Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sing Joy Spring

hosta 11 April (01)

Spring arrives today, Tuesday, 20 March 2018, at 12:15 p.m., east coast daylight time. The vernal equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere.

We sing a spring
Sing joy spring.
A rare and most mysterious spring,
This most occult thing
Is buried deep in the soul.
Its story never has been told.

The joy spring, the fountain of pleasure,
Is deep inside you whether you're diggin' it or not.
Once you're aware of this spring,
You'll know that it's the greatest
Treasure you've got.

And furthermore:
The joy spring, the bounteous treasure,
Cannot be bartered away and never can be sold.
Nothing can take it from you.
It's yours and yours alone to have and to hold.

And something more:
It never is lost to fire or theft.
It's always around. When trouble is gone,
The pleasure is left.
I've always found
It's burglar-proof same as the treasure
Man lays up in heaven, worth a
Price no one can measure.
That says a lot.

So joy spring,
this fountain of pleasure,
That's deep inside you, let me inform you in all truth,
Ponce de Leon sought this
When he was searchin'
For the fountain of youth.
I say in truth, he
Sought a magical thing,
For he was searchin'
For the joy spring.

Music: Clifford Brown
Lyrics: Jon Hendricks
Performance: Manhattan Transfer


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Proper topper on St. Patrick's Day

Proper topper on St. Patrick's Day

He sports a proper topper for the day.

As seen at Friday Jazz at the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta, Georgia, on 17 March 2017.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

#VeggieDag Thursday: Pan-Fried Tofu Strips

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and on environmental and ecological issues.

Because there hasn't been a recipe posted here for a while ...

... here, from the entertaining Chris Cooney of Cooking with the Vegan Zombie (with a few minor adaptations from YFGF), it's ...

Pan-Fried Tofu Strips

Tofu strips (03)

Yield: 12-16 strips
Time: 20 minutes (or overnight)
1) Slice a 14 ounce slab of extra-firm tofu horizontally into four thinner cutlets. (No need to press the tofu first.)

2) Grease a skillet with refined coconut oil (not unrefined: the smoking point is too low and the taste is, well, coconuty).

3) Turn stove to medium heat.

4) Place tofu cutlets on the skillet (one at a time, if small pan). Top with a pinch each of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and smoked paprika.

5) Fry for 8-10 minutes. Don't burn!

6) Gently flip the tofu. Now, gently press down on the cutlets several times with a metal spatula to squeeze out excess water.
7) Top with a pinch each of cumin, chili powder, and dried basil. Optional: Add a doodle of red chile sauce, (e.g. Sriracha).

8) Reduce heat to just below medium heat. Fry for an additional 3-5 minutes. Don't burn!

9) Gently flip the cutlets over again and turn off the skillet. Allow the cutlets to sit several minutes until cool to the touch.

10) To firm the texture, cover and refrigerate the tofu cutets for several hours or overnight. Slice into into 4-5 strips per cutlet. Tasty as is, for snacking. Tasty as the 'meat' filling for a vegetarian Bánh mì.


Quick links

  • 14 March 2018:
    Scientists studying a remote and icy stretch of the North Atlantic have found new evidence that fresh water, likely melted from Greenland or Arctic sea ice, has weakened the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation —a key process that helps drives the global circulation of the oceans— by 15% since 2008.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 13 March 2018:
    The State Department represents the United States at international climate talks. Mike Pompeo, nominated by Trump to head the State Department, is a skeptic of data showing human-caused climate change.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 26 February 2018:
    Researchers at the University of California at Irvine reported that during February, the average temperature in the Arctic was greater than 36 °F above normal, the highest level ever recorded during the month of February. At the North Pole itself, the temperature reached 35 °F, more than 50 °F above normal.
    —Via Capital Weather Gang.

  • 16 February 2018:
    Trump signed legislation that repealed an Obama-era rule that had blocked coal operations from dumping mining waste into nearby waterways.
    —Via Snopes.

