Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More reader submissions

I swear, some of the best stuff I get are reader submissions.

This week, both Alby and Jen have submitted a few things-

The initial two are from Alby….and I really love the first one (to bad it is discontinued and was a limited run.

Over at Gizmodo is a review of Tuned Pale Ale which has a beer bottle with pitch notes added to the side (fill to the line) and a box that doubles as a drum.  I can only imagine the drunkfest there.Create an Instrument With Tuned Beer Bottles

Then Gizmodo jumps into the fray again (we know where Glenn wastes his time) and talks about the resurgence of Canned Beer, Why it is better and the Craft Brewers using it.  A very interesting read.

Finally, Jen reminds us of what it was like living in Europe with an article about an Oktoberfest Alternative, the Altaussee Fest in Austria.  Running from Sept 4-7th, this smaller fest encourages traditional dress and is very reachable from Germany (ok, what isn’t).  I think we all fondly remember Fest Tents and Brats…..and I personally loved the smaller fests (especially in the spring) to the masses at Oktoberfest.  The crowds are smaller, the beer is better (actually filled vs 3 inches of foam) and you can get a seat.  Due to short notice, this might have to backburner until next year….but it is something I would definitely put on my calendar.

Thanks Guys.  :)


I’m going to live forever

Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)

Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

But why would abstaining from alcohol lead to a shorter life? It's true that those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors - job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods. (They also don't get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.)

But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables - socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on - the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers. (Watch TIME's Video "Taste Test: Beer With Extra Buzz.")

The sample of those who were studied included individuals between ages 55 and 65 who had had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years. The 1,824 participants were followed for 20 years. One drawback of the sample: a disproportionate number, 63%, were men. Just over 69% of the never-drinkers died during the 20 years, 60% of the heavy drinkers died and only 41% of moderate drinkers died.

These are remarkable statistics. Even though heavy drinking is associated with higher risk for cirrhosis and several types of cancer (particularly cancers in the mouth and esophagus), heavy drinkers are less likely to die than people who have never drunk. One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. As I pointed out last year, nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party.

The authors of the new paper are careful to note that even if drinking is associated with longer life, it can be dangerous: it can impair your memory severely and it can lead to nonlethal falls and other mishaps (like, say, cheating on your spouse in a drunken haze) that can screw up your life. There's also the dependency issue: if you become addicted to alcohol, you may spend a long time trying to get off the bottle. (Comment on this story.)

That said, the new study provides the strongest evidence yet that moderate drinking is not only fun but good for you. So make mine a double.

Monday, August 30, 2010

See what happens when you give them Booze


First there was Goats Do Roam Wine, and that lead to Goat Night.  Now what do we do?

First we have Drunken Baboons (no, that does not include me) rampaging in through wine country in Cape Town.

Then we have someone feeding wine to cattle.

Personally, I would love to try the beef, but it appears they are not shipping yet, with only LARGE orders and pickup available.  If anyone wants to road trip with me to Canada, I’m game….Sezmu Meats, here we come.

The funniest video I think I have seen

So, following the success of THIS video, I was sent another….this time a compilation of Drunks doing stupid stuff.  I thought it was pretty funny and was about to post it…when another was sent to me.  I’ll let you judge which is funnier.




Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gin and Raisin’s do not mix


Ok, this story has so much wrong with it…it’s not even funny (ok, Gin Soaked Raisins is Funny).  First, I totally agree…..she knew WHAT the probation was, so I get that.  However, unless she was roaring drunk (I can’t find more on her story), why is she being saddled with the penalty of non-drinking for a stalking charge?  Speaking of stalking, one of my friends can’t even get the cops to arrest the person who beat up his wife, nor stop the kids how harassingly call his daughter…..yet this woman gets piss tested. 

Secondly, my Mom had chronic arthritis, and I know that very few (if any) of the drugs did her any good.  If this woman says Gin soaked raisins help her….then power to the people.

Finally, she has Lung Cancer.  Perhaps the booze helps there too….but ultimately, does the jail system want to take up the liability for this woman over a minor parole violation?  Who is going to pay for her treatments while she is in?  What happens if she has a serious relapse and becomes a ward of the state?  Logic here dictates, slap an ankle bracelet on her and confine her to her house.  Use the same one that busted Lindsey Lohan.  Then you know if she is drinking and she has to be at home.  Case closes.


EASTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania woman says she wasn't raising a glass, just raisins. Fifty-nine-year-old Judy Russo is accused of violating her probation by drinking and blames gin-soaked raisins she used to treat her arthritis.

A Northampton County judge sentenced Russo this month to time behind bars after she failed a urine test. Her attorney filed papers Monday saying she turned to boozy berries because conventional medication doesn't work.

Attorney Jason Jenkins said his client has learned her lesson and asked that her sentence be reduced to probation or time served. Jenkins says Russo also has lung cancer.

She had been on probation after pleading no contest to a stalking charge.


Friday, August 27, 2010

More on Fried Beer – An Interview with the Creator.

As you may have read here the other day, I blogged about a new delicacy in the realm of State Fair Fine Dining – Fried Beer.

Fried BeerI offered up a prize to whoever went out and actually reviewed the product first, but I am happy to announce that I am rescinding that…..due to the fact that the creator of the product himself, Mark Zable, has stepped up to answer a few questions.

While this is the third interview here on S&B, HERE and HERE are the others, this is the first with a “Real” Celebrity. 

So, without further ado….here is more on Mark and his invention- Fried Beer.

  • So, I guess the first question would be, are you from Texas? Yes, born and raised.  Live currently in Plano.

How long have you been dabbling in the "Fried Arts"?

  • We have owned a concession stand at the fair for 47 years.  I started managing it for my father about 15 years ago.  I also owned a wine bar and bistro on Dallas for a short time.

Is this your first entry into various State Fair competitions? 

  • This is my 3rd year to enter the Big Tex Choice Awards and my 3rd year as a finalist.

What other fried items have you made?

  • Chocolate covered strawberry waffle balls.  ( made it into Food Network Magazine) and last year Sweet jalapeño corn-dog shrimp.

As to the fried beer, obviously you will not be giving out the recipe soon (or will you?)

  • I am keeping it a trade secret.  That is the reason I spent $15k to file a patent application on the process.  This is the FIRST alcoholic food ever created!

With regards to the Fried Beer, here are some other questions-

  • How did you come up with the idea? Sitting in a bar looking at the appetizer menu.. Fried calamari, nachos, wings, bor-ing!  Said to my wife, "someone should fry beer" then we looked at each other and new that was our goal was to create it.
  • Could you describe the taste? Tastes like initial bite of pretzel a bit salty with a smooth beer wash down and aftertaste.
  • Are you able to say what kind of beer you use? Currently using Guinness.  I am seeking a partnership with a beer company to co-brand and have had 1 offer so far but I did not feel that beer would increase my  customer interest in Fried Beer.
  • Have you experimented with other types (not just brands) of beer? I can use any liquid product.  After the fair I will be making other alcoholic versions. Since I patented the process of putting a liquid in a dough based product, no one can knock me off.  My next thing I will create is a edible tequila bites!
  • What is the portion size?  At the fair you will get 5 to an order. Cost? 10 coupons or something close to that.


  • What is the alcohol content and were there any complications entering the competition due to alcohol being involved? It depends on the liquid/beer used.  Whatever the alcohol content is in the liquid is what it would be even after cooking. 


  • Now that you are a finalist, when do you find out if you win? The cook-off is on Labor Day.


  •   What is the Grand Prize? A friggin awesome trophy, a plethora of press and a mob of customers.  All great things!


  • Do you have any plans to mass market your product, and how can I get some here in Missouri? I am absolutely looking into mass production.  I can totally see my product in bars and taverns around the globe.  However, a lot of logistics to figure out since most wholesale food distributors are not licensed by state alcohol agencies for delivery and distribution. On the other side, beer wholesalers are not equipped or setup for food distribution.  My product falls down both lines of business.  It is going to take some regulatory negotiations before I can see selling them around the country. Worst case is I have to ship overnight air with dry ice.


How cool is that.  Not only is this the first Alcoholic Food and it’s made with Guinness (a favorite here as S&B), but also  Mark was very kind to actually read the blog and respond to our interview.

We all wish him the best, and look forward to seeing him holding the “Friggin Awsome Trophy” on Labor Day. 

If you want to check out his website, visit him here at Friedbeer.net.

Jack Daniels Day

Finally, a national holiday I can get solidly behind.

While I don’t drink Jack Daniels very often, I have been known to pick up a bottle or two from time to time.  This is not because I find the product inferior (although I am not fond of their reduction in alcohol content over the years), but mostly due to my love for smaller distillery products and Single Malts.

That being said, I do truly recognize and appreciate what Jack Daniels has done for American Whiskey.  That is why I support 100% the current petition to make Jack Daniels’ Birthday a National Holiday.

You can read about this and sign the petition HERE


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vodka in the news and S&B’s new title

We have three stories about Vodka in the news today, and two of them are kinda interesting.

In the first (HERE) we learn of the David Barton gym chain that is hosting cocktail hours after “boot camp” training events.

In the second article (HERE) you have a Protein based Vodka called Devotion.  I have never seen the Jersey Shore, nor do I know who Mike Sorrentino is…..but now we booze at gyms and “healthy” booze, I might have to start working out.


The final story involves our least favorite Vodka and it’s spokesman P-Diddy.

In the past we have written about CIROC Vodka (HERE, HERE, HERE), and now we have them claiming to be “The Official Vodka of Summer” (HERE).  While I think it is great that they are rewarding their loyal fans….isn’t it a bit pretentious to make that claim?  I realize it is all about marketing and since “Summer” is not copy written…..anyone can say anything they want about it.  I guess since it is P-Diddy, it’s cool to do.

Therefore, I declare Smokes and Booze to henceforth be referred to as the Official Blog of Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall.

Only in Texas

Man, there are some things that just amaze me about the human race…….today is a perfect example.  You know when the State Fair of Texas announces 2010 Fried Food Awards and for two of them you need ID and to be over 21….something cool is afoot.

We have a large contingent of readers in Texas….and I would put together a prize if someone sampled/reviewed (with pictures) the Deep Fried Margarita and Fried Beer.  Email me at edbellmcse@gmail. or ping me on FB if you want to undertake this task.

State Fair of Texas announces 2010 Sixth Annual Big Tex Choice fried food awards

The finalists for the 2010 Big Tex Choice Awards are:

Big Tex Choice Awards finalists

Deep Fried S’mores Pop•Tart – Pop•Tart with a sensational chocolate, peanut butter, s’mores flavor is lightly battered and deep fried. Hot out of the fryer, the sinfully diet-busting treat is drizzled with chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream.

Deep Fried Frozen Margarita - Sweet and creamy funnel cake batter is deliciously coupled with margarita ingredients. Fried, dusted with a tangy lemon/lime mixture and lightly spritzed with south of the border flavor, it’s served in a salt rimmed glass. 21 and over, ID required.

Fernie’s Fried Club Salad – Super colossal 12” spinach wrap surrounds generous layers of juicy diced ham & chicken, shredded iceberg, crunchy carrot strips, ripe cherry tomatoes, shredded sharp cheddar and hickory smoked bacon. Deep fried until lightly crispy; topped with deep-fried sour dough croutons on a stick and served on a bed of shredded romaine lettuce. Choice of creamy Ranch, Thousand Island, or Caesar dressing.

Fried Beer - Beer-filled pretzel pocket is deep-fried to a golden brown. One bite and the escaping beer serves as a dipping sauce. 21 and over, ID required.

Fried Chocolate – A white chocolate mini candy bar + a cherry are stuffed into a mouth-watering brownie, dipped into delicious chocolate cake batter and deep fried to perfection. The finished product has a warm just-out-of-the-oven taste! Topped with powdered sugar and a rich cherry sauce and served with chocolate flavored whip cream.

Fried Lemonade – Lemon flavored pastry is made from Country Time® lemonade. First baked, then fried, this taste tempting treat is glazed with a mix of lemonade, powdered sugar, and lemon zest.

Texas Fried Caviar – Texas version of a southern good luck staple. Black-eyed peas are fried and laced with special spices blended with Old Bay® Seasoning and are available in regular or spicy. Find them in Cotton Bowl Plaza (next to Cotton Bowl steps), inside the Auto Building, near Big Tex, and on the Thrillway.

Texas Fried Frito Pie – A generous portion of savory Texas born chili accented with a hint of sharp cheddar encased in everybody’s favorite corn chip. Lightly battered and fried to a golden brown perfection. With its smooth medley of hot, meaty, crunchy, salty, cheesy, oozing goodness, “Texas Fried Frito Pie” transports you back to the golden age of Fair Food.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

RIP Bill Millin

It’s my blog….I will put here what I want to.  This has nothing to do with Smokes and Booze….but it is something I think is newsworthy.

Bill Millin, Scottish D-Day Piper dies at 88.

LONDON — Bill Millin, a Scottish bagpiper who played highland tunes as his fellow commandos landed on a Normandy beach on D-Day and lived to see his bravado immortalized in the 1962 film “The Longest Day,” died on Wednesday in a hospital in the western England county of Devon. He was 88.

Second World War piper Bill Millin at his home in 2004.

The cause was complications from a stroke, his family said.

Mr. Millin was a 21-year-old private in Britain’s First Special Service Brigade when his unit landed on the strip of coast the Allies code-named Sword Beach, near the French city of Caen at the eastern end of the invasion front chosen by the Allies for the landings on June 6, 1944.

By one estimate, about 4,400 Allied troops died in the first 24 hours of the landings, about two-thirds of them Americans.

The young piper was approached shortly before the landings by the brigade’s commanding officer, Brig. Simon Fraser, who as the 15th Lord Lovat was the hereditary chief of the Clan Fraser and one of Scotland’s most celebrated aristocrats. Against orders from World War I that forbade playing bagpipes on the battlefield because of the high risk of attracting enemy fire, Lord Lovat, then 32, asked Private Millin to play on the beachhead to raise morale.

