Monday, December 31, 2007

How German Beer Came to the Carolinas: A True Story

This is a great story that I was lucky enough to report for my column in this week's Weekly Surge.

IMPORTING A TASTE OF DEUTSCHLAND

By Colin Burch
For Weekly Surge
When Werner Hoppe helped build the Georgetown Steel Mill in 1969, the crates of equipment from Germany often held a special reminder of home. The good-hearted workers in Germany stashed German wine or beer into the shipment, he said.

But then, one day, the United States government did what it does best. It stole the joy of Hoppe and other Germans working on the mill. Customs agents discovered that alcohol was arriving in the equipment crates, and said, in so many words, "You can't do that."

So Werner Hoppe went down to the customs office and found out about the procedures for importing alcohol into the U.S. Soon, the native of Cologne, Germany, decided to set up his own import business in Georgetown.

W.H. Company started with German wine, and eventually added beers including Bitburger Pils, Maisel's Weisse, and more, even some English brews. He continued working with the Georgetown steel mill until 1975, when he went into the import business full-time.

His son, Andy Hoppe, a tennis coach at Carolina Forest High School and Georgetown native, said it took some effort on his father's part to get the company off the ground. "It was a lot of hard work at first, trying to learn how alcohol is bought and sold in this country," he said.

But Werner Hoppe figured it out. He got his own warehouse in Georgetown and trucks for distribution. He had distributors up and down the East coast, Andy Hoppe said. When the orders for German imports became big enough, the exporters were able to deliver directly to the distributors, so the warehouse and the trucks were no longer necessary. Werner Hoppe was able to run the import business from his home.

Werner Hoppe has scaled back his operations in recent years. He stopped carrying wine 15 years ago. More recently, he returned the rights to sell Bitburger to the brewery back in Germany. In a technical sense, he still oversees Bitburger's import into North Carolina, but he is no longer involved with the marketing.

Today, W.H. Company imports only Maisel's Weisse in two varieties, the original which includes yeast, and the filtered version called Kristallklar, which was hailed by the late beer expert Michael Jackson as one of the best beers in the world. And W.H. Company only brings Maisel's Weisse into two states, working with Southern Wine and Spirits in South Carolina, and two distributors in North Carolina: Highland Distribution Co. and Mutual Distribution Co., said Andy Hoppe.

So if you drink Maisel's Weisse in the Carolinas, thank Werner Hoppe.

Still speaking with a strong German accent, he scaled back his import operation because he wanted to do other things at this stage in his life. He recently wrote a book, "Justice Comes After Death," which is available at Horst Gasthaus in North Myrtle Beach and River Room in Georgetown, where the purchase of the book comes with a free Maisel's Weisse glass. The book is also available at My Sister's Books in Pawleys Island, at which a book-signing is tentatively scheduled for January 15.

Despite his new endeavors, Werner Hoppe didn't sound like he wants to stop with the two Maisel's Weisse brews. He said a Maisel's Weisse sister brewery has a lager that he'll probably add to his imports.

Andy Hoppe said he'll eventually take over the business.

I asked him what he and his father think about the big American domestic beers. "We tend to avoid those whenever possible," he said with a laugh.

HAPPY NEW BEER

I'm taking a couple of weeks off. Let's keep all the Surge readers out of the slammer - don't drive after you've been drinking, and have a Happy New Year.

- Contact Colin Burch - the Beerman - at beerpour@yahoo.com.

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How German Beer Came to the Carolinas: A True Story

This is a great story that I was lucky enough to report for my column in this week's Weekly Surge.

IMPORTING A TASTE OF DEUTSCHLAND

By Colin Burch
For Weekly Surge

When Werner Hoppe helped build the Georgetown Steel Mill in 1969, the crates of equipment from Germany often held a special reminder of home. The good-hearted workers in Germany stashed German wine or beer into the shipment, he said.

But then, one day, the United States government did what it does best. It stole the joy of Hoppe and other Germans working on the mill. Customs agents discovered that alcohol was arriving in the equipment crates, and said, in so many words, "You can't do that."

So Werner Hoppe went down to the customs office and found out about the procedures for importing alcohol into the U.S. Soon, the native of Cologne, Germany, decided to set up his own import business in Georgetown.

W.H. Company started with German wine, and eventually added beers including Bitburger Pils, Maisel's Weisse, and more, even some English brews. He continued working with the Georgetown steel mill until 1975, when he went into the import business full-time.

His son, Andy Hoppe, a tennis coach at Carolina Forest High School and Georgetown native, said it took some effort on his father's part to get the company off the ground. "It was a lot of hard work at first, trying to learn how alcohol is bought and sold in this country," he said.

But Werner Hoppe figured it out. He got his own warehouse in Georgetown and trucks for distribution. He had distributors up and down the East coast, Andy Hoppe said. When the orders for German imports became big enough, the exporters were able to deliver directly to the distributors, so the warehouse and the trucks were no longer necessary. Werner Hoppe was able to run the import business from his home.

Werner Hoppe has scaled back his operations in recent years. He stopped carrying wine 15 years ago. More recently, he returned the rights to sell Bitburger to the brewery back in Germany. In a technical sense, he still oversees Bitburger's import into North Carolina, but he is no longer involved with the marketing.

Today, W.H. Company imports only Maisel's Weisse in two varieties, the original which includes yeast, and the filtered version called Kristallklar, which was hailed by the late beer expert Michael Jackson as one of the best beers in the world. And W.H. Company only brings Maisel's Weisse into two states, working with Southern Wine and Spirits in South Carolina, and two distributors in North Carolina: Highland Distribution Co. and Mutual Distribution Co., said Andy Hoppe.

So if you drink Maisel's Weisse in the Carolinas, thank Werner Hoppe.

Still speaking with a strong German accent, he scaled back his import operation because he wanted to do other things at this stage in his life. He recently wrote a book, "Justice Comes After Death," which is available at Horst Gasthaus in North Myrtle Beach and River Room in Georgetown, where the purchase of the book comes with a free Maisel's Weisse glass. The book is also available at My Sister's Books in Pawleys Island, at which a book-signing is tentatively scheduled for January 15.

Despite his new endeavors, Werner Hoppe didn't sound like he wants to stop with the two Maisel's Weisse brews. He said a Maisel's Weisse sister brewery has a lager that he'll probably add to his imports.

Andy Hoppe said he'll eventually take over the business.

I asked him what he and his father think about the big American domestic beers. "We tend to avoid those whenever possible," he said with a laugh.

HAPPY NEW BEER

I'm taking a couple of weeks off. Let's keep all the Surge readers out of the slammer - don't drive after you've been drinking, and have a Happy New Year.

- Contact Colin Burch - the Beerman - at beerpour@yahoo.com.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Keep your freedom: how spiritual seekers avoid traps


Almost all cult leaders and Christians who manipulate place a high emphasis on being "led by the Lord."... In the first century those who thought that personal revelation was an authority above Scriptures were called Gnostics.... We must ever guard ourselves against the words and pet phrases that hint of superior spirituality.... When we divide life into snug "spiritual" and "nonspiritual" compartments, we are thinking heretically and may blindly accept a cultic view of life.

-- Harold Bussell, in his book By Hook or By Crook: How Cults Lure Christians

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Privacy versus student health, campus safety

Today's Wall Street Journal includes an article entitled "Bucking Privacy Concerns, Cornell Acts as Watchdog."

The Virginia Tech shootings have moved campus safety to the top of university administrators' priorities.

Is Cornell creating a safe environment, or an environment of busy-bodies? Maybe a little of both, but there's not doubt the new approach has helped some students. Here are some excerpts from the article:

For 19 years as a custodian at Cornell University, Sue Welch has been taking out the garbage and mopping the floors of residence halls. Recently, she added a new responsibility: trying to prevent student suicide.

Ms. Welch noticed during a recent semester that she was repeatedly having to clean up after a particular student's apparent bouts of nausea, and told her supervisor she feared the young woman had an eating disorder. The supervisor told the residence-hall director, who encouraged the student to go to the university health center. Counselors there arranged for her to get treatment for bulimia nervosa. Ms. Welch credits the training sessions that she and other custodians attended on how to spot students with mental-health problems....


