Bullet Points For The Week Of The Idle

It ended up not being that idle. Taxes yesterday. Driver’s license renewal Tuesday. I’m wiped. Must save up energy to pray for Morton tomorrow.

  • Here is the sound of someone singing in 1860. Here is what it means.
  • Funny how people have long memories.Interesting to note that baseball continues to settle – after a couple of years of little ball, now free agency is not as mad as it once was:

    this winter was the 32nd for free agency, and something worth noting occurred. For the first time other than the collusion years of 1985, ’86 and ’87, teams did not race crazily and expensively after free-agent starting pitchers.

    I remember my collusion years.

  • I feel like I have seen too much basketball for some reason. Do you really need that link?
  • The real reason I did not do it.
  • El Tigre has posited (or at least frets) that McCain will pick Romney. I find this highly improbably but in this US election campaign – the boring cannibalistic Democratic contest, the more interesting Republican one that ended too soon – anything can happen now. Apparently Fred Thompson knows he is not in the running for VP.

I have to admit, I have been on the internet less this week than most – could it be that there is a connection between the desk and surfing?

Useful Things To Know In The Coming Depression

While I am dutiful most times, I missed this over at Unkabugs unt Auntie F’s:

It will be important to know, in the coming tight times after twenty years of lavishing ourselves on credit, how to entertain. Music hall matinées will make a comeback, not needing the electricity that other spectacles require. So as you tune up your home mashing and tunning skills, perhaps give a thought to the stringed instrument inventory. Here’s a start.

Outcome? More Stalemate

Last night’s by-elections are enough of a win for both the Grits and Tories that nothing really changes:

Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in Northern Saskatchewan was expected to be a close race. But it turned heavily toward the Conservatives after early results and Rob Clarke, an aboriginal who is a 17-year veteran of the RCMP, surged ahead of Joan Beatty, the former provincial New Democrat who was hand-picked by Mr. Dion. Bob Rae, meanwhile, sailed to an easy victory in the Liberal stronghold of Toronto Centre. (The NDP candidate finished second, but only three votes ahead of the Green candidate.) And Martha Hall Findlay thumped her rivals in the Toronto riding of Willowdale – a seat that went to the Progressive Conservatives during the Brian Mulroney years.

The Liberal grip on Vancouver-Quadra, a party stronghold for a quarter-century, loosened last night. Former B.C. environment minister Joyce Murray won the seat, but was only about 5 per cent ahead of Deborah Meredith, running for the Conservatives. It was a massive shift from the last federal election in 2006 when Stephen Owen had a 21-per-cent lead over his Tory rival.

The Liberals get at least two new strong voices on its side in the House of Commons but has shown weakness in the west, though the Saskatchewan riding was no one’s to win. It was however, Dion’s to lose and by dropping in his own candidate he may have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The interesting thing will now be to watch Bob Rae. A gifted debater but he carries the curse of a man of two parties. Yet he faces a man of four across the aisle in the person of the Prime Minister – any history of the recent centre-left in Canada is only really remarkable for its parallel to the less recent history of the centre-right. It still be interesting to see if he is able to shore up some sort of solidity in the shadow cabinet or whether he will add to the factors pointing out the glaring – as in deer in the headlights – inappropriateness of Mr. Dion’s unofficial interim role.

Verdict: no spring election.

Friday Bullets For The Last Weekend Of Winter

Another Friday. They flow by like the days of the week. A week or so from spring and still there’s feet of snow. That’s not exactly helping. Morton’s teetering and the Orange are gone. At least things are going better for me than they are for Eliot Spitzer. WFAN had an interview with his lady-friend’s grade five teacher. This is a weird world sometimes.

  • Update: Well said and RIP, hairy one:

    Mr. Ponticelli, who described war as “idiotic”, had initially refused an offer of a state funeral made by former President Jacques Chirac, considering it would be an insult to the men who had died without commemoration. He relented after Mr. Cazenave’s death, saying he would accept a simple ceremony “in homage to my comrades”. President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Mr. Ponticelli and said a national commemoration of all of France’s participants in the war would be held in the coming days.

    I had no idea that more than twice as many French soldiers were killed in WWI as there were total Canadian solders.

  • Update: Bob Costas thinks you are a loser…or maybe it’s just me that he thinks is a loser.
  • Why can’t we have a sense of humour? Why couldn’t it be called Sinistre?
  • What did the dolphin say? “Hey stupid whales! You don’t see dolphins dead on the sand. Loser whales. I am out of here. Stay if you want.”
  • Further to the question of who exactly in what capacity is suing whom, please note this:

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper is following through on his threat to sue the federal Liberals because of accusations, posted on the Liberal party’s website, that he knew of “Conservative bribery.”
    The lawsuit — a statement of claim for $2.5 million was filed today in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice — is a response to the “defamatory” statements made by the Liberals, Harper spokesperson Sandra Buckler said. “He’s doing what any other person with integrity would do to defend himself and his family,” she said.

    While the claim itself carries some errors that are a bit embarrassing for anyone who got better than a “D” at law school – pleading evidence, are we? – it is what it is. But does the spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister represent him in all things? Is this a political court case or a personal one? I’d be a little more comfortable if someone not on the public payroll was his spokesperson on this one.

    Update: I may be speaking out of my digestive tract about pleading evidence and the “D” thing as a read of Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act points out this dense bit of text:

    In an action for libel or slander, the plaintiff may aver that the words complained of were used in a defamatory sense, specifying the defamatory sense without any prefatory averment to show how the words were used in that sense, and the averment shall be put in issue by the denial of the alleged libel or slander, and, where the words set forth, with or without the alleged meaning, show a cause of action, the statement of claim is sufficient.

