Blog de KingShamus

"When an entire nation thirsted to break free from PC…Andrew Breitbart opened a big bar."–Chris Muir

Archive for February, 2012

Beer Review – Assorted Samuel Adams Winter Suds

Posted by KingShamus on February 29, 2012

Conservatives have a tendency to pine for the good ol’ days, but in at least one area of life we can be thankful to live in modern times:  Beer.  American breweries produce more beer now than at any other time in American history.  The giant US brewers do great business, but microbreweries and craft breweries make up a significant portion of the market.  Not only are domestic brands doing well, but imports continue to have their place in the American beer drinker’s menu.

Taken in total, US beer fans have never had so much volume available for their consumption.  Even better, the vast variety of beers–from inexpensive bender fuel to pricey exotics and everything in between–has never been greater.  The American suds aficionado has such a wide array of choices that almost any taste and budget and occasion can be satisfied.  The state of beer in the United States should be seen as a tribute to the power of consumer choice, competition and a relatively free market.    

One of the best-known American breweries is the Boston Beer Company.  Widely recognized for their award-winning Samuel Adams Boston Lager, they also put out a wide variety of seasonal beers.  Cold weather being a perfect time to drink, I decided to take a few of Samuel Adams’ winter brews out for a test drive.                    

Winter Lager

The WL poured out a rich sparkling reddish-orange color.  It had a fat one-thumb light tan head that stayed around for a while and left nice lacing.  The combination of colors made this was a very handsome beer to look at.  

The aroma was slightly tinny, with some wheat notes thrown in for good measure.  You wouldn’t call it skunky, but it definitely announced itself.  As for the flavor, it didn’t really follow the scent.  Instead, the beginning was very smooth with a nice hoppy flavor up front.  The end was slightly tart, with a hint of lemons.  The mix of tastes felt nicely balanced.  No ingredient really overpowered the others.     

As for mouthfeel, the Winter Lager was thick, but not heavy.  Seasonal beers made for cold temperatures often seem like they’re designed to be overpowering, but this lager didn’t feel like drinking egg nog. It was just a well-built brew for a chilly February afternoon. 

All told the Winter Lager was a delicious glass of suds.  Not surprisingly, it felt like a robust beefed-up Boston Lager. With its tart citrus ending taste to give the drinker a pleasant surprise, this beer compared quite favorably with any other American lager.

Old Fezziwig Ale

The Old Fezziwig Ale presented a ruddy brown coloration, with a light bubbly carbonation.  Its thin one finger bone-colored head left just a little lacing.  Around the edges, the Fezzi bore a slight resemblance to a dark cola.  As for the pour itself, it was comparable to the thickness of most ales.

The aroma was strong and malty.  It wasn’t unpleasant, but one could almost smell the sweetness.  The flavor was predominantly malt again, but here the hops started to assert themselves to cut the sugary taste.  At the finish, a few caramel notes appeared. Not a lot, but just enough to say hello.

Overall, this was a very drinkable beer.  While it was not a lite brew, it felt lighter than it looked.  It was very easy on the eyes and even easier on the palate.  The interplay between the malt start and the caramel ending made this an above average ale. 

Holiday Porter

Next up was the Holiday Porter.  It came out a near-black coloration with a few traces of rusty red when held up to the light.  To be honest, the mountainous two finger thick head was a little surprising.  It stayed around for a while and left a good deal of lacing behind.  Like many Samuel Adams models, this was a pretty beer to look at.

The nose was quite malty; much more than the Old Fezziwig Ale.  It was so malty that I really couldn’t pick out anything else. A faint hint of bananas could be sniffed out, but only a little.  The predominant flavor was strong bitter coffee.  Sadly, that’s pretty much all the Holiday Porter had to offer. 

Was this a drinkable beer?  Certainly.  It might look a little road-tarrish, but it wasn’t sludgy.  The HP was a fairly nimble beer for a porter.  Still, the overpowering flavor was a turn-off.

Chocolate Bock

The Chocolate Bock poured out a blackish brown.  It had a thin hazy head that dissipated fairly quickly.  Lacing was almost non-existent.  The pour was fairly thick.  There was very little carbonation going on. 

There were strong chocolate notes in the aroma.  Surprisingly though, the cocoa was not overwhelming.  It was potent but not obnoxious.  The taste more or less followed the scent.  The Chocolate Bock had a slightly sweet slightly malted beginning.  At the finish, there were dark chocolate flavors. The mouthfeel was a little sludgy.

For a ‘flavored’ beer, the CB wasn’t pushy about its slightly exotic taste.  Yeah, there was quite a bit of cocoa flavor rolling around in the glass, but it’s didn’t really hurt the brew.  The chocolate and the malt seemed to work really well together. Even if it was a bit on the heavy side, it was pretty drinkable.

Black & Brew

Finally, we come to the Black & Brew. Like many of these winter beers, this had a nearly black color with very little differentiation.  Maybe it was the name of the beer, but it looked vaguely like a glass of Turkish coffee. The head was thick and had a french vanilla patina. Spotting was minimal.