  • 12 February 2018:
    The Trump budget slashes funding for the bipartisan cleanup program of the Great Lakes region —source of 84% of North America's surface fresh water— by 90% from $300 million to $30 million.
    —Via Detroit News.

  • 15 June 2017:
    In 2015, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) —a division of the UN’s World Health Organization— declared glyphosate —the active ingredient in Monsanto's popular herbicide RoundUp— a probable carcinogen, Aaron Blair —the scientist who led the IARC’s review panel on glyphosate— had access to data from a large study in which he had participated that strongly suggested that Roundup did not, in fact, cause cancer. Yet, Blair withheld that data from the RoundUp review panel.
    —Via Mother Jones.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What (and where) is a Beer Garden? Announcement for The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #134.

Beer Blogging Friday: The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session, choosing a specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

For The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #134, on 6 April 2018, I am that pre-determined host. And I've determined that my topic is ...

Beer Gardens

"A Beer Garden" (Jean Pagès, 1933)

What is a beer garden? Or what isn't a beer garden? Or what should a beer garden be? Or where is a beer garden?

Is a beer garden a place of foliage and shrubberies? Or is it a plot of concrete with umbrellas? Is a beer garden an outdoor bar? Or an outdoor Biergarten pavilion with Gemütlichkeit und Bier? Or is a beer garden to be found at a brewery with a hop trellis de rigueur?

Hop-pickers' lunch

Is a beer garden to be found outdoors, or can it be, alternatively, an interior third place, an arboretum with beer? Is a beer garden a real thing or is it a Platonic ideal, an imagined gueuzic nostalgia? Or is it a place indeed, once or often visited, not Bill Bryson in the woods, but Lew Bryson in a beer garden? If so, where is it? Tell us (with or without Lew).

According to the Beer Bloggers Conference, there are over 1,000 active "Citizen Beer Blogs" in North America, over 500 "Citizen Beer Blogs" throughout the rest of the world, and another couple hundred industry beer blogs. So, jump in folk. Please contribute!

Here's how. On Friday, 6 April, post an essay on beer gardens to your blog. Then let me give you credit. Provide a link to the story by: A blog itself isn't even necessary to contribute.

If you don't have a blog, you could compose a 280-character tweet, or post a photo on Instagram, and link that to me. Or, if so inspired, you could write an essay (300-500 words are ideal and 1,200 would be the most you'd want for a blog post, short-attention-span and all that) and send it to me before the 6th (so that I'll have time to format it for the blog). Use this form.

On a warm summer evening, I love to watch the light filter through the leaves of the dogwood and viburnum, with a beer in hand salad on the table, listening to the conversation of friends. "Why is it," I wonder, "that food and beer taste so much better together when we're in the beer garden.
Dinner in the Beer Garden, by Lucy Saunders.

The topic is beer gardens: whatever they may be, wherever they may be. And even your backyard, Olmsted-esque or humble, might be a Moon Over Beer garden. On Friday, 6 April, tell the world about it.

Thanking you in advance,
Yours for good fermentables,
Thomas 'Tom' Cizauskas


Monday, March 12, 2018

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 6/7/8, 2018.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 6/7/8
4 February - 24 February 2018

    Catching up on overdue Clamps & Gaskets!

  • 24 February 2018
    Garrett Oliver, author and brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewing, in a comment to "Some Important Musings on the Nature of Craft Beer":
    A few years ago, everyone from BeerAdvocate to All About Beer declared craft dead. Which was the ABI [Anheuser-Busch InBev] plan all along – first break your terminology, then break and infiltrate your culture, then subsume you. All with your approval. I have to hand it to them – they’ve done a great job. I’ve heard British craft brewers talking about “Fuller’s isn’t craft” and “Sierra Nevada isn’t craft”. These people are out of their minds. American craft beer culture is BASED on what we went and saw in the UK, Germany and Belgium. Everyone on earth copied everything from Fuller’s ESB to Duvel, and then have the gall to say that these breweries aren’t craft breweries?

