Friday, April 30, 2010

Upland Brewing

This past weekend, I returned home to Indiana to the annual Blue and Gold Game in South Bend.  We had a great time taking James (incidentally, the field at ND was the first place he ever touched grass) back to the promised land, and I got to be tour guide to Alby and K for their first trip there.  We might have some converts.  :)

Anyway, on Saturday Night, Alby and I went to get some cards and Beer at the local Super Target.  While perusing their selection, I stumbled on Upland Brewing.  I was particularly excited (without reading the label) thinking this beer came from Upland Indiana near where I grew up.  I sadly learned later that it was Bloomington, but I can’t hold that against them.

Upland Brewery seems to be one of the more popular Craft Brewers in the state of Indiana.  Stemming from a brewpub in Bloomington, Upland seems rather popular, but I really do not like their Website Design or Color Scheme.

Both beers were in the $7-$8 price range for a 6-pack and were reasonably stocked, which I took to show it’s popularity.

On to the beers……………….

Bad Elmer’s Porter- I love the old man on the label….he reminds me of Alby.  Definitely need to get him a bowler. 

I will note that the bottle didn’t have the alcohol rating anywhere on it, but it did have a “Born On Date”.  I would assume that is due to it being a natural beer with few preservatives.  Research showed that this beer is rates at 5%ABV

Color -A dark amber color with a rich foamy head.

Nose- Heavy malt overtones with a slightly sweet chocolate and fruit backing.

Taste- Medium to full bodied, malty beer with hardly any hoppyness to the flavor what-so-ever. The roasted malt could be a little overbearing if that is not your style, but still quite refreshing.

Finish- Heavy malt aftertaste with a dry finish. 

Dragonfly IPA
Dragonfly India Pale Ale – This was the beer I drank while we were playing cards in the hotel.  In fairness to the beer, the first few were a little warm (damn you Indiana Blue Laws) and that might have affected my initial review. 

As per the Porter, the Label had no ABV (6%) and instead carried a Born On Date.  The Purple and Green color scheme was a little off-putting and the Upland Logo made it look a little busy.

Color – I know, I know…..I drank this one straight from the bottle.  We were in a hotel, so I didn't want to taint the beer with cheap plastic cups.

Nose – I did swish a little around in a cup though to test the nose, and it was not as Hoppy as I would expect, with only a slight flowery nose, with a focus more on caramels and malts.

Taste – Sweeter than I expected it to be, this is no Hop-Bomb.  It’s rather mild (40IBU) for an IPA and lack of hoppyness was disappointing.  You can pick up heavy barley in palate and the carmel/toffee mix didn’t work for me.

Finish – The true flowery hops in this IPA comes with the finish, something I am not quite used to.  A little dry, there was slight citrus aftertaste that (to be honest) reminded me of Lemon Pinesol.

As a hops lover, I was sadly disappointed in the IPA….I really really wanted to like this beer.  It just didn’t do it for me, and I would probably rate it only 2 out of 5 stars. 

The Porter fared better.  Although not something I would seek out, I wouldn’t complain if I were severed it.  A strong 3.5 (almost 4) out of 5 is (IMO) a fair evaluation of this brew….although it could go higher if it were on tap.

So, I know I have some friends in IN…..have you tried these beers before?  If so, what did you think?  If not….I would recommend the Porter.


A bad idea no matter what

Ok, I love drinking games and challenges.  They are some of those things that bring groups together and make just an average night in the pub or house party a bit more enjoyable.

From me drinking a Guinness in 5 Seconds (I still say I made it) to the 100 Beers in 100 Hours…..they are all good fun.

BUT, there seems to be an upward trend where amateur hour comes into play……most notably, the 21 shots on your 21st Birthday.

Not only is this stupid (21 x $4 at least = $84 for something you won’t remember), but it can be deadly……as in THIS Case.

While I don’t want to be anyone’s mother and nag……please drink responsibly, especially if you are new (less than 3 years) to drinking.

If you want to do drinking games, stick to Quarters or Beer Pong.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A timeline history of Cigars

The word “cigar’’ is believed to have come from “sikar,’’ the Mayan-Indian word for smoking.

Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba to find the natives smoking large, tube-shaped constructions of plant leaves filled with tobacco. He smartly took some back to Spain.

Israel Putnam, who would become a general in the Revolutionary War, brought cigars to his home in Connecticut from Cuba in 1762, launching the industry in the Connecticut Valley.

In 1880, 271 Massachusetts companies made more than 50 million cigars, according to the Tobacco Institute.

In 1975, Pink Floyd released the song “Have a Cigar,’’ a cynical ode to greedy record execs.

In 1983, Boston’s Ritz-Carlton held a black-tie cigar dinner. By 1994, more than 2,000 such evenings were reportedly held across the country.

