Thursday, February 27, 2014

RIP Harold Ramis

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
Saturday, we stopped by the Oak Barrel Homebrew shop in Albany to get a few things for our next few batches. What will they be? Well, one is going to be our first beer entered in a competition (of course if we can stand drinking it but we’ve got a great record thus far). With the SF Homebrewers Guild, they’re having a competition of “American Beers” for around Memorial Day / 4th of July timeframe… so we checked the beer types that will be permitted… and we’ve decided on… wait for it… a Honey Amber Ale. Devised a pretty damn fine recipe in theory… so we’ll see if we can execute it… and hopefully it turns out pretty damn well. We also got most of the stuff for our next batch after that… a Blood Orange Hefeweizen. The only snag… finding some f**king blood oranges. Time to hit up some farmers markets or something.
 
After that, we headed to Downtown Berkeley (never been) and had lunch and a few drinks at Jupiter. They make some of their own beers & had a few guest taps… but we stuck to their concoctions. The beer was pretty good… and the food was decent too. I can see that place probably gets pretty crazy in the weekend evenings but yeah, pretty nice place. Feel free to check it out if you’re in the area.
 
Sunday was Dizzy’s sister’s birthday up in Lincoln (near Sacramento) and she had recently moved out on her own… so we loaded up some furniture & knick-knacks and brought them up to her as a gift. Along the way though, we stopped by Heretic Brewing for a quick sampling… and of course we shared our growler of CHP (Chocolate Hazelnut Porter) with other at her birthday party… and our brew as well. They were all HUGE hits… but it’s free beer in cow country so… yeah, it was to be expected. We were there for about 7-8 hours before heading back… but it was great hanging with family & friends and just having a great ol’ time. There was even a fellow homebrewer up there that we kinda shot the sh*t with & talked shop… and yes, there was dancing & singing later in the evening. Good times!
 
Dizzy introduced me to a podcast called Nostalgia Critic. She did it a few weeks ago when he reviewed the epic movie classic “Face/Off” during Nicolas Cage Month… and when I found out that he has a regular weekly series that he’s been doing for a few years now… I had some backlogging to checkout. First off, it REALLY doesn’t help that he looks like The Wingman. Secondly, we REALLY have similar tastes in movies, humor & tend to get a little excited / frustrated when we can’t seem to find the right words in our vocabulary to express ourselves. Thirdly, in spite of that, he seems like a pretty nice guy… who occasionally talks sh*t on Hollywood but… let’s face it, hard not to these days. Fourthly, I’d like to think that my Movie Lists (that you haven’t seen steadily in a few years, sorry) would tend to be like his a bit… except that he has some pretty amazing skills at doing the weekly filming of his reviews & always to seem to have a lot of clever insights & perspectives. I can only imagine that it’s a full time job for him… as opposed to my occasional hobby. Anyway, the point that I’m getting at is… check his sh*t out at “That Guy With the Glasses” and check out a few videos. If you don’t like it… then I feel sorry for you. If you do like it, feel free to tell him that I sent ya. Here’s some news…
 
China Update - A Chinese man is attempting to make history by becoming the first person to sue his government over the country’s dangerous levels of air pollution. Li Guixin submitted a complaint to a district court in Hebei province, asking the Shijiazhuang Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to "perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law,” according to the state-run Chinese language publication Yanzhao Metropolis Daily. On Tuesday, pollution levels in Beijing topped hazardous levels for the sixth straight day, according to the U.S. Embassy pollution monitor. The most recent ratings were literally “beyond index,” meaning they exceeded the already most extreme measurement levels of air pollution. The World Health Organization’s China representative told a briefing in Beijing on Monday that both the government and industries in China need to make a better effort to curb pollution levels across the country. “We have to put more pressure on all of the authorities and all the industry production to improve so we can actually reduce the very heavy pollution,” Bernhard Schwartlander said. The court has not yet decided whether to take up Li’s complaint, but he is still the first known individual in China who has attempted to sue the government over its failure to curb dramatically increasing levels of pollution… and therefore may be silenced in the very near future. Chinese law reportedly makes it difficult for nongovernmental organizations to sue the government or industries over pollution levels. The BBC said higher courts in the country have already rejected Li’s complaint but that the district court is currently deliberating whether or not to take up his case. In addition, Li is asking for compensation for residents who are affected by the pollution. "The reason that I'm proposing administrative compensation is to let every citizen see that amid this haze, we're the real victims," Li told the paper. "Besides the threat to our health, we've also suffered economic losses, and these losses should be borne by the government and the environmental departments.” In his complaint, Li said he has spent money on air purifiers, face masks and even a treadmill so that he can exercise while avoiding going outdoors during levels of extreme air pollution. “Li Guixin couldn’t take a walk or run like in the past as air quality worsened, and he also has to wear a mask now when he goes out,” said Li’s lawyer, Wu Yufen. “His case is relevant for everyone in our city.” Good luck sir! Having been to Beijing… I can confirm… it’s a f**king sh*tstorm of pollution. I was there the one day a year that it rains… so the air was kinda fresh for… about five minutes until the rain stopped… and then it was back to coughing and gagging. I mean… it’s only about 30 million people that live in Beijing so… I can see how it’s not a HUGE problem… but let’s face it. It’s been a highly publicized international issue since the Olympics six years ago… and it’s only getting worse so… again, good luck sir!
   