[Cornell University's] "alert team" of administrators, campus police and counselors meets weekly to compare notes on signs of student emotional problems. People across campus, from librarians to handymen, are trained to recognize potentially dangerous behavior. And starting this year, Cornell is taking advantage of a rarely used legal exception to student-privacy rights: It is assuming students are dependents of their parents, allowing the school to inform parents of concerns without students' permission....

By 2002, the executive director of Cornell's health center, Janet Corson-Rikert, began making mental health a communitywide responsibility. The 1999 shootings at Columbine High School had shocked educators into recognizing the danger of failing to spot troubled students. Like most colleges, Cornell was starting to see more students enrolled with severe mental-health problems, as reduced stigma and improved medications allowed more of them to reach college. The counseling center was often overwhelmed with demand for appointments.

Dr. Corson-Rikert asked Dr. [Timothy] Marchell [director of mental-health initiatives] and others to build a network to train people to notice problems and give them ways to report them, while still respecting student privacy. An advisory council on mental-health strategies made up of Cornell staff, faculty and student leaders had its first meeting in early 2004, and members had a realization: In school post-mortems after tragedies, "each person knew pieces of the story but no one saw the whole picture," says Dr. Marchell. "If they had shared the information, maybe we could have intervened."

Dr. Marchell spoke with several suicide-prevention organizations, who pointed the school to a surprising model: the Air Force.

In the 1990s, the service decided to try to reduce suicides by airmen and studied each case for warning signs. They learned to look at behavior changes, discipline problems and poor performance ratings as possible indicators of depression. Four-star generals began to talk publicly about mental illness and encourage all service members to watch for warning signs. Each member of the Air Force is now given training in detecting depression and other mental disorders. The Air Force's protocol is one of few suicide-prevention programs proven effective: The average annual suicide rate dropped by a third, from 13.5 per 100,000 people to 9.9.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Science, brain, mind & metaphysics

I'm reading a book that argues aggressively against the validity of the field of neurophilosophy. Excerpts from the introduction:

"The name 'neurophilosophy' itself, and the hyphenated expression 'mind/brain', are both part of the propaganda, intended to suggest the closest, intimate connection between neuroscience and philosophy....

"It is not physiology which drives this philosophical orthodoxy, but metaphysics, the idea that the findings of the sciences are now providing answers to the questions raised by metaphysics, providing a definitive statement as to what there really (ultimately) is....

"Opposition to the idea that science can be the fulfillment of metaphysics does not involve in any way opposition to science. If the objectives of metaphysics are spurious, then they cannot be fulfilled by science any more than they can be by metaphysics. The error which promotes the orthodoxy is, in an important respect, very simple and basic: it is to suppose that 'what anything is' is identical (in the very strongest sense) with 'what it is made of'."

- from Brain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive Science: Critical Assessments of the Philosophy of Psychology (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007) by Jeff Coulter of Boston University and Wes Sharrock of the University of Manchester

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

NBC's 'Life'



Here's what L.A. Times TV critic Mary McNamara said about NBC's 'Life':

NBC's new show about Charlie Crews, a cop sprung after 12 years in the pen for a frame job, is the best new show of the season. Balancing Zen and vengeful rage, Crews (Damian Lewis) is the most interesting quirky cop since Columbo.

I couldn't say it better and briefer than McNamara, but I'll add a paragraph of my own:

I'm drawn to this show because Damian Lewis does a thoroughly convincing job of portraying a peculiar character who (1) genuinely appreciates every little thing in life following his time in prison, and (2) seeks a religio-philosophical path to balance a barely visible but driving anger.



Ratings haven't been great, but there's good news.

"The action-fantasy 'Chuck' and the crime drama 'Life' have both received full-season orders, despite less-than-stellar ratings," reported the Contra Costa Times.

Give the ratings a bump. Catch up at NBC.com/Life and then tune in when the holidays -- and hopefully the writers' strike -- are over.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Drink mead; Hrothgar does

Have you every tried mead before?

Mead is a fermented-honey beverage, usually with a few other things thrown in.

If you've ever actually read the ancient warrior-and-monster poem of Beowulf -- surely better than the movie currently in theaters -- you know that the king Hrothgar builds a "mead hall" early in the story.

I recently tried some home-made mead, interviewed its maker, and wrote about it for the Weekly Surge in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Check out the column here: http://www.weeklysurge.com/beer.html

It includes a link that tell you how to make your own mead.

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Just in time for Beowulf: Mead!

Have you every tried mead before?

Mead is a fermented-honey beverage, usually with a few other things thrown in.

If you've ever read the ancient warrior-and-monster poem of Beowulf -- surely better than the movie currently in theaters -- you know that the king Hrothgar builds a "mead hall" early in the story.

I recently tried some home-made mead, interviewed the woman who made it, and wrote about it for the Weekly Surge in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Check out the column here: http://www.weeklysurge.com/beer.html

It includes some links that tell you how to make your own mead!

cheers,
Colin

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Who really speaks the truth

"Only mystics, clowns and artists, in my experience, speak the truth..."
- Malcolm Muggeridge




Macolm Muggeridge as a gargoyle, from The Gargoyle: The Journal of the Malcolm Muggeridge Society

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

What Mitt Romney should have said

Here's the speech Mitt Romney should have given regarding his Mormon beliefs:

Good morning, and thanks for coming out today.

I've been encouraged to suggest a comparison between myself and John F. Kennedy, our first Catholic president.

After all, many Americans wondered what it would mean to have a Catholic president, just as many Americans today are concerned about the implications of having me as their first Mormon president.

I am not, however, going to take that approach today.

I'm simply going to point out what happened the last time we elected a born-again Baptist president.

Remember the hostages in Iran?

How about very long lines at the gas pump?

So if you think evangelical beliefs are so important, ask yourself: What was so great about Jimmy Carter?

Excuse me, I'm going to sneeze -- muh... muh... muh... MikeHuckabee!

Pardon me. Please rest assured that I am an American as well as a Mormon, and I will always do what is in the best interests of our nation.

Thank you, and may God bless America.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gonna make God talk

I found this on the Web site of a prophetic ministry. Check out the wild assumptions and general nuttiness within this promotional note for an upcoming conference.

There seems to be a remarkable new spiritual energy being released in our conferences. Everyone on our staff, as well as many who have been attending our conferences for years, seem to all think that our recent Harvest and Worship & Warfare Conferences were the best we've ever had. Overall, I think so too, but there was also a great spiritual momentum that I have honestly not felt anything like in over a decade. Already you can feel the spiritual energy building for our New Year's Conference in which we seek the Lord for prophetic words for the coming year. In the past, we have received some that were remarkable. These are obviously crucial times, and we are going to need to have increasingly clear and accurate guidance for them. There is also a great spiritual momentum building, and if you are planning to join us for this conference, please register and reserve your rooms at Heritage as soon as possible, as space is limited and we are expecting this conference to fill up quickly.

Problems with the above promo:

1. How frequently did Biblical prophets hold conferences so they could hear from the God? And, conversely, how frequently did God decide to talk to prophets at times the prophets had not previously scheduled? The suggestion is that we, or at least the right sages, can make God talk.

2. How does God's work depend on "spiritual momentum?" Does God need a running start to accomplish certain things? God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. No build-up required. No straining involved.

3. "Already you can feel the spiritual energy building for our New Year's Conference in which we seek the Lord for prophetic words for the coming year." First, see No. 2 above. Second, since when does God operate on the calendar year?

4. "There is also a great spiritual momentum building, and if you are planning to join us for this conference, please register and reserve your rooms…as soon as possible." The word "and" sticks out here. Being a conjunction, the word "and" tends to connect related ideas. Perhaps, then, one could conclude that the "spiritual momentum" announced in the first part of this compound sentence is intended to encourage the registrations and reservations requested in the second part. Following the above italicized excerpt, a link to the confence Web site notes that registration for the conference is $50 each for adults and children. The price is a gamble on the possibility that "some" of the prophecy this year will be "remarkable."

Like too many ministries that claim special supernatural giftings, this ministry depends on its followers accepting the assumption that critical thinking will hinder the work of God. Thus, the followers open themselves to nebulous beliefs merely because those beliefs are presented with conviction, spiritual language, and a kickin' sound system. Yet the mind, like the heart, was created for humans to use.

-Colin Foote Burch

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Home-brewing underway

Commenced home-brewing with the help of Beach HomeBrew in Myrtle Beach, S.C.


