REVIEW: Guinness 250th Stout

Guinness_250_01On December 31, 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a  9000 year lease for an abandoned brewery in Dublin at the rate of £45 per year. That was the beginning of the now-massive Guinness brand, and it was all headquartered at the St. James Gate brewery, now one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations.

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the signing of that lease, Guinness has released a special version of their namesake stout in the US, Australia and Singapore. The brew, which will only be available for a limited time, should be available at stores everywhere.

So… how is it? Honestly, it’s a bit disappointing. I expected something… big, something unusual from such a momentous event. In the end, all I got was a stout that tasted something like “Guinness Lite”. It’s significantly lighter than regular Guinness, and whatever “bitter” flavor that normally exists in the stout has been cut down significantly. Oh, and it totally lacks the creamy head that Guinness is known for! (see pic below)

Continue reading “REVIEW: Guinness 250th Stout”

Quote of the Day

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience”.

– C.S. Lewis

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-19

  • Awesome Silverlight demo: #
  • There's only one word that can sum this up: Restupidiculame. #
  • I love Ars Technica! Q: What can Lotus Notes do that Outlook cannot? A: Drive me into a murderous rage! #
  • Awesome! A giant unpatched hole in Firefox: #
  • Thanks, creepy Indian man at Belmont Cleaners! #
  • Yaaaa! DHS 20-year reunion on 10/24/2009! I'll be there! #
  • At first I thought about running 5 miles today… but then I ate a plate of pancakes instead. #
  • I'm just going to have to take an afternoon and teach my phone's T9 all the "dirty words". Doing them as needed is getting old! #

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Hotel Babylon: Season 4, Episode 4

Hotel Babylon
Season 4, episode 4
Aired: July 17, 2009 on BBC1



In this episode, Tony meets his doppelgänger in the form of American author Bobby Mack. The two end up trading places for the day, with Tony enjoying a steak dinner from room service then having a book reading and Q&A session, while Bobby tries his hand at being a concierge.

There is also a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament taking place in the hotel that afternoon, and one of the players – Emily’s father, hotel tycoon Damien Rushby – will be there. Lastly, shipping magnate Arianna Adams is scheduled to stay at Babylon, but the staff aren’t too worried – she normally books several rooms at different London hotels during her stay, and she’s booked and paid for a room at Babylon (but never actually stayed there) for three years now.

The staff normally would have Ms Adams’ truffles and saffron gin on hand, but they stopped bothering to carry them after she continually booked rooms but never actually stayed in the hotel. So when she does show up, James and Geno have to scramble to find them. Coming up empty, James doctors some more common mushrooms, hoping they’ll pass for the rare truffles. Geno takes some regular gin and adds a red dye, hoping that the color will mimic the saffron-infused gin. When Adams’ teeth turn red from the dye, she goes on the warpath, and the only thing that can save Babylon’s reputation is Bobby (acting as Tony acting as Bobby), who talks to her about his books. As luck would have it, Mack is Adams’ favorite author, and this is why she’s staying at Babylon in the first place.

Continue reading “Hotel Babylon: Season 4, Episode 4”

40 Years Ago…

It was 40 years ago today that man landed on the moon Ted Kennedy drove his car off Dyke Bridge and crashed into Poucha Pond on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in the crash, and Kennedy ruined his chances in the 1972 presidential election by his evasive answers to questions about the incident.


God bless, Mary Jo!

What now, Rowan?

First, a brief history lesson: the Church of England was created when King Henry VIII split the Church in England away from the Roman Catholic Church. It’s important to understand that Henry only wanted to get rid of the rule of the pope and the College of Cardinals when he created this “new” church. So while he wanted to get rid of the church’s “foreign” leadership, he didn’t want to change much about the church’s theology or organization.

When Henry died, his son Edward VI took over, and during this time the Church of England became much more Protestant. But then Edward died, and Bloody Mary took over, and the Church of England rejoined the Catholic Church. But then Mary’s sister, Elizabeth, became Queen and the Church of England finally settled somewhere between Catholicism and Protestantism.

Around this time, the Age of Exploration took off, and soon English people were traveling the world, opening trading routes in some places, and making colonies in others. And of course, they brought the Church of England with them. Over the next two centuries, most of these colonies would get their independence and the English would go home… but the Church stayed, and so what had been the “Church of England in America” became the “Episcopal Church”, the “Church of England in Canada” became the “Anglican Church of Canada” and so on.

