Friday, November 30, 2012

Five O'Clock Friday: Eternal Question

It's the weekend, so undoubtedly I'll be wondering about this again.

I just don't get it.

NRA Loaner

The sarcasm runs deep in this Saturday Night Live skit from December 1993 but the absurdity of "gun freedom control" laws is obvious.

As Mr. Heston notes, "We have the Bill of Rights."

Sorry for the obnoxious embedded ads at the start.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flying Dog K-9 Winter Ale

Ok, my aversion to Winter is no secret. However one thing I do like is the appearance of the Winter beers. Not the spiced up ales, but it's the rich malty beers, and high ABVs, that I look forward to. Even though it's not officially Winter yet, around this time I start digging out the big Winter beers I saved from last year. I also start looking for this year's releases.

This sample bottle of Flying Dog K-9 Winter Ale is the first of this season's beers to be enjoyed here. Flying Dog's "Winter Warmer" recipe varies each year depending on ingredient availability. As I poured the bottle and saw the deep garnet color I smiled. That combined with the malty, caramel and dark fruit aromas, although faint, made me think "Strong Ale." That's a style I am very found of. The beige head quickly dropped to a thin ring. The flavor is toasted malt, with some nuttiness and dark fruit. There are also some underlying bitter grassy hop notes. The finish is slightly sweet and dry. There's a lingering finish that's not quite clean and a bit slick. The 7.4% ABV gives a bit of a warmth and is readily apparent.

There are Winter Warmers / Strong Ales out there that are higher in alcohol, with richer flavors. I found the version from Flying Dog to be on the milder side of the scale. That said, I enjoyed my glass of K-9 Winter Ale and am now more ready for Winter — the beers, not the cold.

FTC Notice: This beer was an unsolicited sample from the brewery, I drank and reviewed it of my own free will. No compensation was received for the review.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tab Clearing - Top Shelf Edition

I came across a couple of beer-related news items the other day that reminded how serious(ly expensive) this hobby could get.

IPA Whiskey
The folks at Serious Eats reviewed two whiskeys which got their start as beer. The folks at Charbay Distillery took 6,000 gallons of Bear Republic Racer 5 and distilled it down into 590 gallons of IPA-flavored whiskey. They also aged some of the whiskey in oak casks. Because I'm very familiar with the base beer, I'm intrigued by the whiskey. However at $54 and $75 dollars a bottle it's might not be something I'd take chance on just to try. Though I'd surely buy a single drink if I saw it offered at the local pub.

See "Distilled Beer: New IPA Whiskey from Charbay" for the reviewer's thoughts on the hop-based whiskeys.

Westvleteren XII
The beers brewed by the Trappist Monks of the Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in Belgium are highly sought after by beer fans. Until recently, about the only way to get them in the U.S. was via the online auction "black market." When I reviewed Trappist beers for a Lenten celebration a few years back, Westvleteren was the only brewery I couldn't include. But, tough economic times call for drastic measures, so the monks have loosened some of their distribution restrictions. In order to raise much-needed funds to rebuild their abbey, they've partnered with Shelton Brothers Imports to bring Westvleteren XII to parts of the United States. A special package of 6 bottles and two glasses will retail for $84.99 at Total Wine stores in limited states. Virginia isn't one of them, though neighboring states of Maryland and North Carolina are listed.

Even though I have been somewhat cynical of the awe in which Westvleteren is held, wondering how much if that is influenced by the hard-to-get factor, I admittedly would be tempted to make the Westvleteren purchase.

