Monday, January 19, 2009

Post from 11/8/08

11/8/08 - Fall is my favorite time of year. Between the weather, the leaves changing colors, and football season, it’s just a great run.

Some random musings...If last year was the year of the SEC, this has got to be the year of the Big 12. Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, and even Missouri have offenses that look like they’re straight out of a video game. I’m watching the Texas Tech v. Oklahoma St. game right now, and the Red Raiders appear unstoppable. Of course the season’s not over yet, but if ever there was a need for a playoff, this is it. It wouldn’t be hard either. I think I’ve put this out there before (last December to be exact). It would only require three more games total, that’s it. Keep everything else the same, including the bowl system. The big four bowls – Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, and Rose – produce four winners. The Fiesta & Rose winners would play each other the next weekend while the Orange & Sugar winners would play each other. The games would alternate each year between being played at the Fiesta/Rose site and the Orange/Sugar site. Then the two winners would play the week before the Super Bowl. Simple, right? Bowls are still in place, more money to be made, keeps the emphasis on the regular season games and winning the conference so nothing’s taken away from the season. An “extra burden” is only created for four teams, so only four sets of student-athletes are affected, since that’s what the $chool president$ are truly concerned about, right?

Been on a pretty good reading burst as of late. Finally finished Then We Came to the End a month ago. Took me a long time. I know it’s won some awards, but I had to force myself through the second half. Characters all blurred together after a while.Read Under Enemy Colors after that. Loved it. Reminded me of C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series. Can’t wait to read the next chapter of Hayden’s life. Read on the author’s website it should be out next year. Currently reading Golf in the Kingdom. A cool blend of golf and mysticism. It’s a cult classic. Read it’s supposedly going to be made into a movie next year. Next up on the shelf in Master and Commander. It’s the first in the long series by Patrick O’Brian. Under Enemy Colors put me in the mood for more British Navy historical novels set during the fighting age of sail.

Updated Brewer page with new homebrews I made this summer.

Old Guy Radio - Bob Dylan’s Desire. Starts off with the sad, but true Hurricane then the classic Isis, by the end it’s Black Diamond Bay and the haunting song Sara.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Post from 7/27/08

7/27/08 - School's back in session. Quick summer. Been listening to a lot of Jack Johnson lately. Really like the relaxed feel of his music. Reminds me of sitting around with friends on a laid back Friday night, someone pulls out a guitar, turns into an impromptu jam session - guitars, conga drums, microphone, maybe a keyboard. Laid back and lots of fun. Johnson's music almost makes you want to buy an acoustic kit from Guitar Center and learn to play guitar.

Saw new season of The Shield starts Sept. 2nd. Rescue Me starts in Early 2009. Have been trying not to watch too much TV lately. While it's entertaining and sometimes informative, it can also be a big waste of time if one's not careful. With football season quickly approaching, I know I'll be tuned in to more games than I should. Even late at night you can find a Pac 10 game to watch.

Speaking of sports, the wife and I started playing golf this summer. Joined a country club. Have played a couple rounds so far. Lots of room to improve our scores, but a lot of fun to play together. The club we joined has numerous tournaments and couple's golf. Perfect sport for us to play together. Can play it the rest of our lives. What's more, can play a round of golf with friends and family. Like I said, great fun together and unlike a sport such as tennis, players of vastly different skill levels can have fun and even compete against each other thanks to a handicap. Very happy we've started playing. Our kids love the club's pool.

Updated Brewer page with new homebrews I made this summer.

Old Guy Radio - Miles Davis's A Kind of Blue. One of the best jazz albums ever. If you're new to jazz, it's a great place to start. If you're a jazz aficianado, then you already know what I mean. Whenever you hear someone talk about their "top five" lists, and you can't include "best of" in those, A Kind of Blue will be on any jazz lover's list.

Sword Song – The 4th novel in the Saxon Tales centers around the battle for Lundene (modern day London). Almost finished it, but am very torn. It’s hard to put down, but a part of me doesn’t want to finish it because it will be quite some time before Uhtred and his sword, Serpent Breath, vanquish more foes. Please, Mr. Cornwell, feed the appetites of Uhtred fans with the same voracious fervor as you did Sharpe fans. If you haven’t read any of his work, Cornwell intersperses beautifully descriptive language between incredibly vivid and bloody battle scenes. I absolutely love his Saxon Tales, and if you know of any novels that come close to these, please let me know. Thanks!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Posting from 4/3/08

4/3/08 - Big changes to the site. New color, new photo, "slimmed" down Welcome page. Added a whole "Brewer" section to the Biography page.

Luckily the wife and I bought tickets for the World Beer Fest on April 26th the first day they went on sale. Apparently the festival sold out in two days.

Have a new car and absolutely love it. A hint? The company's motto is "Like nothing

Movies – Saw on pay per view Sidney White. My wife's choice, but I liked it too. Very clever and creative modern version of Snow White. Set on a college campus amid Greek life. Saw Evan Almighty too - my choice. Absolutely loved it. A great comedy with a message about family too.Another season of The Sopranos started on A&E. Didn't see it the first time around, but am truly hooked on it now. Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch starts on April 15th. But apparently FX's The Shield won't start until this summer and Rescue Me might not be until the fall.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

from the 2/16/08 posting

2/16/08 – A couple chapters into the rewrite of the novel. It is truly a rewrite, as I’m changing the tense of the novel from past to present, and heeding the advice of my better half. Pace of work is virtually identical to original writing. Spring Break is just a couple weeks away & I’ll be able to devote many days to the novel.

Hops - Not only is the water shortage bad enough, there’s a worldwide shortage of hops! No big deal, you say? Well the price of beer is about to shoot up (think supply and demand curve), and the amount homebrewers can purchase at a time is limited. I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s been featured twice in BYO magazine. It’s enough to make a grown man cry. Think Hank Williams, “There’s a tear in my beer…”

Homebrew – It’s finally been decided. I’m going to brew a Pilsner Urquell clone within the next week or two. While the temperature is still low, I can leave the carboy in the garage during fermentation. Its yeast needs a cooler temperature than ales.

Speaking of lagers and ales, the World Beer Fest is coming to Raleigh on April 26th. My better half and I went last year and had a blast. Will scoop up a pair of tickets as soon as they go on sale.

Football withdrawal? The only thing I know of to help tide a person over is Madden and NCAA. Of course the draft is coming soon, but no one can watch that on TV unless they have the NFL network. I hope the Panthers pick either Mario Manningham from Michigan or Limas Sweed from Texas. Both are fantastic playmaking wide receivers and Carolina is in dire need of another one to compliment Steve Smith. Either one could challenge Jarrett for the second starting job – which he hasn’t even earned yet - and the loser could play the slot. This could conceivably turn a glaring weakness into a strength.

Movies – The better half and I watched Mr. Woodcock last weekend. Several truly “laugh out loud” (sorry for dropping a cliché) moments, but some “doesn’t make sense” parts too. I know it’s a comedy, but how Mr. Woodcock won the “educator of the year” award was never explained. The guy was despicable and it’s never addressed, except by the main character.

Guitar Hero III – The better half and I jumped into the 2008 year of gaming with our purchase of an Xbox 360 and Guitar Hero III. Everyone has fun playing it. The kids like to strum and dance along. They call it “girls rock!” and “boys rock!” Even my parents played it and had fun. Took it over to their house for a recent family gathering too. It’s been a real hit. Whereas with Madden it’s basically me and a pint playing together against the computer.

Old Guy Radio – (an homage to Tony Kornheiser) Tom Petty was phenomenal for the Superbowl half time show. Heard several critics pan him. Nonsense, I say. Everyone at the party I attended loved it. He played a medley of his classic hits, and it was just a great little rock ‘n roll show. It was perfect. Reminded me of the U2 halftime show from the ’01-’02 season Superbowl. If you want to hear a classic Petty CD, check out Full Moon Fever.
Sword Song – The 4th novel in the Saxon Tales centers around the battle for Lundene (modern day London). Almost finished it, but am very torn. It’s hard to put down, but a part of me doesn’t want to finish it because it will be quite some time before Uhtred and his sword, Serpent Breath, vanquish more foes. Please, Mr. Cornwell, feed the appetites of Uhtred fans with the same voracious fervor as you did Sharpe fans. If you haven’t read any of his work, Cornwell intersperses beautifully descriptive language between incredibly vivid and bloody battle scenes. I absolutely love his Saxon Tales, and if you know of any novels that come close to these, please let me know. Thanks!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

from 12/16/07 posting

12/16/07 - After a brief Indian Summer in the Carolinas, the winter weather’s returned with a blustery vengeance.

BCS Title Game - I think the voters got it right. LSU vs. Ohio State. However if ever there was a year for a playoff, this is it.

How could the playoffs work? Here’s my system. Let’s call it the “Myers Bowl Playoff System” or MBPS, for lack of any other creative name. Take the 8 teams in the 4 major bowls (Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Rose). The 4 winners will pair off and play again on the second Saturday in January at two of the 4 major bowl locations. The two winners of those games would face off on the weekend before the Super Bowl. It would be at either the site of the Super Bowl, or at another of the 4 major locations. Thus three of the 4 majors would have two games, and the locations would rotate. Therefore each of the “4 majors” would host two games three out of every 4 years.

Now there are other variables such as letting the Super Bowl location host the game and possibly allowing other cities to bid for it. Regardless, the three extra games equal millions of more dollars for the NCAA and the BCS conferences. The regular season would still matter because if you don’t wind up in the top eight, you’re out of the title hunt. The rest of the bowl system would remain intact. Only four teams would practice more than the rest of the current bowl system. Best of all, the championship is settled on the field like every other sport and division of football. In a year as chaotic as 2007, teams like Georgia, USC, Oklahoma, and Hawaii would all have a shot at the championship.