    If you want to know what craft beer is, this is your lucky day. I’m going to tell you. Craft beer is beer made according to an individual vision. If almost no one in the company knows who the head brewer is, it’s not a craft brewery. You can be one million barrels and a craft brewery and you can be 5,000 barrels and have sold out on your first day. I’ve seen both. So yeah, actually it did matter, at least in the United States. And it could matter again, under the “craft” name or another. Nomenclature matters. And when you give that up, both your power and your culture go out the window. Ask any French chef.
    — Via Pete Brown.

  • 23 February 2018
    Possibly because craft beer continues to position itself as fighting some kind of moral crusade against corporate interests, the whole issue of affordability touches a raw nerve. But wouldn’t it be better all round if the “craft beer movement” could accept that it was just another somewhat pricey niche middle-class enthusiasm and stop pretending it's trying to change the world?
    — Via The Pub Curmudgeon.

  • 23 February 2018
    Prior to its scheduled move to smaller headquarters in 2020, Radio-Canada (the French-language arm of the Canada’s public broadcasting system) to digitize its collection of more than 200,000 CDs and then destroy it. Not known is what will happen to its library of over 200,000 vinyl LP records, 70,000 78rpm discs, and a multitude of rare, and extremely rare, musical scores and books.
    — Via Radio Canada International.

  • In Manassas, Virginia, American brewing history is for sale.
  • 22 February 2018
    It was the first private home in the United States to have air-conditioning. Annaburg, the Manassas, Virginia, summer estate of Alexandria, Virginia, brewer Robert Portner —owner of the Robert Portner Brewing Company, the southeast's largest brewery before Prohibition— built for his family in 1892 is for sale and is at risk.
    — Via Prince William Times.

  • 22 February 2018
    The Beer Institute decries Trump's proposed "draconian" tariffs on aluminum and steel as endangering the jobs of American brewers and brewery workers.
    Aluminum used to make beer cans is not a national security threat.Aluminum is critical to the well-being of America’s beer industry as more than half of the beer produced annually is packed in aluminum cans or aluminum bottles.
    — Via Beer Pulse.

  • 20 February 2018
    When it comes to living into one's 90s, drinking two glasses of beer or wine daily acts as a better palliative against premature death than exercise, by 18% vs. 11%, a new study at the University of California found. And a bit of overweightedness diminishes the odds of an early death by 3%.
    — Via Baltimore Sun.

  • 21 February 2018
    Although 'craft' breweries, such as North Coast, picked up on the goodness of Centennial hops in the mid-1980s (saving the variety from discontinuation) ...
    As recently as 2005, hop growers still planted little more than 100 acres of Centennial. In 2017, they harvested more than 5,200 acres.
    — Via Jeff Alworth (and Stan Hieronymus), at Beervana.

  • 19 February 2018
    Julie Verratti —co-founder of Denizens Brewing, a 'craft' brewery in Silver Spring, Maryland— has been tapped to run for Maryland lieutenant governor with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross.
    — Via Naptown Pint.

  • 16 February 2018
    The U.S. Justice Department indicts thirteen Russians and three Russian companies with a long-running scheme to criminally interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • Laiminga Lietuvos valstybės atkūrimo diena!
  • 16 February 2018
    Lithuania —YFGF's ancestral home— celebrated the centenary observance since the restoration of its independence, on 16 February 1918. Lietuvos valstybės atkūrimo diena.
    — Via Agence France-Presse.