See "Westvleteren XII Sees Mainstream U.S. Distribution" for more on the distribution area.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Craft Beer Festival This Weekend

This looks like it's going to a lot of fun.
Virginia’s Largest Indoor Craft Beer Festival 
Saturday, December 8th, 2012
Meadow Event Park
(Home of the State Fair of VA) 
Tasting Tickets are $1 each or $10 for a passport of 12 2 oz tastings
More than 25 craft beers to taste, featuring 15 Virginia Breweries!
LIVE music!
Plus – tons of crafts, Virginia food, beer accessories, and other vendors offering unique shopping opportunities! 
- Tickets are only available at the festival only.
- There is ample free parking at the festival, right beside the building
- All ages are able to attend the event, but only those 21 years and older, with valid ID will be permitted to drink. There will be people on site to check ID’s and manage crowd control 
This will be a fun event and a great opportunity for you to try new beers and re-taste ones that you love! We ask that you please drink responsibly and designate a driver.

I've also received word that there will be a couple of very special tappings during the day as well:

1pm – First Tapping ever of the Hardywood Bourbon Barrel Ginger Bread Stout (at the Hardywood Booth)
5pm- Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (at the Goose Island Booth)

See for more details.

Unfortunately I have conflicting plans, but wanted to share with the news with my local readers.

Green Peppercorn Tripel: A Gift From Mom

We first acquired our bottles of The Brewer's Art Green Peppercorn Tripel after the original bottling back in 2007. The bottles were a gift from my parents who ventured into Baltimore specifically to visit The Brewer's Art to get the beer for me. Colleen and I shared the last bottle in 2009 to wrote our post for The Session. At the time I remarked how I hoped to get more, but never got around to finding more.

When mom passed away in 2010 we found a bottle of the beer in my parents' fridge. Mom had never drank the one she kept; she was more of a "Budweiser over ice" gal. Dad let me take it home and it's been in my fridge ever since. Colleen and I decided to share it after our Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The beer has held up very well. (And the cork was as tight as in the previous bottles.) It poured a cloudy golden amber color and the frothy head was as effervescent as ever. The aroma is yeasty over a sweet maltiness. The flavor has lost some of the pepper spice I recall in the "younger bottles." The predominant flavor was sweet malt and bready yeast. The finish was especially drying. The beer was very smooth and the 9% ABV was masked and undetectable.

As with our previous bottles, Colleen and I enjoyed sharing this beer. It provided a relaxing and flavorful cap to our Thanksgiving celebration. That the beer was a gift from Mom made it even more special. Prost Mom!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday Crowds

No, not at the mall. I try to avoid crowds of angry, desperate, and sometimes violent, people. There's no way I'm going to a store on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Instead we opted to spend time at a more sane location - the shooting range. Instead of electronics and clothing, we turned our money into smoke and noise.

I think we have everything

After loading the back of the vehicle with our gear we headed over to the outdoor range. I wasn't sure we'd be able to get on the range, given the holiday weekend, but it was worth the short drive to check it out. When we arrived there were lines of cars at both pistol ranges, as well as the rifle and shotgun ranges. Since it looked like a long wait we left to head over to the fru-fru coffee drive through. After stocking up on "Holiday Flavors" we headed back to the range to wait our turn while enjoying our drinks.

Fortunately the family ahead of us obeyed the "60 minute limit when folks are waiting" rule, so it wasn't an exceptionally long wait. Our turn came and we set up our targets quickly and got on with the fun. Most of the time I spent just working on trigger control, that double action first shot in particular. I also discovered that the tiniest cut caused by dry skin can be quite painful when it's on your trigger finger! After a while, I added some small stickers to my target and worked on shooting groups. As usual, strong hand and weak hand only shooting got some attention. We didn't do any shooting on the move, and most of the time was spent on the 10 yard line, but I found it a very productive practice session.

It was a fun afternoon, made even better by the unseasonably warm weather. A t-shirt outdoors. In November. In Virginia. Now that's hard to beat. No pushing or shoving either.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bill Whittle - This Needs To Be Heard

Watch the whole thing.

We need to hear more like this from our current, and future, leaders.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Flying Dog Harvest Ale

I received this bottle of Flying Dog Secret Stash Harvest Ale from the brewery a while ago, but it was lost in the beer fridge and temporarily forgotten. I came across it the other evening and decided it would make a great beer with which to kick off my Thanksgiving vacation.

