« December 2006 | Main | February 2007 »

January 2007 Archives

January 1, 2007

Cart Wars in Wegmans

Shopping for New Year's Eve dinner at Wegmans we witnessed one guy driving his shopping cart into another at the head of an aisle. That then escalated into name calling, then the two antagonists bull-rushed each other. Each one calling for witnesses and saying they were assalted. How quickly we lose that Christmas Spirit. I stayed out of the way and offered some choice words in attempt to further escalate the festivities. But they broke it up on their own accord.

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2007

V vs X

No... Those are not roman numerals. It's Vista vs. Mac OS X.

Watch NYT's David Pogue discuss why Microsoft did not rip off Mac OS X in construction of Vista.

Cart Wars Redux

Guess what...

As I was walking into work today, I was behind one of the Wegmans cart warriors. He works at SAIC! Horrors! We exchanged a flash of recognition, then he started babbling to me about how great Fresno State played in the Fiesta Bowl. What a moron. Everyone knows that any team that plays on a blue field is destined for mediocrity...

January 3, 2007


From the 03 January 2007 Washington Post Editorial page. For those of you who have an account, click Fumeless. For those who don't, here is a copy of the article.

NIGHTS OUT in Washington just got a whole lot healthier: The District's long-awaited smoking ban in bars and clubs finally took effect on Tuesday.

Predictably, not everyone is happy about it. As in other localities that have considered smoking bans, jittery bar and club owners fought the restrictions when the D.C. Council debated them a year ago. They continue to complain that the ban will hurt the city's hospitality industry as smokers take their business to Virginia, which does not enforce a smoking ban. Former mayor Anthony A. Williams considered vetoing the ban last year on those grounds. But other cities' experiences with bans even more restrictive than the District's suggest a different outcome.

In New York City, bars and restaurants have flourished since smoking was banned. Surveys in the city have shown that residents are now more likely to go out. Tax revenue from the hospitality sector there has increased, as has demand for new liquor licenses. Studies in other localities confirm that smoking bans have little effect on, or even increase, bar and restaurant revenue.

The health benefits of smoking bans, meanwhile, are enormous. The American Heart Association published a study late last year on Pueblo, Colo., which found that emergency room visits for heart attacks dropped 27 percent in the first 18 months of that city's smoking ban. No such drop occurred in adjoining jurisdictions. Across the country and around the world, the weight of public health research has shown that smoking bans save the lives of both customers and hospitality employees.

So here's an invitation to Northern Virginia's beer nursers, clubbers, nighthawks and other assorted bar patrons. If you'd prefer a night out that won't leave your hair and clothes smelling like ash -- and your lungs and blood vessels filled with toxins -- take a trip across the Potomac. Until, that is, Virginia's politicians come around to approving a smoking ban of their own.

I endorse the opinion of the writer. My only question is...

What the hell is a "beer nurser"??

Star Trek: TOS Season 1, on iTunes!

WOO WHOO! Check out what's new at the iTunes store! I better watch my wallet. At only $2.00 a show, I could be get into this deep. No "The Trouble with Tribbles" show yet. It came out in season 2. Guess I'll have to keep checking for new shows!

January 4, 2007

Mac - Make The Switch Parody

Just found a Macintosh ad that you won't see on TV.

January 5, 2007

SAIC Stock Price

Ouch... Down to 17.55 today :(

Boont Amber Ale

Had a few Boont Amber Ale's this evening. Brewed by the Anderson Valley Brewing Co in Booneville CA.

5.8 % ABV
Beer Advocate Score: 86 (recommended)
American Amber / Red Ale

The web site says...

Boont Amber Ale is a medium bodied pale ale with a beatiful copper color, a robust head, and the rich flavor of caramel malt. This very smooth and exceptionally drinkable beer is excellent with steaks, chicken, pasta, and other flavorful meals.

I agree. It's a very tasty amber ale.

January 6, 2007

Nissan Commercial for Independent Front Suspension

Whoever came up with this concept had to be a guy.