Read about it here.


Here's what I got:





















Here's basically what it looks like:


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Making the leap into home brewing

Commencing home-brewing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the help of Beach HomeBrew, and with hopes of 53 bottles of beer at the cost of 57 cents each....

Click here to read about it.


What I got:






















Basically what the pieces look like:

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The chocolate bunny as mule

The Associated Press, Nov. 25, 2007
ATLANTA — A 20-year-old man was arrested for allegedly selling hallucinogenic mushrooms hidden inside chocolate bunnies and ducks and other drugs, authorities said.
Rockdale County sheriff’s deputies recently arrested the man after a deputy spotted him allegedly selling a sheet of LSD and a chocolate duck containing psilocybin mushrooms for $650, Sgt. Jodi Shupe said.
“It appears they were using the chocolate to cover up they were selling drugs, and they had been doing it for a while,” Shupe said.
Drug officers found 74 chocolate ducks and bunnies containing mushrooms in a cooler bag in the man’s truck, along with $1,200 in cash in his pants pockets, Shupe said.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

World Market's Winter Brews 10-pack

The World Market chain carries assortments of American Micro Brews and Beers of the World in handsome, 10-pack boxes, suitable for gifting and re-gifting, for reasonable prices.

This year, the World Market in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at Seaboard Commons between 21st Ave. North and 10th Ave. North and U.S. 17 Bypass, has something I hadn't noticed before: a 10-pack of Winter Brews for $14.99.

Like the American Micro Brews and Beers of the World, which were both $12.99, each 10-pack of Winter Brews has a slightly different selection - and in some cases, they're technically autumnal brews.

My 10-pack has Spaten Oktoberfest, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Samuel Adams Cream Stout, Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Abita Pecan, Hoegaarden, Rogue Mocha Porter, Palmetto Charleston Lager, and Highland Oatmeal Porter.

My priest friend recently offered me a bottle of the Abita Pecan. It was decent beer, but not what I would have expected from Abita, a brewery of good repute. Although a flavored beer, the pecan presence wasn't strong.

Another box I looked at included a bottle of Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale. World Market also has it in six-packs for $7.99.

(This came from my column in the Weekly Surge at http://www.weeklysurge.com/beer.html .)

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mixed drinks with Woodchuck Amber Cider


http://www.woodchuck.com/

Target Daily Deals - Save Over 30% on Men's C9 Watch Assortment

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I miss the 1980s...


1981, Calvin Klein, metallic print dress, plunging neckline, large belt, knee-high leather boots.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chicago Tribune reports on neurofeedback

A few days ago, the Chicago Tribune published an outstanding article on neurofeedback, something that has helped my family.


Here's a link:




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's a recent family photo:


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beer news from the Myrtle Beach, SC, area




Magic Hat #9 has arrived in the Myrtle Beach area, but it won't be the easiest beer to find. Read about it here:






Meanwhile, Dave Epstein at New South Brewing Co. in Myrtle Beach, S.C., says he's having a "banner year." Read about it here:




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Friday, November 9, 2007

On briefly meeting Tobias Wolff

Francis Marion University is holding the Pee Dee Fiction & Poetry Festival this weekend. FMU is about an hour and fifteen minutes' drive from here so I drove up to see Tobias Wolff, who was doing a reading, discussion and book signing on Thursday evening.

After reading from This Boy's Life (the section in which the stepdad sprays the Christmas tree white and also finds mold all over the beaver skin and chestnuts), he answered questions and discussed his work, etc.

Here's some of what Wolff said, from my notes, which of course are a mix of direct quotes and summations:

+ Wolff read Tolstoy in his 20s and became interested in how the Russian infused his life into his writing. Tolstoy kept a journal due to his "need to be absolutley clear to himself about himself."

+ Wolff began writing an autobiographical record of his own life to mine it for fiction, and eventually the autobiographical record took on "a life of its own." This Boy's Life was his turn from fiction to autobiographical writing.

+ Someone asked how people in This Boy's Life reacted to what he wrote. "I've never been challenged on factuality.. ..my stepsister thought I had been unkind to her husband." The stepdad also thought Wolff had been unkind about him, but Wolff thought he had "dialed it back a bit."

+ Some people decide not to write memoir due to emotional attachments, but if he did that, he wouldn't have anything to write about, so he won't avoid it, but he went on to say something about himself in others' shoes when he is writing these things.

+ Regarding writing about himself in memoir, he said he is "very much part of this fallen creation" and tries to include himself in that context.

+ "Memoir to me is the subjective, individual" recollection of the past, and "you have to make allowances for that when you read a memoir."

+ The topic of how his mother is portrayed -- Wolff said his mother told him, "If you had prettied up the picture [that would mean] you wouldn't have accepted me as I am."

+ Someone asked which of his short stories he would like to be remembered for when he died. Wolff said, "All of them." Everyone laughed. "I can't do that." He said it would be like picking one of his three kids.

+ Someone asked what is it that Wolff still really had to write about. "Friendship. ..I've never quite figured out how to get that down." He's had some lifelong friends who are very valuable to him. He said Joyce showed The Dubliners to some of folks in Dublin and someone told Joyce something like, "But you didn't get the hospitality! Dubliners are very hospitable people." So Joyce went back into the manuscript and added a scene of a Christmas party. Wolff was making a parallel between Joyce omitting hospitality and his own omissions of friendship. He wants to "find a way to get friendship and those bonds in my writing."

I was standing in the doorway at the back the whole time, so I was one of the first in the lobby. Wolff walked out and they set up the book-signing table just behind me. I was second in line. I wanted to ask him what he thought about reconstructing quotes from the past. But I heard him tell one of the organizers to have all the books open to the title page because that would help the signing go a lot quicker. I thought, oh great, he just wants to scribble through the book signing as fast as he can. So I opened my copy of This Boy's Life to the title page and set it in front of him. But after introducing myself I asked something like, "What's your rule of thumb for recreating dialogue that happened so long ago?"

A little of my own reconstructing a few seconds after his answer: He said, "Well, I kind of hear it in my mind. Grown ups [adults?] tend to repeat themselves a lot, so they had a kind of shtick. So it wasn't hard."

The cool thing was that he was warm, looked me in the eye, and wasn't hurried. Brief, but considerate, and not hurried, despite the long line behind me.

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Evangelicals don't know much about theology

Michael Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University, recently told the 2007 Religion Newswriters Assocition Annual Conference about his study of evangelicals. Lindsay has interviewed evangelicals across the United States and written a book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite (Oxford, 2007).

While Lindsay's work has done a lot to bust media stereotypes of evangelicals, one thing he told the RNA conference is sadly not surprising: Evangelicals don't know much about theological teachings; they have very little formal theological education.

This recalls the famous statement by the evangelist Billy Sunday: "Theology? I didn't know I had any."

However, some of Lindsay's other findings are more flattering of evangelicals:

MYTH: Evangelicals derive their power mainly in the political field.
REALITY: Most identify themselves with culture and the arts (especially Hollywood), where they feel they can make a greater difference.

MYTH: Evangelicals are mainly in white suburban communities in between the U.S. coasts.
REALITY: One of the largest evangelical churches is a Hispanic congregation in Houston. Another, in New York, serves Ivy League professionals.

MYTH: Domestic issues like gay marriage and abortion are most important to evangelicals.
REALITY:
Evangelical groups are more involved on the global front, with issues like HIV/AIDS and hunger.

Read more of RNA's summary of Lindsay's presentation at http://www.rna.org/action071102.php#evangelical.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Related Feature

The above article features related content.


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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Santa Fe Pale Ale 'close second' to Sierra Nevada


I was recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and ate at the Catamount Bar & Grille, where I ordered a pint of Santa Fe Pale Ale.


Santa Fe Pale Ale reminded me of Sierra Nevada and Bass -- I loved it.


I'm not alone in my opinion. At a dinner party in Albuquerque the next day, I talked with a fellow who lives in Santa Fe. He said Sierra Nevada is his favorite beer, but Santa Fe Pale Ale is a "close second."