The beer is a very translucent amber color. The pour creates a thin white head and releases a bready aroma with caramel notes. The flavor begins slightly sweet with some grassiness. The crisp grain notes are balanced with citrus hops.

Flying Dog adapts the Secret Stash recipe based on the year's harvest of local ingredients. I reviewed the 2011 version of this beer last fall. While I'm comparing from memory, I am more impressed by this year's version. I recall last year's batch being more of a Saison style featuring more yeast than wheat. The 2012 version is crisper, reminiscent of a crisp German K├Âlsch.  I found it to be a light bodied, refreshing drink.

FTC Notice: This beer was an unsolicited sample from the brewery, I drank and reviewed it of my own free will. No compensation was received for the review.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my friends and family, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. As we in America set aside a day to give thanks and be grateful for all of our many blessings, I hope everyone takes time to reflect on the meaning of the day.

Today I am thankful for my loving family, my faith and the freedom to practice it, my health, for my friends, and for all the freedoms I enjoy as an American. In these times we should be especially conscious of our freedoms, as we are reminded frequently just how tenuous they are. Let's not forget those who serve us at home and abroad. 

I pray that the meaning of this day is not forgotten or lost in the hunt for good deals at the big box stores. If shopping is your thing this holiday, take time to think about why you are able to do that. As I sorted through the newsprint I carried in this morning to find something that wasn't an ad, it struck me that I've heard nothing about Thanksgiving in the past days, only about "Black Friday."

Whatever you do today, however you choose to mark the day, I wish you the best and hope your holiday is filled with joy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Irish Coffee. Good Anytime.

We typically enjoy our Irish Coffee as an after dinner treat. But after spending time in Ireland, I've started wondering, why limit it to the end of the day? While I enjoyed a few evening coffees during the trip, I found I shouldn't be so restrictive. It's good anytime.  :-)

The folks at the Kerry Bog Village had the fast Irish Coffee down to an art. We have our own method for a quick Irish Coffee, but when you're serving a crowd, it takes some advance preparation. They prep a stack of serving glasses with whiskey pre-loaded. The coffee, brown sugar and cream was added when you ordered. 

We picked up an Irish Coffee to enjoy while we toured the museum grounds during a morning visit. They may have been "mass produced" but the coffee was good enough to have another one, or two, before getting back on the bus. It was certainly an enjoyable start to the day.

Hey look, a man with a goat in a chair and a dog riding a donkey!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Training with Steve Anderson

I have a confession to make. I've owned Steve Anderson's two dry fire training books, "Refinement and Repetition, Dry-fire Drills for Dramatic Improvementand "Principles of Performance, Refinement and Repetition 2" for some time. I briefly read them and set them aside, thinking I'll get to it at some point. Even though I've recently come around to the whole idea of dry fire, I had not yet dived into his program. That all changed this past weekend when I was able to attend a day-long class with Steve Anderson. In short, I was blown away by what I learned.

The first part of the day was spent on Steve's "Dry Fire Tuneup," based on the drills in his first book. We worked through basic skills; drawing from the holster, sight picture, movement, reloading, etc. and saw instant improvements. The second part of the class was live fire where we worked at putting it all together, being reminded that "technique is just a bridge to get you back to the shooting."

Steve Anderson, who is also a USPSA Grand Master, has an amazing ability to break down the techniques of shooting into their basic components and, most importantly, teach those finer points to others. I was amazed at how much improvement I, and others, could make in a short time with his guidance. Most of the drills we worked on were done as a class, but Steve would frequently pull a student out and go through the refinement process with him as the rest of us watched. It was quite fascinating. For example, he took my shooting buddy Alex, who already had a respectable 1.2 second draw time, down to .5 seconds; with about three minutes of work.

There was so much going on in the class, it's hard to pick out highlights. One highlight was when I had my time "in the box" and we went over the surrender draw. Within a few minutes my time to draw from hands over shoulder to gun on target was .7 seconds. If you had told me that was possible prior to the class I would have laughed at you.

