Saturday, March 29, 2008

Brilliant line: Time magazine sums up R.E.M.'s new album

"Dispensing with dirge-y ballads and long musical bridges to nowhere, Accelerate clocks in at a frenzied 35 minutes, with five of the 11 tracks zooming by in under-3-min., leave-the-room-and-you-missed-it blurs. It sounds less like a recent R.E.M. album than three men fleeing the scene of a recent R.E.M. album."
-Josh Tyrangiel, writing in the April 7 edition of Time

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Gordon Biersch opening soon in Myrtle Beach; an interview with the Head Brewer at the new Gordon Biersch in Myrtle Beach

Pete Velez is working on some brews that will probably make you smile.

Velez is head brewer at the local Gordon Biersch restaurant-brewery, which is scheduled to open on April 3 in The Market Common development on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

The Myrtle Beach location will be the first in South Carolina for Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, Inc., which has 27 locations in 17 states.

And this will be the first Gordon Biersch gig for Velez, who left Capitol City Brewing Co. in the Washington, D.C., area for the job here.

The Gordon Biersch concept focuses on "upper-end casual dining," according to the company, with appetizers such as Garlic French Fries, and entrees including Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken Stir Fry.

And, of course, on-premise brewing. The company adheres to a German "Purity Law" for beer-making that dates back to 1516.

When Velez recently took a few minutes to tell me more about how Gordon Biersch makes and serves beer, I started looking forward to the grand opening.

First, all of the beers are made exclusively with German and Czechoslovakian ingredients, and they are all lagers, which take a little longer to brew than ales.

Gordon Biersch beers are served in half-liter glasses, although there is a smaller glass available at 0.4 liter, a difference that makes more sense when the glasses are set side-by-side, Velez said.

The prices on those glasses will be competitive with the going rates in the local market, but they haven't been finalized, he said. The Happy Hour prices at most Gordon Biersch locations are a dollar less than the regular price, he said, but those specials aren't official for Myrtle Beach yet.

Velez will offer growlers, too - a regular, half-gallon jug like Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery and Quigley's Pint and Plate offers, and possibly a more expensive, German-style jug with a flip top.

Gordon Biersch will also, probably, have a spin on the mug club, Velez said. It will be a bit more fancy and German - a stein club.

So what will be on tap when the restaurant-brewery opens? Click here to find out.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Land Shark Lager in the outfield

BB&T Coastal Field, home of the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Pelicans baseball club, has the only outfield seating section in the Carolina League, and it's about to be up-fitted, Jimmy Buffett-style.

The section will become "Land Shark Landing," themed after the Margaritaville Brewing Co.'s Land Shark Lager. The parent company is Anheuser-Busch.

"Land Shark Landing" is scheduled to be ready for the Myrtle Beach Pelican's home opener on April 11, said Jon Laaser, the ball club's director of broadcasting and communications.

"Land Shark Landing" - definitely has a ring to it - will be a partnership between the Pelicans and Better Brands, Inc., a beer wholesaler in Myrtle Beach that will also be co-sponsor of Thirsty Thursdays - the nights for beer specials - for the 2008 season.

Although I'm more inclined to think about Chevy Chase as the original land shark from the classic Saturday Night Live skits, the real inspiration behind "Land Shark Lager" was Buffett's song "Fins." Remember that one? "You got fins to the left / Fins to the right / You're the only bait in town."

Like I've said before, Land Shark Lager, which tastes similar to Corona Extra, and would go fairly well with a cheeseburger that has lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

The NCAA tournament and Ecclesiastes

I was shooting baskets in the driveway when the ball went half way into the hoop and bounced three or four times within the rim before popping out.

That made me wonder about the reliability of preparation, despite my belief that one must always prepare.

It seemed preparation is an essential part of what is necessary to succeed.

Yet only part.

The wise man in Ecclesiastes said “speed does not win the race nor strength the battle…time and chance govern all” (New English Bible).

Time and chance are inevitable factors in the NCAA tournament.

Bet accordingly.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

As Cyprus hosts its first conference on ADHD, bad Ritalin-related news from the UK

Good news first.

Cyprus hosts its first conference on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old taking Ritalin commits suicide.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jesus saves, scrubs

On U.S. 701 near Conway, S.C.
Notice the subtle image of a cross in the top right corner.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

CDC's report on teen girls with STDs considered with No. 2 song on iTunes

Google News headline, March 11, 2008: Quarter of U.S. teen girls have sex-related disease; main link goes to a Reuters article

No. 2 song on iTunes, March 11, 2008: "Love in this Club" by Usher, featuring Young Jeezy; excerpts from lyrics available on several Web sites

26 percent of U.S. girls, ages 14-19, are infected with at least one sexually related disease, the Centers for Disease Control reported today

I wanna make love in this club, in this club, in this club

20 percent of white teen girls have a sex-related disease

On the couch, on the table, on the bar, on the floor

48 percent of black teen girls have a sex-related disease

Let's both get undressed right here

20 percent of Hispanic teen girls have a sex-related disease

Imma give it to ya non-stop

"This means far too many young women are at risk for the serious health effects of untreated STDs, including infertility and cervical cancer," said the CDC's Dr. Sara Forhan.

(Read the CNN story here.)

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pope to reconsider Martin Luther

From the Daily Mail (U.K.):

The Pope is planning to rehabilitate Martin Luther - whose actions instigated the Protestant Reformation – by arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices.

Benedict XVI will issue his findings on the 16th-century German theologian after discussing him at the papal summer residence, Castelgandolfo, during his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians, the Ratzinger Sch├╝lerkreis.

Luther was and condemned for heresy and excommunicated in 1521 by Pope Leo X, who had initially dismissed him as “a drunken German” and predicted he would “change his mind when sober”.

Vatican insiders say the 80-year-old Pope - himself born in Germany - will argue that his countryman was not a heretic after all.

The move, a month ahead of the third anniversary of Pope Benedict's election, is aimed at mending fences after July's blunt papal statement that the Protestant and Orthodox faiths are “not proper Churches”.

“We have much to learn from Luther, beginning with the importance he attached to the word of God,” said Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The cardinal added that the time had come for a “more positive” view of Luther, who could now be seen as having “anticipated aspects of reform which the [Catholic] Church has adopted over time”.

Read the full story here.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

A pint of Harp at P.J. Moran's Restaurant in NYC

My wife and I recently stopped in at P.J. Moran's Restaurant at 3 East 48th Street in New York City.

I had a pint of Harp with the traditional Irish breakfast which I got for lunch; the pint cost me $7.50.

That's a little more expensive than a pint of Harp here in South Carolina.

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