Homebrew - Debating what to brew for my next batch. Absolutely love having TBA in a keg (fresh, cold beer at the squeeze of a tap). A wine afficianado with a palatte for lagers recently sampled my TBA and declared, “tastes like something straight out of Europe.” But I enjoy having a darker beer on hand too. Something along the lines of a porter or stout. Made my own six pack at Total Wine last week with beers from Butte Creek, Otter Creek, Brooklyn, The St. George Brewery, Rogue, and Highland (in Asheville). Will sample several more trying to get ideas. Liked the Stovepipe Porter from Otter Creek and have a replica recipe of it somewhere. Maybe the 2nd half of Christmas week will find me in the driveway standing over a boiling brewpot. Cheers!

Too much corn - I know that sounds strange, but hear me out. Homebrewers and commercial brewers alike are feeling the crunch from the number of farmers who are switching from growing hops and barley to corn. The demand for corn is increasing due to Ethanol production. Unfortunately it’s not the great alternative some people think it is. While it’s an alternative to oil consumption, it burns faster and hotter than gasoline. And an unforeseen side effect, the price of beer at the supermarket has and will continue to rise. Of course as economics teaches us, when it becomes more profitable for farmers to grow barley and hops, they’ll switch. That may be awhile.

Movies - Been out for a few years, but watched Cinderella Man recently. Excellent movie. Scenes of Great Depression were heart-wrenching. Particularly at thought of having to send children away to live with relatives because you don’t have enough food for them. And the anguish of hearing a child’s deep cough and knowing what’s to come since you can’t afford any medical care for him. Many scenes like the one of Hooverville were reminiscent of The Grapes of Wrath. I loved the boxing scenes, but the rest of it was too sad to want to watch again.
Finally saw Old School too. Great script, very quotable, and great comedic performances.
Saw For Love of the Game a couple weeks ago. Liked the premise of flashbacks as the pitcher is between innings. Loved hearing Vin Scully announce a game, wish ESPN would simulcast him whenever they broadcast a Dodgers game. Thought the main character should have lost the no hitter at the very end when his old friend’s son was up to bat. Could have been deliberate or as a sign he knew his career was over. Several different minor storylines could have played out from this. Still a good story even if a little too neatly tied up.

Old Guy Radio - See last posting for further explanation of where this idea came from (an homage to Tony Kornheiser). With it being Christmas and all, check out Bing Crosby's Good King Wenceslas and Peace on Earth (his duet with David Bowie). Both are timeless, and the latter is a classic variation of a standard. It also exemplifies how standards can be changed and interpreted by different artists.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

11/18/07 Posting from website

11/18/07 - Great fall weather right now. Cool in the day and cold at night. Had a cigar on the back deck this evening and only needed a pullover and wool cap. Only downfall is a little too cold for cards.
NCAA football – Said it for a while, but it now may be impossible: LSU vs. Oklahoma in the BCS title game. Won't happen anymore. Not with OU's loss to Texas Tech. LSU, Kansas, and Missouri control their own destiny. Win out and they’re in. But Missouri and Kansas have a showdown this weekend. How great will this shootout be? Reesing, coached by the sideline version of Jabba the Hut, against Daniels and Mizzou. My pick: Mizzou wins 37-35. Then the winner will face OU. The Sooners may be out of it, but they can still shake it all up. West Virginia and Ohio State both need help, but are equally dangerous. Perhaps overstated, but it truly seems to be the craziest season in recent memory. Little did we know Appalachian State’s victory in The Big House would be a harbinger of things to come. And speaking of The Big House, will Les Miles leave the Bayou for Michigan? It won’t be announced until after the season, but I think he’ll be clad in Big Blue next year. Talk about heating up one the greatest rivalries in sport? Tressel vs. Miles…

FSU – There’s a reason to hope. I know most of you will think I’m crazy, but I had a feeling FSU was going to win at BC. A couple linemen were returning from injury. It was declared a sod game. After seeing Virginia Tech beat BC for almost the entire game, and lose in the last four minutes, I didn’t really think BC was the 2nd best team in the land. And I was right!!! Before the VT game, did not have the same feeling. Thought VT would play with a chip on their shoulder. Little did I know that freshman QB Taylor would appear to be the reincarnation of Michael Vick. Yes, Vick’s a pariah now, but when he was at VT he took them to the national title. I remember the game quite well, FSU won. Therefore let me rephrase the statement about Taylor. He did what no other VT quarterback had done since ’75, beat the ‘Noles.Rooted for Clemson against BC. Wanted to see them in the ACC title game. Whoever wins the Virginia/VT versus BC game, will love going to the Orange Bowl in Miami. It’s a great city, especially at that time of year. Break out your shorts, hit South Beach, have a mojito, and go see some ponies race. Then top it off with a football game. Not too shabby!
NFL – Hate the Patriots, but like the Rams when they were the “greatest show on turf,” the Pats remind me of playing Madden. Tonight they’re up 35 – 7 over Buffalo at the half. Are you kidding me? It’s only halftime. Randy Moss only cost a 4th round pick? Remember this too, they have the 49ers’ 1st round pick. That means they could wind up with a top 5 pick in the draft. Maybe they’ll start to pile up injuries like the Colts, not that I’m wishing injuries upon anyone. But some sprains and a couple missed games, that’d be nice. Anything but winning the SuperBowl.
Best surprise of the year: Cleveland Browns. 6-4 heading into Thanksgiving. What were the odds on that? Watching Derek Anderson mature and develop chemistry with Braylon Edwards is fun to watch. Just another example of good quarterback = win games. Matt Schaub in Houston is another example. Geat deep passes to Andre Johnson.
Most disappointing team of the year: Baltimore Ravens. They won 13 games last year. This year they look old and their offense looks inept.
Questions: Why aren’t Owens and Moss in double coverage on every play? When will Oakland finally put number one pick JaMarcus Russell on the field? Are any Chargers fans wishing Marty Schottenheimer was still their coach? Will the Panthers finally cut their ties with Dan Morgan?
One more NFL note: the Thanksgiving night game will only be on the NFL network. That’s means over half the country will not be able to see it. Maybe this game will finally force Time Warner Cable and the NFL to settle their differences.
Homebrew – Brewed a ten gallon batch of TBA (my wife’s blonde ale) last week. Used a neighbor’s brewpot and burner. An ingenious system of cutting the top out of an old 15.5 gallon keg & drilling a hole in the side for a ball valve. About a quarter of the price of fancier brewpot like the kind on Northern Brewer’s got a very thorough forum on it. Recommended to me as a resource for feedback on recipes and troubleshooting. The TBA is a slightly altered version of the Long Legged Blonde on Racked it to a secondary fermenter today. It’ll be a couple days early, but will keg it on Tuesday night and attach the CO2. On Thanksgiving I can give thanks with a pint and pay homage to pilgrims and founding fathers alike.
Dodgers – Love the signing of Joe Torre. Absolutely love it. Told my Dad after Torre was released if I owned a team, which I probably never will unless it’s on a video game, I’d sign him immediately. And sure enough, the Blue Crew signed him.
Hollyfest 5K - Beat last year's time by almost two minutes. Satisfied, but not thrilled. With age comes the need for more training.
Don’t watch much primetime TV, but 30 Rock is hilarious. Watched a rerun of Chapelle Show on Saturday. Forgot how great he is. If you see one of the episodes with his impersonation of Rick James, you’ll be quoting him for a week.
Old Guy Radio – Used to be a segment on the Tony Kornheiser radio show. Thought of it the other night when I listened to a Frank Sinatra Greatest Hits CD. Unmistakable voice. Strangers in the Night and It was a Very Good Year are two classics. Hell of an actor too. Watch From Here to Eternity some time. Won an Academy Award as Maggio. Great foil to Montgomery Clift’s charcter, and both are transposed against Burt Lancaster’s granite-like performance as Warden. Classic stars, classic scenes. Classic Sinatra CD. “That’s a trifecta, baby!” as the Rat Pack would say.

Monday, November 19, 2007

10/23/07 website posting

“Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink…” …at least that’s what my lawn must be thinking (if I use a little personification). To help conserve I’ve been using my kids’ bath water on several bushes and shrubs. Another option is to employ the battleship shower technique (as noted in the USS North Carolina). Turn the water off while you lather up. I haven’t done this but if the weather continues, who knows what measures we’ll take.

Rude awakening - It's a beautiful day Sunday afternoon, and we're out with some neighbors on their boat. All of a sudden on the radio I hear a cover of U2's With or Without You. Heard a Violent Femmes' song used for a Wendy's ad on TV. Heard a cover of a Billy Idol song for a TV show, and then a cover of a Chris Isaak song for the new season of FX's Nip/Tuck. For every single one of those songs, I can remember hearing the original growing up and watching the video. Man, do these things make you feel old, or what?

Robert Plant / Alison Krauss - Seems like a really strange pairing, but they've got a CD coming out soon called Raising Sand. Great reviews on Sounds like it could be worth checking out. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan sounded incredible together, and David Bowie and Bing Crosby made one of the best Christmas songs of all time with their rendition of Peace on Earth.

