Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Night Beer: Mill Street Betelgeuse

Whew, been awhile. The nastiest thing about the LCBO is that there are never any surprises. I know a beer is going to show up months in advance (by the way, the fall release is looking like a corker!). There are never any neat finds, and the one-offs are very rare because a craft brewer rarely knows he's going to brew something special with enough time to notify the LCBO, get it tested, etc. etc. Hence the lack of Friday Night Beers.

I forgot, however that I had purchased Mill Street Betelgeuse awhile back and had it stashed away in the fridge. Mill Street is a great Ontario brewery. They're known for their Tankhouse, Wit, and Organic Lager (bleh!), but they also do quite a bit of experimental stuff at their pub in Toronto. A month or so ago they sent the LCBO a bunch of this Betelgeuse and a Roggenbier (rye beer, highly recommended).

The Betelgeuse is in the style of a Belgian Tripel. The "Tripel" in Tripels refers to the amount of malt used (alot). These are strong ales, with a good dose of Belgian candy sugar, giving it a characteristic sweetness. The standard bearer in Ontario is Unibroue's Fin du Monde. We do get some of the true heavyweights from Belgium now and again from the Trappist breweries, but usually as seasonals. They're pretty powerful beers, and this one is no exception, weighing in at about 8%.

Mill Street Betelgeuse
Mill Street Brew Pub
Toronto, Ontario

Pours a dark peach, almost tangerine. Nice big creamy head, but it quickly fades away to nothing. Bubbles are slow moving, hinting at some very laid-back carbonation. A bit off-style.

Yikes, alcohol phenols just jump out at you. A little bit of light fruit in there, but it's like you'd expect from some flavoured vodka. Tripel should be much more complex.

Very sweet. Lots of fruit, but it's hard to nail down given the almost overpowering alcohol. Pear and candy sugar combine to leave an almost cloying taste. Where I'd usually expect a nice soft spice and yeast finish, I just get another hit of sugar.

Carbonation is off. The lack of carbonation just accentuates the almost unpleasant sweetness. You want a bit more to contribute to the overall complexity of the style.

A rare miss from Mill Street. Goes overboard on the sugars and misses the other flavours that make this style a Belgian beer geek favourite.

Monday, July 26, 2010

King Louis = Steve

The above title is for the CPC supporters who have been having the darndest of times trying to understand even the most basic facts involved in the census discussion.

For the rest of you, I present a quote from Reynold's exercise in stupidity from today's Globe:

"Le stat, to paraphrase Louis XIV, c’est moi."

First off, the horrible pun doesn't even make sense. Stats, er stat, is Louis XIV? I'm sure this had Reynolds chuckling to himself at his typewriter, but it's gibberish.

Nonetheless, there is some value in the quote. The irony is fantastic. Tell me, what reminds you more of Louis XIV: Collecting information about the population for the purposes of developing and running public programs and municipal planning, or the Prime Minister making a decision of national importance without consulting anyone, with no debate, on an issue outside his political mandate? L'etat, c'est lui.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cannons to the right of them, Cannons to the left of them...

My but Mr. Harper is cantankerous lately.

Probably a good deal of upside in scrapping affirmative action for the CPC, but it's sure going to be a noisy fight. Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward...

The Personification of the State

If there's one thing that stands out in this whole census debate, it's the strange habit of the populist new right of referring to the state as a person or creature. Two comments from a John Geddes blog post at Macleans are worth reading:

From Sir Francis:

Are you quite sure it is the state qua state that produces the tragedies of which you speak? Is it not perhaps the dispositions and overall ethical character of the people who make up the state which determine whether it produces tragedies or triumphs?

From Emily:

There is no such thing as 'the state'. There are only people.
Don't blame anything on some nebulous 'state'....look in the mirror.

In this whole discussion, the proponents haven't been concerned about politicians gathering information on the number of bedrooms you have for their own enjoyment. The conbots aren't worried about John Baird finding out where their ancestors were from and, presumably,jumping into his Delorian, going back in time, and killing them so that they were never born (I think that's what the issue is). They've been concerned about the government doing these things. The government is a creature. At turns, depending on the point being made, lazy, ignorant, and stupid, or, activist, all-knowing, and, above all, nefarious, the government is a villain to be stopped.