Marilyn Update - A massive statue of Marilyn Monroe that has turned heads for two years in Palm Springs is headed east. The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound statue (“That’s a HUGE b**ch!”) will be transported in April from California to Hamilton, N.J., where it will be part of an exhibit honoring its designer, Seward Johnson (dirtiest real name I’ve heard in a while… wait, is it pronounced “Soo-urd” or “Sea-word”). A going away party, open to the public, is planned for March 27. The statue of the "Some Like it Hot" star arrived in the desert resort city in 2012. The sculpture depicts Monroe trying to push down her billowing skirt in her memorable scene in the "Seven Year Itch." The "Forever Marilyn" statue, on loan from The Sculpture Foundation, was previously in Chicago. Palm Springs officials say they hope to eventually lure Marilyn back… but ugh… she’s dead, right? OH! They mean the statue? Oh okay… that’s… probably easier. By the way, is anybody else a little pissed that last year they made about 0.1% of the income that estate for the Megan Fox of the 1950’s did? Just… try not to think about it too much… and make sure there are no sharp objects nearby when/if you do. Anyway, road trip to Palm Springs? Cuz I’m sure not going to Jersey to see it…
 
Gold in Dem Hills - A Northern California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, which recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to more than $28,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece. "I don't like to say once-in-a-lifetime for anything, but you don't get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever," said veteran numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the finders. "It's like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." Kagin, whose family has been in the rare-coin business for 81 years, would say little about the couple other than that they are husband and wife, are middle-aged and have lived for several years on the rural property in California's Gold Country, where the coins were found. They have no idea who put them there, he said. The pair are choosing to remain anonymous, Kagin said, in part to avoid a renewed gold rush to their property by modern-day prospectors armed with metal detectors. They also don't want to be treated any differently, said David McCarthy, chief numismatist for Kagin Inc. of Tiburon. "Their concern was this would change the way everyone else would look at them, and they're pretty happy with the lifestyle they have today," he said. They plan to put most of the coins up for sale through Amazon while holding onto a few keepsakes. They'll use the money to pay off bills and quietly donate to local charities, Kagin said. Before they sell them, they are loaning some to the American Numismatic Association for its National Money Show, which opens Thursday in Atlanta. What makes their find particularly valuable, McCarthy said, is that almost all of the coins are in near-perfect condition. That means that whoever put them into the ground likely socked them away as soon as they were put into circulation. Because paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s, he added, it's extremely rare to find any coins from before that of such high quality. "It wasn't really until the 1880s that you start seeing coins struck in California that were kept in real high grades of preservation," he said. The coins, in $5, $10 and $20 denominations, were stored more or less in chronological order in six cans, McCarthy said, with the 1840s and 1850s pieces going into one can until it was filed, then new coins going into the next one and the next one after that. The dates and the method indicated that whoever put them there was using the ground as their personal bank and that they weren't swooped up all at once in a robbery. Although most of the coins were minted in San Francisco, one $5 gold piece came from as far away as Georgia. Kagin and McCarthy would say little about the couple's property or its ownership history, other than it's located in Gold Country, a sprawling, picturesque and still lightly populated section of north-central California that stretches along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, set off the California Gold Rush of 1848. The coins had been buried by a path the couple had walked for years. On the day they found them last spring, the woman had bent over to examine an old rusty can that erosion had caused to pop slightly out of the ground. "Don't be above bending over to check on a rusty can," Kagin said she told him. They were located on a section of the property the couple nicknamed Saddle Ridge, and Kagin is calling the find the Saddle Ridge Hoard. He believes it could be the largest such discovery in U.S. history. One of the largest previous finds of gold coins was $1 million worth uncovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in 1985. More than 400,000 silver dollars were found in the home of a Reno, Nev., man who died in 1974 and were later sold intact for $7.3 million. Gold coins and ingots said to be worth as much as $130 million were recovered in the 1980s from the wreck of the SS Central America. But historians knew roughly where that gold was because the ship went down off the coast of North Carolina during a hurricane in 1857. So there you go… what seem to be nice people walking their dog… stumble upon a sh*t ton of gold coins and now… I assume just get to continue living their dreams in Gold Country… and probably a BUNCH of trips around the world or Ferraris or whatever on top of it all. Not a bad little story… and queue the crazy wave of new-age prospectors (yes, I’m talking about them joining your dad, Dizzy!).
 
Anyway, that’ll do it for today… this weekend should be a lot of fun… what with a new brew to make (competition quality hopefully), Oktoberfest lager to transfer & our Winter Warmer being ready for tasting… on top of free time to do whatever the hell we want… yeah, it should be fun. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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