NCAA football – I know the immortal words of Ric Flair by heart, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” Well, this year it seems like no one is comfortable being number 1. There are a couple of unbeatens left, but from everything I’ve seen so far, the two best teams are LSU and Oklahoma. Les Miles, the coach of LSU, is either a mad genius or just plain crazy, but I love watching LSU play. He’ll call trick plays, go for it on 4th and 3 with a pass, and shove the ball down your throat. I’d hate playing poker against him. He’d treat a five-nine like a pair of kings and when you least expect it, he'd try to buy you out the pot with four of a kind to fall back on.

FSU – Don’t know what to think. Every time they get my hopes up, they’re squashed with a turnover or a dropped ball. NFL – It’s the Colts and Pats and everyone else is just playing for third. Personally I’ve got to root for the Colts when they face each other next week. Their owner paid a couple million for the original scroll of Kerouac’s On the Road. How cool is that? Plus I'm picking the Colts to win. Remember that saying by Ric Flair? However this weekend does set up as a perfect trap game between my Panthers and the Colts. The Panthers are coming off a bye week. Indy played away on Monday night and will have a short week to prepare for an away game at Carolina. Indy might be looking ahead to the Pats game too. Remember, anyone can win on any given Sunday. It'd be great for Carolina, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

Homebrew – The backyard porter is excellent and several dark beer aficionados heaped praise upon it. That always makes you feel good. My blonde ale has come to be known by my wife as “her beer.” As in, “Are you drinking my beer?” She calls it Amstel without the Light. I even did a taste comparison – drank an Amstel Light then a pint of blonde. You know which one was better? Mine! Served several pints at a card game Friday night. I’ll brew again in another week or two. Probably make another keg of the blonde ale, and then maybe another dark beer to bottle. Just brewed a porter so it could be a stout, a nut brown ale, or something along those lines…

The Lords of the North – Finished the 3rd book in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon saga. The next one comes out in January. My name's already on the waiting list at the library.

Hollyfest 5K - It's this coming Saturday morning. Yes, I've been training the last few weeks for it, and I will beat my time from last year. Hopefully that won't be too hard because my time last year was flat out awful. Maybe I'll have to reward myself with a few pints Saturday night. Yes, that's what I call victory. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

8/8/07 Posting from the website

The dog days of summer are upon us. The afternoons are triple digits and the evenings are hot and humid. Yuck. The mercury’s not the only thing rising – I can only imagine how dreadful the electricity bill will be. Now I know one should never wish their time away, for you never know what great things you could miss, but October sounds absolutely wonderful right about now. Cooler temperatures, the second month of football, celebrating Octoberfest, and cool enough to play cards on the deck with the guys. Hmmm, sounds pretty damn good right now.

Gym – Heard a student say how much he liked working out because it’s peaceful and quiet. It struck me because I like to work out (though don’t as much as I should) for the very opposite reason. Noise and violence. I do not work out with a partner. I do not want to talk to anyone. I put on my headphones, jack into my mp3 player, crank up the volume, and enter my own little private world. Each exercise, each repetition in every set, is like a miniature form of combat with oneself. How you can focus on the muscle, or focus on some movie or show or athletic event for motivation, or the dialogue you have with yourself. How utter confidence or doubt can be the difference between squeezing out one extra rep or putting the weight down. It’s a solitary act. I’ve heard the term for fighters described as entering the ring with “bad intentions.” And so it goes with weights. Dumbbells and barbells are the enemy. And one grows stronger through competition against them. That is how I view it. Once one passes the age of organized school athletics, the gym or treadmill or heavy bag or sidewalk or pool, becomes the plain of battle. And though age slows us down, the fighter still remains. Like a gladiator or hoplite in an arduous pitched battle, one keeps going, with the noise and violence clanging in their ears. The "runner's high" or excited exhaustion (I know that sounds strange) from a good workout is the battle song that sings within us.

Dodgers – 58 – 55. 4 ½ games back. Yikes! Their pitching kept them afloat while their offense sputtered. Now the pitching’s joined the offense and they’ve lost 6 games in a row. Not good. Need to turn it around in a hurry because the three teams ahead of them in their own division seem to be rolling as of late.

Homebrew – Still a little left in the keg of my "Moatmeal Stout." Had a pint the other night and still tasted great. It’s aged over the last two months and the taste has really blended together nicely instead of seemingly tasting individual flavors at different stages of a sip. Can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I can brew again. Right now it’d be very difficult to lower the temperature of the wort to 70 degrees.

The Pale Horseman – 2nd book in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon saga. Fantastic read for anyone who has any interest in Alfred the Great or the Viking era. Terrific descriptions of battle.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

7/8/07 Posting from the website

7/8/07 - July's here and my novel-time is quickly fading. Been very productive the last few weeks, including a few wonderful days last week (a couple thousand words written last Tuesday). Will be a true race against the clock during this last week. If I do not finish it, and I hate to even start projecting in that direction, it will not take much more time. After that it'll be due for some editing & rewrites, the wife will finally get to read it, & then it will be the business of procuring an agent!

The Last Kingdom - by Bernard Cornwell. Finished it yesterday and will move on to the second book in the series, The Pale Horsemen, as soon as the library opens tomorrow. If you have any interest in the age of Vikings (Danes), Alfred the Great of Wessex, the Dark Ages, Dragon ships, warfare, etc., you will love this book (and probably this series). A magnificent storyteller, and this is the first book of his I've read, Cornwell puts you in the place of Uhtred, the protagonist whose British, but raised into manhood by the Danes (a.k.a. Vikings). You'll love the fighting, drinking, blood feud, deception, and clash of religion (Christianity vs. the Norse Mythology) found in these pages. Best of all, the 4th novel will be published early next year. One more note, on his website Cornwell offers advice to new writers. The best quote of all, "Writing, as many of us have discovered, is much better than working."

Dodgers: 49 - 40 record. 1.5 games back. Their young players are really starting to step up for them. It's why Garciaparra moved to 3rd base. It's going to be a dog-fight the rest of the year between LA, San Diego, and Arizona. My money's still on the Dodgers.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: I thought it was very entertaining. Just right at a little over 90 minutes. Any longer and it would have felt dragged out. Yes, lots of special effects, but it's what I expected to see in a Marvel comic book movie. Best part of it, it's set up for a Silver Surfer return (had to wait a couple minutes into the credits to see it).

Beer Notes: Have to start with an awesome brewery right here in Holly Springs, NC. The Carolina Brewing Company. Have tried their Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, and Nut Brown Ale. All three are good, but the Nut Brown Ale is tremendous. Exceptional flavor with a hint of chocolate aftertaste. Personally I think it's better than Newcastle Brown Ale. Yes, it's that good!Another brew that I just tried is from the Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge, CO. It's their Vanilla Porter. I was a little skeptical about adding something like vanilla (don't put fruit or spices in my beer, boy!) to a porter, but thought it just might work, and certainly could be worth trying. And the answer is, yes, it was. It's a nice, strong, flavorful porter, with just a hint of vanilla in the aftertaste. I wouldn't want to drink a lot of them in one night, but I had two in a row before switching to a Red Hook Sunrye, and it was a great pair. I have four left in the six pack and might have to save them up to take to a card game this Friday night. That's right, rube, it's dealin' time!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

6/7/07 Posting from

6/7/07 - To quote Alice Cooper, "School's out for summer!" Between final exams and a home computer crash, updates were set aside 'til quieter times arrived. Now I've got a homebrewed Oatmeal Molasses Stout in hand (I like to call it a "Moatmeal" Stout - packed with flavor & incredibly full-bodied). Check these out too - Florida State crocs! My better half bought me a pair as a present. How sweet is she? For several weeks I'm sans students. That’s when I get to become more of a student myself. About what? Homebrew, discipline, & discovering where certain stories will lead. Have an idea simmering for the next novel, but have to finish Lost Angels (working title) first. That is THE GOAL for this summer. Have schedule planned out and will stick to it. Selah.

Walter Mosley – Great excerpt on about writing from Mr. Mosley. Not quite as captivating as Steven Pressfield’s, but excellent nonetheless.

Dodgers: Fell out of 1st place. 34 – 25 record. 1.5 games back. Great the see the Yankees struggle. Hope the Red Sox pull out to a 20 game lead. Not that I’m a fan of either team, but the BoSox are the lesser of two evils (American League & Northern/"Yankee" teams).

Star Wars Revealed: Memorial Day on History Channel. DVR’d it. Haven’t sat down and watched it yet, but from the previews it looks fascinating. Universality of Mentor and Pupil relationship and its lifespan. Yoda = a Buddha-inspired figure. X-Wing fighter = a P-51 Mustang inspired fighter. The Stormtroopers parallel to Hitler’s army. Fascinating too because Star Wars is full of so many archetypal heroes and hero journeys as outlined by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In fact Campbell once claimed George Lucas was his best student.

My Lawn: The once green, lush yard now resembles a crispy, crunchy corn field three weeks after a harvest. Water for an hour one day, two days later it’s back to crunchville. Such is the life of grass in clay soil in the afternoon sun. Put Grubex down a couple weeks ago, and applied Scott's Southern TurfBuilder last week. Don’t have any bug or pest ailments, so did not use Summerguard this year. That advice comes straight from some experts on the discussion forum, i.e., some people with much more time on their hands & the experience to back it up.

