From the Bar – Ta Henket, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Having a thing for cats pretty much guarantees at some point you’ll become fascinated with Ancient Egypt.  And thus started my interest in history and religious myths. 

When I read in the Smithsonian Magazine that some brewers were making ancient alcoholic beverages, I set out to find some of them.  Our local Wegmans suprised me by having two of them, Dogfish Head’s Ta Henket and their Midas Touch.   Haven’t got the Midas Touch yet, so that’ll be another post. 

nice and clear. I’m guessing that the Egytpians would have a much cloudier version.

Ta Henket is one very odd beer.  As far as I can tell, no hops, it’s only brewed with herbs, dates (I think this is what “dom fruit” is) some ancient form of wheat (emmer?)  and water.  They went to Egypt to capture wild yeasties to make it as authentic as possible. Make me wonder what customs thought about the petri dishes…..

The flavor starts out with a sweetness that I attribute to the barley.  Then you get the herbal hit, from the za’atar, and finally I can taste the grassy chamomile.  It is a very savory beer with an acidic background that almost reads as “salty”.    The scent is a bit funky and happily, for me at least, it doesn’t much carry over into the beer itself.    

I’d buy it again, definitely in the warm months.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Episode 3 Still more religious pandering

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is yet again wasting time and taxpayer dollars with more religious nonsense.  Oh we don’t need job bills, or a transportation plan or anything that would actually helpPennsylvania.  We just need more pandering to the narrow minds of a few.

Here’s the HR 609
Recognizing May 3, 2012, as the “National Day of Prayer” inPennsylvania. WHEREAS, The “National Day of Prayer” is a day set aside to pray for this nation; and WHEREAS, The designated day, the first Thursday of May,belongs to all citizens; and WHEREAS, This annual event was not created for political reasons or to promote any other agenda except prayer; and WHEREAS, The “National Day of Prayer” is designed for prayer for leaders, for communities, for families, for children and for one another; and WHEREAS, The “National Day of Prayer” is a day to ask for healing, to heal this nation and to bring people together in true unity; and WHEREAS, Prayer is regarded by millions as the most important utterance for the benefit of humankind; and WHEREAS, This nation was founded by single-minded men and women who sought wisdom through prayer; and WHEREAS, Prayer has aided many people throughout the history of this nation and this Commonwealth when support and guidance were needed; therefore be it RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives recognize May 3,2012, as the “National Day of Prayer” in Pennsylvania. 

This resolution is sadly dependent on one big lie.  It does seem that theists are dependent on those.   The National Day Of Prayer *was* created for political reasons. We have the Congress of the United Statespassing Public Law 82-324 and President Truman signing it.  If there were no politics involved, why did this have to be run through and made a law? People can certainly pray on their own as much as they want. The history of the National Day of Prayer can be traced right to the feet of Billy Graham and his influence in government.  It was created as a solely Christian event, promoting a solely Christian agenda.  That part has been ignored by politicians desperate to not offend their non-Christian constituents but history can’t be re-written.  

I’m wondering if Christians think that mass prayer will get their god’s attention any better than a single person’s prayer.  Seeing that prayer never works as advertised, I guess not.  If prayer does work for “healing”, why don’t these Christians get themselves over to the local VA hospitals and do some real good.  Of course, again, prayer doesn’t work for healing people or healing nations.  It sure doesn’t bring people together in any “true unity” since each theist thinks his/her god is the only “right” one and oh, are they sure that anyone who doesn’t believe in any god at all will go straight to hell. Right now in our national election you can see how much evangelical Christians don’t like Mormons, or Catholics. So much for “unity”. The only thing this bill does is try to force religion on everyone, and exclude many good patriotic American citizens from being considered equal with everyone else. This National Day of Prayer does not belong to me, and I am indeed a US citizen.    

Prayer may indeed be regarded by millions as the most important utterance for the benefit of mankind, but funny how it does nothing at all, no matter who does the praying.  No world peace, no food for the starving children, no healing of the sick, only hard long work by humans.  Millions of people used to think that sacrificing goats was really important too but that was just about as effective as prayer, but without the tasty meat for the priests.    