  • 16 February 2018
    African-American involvement in 'craft' beer, both as producers as consumers. is small but growing. In 2016, African Americans made up 12% of weekly 'craft' beer drinkers, up from 10% the year before. Kevin Blodger —brewmaster and co-owner of Union Brewing, in Baltimore, Maryland...
    'hasn't seen any intentional exclusion of minorities.' Rather, with craft beer, 'there’s not much advertising budget. It's a word of mouth thing, and if you look at the people that were originally involved in craft beer, it was white men. And we tend to associate with people that look like us.' That's changing. 'As more black, Hispanic and Asian people get involved in craft beer, they are going to bring more of their friends in,' Blodger said.”
    — Via Mike Snider, at USA Today.

  • 14 February 2018
    Stung by a reputation as gentrification’s outriders, craft beer breweries [in London] are trying to bring in more women, working-class people, and people with disabilities to both drink beers – and make them.
    — Via Will Hawkes, at The Guardian.

  • 14 February 2018
    Seventeen people were killed and seventeen more were wounded during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, making it one of the world's deadliest school massacres.The suspected perpetrator, 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz, was identified by witnesses and arrested shortly afterward.
    — Via The Guardian.

  • 12 February 2018
    Long thought extinct, Hill Rice —a rice variety with which enslaved Africans in the American South once cooked and a variety not needed to be planted in watery fields, thus not a vector for malaria— has been 'rediscovered' in Trinidad.
    — Via New York Times.

  • 12 February 2018
    The Trump administration plans to cut funding for the bipartisan cleanup program of the Great Lakes region —source of 84% of North America's surface fresh water— by 90% next year, from $300 million to $30 million.
    — Via Detroit News.

  • Stone Brewing sues Miller Coors.
  • 12 February 2018
    Large 'craft' brewery Stone Brewing to sue conglomerate Miller Coors over its "very blatant use of 'Stone' in its Keystone branding."
    — Via Beervana.

  • 11 February 2018
    American pop crooner Vic Damone, known for his good looks and "creamy" baritone, has died at 89. His heyday were the two decades following World-War II.
    “If I had one wish,” Frank Sinatra was said to have remarked, “it would be for Vic Damone’s tonsils. Vic has the best pipes in the business.”
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 9 February 2018
    The Irish legislature, the Oireachtas, is considering adding a warning label about drinking and cancer to alcoholic beverages. Ireland would be the first country to have such a warning label. America has had labels that warn about drinking while pregnant and driving while intoxicated since 1988. Wine labels also inform the consumer that the bottle contains sulfites.
    — Via Amy Mittelman.

  • 9 February 2018
    Wesla Whitfield, an American opera singer who overcame partial paralysis, became a preeminent vocal stylist, winning acclaim for her interpretations of the Great American Songbook. She has died at 70.
    — Via Washington Post.

  • 8 February 2018
    Jim Koch, owner of Boston Beer (maker of Sam Adams beer, on NEIPA:
    Instead of the piney, resiny, grapefruit part of the hops spectrum, New England IPA leans toward orange, fruit, peach, mango, guava…it’s almost juicy. There will be a lower RDF [real degree of fermentation] which gives you that drop of sweetness that brings the juiciness out. So, in some ways, it’s a kinder, gentler IPA.
    — Via John I. Haas.

  • 7 February 2018
    The “Tuesday Night Test” to tell if a restaurant is a true neighborhood joint:
    My wife and I worked. We don’t feel like cooking or doing dishes. It’s Tuesday night. Can we go out and each get a drink and food and not spend $200?
    — Via Washington City Paper.

  • A porter at the brewhouse
  • 5 February 2018
    "What do I see in a glass of porter?"
    A barista-influenced cream-flow foam, 2-cm high, undulating in its surface, collapsing slowly, like the Roman Empire, a province at a time.

    What else do I see, a dark, dark, dark blackness, a dark night of the soul, a night in which the old moon is dead and the new is waiting to be birthed, a darkness of invisible hands and beasties imagined and conjoined, the lacing of the foam as it subsides coating the glass like a congenial virus, a puzzle of foam, a query, a cantankerous head of foam refusing to vanish.

