Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review: Top Five Beverages



This was a good year to pour beverages down my face.  Let’s review, shall we?







Hendricks Martini at Mortons / Barb’s Hendricks Martini

Having just be turned onto Hendricks Gin, I surprised Ryan the bartender at Mortons after he asked if I wanted my usual Saphire martini.  After my first he suggested that it would be good with muddled cucumber and a salt and pepper rim.  “I’ll have one of those then.” I said.  And then had another.  And maybe had another.  Now Barb makes a delicious version.  But don’t drink one if you’re trying to sober up.
4 La Chouffe

This was my go to Belgian Rally Ale during the base playoffs.  And it worked right up until game seven.  Yes I had neglected to have any on hand for game six.  Oh, and they gave me that nice hat during their happy hour at the Belgian Beer Fest.
3 The Mèdoc at Le Perraudin

This was easily the best wine I had in Euroland in 2011.  I wish I had taken a picture of the board so I could tell you exactly what it was.
2 Fedefweisser at Hotel Villa Melsheimer in Reil 
I’m not sure if it was the intoxicating view of the Mosel Valley, the intoxicatingly delicious Zweibelkuchen, the intoxicatingly leisurely bike ride along the Mosel or our intoxicatingly cute waitress Amy, but this young, cloudy sweet wine hit the schpott.
1 Westvleteren Trappist Ale 

They only sold it twice a day during the Belgian Beer Fest.  And I just happened to be in line returning my glass.  JT had poopooed it.  But he lies with his lying mouth.  It was real and spectacular.

2011 in Review: Top Five Worst Deaths

As noted in a previous blog entry, this was a year in which some truly horrible and death-worthy people died.  But it was also a year in which some great and visionary people died.

I’m not going to apologize for their being the significant college band of my college days.  Yes, they are mostly a parody of themselves now.  But back before MTV would show them, they were greatness.  RIP World Leader Pretend.
4 Peter Falk
Columbo is one of my all-time favorite shows of all time forever, always.  And that would not be the case without the greatest of Peter Falk.  And try to find a funnier movie in the 70s than The InLaws.
3 Christopher Hitchens
One of the great thinkers of the last half century.  His writings in The Nation, Slate and The Atlantic were go to articles for me the past decade.  I wish I was 1/10th as literate as he.
2 Steven Jobs
There were personal computers before the Mac, There were MP3 players before the iPod.  There were smart phones before the iPhone.  There were tablet computers before the iPad.  But, through his leadership and guidance, the gold standard for all of those products were set.  If only more tech companies would follow his ethic of “we’re not going to sell crap that’s barely usable”.
1 Valcav Havel
There certainly is something romantic about a writer leading his country against socialist totalitarians and into freedom and democracy.  It doesn’t hurt that I’ve personally seen the greatest that is the modern Czech Republic.   Mmmmmm beer and pork knuckle.   What???

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Review: Top 5 Worst Moments

As years go, 2011 barely makes it into the top 10 of 21st Century years – thank you 2005.  While there was some incredible travel and food and wine and beer, there was also the hottest summer ever, and not in the fun way.

5 Landing in Gander, Newfoundland 

There are few worse words you can hear while flying over the north Atlantic than “We’re having to turn back and land in Gander Canada.”  It’s even worse auf Deutsch.  A mysterious smell and a lack of Airbus 340 mechanics at this remote “international” airport delayed my trip to Europe by a day but added an additional country to my three country trip.  But the fuckers at Canadian customs didn’t even stamp my brand new passport.
4 Landing in Frankfurt Flughafen 

After 24 of practically no sleep, I finally was in Frankfurt.  The problem, however, was that the original plan was to acclimate for a day in the ‘dorf.  But now there was no time to acclimate and didn’t even know what the new plan was.  Eventually JT talked me off the panic limb and I made my way to Brussels.
3 Signing Up for AT&T Uverse

This was largely chronicled in this blog posting.  But I want to reiterate and make it perfectly clear – FUCK YOU AT&T!!!

2 Wallet Stolen in Paris 

To be fair, if you’re going to get your wallet stolen, doing so in Paris makes a far better story than Pleasant Grove.  But try not to do it with less than €150 and your pre-paid train ticket home from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt.
1 David Fucking Freese

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 in Review: Top Five Best Deaths

This was a great year for horrible people to die. Or for great characters to die horribly.  As morbid as it may seem, this is a list of my favorite deaths of 2011.