When Private Millin demurred, citing the regulations, he recalled later, Lord Lovat replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.”

After wading ashore in waist-high water that he said caused his kilt to float, Private Millin reached the beach, then marched up and down, unarmed, playing the tunes Lord Lovat had requested, including “Highland Laddie” and “Road to the Isles.”

With German troops raking the beach with artillery and machine-gun fire, the young piper played on as his fellow soldiers advanced through smoke and flame on the German positions, or fell on the beach. The scene provided an emotional high point in “The Longest Day.”

In later years Mr. Millin told the BBC he did not regard what he had done as heroic. When Lord Lovat insisted that he play, he said, “I just said ‘O.K.,’ and got on with it.” He added: “I didn’t notice I was being shot at. When you’re young, you do things you wouldn’t dream of doing when you’re older.”

He said he found out later, after meeting Germans who had manned guns above the beach, that they didn’t shoot him “because they thought I was crazy.”

Other British commandos cheered and waved, Mr. Millin recalled, though he said he felt bad as he marched among ranks of wounded soldiers needing medical help. But those who survived the landings offered no reproach.

“I shall never forget hearing the skirl of Bill Millin’s pipes,” one of the commandos, Tom Duncan, said years later. “As well as the pride we felt, it reminded us of home, and why we were fighting there for our lives and those of our loved ones.”

From the beach, Private Millin moved inland with the commandos to relieve British paratroopers who had seized a bridge near the village of Ouistreham that was vital to German attempts to move reinforcements toward the beaches. As the commandos crossed the bridge under German fire, Lord Lovat again asked Private Millin to play his pipes.

In 2008, French bagpipers started a fund to erect a statue of Mr. Millin near the landing site, but the fund remains far short of its $125,000 goal.

Bill Millin was born in Glasgow on July 14, 1922, the son of a policeman, and lived with his family in Canada as a child before returning to Scotland.

After the war, he worked on Lord Lovat’s estate near Inverness, but found the life too quiet and took a job as a piper with a traveling theater company. In the late 1950s, he trained in Glasgow as a psychiatric nurse and eventually settled in Devon, retiring in 1988. He visited the United States several times, lecturing on his D-Day experiences.

In 1954 he married Margaret Mary Dowdel. A widower, he is survived by their son, John.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bard’s Beer, a public service

As I stated earlier, we had picked up some new drinks at our local Hy-Vee.

One that caught my eye was Bard’s Gold-“The Original Sorghum Malt Beer”.  Sorghum Malt?  That sounded interesting, and like something I never had before, so I had to check it out.

As always when I try a new type of booze, I visit the companies website to see what I can learn anything, and with this one….I’m glad I did.

At Bard’s Tale Beer Company, their motto is “Discuss it over a Bard’s”.  I love it (and Randy should too).  At the bottom are several bottle caps that say that when you hover over them….the first I chose discussed a Zombie attack.  I was hooked.

Further delving into the company’s background lead me to what truly makes Bard’s unique.  You see, theirs is the original Glutton Free Beer.  Why is that important….allow me to quote:

Until recently, there were over two million people in the United States who were 21+ years of age yet couldn’t sit down with friends to drink a beer.  The Culprit?  Celiac Disease.  Celiacs have intolerance to gluten, a protein found in several common agricultural grains.  As luck would have it, every commercial ale and lager happens to use barley as a base ingredient, which effectively took beer off the table for celiacs.  You can read more HERE.

There you have it…..these guys are Heroes to 2 Million people.

I salute you sirs.

I’m sure, now you are asking…..how is the beer?

Color- Amber, with a light head when poured.

Nose- Sweet, Molasses and Carmel.  I could drink this for breakfast while eating pancakes.

Taste- Again, very sweet and malty.  It reminded me again of breakfast when I was growing up in rural Indiana, where my Grandmother had Sorghum on the table instead of syrup from time to time.

Finish- Thick and creamy, I would compare it to a cream ale such as Goose Island. 

Overall, I would give this beer a solid 4…but since they are also doing a public service, I give a bonus star for an Honorary 5 Star Brew. 

Excellent work guys.  I know I came away very impressed.

Passed out at a Ray’s Game


You know it’s bad when you pass out at a baseball game, but even worse when you get owned by the mascot before security takes you away.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Little Brown Jug

Thursday was pretty good night.  Debi and I were at the new Rockbridge Hy-Vee in Columbia for a Sushi making class.  For only $15, you get a pretty good class on how to roll Sushi, sample lots of different kinds and make one or two rolls yourself (and get to eat them).  My second turned into a Sushi burrito (don’t ask).  Overall, very time though…my hat is off to the Chef and Instructors. 