Homebrew: As previously mentioned and referred to as my Moatmeal Stout, brewed a batch of Stout a couple weeks ago. Stepped up to an intermediate level of brewing with a mix of extract & specialty grains. It was an Oatmeal Stout and I added one cup of molasses to the wort. Would love to find a clone for Bridgeport’s Black Strap Molasses Stout, but haven’t been successful in my search. Made two “mistakes” in the Moatmeal's brewing process – didn’t strain out all the hops when racked to primary fermenter & did not add Irish moss. Massive amount of blow off. Probably lost close to a gallon worth of brew. Racked to secondary fermenter five days after pitching the yeast. By the way, the recipe called for 2 packs of yeast. Seems like way to much after the amount of blow off I experienced. Looking to brew a Blode Ale within the next week or two. Will bottle so as easy to carry down to the beach. Cheers!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

5/1/07 Post from the Website

5/1/07 - "Mayday!" It's damn hot! Supposed to cool off later this week but who knows? I guess that's why weathermen, no offense but weatherwomen and weatherpeople sounds odd, speak in percentages. There are no guarantees. As for the saying April showers bring May flowers, the last couple weeks the showers have been courtesy of yours truly with a hose and watering can.
My hops, one Cascade and one Chinook, have sprung forth from the ground! Planted a Mardi Gras Honeysuckle vine recently. Went with a Japanese Maple after all. It's a Crimson Queen.

His Excellency - George Washington. I'm currently listening to the unabridged audio version in the car. I'm on disc 6 and have thoroughly enjoyed reading/listening to it. Puts Washington into perspective, strengths and faults, and clears the air about certain myths -- ex) the cherry tree & "I cannot tell a lie" = never happened. Standing in the bow of the boat crossing the Delaware = No, but a nice piece of mythology. A real eye-opener about our War of Independence, how close we were to losing, the politics of the day, and public opinion in the late 18th century. Much can be made between the similarities of shifting opinions, private doubts, and political blunders between the two eras. Highly recommend if you enjoy history, our Founding Fathers, or simply want to learn a little more about the era.

World Beer Festival - My wife and I went this past weekend to the Festival in downtown Raleigh. An absolute great time. 150 breweries, over 300 beers to sample. You're given a sampling cup when you enter, marked with 4 oz., 2 oz., and 1oz. lines. The policy is to serve only 2 oz. so you can enjoy a variety. Toward the end of the afternoon session, some breweries started serving closer to 4 oz. Don't like the sample, or just feeling too full to drink all of it (especially after eating a big 'ol Bbq sandwich), no problem! There are buckets everywhere to pour it out. Innumerable domestic and foreign brews to try. I sampled everything from a porter from Sri Lanka, to a domestic apricot ale. Believe it or not the latter was actually quite light and refreshing. Wouldn't want to drink more than one, but a nice warm weather beer.
The crowd was amazing too, well behaved, and everyone just having a good time. About 3,000 patrons for our session, and no one allowed between the ages of 12 to 21. Good music, huge variety of food, lots of Tees to buy (we bought three) and souvenirs. Also sat in on a wonderful little lecture on pairing food with beer. The highlight of it was pairing chocolate with a Stout. The lecturer offered a good suggestion for a dinner party which we may follow.

Deadliest Catch - A show on the Discovery Channel that will really pull you in, no pun intended. About the King Crab fishermen in Alaska. Any romanticized notions of being a fisherman? This will knock it out of you like one of the 1,000 lb. crabpots the crews work with. After two shows you'll start to root for the guys, laugh at their pranks, and when an emergency hits, you'll cringe for their safety. Probably kiss your kids and say one extra prayer the next morning. These captains and crew are family men and share a common familiar bond between them. Any man on any boat goes over and they all aid in the rescue. If someone's lost, it wears on all of them, it'll probably wear on you too. For those of you who like Dirty Jobs, you'll recognize the voice of the narrator, Mike Rowe. Only difference? No smart-ass jokes in this commentary.

LA Dodgers - 15-11. ½ game back in the NL West. But Brad Penny's pitching tonight (3-0, 1.95 ERA). I like their chances to reclaim the lead. They're playing Arizona, 16-11.

NFL Draft - I really like the Panthers draft. Yes, they didn't pick a safety until the 7th round, but their other choices - the trade down in the 1st to pick up an extra 2nd - netted a much-needed influx of talent at desperately thin positions.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

4/19/07 post from the website

4/19/07 - Celebrated a birthday on Easter weekend. I'm still at a "playing" age in the NFL, but I'd be a veteran nearing the end. Nothing like the world of sports to make you feel old. However, deep down, I don't feel old at all. On the contrary. I feel closer to 23 than 33.

Homebrew – Brewed a batch of pilsner the night of my birthday. Color appears too dark for a normal pilsner. Could be just too unsettled, too early to tell. Transferred to a second carboy to get it off the trub. Will keg it soon with the assistance of a next door brewmaster. It’ll be my 1st time kegging and I don’t want to screw it up.

Beer Judge website – Ever have questions about the quality of beer, or what a beer should taste and/or look like? Check this site out. I just found it recently and it’s a wealth of info for any would-be connoisseur.

LA Dodgers – Yes it’s early in the season. But the Dodgers are currently in first place in the NL West and they’re my pick not only for the NL West, but for the NL crown. I love their roster. It’s a great mix of youth (Martin, Ethier, Billingsley), backed by a solid farm system. They also field invaluable veteran leadership and experience in guys like Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, and Luis Gonzalez. Great rotation, though the bullpen may be shaky down the stretch. If Nomar or another infielder is injured, look for James Loney to step up big time. Their line-up may not be intimidating in the way of power, but there aren’t any easy outs either. They can manufacture runs with contact and speed and keep up with any team in the league.

The Shield – New season just started a couple weeks ago on FX. Only one word to describe it: intense. It’s gritty, in-your-face, crime drama. Micheal Chiklis is incredible in the role of Vic Mackey. He and James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) are in a league of their own in television drama.

Rescue Me – Saw a brief ad during The Shield. New season starts in June.

Sambucus Black Beauty – Anyone ever grown one as a tree or have any experience with one in general? Saw it listed recently as an alternative to a Japanese Maple. The Maples are nice, they’re just so ubiquitous.

Friday, April 20, 2007

4/3/07 post from

4/3/07 – Great weekend! Lots of outside playtime with the kids (swings, slide, sand table, “rock rock” in the rocking chairs). Spring flowers, hanging baskets, and planting. Card game with the guys on Saturday night - on the back deck, a Nat Sherman “Omerta” cigar, & Terri bought me a card shuffler and two new decks of Bicycles (yes, I’m getting spoiled). Absolutely great time to be outside.

300 – Saw it this past week. Incredible movie, but probably more so for guys than girls. Despite its inherent “graphic novel-ness,” which in my day was called a “comic book,” as seen in some of the villainous hordes of Xerxes, there was a strong grounding in fact. From the Spartans’ scarlet cloaks, which served to mask a bleeding wound, to their detailed phalanx formation, it rang to the core of this viewer. It beat its message like a drum - the bloody price of Freedom. It is this type of movie that I love best of all; one which is able to entertain, yet leave the audience with a little morsel of thought. So if you go to see it, enjoy the mix of “graphic” exaggeration with the grounding of fact. And prepare yourself not for “Glory” as the movie poster claims, but to give thanks to our military’s past and present. They’re the ones putting their life on the line for our Freedom. God bless them.

It’s official! – Terri and I are addicted to The Sopranos. We’ve been watching it for the last couple months on A&E from the very first episode. Yes it’s edited, but you’d be shocked at how much is left in each episode too. We’re now contemplating renting the seasons so we don’t have to wait a week for two more episodes.

Homebrew – Drumroll, please. Yes! I opened the first bottle an hour ago after putting a couple in the fridge yesterday. Quite good. I’d give it an 8, though I am biased. For an IPA it’s a little more on the amber side than usual, but the hoppiness really comes through in the aftertaste. I’m incredibly pleased with its outcome. So here’s a toast to anyone whose ever brewed their own beer. From the Ancients of Mesopotamia, to our Founding Fathers, to modern-day hand-crafted experts, Cheers!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

3/26/07 posting from the website

3/26/07 - Beautiful weekend. Went to Fearrington House this weekend with the wife. Great little place with belted Galloway cows and goats. Went for a bike ride on the grounds Saturday afternoon - if you haven't ridden a bike for a while, you'll be sore in places you don't want to be sore. Fine dining, gardens in bloom. Enjoyed a Macanudo (carry cigars in yourself) in the gardens after dinner. Ideal spot for a weekend away from the kids. Only suggestion I'd offer - their coffee shop should stay open past 10pm on weekends.

Recently brewed a batch of IPA in my turkey fryer. Transferred to a second carboy Saturday morning and will bottle it sometime this week. Heard from an exceptional brewer not to let a batch sit too long in the carboy after primary fermentation. The sediment on the bottom can affect the taste. From a sample during transfer I can tell you it already tasted quite good. I think the biggest difference between this and previous batches is the volume of wort I was able to boil in the fryer - it's a much bigger "brewpot" than a traditional spaghetti pot on a stove. Will find out its final taste verdict by the end of next week.

Final Four - Well, I'm perfect on one half of the bracket - Florida & UCLA, and "O"fer on the other half. Picking fifty percent in March Madness is still a pretty admirable feat. I'm personally rooting for UCLA. When I lived in Los Angeles I cheered for them as opposed to USC. Like most geographic hated rivalries, you choose a side and stick with it, lest ye be a "fair weather" fan.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

3/22/07 Post to

3/22/07 - Wrapping up Chapter Ten of the novel. Probably about half way through. It's a slow going process, but I am writing each week. That's the key. All apologies for so few updates. Most ramblings are on the blog. Have been re-thinking the whole setup of the website vs. blog scenario. The new plan: weekly dispatch to the website. At week's end, post the new one to the website and move the old one to the blog. This way the website stays "clean" and up-to-date, while the blog will serve as a virtual archive for previous dispatches. I'm hoping to stick to the guideline of one update a week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Back to the grind after a brief sabbatical from the e-world...
But one does wonder, does the "grind" ever really stop? Or are we able to change our perspective on life? Change our attitudes and viewpoints on life?

