Friday, January 29, 2021

Is change necessary for a hero?

 I'm now writing regularly over at the Rogue Blades site, and this week my articles asks the question, Is change necessary for a hero?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 5 -- Shane

Started: Jan. 24
Finished: Jan. 27

Notes: Yep, this is the Western novel which was the basis for the famous 1953 movie starring Alan Ladd. I enjoy the movie, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Mini review: Though I've read this was a children's book back in the day, it would probably be considered too strong for kids today, at least by most parents. No, this tale was written for the boys of my father's generation, and I have to say maybe we've lost a little because of this. Anyway, this was a pretty good book, and it didn't seem childish to me at all though told from the point of view of a boy. The movie version pretty much sticks to this novel, though some scenes shown in the movie were only told of here, and there are some minor differences. Western fiction fans would do themselves a service to read this.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Blue Ridge Amber Lager

Beer score: 5.9

Another beer that's no longer in production, it went through multiple brewing companies before eventually dying off. The Frederick Brewing Company had it for a while, and then it got bought out by the Flying Dog Brewery for a bit, and then ended up with the Wild Goose Brewery. Such a shame this decent beer is no longer around.

It poured an orange color and had a caramel, malty smell to it. Good cold. Wet and a little thin with more caramel in the tasting.

A pretty good beer for premium beer drinkers to expand their tastes with. Not bad at all, but by no means an awesome beer.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 4 -- The Unforgiven

Started: Jan. 20
Finished: Jan. 24

Notes: I've been reading a fair amount of non-fiction concerning the Old West of late, so thought I'd turn to some of the fiction on the era. This particular novel was the basis for the 1960 movie starring Burt Lancaster. I've read this author's novel The Searchers and generally enjoyed it, so thought I'd give him another go.

Mini review: After a somewhat slow start, this turned out to be a damn fine novel. It's written in a style more common to half a century or more ago, being verbose by today's standards, but this is necessary as this isn't simply a tale of gunfights and adventure, though there is some of that. This is mainly a tale of the cowfolk who helped build the frontier and the hardships and dangers they faced, especially their struggles against Native American tribes, her being the Kiowa. Also, by modern standards this isn't the most politically correct of novels, but the anger and curses thrown at the Kiowa is mostly understandable (at least from some characters) because of the tense situations; in other words, if you're fighting for your life, you're not going to worry so much if the words coming from your mouth are politcally correct.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 3 -- Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Joesphine Marcus Earp

Started: Jan. 10
Finished: Jan. 20

Notes: Believe it or not, I did not purchase this book when I visited Tombstone, Arizona a few years ago, site of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Instead, I found it at a used book store in North Carolina, but thought I'd read it now since I'm in the middle of a spell of reading about the Old West. Also, for some time now I've been interested in Josephine Marcus Earp, the actress who married Wyatt Earp.

Mini review: For those wanting to learn more about Tombstone and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, there will not be much new information here. However, for those who are seeking knowledge of Wyatt and Josephine Earp's life after the events of Tombstone, there is much to be found here. The writer is mostly sympathetic towards her subject matter, but is more than willing to tell when others had negative recollections of Wyatt and Josephine. The writing style is not a favorite of mine, but it's not awful.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Beer of the Week: Molson Canadian

Beer score: 5.6

Company: Molson Coors

ABV: 5.0
IBU: 15

A cheese and crackers lager. A good, plain, all-around beer. Not necessarily a beer snob's beer, but not a bad beer at all. You could serve this one to your beer snob friends and not be disgraced.

Has a light, pale color like gold when you pour it, though there is something of a corn and rice smell that's not uncommon among premium beers.

There's a touch of malty sweetness here, a nice beer flavor, and a frothy head. This is a clean, fairly smooth beer. Not a favorite of mine, but I could see myself drinking these while doing work around the house.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Beer of the Week: Schlitz

Beer score: 1.5

Company: Schlitz

ABV: 4.7

I suppose it's beer.

From the bottle into the glass, this one has the color of straw. And it smells like corn.

Tastes like cheap beer, and barely that. Weak with a little carbonation.

Not my thing, but it has its place. Still, unless all you're seeking is a cheap buzz, stay away from this beer. In all fairness, Schlitz has been owned by a few different companies over the decades and hasn't always had the same recipe, so maybe some Schlitz in the past has been better than the version I most recently had or maybe today's Schlitz is better than the old stuff.

Searching for heroes

This week over at Black Gate, I chat about a cross-country road trip I took a few years ago and how it inspired me to search for heroes on that trip.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 2 -- Soiled Doves: Prostitution in The Early West

Started: Jan. 5
Finished: Jan. 10

Notes: Yep, it's another book I picked up in Tombstone a few years ago.

Mini review: While the subject matter here was interesting enough, I found the execution less than desirable. Most of this is a collection of snippets and information from other books about the lives of famous madams and prostitutes in the Old West, with only some vagueness about the overall picture of prostitution during the time period. The writing was fair, but the book itself should have had a stronger structure instead of jumping around so much in the timeline.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 1 -- Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait

Started: Jan. 1
Finished: Jan. 5

Notes: As might be expected considering the subject matter, I picked up this book during a trip to Tombstone, Arizona, a couple of years ago, site of the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral, in which the famous (or infamous) Doc Holliday took part. This one could be especially revealing as it's from a descendent of Holliday. It looks to be well noted and indexed, but I would expect nothing else from a book from the University of Oklahoma Press; I've read some of that publisher's books before and they've always been quite enlightening about the Old West.

Mini review: This is what all history books should endeavor towards. Entertaining while not flippant, informative without being boring, and full of notes which actually add knowledge. The author obviously has something of a Holliday leaning, but that's to be expected, and in truth her bias isn't overly blatant, allowing the text to be relatively fair to the Doc and those involved in the old Clanton-Earp feud. If you enjoy Old West, non-fiction, I highly suggest you read this. Even if you think you know Doc Holliday, there will be things here to learn, mostly about Doc's earlier days before heading west but also a few things about his days in Texas, Colorado, Arizona, etc.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Beer of the Week: Sierra Nevada Celebration

Beer score: 3.0

Company: Sierra Nevada

ABV: 6.8
IBU: 65

Anyone who has read this blog will likely know I'm flat out not a fan of these spiced holiday drinks. So, in all fairness, my brief reviews and scores for these beers tend to be less than positive.

Which is pretty much the case here.

The color is amber. The scent is hoppy with a touch of fruity. The flavor is a strong, bitter mixture of cinnamon and holiday spices.

Sierra Nevada puts out some great beers, but I can't say this is one of them. Though this is no fault of their own. I simply don't like these kinds of beers.