In 1993, the European Journal of Cancer reported that the risk of dying from oral cancer is four to 10 times greater for cigar smokers than nonsmokers.

The most scandalous moment in cigar history: Monica Lewinsky testified in 1998that she and President Clinton once used a cigar for sex.

In 1996, Demi Moore held a smoking cigar on the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine. The headline: “Demi Moore’s Secret Passion.’’

2006 The most expensive cigar in the world at the time came on the market. The Cohiba Behike ran $440 apiece and $18,860 for a box, if you could find one. Only 4,000 were made.

2009 A British tabloid quoted an unnamed source who claims hunky soccer star David Beckham enjoys pricey stogies. Bad news, given that Beckham has been photographed using an asthma inhaler.

2010 Alejandro Robaina, a legend in the Cuban cigar business, died last week at 91. He smoked cigars until the end, according to the Associated Press.

Bourbon Recipes

Everyone knows I love whiskey.  From Irish to Scotch, Single Malt to Blends, I loves me some booze.

I am particularly intrigued by recipes with whiskey in them, such as THIS , and today I stumbled on a great one.

The article is HERE, but to wet your appetite a little…..below are some of the recipes involved:

  • Kentucky Bibb salad with sweet Kentucky bourbon vinaigrette, crumbled goat cheese and toasted pecans
  • Grilled Kentucky bourbon shrimp skewers
  • Baby back ribs with bourbon mustard sauce
  • Bourbon baked beans
  • Bourbon brownies

I can’t wait to try a few of these out…..especially Bourbon Brownies.


Another sign of the Apocalypse

Who would have ever expected a Kennedy to be cut off in a Bar?

Only 6 shots of Vodka?  What a lightweight.  The main article can be found HERE.

What I particularly find funny….that he forgot his uncle was the President.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wine- Tastes Great and Less Filling (Plus good for you and your pocketbook)


Two interesting articles lately have outline how wine not only tastes great, but is good for you and an awesome investment.

In the first article we learn resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke.  Resveratrol is found in the skins and seeds of red grapes and can be translated over to Red Wine.

The second article describes how  top-quality wine has outperformed one benchmark U.S. stock index for 13 years and withstood two recessions.

Overall, this is a win/win in my book, and as far as I am concerned….Jesus got this one right.

Waiter…..can I have a bottle of your best red please?

Friday, April 23, 2010

P-Diddy: Part 3

First there was THIS, then there was THIS, and now…..P-Diddy is back in the media again.  I swear, he is becoming the Smokesandbooze Trainwreck.

I love how at one point, he doesn’t even know the brand flavors.

I swear I will never drink this product again (especially after I rated it so poorly). 

It seems the only way they can stay relevant is to keep making stupid statements. 

Oh well… least I got to troll :P


video platform
video management
video solutions
video player

It’s all about the fans

Yeah Right.

Kelly Clarkson is upset to learn that a cigarette company (Diarum)  is a sponsor for her upcoming show in Indonesia.

She contends that she never approved the promos, doesn’t smoke and would NEVER be the ambassador to youth smoking.

"If Kelly Clarkson goes ahead with the concert, she is by choice being a spokesman for the tobacco industry and helping them to market to children." – Matt Myers- President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Tobacco Free Kids is another one of those organizations that that think taxing tobacco is the solution to all America’s woes.  With such nuggets at their site: Tobacco Taxes – A win win for CASH STRAPPED STATES (emphasis mine), Count down to a smoke free America, and Victory for Kids Health -President, Congress Increase Tobacco Tax to Fund Children's Health Insurance; it’s a small wonder how this group leans. 

What I particularly love, Tobacco Free Kids is an American Group….all about taxation and “criminalization” here in the US…..but the concert tour is in INDONESIA.  They can’t even be satisfied without meddling in other countries.


"Unfortunately, my only option at this point was to cancel the show in order to stop the sponsorship. However, I can't justify penalizing my fans for someone else's oversight. This is a lose-lose situation for me and I am not happy about it but the damage has been done and I refuse to cancel on my fans." – Kelly Clarkson (from her Blog)

Sure thing Kelly.  It’s about the fans.  How about the real motivator, MONEY.  You can’t cancel or else you lose it.  If you can’t find a replacement sponsor, you loose it. 

In the end, Kelly has since canceled the sponsor.  While I applaud her right to choose….you know it is only about the image, one that as a celeb, she is afraid to tarnish.  It’s a fine line they walk….and some barely have enough talent to walk away unscathed.  I really doubt that having her up there will cause even 10 new kids to start smoking (I want to be like Kelly….smoke Diarum and win American Idol….but I am in Indonesia….?), but at least we have forced our morals on another country.

I say Smoke Up Johnnie…’s the only way to enjoy life :P

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gin and Juice Cover by The Gourds

Many Many Many thanks to MF for posting this on his FB page.  I would have never known there was a Country Gin and Juice cover out there.

I would definitely rate this in the Top 10 of cover songs…..MOST EXCELLENT.

Check it out.


Morton Ahput – An Interview

I recently had an opportunity to interview Morton Ahput, the latest member to our little Facebook Community.

From it, I learned that not all Muppet/Puppets are the same and Sesame Street is only the path of the quick and the dead.

Morton Opens up on such subjects as Smoking, Drinking and his close friendship with Yoda. 

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did, and watch for his vblog coming soon.

Question - How long have you been away from Sesame Street? What was the nightlife like there and who is the swingingest Muppet in the bars.

I was never on Sesame Street. I am not an entertainer, I am an office drone. I have never had a flair for theatre and drama like all those limp wristed sissies that you, prancing about on TV like a bunch of Kansas City … I work for a living. I work in a soul crushing job, at a soul crushing office, in a soul crushing cubicle processing bills and purchase orders while a company slowly crushes my soul into a fine powder. That being said, Oscar the Grouch can really tie one on. Every so often he gives me a call and we go our carousing all night, getting ripped off of Rumplemintz and nasty tequlia. Mexican sugar squirts he calls it. God, he is one nasty puppet. He hates Cookie Monster by the way. I think Cookie owes him like $250 bucks that he used to buy his smack, and never paid him back. Dude’s pissed.

Question - I notice that you like to two fist drink, booze in one hand...Pepto in the other. What is your favorite type of Booze and do Muppets need hangover remedies like regular people?

As a red blooded American, I am partial to bourbons. Of course I drink it all, but bourbon’s my favorite. Being a tightwad, I like Knob Creek. It’s the working man’s fancy booze. And yes Virginia, even Muppets suffer the next morning. Even more so, because when you try and take some “hair o’ the dog” Rolf gets pissed.

Question - In Muppets the Anthology, it indicates that your Father raised you after your Mother ran off to do the TV Commercial Circuit. What impact did that have on your life and how do you cope when you see your cousin the Snuggle Bear getting all the glory that could be yours?

It pisses me off, seeing puppets on TV whoring themselves for ads. It’s the modern form of the minstrel show. Its blackface for puppets. Its shameful, degrading, and I hate it. I wish that my cousin would get a decent office job and settle down.

Question - Have you ever considered possibly auditioning at the Muppet Theater? If so, what act would you try to incorporate with and if not, why?

I would never do theatre. I am not here to entertain you, I am here to earn a living, have a drink, and perhaps hit on Janice whenever she’s drunk enough (which is ALL THE TIME)
Question - If you were a onetime act at the Muppet theater, what would be contained your Entertainment Rider?
I would never do an act. But if I would, I would have to demand that my show is not taped, never broadcast, and only puppets are allowed into the theatre. I like you as a friend Ed, but I am not here to entertain you. I’d help do your taxes in a heartbeat though.


Question - What kind of music are you into?

I have wide ranging tastes, but I am very partial to jazz.

Question - Are you much of a smoker? Is it cigarette, Cigars and/or Pipe (or more illicit substances?)? What is the brand of choice?

I recently burned my hand on a stogie. That is not good when you are made of fabric, fiber fill, and other flammables. But you can’t come between a man and his stogie, so its worth it. A couple of stiches, and I am good as new.

Question - Muppets have played a major roll in entertainment. How did you feel about Lucas Film going to a CGI Yoda in the Prequels vs the Original Trilogy?

Well, you know my feelings about the role that puppets play in entertainment; mostly that we have been exploited and abused for years and finally we are organizing and educating, getting the word out that we are people too dammit. That being said, Yoda is a close friend of mine and he took it personally when ILM laid him off to move to CGI. He took it very hard, and didn’t come out of little hut for almost a month. But he’s doing better. He’s lucky though, he still had a lot of money from his savings, and unlike another certain green sell out, he worked a percentage off the net into his contract. He was able to invest his money into small used car dealership in Sarasota. Good guy. He send me a bottle of scotch every Christmas and I try to stop by whenever I’m in Florida.

Question - What is your favorite color?


Question - What does the future hold for Morton Ahput?

I am starting a blog where I can blog about puppet right, and about my thoughts on Puppet Supremacy. Its not that I hate people (well actually I do) but I really think that we need to keep puppo-centric issues on the forefront. And remember, I do not hate individual person. Its people as a whole that need to die.
Oh, and I am going to start a VLOG. Look for it on youtube in the coming weeks

Go Go Power Rangers

Power Ranger Jones Escapes Dui Charge

Former MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS star WALTER JONES has had charges for driving under the influence (DUI) dismissed by an Alabama judge.

The 39-year-old actor, who played the original Black Power Ranger, pleaded not guilty to the accusation following his arrest in Huntsville, Alabama in July, 2009 and he was let off from the charge after a court hearing in the state on Wednesday (21Apr10).

A reason for the dismissal has yet to be revealed but Jones was allowed to walk away a free man after handing over $200 (£125) to cover his court costs.

Who could forget this tidbit-

Medea Vodka…to cool for school

A few weeks ago I ran across the Perfect GEEK Gift, Medea Vodka….the only Vodka with a programmable label.

That’s right, a programmable label that allows you to put up to 6 messages (255 Characters ea) in and display in a running loop.

What is really cool, the LED Display is held on by a clear rubber ring, so when the Vodka is finished, you still have a cool toy to put on your desk.

I attempted to make a video of the display, but it didnt come out as good due to lighting and YouTube stripping the music away (2010 Space Odyssey), but I will try and get a better video up soon.

I also want to give a shout to Bowery & Vine Wine and Spirits.  A very fast and professional On-line service that will ship this product. 

Debi and I will taste this and review probably after the weekend.

Cheers :)

Finally an Ice Cream I can get behind

Described as a “Light coffee and malt ice creams with whiskey caramel swirls and english toffee pieces”, I think Ben & Jerry’s have finally hit a homerun with Bonnaroo Buzz.

While I realize that it is “Whiskey Flavor” vs real Whiskey, but it does sound like a nice attempt. 

To bad there are no Scoop Shops in CoMo area.  :(

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beer preferred by Looters

OK, I know it’s FAKE, but it’s still funny


Ciroc Vodka Part 2

I’ve already reviewed Ciroc Vodka and voiced my opinion not only how bad it was, but also P-Diddy’s comments.

You can read about it HERE

Well, I’ll just let the video below speak for itself.

7-11 Gameday

7-11 is making a bold move, leveraging the fact that they are the US’s 3rd Largest Beer Distributor (who knew) and prior experience with their Yosemite Road brand of wine, a move that places them in the self branded beer market.

The launch, happening this month at stores nationwide, aims to take advantage of the current economic downturn, placing an emphasis on low cost while still maintaining quality.

While I am initially skeptical of this, I do realize there are some great low priced beers out there (STAG comes to mind), so this could actually work. 

The beer itself comes in two styles:

  • Game Day Light (3.9ABV and 110 calories per 12 oz) comes in two varieties.
  • Game Day Ice (5.5% ABV and 115 calories per 12 oz) 

Obviously a price range of $6.99 to $8.99 for a 12pack, and 24oz singles from $1.49 to $1.89 each is not going to break anyone’s bank.  I just hope that it doesn’t go the route of Steele Reserve or Camo.

Another thing I like about this project, is that the brewing is being done by the 150-year-old City Brewery in La Crosse, Wis, the largest contract brewer in the nation.  Not only does this help re-establish brewing in a tradition powerhouse (Hey Alby, we were just talking about that vanishing tradition), but it also puts a large player behind the scenes.

Unfortunately, there are no (GASP) 7-11s in my area.  So if you see this, please chime in below in the Comments section with your findings.

We would love to hear from you.

I’m glad I don’t live in Philly

Since the city of Philadelphia cannot manage their own budgets, they have decided to look at legislation to tax Cigars, Chewing Tobacco and Rolling papers.

Considering that the city has a budget gap projected to be $150Mill, you would think they would be going after big money areas….yet if you read between the lines of THIS article, that doesn’t seem the case.

Proposed annual $300 per household trash fees and a $.02  per ounce on sugary beverage tax seem to have now been either rejected or on the verge of…..especially when the Teamsters are involved.

So, instead of focusing on cutting costs and raising taxes that effect everyone, the Council believes this will be a success based on the fact

"An overwhelming majority of Council members will support this measure.  It's at a point where we're trying to find any measures we can find consensus on." - Councilman Darrell Clarke

Under Clarke's legislation, chewing and pipe tobacco would be taxed at 36 cents per ounce and individual cigars at 3.6 cents per ounce.

And what does this sin tax possibly raise for the city?  A whopping $6Mill. 

When will smokers and drinkers say enough is enough?  I guess when Philly turns out like Detroit and is abandoned because services are not provided and taxation keeps getting higher.  Or maybe, when the zombies attack, there will no longer be taxes, yet enough Smokes and Booze for everyone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Superman is a Lousy Drunk

Who could forget this scene in Superman 3?

A few shots of Johnnie Walker and he is off the reservation, spilling peanuts, using them to break bottles and then whipping out the Heat Vision to further mess up the bar.

Defiantly not on my list of superheroes to buy a beer for.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crazy Story

Ok, You know it’s bad when the Cigar Nazis are ticketing store owners, in their own stores and after hours.

Yet, HERE is a story from MA, where that very thing happened.

The shop owner, , had the store closed for over an hour and was enjoying a fine stick in the confines of his private business.  One person spies through the door and in ends in a $100 fine.