    So what does it taste like? Burnt toast with a thin layer of butter and marmalade that suggests acridity, fruitiness and sweetness and then within nanoseconds there is a dryness that crackles and cackles like a coven of witches rehearsing for Macbeth; there’s a chewiness, an appeal for mastication, as well as a creaminess suggestive of softness and childhood.

    And what does it taste like? A cover disturbed, aromatics of mocha, chocolate, toast and fruit (cheap marmalade if caught from the other end of the breakfast table).

    Someone, and I cannot recall who, suggested that this beer could be closer to porter’s original outlook on life. I’m not sure, I will leave that to the beer historians and their soaked volumes of statistics from a time that went long ago. Whatever, it’s a damn good beer, unflinching in its approach to acridity, and dense in its character on the palate."
    — Via Adrian Tierney-Jones, at Called to the Bar.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Pratt-Pullman Yard

Pullman Yard (from the Pullman Trail) 02

A view of the over-century-old Pratt-Pullman Yard in the Kirkwood district of Atlanta, Georgia, as seen from the Pullman Trail, on 6 March 2018.

These dilapidated, hulking buildings once housed plants for the production of chemicals, soft drink gases, military munitions, and railroad cars. Grafitti-festooned, they became backdrops for several films and cable productions. Now, they are slated to be redeveloped.



In 1904, the Pratt Engineering Company built a sugar and fertilizer processing plant on twenty-eight acres of farmland in Kirkwood, then an independent city east of the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Among other things, the company produced sulfuric acid (for which it held a patent) and liquid carbon dioxide for soda fountains. During World War I, Pratt temporarily converted the plant to manufacture munitions.

In 1924, the Pullman Passenger Rail Company —a leading manufacturer of railroad cars from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century— purchased the buildings and built a large railcar service and repair depot. At the time, Pullman exercised a near monopoly on rail passenger 'sleeping cars' throughout the United States. After a 1943 antitrust decree, the company began to downsize and, in 1954, closed the facility.

From then through the 1970s, both Georgia Power and Southern Iron and Equipment Company owned the yard at various times. Southern used it to manufacture and repair train locomotives and train parts. Georgia Power used the Yard to house and repair its fleet of 'Trackless Trolleys' —electric buses that drew power from overhead lines— with which it was replacing its fixed rail trolleys. In 1990, the Georgia Building Authority bought the property to house a dinner-train that ran between downtown Atlanta and Stone Mountain but shut it down in 1993. Semi-abandoned, Pratt-Pullman became a popular filming location.

As the buildings became dilapidated, efforts at preservation and environmental remediation by the city and local groups were rebuffed by the state of Georgia. In June 2017, the state sold the property, for $8 million, to Atomic Entertainment, which announced plans to 'renovate' the Pratt-Pullman Yard as an "arts-and-entertainment district."

Pratt-Pullman window fan (02)


Saturday, March 03, 2018

Pic(k) of the week: Krog Street swatch

Krog Street swatch

Festooned with street art and graffiti, the Krog Street Tunnel passes under Hulsey Yard —a major urban railyard for CSX in Atlanta, Georgia. Connecting the city's Cabbagetown neighborhood, on the south, and the Inman Park district, on the north, the tunnel was added to Atlanta's circumscribing park-trail, the BeltLine, in 2017.

In Atlanta, everybody and her sister seem to take photos and videos with the tunnel as backdrop: wannabe music videographers and models, promsters, and maybe even Donald Glover.

Who is YFGF to demur? So, today, here is my requisite photo of the Krog Street Tunnel —that I took in the tunnel— created with a time-lapse shot, on 27 February 2018.

  • The BeltLine is a former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta, Georgia, under development in stages as a multi-use trail. The plan for the BeltLine was developed in 1999 as a masters thesis by Ryan Gravel, a Georgia Tech student. In 2016, he resigned from the board of the project's developer, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, concerned by the dearth of equitable development and affordable housing around the trail, two of the original goals of the project.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always (as is the case today), with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • See the photo on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF: