only socialist dingbats and Michael Moore, is now becoming regular Senate floor dialogue, "Bush lied", "No war for oil", etc. Because of this, and because Bush has not been as responsive to his base as he should have been, not only are his enemies ("the smile in your face" back-stabbers like Hillary and her friends) saying these things, but even his friends (Republicans) are either distancing themselves from him or at the very least not fighting back when these things are said.

It was high time for Bush to start fighting back when he made the speech last week, saying the folks I'm talking about here were "deeply irresponsible". Of course he was being too kind. They are treasonous. Where are the others in the Republican Party when the president needs him? I'm not talking about blindly following the President's views on every decision. Heck, I applauded the membership when they criticized the Harriet Miers pick and I've been very critical of many things Bush has done and not done. To hear these hypocrits lie about Bush everyday and not at least try to set the record straight, though, is reprehensible! This is a time when the party membership must stand up for their leader and back him! Start pointing out the statements these people made during the Clinton administration, before the war and during the preparations for war. Remind the people that the intelligence was largely inherited from Clinton. Remind people that WMDs were found in Iraq and that Saddam probably spirited much of his cache in Iran and Syria before the war. Repeat these things as often as possible to as many news agencies as possible. Nothing is off limits when Senators are standing up in the senate and calling the President a liar. This behavior is unprecedented and requires strong admonition.

When the President was sporting a seventy percent approval rating, these Republicans would knock their mothers over in an effort to have their picture taken beside him. With the poll numbers down now, do any of them have the balls to stand up for him when he needs them?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Anker's Away!

I realized today that, while I have written articles about the making of beer, I have never celebrated the act of finishing the stuff (No, I don't mean the drinking of the beer, silly). Yesterday I finished bottling the anker of beer I made last month. An anker, you'll recall, is ten gallons of beer. I treated each five gallon half of the anker in a slightly different manner. In the first half I bottled, I added 12 ounces of tamarind paste to the secondary fermenter. Tamarinds are a tropical fruit that is sweet/sour to taste. Both halves of the anker were brewed with coriander seeds (homegrown in my garden and crushed), three stalks of fresh lemon grass and sweet orange peel.

The idea of using tamarinds and lemon grass in a beer came to me as I was hankering for some of my favorite food: Thai. Thai foods often include lemon grass and tamarinds. If I were to do this again, I would include something with a sweeter post-fermentation profile. The tamarind beer is quite tart. The trick is to use a sweetener that will not ferment. Malto-Dextrine is one example. Another Thai addition would have been some chili peppers. I may try to doctor a beer up with some pepper juice to see what it would taste like. Hey, ya never know!

Anyway, the beer is a classic American wheat beer with the additions of the spices and other adjuncts mentioned above. It came out very nicely. The tamarind version finished at a specific gravity of 1.012, while the non-tamarind version finnished at 1.008. These beers will be about 5.5% and 5.25% alcohol by volume, respectively. The tamarind version is ready to drink now, and I've had one of them. It is a bit tart for me but my son liked it well enough. I bottled the non-tamarind version yesterday. It will be ready in a week or so.

I'm looking forward to getting some feedback from my beer drinking friends on the two beers and perhaps I'll submit them to a competition. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sad Week!

I am sad to say that this week has seen the end of two of my favorite blogs. Scrappleface, a place where I have met like-minded friends, disagreed with fuzzy-logic liberals and sparred with moronic trolls, has been stripped of half of it's fun. Scott Ott, the writer and blogger who created and powered Scrappleface with his witty and satiric takes on politics and popular culture, has decided to remove the "comments" section of the blog. For those who haven't visited this great blog, the "comments" section was a good half of the blog itself. Many very intelligent and thoughtful people, mainly like-minded Christian Conservatives, but also libertarians and even atheists, met there frequently and shared their comments about the issues Scott skewered. We wrote poems, haikus, song parodies and just mainly kvetched about the many things that irked us about the current state of affairs in these United States. By ending the comments, Scott has ended the blog for me. I am not attacking him and am not angry at him, but I am sad to see this public forum closed.

The second blog I mourn today is Villainous Company. I first "met" Cassandra at Scrappleface. Her witty and irreverent comments endeared me to her, there, and her literate and intellectual prose at her own blog kept me entertained and wanting more. She is a great writer, more so than Scott Ott could ever be, though she may be less accomplished. I enjoyed reading her thoughts and the multitude of witty comments provided by her fans, while lurking there. I read the blog often, but posted infrequently. This was probably because I was a bit intimidated by the quality of the writing and the comments of the faithful. I do not say this lightly, as I feel I am usually more than up to the task in any literary discussion, and can write with the best of them. These folks were good! I will miss her blog at least as much as I will miss Scott's comments.

The Scrappleface community-those of you who normally read my scribblings are a part of that-will be most sorely missed. It was the sense of friendship and comraderie that made Scott's site so much fun to visit. Sure, his articles were funny and sometimes grand satire, but it was always the "comments" section that made the blog. He will probably notice this and bring it back, but even if he does, I am not sure I will return.

I will continue to post-irregularly, probably (hey, I'm not all that dependable!)- on this blog, and I hope you folks will continue to stop by from time to time. I continue and will continue to exchange emails with former and present Scrapplers.I will also visit some of the others who frequented Scrappleface and began their own blogs, but I don't think we'll ever return to the zeitgeist that was Scrappledom. I will always cherish that time and that feeling.

