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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Post-Election Thought

OK, I'm surprised. I didn't think he would run. I didn't think he could win the nomination. I didn't think he had a prayer of becoming President. Good thing I didn't pick politics as a career.

There is a lot about this whole affair I find amusing. There seem to be a lot of people saying what bad, evil, horrible things Trump will do as President. I have but one thing to say. Take it easy.  Don't panic.

But, he's President!

The President can only do so much by himself. To really make substantial changes, he needs approval of Congress. To make a FUNDAMENTAL change, he would have to get the Constitution amended, a most difficult task.

But, Congress is Republican,too!

One of the overwhelming themes of this election year was the intense dislike everyone seems to have for The Donald. Other Presidents have struggled with Congresses of their own party. I'm sure he will, too.

But, you were wrong about everything else!

Well, you have me, there. I can only say that we survived Tyler, Pierce, Fillmore, Buchanan, Nixon, Carter and anyone else you choose. I'm sure we'll survive Trump,too.

So, relax in your easy chair. Pour your favorite adult beverage, and enjoy all the jokes the late-night hosts are even now salivating over.

I promise, I'll get back to beer.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Please Think

I'm voting for Gary Johnson. I've been criticized for this, which is understandable, given the atmosphere surrounding this election. After all, when asked about Aleppo, he didn't know it was a city in Syria. But, compared to the things said or done by Trump and Clinton, I would consider this really minor.

I honestly consider him to be the best candidate. If you disagree, well, that's your right.

Will he win? Probably not.

Is this a protest vote? Absolutely not! I'm not protesting anything, just choosing who I think would make the best President.

I've been told I should choose Clinton, or Trump, because they're better than Trump, or Clinton. That may be true. If I die in my sleep, that's better than dying in a car accident. But, I'm still dead.

I'm not saying vote for Johnson (although I'd like you to). I'm only saying, put some thought into your choice. Pick someone you can actually respect and honor as President. Remember, voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Most Interesting Election Cyle......Ever

If you enjoy politics as a spectator sport, then this the year for you. The Donald, Crooked Hillary, Gary the cannabis CEO, Dr. Stein. This is going to be fun to watch.

I watched a town hall with Jill Stein on CNN last night, and I was impressed. I still intend to vote for Johnson, but in the unlikely event she wins, she would be a President I could respect. That makes two.

I'm very pleased that someone else has picked up the "wasted vote" theme. I find it repugnant that somebody would vote "against" someone, instead of "for" the person they want. I realize full well my vote for Johnson may not help much. But, I didn't vote for Nixon, either. My conscience is clear.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Here It Is!!

And, here's the label for my newest beer.

I'm calling it Non-Sequitur Ale, A Black IPA. I'm sure you can figure out the connection.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Back To Beer

I've moved. Yes, I know, the title says "Back To Beer". Bear with me.

Over the last several years, I've become disabled, I need assistance walking, I no longer drive, or work. I now brew 2-gallon batches, instead of 5. One concern I had about the move was, "Can I brew in the new place?" I'm happy to say, I can.

In fact, there are several things easier. The kitchen is smaller, so there's always something nearby to hold onto. We have a large closet, with enough room for 2 fermenters, and all my brewstuff. It's much cheaper to rent and heat, which means more money for beer. I don't have to work, which leaves more time to plan, and make, beer.

My first two are a black IPA with rye, and a smoked pale ale. Since this is senior housing, I don't know how many beer drinkers there are, but I intend to find out.

With the extra fundage, I was able to purchase two more cankits, both pale ales. I intend to add molasses to one, and probably brew the other straight.

Think I'm gonna like it here.

Friday, July 15, 2016

You Have A Choice!

It's not just Trump or Clinton. If you want to vote for one or the other, you can stop reading. I'm not voting for either one. After the Lewinski affair, I can't vote for anyone named Clinton. I simply can't see that man getting that close to the seat of power again. And Trump? His speeches have alienated nearly every minority in the country. I simply don't understand why anyone would even consider him.

There are many other choices.

If you look at this site, you can see the full range of candidates running. Do your homework. Read, listen, find someone you can be comfortable with. Don't just "hold your nose" and cast your vote. Make a choice you can be proud of.

I think this may be our single best chance to really make ourselves heard, and have somebody in office who is actually our choice.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How's This For A Choice?

I've been following the political contests with a lot of interest (partially morbid). The Democrats are having a race down to the wire between Bernie Sanders, an avowed Socialist (I don't mean that as bad as it may sound. He's actually my second favorite.) and Hillary Clinton. I cannot see another Clinton in the White House. The morals of her husband were atrocious. I have serious doubts about the marriage dynamic, and her moral foundation.

The Republicans are about to nominate Donald Trump. I regard him as one of the worst candidates in modern history. I've listened to his stump speech. He says how much he loves where ever he is. He says he'll have an incredible administration. No programs, no proposals, no initiatives, no ideas. He sounds like the old Whig party; all slogan, but nothing concrete.

It really looks like our choice is going to come down to Trump or Clinton. Or, is it?

I sincerely think it's time to look at another party for Presidential material. We've had other parties in the past, so it wouldn't be a first. The Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, and Whigs have all been in play. Perhaps it's time for another new party to make a national appearance.