5 Muammar Quadafi – Sirte, Libya 
Finally our long national struggle to spell his name the same way twice is over.
4 Osama bin Laden – Abbotabad, Pakistan
My Tea Party friends tell me killing bin Laden is the only good thing Barack Hussein Obama has ever done. OK, I don’t have any friends in the Tea Party. And by “friends in the Tea Party”, I mean “friends”.
3 Kim Jong-Il – Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Truly one of the most horrible humans in a family of horrible humans.  He let his people starve as he ate and drank and fucked like a king.  But I hear it was an excellent golfer.  And he was most certainly a snazzy dresser.
Gustavo Fring and Uncle Tio – Santa Fe, NM
*Spoiler Alert*

But really, this happened months ago.  And if you’re not on board with Breaking Bad by now, then too bad*.

They essentially died together.  Although Gus lasted a few glorious seconds longer.  And I included Uncle Tio because I was having a hard time coming up with a fifth great death.

And this is as good of a time as any to go off on my Gus Fring rant.  While Breaking Bad is the greatest TV show ever (sorry about that. The Wire, you’ve been usurped), the character of Gus Fring, no matter how great he was, was simply unbelievable.  One becomes a drug lord for the money, the glamor the women and the power.  Not to pretend to be a manager of a chicken joint.

* But if this has persuaded you to try Breaking Bad and you wish to order the first season on Blu-Ray, may I recommend this link -- Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 in Review: Top Five Worst Meals

Well it’s that time of year again when spirit of Christmas possesses me to start compiling lists of the good and bad thing that happened the previous 12 or so months.

Let’s start at the bottom with the worsts and work our way up to the good.  After all, the first rule in blogging is end on a high.  That and bring the hate. 

5 Remmington’s, Addison TX
Thanks to an ill-advised Groupon purchase (not by me) I got to experience the horror that is Remmington’s.  If you ever want to go to see a restaurant that has given up and is content to serve frozen crap, Remmington’s is the place.
4 Lowell’s, Seattle WA

Sure, the last meal on a trip to Seattle will be the worst because of all the sadness from leaving the greatest city in the USA from all your tears over salting your eggs.   Plus it gave both Lidia and I food poisoning.
3 Sonny Bryan’s BBQ, Irving TX

In researching my probably never to completed survey of the chain BBQ joints of Dallas, I eventually made my way to the highly touted Sonny Bryan’s. It’s almost always at the top of D Magazine or the Dallas Observers list of best BBQ place (reader’s choice).

BBQ is a quick and easy paleo lunch.  So knowing which chains I could stand is important.  I can’t always make it to Meshack’s, Hard 8 or Pecan Lodge.  And while the sausage was ok, the brisket had zero smoke flavor.  In fact, it had zero flavor.
2 Art’s Crab Shak, Hayward CA

Sometimes after a long plane ride and another long car ride to the final destination – Yosemite – you can’t always be too picky where you eat.  Add to that my foodie instinct to try local joints and  dive joints and one is sometimes presented with a toxic mix of dumb locals going to a cheap-ass restaurant.  After all, Freud did say, “Sometimes a dive is just a dive.”  The food was obviously frozen sometime in the 90s.  And is margarine really that much cheaper than butter?
1 Random Indian Restaurant, Paris France

Admittedly, the food wasn’t that bad.  Some of it was pretty good, in fact.  But considering that it cost JT a toenail, me my wallet and both of us about 20 minutes on a very crowded Paris bus, it just wasn’t worth it.

Merry Christmas from the Late, Great Marvin Sease

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Freedom of Speech Infiltrates Texas

SatyrCongratulations to the Jester King Brewery for beating back the Jackbooted Thugs known as TABC by now being abled to call their beers “beer” and their ales “ale”.







As of result of yesterday’s ruling, beer in Texas may now be labeled as “beer” and ale may now be labeled as “ale”, regardless of alcohol content. Breweries and distributors are also no longer prohibited from independently telling consumers where their products may be purchased, or from communicating truthful and accurate information about their alcohol content. That means Jester King will now be able to add a “Where to Buy” section to our website, as will all other breweries selling beer in Texas.

“In a remarkable (though logically dubious) demonstration of circular reasoning” Judge Sparks writes in his ruling, “TABC attempts to defend the constitutional legitimacy of the Code through an appeal to the statutory authority of the Code itself.” Referring to the required use of the terms “beer”, “ale”, and “malt liquor”, he writes “TABC’s argument, combined with artful legislative drafting, could be used to justify any restrictions on commercial speech. For instance, Texas would likely face no (legal) obstacle if it wished to pass a law defining the word ‘milk’ to mean ‘a nocturnal flying mammal that eats insects and employs echolocation.’ Under TABC’s logic, Texas would then be authorized to prohibit use of the word ‘milk’ by producers of a certain liquid dairy product, but also to require Austin promoters to advertise the famous annual ‘Milk Festival’ on the Congress Avenue Bridge.’”

I still can’t get an Oregon winery to ship to me and breweries still can’t sell their wares at their breweries (unlike Texas wineries and every other state’s breweries).  So more work needs to be done to rid ourselves of these tea-totalling despots.

Read the whole article here.