I am reminded of Ginsberg's poem "Howl," and its first line, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness."

I have seen this too, but more in the sense of "destroyed by negative madness." I have also seen the awesome power of focusing on the positive aspects of life. This doesn't mean to ignore all the inhospitable cruelness in the world, much of it makes no sense and there's no explanation for why horrible things happen to good, kind hearted people. What I mean is to enjoy the little moments in life. The laugh of a child, the sunshine on a 70 degree day with the slightest of breezes, the company of friends, the moments with those we love. None of these can last forever, but by focusing on them and recalling them often, their energy and warmth can propel us through the day. It's not their brevity that should matter, it's the feelings they generate inside us. I've worked with incredibly negative people who turn into a walking plague - everyone wants to avoid them. In turn I've also worked with posititve people who embody the "light up a room" remark. Most of us are somewhere in between. While all of us need to vent from time to time, it is the constant complainers who run the risk of becoming black holes - a negative vortex that sucks everything in around it. And that is the reason people try to avoid them - they don't want to get sucked in to the negativity. It's draining.

March Madness: I currently have 9 out of the sweet 16 still left including my Final Four teams. My Final Four = Florida, UCLA, UNC, and Texas A&M. My Champion is UNC over Florida. It doesn't mean I'm a Carolina fan, I just think, despite their number of freshman starters, they're the deepest team and incredibly well coached. They're also peaking at just the right time of year.

FSU baseball: Last time I checked their record was 23-0. Undefeated. Moved up to the number one spot in the rankings. Now if only it'll last through to Omaha.

Homebrew: Just brewed a batch of IPA using a turkey fryer. If any of you are still brewing in your kitchen, stop. Don't do it again. Trust me the clean up is not worth it. Invest in a turkey fryer and multi-task with it. A fried turkey for the family, then a batch of homebrew for you. The best part of all? If the brewpot boils over, it doesn't really matter. Just hose it off the driveway since you're outside anyway. Cheers!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Some Football ramblings, Concussions, a Boxer’s workout, & Humidors

Early NCAA football recruiting rankings: Still several weeks away from National Signing Day, and I’ll tell you right now, like many of the previous years, look for Florida State (currently 37th) to end with a top 5 recruiting class. Saint Bobby pulls it out time and time again. This year there will be a bonanza of top recruits heading to Tallahassee thanks to Coach Bowden’s coaching staff overhaul. West Virginia’s offensive line coach, LSU’s offensive coordinator (just ask Notre Dame how good he is), two former 'Noles with NFL experience coaching the wide receivers and running backs, and of course, Amato returns from his tenure at NC State to coach the linebackers. Say what you want about his record, the man can recruit. Yes, there’s a buzz in Tallahassee and it’s the blue chippers coming for their official school visit.

If you remember the suicide last November of former NFL defensive back Andre Waters, news came out today relating his suicide to the number of concussions he suffered and their impact on his brain tissue. He was 44 years old and apparently his, “brain tissue resembled that of an 85-year-old man and there were characteristics of early stage Alzheimer's.” After reading this I can’t help but think of players like the Panthers’ Dan Morgan. He’s already suffured 6 or 7 major concussions and has been cleared to play next year. He, and the Panthers, need to pay considerable attention to their actions regarding his playing time. Personally I would trade him for whatever I could get, but I would not allow him to suit up if I owned the team. The brain, unlike a bruised muscle, does not simply “heal.”

Ever want to be like Rocky? USA Today ran a great article on the benefits of a boxing workout. I guess the lesson to learn from these articles is to work out like a boxer, just don’t suffer the beatings of one (whether concussed by football, boxing, or some other activity).

Have a humidor? Learned a great lesson recently when I purchased the Padron 6000 at The Tinder Box. Keep you humidor even more humid than you already do. Pay attention to it the next time you’re in the walk-in humidor of a cigar store. Or, smoke one of theirs and then smoke one that’s been in your personal humidor for several months. Which one is a better smoke? I’ve learned my lesson and have adjusted my humidor accordingly – I added a second humidifier.

NFL title game picks? Indianapolis and New Orleans. I think both of their offenses give them the ever-so-slightest of edges in their matchups, especially if the Bears play defense like they did against the Seahawks. They looked much more vulnerable than the regular season, and the Saints have more weapons than the Seahawks did. When I watch the Saints I can’t help but wonder if Jammal Brown, their All-Pro lineman from Oklahoma, wouldn’t be with the Panthers right now if the Saints hadn’t traded up to the spot in front of them two years ago in the draft. The Panthers subsequently took Thomas Davis, who is good at linebacker, but Brown is just a bulldozer on the line.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Theme Songs & Founding Fathers

And now the latest dispatch...

Theme Songs – Is it just me, or are theme songs for live sporting events and their pre-game broadcasts now ubiquitous? Monday Night Football and Hank Williams Jr.’s “All My Rowdy Friends,” is certainly the gold standard and thus, the target of much imitation. NBC’s Sunday Night Football features Pink in a low-cut dress singing to a Joan Jett tune. While that one is serviceable, more and more I see some random show featuring an “up and coming” band playing to a backdrop of assorted highlights. The problem? Most of the tunes are awful. They simply don’t match the tempo of the action. You need a heavy beat and the cuts of the band need to have a near circus / P.T. Barnum /showmanship feel to it. It must be spectacular in presentation. What’s the best one out there right now? ESPN College Gameday and Big and Rich’s “Coming to Your City.” It flat out rocks. Blends country with a hip-hop flare thanks to Cowboy Troy. No questions, hands down. It’s the gold standard for the genre. Many will imitate, but few, if any, will match “Coming to Your City” and college football.

Brewing – Fantastic show on History Channel the other night. Modern Marvels: Brewing. If you have any interest in beer, or our Founding Fathers, it’s well worth your time. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, all brewers of beer. James Madison even proposed a national brewery. Yes, taxes going toward the brewing of this wonderful beverage. Just think if the government tried it nowadays, what great brand names and slogans the editorials would come up with. The new rallying cry for revolutionaries around the world could be “No taxation without fermentation!”

Other great stories from Modern Marvels: Brewing and a quick online search revealed Washington’s very own recipe for porter. Yes, soldiers fighting for our very independence brewed their own out in the field. Yards Brewing Company in Philadelphia actually brews and sells (if you’re ever in Philly, pick some up for me) an Ales of the Revolution selection.

Here’s a great question for you, which came first, beer or bread? Experts aren’t sure. In Ancient Mesopotamia beer was a way to preserve grain. There’s other wonderful history in the show too re: the Pilgrims, King Midas, Medieval monks in monasteries, imports, and microbrews. So next time you crack open an ale, lager, porter, or stout, give a toast to our Ancient brethren, our Founding Fathers, and brewers old and new. There’s history, health, and wisdom in every drop. Cheers!

Cigar – Recently tried the Padron 6000, a Nicaraguan Figurado. Rated one of the 50 best cigars by Cigar Aficionado. Earned a 91 rating. Fantastic if you’re giving yourself a treat, but too expensive to fill your humidor with. Personal choice for the price/taste equation is still the Belinda Black robusto. But for a special occasion, such as braving the lunacy of a shopping mall this time of year, the Padron is an excellent choice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkeys, a Thank You, and 'Ball

Happy Turkey Day to one and all!

Turkey awards: Michael Richards, better known as Seinfeld’s Kramer. Apparently someone heckled him during his stand-up routine at The Laugh Factory and Richards went into a verbal tirade against the man. Good for him for going after the heckler, but then he started dropping the N-word on the guy. Come on. You CANNOT use words like. Period. Drop all the F-bombs you want (depending on where and when), but not the N-word. No way, no how. Whether you’re a racist or not, using that word will stick to you like The Scarlet Letter. After reading the supposed transcript, and there’s a video clip on the internet too, it doesn’t matter how much you apologize. As Shakespeare wrote in MacBeth, “What’s done is done, it cannot be undone.”
Absolutely loved him in Seinfeld, probably the best show ever. Always wanted to see more happen with the rest of the cast. None of their other shows really worked out. Personally I think the writers should have spun Kramer off into his own show. Same character, different scene. Kind of like the show Joey came from the show Friends. Okay maybe a bad example, but same concept.

2nd Turkey award: Rutgers. Everyone was in love with the undefeated underdog. Heck, I even saw a preview for Rocky Balboa during your game against Cinncinnati. But then you went and lost the game. Haven’t heard a word about you since. “Keep choppin’” though, you’ve had a helluva season.

A big thank you to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, or as “Primetime with the Packman” calls them, “Switzerland,” since no one ever cheers against them during football season. Thanks to them shutting out the ‘Noles 30 – 0 in Tallahassee, we’re going to get a new offensive coordinator. I think there are a lot more problems than just the offensive play calling (see lack of offensive line blocking), but perhaps someone new can bring new life, new energy, and a more modern offensive arsenal – face it, as several collegiate experts stated, the ‘Noles offense was outdated and predictable – to the once unstoppable juggernaut.

USC v. Notre Dame – Hey, you know how I feel about the holier-than-thou Golden Domers. Can’t stand ‘em. Hope USC bulldozes them from one end of the Coliseum to the other.