These churches are collectively known as the “Anglican Communion”. And for decades, they all existed happily with each other. Towards the end of the 1960s, however, the Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC) has become progressively more and more liberal. In 2003, TEC nominated Gene Robinson, a practicing homosexual, as Bishop of New Hampshire. And this created a giant mess for the Anglican Communion.

Although each national church is independent of the others and can act in (almost) any way it sees fit, the consecration of Gene Robinson alienated most of the Global South, the staunchly conservative members of the Anglican Communion in Africa and Asia. And this is a problem because the Global South constitutes a large majority of the Anglican Communion. Where TEC has less than 2 million members, the Church of Nigeria has 40 million… and they’re not happy with TEC.

Continue reading “What now, Rowan?”

Anglican Update

When I created the Anglican News category, I kind of just dived right in to it. If you have no idea what’s going on in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion and why I’m occasionally posting such dire news about the it, check out this post at the Wall Street Journal:

For a decade now, the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) has been bitterly divided over the issue of ordaining openly gay clergy. The matter reached a new intensity this past week when the church’s triennial convention ended the ban on gay candidates serving in ordained ministry. After years of protesting ECUSA’s liberal policies and doctrines, seceding conservatives have now organized a rival church — the Anglican Church in North America, or ACNA — which claims 100,000 believers, compared with two million in ECUSA. This week’s dramatic decision is sure to widen the rift even further, causing what church historians might officially label a “schism.”

The presiding bishop of the mainstream Episcopal grouping, Katherine Jefferts Schori, predictably condemns ACNA, protesting that “schism is not a Christian act.” But it is not wholly clear who is seceding from whom. In approving gay bishops, ECUSA is defying the global Anglican Communion, which had begged Americans not to take a move that could provoke believers in other parts of the world. The Anglican Communion, though noticeably “progressive” in its American and British forms, is a world-wide church of 80 million. Indeed, the majority of Anglicans today live in African and Asian countries where progressive views are not so eagerly embraced. For American conservatives, it is Bishop Jefferts Schori’s church that has seceded from global Anglicanism.

Let me know if the article ends up behind a paywall – I have the complete text and can post it here.

Cryptic Friday Fun


Don’t tell me
It’s another likely story
Could’ve pinned it on you from the start
Well I’m new here
Doesn’t mean I have to answer
Silly questions or a shot in the dark

You know I’m a child
I keep this alive

It gets harder
I remember to remember
Waking up again all over again
If there’s an echo
Repeat days I’d likely let go
And be the changes we are noticing

When we’re running wild
We keep this alive

Still I wonder
Sights around us fade and underneath
The ground shakes, things fall apart
And no other than the voice of one another
Keeps us safely moving on in the dark

You know I’m a child
I keep this alive

We Got Mail!

One of the best things about running a public website is dealing with comments from the general public. Any joker with a computer, Internet connection and a web browser can leave a comment on this site, and while 99% of the non-spam comments left on this site are constructive in some way… the other 1% are not. Check out this comment left by someone from at or near Sakharov Plaza in Washington DC about this post (the Baltimore Ravens asking the NFL not to schedule any prime time games against the Steelers this year):

another pittsburgh redneck who shows no sportsmanship…..yes the steelers won 3 games but they were the best 3 games played last year. Hard fought, very close, defensive games. Both teams played well. Instead of seeing that the games were great and that the rivalry is good for the game, you (redneck who never played sports) are acting like a typical jerk Red Sox fan who should be at home watching backyard wrestling on youtube. You don’t like sports, you like being a faggot.

Wow! Where do we even begin with this?

First of all, it just demonstrates what I’ve been saying all along about the bitterness of Bawlmer Ravens fans. These folks have giant chips on their shoulders, and sadly, it’s not delicious Utz Crab Chips. It’s a festering inferiority complex that someone – even Dr Phil – should address. Holding in all that rage just can’t be good for you.

It’s also a bit rich for a Baltimore Ravens fan to talk about “sportsmanship”. Aren’t the Ravens that same team accused of putting a “bounty” on Hines Ward last year? Oh wait – yes they are! And just admit it Ravens fans: the first thought in your little heads after you heard that Steve McNair had been shot had to be “Oh shit – where’s Ray Lewis?” The Bawlmer Ravens don’t even know where the “moral high ground” is, much less how to occupy it.

Continue reading “We Got Mail!”