Friday, April 30, 2010

Screw you NHL

No offence to Ted Lindsay, but this is sacrilege.

Friday Night Beer: Half Pints Pothole Porter

Sorry for the missed beer posts, busy month, but things are starting to settle down.

Pothole Porter
Half Pints Brewing Company
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Baltic Porter

Friend grabs me Half Pint brews whenever he's coming out to Ottawa, or our paths are going to cross. Half Pints is a great brewery, if you're in Manitoba make sure you give them a try. I'm pretty sure they have a rep in Ontario too and there have been some consignment orders. This time I got a Pothole Porter. Baltic Porter is akin to an Imperial Stout; big, boozy, roasty.

Pours near-black with read highlights all around the glass. Couple finger thick mocha head settles pretty quickly. Spotty lacings.

Alot of fruity alcohol on the nose, tones down the roasted coffee a bit. Burnt bread when you dig a bit deeper, almost coal like.

This has an interesting malt profile. Lots of fruit to it, dark fruit but hard to nail down. Bit of a cherry taste to it, maybe black currant. Bittersweet chocolate kicks in soon enough, giving the impression of chocolate covered cherries. Roasted coffee flavour is a bit hit and miss, it's fleeting. Nicely integrated alcohol throughout.

This is a well made porter. Strength is well controlled. Flavours mix nicely. Gives you a bit more than run-of-the-mill coffee bitterness.

To be completely honest, I'm not a huge stout/porter fan, I find they all sorta taste the same, you're just dealing with different degrees of coffee/chocolate. Nonetheless, this is a good one.

Calling All Trolls!

From the "are you still beating your wife?" department...

Ever asked yourself Is the CBC a Liberal propaganda outlet? Ask no more! Jane "Tory Talking Point Dispenser 2000" Taber and John Doyle will, apparently, answer that very question at 11AM. Yeah this will end well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One for the Good Guys

Listening in on the activities in the House will, more often than not, make you angry. Great men and women have spoken on the Hill, great issues have been discussed. It's more than a little refreshing to hear something worthy of the place being said in that old building on Wellington.

Derek Lee has it absolutely right when he says (paraphrased from Kady O):

the opportunities to benchmark these sorts of powers come along once every fifty years or so, he reminds us, but our speakers "have never been so clear" before now.

Pay attention to her spot for the full text. The closing is great stuff, it should be printed in every newspaper in the country tomorrow. In fact they should carve it in stone and set it up in the lobby of the House.

Entertain Us

When I saw the above video I, like most anti-Conservatives that saw it, thought it was good fun. Look at Levant making a fool of himself, look at him embarrass the CPC on National television.

Then I saw this column by Globe tv critic John Doyle this morning. This sort of thing unnerves me. No, I don't usually rely on tv critics, food editors, and gossip columnists for insightful political analysis. However, I can't help but feel that someone who has made a career out of watching tv is a bit more representative of the Canadian population than an Ottawa boy with a political science degree. I know the blogging tories enjoyed this, but they're certainly not representative of the Canadian population (we hope).

I don't doubt that if you ran a poll about whether Canadians were interested in watching this sort of stuff, a large majority would say no, not at all, but we know Canadians also say that they hate attack ads, and we know those definitely do work. I remember an anecdote a journalism professor once told me about FOX executives watching FOX News with the volume on mute to decide if they were doing their jobs well or not. So how many uninvolved Canadians watched that bit on P&P the other night and found something to like about Levant's exaggerated movements and shouting?

This whole Graves-CBC thing has just been a fundraising drive for the CPC (possibly ruining a private citizen's career in the process), of that I have no doubt. Yet I'm worried it's a sign of things to come. With gas bags like Levant and smarmy courtiers like Teneycke becoming increasingly prominent in Canadian current events programming, are we destined for nothing but Crossfire-esque political commentary?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Ironing is Delicious

EKOS is a very respected pollster. I work for one of their competitors, but we all recognize their polling abilities, especially when it comes to election polling. So this crusade that the Tories have undertaken against Frank Graves is a bit bizarre to all of us in the market research world.

Let's set aside the irony of Tory windbag and paid hack Kory Teneycke whining about someone else being biased. Let's also set aside the absurdity of the outrage coming from Canwest papers and Sun Media, shocked to hear that the CBC might use the services of a pollster who has (or has not) done work for the Liberals. Bias in the news media, well they never!

While most everyone is focusing on whether Graves actually ever spoke with the Liberal Party or not, few seem to be pointing out the hilarity of the CPC getting offended that someone might be playing wedge politics. Nasty of them Liberals, using CPC strategy against them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Contempt for Parliament

So, judgement day tomorrow... maybe.

The Speaker will let us know whether we might want to consider putting this ugly mug on those fancy new plastic bills we're getting next year. Perhaps they could put a couple lemmings on the other side (funny, and ironic, fact: did you know the infamous Disney film clip of lemmings leaping to their deaths off a cliff was orchestrated and filmed in Alberta? Appropriate huh?).

