2012 Look-Ahead

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 retrospectives take a ton of work for very little payola. Nobody reads them, everyone's busy with holiday crap, they're never as clever or biting as you intend them to be and really, they take a lot of time and research (and given that the holidays are busy-but-not-busy-but-very-time-consuming, who has that kind of time?). So instead, I want to do a 2012 look-ahead. What is ATK going to "be" in 2012? What are our new goals we'll never accomplish? How will we again fail to be relevant next year? I'll let Bob and Steve and Ricky if he reappears and anyone else fill-in their promises-to-break.

But as for me? It's beer.

In 2012, from Smitty, we'll see:

  • Beer head-to-head competitions:  style versus style, brewery versus brewery;
  • Homebrew Adventures;
  • Holiday-themed reviews/head-to-heads (Oktoberfests for Oktoberfest, Maibocks in May, etc.);
  • Brewery "tours"
  • Big News in Michigan Beer;
  • Occasional socio-political snark as I see fit.
I used to love to do weekly beer reviews.  Kids, life and work prevent that, and honestly, I need to be inspired to do a beer review.  I weekly bit gets uninspired and becomes work, and the last thing I want after a hard week is one more but of damned work to do.  But this other stuff?  It's all done on a whim.  That makes it "not work."

All the other contributors are more than welcome to update this entry with their own promises-to-break; I hope Bob does more political snark (he is so good at that) and occasional reviews (don't sell yourself short Bob...you've got a great palate).  I hope Steve weighs-in with his giant legal mind and thought-provoking posts (though none of us will ever be the contrarian that Hitchens was, Steve does a great job without being a dick).  Maybe Joel will find unrestricted access to the blog, maybe Rickey reappears, and I really really hope Sopor, who has moved to Oregon to fucking brew for Rogue will stop by and tell us what it's like and make us jealous and shit.

2012 is gonna be a great year.  My brewing has stepped-up, it's a monumental election year, the world is supposed to end, FOX is getting crazier every day, and Michigan seems to open a new brewery a month.  Plenty of material to miss, skip, not post and pass on to better bloggers.

I can't wait!

Happy New Year...early!


Top Ten Beers for 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A beer post by Bob? Yes it happens occasionally.

Drink Michigan, which hosts Smitty’s beer reviews, has posted its top ten Michigan beers of 2011.

Their results:

• Founders Brewing Company – Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS)
• Short’s Brewery – Ginger In The Rye
• Old Hat Brewery – Peanut Butter Stout
• Kuhnhenn Brewing – Imperial Creme Brulee Java Stout
• New Holland Brewing – El Mole Ocho
• Founders Brewing Company – Blushing Monk
• Bell’s Brewery – Hopslam Ale
• Kuhnhenn Brewing – Fourth Dementia Olde Ale
• Jolly Pumpkin – La Parcela
• Founders Brewing Company – Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS)

Not all of ATK’s 1.78 million readers are Michiganders, so what are your top ten craft beers from Michigan or elsewhere for 2011?


Worth Reading

Friday, December 16, 2011

I just discovered an interesting blog that I have added to our lefty links below.  Stone Kettle Station is written by a retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer in Alaska.  The quote from his current post "Everybody’s So Different, I Haven’t Changed" is about the shock his hometown friends (in Michigan) have when they realize he is not a right winger like them.  It seems like a good read...

When did I become pro-abortion? When did I become anti-gun? When did I become anti-religion? And so on?

I never did.

It’s all part of a set piece. The world is full of dying children, here and abroad. They starve to death every day in unlamented tens of thousands and rot in a hundred thousand unmarked graves. They die of disease and neglect and war and poverty and abuse and slavery and a thousand other horrors. I’ve seen them. I’ve walked among their shattered bodies. Those folks who bleat so loudly about God’s will and God’s love should go out and see with their own eyes what God’s will and God’s love has wrought in the dark corners of the world – and right here in the United States. People like the Pope pray and sing and enjoin his followers to save a handful of cells unattached to the uterine wall. That pompous hypocrite. Children? You’re goddamned kidding me. There’s a place in hell for that guy, yes there is. See, I’ve walked through his home too. He lives in a palace of gold surrounded by a city-state of riches while real live living children are abused under his very roof, while tens of thousands more starve and struggle and cough out their lives on parched soil. Mega-Church pastors stand before millions of TV viewers every Sunday and lament their poverty, while surrounded by billion dollar empires of glass and steel and silver. They talk of peace and wage war. They speak of sacrifice and live like kings. They praise truth and yet decry science. They preach love and inclusion but practice hate and exclusion. They offer salvation, at a price. They speak of humility and arrogantly try to impose their will upon the world. When did I come to hate bullies? For just as goddamned long as I can remember.

