Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer's Cauldron

Here are the Lyrics to "Summer's Cauldron", a song written by Andy Partridge of XTC and performed by XTC on the album "Skylarking":

Drowning here in Summer's Cauldron
Under mats of flower lava
Please don't pull me out this is how I would want to go
Breathing in the boiling butter
Fruit of sweating golden inca
Please don't heed my shout I'm relax in the undertow

When Miss Moon lays down
And Sir Sun stands up
Me I'm found floating round and round
Like a bug in brandy
In this big bronze cup
Drowning here in Summer's Cauldron

Trees are dancing drunk with nectar
Grass is waving underwater
Please don't pull me out this is how I would want to go
Insect bomber Buddhist droning
Copper chord of August's organ
Please don't heed my shout I'm relax in the undertow

When Miss Moon lays down
in her hilltop bed
And Sir Sun stands up
raise his regal head
Me I'm found floating round and round
Like a bug in brandy
In this big bronze cup
Drowning here in Summer's Cauldron

Now that's the way I feel on a lazy summer day, floating in my pool, with a cold homebrewed beer in my hand! Yup! And here's the beer I want to be drinking when I next do that:

Summer's Cauldron II (Kolsch)

22 Lbs. Belgian Pils
2 Lbs. German Wheat Malt
.5 Lbs. Belgian Biscuit
.5 Lbs. Flaked Maize
.5 Lbs. Rice Hulls

Mashed (single infusion) at 152 F, for 60 minutes.
Batch Sparged and drew off 11.5 gallons of 1.046 Wort
Boiled 60 Minutes with the following hop additions:
60 minutes-1.5 oz. Hallertau
45 minutes- 1 oz. Hallertau
15 minutes- 1 oz. Hallertau
5 minutes- .5 oz. Hallertau

Irish moss at 10 minutes left in boil.
OG-1.048 FG-1.009
4.7 SRM
5% ABV
23 IBUs

A nice summer-colored, summer-flavored brew!

Kolsch beer is a beer that was originally made to compete with the enormously popular lagers coming out in the late 19th century. It is a top-fermented beer (ale) with a straw color, light alcohol content, crisp and clean palate and a subtle fruity character. It is lightly hopped and fairly dry in finish. The appellation, Kolsch. is protected by the twenty or so breweries in Koln (Cologne) Germany, that make the style, and by the organization they formed, the Kolsch Konvention.

I have been homebrewing for seven years this month. I will be bottling a Belgian Trippel I made several weeks ago today as well as making this wonderful Kolsch described above. Look for more posts about beer as the Michigan Summer Beer Festival will be coming very soon (July 27 and 28th)...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pardon Me

Ok, I don't blame Bush at all for commuting the sentence of "Scooter" Libby. Libby's "crime" will be more than made whole by his $250, 000 fine and probation, not to mention his loss of respect and ability to practice law (as if those two were not otherwise mutually exclusive).

I agree with the decision. What I can't understand is why he hasn't commuted/pardoned a whole bunch of folks that deserve it. The man ain't running for anything anymore. What's he got to worry about?

Thanks to, here are some other worthy people for Bush to pardon/commute...

  • Marsha Cunningham

    Like Kemba Smith, Cunningham, who was arrested in 1997, had no prior offenses. Nor was there any evidence that she had ever participated in a drug deal.

    Yet when police found powder and crack cocaine in the Dallas apartment that Cunningham shared with her boyfriend, and her boyfriend was caught with crack while driving her car, federal mandatory minimums kicked in. Now, Cunningham is serving 15 years in prison.
  • Dane Yirkovsky

    Yirkovsky is serving a 15-year sentence for possession of a single .22-caliber bullet.

    In December 1998 he found this bullet while doing remodeling work for a friend who was giving him a place to stay in exchange for the work. Yirkovsky put the bullet in a box in his bedroom. Later that month, the police found the bullet while searching Yirkovsky's room after a call from his former girlfriend, who claimed he had some of her possessions. Because of Yirkovsky's prior convictions for burglary, federal prosecutors charged him under the Armed Career Criminal Act, although he had not threatened anyone and did not have a gun.
  • Weldon Angelos

    A year ago this week, 24-year-old Angelos was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling two small bags of marijuana to a police informant. During the transaction, Angelos was carrying a pistol in an ankle holster, although he did not threaten anyone with the weapon. Nonetheless, the law imposed a severe mandatory minimum for gun possession during a drug deal.

