Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trader Joe's Kentucky Bourbon

I been so stuck on my standards (Bulleit, Wild Turkey, occasionally Rebel Yell) for so long I haven't ventured into anything new for quite some time.

This afternoon, I spotted this one at Trader Joe's. Octane level similar to Bulleit, but at the decent price to be expected of Trader Joe's.

OK, for the record:
As a general rule, I will try absolutely anything with a Trader Joe's label. They even market an edible pecan pie under their own name... that says something to me.
TJ may not be batting 1.000, but they are in the near .900's in my book. (I mean, they put out a pecan pie that is edible! Standard rule here: I avoid pecan pie like I avoid dogs, rap music and dental appointments.)
So yeah, put 'Trader Joe's' on the label and I'm a sucker for it every time...

Back to the posting at hand...

This stuff says 'Bourbon Square Distilling Company' (which does not google up) on the label. Rather generic sounding. Seems to me that a reputable distiller is attempting to mask their hand in this. (Par for the course with store labels. Really.)

A tad cautious... it's only $15, and placed right next to the Wild Turkey (for $3 more).

I came for Wild Turkey, I left with Trader Joe's. I liked the way it sat in the bottle... Very similar to Wild Turkey in color, vibe and aura, with an above-standard octane level to boot.
Yeah, I know.... 'vibe' and 'aura'... very emotionally of me.
My emotions said 'Grab this shit.'
So, I did.

On to the pour...

A strong alcohol sense in the nose, traces of caramel, some grassiness. It reminds me of Wild Turkey, and that's not a bad thing.

On the tongue it's smooth up front, rich and sweet with more caramel coming through, hints of oak and charred sugar... spicy, with a scratchy burn toward the back... ending with a spicy finish, but too short.

A few minutes later, the effects kick in... hard.
The label says it's 90 proof, stronger than most, yet not as strong as some of my favorites... still... it hits quicker than expected, leaving me in a comfortable buzz that begs for more.

Overall: not a bad choice for the money. Go ahead and get you some.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hornet's Nest, Part 3

OK, a few emails later, and I am facing a moral issue.

I have no problem c/p my own correspondence to 'him', but what about his to me?

Is it cool for me to quote his emails to me, if I leave out his identity?

This is important stuff, totally relevant to the story I'm telling.

Help me out.

It's ramping up...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hornet's Nest, part 2

Hey, you remember this post from a couple months back?

My local president informed me that he forwarded my request to the Regional Tool. I waited.
And waited.
Two weeks ago I asked for the Tool's contact info and received an email address.
The next day, I sent the Regional Tool an email, stating my intentions to exercise my rights under the law.
A week passed, hearing nothing, I sent another.
Tonite, I sent him the third request in two weeks.

If I continue to hear nothing I will have to contact a higher authority. Not sure who that might be.

I'm not backing down this time.

When the Regional Tool failed to return my emails, I sent this email to my former local President. He works for the International now as a regional rep, but he was a bud, working the production floor not that long ago...
He and I have been cool for years.
Brother S***,
three emails sent, and i have heard zip, zero, nada... from Ron.
i'm losing respect...
i thought this was supposed to be a fraternity.
learning more by the day....

this has been 2 months going now.
need i seek another avenue?

maybe his home phone, if need be...
if he can't do his job (that I am paying him for) on company time, he can do it on personal time, imo...

I'm on this Bro, dead on serious, totally not playin...

your Brother ( I Think?, its up to you. i'm down for The Cause, you know it, i always have been...)
and yeah... I will happily buy you lunch. :)
"lunch" here pertains to a friendly wager we had on the latest Bears-Vikings game. He's a lifelong Viking fan, and we've built a comraderie over the rivalry for a few years now.

He did not respond to me, but in less than 24hrs 'Ron' finally did.

More to come.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Red Dawn

Anybody still remember that low budget hit from 1984?
This Red Dawn is a bit different with several tweaks to the story line while still maintaining the same story.

Originally set in a small fictional Colorado town (presumably one similar toVan Horn, Texas, the tweakers took the story into not-so-small Spokane, Washington, and this is where it goes bad:
The scene of North Korean paratroopers descending into crowded Spokane neighborhoods was rather hard to accept.
Invasion forces just don't operate that way, instead preferring to drop beyond populated areas and work their way in. Way too dangerous to drop in among startled and pissed off indigenous within a  gun-ownership society.
It is NOT possible to establish a defensive perimeter (what every invader seeks to do, and even more so with lightly-equipped paratroops) in the middle of a population center... while immediately and simultaneously setting about the tasks of subjugation and oppression... which happens here.