OSU v. Michigan rematch – I have no problem with it because I do believe they’re the two of the best teams right now. But there’s also two more weeks of football plus conference championship games. Having been on the side of the ‘Noles when FSU beat UF at the end of the regular season in ’96 and then had to play them again for the National title and lost, I can say, there’s nothing to look forward to in the game. If you beat them again, it’s well, see, you were supposed to, and if you lose, it’s well, you couldn’t win it when it mattered. If there is a rematch the Michigan fans will love it, the OSU fans will bemoan the fact that our college football bowl system is horrid. But wait, we’ve all known that for a long time. And a playoff system couldn’t work, because the players would miss too much school. It must be especially difficult for the NCAA basketball teams, since they travel for weekend games during March Madness and must keep traveling for each consecutive round they make it too. Hmmmmmm.

Personally I think Arkansas looks incredible right now. Can’t wait to see them tangle with Florida in the SEC title game.

If I were in charge of a bowl game, I’d try as hard as I “da’ gum” could to match Florida State against South Carolina. Bowden versus Spurrier for another game. You don’t think people would travel to that game? The ratings would be great too. People would call me a genius for making that game. Oh if I could make an extra format for next year’s NCAA Football 2008, I’d put in an optional playoff system, as well as a “fan petition” system to pair up teams with close records if playing with the bowls. Nice hunh?

Now back to the turkey, cranberry, stuffing…

Friday, November 10, 2006

ACC, Fall, Beverages

Been a long time, but too busy to explain. So pour a cold one and let's ramble.

My beloved 'Noles - Whoa is me! A record of 5 - 4? The only true bright spot is the number of underclassmen we are playing. Our starting defense is almost entirely second stringers. Seventeen freshmen have given up their red-shirt status because the Noles needed them to suit up and play. Don't get me wrong, these are not excuses, I'm simply pointing out a ray of hope for the future. A reason to be excited. Still think Weatherford’s a great QB, but I love what Xavier Lee brings to the table. Reminiscent of a former QB by the number of 17. Who’s that you say? Charlie Ward. I know, I know, let’s not anoint anyone with anything just yet. But if these guys all stay in Tallahassee and stay healthy, we should be "pretty dag 'gum good" next year. Of course that's a big IF. And IF that’s the case, look out ACC.

Wake Forest – One word. Incredible. Absolutely love their disciplined, intelligent style of play. They’ll practically change the entire playbook depending on who they’re playing. So many different looks for Jim Grobe and company. I’ve been singing his praises for a few years now. Look at what he does. Look at how he recruits. He has a vision for the Deacs and it’s coming to fruition. The fear for WFU – some school is going to throw the bank at Grobe. Hopefully he’ll stay in Winston Salem, but within a year, just watch, the offers from some big schools (see Michigan State) will come.

UNC-Chapel HillButch Davis is a fantastic hire, I mean a FANTASTIC hire. Look at how he rebuilt Miami. It was loaded with his recruits when Larry Coker took control. The Tarheels sent a message with this hire that, like Florida (ugh, both schools I personally loathe), they are committed to winning both in basketball and football. And if you’re a Carolina fan, you’ll have to smirk in the sense this hire puts even more pressure on Amato at NC State.

Fall – Love the weather right now here in the Carolinas. 50s at dawn/dusk and mid 60s to low 70s at midday. It’s one of the few times of the year you can practically wear anything you want and be comfortable. Can open up all the windows in your house too. Next weekend plan on taking the kids to an apple farm just east of Asheboro. Have a picnic, pick some apples, buy some apple butter. Not too shabby.

Sam Adams Winter Pack Sampler – Six different ales, lagers, and porters for your imbuing pleasure. I’ve tried half of them so far and they’re pretty good. Always a little hesitant when it comes to these sampler packs, but it’s a great way to try some different stuff in you’re in the mood. Just be sure to pick up a six or twelve pack of a “staple” beer. That’s called covering your ass in case the samplers turn out to be lemons.

Starbucks – Already serving their Christmas Blend coffee. Just feels too early doesn’t it?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fall and Thanks

Beautiful time of year, eh?

If you don’t like the Fall, buddy, you got problems. It’s still warm enough for shorts during the day and cool enough for jeans – your whole closet is fair game and thus, you can maximize your between laundry time until a veritable Vesuvius has piled up. Just keep the ‘ol undies clean okay? Remember what your Momma said, “Be sure to wear clean underwear in case you’re in a wreck.”

The best part of Fall, and yes, I capitalized it ‘cause it’s that damn special, is Football season. What the hell has happened to my beloved ‘Noles? The ACC has finally caught up with them in terms of speed, but the ingenuity of the offensive has disappeared. Sorry Jeff Bowden, but it is what it is. For several years Chris Rix took the blame for you, but now you’re all out of excuses. Why am I able to watch Florida, that most loathsome of a swamp-hole, and feel my jaw drop at their offensive play calling? It’s not that they have better athletes, it’s that they possess better offensive schemes. Guess where those schemes come from? You guessed it – coaches. Seen the way they interchange Tebow with Leak? Why are the ‘Noles unable to implement Xavier Lee into the gameplan? You better use him now, because I’m willing to wager he’s going to transfer in the spring. I think back to the play calling in years past under coordinators like Mark Richt, now the coach at Georgia, and it was brilliant. Even Brad Scott before him had a wide open playbook. And now? Vanilla - plain and simple. Flip over to ESPN Classic sometime. Bowden was known for at least 4 plays from his bag of trickery a game. It kept defenses on their toes and their heads on a swivel – never knew what was coming next. Until something changes they are not a top 25 team. They’re a top 5 team in terms of talent (number 3 recruiting class last year behind Florida and USC), but only top 50 in terms of execution. Maalox Bowl? Tums Bowl? Toilet Bowl? Yes, I’d like to make a reservation…

Damn does my lawn look good right now. Thick, green, lush. Just another reason to love the Fall, if you have a cool season grass like fescue. I used Scott’s Heat Tolerant Blue to overseed after aerating it a couple weeks ago. And though the seed was expensive, hey, you get what you pay for.

Let’s end on a note of “stand up and cheer” patriotism. Thank you Anheuser Busch for your advertisement thanking our Armed Forces. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch what some have called the "Best Commerical" here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

“Pledges,” Boycotts, Heisman winners, and one great Coach

As most of you know, the majority of these dispatches are fairly lighthearted and revolve around the world of sports, beverages, and tobacco – all excellent vices for good ol’ American boys – and all delivered with a healthy dose of smartassness. But sometimes something else catches your eye and just flat out makes you irate, such Hugo Chavez…

Boycott Citgo - Remember the great scene from Animal House,
[Watching Flounder take abuse at ROTC]
"Otter: He can't do that do that to our pledges.
Boon: Only we can do that to our pledges.”
Same thing applies here in regard to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. That fat, pinko, commie bastard has some nerve to come to the United States and call our President, "the devil" and "an alcoholic." If you're an American, and you have something to say about our President, that's one thing. You're practicing your freedom of speech. Hopefully you participated in the voting process too, otherwise your complaints are worth about as much as the hot air that came out of your mouth. But if you're not an American citizen, and you come to our country and insult our President, then don't let the door hit your ass on your way out. Now as for this jackass, I say we hit him in the wallet. Did you know his country owns Citgo. That's right, go to their website and read for yourself. Since his country owns the company, guess who has his hand in the till like it's his left pocket? That's right. El Chewbacca Chavez. So skip boycott Citgo and teach him a lesson. Oh yeah, and if you think the idea of a boycott is outlandish, then why is the 7-Eleven brand of convenient store/gas stations ending their agreement with Citgo?

Heisman Talk – Forget all this hype about Troy Smith, Brady Quinn, and others. The MAN in college football is Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson. Hands down. He’s been a stud since day one, and is truly the most outstanding player in college football. Look at his numbers, watch a game, see for yourself. Everyone knows Oklahoma is going to run the ball yet no one can stop Peterson. Strike a pose young man, you deserve it.

Mario Williams – Houston, Houston, Houston. Don’t you wish you could replay the past? Yes we’re only 4 games into the season, but Williams has yet to record a sack. He’s also being blocked by a single player each game – not even being double teamed?! Apparently some have started to question his effort. Really? That was the concern when he played at NC State. No one’s more physically talented, but so many more have the drive. Hope for his sack he steps up his game before the dreaded “B” word sticks to him. Yes, I mean “Bust.” What makes Mario’s efforts look even worse? Check out what last year’s Heisman winner Reggie Bush is doing for the Saints. Has yet to score a touchdown, but the man is electric whenever he touches the ball. Now they’d started to use him as a decoy, such as the double reverse fake against Atlanta on Monday Night.

If I were my friend, the A.D. of a certain university, and I needed to hire a new football coach, one of the first phone calls I’d make would be to Bob Toledo, the current offensive coordinator at New Mexico. Who, you’re asking? Bob Toledo, former coach at UCLA who went 49 – 32 in seven years. He was building the Bruins into a perennial winner, but then across town at USC, this coach named Pete Carroll started to win everything…Hard to compete in the same town as one who wins national championships, but Toledo was good and didn’t deserve to be fired. The man could flat out recruit, see names like Deshaun Foster, and the only flack fired at him was he needed a new defensive coordinator. But if I were you A.D., and failing to follow the advice of B.C.P. Baby, I needed to hire a new coach, I’d call Bob Toledo. You can thank me later.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ayatolla of Smartassola

Yes! That's right, that's right. The Ayatolla of "Smart ass-ola!" Got it? Good. I have to remind people of this from time to time as they start to look at me through narrowed eyes, wondering, "Is he serious?" Or sometimes, "What is he talking about? I'm not sure but I'll act like I do..." Yes, yes, a rather common occurrence for those who trod on the plains of seriousness without ever looking up or jumping into a puddle. Those are the most suspicious folks, the ones I wouldn't want to open beverages with, or deal in to a hand of "dealer's choice."

