Monday, June 26, 2023

Books read in 2023: No. 23 - The Book of Haggai

published by Zondervan

Started: June 26
Finished: June 26

Notes: Another book from near the end of the Old Testament, this one also concerning one of the prophets.

Mini review: In this book, God calls for the building of the Second Temple after the Jews are allowed to returned to their homeland. A bit different than most of the other prophets' books in this part of the Bible.

Books read in 2023: No. 22 - The Book of Zephaniah

published by Zondervan

Started: June 26
Finished: June 26

Notes: I've slacked on my Bible reading somewhat this year and I'm trying to catch up, especially as I'm near the end of the Old Testament.

Mini review: This one holds familiar themes to those of the prophets in the latter part of the Old Testament: Jerusalem and Judah and Israel will be punished for their sins but eventually they will be redeemed by God and their enemies will be trampled upon. This part of the Bible really is repetitive and rather dull, so I can see why it's not preached about or studied nearly as much as other parts of the Bible.

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Olde Heurich Brewing Co. Beers

Another week in which I didn't get to try any beer, but as always I still have some old notes about a brewery that's longer with us, this one originally from the Washington D.C. area. So, enjoy.

Heurich's Foggy Bottom Ale
Beer score: 6.9
Had just a tad too much fizz for my liking, but went down smooth. Had a bit of a kick in the aftertaste that made this beer a little too strong for novice beer drinkers.

Heurich's Foggy Bottom Lager
Beer score: 5.3
Too spicy for me in a sweet, cinnamon way, but went down smooth and was frothy.

Heurich's SpringFogg Bock
Beer score: 7.2
Fairly sturdy, somewhat like a strong lager. Had a little froth and a little sweetness. Went well with cigars.

Heurich's WinterFogg Porter
Beer score: 5.8
Wasn't bad for yet another of those spiced-up winter brews, though there was too much carbonation. Had a fruity flavor mixed into a fairly sturdy maple texture. Was one of the better winter brews.

Books read in 2023: No. 21 -- No Country For Old Men

by Cormac McCarthy

Started: June 22
Finished: June 26

Notes: I've been meaning to read more from this author, and his recent passing has prompted me to delve into this novel. Yes, I've seen the movie, and yes, I remember the basics of the characters and the plot, but I don't think that will cause me too many problems in enjoying this one.

Mini review: Damn, but this was a good novel. No, correct that. This was a great novel. Better than the movie, even with as much fame as the movie has. And the story pretty much follows the movie almost line for line, though I've read McCarthy wrote this one as a screenplay before making it into a novel. Usually I don't care for novels which read somewhat like a screenplay, but here it work perfectly. I won't go into the plot or characters or details because most readers will already know from the movie. But this was worth reading, and I might even read it again at some point. This is the kind of novel that makes you want to write, and that's the best compliment I can give any literature.

I will add that this is not adventure fiction, though there is a fair amount of violence. This is a novel of ideas, of thoughts, of feelings, though I wouldn't necessarily say it's a novel of high ideals, though perhaps it is in some ways of thinking. It is a bit of a tale of nostalgia for simpler times and simpler people, but it also speaks frankly against such a notion, that simpler times and simpler people never really existed except perhaps in our memories.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Books read in 2023: No. 20 - The Book of Habakkuk

published by Zondervan

Started: June 22
Finished: June 22

Notes: Trying to catch up on my Biblical readings, I turn to another of the prophetic works from the latter portion of the Old Testament.

Mini review: In this book the prophet Habakkuk has a conversation with God and questions God concerning evils, especially evils perpetrated against Israel by the Chaldeans. God gives an answer, mainly that he will punish the Chaldeans even harsher than the Israelites are being punished. The final chapter is basically a prayer or poem in which Habakkuk shows his faith in God.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Books read in 2023: No. 19 - The Book of Nahum

published by Zondervan

Started: June 21
Finished: June 21

Notes: Because of travel and other things going on with my life of late, whenever I've been between books, I've not had a Bible handy. Which is unusual since I own a dozen or more copies of the Bible. So, my Bible readings have been limited the last few months. It's time to get back to that. Oddly enough, this is perhaps the book of the Bible which I am least experienced and knowledgeable.

Mini review: This book mainly seems to be a prophecy by the prophet Nahum concerning the destruction of the Assyrian city known as Ninevah. Ninevah was eventually attacked by Babylonians, but whether one considers that prophetic would be for others to speculate.

Books read in 2023: No. 18 -- Lost Lexington Kentucky

by Peter Brackney

Started: June 17
Finished: June 21
Notes: I've always considered Lexington, Kentucky, my hometown, having lived there twice, once from 1969 to 1993 and then again from 2006 to 2010. So, I'm always glad to read a little history about my hometown. This book focuses upon architecture, specifically about buildings in Lexington that no longer exist, some of which I remember and others that were before my time.