Government leads to fascism, or communism (the new conservative refuses to differentiate, mere definitions won't stop the liberal mind), no ifs, ands, or buts. Forget that Hitler and Stalin are exceptions when considering the modern developed state (as far as domestic life goes). It doesn't matter that the Nazis and the Communists were brought to power for the express purpose of targeting a specific group of people. Don't even think of mentioning that the Nazi's base was the same as the modern right's base today. Nonsense! They were all bloody socialists! Government is a creature and, grown up, it's evil.

Yet at its simplest, modern government is simply a pooling of public resources. We all pitch in, according to our ability, to pay for things that benefit all of us. To decide what those things are we elect representatives to decide. To carry out our wishes we hire public servants. However, once a country gets as large and as diverse as Canada, the public loses sight of what the government does. As is the case now, the public turns on itself. Populists with half-baked flavour-of-the-month ideas take this disconnect and wield it to knock down the structures built over a century and a half. Structures that weren't created for the heck of it, but were introduced to fill a need. In all of this, has anyone stopped and asked, why was statscan created in the first place? Why did those that came before us decide that this information was necessary for a better Canada?

The tragedy of it all is that the machinery of government does have a face. Munir Sheikh, a man who could have made a fortune in the private sector, but chose to literally dedicate his working life to his adopted country, steps aside and faces the wrath of the Conservative faithful for doing his job.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Epic Flail

David Eaves has a great post on Tony Clement's cringeworthy efforts at defending a bad policy, complete with twitter capture of Stephen Gordon giving the Minister a swirly.

The funny thing is that the exact same horrible justifications have played out in comment sections around the blogosphere in the exact same order. Be interesting to see whether Mad Max can give the trolls better material.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Advice

1) If you've never seen Great Big Sea live, you're missing out. Friday's Bluesfest performance was brilliant.

2) Go see Inception, great movie.

3) Singapore Noodles is the best value item on your local Chinese food menu.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Long Form Census

Everyone seems to be talking about the long form, but I have a hunch not many people have actually read what's in it.

So here.

Quote of the Summer

Paraphrase actually:

"Mr. Clement said the medical journal and other critics should trust Statistics Canada."

Also, excellent article from Gardner this morning. This, in particular, made me spit out my Cheerios:

"Then the Earth shook. The change to the census will produce "seriously biased" data, the legendary statistician Ivan Fellegi told this newspaper. It is "indefensible." Coming from a man who spent half a century at Statistics Canada, including 23 years as Chief Statistician, this was rather like Moses returning from the mountain and explaining to the wayward Israelites that, no, you can't worship a golden calf, you idiots."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CD Howe Institute Defends Long Form

Yeah, the CD freakin' Howe freakin' Institute.

Sure, there's a token, and bizarre, shot in there at mysterious nameless opponents, but when even the CD Howe Institute is against you...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This Editorial Brought to you by...

From The Globe's recent article on Kory:
"Yet Mr. Teneycke rejects the suggestion that Sun TV is designed to further Conservative fortunes. Being a house organ for the Tories would not make commercial sense, he said. He promised there'd be a clear line between editorializing on the station's talk shows and news gathering by its journalists – although, he added, reported stories would be more “populist in orientation.”

Today's editorial from Sun Media.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Survey Says: Not Very Much!

So you're a journalist. It's a lazy Saturday night in Ottawa. It's humid, thunder storms hover over the region, and you're trying to get an article sent off for the Sunday edition of the Ottawa Citizen so you can head off to see Metric at Bluesfest.

A survey lands in your inbox saying the following:

-44% agree that people should not be convicted of crimes if their mental competency prevented them from knowing what they were doing or that it was wrong.
-37.9% disagree with the statement that people should not be convicted.
-18% neither agree nor disagree.

So, what headline do you come up with?

Probably not this:

"Survey Says: Do the Crime, Do the Time.
Four in 10 Canadians believe mental incompetence shouldn't prevent guilty verdicts

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Historic Moment for Whites

I got nothing...

