Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stimulus Dollars at Work

The main thoroughfare in town is undergoing a much needed widening project. The project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, otherwise known as "The Stimulus." The process of widening this road speaks volumes about government projects.

Although it's hard to see in the photo at the right, notice the utility poles on the right. Originally, they were well off the roadway. Then as construction progressed, crews working around the poles, widened the right of way. Then the area was graded, still working around the poles. Then the forms for the curbing were built, working around the poles, leaving a gap in the curb in places. Next the contractors poured the concrete for the curbing, still working around the poles. Last week, the paving crews came in and, working around the poles, put down a layer of asphalt. 

Now this week, crews have arrived to put in new utility poles and one would assume, remove the old ones. Then crews will need to come back and finish building the curbing and filling in the paving.

One wonders how many tax dollars could have been saved by moving the utility poles first. But then again, the purpose of the Stimulus Act was to spend tax dollars, in any way possible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gun Registration Lie

While flipping through radio channels in the car the other day, I came across a recorded interview of John Fogerty talking about his 1970 hit song "Run Through the Jungle." The artist was explaining the common misconception that the song was a protest against the Vietnam war.
I think a lot of people thought that because of the times, but I was talking about America and the proliferation of guns, registered and otherwise. I'm a hunter and I'm not antigun, but I just thought that people were so gun-happy -- and there were so many guns uncontrolled that it really was dangerous, and it's even worse now.
This quote is from the 1993 interview Fogerty did with the Los Angeles Times. Despite the quote being 18 years old, I was struck how the same meme is repeated still today, by the clueless and the dishonest.

What would be the purpose of gun registration? It has but one purpose, and that is the government-sponsored confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens. Criminals won't register their guns, so those weapons won't be trackable. Tracking a gun after a crime is committed doesn't help the victim in any event.

In 1968 the anti-gun politicians in the Great Britain instituted gun registration. The lie told to sportsman, and hunters like Fogerty, was that the data would never be used to confiscate sporting guns. However in 1988 the government knew exactly where to go when they decided to confiscate all rifles. And then in 1997 they confiscated all hand guns. In both instances only law abiding and honest citizens were affected. Did Great Britain become a safer place? No. In fact, crime increased as citizens were disarmed and criminals continued their ways. Today we see the results of these misguided policies. Private citizens stand by helplessly while rioting thugs loot and destroy private property. The criminals still have their weapons, but a defenseless British population rolls over. There's no reason to think the same thing won't happen here. The Brits have no monopoly on dishonest politicians, or gullible citizens.

Today we see the same push for registration in the U.S. under the guise of "common-sense gun control." Only a dishonest politician uses this ploy. Only an uninformed citizen believes it.

It was not that long ago that President Obama spewed forth with his own plans for gun control: "We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar."

New Belgium Snow Day

This one one of the "impulse buys" from our recent beer shopping trip. New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale is just one of the many beers from the Colorado brewery that are starting to make appearances in Virginia. I'm impressed, and appreciative, that New Belgium doesn't appear to be holding back in making themselves seen in the state. As an aside, just a couple weeks ago I was at a party where there was a keg of New Belgium's flagship beer, Fat Tire, and enjoyed it very much.

Snow Day pours a very dark brown with a thick, long-lasting tan head. The aroma has slightly smoky, caramel malts with piney hop hints. The taste begins with the smokey, roasted malt flavors, followed by the bitter pine hops. Mild citrus notes longer at the finish. Or wait, does the citrus hit first, followed by the roasted bitterness? As we sipped this one we debated which flavors were prominent. They're all there in a very tasty beer. The mouthfeel is creamy and mildly carbonated.

When we saw the 12-packs of Snow Day Winter Ale at the store, I initially hesitated over buying an unfamiliar beer. But I've always enjoyed New Belgium beers when I traveled to Colorado so I figured it was a safe bet. After trying the beer, I'm glad we decided to chance it. I don't suspect those 12 bottles will hang around long.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Impulse Buys

We went out beer shopping this weekend, with one mission in mind, to pick up some Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale. I've read that it's showing up in Northern VA, so I hoped we'd find it here as well. The first store we tried had only the 1.5 liter magnum size bottles, but no standard six packs. The second stop was a bust as well. However, there are lots of holiday beers showing up now, and we didn't make it out of either shop without some impulse purchases.

As pictured below, we picked up Heavy Seas Winter Storm, New Belgium 1554 Black Ale, New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale, and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Those aren't too shabby as consolation prizes I'd say!

That should do until next time. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Selfish Twits

Of all the idiocy surrounding the "occupy" movement, none better exemplifies the participants' inherent selfishness than the sign that some parents forced upon their nine year old, "What is in your bag that's more important than my education?"

Where do I start? How about maybe there's food for a family in the bag. Or maybe clothes or school books. Or maybe it's even a luxury like an iPod2 or Kindle. So what? What makes these leeches feel they are so deserving of other people's money? If the occu-nuts don't like the high cost of education, why aren't they out protesting their liberal college professor's selfishness at insisting to be paid for teaching them?