Sante Fe Brewing Company is the oldest microbrewery in New Mexico.
I also tried the microbrewery's Santa Fe Nut Brown. It was good, with the smoothness and malty sweetness I expect from nut brown ales, but not the depth and variety in the flavor profile that I had hoped for. Still, a good, solid nut brown.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Sadie Elisabeth Burch, age 2

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Historical anatomy images online

Shop Amazon - Thanksgiving Dinner and Desserts - Prepare the Perfect Feast


Fascinating and creepy anatomy sketches from old medical texts.
The sense of dark intrigue while viewing anatomical atlases from yesteryear.
The U.S. National Medical Library has posted a big chunk of its Historical Anatomies collection online.
Dive into weird and wonderful presentations of the human body at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/historicalanatomies/home.html .
As for the praying fellow above, he is a fan of the N.C. State Wolfpack, begging God for a football win. Notice he's been there a while.
Actually, he's an icon for the religious life -- we're already dead, even as we seek the eternal.

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Paglia on religion and the arts

In an article in the Spring/Summer 2007 edition of Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, Camille Paglia wrote about the relationship between religion and the arts, and how respect for religion can revive the arts. What follows in an excerpt from Paglia’s article; thanks to the folks at Mars Hill Audio Journal for posting it on their Web site.

Paglia wrote:

For the fine arts to revive, they must recover their spiritual center. Profaning the iconography of other people’s faiths is boring and adolescent. The New Age movement, to which I belong, was a distillation of the 1960s’ multicultural attraction to world religions, but it has failed thus far to produce important work in the visual arts. The search for spiritual meaning has been registering in popular culture instead through science fiction, as in George Lucas’ six-film Star Wars saga, with its evocative master myth of the “Force.” But technology for its own sake is never enough. It will always require supplementation through cultivation in the arts.

To fully appreciate world art, one must learn how to respond to religious expression in all its forms. Art began as religion in prehistory. It does not require belief to be moved by a sacred shrine, icon, or scripture. Hence art lovers, even when as citizens they stoutly defend democratic institutions against religious intrusion, should always speak with respect of religion. Conservatives, on the other hand, need to expand their parched and narrow view of culture. Every vibrant civilization welcomes and nurtures the arts.

Progressives must start recognizing the spiritual povery of contemporary secular humanism and reexamine the way that liberalism too often now automatically defines human aspiration and human happiness in reductively economic terms. If conservatives are serious about educational standards, they must support the teaching of art history in primary school — which means conservatives have to get over their phobia about the nude, which has been a symbol of Western art and Western individualism and freedom since the Greeks invented democracy. Without compromise, we are heading for a soulless future. But when set against the vast historical panorama, religion and art — whether in marriage or divorce — can reinvigorate American culture.

#

For something that looks a little like the marriage of religion and the arts, check out this interview with Nicora Gangi, along with images of two of her paintings, at http://www.liturgicalcredo.com/NicoraGangiJuneJuly2007.html .

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Myrtle Beach Moment, No. 11


It's the Fall Pilgrimage for bikers here in Myrtle Beach. We planned to go to Myabi for dinner, and when I parked in the back, I got a view of the stunt show going on behind The Dog House bar. This was around 5:30 p.m. this afternoon. The power line is in the foreground, by the way.

I used my Canon Xti Rebel for the pics, and then tweaked levels, contrasts, etc., with the Adobe Photoshop Album Starter.

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Man stole two truckloads of beer

From the Toronto Star:

A Vaughan man has been charged in connection with the theft of two truck trailers of beer last month.

More than 100,000 cans and bottles of beer were taken Sept. 19 from Moosehead brewery's shipping partner on Dixie Rd near Hwy. 401 in Mississauga. The estimated retail value of the stolen beer was about $200,000, police said.

"Two were stolen from Mississauga and two were from Brampton," said Peel Region Const. J.P. Valade. "All of them contained different types of beer."

Police traced the stolen beer to a Rowntree Dairy Rd. warehouse, near Pine Valley Dr. and Hwy. 7, where they recovered 1,100 cases, some of it from earlier thefts.

Pullara Calogero, 59, is charged with two counts of possession of stolen property relating to the Mississauga thefts. Police are looking for other suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 905-453-2121 ext. 3313 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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Foster's ad: fat trucker, Slovenian blondes

"FOSTER'S GROUP has created the unlikely partnership of a bevy of Slovenian blondes and a fat Aussie truckie to star in a blockbuster ad for its market-leading brand in the booming low-carbohydrate beer category," reports Australia's Sydney Morning Herald.

"Three years after quietly launching Pure Blonde, the company last night twisted the cap off a $3 million ad campaign marketing the beer as the purest drop to be found."

Read the article, and see a pic, at:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/business/fosters-adds-touch-of-fantasy-to-lite-beer/2007/10/05/1191091362619.html

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Me, vodka cocktail judge, this Monday evening

From my Beerman column in the Weekly Surge:

At 6 p.m. Monday, I will join three other judges at Droopy's, 5201 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, to choose the Myrtle Beach Signature FireFly Cocktail.

FireFly Vodka, based in Wadmalaw Island, is flavored with muscadine wine. The folks at FireFly have held a competition for drink recipes that reflect Myrtle Beach in originality, taste, and presentation. Chef Miles Huff and his culinary class at Trident Technical College in Charleston narrowed the entries down to five final recipes.

Now it's up to me and my fellow judges, FireFly owners Jim Irvin and Scott Newitt, and Mixin Dixon of The Sound 107.1 FM, to choose the best one.

Droopy's will offer free FireFly samples along with special FireFly drinks. Come out and see us.

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Myrtle Beach Moment, No. 9 and No. 10



This fellow was huddled up against the rain today at Barefoot Landing, a shopping-dining-entertainment complex in North Myrtle Beach.

The Myrtle Beach area has been getting extended spells of steady, moderate-to-heavy rain today, but that hasn't stopped the bikers who have come to town for the annual fall rally.

I hear a siren in the distance, and it's a reasonable guess that there has been another traffic accident.

Venders and bikers currently dominate chunks of the parking lots at Broadway at the Beach, Colonial Mall, and Barefoot Landing.

Here's a pic from the parking lot in front of the Hard Rock Cafe at Broadway at the Beach. Note the "Bike Parking Only" sign. We see a lot of that sign during the spring and fall rallies.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eating & drinking in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.

Another married couple invited my wife and I to spend a weekend in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., recently.

We met them on a recent Friday at the Giggling Mackerel at 65 Causeway Drive.

We found the Giggling Mackerel, and climbed a couple of flights of wood stairs to meet our friends on a deck bar above the restaurant.

Stepping onto the top reoriented the entire day - the breeze blew, the sun set, and the music played. The girl barkeep was cute and friendly. We could see the Intracoastal Waterway and the cars passing over the bridge.

The hostess called our names for dinner downstairs. We made it without tumbling down the steps, and I went for the Red Stripe. It was $3.75 per bottle, and could have been a couple of degrees colder, but a wedge of lime and a rack of ribs for $16.95 made up for it. The Giggling Mackerel also had seven domestic beers for $3 per bottle, and four other premium bottles for $3.75.

The next day I got a properly chilled Pabst Blue Ribbon at Sharky's at 61 Causeway Drive. Sharky's also had outside seating, but we opted for inside that afternoon. The PBR bottles, at $3 each, were very cold, thank God. We also got a half-pound of fried shrimp for an appetizer, $13.95. And then we had another.

Then the server told us the last chilled PBR had been served (to us), so instead of drinking a warm one, my buddy got a Pacifico for $4. I got Summer Bright Ale from Breckenridge Brewing in Colorado, at $2.50 per bottle. I had never seen this American Wheat Pale Ale before. It had a touch of that hop spiciness that hinted toward an India Pale Ale, giving it an interesting flavor with a light enough body to drink all the summer-day long. That one's definitely a keeper.

Our group decided that a pound of fried shrimp didn't make a dinner, so we went over to Cinelli's Pizza & Ristorante at 14 Causeway Drive. We sat at tall tables near the seven-seat wood bar with colorful hanging lights. Here I ordered a pint of Anheuser-Busch's Skipjack Amber. To get an idea of what this American All-Malt Lager tastes like, think of Yuengling and then take the malt a little more toward caramel, and make the hops a little bit crisper. Good stuff, $3 a pint.

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Books I'm reviewing for real publications

I'm reviewing The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (And How to do Them), by NPR's Peter Sagal, for DoubleThink, the quarterly magazine published by America's Future Foundation in D.C. The review should appear in the Winter 2008 edition. You can visit the magazine's Web page at http://www.affdoublethink.com/. AFF also has an online-only publication called Brainwash, which you can find at http://www.affbrainwash.com/.

I'm also reviewing a slightly denser book: Brain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive Science: Critical Assessments of the Philosophy of Psychology, by Jeff Coulter and Wes Sharrock. This review will appear in the March 2008 edition of Appraisal: The Journal of the Society for Post-Critical and Personalist Studies. You can visit the SPCPS Web site at http://www.spcps.org.uk/.

Meanwhile, at LiturgicalCredo.com, I will soon post a book review of Praying with Beads: Daily Prayers for the Christian Year by Nan Lewis Doerr and Virginia Stem Owens.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Martin Luther's 'popish' prayer

I’m reading Praying with Beads: Daily Prayers for the Christian Year by Nan Lewis Doerr and Virginia Stem Owens, hot off the presses from Eerdmans.

It’s a great little book with an outstanding introductory essay by Owens, who noted something about Martin Luther that caught my attention:


Though the rosary was widely used by the late Middle Ages, it was not officially sanctioned by the pope until 1520.

During the Reformation, Luther did not abandon the rosary, though he shortened the Ave Maria to this form: “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou and the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” In this way he eliminated the plea for Mary to pray for the supplicant. He advised his followers to use the rosary as an aid to meditation.

The more iconoclastic Reformers, including Calvin, forbade the use of prayer beads altogether. They concentrated their attention on scriptural texts and devotional printed matter….Thus prayer beads, along with other sensory aids to devotion like religious statuary, paintings, and stained-glass windows, were condemned as “popish.”

In the Church of England, however, the rosary survived, though its practice faded over the next few centuries. England’s Catholic minority continued to support the practice, and some Anglicans today still pray the rosary instead of or in addition to Anglican prayer beads.

For more information on the book, see http://www.eerdmans.com/shop/product.asp?p_key=9780802827272.

I’ll be reviewing this book soon at http://www.liturgicalcredo.com/ .

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Beer & Holiday Food: It Can Happen

Hey -- it's OK to drink beer with traditional holiday food. You just have to know the right pairings.

The Brewers Association offers these suggestions at its holiday beer site, http://www.beerandturkey.com/:

Traditional Roast Turkey: The roasted and caramelized skin matches well with amber ale, a strong golden ale or an amber lager in the Vienna style.

Smoked Turkey: If your local brewery offers a smoked beer, that can serve as a complement to smoked turkey as well. Look for a porter, Scotch ale or amber ale in the smoked style.

Cajun Turkey: Celebrated beer writer and New Mexico resident Stan Hieronymus suggests a malty IPA to go with his favorite Cajun turkey recipe. For a malty alternative that will stand up to the heat, try a dark bock or strong Scotch ale.

Ham: Like the fruit and cloves often used to prepare ham, the fruity, clove notes in weizen or the stronger weizenbock compliment ham at the dinner table.

Duck: The darker meat of duck offers a richer flavor than turkey and can stand up to a richer beer as well. Here a Belgian-inspired dubbel or a hearty Oktoberfest lager would go well.

Goose: Here too a richer beer than you would choose for turkey is in order. A Belgian-style triple or biere de garde would work well or maybe a bock or Scotch ale.

Salmon: A dunkel lager or Scottish ale can offer a clean toasted malt note to offset the firm flavors of salmon without a lot of bitterness that would overwhelm the fish. Other options would include a mild ale or steam beer.

Leg of Lamb: Pale ales provide a pleasant foil to lamb with spicy or herbal character to compliment the character of the meat along with some toasted malt notes. Or for more harmony with the roasted flavors of the meat, try a hoppy brown ale or porter.

Beef Tenderloin: This rich hearty cut of meat deserves a robust beer as a counterpoint but also calls for some contrast to clear the palate between bites. The ideal companion would seem to be an IPA or Imperial IPA. Other options might include a tripel or old ale.

Source: Brewers Association

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Craft Beers and the Upcoming Holidays

Hey -- it's OK to drink beer with traditional holiday food.

You just have to know the right pairings.

The Brewers Association offers these suggestions at its holiday beer site,
http://www.beerandturkey.com/:

Traditional Roast Turkey: The roasted and caramelized skin matches well with amber ale, a strong golden ale or an amber lager in the Vienna style.

Smoked Turkey: If your local brewery offers a smoked beer, that can serve as a complement to smoked turkey as well. Look for a porter, Scotch ale or amber ale in the smoked style.

Cajun Turkey: Celebrated beer writer and New Mexico resident Stan Hieronymus suggests a malty IPA to go with his favorite
Cajun turkey recipe. For a malty alternative that will stand up to the heat, try a dark bock or strong Scotch ale.

Ham: Like the fruit and cloves often used to prepare ham, the fruity, clove notes in weizen or the stronger weizenbock compliment ham at the dinner table.

Duck: The darker meat of duck offers a richer flavor than turkey and can stand up to a richer beer as well. Here a Belgian-inspired dubbel or a hearty Oktoberfest lager would go well.

Goose: Here too a richer beer than you would choose for turkey is in order. A Belgian-style triple or biere de garde would work well or maybe a bock or Scotch ale.

Salmon: A dunkel lager or Scottish ale can offer a clean toasted malt note to offset the firm flavors of salmon without a lot of bitterness that would overwhelm the fish. Other options would include a mild ale or steam beer.

Leg of Lamb: Pale ales provide a pleasant foil to lamb with spicy or herbal character to compliment the character of the meat along with some toasted malt notes. Or for more harmony with the roasted flavors of the meat, try a hoppy brown ale or porter.

Beef Tenderloin: This rich hearty cut of meat deserves a robust beer as a counterpoint but also calls for some contrast to clear the palate between bites. The ideal companion would seem to be an IPA or Imperial IPA. Other options might include a tripel or old ale.

Source: Brewers Association

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Big-name Oktoberfests

You should be able to see a poll on Oktoberfest brews to the right.

I recently picked up Samuel Adams Octoberfest, which they spell with a "c" instead of a "k," and Michelob Marzen, which is an "Octoberfest Style Beer."

Dare I say it? I mean, last year, I totally chose Samuel Adams Octoberfest over Beck's Oktoberfest. But this year, I liked Michelob Marzen quite a bit. I'm not prepared to say it's better than Samuel Adams Octoberfest, but it might -- just might -- be as good.

Fortunately, you can't really go wrong with these three. Fact is, the Michelob Marzen is "worth a try," and the other two are a "good call," at http://www.beeradvocate.com .

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Freedom of Assembly: Still a Threat to Oppressive Regimes

Here's a reminder that U.S. civil liberties are still unusual among billions of homo sapiens.

From the Associated Press:

YANGON, Myanmar -- Myanmar's military leaders imposed a nighttime curfew and banned gatherings of more than five people Tuesday after 35,000 Buddhist monks and their supporters defied the junta's warnings and staged another day of anti-government protests.

The country's hard-line military rulers have not used force so far to stop the biggest anti-government demonstrations in nearly two decades, led by the monks. But soldiers in full battle gear were deployed Tuesday in the country's largest city, setting the stage for a showdown with a determined pro-democracy protest movement.

If protesters defy the restrictions and the military responds with force, it could further alienate already isolated Myanmar from the international community. It would almost certainly put pressure on Myanmar's top economic and diplomatic supporter, China, which is keen to burnish its international image before next year's Olympics in Beijing.

If monks who are leading the protests are mistreated, that could outrage the predominantly Buddhist country, where clerics are revered. But if the junta backs down, it risks appearing weak and emboldening protesters, which could escalate the tension.

When faced with a similar crisis in 1988, the government harshly put down a student-led democracy uprising. Security forces fired into crowds of peaceful demonstrators and killed thousands, traumatizing the nation.

Authorities announced the ban on gatherings and a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew through loudspeakers on vehicles cruising the streets of Yangon, the country's biggest city, and its second city, Mandalay. The announcement said the measures would be in effect for 60 days.

Read the full story at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070926/ap_on_re_as/myanmar .

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oktoberfest brews rule in Myrtle Beach area

Apparently, in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area, most beer-drinkers love autumn.

Brewers at long-standing local breweries, including New South Brewing Co. and Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery, say their Oktoberfests are their best-selling seasonal beers.