The scent was quite malty, with a slight java undertone. At the first sip the coffee flavor is very assertive. If there were any hops going on with the B&B, the coffee taste more than negated them. At the finish, the malt became far more prominent.

Like a lot of stouts, the B&B was much lighter on its feet than it appeared. It may have looked like a sample from a British Petroleum oil spill, but it was a fairly easy-going drink. Again, the coffee flavoring and the malted barley was a nice pairing. Not being a java enthusiast, I went into this beer thinking I wouldn’t like it, but after a few sips the Black & Brew was a very nice little change-up from more conventional suds.

CONCLUSIONS

Let no review of the brewer’s art fool you. The whole point of alcohol is to get you drunk. Any beer, regardless of the brand or label on it, will deliver you to the land of tipsy if you pound enough of it down your gullet. The real success of a beer is not if it can make you inebriated. That’s as easy as Mitt Romney beating his Republican primary opponents by carpet-bombing them with relentless negative ad campaigns. True brew genius lies in getting the drinker hammered in the most pleasant ways possible. With the Samuel Adams winter collection, we can make some definitive statements in that regard.

With the possible exception of the Holiday Porter none of these beers was nasty. In fact, if you like very potent coffee the HP might be tailor-made for your tastes. Regardless of differences in palette, every one of these cold weather beers was a well-crafted concoction. We’re not dealing with Milwaukee’s Beast here.

Out of all these brews, the Winter Lager was the most mainstream beer. Anyone with even just a passing interest in lager drinks would find this pleasant. In fact, while Samuel Adams markets this as a ‘winter’ beer, you could easily drink this during warmer days and get plenty loaded without getting overheated.

The Old Fezziwig Ale was very good as well. While certainly more suited for chilly days, the smooth tandem of malt and caramel made this a winner regardless of the calendar. Pair this beer up with a good meat-n-potatoes meal and you’d be in good shape in no time.

The Holiday Porter was fairly disappointing. The coffee taste did not blend with the barley or the hops. In fact, there was more java flavor in the HP than in the Black & Brew, which was rather surprising. Don’t get me wrong; this beer can and will turn you into a stumbling shit faced buffoon if you annihilate enough of them. But do you really want to do that by having to fight through what tastes like an angry Starbuck’s barista’s bad night at the local strip mall?

As for the Chocolate Bock, that one left me a little puzzled. Beers with unconventional flavorings can be very hit or miss. Also, I haven’t had all that many bock brews, so I wasn’t exactly sure of what I would end up with. What I found was a beer that was a surprisingly good change of pace brew. If the Old Fezziwig was your drink during a mashed potatoes and pot roast dinner, the Chocolate Bock would be the chaser on your triple banana split dessert.

The Black & Brew was a well done piece of brewery science. I halfway expected this to be a some sort of Four Loko alcohol/energy drink clusterfuck. I should’ve known better. Instead of a disaster, the coffee flavor worked well with the traditional stout notes to make a hearty elixir. As with the Chocolate Bock, the B&B was a little too niche to be more than just a seasonal beer. That didn’t keep it from being a very good drink.

In almost every case, the drinker of these Samuel Adams winter beers is given a sturdy well-made bottle of booze. Each one has something to recommend it. None of them are so bad that they are outright undrinkable.  All of them would get you sloshed.  Four out of the five of them range from well above average to damn near great.  Overall, the Samuel Adams Winter Collection does a fine job of upholding the sterling reputation of the Boston Beer Company.

Posted in Critiques | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Obama–Algae Is, Like, The Next Great Energy Source

Posted by KingShamus on February 24, 2012

Captain Science McGreenJobs to the rescue!

Or maybe Bunkerville is right and this is Barry’s version of a faith-based initiative.

Let’s cut the President some slack. He thinks he can cool the planet and make the oceans recede. Turning the slime in your under-maintained backyard swimming pool into automotive fuel is small beer for Barry the Miracle Worker. What’s another half-billion dollars in taxpayer-funded loans or subsidies or just plain-old handouts?

To be fair, research and development is a tricky thing. At one time, petroleum was probably considered a risky source of energy to use for anything, much less base a whole economy around. Figuring out how to turn the black crap that came out of the ground into something useful was an arduous process that a lot of people likely thought wasn’t going to pan out. Obama might be right to think that algae is the wave of the future. But his track record on energy policy shouldn’t fill you with loads of confidence.

Even though it’s likely that algae will be yet another Solyndra-sized government boondoggle, I kinda want Obama to pursue this wacky project. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, then we can all get a laugh as Juan Williams accuses Newt Gingrich of being a racist when the former Speaker calls Barack Obama the ‘pond-scum President’.

UPDATE:  The one and only Snarky Basterd has a satirical take on AlgaeRising.  Spolier Alert-Henry Waxman makes an exciting guest appearance.

Posted in Politicians behaving badly | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Manhattan Infidel Turns Three Years Young!

Posted by KingShamus on February 24, 2012

That’s right, folks.  The Manhattan Infidel has hit tres años.  How does homeboy celebrate?