I, for one, am rather anxious to find out whether sending an MP to Parliament is of any use at all. Lately the evidence has suggested that would be a negative. I mean during the last prorogation esteemed members of the CPC caucus were telling every community paper that would listen that Parliament is just a big waste of time. It gets in the way of governing. The press, being of this particular time and place, saw no reason to point out that this was sorta kinda the reason for Parliament, especially with a minority government. Parliament doesn't exist to make it easier for Prime Ministers to govern, it exists to check their power and ensure that the People have a voice.

And so a few thousand Canadians joined a Facebook group, gathered politely on a handful of sidewalks, applauded a couple speeches politely, and listened to some music politely, before politely going home to catch American Idol or The Biggest Loser. There was a minor blip in the Prime Minister's popularity before Jane Taber went back to reporting that the CPC just sent out an e-mail pointing out that the Leader of the Opposition is a for'ner and intelekshul!

Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson continued to report on the possible complicity in the torture of those sketchy troop-hatin' Afghan folk, but the story began a steady march to the back pages of the newspaper (that nobody reads). Then, suddenly, a dude who looks like he's wearing one of those aprons from the barber* shows up at the top of The Globe and Mail's website and the headline says something about important decision blah blah blah torture blah blah blah contempt of Parliament blah blah blah... ouuuu look it's Inspiration Week on American Idol!!!

So aside from a couple public affairs columnists that not many people read, this massive decision will be reported as some sort of arcane Parliamentary discussion, on par with getting them to wear powdered wigs in the Senate or getting to the bottom of the funny hat the Sergeant-at-Arms insists on wearing.

That's the thing that upsets me. Not that the Prime Minister has such contempt for Parliament, there were nasty politicians 150 years ago too, but that nobody cares. It isn't just the CPC that has contempt for Parliament, it's the vast majority of Canadians, who through their apathy and complete ignorance of government, show a far more dangerous contempt for the institution that the Fathers of Confederations put so much thought and debate into, conscious of just how important this all is.

*I was going to link to a picture of Mr. Milliken wearing his robes, but the G&M saw fit to replace their story about the watershed decision expected tomorrow for the much more important story of Nick Clegg, the leader of the British Liberal-Democrats whose sudden sort-of popularity might result in a slightly smaller minority government for David Cameron.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Guergis Prediction

I'm going to go out on a limb here. Helena Guergis is stupid, arrogant, and married to the ultimate sleaze ball. I don't doubt she's been wined and dined by lobbyists, but I'd suggest that she hasn't done anything illegal. Unethical, probably, but the Mounties aren't going to slap the 'cuffs on her.

My guess, Harper's over-the-top reaction is play acting. He boots her from caucus, RCMP comes back and says she's clean, Harper appears at a press conference with her, both glowing in their vindication.

I say this because of her flat out denials in the press. If they honestly thought she was going to get arrested, you know Harper would have her locked in the basement of the Hill.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Night Beer: Southern Tier Unearthly

Imperial India Pale Ale
Southern Tier
Lakewood, New York

Something interesting tonight. I picked up an armload of interesting beers in Vancouver, not available in Onterrible. If you're a Vancouverite, get ye to Brewery Creek on Main (I think). This is a hop head's beer. An Imperial India Pale Ale (or DIPA- D for double). These are the hop-monsters of the beer world. American IPAs are recognized as being the most bitter of beers, and Americans, being Americans, decided to Imperialize them, that is make them stronger, more flavourful, and more bitter. Loads of hop bombs available down South, but this is one of the most well-known. The silk screen label tells you it is thrice hopped. Kettle hopped with Chinook and Cascade, Styrian and Goldings are added in a hop back, and finally a good dry hopping of Cascade, Centenial and Chinook.

Pours copper-penny red. Big off-white head settles quickly to a thick film. Nice web of lacings all the way down. Beer is completely clear. Nice slow-moving bubbles floating to the top. Looks good.

Surprising nose. Here I was expecting a big smack of hops to rip my nostrils apart. Instead I get some big caramel aromas. Adding to the malt profile, there's fresh-baked bread, and a touch of butter. Resinous pine is the only sign of hops, and it doesn't really stand out that much.

Flavour is in keeping with the aroma. Burnt, heavy, caramel on the tip of the tongue, with strong honey flavour developing soon enough. Butter rounds everything out, and leaves a bit of an aftertaste. It's funny, one sip doesn't give me a tonne of hops, but you really begin to feel the resiny bitterness start to build at the back of your mouth. Very sticky hop oils. My glass is about 3/4 empty and the back of my mouth is starting to feel almost numb. Very interesting.
Good smooth mouthfeel, goes down really easy. Drinkability is shocking. Alcohol is very well-hidden. An interesting beer, not entirely on-style, but I've never been a stickler for that.
A really interesting beer. I was expecting something with stand-out citrussy American hop flavours. Instead the hops are a bit stealthy, they sneak up on you as you drink and just cling to the back of your mouth. I feel like my tonsils are being melted. Yikes!
Closest thing in the LCBO would be Southern Tier IPA.
Apologies for the bad formatting, I copy my reviews over from somewhere else, and it buggers up my tags for some reason.