This resolution claims that prayer has “aided many people through out history”.  Did prayer aid the murderers of 9/11?  I’m sure that they were praying too.  Indeed, how can we tell whose prayers will win out, the prayers of the Afghanis who have had their families murdered and who I am sure are praying for the demise of theUS?  How about those who pray that President Obama is found out to be a “secret Muslim” or those who pray that President Obama will be re-elected? Will they cancel each other out?  What about each side when Americans pray for “their” football team to win?  Now do you see how idiotic it is to declare that everyone praying is a good and useful thing? 

Some of the founding fathers did pray and were Christians, but they were anything but “single minded” on what they believed in regards to religion. They *did* firmly establishe from the outset that no religion of any kind was to be considered better than the next or to have influence on government. They knew how dangerous that was, coming from a tyranny that was supported by the “divine right of kings”.   

Again, this is more evidence that one has to keep constant vigilance to keep the forces of theocracy at bay.  They will never stop and neither should we.

What the Boss Likes – John Carter

Finally got to see John Carter last night.  I LOVE it.  Screw the “critics”, it’s an excellent entertaining  movie that you can enjoy and not worry about.   A modern viewer may not see it as original but it was the first of its kind and everyone has borrowed from it.  And face it, no story is original anymore.  It depends on execution, not if you came up with a new variant on “man vs man, man vs nature, man vs himself”.  And this execution is just about flawless.   It is what it is, a great pulp story that has characters you care about, and goreous things to see.  Give me this over saccharin tedium like the “The Help” or “Steel Magnolias” anytime.  

 As for age appropriateness, I’d put it at about 8 years old. I would have had no problems with it earlier but I was reading crazy early and already knew that people died in stories.  Except for John Carter’s, all the blood is blue. 

When courting me, my husband lured me with books (and gaming, but that’s another story).   He lent me a lot of them, mostly sword and sorcery or pulp (oh and Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, happily I had already found Hunter S. Thompson or I probably would have thought he was nuts).  I loved most of them but it took me another 10 years to finally get into Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter books. I had read the first Tarzan book when I was probably 12 or so, and enjoyed it but John Carter was a lot tougher to like for some reason.  Read it here if you’d like.

But I do like it and the movie does indeed do the series justice.  The movie is more of a combination of “A Princess of Mars” and “Gods of Mars”, but it hits the right marks.  We have the requisite “planetary romance” plot points of “hero, monster and lovely woman end up at the same place and time on a planet”.   Disney has released the first ten mintues of the movie .   This does a lovely job of establishing who John Carter is: stubborn, honorable, a damn good fighter, and a man desperately tired of war.

Now for some spoilers under the cut Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – John Carter”

From the Back Room : Bavarian Hefeweizen

A couple of weeks ago we bottled the hefeweizen that we made from the Northern Brewer kit.   At that point the signature banana aroma was pretty strong.  After a couple weeks in the bottle, it’s even stronger, but much more blended with the other aromas in the beer.   If you get this kit, get it with the Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephen yeast.   Husband loves hefe from having served in the US Army and being sent to Germany.  I also love it.  Generally we drink Franziskaner  and this is quite comparable. 

hefe weizen

 Just got a bottle of Dogfish Head Ta Henket, their version of an ancient Egyptian beer. I was pleasantly suprised that Wegman’s had this in their beer section; they also had Midas Touch.   The Ta Henket will be tasted tonight, and the Egytpian pantheon toasted, especially Sekhmet who really likes her beer.  They’re at least some fun, if just as imaginary as any other.

What the Boss Likes – the cats part 1

In the interest of keeping the tubes full of cats, here are 2 of mine and my husbands.  The others will be coming, it’s rather hard to photograph black cats and one cranky one.  We also have a ferret, Loki, which is even *harder* to photograph.

We have 5 total: Grendel, Luna, Mystra (all siblings), Mordred and Muffin.  Now, can you guess which out of the five is the cranky one?  Why yes, it *is* Muffin. Seems we will totally invert the nature of the cat to the strength of its name.

Grendel grendel

                    Luna Luna