In another incident, the mindless drones invaded a Walmart and harassed shoppers before leaving behind 75 shopping carts full of merchandise that employees had to put away. The same employees they claim they are trying to protect. Too bad Walmart security doesn't carry pepper spray.

F. W. Sullivan's

The Richmond-based F.W Sullivan's held their official opening of the Fredericksburg location last week. Anxious to check them out, we stopped in for dinner on Friday. The restaurant is located at 409 William Street in Old Town Fredericksburg, and open daily from 5:00 pm - 2:00 am.

The decor of F.W. Sullivan's is, shall we say, sparse. The overall impression invoking of very tight budget constraints. The cavernous restaurant is divided into the "bar side" and the "dining room side" by a center row of tall backed booths. The booths are built of plywood and varnished (the varnish aroma still fresh.) The three-sided booths, with somewhat cramped seats have high backs and sides. One can't really slide in to the seats as they are a little rough. Perhaps with a few weeks of butt-polishing they'll slicken up. Due to the height of the booth backs and one end it was nigh on impossible to see anything outside the booth. It's a bit isolating. There are a few standalone tables scattered about. We chose to eat on the dining side, but upon reflection we would have chosen the bar side. The open end of those booths is towards the long bar so it seems a bit less closed in, and there's something to see other than a bare wall.

Upon being seated we were given food menus, but the beer selection was read to us by our server from her notes. There were a lot of "factory beers" listed but also rattled off were "Blue & Gray", " Franziskaner", (but not which beer from these breweries) and Hop Devil. It does seem as if Sullivan's is making an attempt at craft beer, but perhaps it's still too soon for the servers to know the beers. I opted for the Victory Hop Devil while Colleen selected the Falkensteiner, correctly assuming a hefeweizen.

Beer selection out of the way, we perused the food menu. The menu lists a wide variety of food, from burgers to wraps, pastas, quesadillas, salads, and larger entrées such as fish ‘n’ chips and meatloaf. We ordered the Buffalo Chicken dip as an appetizer. We asked for both pita and tortilla chips on the side. The flour tortilla chips were obviously made onsite and flavorful. This starter was very well-done with a moderately spicy creamy base and small chicken bits.

My entrée selection was the London Fish 'n' Chips. Alas, the response from the server was the entrée was only available in Richmond. I then opted for the Sully Burger, topped with bacon, white Irish cheddar, caramelized onions, stout mayo and a fried egg. The caramelized onions and "over-easy" fried egg made for a flavorful burger. Others in our party ordered the American burger, Philly cheese steak, and crispy chicken sliders. Our food arrived within a reasonable time and service was very attentive throughout our stay.

It will be interesting to see how S.W. Sullivan's shakes out. The staff are very casually dressed and it's a little hard to tell the employees from the patrons as there is no standard uniform or dress code. The sparse decor and unprofessional attire does not give a sense of permanence to the restaurant.

While the "ambiance" left a little to be desired, the product coming out of the kitchen was a different story. The food we enjoyed at F.W. Sullivan's was very well-done and flavorful. No one in our party had any complaints about the food and everyone enjoyed their selections. Our waitress was attentive, the only delay in service appeared to be in getting the beers from the bar. We all decided we'd certainly go back again for the tasty food.

Update: After our visit, F.W. Sullivan's began making the local crime news much too frequently for my comfort. I actually have not been back. Casting no aspersion, but better safe than sorry.

Update, August 13, 2102: See "Fredericksburg Police release list of incidents at city nightspots"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Occupy the Range

While Black Friday shoppers were out assaulting each other and the useful idiots of the "Occupy" movement were making plans to harass shoppers, we avoided the malls and headed out to the gun range.

I expected a crowd to be at the range, and I had mixed feelings about seeing cars at all the shooting areas. It meant that lots of folks had decided to occupy the range and not the mall. But it also meant we might have to wait. We even ran into a few friends at the gate who were heading to the skeet range. As it turned out we timed our arrival just as a group was packing up to leave on of the pistol bays. We set up our steel and paper targets and began our fun. I keep four or five different paper target styles with the range gear, just to mixed things up a bit —USPSA, silhouette, color patterns, realistic, etc. I had recently purchased some "hostage profile" targets so we put them on the stands for a while too as a fun way to add a little pressure to the shooting. Of course we took turns shooting the steel at 25 yards too.

As I've noted in the past, we like to mix things up by shooting lots of different drills. One of the fun things our group does on occasion is to have one shooter walk in random directions around the bay carrying an object. When the buzzer, also random, goes off the shooter has to drop what he is carrying shoot from that spot. We usually require hits on two or three targets. You're not allowed to top off the mag before you start either, so there's the unexpected reload added in too!

Before we knew it, we'd each fired a couple hundred rounds and other shooters were waiting their turn. It was time to pack up the gear, police our brass, and head home to get ready for an evening on the town. Occupying the range was a great way to spend an afternoon, and was apparently much safer than being in the malls!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Low Country Punch

As noted yesterday, I hadn't planned any special beers for Thanksgiving dinner, but that didn't mean we didn't enjoy a tasty libation with dinner. Here's something a little different, for us anyway, that we served during our celebration. Low Country Punch combines black tea, sparkling wine, rum, brandy and peach brandy as the main ingredients. It's quite simple to put together and can be done very quickly.