What I also like about going to this particular Hy-Vee is their Liquor Department.  For a grocery chain, it is one of the best, and almost on par with some of the specialty stores in Columbia (but still second to Arena Liquors).  If you are looking for some unique beers….that is the place to go.  We picked up several, but the focus of tonight's review is a whiskey, Platte Valley to be exact.

What caught my eye of this whiskey at first (aside from being nextPlatte Valley Corn Whiskey to Fireball) was the presentation, the good old fashioned “Little Brown Jug”.  At $18, I had to have one.

Platte Valley Corn Whiskey is “Selected” and bottled by McCormick Distilling Co out of Weston MO, so if you are looking to support a Missouri based company, this is another plus.

With such an excellent presentation, how was the whiskey?   

Color- Very Light.  When I say light, I mean this would be a funny one to pour into a test tube if worked in a lab and drink to freak out your friends.  I attribute this color to little (if any) aging of the whiskey in barrels.

Nose-  Sweet, reminding me of hot toddy’s my Mom used to make…with lots of Honey.

Taste- Warm Vanilla, with a little caramel at the end.

Finish- Dry with the lingering caramel.  About a minute later, there was a (very) faint hint of of field grass.

Overall, I would call this a solid 3 out of 5….with the presentation taking it up to a 4 stars.  I could see this being a fine gift at Christmas for a whiskey lover and I would definitely buy again in the future, especially if I was going to/having a themed party.  While it has a light taste (excellent for beginning whiskey drinkers), I would bet it would be good for cooking, mid-meal pairing or mixing.  I don’t think it has bold enough flavors for cigar pairing or after dinner aperitif….but still a solid purchase.

As added note, on the bottom the jug, it tells when it was bottled and the batch.  In fact, on Ebay, some of these bottles are going for $12…..so you can recoup part of your money (if you are so inclined).

Check it out, and at the very least….stop by Hy-Vee and check out their liquor/beer/wine selection….you won’t be disappointed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Iron Maiden Partying like no tomorrow

You remember Iron Maiden right?  The Heavy Metal maniacs of the 80’s?  Well, they are still around, and they are showing the world what a rock and roll lifestyle is all about.bilde

Apparently they stopped off at Finnegans Irish Pub in Norway, and now the bar tab ($3275 worth) has leaked out onto the internet. 

I do hope that, between the Jack Daniels and the Heineken, the Slippery Nipples went to women.  Also, at least one band member has good taste in Scotch, Bunnahabain.

Anyway, here’s to you Iron Maiden- Keep on Rock’n.




Finally, Science prevails

Mystery of 'beer goggles' cracked

2010-08-18 13:30:00

Scientists have finally solved the mystery of 'beer goggles' - a phenomenon where less attractive people suddenly become more appealing when the onlooker has tipped back a pint or two.

According to researchers who tested the idea on both sober and inebriated college students in England, alcohol dulls people's ability to recognize cockeyed, asymmetrical faces, reports Discovery News.

To find out if alcohol interfered with the ability to distinguish faces where the left and right sides were uneven, Lewis Halsey of Roehampton University in London and his colleagues designed an experiment involving images of faces that were tinkered with to make them perfectly symmetrical or subtly asymmetrical.

This included students taking a quick breathalyzer test to confirm their alcohol consumption. The students were classified as either sober or intoxicated, then examined the images.

Twenty images of a pair of faces - one symmetrical, the other asymmetrical - and then 20 images of a single face were shown, one at a time, to 64 students. Participants were asked to state which face of each of the pairs was most attractive. They also had to determine whether each of the single faces displayed was symmetrical.



The researchers found that sober students had a greater preference for symmetrical faces than did the intoxicated students. And it turned out that the sober students were better at detecting whether a face was symmetrical.

What's more, the data suggest that men were less prone to losing their symmetry-detecting ability when intoxicated than women, which was unexpected, Halsey said.

The difference probably has something to do with the tendency for men to be more visually oriented and more stimulated by what they see, he said.

The results of the study were published in a recent issue of the journal Alcohol. (ANI)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Movies, Cigars, Rum and Masonry?

The heat has finally broken in MO, at least for the time being, and last night I decided to fire up Netflix and watch a movie outside, while having a cigar.

In preparation, I chose a CAO Gold Maduro paired with a glass of Pusser’s Rum.

CAO’s Gold Maduro is a tightly wrapped cigar composed of Nicaraguan binder and fill, with a Brazilian Wrapper.  The overall cigar is rather mild with hints of vanilla and spice.  The ash held together long into the stick and seemed to help keep the cherry cooler on the draw (this was a robusto).  The total smoke time was approx 45-50 minutes….just in time to get into the good parts of the movie.

