Sunday, November 23, 2014


I decided to make mead.

For those that know me, this may seem a strange decision since I don’t and never have drank alcohol. But except for a few soapbox moments in my teens, I have believed that socially responsible drinking is a good thing.

It may be the only reason I exist.

My wife drinks but is what is commonly known as a teetotaler. So why make not one but two large batches of mead? Because the process of fermentation has always interested me, and because it is my way of being included in the process. I had a friend years ago, whose life's dream was to become a brew master. It became clear that beer is not simple to make and one needs to be able to taste and appreciate the many variables.

Mead is known as the ancestor to all fermented beverages, and was made under crude and filthy conditions as far back as 2500 B.C.. It is arguably the easiest to make, second perhaps only to prison toilet wine. While I'm sure there are some prison block masters out there, I'm not interested in following that process. Mead is fermented honey, made from water, honey and yeast. You can also use Acid Blend and Yeast Nutrient.

For as little as $80 bucks you can make your first batch. Since that first batch includes buying some reusable parts, subsequent batches will be even cheaper.

There are many types of mead. Like wine, it can be made dry, semi-sweet or sweet. There are also a huge variety of meads that are created by adding things like fruit, fruit juice and or spices. There are also a ton of recipes online by mead enthusiasts.

For my first time, I decided to make one five gallon batch of traditional dry mead (my wife prefers dry to sweet), and one five gallon batch of Acerglyn (no clue how to pronounce it), which is mead made with maple syrup. I won't take up space with recipes here but for dry mead, I went with eight pounds of honey and for the acerglyn, I went with six pounds of honey and two pounds of real maple syrup (no Log Cabin).

Both glass Carboys are in my man cave bubbling away as the CO2 is released through the airlock a bubble at a time. Because light is bad for fermentation, I cut holes in the bottom of two paper grocery bags to cover the carboys.

In 2-3 months, depending on how it progresses and how patient I can be, it will be time to bottle and hopefully they will both be palatable. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Shame on China

In September 2014 a protest started in Hong Kong. The groups known as the Umbrella Movement or Umbrella Revolution, objected to the fact that Chinas Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress (NPCSC) announced it's decision to disallow civil nominations. The NPCSC instead opted to have its 1,200 member nominating committee select the candidates that the people would be allowed to vote for in the coming election.

The story was covered here in the USA but it didnt get a lot of traction. The coverage I did see focused on the disbelief over the unfair decision to have such a huge decision made by a group of hand picked people of the nations political party. This subversion of the democratic process caused some people that bothered to learn about the situation some real angst. What kind of country allows such a small group of people to select the candidates that the people can vote for and eliminates civil nominations?

On this election day, I just wanted to point out that the USA does the same thing, though we have the moral high ground since the Republican Party picks 2,286 delegates and the Democratic Party has 3,189 in 2012 in order to give us the two people to choose from.

But Scott, there are other people on the ballot and were closer thane ever to having a viable third party.

The first part is true. There is no law against civil nominations outside of our two parties, but there might as well be, because in practice, no other candidates are allowed the same coverage or right to debate. As for a viable third party, it is theoretically feasible, but practically implausible. What the third party has done in previous elections is take away undecided voters from the middle.

How dare China only rely on one party and 1,200 people. We have two parties and around 5,500 people making most of our decisions for us, proving our superiority.