When did I change?

The simple answer to that question is that I never did.


Rest In Peace, Christopher Hitchens; April 13, 1949 - December 15, 2011

Christopher Hitchens died last night. I wish I would have been able to see him speak in person.  I have always enjoyed Hitchens; his honesty, his wit, his acid tongue.  He finally lost his battle with esophageal cancer. The Washington Post article I link to above provides a great eulogy; my favorite part is right at the end, and so typical of Hitchens and his vast knowledge of literature and thought:

Mr. Hitchens was fully aware of that some people believed his cancer was the result of divine retribution for his seeming apostasy. Others gathered to prayer for his recovery and, in many cases, for his eventual conversion to the faith of their choice. He was grateful for their kind wishes, but he reserved special disgust for those who thought he might recant his atheistic beliefs in the face of cancer. “I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire,” Mr. Hitchens wrote in Vanity Fair in October 2010, “who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies.”


Results of a Obama Vs. Gingrich general election?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I am just throwing this out there.  It is not real sciencey.

I looked at the 2008 states that were close, but went for McCain, plus added in S. Carolina, where recent polling shows a possible upset.  Yes, it is early, but I love maps and its just fun to speculate.

Electoral College Results: 
Obama: 381
Gingrich: 157

Source:  270towin.


Sigh...can't we all just get along?

As you likely had already heard, Lowe’s home improvement stores pulled its sponsorship from the TLC show “All American Muslim” after receiving complaints from a group called the Florida Family Association. They objected to the TLC show’s portrayal of five Muslim families.  Problem is, they objected to TLC portraying the families in a positive light.

Most reality shows highlight the worst of people. This one seemed to be doing the opposite, so out of curiosity, I watched a couple episodes. One of the people showcased on the program is a dedicated football coach at a public school, who is invited to the White House for a dinner marking the end of Ramadan. Another is an officer in the Wayne County Sherriff’s department. A third is a pediatric respiratory therapist.

Pretty normal, even exceptional stuff, but I guess that was the problem.

Had TLC shown them as gawd-hating, anti-American terrorists, that would have been OK.  According to WaPo,

“…the Florida group branded the series “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”
So the show depicts a pretty normal group of families, impeding the efforts of right-wing Christians to stereotype all Muslim’s.

I am finishing up a kitchen remodel and a great deal of stuff came from Lowes. I have a couple hundred bucks in tile left to buy and over a thousand dollars of flooring. I will return my tile samples to Lowes. Yesterday I sold my stock (not a lot) and I will buy my stuff from a local merchant in the hope that he isn’t a tool, which is what I should have been doing all along.

I don't need to give my money to people who support Christian bigots.


Fun with Rick Perry

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Rick Perry Scary:

The Heathen Response:


'bout Time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Washington Post:  "Obama attacks Republican economic theory: ‘It’s never worked’"

...Obama delivered a searing indictment of Republican economic theory, setting the stage for the coming presidential campaign. Summoning the image of a populist Theodore Roosevelt — in the same town (Osawatomie) where Roosevelt delivered a famous speech on economic fairness in 1910 — Obama deployed the language of right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, in a lengthy address that aides said he largely wrote himself.
The theory of “trickle down economics,” which holds that greater wealth at the top generates jobs and income for the masses below, drew some of Obama’s harshest criticism.
Link to WaPo.


Save our City Parks!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Who are all these so-called "Occupy" people and is it their goal to preserve park spaces that are in danger across the United States?

Washington DC

New York
San Francisco



Potential Drunks

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