Friday, January 17, 2014

High Brow Entertainment

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Well, it’s been a pretty standard week thus far. I’ve been trying to avoid getting sick since all of my coworkers insist on working so that everybody can share in their misery… but hey, that’s Corporate America. What’s that? Oh you even have paid time off for sickness & you still show up to work because you have to use that time for other things like hair appointments or random days off? So be it. I can understand. I don’t agree… but I understand the concept. That being said, still like my job & am proud to put in a good day’s work.

Dizzy did something AWESOME the other day!!! She assisted her local microbrewery in brewing up a Double RyePA. She was there by 5:30 AM and… well, I don’t even really have all of the details yet… but I’m sure that she’ll elaborate about it in a future post on our beer blog. What’s that? Oh, you didn’t even know that we HAD a beer blog? How is that possible? I feel like I’ve mentioned it a few times back when we first opened it up… but regardless, the link is below. Please feel free to check it out & Like it or Friend it or whatever so that you get those interesting updates.

Just to elaborate on this blog again (because I’d like some viewership), basically it’s a blog about our adventures in beer. Whether it’s our homebrewing (about to start batch #7 this weekend), books that we’ve heard on the subject, documentaries that we’ve seen, touring large scale breweries, patronizing local establishments, attending festivals & events, all centered around the subject of Beer & Beermaking. We find it interesting… and I kinda think that you will too. If not, it’s probably only because of my piss-poor storytelling abilities… and I’m trying to work on that. I’m always up for suggestions.

Last night, Dizzy & I watched a Netflix movie called “Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury” starring Kevin Sorbo, Danny Trejo… and a host of other great cameos by forgotten stars like Brian Callen, Gary Valentine & even the great Richard Karn (Al from “Home Improvement”). Now, the premise of the movie is pretty ridiculous… so that’s what drew me to it initially… but it’s even better. See… the movie is unfolded as if it were a director’s cut kind of storytelling about the making of the film… as told by the eccentric award-winning, one-eyed possibly maniacal director Saint James St. James (the St. stands for Street). He unfolds his film that… previously was too controversial and too thought-provoking for audiences, so the MPAA denied his distribution or ability for it to be shown in theatres back when it was made in 1990… but luckily, there’s still one surviving VHS tape of the sequel “Poolboy 2: Drowning Out the Fury” as the original was destroyed. Well, “exactly like the Matrix”, you don’t need to see the original to miss out on the story of the sequel… so the story goes. His film is about a Vietnam vet named Sal Bando (Sorbo) who after a traumatic experience, returns home to Los Angeles to find that Mexicans have taken over the pool-cleaning industry… and one has been banging his wife. Well, he doesn’t take kindly to it… and wants to clean up the streets (basically in the most racially insensitive way possible by killing all of the Mexicans in the neighborhood). The kingpin of the pool-cleaning and landscaping cartel (Trejo) finds out… and vows to end this “Poolboy” hero. However… Sal soon finds out… that it’s much DEEPER and more DANGEROUS than he could have possibly imagined. Gripping story, right? Well… it’s obviously a farce… kinda of a National Lampoon’s version of “First Blood” but… with a LOT more ethnic jokes. I highly recommend it as it’s an ode to the horrible cheesy action movies of the 80’s and early 90’s that we all love… but yeah, it’s not going to win any awards… good to see “Hercules”, “Machete” and Al from “Home Improvement” getting work… and I assume if it catches on that the Hispanic community will be up in arms… but until then, enjoy the hell out of it. I personally thought that the director Saint James St. James with his concise delivery & unfathomable ego… connecting with me on a personal level. Go check it out!

Wednesday night I watched another Netflix movie recommended to me by The Wingman called “American Mary” starring Katharine Isabella in the title role of Mary. The story is about a medical student who is going to school to become a surgeon… but while trying to get a new job to pay for it… and kinda stumbling into a somewhat seedy underworld of keeping “roughed-up” guys from not dying… and then into the lucrative world of body modifications… and then being drugged & raped by her professor, she drops the med school thing and basically goes rogue by getting revenge on her professor… and making a LOT of money in the bod mod game. Well, the cops get wind of her from another surgeon rapist (apparently they have big parties like that because they’re surgeons) and the walls are closing in. What’s she to do? They REALLY try to play the whole “girl next door who just wanted to be a surgeon but got swept up in this craziness” and… there was even some poor humor thrown in but… it’s really dark, there’s a lot of extended scenes of surgeries (think “Nip/Tuck” but for about a three-minute montage & more blood as opposed to the 15-second TV ones on that show), some fairly gruesome violent and/or sexual acts though a few things implied, WILD inconsistencies, a LOT of F-bombs given by the professor in class & everybody else in the show for… really no constructive reason other than questionable dialogue, the lead actress is very cute but… not the best actress in the world. I don’t know, I didn’t care for it really. I get that it’s an independent flick and the lines between good & evil are supposed to be blurry (except that all surgeons are serial killing rapists in lab coats apparently) and it wasn’t horrible… but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone really. Now for some news…
Speaking of Shit… - A critic of President Francois Hollande and France's ruling elite literally dumped tons of horse manure in front of the national parliament building in Paris on Thursday in a pungent protest against French politics. I like it. "Out with Hollande and the entire political class. Long live the Sixth Republic," read a message on the side of the man's articulated truck. France's present-day Fifth Republic was founded in 1958 with Charles de Gaulle its first president. “The Sixth Republic” is probably some independent French movie coming in the Spring with a lot of pretention & unkempt genital hair… or maybe that’s “The Sixth Re-pubic”. Anyway, the unnamed perpetrator was detained by police before he was able to shed all of his truckload of dung at the steps of the Bourbon Palace, the building that houses the lower house of parliament on the edge of the Seine river in downtown Paris, witnesses said. Authorities began a mass clear-up operation. Hollande, hit by magazine allegations of a love affair with an actress and battling to restore the fortunes of Europe's second-largest economy, has the lowest popularity ratings of any leader in modern-day France. Ah… remember the days when banging a superhot Fritalian model-actress like Carla Bruni while married to somebody else while elected to a public office was not only acceptable, but basically expected? Ah, but it’s no longer 2007 everybody, it’s 2014. What’s that? Oh, the rumor is that former French President Serkozy & Ms. Bruni met shortly after his divorce in 2007? Well, the important thing is that YOU believe that. Still, I like the leaving of horse sh*t on the steps of parliament. Good show, Froggie!

