Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indiana is thought provoking

This passage of RFRA in Indiana is very interesting. The law, the reaction, the ignorance on Twitter. Lots of thought provoking- and head shaking- moments.

I conversed- or debated may be a better word- the effects of this law with some people on Facebook. I never said whether I personally was for or against the law but argued that the law was not as harmful as people thought it would be. I said it would be a moot point.

Contrary to the headlines, the law does not allow for legalize discrimination against anyone. Read the bill. It does not supersede any federal discrimination laws.

I feel that is a very important thing to point out. Headlines on "news" sites claim that the law allows discrimination. This is very damaging because people read that and fail to go read the story. Worse yet, the same false allegation may be repeated within the piece without any balance. This causes the uproar and the Twitter universe goes bonkers. You can see it in the tweets that people are reading to headlines. Thats it. They don't spend the extra time reading and seeking other opinions to make sure the story is accurate.

I have tried to do the research. I get some interesting results. It appears that the State of Indiana's discrimination laws does not include sexual orientation. Aha! The loophole! Well, no. Municipalities throughout Indiana have their own discrimination laws that do include sexual orientation. I looked to see if the City of Indianapolis did and believe they do. Makes me wonder why the mayor of the city has not pointed that out. Same with the NCAA.

I still think that nothing is going to happen in Indiana. There were no reported incidents of anyone being refused a service because of their sexual orientation before the new law. I don't see why there will suddenly be cases after the law. People don't suddenly find religion to thwart their businesses. Let me also add that I couldn't find any state case where RFRA law was used as a defense in the 19 other states that have these laws. I saw a Chicago Tribune article that mentioned when Illinois passed their law (no outrage when that happened. Is it because it is a Democratic held state?) that they expected a flurry of lawsuits. That never happened. In fact, nothing has happened since. Again, that is why I think it is a moot point.

One could ask why the law if it wasn't happening. Good question. Answer- I don't know. I am not one to find a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

But taking a broader look, why would any business suddenly discriminate against their clientele simply because this law says they can? It is illogical. Yes, it is possible but not likely.

Likewise, why would anyone want to do business with someone if they don't want to do business with them? Profitable business is best when two parties come to a mutual agreement based on respect for each other. That respect include valuing the person for who they are. That includes their sexual orientation and/or religious beliefs. Don't like them? Take your business elsewhere. You will both be happy. And what do you have to gain by FORCING someone to do business with you?

(Random thought: Force someone to provide the service only if the other party goes to the religious services that are being cited for the refusal. For example, if a bakery cites religion as reason to not bake a wedding cake for a same sex marriage, have the engaged couple go to their church for the duration of business relationship. Same with the baker. They provide the cake and spend time with the couple. Just a thought).

Hopefully things in Indiana will continue as they have been. There has been the mutual respect their business climate. I don't think this law will change anything. I just wish some of the shrieking would die down and people- yes you Twitter people and Salesforce and Yelp! CEOs- would see that the residents of Indiana weren't discriminating before the law, and it is doubtful they suddenly will after the law.

Oh yeah that reminds me. I think the CEO of Salesforce is the biggest buffoon in this whole uproar. You may praise him for taking a stand but what he has done is more damaging to the company and his employees. Not to mention very hypocritical. But that is a different post.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The next generation is not prepared

I came across the article that was linked in a newsletter I receive. I found myself reading it a couple of times. Each time I did I felt sad for the next generation.

I have read numerous articles about how kids are being coddled in college. Free speech is dead because someone may get offended. They may not even be part of the conversation, they can be within earshot and take offense. Next thing you know someone is being brought in to speak to the Dean and being accused of hate speech.

This is creeping in to the workplace as well. At my former job I saw it. I was a victim of it. People hearing things out of context and running to a supervisor to cry.

I do mean cry. I made numerous people cry in my previous role. And no, it was not intentional. Specifically in one case, the person couldn't believe they had screwed up. They had been told all of their career they were special and doing a great job. When they made an error it was too much for them to handle. After a discussion one day, they went to their manager and began crying and had to leave early for the day. I was befuddled. Its not like they were a new hire; they had been in a supervisor role for 3 years.

I saw this a lot among the new hires. Part of my job was to review email. In orientation I stressed to the classes that their email would be read. I told them flat out that I personally, would be reading some of their email and to stay smart about what they wrote. They never listened.

The startling part was the amount of whining I saw. Sure a call center can be a thankless job but those that took the time to work hard and not complain found their way out of the role and on to something more prosperous.

The complainers never made it. They could not take criticism. Instead of learning from their mistakes they would tell their coworkers how it was unfair. They somehow thought the managers were always wrong. (Granted the managers were not always right. Too much politics at this company).

This gets me back to the linked article. I still see it today online where people just cannot have their opinion challenged. They freak out instead of having a challenging debate. I guess that is why I have slowed down the number of comments I post. Oh, I do push buttons now and then (man does need to have a hobby) but for the most part it is fruitless.