In style.

On February 20, 2009, a date that will (or is it shall?) live in infamy, the blog known as Manhattan Infidel debuted. On February 21st, 2009, encouraged that the logs showed two hits Manhattan Infidel swore off all human contact to concentrate on the fame and fortune that no doubt would surely follow. And here it is three years later. I decided to celebrate my blogoversary as any man would do who has a healthy emotional, spiritual and psychological life: I paid a woman I’ve never met before to dress up as a French maid and clean me. Because I’m oh so dirty. And filthy. And naughty. But on to the celebration!

Note to self: Hire another woman next year. She missed a spot.

Very nice.

Read the rest, as yours truly gets a wonderfully revolting shout-out.

I for one applaud Da Infidel’s commitment to personal hygeine. Unfortunately, all those lovely cleaning women that Manhattan Infidel needs to maintain his impeccable grooming don’t grow on trees. Why not hook a blogger up and hit his tip jar harder than Obama hits taxpayers in the wallet. Once you’re done with that, read some of his other great work as well. You will not be disappointed.

Manhattan Infidel: Come for the fastidious French maids, stay for the superb social satire!

Posted in The Social Scene | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

The Barack Obama/Jon Stewart One-Sided Bromance

Posted by KingShamus on February 23, 2012

Skip to about 6:00 to see Daily Show Stewie figure out that, darn it, Barry just isn’t that into him.

[Emo/]

But forget Stewart’s kvetching for a tick.

One wonders what the hell the audience is laughing at here. What’s really funny about this bit? “Haha, the President finds us tedious and stupid! What a knee-slapper!”

Its impossible to know for certain, but David Letterman’s audience isn’t likely to be overly conservative. Over the last decade or so, Letterman has tried his damnedest to alienate anyone to the right of Nancy Pelosi. At this point, the folks who make up the crowd at a Letterman Show taping are either apolitical low-information independents or pro-clap humor leftists who couldn’t get seats to The Colbert Report. The people yukking it up at Stewart’s gags are by and large Obama supporters. Do they hate themselves?

Beyond the audience’s self-loathing, Jon Stewart doesn’t come off all that well either. Homeboy might’ve been a comedian back in the day, but his nebbish self-deprecation act is pretty much completely played out. Its one thing to work the ‘I-hate-myself’ bits when you’re a struggling comic doing the warm-up gig at a dive club in Duluth. When you’re a prominent well-paid member of the Viacom Corporation, it’s hard to keep selling the same jokes you’ve been using since the Clinton Administration.

Speaking of jokes, besides a few throwaway lines here and there, where was Stewart’s mad comedy skillz? Jonnie’s adoring fans at MSNBC and the New York Times insist that he’s a comic genius. Yet here is Stewart riffing on the some of the most clichéd material imaginable. Unless you think ‘Say, ever notice how Jewish people aren’t known for their athletic prowess’ jokes are cutting edge. It’s amazing how much sharper Stewart is when he’s got his raft of Daily Show writers and editors setting him up. Without that crutch, Stewart is little more than a hammy Borscht Belt throwback.

The wounded puppy dog undertone in Stewart’s joke is fairly pathetic too. It has the stench of a man who realizes that his political idol views him as little more than a means to an end. Stewart probably didn’t think the Age of Obama wasn’t gonna end up this way. After 2008 everybody was supposed to head on out to the dance floor and get with the socialist slide, with Stewart as the line-dance leader. The only issue left to debate was just how fast America was going to hurdle towards the warm bosom of the nanny-state.

Instead the Tea Party sprang up and shit the punchbowl with all their buzzkill talk about entitlement reform, stopping runaway spending and embracing the Tenth Amendment. Then the 2010 midterms rolled around and the reich-wing raaaaacist GOPers went and ruined what was supposed to be Stewart’s Democrat-saving rally by actually winning the House. Now its 2012 and Stewart’s BFF isn’t exactly cruising to a 45 state landslide.

Worse, Jon Stewart has been reduced to being just another grunt in the President’s palace guard. That’s not awesome. Who the hell wants to be the ideological equivalent of an end-table in the Barack Enablers Club?  Seems like Stewart is starting to realize just who is the very junior partner in his relationship with President Obama.

Posted in Media Silliness | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Barack Obama, Contraception and Making The Sexxxy Time With An Old Document

Posted by KingShamus on February 20, 2012

Do you like the rule of law and America’s founding documents and stuff?  I sure do.

Barack Obama?  Eh….

In an effort to rally its base in the upcoming November election, the Obama administration seems more interested in punishing religiously based opposition to contraception and abortion than in marginally increasing access to contraception services…

In short, the birth-control mandate violates both statutory law and the Constitution. The fact that the administration promulgated it so flippantly, without seriously engaging on these issues, underscores how little it cares about either.

Folks, this is the point where the President is asking the Constitution to let him play a little game called “Just The Tip.”  Just for a second, just to see how it feels.