You know who you are.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

1957 Revisited

In the New York Times Magazine, Dr. Israel Monroe Levitt, director of the Fels Planetarium of the Franklin Institute, prognosticated about the future of space exploration. These predictions were made in 1957, after the entire world set its eyes on the stars, as a result of the successful launches of Sputnik and Sputnik II, earlier that year:

1960-Satellites with TV transmitters begin operation.
1968-Rocket ship bearing a man or woman (a woman packs the same brains and skill as a man into a smaller package) penetrates to space outside the atmosphere.
1978-Construction of first manned satellite space station.
2000-First departure for the moon, Mercury, and Mars.
2???-First journeys to the nearest stars to see if they, too, have planets and life.

Here is the actual timetable for these events:

1960-AT&T applies for the right to launch a communications satellite with the government. This is finally accomplished in 1965 with the launch of Early Bird by Hughes Aircraft Company. (Interestingly, the first proposal for a communication satellite was authored by SF writer, Arthur C. Clarke-of 2001: A Space Oddysey-fame, in 1945!)
1961-Gegarin is the first man in space on April 12 while Sheppard follows him 23 days later, on May 5.
1971-Salyut I is first manned Space Station. The US's Skylab follows in 1973.
1969-Armstrong walks on moon as the first human on another celestial object. Aldrin follows him 15 minutes later. Collins drives in circles and picks them up. Mercury is probably out of the question. Mars is still just a twinkle in scientist's eyes.
2???-No difference in this prediction and reality. Trips to nearby stars are still in the way distant future.

Dr. Levitt didn't do too bad with his predictions, did he? Who would have guessed that the moon landing would precede the space station?

The launches of Sputnik I and II in 1957 set the stage for the great space race between the US and USSR. It excited generations of scientists and dreamers. Being born in that year helped to fuel my passion for science and science fiction.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Germany Leans Right Update

Well the battle is over in Germany and it looks like Schroeder and his socialists have pretty much won the day over there. In a compromise (beginning to remind you all of anything over here in the USA?), it seems that Merkel's Conservatives (Christian Democrats) formed a coalition government with Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) giving each eight seats around the new cabinet table. The problem is in the compromise. In order for Merkel to be named Top Dog, she had to concede control of the most important cabinet seats to the socialists, er...Social Democrats. This compromise ends any real chance at the badly needed reform of this nearly bankrupted government. Immediately stocks gave up early gains after the news was released. Bonds rose in anticipation of future interest rates rising. Chances for meaningful reform of the collective bargaining bonanza that labor enjoys in Europe, as well as skyrocketing non-wage-related costs and a social security boondoggle that makes our system look good, have all gone right out the window. Germany's non-wage labor costs are 41.7% of gross wages, among the highest in the world!

The good news is that they still want to cut the payroll taxes that fund unemployment insurance. Of course in order to be allowed to do that the SPD insists that a corresponding rise in the Value Added Tax be instituted! Six of one, half dozen of the other. If they don't cut the state's umbilical cord none of these things will ever matter.

Still, it's nice to see that others have it worse off than us. Maybe I'll look into Sweden's situation next...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

What year is it?

The formerly enormously popular Republican president is seeing a drastic decline in his popularity one year into his second term. He is being attacked for neglecting to stem, or even promoting, a bloated, historically large budget. In response to congressional attacks from Democrats, and even a few Republicans, he says, "It is a very great satisfaction to me to find out there are so many economy-minded people in Washington. They didn't use to be here." He has recently been accosted for his wealth and free spending of tax payer dollars.

Concerns have arisen about the latest Supreme Court Chief Justice's conservativism.

The press reports several bombings and a spate of bomb hoaxes which has nearly paralyzed New York City's police.

In the Middle East an anti-Western Arab leader foments anti-American public sentiments against pro-Western leaders. An Imam leads rebel Muslims against a pro-Western Arab leader, threatening a Moslem holy war. Crushed by the Western troops, the religious leader and his rebels escape into the hills to nurse their wounds and plot future attacks.

Muslim terrorists bomb a public place in the Middle East killing ten and injuring 80. In this one year in one city terrorists killed 50 civilians and wounded 257 others. Western army colonel admits, "Every time we get one rebel, he is immediately replaced by another."

A formerly booming economy in the U.S. has stagnated. Reasons cited are the pro-business climate had encouraged borrowing and spending among citizens and businesses, as well as unconstrained spending and conspicuous consumption. Warnings of a recession loom.

African Americans are very popular in stage, screen and music industries. A black woman, six feet tall and described as having the power of a man in her serves and volleys, has taken the tennis world by storm, winning at Wimbledon.

All of these events occurred in 1957! Eerie isn't it?

The president was Eisenhower and his bloated budget proposed for 1958 was a scandalous $71.8 billion! The attacks on his wealth included the account that he was worth $1 million. He countered that he'd take someone up on that sale pronto. To this challenge, a Southern entrepreneur raised the million but the White House was silent about the offer.

The justice was Earl Warren and he angered conservatives with his ability to guide his fellow justices to some decidedly liberal decisions. A decision against DuPont acquiring and holding large amounts of GM stock was considered anti-big business. Civil rights decisions restored the job of a communist at the State Department, John Stewart Service, denied the government the right to withhold evidence contained in FBI files to a defendant, and reversed the conviction of five communists for violating the Smith Act in Los Angeles.

The bombings were committed by the "Mad Bomber", George Metesky in NYC. He was caught that year after 16 years of bombings.

In the Middle East, the anti-Western agitator was Russian-backed Egyptian leader Nasser, while the pro-Western leader was Jordan's King Hussein. The religious leader causing trouble was Sheik Ghalib bin Ali stirring up trouble against the Sultan of Oman. It was British troops that crushed the rebels.

The Moslem terrorists and the bombings were in Algeria. The cited casualties referred to the Algiers slum, the Casbah, and the colonel quoted was a French colonel in that city.