Josh Quigley hopes to join the mix. He will unleash a high-gravity Oktoberfest brew Friday (Sept. 14) at his restaurant-brewery, Quigley's Plate and Pint in Pawleys Island.Quigley describes it as a "malty amber lager," smooth and slightly sweet, with about 7.5 percent alcohol by volume. (He also recently unveiled his Black River Stout, which he called a "typical dry Irish stout.")

New South's Oktoberfest gets double exposure. The hybrid of traditional Oktoberfest and American amber lager has about 5-6 percent alcohol, owner-brewer Dave Epstein said. He usually has a New South seasonal and a separate seasonal for T-Bonz Gill & Grille, for which he crafts signature beers. In the case of Oktoberfest, which Epstein and T-Bonz folks both say is their best selling seasonal, it's the same brew for both outlets.

In recent years, this would be the week Oktoberfest would show up at T-Bonz, Epstein said. This year, New South rolled out a special T-Bonz brew called Bitter Bonz Extra Special Bitter (ESB) between summer's Blonde Bombshell and autumn's Oktoberfest.

T-Bonz's folks expect Bitter Bonz to last right about until Oktoberfest goes on sale at T-Bonz locations on Sept. 20. Meanwhile, New South has already shipped a few kegs of Oktoberfest to local bars, Epstein said.

Epstein said New South might use Bitter Bonz as the basis for this year's winter seasonal at T-Bonz. He wanted to get Bitter Bonz, at 8 percent alcohol, out this summer following changes in state law that allowed more alcohol content in beer. Bitter Bonz has "gone over really well," he said. I'm not surprised. It reminded me of the outstanding English import Fuller's ESB, the original ESB.

Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery, at Broadway at the Beach, will have its Oktoberfest on tap Sept. 28, brewmeister Eric Lamb said. The amber lager, about 7 percent alcohol, is his best selling seasonal.

The late September tapping introduces a month-long Oktoberfest celebration. Each Saturday in October, Liberty will have Hans Schmidt's German Band performing (times vary, so call 626-4677 for the schedule on your preferred weekend). The big weekend Oktoberfest blow-out will be Oct. 19-21, when Liberty will feature a special menu and possibly some beer specials - still developing - along with extra performances by Hans Schmidt's German Band.


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Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Duck-Rabbit Brewery on Crafting Beer


You've got to love the way the folks at The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery describe their beer-crafting process:

"When we brew, we’re happy and we dance. During fermentation, we sing softly to the yeast."

Love it!

Check out The Duck-Rabbit.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Our Kind of Girl

Photo from Tractor Brewing Co.

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Tractor Sod Buster Pale Ale


I tried this one last month in the Albuquerque airport, at the Route 66 Microbrewery. Tractor Brewing Co. is primarily a regional microbrewery, with a little distribution beyond New Mexico.

Tractor Brewing Co.'s Web site says its Sod Buster Pale Ale is "
Rich and complex in malty sweetness, yet loaded with Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest." Of course, I read that a good while after I had tried it. Here are my notes from my tasting:

"Is this supposed to be an India pale ale? If so it is not over-hopped. A light golden color, like a cloudy but light honey. Light-to-medium in body. A very muted citrus flavor. A finish that has just a tap of the good kind of bitter you find in beers."

I liked it.

Learn more about Tractor Brewing Co. at http://getplowed.com.


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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Creativity: Madeleine L'Engle, 1918-2007

It has only been within the last two weeks that I finished reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. When I heard about her death on Thursday, I choked up and whispered a “thank you” to her. Walking on Water is one of the most life-affirming, creativity-affirming, and art-affirming books I have read.

Only my two-year-old was with me, sitting at the kitchen table on which I had my computer, which I used to view the news stories and the Wikipedia entry about L’Engle. Although I never met L’Engle, I think I said something like, “One of daddy’s friends died,” and my face briefly contorted toward a cry, but little Sadie laughed, thinking I was clowning. Childlike laughter might be the best way to remember L’Engle.

She proved that childlikeness can be intelligent and broad-minded. Like comedians, children’s writers are often overlooked in the intellectual realm, yet they have both serious and playful minds. Here are some of the passages I underlined in Walking on Water.

Our work should be our play. If we watch a child at play for a few minutes, “seriously” at play, we see that all his energies are concentrated on it. He is working very hard at it. And that is how the artist works, although the artist may be conscious of discipline while the child simply experiences it.

Also:

When I am working, I move into an area of faith which is beyond the conscious control of my intellect. I do not mean that I discard my intellect, that I am an anti-intellectual, gung-ho for intuition and intuition only. Like it or not, I am an intellectual. The challenge is to let my intellect work for the creative act, not against it. And this means, first of all, that I must have more faith in the work than I have in myself.

And:

…I try to take time to let go, to listen, in much the same way that I listen when I am writing. This is praying time, and the act of listening in prayer is the same act as listening in writing.

And this fragment, which could be a life goal:

…accepting the discipline of listening, or training the ability to recognize something when it is offered.

I did not recognize what was offered soon enough. I began Walking on Water years ago and put it down, distracted by the parts of life that do not involve being quiet and listening.

Now that I have recently finished it, I want to read her children’s books, none of which, I am ashamed to say, I have read. I eventually recognized Walking on Water after it had been offered for a long time, and now that I have read it, I am eternally grateful to L’Engle. May light perpetual shine upon you.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

CNN: Fred Thompson rolls across 'the conservative Iowa countryside'

What makes a countryside conservative?

Apparently CNN's John King knows, although he didn't tell us.

On tonight's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, King had a RARE ON-THE-BUS INTERVIEW (according to the bottom of the screen) with Fred Thompson, the former Law & Order star and former U.S. senator who recently announced he is running for president.

"Wolf, national security dominated our discussion as the bus rolled across the conservative Iowa countryside," King said.

After much sweat and tears within our research department, we discovered that the Iowa countryside has not voted in a single election since white people started taking over the fruited plain. Earlier data is not available.

Attempts to contact the Iowa countryside via telephone were not immediately successful.

-Colin Burch

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Christian Humanism: Some Helpful Explanations

In the current edition of Image, the impeccable quarterly of art, faith, and mystery, editor and publisher Gregory Wolfe suggests that Christians reconsider the value of the Renaissance. In the process, he makes valuable elucidations of central ideas within Christian Humanism. Here are excerpts from Wolfe’s essay:

[I]t has been shown that many of the greatest Renaissance thinkers and artists were already at work trying to find a new synthesis of self and cosmos and bring healing to modern consciousness. The conditions they faced were strikingly like our own.

The rediscovery of pagan culture involved the question of how to approach the dialogue between secular and sacred. As the Christian humanists argued for the importance of learning from pagan culture, they deepened the theology of the Incarnation, attacking the sort of dualism that compartmentalizes experience and denies the unity of truth. “For Erasmus wisdom does not consist in despoiling a humiliated paganism, but in collaborating pedagogically with its highest expression,” writes [Marjorie O’Rourke] Boyle.

The age of exploration began the process of globalization, and while the record of western engagement with other cultures has been checkered at best, the greatest religious order to emerge out of the Renaissance — the Jesuits — offered some of the most humane forms of intercultural exchange on record, including the mission to the Guarani’ in South America, recounted in the film The Mission. The Jesuit missionaries to China dressed as Mandarins and learned both the language and Confucianism before breathing a word about Jesus….

At the risk of some anachronism, I think it can be argued that the struggle between hell-for-leather Reformers and reactionary Catholics during this period can be seen in the light of what have recently been dubbed the “culture wars.” Eventually, these conflicts would erupt into shooting wars that would engulf Europe in an orgy of division and destruction for over a century. What gets lost in dwelling on this conflagration are the achievements of the humanists on both sides of theological divide: the emergence of biblical criticism and philology, the first stirrings of the discipline of history, pleas for tolerance and understanding of Jews, and programs for the education of women.

For more information about Image, visit http://www.imagejournal.org.

Meanwhile, we have updated our homepage. Please visit http://www.liturgicalcredo.com.

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

China bans Buddhist Monks from Reincarnating in Tibet

I'm not making this up. It's from Newsweek.

By Matthew Philips
Newsweek
Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue - In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering....

See the rest of the story at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20227400/site/newsweek/

I'm really not making it up.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Rio Grande Outlaw Lager


This beer comes from Rio Grande Brewing Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and on a recent trip I was at least able to get to a six-pack from a local grocery store.