    I have not a clue but this may be the basis for an exception to the pleading evidence rule. See 1839’s Boydell v. Jones on “prefatory averment”.

  • Craig inquires into the delicate question of ladies of the night on PEI.
  • I have had the rewarding experience of being in a meeting with Senators Segle and was impressed by his dedication to local constituency work, something more in the nature of what you might expect from a senator under the US system. So I will not trot out my usual snark about monarchists on this point:

    Hugh Segal has introduced a motion in the Senate that would invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to prevent references to the Queen being dropped from the country’s oath of citizenship. The Kingston senator’s motion comes in response to a class-action lawsuit filed by Charles Roach, a Toronto lawyer born in Trinidad who never took a Canadian citizenship because he objects to the monarchy’s connection to slavery and refuses to take the oath.

    Yet it is note worthy to record for posterity that I have never quite voiced certain words in certain oaths for reasons of the history of the clan:

    The clan supported Charles I in the Civil War, and some of them fought for Charles II at the Battle of Worcester (1651). After the Restoration in 1660, the MacLeods felt a major grievance that Charles II had not been sufficiently grateful for their exertions on his behalf, and they never supported the Stewart kings again. The MacLeods took no part in Claverhouse’s campaign of 1688-89, nor in the first Jacobite rising of 1715.

    My feeling on the point is that if we are going to honour historical legacy, we ought to acknowledge the specific one.

That’s enough for this week. When we next meet over bullet points, it will be spring.

By The Beer Cooler of Wegmans I Laid Myself Down And Cried

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 A fantastically bad shot of the actual Wegmans from GooglePlex

Not really but there was a moment of near tears – of joy and frustration, that is. What else, after a sensible visit to Fort Stanwix, could make me feel this way other than a beer cooler room in a not particularly recently modernized, middle sized grocery store in Liverpool NY just two hours from my house? Aside from all the macro-brew they offer at honest prices – there, filling half the cooler, was Ommegang, Southern Tier, Victory, Dogfish Head, Middle Ages, Ithaca and a whack of other mid-Atlantic brews in sixes and mixed twelves. There were also way more of our own Unibroue of Quebec than I can get here next door in Ontario as well as imports like Samuel Smith and Duvel. There were even special releases like the Southern Tier’s Un*Earthly which I had back at the hotel watching the UNC game against Louisville – $5.99 for a bomber! All within fifty feet of the cat food in one direction and the fancy cheeses in the other – not to mention a similarly robust selection compared to my visit to a swankier Wegmans in Ithaca last month. Here is their entire beer listing at the Wegmans HQ’s website. A solid grocery including fine craft ales in their everyday line-up at reasonable prices. What else could make a Canadian weep at the sight?

In other CNY news, Party Source is closed on Sunday. Drag. Drove right by on Saturday supper time, saying that I would be back tomorrow. Plenty of time I thought. Nope. But I was able to stop in at Galeville Grocery this morning and pick of a mixed selection of new to me beers. They have a new but limited selection of single 12 oz bottles for $1.59. Found another Kellerbier, Moosebacher, imported by Best Brands International of Georgia so prudently that it only cost $3.69. Note: BBI earns its use of the plural “beers” through also carrying one brand from Brazil.

My Night As A Guest Roadie For Beau’s All Natural Beer

beaus5The call came at 7:45 pm. For weeks I had been exchanging emails with Steve about Beau’s All Natural Brewing’s move into the Kingston market and the prospect of another great Ontario made craft beer showing up in my favorite pubs as well as the LCBO. Being the man of mortgage as well as offspring, I have certain restrictions around my beer blogging so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to get to say hello and maybe get a short story. Well, that isn’t how it turned out.

I arranged to meet Steve at the nearest LCBO to get some pictures of the delivery process. 8:00 comes and goes. 8:10. 8:20. Nuttin’. I’d seen this white van go by a few times until it roared into he parking lot at 8:25 pm. After a quick how do you do, I asked whether he was delivering to all the LCBOs and realized he had three stops in 35 minutes and a couple of miles of traveling to do. As a good beer fan, I had a job to do and that was guiding Steve though my city. We jip here and there, zigged and zagged in traffic and before you know it 18 cases of their new swing top bottles of kolsche were delivered just as the last shop was locking its doors. I got to watch Steve hunched over paperwork quite a bit. And chatting up those who were going to sell his brew.

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After delivering to the new Iron Duke on Wellington – which carries growlers – humping them down some very challenging stairs followed another chat about beer with the manager, we retired to the Kingston Brew Pub where their beer is on tap for a pint and a good old chin wag. beaus2I asked a lot of questions about how they started up, their plans and how they deal with materials. Steve described some of the fluctuations which they have to deal with – I had no idea that spring water is richer in minerals in winter – but mainly we talked about liking beer. One thing I always wonder about is how folks who are expert and committed to brewing put up with the cranks. “Cranks” is a good word for beer nerds as its one of the words that was used in the 1800s for baseball fans before “fanatics” got shortened. Steve was far kinder than me – as all brewers are when the question is asked – pointing out that their job as craft brewers in eastern Ontario was best described by John Graham as missionary work. Interestingly, we moved from a discussion on the pleasures of beer in which I wondered how it is that some could voice so much unhappiness with a chosen hobby when the subject matter itself is a pleasure and on into other things: the provincial trade association, thoughts about Beau’s philosophy of being a great regional brewer in touch with its customers, future plans.

Anyway, my night as a roadie was over before I knew it and Steve and the van were off into the night headed for his next destination. Energy and sleep deprivation and the zest that success brings seemed to be in the tank. I loaded up my growler of Beau’s new seasonal, Bog Water, that I’ll try for tomorrows next episode of The Session hosted over at Beer Activistwhere the theme is organic beer.