Beer: King’s Kolsch
Brewer: Blue Hills Brewery
Source: 22 oz bottle
Rating: ** (6.6 of 10)
Comments: This mysterious beer (can’t find any evidence of it on the ‘net) is golden and bubbly with a thick head. True to its style, I find it has a musty aroma with a real earthy flavor with hints of chocolate. The aftertaste is a bit bitter but it’s well-balanced. Another good brew from some Boston-area beermakers.
For an alternate take here’s a review from the Boston Globe.
Beer: Our Turn, Your Turn
Brewer: Pretty Things / Yeastie Boys collaboration
Source: 22 oz bottle
Rating: *** (7.5 of 10)
Comments: Our Turn, Your Turn and as the world turns, a collaboration of the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project of Somerville, MA and the Yeastie Boys of New Zealand. The beer is a hazy, straw color with lots of fizz. Aromas and flavors seem to be heavily influenced by the Linden flower, a type of tea that gives the beer strong earthy and floral accents. The hoppiness packs a wallop, and I generally don’t like the bitterness of hoppy beers, but this one is good enough to make an exception. All in all, an imaginative and exceptional beer.
Beer: Dale’s Pale Ale
Brewer: Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Rating: ** (6.7 of 10)
Comments: Here’s a beer I’ve been avoiding because it comes in can yet is really expensive. I found a place serving it on-tap and gave it a try. The beer has a nice malt/hops balance and leaves good lacing on the glass. I’m not sure if I’ll get it in a can, but it’s nice to know that a decent beer can come in aluminum.
Beer: Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
Brewer: Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: *** (7.1 of 10)
Comments: This beer has a thick, respectable head and a cloudy, pumpkin orange color. The spices are apparent in the aroma but there’s also an acidic scent there too. The pumpkin flavor is there but also more of a bitter, hoppy taste as well. It seemed to get a bit more weak and watery as I swirled it across my tongue. All-in-all a good pumpkin ale and a great way to start October.
Related posts: Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale
Beer: Bailey’s Blonde Ale
Brewer: Cisco Brewers
Source: 12 fl. oz. bottle
Rating: ** (6.3 of 10)
Look – Cloudy, golden, carbonated, thin head
Aroma – Musty, earthy, floral
Taste – good balance of malts and hops, bitter aftertaste
2nd look – no head, no lace, still bubbly
Overall – a tasty, complex ale that leaves me with a good buzz.
**** Once in a Lifetime (2006)
They say Americans don’t like soccer and that it will never be as popular here as it is in the rest of the world. Yet I remember growing up in a time and place where not only did I play youth soccer but cheered for a successful American soccer team that played before sell-out crowds in an American Football stadium. This documentary proves that I wasn’t imagining things in my childhood. The New York Cosmos were real, they were good, and they were big.
All the figures involved in making the Cosmos – the players and the executives – are all there with the exception of the late Steve Ross and Pele (who wanted too much money to be interviewed). Still it’s a rollicking film with conflicting opinions showing that tempestuous feelings among the Cosmos haven’t faded with time. It’s an amazing story of how a team basically made of semi-pros playing at a small college football stadium grew into one of the first international all-star teams playing to a full house in the Meadowlands. And more amazing that some of those semi-pros stuck around long enough for the surreal experience of playing with Pele.
Ross invested a lot of his Warner Communications money into bringing stars like Pele and Giorgio Chinalgia to the USA as well as making the Cosmos an attraction with cheerleaders, an exploding scoreboard, and Bugs Bunny as a mascot. The free-spending ways also contributed to the demise of the NASL as other teams could not keep up, not to mention that the NASL expanded to way too many franchises.
The documentary uses graphics, music, and editing techniques that give it a 70’s vibe. I really enjoyed it and it made me very nostalgic for the golden age of the NASL and the 70’s in New York. Highly recommended for soccer fans or anyone interested in an unlikely American success story.
Author: Alain De Botton
Title: The Art of Travel
Publication Info: Recorded Books, LLC (2002), Audio CD
Previously Read by Same Author: The Architecture of Happiness
This book reflects on travel focusing on the little things such as the novelty of the commonplace in a new place, disorientation, the boredom of travel, and even ponders whether travel for pleasure is even a necessity. Along the way he shows travel through the eyes of various artists: Van Gogh, Wordsworth, Flauber, Von Humboldt and others. He even details how artists create the vision we have of the destinations we wish to visit. This is all written in the intellectual vein of someone who attends a literary salon, so if that’s not your thing, you won’t like this book. I found it brain-teasingly good, but I think that de Botton is meant to be read more than heard so I don’t recommend the audiobook.
