Old Monk Very Old Vatted Rum

Old Monk RumWhen I think of good rums, I usually associate this drink with the tropical Caribbean or Latin American countries that were used a few centuries ago to harvest sugar.  Barbados, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Trinidad, Martinique, Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, etc. usually come to mind and are recognized for some excellent rums.

India is not likely to be on most people’s rum radar but I guess that means they haven’t tried Old Monk Rum.  First off, this damn rum is not as easy to find in North America (yes we know that there is more to the world than the American continent but we miss out on a lot of stuff) but it is apparently up there when it comes to worldwide sales After briefly carrying it, one of the Canadian larger distributors (LBCO) dropped it a few years ago but alas, it is back and with plenty in stock.

Old Monk “very old vatted” rum/rhum is manufactured by Mohan Meakin Ltd. based in the northern part of India.  This 7 year old blended dark rum is made with molasses and bottled at 42.8%. Old Monk has a very distinct vanilla nose and palate with the added touches of caramel, cinnamon and other spices. It and goes down well on the rocks and with your preferred cola. Very good value for the $28 it cost here in the great white north.


WTF happened to Lenny Dykstra?

I don’t follow baseball that much these days, but sure did when I was growing up. Blowing a shitload of money on baseball cards, researching players and follwing stats for baseball pools, playing baseball, watching games on TV, baseball computer games – did all of that. And from that “practice” I developed a penchant for remembering names and accomplishments of many baseball (and hockey and football) players. Lenny Dykstra is one of those players. Far from obscure, Dykstra was a pretty decent baseball player who combined talent with a raw streak.

House of Nails by Lenny Dykstra

But I lost track of what he was up to in recent years after he retired.

So I missed him becoming a big time investor, losing everything in the 2008 financial crisis, going bankrupt and then to prison. That was then and I guess lately, he has been moonlighting as a 50+ year old gigolo to old women.  WTF? And of course there is a new tell all book about his days in the major leagues.

Now I wonder what Andy Van Slyke, John Olerud, Candy Maldonado, Jose Guzman, Albert Belle and Heathcliff Slocumb are up to these days. Anything remotely as crazy as Dykstra?

Naughty Neighbour American Pale Ale

Naughty! I mean, hoppy!

Naughty Neighbour American Pale Ale

Hey, we know that it is a crowded field when it comes to North American craft beers so you gotta do what you can to catch the prospective beer drinker’s eye. A couple of weeks ago it was Gypsy Tears and this weekend I came across Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour American Pale Ale. Once again I had to buy it just based on the can.

The first sip was all about the hops but you eventually do get the grains. And then you can’t miss the nice citrus and piney nose. This unfiltered beer poured with a hazy golden body and a nice frothy white head. It was nice and enjoyable drink on a hot summer day. Will probably buy again.

Brexit: the day after

We woke up today to the first of several big political events of 2016 – the British people voted to leave the European Union. As much as I try to practice my belief in limiting my intake of news and conventional media, I assume that they are scrambling to explain this given that they were pretty much aligned with most business interests, for the United Kingdom to remain in the EU. Not to mention all the attention that was being given to the British betting market which failed miserably (bookie lines should be struck from future metrics as predictors of anything).

Giving the people a voice in the EU debate is a small, positive step back towards democracy in Europe and a wake up call to the champagne socialists. Brussels had done a great job transferring rights away from individual elected governments to an un-elected EU government and bureaucracy.

This year will also bring us elections in France, Germany and of course, the United States. Lots of uncertainty, big decisions and their consequences still to come in the second half of 2016.
Continue reading Brexit: the day after

Is Trump done?

The 2016 election cycle in the United States seems to have been going on forever but as we approach the conventions, is now in full swing. Donald Trump has by far been the big surprise. He romped through 16 other Republican choices (granted they were mediocre candidates at best) and is now the face of the Republican party.  Unless the Republican establishment tries to put up someone of substance against him at their convention and/or the FBI makes a move against Hillary Clinton for her private email server, we are looking at the Trump vs. Clinton showdown in November. Our chartist friend from Pittsburgh does great work, including tracking the polls and believes that Trump has no chance against Clinton.

Trump vs Clinton

July 21 edit – there’s been a turn in Hillary Clinton’s odds of being the next US President.

The draw of Socialism

Who doesn’t like free stuff? If everything can be free then no one needs to do any work to make things or provide services … we can just get them for free because somehow they will just appear. But then what will we actually get if no one is going to create any of the things we want, provide the services we need and look to improve the quality of life?

Socialism is a hot and trending movement in the western world with the likes of (the old Communist) Bernie Sanders using it to invigorate the millennial generation. Sadly most of those espousing for Socialism would have never experienced living under the system. In a nutshell – it ain’t much fun – which is why for generations people living in socialist countries immigrated to the West.

Vin Scully, the 88 year old play by play announcer for the LA Dodgers thew in this quick 15 seconds of truthiness on Socialism and how it has devastated Venezuela.

The cyclical nature of how societies and economies evolve can also explain this growing interest in Socialism in the United States (it never really left Europe but the EU has cemented it for good). Joseph Schumpeter‘s classic book – Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy is a must read for anyone wanting to understand this phenomenon.
Schumpeter's bio by Edita Macikaita


Have you heard of amateur radio?

The Internet and connectivity are so ubiquitous that many today couldn’t imagine a future without them. Now this post is not about trying to predict doom and gloom, nor is it some old guy talking about the good ole’ days when everyone didn’t have a powerful computing device in their pockets. We agree that this connected world is great but there is something to be said about many of us having lost touch with the underlying technologies that actually make this miracle happen. Being inquisitive, curious and not being afraid to take apart something has been replaced by expensive and proprietary devices that are not as conducive to experimentation. But there are ways to still explore technology and science in fun, inexpensive and unique ways.

Ars Technica looks at one such tech hobby in a recent article. This is the world of amateur radio and one hopes that it will tickle the fancy of many readers.

For one group of technological explorers, this is more than just a golden age of opportunity: it’s providing the means to save one of the oldest traditions in electronic invention and self-education, one that helped shape the modern world: amateur radio.

Radio antenna