Granted, $100 isn't that much…..but given the taxes that states impose on tobacco sales, and I am sure that bites into his margin.

Now, I get the laws to prevent smoking in bars and restaurants (not that I agree with them), but here is a man…..obviously aware of the health issues associated with smoking, in him private area once the doors are closed for business.  Personally, I wouldn't have opened the doors when the cops knocked.

What I particularly find interesting is the draconian “We must protect you from yourself” attitude from Mr. Peter Mirandi, health director of Danvers.  "I'm driven by science, and all our regulations are science based and they're reasonable”.

Hello Peter, I think warnings have been driven down our throats long enough and we are aware of the dangers…….we smoke because we ENJOY IT.

If there is a shining light from this, the shops business has picked up.  I only wish there was a link to his website so we could do remote orders and support him even more.

Here’s to you Mr Cigars-R-Us man.  Thank you for exercising your right of private ownership.

This toast is for you.

Bar Chairs

I get some funny emails, but today I got one that I thought I would take a look at:

I'd appreciate if you can give me some feedback on our site:
I realize that you are home decor-modern design connoisseur :) I'd like to hear your opinion/feedback on our products. Also, it'd be swell if you can place our suede wassily chair in a bag set in a bag on your blog.
Thank you,

Ok, what the hell.

I will first say, I am not endorsing a product here that I don’t own.  I’m just giving my opinions on pricing and style.  Feel free to give some feedback for Nancy in the comments section below, and….if something looks good, pick one or two up (looking at you Tom, with the new Bar…you need chairs).

Bar stools are one of those things that you have to find the perfect match for.  In some cases Bar Stools tell as much about the person as the liquor itself behind the bar, and looking at the selection here at the Regency Shop, I could definitely see some that would fit my budget and style.

Just looking at their range, three stools jump out at me-

  • Bar Stools Leather (Sale Price $75) A stylish black leather onBar Stools Leather chrome, this modern style chair is art vs form fuction.  I like the lines what appear to be a solid base.  The price is very attractive for a leather product, and this could be something I would see in my house.
  • Bombo Bar Stools (Sale Price $55)  While I might Bombo Bar Stoolsnot see this strictly as a bar stool, I could definitely see have a single one of these around in a corner acting as a tall chair or to be carried out on the deck for Tiki Night.  The rounded curves and low back could be very appealing, and I love the Charcoal/metallic color. 
  • Scoop Bar Stools (Sale Price $65)  I loves me some retro, and these Scoop Bar Stoolschairs scream it.  Lounging back with a martini in hand….man, it doesn't get better than this.  The price is good and it would be easy to pick up a pair.  It would even be fun to have a white AND black one for a high chess table or drink stand.

So there you go.  My opinion, nothing more….nothing less.  I haven’t sat in these, this is strictly my initial reaction.  If you guys like them, or one of the other product, the prices look good.

I would be curious if Nancy were to make any sales from this though.  This is one of the reason’s I am even doing this.  I would love to show marketability through this site, so maybe some of the liquor or cigar distributors will send some samples or gifts my way.  Either way, with the economy the way it is…..we have to pass on whatever deals we can…

Pusser’s Rum – Give me some Nelson’s Blood

In an attempt at full disclosure, I have been a fan of Pusser’s Rum for many years.  I was first introduced to it in the British Virgin Islands and found it to be an excellent stand alone drink.

However, you don’t run across if very often here in Missouri, although I have seen it available at the Tinderbox a few times.  In fact, I tried to special order a unique decanter (now available online) for a Trafalgar Day Party I wanted to have.  To be honest, I think the distributor thought the order way to small to handle and didn’t wish to ship.

Their loss.

Anyway, it appears that Pusser’s is now making a resurgence here in MO (although the bottle I have came from Michigan) and hopefully more people will give this one a try.

To begin with, here a is a quick video on the History of Pusser’s Rum and it’s usage in the British Navy.

Ahhh Yes, those great days when you would get a twice daily issue of 1/2 a pint of rum. 

As a fan of Naval History and Literature (Hornblower rules) you can see why I would gravitate to trying “The Official Rum” of the British Navy.

Like many of my drinks, I normally drink this neat…..although adding water brings out the honey in the flavor and reminds me quite a bit of a heavy mead.

I also wanted to add before I give my notes, that there are varying alcohol levels based on the country that purchase;  Canadian version is 42% ABV, (the lowest alcohol rum that Pusser’s offers), the US version is 48% ABV and the German version is 54%.  So next time I am overseas, I will try and pick up a German Version :)

Appearance-  This rum looks more like a bourbon than a rum.  The deep amber/orange plays the light well and the drink has great legs on the glass.

Excellent nose with heavy rum and oak tones.  I was also reminded of sorghum or molasses with a hint of sweetness.

