Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bourbon Tasting

One evening, while my son, Nate, was visiting, we decided to have a bourbon tasting. I succeeded in getting Spyke to agree to prepare a blind tasting for us. It simply involved labelling two sets of shot glasses with 1 thru 5. And then pouring the same bourbon into both 1's and so on.

Spyke assembled all the shots on a tray and presented them to us on the porch where we carefully proceeded to start with - yep - number 1. And so we went through all five shots of bourbon. We did not bother to add any water to the samples, as we were told might have been a good idea after the first sip, but here are our brief notes, but remember we did not know which brands we were drinking until after we commented and rated them from one to five stars*.

#1 **** Bulleit ($29.99 750ml) - smooth, sweet; very nice after taste. We liked this one. Too bad it was our first.
#2 ** Evan Williams Single Barrel ($26.99 750 ml) - big step down from what we just tasted. Not as smooth, and had a bite that we guessed was from the alcohol.
#3 * St Augustine Bourbon ($50 750 ml) - another step down. I was really hoping that this one would stand up well, but alas, it was a mediocre bourbon, and turned out to be our least favorite of the five. If you compare the price, you wonder why anyone would bother.
#4 ** Angel's Envy ($49.99 750 ml) - not as smooth as Bulleit, but a decent bourbon. This one will appear in future tastings.
#5 *** Blanton's (~$60 750 ml) - very comparable to Bulleit, and one I usually have on my bar for making Manhattans. A bit pricey, so I may be switching to Bulleit.

BEST **** Bulleit
BETTER *** Blanton's
GOOD ** Evan Williams Single Barrel, and Angel's Envy
MEDIOCRE * St Augustine Bourbon

Feel free to share your tasting notes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dog Poop

Nearly every morning, I take my two dogs, Macallan and Angelina, for a short walk for up to a mile. I do it about 355 times a year and have been doing it for ten years, so it is definitely a habit. I do it more for me now than for them, even though they are very supportive.
Mac is 85 lbs of smart stubbornness while Angelina is 45 lbs of eager energy. When I step up to the door, Angie is always the first one there. Mac has to be coaxed sometimes, but he sees it as a game where he is in control for a brief period. Sometimes I hook them up on separate leashes and occasionally I place a split-leash between them. On good days when traffic is scarce, I might let them run free for a while. It's very good exercise for them. If dogs can smile, they both would wear big ones during their free runs.
When we first reach the road at the end of the driveway, Mac likes to amble over to the far side and relieve himself. This may or may not be after he tries to urge me to go East instead of West (our usual direction). They both pee a lot at first, but they always save enough to squirt on every opportunity along the roadside.
It takes seven seconds for Mac to poop.
He may go within the first couple minutes of our walk, or he might wait until we are headed back, but he almost always leaves a pile in the swale (on the road opposite the houses usually). Angie will only poop about 1 out of 10 times during our walks. I swear it was a full two years before she ever pooped while on a leash. Dogs change.
Angie takes about 12 seconds to poop.
Even though she's a much smaller dog, she creates a pile about twice as big as Mac. I wonder about why that is, but I figure that it definitely is why she takes longer.
I read an article that dogs always poop facing in the same direction. I have found this not to be the case with my dogs. They tend to poop facing the direction we were headed, or on windy days, facing into the wind. Facing the wind seems like a smart thing to do for a creature with such a heightened sense of smell.
Forgive me for dwelling on the mundane, but I just had to get this off my chest. Plus, I hadn't made a blog entry for eons, so I took a swing.
Let me point out that I enjoy these morning walks almost as much as my doggies, but there are days when I'd rather be getting on with stuff or finishing breakfast first. On those days, I plead with Spyke to lead the parade.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ya Gotta Be Kiddin'

Although I still have some faith in the electoral process, I think it may be time to get out of my lazyboy and picket something. King Scott is one of the newly elected hoard who is trying to change our country into who-knows-what. By bypassing normal (legal) methods to strip normal people of their rights, by deregulating nefarious industries, by attempting to convert the landscape from parks to parking lots, they have aroused the attention of many of us who sit on the sidelines most of the time.

It is time to get out your sign-making kit and make your message heard. Stay tuned for a demonstration near you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bye American

We can all clearly see that things are not going well for the American nation right now, but if we are to extrapolate any wisdom from the lessons of history, the question is: what does the future hold for us? If Alfred McCoy is correct in some of his projections, it is not pretty.
All of these scenarios extrapolate existing trends into the future on the assumption that Americans, blinded by the arrogance of decades of historically unparalleled power, cannot or will not take steps to manage the unchecked erosion of their global position.
If America's decline is in fact on a 22-year trajectory from 2003 to 2025, then we have already frittered away most of the first decade of that decline with wars that distracted us from long-term problems and, like water tossed onto desert sands, wasted trillions of desperately needed dollars.
If only 15 years remain, the odds of frittering them all away still remain high.  Congress and the president are now in gridlock; the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might maximize our country's role and prosperity in a changing world. 
 My hope is that we can stay this dismal demise by learning from our mistakes and changing course. Sadly, I can find absolutely no evidence anywhere that anything like that will take place. The chest-beating patriotism, outlandish political circus acts we call campaigning, and perpetuated beliefs in myths all point to problems far too great to be overcome by education. 
Cultural stupidity might not be so bad, were it not self-reproducing and viral, and prone to place stupid people in charge. All of us have, at some point, looked at a boss and asked ourselves how such a numb-nuts could end up in charge of the joint. 
In my own field, the book biz, the top hucksters in sales and marketing, car salesman with degrees, are put in charge of publishing the national literature. Similarly, ex-Pentagon generals segue from killing brown babies in Iraq into university presidents and CEOs. Conversely, business leaders such as Donald Rumsfeld who fancy themselves as battlefield commanders and imagine their employees as troops to be "deployed," find themselves happily farting behind Pentagon desks. On the strength of having mistaken Sun Tzu's The Art of War as a business text, they get selected by equally delusional national leaders to make actual war on behalf of the rest of us.  
But the most widespread damage is done at more mundane operational levels of the American empire, by clones of the over promoted asshole in the corner office where you work. At least one study demonstrated that random selection for corporate promotions offset the effect significantly. Research again confirms what is common knowledge around every workplace water cooler in the country.
Full article: Amercia: Why R Your Peeps So Dum?, by Joe Bageant

'Tis the season for Peace on Earth and a Happy New Year. I just beg for someone to give me a reason to be positive about where this nation and world is headed.