But we’re supposed to piss our pants and run around in abject terror because Rick Santorum might possibly be a closet theocrat.

Ummmm.  Okay.

Lets weigh the options here. 

Barack Obama is okay with TARP, declaring war on another country without Congressional approval, the car company bailouts, filling Administration positions without Senate oversight, the Porkulus, taking over Americans’ health care coverage, spending a billion dollar deficits every nanosecond and mom jeans.

How could Rick Santorum–even if all of the Pennsylvanian’s haters are right about his most fevered sexually repressed sweater-vestified Opus Dei-fueled fetus-empowering right-to-lifer fantasies–do any worse than the last four years?

Look, it isn’t February 2011.  There aren’t 10 boutique GOP candidates left to pick and choose from.  Nobody is waiting with bated breath for the results of the Ames straw poll. 

Real votes have been cast.  Actual primaries and caucuses have winnowed the field.  Gingrich, Paul, Romney and Santorum are the choices the GOP has left.  Make your peace with that admittedly depressing reality and move on.

In the meantime, Obama still wants to give the US Constitution the business.

Related: The ever-cool Pundette has some related thoughts on our wacky priorities.

Posted in Domestic Happenings | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Music Monday Commander-in-Chief: “Peaches” by The Presidents of The United States of America

Posted by KingShamus on February 20, 2012

In honor of Presidents’ Day.

We’ve had good presidents.  We’ve had bad presidents

But we’ve never had presidents like The Presidents of The United States Of America.  Three dudes who look like the assistant managers at the local Denny’s really shouldn’t be rock stars.  Yet for a short time, they were.

Also, Calvin Coolidge ruled.  Deal with that.

Posted in Music Monday | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reagan Would Want It This Way

Posted by KingShamus on February 19, 2012

Yes.  Yes he would.

I know that there are no Republicans running for President in 2012 who are even in the same galaxy as President Reagan.  Ronaldus Ultra Magnus has been called a once-in-a-lifetime politician.  Modern conservatives are starting to see just how painfully singular Reagan really was in America’s history.

But would Ronnie want us to just let Barack Obama win this election and drag the country even further into a statist death-hole?  No.  Reagan would tell us to do the right thing and vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.  Emphasis on ‘vote’. 

We’re gonna have to pinch our noses on this one, folks.  The country needs us to save it from itself.  And Barack Obama. 

A little bit of both, really.  But mostly Barack Obama.

I snagged the Reagan pic from Baldilocks’ Twitter feed.  Ya know she’s a pretty rad author too, right?

Posted in Domestic Happenings | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Barack Obama: I Totally Have A Plan To Stop This Runaway Spending

Posted by KingShamus on February 18, 2012

The details? Oh sure, here you go.

But wait–there’s more!

Testifying before the House Budget Committee today, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Chairman Paul Ryan the following: “We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

Actually, President Obama sort of did have a definitive solution. He created a debt commission, which devised a long-term debt reduction plan. Which the president rejected. And instead, we get this new budget proposal, which makes no effort to deal with Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—the long-term drivers of U.S. federal debt. The debt curve never gets bent, as the above White House (!) chart shows. (Yes, the chart comes from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.) It just goes up and up and up—until the heat death of the universe or the economy is struck by a Greek-style debt crisis.

Read the rest, as James Pethokoukis basically slaughters the argument that this administration has any inkling or desire to reign in spending.

Turbo Tax Timmy is a funny dude.  The guy who couldn’t figure out how to pay his own taxes is annoyed by Paul Ryan’s long term debt reduction plan.  Meanwhile, somewhere Dane Cook is seething over Daniel Tosh’s latest comedy routine.

As hilarious as Geithner can be, he’s just a reflection of his feckless incompetent boss.  Back in 2008, Obama promised to cut the deficit in half.  See, Barry can make with the yuks too.

Question:  Could Romney, Santorum or Gingrich be any worse on the federal budget than Obama?

That’s what this election is really about.  Not Mitt Romney’s feelings about his tax rate. Not Rick Santorum’s position on jimmy hats. Not Newt Gingrich’s expansive views on serial divorce. None of that stuff is vitally important to continued existence of this Republic.

Don’t get it twisted. All of those other debates–and all the secondary discussions that spring from them–have a great deal of merit in certain contexts. Free societies should have many ongoing discussions about numerous topics if they are to survive in a complex and ever-changing world.

I’ll even grant that if it was twenty or thirty years ago, those kinds of issues would’ve been featured more prominently in an election season. Relatively good times give folks the luxury to drill down on a lot of stuff.  When the entire lawn is perfectly mowed down to putting green length, the single blade of two foot tall crabgrass looks far bigger than it really is.

The problem is that the US can no longer afford to look solely on ancillary issues and make political decisions. Why? Because, as the chart suggests, pretty soon America won’t be able to afford shit.

Baldi is right: America is at a crossroads and there is no back tracking out of it.  Naturally, Barack Obama doesn’t want you to recognize this reality.  He is the smiling ignorant face of a man running at full speed directly into the blades of a corn combine.  His budget represents the bankrupting hope and the backbreaking change inherent in the assumptions of the statist status quo. 