Another amazing point was when we were working on seeing the front sight as we shot. Previously I *thought* I WATCHED my sight, but at that time I SAW my front sight. I saw it go up, and I saw it as it dropped back down. Time almost stopped as I waited for it to return. Much different than my usual waiting to find it again! It was one of those 'in the zone' moments for me.

I've been doing this shooting thing about three years now. I've had instruction on how to shoot a pistol and have spent time watching and talking to shooters, but have never received focused instruction in the critical techniques involved in practical shooting. The class was eye-opening. Sometimes what we learned was a seemingly minor tweak on what I currently did, but one that made a significant difference nonetheless. Other times it was a whole new way of doing things. Interestingly, when we were done, the new skill seemed so natural that I couldn't even remember how I used to do it!

I took notes throughout the day, but I know I didn't capture everything that was going on. Steve is high energy and provides a continuous, and passionate, stream of advice, correction, and acute observations. My day was a series of light bulbs going off and "ah-ha!" moments. It wasn't all about technique either. Steve keeps a focus on attitude too. The attitude to do more, to do it faster, and to do it with a positive approach. As I was often reminded, a screw up is to be met with laughter, not even a head shake.

Three days later I am still reeling from what I learned, or better, discovered in the class. I know I ended the day a different shooter than I started. I have learned new skills and new ways of approaching the sport. But even though I (mostly) successfully did the drills in class, the real secret to success will be practicing them until I own them. Steve taught the techniques, it's all up to me to master them. That's something I'll be working on faithfully this winter.

The class time went by extremely fast, and was never boring. If it hadn't been for darkness, we'd probably still be there. I've only touched on what we covered during the class, the details are for you to learn directly from the teacher. If you want to get the same experience contact Steve Anderson at and arrange for a class to your area. If you're in Virginia, let me know too. I'll jump at the chance for more coaching from Steve, both to refresh what I already learned, and to continue to progress towards my shooting goals.

Monday, November 19, 2012

National Ammo Day

As if you really needed an excuse, November 19 is National Ammo Day. This designation serves to remind the public that ammo purchasers are law-abiding citizens. It is also a signal to politicians that shooters are not a silent, nor a minority, segment of the population.

Can't get to the store today? That's fine, Ammo Day is actually Ammo Week, so there's plenty of time. Just do it.

Shameless, self-serving promotion: We're fans of Lucky Gunner here. If you click the previous link, or the graphic in the sidebar before you purchase from them, you'll not only be getting a good deal on ammo, but you'll be helping out the Musings ammo fund. Thanks!

Messrs Maguire, Dublin

During our initial bus ride through Dublin I spied the Messrs Maguire sign through the window and tried to make mental note of where it was; a pointless endeavour at the time as I had no reference or knowledge of the city. Messrs Maguire’s is Dublin's only brewpub so it was a "must stop" location for me. We would pass by the pub located on the bank of the Liffy several times during our time in Dublin, but it wasn't until we returned to the city on the last day of our trip that I was finally able to visit.

We spent a lot of time deciding on our lunch, and our beer selections. Finally, we all decided on roast beef sandwiches served on fresh baked french bread, with chips and crisps of course. We had a slight delay in getting our food as we had to wait for a batch of bread to come out of the oven!

I opted for the Pale Ale, served cask-conditioned and dry hopped. This American style ale was very aromatic with the fresh hops evident. The flavor started of with a rich "green" hop flavor followed by a bitter finish. We had a long day of walking ahead of us, surely with other pub stops, and I had to fight the urge for a second round.

Colleen opted for the Hickey's Irish Red, of which I stole a few sips of as well. This was also an enjoyable red ale. Malt rich with a slightly nutty flavor and sweet finish, it was a good accompaniment to the beef sandwiches, and the chips soaked in malt vinegar. 