For those of you, three so far, that have asked me, "Who's A.D.?" It's short for Athletic Director. Do I really know one, or did I really go into someone's office and spread the gospel of B.C.P.? Maybe, maybe not. Just remember it's the Ayatolla of Smartassola! And that may help lead you to the enlightened land. Yeah!

Did you hear USC was furious about Brent Musberger broadcasting Booty's hand signal of "hang loose" at the end of USC's game? It's apparently his signal to his wide receivers that he's identified the defensive coverage as man-to-man. Come on, chill out and drink a Yoohoo. What are you crazy? Any slob with time to spare and a VCR who wanted to figure out a signal like that could. Troy Smith's of Ohio State was tapping the top of his helmet. Hey USC, what is that rocket science for ya? Opposing coaches pour over game film like dateless guys, okay all guys, over Playboy. And I'm not talking 'bout the articles, if you know what I mean. So lighten up, there USC. If you want to keep it a secret, here's another brilliant idea from the top of the genius pile - don't tell a reporter. What you should be more irate about is your nickname. Who decided to call your teams the Trojans? Obviously they didn't bother to ask Dr. Reada Classicsometime. Trojans? From Troy? Let's see, their best warrior was killed by Achilles, his body dragged around the city, and their city was burned to the ground by the Greeks. To borrow from the Guinness lads, "Brilliant!"

And for all you whiners bemoaning the state of the Panthers. Re-freaking-lax. Go chill out in the stands in the Yoohoo section with USC. The season has barely started. Yes, they're 0-2. But have a little faith in Coach Fox. There's a lot of games left and whole lot can change between now and January. So go crack one open. I am, though it'll be a little stronger than Yoohoo..."Brilliant!" Ah yes. Exactly.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

B.C.P. Baby

Memo to all NCAA Athletic Directors: B.C.P.

Oh you don’t know what that means? Having you been living under a rock for the past two weeks? It means Beware the Cream Puff. Or as I told a certain A.D. friend of mine recently, “B.C.P. baby.”
“What? What does that mean?” He squinted and stared at me, hoping a quick flutter of blinks would erase the word etched all over his face, Fear. His brow furrowed. Sweat rolled down his left temple. He called his secretary, “Hold all my calls.” Then he turned back to me, “Tell me what you know.”
“It’s simple,” I quipped. “B.C.P...Beware the Cream Puff.” His eyes twinkled and he quickly scribbled down everything I said, as if my words were dipped in gold. “Think about it. You’re paying ‘ol Cream Puff U. to show up and get steamrolled. It’s a cake walk for you and a paycheck for them.”
“Yes! Yes, that’s what I did.”
“I know. That’s why I’m here.”
“Oh, so what happened?” A monitor on his desk flashed to life and a message scrolled across the screen F-I-R-E-C-O-A-C-H when he yanked the power cord out of the monitor. “This is madness,” he declared. “Help me. You must help me.”
“I’m trying to, if you’ll stop interrupting me.”
“It’s really rude.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Of course you are. Now, this plan of yours, it’s completely flawed. The first problem is, everyone knows you’ve scheduled a Cream Puff, including your players. So they think they can just show up and win. Now the guys at C.P., they’ve had this date circled on the calendar since last spring. Every time they work out, they're thinking of you. They’ve been gearing up for you for months. They all know if they knock you off, instant fame. Their coaches have been dissecting game films of yours for five months. Your coaches have looked at film on them for five days. So there’s problem number one, Motivation. Your second problem in all of this is Publicity. The game’s not televised, so there’s no exposure. You can’t sell your program to a recruit by telling him you’re barely on TV. If you want national exposure, you play the Big Boys. Think Big Conference, Big Name, Big Program. Play Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. That's how you build a program.”
“I think I’m starting to see.”
“Yes,” I nodded to him, “I bet you are. Now keep writing. Another problem of yours? The Fanbase. You beat the Cream Puff U. Cheesies by fifty points and nobody cares, you’re supposed to. Now if you only win by a touchdown, or, heaven help you, you lose to them, then you’re stuck where you are right now. The fans want somebody fired for it. Could be you, or the coach, or the offensive coordinator. Either way, they want blood.”
“You’re right. There’s nothing to gain from C.P.U.”
“Now you’re talking, B.C.P. baby!”
The phone rang. “I thought I said to hold my calls? Oh, it is? Yes, yes, right away.” A.D. covered the phone with his hand and beamed to me, “This is big!” Then he removed his hand and gushed out, “Yes sir, it sure is…Much better now that I’m talking to you…Well, I think this University and the Tidy Bowl would make a great partnership…Oh yes, December 24th, can’t think of a better time to schedule a game…well come on now, of course we’ll win six games…just fax it over and I’ll sign right now…you too.” And with that A.D. hung up the phone. The Fear was erased from his face and replaced with Pride. He glistened in his glory. “Oh Mr. Myers, my friend, you just witnessed history in the making.” If A.D. would’ve looked closer, he would’ve seen Disgust chiseled on my face. He called his secretary back, “Yes can you look up Little Sisters of the Poor for me? After that I’ll need Perennial Homecoming Loser’s number too.”
As I left his office I hollered back to him, “Review your notes, old friend. I’ll see you next week.”

What a week of football we have coming up! Saturday’s going to be a feast for the fans. My picks? Florida State over Clemson. Notre Dame over Michigan, though I personally can’t stand the ‘Holier Than Thou’ Golden Domers. LSU over Auburn, but bet someone you know the Tigers will win the game and either way, you’ll win some cash. USC over Nebraska in a blowout. Oregon over Oklahoma. Miami over Louisville, their defense will shut down Louisville’s running game. Florida over Tennessee, but it will come down to the final two minutes – hate the Gators too, but this is business. It’s where you learn to pick with your brain, not with your heart. Oh, and my guaranteed win, whoever’s playing Duke.

Heard the song “Sexyback” by Justin Timberlake? No, I’m not gay, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Pretty damn good song. Would never have guessed it was him when I heard it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Can you hear the chorus singing "Hallelujah"? I did. Loud and clear on ESPN Thursday night. What a glorious occasion...the start of college football!

Finally the doldrums of summer sports are over and the clash of gridiron titans has returned. We are blessed as spectators of modern epics. The ancient Greeks must marvel in their grave to witness the spectacle of present day Apollos striding down Mt. Olympus, quiver and bow thundering against the sky and "descending like night" upon stadiums, coliseums, and fields across the country. And bitter rivals feuding in battle like Achilles and Hector. Yes, books of the Iliad take place every Saturday now that college football has returned. Monday Night: The epic clash of perennial giants as Florida State travels to Miami. My prediction: Florida State 21, Miami 19. The victory will pave the way for a second ACC title for the Seminoles.

Speaking of predictions, I made my Superbowl picks back on 7/23/06. Several magazines and sports publications have just released their NFL preview editions including Superbowl predictions. Guess what? I must be a genius because my Superbowl matchup Colts vs. Panthers is ubiquitous. Of course I’ll be cheering on the Panthers, but I am sticking to guns on the pick. The Colts will take it. Of course they’ll have to get by the Bengals first, but that’s for another day.

Baseball: Here’s to hoping Jermaine Dye will win the AL MVP. Always liked him going back to his days in Oakland. Very consistent both in the field and at the plate.

Dodgers: Is there a streakier team in baseball than the boys in blue? They’re either losing 4 out of 5 games or winning 5 out of 6. They’re currently in first place in the West. If they can stay in 1st and anyone but the Giants can take the Wild Card, it would be fantastic. The last thing I want to see is Barry Bolds in the playoffs.

Green Tea: Heard it’s worth a try sometime in lieu of coffee. Perhaps Sunday or Monday…

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sports, Business, & Beverage

Heat - After several days of mid-fall weather, the temperatures in Holly Springs returned to their typical August "scorched Earth" triple-digit heat indexes and shirt-drenching humidity. Once-green lush lawns shriveled up and launched into survival mode. So here's to half-dead yards and maxed-out utility bills...

Hottest team in baseball (how's that for a segway) - Los Angeles Dodgers. Their current streak is 17 of 18 games. Best streak since moving to LA from Brooklyn. Amazing turnaround after their previous losing streak. GM Ned Colletti worked the phones and pulled off several trades that paid immediate dividends. Love the pickup of Greg Maddux. Has pitched several gems and provided a plethora of experience to pass on to the young guys on the staff. Could see him becoming a top pitching coach when he retires. With several of their young prospects blossoming, it'll be a tough decision whether to re-sign Nomar Garciaparra. He's been a real sparkplug for the offense and could win the Comeback Player of the Year, but with his history of oft-plaguing injuries and impending asking price, will Colletti sign him to a long term deal? Personally I don't think so, but I wish Nomar all the best - unless he signs with the Giants or the Yankees.

Sports Illustrated vs. ESPN - I don't know about anyone else out there, but I find myself using less than ever. How many times are the articles you want to read "insider" articles? In other words you are not able to read them unless you pay for them. on the otherhand has virtually every article available to the public. I'm also getting very tired of the constant "shtick" on ESPN. Not every highlight must be emphasized by a creative “slang”-a-dama-ding-dong. I've often wondered why, at times, the play cannot speak for itself. Why must the reports insist on being entertainers instead of broadcasters? The over-advertisement for the ESPN empire has grown old as well. Don't get me wrong, it can be entertaining, but when seeking news and regular columns I’m “allowed” to read free of charge, I prefer Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback is one of the most insightful, informative, and yes, entertaining columns in the sports universe.

