The Long Dark Period

The long dark period that most of you call spring/summer is almost over, and that means one thing and one thing only.


They screamed in delight, yelled out his name, asked him to slow down so they could snap more pictures. Ben Roethlisberger heard the ruckus, realized he was the cause of it and could only smile at the attention.

And all he was doing midway through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first training camp practice Sunday was changing his jersey.

“They were loud, and they were cheering for any little thing that happened,” coach Bill Cowher said of the 10,000-plus fans watching a practice that couldn’t have been more routine, with a few passing and blocking drills and not much else.

That Roethlisberger was back with his teammates, throwing passes to first-round draft pick Santonio Holmes and getting a bit of a scare when he banged his right thumb off a lineman’s helmet, was anything but ordinary.

The youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl is less than two months removed from a potentially tragic motorcycle accident that easily could have ended his life, and having him back on the field so soon is more than the Steelers and their fans could have expected.

“I got the arm loosened up, and the body, and proved a lot of people wrong,” Roethlisberger said.

Thank goodness football season is almost here!

Signs o’ the Times

I was in Sheetz just alittle bit a go, and I noticed that they had a sign up stating that ‘”Due to the rising price of gas, thefts haveincreased and we now require that you pre-pay for gasoline.”

I thought that was interesting on a number of levels, but most interesting was that it seems we are missing the usual wailing about the price of gas this summer. the gasoline here is$2.99 per gallon, which is expensive by US standards but still relatively cheap by international/European standards.


As you may know, this weekend a drunk-driving Mel Gibson serenaded the Malibu police with a string of antisemitic expletives, among other choice numbskullery (‘sugar tits?’). Joe Gandelman makes the two relevant points here. First, most of us already knew that Mel Gibson is a bigoted ass. Atrios points out that Mel hardly needs a 1.3% 0.13% blood alcohol content to let the hate shine through. Second, it is not illegal to be a bigoted ass and calls to prosecute him for a hate crime push that area of law dangerously into thought-crimes territory. Speaking as a Jewish person I have roughly the same feeling about this as when a few Nazis march down main street. God bless America that they can do that unmolested and the rest of us can safely ignore them. Stifling opinions merely serves to validate them, even the batshit-crazy ones.


Artist’s reenactment of the arrest:


If this report proves true then Floyd Landis should pretty much pack it in. The Tour’s epitestosterone-to-testosterone threshold is 4-1. Ordinary people never pass 2-1.

Unlike many this won’t sour me on bicycle racing at all. See, I pretty much assumed that races in the past were fairly thick with substance abuse. Before anybody gets me wrong I don’t mean to cast aspersions on Lance, who put up with constant accusations and contant testing without a single shred of evidence. He hardly needed the boost to when his godlike lactic acid threshold, lung capacity and basal metabolism gave him a similar benefit for free.

But Lance aside, I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that a decent number of riders are juicing in any given race. If the Tour shows the balls to dethrone a champion then a good number will probably think better of it in the future. Good for the tour, it seems to me.


DK guest-blogging at Josh Marshall’s place:

The logic, such as it is, employed by Bush and Condi is that since cease-fires have been broken in the past, it is the cease-fires themselves that are the impediment to peace. No cease-fires ergo no broken cease-fires. It’s sort of like saying that red lights are the reason drivers run red lights. Remove the traffic lights and, presto, drivers aren’t running red lights anymore. Just ignore the carnage at intersections.

Think that sounds familiar? Read my earlier post. They take the ostrich approach to practically every problem that they don’t want to deal with.

Friday Beer Blogging – Again With The Hops

Once again I’m buying local and loving it. Made over in the state capitol of Harrisburg midway between Steelers and Eagles country, Troeg’s is a relatively new beer to me but nonetheless a popular favorite around these parts. Judging by the label alone I figured that their Hopback would fall in that category of semi-big American ales that I like the best (see also: Hop Devil, 90 Minute IPA).

Troeg\'s Hopback

This beer hit me just right. You can see its amberish hue befitting a proper amber ale, topped by a respectable head with notes of floral malt and (duh) hops. After the head a decent coat of lacing remains. Like many of my favorite beers they certainly don’t skimp on the hops but at the same time at 6% ABV there is enough malt to take the edge off and add layers of caramel and, to my taste anyway, a hint of cassis. To me this beer seemed just un-big enough to think about having another after dinner, which was great for my enjoyment of the evening news but bad for my waistline. Fortunately I can always blame that part on my wife’s French cooking. BAers strongly approve.

Coming later tonight: two good reasons to visit Chambly. Three if you count being snubbed by Quebecois!


The best laid plans of mice and men…I learned tonight that Unibroue’s excellent Blanche de Chambly is not available in the US so I headed over to the Sharp Edge and discovered Southern Tier’s entry in the imperial IPA wars, Unearthly. Wow. The first sign of trouble is the deep, dark cream head which simply has no right sitting on top of an 11% ABV beer. Underneath you find an amber, almost mahogany liquid giving off a nose of HOPS. This beer tastes big, almost impossibly big. Southern Tier did not screw around when it came to staking their place in the big-hops arms race, but they somehow squash in enough leftover malt to make the beer very near to balanced. Think about that, they stuff enough malt in this beer to reach 11% ABV naturally and then throw in enough hops to easily reach the top five that this reviewer has ever tried and the residual sugar still manages to hold its own in the flavor profile. I would love to be their barley vendor.

Southern Tier stops well short of overmalting like the crazy insane people at Dogfish Head do it, but rather strike a decent balance that reflects the ideal mix of an American ale, only more so to the nth degree. When would you have something like this? Forget about a meal, unless you plan on chasing habanero peppers with Thai fish sauce. A session? Laughable. Even one is almost too much. The wife and I agreed that pretty much the only place for this beer is after dinner when you would usually uncork a neat tumbler of Laphroaig, Highland Park or Talisker. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you probably won’t like the beer.

BAers approve, of course.

Open Thread

Fiddle while Rome burns.