Not so polite dinner conversation – HB 1077 or Episode 2 in Pennsylvania lawmakers looking for a theocracy

Representative Kathy Rapp (R- McKean, Forest and )  has taken it upon herself to try to force yet one more medically unnecessary ultrasound on a woman before she gets an abortion.  Her bill, HB 1077 has these provisions: 

–  all women seeking an abortion to receive a mandatory ultrasound at least 24 hours in advance
 –  the ultrasound screen to be aimed toward the woman’s face but “permits her to avert her eyes”
 –  that a woman seeking abortion care accept two printouts of the ultrasound image, and requires she deliver the image to her physician in order to have the procedure. 

Golly, Rep. Rapp, the woman is “permitted” to avert her eyes?   Why not say that her head should be strapped down and her eyes forced open? 

clockwork orange 1971
yes, Jon Stewart used this too

Well, even that might be more than you want to admit wanting to since that would undeniably show that you are only interested in controlling people.  The people advocating this type of bill claim to not be trying to force a woman to change her mind about abortions.  If this were the case, then they would not bring up such bills which have no other purpose; they would simply allow women and their doctors alone.  It’s a shame that they have to try to lie about it when it’s so pitifully obvious. 

Here are those who co-sponsored the bill and who evidently want to play doctor too Continue reading “Not so polite dinner conversation – HB 1077 or Episode 2 in Pennsylvania lawmakers looking for a theocracy”

From the Bar – Philadelphia Distilling

Shine Whiskey

My husband and I like a lot of the products coming from the distilleries inPhiladelphia.  We recently picked up a bottle of Shine Whiskey from Philadelphia Distilling. Everyone seems to be getting on the bandwagon of the “next new thing”, and this month that’s “moonshine” (we even have tv shows about idiots with stills).  Shine is smooth for what it is.  But…it tastes so much like corn and more like corn cobs than the tender niblets.  I feel like I’ve gotten some of the silage from my youth in my mouth.   Most recipes I’ve seen for it sounds just horrible.  Mmmm, corn and anise.  Corn and coca cola.  I just don’t think I can go there.   

Sometime later….. Okay, I tried it with a mixer.  Clamato.  I do love Clamato (yes, I love Clamato.  I like Spam too, again what can I say?) , but even this wasn’t enough to kill that weird sweet corn cob taste.  Maybe straight tomato juice for a simpler Mexican riff?  I just don’t think there’s much that can make this stuff appealing.

Bluecoat Gin

One more in a line of favorites from Philadelphia Distilling, Bluecoat Gin is about the only gin I can stand but it’s not so far removed from standard that it just becomes another flavored spirit.  Bluecoat is very citrus forward but still has the evergreen scent of gin.  It makes quite a nice Pink Lady.  And all that’s demure about that drink is the color.  Always lull them into a false sense of security.

Vieux Carre Absinthe

I hate the taste of anise, liquorish, fennel, etc.  It seems to be in so many spirits (including Nyquil!) and my one grandmother loved the stuff, evil little black jellybeans in her candy dish. Must be damn easy to grow near fermentable grain.  My husband loves ouzo but only for the rush it brings.  That being said, this absinthe, another offering fromPhiladelphia isn’t bad for someone who hates that gawdawful flavor.  Vieux Carre has a much stronger Artemisia (aka wormwood) flavor than some, reminding me of sweet hay.  The louche is very nice and it is indeed a lovely drink to at least look at.  We mix it with simple syrup (2x) rather than screwing around with sugar cubes.  Might be a steampunk thing to do but I have not the patience.

Reason Rally, March 24, 2012 – Washington, DC

If you are an atheist, a freethinker, or just someone who wants to make sure no one gets gov’t into your religion or religion into your gov’t, come to the Reason Rally in Washington DC on March 24, 2012.   This should be a great time of people who share common ground to get together and enjoy a lovely venue and each other.  Be sure to visit at least one museum while you’re there!  I’m partial to the National Air and Space Museum.  

