Monday, December 21, 2009

Lemmy in Moscow!

British heavy metal band Motorhead come to Moscow

MOSCOW, RUSSIA. DECEMBER 21, 2009. Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister performs at the Luzhniki Small Sports Arena during their tour of Russia. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Vladimir Astapkovich) Photo via Newscom / Content © 2009 Newscom All rights reserved.
British heavy metal band Motorhead come to Moscow

British heavy metal band Motorhead come to Moscow

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Dressing -- and undressing -- in the display window

CNN had a feature on these live window-display models for XOXO in NYC. They really were changing their clothes in the window display, while an enraptured, mostly male, crowd looked on.


Models dress each other in the holiday window displays at XOXO Live in New York City. (Alan Behr/MCT) Photo via Newscom
Content © 2009 Newscom All rights reserved.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Last-minute gifts -- beer and pop culture

Gift suggestions for all budgets!
Norm Peterson from Cheers!

The "real" Michael Jackson!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An expensive brew

It’s the 2009 edition of Samuel Adams Utopias, a dark blend of batches, aged in bourbon ca

The Boston Beer Co., makers of Samuel Adams, has taken beer to a new extreme.

Utopias, the company's biennial beer, has been upgraded: 27 percent alcohol by volume.

It comes in a 24-ounce bottle of ceramic and copper that looks like a brew kettle, at only $150 each.

But you probably won't find it in South Carolina.

In May 2007, the S.C. General Assembly passed a law allowing stronger beers to be sold in the state. Previously, the law allowed only beers that contained 6 percent alcohol by volume or less. The 2007 law raised the cap to 17.5 percent alcohol by volume, allowing numerous beer styles and imports to enter the state legally.

But at 27 percent, Utopias is illegal in South Carolina. Thanks a lot, Boston Beer Co.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

New house: One position from three perspectives

In these three photos, Kristi stands in one place while I take photos from three different places downstairs in our new house. The angles demonstrate the peculiar configuration of the living room and sun room. (You can click the photos to enlarge them.)

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

You'd never believe the wine choices at my friend's Christmas party

For red wine, you could have either

A) Fidelity


B) Menage a Trois

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

LiturgicalCredo: Contemporary Stories of Faith & Doubt

LiturgicalCredo: Contemporary Stories of Faith & Doubt

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

After the age of 25, we become slowly rotting fruit...

After the age of 25, we pretty much become slowly rotting fruit -- and this is a good thing. Consider it the miracle of fermentation.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

End of my 3rd semester: A thought about teaching

I think I know why students are sometimes confused.

I tell them, "I want you to think for yourselves." At the same time, I say, "Do exactly what I say to do."

The two statements aren't perfect polar opposites, but they do set up a kind of disconnect: You could imagine the students asking, "Why do you tell us exactly what to do if you want us to think for ourselves?"

It might be worthwhile for me to explicitly state, "Do exactly what I say to do SO you can learn how to think for yourselves."

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End of my 3rd semester: a few thoughts about teaching

I think I know why students are sometimes confused. 

I tell them, "I want you to think for yourselves." At the same time, I say, "Do exactly what I say to do."

The two statements aren't perfect polar opposites, but they do set up a kind of disconnect: You could imagine the students asking, "Why do you tell us exactly what to do if you want us to think for ourselves?"

It might be worthwhile for me to explicitly state, "Do exactly what I say to do SO you can learn how to think for yourselves."

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Australian Champagne Dash for Ladies

I'm not making this up. It's the GH Mumm Champagne Dash for Ladies during the Paspaley Polo In The City in Centennial Park on November 21, 2009 in Sydney, Australia.

Paspaley Polo In The City

Paspaley Polo In The City

Paspaley Polo In The City

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Content © 2009 Getty Images All rights reserved.

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Strongly recommended: 2 Below by New Belgium

Yesterday, I picked up 2 Below Ale, the winter seasonal from New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Fantastic. It might be lighter than you would expect from a winter seasonal. It's a touch on the hoppy side, with a very pleasing malt character. The alcohol by volume is 6.6 percent.

I bought a sixer for $8.59 at Owens Liquors, 8000 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon on Monday

... is a song by Duran Duran, not a date at the movies, damn it!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doesn't he get to see those ALL THE TIME?

The Blind Side New York Premiere

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the New York premiere of "The Blind Side" on Tuesday. McGraw plays a role in the movie.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jogging with a cigar

Just to make sure I don't get too healthy.

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My weirdest roadtrip playlist, ever

Here's the playlist I threw together for my roadtrip to Charlotte two weekends ago.

I have no idea what I was thinking.

1. "It's Not My Time" by 3 Doors Down

2. "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World

3. "Always a Friend" by Alejandro Escovedo

4. "Bang My Drum" by Danielia Cotton

5. "Beautiful Day" by U2

6. "Scar That Never Heals" by Jeremy Fisher

7. "Almost Like Love" by Yes

8. "Love Will Find a Way" by Yes

9. "I'm the Man" by Anthrax

10. "Good Times" by INXS & Jimmy Barnes

11. "Heaven is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle

12. "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" by Pet Shop Boys


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Friday, November 6, 2009

Foothills "Sexual Chocolate" makes a stop at The Market Common

Foothills Brewing Co. of Winston-Salem will be selling growlers of its beers, including its "Sexual Chocolate" brew, at the Piggly Wiggly at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, 4-7 p.m. today (Nov. 6).

Foothills Brewing makes some AMAZING beers -- don't miss this event!

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Important Halloween Announcement

Colin Burch reminds you that a cute witch, by morning, usually becomes an ugly princess.

Happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Red Stripe in a can?

In the U.S., have you ever seen Red Stripe in a can?

I haven't. I just saw an ad with canned Red Stripe on the site for Q magazine, a U.K. music publication.

Anyone know where you can find canned Red Stripe in the States?

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jon Bon Jovi performed at the New Giants Stadium today

Jon Bon Jovi Performs Live at the New Giant's Stadium

22 October 2009 - East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Gearing up for the November 10th album release The Circle, Bon Jovi will return to their native New Jersey for an exclusive homecoming performance to open up the New Giants Stadium planned for 2010.

Jon Bon Jovi Performs Live at the New Giant's Stadium

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The boss in Pennsylvania!


Bruce Springsteen performs at the Wachovia Spectrum on Monday, October 20, 2009, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Elizabeth Robertson/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT) Photo via Newscom Content © 2009 Newscom All rights reserved. Accessed via PicApp.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

My public confession

Today, I made the following public confession in each of the classes I teach at CCU:

"I have a confession to make, and I need to go ahead and get this out of the way.

"It's difficult, but I will make this confession.

"N.C. State has no football team this year."

-Colin Foote Burch, English, NCSU, Class of 1995

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Wine & beer tasting in Pawleys Island

Event: Wine and Beer tasting

Start Time: Thursday, October 15 at 5:00pm

End Time: Thursday, October 15 at 7:00pm

Where: Pawleys Wine & Spirits, 10135 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island, SC

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Sadie as Spider-Man at last Saturday's Oktoberfest

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good news, moderates!