Taste- The oaky smoothness goes down with almost no “Burn”.  Heavy vanilla and honey (even more so if cut with water) work the palette.  There is a slight peppery aftertaste and I wonder if that comes from the use of wooden pot stills.

In the end, this is probably my favorite high end rum….even more-so than Pyrite.  The unique flavors are definitely a man’s man drink and something that pairs well with cigars (I was doing NUB Cameroon's when tasting) or could even be a good aperitif.

If you want to try something different, this is the way to go…..I truly believe the website’s mantra….it is the Single Malt of Rum.

I give this a 5 out of 5.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cuban cigar legend dies aged 91

From the BBC

Cuba's most famous cigar maker, Alejandro Robaina, has died aged 91.

Mr Robaina, the only grower to have a brand of Cuban cigars named after him, had been a roving ambassador for the country's state-run cigar industry.

But more typically, he could be found on his small farm in the Vuelta Abajo region of western Cuba, tending his beloved tobacco plants.

He was famous for their quality and always told visitors: you have to love the land and care for it.

If Cuba's hugely profitable state-run cigar industry had a face in recent years, it was that of Don Alejandro Robaina, says the BBC's Danny Aeberhard.

Veils of cotton

And what a face this venerable gentleman had - bronzed and deeply wrinkled, like one of his prized, dried tobacco leaves, he adds.

Although he met kings and celebrities, this modest man was perhaps more comfortable greeting visitors to his smallholding in Vuelta Abajo.

There he would show people how to nurture the plants, protecting them from the fierce glare of the Cuban sun with veils of cotton cloth.

Their quality was legendary. When the tobacco grows, he said, it talks to you, telling you what it needs - and you must listen.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saint Vivian

We were at Coolstuff today and I picked up something new for my desk, a statue of St. Vivian, Patron Saint of Hangovers.

While the Catholic Church doesn’t officially “sanction” her as such, they do proclaim her protector of epileptics, the insane, single laywomen, torture victims and headache suffers.  Close enough.

Included was a card with the following prayer:


Prayer to Assist with a Nasty Hangover

O merciful St. Vivian.  I ask that you relieve my nausea, soothe my aching head and calm my upset stomach.  I also ask that you protect me from any loud noises or bright lights and provide me with the sense to avoid further episodes of excessive imbibing.


I’ll let you guys know how well works. 

Now my Buddy Christ has a date ….. :)

Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

Yes, you read that right….Cinnamon Whiskey.

Alby was up in Michigan and picked up a bottle of Fireball for me (see, everyone knows I will try anything), so we cracked it open a few nights ago.

First, you gotta love a drink that’s website plays “Fire related” rock music in the background .  Kinda caught me off guard and was fun to jam to some music while checking it out.

 Anyway, the Bottle Presentation is really good.  I particularly like the eye catching Logo, the nice blend of yellows and red on the labeling and honey color of whiskey.

Opening and pouring reveals no whiskey hint to the nose what-so-ever, there is nothing by cinnamon.

The whiskey itself was tried three different ways -

Neat- Sipping wise, I thought initially the cinnamon was overwhelming, but really enjoyed the flavor.  After a few minutes though, you did get the whiskey finish…a very nice aftertaste and smooth burn.

Watered- Did nothing for the drink.  It diluted the flavor of the cinnamon (and that’s the gimmick right?) and totally eliminated the whisky aftertaste.

On Ice- Probably my favorite.  The pairing of the ice and cinnamon created a complex contradiction in your front palette and emphasized the whiskey at the end.  I wouldn’t overdo the ice, because eventually this will melt and you are stuck with the watered version that was a complete waste.

Overall, I would rate this one a B+ as a novelty drink (keep it around for one of those “Check this out” drinks with guests) but only a solid C for general consumption.  If it is a “Whiskey Tasting” night, I think Women would enjoy this more than men, especially with it’s lesser 66% alcohol content….but that is just my opinion.  I know Alby really liked it….so he can post his own comments below.

To be fair, we didn’t try any mixed drinks or cocktails with this one….so maybe next time.

Fireball could however fill the niche for those wanting a little more palatable flavors in their whiskey, a gateway whiskey so to speak, so I do not totally write this one off. 

A night for Charity

Last night Debi and I attended the 7th Annual Columbia Montessori School Trivia Night Fundraiser and Silent Auction as the guests of Mike and Stephanie Flagg.

It was a great time (although we came in 5th…..who knew Missouri Trivia would be so hard?) for an excellent cause, especially when you consider the loot at the Silent Auction. 

One basket that Debi picked out and won is the crux of this posting.  Everyone should attend these types of events when possible, not only to help give back to their communities, but because you never know what is going to be in the auctions or how much they will go for.

