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Wednesday Open Thread

by In Wales Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:19:15 PM EST

Exclusively Wednesday


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Exclusively yours.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:19:53 PM EST
Will you be joining us for banter and play ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:20:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to go to the tip and then finish editing a wedding.  I'll try to pop in later! What have I missed?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zounds, how many moons has it been ?

Christmas, new year and Easter spring to mind. And a meetup

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:23:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a strange place to edit a wedding.
by ectoraige on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:46:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Up early for a blood test, the kind where you're not allowed breakfast.

Gah, that's hard. I'm not usually able to function without a cup of tea inside me, but i had to drive.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:22:14 PM EST
A pub crawl on monday night.

The first pub came highly recommended but...hmmm. My friend described it well by saying that it was very up itself. Which, translating the vernacular means someone had worked very hard to put all of the necessary elements together, but the net result was pretentious and fake. And the beer was dull, which is unforgiveable.

the second pub was much better. It's highly regarded, if somewhat expensive, and more than a bit trendy and posey, but it does pass the smell test in a way the first one didn't.

The last pub was cracking, a long established favourite. We had good beer and ended the evinging in good cheer if slightly wobbly

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:31:07 PM EST
However, on the crawl I found a lot of Craft beer, ie keg versions of real ale: Filtered, pastuerised, served using a canister of CO2 for fizziness.

I wrote an essay for the new website, but as it was an issue I'll give you a sneak preview

Crafty Keg

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is one of the most successful consumer organisations in the world. Beginning in the 1970s, it successfully challenged the prevailing beer industry in Britain which was trying to push low-quality, taste-free, cold and fizzy keg beer & lager onto drinkers and changed the situation to the extent that Real Ale, the traditional beer style of the UK, is now available in nearly every pub in the country.

 It was able to do so because it created a black and white distinction between real ale as demanded by CAMRA and the keg beer sold by the mega-keggeries. As wiki puts it, "Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is the term for unfiltered and unpasteurized beer which is conditioned (including secondary fermentation) and served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure".  A line in the sand was drawn, one side good, the other bad.

Now while this has worked very well with British beers, it is a line that is difficult to hold when dealing with beers from different traditions. It is one thing to refuse to accept "fake" pilsners brewed in large chemical plants in Wales, another thing entirely when dealing with the authentic filtered and pasteurized pilsners from Pilzen or Budowisce. Or Belgian and German beers. And how to react to American beers which are mostly British in style, but are served as keg beers ?

The Great British Beer Festival solves the conundrum by saying that beers brewed outside of Britain will be available on specialist "Foreign" beer bars. On said bars CAMRA will turn a blind eye on such issues as filtering and dispense, simply saying that these are authentic styles in their originating countries.
This is a line that has been held successfully for 30 years but which is now beginning to come under fire. And the problem is the popularity of American beers. Just as 25 years ago when British real ale inspired the Craft beer revolution in the USA, now these Craft beers are inspiring modern British brewers with their powerful sharply defined flavours.

From a purely commercial viewpoint, keg beers are easier to handle, more stable and more reliable; the very reason the big breweries wanted them 40 years ago. However, as the new British craft brewers would argue, if you can have the stability and have, as the Americans have amply demonstrated,  great flavours as well, what's not to like ?

Well, from a personal standpoint I've never had a craft version of a cask ale I thought was as good or as interesting as the original.  The flavour is thinner and less complex; for those who know I'd compare it to the difference between Kristal and Heffe Weisen beers.  Drink the two different versions of the same beer side by side and there is almost no comparison. It is the same with craft versions of real ales. Usually too cold by UK standards and often too fizzy, the very same problems that CAMRA railed against 40 years ago.

Nevertheless, Craft is coming. BrewDog led the way and, having ignored CAMRA and remained credible and commercially successful, they are now being followed by more breweries. The White Horse in Chelmsford even held a festival of them.