TRONDHEIM, Norway, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Abstaining from alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of depression, researchers in Norway found.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Bergen said it has long been recognized that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to poor physical and mental health. The researchers -- using data from the Nord-Trondelag Health study that provided information on the drinking habits and mental health of more than 38,000 people -- showed those who reported drinking no alcohol during a two-week period were more likely than moderate drinkers to report symptoms of depression.

Read the full story here.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Oktoberfest tomorrow at The Market Common!

Get information on tomorrow's Oktoberfest, sponsored by the Weekly Surge, here and here.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I like "40" by U2, the P-40 aircraft, 40 ounces, the 40 yard line, "40 Days" by Chris Robinson & The New Earth Mud, Isaiah 40, John Berryman's Dream Song 40, Pensees #40 -- and now I see a rainbow.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oktoberfest tapping at TBonz!

At 4 p.m. tomorrow -- that's Sept. 17 -- TBonz will hold an early tapping of its Oktoberfest brew at the Barefoot Landing location, at the southern end of North Myrtle Beach.

The Oktoberfest will be on tap at the other TBonz locations on Friday (Sept. 18).

The beer is produced by New South Brewing Co. in Myrtle Beach.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dr. House should prescribe Ritalin to Kanye

You know it's only right.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Funny and scary: The future of ordering pizza

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Magic Hat's Hallowen 12-pack

It's finally out there, now that Labor Day is gone: The Halloween/autumn edition of the Magic Hat seasonal 12-pack.

For $15.49 at my neighbhorhood Food Lion in Myrtle Beach, I can purchase three #9's, three Odd Notions, three Circus Boys, and three Roxy Rolles in a single package.

And I dig the package design. I always loved the skeletons for Halloween.

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Mid life

Why does it feel like I pressed the pause button when I was 17, and now I want to press "play" again?

I want to contact high school friends again. I want to listen to the music I listened to in high school again.

Maybe it's like the snow globe was shaken with the start of college, and now it's all finally settled again.

Maybe. Fortunately for Kristi, I don't want to get a red sports car, and I don't trust many people other than her.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

'Blind Faith' now available!

Hi everyone! That ridiculous-looking blindfolded guy on the cover of the Weekly Surge is -- wait for it -- me.

The cover story, "Blind Faith: Beerman's Local Brew Crew Taste-Tests Budget Beers," will let you know how to get the best possible cheap beers this Labor Day weekend.

Pick up your free copy of the Weekly Surge at area grocery stores and publication racks.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's in the (aluminum) cans

I finished my Weekly Surge cover story on the Cheap Beer Taste Test, featuring Dave Epstein and Brock Kurtzman of New South Brewing Co., Eric Lamb of Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery, and Pete Velez of Gordon Biersch.

The beers? The tasting notes? The results?

Look for all the answer in this coming Thursday's edition of the Weekly Surge.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tomorrow, I get shot, blindfolded

That's right -- I will be photographed for an upcoming cover of the Weekly Surge. Scott Smallin will do the shooting.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coffee for dogs

I was on the back patio this morning, throwing the tennis ball into the yard so Lucy, a four-month-old black lab-great dane mix, could play fetch.

Mosquitoes began to accumulate on my legs, so I placed my cup of Cashua Coffee's Mocha Java on the bricks encircling a tree.

Lucy sniffed the cup, and then started lapping.

She even came back to it, and lapped it until the cup tipped over.

Oddly enough, she is still, at the present moment, taking her normal mid-morning nap.

Must not have made it strong enough.

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Coffee for dogs

I was on the back patio this morning, throwing the tennis ball into the yard so Lucy, a four-month-old black lab-great dane mix, could play fetch.

Mosquitoes began to accumulate on my legs, so I placed my cup of Cashua Coffee's Mocha Java on the bricks encircling a tree.

Lucy sniffed the cup, and then started lapping.

She even came back to it, and lapped it until the cup tipped over.

Oddly enough, she is still, at the present moment, taking her normal mid-morning nap.

Must not have made it strong enough.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MB brewers try six cheap beers in taste test

I'm writing an upcoming cover story for the Weekly Surge which will feature the results of my Cheap Beer Taste Test.

Four local guys in the brewing business tasted six cheap beers from cups labeled only with A, B, C, D, E, and F.

They didn't know it, but those beers were: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, Steel Reserve, South Paw Light, Milwaukee's Best Ice, and Natural Light.

Who were the brewers, and what were their opinions of these beers? Look for upcoming editions of the Weekly Surge to find out.

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'A Wrinkle in Time'

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, Book 1) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An imaginative, complex book that never gets too complicated for its young audiences to follow. My 9-year-old and 7-year-old enjoyed it.

View all my reviews >>

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Cheap beer taste-test

I'm trying to gin-up a cheap beer taste-test among our local brewers, for a Weekly Surge cover story.

Any suggestions on which beers I should use in the taste test? Of course, I have some in mind already, but I'm open to suggestions. The beers must be cheaper than $5 per six pack.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wearable beer dispenser?

Apparently ... yes.

Click here to read about it, and see a pic.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Guinness really is good for you, new research suggests

According to the BBC:

The old advertising slogan "Guinness is Good for You" may be true after all, according to researchers.

A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.

Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from University of Wisconsin told a conference in the US.

Guinness were told to stop using the slogan decades ago - and the firm still makes no health claims for the drink.

The Wisconsin team tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to dogs who had narrowed arteries similar to those in heart disease.

They found that those given the Guinness had reduced clotting activity in their blood, but not those given lager.

Read the full article here.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Miller High Life minis

"High Life" comes at a cheap price. I bought eight squat, little bottles for $3.69 at the local Food Lion.

These little half-size bottles are hilarious -- who drinks them? What's the appeal? Portability?

All kidding aside, for a cheap beer, Miller High Life has some roots. There's the long-standing name brand. There's the art deco-era symbol of a young woman sitting on a crescent moon.

I actually think I like the taste.

Did I just say that publicly?

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

CNN's Ed Henry: Why not Sam Adams for Obama, Gates, Crowley summit?

CNN's Ed Henry had a good point: Samuel Adams is an all-American brew, the largest American-owned brewer. Why not pour some Boston Lager for the Obama, Gates, and Crowley summit this evening?

Apparently, the selection of the best beer is somewhat controversial.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Redhook Tripel Belgian Style Ale: Limited Edition

I found a Redhook Limited Edition Tripel at the store two days ago.

I hope it's not too limited -- I want to pick up another.

Redhook's Tripel has berry notes, and perhaps a more subtle flavor than some of its Belgian counterparts.

The one-pint, 6-ounce bottle was priced at $6 and change.

Very good -- buy a bottle while you can.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What makes a friendship? How Shestov and Husserl became buds

Edmund Husserl once said of his fellow philosopher Lev Shestov, “No one has ever attacked me so sharply as he. That’s why we are such close friends.”

From this article in The Jewish Week.

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Predatory attitudes make survivors

In war, anxiety can run as high as the Iraqi heat, and neuroscientists say that the most perceptive, observant brain on earth will not pick up subtle clues if it is overwhelmed by stress.