Of course, as this has been getting more media attention, it’s also getting more theist attention.  We even have a group that says they’re coming to the Rally with their goal being  “Our goal is to demonstrate a humble, loving and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally.”  This is the group True Reason, who seems to be ever so sure that atheists, et al, have *never* seen their wonderful apologetics, aka excuses, for their religion and its failures.  They seem quite intent on spending $5000 or more to help us understand just how right they are and how much reason belongs to Christianity and only Christianity. They’ll have a booklet on their apologetics for us.  Oh and they’ll supposedly have free water too (by smacking a rock with a magic stick?).  Anyone convert this to wine?  Make a quick run over toWalter Reed ArmyMedical Center and heal some amputees? Anyone? Bueller?     

Having been a atheist for a while now, and having participating on the WWGA forums for far too long, I can pretty much guess exactly what their reasons might be: 

The existence of universe shows that their god exists.  They will often support this by citing the bible, Romans 1 to be precise.

Alas, all religions say this.  I need some evidence it was the bible god.

There are billions of Christians so that must make their religion true.

This is always a good one since Christians are often attacking each other over who really knows what their god meant.  I can remember the anti-Catholic bias back in high school, the Jehovah Witnesses being hid from or yelled at, the Mormons being considered cultists.  As soon as it gets down to who the True Christians are, that number shrinks amazingly fast.  

Pascal’s Wager – don’t you want to believe so you have a chance at a good afterlife?  You’ll lose nothing if you are wrong.

Sorry, I’ll lose my self-respect, time and resources.  I could be wrong too, by worshipping the wrong god.  What if it’s Tezcatlipoca?  Bummer. 

There could be thousands of choices for their 32 page booklet, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all fail miserably. Christians, and all other theists, have a industry simply devoted to explaining away why their magical book is so screwy and why their god does nothing.  I’m hoping to get one to see how unimaginative they are.  If they had spent any time on the internet, they’d see that atheists and non-Christians aren’t impressed. 

So, True Reason people, I’d suggest you spend your money on something worthwhile,  a food bank in DC, the Trust for the National Mall to spiffy up our nation treasure like the Rally to Restore Sanity did, The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, the Sabin Vaccine Institute,  The Washington Animal Rescue League.  Anything but waste your money in attempting to spread nonsense that we already know about and find hilarious.  Actually help someone for a change. 

But if you insist on coming into this “lion’s den” be aware your god won’t keep our mouths sealed like your bible promises.  You’ll be shown that unlike the false claims by you and your sponsors spread in some really amusing wishful thinking, we are well educated, many of us were Christians at one point and have read the bible at least once, many of us have had formal training in logic and science, and won’t accept a baseless claim as an answer.   If you see me there, and you will since I do want one of your booklets if you insist on wasting the money, I’ll make sure I ask you to help me with getting a couple of altars to light.

From the Bar – Root 1 Camenere

From the Bar – Root 1 Carmenere

A Chilean wine, this is one of those from what is claimed to be a rediscovered “lost grape ofBordeaux”.  The bottle is quite nice, thinner than usual with a painted label.  The price at the PLCB was $10.99 US. The vintage was 2009.

At the “root” of it, I like this wine.  To me, it reads like a cross between a cab and a pinot noir, with the best characters of each.  I do like it since it stays very steady in flavor as you drink, not ending up flat at the end.  It’s off-dry, but not “sweet”, and as such, can and does go with various food.  Of course, this comes from someone who likes the truly sweet wines of the northeast US.  