The entertainers referred to in the citation of prominent African-Americans included, Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Eartha Kitt and Lena Horne. The black woman tennis player is Venus Williams's predecessor, Althea Gibson.

Stay tuned for a further citation of some of the most significant issues of the year, 1957...

Friday, October 07, 2005

New Beer!

I'm brewing a new beer as I type this. It will be an American Hefeweizen, similar to Bell's Oberon, but spiced with lemon grass and tamarinds. Sort of a Thai/American Hefeweizen, if you will.
The grain bill is simple:

14 Lbs. Breiss 2 row pale malt
9 Lbs. Weyerman's Wheat malt
4 oz. Saaz hops (60 minutes)
1 oz. Saaz hops (20 minutes)

Yeast is White Labs American Hefeweizen yeast

Dough-in at 151 F, 60 minute mash
60 minute boil
Primary one week in glass
Secondary 2 weeks in glass

This beer is a slight variation on the beer that won second place in the light hybrid category at the Michigan State Fair this summer. This one should be a bit stronger in alcohol content and spiced differently. I am still trying to think of a name for it, so any recommendations are welcome!

I am trying a two stage batch sparge this time with my Scmiddling easymasher, attached by bulkhead fitting to a converted Budweiser keg. I will wait ten minutes before running the second batch sparge stage for better conversion. New technique!

Stay tuned for some musings on the state of the world as it compares to the year of my birth, 1957. I plan an article to discuss these many differences and similarities real soon!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

USA leans left, Europe Right?

Two items in the news have me asking this question: Do we Americans understand the great gift we've been given?

The other day MY president, George W. Bush announced that he would spend hundreds of billions of tax dollars to rebuild a city that was decayed, corrupt, and existing only because of government largesse. New Orleans is one of the poster children for everything that's wrong with our country: entitlement mentality, poverty conditioned by and nurtured by welfare, corrupt race-based politics, diversity based decision-making and poor political choices. The best thing for New Orleans to do in the wake of Katrina, many have argued, is to cease to exist. Rather than move the population to a place better suited for empowerment and growth, such as Houston, the federal government is going to rebuild it on federal funds, nourishing the very wrong-headed ideas that ruined it in the first place. The local Democratic politicians have made the city a place where meaningful and worthwhile employment is a thing of rarity. Now Bush and the Republican congress want to make things even worse, removing any "I told you so" epithets they would have been rightly been able to hurl. Already calls have been made to begin WPA-like programs, in an effort to create make-work positions funded by federal largesse! This will be lauded by both sides of the aisle in a short while, mark my words!

Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, Germany just held an election where a socialist incumbent was narrowly bested by a "conservative" who, as one of her platform issues, proposed a flat tax! Germany, as most of Europe, is in the throws of a disease called socialism. Their productivity is being sapped by an entitlement mentality the likes of which we in America can't even begin to imagine. That's why a guy like Kerry was so intent on modeling his government platform on a European basis. Taxes are eating their society away, and entitlement sucking laggards are the base of the population, destroying the once great productivity of the country. In an effort to move the country to the right and change the course of this juggernaut, Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Alliance, hitched their campaign to the gimmick of a flat tax. Unfortunately, she did not hold tight enough to the idea to make people believe that she was truly behind the concept. When Schroeder claimed that a flat tax would impoverish the country, leaving women and children starving in the streets, instead of standing up and telling the truth, she waffled. This little bit of indecision on her part, caused the people to blink, and the strength of a true concensus was lost.

I guess it's enough to see that people are starting to see the light in old Europe. At least these ideas are being spoken about aloud, rather than whispered behind closed doors. Now if only we would realize that it is we who have it right, and not them, maybe there will be hope for us all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

10,000 Dead, explained

I've been wondering where all the dead bodies were, when we were told the victims would number near 10,000. Well, when this guy and his buddies are done drinking up all that bootie, there'll be 10,000 "dead soldiers" in the streets of Nawluns!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina Response-Just Throw Money

After the shameful passing of one of the largest pork projects this country has ever seen, in the Transportation Bill last month, I thought nothing could surprise me in this country's elected leaders' desires to throw money around. I was wrong. The government response to the Katrina disaster has given them the urge to, once again, throw our money around like drunken sailors.
Never mind the fact that Alaska's Rep. Don Young, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, has bragged that the bill is "stuffed like a turkey" with goodies for his state, and that it includes $721 million for Alaska, including a $2.2 million "bridgeto nowhere" connecting the town of Kethikan (Pop. 8900) to an airport on Gravina Island (pop. 50) but another bridge in Anchorage has a $200 million price tag and is considered such a marginal project that even the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce opposes it. All this while we suffer from a slowing economy, have cut taxes and are fighting a war in Iraq and across the middle east.

Now, however the government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to help the poor of NOLA and the other affected areas with an infusion of $62 billion (with a "b") to start and promises of another $100 to 200 billion or so later on. With no idea, yet what the real damages are or what the money is needed for, these prize pork rearers are already sending this money down the black hole of corruption and malfeasance. Just to show that they care. With your money.

We now know that the media frenzy and the finger-pointing local and state officals in New Orleans and Lousiana have aided in blowing this very real tragedy as far out of proportion as possible. Suggestions last week by Mayor Nagin that the deaths would probably number nearly 10, 000 have been tempered by the actual count today of less than 200! Meanwhile, rather than wait to accurately assess the REAL damage, our elected officials have pledged more money than many national GDPs to assuage the guilt that MIGHT be foisted upon them by political pundits and race-hustlers in the coming weeks and months (and to assure them that they deserve to be re-elected!).