AOL – Who didn’t see their demise coming? Long considered the Big Blue Triangle a la Bermuda Triangle of the internet world, it was a great starting point for beginning websurfers. It was the driver’s ed of the world wide web. But once you knew what you were doing and gained a little confidence, you quickly abandoned the vehicle with the extra brake on the passenger side. The problem for AOL, the execs and suits didn’t understand that until their subscriber rated dropped like a rock. While cable users jumped onto high speed servers like RoadRunner, AOL kept pushing their CD mailers and “you’ve got mail” routine. They didn’t change and thus went the way of the dinosaur.

Cuba – Don’t know how much longer El Presidente Castro has left, or for that matter his “younger” brother who looks close to a dirt nap too, but don’t you get the feeling businesses are just frothing at the bit for Castro and Communism to kick the bucket? I wonder how many businesses out there already have plans and cash in place ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Between cigars, tourism, and Fortune 500s – just think of the tax incentives – I estimate close to a billion dollars worth of investment will flood the island. It’ll be America’s playground for several years. The boon in their cigar market alone, simply from reputation, will be staggering to watch (and enjoy). As far as tourism is concerned, with the current state of air travel and monetary exchange rates for the dollar in Europe, doesn’t the sound of a cruise from Miami to Cuba seem awfully tempting?

Coffee – Recently partook of a bag of the Starbucks Yukon blend.
Dark, strong, and a great taste. Very pricey too but worth the occasional treat. For the Mrs. and me it was while vacationing in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Returned to our norm at home but broke out the remnants of the Yukon Blend once or twice a week. Killed off the bag last night. Amazed to see even our usual 8 O’clock brand creeping up in price. With the number of countries growing coffee and its establishment as a newfound cash crop, I had hoped the price would start to fall. On the contrary, coffee seems to be more popular than ever. Part of me wonders if there is a correlation between the rise in coffee sales and the banning of cigarette smoking in most buildings and eateries. We humans do need our vices, don't we?

D-Generation X – How great to see the reuniting of The Showstopper and Triple H on WWE. Pretty funny new logo too. Don’t know how long the storyline will last, but I hope it’s for several more months. The male soap opera that is professional wrestling is at a peak of entertainment for its fans right now. Great to see Batista finally return to the ring too.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Yo! Ratings and the Rock

Yo! I'll get to that in a minute...

What a beautiful game it was Sunday evening to commemorate the NFL Hall of Fame induction. Okay the actual plays on the field were a bit of a yawn, but it was football. It was Madden and Michaels. Don’t even like Michaels very much but the two of them together in the booth means one thing…the National Football League.

Here’s an idea for a huge ratings boost for the annual Hall of Fame game. The teams with the first two picks in the NFL draft should play in it. I know, I know, that means the two worst teams from last year would be in the first pre-season game. But it also means two of the most publicized college players would square off every year. Imagine it this year, the Texans and number 1 pick Mario Williams would take on the Saints and number 2 pick Reggie Bush. How many more people would tune in to an otherwise meaningless game? It’s instant drama and instant ratings. They could start advertising for it in April during the NFL draft. Especially in a year like this one, where so many people considered Bush the best player in college ball. What’s even better, Bush and Williams would have a very high likelihood of facing one another on the field, since Bush is a running back and Williams is a defensive end. People would tune in in the hope of witnessing such a collision. So if I were the new Commissioner, that’d be my first ruling.

Loved the new ad for Madden ’07 calling the release date “Maddenoliday” and the allusion to Christmas. Great marketing, as if it needed any.

Yo! Have you seen the trailer for the movie Rocky Balboa? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it doesn’t look half bad. Maybe after the debacle that was Rocky V, there’s nowhere to go but up, but given the right release date, it should make a decent profit.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Superbowl Predictions

As many of the sports mags and websites present their NFL previews and trainging camp “insiders,” it’s time to unveil my Superbowl pick.
First off, the division and league champions:

AFC North – Have to stick with the Steelers. Although the loss of Bettis will hurt them more than most people seem to think, they’ll pull out the division title over the Bengals.

AFC South – No Contest. The Colts will run away with the division.

AFC East – Here’s my surprise pick of the year. The Dolphins. Yes, I am picking them over the Patriots. They won their last six games and Nick Saban is building a winner. He is also my pick for Coach of the Year.

AFC West – A very tough call, but I pick the Broncos in what is arguably the toughest division when you look at all four teams.

NFC North – I pick the Vikings to take the division. Made some great pickups, like Hutchinson from Seattle, and the Bears are just too weak on offense. Great defense, but Grossman and company will not be able to score enough points. Teams will copy the Panthers’ blueprint from last year when Carolina pounded the Bears in Chicago in the playoffs.

NFC SouthPanthers. Great defense and solid offense anchored by the ground game. Steve Smith will not have as good a year as last year, but he won’t have to.

NFC East – Everyone loves the Cowboys but the Giants will win the division. Bledsoe is a sitting duck in the backfield for Dallas, and although T.O. will behave himself for most of the year, he will blow up at least once on the sideline. Dallas will also find out why the Colts got rid of Vanderjagt when he misses a game winner. Eil Manning for the Giants looked incredible last year and I look to him for further improvement.

NFC West – The Rams and especially the Cardinals have improved, but the Seahawks are still the best team in the division. Give the Cardinals one or two more years and they will win the West, but not this year.

Conference Champions:
AFC – Indianapolis over Miami.
NFCCarolina over New York.

My Superbowl pick:
Although history shows the two losing teams from the conference championships of the previous year almost never both make it back, I am picking the Colts and Panthers to face off in Superbowl XLI. And in one of the best moves of the offseason, the Colts’ Adam Vinatari shows once again he is worth his weight in gold, or in this case Vince Lombardi-trophyesque-silver, as he kicks a game winning field goal.
Colts 28 – Panthers 26.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Summertime: Everytime I hear the word I can’t help but think of the song Summertime by Sublime. Fantastic beat for a cold one, the water, and some friends.

Great vices for the Summertime:
Cigars: Want a good smoke? The Myers house cigar is a Belinda Black Cubano. I personally love it for the taste and the price. But with the recent arrival of JR Cigar’s catalog and the August edition of Cigar Aficionado, I can’t wait to try an Oliva Serie G. Also want to try an Excalibur 1066 either the Dark Knight or the Merlin. Yes part of that is the name/English teacher combo, but I've read great reviews too.
A great little write-up in Cigar Aficionado about the Seersucker Suit. I already know what you’re thinking, just read it and then, like me, you’ll be thinking, “Hmmm, maybe I need to try one on.”

Beer: What a great word. Say it out loud. No, this time say it out loud. See what I mean? Great word. If you still don't agree drink one then say it. Repeat if needed.
Two beers for you to try. At a recent Myers cookout the Redhook Blackhook Porter disappeared in twenty minutes. Excellent taste and an American brew. Yes it’s a dark beer but even if you don’t like dark beers, this one is worth a try. If you like coffee and/or chocolate I think you’ll like this Porter. If not, give the rest of the six-pack to someone who does. You’ll make someone very happy and raise your friendliness rating. What a win-win situation. As the Guinness guys would say, “Brilliant!”
By the way, the Redhook website is fantastic. In all of my surfing I find it’s the breweries that seem to have the most interactive websites.

2nd beer: Yes, this one is dark too, but for a different crowd. The Bridgeport Black Strap Stout is an American brew that rivals the finest stouts of old world Europe. The “Black Strap” refers to the molasses used in the recipe. If you love dark beers like Guinness, you’ll love this one. I discovered it on the shelf in Lowes Foods and served it at the cookout and a card game amongst friends. When we play cards it’s low stakes, lots of laughs, and even more drinking. Bottom line, the only Bridgeports left in the cooler were bottlecaps.
Okay all this beer talk is making me thirsty…

In summation:
Don’t like dark beers, the Redhook Porter may change your mind.
Like dark beers, treat yourself to a Bridgeport Stout.

With the recent celebrations of Flag Day and July 4th, and the growing anti-American attitude of the world, I’m personally looking more and more at breweries owned by American companies. Both of these fit the bill. Americana baby, get with it!!!

Baseball – The sports that passes the time as we wait for football. Watched the All-Star game last night. A very entertaining and quick game. If regular games were over in just over 2 and ½ hours maybe they’d be easier to watch. Unless of course you’re playing beer-baseball, then time really doesn’t matter, but I digress. Couldn’t believe the NL blew it in the ninth. As much as I am an NL fan versus an AL fan, I do love Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox. That guy will tell you exactly what he thinks. It’s gotten him into trouble, but he’s a proverbial breath of fresh air in our uber-cliché world. Did you hear what he told the AL players before the game? He said if you don’t get in tonight, too bad, try to make it back here next year. How awesome is that? I remember just a couple years ago the mentality was every person had to play. Not with Ozzie, he just wants to win.
It is still completely idiotic of Bud Selig to grant home field advantage in the World Series to the winner of the All-Star game, but what do you expect from Selig? He is a man that seems to grasp at greatness and strength while sitting in the corner with a large pointed hat on his head.

Another baseball note: I learned this last night, 20 of the 32 teams are within 6 games of 1st place in their respective divisions. A blip of excitement awaits for the second half of a 162 game season. Every game counts? Only in football.

Football baby, football. Less than two months away!