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Idiocy, One-Third

So I nearly cheated. Well, I kind of did have a cheat day.

I logged on to Twitter to promote my Flipboard magazines, as I sometimes do, on what turned out to be the day the Pope addressed Congress. And I was instantly infuriated to see everyone, everywhere, finding something to dislike in what the Pope said. He’s too forgiving of people who have had abortions and shouldn’t be telling the rest of us to be nice to poor people because he isn’t an economist. Or, for people on the other side, he offers too much rhetorical shelter to people who dislike same-sex marriages and shouldn’t have beatified that cultural imperialist Junipero Serra. And so I wrote,

PontifexTweetAs you can see, this Tweet expressing such a popular sentiment garnered exactly one (1) favorite, from our very own Dan Scotto. (Thanks, Dan!)  But, Vikram Bath challenged me about my “diet,” and appropriately so: this sort of thing is exactly what I’m trying to isolate myself from.

Every diet change actually benefits from a “cheat day” now and then, and Saturday was a “cheat day” for me. A colleague from work invited my wife and I to join he and his wife at a chocolate fest in Pasadena. You might think it’s not possible to eat too much chocolate. But in fact, after about two and a half hours, we’d made the rounds, sampled what the various vendors had to offer, and had our fill of the decadently rich, serationin-and-dopamine-inducing stuff.

We needed salt. So we met up with other friends and had beers and tater tots — and talked public affairs, only not so much public affairs of the day-to-day maelstrom as more enduring sorts of issues about the structural imperatives facing the state government of California and the realities of on-the-ground policy-focused politics.

And the next day, thanks to a Monday night Green Bay game, I had no need to find somewhere to watch football on Sunday morning, so Sunday became brew day. Nine pounds of various varieties of malted barley, five and a half pounds of roasted pumpkin flesh, ten gallons of purified water, an ounce and a half of two kinds of hops, a vial of English yeast, and a spice blend made up by Mrs. Likko were all steeped, boiled, and mixed together in an elaborate ritual and in five to six weeks will become Bloodmoon Eclipse Pumpkin Ale — hopefully just in time for Halloween! The whole grain brew took a lot longer than the extract brews I’ve done from kits, but this is how the real brewers do it and now that I’ve learned how to control the temperature on my burner it’s time I did it that way, too. Alsotoo, whole grains are substantially cheaper than either dry or liquid malt extracts, enabling more beer to be made for less money.

While my Yahoo! fantasy football team is doing… less well than I’d hoped, my money-league team is doing quite well. That’s because it’s a touchdown league and I have Brady and Gronkowski, and my #2 quarterback is Carson Palmer.

In the mornings, instead of trolling Twitter, the blog, and the news feeds for the content of the day, I’m getting on the treadmill and listening to music as I exercise. The Eighties channel is pretty good for that sort of thing because it’s upbeat and not mentally challenging music; familiar to me from my youth and therefore pleasant, and usually with a fast enough beat to keep me motivated to complete the workout. Although I have to think that both Ric Ocasek and Rick Springfield were good-looking enough in the Eighties to have got their own girlfriends and it shouldn’t have been that much trouble for either Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson to have gotten new ones to replace the ones who left.

But most of the time, I’m focusing on my work, which is good, because I have a lot of cases moving rapidly towards resolution and need to focus my mental energies there anyway. And it’s got to be back to that this morning, thanks to the demands of my professional life. The Wife is well impressed with the degree to which my resolve to avoid day-to-day political bullshit has held firm. (She’d given me three days before she thought I’d crack.) My sabbatical from outrage politics ends November 7 — 40 days from now, the length of a Catholic Lent.

Unless it turns out that I find this mode of existence pleasant enough that I decide to extend it.


Editor-in-Chief
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Pseudonymous. Practices Law. Lives in Southern California. Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. Homebrewer. Atheist. No Partisan Preference. Likes: respectful and intelligent dialogue, good wine, and puppies. Dislikes: mass-produced barley pop, magical thinking, and insincere people. Follow him on Twitter at @burtlikko, and on Flipboard at Burt Likko.

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27 thoughts on “Idiocy, One-Third

  1. Sure, things turned out OK for Rick Springfield in the end, but let’s spare a thought for poor, heartbroken, lonely-and-betrayed Jessie.

    Also, screw you, SuperBloodMoonEclipse-obscuring cloud cover, I didn’t want to see it anyway.

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    • I saw it: I was impressed.. slightly larger than normal full moon, shadow crawls over it.. when the moon is entirely-near entirely covered the shadowed parts smoldered dull red. Really rather movie like except small and genuinely real. You can see how such an astronomical event would inspire folklore like mad.

      Also Minnesota has had one of the most spectacular summers in recorded weather history and September was bar none the best weather I’ve ever seen. This state is so much better than Nova Scotia or Seattle.

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      • I wonder — cultures with lower levels of anxiety about external threats may have got that way because when the eclipses happened, there were cloudy skies that night for them. It’s one thing to hear a legend from a neighboring tribe about the sky-wolf that ate the moon; it’s something else to actually see it happen.

        There was too much cloud cover for me last night, too.

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      • We sat out with neighbors for a few hours, talking and watching the moon, which went in and out of the clouds. When the eclipse was most complete, it was partly obscured, though still looked impressive. Also, the neighbors brought wine and beer (I brought chips and dip). Teenager had Coke.

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  2. Sigh…..must everything be talked about in relation to delicious chocolate and other salty tasty foods. Well okay yes, yes it should.

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  3. Workout music!

    I was a fan of Parliament. When I tried to work out to Massive Attack (for example), I found that I was… moving… very… slow

    ly.

    Aphex Twin is not as good as you’d think for working out.

    Prodigy, Crystal Method, and Chemical Brothers are FREAKING AWESOME for workouts. They even have temporary cooldowns followed by “OKAY NOW GO ALL OUT GO GO GO GO GO ” sections.

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  4. For working out, I suggest the Menehan Street Band, Make the Road by Walking.

    Not driving force like Jaybird is postulating, but serious grove…

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  5. Glyph:
    45:33 was supposedly designed with running/workout rhythms (including cooldowns) in mind, but later that was admitted to be BS.

    Still, it’s a damn nice record that seems like it’d work just fine for the purpose:

    Careful, though. 4’33” is emphatically not good workout music.

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  6. A friend in Oregon tells me that warm weather started so early there this year that the craft brewers’ pumpkin beers are already showing up. The Great American Beer Festival was this past week — no gold medal was awarded in the pumpkin beer category.

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  7. Congrats on the move to all-grain.
    I had some good extract recipes that I liked, but I found they never translated well to all-grain.
    Soon, you will likely experience concerns over your mash percentage. When that happened to me, I tried all different sorts of things, but the only thing that really worked was forgetting about it and paying more attention to the process.
    Other than that, mash pH is key, and you should always have test strips on hand. I’ve tried a few different types of acid and blends, but I like phosphoric acid the best (I use the liquid). It has a great shelf life, and it’s more difficult to over-do it than with everything else I tried. Just about everything else resulted in additions of more water to compensate for an over-acidified mash.

    Other than that, I wold suggest that you play around with Special Roast a little bit.
    It will take over a pound to give a flavor component. It gives a dry, mildly toasty finish, and an orange-ish color.
    I tried it in a saison, and it was great; a bit dark to style though.

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