In the Army study of I.E.D. detection, researchers found that troops who were good at spotting bombs in simulations tended to think of themselves as predators, not prey. That frame of mind by itself may work to reduce anxiety, experts say.

From this article in the New York Times.

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Jotting down a few quotations

Last academic year's Student Handbook & Academic Planner included quotations in the top right-hand corner of each week. I've been skeptical of the value of these types of quotations, only because I relied too heavily on short, pithy, wise sayings for a long season of my life. Maybe the value resides in a both/and approach: short, pithy, wise sayings are both helpful and limited. So before I throw away the academic planner, I thought I would keep some of the quotations I found inside:

"It is our choices ... that show what we are, far more than our abilities." -- JK Rowling

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." -- Sun Tzu

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." -- BF Skinner

"Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." -- Abe Lincoln

"Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions -- it only guarantees equality of opportunity." -- Irving Kristol

"Discovery is the ability to be puzzled by simple things." -- Noam Chomsky

"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." -- Will Durant

"Soft words are hard arguments." -- Thomas Fuller

"It's plain hard work that does it." -- Thomas Edison

"Experience teaches only the teachable." -- Aldous Huxley

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." -- Jimi Hendrix

"The one exclusive sign of a thorough knowledge is the power of teaching." -- Aristotle

"All men by nature desire knowledge." -- Aristotle

"Our greatest weariness comes from work not done." -- Eric Hoffer

"Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself." -- Chinese proverb

"That which is used develops. That which is not used wastes away." -- Hippocrates

"Life itself remains a very effective therapist." -- Dr. Karen Horney

OK, then, back to the hard work of life!

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Casting out the estrogen with Rush and Iron Maiden

Kristi's in Chicago, Maggie's at camp in the N.C. mountains, Sadie's on a roadtrip with grandparents, and a friend took Audrey to spend last night.

For the first time since we moved, our new house became a bachelor pad.

Lucky me, the VH1 Classic channel was broadcasting full-length concerts of Rush and Iron Maiden yesterday evening -- both filmed in Rio de Janiero!

With no one else around, I could listen to the concerts at a suitable volume.

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Casting out the estrogen

Kristi's in Chicago, Maggie's at camp in the N.C. mountains, Sadie's on a roadtrip with grandparents, and a friend took Audrey to spend last night.

For the first time since we moved, our new house became a bachelor pad.

Lucky me, the VH1 Classic channel was broadcasting full-length concerts of Rush and Iron Maiden yesterday evening -- both filmed in Rio de Janiero!

With no one else around, I could listen to the concerts at a suitable volume.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Joan Osborne, 'Cathedrals'

(If you can't see the embedded video below, click here.)

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Beastie Boy MCA, Adam Yauch, has cancer

Sad news, but the type of cancer he has should be treatable. Watch the video below.

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Fris vodka

I recently discovered Fris, a Danish vodka that is allegedly "freeze distilled," whatever that means. Either way, 750 ml for $13 and change (after tax) isn't a bad deal.

While my beloved Ketel One has a bit more of a mineral touch and a hint of marshmellow -- and while my equally beloved Firefly has that mellow muscadine touch -- Fris has a lighter body and more delicate flavors with a refreshing finish. I might add Fris to my favorites list.

Have you tried Fris? What do you think? Click the comment link and let us know.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Malcolm Muggeridge on power

If you can't see the YouTube box below, click here.

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Myrtle Beach, SC, to Bozeman, MT, and back

We left after sunset on June 28, borrowing my in-laws 20-foot RV for a road trip to Bozeman, Montana.

On the way out, Maggie (9), Audrey (7), and I went up inside the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri; we took photos in the Badlands of South Dakota; and Sadie and Kristi joined us for pics below Mount Rushmore.

We spent four nights at a friend's house in Bozeman, Montana, with other close friends from the Queens MFA program. We even did workshop critiques of our manuscripts.

Some of my friends and their families journeyed down into Yellowstone with us on July 6.

After looking around for a while, we parted ways and Kristi, the girls and I made a quick visit to Old Faithful. Then we went down into the Grand Teton Nat'l Park and spent our only -- only -- actual night at a campground, where, as usual, the sewage hookup was the source of unintended comedy.

Tuesday, the 7th, we spent more time at Grand Teton, where the girls got their Junior Park Ranger badges. On our way out of the park area, bouncing through road construction, the driver side of the back shelf in the RV fell!

After thinking we'd drive for several hours, we did the overnight at Hampton Inn in Rawlins, Wyoming.

Then we drove all the way across Nebraska (even I started to get bored with quaint, old windmills in the fields) and another overnight at Embassy Suites in Lincoln, Neb., which is a cool little college city.

Then I drove from Thursday morning -- with a quick, early detour into Kansas for the heck of it -- until about 4 a.m. Eastern on Friday, when I let Kristi take the wheel in Tennessee. We got home around noon Eastern.

No tornadoes were spotted on this trip, but the RV is caked with dead bugs.

There's no place like home, and yet Sadie left her ruby sandals in Montana (for real), and they won't arrive until one of my writing buddies visits Myrtle Beach soon. I'm trying to sort out the meaning of it all.

Here ends the there-and-back-again story, although we'll upload a full Shutterfly display soon.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Back in MB... what a trip

Pics and a brief list of places visited will appear soon.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Troops getting beer and pizza for July 4

Here’s some patriotism for you: Beer and pizza, born on the Fourth of July.

MillerCoors has decided to donate 8,000 cases of beer to U.S. troops in the Middle East, according to

The beers – all 192,000 of them – will be shipped in time for the troops to celebrate Independence Day. No word on whether those brewskies will remain chilled on the way over.

The donation is being made through Pizzas 4 Patriots, a nonprofit which will send 25,000 pizzas from Pizzeria Uno along with cases of Coors Light and Miller Lite.

The beer and pizza were scheduled to be loaded onto a DHL jet at John F. Kennedy International Airport last weekend. DHL, a shipping company, is another corporate sponsor of Pizzas 4 Patriots.

MillerCoors is a joint venture formed last year that combined U.S. brewing operations for Molson Coors Brewing Co. and SABMiller PLC, according to

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The New Suburban Glossary: Premature Acceleration

premature acceleration: This typically happens when a driver is too eager. The left-turn traffic light turns green, yet the driver in the straight-ahead lane lurches forward while his light is still red. If another driver sees this, but she is kind, nurturing, and just happy to close to another driver, she might act like she didn't notice the premature acceleration. But alas, once the driver has lurched forward, it is kind of hard for him to act as though nothing happened. Fortunately, researchers are studying new ways for drivers to avoid premature acceleration.

5 Books to Read Before College

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sadie and the tree frog in the tub

Sadie, age 3, was sitting in the shallow water of the bathtub. Sadie likes to pick up bugs and other small creatures, but apparently she had visited Ripley's Aquarium recently and had seen the terrarium of poison dart frogs -- or something.

We all heard: "AIIGGHH! There's a frog! There's a frog!"

Her sister Audrey (age 7) and I ran into the bathroom. A cute, little, green tree frog was perched at the far end of the white tub. Sadie had her back against the faucet at the other end and was staring at the frog.

Audrey bent over the tub and started trying to catch it.