The costs of government need to be cut. This means cutting programs and employees and salaries and aid to everyone, until we get our financial house in order. I know one thing. I wouldn't want to give a blank check-and that is what is being given to the local governments of this region-to a group that has proven that they can't even balance a checkbook.

As one political pundit has written(John Fund On the Trail,, 9/12/2005) "what has happened to the Republican wing of the Republican Party"?

Go to the following link and tell congress not to throw your money wastefully at even more pork projects in the name of "Katrina Relief". The site is that of Citizens Against Government Waste. Click on "Help Keep Pork out of Hurricane Relief" and then click on "Action Alert". Then sign the petition. It's that simple!

Bush Fails again in Disaster in Los Angeles

A major power outage in Los Angeles today has many wondering if the Federal government is able to respond to a major disaster or terrorist act. The outage knocked out power to thousands and reports have surfaced that hundreds of calls have come in from citizens stranded in elevators all over the famous skyline of the high-rise metropolis. One bystander remarked, "I wonder when Bush is going to do something about this. I just hope FEMMA shows up soon. There could be serious problems here by sundown".

The city is on a Major Alert, shutting down much of the city's services and focusing police attentions on the problems at hand. Obviously traffic, normally calm and trouble-free in this largely pedestrian city, will be adversely affected.

A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokesman said that it is unknown how many homes and businesses are affected but the numbers are definitely into the thousands. "We think it is a transmission problem", said Grey Skywalker, Director of Operations in the LADWP, "but it is unclear whether the trigger was global warming due to Bush's failure to sign onto Kyoto, or simply the fact that all of our best electrical engineers are serving over in Iraq".

Sean Penn was filmed dragging a small boat, leaking water through the streets of Hollywood, followed by a personal photographer and a couple of bodyguards. "I am just here to help", the actor/activist said, adding: "I have had to help several people down the stairs in some of these high-rises down here. They had to use the stairs because the elevators don't work. They don't even have elevators, man"! He was spotted removing his heavy flack jacket due to the extreme heat in the air condition-less, hot California afternoon heat.

Nancy Pelosi has called for a bi-partisan, multi-million dollar investigation into who is at fault and why the relief efforts were so tardy. "They say, fool me once shame on you, well I want to say shame on me to President Bush...I mean shame on him...Oh, you know what I mean", the senator exclaimed, obviously stammered by the scope of this tragedy.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cut and Run: The new Dem strategery

Leaving aside all of the standard Democrat critiques of Bush and the War in Iraq, such as "he lied", "War for Oil", " No WMDs", and the ever popular, "Why are we there?", I've found that the left's arguments seem to be all leading up to the same conclusion: Get the troops out of Iraq, now.

So in discussing the issue with liberals, I've taken to bringing it up early in the conversation, just to cut to the chase, so to speak. It usually goes something like this:

Liberal: Bush just won't come out and tell us what we are fighting and dying for over in Iraq.
Me: Are you in favor of pulling all of our troops home immediately?

Liberal: I just don't think it's right for me to send my child over to Iraq, so Bush and his buddies at Halliburton can make themselves even more filthy rich.
Me: So you are in favor of pulling all of our troops home immediately?

Liberal: You know Bush can't even meet with Cindy Sheehan to tell her the reason her son died.
Me: So you are in favor of bring al of our troops home immediately?

Eventually, they agree that they ARE in favor of complete and immediate troop withdrawal, but, knowing how stupid this idea is, they make me push them into it. Then they try to justify it but, of course, that is impossible. Notice that they are constantly comparing Iraq to Vietnam except in relation to the consequences that would occur following a "cut and run" conclusion to the conflict. After we pulled out of Vietnam in 1975, one of the most brutal and despicable slaughters of recent history ensued in the area. Millions of people were killed and displaced in Cambodia and Vietnam. Family fortunes were ruined, homes destroyed, children killed and enslaved and all by the enlightened, communist victors.

I use this strategy in such arguments because it reduces all the nonsense about how we were lied to in preparation for a planned war for neo-con aims down to a minor issue. In short, it doesn't matter at all why we entered Iraq, simply because we are there now and can't leave until the job is done. Whether Iraq was a terror-supporting state or not is now a moot point because it is now the front line in the War on Terror, regardless of Sadaam's place in the terror world prior to the war. Now, don't get me wrong, I fully believe there was ample evidence that Sadaam was supporting the terror networks and that he had WMDs and that it was and is a good thing to topple him. It was a huge gamble that may yet pay off in spades. I just think the arguments for the invasion are no longer important because WE ARE THERE.

The ludicrous nature of the left's argument for immediate troop removal is, of course, not lost on the Democrat politicians. They will not say what the more radical members of their party (and a few other parties that are also never referred to by their Democrat allies) are loudly proclaiming at peace rallies around the country. These politicos know that the majority of the people who think Iraq is going badly or was a mistake do not agree with the "cut and run" strategery. These politicos do not join Cindy Sheehan and her Code Pink/A.N.S.W.E.R. colleagues at Camp Casey. It seems that the actual success of Sheehan's actions may put a very difficult decision to the mainstream Democrats very soon: join the socialists in the anti-war cause and admit the fraternity between the Democrats and socialists or lose this powerful tool against the Republicans in the next cycle of elections.

Good luck Dems!

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Today is my twenty-second anniversary. I married a beautiful and imminently sensible woman on August 20, 1983. She accepted me for what I am and for what I could become and NEVER tried to change me a bit. This in spite of the fact that I really do need some changing. Alice is the best thing that ever happened to me and I cherish the life we've built together.

We have raised two sons over the past twenty-one years and they have turned out alright, by all accounts. One is working as an entry level engineer in a high-tech manufacturing business and the other is about to enter college this fall. Both are strong, intelligent and good-looking kids (they take after their mother).