Obama desperately wants you to focus on the flaws of the GOP candidates.  His record cannot withstand a cursory glance, much less a thoughtful critique.  So yeah, lets all really pick through the records of Romney, Gingrich and Santorum. 

With a fine-toothed comb.

For the 80th time.

This week.

Yeah, that’ll be awesome.

Or lets not do that.  We know what the GOP guys are all about.  Their various quirks and personality traits have been thoroughly examined.  More importantly, their positions are all very much known quantities.  If Republican voters don’t know what the candidates stand for by now, they’re not really paying attention.

No, the focus has to shift back to the Arrogant Incompetent Affirmative Action Hire-In-Chief.  Obama’s budget should be all the impetus any conservative needs to put their eyes back on Barack Obama.  His spending plan is practically designed to get right-wingers furious at the President all over again.

I say we give Obamster what he wants. Our president deserves to be the center of Republican attention. Lets make him and his leadership the only important issue in this campaign.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, Politicians behaving badly | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

We Wish You A Merry Blogaversary–The Conservative Hideout Turns Three!

Posted by KingShamus on February 15, 2012

Hip-Hip-Hooray!

Actually, the “blogaversary” was on Saturday.  Three years ago then, Posted The Piggly Wiggly and the Porkulus, and the Conservative Hideout was drug, kicking and screaming, into the world.

Hideout-Meister Matt Ross goes on to thank his many supporters, which is just one reason why he’s not only a great blogger and a true patriot but a class act as well.

Why don’t ya’all mozzee on over to the CH and wish him a happy blog birthday?  I’ll be here when you get back.

Matt’s post is a reminder of something really important.  Members of the the right-leaning blogosphere should do what they can to support their own.  Money is always a nice way of encouraging us greedy reich-wing capitalist running dogs, of course.  The Left will always have ways of helping their foot-soldiers, in both legal and not-so-legal ways.  When possible, letting some spare change rattle around the tip jars of our favorite peeps wouldn’t be the worst idea.

But making all this crazy blogger cash isn’t everything.  If all you can afford is a link or a comment, then that’s pretty cool too.  Teh internetz is always better when we act as much like meatspace humans as possible.   A verbal high-five is a great way to tell a blogger to keep up the good work.

In any event, here’s to Matt and his great Conservative Hideout.  Lift a glass and throw up a toast:  Here’s to many more years of success to come.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, The Social Scene | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Music Tuesday Outlaw Country – “Valentine” by Willie Nelson

Posted by KingShamus on February 14, 2012

Because, like the Red-Headed Stranger himself says, you never really outgrow Valentine’s Day.

It’s a deceptively simple tune.  “Valentine” is taken from Across the Borderline, which I suppose you could consider late-period Willie.  At that point, Nelson had spent the last three years getting his assets seized by the IRS for failure to pay back taxes.  I for one am shocked, shocked, that a famous bong-load proponent was less than studious about coughing up the cheddar to the gubmint [sarc/].

In any case, in 1993 Willie had basically gotten his fiscal house in order.  Across the Borderline reflects an understandable sense of relief.  His love for Paul Simon’s material is reflected in not one but two covers.  Nelson’s version of  John Hiatt’s “The Most Unoriginal Sin” finds Willie in an epic mood, with sweeping lyrics and a stately tempo that recall the Book of Genesis and a bawdy forbidden romance all at once.

For my money, “Valentine” is the best tune on the disc.  The flamenco-flavored guitar lines move the listener far off into a dusky Texican vista.  Nelson’s tenderness and plain-spoken delivery take what could’ve been a trite exercise and turn it into magic.

There are a million love songs.  Most of them are clichéd.  A lot of them are just lame.  It’s a special tune that manages to capture the sweet innocence of a childhood love and the understanding that happens in an adult relationship.  “Valentine” nails it.

Posted in Music Monday, The Social Scene | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Music Monday R.I.P. – “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston

Posted by KingShamus on February 13, 2012

 

 

It can be argued that Whitney Houston was the most important vocal artist of the last 50 years.   The woman sold something like 120 million albums worldwide.  That doesn’t include her singles or her videos.  Over one hundred twenty million records sold in a career that spanned just 24 years.  From that perspective alone, her record is simply astounding.     

Check out the breadth of her influence.  How many singers have said they were inspired by Houston?  Just about any pop vocalist you’ve listened to since the mid-80′s.   Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Anita Baker, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson are just a few of the performers that have cited Whitney Houston as a career influence.

Most amazing is how her success changed the way popular music sounded.  Houston’s naturally powerful soprano was augmented by gymnastic gospel-infused vocal runs that seemed effortless.  Her mentor Clive Davis paired Whitney’s one in a billion voice with uptempo accessible numbers and expertly crafted ballads.  The result was a seemingly never-ending stream of mega-platinum hits and rafts of weak imitators.