Me and Audrey: "No no, it's not poisonous...."

Sadie: "IT'S POISONOUS! IT'S POISONOUS! It'll bite! Audrey, it'll bite!"

Audrey continued to try to capture the frog, who was flitting between the edge of the tub and a little steel basket on suction cups about an inch above the tub's rim.

Me and Audrey: "Sadie ... this kind isn't poisonous... look at me Sadie... Sadie, look at me... this kind's not poisonous."

Sadie calmed down a bit -- I think she started to believe us.

Audrey was still trying to catch the frog, who now jumped into the water and started zipping around the perimeter of the tub with a marvelous ease and swiftness, an effortless motion of legs for a quick glide through the dirty water only a 3-year-old can provide.

The little green frog went behind Sadie's back and continued its loop back to the far end of the tub. Sadie seemed more worried about Audrey's attempts to capture the frog. I don't know if she had even noticed that the little green daredevil had gone behind her back.

Finally, Audrey captured the frog, but only with one hand.

As she turned toward the bathroom door, the frog wiggled free and began hopping down the hallway toward Audrey and Sadie's bedroom.

Then Audrey used two hands, cupped the frog from the hallway floor, and took it outside. She wanted to put it in a bucket so she could show Mommy.

When she saw through a window that Mommy was inside, Audrey started yelling about the frog through the glass. Then she brought it back into the house. This time, the frog remained in Audrey's hands.

Eventually, the frog was released outdoors, and I began to wonder, and worry about, how the heck that thing had slipped into the house.

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Coffee and beer

I think both coffee and the darker beers -- browns, porters, stouts -- should be full-bodied and hearty while staying far away from bitterness.

This can be a little tough for American tastes (not to offer a comparison with any other cultural-national identity).

I remember talking to a woman, while I was standing behind the counter at the dearly departed Living Room Coffee Bar & Used Books in Myrtle Beach. She did not like Starbucks's coffee. We carried on a mutually affirming rant against Starbucks's bitterness.

I assured her that a coffee from Timor, which I had fresh in the big Fetco air pots, would avoid bitterness. It was darker, and full-bodied, but not bitter. The label of the coffee, roasted by Larry's Beans, noted smoothness and a walnut tone.

I thought I was about to make a convert.

But when she tried it, her response was, "No. No." She looked disappointed. My beautiful Timor coffee did not surpass Starbucks, not to her tastes anyway.

So she left, and while I might be confusing her with someone else, I think she wanted directions to Dunkin' Donuts.

So the difficulty in communicating -- darker beers as well as full-bodied coffees -- continues on.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Unusual vodka flavors

From one of the sidebars with my Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka cover story in the Weekly Surge.

Sweet tea flavored vodka makes sense to most of the folks we know.

But some flavored vodkas don't sound like such great ideas – peculiar at best.

We dug up a few unusual flavored vodkas and gave them thoughtful consideration.

Bakon Vodka: Comedian Jim Gaffigan once said, “To improve other food, they wrap it in bacon.” Now he must be weeping with joy. A product of Seattle-based Black Rock Spirits, the bacon-flavored vodka is only available in Washington state – so far. “This is the only vodka you’ll ever want to use to make a Bloody Mary,” the Bakon Web site boasts.

Charbay Green Tea Vodka: Everyone knows that green tea provides outstanding health benefits, and Napa Valley distillery Charbay offers just what you’d expect from California: The right to get smashed under the pretense that drinking Green Tea Vodka is really good for you. No word on how much better you'll feel in the morning if you go with a non-green-tea vodka.

DoubleEspresso Vodka: Maybe this will help if you’re tired – tired of relying on that same old Red Bull and vodka pick-me-up. Apparently concerned that its own Espresso Vodka won’t do the trick, the Van Gogh Vodka company also offers a Double Espresso Vodka, complete with “double caffeine,” to make sure we can party all night and at least 'til noon.

Three Olives Grape Vodka: If you want to spike grape Kool-Aid, why not just add Everclear?

Rehorst Citrus & Honey Vodka: The classic home remedy for sore throats with a new twist: vodka instead of whiskey. Rehorst has taken the two dominant flavors in TheraFlu Nighttime Severe Cold & Cough and added them to the potentially antiseptic flavor of vodka. Rehorst Citrus & Honey Vodka is now available in the cold & flu section of your local drug store.

-Colin Foote Burch


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Friday, May 29, 2009


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do you like FireFly Sweet Tea Vodka?

June is National Iced Tea Month, so I'm writing an article on FireFly Sweet Tea Vodka for the Weekly Surge.

If you're in the restaurant business and like FireFly Sweet Tea Vodka, let me know! Click the "comments" link below.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Hysterical: Jeremiah Weed So. Style Sweet Tea Vodka to sponsor tire air in racing cars

Must see:

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Growing hops in the Carolinas

Recently I had dinner with some Myrtle Beach-area homebrewing enthusiasts who said they grow their own hops.

Dave Epstein of New South Brewing in Myrtle Beach recently purchased some hop rhizomes, but didn't sound too optimistic about their prospects. He said they don't tend to grow well in the Carolinas.

Have you tried to grow hops in the Carolinas? Any luck? Tips?

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Audrey's surgical adventure

Our family doctor recommended that we have a dermatologist look at a little brown mole on the side of Audrey's nose, so we went to the skin doc today.

Audrey, 7, hadn't been looking forward to this examination of the little mole she had had since age three or four -- all day had not been looking forward to it.

The doc took a look at the mole and thought he should take it off.

This, Kristi and I knew, involved syringes and knives.

The doc and nurse put a topical anesthetic on Audrey's nose. The nurse, who has a boy just seven days older than Audrey, suggested that we come back prepared to hold her down, because she would see the needle, and then the blade, moving toward her nose. This didn't sound good to us.

We went to McDonald's for an hour while the topical cream started to work.

When we arrived back at the doc's office, we waited in the little surgical room for a few minutes, and told Audrey that she might need to close her eyes while the doc was working, because he was going to be so close to her eyes.

This was our strategy to help her avoid visual contact with the needle and the knife.

Audrey asked us how the doc was going to take off her mole.

We carefully avoided words like "needle," "shot," "knife," "blade," "razor," "Mommy is a bit squeemish about skin surgery," and "Mommy will be squinting her eyes shut while she holds your hand."

I told Audrey the doc has special doctor tools, and Kristi added that we didn't know exactly what type of tools the doc would use.

Finally, the doc and nurse arrived.

The only trick was getting Audrey to turn her head to her left and close her eyes.

She had to endure the injection into her nose. The injected fluid stung a bit, and that brought some tears and anxiety, but soon we were all telling her the worst part was over.

The doc gave a minute for the numbing agent to work, and then we had Audrey shut her eyes again. The doc just took a little razor blade and zip zip zip, the mole was off and dropped into a little specimen jar where it could be precocious and dress in pink by itself.

Audrey was very brave. We told Audrey we were very proud of her. She didn't, at the time, want to know what happened. I told her she was like Reepicheep and Lucy in The Chronicles of Narnia, and Kristi filled her in on the surgical details later.