Trappistes Rochefort 8

Had a Rochefort 8 this evening from the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy.

9.1% ABV
Beer Advocate score: 91 (outstanding)
Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Too bad I only had one. A little too much head for my tastes when poured. Deep copper color. But an excellent malty taste and good mouth feel.

I need to get back to the store and collect one each of the 6, 8, and 10. Perhaps drink all three in one sitting. I'll let you know how it goes.

January 7, 2007

Growler Update: 2007-01-07

Took home a Flying Armadillo Porter growler tonight. Didn't taste one in the restaurant but I took home a growler. Will let you know how it tastes once I tap the growler. According to Sweetwater, it's a

dark chocolatey ale
I'll be the judge of that...

Other stats:
4.3% ABV
Beer Advocate Score: N/A (only 4 reviews... need 10)
American Porter

January 8, 2007

Nationals Stadium Info

Info about the Nationals new ballpark is starting to appear on the Nationals home page. Even a countdown clock. Only 448 more days 'til opening day 2008. But I wouldn't be surprised if the 2008 season starts in RFK.

Too bad they don't tell you that there will only be about 1500 parking spaces in a garage near the new stadium. Guess they think everyone is going to take Metro to the Washington Navy Yard and walk from there. Traffic on South Capitol St is going to be a nightmare!

I hate to say it, but I will miss RFK.

Old Dominion Brewery Sale Appears Imminent

From today's Washington Post...

Old Dominion Brewing, whose pub is a favorite of the high-tech crowd near Dulles International Airport and whose microbrews are sold throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, is close to being sold -- and the buyers may be connected to the most macro brewery of all.

Old Dominion President Jerry Bailey said the sale could happen any day. He declined to identify the buyers, but people close to the microbrewery said the sale would involve Ram's Head Tavern, a Baltimore-based brewery chain, and beer giant Anheuser-Busch.

Regulars are already getting nervous. "The concern is growing over whether they will continue to sell those same beers," said Jack Chungo, 54, a salesman who is a frequent customer. "The majority of people I know have a particular favorite."

Kyle Muehlhauser, a principal at Ram's Head Tavern, did not return phone calls and messages left for him. A spokesman for Anheuser-Busch said the company had no comment.

Bailey said he thought it was unlikely the new owners would change the beers.

"I can't imagine anybody buying a place like this and not keeping the only thing we got," Bailey said. "The brand is the most valuable thing we own."

"We have signed a letter of intent with someone, but we are not confirming or denying any of the other stuff," said Bailey, adding that he was selling the company in order to liquidate his equity.

Customers who had heard the rumors last week said that they are worried that new ownership would bring in new brands of beer, replacing Old Dominion's house brands, including Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Tuppers' Hop Pocket Pils, Old Dubliner and Aviator brews, as well as special beers for each season of the year. Nearly 20 brands, all of which are brewed on site, are sold on tap at the pub. The brewery is in an office park in Ashburn, near the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, and is a favorite stop for runners and bike riders.

Old Dominion also brews special recipes for local restaurants including the Dubliner, J. Paul's and the Hard Times Cafe. Murphy's Grand Irish Pub in Alexandria sells Old Dominion beer under house brands Murphy's Ale and Murphy's Blonde.

Bailey owns 22 percent of the company, which includes the pub as well as the brewery operation. The next biggest partner owns 10 percent, and there are 82 investors, he said.

Bailey, 67, a former employee of the Agency for International Development, founded Old Dominion in 1989. The company started brewing in 1990 and in 2006 sold the equivalent of 27,000 barrels of beer and 6,000 barrels of soft drink, making Old Dominion the 50th-largest brewery in the country, Bailey said. Each barrel is equal to 13.78 cases of 24 bottles each. About half of Old Dominion's beer is sold on tap and the other half in bottles.

"We have done quite well," Bailey said. He estimated that the company is worth $4 million to $6 million, but declined to name the sale price. He said one consultant had estimated the Old Dominion brand alone to be worth $2 million.