We don’t know just yet what took Whitney Houston away from this world, but we do know that her last few years have been marked by alcoholism and drug abuse.  Addiction is always a tragedy.  When someone as talented and blessed as Whitney Houston appears to have succumbed to substances, its a terrifying mystery.  What kind of hole in Houston’s life could only be filled by drugs?

Ms. Houston leaves behind millions of adoring fans.  And a daughter who appears to have difficulties of her own. 

RIP.

Posted in Music Monday, RIP | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Ya Know That Clint Eastwood Super Bowl Ad…?

Posted by KingShamus on February 7, 2012

Well, ReasonTV has a nice answer for that.

Also, screw you Obama.  You created Zombie Chrysler.  You saved a dying company that should’ve been allowed to croak, then parted out and given a reboot.  Instead, Chrysler fucking sucks.  Dodge sucks.  Jeep sucks.  Ram sucks.  

The entire company is covered in the stench of pushy beige pocker-protector nerdlington government bureaucrat flop sweat.  

We’re still stuck with the tab for the government’s decision to make a charity case from the husk of a car company that wasn’t smart enough to get out  of its own way.  On the other hand, it’s not like the local Chrysler dealership is giving American car buyers a 10 grand discount on the 300.  They aren’t running a buy one get one free sale for Grand Cherokees.  You don’t remember all those half off specials  on Challengers?  Yeah, me neither.

UPDATE: I brainfarted on the youtube link. This post will make more sense now that the movie is actually included. My bad.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, Politicians behaving badly | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Music Monday Victory – “We Are The Champions (Live)” By Queen

Posted by KingShamus on February 6, 2012

Congratulations go to the New York Football Giants, the 2012 world champions of football.

Question:  Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls in the last five years.  Is he an elite quarterback yet? People made fun of Manning when he said last summer that he was on a par with the great playcallers in the NFL.  Well, the funny thing is that not too many quarterbacks playing right now have two Super Bowl rings.  Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and now Eli Manning; that’s it.

Doesn’t this win put Eli Manning in the elite of current NFL quarterbacks?  If it doesn’t, what the hell does?  Does homeboy have to win another championship?  Does he have to get another Super Bowl MVP?

I realize that before this season Eli didn’t have ultra-gaudy regular season numbers.  Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and–yes–Tom Brady all have more impressive regular season statistics.  There have been times during his career when Eli has looked very average.  While Manning has done well to cut down on his mistakes this season, it’s not like he never threw an interception or missed a receiver.

The thing is, when Manning has to get the job done in a pressure-filled moment in the game, he responds far more often than he doesn’t.  He only threw about a thousand fourth quarter touchdowns this year.  More importantly, both of his Super Bowl appearances have been marked by spectacular plays that facilitated a victory.

By any measure, Eli Manning is an elite quarterback.  The way you know it is simple.  If Eli retired right now with no other additions to his resume, he’d almost assuredly go into the NFL Hall of Fame.  There’s a chance he’d get into the Hall on the first ballot.  That’s how great Manning has been over the course of his career.

Ehhh, just some food for thought.  In the end, the most important thing is that the G-Men came away with the victory.  Congratulations to the world champion New York Giants.

Posted in Music Monday, The Social Scene | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Super Bowl 2012

Posted by KingShamus on February 5, 2012

Well, for a football season that almost didn’t happen, this year has been a helluva ride.  The lockout might’ve put a scare into players, owners and fans, but once it was over the NFL put the rocky offseason behind it in short fashion.  The 2011 Super Bowl winners, the Green Bay Packers, had a dominating 15-1 record only to lose in the second round of the playoffs.  Teams like the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders, who both have long histories of losing, were finally competitive and have potential to be strong in the future.

After a great season, it makes sense that this year’s Super Bowl is full of drama.  The 2011-2012 edition of the New England Patriots features a high-powered offense led by All-Universe quarterback Tom Brady. Most teams have one fair to good tight ends.  The Pats are blessed with two spectacular TE’s; Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez both had insanely productive seasons.  Wes Welker is one of the more dangerous wide receivers in the NFL.  As usual head coach Bill Belichick has his hydra-headed running back attack of Danny Woodhead, Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley, which allows him to plug in three guys into the position and keep all of them rested.

What New England doesn’t have is a lock-down defense.  With the exception of  Vince Wilfork, there aren’t a lot of bona-fide stars on the Patriots’ defensive team.  This is somewhat surprising, as Belichick made his NFL reputation as a defensive mastermind.

The New York Giants are in the Super Bowl, but at times during the year it was doubtful whether they’d make it to the playoffs.  From mid-November to mid-December, the G-men lost five out of six games.  During that swoon, head coach Tom Coughlin was allegedly headed for the unemployment line.  Whispers of a rebuilding effort in the offseason were heard.  Player grumblings and dissention was a factor.  Instead of slouching towards a January tee time, the Giants rattled off five straight victories and turned what could’ve easily been an epic failure into a potential Super Bowl victory.