So, how should CAMRA respond ? They have, after all, been here before; with the Cask Breather. This was a system which allowed a beer to mature, but once matured, prevented the beer going off by flooding the cask with an inert gas at atmospheric pressure. Or at least that was the theory. CAMRA resisted this for several reasons, not least of which was that it was an obvious wedge issue, in that once the cask breather was allowed it would have been difficult to argue about other gases and different pressures. Before you know it, we would have had low quality keg beers back again, only this time CAMRA wouldn't have a hard and fast line to hold against them.

And here we are anyway and it's still true. Nobody doubts the integrity of the people at BrewDog and elsewhere, I don't think they want to abuse the keg beers they brew. But others would. By way of example, the craft beer festival I attended had some lovely beers, but they were served so cold they were tasteless. This was in a pub with several real ales on tap served in immaculate condition. When I complained that the beers were too cold, the landlord simply pointed out that;-

 i)it would warm up

ii) his other customers didn't mind.

Ah back to the dark old days of poorly presented beer drunk by people who don't care so long as it's wet. But don't worry; it'll be warm enough if you wait for it to go flat.

That's what's wrong with keg.  If real ale is abused, it's undrinkable and you have a good case to get a different beer or a refund. If keg is abused, it's your hard luck. And that's why, despite the fact that it will push a few of our more interesting brewers outside the tent, CAMRA should continue to say no.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:53:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CAMRA made their own bed by promoting hops and more hops and IPA as the epitome of beer.

Once you go there, you start to lose complex flavours and you end up with franken-product - and then the artificial processes come back in.

Amusingly, it's what Britain did to Indian food - you get macho types braying over vindaloo and ever greater scoville units - and before you know it you're eating riot control spray...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 03:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wrote an essay about that as well, two in fact.

The main issue is price. Hops are cheap and malt is not; the darker the malt, the dearer it is. So, brewers are enjoying the current fashion for thin hoppy, but otherwise tasteless beers.

CAMRA haven't made hops the acme of taste, drinkers did. Or at least they did when, like me, they're drinking the US hoppy beers. I am somewhat more jaundiced about the British versions which are, by and large, quite inferior.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 03:45:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are officially under contract on our house.  Now for 45 days of stress.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:36:19 PM EST
?
What happens in the 45 days?
by Katrin on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:54:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Mayan calendar runs out

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian:
The end is not quite nigh. At least that is the conclusion of a German expert who says his decoding of a Mayan tablet with a reference to a 2012 date denotes a transition to a new era and not a possible end of the world as others have read it.

The interpretation of the hieroglyphs by Sven Gronemeyer of La Trobe University in Australia was presented for the first time on Wednesday at the archaeological site of Palenque in southern Mexico.

So it's just the beginning of a new era....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wow, thats such a long time ago. I actually saw the musical on Broadway in the early 70's.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:49:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You forgot to mention that this is the #1 video on the stoner chart.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:54:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The closing date is in 45 days.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does that mean?
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:27:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is the date after which money and property can be transferred. Until that date problems with escrow can derail a sale or either party could pull out, though they would pay a significant price.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:33:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it can be transferred beforehand if everybody's ready, but that usually depends on the bank.  If the bank gets its underwriting done quickly enough, and everybody's game to go ahead, I've heard of closing in as little as 15 days.

But, yeah, normally the closing date is when it would go.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 03:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We had a 90 day escrow as a concession to the seller. It allowed them to move at a reasonable pace and didn't make much difference to us. But 'the closing date', which can move, is when the escrow closes, money is transferred and the title changes hands. The closing date depends on satisfactory completion of all title issues, loan issues and, possibly, issues about the property.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 03:30:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Part of the stress is that everything converges on the closing date. So if you have to pro-rate a water bill or a tank of heating oil, you make the calculation based on the planned closing date. If something happens to change that date, lots of papers have to be changed. The last time I bought a house, the stack of papers to be signed was about 2" tall.

Most interesting was the clause in the properly title that disallows the brewing or sale of alcoholic beverages on the property. That's a leftover from General William Jackson Palmer, who donated the land to the city. He was a teetotaler and required this limitation, although it is no longer enforced. Luckily for all the bars in town...

by asdf on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo Shakes Up Italian Politics - SPIEGEL ONLINE

All across crisis-hit Europe, voters are disillusioned with mainstream politicians and are turning to populist and radical parties. In Italy, the new rising force is comedian Beppe Grillo's grassroots Five Star Movement. But can the charismatic agitator supply real solutions to the country's problems?