Two Beers & A Cider. Photo by C. Turley

While we waited for our food, I went exploring around three floors of the pub. We had ordered our food and drink on the ground floor, where one can see the brewery in action, and walked up to the first floor "Library Bar" to eat. The second floor (that's the 3rd to us yanks) overlooks the Liffy River. Each floor has a long bar located against one side, and there were numerous secluded and open seating areas. At one point I emerged from the stairwell and was momentarily unsure which floor I was on. Messrs Maguire also has a basement brewery bar, giving four whole floors worth of pub space.

As with much of our whirlwind trip, we stayed at Messrs Maguire only long enough to get a small taste before moving on to other sights and tastes of Ireland. It's a place I'll visit again if, or when, we return to Ireland.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Treat From MSgt B

My buddy MSgt B posted this video on his blog at "My Muse Shanked Me" and linked over to these Musings figuring I'd enjoy it. And I did. Thanks MSgt.

If you aren't following the writings of MSgt B, you should do so. Go there, now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Courtney's Pub, Killarney, Ireland

While strolling through Killarney one midday, we passed by Courtney's Pub. In contrast to most of the pubs we passed by that afternoon, it sounded like quite a crowd was enjoying themselves inside. We decided to stop in and check it out. We made our way to the very back of the pub before finding open seats at the bar.

Unlike many pubs in Ireland, Courtney's boasted a large selection of Irish, and other, craft beers. I decided to take the opportunity to try another Irish brewery. We selected two beers from the Dungarvan Brewing Company in Waterford, Ireland. I ordered Copper Coast Red Ale while Colleen opted for Helvick Gold Blonde Ale.

The Red Ale had a caramel and roasted flavor and a lingering bitterness in the finish. The Helvick Gold was a very nice blond ale. The aroma note bready yeast and honey notes. The flavor had citrus notes combined with a mild sweet caramel base, with a drying finish. Colleen didn't finish her 500ml bottle so I enjoyed finishing this one off.

There were other Irish craft beers in Courtney's cooler that I would have liked to try out as well. But alas, our time was limited. So many pubs, so many beers, so little time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Sig-ness

"Some say that it causes terrorists to explode on contact, and if dipped in holy water, the water evaporates. All we know is it’s called The Sig."
-- Caleb at Gun Nuts Media.

In a related matter, I came across this video recently and it made me think of the 5 second drill [we considered] at last weekend's match. Watch:

Sure, it's a "race gun" but Max's smoothness and relaxed shooting never ceases to amaze. That reminds me, I need to practice my reloads.

They Grow Up Fast

Time really does fly by! Sixteen years ago today Colleen woke me in the middle of the night with the words "Time to go." (I'll never forget that I had to stop for gas on the way to the hospital. But in my defense, the kid was a week early.)

It's said that as parents it is not our job to raise children, our job is to raise adults. It hardly seems that enough time has passed, but suddenly he's no longer a child. Our son has grown into a fine young man, and we are justifiably proud of him.

Just last week I had a vivid reminder of how much times have changed. I was cleaning up leaves in the yard, and was working around the now idle "jungle gym." I spied the climbing rope that long ago fell into disuse. It's now camouflaged by the same natural woodlands growth that covers the ground around it. I laughed, but it really is bittersweet.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

USPSA Fun Match

The weekend, on Veterans Day, I enjoyed another USPSA-style fun match held by King George Actions Shooters. Coincidently, their first USPSA fun match was held on another holiday, Labor Day. For those interested, keeping with the holiday theme, there will be an IDPA-style fun match on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving.

Sixteen shooters participated in this weekend's match. I shot with some of my usual friends, and we were also very glad to see some new shooters returning who had tried out the sport on Labor Day. Four stages were set up in two bays. Three USPSA classifiers were used as the basis for the stages, giving us a variety of challenges. Of course, being an unaffiliated match, the classifiers and match were just for fun. No pressure!