Emphasis on ‘potential’.  In the Patriots, New York faces unique challenges.  The Giants pass rush is a dangerous weapon that has proven that it can get to any quarterback in the league.  However, stopping the run is not their strong suit.  Even their pass defense has some holes.  If the Giants aren’t putting pressure on the passer, their secondary can be overwhelmed and end up burned for big plays.

It looks like the Super Bowl will come down to the match-up between the Patriots offense versus the Giants defense.  If the Giants are hitting and sacking Tom Brady, the Patriots are in for a long game.  If Brady and Bellichik can mix in the run and pass and keep the Giants on their heels, the Patriots have the talent and weapons that could turn this game into a New England route.

I could also see special teams factoring in here.  The Giants are not known for their great special teams play.  Lawrence Tynes can hit a clutch field goal, but he doesn’t have the strongest leg on kick-offs.  Even if New England doesn’t run back a kick-off for a touchdown, they could get serious yardage on kick-offs which would set up their offense on short fields.  On the other hand, Bill Bellichik has been known to take risks if he thinks he can catch the other team off-guard.  Fake punts, onside kicks; the whole gamut of trick plays could be possible in this match-up.

My long-running support of the New York Football Giants is hampering my normally completely fool-proof football prognostication skills [sarc/].  My heart wants the Gints to snag their second Super Bowl in four years.  My head tells me that the Giants defense is superior to the Patriots defense, which should be enough to secure a New York victory.  My pessimistic streak–located somewhere in my bunions–says that since everyone on the planet seems to be picking the Giants, New England could sneak out a victory.

I really don’t know about the game.  I’m too much of a fan to really look at this objectively and make a pick.  I do know that I like cheerleaders, though.  Lots and lots of cheerleaders.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, homies.  And the girls too.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, The Posts of Morale, The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Mike Bloomberg’s Very Busy Week

Posted by KingShamus on February 3, 2012

Say, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has been sorta quiet lately.  It seems like everybody’s favorite snow-removal expert and amateur dietitian is holding back.  Wouldn’t it be rad if homeboy could pull off some kind of moralistic left-wing show-boating maneuver to let us know he still hates over half of America?       

Mayor Bloomberg plans to give Planned Parenthood $250,000 to make up for money it lost when a breast cancer group cut its funding.

“Politics have no place in health care,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Thursday. “Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”

The controversy erupted this week after the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation said it would not renew most of the grants it made to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings — about $700,000 annually.

…Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a statement saying that it was “enormously grateful to Mayor Bloomberg.”

“This contribution will help ensure that politics don’t interfere with women having access to health care,” the statement said. “People all across the country have stepped forward in the last 48 hours to offer help and support, and the mayor’s donation will help ensure that no woman is denied breast cancer services because of right-wing political pressure campaigns.”

Bloomberg will donate a dollar for every new dollar that Planned Parenthood brings in, up to $250,000.

Bloomberg has a point.  I mean, Planned Parenthood should get funding for breast cancer screenings.  All those mammograms cost money, right?

During a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure CEO Nancy Brinker and President Elizabeth Thompson revealed the main reason why the Planned Parenthood abortion business lost its funding. It doesn’t do mammograms.

“It was nothing they were doing wrong,” Brinker explained. “We have decided not to fund, wherever possible, pass-through grants. We were giving them money, they were sending women out for mammograms. What we would like to have are clinics where we can directly fund mammograms.”

She added, later in the day on Twitter:, saying the money “will be invested in programs to serve low-income, uninsured and underinsured women.”

“Our Board approved new grants standards to improve direct services to women,” she said. “New grants standards strive for grants that provide direct services and outcomes. We have to put metrics, outcomes and measures to our grants so we can translate the science we’ve funded over 30 yrs. We will continue to provide services to vulnerable populations with care, treatment and screening.”

“We’ve decided not to fund pass-through grants. What we would like is to have clinics where we can directly fund mammograms,” she added

See, you stupid reich-wing bitter-clingers.  Nurse Bloomberg is right.  Planned Parenthood desperately needs those hundreds of thousands of dollars so that it can perform abortions breast cancer screenings that aren’t mammograms. 

Making a big fat donation to Planned Parenthood is a good start, but the mayor can do better than that.  This is a man of vision, after all.  We need something bigger, more costly and much more obnoxious than just tossing the fetus-haters some cheddar

No peace for weary Conservatives. Not even the Super Bowl apparently is exempt. Yes, the 2nd Amendment is a hoot, Mr. Bloomberg. Guns are so annoying.

In an unprecedented move, the mayor and his national coalition against illegal guns (which are most guns in NYC) plan to air a 30-second ad during the big game, which draws some of the highest TV ratings of the year and traditionally serves as a platform for memorable and very expensive commercials…

They provided a single picture from the shoot, which showed Bloomberg wearing a replica Giants tee shirt over his dress shirt with French cuffs, seated next to Menino in Patriots garb. Both were seated on a couch in front of a table with hats of their respective teams.

“It was very funny,” the mayor said of the ad, without providing further details. “You should take a look at it.”

“A New York-Boston Super Bowl is a perfect opportunity for the mayors to talk about fixing the nation’s backround check system that allow criminals and dangerous people to buy guns illegally,” said Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna.