Mini review: This was a nostalgic blast from the past. Some of the structures here were before my time, though I had heard of most of them. Some were destroyed during my time, and I remember them fondly as landmarks of my youth. Others have been destroyed since I left Lexington, leaving me with bittersweet memories, especially when it comes to the changes at the University of Kentucky. But change and growth are natural, yet the Bluegrass Region has lost much. I hope they don't lose more.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Beer of the Week: Green Bench Postcard Pilsner

Beer score: 7.4

Company: Green Bench Brewing Co.
ABV: 4.7
IBU: 35

Of late I've not tasted any really good beers, so I was glad to run across this one on tap in a local brewpub.

Pours a pale golden color, almost lemony, with a little flowery smell but honestly, not much smell.

Tasted smooth and cool, crisp with a light sweetness. The barest hints of caramel and bread also come across in the flavors.

I quite enjoyed this one, though I'll admit it's probably not for everyone. It's not a particularly unique beer, and it's not very strong, so those who prefer their brews with heft and who enjoy discovering something different, this one might not be for you. But I found it great for a meal, perfectly light for seafood especially, and it could make a good cooling-down beer after working out in the yard all day.

I'd drink more, for sure.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Books read in 2023: No. 17 -- Our Lady of Darkness

by Fritz Leiber

Started: June 11
Finished: June 16

Notes: Though Leiber is mainly remembered today as one of the more well known Sword and Sorcery writers, he penned other works, this being one of them. So, in the past I've dipped into some of his other works, and I thought I'd give this one a try, a novel about a horror author who apparently stumbles upon a real-life horror.

Mini review: This one was interesting, but I wouldn't say it was Leiber best work. Set in 1970s San Francisco, a horror author runs into some real horror along with a collection of companions. This one bordered on the Lovecraftian with a slow, eerie buildup that was nice (with the exception of one long info dump); however, the ending I found rather trite. Still, not a bad read over all, and it was nice to read some horror from an earlier age where everything wasn't just action and dialogue, a common fault I find in much modern fiction.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Portland Brewing Company Beers

Some years back the Portland Brewing Company was bought out by MacTarnhan's Brewing Company, but more recently even that has gone defunct. What was left behind was a legacy of decent brews. Too bad they're no longer around. Still, I have a few old notes about these beers.

Portland Haystack Black Porter
Beer score: 6.6
Was a pretty good porter with a smooth, slightly maple flavor but a little too much carbonation. Weak enough that experienced beer tasters could sip on this all night.

Portland Icicle Creek Winter Ale
Beer score: 6.3
Was one of the better winter brew because it didn't have a powerful taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and spices.

Portland Oregon Honey Beer
Beer score: 7.2
Very light. Went down extremely smooth with a nice honey aftertaste, but that was to be expected since this one was brew with honey.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Books read in 2023: No. 16 -- Uncle Silas

by J.S. Le Fanu

Started: April 24
Finished: June 11

Notes: This 19th-Century Irish author is perhaps best remembered today for his novella Carmilla which had a huge influence on gothic literature and eventually even Dracula. However, Le Fanu also penned no small number of novels, nearly all of them mysteries and/or gothic to some extent or another. I've read some of his shorter works but never one of his novels, so I'm interested to experience this, doubly so since Le Fanu has been compared to Wilkie Collins, another 19th-Century author who has caught my attention these last couple of years.

Mini review: Well, that was a long one, and somewhat slow, but it gradually built up to a fairly satisfying ending in the last 50 or so pages. For me, Le Fanu is not quite as a good a read as Wilkie Collins, mainly because Le Fanu's tale here is so slow in building, but I am willing to suggest him for those who enjoy Victorian literature, especially of the gothic variety. The plot? Through tragedy a young lady goes to live wither her uncle who has become her guardian, and this uncle has a dark past. Those are the bare bones of this story, and I won't say more because it would be giving too much away to potential readers. In fairness, I can't say I'll look for another Le Fanu novel, but I can say I'm glad I read this one.

Monday, June 05, 2023

Beer of the Week: Schaefer Beer

Beer score: 1.2

Company: Saranac
ABV: 3.8

This beer has been produced by numerous different companies over the years, and I've tried it several times during the last few decades. Not once have I enjoyed this drink. I can't believe the folks who make Saranac beers are now brewing this monstrosity.

The label has the word "beer" on it, but I'm still skeptical. There is little taste here except for a cheap American flavor that vaguely float around the back of your mouth. There is a lot of fizz for you burping fans.

Don't drink this.