Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Land of Amber Waters

This post combines two of my favorite things: Beer, and using this little blog to highlight the achievements of people I know.

Just ran across this notice on a new book by Doug Hoverson - who ran cross-country and track with me back "in the day". We were also involved in local politics (Richfield, MN) for a time.

Cheers! From fine lagers to wicked ales—the complete history of brewing in Minnesota told here for the first time.

For centuries, brewmasters both professional and homegrown have pursued the perfect pour—a delectable combination of barley, yeast, water, and hops—and few states can claim as devoted a relationship to beer as Minnesota. For a time it seemed that every town had its brewery and a beer garden was a highlight of every local celebration. Dedicated home brewers and casual pub crawlers alike will be amazed by the tales of Minnesota beers and breweries featured in Land of Amber Waters.

Starting with its first brewery in 1849, Doug Hoverson tells the story of the state’s beer industry from the small-town breweries that gave way to larger companies with regional and national prominence (including Hamm’s, Grain Belt, and Schell’s) to the vibrant beer culture of today, led by a new wave of breweries such as Summit, Lake Superior Brewing Co., and Surly, as well as brewpubs like Town Hall Brewery, Fitger’s, and Granite City Brewpub, sustained by microbreweries, home brewers, and beer aficionados.

From the first illegal brewer at Fort Snelling to the craft brewers and major companies of today, nearly 300 breweries have opened and operated at one time or another in 125 cities and towns around the state. Complete with a comprehensive list of Minnesota’s breweries—including many never before listed in print—and more than 300 tempting illustrations of beer and breweriana, Land of Amber Waters marvelously chronicles Minnesota’s rich brewing traditions.

Now I can add Doug to a growing list of famous Richfield High School grads that I actually know/knew including The Legendary Jim Ruiz and Miss Richfield 1981 - I was class of 1980.

Yikes - crazy bee sting story

My sister-in-law - she's always leading a more interesting life:

Yikes! I acted VERY quickly and pulled the shorts off, left them on the trail, and ran home!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Scout Camp - Better Than Expected

True confession - I was looking forward to last weekend's visit to scout camp like a root canal. But, guess what - I had a great time. It was almost like having a little parental vacation. The program was very well run, with tons of activity for the little scouts. While the parents tagged along and helped with most stuff, the counselors were in charge, and the kids were very well behaved. When they weren't in structured activities, they were running with their pack of friends. It was go-go-go all day long. Swimming, archery, BB guns, crafts, horseback riding, etc. . . Lots of action.

OK - it was not all paradise. What I didn't like - stinky latrines (but you survive); lots of lining up and waiting for stuff; and having to repeat goofy campsite chants - each little campsite had to make up it's own chant which was repeated several times during the day when everyone gathered - flag raising, campfire time, etc. All the camp sites were named for Jungle Book characters - we were Kaa. Kind of corny, but the kids really like it. I guess the camp wasn't designed for 45 year olds.

Blogging Competition

I can feel them breathing down my neck. First the sis-in-law, and now my own wife (and her college buddy). Everyone's blogging.

Check out the latest from Fertile Plots.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lusty Thunderstorms

Love this paragraph, from Star Tribune coverage of this afternoon's t-storms:

The lusty thunderstorms grew out of a change in air mass, as a cool fronts butted into the hot, humid air of recent days, Carlyon said.
[emphasis mine]

Home this afternoon with the Dude and a friend. M was spending the afternoon at a friend's house so we took her little brother - a 7 year old the Dude has known since pre-school. An even exchange, and it freed me from having to engage in serious Pokemon conversation. I can only "fake it" for so long, but this kid actually likes Pokemon so they were living it up for a while discussing favorite characters, who has the best powers, or whatever.

The boys had abandoned swimming and retreated indoors before the storm hit, so I was left to run over to the neighbors to chase down the beach ball and noodles that got caught up in the wind.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day "Off" - Mosquito Netting

Sitting in a Dunn Brothers - responding to work email - what else would you do on your day "off"? Actually I dropped the Dude off at Youth Performance Company where he is practicing for Friday's performance of Lion King. It's my understanding that this is a stripped down version of the movie/musical since they only have 5 kids in the class. One of the instructors has been recruited to play a role. The Dude is the Baboon - a "big" role. He is taking it pretty seriously, even abandoning his Crocs (Which he has worn for about 3 weeks straight - since purchase) for tennis shoes because they are easier to dance in.

Waiting for REI to open at 10:00 so I can buy mosquito netting for cub scout camp this weekend. Two nights in a canvas tent with temps hovering around 90 - 95 F and high humidity. Fun.

By the way - picking up M later at Rosetown players camp. Lots of drama this week.

Monday, July 23, 2007

iPod? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

I don't own an iPod (yet), though this could change that.

[Hat-tip, 43 folders.]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

They Scored!!

The Dude's soccer team has not had a winning season. In fact, they have not won a single game - and there is only one game left. Despite their record, they really enjoy playing. Tonight's game was different than others. They were "on fire" for the first half, and the fans were in for a big treat - when just one minute into the game, the Dude's team actually scored! They have probably only scored about 2 or 3 goals all season, and to be up 1 - 0 so early in a game was simply amazing. Actually, the parents were more excited than the kids.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Look - Up In the Air. . .

Saw this blimp over Mpls on Sunday. I'm not the only one who wonders about blimps as an advertising medium:

"Nothing builds customer interest like a giant balloon with an indistinct logo high overhead, turning away just before people can read the product’s name. Once we use that, we’ll have nothing left!"

I pointed it out to the kids who replied, "Oh, cool," and quickly forgot about it. If you can't get kids interested in blimp advertising, you've got no hope. This 45 year old's eye's aren't good enough to read the sign anyway.

[Not my photo. It's from buzz.mn]

Monday, July 16, 2007

Angels Unawares

During yesterday’s bike ride the Dude and I discussed why we lock bikes. We locked them at the coffee shop because we went inside, where we couldn’t see the bikes. We didn’t lock them at the park because we were the only ones there and our bikes were in plain sight. I amended my earlier statement to say that it would have been fine to leave our bikes unlocked at the coffee shop since it was a nice neighborhood.

“Yeah, not like around House of Hope. That’s a place where you’d want to lock your bike,” said the Dude.

It’s amazing what sticks in their heads. There had been a sign posted at church last winter/spring warning people to lock there cars, etc. and there had been concerns about people going into the church – non-members, uninvited people.

Then he asked, “Why do people go to churches and ask for money?” House of Hope – like many churches – has frequent visits by folks who ask the pastors for money. My understanding is that it’s a relatively common occurrence, with demand increasing or decreasing depending on the neighborhood.

I told him that many people think of churches as charitable places – places that want to help their “neighbors” – so they go to churches hoping or expecting help.

Then I told him a story about my father. When my father was a little boy in South Dakota, they often had “surprise” dinner guests at their house. My grandfather was a preacher and they lived in the parsonage. Back in the thirties, many men were riding the rails in pursuit of greater opportunities. When these guys hit town, they either knew where the parsonage was (having heard from fellow travelers) or asked a local which way to go. Either way they showed up at the back door (never the front apparently) asking for assistance. These guys were referred to romantically as “hoboes” but in reality they must have been a little spooky when they appeared at the back door.

The way my father told the story was that my grandfather would invite them in and ask them to have dinner with the family. This would drive my grandmother crazy. Those family members reading the blog can recall her general demeanor, thoughts about housekeeping and what was “right and proper” can well imagine how this sat with her. My grandfather insisted that they should serve these men in the house as they could be helping an “angel unawares”. [King James Version, Hebrews 13:2: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”] My grandmother usually sent them to the back step to eat their dinner anyway, insisting that they weren’t really angels.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yet Another Reason to Eat PB&J

What won't they think of next?

The next time you pack this all-American sandwich for lunch, you're helping the environment and making a difference in animal welfare. You don't have to change your whole diet to change the world. Just start with lunch.

Hey - Get Back to Work

Patrick Kurp's words ring true today - especially the "narcotic"

The Internet is a blessed gift for a mind in love with linkage across time and space, but like anything mechanical it is dumb, literal and narcotic. Only a wary mind can keep it useful and honest, and resist confusing information with truth.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Paper Dolls - 1950's Style

Photo by M - of course.

Tomato Diagnosis?