The first bay had "Life's Little Problems" (#09-10) set up at the back of the bay. In the front of that was placed a variety of static and moving targets to create a longer course of fire. A steel popper activated a drop turner and a stomp plate activated a bear trap target combo. The shooter started this stage, aptly named "Full House," in the cowboy action house and proceeded to engage everything in the bay. The stage was a lot of fun and I especially enjoyed the chance to shoot the fast movers. The stage also provided a lot of laughs for our squad. After we finished setting up the match and tuning the movers we were so anxious to shoot that we geared up and began shooting. After the first shooter, we realized we had skipped the walk through! I guess as the last shooter on the squad I had a bit of an advantage.  :-)

For Stage 2 we shot the classifier by itself as intended. That's twice I had to drop down to shoot through that low port!

The second bay held two stages that tested skills at opposite end of the spectrum; "Long Range Standards 2" (#08-05) and "Table Stakes" (#09-13.) The long range course had three targets set up at 150 feet. Three strings of fire made up the challenge, requiring 6 shots on a target from three positions; standing, kneeling, and prone. The actual classifier requires each string of 6 shots to be completed in 5 seconds. In the interest of safety, and in deference to "older" bodies, the par time used for this stage was extended to 10 seconds. Let's just say we all had many laughs and good natured ribbing over this one. I managed to put 3 on paper standing, 4 kneeling (2 of them A hits) and 3 while prone. I've shot at that distance only one other time, on a smaller target, but without the pressure of clock.

Close, and far, far away.

We finished on "Table Stakes." I simply went too fast on this one and needed extra shots on the small, but close, steel. I knew going in I was going to try to go fast, especially since it was all for fun. Even though I didn't shoot the stage well, I walked away with a couple of lessons learned that I can use later. So, no loss at all!

Overall, I was quite pleased with how I shot. But more importantly, I had a great time with friendly folks who were all there to simply to have a good time as well. It was a beautiful Virginia Fall day, which added to the pleasure. When I left the house in the morning it was 37° outside. Not too long after I got to the range to help with the setup my jacket came off. By the time I left the range, my car thermometer read 77°.

As noted before, the Northern Virginia Gun Club, home base for the King George Action Shooters, is a quality venue within a very easy drive. There seems to be a lot of members of NVGG who are interested in the action pistol sports, and their participation is good for our sport. Currently, scheduling conflicts are holding back the establishment of a regular match date, but hopefully that will change soon and we'll see USPSA sanctioned matches too.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: Champion Shooting

I've been looking forward to the release of Champion Shooting: A Proven Process for Success at Any Level by Ben Stoeger and Jay Hirshberg since I first heard about it on an online forum. The authors are USPSA Grand Master and Master ranked shooters, respectively. Ben Stoeger is a two-time, and the current, USPSA Production National Champion. His experiences made the book especially interesting to me. In addition to shooting Production, Ben's gun of choice is the Beretta 92 series. DA/SA action guns are in the minority at most matches, and Berettas are even more rare than my choice of Sig Sauer! Yet, that oft maligned, double action first shot doesn't seem to hinder Ben.

This book is not a "how to" book on shooting. The authors assume you are familiar with the basics of sight alignment, trigger pull, reloading, etc. This is essentially a "how to practice" book. The goal is to help the reader put together a structured training plan, learn how to measure progress, and to translate those new or improved skills into improved match performance. The authors state unequivocally that accuracy is the key to doing well in matches, even in USPSA where speed is often looked upon as the holy grail. 

Dry fire is very important in the training program laid out by Stoeger and Hirshberg and they devote time to helping the reader understand how to make the most of dry fire practice in combination with live fire practice.

A large part of the book is devoted to 10 drills the authors feel all shooters should master. These drills are used to develop a well-rounded range of skills, that when put together should translate to improved performances in the wide and varied range of stages found in USPSA matches. Interestingly, none of the drills involve movement. As stated in the book, "one cannot move and shoot well until one stands and shoots well." 

The write up on each drill includes information on the specific training goals. Benchmark times are included, though the actual times achieved are less important than the techniques learned. The authors include copious notes on common pitfalls and mistakes that shooters may encounter. I found these detailed training hints to be very instructive and enlightening.