A former employee of Old Dominion is scheduled to go on trial this spring on charges of embezzling more than $100,000 from the firm. Bailey said the sale was not related to the incident.

Old Dominion announced last March that it was being sold to one of its managers, but the sale did not go through. Sources familiar with the current deal spoke on the condition of anonymity because the sale has not been completed.

I haven't been to the Ram's Head yet, but have had pints at Dubliner and Murphy's many years ago. I need to get back for another sample.

Another microbrewery gone...

January 9, 2007

iPhone anyone?

What started as rumor, is now real. Are you gonna get one? This concept ad shows what it looked like in March 2006. It looks like Cingular may be the first network to make the phone available. But with a MSRP of $500, it better be a pretty good phone! Here's the actual phone.

Comments enabled

OK. I finally figured out how to turn comments on. I have to "moderate" them before they show up on the posts. I'll keep it that way for now until it becomes too cumbersome to approve each comment. Enjoy!

January 13, 2007

Pictures Added

Added badge on home page to flickr site to display our recent pictures. Enjoy.
Also added link to a movie with Emily singing. It will take a couple minutes to download (unless your using FiOS!). Not the greatest sound quality and some kid makes a real LOUD noise at the end. Dad isn't happy...

Allagash Dubbel Ale

Tried the Allagash Dubbel Ale this evening whilst watching the NFL playoffs. It's brewed by the Allagash Brewing Co, Portland ME.

7.6% ABV
10.64 OG
Beer Advocate score: 83 (good call)
Style: Dubbel

Color is a deep amber and looks unfiltered. Very little head but tingly in the throat. Not as good as the Rochefort 8.

January 22, 2007

Red Hook Winter Hook Winter Ale

Had some Winter Hook from the Red Hook Brewery. But from the label I am unable to tell whether it was bottled at the Woodinville, WA or the Portsmouth, NH brewery. Did you know Paul Shipman who co-founded Red Hook Brewery got his MBA in 1978 (a very good year for UVa graduates) from the Darden School at the University of Virginia?

6.11% ABV
Beer Advocate Score: 82 (good call)
Style: Winter Warmer
Born on: 27 Sep 2006

Color is a clear deep copper. Hoppy taste and nose. I would rate an average beer. I think Red Hook's "affiliation" with Anheuser-Busch has moved this beer into the macro category. But still a decent beer.

January 23, 2007

Nostradamus Belgian Brown Ale

Bill Verley gave me a 750mL Nostradamus from Brasserie Caracole in Falmignoul, Belgium for Christmas. Its got a great label. Not sure what the snail motif is all about though.

9.5% ABV (Wow!)
Beer Advocate Score: 88 (Recommended)
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Great head when poured. Then dissipates into a nice lacing. Deep mahogany color, a bit cloudy. Has a fruity nose and good mouth feel. A bit of liquorice taste. Let it warm to proper temperature before tasting. A strong beer... Be careful.

January 25, 2007

Chimay Red

Sampled a 33cL Chimay Red this evening. Brewed at the Scourmont Abbey in near Chimay Belgium. No "born on"" date.

7.0% ABV
Beer Advocate Score: 88 (Recommended)
Style: Dubbel

Be careful pouring this. There was a fair amount of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Small head did not last long. Murky amber color. I had kept the bottle in the refrigerator, and had to let it warm a bit before the taste began to pop. Creamy feel in the mouth with a bit of alcohol bite. Has a fruity nose. I used a standard pint glass. The bottle says not to use one of these and instead use more of a stemmed chalice. I need to upgrade my glass selection. Until then, I like the Rochefort 8 better.

January 27, 2007

Site best viewed with FireFox or Opera

Discovered today that the site does not look the same when viewed with Internet Explorer 7.0. Recommended viewing client is FireFox 2.0 or Opera for now. I have not discovered why IE wants to put the sidebar all the way at the bottom of the content. Until I can discover what CSS directives that IE is ignoring, live with it. Or switch to FireFox.