I remember well the day we stood on the lawn in Roseville, Michigan, at her mother's house, and said our vows. It was indeed a happy day for us both. We've both changed considerably since then. Much of life is about how you deal with things as they come at you and this requires change. Of course my love for her has done nothing but grow. I actually love her more now than I ever could have when we spoke those vows long ago. This love has been tempered in a crucible of difficulties, experience, trials and tribulations. It has also been strengthened by the cool waters of joy, success, maturity and exuberance. (Hey, a sword analogy is romantic, isn't it?)

Marriage is a tough bargain. It requires a selflessness that few young people can employ. It requires a duality of purpose, rather than a drive for selfish gain. The rewards one gets from the right partner are immeasurable. I couldn't recommend it to everyone, but as for me, it has been the most profitable exchange of my life.

On this special day for Alice and me, I would like to wish all of you the happiness that we share!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

What Will The Left Do, Without Bush?

President Bush is in the middle of his last term. He cannot run for President again. He is a "Lame Duck" president. At the beginning of his final term he announced some very grand plans for transforming the country. He set forth a grand agenda to establish tort reform, restructure the convoluted, oversized tax code and to reform Social Security. So far, only one of these items has been even moderately accomplished. By all accounts the president's actions towards reforming SS have been a dismal failure and he hasn't even started working on the tax code. I predict that this agenda will not be accomplished. The media is dead set against all of the items on this agenda. They control public opinion in this country and they still hold sway over the great majority of Americans.

Although all of these items were great ideas, even if they had been accomplished, I am not sure the end result would have been something better than the status quo. I mean, look at the other "victories" of this administration: No Child Left Behind, the new Transportation Bill, Medicare reform, etc. In each case, in an effort to wrangle votes from the opposition, a terrible result has been achieved. NCLB is a toothless measure that was made ridiculous, all the more so because it was co-written by Teddy Kennedy. The Transportation Bill is a pork-laden handout to every Senator and Congressperson, ruined by the desire for their re-election. Medicare is even worse off than it was before the reform, and that was a difficult achievement even for a politician.

The Left should be ecstatic about this presidency. There have been no real meaningful reforms to government, especially in juxtaposition with the hopeful agenda of the Contract With America ideals put forth by our new Republican congress in 1994, during the administration of Clinton, arguably the most corrupt and disingenuous political machine ever assembled.

Don't get me wrong. I think Bush is a genuine man. He says what he thinks and does try to do what he says. I believe the man when he speaks. I just don't know what, in the current political climate, is actually possible for a politician, even a President, to do.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. We need a return to our constitutional roots. We need to stop making political office a gem of a job that a person will kill to get and keep. We need to make it a duty to hold political office and a part-time duty at that. There is no reason why we should be paying-and paying well-politicians a full time salary with outrageous benefits to work at doing what they do to us on a full-time basis. All day, every day, politicians are working hard to mess up our lives. If the government were to be locked out for a couple of months, even if we had to pay these criminals during the lockout, we would all be immensely better off.

The Left has attacked the War On Terror, one of the only proactive and positive things the government has done for us in decades, as a "War For Oil", a war based on lies, a mistake and an affront to the rest of the world. They attack everything done by Bush and any of Bush's associates. Why do they do this? I think it is because they can't get over the loss of their two Golden Boys in the past two elections. You see, the American people want to move toward a more conservative place. They are tired of the moral relativism of the Left. They are tired of the socialist tendencies of our elected leaders and their kowtowing to corrupt and wrongheaded leaders from Europe and the rest of the world. They are tired of paying politicians to financially rape them while living the good life on their dime. They believed the Republican signators to the Contract With America and they are being grievously deceived by those same Republican Congresspeople. Still, they know they are better off with them than the alternative.

Because the Left can't MoveOn, they attack everything that this country does as if it were all Bush's fault. One great example is the idea that Bush has criminalized stem cell research. All Bush did was make it illegal to use Federal money to finance stem cell research beyond the existing stem cell lines. He didn't outlaw stem cell research. If this research is so promising, why does it need Federal money to achieve it's aims. Corporations should be clamoring over each other to throw R&D money at this sure fire deal. They aren't? Wonder why?

Right now, the Left is holding on to the little Bush-hating credibility it has left, getting supporters to help them in their fight against the evil Shrubya. They hold protests against the war as if they were back in the sixties at some love-in, and have the Hollywood loonies spouting the DU talking points for them on the evening news, while the MSM dutifully covers every rag-tag group of fifty idjits that hold up signs saying "NO War For Oil". But, I ask you good people, what will they do when Bush is gone? After his last term is completed, and he goes into retirement in Crawford, what will they do? Will they continue to camp out outside his ranch or will they MoveOn to some new enemy and attach the same ridiculous invectives to him or her?

Prediction: The Left will largely disappear after Bush is gone and the vacuum left by these people will be a ripe opportunity for the rest of us to enact some real change in this government. I'd opt for something simple for starters. How about the Contract With America? It sounded good to me at the time.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Award Winning Beer

Remember folks, you all can say you knew me when.
I received a call from the Michigan State Fair Homebrewer's Competetion, on Wednesday, saying that "at least one of the beers I entered into the competition has placed"! That means I make "award-winning beer"! Well, at least that's what I'm gonna say...

I won't know until the Awards Ceremony, at the Michigan State Fair on August 13th, which beer won what place, but placing is good enough for me right now!

I entered two beers into that competition: an Irish Red Ale and an American Wheat. I posted the recipe for the Red Ale back in April (See April Showers post) and I made the American Wheat (I call it Summer's Cauldron but it is a slightly altered clone of Bell's Oberon) on June 2nd. I have since brewed a large IPA, called A Terrible Beauty, on July 6th.