UPDATE: From the link: Editor's Note: Due to the high number of inappropriate comments, the commenting feature has been turned off. If you want to comment on this editorial, you can send a letter...

Thanks to jkg in the comments.

UPDATE x2:This is starting to get picked up now that it's in the print addition. Paul Wells' tweet is good for a laugh.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Losers are the New Winners!

The appointment of failed federal candidates to the Senate is hilarious. Pity poor Navdeep Bains who, despite delivering a whooping to the CPC in Brampton South with 6,000 more votes than CPC candidate Salma Ataullahjan, will have to run again within the next couple months while Ms. Ataullahjan gets cozy in the red chamber. Talk all you want about needing to control the Senate to change the Senate, but there are better ways to do it than by picking a person who the people already rejected. I'm sure the CPC grassroots is concerned.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dance Iggy, Dance

Canada needs an election. The federal political scene is stuck in a horrible limbo. At a time when Canada, with all our current wealth and health, should be planning for the future, setting ourselves up to be world leaders in every field, we're governed by bumpkins whose sole goal is to make future government in Canada ineffectual and impossible to afford, while methodically chipping away at our institutions and long-standing policy.

It's not like the chances haven't existed to topple the clowns at the right hand. Yet every opportunity passes by, with the Opposition's ass waving in the air, its head stuck firmly below ground. They're terrified. The golden moment is always just over the horizon. Something's gotta catch. Nothing does. A shockingly apathetic public refuses to pay any attention to serious issues, dismissing them as 'just politics'. A bored and cynical press loses interest in stories quickly and nothing gains traction. All the while the CPC rakes in the loonies, with the PMO going as far as acquiring its own news chanel.

And so another opportunity presents itself. The CPC, so confident in the timidity of the Opposition, laughably threaten an election over privitization of overseas mail delivery, neutering environmental assessments, and selling off the once world-leading AECL. A dare. And the Liberals will cave. It seems they already have given all this silly talk about making a "very important statement".

So back to the waiting game. The bill goes through, the Upper House clears out, and we can all look forward to it all starting up again in a few months time, and Iggy can go out and barbeque a few burgers while nobody pays any attention.

It needs to stop now. Our government is starved of oxygen. We need an election to break the stalemate. I'm not suggesting the Liberals would win a government (though I, perhaps foolishly, continue to believe a campaigning Ignatieff would be a different animal), but anything is better than this. I think a Harper majority would be horrible for the country, but I'm also a firm believer that "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard". If this is really the type of government the people of Canada want, they can have it, enough with this slow death. Nothing would make me happier than to see Iggy pick up the gauntlet and smash it over Finley's monstrous, miserable skull.

Shaky Stats

Two things on my mind this morning:

First, EKOS has officially outsourced their political polling to a codfish. I don't doubt for a second that the Liberals are in a bad way, but look at those bounces in BC, and the NDP's results in Alberta and Atlantic Canada (!!!). Margin of error aside, these results are downright wonky. Nonetheless, I'm sure everyone is looking forward to the wild election speculation over the next couple days and talk of the big Mo'.

This conveniently leads into my next point on the dangers of crap polling and bad data. I'm a bit sensitive over this stuff, but this census thing really has my hackles up. It's just another step in Canada's not so slow descent to an idiocracy. Like most important policy issues, this isn't a sexy topic, so there's little reaction to the horrified cries from academics, economists, and public servants, and that's depressing. This is really important stuff, and nobody gives a shit.

EDITED TO ADD: And if I hear or read one more person saying "well alot of people just make stuff up on the long form" I'm jumping out my office window. What nonsense.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

But before you get too excited, time for Andrew Cohen's annual finger-wagging. The pompous arse has taken a different approach this year. Where usually he picks a random nation and explains why it's so much better than Canada, this year he sneers at your red mittens, timbits, and hockey.

Nonetheless, he's right about some things (though I'll never understand the anger the name "Canada Day" generates in some people). But Canada Day is a time to celebrate. To celebrate the fact that you either won the cosmic lottery and were born here, or were fortunate enough to make it here from somewhere else.

So have a wonderful day, drink some wonderful Canadian beer (Hoptical Illusion from Flying Monkey's in Barrie is my choice), and celebrate this wonderful place.