An Embarrassment Of Pitches

By Thomas Boswell
Friday, January 26, 2007; Page E01

This week, Ted Lerner said he thought this winter's expensive free agent signings "could take baseball out of control." His son Mark finds the current payroll explosion "shocking." They're both correct. But they should realize two things.

First, since 1976, when free agency arrived, baseball payrolls have gone out of control every few years, like clockwork. Perhaps Alex Rodriguez gets a $250 million deal. Or Chan Ho Park makes $15.5 million last season to go 7-7. In this era, that's just baseball's pox. When a new owner buys a club, part of his responsibility is to cope with that basic reality. Payroll isn't the fans' problem. The customer still has a right to expect a big league product for a big league ticket price -- especially in old RFK.

Second, if the Nationals' pitching rotation isn't significantly improved by Opening Day, the Lerner family runs the risk of fielding a team that could be even more "shocking" and "out of control" than the salary spiral. The Nats could be shockingly unprofessional, unworthy of the town they represent and the $611 million price of the team's new park.

Right now, the Nats' rotation is John Patterson plus Nobody Else. That is, unless you consider Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann, Beltran Perez, Billy Traber and Mike O'Connor a staff. They won 10 games combined last year. If the often-injured Patterson can't stay healthy -- and he's never won more than nine games -- there's almost no limit to how bad this team could be. How many fans could that alienate? And why, for the sake of saving such a small amount of money, would you take such a risk?

Viewed from 30,000 feet, the Nationals aren't doing much wrong. The Lerners and team president Stan Kasten have a perfectly plausible grand plan for constructing a winning organization. Spend top dollar to sign scouts, coaches and young players. Voluntarily contribute at least $30 million to improvements in the new park that, the owners assume, will ultimately increase their fan base and thus pay for themselves. Forestall any big free agent signings until after the '07 season. Then use the anticipated new revenue from Nationals Park on the Anacostia to field an improving team when the Southeast project actually opens. The Lerners have even taken a public vow not to take "a dime out of the team for at least 10 years." Also, it doesn't hurt the Lerners' standing within ownership circles that they are sticking to the party line on sinful salaries.

"People will get tired of hearing about 'The Plan,' but it's the truth," Mark Lerner told The Post this week. "We know we'll get little hits from people who are a little impatient. But we're very enthusiastic."

"Little hits" won't be the Nats' problem this season. The big hits -- the one-hop triples up the gap, the upper-deck homers, the nights at RFK when the umpires wish that the big leagues had a 10-run mercy rule -- will be the ones that do the damage. And it's the endangered enthusiasm of Washington's new fan base -- not the enthusiasm of its owners -- that is at issue.

The Nationals can't cancel this season and turn a time machine forward to spring 2008, though by June they may wish they could. At the very moment when the local baseball market -- an ill-defined thing at best -- is forming its first impressions of the new owners, the team is perilously close to insulting a touchy town that has a thin skin after a 33-season gap without baseball.

The problem isn't Alfonso Soriano. Nobody expected the Nats to approach the Cubs' $138 million offer. Jose Vidro is classy, but he can be replaced. Even the memory of the team slamming the door behind popular ex-manager Frank Robinson may fade. But how many times do the Nats want to roll the dice after watching their attendance drop 20 percent last season?

During this offseason, the Nats took a big and unnecessary gamble. They decided they could ignore their own free agents Ramon Ortiz and Tony Armas, the only Nats starters (along with Livan Hernandez) who won more than five games last year. That's f-i-v-e games. Pedro Astacio? Do without him, too. In their place, the Nats hoped to find cheap pitching available in late January. Not good pitching, just cheap -- a couple of 160-inning veteran stiffs to prevent the team from becoming tragicomic.