He shouts and curses and tears at his unruly white hair. It's his mantra, his prophecy for Italy, and he's been reciting it for months. Party politics is over and Berlusconi is on his last legs, he says. "We will be the third-largest force, we, the Five Star Movement." It isn't a party but an idea -- Italy's new, stronger protest movement.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); Beppe Grillo, 63, shouts it from the country's public squares the way dictator Benito Mussolini once did from his balcony in Rome, and until recently hardly anyone took him seriously. His critics call him a demagogue, while his fans see him as someone who clears up abuses. He has been called "Italy's Michael Moore." He calls himself the "Detonator," a demolition expert whose target is the political establishment.

Grillo's prophecies came true in local elections on May 6-7. It was the first test run following former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's departure and Mario Monti's appointment as prime minister six months ago. The results were alarming, with a third of Italy's roughly 10 million eligible voters staying home. The center-left Democratic Party saw their share of the vote drop by up to 20 percent, while Berlusconi's right-wing People of Freedom (PdL) saw their support fall by up to 40 percent. The ousted prime minister wisely monitored the election debacle from a safe distance, in Moscow, where he was attending the inauguration of his friend Vladimir Putin as Russian president.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:27:30 PM EST
This afternoon I decided to cut my hair. It is decided by me; nobody is going to decide instead of me that my hair is cut.
by PerCLupi on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:34:52 PM EST
I thought it was the ECB that decides on haircuts.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:39:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My hair: no. This is the only thing left to decide to me. I cut my hair before.
by PerCLupi on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:43:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a renewable resource good for cleaning up oil spills.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 03:20:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I also made that decision recently. When it gets hot in the summer, the modern short hair styles are a lot more practical... No more hippies around here!
by asdf on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just been struggling with ordering a book in Hebrew without a Hebrew keyboard. Looks like I succeeded, though I know nothing about the bookstore I selected (no Amazon in Israel, and the main bookstore chain didn't have it).

The book is Shlomo Sand's latest, due out in English towards the end of the year. The author has already received death threats.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:42:36 PM EST
The Invention of the Jewish People?
by PerCLupi on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:52:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the sequel: The Invention of the Land of Israel
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:58:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iceland Review Online: Daily News from Iceland, Current Affairs, Business, Politics, Sports, Culture

MP for the Independence Party Árni Johnsen arranged for the relocation of a 30-ton boulder, which he believes is home to three generations of elves, from Sandskeið on Hellisheiði in southwest Iceland to his home Höfðaból in the Westman Islands today.

Árni first encountered the elves' dwelling when he was in a serious car accident in January 2010. His car overturned and landed beside the boulder 40 meters away from the highway, Morgunblaðið reports.

His SUV was damaged beyond repair but Árni escaped the accident unharmed. He considered whether the boulder might be a dwelling for hidden people and had it saved from landing underneath the south Iceland Ring Road when the highway was widened.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 03:56:16 PM EST
Hmmm. Up to now I was thinking that Iceland might be the place to move to in the coming Global Upheaval and Relocation.
by asdf on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't go to Iceland if I expected serious global upheavals. I doubt Iceland would be self-sufficient in food under a general embargo. And you can't precisely swim to Norway from there.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:29:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean it's not going to turn into a tropical paradise from global warming???
by asdf on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:42:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably not.

But if the glaciers melt enough, you may get the joy of a few volcanoes going "pop" from suddenly missing a hundred million tons of ice that used to keep the lid on.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 06:31:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:56:35 PM EST
This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Centennia Software (HistoricalAtlas.com)

wankers

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 09:00:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi folks; I'm off to Italy for the weekend. Just to tootle around Milan, which we haven't done yet. And possibly do a couple of organic vinos in cascina in the Oltrepo' Pavese, if the wimmin will let me get away with such frivolity.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 06:40:50 PM EST


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