I can hear you. You're saying, "But, I don't want to waste my vote!" I w3ould submit to you that wasting your vote is casting it for someone you don't want. If the person you voted for doesn't win, you didn't waste your vote. You were just outvoted. That's how democracy works. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Cast your vote for who you really want; Trump,  Clinton, Sanders, Johnson, or whoever might be on the ballot. And let happen what will happen.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I Miss My Dad

My father passed away on February 2, 2016. I loved him. I miss him. I think I always will.

I have no idea if anyone else feels this way. I don't know if anyone else has ever felt this way. But, I know how I feel right now, and, well, there are better ways to feel.

Please, don't misunderstand. I'm not a danger to myself, or anyone around me. I don't intend to do anything stupid. (Or at least, any stupider than the stuff I normally do.)

It's just that, at times, even if I'm really enjoying myself, I look around, and he's not there. I'm 62, and he's always been there. The feeling that my dad isn't here, and never will be again, leaves...something. A void? A hole? An emptiness, yes, an emptiness. A very important piece of my life is suddenly missing.

My full name is Joseph Michael Labeck, Junior. I carry far more than my dad's name. So much of what he was, how he felt, how he related to people, is here in me. I have often said that there were three major influences on my life. First on the list was always Dad.

I've always loved you, Dad. I'll always miss you. I always wanted you to be proud of me, and I'll never stop trying.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

New Brewery!

I come from a beer family. We drink beer, we make beer, I like to think we know beer. When a new brewery opened it's doors in Waterbury, and one of the family invited me to try them out, well, how could I refuse?

The Brassworks Brewery sits in an unassuming corner of an unassuming industrial park on Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury, Connecticut. You can find the startup story (told better than I ever could) at

They don't serve food, but they have made arrangements to have different food trucks onsite whenever they're open. When we were there, they had actual wood-fired pizza, from a mobile brick oven...YUM!

Beside myself, My niece Emily, her husband Tom, my nephew John, his wife LeAnne, my nephew Rob, my sister Betsy, and her husband Tom were all there. Everyone had different beers and different pizzas. The result was that I, um, drank a bit too much, and ate nearly as much. Since I didn't drive, everything was fine. And the beers and pizzas were all excellent.
I started out with a sampler of 5 beers: bitter, blond ale, pale ale, amber ale, and porter. I asked the owners about the choices for the sampler. They replied that their intention was to get people out of the "Bud rut".

As I worked my way through the sampler, I was struck by a couple of things. First, every beer, as near as I could tell, was a faithful representation of its style. Second, nearly every beer was made with an interesting twist.

The bitter was very much a classic English drink; low alcohol, minimal hop character, very refreshing. It had an unusual fruitiness, though, making this a different take on an old-timey drink. The blond ale reminded me very much of my own attempt at making an American ale. Think of Ballantine, with more hops. The pale ale just plain nailed it. A strong malt backbone, assertive hop flavor and aroma would make this a good companion to almost any meal. The amber ale tilted slightly to the sweet side, showcasing the malt, while not ignoring the hops, which still showed up. Last was a classic brown porter. Caramelized fruit, vanilla, just enough hops, made this an ideal drink to enjoy on a late fall evening by a roaring fire.

I had sips of many of the beers surrounding me. I tried an IPA, a coffee porter, a stout, a brown ale, all excellent, all tasty.

Bottom line? If you like beer, if you like trying different tastes, is you like people, you should try this place. I would recommend it to anyone.

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Like Making Beer

I believe Ive mentioned this before, more than a few times. I really like this hobby. When I'm thinking about my next batch, I'm not thinking about what I can afford, or what will impress my friends. I'm just thinking, "What do I want to drink?"

So, I'm just finishing that last of a Baltic Porter. Then, it's on to my first-ever fruit lambic, after which I'll be into the dunkelweizen I made for our family competition.

Oh, and somewhere in their is a braggot, a mead/beer hybrid, which Ive always wanted to try.

I just think it's really cool that, after 30 years of brewing, I can still say, "I never tried this before."

Sunday, January 17, 2016


For quite some time, now, folks all lover the internet and airwaves have been really upset about national politics. Now, don't misunderstand. It does suck. There are some really stupid people in Washington, DC.

However, there are a lot of really smart, dedicated folks there as well. And, one of the really cool things about our system of government is that, when one branch falls short in the performance of its duties, there are two other branches to pick up the slack.

Now, this is just my opinion, and it may be worth less than nothing.

But, it is possible we have been spoiled by a run of highly qualified people; strong Presidents, talented legislators, and thoughtful Justices. Also, don't look at the sanitized version of history we were taught in grammar school. Go read what really happened.

Many people did many things that made many people very angry, and with good reason. Many people were elected to very high offices (like President) with very few qualifications. Many deeds were done that got many people in very serious trouble.

And, we survived.

So, whether one candidate accuses another of being of "doubtful" gender (as has happened), or whether some President tries to appoint "extra" Supreme Court Justices to get his way (as has also happened), we shall go on as a nation.

What it genius? Was it dumb luck? Whatever. It works. It has for 239 years, and should for a few more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I've been away awhile. I apologize. I've been trying to care for some health and financial  issues.

I love making beer. I working through a batch of cranberry-wheat: 50% wheat malt, and 50% cranberry juice. The dry wheat and tart cranberry are an awesome combination. Coming up, I'll make a dunkleweizen for our St Patrick's Day competition, a brown ale (an old favorite), and a fruit lambic, something I've always wanted to try.