Just how I think this next generation may come to realize that they have been led astray from those that were meant to prepare them for the future.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Do I have a neighbor?

I lost my job back in September. Evil conniving people at work managed to get their way. I have a new position lined up to start in April. I'll be working at a better company without the toxic environment. Things work out.

Over the past couple of months things have changed in the neighborhood. The new neighborhood I should point out. I moved to the far west burbs of Milwaukee and built a house. When our house was completed we were the only structure on the side of the street. Then quickly 4 more houses were begun and the big field to the right was gone. I didn't even get a summer to act like it was mine.

The house next door was completed in August and sold quickly. The new occupants moved in during September. I was gone in Vegas so I didn't see the trucks or anyone hauling boxes. I saw an open garage door that looked like it had the floor being treated.

There was evidence of some life. Some seems to be accurate was to describe it. If it hadn't snowed, I would bet that no one actually lives there. I did meet the guy once when I finished shoveling. Was downright neighborly and introduced myself. Other than that there is little sign of life. Rarely do I see anyone coming or going. The gutter extensions to the downspouts (3 of them) were blown off in a windstorm last fall and ended up in my yard. I tossed them back into their yard with the intent of letting them know they may want to put them back on. But then it snowed and they were buried. Now that the snow has melted the "pipes" are laying around again.

Same with the recycling bin. There has been someone at the house because the garbage and recycling bin were put by the curb 2 weeks ago. But that was after they had come by. They sat out there for a week. Garbage was collected and someone put that bin back but the recycling bin still is out there. At least they won't miss this week's recycling pickup (they pick up the recyclables every other week).

For their sake I hope they at least turned off the water feed to the spouts outside the house. Their hose was never disconnected and hasn't been touched since October. I am curious to see what happens next with that lawn. They did seed last fall but didn't appear to water it as much as it needed. Using a house and walking around won't get the job done. But hey, that is what they did and it isn't up to me to judge how they want to live.

That is if someone is still living there. I guess I know if the recycling cart disappears after this Wednesday.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Simply put. go to Karben4 in Madison, WI. The beer is phenomenal!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bar review- the Stone

The Stone is an interesting place. A little nondescript place on Howell Avenue. If you weren't paying attention you may just walk on past the joint.

There is no signage on the walk. Sign on the storefront alert you to the place. If you like beer you better pay attention. They do Happy Hour right.

Happy Hour to the Stone is from 4-9, and two for one tappers. And we ain't taling about simple macro brew. They have a great craft beer lineup. New Glarus, 3 Floyds, Left Coast, Left Hand, Upland, Alaskan, you name it, it may be on tap. Yes, that is damn generous. They put the Happy in Happy Hour.

The ambiance though is minimal. Jukebox on the wall. Several TVs scattered around. No frills can work. Especially when it is two for one on good beer.

The Stone is a good place to hit when on a budget. Best thing to do? Watch . The Stone does a good job of keeping their beer list updated on the site so you can take advantage of the great two for one special.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Revamp at the local brewery

Drinking a Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin as I write this post. A damn smooth oatmeal stout.

The St. Francis Brewery is just over a mile away from my house. I have watched the beers mature since their opening years ago. While still not the greatest, they have gotten better. I think their problem has been consistency. One batch doesn't take like the previous. Some seem watery, others just harsh. But when they nail it, they are quite enjoyable.

A good example is their hefe weizen. When it is on it sweet and has a great clove banana thing going on. I can drink that all night. Hell, I did.

Yesterday they had their Mug Club members in house for a special announcement. They have been working on bottling the beer. Sixers of their amber, titled Wrath, are now available. Thankfully their amber is pretty good so it should sell.

Beyond the bottling announcement they mentioned how they were changing the names of the beer. The  names used to be tied in to the community. Named after streets, lake, etc., they were now moving off to the Seven Deadly Sins. Their is Wrath, Envy, Lust, and Pride. Their will be a quarterly Gluttony feature beer.

Maybe the best news to come out of the meeting was how they would be doing some more experimentation and creating new beers. Proof was a beer in their Pride series, a bourbon barrel aged doppelbock. I think they do the doppel very well at St. Francis. Aging in the bourbon barrel gave it a slight boozey nose. It didn't carry through with strong alcohol on the tongue, which was good. It was mellow with a hint of vanilla. Very good for their debut.

The problem was the price point. They were selling the beer at $15.99 for a bomber (750ml). That is above well know brews such as Three Floyds Dark Lord. For a brewery that is barely being consistent on some of their batches, they have priced this beer way too high.

I look forward to seeing what else they'll put out in the future. Hopefully they will brew some beers that will make me want to carry a growler in every time.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kolsch and beer snobs

I found myself in Chicago a couple of months ago, having dinner in a nice northern downtown restaurant. Though it was on the cold side, I order a Metropolitan Krankshaft Kolsch. It was a local brew I hadn't had yet.

I thought the beer was phenomenal. It was light and crisp. I detected some apple and honey with a nice finish. So good I quickly ordered a second one.