I began entering competetions a couple of years ago, just for fun. I have received some good ratings on my beers but never placed before. I have judged beers in competitions and worked as a steward in last year's Masters Championship of Amateur Brewers. Beer judging is fun! There are some very analytical processes involved but the act is still overall a subjective endeavor. Often an experienced beer judge, with rank in the Beer Judge Certification Program, will rank one of my beers higher than another judge who is a novice/beginner. That indicates the subjectivity of the sport.

Here is the recipe for my latest creation, A Terrible Beauty:

I don't know whether to call it an Imperial IPA or an American Barleywine. In competetion, your beer is judged by it's merits and hoe well it fits the style to which you have assigned it. Even the best Irish Stout in the world will receive a poor rating if it is entered as a Brown Ale, for instance.
Anyway, the vitals:

9% ABV
100 IBU

Malt Bill
26 Lbs. Breiss Pale Malt
2 Lbs. 20L Crystal Malt
2 Lbs. Weyerman Munich Malt
1/2 Gal. Pale Malt Extract
1 Lb. Malto Dextrin
1/2 Lb. Honey

Mashed at 152 F, for one hour, with 1 oz. Cascade hops in mash.

Hop Schedule
1 Oz. Chinook (13%) 60 minutes
1 Oz. Centennial (10%) 60 minutes
1 Oz. Columbus (16%) 15 minnutes
1 Oz. Cascade (6%) 15 minutes
2 Oz. Cascade (6%) 1 minute
1.5 Oz. Cascade (6%) Dry Hop

Used WLP 007 for one five gallon keg and White Labs 1098 for the other.
OG: 1.075
FG: 1.010

I bottled it yesterday and will be sampling it next week at our annual canoe trip on the Au Sable River near Oscoda.

I know this post is "brewer technical" but I thought it might interest you all anyway. Any questions, let me know, I am happy to explain any of the technical terms but don't want to bore anyone unnecessarily.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Another Kvetch

Weeel, Republicans are crowing about Bush's victory in congress today. They are crowing about the passage of CAFTA. I guess Bush can say, as a lame duck, he is trotting along like a thoroughbred. I fail to see that a terribly overblown and overbudgeted, pork-stuffed Transportation Bill is so much to crow over, though.
While, in general, I am all for free trade and that is essentially what CAFTA purports to be, what I am against is the bill the president will have us pay to achieve this victory. There is certainly a mile of crap to look forward to in exchange for the votes he purchased on CAFTA. What troubles me most is that when this budget eating pork-laden Transportation bill hits Bush's desk, he'll fawn over it and sign it like it was something of which he approves. This will be a bill that I would veto faster than Teddy Kennedy can down a Dewars.
On the positive side, the energy bill looks good for all involved. It does good things and will probably sail through the Senate with little trouble. It is a start and it's about time. Too bad they didn't throw ANWR into it, though. Oh, and one thing the passage of CAFTA did that I really enjoyed was put Nancy Pelosi on the tube to rant and rave about Bush and the Republicans, again. You gotta enjoy the freebies, folks. Hence, the pic at the top of this page, which has nothing to do with the post but I thought you would enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Carpe Diem

I feel that I should help the liberals out a little and put down a bit of what I don't like about our current crop of conservatives, including GW. I think it comes down to pandering to the lowest common denominator for votes, to make a long story short. They are gutless.

Bush put forth some great agenda items during his campaign for a second term: reform the tax code (i.e., a flat tax or some other massive restructuring of the code to simplify the tax system and make it more fair for all taxpayers), reform social security (although this goal in itself is a good example of the attitude which I am condemning-social security should be abolished, not reformed!), end lawsuit abuse, and close bankruptcy loopholes so that duty-shirking morons will need to pay for what they buy. Now, we all know that liberals want people to get stuff for free (that is, they want the government- taxpayers- to pay for it) and they want people to be held unaccountable for bad decisions (you know people are just mindless idjits, controlled by every advertisement they see on the tube and slaves to corporate megalopolies). This means that any real, meaningful reform of these systems would be opposed tooth and nail by the Democrats anyway. Why not use the power of the bully pulpit and go for the gusto?

During the months after 9/11 Bush had a most prodigious bully pulpit to use. He was immensely popular and should have used this to his (and our) advantage. Did he? Absolutely not. He has yet to use a veto! He worked with Ted Kennedy to co-opt a sensible education reform bill into a money-sponging nightmare. He campaigned for and celebrated a medicare reform bill that furthers, rather than fetters, a leviathan government boondoggle. All the while he has watched and said little (veto, anyone?) while congress has continued to increase both the size of government and the cost of those "services".

Yes, you say, but this is because he has been preoccupied with a war. The War on Terror. Let's look at that success story. It all started with "Shock and Awe", right? Where did that go? We are concerned about civilian casualties beyond reasonable belief. The most precise, pin-point accuracy in bombing achieved by any military in history is apparently not good enough to the world and it's US liberal cohorts. To them we will always be the colonialist bad guys, no matter what the engagement. Can you tell me what lessons we learned from Vietnam? Again, since the liberals will always criticize, regardless of the humane nature of our actions, why not do the job right? How much criticism do you hear from the world, liberals and muslims, when the terrorists bomb a mosque in Iraq? Not a peep! How many accolades do we get from these same quarters when we wait out bloodthirsty murderers in Sadr City/Fallujah for months, rather than squashing them and their terrorist-harboring citizens as they deserve? Not a peep! Go for the gusto.