The drink exhibited a nice balance of alcohol warmth and fruit-sweetness while the tea imparted a bit of bitterness at the end. The sparkling wine gave some palate cleansing efforvescnce. While it was a change from the craft beer or wine we typically serve with dinner, and a bit more potent, the Low Country Punch was an enjoyable addition to the meal. I suspect we'll be serving it up for friends over the upcoming holiday season.

Low County Punch, courtesy of Tasting Table
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Cook Time: 5 minutes

2 cups water
5 bags of black tea
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark rum
¾ cup brandy
¼ cup peach brandy
3 medium lemons, divided (use juice of 2 and thinly slice one to serve)
Large ice cubes
1 (750 ml) bottle sparkling wine, chilled

1. In a medium saucepot set over high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bags and stir in the granulated sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large punch bowl or pitcher, combine the cooled sweet tea, rum, brandy, peach brandy and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add the ice cubes, the sparkling wine and lemon slices and stir gently to combine. Serve immediately.

WKRP Turkey Drop

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

A bit of post-Thanksgiving Day humor. The classic WKRP Turkey Drop.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jack Daniel's Supports the Troops

Last month we read that Jack Daniel's was being attacked by entitlement-loving socialists. Now comes the news the distiller is doing something sure to raise the ire of the left even more — supporting our troops.
Tennessee whiskey maker Jack Daniel's is donating more than $100,000 to pay for plane tickets and travel funds for soldiers at Fort Campbell, Ky., to spend the December holiday season with their families all over the country. 
The distiller is also asking the public to make additional contributions that could help hundreds of cash-strapped soldiers who otherwise would be stuck at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. Donations can be made to the Operation Ride Home campaign online at
 See Jack Daniel's Funds Travel Expenses for Soldiers for more.

H/T to Jay over at MArooned.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving morning. Here I sit sipping my coffee, and realizing I've planned no special beer for the feast later today. Hmm, I guess I'll check to see what the refrigerator holds. But first I'll enjoy my coffee a little longer. Whatever beer is down there, will still be there when I look later.

Today is the day Americans set aside to give thanks for all of our graces and gifts. Sadly, it's turned more and more into simply a day of gearing up for the Christmas shopping season. I find it somewhat ironic that folks take such joy in day known by the dark name "Black Friday." 

For myself, I'm thankful for a wonderful and loving family, for the freedom to worship as I choose, for true friends, and for a roof over my head, food on the table, for this great country, and much, much more. These are things I am thankful for every day, not just on the fourth Thursday of November. To be truly thankful is to be aware of our many blessings everyday. But today, I'll try to think about these things just a little more. Let's also keep in mind those selfless Americans who are separated from their loved ones while working to defend our freedoms.

I wish everyone a safe, fun-filled day, however you choose to mark the occasion.

Okay, coffee is finished, let's go see what the beer fridge holds...

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me 'to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'"
-- George Washington, National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1789

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holy Brew Joins Lost Rhino

Another beer "merger." But this time it's not a factory brewer absorbing the little guy. Two local craft brewers have joined forces. From Digital Journal:
Holy Brew Brewing Company has formalized a working relationship and part ownership into the Lost Rhino Brewing Company, a new production brewery in Ashburn, VA to develop and brew new high end craft Belgian brands released under the Holy Brew label. The high caliber recipes will be developed in partnership with Matt Hagerman and Favio Garcia, the majority partners at Lost Rhino.
The new Holy Brew beers are expected to be available in early 2012.

Read more at Holy Brew Joins Forces With Lost Rhino Brewing Company.

H/T to Edmond at

American Beer Blogger

Blogger Lew Bryson, who writes at Seen Through A Glass has an exciting project underway. He's involved in a possible television series on beer called "American Beer Blogger."
AMERICAN BEER BLOGGER is a half hour television series dedicated to all
facets of the ever growing craft beer market. From home brewing, to micro
beer; viewers will experience the very best of the craft beer culture. In each
episode, Lew will visit a different brewer, each of which has their own sets of
quirks and ways of doing things. Lew will talk to these brewers, get to know
them, will show us first hand the various methods and techniques used in
creating a craft beer. From the tiniest bottler to the largest manufacturer, Lew
will get his hands dirty. Topics such as bottling, food pairing, manufacturing,
distribution, history, technique (and so much more) will all be touched upon
as Lew spends a day with these brewers. Some doing well in the business, others not so well. Thankfully, the DIY nature of this business can lead to some pretty different results, as Lew lends a hand and helps out in any way he can. Lew will show us all the kinds of micro-breweries currently out there. From the smallest, hippest label to large manufacturers.
As a Kickstarter Project, the public is invited to contribute funds to get the show going. In exchange, donors will receive various gifts from Lew based on the level of support. Maybe he'll even come to your town for a private screening!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Lone Wolf

Sunday evening, Mayor Bloomberg announced the arrest of an Islamic terror suspect in New York. The initial CNN online news article stated in part:
The alleged would-be attacker, who is believed to be of Hispanic descent, had been monitored by the New York Police Department for about two years, according to the source. The same source added that the suspect had converted to Islam and recently had begun talking about waging a “jihad” consistent with his devotion to the religion. (emphasis added)
Within the hour CNN showed its dhimmitude and edited the article, the updated content posted here at the original link. CNN removed any mention of the suspect's conversion to Islam, or even any mention of his new-found "religion." What, or who, is CNN afraid of to cause them to water down the story so quickly?