Farming with Urine – Yes, we’re keeping it high-brow on this blog apparently. The Rich Earth Institute (REI) in Battleboro, Vt., is investigating whether human urine can replace chemical fertilizers. We first learned of the technique over at Modern Farmer. The project, which has enlisted well over 100 volunteers to donate their urine, aims to determine if "essential plant nutrients" found in urine, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, will work as a kind of all-natural fertilizer. It's not as unusual as you might think. Modern Farmer explains that, "Across the Atlantic, studies have long established urine as a powerful fertilizer." The article goes on to cite a study done by the Stockholm Water Company. Via Modern Farmer:

A study conducted by the Stockholm Water Company in the late 1990s diverted urine from four housing projects to a grain farmer outside the city. The scientists concluded not only that urine could replace quick-acting mineral fertilizers, but also calculated that one Northern European adult pees enough plant nutrients to grow 50 to 100 percent of the food requirement for another person. Other successful trials have taken place in China and Mexico, though none as detailed as the Swedish one.

Regardless of the tone of that news clip sounding like a Northern European is peeing on somebody else’s food, I like the sound of those results. National Geographic spoke with researcher Debendra Shrestha of Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal, who said that Nepalese farmers have been using human urine on crops for centuries. But does it work? According to National Geographic, it did for Shrestha. Ugh… okay? Well, if it works for… him? Her? Not sure what sex a Debendra is but it sounds feminine. After conducting an experiment that featured sweet peppers grown in soil with different combinations of urine, compost, and urea ― "the main nitrogen-containing chemical in human urine" ― the researchers found that plants grown in soil that "had a combination of human urine and compost grew the tallest, yielded the most peppers, and had the most total fruit weight per plant." That study's results were published in Scientia Horticulturae. Another study investigated the effect that urine and ash had on growing beets. The researchers found that "urine with or without ash can increase the yield of red beet and furthermore the microbial quality and chemical quality were similar to the situation in mineral-fertilized products." Yet another study that focused on tomatoes found similar results. Still, there are questions. As Modern Farmer notes, traces of pharmaceuticals that can show up in urine are also being studied by REI, with the help of two universities… which kinda makes sense, but yeah… I like the results of that. So… go out and pee on somebody’s garden… and if they give you any guff, simply reply with “You’re welcome!!!” Go Green everybody… and I guess Yellow!!!

Death By Wedgie - A 33-year-old Oklahoma man has been charged with killing his stepfather by giving him an "atomic wedgie," that caused the victim to suffocate on his own underwear. First, let that sink in for… just a moment. Okay, I’ll continue. Brad Lee Davis (not to be confused with Bradley Davis) was charged with murder in the death of 58-year-old Denver St. Clair in a drunken family fight at a residence just east of Oklahoma City, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office said in an arrest affidavit obtained on Wednesday. Police arrested Davis on Tuesday. The affidavit said he "grabbed St. Clair's underwear and gave him an 'atomic wedgie.' Davis allegedly pulled the elastic waistband of St. Clair's underwear over his head and around his neck." Oklahoma Medical Examiner spokeswoman Amy Elliott said the cause of death was asphyxiation and blunt force trauma (ugh… wait, what was the 2nd one?). Pottawatomie County Sheriff Deputy Travis Palmer said Davis and St. Clair were drinking beer (my guess is a 24-pack of Coors?) on the night of December 21st at the older man's residence when St. Clair began speaking ill about his wife, who is Davis' mother. One should know that you don’t speak ill about another man’s mama… especially when you’re both drunken rednecks and he’s a quarter-century younger than you. Investigators said St. Clair's elastic waistband was stretched over his head and that it left ligature marks around his neck. Blood splatter was also found in the kitchen, the living room and on the living room ceiling. See? This is where the blunt force trauma thing comes in. Either the wedgie was applied… and then while strangled by his own underwear’s (apparently superstrong) elastic band, he was then bludgeoned by Mr. Davis… or because he was being strangled by his own elastic band, Mr. St. Clair overreacted to the situation… in a drunken stupor… and on the way to the kitchen to grab a knife or something to cut the band… slipped and banged his head on the linoleum (I’m just guessing marble was out of their price range) and boom… blunt force trauma. Will anyone ever really know what happened? Probably not… especially since the only witnesses are the accused & his mother… who apparently was spoken ill of by the departed. Anyway, Davis was being held in Pottawatomie County without bond. His lawyer was not immediately available for comment. Please drink responsibly… especially on that cheap sh*t.