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New South's canning machine once belonged to Dale's Pale Ale

Last night, New South Brewing Co. in Myrtle Beach was hosting a customer appreciation night. I asked owner Dave Epstein, "Where's the canning machine?"

I was expecting something with conveyer belts, but instead, the canning machine was merely a stainless steel countertop with three no-so-large machines attached to it.

Basically, this machine fills two cans at a time. "Very labor intensive," Epstein said.

(In the image immediately above, Epstein stands beside the part of the machine that fills two cans at a time, with sensors for an automatic shut-off.)

The cool thing? That very machine used to belong to Dale's Pale Ale, which has grown into a larger canning operation and partnered with Paste magazine for some free downloads.

New South has been held up by several tiny details on their can label. The division formerly known at ATF (can't remember the new name) has been asking New South to tweak parts of the White Ale label, and then tweak other parts of the label, for months now.

The image immediately above is the final stage in the canning process, when six cans become a six-pack. Epstein was told the machine could produce 25 cases per hour.

P.S. -- Paste is the coolest magazine ever, and it happens to need your help.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

US Air Force journal's obituary for my grandfather

An Air Force journal recently published this obituary of my grandfather:

Colin F. Burch, Jr.(1919-2008) retired from the Air Force at the grade of Colonel after 21 years of active military service. After graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA in 1940, he was commissioned in the US Army Reserve as a Second Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers and entered active duty. He completed primary flying training at Parks Air College, IL. He graduated from the Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Maxwell Field, AL, and transferred to the Air Corps Reserve in 1941. In 1946 he became a Senior Pilot and in 1956 was awarded the rating of command pilot. He accumulated over 4500 flying hours in conventional and jet aircraft including overseas tours in Japan and Hawaii.

Col. Burch directed the program involving the first use of digital computers in air defense. He planned, organized and directed the first research and development program to provide the nation with a defense against the ballistic missile. He helped prepare the development plan for the “Man-In-Space” program handling the Lunar Reconnaissance portion. The first Joint Air Force/Army Communications Satellite Program was also under his direction, as well as the first Advanced Research and Development Program for Ballistic Missile and Space Systems for the Air Force. His survivors include his wife, Audrey Weibel Burch, 5 children, 8 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

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Looking for votes: What's your favorite spring seasonal beer?

TBonz Gill & Grill recently released its American Pale Ale (produced by New South Brewing Co.) at Myrtle Beach area locations. It's the perfect spring seasonal.

But it's also very local.

What are your choices for favorite spring seasonal, in your town, or nationwide?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

'The Wind Brought Us the Crisis'

A concept by Luzinterruptus illuminated financial pages on the steps of the Madrid Stock Exchange.

See more of this series of photos here, or visit the site for more visual stunts -- guerrilla art? -- here.

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Another reaction to the Myrtle Beach helmet law

At least one local church knows how to reach out during Bike Week.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

U. of Kentucky's glossary of rhetorical terms

The Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Cultures at the University of Kentucky has an outstanding site: A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples.

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Dale's Pale Ale, Paste magazine offer free downloads

Even though Paste magazine is struggling, they're still one of the best magazines on music, film, books, and culture.

They've hooked up with Dale's Pale Ale to offer free downloads. Visit the "Dale's Pale Ale Paste Downlow'd Club" here.

And look for the banner on this blog or click here to help save Paste.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good deals at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game

On tap: Shock Top white ale and Budweiser American Ale.

Twenty-four ounce cups of draft or 24-ounce cans of Bud, Bud Light, and Bud Select: $6 each.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Katie Herzig, before hitting the stage in Carrboro, NC

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TBonz's American Pale Ale

Good news, everyone -- TBonz's new American Pale Ale is outstanding.

It's just what we need in these times: quality worth getting excited about.

American Pale Ale is Brock Kurtzman's first recipe for New South Brewing Co., which brews TBonz's signature beers. Kurtzman helps New South owner Dave Epstein while also keeping the bar at Mellow Mushroom, home of an extensive beer collection.

Like many pale ales, this beer has a strong citrus-like flavor. I definitely thought about grapefruit juice during my first sips of American Pale Ale.

Check out TBonz's Grand Strand locations here.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Beer yawns

Does anyone else get the yawns when drinking beer?

I mean, beer as opposed to other adult beverages.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm in the National Book Critics Circle article

The National Book Critics Circle's Board of Directors included my comments in their recent "NBCC Reads: Spring 2009" roundup.

The question they had asked the membership for this round of NBCC Reads was, "Which work in translation has had the most effect on your reading and writing?"

They included a generous portion of my response in this post:

Colin Foote Burch chose Blaise Pascal’s Pensées, and quoted a couple of aphoristic gems that addressed the writer’s task in particular: “The last thing one discovers in writing a book is what to put first.“

Be sure to visit the post to see many more, and probably better, influential works in translation.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

'Saints and Villains" by Denise Giardina

Saints and Villains (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Saints and Villains by Denise Giardina

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Denise Giardina has offered an imaginative but well-researched take on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Saints and Villains is a novel that goes into Bonhoeffer's thoughts, struggles, and experiences, starting with childhood, including his time in the seminary in New York. His interactions with T.S. Eliot and George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, are fascinating -- wish I could have eavesdropped on those conversations. I cheated here: I listened to it on audio. But this is historical fiction at its best. I discovered it when looking through Image journal's list of 100 essential books.

View all my reviews.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

RJ Rockers' Son of a Peach

The RJ Rockers guys told me Son of a Peach would be on the Grand Strand about now -- I had met them at the inaugural Myrtle Beach Beer Fest sponsored by the Weekly Surge.

I tried Son of a Peach earlier this evening at Longbeard's, which is one of my favorite restaurants on the Grand Strand.

Longbeard's had draft pints of Son of a Peach for $4.

I'm going to keep my opinion of this peach-flavored beer to myself temporarily. I'll eventually say what I think, but have you tried it? What's your opinion? Use the comment link to let sound off.

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Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery to hold Brewmaster Dinners

I went to the first Brewmaster Dinner at Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery in Myrtle Beach, SC, this past Wednesday evening, and another will likely take place in late May.

In fact, the Liberty folks might even make it a monthly event.

The $35 dinner began with a pint of anything on tap, followed by a tour of the brewing facility conducted by Eric Lamb, the brew chief at Liberty.

Then the dinner included pairings with four courses: appetizer, soup-and-salad, entree, and dessert. I will write about the full experience in my next column for The Weekly Surge.

And stay tuned for more information on the next Brewmaster Dinner.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Seen the new Dos Equis ad campaign?

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday brunch beers

Personally, I think the best choices are lighter beers with no added fruit flavors.

Try Pilsner Urquell, Maisel's Weisse Kristall, or Duvel. Blonde ales might pass with brunch fare, too, but I think big domestic light beers probably will not offer a real flavor profile.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dark beers in warm weather?

A recent Anheuser-Busch press release made a compelling case for keeping dark beers – especially the company’s Michelob Dunkel Weisse and Beck’s Dark – in the refrigerator during the spring and summer months.

“Explore how Michelob Dunkel Weisse’s toasted caramel malt complements smoked Gouda or contrasts the salty and milky flavors of feta,” the release said. “Save Beck’s Dark for dessert – on its own or as part of a vanilla ice cream float.”