Now we see Bush's opportunity to place a strict constructionist on the bench of the Supreme Court. He places a guy, John Roberts, who has apparently lived for fifty years without saying or writing anything at all controversial see Ann Coulter. After hearing what liberals will condemn, with absolutely no reasonable justification, why wouldn't you use this opportunity to place a solid constructionist on the bench? No, let's choose a guy the libs can't complain about, even if he turns out to be a Souter in disguise! Very disappointing.

So, as this screed is getting far longer than I intended it to be, I will close by saying that conservatives need to get on the stick! Seize the day! It may not last long this conservative majority. We need to enact lasting change, now! That may mean hurting the feelings of some of our liberal friends, calling a dingbat a dingbat (Ted Kennedy, anyone?), and perhaps actually killing some terrorists (and maybe even some collateral damage among those not pointing them out in their neighborhoods), but I think it's worth it.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Non! EeeeYeeww!

French voters have overwhelmingly rejected the EeeYeww's constitution. So have the Dutch. Now, everyone expected the French to do so, I mean they were worried about placing the decision-making power for their country in...Brussels! Oh the horror! I mean Belgians are so much different than the French, after all, mon dieu! But even the Netherlands can't abide by the EU constitution. I wonder why?

According to Voice of America News, the reason most cited by French voters for the rejection was that the constitution referred to opening the EU market to competition. This would endanger the plentiful French job market, unemployment now languishing at around ten per cent. The French are worried that the new, low taxed Eastern European countries will take their jobs away. And they will! Because they will work cheaper, harder and do the job better and more efficiently. And in the process, they will not strike to get 40 hours pay for 32 hours work, a month or two of vacation time a year, a nice two hour lunch/drunkfest paid by the employer, etc.

It appears that a few of the EU countries think it is a good idea to open up the market to free trade: Britain, Scandanavia, Eastern Europe. The French want the state to take care of them. In insisting upon this for the past twenty years, they have pretty much bankrupted their state and economy. Now they think it is a good idea if the combined countries of Europe take care of them in the style to which they have become accustomed.

I hope the EU doesn't get it together, because they could be a great competitor to the US, but if they do it right: free markets and no welfare state, I wish them luck and good fortune. And if they do, I hope they boot France out and keep them there.

Oh and I hope Dominique de Villepin ( who is a man) takes over for Chiraq. He deserves it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Liberal Democrats have taken to using the term "progressive" to describe themselves and their policies. Now, understand that I am not in the least interested in attacking these people as disingenuous or as harboring any evil intent. I truly believe that they feel the term is an accurate and genuine descriptor of their ideology. It struck me, this morning as I read a quote from an article by Bob Tyrell, that it is the conservatives in this country that are the true progressives. I realize the terms seem to be in complete opposition, but let me explain.

Progress is the moving forward toward a positive goal. It could be argued that the term "conservative" means the resistance to change. If change were always the "moving forward toward a positive goal", it would certainly mean that conservatives would be in opposition to progress. This is, apparently the context in which progressives (liberals) tend to view the two words. The problem with this view is that the term "positive goal" is subjective. What some people think is positive, others find objectionable.

Today, we find America embroiiled in a controversy regarding the appointment of judges to our nation's courts. Democrats are doing everything they can to block certain judicial nominations from being brought to a vote. The level of the obstruction of these nominees is unprecedented. Democrats are doing this because they feel the nominees will interpret the law in a manner they feel is regressive. They feel the country has proceeded toward this day in a progressive manner and that it should continue in that direction. The appointment of strict constructionists or judges with strong moral or religious temperaments would be antithetical to those progressive ideals.

The moral and political climate of the country's electorate is changing, however. The country as a whole is moving toward the center. This is evidenced by the "redness" of the political map and by the "Republicanization" of our elected officials. Few would argue that fact, since the population of both houses of the legislature is predominantly Republican as is that of the presidency and a majority of the legislatures of the states. As a conservative, I would argue that this is progress.

The people are progressing toward a more conservative allignment. The views of our elected officials are following suit. The positions in the judiciary are appointments. They are not elected by the people but, rather, are appointed by the elected officials. For this reason, in terms of the flow of ideology from the more liberal electorate of the past to the more conservative electorate of the present (and future, I believe), the judiciary is the slowest to move and the last to follow suit. As the country moves to the right, it is the judiciary which is clinging to the ideology of the past; resistant to the ideas that have won the electorate over in much of the country; conserving the ideas of a previous electorate.

I do not begrudge the minority party it's attempts to hold onto that which they think is best for the country nor do I feel that this process is anything but good, in the strictest "checks and balances" sense. I do feel that it is doomed to failure and that the enmity which results will further dampen the cooperative climate between the two parties. This is also inevitable and perhaps good for the country.

It may even be progressive.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

April Showers?

It is April 24. Last week I decided to have a few friends over for a BBQ this afternoon. I also decided to brew a beer for a party this summer. The party will be doubly special because one son is graduating high school and another is defeating Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

When I made this decision a week ago, spring had sprung all around me here in mid-Michigan. Daffodils and hyacinths were blooming, buds were popping on the trees and the temperatures were hovering in the sixties and seventies. Now I am struggling with a strong wind and temps in the thirties, while carting all my brewing equipment around like a pack horse.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love winter. I like the cold, crisp temperatures, the way the snow blankets everything and the still that comes only with winter's chill throttling it all down to a near crawl. There's nothing like skiing down a fresh slope, hunting in the cool quiet winter forest or fishing through two feet of ice. But it's April 24, for cryin' out loud!