Suddenly the focus on this story is that the suspect was a "lone wolf." This seems to be the repeated mantra in these cases of late. Officials emphasize that he had no contact with known terrorists or groups. Part of a group, or acting alone, his motivation to kill was apparently drawn from his devotion to hardline Islam. That should not be overlooked.

How many lone wolves does it take to make a pack?

Holiday Cooking Conundrum

I was reading Fr. Z's Blog the other day and came across an unexpected post. I typically turn to his blog, "What Does the Prayer Really Say?", for commentary on Catholic issues, but was intrigued to see mention of craft beer. Fr. Zuhlsdorf has begun his holiday cooking and was making Christmas Pudding. The recipe he used called for both a barleywine and a stout in the ingredients list.

Father posted that he selected Guinness Stout and Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Barleywine. He also noted that the recipe called for just 2.5 ounces of each beer. That particular barleywine comes in a 750 ml bottle. As Fr. Z remarked "well... what to do… what to do…"

Of course, the title of this post is facetious. There's no conundrum. We all know what to do.

Monday, November 21, 2011

National Ammo Day - The Day After

As noted previously, Saturday, November 19 was National Ammo Day. We did our part and made some extra ammo purchases on Saturday. And what does one do with extra ammo? Why, shoot it of course! On Sunday afternoon we did just that. We loaded up our steel targets and headed out for some quick pistol shooting fun. When we arrived at the range there were numerous shooters there enjoying the warm fall day, but fortunately there was still one bay open. This position has a small berm at 25 yards; just enough room for two people to set up and safely shoot the two targets.

We spent about an hour "just shooting." No drills, no shooting on the move. Just good fun target shooting. The purpose of National Ammo Day is to recognize and support our rights as free citizens. The sounds of gunfire and ringing steel is a fitting anthem for such a celebration.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Interesting Log Entry

This week's interesting visitor doesn't stand out because of who they are, the folks from Anheuser Busch stop by on occasion. What's interesting is how they came to the Musings.

The Budweiser folks were using the search string of "images of 6 packs of flying dog raging pale ale." I'm presuming they are referring to Flying Dog Raging Bitch Pale Alereviewed here.

Why? I don't know. I'll let you make up your own story.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. Most people are quite familiar with the words with which he begin his famous speech. However the closing words are as moving, and as fitting, today as they were 148 years ago.
... that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

National Ammo Day

November 19 is the 7th Annual National Ammo Day. Also described as a "nationwide BUYcott of ammunition," gun owners are encouraged to show support for the industry and the 2nd Amendment by purchasing 100 rounds of ammo. It can be self defense ammo or target ammo, for any, or all of the guns you own.
The goal of National Ammo Day is to empty the ammunition from the shelves of your local gun store, sporting goods, or hardware store and put that ammunition in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Make your support of the Second Amendment known—by voting with your dollars!

There are an estimated 75 MILLION gun owners in the United States of America. If each gun owner or Second Amendment supporter buys 100 rounds of ammunition, that’s 7.5 BILLION rounds in the hands of law-abiding citizens!

The gun/ammunition manufacturers have been taking the brunt of all the frivolous lawsuits, trying to put these folks out of business. Well, not if we can help it! And we CAN help it by buying ammunition on November 19!
I'll pick up 100 rounds for each of the shooters in our home. And since this year the day falls on a weekend, I think we'll even go out and shoot those rounds.

So, do your part. Go buy some ammo today, and then go shooting!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Devils Backbone Brewery Nears Completion

The Devils Backbone Production Brewery in Rockbridge County is almost ready to begin production. Brewing is expected to begin in December. Owner Steve Crandall gives Richmond News10 a tour.

Hopefully this will soon mean easy access to Devils Backbone beer for craft beer fans all around Virginia.

A previous post about the new brewery is here

Trash Can Instructions? Really?

Rather than our weekly Friday Funny, I'll call this one a Friday Fail.

I was taking out the trash the other morning when I saw this:

Do people really need a written guide in order to move a trash can?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Midnight Brewery - A New Nanobrewery

They just keep popping up! And that's a good thing for craft beer fans in Virginia. Today I learned of another upcoming Virginia nano-brewery, this one located in Goochland County, Virginia.

Midnight Brewey is the brainchild of Trae Cairns. He has leased a 1,200 square foot warehouse to house his brewery. A nanobrewery in the true sense of the word, Cairns is starting out with a one-and-a-half gallon system. He can produce up to 41 gallons in a batch. Production is expected to begin the first half of 2012.

See "Behold, the nanobrewery" at Richmond BizSense for more information.

Intro to USPSA Shooting

Here's a nicely done video that gives a good overview of what USPSA matches are all about.

Now you know why I'm addicted!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beer Bottle Clock

Created by Stanley Clockworks.

Lunch Time: Range Time

I generally eat lunch at my desk. But occasionally I give my laptop a break from sandwich crumbs and head over to the pistol range for a quick bit of stress release during lunch. Earlier this week I had plans to do just that. But as luck would have it, the forecast was for rain. And in fact, it started raining as I was loading the car. Does that mean the plans are off? Pshaw! One thing we say around here is "It's not always going to be a sunny day."

The truth be told, this rain was nothing. I've been at the range in torrential downpours, and in snow as well. The three of us in our group spent about an hour in the drizzle enjoying ourselves with various shooting exercises. Point shooting at close range, mozambique drills, and strong hand - weak hand transitions, and even some precision shots at distance. It all made for a fun afternoon, despite the cool rain.

I noticed when we arrived that some previous shooters had failed to pick up their spent brass. That meant we'd have to spend some extra time afterwards picking up — we don't leave our mess for others to clean up. Of course, that means I'll have a little extra used brass to exchange this winter. But still, one would hope that club members would be a bit more responsible.

In any case, 90 minutes later (okay, it was a long lunch) I was back at my desk. Back to the grind, but refreshed having enjoyed a nice diversion from the work day. Some days it's good to be me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Woodchuck Winter Cider

I was perusing the beer aisle at the local grocery store recently and noticed Woodchuck Winter Hard Cider on the shelf. The label described this cider as "Oak aged with a hint of vanilla." Knowing that a friend who is a fan of ciders would be visiting soon, I decided to pick up a six pack. Of course I sent him a photo of the display as a tease too.

We cracked into the Woodchuck Winter Cider one recent late evening. The cider pours an attractive dark copper color. It was a very different appearance from the Spring release reviewed previously. It reminded me of the color of the apple cider one finds at roadside stands in the fall. The aroma was faint sweet fruit but rather non-descript otherwise. The flavor is slightly sweet with some earthy undertones. Hints of caramel and vanilla come through. The mouthfeel is mildly effervescent with a lingering sweetness.

I enjoyed the refreshing crispness of this limited release from the Woodchuck Cider folks. It was an enjoyable late night treat before retiring for the evening. In fact, lately I've found myself opting for a cider on occasion, rather than a beer, when I'm looking for a late-evening "light" refreshment.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Battlefield Oktoberfest

Whew, I didn't miss it. I was told near the end of September that Battlefield Brewing was tapping their Oktoberfest, and despite a great desire to do so, I just never got in to try it out. Imagine my delight when we stopped in for dinner at The Pub this weekend and it was still available!

Battlefield Brewing Oktoberfest is a dark, reddish brown in color with a very thin, and quickly vanishing head. I was pleased to see my glass was not frosted and the beer was served at a reasonable temperature. The Pub has in the past been fond of frosted mugs and too cold beer, but tonight anyway that was not an issue. The aroma is mild and bready. The flavor has a strong malt profile with a nice grainy bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is light with very low carbonation. A very nice and easy to drink beer.

Now if you've read other musings here about The Pub and Battlefield Brewing, you can probably guess what food I selected to go with my Oktoberfest. Of course, one of The Pub's excellent burgers, this time the bacon-cheeseburger version. A perfect repast for a fall evening dinner.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recent Blogroll Additions

Here are a few interesting blogs recently added to the link tabs above.

Shooting Links
God, Gals, Guns, Grub
An "average guy" writing about the people and things he enjoys.

My Muse shanked me
A new blog by a long-time Musings reader, fellow Virginian, and "crusty old retired military guy."

In Search of the Tempestuous Sea
Another Virginia blogger writing about guns, technology, and life.

Beer and Food Links
Bacon and Boomsticks
Another blog from Fill Yer Hands, this one focusing on food.

Do you link to Musings Over a Pint from your site? Let me know and I'll reciprocate. 

Why Vote?

When I hear folks say they don't vote it because their vote doesn't count it makes me want to slap my head in frustration, and then theirs too. Take a look at how government changes take place in other parts of the world, through violence, and tell me voting doesn't matter. At least for now, despite the protestations of some useful idiots, we enjoy peaceful change in the United States.

Take a look at the vote counts in two elections last week here in Virginia.

17th District Senate

Spotsylvania County Supervisor

That's 222 votes separating the candidates in the Senate race and a mere 26 votes in the Supervisor race. So go ahead, shirk your responsibility by not voting if you think it doesn't matter. To quote my buddy Damon Brogdon on Facebook, in response to non-voter, "Hmmmm keep thinking that way there sport, because chances are, if that's an example of your logic... we aren't voting for the same people anyway."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

They're Watching

It's always fun to peruse the Musings logs. It's interesting to see how folks find the blog, where they come from, and what they read. Some of the most interesting log stats are the data on organizations that visit.

The other day I noticed visits from The Bureau of National Affairs. I wasn't familiar with this organization so I did some research. The BNA describes itself as "A recognized leader in the professional markets that rely on solid, unbiased, nonpartisan, and sometimes highly specialized information." Interestingly, in August of this year The Bureau of National Affairs was acquired by Bloomberg L.P..

Bloomberg L.P. is controlled by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York. Mayor Bloomberg is the man, and money, behind Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Despite their name, the goal of MAIG to take away the 2nd Amendment rights to all Americans, excepting the political elite. It's quite the group of hypocrites. It seems these molesters of the Constitution keep getting arrested for criminal activity. The group even counts dead people among their claimed supporters. These people who have appointed themselves the interpreters of your rights have been shown to be very lacking in integrity.

And what blog post was our Bloomberg visitor interested in? I'm glad you asked. It was this one about 2nd Amendment rights: "...shall not be infringed".

Friday, November 11, 2011

11:11:11 Opening For Wild Wolf

Wild Wolf Brewing in Nelson County officially opened their new brewery and restaurant today at 11:11AM.
©2011 : Photo By Tommy Stafford

We've been following this quickly growing brewery for a while and their story is a obviously a testament to hard work and good beer. We wish them the best!

See "11.11.11 – 11:11 AM EST – Wild Wolf Brewing & Restaurant Officially Opens In Nellysford" at Nelson County Life for pictures and more on Wild Wolf Brewing.

Gun Sale At The Church

Your Friday Funny...

A gun sale at church? I'm there!

Find more Buddy Blue and the Beat Farmers on iTunes.

Veterans Day 2011

Today is the day set aside to honor our military veterans. The day also serves as a reminder to all Americans of the sacrifices made by these men and women. I am not a vet, but many of my dearest friends are, and I treasure those friendships. Something I noticed long ago is that, as a group, our vets are some of the most caring and helpful people I know. I guess the values one learns in serving your country tend to stay with you for life.

I remember growing up during a pathetically sad time in our history when veterans were not respected, and returning warriors were often derided. I pray that we never sink that low as a country again.

Take a moment today to pray for our military, and for all veterans. Remember those who are gone, and those to come. Without them we would not have the freedom we enjoy today. To all our veterans, thank you for everything you have done!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Odd Job Offer

I've received some interesting emails since I've been writing these Musings. By interesting I mean that I wondered why the sender thought there'd be a connection. Recently I've been getting requests to perform tattoo services such as the one below. I guess the whole beer drinking, gun toting, Christian thing invokes images of a skilled tattoo artist. (Work with me here.)

I admit that I didn't know what an Awen is, but I do now. Nope, not interested. :-)

I guess I could opt-out of the mailings but they might prove interesting.

Frog Hop Pale Ale

One of the joys of writing these Musings is that I occasionally get to try out craft beers from other parts of the country, beers that I probably wouldn't have to chance to otherwise. This is one of those times. A few weeks ago I received a package from the Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish, Montana. Exciting stuff, we have family in Montana and I've visited Whitefish in the past, though not Great Northern Brewing.

Frog Hop Fresh Hopped Pale Ale is brewed once a year, in just a single batch. The beer makes use of locally-grown Mount Hood, Chinook, Nugget and Cascade hops. For this year's batch the brewery did something different, and I think very exciting. They invited the folks in the surrounding Flathead Valley to bring in their own home-grown hops. The locals traded their hops for beer! Frog Hop really is a community beer.

Frog Hop pours a golden-orange color with a fluffy white head. Lots of sticky lacing is left behind on the glass as one enjoys the beer. The aroma is grainy with a mild citrus note. The citrusy hop flavors are subtle and well-balanced with the mildly sweet grain of the malt. The finish is dry with some lingering bitterness. While I was expecting more green fresh hop flavors, I wasn't disappointed. The brewers made use of local, fresh picked hops, and created a nicely balanced beer without being "in your face" with the hops.

As I noted at the start, I can't buy this beer around here. Great Northern beers are distributed in six western states, and I suspect Frog Hop is even more limited in availability. I'm certainly interested in trying some of the brewery's other beers. The next time I get the chance the visit the beautiful Flathead Valley of Montana I will seek them out.

*FTC Notice: I drank and reviewed this beer of my own free will. No compensation was received for the review.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Order a Beer. Anywhere.

Here's an interesting compilation of how to say "One beer, please!" in 50 languages, courtesy of Etiquette Systems. This should be enough to keep your glass filled no matter where you are.

A few random examples from the list:
Bulgarian: Edna beerra, molya!
Chinese: Ching gay woh ee bay pee joh!
Greek: Mee-a beer-a paraka-loh!
Irish: Byohr awoyn, lyeh doh hull!
Yiddish: A beer, zeit a-zoy goot!

See the complete list here.

Found on Twitter. Who says there's nothing useful on Twitter?

The People Have Spoken

Congratulations Bryce and Tim!

It was a very close race, but despite the shady redistricting efforts to reduce the conservative voting block in the 17th District, long-entrenched Edd Houck lost to challenger Bryce Reeves. Veteran democrat party operative Conners was unable to hide behind the false mask of an "independent" and was defeated by newcomer Tim McLaughlin. The voters saw through the campaign FUD, and the outright lies, of both men and elected new leadership.

The career politicians deserve a song:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November USPSA Match

This past Sunday was the monthly USPSA match held by Fredericksburg Practical Shooters. Although the day started out very cool, it turned into a beautiful, crisp fall day. A perfect day for being outside! As tyhe did last month, the match staff made use of the walls and barriers that had been set up for the Area 8 Championship. However they changed target positions and counts, and even added some falling steel to the mix, so it really was a new match.

This was my last, and 13th, match of the season and I was looking forward to it for a number of reasons. Although I hit the range to practice frequently, it's generally "square range" practice, with very little opportunity for lots of movement or for multiple targets at different distances. At the Fredericksburg match we have nearly 180 degrees of range to shoot in. And of course there's the added challenge of walls and barriers. This would be the last time to shoot this sort of challenge for a few months. I was also going to be competing without a knee brace for the first time since I injured my knee.

So I went into the match really concentrating on just having fun. I kept reminding myself this was all about the fun of the courses and shooting with friends. It seems to have worked because I felt very little of the usual match stress. I did give myself one goal, I wanted to shoot the match with no penalties — no hits on no-shoots and no misses. I almost made that goal too.

The match consisted of seven stages; five field courses, a plate rack course, and a classifier stage. The field courses were all interesting with a good balance of easy fast targets, harder shots at varying distances, partially covered or hidden targets, and some falling steel thrown in.

I ended up hitting a no-shoot on the Classifier stage. Of course, since this was a Virginia Count stage (limited shot count), that one hit counted as a miss AND and a no-shoot. Drats! But it sure was a fun challenge. And that's a definite improvement over recent matches.

I finished the match with just that one penalty pair. I placed 24th out of 41 shooters in my Division, with a match percentage of 51.76%. That's about in the middle of the pack, which is where I expect to be at this point. But most importantly I left feeling really good about the day. I think the dry fire practicing is paying off, and I'm getting better at letting the "fun" override the "pressure." I went in to each stage with a plan and stuck to it.

Later that evening I shared a bottle of wine with Colleen and reminisced about the day. I was very tired after being on the range for 5½ hours but I was still smiling about the match. I don't think I could have found a better way to finish the season. It was a fun match, and I left the range with no disappointments.

I'm already looking forward to the Spring. But there's a lot of dry fire practice and range time to get in before then. And maybe a steel match or two, just for fun.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No Booze Ads For Students

WRIC is reporting on a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court that stems from a 2006 lawsuit by Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia student newspapers. The papers claimed that a regulation against alcohol ads in student publications didn't apply to them since at least half their readers are 21 years of age or older. The court ruled that the restrictions did apply to the publications.

Of course, this a sure to be good news to the nanny-state crowd. After all, we know that just the sight of a beer ad will induce an underage student into an alcohol-induced rage. Whew, what a relief that we avoided that ugly scene.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Government-Hating Nutzies

That's how the editors of the local rag, The Free Lance-Star, describe the opponents of Senator Edd Houck. It was no surprise that the left-leaning paper would throw its endorsement to liberal Senator's reelection campaign. What was a surprise was the vitriol they used in doing so.
Certainly, social conservatives have good reason to want him gone. As chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee he has buried anti-abortion legislation, earning 100 percent ratings from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. But it is hard to see how many others share that sentiment, apart from government-hating nutzies.
All across the country we are witnessing the leftist "Occupy" crowd burn buildings, defecate on police cars, cover up incidents of rape, and call for our government to be overthrown and replaced with socialism. Yet the local paper considers those on the right who oppose Houck's reelection to be "government-hating nutzies." All the while touting Houck's "ability to work with the other side."

Time Change

Did you remember to change your clocks?

Courtesy of Rhymes With Orange.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Beer Geeks

Put a bunch of tech-savvy inventors and a beer fridge in the same room and something interesting is bound to happen. The guys at Milwaukee Makerspace take their beer, or at least their beer security, seriously. They've rigged their beer refrigerator with an RFID reader and use their key fobs to control access. They also track who's drinking, and how much. A display screen even welcomes the visitor.

Look like a fun project for a bunch of hackers and inventors. But rest assured, visitors to the Musings abode simply need to grasp the fridge door handle and pull to open.

More details an pictures at "Beer Automated Dispensing And Security System".

Friday, November 4, 2011

"...shall not be infringed"

Seems pretty straightforward don't you think? Apparently those four words are confusing to the NRA, and to Virginia Senator Ed Houck.

Senator Houck is in a tight race for reelection in Virginia's 17th District, against newcomer Bryce Reeves. One of the issues important to many is the Right to Bear Arms, otherwise known as the 2nd Amendment. This portion of the Bill of Rights is quite succinct. It's one sentence, ending with the clear statement "shall not be infringed."

In this contest the National Rifle Association has endorsed Senator Edd Houck. The NRA excuses their endorsement thusly:
We have an incumbent-friendly policy that dictates our support for pro-gun incumbents seeking reelection over pro-gun challengers, as voting records trump statements in support of the Second Amendment.  We stand with our friends who stand with us in Congress or the state legislature.  We would lose all credibility if we abandoned our friends who have stood by us.  Of course, should a pro-gun challenger win his election, then he will be the beneficiary of this policy when he seeks re-election.  
For candidates who are not incumbents, or who have not previously held elective office, we review answers to NRA's candidate questionnaires.  NRA staff also interviews candidates, reviews campaign literature and candidate statements, and factors in intelligence from local NRA members.
Past voting records are one thing. How about actual public statements? Let's look at some of the evidence regarding the candidates' 2nd Amendment support records. The Virginia Citizens Defense League surveys candidates regarding their gun stance. Edd Houck chose not to provide his views in response to the questionnaire. Bryce Reeves did reply and received a pro-gun rating from VCDL.

Another telling point came through loud and clear during Thursday evening's debate between the candidates at the University of Mary Washington. During that debate, the candidates were asked about their positions on the concealed carrying of guns. I obtained a recording of the event and have transcribed the main points here.
Question from Moderator: "The Attorney General has opined that college campuses can ban guns by enacting regulations, not merely policies which some schools have. There have also been bills introduced that would prohibit colleges from enacting such regulations.

"Police agencies generally have been against having guns on campus, but every year more bills are introduced to give the right to students to have concealed carry on campus.

"How would you vote if or when this matter comes before you?"

Bryce spoke about his experiences in the military, law enforcement, and as a civilian with a concealed carry permit. He was then pressed specifically regarding college campuses.

Bryce answered, "I do believe in concealed carry on college campuses."

Edd replied "No I'm not in favor of that."

and then, "I dont think the law in VA is broken despite Attorney General Cuccinelli's opinion. I think what we have now is adequate."

Bryce followed up with "We need to adhere to the Constitution."
Bryce Reeves openly and clearly stated his support of the Second Amendment. In contrast, Edd Houck clearly and openly stated his opposition to the right it enumerates. He supports restrictions on the right to self defense and on where citizens can carry. That is Edd Houck's admission that he does not believe the words "shall not be infringed." Senator Houck thinks that your God-given right to self defense stops when you enter a college campus. He is certainly aware that mass shootings happen on college campuses.  He is certainly aware that most mass-casualty shootings happen in "gun free zones." Why then does Edd Houck support "infringing" on our right to self-defense?

Will the NRA choose to ignore Houck's admission? I did contact the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, the NRA-ILA, and inform them of the debate statements. Let's see if they really do react to "intelligence from local NRA members." After Houck's anti-Second Amendment statement in the debate, one would hope that NRA would rescind their endorsement, and either stay neutral or change thier endorsement to Reeves.

UPDATE, November 7:  The VCDL has issued an alert reminding its membership about Houck's anti-freedom votes and his statements at the debate.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A chance encounter on the River Shannon in Ireland. Stunning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Take Responsibility

"Carry a concealed weapon. That'll fix it." --Spartanburg County, S.C. Sheriff Chuck Wright

The sheriff was reacting the recent attack of a woman by a man male who has spent most of his life either in jail after attacking a woman, or out of jail and attacking another woman. Wright realizes that law enforcement cannot be there to protect innocent people, and this lowlife criminal knows it too. In fact, the courts have ruled that the police have NO responsibility to protect. Sheriff Wright understands what so many people are realizing today; citizens must be responsible for their own safety.

Now, the hoplophobes will jump up and down about how there will be "blood in the streets." But, you know what? It hasn't happened. Every state in the U.S. except one provides for some some sort of legal concealed carry, though in some states the right is so restricted it may as well not exist. As more and more people own firearms, person on person crime still continues to go down. There's a reason that almost all mass shootings occur in "gun free zones." Criminals fear an armed populous, as do dishonest politicians. More people armed doesn't mean more people getting shot — it means more criminals choosing not to prey on innocent people. Sheriff Wright understands this.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Strike 2 for East Coast Sierra Nevada

We learned this week that Sierra Nevada Brewing had ruled out the Virginia site under consideration. Some have speculated that the East Coast expansion was off the table. More evidence to support that sad conclusion has arrived. From
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is not coming to Blount County, according to the Blount Partnership.

The Chico, Calif,. company notified the Blount Partnership this weekend that they would not build a brewery on propetry adjacent to the Pellissippi Place research and development park in Alcoa."

According to a press release from the partnership, issues this morning, Blount County has fallen out of contention for the brewery.

"Blount County is no longer under consideration for the Sierra Nevada project," the release states. "We appreciate the interest the brewing company had in operating a plant in Blount County and understand their reasons for not locating here. The relationships established between Sierra Nevada and the state of Tennessee and county and city officials remain strong. The Blount Partnership will continue to work all business leads to bring more companies and jobs to Blount County."
The specific reasons for the brewery's decision were not released.

There continues to be speculation that Sierra Nevada is considering Asheville, NC due to the area's "progressiveness" being attractive to the California company. Personally I'm not putting much stock in that. Feel free to prove me wrong Sierra Nevada.

See "Sierra Nevada not building brewery in Blount County".