    In sentencing Angelos, U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell of Utah, a conservative Republican appointed by President Bush, also ran through the maximum penalties for hijacking an airplane (25 years), a terrorist bombing intending to kill a bystander (20 years), and kidnapping (13 years). The judge noted that just two hours earlier, he had imposed a sentence of 22 years in a case where a man beat a senior citizen to death with a log.

    "Is there a rational basis," Cassell asked, "for giving Mr. Angelos more time than the hijacker, the murderer, the rapist?" Cassell called the 55-year sentence "unjust, cruel, and even irrational" but said that the law left him "no choice."

    Of course, President Bush need not free Angelos immediately—a crime was committed—but he has the power to reduce Angelos' sentence. Surely one mistake is a poor justification for taking away most of a young father's life.
  • Robert Blandford, Diane Huang, David McNab, and Abner Schoenwetter

    Three American seafood dealers and one Honduran lobster-fleet owner are currently doing hard time for importing lobster tails that were the wrong size and that were packaged in clear plastic bags rather than in cardboard boxes. They ran afoul of the Lacey Act, a federal statute that makes it a crime to import fish or wildlife taken "in violation of any foreign law."

    The U.S. government argued that they had broken Honduran law because some of the lobster tails—3 percent, to be exact—were less than five and a half inches long, and because a Honduran regulation required that the lobster tails be packed in boxes. Yet Honduran officials testified that no laws had been violated.

    Nonetheless, Blandford, McNab (the Honduran national), and Schoenwetter, three small-business men with no previous criminal records, were sentenced in 2001 to eight-year terms. Their "partner in crime," Huang, got off easy: two years' incarceration for the mother of two young children.
Oh, and also the two border guards, but they're already getting plenty of press, aren't they?


Can anyone imagine any of today's serious candidates for President making the pledge elicited in the title above...and meaning it? That pledge made by the fathers of this country, the 56 signatories of the Declaration of Independence would melt the tongues of the present politicians that mean to serve this nation. I cannot imagine our present politicos risking their livelihoods, property and their lives on anything, much less their sacred honor (something worth far less than was reflected in the signing of that most illustrious of documents).

When I make those disparaging remarks about our present crop of politicians, make no mistake, I do not spare Republicans. The current rage among conservatives is Fred Thompson, an actor for the most part. I do not for a minute expect that man to be the savior of this country, as the patriots who sacrificed their all did to build this great nation. In fact, I don't expect Fred Thompson to be much of anything. Perhaps he will be a preferable evil to Hillary Clinton. If so, he will probably be huzzahed by the great majority of right-thinking conservatives in this country-and perhaps deservedly so. They need something to believe in after the current dipstick's shenanigans (can you say No Child Left Behind, Harriet Myers, Shamnesty, a broken veto pen, and on and on and on...?).

What can one expect out of today's politicians? Can one expect a politician to be honest, self-sacrificing and dedicated to serving the people of this country, in this day-and-age? Well, certainly one might be able to find such a rare soul in our population, but could one expect that rare soul to make it to the ballot of the first presidential primary? I think you see my point.

I don't trust Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani. Of course, I trust my trash collector more than I trust John Edwards, Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton. Obama's raised a lot of money and it has been honestly raised by small donors. That's no mean feat. Still, the man would do the wrong thing for this country, nearly every single time he chooses to act (whether he acts honestly or selfishly means little when his honest action is simply wrong). Hillary is nothing but a power-hungry pol, willing to do anything to get elected, including paying off those who assist her in any way possible, once in office. How could you expect anything else from someone who has already shown her willingness to do this as a first lady and a Senator?

I will vote for the honest politician that agrees most with my vision of the best direction for this country. If the politician is not honest (and I can detect bullshit from a mile away, thanks to twenty-three years of working with convicts), I will not vote for them. I don't care who's running against them and I don't care who will win if I vote for a third party candidate, instead. Simple as that. I'm voting for the one that honestly wants what I want for this country and my children and future grandchildren. Right now, that's Ron Paul. He says what he believes, not what he thinks will get him elected. Can you say that about any of the other candidates?

I could see Ron Paul chancing his fortune, life and sacred honor for the protection of this country. I can't say that about any other candidate at this point. Maybe somebody will step up and surprise me, but I doubt it very much.