Pusser’s Rum is a great one to stock you bar with, and I have reviewed it in the past (HERE).  I would like to add though, that the pairing of this drink with the CAO Gold was near perfect.  Both have a creamy texture and hints of spice and vanilla exhibited, blend almost seamlessly.  I was actually caught a bit off guard, as this was not intended, I just grabbed a random cigar from the Humidor.  If you have the resources (or even if you don't…find them) try this combination.

Anyway, the movie tonight was the Director’s Cut of Aliens

From here, I would like to go on record that Aliens is without question the best sequel ever done (Sorry Empire Strike Back).  It improves on the story, does enough to make it different and succeeds on every level. 

The Mid-80’s Model work is on par with (if not exceeding) that of Star Wars and it is just scary as hell (I still jump when the one “Survivor” opens her eyes…..”Kill Me”).

What also surprised me in watching this movie, how much they smoked throughout.  In the meeting rooms with the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and Ripley, Ripley when she wakes up from a nightmare,  with the Colonial Marines (watch Hicks) and especially Sgt Al Apone, who popped a cigar in his mouth as soon as he came out of hyper sleep.  It was these (any many other) added touches of realism that make this movie work on so many levels, and still carry through today. 

If I were to rate Aliens today…..it is still a SOLID 5 Stars, and definately in the Top 5 best Sci-Fi movies ever.

To round this out, I am sure you are wondering why I said Masonry.  I bet I have seen Aliens 100 times.  Last night, while enjoy myself outside (with a loaded double-barrel at my side….don’t ask), I noticed something I had never seen before.  It caused me to watch the scene 4-5 more times.  I include the grab below (click to embiggen)-image

That’s right, Apone is wearing a Masonic Ring.  Ironically, it is the same one I have as well.

In the end, revisiting classic movies in new settings (for me, outside), with some new elements (Rum and Cigars), leads to a new found appreciation for this dying art (just check the crap Hollywood puts out now).  Give it a try sometime…….and keep an eye out for little bits of trivia.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Cigars in the news….

News stories about cigars are few and far between, yet we had one a few days ago and now another today.

Meet John Wright, the real Harry Stamper (there is the Armageddon reference for you Randy) of drilling.  According to THIS AP article, he has “has never missed his target over the years, successfully drilling 40 relief wells that were used to plug leaks around the world” and his task is to drill the relief well for BP.

While I won’t go into my personal beliefs about the Gulf Spill, what I appreciate is this guys confidence that he is going to do his part to rectify the situation.  I also love how he is going to celebrate….”with a cigar, a dinner party with his crew and a trip somewhere quiet to unwind with his wife.”

Roughneck jobs are not easy, and the article really does a great job giving some insight to the laymen of us. 

Here’s to you John Wright……Good Luck and the next cigar is on me if we ever meet.

Oktoberfest Pub Crawls for Sale

Thanks to Jen for alerting me of this WEBSITE with this quote:

I saw this ...and it has your name ALL OVER IT!!! Zuffa!

Thanks Jen :).

Anyway, the trip looks interesting, but I question the value add here. 

At a around $2500 per person, this seems a little steep.  There are some great things in the plan:

  • Oktoberfest, Munich - 2 nights
  • Maria Alm, Austria - 3 nights
  • Prague, Czech Republic - 3 nights
  • Bamberg Germany - 2 nights
  • Düsseldorf, Germany - 2 nights
  • 3-star & 4-star Hotel accommodation (twin share)
  • All transport from Munich Oktoberfest through to Düsseldorf by 5-star coach bus
  • Beer Tent Reservations at Oktoberfest
  • Exclusive access to an alpine drinking chalet (4,000 feet altitude)
  • Bi-lingual tour guide
  • Lots of extras incl. video production, t-shirts, music on request, free Schnapps tasting etc
  • ZERO boring sightseeing, guaranteed!

But it doesn’t cover the cost of drinks (although a Schnapps tasting is included). 

Considering I have been to all of those places but two (I’ve been to Bamburg, but not that bar, and I haven’t been to Maria Alm) I wonder if a bus tour is the way to do them.

Oktoberfest is an experience that needs to be done (IMO) without any prior planning.  Throwing that much Chaos into the ring while surrounded by 1 Million drunks actually would be more fun that taking a tour bus.  Finding places to sleep in a train station (and later in life seeing that exact spot on TV), watching water cannons clearing people from the streets, fighting for seats in the fest tents….those are the things Oktoberfest is about. 

Prague was tons of fun, especially after German unification and the rest of the east opened their doors.  In fact, if I were to make a return trip….I would go to the Czech region in a heartbeat.  Again, bumming across Europe is the way to see this one.