Rio Grande Outlaw Lager has a crisp, hoppy aftertaste that you'd more likely associate with a lighter beer. It's medium-light in body with a honey-to-amber color.

A subtle spiciness in the hops, combined with great sugars from the malt, make for a pleasant drink and pleasant buzz. Where some lagers lean toward a citrus crispiness, this leans toward spice.

It's an excellent beer. Try it if you're in the Albuquerque area!

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Yazoo Brewing Co.: Live from Nashville, Tenn.

I'm in Nashville, Tenn., for my first time -- just stopping for the night on my way out West -- and I found two beers from the local Yazoo Brewing Co. in the local Kroger, which did not have a wine section.

I had never heard of Yazoo beers before my trip to Kroger, but as it would happen, on my way through town to the hotel, I noticed the Marathon Motor Works Building (see a photo at this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakewylie/13514985/in/set-979352/).

The old Marathon Motor Works Building is the home of Yazoo Brewing Co.

This evening I bought six packs of Yazoo Pale Ale and Yazoo Dos Perros Ale for $7.49 each at Kroger, and I'm glad I did.

Yazoo Pale Ale has the fresh citrus touch and tartness of Sierra Nevada, with this difference: where Sierra Nevada is crisp, Yazoo Pale Ale is smooth. It's a wash in my book. This is a great beer.

Yazoo Dos Perros, with a medium body, excels in the malt department, with chocolate and light coffee tones, similar to the coffee from beans grown in Papua New Guinea. This is a good beer.

Visit the Yazoo Brewing Co. online at http://www.yazoobrew.com/yazoomain.html.

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Yazoo Brewing Co.: Live from Nashville, Tenn.

I'm in Nashville, Tenn., for my first time -- just stopping for the night on my way out West -- and I found two beers from the local Yazoo Brewing Co. in the local Kroger, which did not have a wine section.

I had never heard of Yazoo beers before my trip to Kroger, but as it would happen, on my way through town to the hotel, I noticed the Marathon Motor Works Building (see a photo at this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakewylie/13514985/in/set-979352/).

The old Marathon Motor Works Building is the home of Yazoo Brewing Co.

This evening I bought six packs of Yazoo Pale Ale and Yazoo Dos Perros Ale for $7.49 each at Kroger, and I'm glad I did.

Yazoo Pale Ale has the fresh citrus touch and tartness of Sierra Nevada, with this difference: where Sierra Nevada is crisp, Yazoo Pale Ale is smooth. The difference is just about a wash in my book. This is a great beer.

Yazoo Dos Perros, with a medium body, excels in the malt department, with chocolate and light coffee tones, similar to the coffee from beans grown in Papua New Guinea. This is a good beer.

Visit the Yazoo Brewing Co. online at http://www.yazoobrew.com/yazoomain.html.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Does Highland Gaelic Ale taste better in Asheville?

I was recently in Asheville, N.C., but my stay wasn't long enough to join the next tour of Highland Brewing Co.'s facilities. Damn!

On my way out of town, I went to Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville for an outstanding late lunch.

I ordered a Highland Gaelic Ale in the bottle, wondering if it would taste any better than the Highland Gaelic Ale I find in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area.

And it was pretty much the same, with the exception of maybe a little crisper carbonation, but that's to be expected.

It's a wonderful beer, as the rest of Highland's brews are, and I hope to make the brewery tour next time.

http://www.sunnypointcafe.com
http://www.highlandbrewing.com

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Monday, July 30, 2007

The Year of the Books About Stoics, or the Continuing Stoic Revival

A new book on ancient Stoicism is due in September.

At least three books about ancient Stoicism have been re-released in paperback this year.

Several more books about Stoicism or the thought of individual Stoics have been released in the past few years.

Why are people into the Stoics these days? I'm trying to answer that question for an upcoming article in LiturgicalCredo.com, but for the moment, I'll give a broad-brush backgrounder and then get back to this year's books.

Founded in ancient Greece by Zeno of Citium in Cypress (344-262 B.C.), this philosophical school lived about 600 years through Roman Imperial times. The writings of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor who lived 121-180 A.D., are considered key texts for Stoicism as we know it today.

Due in September is Stoicism and Emotion (University of Chicago Press, 2007) by Margaret R. Graver.

The book "shows that they did not simply advocate an across-the-board suppression of feeling, as stoicism implies in today’s English, but instead conducted a searching examination of these powerful psychological responses, seeking to understand what attitude toward them expresses the deepest respect for human potential," according to the description at Amazon.com.

The three books re-released in paperback this year, suggesting an ongoing interest in the subject matter, are:

Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind (Oxford University Press, 2005, 2007), by Nancy Sherman

The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, & Fate (Oxford University Press, 2005, 2007), by Tad Brennan

The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness (HarperSanFrancisco, 1995; HarperOne, 2007), which was co-authored by Epictetus, an ancient Stoic, and Sharon Lebell, a writer and musician who lives, in our time, in Northern California.

Note that two of the three paperback re-releases were published just two years ago.

Graver's books and those paperbacks are priced within a range one might expect to pay for a book.

However, if you really wanted to dig deep into this subject matter, you could buy one of these expensive academic books, released this year:

The Corinthian Dissenters and the Stoics (Studies in Biblical Literature) (Peter Lang Publishing, 2007) by Albert V. Garcilazo for $71.95 at Amazon.com, or

Spinoza and the Stoics: Power, Politics and the Passions (Continuum Studies in Philosophy) (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2007) by Firmin Debrabander for $120 at Amazon.com.

The priceless online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an entry on Stoicism here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/ .

-Colin Burch

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Singha Lager

Singha lager from Bangkok, Thailand, makes me think of Budweiser made a little bit smoother, and with a little more of the malty sweetness I find in Mexico's Modelo Especial. BeerAdvocate.com gives it a "worth a try," and I agree.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Red Brick Ale from Atlanta Brewing Co.

Red Brick Ale from Atlanta Brewing Co. in (guess) Atlanta is a high-gravity brown ale, not a red as the name might suggest. Actually, all the names of Atlanta Brewing Co. beers begin with "Red Brick," so that explains it.

Red Brick Ale is definitely worth of try. Its potency is just under 7 percent alcohol by volume, but you would never know it. The strength I experienced in this beer was its smoothness and malt sweetness and medium-to-full body.

Check out Atlanta Brewing Co. at http://www.atlantabrewing.com.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Mitt Romney, the Republicans, and the number of wives they have (had)

Last week's edition of The Economist had a chart that compared the number of times leading and likely Republican presidential candidates have been married, including the Mormon candidate Mitt Romney.

The tongue-in-cheek chart, titled "Who's the true monogamist?", played the (sort-of) bygone practice of polygamy in Romney's Mormonism against the family-values record of other high-profile Republicans.

The chart went something like this:

Newt Gingrich: Three wives so far

Rudy Giuliani: Three wives so far

John McCain: Two wives so far

Fred Thompson: Two wives so far

Mitt Romney: one wife so far

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Terrapin Rye Pale Ale rocks

I found Terrapin Rye Pale Ale on tap down at Hangin' Ten, a bar in Surfside Beach, S.C.

Many beers have unique flavor profiles, but some of those flavors are more like experiments, like when over-hopped India Pale Ales taste like mouthfuls of food seasoning.

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale was different and better for it.

This brew woke up my mouth without overwhelming me, and made a serious statement about rye while remaining smooth. Tip of the hat to the rye, the four types of non-rye malt, and the five hops Terrapin included in this mix.

Check out Georgia's own Terrapin Beer Co. at www.terrapinbeer.com.

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Terrapin Rye Pale Ale rocks


I found Terrapin Rye Pale Ale on tap down at Hangin' Ten, a bar in Surfside Beach, S.C.

Many beers have unique flavor profiles, but some of those flavors are more like experiments, like when over-hopped India Pale Ales taste like mouthfuls of food seasoning.

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale was different and better for it.

This brew woke up my mouth without overwhelming me, and made a serious statement about rye while remaining smooth. Tip of the hat to the rye, the four types of non-rye malt, and the five hops Terrapin included in this mix.

Check out Georgia's own Terrapin Beer Co. at www.terrapinbeer.com.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

What the ale is this Mike-garita?

Did you see that Mike's Mike-garita drinks are labeled, at least in a single spot on the bottles, as "Flavored Ale"?

Technically speaking, maybe they are ale, but I'm just not down with the idea of giving the name ale to a "malt beverage" that's flavored to taste like a cocktail. Let the tradition be pure!

That being said, I liked it. I hate to admit it but I rimmed a glass with salt, filled it with ice, poured on the Mike-garita, and it was quite good. These Mike-garitas have some punch, too -- they're 8 percent alcohol by volume.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Self-renewal in science and free societies

"The life of the scientific community consists in enforcing the tradition of science and assuring at the same time its continuous renewal. A dynamic free society lives as a whole in this way. It cultivates a system of traditional ideas which have the power of unlimited self-renewal."
--Michael Polanyi, from the preface to the Torchbook edition of Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy

This might explain the success of Christianity, which could be described as "a system of traditional ideas which have the power of unlimited self-renewal."

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Frank Zappa explains the necessity of beer

"You can't have a real country unless you have a beer and an airline -- it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."
-Frank Zappa

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Westmalle Trappist Ales

Westmalle Trappist Ales from Belgium are not everyday beers in the U.S.

But every beer drinker ought to try them.

Last night I had a glass of Westmalle Tripel and a glass of Westmalle Dubbel, as part of my continuing celebration of the new laws in South Carolina that allow higher alcohol levels in beer.

Both are beers that fill the mouth -- medium-to-heavy bodies and sweet maltiness.

Be careful, though. The easy-to-drink, yummy character of these two can catch up with folks who aren't used to drinking Belgian imports. The Dubbel is 7 percent alcohol by volume, and the Tripel is 9.5 percent.

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Westmalle Trappist Ales

Westmalle Trappist Ales from Belgium are not everyday beers in the U.S.

But you really ought to try them.

Last night I had a glass of Westmalle Tripel and a glass of Westmalle Dubbel.

These are both beers that fill your mouth -- medium-to-heavy bodies and sweet maltiness.

Be careful, though. The easy-to-drink, yummy character of these two can catch up to you. The Dubbel is 7 percent alcohol by volume, and the Tripel is 9.5 percent!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Myrtle Beach Moment, No. 8

The managers of Barefoot Landing are concerned about high-heel shoes.

Barefoot Landing is a shopping-dining-entertainment complex on the southern-most end of North Myrtle Beach. Many of the shops and restaurants are connected by a massive boardwalk, or maybe more like a giant, sprawling deck.

Apparently, someone was concerned that the back end of high-heel shoes might get stuck in the cracks between the wood planks, but the way the warning was worded doesn't seem to have come off with quite the same meaning.

Engraved on steps near the Christmas Mouse shop, the warning reads:

"High Heels May Cause Injury."

The first image in my mind: An angry woman beating me with the sharp end of a stiletto heel.

The second image in my mind: An extremely attractive woman in high heels.

Either way, I whole-heartedly agree: high heels may cause injury.

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

The pros and cons of Miller Chill

Miller Chill was an iffy experience.

Light and drinkable, with the advertised touch of lime and salt in the chelada tradition, Miller Chill isn't exactly a beer-drinking experience.

It's more like a refreshing counterpoint to summer weather or a mouth-cleaning accompaniment to Mexico-inspired foods.

The very light nature of this light beer leaves a bit to be desired in the malt department.

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Arcade Fire's prophetic insight

Art plays a prophetic role in our time as much as it has in any other. Whether out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, or from the mouth of an ass, or from the conviction of the faithful, a true insight is chipped from God’s truth. Insight, presented poetically, is what I see in the song “Intervention” by the Canadian band Arcade Fire. The song describes a substantial part of my church experience, as well as the experiences of many others. Here are a few lines from the song:

Working for the Church while
your life falls apart.
Singin’ hallelujah with the fear in your heart.
Every spark of friendship and love
will die without a home.
Here the soldier groan, “We’ll go at it alone.”


(See www.arcadefire.com and www.neonbible.com.)

-Colin Burch

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

The pros and cons of Miller Chill

Miller Chill was an iffy experience.

Light and drinkable, with the advertised touch of lime and salt in the chelada tradition, Miller Chill isn't exactly a beer-drinking experience.

It's more like a refreshing counterpoint to summer weather or a mouth-cleaning accompaniment to Mexico-inspired foods.

The very light nature of this light beer leaves a bit to be desired in the malt department.

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Friday, July 6, 2007

Crisis at Starbucks locations in Myrtle Beach

I've got the credentials to slam the espresso at the Starbucks locations in my area.

I owned and operated a coffeehouse for three years, and during that time, we timed shots on our La Cimbali espresso machine, and adjusted the grind throughout the day.

Also during that time, I received my Intermediate Barrista certificate from the Specialty Coffee Association of America -- which, all giggles aside, is nothing like advanced french-fry training.

So there.

A properly made espresso will have nutmeg-colored crema on top. A little spoonful of sugar will take three seconds to slip through the crema.

Not so at two Myrtle Beach Starbucks locations.

The espressos I have ordered at the two Ocean Boulevard locations came with a pallid crema on top, and the sugar endured a terrifying free-fall into the bottom of my cup.

Starbucks has to get this right, or their world-domination campaign must be stopped.

Otherwise, the goodness, beauty, and truth of espresso will be lost.

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Gordon Biersch to plant restaurant-brewery at former Myrtle Beach AFB

The Gordon Biersch Restaurant Group, which bought Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Charlotte, plans to bring a restaurant-brewery to the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which is rapidly developing into a shopping, dining, and residential area. The restaurant-brewery should be open in 2008.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Could solution to Islamic extremism breed cynicism?

In an article headlined “Islam’s authority deficit,” the June 30 edition of The Economist opened with the following three paragraphs:

Governments worried by Islamist extremism ought to get the message: the only real answer lay in more Islam — deeper, sounder, more careful readings of the Muslim faith, from scholars who could use the weight of collective experience, accumulated over 14 centuries, to solve the dilemmas of life in the modern age.

Such, broadly, was the argument laid out in London recently by Ali Gomaa, the grand mufti of Egypt, before a gathering of Islamic scholars and pundits. And his hosts took him seriously. The case for using scholarly Islam as a counterweight to the radical, hot-headed sort is familiar in the Middle East, but this time it won an unusually clear endorsement from a Western leader, Tony Blair.

In his parting thoughts (as prime minister, anyway) on Islam, Mr Blair lauded Jordan for its efforts to make the various legal schools of Islam respect each another and stop calling each other infidels. And just like Mr Gomaa, Mr Blair said how important it was to ensure that only qualified people could issue fatwas, or rulings on how to follow Islam in specific situations. Emboldened by his welcome, Mr Gomaaa offered to help Britain set up a post like his own: state-certified grand mufti.

I worry about Tony Blair’s role, not Ali Gomaa’s role, in the discussions and possibilities mentioned above.

Those possibilities are outstanding. My concern is that any perception of Western-influenced official Islam would breed cynicism among the more conservative elements in Islam as well as the extremists. Blair and Gomaa are wise men who realize something constructive must be attempted in our time. However, isn’t the nature of Islamic extremism, and even some especially conservative elements within the religion, to be suspicious of anything that might water-down the message? Will the attempt backfire?

-Colin Burch

Visit http://www.liturgicalcredo.com

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Price report: The good kind of Delirium Tremens

Expensive and worth it, Delerium Tremens has shown up in my neighborhood since South Carolina's beer law changed to allow high-gravity beers. It's a crisp Belgian blond beer, 9 percent alcohol by volume, made with three yeasts.

I bought a bottle at a restaurant, and I should have expect the price: $9. Ouch. This isn't everyday drinking.

Of course, the four-packs of 11.2-ounce bottles are $15.98-$16.98. A 750 milliliter bottle is $8.99-$9.26.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Technorati housekeeping

Technorati Profile

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Happy Fourth! Here's a thought

"Nothing ever tasted any better than a cold beer on a beautiful afternoon with nothing to look forward to but more of the same."
-- Hugh Hood

And while we're doing that today, let's turn to the east and lift a can to our friends and family serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, in hopes that next year they'll be back here.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thought for the Day

"Beer was so popular with medieval priests and monks that in the thirteenth century, they stopped baptizing children with holy water and started using beer."
-Ian Lendle, in Alcoholica Esoterica

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