Author: Chielo Zona Eze
Title: The Trial of Robert Mugabe
Publication Info: Okri Books Inc (2009)
Nigerian author Chielo Zona Eze pulls no punches in this fictional account of the brutal Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. Set in heaven, Mugabe is put before a jury of pan-African luminaries and victims of his oppression and terror come forth to tell his tales. There stories vary from Zimbabweans forced to find work in South Africa where they are killed for being outsiders, women raped, tortured and killed in prison camps, and even a soldier who dies of AIDS from participating in these rapes and torture. The testimonies are graphic and yet there are also acknowledgments of gratitude for Mugabe himself suffering imprisonment under the British and eventually liberating Zimbabwe from colonial rule. The horror is all the greater that Mugabe recreates the terror he lived through on his subjects.
This book is a definite tribute to human rights and those who persevere in protecting them. Authors Yvonne Vera and Dambudzo Marechera are specifically singled out but there are also more subtle allusions to Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. This novel is not going to cheer you up but it offers important insight into the state of the world.
Guku is born of the spirit of ressentiment, in which case a person develops a gukunized personality. The logic of a gukunized personality runs thus: I am a victim, therefore I can’t be blamed for any wrong, therefore I am right. A gukunized mindset finds nothing wrong in killing or harming other people because he already justifies this on the grounds of his having been harmed earlier. – p. 33.
Should I tell you that retribution, sir, is antithetical to civilization; that it has no place in civil society? Should I tell you, sir, that the greatness of a leader is no measure on the degree of his anger toward other people, it is not based on what he hated and destroyed, but on what he has built? It is based on how fare he has enhanced the lives of his people. – p. 150
Recommended books: Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Snakepit by Moses Isegawa, The Stone Virgins by Yvonne Vera, and House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera.
Beer: Buzzards Bay Black Lager
Brewer: Buzzards Bay Brewing
Source: 12 oz Bottle
Rating: *** (7.1 of 10)
Comments: This dark beer looks like a stout but as the name should imply it doesn’t taste like one. The aroma and flavor is malty and smoky with some hints of chocolate. There’s also a nice tingle of carbonation on the tongue. This is a good beer in a unique style and I’d like to try it again on tap.
On Saturday, June 27th we saw the new band Butterflyfish at the Wellesley Village Church. We were enticed by a listserv description of the band that plays a mix of folks, gospel, bluegrass, and country (and reggae, not mentioned in the invite) targeted to children and families:
There is an underlying theme of spirituality – as parents we were looking for music that underscored the idea that we are all rooted in spirituality without being heavy handed or laced with synthesizers! Couldn’t find any so we wrote our own!
As an added bonus, a musician we like a lot, Marc Erelli – a fine singer/songwriter, folk, country, troubadour – would be playing with the band. Erelli must be one of the most generous musicians around and really like performing, because he plays with everyone!
We were late for the show but glad we made it. The band performed standards like “Amazing Grace” and “This Little Light of Mine” along with some lovely originals. I’m fond of the song “Music” which has the chorus:
We are going to a place where music falls and fills up everything. Though it might be a long time, but it’s going to be all right because we’ve already started to sing.
The band members Matthew Myer Boulton, Zoë Krohne, and Elizabeth Myer Boulton sing some lovely harmonies and keep things upbeat and entertaining. Even my son who is a non-stop bundle of energy sat still on my lap for several songs. Peter got up to dance and run around the sanctuary during the encore but even then was really enjoying the music. The instrumentalists were great too, with Mark Erelli on guitar, Zack Hickman on bass and Charlie Rose on banjo. Erelli also sang lead on “I’ll Be There” in tribute to Michael Jackson, which was far better than the Mariah Carey version.
After the show there was a reception with church punch and cookies. We also picked up a copy of the Butterflyfish band album “Ladybug“. I suggest you do to if you like folk music, gospel and children’s music, or any of the above.
Author: Mark Kurlansky
Title: The Last Fish Tale
Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc. (2008)
Mark Kurlansky, author of excellent books about Cod and Salt, takes on the unique fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts in this work. Kurlansky approaches Gloucester from all angles with a historical survey stretching back to colonial times (and earlier), cultural and sociological insights into Gloucester people, and every so often throws in a traditional seafood recipe for good measure. Kurlansky alternates between fish tales – adventures of exaggerated braggadocio – and Gloucester tales – peculiarly tragice stories of those who went down in ships.