Yeah, that’s more like it.

Forget the fact that most sports fans don’t want to think about politics during the biggest football game of the year.  Bloomberg is sure that the average American gridiron enthusiast wants and needs a thinly veiled propaganda clip featuring a lispy sawed-off billionaire media mogul lecturing the country about guns.  People eat that shit up; that’s why Current TV is kicking so much ass in the ratings.

So yeah, it’s been a great week for Mike Bloomberg.  The only way it could get better is if he could make all health care plans pay for contraception.  Oh wait, somebody already did that

Posted in Politicians behaving badly | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Presidential Election Doomwatch–Placing The Blame For Mitt Romney’s Ascendency

Posted by KingShamus on February 2, 2012

It’s only February, and it feels like a lot of the wind has gone out of the sails of the conservative base. The culprit? With just four states checked off the 2012 primary season, the results simply aren’t very encouraging. Ron Paul continues to fight the good fight against fiat currency, the last 50 years of American foreign policy and chemtrails. Rick Santorum cannot seem to gain any traction as a viable center-right alternative candidate. Meanwhile, Captain Ahab Gingrich and the Romneytron 2012 Self-Guided Political Action Figure have turned each state into a clash of personalities rather than a fight over ideas.

Why did it come to this? RightHandMan has some harsh–but fair–words.

In 1976, the Republicans watched Reagan lose to Ford and then saw the repercussions of that loss in Carter’s four years. Thing is, Reagan didn’t want to run for President – but did. Know why? Because the people demanded it.

In 1976, the American Conservative Union pushed Reagan to run against the establishment supported and Presidential incumbent Gerald Ford. The establishment supported the wrong guy (the moderate), told us that a conservative like Reagan could never win in the general election, and went on to fail in the race against Carter anyway. The establishment strikes again in 2012 but…No Reagans.

Shame on the conservatives who sat on the sidelines instead of running. Shame on the citizens for not demanding better.

It’s our own damn fault. This whole godforsaken clusterfuck of a Republican primary dogpile is our fault.

I understand when people talk about how the Establishment ‘wants’ Romney to win. I get how they can feel cheated by a process that seems designed to hand Mittens the nomination. At the end of the day though, it still comes down to people supporting, or withdrawing their support from, certain candidates. The conservatives and Republicans who did not want Mitt Romney to be the party’s nominee simply didn’t do enough to make sure that didn’t happen.

But it isn’t just the vast right-wing conspiracy that dropped the ball.  While we’re in the spirit of circular firing squads, let me take aim right back at myself.  I jumped on the Herman Cain train with my heart, but I should’ve given it a little more thought than I did. While I had my doubts about the man being completely ready for prime time, I truly believed that he was a star that would shine brighter as time went on.  That simply was not the case.

I still think Herman Cain is an impressive guy.  He has a deft grasp of economics, he’s a successful businessman who has beaten the odds to rise to the top of profession and he is a forceful public speaker who can connect to audiences. These are all tremendous assets that should not be discounted simply because he didn’t do well during the course of a presidential campaign.  There is a future for Herman Cain somewhere in the political world, even if we can’t quite see it yet.

At the same time, Herman Cain and all his wonderful qualities were not able to get the job done. Presidential politics requires an absurdly varied skill-set.  Just having visionary ideas isn’t enough. Simply being a good orator won’t cut it.  Merely carrying around a huge warchest won’t work either.

Very few people in the world possess the vast talents necessary to play at Commander-in-Chief Level Boss status; even fewer have the desire or stomach for it. Ever wonder why the GOP cannot seem to create another Ronald Reagan? It’s not just that the Republican Party tends to dislike movement conservative candidates, although that’s certainly part of the problem. It’s because Reagan’s combination of temperament, knowledge, endurance and skills are so exceedingly rare that finding another giant world-changing figure like him is damn near impossible.

Conservatives–myself included–should recognize that fact.  They should also recognize the limitations of the candidates in the field.  Most politicians are not going to be awesome right out of the box.  Reagan’s iconic status is in part a product of the passage of time.  In the 1980′s, most of the Left and more than a few on the Right thought Ultra Ronaldus Magnus was a bird-brained failed actor who was intent on nuking the world.  Even those in the conservative movement who voted for and agreed with the President still criticized him.  It’s only been relatively recently that Reagan has become respected–if not loved–across the political spectrum.

As time has passed, I think I saw more in Herman Cain than was actually there.  I thought that he had the potential to be a transformational politician.  It turns out that Mr. Cain is merely an incredibly impressive man.  For what its worth, I’m sorry I didn’t recognize his limitations as a candidate.  Had I been a bit more skeptical a little sooner, I probably would’ve moved faster to find a more viable Not-Romney. 

2012 has been full of lessons.  Sometimes those learning moments have been delivered with a bit of a sting attached.  Rather than cry over it, it’s best to learn the lesson quickly, move forward and be wiser in the future.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, Politicians behaving badly | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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