Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nice Score


Gainesville's "Friends of the Library" has the best semi-annual book sale I've ever seen. Today was the first day of the spring sale. I think I spent a total of six bucks, for which I got:


  • All three volumes of Neal Stephenson's Baroque trilogy (Quicksilver, The Confusion and The System of the World) -- the first volume in very nice trade paperback format, the other two in hardcover;
  • J. Neil Schulman's The Rainbow Cadenza;
  • L. Sprague de Camp's Lovecraft: A Biography; and
  • The 2013 edition of the Associated Press style guide.
I've been wanting to re-read the Stephenson and Schulman works for awhile. I didn't know the Lovecraft bio existed until I came across it. And the style guide always comes in handy (my most recent copy was the 2004 edition, so it seemed reasonable to update for $1.25).

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 04/25/15


This episode brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:





In this episode:


  • Thanks for asking! (Taco Bell and Gene Callahan);
  • Quick Garrison Center update;
  • Bad Florida Internet Speech-Chilling Bill.

Friday, April 24, 2015

I Don't Do Beer Reviews


But I do occasionally comment. And right now, I'm doing so while slightly buzzed (which, as you'll see downblog, establishes that I've become a lightweight). So bear with.

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I'm trying to pay due attention my health. Among the activities I've undertaken with that in mind is consuming a minimum of two (and a maximum of six) alcoholic drinks per week. I don't have a link handy, but that's one of the things recommended in an article I read on minimizing my risk of sudden cardiac death as I approach 50 (another is making sure I get plenty of magnesium -- I've added a magnesium supplement to my daily "stack").

Usually, my two drinks per week (I seldom have more, and never hit the maximum six) are taken in the form of an ounce of Old Crow Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey with some diet cola.

This week I decided to deviate from that and go with my favorite beer type, India Pale Ale, usually referred to as "IPA."

What makes a beer an IPA? Beer aficionados will offer different explanations concerning attenuation, gravity, etc. and explain that it's not all about the hops, but let's not go down the beer aficionado road. It's pretty much all about the hops. IPAs are hoppy beers. That, to me, is their defining characteristic. I'm not one of those beer people who can tell you that something is cherry on the nose with rumors of lilac and deep emphases of birch and all that dumb stuff. Hops = IPA.

And I like hops. I lived half-way across St. Louis County, Missouri from the original Anheuser-Busch brewery, but on certain days, I could smell it. And you know what I smelled? Hops. Only decent thing about the watered-down pilsner abominations they try to pass off as "beer."

So anyway, Tamara and I were at Trader Joe's last weekend. Yeah, I know, yuppy stuff. But she got a gift card awhile back, and some of the things they sell are quite tasty (their peanut butter is the best available; so are their fig bars, which are branded "This Fig Walks Into a Bar ..."). I wandered over into the beer aisle and picked out two.

On Monday, I drank the Terrapin Hopsecutioner longneck. Good stuff. As you can tell from the name, it's heavier on the hops even than most IPAs. And I like it that way. Alcohol content, 7.3%. More than I'm used to in a beer, but quite nice. A beer from Athens, Georgia (just like REM and the B-52s!). If this beer was a woman, I'd marry it. Or at least sleep with it on the side. OK, maybe not sleep with it, but at least wake up to it six days a week (six drinks a week, right?).

Over the course of the last hour or so, I drank the much larger (22 ounces) Boatswain American IPA. Lower alcohol content (6.7%). Brewed and bottled in Monroe, Wisconsin. Not as hoppy as the Hopsecutioner. Didn't expect it to be. That's why they called the Hopsecutioner the Hopsecutioner, right? Still, pretty damn good (if you want the beer aficionado stuff, I guess I'd say that the Boatswain didn't drop the little hints of citrus afterglow that the Hopsecutioner did). Anyway, if 22 ounces of beer gets me a wee bit lit, it's by definition good beer.

Rankings: The Hopsecutioner isn't quite as good as my local micro-brewery's IPA -- Swamp Head Big Nose. On the other hand, I rank it slightly ahead of my go-to broad-availability IPA, Red Hook Longhammer. And the Boatswain comes in fourth, but not so far back that I won't be having it again.

So I guess I do do beer reviews. But if you want the real lowdown on beer, you'll want to follow Chris Bennett on Facebook. He hosts the Beer and Bullshit Show. Which I'll be on, some time. Maybe after I get more beer.

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