Months later, I found myself in Illinois once again. This time at a Mexican restaurant in Naperville. I saw a relatively new Kolsch being offered on tap. It reminded me of the Metropolitan brew. Like months earlier, I quickly ordered a second.

This beer was Leinenkugel's Canoe Paddler. A friend at work had recommended it, saying he was surprised it was that good. I agreed.

Later I would find myself looking at a couple of beer sites and find that while much smaller Krankshaft was given good ratings, the mass produced brewer was given low scores. To me, they were both similar and quite the same.

It got me to wondering. I wonder how some of these beers would do in a blind taste test. If people didn't know it was Leinenkugels, would they give it a low score?

I did something similar last year. I compared Leinenkugels Original Lager to Yuengling Lager. Each one reminded me of the other. So I put them face to face and tried them. I found I preferred the Yuengling.

I plan to put the Leinies up against the Metropolitan some time soon. I think I may find some people rethinking their taste buds.

Friday, May 03, 2013

From the ashes?

Yep, its been a while since I have posted anything. Busy with life. Busy with other sources of thought and output.

I have been contributing some items over at Ocelot Sports. I thank Pauly for giving me an outlet to post hockey and UFC fights as well as thoughts on the Milwaukee Brewers. It is that outlet that has me wanting to post some other things here again. Hell, I am not a writer but there is something therapeutic about throwing words out there.

Look for more items on beer soon. I have come to realize that drinking beer is my hobby. I am not talking about going out and getting sloshed. It's more like experiencing every beer that is available.

Over the past 2 years, I have tried approximately 1080 different beers. From all over the world in various styles. It has been fun and best yet, there are thousands more to try.

Shit. Time to work. Thoughts on big beer and kolsches coming up.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Over the last couple of months I have found myself building things. Entertainment centers, rolling carts. wine racks. Seems like the tool kit has been in use more often that not lately.

I have notice a pattern while working on these projects. When working on something, I will usually have to take it apart at some point. Whether I have used the wrong bolt/screw, or the piece is turned around, there is very good chance that a couple steps later I'll be scratching my head wondering why something isn't lining up.

Or even more aggravating, I'll have a screw that just doesn't want to go in all the way.

Last night I was putting together a new TV stand for myself. When I bought some new furniture 3 years ago I swore I would buy a couple other things. Like new pillows for the couch. That only took 2.75 years. A new TV stand was the other. 3 years later, I've move out this old book case and crappy little TV stand for something new and nice.

And I only had to take it apart once. Ok, technically it should have been twice but screw that long cover board for the back. Had I put that on I wouldn't have noticed that the drawers weren't on properly.

Speaking of drawers, that is where the screw is. A screw that holds the drawer fixture in place. Damn thing didn't want to go in all the way. It has about an 1/8 of an inch sticking out. The drawer still fits in but it scrapes a bit again that screw. I think I'll take a drill to it tonight. Last night I realized if I kept going I was going to strip the hell out of it so I stopped. Maybe if I loosen it up a bit I can use the drill to get some momentum and drive it home. That or I'll never use the middle drawer.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wall beer

I found myself on a sailboat last night. It had been over 15 years since I had been on the Lake Michigan waters. I learned yesterday that not much has changed.

I recall the last time I was on the lake. There were 3 of us. I just sat there as we motored out from the breakwater. Once we got pass the wall the captain and my friend got a sail up and the wind took us for a trip. The owner popped some autopilot thing on the helm and disappeared down below. He came back up with a bottle of brandy and a 2 liter of Coke. Not sure what the Coke was for really as I recall those drink being really strong. Color perhaps?

That was sailing. Sitting on a boat getting hooched. Nothing has changed.

Yesterday we motored out to open water. Once the sail was up people went below to make drinks as we tooled around about a mile or so from shore. The big difference this time was the number of people on the boat. I think they said there were 19 of us. People sat where they could drinking their beer, wine, or rum cocktail of choice. After 3 beers- my measurement of time- the sun had gone down and everyone was heading in. The boat time was over.

This is when I learned a new term. Wall beer. What is wall beer? Exactly what it says. It appears Wednesday is racing night at the yacht clubs (yes, Milwaukee has 2 yacht clubs). When the race is over it is customary for people to dock their boat and go drink free beer. The beer is provided by the club and actually paid for by the race fees. In this particular club there is a tent covering a wall with 2 beer taps. You go to the wall and grab a beer. Capital Supper Club was on tap last night.

I did notice an interesting thing about the wall beer last night. Something that made me proud as a Wisconsinite. There was a line of a dozen people waiting for a beer. First person poured theirs while the next person waited. When the person's cup was about 2/3 full, they leaned their cup in, a sign to keep the tap flowing. Person after person in that line did the exact same thing. The beer kept flowing until some old grey haired lady came in.

I had a good time last night. Sitting on my butt drinking beer as I stared at the Milwaukee skyline was much different than sitting in a bar doing the same thing. I just might do it again if the opportunity arises.