After trying New South Brewing Co.’s Irish Stout with cheese cake during the Myrtle Beach Beer Fest’s Brewmaster Dinner last month, I have to say the Anheuser-Busch marketing folks have a fair point.

But it’s not likely to change the habits of beer drinkers. When Josh Quigley, of Quigley's Pint & Plate in Pawleys Island, was brewing at Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery in Myrtle Beach years ago, he could put a stout on in May and it might last all the way until September.

The inverse is true of lighter beers. “My lager sales definitely slow down in the winter and pick up in the summer,” Quigley said.

“This will be the last dark beer I’ll put on until September,” Quigley said of the Angels Share stout.
Contact Colin Burch - the Beerman - at

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Call for YOUR beer-drinking playlist

Beer-drinking needs the proper accompaniment.

Country-Western or classic rock, pop or heavy metal, there are some tunes that fit and some that don't.

What goes with classical? Heineken? What goes with rap? What's Ad-Rock's fav?

Anyway, hit the COMMENTS link below and paste in YOUR favorite beer-drinking playlist.

We'll pick the coolest and share it with readers.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beer beats wine on Earth Day

I can imagine some guys mocking this hippie Earth Day stuff, but let's face it: nothing honors Mother Earth quite like beer drinking.

Beer is made from water, yeast, hops, and grains -- an all-natural recipe far more complex than mere grapes and water, as a Highland Brewing Co. representative reminded me recently.

So beer is a far better way to celebrate Earth Day. Drink up!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Of beer runs and church signs

I guess I'm in a smart-ass mood this morning.

In this post I talk about the disadvantages of sending the Federal Government on a beer run.

In this other post I evaluate a church sign near my new residence.

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Send the Federal Government on a beer run

Give the Federal Government $20 and send it on a beer run.

It will return with about $10 worth of cheap beer.

And there will be almost enough for everyone.

The Federal Government will need just $20 more to make another beer run, just to make sure everyone has enough.

And then it will return with about $9 worth of cheap beer.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Craft brewing makes strong showing

As economic health has declined, the U.S. craft-brewing industry is fit, strong, and growing.

Craft brewing is doing very well across the U.S., according to recently released statistics from the Brewers Association.

In one respect, the statistics don’t matter. The beer business tends to keep jogging along even when other economic sectors are panting and doubled-over.

“I don’t want to say beer is recession-proof, but it certainly stands up among consumables,” said Pete Velez, chief brewer at Gordon Biersch Restaurant Brewery at The Market Common on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

Recent statistics underscore beer’s thriving place in our economy.

Sixty-one brewpubs opened in 2007 in the U.S., and the same number opened in 2008, according to the Brewers Association.

Fifty-seven microbreweries opened in 2007, followed by 53 a year later.

The statistics on closings provide a sharper focus.

Fifty-three brewpubs closed in 2007, while only 42 closed in 2008.

Twenty microbreweries closed in 2007; only nine closed in 2008.

Look at this way – in 2008 alone, while the economy started getting sick, the U.S. had:

-A net gain of 19 brewpubs, and

-A net gain of 44 microbreweries.

The Brewers Association also said 1, 483 U.S. craft breweries were operating in 2008, an increase of 63 from the previous year. That figure combines regional craft breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs.

When so many other industries are suffering layoffs and closings, the beer industry is as healthy as ever.

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Posting by email?

Well, this is a test. If you are reading this, it worked...

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beer-food pairing notes from Myrtle Beach

The night before the beer fest, I went to the Brewmasters Dinner at TBonz Gill & Grill in Myrtle Beach.

The five-course dinner was hosted by Epstein of New South Brewing, which makes the TBonz brand beers.

As the evening progressed, Epstein offered some pointers worth passing along.

1. Beer-and-food pairings are subjective, but the first rule is simple: “The stronger the flavor, the stronger the beer,” Epstein said. So lighter beers went with lighter fare. The Lowcountry Light Lager was paired with the Tomato Florentine Soup, and the Market Street Wheat went with the salad.

2. Spicy foods – like beer-boiled shrimp with Old Bay or calamari with a spicy marinara sauce – go well with beers like the India Pale Ale, which relies on the bitterness of hops. (That bitterness will strike some palates as spicy.)

3. For steaks, you probably want something robust, like a red ale. “The red still has a little bit of a hop bite to it, but it relies more on malt character,” Epstein said. The Cooper River Red paired well with the New York Strip.

The big surprise for me: Irish Stout is sublime with cheesecake drizzled with chocolate sauce.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

WSJ: Anheuser-Busch InBev might sell Rolling Rock

From the Wall Street Journal:

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is exploring the sale of its storied but struggling Rolling Rock brand, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential sale comes three years after Anheuser-Busch Cos. bought Rolling Rock from Belgian brewer InBev NV for $82 million.
[Visitors look over a display case of beers made by the Anheuser-Busch Cos. July 14, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri. Anheuser-Busch Cos. ] Getty Images

Visitors look over a display case of beers made by the Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis, Missouri.

InBev, whose brands include Stella Artois, acquired Anheuser-Busch for about $52 billion this past autumn to form the world's largest beer maker by sales, and is selling assets to help repay debt from the deal.

Sales of Rolling Rock, whose ad slogan is "Born Small Town," have been on the decline in recent years. But the brand could appeal to beer companies seeking to expand in the U.S. market by scooping up an established name. The pale lager, which originated 70 years ago in Latrobe, Pa., is sold in distinctive green bottles, and is most popular in the eastern U.S.

Full story here.

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Americanized Jesus

It would have been so much cooler if He had risen with shoulder-mounted automatic weapons and a grenade launcher.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

'Chuck' and 'Life' could get the ax

"Chuck" is one of Kristi's favorite shows (and I enjoy it, too).

"Life" is one of my favorite shows (and Kristi enjoys it, too).

Now the two shows could be dropped by NBC.

Television Without Pity offered these reasons for keeping the two shows on the air.

In short, this show is clever, all-around fun, with a great cast, stellar writing and lots and lots of heart. And Chuck and Sarah may be the TV couple we most enjoy seeing almost hook up, but not quite. Save that for season five or six.

Charlie Crews, the fruit-loving L.A. detective with a Zen attitude, has become one of our favorite TV cops ever in just under two years, thanks to Damian Lewis' deceptively placid, quirky charisma. This season, the weekly cases got more creative, the supporting cast got stronger (partly due to the addition of Donal Logue and Gabrielle Union) and the underlying conspiracy plot got twistier.

And let's face it -- Sarah Shahi on "Life" and Yvonne Strahovski on "Chuck" are HOT.

See the rest of the Television Without Pity list via the Yahoo! TV blog here.

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Tod Linafelt on the Bible's literary merits

In this article published at The Chronicle Review, Tod Linafelt critiques James Wood's approach to the Bible in the latter's recent book, How Fiction Works.