The brew day and BBQ will go on, though! I brew all-grain, homemade beer. This one is called Andrew's Red Ass Irish Ale. The malt bill looks like this:

17 Lbs. Briess Pale Malted Barley
2 Lbs. Briess 10L Crystal Malt
.5 Lb. Dingeman's Special B Malt
4 oz. Briess Roasted Barley
1 Lb. Honey
3 oz. East Kent Goldings Whole Leaf Hops (60 minutes)
1 oz. East Kent Goldings Whole Leaf Hops (15 minutes)
2 half gallon starters of White Labs Irish Ale Yeast 004

It makes a fine red ale, easy drinker with a crisp almost-lager mouthfeel. I will keg it up and lager it until July.

Snow is falling heavily as I write this. The mash is resting at 151 F and I am waiting for mashout when I will raise the temperature to 160 F. I took a couple of pictures of the backyard when I set up my brewing appratus. If they come out I will scan them and post them here. The snow is several inches deep, so it will make for an unusual Spring brew day! One picture is a shot of some grape hyaciths in the background, in full bloom, with snow crusted all over them. Another shows the swamp behind my house, with my hop trellis in the foreground, again, all covered in white stuff.

This won't even come close to being the coldest or snowiest day I've brewed in. Several times I brewed in winter with temperatures under zero. Some of these times were a real workout for the propane cooker to get the wort to a boil. Wort is the liquor that makes beer, before it is fermented.

Well I am going to be quite busy for the next few hours, so I will end this. Enjoy your day everyone, and if you're in the neighborhood, stop by for a beer. I'm buying (or brewing)!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mi casa, su casa

I saw the guy walking towards us along the water's edge. He was a piece of work: long stringy, wet hair, a bathrobe and slippers. He approcahed a young couple who were lounging on a beach blanket, sunning themselves quietly and talking.

It was a typical sunny Malibu day, with a gentle breeze blowing across the beach. A couple dozen people were enjoying Mother Nature's bounty. Some kids were throwing a frisbee, while a small dog played "monkey in the middle" trying his darndest to chase the object down. Music wafted out of several different boomboxes as a diverse crowd tried to listen to what each decided everyone should be listening to.

The bathrobed gent seemed to be acting as though he owned the place. He spoke briefly to the couple on the blanket and then, reached down and picked up a towel off the blanket. He towelled off his wet hair and tossed the blanket back to the beach blanket like a used kleenex. Well, of course the young man took offense to this, but thought better of a confrontation, as the robed one just glared at him with hands on hips, like some bullying UN ambassador wannabe.

He strolled on, pausing at the camps of several other beachgoers, stopping briefly to speak to and take advantage of some small piece of each party's property. I mean he seemed to be deliberately trying to piss somebody off and cause a scene. At one spot, he'd grab a tube of sunscreen and slather it on his face, at another, he'd reach down and change the radio station or choose a different CD for the boombox, causing consternation and excited utterances from the stunned sunworshippers.

Well, sure enough, he finally ambled over to my perch, near the high tide line on the east end of the beachfront between two magnificent homes. One was the biggest Cape Cod style development I'd ever seen. The other, the one on the right, was a Spanish-style hacienda of gargantuan proportions. He walked up to me, and with a matter of fact stare, stated, "Hi, I'm David Geffen. Welcome to my Malibu estate. Since I have been forced to allow you to use my property. I believe I am entitled to use some of yours." He then reached down and grabbed the book I'd been reading, The Grapes of Wrath. "I think I'll read this. I'll get it back to you when I'm done". And off he went, just like that!

I thought to myself, "Isn't that a crime"? He just stole my book, and I wasn't even done reading it, yet! There ought to be a law against this type of thing, don't you think?

I packed up my CDs and blanket and walked the few hundred yards to my car, parked on the highway. I popped a new CD I had just burned from a P2P file sharing site: a mix of different songs from performers who had great hits but from albums that I hadn't purchased because I didn't like the other songs. I tooled off down the coastal highway, as John Lennon sang, "Imagine no possessions", and pondered a visit to my attorney's office.

Friday, April 15, 2005

First Posting

This first post will serve as my entry into bloggerdom. I intend to post on whatever the hell suits me, so if that bothers anyone, well...don't read it! As the title suggests, I am a beer lover. I think the greatest achievement of mankind in the past twenty years is the rise of the craft brewer. Hey, I know some pretty spectacular medicines may have been invented and there is this computer thingy that has certainly become ubiquitous (hence the very blog I'm writing on-wow! That's kinda Escher-like isn't it?), but we write about what we know, OK? Besides, I will relinquish the award whenever someone develops cold fusion or something like that.

I also have been brewing my own beer for five years, now. I brew all-grain beer on a homemade three tier setup. I bottle it and keg it and drink it. I have recently begun to experiment with wines and meads, as well. I suspect much of my writing will come to be about this great hobby and my experiences with it. My latest beer was a belgian pale ale, with a decidedly un-belgian hop character. I like it, but it doesn't know what it is supposed to be...

I also tend to talk and write alot about politics. Now, some of you may think politics and beer don't go together(and I'm not talking about Hitler's Beerhall Putsch, here), but think again. I'm told the framers were completely tanked when they wrote the constitution. Beer hall across the street, long lunches, bad water, you know. Anyway, I am what you might consider a conservative, but with a strongly libertarian streak. I am not fond of government or people who are. I try to and can get along with everyone, though and enjoy good arguments and conversation. As long as I am always right : )

I am a midwesterner, who was raised by southerners and I even lived for a time in the south. This makes me what you might call cantankerous. That's alright. I accept it. It also makes me a good ol' boy. I have worked in prisons for over twenty years, so that topic may come up once or twice (as long as I and my prison remain anonymous).

A warning: I am not exactly the most consistent writer on the planet. So, I may post few and far between, but ya never know, I might get into this with a passion, so come along and enjoy the ride!