Case in Point…….The “Wine Basket”

From Pier 1-

  • Four Stone Coasters
  • Four Wine Glasses
  • Wine Markers
  • Cheese Knife Set
  • Cheese Course Porcelain Plate Set

From HyVee (we think)

That’s quite a haul, especially considering we go it for around $150.

We also bid on and won a tasting for 10 and wine tour of Les Bourgeois Vineyards.

Throw in the Kids books and games for James and it was a pretty productive night for us……but let’s not forget it all goes to Charity.

I wanted to thank Mike and Steph for inviting us….we’ll have to return the favor real soon.

Remember everyone, help out your local charities… never know what you will get :)


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Story Continues….

Yesterday I posted about the two Sanitation Workers here in Columbia MO, who are in trouble for taking 50ish Cases of expired beer from the local landfill.

Today this is the NUMBER 1 News story on Google and a few more things are coming out.

One has since resigned, the other is awaiting the outcome of his HR meeting and Police are trying to determine charges.

What I find particularly funny, their violations:

Human Resources officials say three violations were made, including loitering on site, having alcohol on site and using city vehicles for non work-related activities.


Loitering on site?  I bet it took them all of 15 minutes to load up the truck.  I’ll also wager that if you went to the dump, you would find workers standing around and shooting the shit…are they charged with loitering as well?

Having alcohol on site?  WTF?  Really?  They didn’t bring it in.  They removed it.  I anything, Scheppers Distributing Company should be charged with dumping a controlled substance (alcohol). 

The final one of using a city vehicle for non work-related activities is probably the only one that I can even remotely see as a violation, and that one is weak at best.  How many times have you seen “City Vehicles” at HyVee, Walmart, schools (picking up their kids), the mall?  Just last night I saw a Columbia City Vehicle here in Ashland at the Optimist Club while James was at Soccer practice.  Do all of these people receive citations as well?  No.  This is another trumped up charge.

Meanwhile, Columbia Police are trying to determine if this constitutes a “Crime”, specifically…..them stealing CITY PROPERTY.

The real criminals here are Scheppers Distributing Company.  If this beer was going off……donate it to a Charity Golf Outing, give it to a homeless shelter (they are all a bunch of rummies anyway) or just throw a party.  Don’t just throw it away.  What a waste.

Meet Laura Hall

Laura HallWho is Laura Hall you ask?  Laura Hall is the 20 year old woman from the UK who has recently become the first person banned from every Pub in the UK and Wales.  That’s right, EVERY PUB.

This outrageous ruling also bans her from “buying alcohol at any other establishment or shop, carrying it in an unsealed container or drinking it in a public place.”

You gotta be kidding me. 

Her crime?

She was convicted of a series of public order offences, and had blew off similar bans from local pubs and clubs her home town of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

Now, I have been to the UK several times, and I really enjoy it…..and I have seen some out of control drunks there too, so either this woman is off the reservation or she is being made example of.  Either way, talk about infringing on someone’s rights. 

I often refer to the UK as a Nanny State, but this time they take the cake.

The Daily Mail Article can be found HERE.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It pays to follow Smokes and Booze

Awhile back, I posted about a contest with Cigar Obsession.

Thanks to everyone on Facebook who I suggested joining for doing so.  We definitely need to promote these things and show our support for other websites and Vendors.  Last time I checked, over 30 of my friends have since joined.  Great Job guys.

Anyway, today I went out and looked……and Randy from MySideoftheBar won 1st place.   He didn’t even know!

Of course I called him up, and now I am looking forward to my finders fee ;)

Seriously though, congrats to Randy and Thank You to both Cigar Obsession and Reyes Family Cigars for the contest.

It’s Tax Day

Just though you would like to know how your tax dollars are being spent.

  • U.S. Embassy in Germany- spent $555 in December on gratuities that included 15 bottles of Jim Beam bourbon and three dozen coffee mugs.
  • U.S. Embassy in Belgium paid more than $5,000 by opting for "red and white wine for Christmas gratuities,"
  • The U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg spent $7,160 on alcoholic beverages for "gratuities for local contacts,"
  • U.S. Embassy in Greece last year spent more than $20,000 for "representational liquors for Christmas gratuities."
  • US Embassy in India in September of 2008 spent $7,554 for a "supply of alcoholic beverages for gratuities."
  • U.S. Embassy in Slovenia last year for "Gratuities: Whiskey Jack Daniel's." – Grand total $3,814
  • U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York bought 106 bottles of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc wine at $27.99 per bottle for official events.
  • And finally…..$41.98, also by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, for "purchase of two one-liter bottles of Jose Cuervo Clasico Silver Tequila for official events at the U.S. representative's residence."

In total, since 2004, records show alcohol purchases at the State Department a little more than $1 million.  At $200K a year (average), that would have employed matched the average income for an American Home for 4 Families a year.