Linafelt, an associate professor of biblical literature at Georgetown University, opens the article on this note:

It is hard to deny that in many respects the Bible is the most unliterary work of literature that we have. Saint Augustine, already in the late fourth century AD, confessed that biblical style exhibits "the lowest of language" and had seemed to him, before his conversion, "unworthy of comparison with the dignity of Cicero." It is easy to see what he means. Biblical narrative especially (things are different with biblical poetry) tends to work with a very limited vocabulary and consistently avoids metaphors and other sorts of figurative language, evincing a drastically stripped-down manner of storytelling that can seem the very antithesis of style.

Then, readers have not traditionally gone to the Bible in search of literary artfulness but rather for its religious value — that is, as a source of theology (What can we learn about God?) or of ethics (What can we learn about morality?). For Augustine, as for so many religious readers after him, the Bible's theological truths and ethical teachings won out over its literary art or lack thereof.

Linafelt goes on to explain how Wood's approach to biblical narratives and characters missed a few things, and in the process, he offers some fascinating insights into biblical literature. Read the full article here.

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Winter Hook Winter Ale still in Redhook variety packs -- and still good

I was surprised that my purchase of a Redhook variety pack would contain a winter seasonal. It's April, right?

But the Winter Hook Winter Ale is still good.

The Redhook variety pack ($15.99 at a local Food Lion) comes in a cardboard box with no window on the contents inside, so the word "seasonal" on the outside didn't let me know what season I was allegedly in.

The pack included three of my personal favorite, Redhook ESB, along with three each of Long Hammer IPA, Blonde Ale, and Winter Hook.

I also tried the Long Hammer IPA last night (for the first time? I can't remember). I give Redhook credit for not over-hopping their IPA. Those highly hopped IPAs are fun for experimentation and maybe some pairings, but for drinkability, I'll stick with the basic IPA recipe.

By the way, I recently re-discovered the IPA produced by our local New South Brewing Co. -- outstanding.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beer notes...

* The inaugural Myrtle Beach Beer Fest was a huge success. I'll have more to say about it soon.

* Pete Velez of Gordon Biersch told me (at the fest) that he was planning to have an oak-aged winter bock on tap earlier this week.

* I saw the design for New South Brewing's canned White Ale, and it hits all the right notes: it has a classy microbrew appeal while also appearing bright, fresh, and upbeat.

* Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery will soon have (if it doesn't already) a blackberry beer on tap. Eric Lamb told me that the price for raspberries has gone through the roof.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Bono: 'I don't go to church for the view'

In the March 19 edition of Rolling Stone, the second-to-last paragraph of the cover story on U2 starts out with a discussion of the song "Moment of Surrender" from the new album:

"Moment of Surrender" tells the tale of a lost soul, borrowing an Alcoholics Anonymous term for the moment an addict admits helplessness. "The character in the song is a junkie, so that's where I got it," says Bono, who has written about heroin addiction before, most famously on "Bad" from The Unforgettable Fire. "I've been surrounded a lot in my personal life by addiction -- in the last few years, in particular," Bono says. "I know a lot of people -- not least the bass player in the band -- who has had to deal with their demons in courageous ways." (In the Nineties -- around the time he was engaged to Naomi Campbell -- [bass player Adam] Clayton grappled with alcoholism, and went to AA himself.) "And maybe there's a part of me that thinks, 'Wow, I'm just an inch away'," Bono continues. "There's no doubt about the fact that I have a wild streak and I'd be very capable of setting fire to myself. So, you know, I don't go to church for the view."

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Play, art, music, joy, love

Play runs ahead of philosophy and knowledge.

Art runs ahead of philosophy and knowledge.

Music runs ahead of philosophy and knowledge.

Joy runs ahead of philosophy and knowledge.

Love runs ahead of philosophy and knowledge.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

'Chicago' by Sufjan Stevens: Wow

I first heard Sufjan Stevens's "Chicago" while listening to Paste radio.

"Chicago" is one of the most evocative, elevating songs I have ever heard.

I don't understand it. I just enjoy it.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where our kitchen will be

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Act 2 and Potatoheads to play Beer Fest

Mike Shank of Festival Promotions has announced the live entertainment for the Myrtle Beach Beer Fest.

Session I, noon-3 p.m.: Act 2

Session II, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.: Potato Heads

The beer fest is at The Market Common on March 28. Get your tickets now!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

I know... I've used this one before... and I'll probably trot it out every year.

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Happy Saint Patrick's Day

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Monday, March 16, 2009

MB Beer Fest Update: food for VIP tent finalized

The Myrtle Beach Beer Fest presented by the Weekly Surge (March 28 at The Market Common) will have a VIP tent with food and as many as 10 beers unavailable to those with regular admission. Mike Shanks of Festival Promotions, who is working on the fest with the Surge, sent an email tonight that updates the VIP beers and grub:

The VIP Ticket is $70 and is tented, includes food, non-alcoholic beverages, additional beers from the general admission, a 5-oz tasting glass and dedicated port-a-johns. Those tickets will not be sold the day of the event, and can be purchased online at or by calling my office at 843-712-2618.

Here is the menu for the VIP Tent:

Spicy Pork and Sauerkraut Sandwiches

Bavarian Potato Salad

Grilled Brats with Hot mustard Onion Relish

German Chocolate Squares

Autumn Apple and Pear Salad with Pecans


Spiced Nuts

I also currently have the following beers for the VIP Tent

Magic Hat Number 9

Stella Artois

Sam Smith Nut Brown

Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout

Delirium Tremens

Sierra Nevada Seasonal Torpedo Ale

Eventually I expect to end up with about 10 beers for the VIP Tent.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Choral Evensong at Trinity Episcopal

Choral Evensong at Trinity Episcopal, Myrtle Beach.

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Evensong at Trinity Episcopal, Myrtle Beach

The setup for tonight's Choral Evensong at Trinity...

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Friday, March 13, 2009

New U2 echoes of two previous albums

Recipe for "No Line on the Horizon:"

One part "October" from 1981.

One part "Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack" from 2000.

Dash of "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" from 2004.

Blend with genius.

The exception? "Stand Up Comedy" -- a classic-rock riff with a serious groove.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blasted college students!

As an NC State grad, I wanted to poll my class about the Wolfpack's game against Maryland tomorrow night, part of the opening day of the ACC tournament.

So I asked, "Who's going to win tomorrow night, NC State or Maryland?"

"MARYLAND!" the class yelled back.

Everyone got an F today.

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Lion Stout at Longbeard's Bar & Grill

Last night I had dinner at Longbeard's Bar & Grill, 5040 Carolina Forest Boulevard (it's on that piece of Carolina Forest Boulevard that sits near U.S. 31, on the east side of River Oaks).

I tried the Breckenridge Avalanche amber ale for the second time. A pint from the tap was $4.25. It's a decent amber, but I should add a precaution for those who like such beers: it's the least-sweet amber I have ever had.

The highlight was Lion Stout in the bottle for $4. This stout from Sri Lanka was, to borrow the words of the late beer critic Michael Jackson, "soft, fresh and quite delicious."

Of course, stouts aren't for everyone, because they tend to have formidible accents of coffee and/or roasted nuts, which strike some palates as mere bitterness.

In the case of Lion Stout, it had just enough chocolately sweetness in the malt to take the edge off the bitterness.