Also hard to accept is the idea that all of Spokane (population well over 200,000) was willing to take it hard and deep from a bunch of gooks except for a measly 8-9 high school kids.
Maybe the folks of a Van Horn (population, 2500) could be 'shocked and awed' quickly enough for a couple thousand troops to take control, but I doubt such in a larger Spokane.

Herein lies the problems with Red Dawn 2012.
Everything is bigger. Bigger explosions. Bigger enemy. Bigger goals and objectives. Bigger action. Bigger is not always better.
If some thought the fantasy of the original was far fetched (I did not at the time, as I was much younger, more idealistic), they will find this one stretching the limits of credibility to the point of just plain stupid.
They had a good thing in the original, something to build off of and improve. There was plenty to improve upon, too.
But they didn't.
They just went Bigger.
"Bigger = Better" is the mindset best suited for the sophomoric intellect, like those small dick dudes who drive big trucks.
Exactly the same demographic who would see this as a great film, though it is not.

But yer high school-aged son will love it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Bears Fan's Thoughts

Safe to say this season is effectively over for my beloved Chicago Bears.

After a 7-1 start, the Beloved Bears have dropped 4 of the last 5 games. They are no longer in First place, and haven't much hope of meeting one of the tie-breakers for a Wild Card.

Unable to top teams with a winning record, the Bears are still one-and-done should they squeak into the playoffs.

A Super Bowl caliber Defense is not much use against effectively good Offenses when your own Offense struggles to offend anybody who matters to begin with.

Brandon Marshall is a beast, the best compliment for a gunslinger like Jay Cutler. The problem lies in the scheme that says: "Throw it to Marshall. If Marshall is covered, throw it to Marshall anyway."

After years without, the Bears finally have a valid #1 receiver in Marshall. Too bad there is not a valid #2 or #3 to compliment. After Marshall, it's all #4's with hands of stone.

With his contract up this year (or is it next? shop the trade), I'd say it's a good time to say 'Goodbye' to the Devin Hester Project. He will never be a reliable WR, and his ridiculous return skills have been negated by rule changes. (FUCK YOU, Goodall)

Yeah, that Kellen Davis experiment needs to end, too. A 'receiving' TE that won't receive cannot be kept another season. We'd be better off using some cap for Jeremy Shockey.
You can find him sitting at the off ramp holding a cardboard sign.
Fuck the drama: sign him and play him, and the Bears would be easy 10-3 right now...

Time for Lovie to hit the road.
He's had plenty of time to game for the Packers and Aaron Rodgers.
He's failed.
Again... the Bears will be Rodgers bitch this week.

If the Rams can beat the 49rs, and the uber-suck Lions can beat the Seahawks... there is no excuse for the Lovie -led Bears to suck so hard against either team.

Yet, after 12-plus weeks of film, opponents know what the Bears will throw at them, because Lovie don't know how to change shit up. (Cutler to Marshal... and yet again....)

Two consecutive years of late-season melt downs for what was a sure-fire playoff season are enough to seal Lovie's fate in my eyes.
I still believe he is a good coach, who gets more out of less, but after eight or nine seasons there is too much tape out there. Other teams have him figured out.

The Bears need the vigor and freshness that new coach can bring. I hope they do it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not Your Grandfathers Labor Movement

Grampa was born in 1911 and came of age during the rise of the labor movement. Throughout his life, and I mean all of his life, he was a dedicated Union Man.

Grampa was not just a member very early on; he served on the negotiating committee  of his local more years than not (no bull shit here, ok?); he served decades as local president; he organized locals where none existed; he held an elective office every year of his working life (from the time he was 18) until he retired at 65; he was always 'fightin' as they say.

My Grampa lived the ideals of 'Democratic Trade Unionism'. Lived it, Breathed it, Preached it...
Never thinking it was beneficial to the cause for the leadership to get stagnant, he believed in term limits: he'd step-down from leadership roles after two terms to sit a term out in a lesser role... cause it was never good for one man to become too self-important, forget who he was fighting for.
It defined him and motivated him. Total commitment to the cause...

Yet, Grampa was no fool.
As he explained to me once when I was in my 20's, working non-union, and dissing the Union-Side of things:

It's a lot more effective to say that "Joe needs better health care", "Joe needs more money to feed his babies", "Joe needs a pension plan"... etc... than it is to say 'Hey, I want more for me!'...

I always knew that whatever I got for 'Joe', I also got for myself. That's why I fought so hard for Joe.
It was all about 'Joe', always about 'Joe', never about me. (And he winked.)

I was living in one of Grampa's teaching moments. There were many of these throughout his years, most of which I was not capable of recognizing for several years afterwards.

Toward the end of his life, as we sat and talked union talk (by this time, I was working a union shop), I knew that he was coming, fixed Corned Beef n Cabbage, was slicing the beef when he muttered something like: 'things are different now' as to the union ideal...
This was near on a March 17th, St Patrick's Day... when corned beef mattered... twas a weekend to be sure... I was delivering as expected...

Unlike my corned beef.. organized Labor, it's substance and meaning, resembled very little of the righteous movement  Grampa had dedicated his life to.
He knew it.

I think if Grampa was allowed to live a little longer, he would have supported 'Right To Work' legislation.
He was one of the few who actively opposed the merger of AFL and CIO. He talked about it... didn't mind being seen as one on the 'outs'.

As he explained: with two organisations, there is competition. Who can deliver and who can't. Combined, strength becomes weakness. Maybe I was wrong, but I still see it.

(I saw a bit of Tsun Tzu in his reasoning. My Granpa was a brilliant, strategical motherfucker when allowed to be. I seen him 'take the fall' for a good greater than himself before. Fearless and shameless in his words.  Always righteous in his deeds. Never afraid to be the 'bad guy' to advance an idea. A born diplomat/lawyer if ever one was born.
If he had real opportunity in his youth, a chance for education beyond the 7th grade, he'd have been a great lawyer to the guilty.)

No lie. My Gramps really was that good.
He left behind a Labor movement that even he recognized was doomed to fail  based upon it's very success...
Because Labor left the factories and took up residence among the public supported white-collar, and the fight was over.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Pathetic People We Are

Way back the olden days, kids were expected to pack a lunch for school.
It wasn't very hard to do: a peanut butter sammich, banana, a cookie or two... fresh milk was supplied at the school for a dime.

Can we ever go back to a less complicated time? I doubt it.
USDA to allow more meat, grains in school lunches
To 'allow'?
How did we get to this point where the federal government is telling school kids how much meat is allowed on that sandwhich, and how thick the bread can be?

Why have we allowed a bunch of worthless dip shits who cannot balance their own budget to decide for the rest of us how to balance children's lunches?

Worse still, how did we get to this point where parents are no longer deemed responsible for packing their own kid's lunches?
Where are you???
Make the damned lunch why don't you...
It's not difficult, really it's not...
Just smear some peanut butter on bread (or frijoles on a tortilla) and stick it in a bag.
Is that so fucking hard?

This nation, it's government, and it's people are doomed.
Bring on the apocalypse, we've earned it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Texas Road Trip

Since it involved delivering my Father-in-law to his final resting place, I can't say this was a welcomed vacation. It had to get done, we did it, and now I've got another cache of memories for the brain file...
along with a few observations.

Abilene, Texas: that place is old. Everything in it is even older than that. I kinda dig the old school cemetery, though. One of those who spoke for Daddy was a lady he grew up next door to, attending the same Church she still does, after 88yrs.
The wife says: Traditions die hard in these parts.

New Mexico: short of a few Indians selling cheap cigarettes and baubles, nothing is there.

Phoenix is a larger city than I thought it was. The surrounding mountains, barren and grand, are strikingly beautiful.

Texas is definitely not California: not one public restroom was equipped with seat gaskets. In California, you'd be hard pressed to find one that isn't.

No matter where you are in Texas, you're still three hours from any place else.

I-10 through central/west Texas is a real-world Highway Of Death... littered, splattered and smeared with carcasses of deer and other critters... an uninterrupted, 500 mile slaughterhouse.

We ended up with a flat tire in Van Horn, TX. A small town three hours from anywhere with little to show for itself. It looked like a movie set. For this life long California dude, it was surreal.
Upon advice from the waitress at a locals-only cafe (where we had lunch, great homemade food, btw...), we rolled up into a tire shop several impoverished blocks down the street.
The proprietor's sons removed the tire, checked for leakage and replaced the valve (where the leak was).
It took all of ten minutes.
The whole time I'm thinking... yeah, they see those California plates on a Nissan Murano and it's gonna cost me....
Total price: $5.
Yeah, Five Dollars!!!!
If I was in Orange County, I'd be looking at $50 minimum.
I gave the kid a Twenty, and thanked him, saying "Keep it."

Sonic Burger: You drive up to the stall, park, push the button on the menu board, place your order through the intercom, and several short minutes later your food is delivered by a local high school hottie with a change belt. The burgers are good. Fries and onion rings suck.

Watch your speed in New Mexico. I hadn't been ten minutes across the border when I was met by the local tax collector/welcoming committee. He didn't issue a citation as much as an invoice.
In California, I'd be looking at more like $250.
Maybe I should just take that into consideration, but I'm still pissed off enough to ignore it and just wait 6-7 years before driving through New Mexico again.