That inexpensive market for last-free-agent-standing pitchers never developed. This week, the Nats discovered that, with their bare-bones payroll, they couldn't even compete for humble free agent Tomo Ohka, Robinson's old feuding partner. Ortiz is gone. Armas is going. Of course, Roger Clemens and Jeff Weaver will go to contenders for a fortune. What's left? It's ugly: Jason Johnson (3-12) or Bruce Chen (0-7). Perhaps only two pitchers who suit the Nationals' modest innings-eating needs are still available, even in theory: Steve Trachsel (15-8, 4.97 ERA for the Mets) or Mark Redman (11-10, 5.71 ERA for the Royals).

But those established journeymen may earn $3 million to $4 million a year in the current inflated marketplace. The Nats are dreaming of finding pitchers who will accept half that. They don't exist. Who can you get for $1.5 million? Well, the Nats' new TV announcer, Don Sutton, is only 61. Once, asked if it was true he sometimes scuffed the ball with sandpaper or tore it on a buckle, Sutton said, "I'd wear a tool belt out there if they'd let me." If the Nats sign Gaylord Perry to do radio, get suspicious.

On Feb. 13, when pitchers (loosely defined) and catchers report, Washington will welcome 37 -- count them, 37 -- pitching vagabonds, orthopedic anomalies and surgical experiments to their training camp in Viera, Fla. If you don't immediately recognize some prime rotation "candidates" like Tim Redding, Jerome Williams, Joel Hanrahan and Brandon Claussen, there are reasons. Some have been out of the majors for years. Some just never arrived. Don't fault General Manager Jim Bowden. Within budget restraints, he's tried, though sending a contract to Satchel Paige's last known address may have been desperate.

The Nats expected to have a bad team in '07. The idea didn't bother them. They like the prospect of a high draft position. They think season ticket sales will be underpinned by the desire of fans to grab a place in line for tickets in the new park.

However, it now appears that the Lerners, coached by Kasten and not contradicted by Bowden, severely underestimated a worst-case scenario in which they might report to Florida without an actual major league pitching staff. Nobody expected the free agent tsunami of recent months. But it arrived. And the Nats, without an adequate backup plan, are reduced to moaning about all the evil teams that, somehow, looked at the prosperous baseball industry and thought higher salaries were justified.

Now, unless some purse strings get loosened in a hurry, the Nationals may be just one injury to their "ace" away from embarrassing not just themselves, but their sport.

And one might ask "Charlie... Do you REALLY want a share of the season tickets this year?"

January 28, 2007

Orval Trappist Ale

Tried an 11.2 oz bottle of Orval Trappist Ale from the Brasserie d'Orval tonight. The web site states:

The monastery was born of an act of gratitude: Mathilda was a widow and her wedding ring had accidentally fallen into the fountain. She prayed to the Lord and at once a trout rose to the surface with the precious ring in its mouth. Mathilda exclaimed : 'Truly this place is a Val d'Or'! " In gratitude, she decided to establish a monastery on the site.

The bottle label even has a fish with a ring in its mouth.

6.90% ABV
Beer Advocate Score: 89 (Recommended)
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Born on: 6 July 2006

Great two inch head with tiny bubbles when poured. Dissipates very slowly and sticks to the glass. Has a very hoppy aroma and has a nice light amber pale ale color. Very drinkable. I could have several of these. Very nice taste with a hint of berry.

January 30, 2007

Ommegang Abbey Ale

Tried a 750mL bottle of Ommegang Abbey Ale this evening from the Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY.

8.5% ABV
Beer Advocate Score: 90
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Pours with a HUGE head with medium bubbles even when I tried a light pour. The head dissipated very slowly into a thin head all across the glass. It adheres nicely to the side of the glass. Make sure to follow the pouring directions givien in the video on the web site. Of course, I don't have the right kind of chalis and I didn't see the video till after I poured. It has a deep red color and the aroma and taste are excellent. Lots of different aromas and tastes are evident. It has a nice carbonation on the tongue. Almost a meal in itself. Its a decent reproduction of a Belgian Ale like a Chimay Red or Rochefort. The Rochefort 8 is still my favorite.

About January 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Charlie's Weblog in January 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2006 is the previous archive.

February 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33