Also included are write-ups of a "typical" training week for both Ben and Jay. These journals provide some interesting insight into how the authors adapt their favorite drills to create interesting and fun training scenarios. The final pages are devoted to the mental and self-awareness aspects of practical shooting.

Champion Shooting: A Proven Process for Success at Any Level is a short book. I read it on my Kindle in one sitting initially, but will definitely go back and read it again, several times I'm sure, as well as use it as a reference. Initially released for the Kindle, the authors later were able to make a print edition available. If you are interested in improving your practical shooting performance I am sure you will find the book an invaluable aid. I know I look forward to putting the tips and advice I learned to use in my own practice sessions.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

I hope everyone takes a few minutes today to think about the freedoms we have today thanks to the honor and sacrifice of all our veterans. To everyone who has served, thank you, and may God bless you always.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five O'Clock Friday: Cheers!

Have a great weekend!

The Lobster, Waterville, Ireland

During our day-long drive around Ring of Kerry in Ireland, we stopped for lunch in Waterville at The Lobster. A lobster raising a pint of Guinness on the front of the bright yellow and red building drew us in. As we entered the restaurant my son looked at the menu on the window and exclaimed "Fish and Chips!" Thinking back, I don't recall ever looking at the rest of the pub's menu; Fish & Chips and a Guinness was an easy choice.

That's a fine looking, and tasting, meal.
After ordering my meal, I spent some time walking around the pub and peeking in corners. One thing I noticed about the old pubs we visited is they are often comprised of many small rooms, rather than one large open area. It gives a more homey, friendly atmosphere I believe. I wandered down one hall and found the cold storage room, and grabbed a photo of the interesting sign on the door. When I returned, my draft was ready and waiting for me.

Cold Storage

Helpful Instructions

BTW, if you're looking for a change, The Lobster is apparently for sale. Thinking, thinking...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Not Just "The Economy"

Exit polls indicated that 60 percent of voters say that the economy was the top issue in this presidential election. Sadly that is a very near-sighted and selfish view of the issues. I suspect that by "economy," what they really mean is they want the government to give them more free stuff. Their only concern is how much the government will provide with little effort on their own part. You don't have to look long to find the leeches jumping for joy over "obama phones" or free gas for their cars, or demanding that someone else to give them free contraceptives so they can sleep around and take no responsibility for their actions.

But the real issues that face Americans are those of basic freedoms, the ones granted by our Creator, and reaffirmed by our Constitution. This administration has led efforts to restrict, or even remove, the rights of a free people, including the two most basic rights granted by natural law, the freedom of religion and the right of self defense. The president has stated many times his desire to negate the 2nd Amendment. His supporters deny he has such plans, despite his own words to the contrary. Even before the votes were fully tallied, his comrades were making their plans on multiple fronts. Evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, power-hungry politicians continue to sell a lie that criminals will obey gun laws. They are supported in their motives by the short-sighted, sheepish, ignorant masses.

It's no coincidence that throughout history, those rulers who have disarmed their unwilling subjects typically also worked hard to remove religion from the lives of the people they oppressed. This president's hatred of the Catholic Church and the morals she teaches is well-known. The rights enumerated in the First Amendment, freedom of religion and freedom of speech, are deeply feared and despised by those plotting evil, and must be limited if corrupt powers are to maintain control.

This administration has fought to limit or remove the rights of the honest citizens of this county in order to advance its own selfish power hungry motives, and to reward those who assist in the corruption of the land. At no time in history has the restrictive government as espoused by Obama and comrades ever benefited a population in the long term. This fact was willfully ignored by voters this week in order to selfishly support their own short term "economy." As repeated so many times in the past, a citizenry marches towards slavery and oppression in a naive search for a "greater good."