But for those who like the darker beers, Lion should be King of the Stouts.

By the way -- my wife and I loved Longbeard's fried catfish, and we gave our server, Amanda, high marks.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

What if I was hit by a car?

How do people assign blame, and how do they characterize wounds?

Let’s say I was walking on a suburban sidewalk late one afternoon when a car swerved off the road and hit me. I was stuck with a limp for the rest of my life.

The driver’s circumstances would color how I told the story of my limp.

I could say, with a tone of hot disgust, I was HIT by a DRUNK DRIVER. Some people just ignore all common sense!

I could say, with a heavy heart, I was hit by a car when a middle-aged man had a heart attack and died behind the wheel. I feel horrible for his wife and children. I am lucky to be alive.

I could say, with sense of resignation, I was hit by a sweet, little old lady with an oversize hat who has yet to stop apologizing, and she keeps baking me chocolate chip cookies, like twice a week! Oh well, what can ya do?

I wish I had that type of clarity about the accidents of my life -- the relationships and the big decisions as well as the tumbles -- but most of the time, I can hardly tell what the actual outcomes have been, for any of the parties involved.

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TBonz Gill & Grill taps Irish Stout today

TBonz Gill & Grill locations in Charleston and Myrtle Beach will tap the seasonal Irish Stout today (March 6).

The St. Patty's Day beer is made by New South Brewing Co. of Myrtle Beach.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thinking without a license

1. I am not a scientist, psychologist, philosopher, theologian, or mystic, but I have thought about my life experiences.

2. I realize that scientists, psychologists, philosophers, theologians, and probably even some mystics celebrate thinking, and they would be excited about my forays into thought – until I came to a conclusion they did not like. At that point, they might call me thoughtless.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not so Pamlico ... amber ale, that is

I recently found Pamlico Amber Ale at the Food Lion near the Forestbrook Road and U.S. 501 exchange (six bottles for $7.79).

Like most craft beers and microbrews, Pamlico Amber Ale has a basic quality to it. Let me put it this way: it's not cheap, mass-produced, straw-colored beer.

Beyond that, it's just not that interesting. The flavor profile doesn't attempt to do very much.

I'll look forward to trying other Pamlico brews.

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Are you a Christian hipster?

From Brett McCracken, a friend and one-time contributor to my online project,

Christian hipsters don’t like megachurches, altar calls, and door-to-door evangelism. They don’t really like John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart or youth pastors who talk too much about Braveheart. In general, they tend not to like Mel Gibson and have come to really dislike The Passion for being overly bloody and maybe a little sadistic. They don’t like people like Pat Robertson, who on The 700 Club famously said that America should “take Hugo Chavez out”; and they don’t particularly like The 700 Club either, except to make fun of it. They don’t like evangelical leaders who get too involved in politics, such as James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, who once said of terrorists that America should “blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” They don’t like TBN, PAX, or Joel Osteen. They do have a wry fondness for Benny Hinn, however.

Christian hipsters tend not to like contemporary Christian music (CCM), or Christian films (except ironically), or any non-book item sold at Family Christian Stores. They hate warehouse churches or churches with American flags on stage, or churches with any flag on stage, really. They prefer “Christ follower” to “Christian” and can’t stand the phrases “soul winning” or “non-denominational,” and they could do without weird and awkward evangelistic methods including (but not limited to): sock puppets, ventriloquism, mimes, sign language, “beach evangelism,” and modern dance. Surprisingly, they don’t really have that big of a problem with old school evangelists like Billy Graham and Billy Sunday and kind of love the really wild ones like Aimee Semple McPherson.

....They tend to be fans of any number of the following authors: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Wendell Berry, Thomas Merton, John Howard Yoder, Walter Brueggemann, N.T. Wright, Brennan Manning, Eugene Peterson, Anne Lamott, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, Soren Kierkegaard, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Annie Dillard, Marilynne Robison, Chuck Klosterman, David Sedaris, or anything ancient and/or philosophically important.

Christian hipsters love thinking and acting Catholic, even if they are thoroughly Protestant/evangelical. They love the Pope, liturgy, incense, lectio divina, Lent, and timeless phrases like “Thanks be to God” or “Peace of Christ be with you.” They enjoy Eastern Orthodox churches and mysterious iconography, and they love the elaborate cathedrals of Europe (even if they are too museum-like for hipster tastes). Christian hipsters also love taking communion with real Port, and they don’t mind common cups. They love poetry readings, worshipping with candles, and smoking pipes while talking about God. Some of them like smoking a lot of different things.

Read Brett's full post here. If you scroll far enough into the comments, you'll even see a few words by Yours Truly.


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Saturday, February 28, 2009

New South Brewing to start canning

From my new column in the Weekly Surge:

Soon, you’ll be able to purchase a six-pack of New South Brewing Co.’s White Ale in area grocery stores.

You can already buy the Myrtle Beach microbrewery’s beers at local bars and restaurants. New South has been producing kegs of several types of beer for 10 years.

But now a canning machine is primed and ready to go, said owner Dave Epstein, who has been finalizing the art work and labeling for his cans.

“We’re still on track for late next month or early April,” Epstein said. That’s to start canning. The famous White Ale – the microbrewery’s “flagship” brew – should appear in local package stores and grocers by May, maybe late April.

Beer distributors, rather than New South, will make the sales pitches for the White Ale to individual stores and chains, so Epstein doesn’t yet know for certain where you’ll be able to buy his beer. But those distributors have long-standing relationships with area retailers.

“Anywhere you find a good selection of beer, hopefully you’ll find us,” Epstein said, adding that local golf courses are also a target market.

New South will start with ringed six-packs and White Ale, but of course, Epstein plans for more.

If the microbrewery can keep up with demand during the summer months, and if everything runs smoothly, Epstein will add a second beer in the fall. Twelve-pack cartons are a possibility, eventually.

The price for that locally brewed six-pack? That’s yet to be announced. Epstein noted that the baseline price for most microbrews is $8 for a sixer. Whatever you pay at the checkout counter, Epstein said it will be competitive, on the lower end of the microbrew price scale.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Red Hook's Double Black

Red Hook's ESB is one of my all-time favorites.

Their Double Black, a limited release, is about as dark as I like it: an Imperial Stout "enhanced by coffee and dark malts with a big, roasty flavor," according to the label.

I liked the smoothness. The bitterness did not overwhelm my taste buds. I could also tell, much like my experiences with Rogue beers, that the water used in the brewing process was high-quality.

I found Red Hook Double Black in a one-pint, six-ounce bottle for $4.79 at Kroger in the Galleria shopping center, corner of Lake Arrowhead Road and U.S. 17.

Again, it's a limited release, so seek it while it may be found.


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Men and Women in the Confessional Booth

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In the confessional booth, what sins do men confess the most?

What sins do women confess the most?

This morning, NPR reported that a 95-year-old Jesuit priest has released survey results on those two questions.

He organized them according to deadly sins. Here are the top three.

    Catholic men confess:

1. Lust

2. Gluttony

3. Sloth

    Catholic women confess:

1. Pride

2. Envy

3. Anger

I wonder if the Anger is a result of the Sloth?

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