This is the third tomato we've taken from the garden. All three have had this "thing" on their bottom - like something dark is eating away at it. We've simply cut the bottom part off and eaten the top. Tastes just fine - no one has croaked - not yet.

Any ideas what this is??

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Whew - I'm not alone. Perhaps it's a family thing. My cousin weighs in on eggplant:

Yes, eggplant. I cannot recall ever enjoying it. Whenever I see it on a menu or in a recipe I quickly bypass it and move onto the next item.

It seems no matter how you prepare eggplant, it winds up bitter and rubbery. That said - I'm sure I'll be eating my share this summer. We planted several eggplant plants (not that sounds weird - - "How much egg could an eggplant plant if an eggplant could plant plant.") - - in the family garden this year.

Beer, Birds, and Corn

Will the rush to produce ethanol raise the price of beer?

scares me,

A high demand for corn-based ethanol has many farmers devoting more fields to their corn crop and less to barley.

[hat tip Amateur Economist and Curmudgeon Blog]

I've read several stories lately about the impact that the production of corn-based ethanol will have on the environment and economy. In fact, I blogged on a related topic last summer.

Some say it will destroy habitat. Farmers who used to be subsidized for not planting crops (thus encouraging native plants and bird/animal habitat) may now put their land back into production as the demand (and price) of corn rises.

In the past year surging production of ethanol has nearly doubled the value of corn—to more than $3 a bushel. At that price, net income of more that $200 per acre for Iowa farmers begins looking good in comparison with the $100 per acre typically paid through the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Now, says Brian Moore, Audubon’s assistant director of government relations, “farmers have to decide whether they should jump on the corn bandwagon.”

Here's another interesting piece from the Audubon folks:

But the reformulated-gasoline program has turned out to be a colossal failure, and the ethanol industry has transmogrified into a sacrosanct, pork-swilling behemoth that gets bigger and hungrier with each feeding. Ethanol dirties the air more than it cleans it. Its production requires vast plantings of corn, which wipe out fish and wildlife by destroying habitat and polluting air, soil, and water. Of all crops grown in the United States, corn demands the most massive fixes of herbicides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers, while creating the most soil erosion.

Just added an item to my to-do list: Buy beer - NOW!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blueberries - 4th of July

[Several trips to the Blueberry patch.]

Lots of pictures - most taken by M - from the recent 4th of July week visit to the cabin. In addition to spending a great deal of time in our swim suits - as it was very hot - we took a little day trip to Itasca to see the Mississippi River Headwaters.

[The Dude chases the "diving sticks".]

[Sweatshop conditions indoors forced the quilters outside.]

[The "Library" was open for business, with Dude as the Head Librarian.]

[Obligatory Headwaters marker picture.]

[A hike through the woods.]

Monday, July 02, 2007

Too Darn Cute

Meant to post this shot earlier. It's from a few weeks ago. The Dude claimed he was not tired, and that he wanted someone to read to him before he could go to sleep. We told him to go upstairs and start reading to himself and that we would be up "in a few minutes". A few minutes - that's all it took.

Left Behind - Dodging Poop

The family left for the cabin today. I stayed behind due to "pressing business". July is a very busy time around the office. Many product releases are timed to coincide with important trade shows, like this one (New Orleans in July - I declined that one), or this one.

In addition we are preparing to present our new product concepts to executives at the end of July. I've been tapped to present the print concepts - a coup for me, but because it's "only" print and not the cool online, I suspect a less-than-attentive audience. But I'll be ready nevertheless - just let them try to put one past me!

Stopped by my Mom's for dinner tonight. We ate downstairs in the dining room - pot roast, yummy.

Very quiet around the house. It's just me typing and Floyd - about 10 feet away - running on his wheel and "throwing" poop. I've never actually caught him in the act of poop-tossing, but once a day we have to sweep up the little brown pellets outside his cage. Just now I heard a few "pings" and "dings" - sounds like poop flying - but every time I stand up, he just stares at me with those innocent eyes.

Leaving tomorrow to drive to the cabin. The neighbor kid is left to "deal with" Floyd. She's an animal-lover of the first-degree. She will probably find the poop-throwing endearing.

Oh - Coco - the tarantula - no work at all. He received a fresh live cricket on Sunday. Mmmm! He's good for a week.