Mostly though, this is a book about Gloucester’s life blood – the fisheries and the commercial fisherman who sail out into them. In fact, Kurlansky ventures far beyond Gloucester to Canada, Britain, and Europe to other fishing villages who essentially share the same ecosystem and suffer the same fate of fishing villages in a time of dwindling stocks, pollutions, and sometimes counterproductive government regulation. This is a fascinating and lively book and I really enjoyed a learning a bit about a town so close to home, yet so distinctly separate.
Recommended books: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic by Redmond O’Hanlon; Ptown: Art, Sex, and Money on the Outer Cape by Peter Manso; The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
When Manny Ramirez played in Boston, I enjoyed watching him play and always thought he got a raw deal from the Red Sox fans & media who accused him of being selfish, lazy, and disruptive (among other things I can’t print here). I always got the sense that Manny was shy and just wanted to play baseball well and not deal with the stresses of public scrutiny, which I can find understandable. Becoming Manny: Inside the Life of Baseball’s Most Enigmatic Slugger (2009) by Jean Rhodes and Shawn Boburg confirms my understanding of Manny, although my esteem for him has fallen since he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (ill-timed for the release of this book as well).
Still this is a well-written and informative biography, especially the parts about Manny’s early years before he reached the major leagues. Rhodes is a psychologists and offers some great insights through he lens of Manny Ramirez of children of immigrants, the extremes of poverty and strong community in inner-city neighborhoods, and the life of youth athletes. There is a special emphasis on coaches teachers, and friends who mentor young athletes. In Manny’s case there are older and wiser men to guide him through most of his life, most importantly Carlos “Macaco” Ferreira a Little League coach and lifelong friend.
Manny-lovers and more importantly Manny-haters should check this book out. It’s an excellent example of baseball biography at it’s best.
Becoming Manny : inside the life of baseball’s most enigmatic slugger / Jean Rhodes and Shawn Boburg.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2009.
Description:304 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
Beer: Presidente Imported Beer
Brewer: Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: No stars (4.5 of 10)
Comments: A lager from the Dominican Republic. Just the type of beer that you’d expect to drink on a hot day at the beach. Pale, weak, and not to exciting but okay if you’re not too discerning in what you quaff to cool off.
Beer: Boddington’s Pub Ale
Rating: ** (6.3 of 10)
Comments: A golden bubbly beer with a thick creamy head. I detected a scent of melon and despite being a bitter this beer tasted malty and mellow. In fact, I thought it tasted rather like a lager instead of an ale. The head sustains while drinking, leaving a lot of lacing on the glass. Not bad. Very smooth if not too exciting.
Beer: Clarke’s Amber
Brewer: (served at) Clarke’s at South Station
Rating: * (5.2 of 10)
Comments: This is the house beer at Clarke’s the pub within South Station in Boston (although I’ve become somewhat distrustful of house beers). This is not a great beer but a decent cheap beer (only $3 compared to $5 and up for the name brand beers). It’s not so much amber as a deep mahogany color. I didn’t detect much of an aroma and the taste is somewhat acidic with hints of a sweet candy flavor. The head dissipates quickly and leaves only sporadic lacing on the glass.
Clarke’s itself seems like a nice place to toss back a pint, fairly busy on a Friday night even though there’s not much else going on in that part of town. After dinner and a couple of beers I hopped on the commuter rail to Forest Hills. Nice!
Beer: Radeberger Pilsener
Brewer: Radeberger Exportbierbrauerei
Rating: *** (7.5 of 10)
Comments: On-tap at Emmet’s pub in Beacon Hill, Radeberger is served in a tall, slender mug that displays it’s golden color, bubbly carbonation, and frothy head. It has kind of a grassy/grainy aroma and flavor with a nice aftertaste you can chew on for a while. Everything about it is kind of smooth and subtle, so one would might find it a little flavorless if one drinks it too fast.
Beer: Magic Hat #9
Brewer: Magic Hat Brewing Company
Rating: *** (7.3 of 10)
Comments: Enjoyed a pint of this potion at Doyle’s over the weekend and found it an agreeable if not remarkable beer. The aroma and taste are sweetened by apricot, making it yet another in a parade of fruity beers I’ve been sampling lately. The apricot is balanced by a hoppy flavor so it’s not overwhelmingly sweet. The beer is a nice amber color with a good sized head and decent lacing on the glass. I think I’ve had this beer in a bottle before and not been all to impressed but the on-tap version is more palatable. Magic Hat Brewing Company is in Burlington, VT so I’m calling for another road trip.