Amsterdam Update – Here’s an interesting idea that’s being partially funded by the Dutch government. The BBC reports that alcoholics are, “being paid in beer to clean the streets of Amsterdam.” For five hours of work, those who have signed on to help clean up the streets get five cans of beer and receive €10 ($13.50). The program is run by De Regenboog Groep (The Rainbow Group), an organization that aims to help those with, “…social problems, the homeless, the poor, drug users and those with psychiatric problems. The organization provides shelter, relief and aid to people in the margins of society.” They see their litter program as, as the BBC put it, a more pragmatic approach. Janet van de Noord, who runs the program, told the BBC, "It's quite difficult to get these people off the alcohol completely. We have tried everything else. Now this is the only thing that works. We might not make them better, but we are giving them a better quality of life and it's better for the neighborhood, they're giving something back to society." There has been already been a noticeable difference in Oosterpark, a large park in Amsterdam in which many alcoholics have resided. The BBC writes that since The Rainbow Group started their efforts, there have been fewer reports of violent crimes and the park is largely litter free. Rene, a 52-year-old man, is one of 20 alcoholics who are participating. He freely admits that the draw is the free beer and doesn’t seem to be close to sobering up, yet he is happy that he is contributing to society. He told the British news station, “They used to treat us like garbage - and now we are picking up their garbage, we are not the garbage anymore.” I personally really like this idea. I’m sure human rights & addiction groups will have their problems with it as it’s not really a solution to the big problem… but at least it’s a solution. When the alternative is them begging for change or committing violent acts to get their beer, then I prefer the idea of giving them a six-pack (or I guess five-pack? Do they take one for themselves?) and a couple Euros for half a day’s work.

Hmm… I wonder if we could get Budweiser to sponsor a program like this here in San Francisco. God knows we have the homeless… damn temperate weather & apparently non-violent working class. I mean… let’s face it, in Los Angeles the cops can beat a homeless man to death on video and be quickly acquitted & almost completely slide under the national radar (as long as the homeless man is of Caucasian descent, but that’s another thing) so it’s either work programs like this into the system… or we have to have SFPD start cracking some heads. Hmm… speaking of crack… if the Budweiser sponsorship doesn’t work out… maybe crack will be the cheap alternative. Damn… I’ve got some great ideas. I should run for office.

Reporter: “Mayor Love, your ‘Filling In the Cracks’ clean-up campaign has caused a lot of controversy. While the results are unquestionable in San Francisco being voted yet again as the Greenest Big City in America, some would question your methods in that you’re using the addictions of others, namely the homeless, to your benefit. What is your response to that?”

Mayor Love: “It’s not MY benefit… it’s OUR benefit, as a community. You see… until we find a solution to the addictions that these people are afflicted with… or they find the ability in themselves to overcome these problems, then I personally like the opportunity to give them a helping hand… and the city is safer because of it.”

Reporter: “Don’t you think that’s more of a direct result of your ‘Crack Down on Crime’ campaign where individuals found selling crack-cocaine outside of a designated work-release center are bludgeoned by the fire department?”

Mayor Love: “Crime is down. Our firefighters are fit & active. Heck, no major fires in the past six months. I can’t take all the credit, it’s mostly today’s technology but… ah heck, you’re welcome everybody!”

Reporter: “And there’s still the controversy concerning the shutdown of one lane on the Golden Gate Bridge… and the email trail between you & one of your top advisors that clearly implicates…”

Mayor Love: “As I’ve told you before… if the unions would’ve headed my warnings about bullsh*tting a bullsh*tter, then it wouldn’t have been an issue. They didn’t play ball… so take it up with them. On another note… HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE? There’s ALWAYS lanes closed… for absolutely no reason… at all. We have an entire multi-billion dollar two-mile stretch of bridge… sitting about 50 yards parallel to a new multi-billion two-mile stretch of bridge… that goes to THE EXACT SAME F**KING SPOT! Fun fact… we’re not using one of those stretches… six lanes each way… and traffic is ridiculous… why? Because we have millions of people in dozens of square miles. You think people move through tubes like they’re in Futurama? Does anybody have any real questions? By the way, is everybody enjoying their beverages? That’s a bourbon barrel porter that I made partnering up with Anchor Steam… it hits shelves on the new city holiday, Love Day, April 26th. THAT should be your lead story. Peace, I’m out…” Drops the mic & walks away…

Yup… Tom Ford & Chris Christie ain’t got sh*t on me. Have a great day everybody!!!

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