Happy Tax Day everyone.

10 Things the Internet Has Killed or Ruined

Really, I just want to focus on item number 2 in THIS List, Barroom Arguments.

Now Randy over at MySideoftheBar goes out considerably more than I do, so I would love to here his feedback on this….but for the most part, I think this article hits it right on the head.

It used to be you could kill many hours and even more brain cells drinking beer and arguing over arcane trivia. Who was a more fearsome slugger, Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron? Who'd win a one-on-one match between Kobe Bryant and Doctor J? (Sorry Kobe--we love ya man, but in 1972 the Doc was unstoppable.) Now whenever there's a question of fact, somebody just whips out a smartphone and does a search on Google or dials up Wolfram Alpha and runs a statistical analysis. Where's the fun in that?

I can think of countless hours in bars arguing over songs, singers, movies, women, beer……all of which could have been turned into just sitting there in boredom…..turning me into an alcoholic.

Damn you Al Gore for inventing the Internet.

Right or Wrong

I apologize for the lack of updates these past few weeks.  I have been busy with work and really haven’t had time to provide any updates.  That doesn’t mean I haven't been taking notes, so there are lots of things coming up in the near future.

Today just happens to be a great story, right in my own backyard.

From the AP -

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Two sanitation workers in Columbia, Mo., are in hot water after allegedly using a city truck to fetch beer that was going to be destroyed at the city landfill.

N.H. Scheppers Distributing Co. took 1,500 cases of expired beer to the landfill on April 1. It was delivered in two shipments. The first was destroyed immediately, but the second wasn't, leaving 700 cases of Budweiser and Michelob Ultra awaiting a similar fate.

City officials say two Solid Waste workers decided not to let the beer go down the drain and loaded about 50 cases into a city pickup. A week later, city officials found video from the landfill showing them in the act.

The Columbia Tribune reports that one worker resigned and the other could face disciplinary action.

Police are trying to decide whether any laws were broken.

I don’t know how to feel about this one.  In a way, I am proud of the guys who went to rescue approx 50 cases…..but on the other hand, it’s BUD. 

I also wonder, is there a regulation within the Waste Department that everything has to be left there?  If they would have found a wallet on the ground with $500 in it, picked it up and drove off in a city vehicle….would they have suffered the same fate? 

Finally, where is the uproar of N.H. Scheppers just dumping the beer in a landfill.  What does that do to the environment?  What about recycling all those bottles?  Think of the children!!!

Oh well, since it was BUD… least they would have never known it was skunky or not.  :)

Here’s to you Mr. Columbia MO Sanitation Worker.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Interesting Vid on Cocktail ingredients


Thanks to Rex for forwarding over this video. In it, the bartender discusses the legalities of using Raw Egg in drinks and customer infused liquors and bitters.

Personally, I have more faith in a bartender than most cooks in a kitchen….I watch Kitchen Nightmares ;)

Enjoy and post your thoughts below.

Life imitates Hollywood


Ok, you know when a story can almost be lifted from the movie “Strange Brew”, you are in trouble……but here we go:

After a hard day's work on his Crystal Beach home, Everett Johnston just wanted a cold beer.

He grabbed a Tecate Light out of his fridge and began to sip. But, Johnston said, something didn't taste quite right. He said his wife looked in the bottle and noticed a rat's head floating inside.

The remainder of the article can be found HERE

No compare that to this clip……..

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cthulhu and Rangtang – A Deadly Combo


After a shitty day at work, I invited Mike over for a few drinks and to watch The Call of Cthulhu.

First, I just can’t say enough regarding how GREAT the movie was.  It was my second time watching it and it was still awesome second time around.  Here is a trailer:

To start off the night, I had picked up a bottle of RangTang.  You might recall, I reviewed the marketing of this product awhile ago (you can read about it HERE) and finally found it at my local.

Here was Mike’s Reaction - “It looks like Tang.  It smells like Tang.  It tastes like Tang.

To me, it reminded me of something I tried in my youth…..where I took some orange chewable aspirin, crushed them up and tried to mix with water like Kool Aide.  Not a great plan.

It does mix well with 7-Up/Sprite and I haven’t tried any other cocktails, but I would have to be hard up to dig into this bottle again.  It was just to TANGY.

Overall, the drink was OK.  Not to be sexist, but it is kinda Girly and was probably designed to hit that market.  It would make good “Foo-Foo” drinks, so maybe if you get someone to drink enough…then you can pull a RANGTANG…..but I got a feeling it will be sitting on my shelf for some time (or at least until Tom comes over).  It didn’t make me show my “O-Face” and aside from the name, I wouldn’t buy it.

Of course, we switched to Beer (St. Patrick’s Best and Legbiter Ale from Strangford Lough Brewing Company) and Laphroiag.  Needless to say, the night improved immediately.

Web Statistics