This quote, found here, sums up quite succinctly the unrestrained attack on freedom that we can expect thanks to the actions of a people who refuse to look beyond their own immediate and selfish desires,
If you are a Christian, an observant Jew, a "conservative," a libertarian, a firearm owner, a veteran, a businessman -- you are all now officially a despised -- if not yet hunted -- minority in your own country. The lawbreakers, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, et. al., now define what is "legal" and can no longer be restrained by politics.

The "winners" now gloat over the loss suffered by those of us who opposed them in the campaign. However, what has been lost goes well beyond mere votes in an election. The loss of freedom to come will affect us all. Those now celebrating do not yet realize what they have wrought, that they too have lost. Not yet.

Photo H/T to Pissed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Concealed Carriers Vote Too

Virginia requires some sort of ID to vote. A photo ID is not required, just something showing your name and address. The list of acceptable IDs is quite extensive and inclusive to prevent any whining claims of hardship. The bottom item on the list warmed my heart when I saw it posted at my voting place.

Being a discreet person I didn't use my permit as ID when I voted, but the sign gave me a smile.

Thanks to @Holocryptic for grabbing the photo I didn't.

Are Drinkers Smarter?

A recent study suggests that intelligent people consume more alcohol than people of lesser intelligence.  The National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States collected intelligence data on children under 16 years of age and then followed up on the subjects' drinking habits as adults. The study was reported by Discovery News.
Childhood intelligence, measured before the age of 16, was categorized in five cognitive classes, ranging from "very dull," "dull," "normal," "bright" and "very bright.
The Americans were revisited seven years later. The British youths, on the other hand, were followed in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Researchers measured their drinking habits as the participants became older.
More intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. In the Brits' case, "very bright" children grew up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their "very dull" cohorts.
Researchers controlled for demographic variables -- such as marital status, parents' education, earnings, childhood social class and more -- that may have also affected adult drinking. Still, the findings held true: Smarter kids were drinking more as adults.

The study did not look at the types of alcohol consumed. But, we all know that beer drinkers are smarter don't we?

H/T Proud Hillbilly.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Morning In Ireland

This was a common sight around Ireland — the rows of empty kegs awaiting pickup outside a pub.

Kilkenny, Ireland

This was one of many such assemblages spotted during a morning walk around Kilkenny on a Monday morning. We all had a laugh as we had been listening to a street party that lasted until 2AM outside our hotel. Most of the pubs in Ireland close around 11:00PM, but they don't let that stand in the way of a good time, the streets stay "open" much later. We also learned that many businesses have late opening hours on Monday. Just one more thing to love about the Irish!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Admiring My Guinness Draught

A brief stop at The Old Stand Pub in Dublin, left me a few moments to admire my pint of the local brew.

As good as it looked, it tasted even better. The Old Stand is a very quaint pub, established in 1669 in the heart of Dublin. It provided a welcome refueling stop during our afternoon walk around the city.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Potatoes. And More Potatoes.

The Irish and their love of the potato is legend. However I never really knew the extent of that affection until I spent 9 days eating on the Emerald Isle. Just about every meal included potatoes, usually prepared multiple ways. We were treated to large, multi-course dinners most evenings during the pilgrimage. Those meals generally included mashed potatoes served next to, or under, the featured meat. And a "veg" platter placed on the table inevitably included more potatoes, usually roasted or scalloped. Most sandwiches were served with crisps, that's potato chips to us Americans. And if you asked for chips with your sandwich (fries to us) you got both.

The meal pictured below was the bowl of Irish Stew I ordered for lunch after making the obligatory stop to kiss the Blarney Stone. The larger than expected bowl contained the expected beef, carrots and potatoes in a brown gravy. What was unexpected was the heaping side of mashed potatoes included right in the bowl!

The beer was An Brain Blasta from Dublin's Porterhouse Brewing Company. This Strong Ale was one of several Irish craft beers I was able to try out during our trip. The reddish brown beer had a rich roasted and caramel aroma. The taste was a mix of roasted malt and dark fruit with a smattering of crisp citrus. It was a fitting accompaniment to the hearty stew.

BTW, I love potatoes.