Previously: Magic Hat “Jinx”
Robert McClory puts the Catholic church under the historical lens in Faithful Dissenters: Stories of Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church (2000) to show instances when individuals have stood up against official Church teachings and hierarchy. These dissenters are sometimes punished in their time, but all have been revealed to be prophetic voices whose ideas are accepted by the Church at large to the Church’s benefit.
The Faithful Dissenters include:
- John Courtney Murray, who proposed the very American idea of “freedom of religion”
- Galileo, who respectively tried to incorporate his observations of the heavens into the Church’s longtime understanding of cosmology only to have his studies repressed
- “Still, there are two facts about which no dispute is possible: first, on the scientific issue, Galileo was overwhelmingly correct and the institutional Church was wrong; second, by seeking to quell an idea whose time had come, Church leaders dealt the institutional Church a severe blow from which it is still recovering,” – p. 26
- John Henry Newman, who insisted that doctrine actually develops bottom-up from the laity
- Mary Ward, who founded an order of religious sisters active in apostolic works of teaching and charitable work within the world at a time when women religious were expected to be cloistered
- 16th century Jesuits who realized the changing economy of Renaissance Europe meant changes in the understanding of usury as well
- Catherine of Siena, who took it on herself to tell the Avignon papacy to shape up and ship back to Rome
- Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit missionary to China who success converting the Chinese to Christianity by controversially incorporating local Buddhist and Confucian philosophy
- “In a very real sense, his biographers have noted, Ricci tried to do for Confucius what Thomas Aquinas did for Aristotle: provide a complex belief system witha a philosophical and moral undergirding, thus making the mysteries of the faith more approachable to the people of a specific culture,” – p. 97.
- Hildegard of Bingen, a visionary with startlingly modern concepts of the feminine divine
- Yves Congar, an ecumenical activist for fellowship, dialogue and respect of other Christian denominations and Judaism
- “Congar wrote of two great temptations confronting the Church in every age: “Pharisaism,” that is, absolutizing religious rules and regulations rather than serving the spiritual and pastoral needs of the people; and “the temptation of the Synagogue,” that is, freezing tradition in such a way that cannot develop beyond what was understood in the past. What the Church must do, he insisted, is harmonize itself more generously with the style of a new society — “a society she [the Church] is called to baptize as she has baptized others in the past,”” – p. 124
- John Purcell and Edward Purcell, who taught that slavery was sinful at a time when it was widely accepted in the Church
In the conclusion, McClory writes:
In two important respects the dissenters described her are unqualifiedly alike. First, they absolutely refused to leave the Churh in the face of all their difficulties. One could argue that this stubborn fidelity, this standing in place while contradicting authority, was the principal factor in their ultimate success and (sometimes posthumous) vindication. Second, they did not see themselves as disobedient persons. They shared a remarkable awareness that submission to God and submission to Church authority are not always the same thing. Some today might call them “cafeteria Catholics.” In a sense, they were; they maintained that not everything in the cafeteria was edible. Nevertheless, their acknowledgment of Church authority and their gratitude for what the Church offered them over the long haul never left, ” – p. 164
I thought this was a good book as the historical sketches were well-written and informative. Additionally, it is written very respectfully, resisting the temptation to condemn those who tried to quash dissent as history’s losers or turn this into a rallying cry for our times. McClory message is that good people can disagree and some ideas are ahead of their time, but eventually that which is of God will triumph.
Author : McClory, Robert, 1932-
Title : Faithful dissenters : stories of men and women who loved and changed the church / Robert McClory.
Published : New York : Orbis Books 2000.
Description : viii, 180 p. : ports ; 24 cm.
ISBN : 1570753229 (pbk.)
Beer: Mayflower Pale Ale
Brewer: Mayflower Brewing Co.
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: *** (7.8 of 10)
Comments: From the Plymouth, MA based brewery comes their flagship (pun intended?) pale ale and it’s a pretty good one. It pours out a nice orangey-brown with a thick head (one that lasts a while and leaves a little lace behind to boot). It has a malty taste with some fruity overtones and a touch of the bitter in the aftertaste. I liked it. Anyone up for a road trip to Plymouth to sample at the brewery?
Beer: Singha Lager
Brewer: Boon Rawd Brewery
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: * (5.6 of 10)
Comments: Enjoyed with a Thai Meal at the Wonder Spice Cafe in Jamaica Plain. This is a lager, not my favorite style, but a decent one that is cool and drinkable. Singha is very pale gold beer without much carbonation and a thick head made up of big bubbles that dissipate quickly. The aroma is kind of must, the beer feels effervescent on the tongue, and the aftertaste is fruity but otherwise there’s not much flavor. This is an okay beer that goes well with the food but not something I’d get on any other occasion.