The flavors are very much blackberry and you guessed it, *wine*.   Maybe I don’t have a “sophisticated” palate, but when wine “enthusiasts” claim a handful or so “flavors” in a wine, I find it pretty much like religion, everyone wants to feel like a special snowflake. 

and what a nifty thing to do with the bottle (I haven’t a clue who this person is but I like their idea):

From the Back Room – Brewer’s Best Holiday Ale

Husband and I dabble in home brewing.  We’ve made about 6 Brewers Best  beer kits now, American Cream Ale, English Bitter, Summer Ale, Dunkleweisen, Weizenbier and I’m damned if I can remember the other one.  To start off 2012 right we started the Holiday Ale. Evidently the yeasties were all excited about this, because the secured lid was lifted right off the fermenting bucket and we had brown foam everywhere.  Up in the fermenting lock, on the floor, etc.  It hissed and burbled for about 36 hours, and scared the cats who were quite sure that it was going to eat them.  First time that ever happened with any kit.  We’re guessing the fairly sweet wort had something to do with it.  So, warning, put the primary fermenter in a garbage bag.  Considering the sheer volume of the burbling, this is going to be our JabberBock. (I believe that New Holland Brewing has a Jabberbocky on tap.) 

Holiday Ale
Half-liter mug and a 16 oz bottle

The description that BB gives is “full bodied amber beer has a rich malty character that is flavored with orange peel, cinnamon, and other spice.  It is a complex winter brew, balanced with high alpha-acid hops.”  From the picture, you can tell that it isn’t very “amber”, much more of a dark brown in color.  Held to a strong light source, it is a very dark amber, with just a touch of red.  This was run through a secondary fermentation, so it’s fairly clear, but all  of our beers are hazy since we don’t see much point in trying to make it crystal clear.  The head is the color of a nice espresso crema and lacy.  The ABV came out to 7%.

The flavor is pretty much what BB describes but I’ve yet to really taste any spices or orange distinctly in any supposedly spiced beers (or rums, etc).  They all blend with the caramel notes of the beer to make a warm rich flavor with a long finish.  It does have a definite sweetness but not overpowering.  I’d definitely call it a bock in style, and it reminds us very much of Erie Brewing’s Fallenbock (yes, I know that their bock is a lager; bocks started out as ales AFAIK).  BTW, all ofErie’s beers are pretty darn good, often fairly high ABVs and nicely smooth.

The bottle in the photo is one of our old returnable sixteen ounce Gennesee Cream Ale bottles. The light bands on it are from them making many trips through the filling machines. Alas, they no longer make returnable 16’s of Genny.  

Currently, we have Northern Brewer’s Hefeweizen in the primary fermenter.

Not so polite dinner conversation – Saccone is at it again

As one can see from my post below, I have little patience for Pennsylvanialegislators wasting time lying about how “Christian” the US is.  Representative Saccone saw fit to be “shocked, shocked” that anyone took issue with his bill, and made even more poor arguments.  You can see his further claims that were published here

and with no further ado, my review of these new claims.

A simple resolution passed the House unanimously on Jan. 24. It recognizes the significant impact the Bible has had on our country. It in no way inhibits anyone from believing in any faith or no faith.

 No, it doesn’t but, it does make false claims like if only we’d follow the bible the US would become some magical land with milk and honey flowing and God smiling from above like some Teletubbies show.  It’s a shame that you’ve had to resort to that, Representative Saccone. Continue reading “Not so polite dinner conversation – Saccone is at it again”

What the Boss likes – Iron Sky

Dieselpunk is one of the many ‘punks out there. Back in the 80’s and 90’s it was cyberpunk, the dystopian future where corporations owned everything and computers were large and no one seemed to have a cell phone. I played Shadowrun, knew about Cyberpunk, read William Gibson and others, etc. Rather funny to now look back on what technology was supposed to be, but hey, maybe we’ll have a real quick change after December 21 this year when things are supposed to go wacky.  

Lately it’s been all gears and steampunk, aka gaslight fantasy, etc, Jules Vernian science fiction and bustle dresses with none of the inconvenient racism, sexism, etc. (I did this too, gathered people together down at a DragonCon for the first time one year).  I do love them both but dieselpunk has raised its head and I think its is my favorite and will remain so.  I’m a WWII junkie and love the pulps from the 20s-50s. Once I get my sewing room back, I’m going to be fiddling with some costuming from that era.  This seems to be the pre-eminent forum for Dieselpunk:   

Dieselpunk is generally split into Ottensian and Piecraftian. More on this here:  I’m an Ottensian but I do want my Nazis to punch.  Yep, I did read Captain American comics.  The movie was fantastic but unfortunately, Marvel has screwed the pooch in the comic version. No, Cap would *not* walk out of the room so someone could be tortured.  Here’s a good blog about that perversion:  

What prompted this post is that Iron Sky is finally finished. What is that?  Just four words: Nazis on the Moon!  It looks fantastic and I hope some theatre near me gets it. If, not, it’ll be the DVD route for me. The other reason this will be awesome is that it makes fun of Sarah Palin.  Always a bonus!  

Here’s the theatrical trailer:   

Official website:

From the Bar – Cream Ales

I was a bit late to the party when it comes to drinking alcohol. When my peers in high school were drinking on strip jobs rocking out to Lynyrd Skynyrd, I was home reading and listening to movie soundtracks. Yes, I still am much that nerd.  I finally got a taste for alcohol in college when I met the man who became my husband (20+ years married, thank you very much).  He was recently out of the military and could drink a *lot*.  I made the mistake thinking I could match him in those early days. 

He introduced me to various cheap beers.  Mickey’s Big Mouth, ack.  One I did like though, and still do, is Genesee Cream Ale.  Less than $20/case, and it’s good basic “beer” (well, it’s an ale technically but it’s very much like a lager).  Lots of people reviewing it say that it’s “sweet”.  No idea where they get that from, I find it pretty much neutral in the dry/sweet category. It’s also well-balanced in malt and hop.  Which means I can drink a lot of them and they go with pretty much anything.  As many craft beers as I have drunk and as many as I have made, I always come back to my Genny. 

The other two cream ales that I’m reviewing here are rather different than my working girl above.  They have flavorings and I find them too distinctive to be good session beers.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema
This really has the “cream” in cream ale.  From what I can taste, it has a goodly portion of vanilla in it. On a hot summer day, it’s like having a vanilla milkshake, sans the thickness.  It does have a sweetness but not too cloying.

Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Orange Blossom Cream Ale
This is another cream ale that is often described as sweet.  I don’t get that at all, but boy is there a lot of orange, particularly the blossom, going on.  I think some “read” this as sweet, but if you hold your nose and drink, you get a nice dry ale. (BTW, if you read this blog often, you’ll notice that I don’t often agree with the “experts” about my drinks.)

From the Kitchen – thick hot chocolate aka cocoa lava

In what now seems like the Paleozoic, I visited Spain (and Portugal and Morocco) on a high school trip.  I loved the thick hot chocolate that we would get for breakfast.  I could never figure out how to make it, failing dramatically with adding too much cocoa, cooking it for too long in an attempt to reduce it, etc.  Then after I get married and told my husband about my long missed cocoa, my husband says “I have an idea”.  And promptly makes it (a very high IQ does make a difference even in cooking evidently).  His secret? A box of to be cooked chocolate pudding and twice as much milk as called for.  Follow the directions, watch it thicken and that’s it.  And it’s soooooo good. Feel free to add cinnamon, whipped cream, Irish cream, rum, espresso powder, a bit of cayenne, etc.   

Beware, there’s a reason that it’s called “lava”.  Another good term would be “napalm”.

From the Bar – Bully Hill Vineyards

Being from the hinterlands of the East Coast, local wines tend to be sweet.  Some gawdawful cloyingly sweet and some basically off-dry (I don’t think I’ve had a truly dry wine from around here).  But they all have taste and body, sniffed at by “experts” as “unsophisticated” country wines.  My predilection for these makes many of the named wines from Europe (Chateau Neuf De Pape, nouveau Beaujolais, etc) taste bitter, rotted and thin.

I like Bully Hill because it’s good and those pretty labels are simply friendly (I like goats, what can I say?). I’ve had a good number of their wines and even if it spikes their dry/sweet graph on the dry side, it’s not as dry as, say, a French burgundy.  I’ve made a fine Béarnaise sauce using their American Riesling and prefer the Banty Red or the Grower’s Red for drinking. Banty is a bit more acidic than the Grower’s, and I do get a little more indigestion with it.