Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Someday, people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Hot on the heels of last week's news about the 55% alcohol content beer (which also happened to come packed in roadkill), a Dutch brewer has upped the ante with a brew purported to contain 60% alcohol by volume.
While the 55% beer had been dubbed the "End of History," this 60% ABV boozer has a more uplifting name in "Start the Future." It also does not come stuffed in a rodent carcass, which is a plus.
Additionally, Start the Future's price tag -- $45 for .333 liter -- is a huge savings over End of History, which sold out in spite of its $760/bottle price tag.
The battle over these high ABV beverages has seen a lot of good-natured ribbing between competitors. For example, when German brewery Schorschbrau unveiled a beer with 40% ABV, BrewDog, the Scottish company responsible for End of History, introduced a 41% ABV beer they called Sink the Bismarck!.
"It has become a little competition," said the Start the Future brewer. "You should see it as a joke."
I love a good, strong beer, but I'm starting to wonder if at these alcohol levels, can it still be considered beer?
Have a beer, Mr. President. You've certainly earned it. Let's face it, you're stuck with one of the worst jobs in the world.
Barack Obama has been exactly the type of President I expected him to be. I know a lot of my fellow liberals expected him to be more progressive, but I always saw him as a pragmatic moderate. Sure, I wish he were stronger on a variety of issues; climate, DADT, human rights and ending the wars, among many. But that was never a realistic expectation given our political system and climate.
Let's face it, any American President will be attacked from some quarter regardless of which stance he takes on an issue. Ours is a noisy, fractious political system, and there's a media that makes a good living off of stirring up a controversy. But the right wing noise machine has been over the top when it comes to attacking Obama, no matter what he does. It's not a new phenomena: remember the hearings about the Clinton's Christmas card list? Despite all the attacks, Obama has managed to govern in a fairly calm, cool manner, and I admire him for that. He's managed to make the best of a "no-win" situation.
Obama has actually been very successful so far. The stimulus, health care reform, financial regulation, and most importantly his Supreme Court appointees all count as achievements (even if I wish that they all went farther) to be proud of. The winding down of the wars in Iraq and (hopefully) Afghanistan may be slower than I'd like, but they are moving in the right direction. So President Obama has earned a celebration.
The thing I like most about President Barack Obama? The fact that he saved us from a "President McCain", which truly would have been frightening.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This is a personal, local gripe, so feel free to ignore it. The street by where I live has been undergoing reconstruction for over a month, and today's news reports that the project will take longer than originally planned.
A project to resurface one of the city's oldest streets in Flagstaff is now behind schedule after it was discovered that the road was shallower than first believed.
The much-anticipated project was supposed to be the centerpiece of an effort to rebuild the main streets in the Southside neighborhood -- an area residents and business owners say has been neglected in the shadow of downtown Flagstaff north of the tracks.
Instead, contractors hired by the city discovered portions of South San Francisco were shallower than core samples had indicated, forcing what had been a simple resurfacing project into a complete reconstruction of the entire street.
This has pushed back the project's completion date several weeks -- now slated for near completion in November -- and forced the city to tap a cost-overruns provision in its contract with local contractors.
The project was set to cost $1.28 million, but the contract had an additional $130,000 set aside for unforeseen contingencies.
Having San Francisco torn up is a major inconvenience for me, as it's the main route into downtown from my apartment. Never mind the noise of the construction; I can deal with that. But walking in the neighborhood is either hazardous or impossible from one day to the next.
Project Manager Christine Cameron said records on the street are not complete, but the city has resurfaced the street at least several times since the 1950s.
But adding new layers of asphalt over the existing road made some areas thicker than others.
Several 8-inch cores samples taken of the road suggested some portions of the road were at least 14 inches thick, but in reality several portions of the road were only 6 inches deep.
Cameron said the city also discovered other problems after tearing up the west half of San Francisco.
"We are finding things that haven't been touched since the 1930s," Cameron said. The city has begun work on the eastern half of the road, but most of that construction will start after the west side has been completed.
The project area extends from Route 66 to Butler Avenue.
Construction will include new street asphalt, sidewalk, curb/gutter, lighting, benches, trash receptacles, bicycle racks and landscaping/irrigation.
The city employee said she has been working closely with business owners to mitigate any problems the construction causes.
Actually, I will be quite happy once the project is completed. The southside has desperately needed revitalization for decades, and neighborhood business will benefit in the long run. This part of town was rather run down (some even considered it a scary "bad" part of town), and it will be much nicer once done.
But it's a major pain in the gluts right now.