I thought Bamburg was lame, and for my money, I would go to Nuremburg.  Bigger city, better bars and more historic.  Nuff Said.

Dusseldorf is also somewhat lame (as I recall) and if I had a choice, I would go a little south and hit Koln instead.  Better yet, since this is a drinking tour, you have two better options – Go west into Belgium and sample a different style of beer or hit the hub of Frankfurt (further south) and visit Sachsenhausen, most importantly Schweizer Straße.  There you will find street after street of bars, and if you can find the Irish Pub with the round fountain in front….you might even meet the Queen of Mars (right Ron ;)  ).

Finally, Austria is a nice place to visit and sightsee, but to me….it is not a drinkers paradise.  It was fun for skiing and very scenic, but if you are looking for an out of the way spot….go to Zermat.  A two hour cog train ride to a secluded town at the base of the Matterhorn.  No cars (well, there were two), everyone walks and at night, it is party central.  The view is amazing and the amount of fun (trouble) you can get into is awesome.

In the end, I am not slamming this trip….but instead recommending the “Live Adventurous” route.  Book a Euro-Rail Ticket and really get immersed.  That is the real fun of Europe.  Sure, the Tour bus would be cool to roll up in and having VIP treatment is nice, but is it worth the extra cash spent on booze?  I don't think so.

Thanks again Jen……keep posting.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beer saves woman at Baseball Game

Beer…..is there anything it can’t do?


Dr. Drew makes me LOL

So, I saw this snip of an interview with Dr. Drew, you know…the Celebrity Rehab guy.

Not only does it make me LOL, but it shows that when someone has an agenda to push, they will say whatever they can to make it looks like they are right.

In this case, Dr. Drew says “I craved nicotine for about five days after’, this right after he admits that he doesn't even remember when he got the cigars (he says he “thinks” when his kids were born).  Of course, he is partnering with Nicorette as a spokesman for battling nicotine addiction, so he needs that real world situation to bond with patients and views.  

I will go out on a limb, calling him a fraud and a liar.  He says that this affects everyone that way, yet I never felt those pangs.  I never felt compelled for 5 days after my first cigar (or cigarettes when I smoke those as well).  In fact, I smoked my first cigar and didn't pick another up for at least 4 years. 

Dr. Drew, quit trying to use child psychology on adults.  You are obviously out of your element here, so just throw the junk science stats out there and let people wade through them if they are so inclined, vs. trying to show you are “hip” like us and then trying to used said experiences as evidence why we should quit.

I smoke cigars because I like to.  Plain and simple.  I also turn off Dr. Drew because I have a choice as well, and I will continue to do so in the future.

(Editor’s Note) – Extra has killed the sharing of the video, but you can still view it by going to their site HERE

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reyes Cigars and Stargazing

This morning I got up early.  When I say early, I mean EARLY….as in 3AM.
While this is not unusual (just ask Simon), today I was on a mission.  I wanted to check out the Perseid Meteor Shower.
The Perseids come once a year (is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14), culminating in a 3 day extravaganza that can produce more than 100 meteors an hour. 
As an Amateur Astronomer, this is one of those that I always try to make time for.  I even woke up James, but he only last 30 min (25 min more than I expected) and he really isn’t patient enough to sit that long.
Anyway, standing out in my pasture and watching this event gave me lots of time to reflect and smoke a cigar.  The cigar in question tonight was one of the ones Randy from MySideoftheBar gave me, the Reyes Family Premier Perfecto.
I’ve smoked these sticks a few times, and have been just to lazy/busy to write it up, so here we go.
SAM_0189 The wrapper (tobacco from Ecuador Sumatra) showed a little more veins than I was used to, but overall this a very good cigar for an easy smoke.  Easy to light and maintain (I didn’t have to relight once), I found the ash held together well  (although the burn was a little uneven) and temp was moderate to slightly hot throughout.  Loosely wrapped and an easy draw, the initial tastes of this primarily Nicaraguan tobacco were of coffee and earthiness that blended well as the cigar progressed.  A hint of spice and caramel rounded out the cigar and overall smoke time was about 45 minutes….perfect for me hanging outside.  Since these were the prize won by Randy (Remember THIS post?), price point was not an issue…..but you can find them over at Thompson Cigar for approx $120 a box.  Frugal shoppers could watch for sales and further reduce the cost.  At around $6 a stick, this isn’t a bad cigar and I would recommend it…..although not for a daily smoke.  Overall, a solid 3 out of 5 Stars.
The highlight of the evening however was not the meteor shower, nor the cigar…..but just the relaxing element of standing outside with no distractions.
While the meteors were good (about 45 or so….with 10 GOOD ones), watching Orion rise off the horizon was almost awe inspiring.  I think this is the first time I have ever watched him rise in the East, and at first I didn’t realize what I was seeing.  The three stars of his belt rose like a pillar almost straight up, and I realized that they make a perfect pointer to the V of Taurus.  It put things in a new perspective (I’m used to seeing the whole constellation just being “THERE” in the winter time) and was cool to watch.  Throw in Jupiter blazing in the Southern sky, and you have a perfect night all told.
Thanks Randy for the cigar, and I highly recommend everyone take an hour this week….look to the East and watch the stars.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If you are Charlie Sheen….who is your wingman?


Why Ron Jeremy of course

All joking aside, it’s great to hear Charlie can go out and have fun……staying sober if he chooses.  That being said, get back on the bus Charlie…I miss the headlines.



Monday, August 9, 2010

A Bloody Debi

HA, that name sounds hilarious….but the end product was really good.

This weekend, Debi was making Salsa.  You see, we focused our garden this year on ingredients to make Salsa and Tomato sauce.  Everything is really easy to grow and both are things that we enjoy (although Tomatoes by themselves are the spawn of Satan).

I digress.

Anyway, one of the by products of her seeding and peeling the tomatoes was all the juice.  This time around, she captured it and strained everything, but what to do with it.

At first she thought Bloody Mary Mix, and I think that was her goal when setting out, however what she made was fairly spicy and so the idea sprung to put Tequila in instead of Vodka.

Thus, a Bloody Debi was born.

Her mix consisted of Garlic, Tomato by product, Hot Sauce (Old Missouri Bushwhacker Brand – General Shelby’s No Surrender_, part of Jalapeño, and salt/pepper (am I missing anything?)….all blended well together.

Add to a glass of ice and Herradura Blanco Tequila (brought to you by some vampire novel Debi likes) and you have an interesting and refreshing drink with lots of bite.

She might swing me to Tequila yet.

Cheers  :)

Whiskey PC

So, who amongst us doesn’t have an empty whiskey bottle laying around?

Well, according to this article, you can turn that bottle into a modified Server Case.

Considering the story is from 2006…I bet you could really cut down on heating by eliminating the HD and running a Linux Kernel off of a USB Stick.

Simon even suggested doing liquid cooling to make it look like a full bottle.  The ideas are endless.

Still a great MOD and definitely something funny to have on your desk.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

International Beer Day

I wish I would have known about this sooner.

As the official website indicates:

The purpose of IBD is threefold:
1) To gather with friends and enjoy the deliciousness that is beer.
2) To celebrate the dedicated men and women who brew and serve our beer.
3) To bring the world together under the united banner of beer by celebrating the beers of all nations and cultures together on this one remarkable day

And to commemorate IBD, I share the below chart with you.  Hopefully this illustrates the importance of Beer in America.  Since the deregulation of Craft Brewing by the Carter Administration (not often do you hear me say good things about them), look at the number of breweries that have cropped up. 

Even though it is is also “Happy Hiroshima Day” (starting at 6:15PM CST) and I was thinking of drinking B-52’s, I’ll still hoist a pint tonight at well.



Happy Hiroshima Day


Tonight I raise a B-52 to all the brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that died in WW2.

The release at 08:15 8/6/1945 (6:15PM on 8/5/1945 ) went as planned, and the gravity bomb known as "Little Boy", a gun-type fission weapon with 60 kilograms (130 lb) of uranium-235, took 57[dubious – discuss] seconds to fall from the aircraft to the predetermined detonation height about 600 meters (2,000 ft) above the city.

While this may seem insensitive, one must also consider the effects of war. It happens and bad things ...happen.
The U.S. side anticipated losing many soldiers in the planned invasion of Japan, although the actual number of expected fatalities and wounded is subject to some debate. U.S. President Truman stated after the war that he had been advised that U.S. casualties could range from 250,000 to one million men. In a study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April 1945, the figures of 7.45 casualties per 1,000 man-days and 1.78 fatalities per 1,000 man-days were developed. This implied that the two planned campaigns to conquer Japan would cost 1.6 million U.S. casualties, including 370,000 dead
In addition, millions of Japanese military and civilian casualties were expected An Air Force Association history says, "Millions of women, old men, and boys and girls had been trained to resist by such means as attacking with bamboo spears and strapping explosives to their bodies and throwing themselves under advancing tanks," and also that "t]he Japanese cabinet had approved a measure extending the draft to include men from ages fifteen to sixty and women from seventeen to forty-five (an additional 28 million people).

Supporters also point to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on 1 August 1944, ordering the disposal and execution of all Allied prisoners of war, numbering over 100,000, if an invasion of the Japanese mainland took place.

Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan. To the present date, all the American military casualties of the sixty years following the end of World War II—including the Korean and Vietnam Wars—have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock. There are so many in surplus that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan are able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers on the field.

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