Liquor goes down easy
and way, way too easy
and too often takes folks
down ruin’s road.
So why do I?
Since it makes me so queasy.
And nobody loves a drunk
not even another drunk,
okay, maybe sometimes, maybe,
but not after they grow up
or get sober
and we or they make
such an unforgivable mess
and land in such an unrecoverable funk.
It’s best to drink beer—
after eating a full meal,
with dessert and coffee
late at night,
one beer or two might be all right
for you if you’re not
Irish or German,
but then—then what?
It’s gastronomically unclear.
Wine, it seems, might be finely biblical,
if it’s tannins
don’t give you headaches,
hives, or hallucinations and
if it’s warm, cheap, and red,
because white wine
tastes like fermented kerosene,
smells it too,
so we pretend it’s good.
My dearly departed friend,
Jack, held to the standard
that all Dutch courage
must be drinkable.
Good ideas are the worst
when you’re in your cups,
those delusional wonders,
which thankfully rarely occur
except in the tank
or the boot of the hearse.
Look both ways to find the source of the lie.
Mind the growing gaps as they turn memories eternally black.
A little Tom T with his famous beer song, may he rest in peace.
Day 2 prompt: Write a poem about a place (i.e., a house, store, school, or office). How ‘bout a bar?
Sorry to say it’s gone now,
Packy Lenahan’s bar.
Packy too. Kids may age,
Patty and Maureen Keating,
lived in the same attached building.
I forget the people’s names
in the apartment above Packy’s.
It was on the corner of Madison street,
where friends Jimmy, June, and nine more lived,
and my grandpop had lived before I was born,
and Butler street where we lived.
Packy’s, some thirty yards west of
my bedroom window,
was where they drank and smoked,
and where they played games and ate food
until well past my bed time.
Inside to the right a huge mahogany bar
had big high mirrors, stacked whisky bottles, and beer taps.
I learned shuffleboard to the left,
and my first dart board was on the back wall,
left of some stairs up to the dining room
with tables and chairs, a kitchen and
toilets were to the right.
Few stools were at the bar, but it had real,
often used, brass spittoons on the dirty,
cigarette-burn stained, wood floor where beer
was often spilled and seldom mopped
under high ceilings with fans on long poles.
The back door was mostly for exiting,
or entering when closed (but not really),
on Sundays after church or after last call,
always unlocked after knocking.
There was a piano,
and a smell of stale beer
and staler smoke, and a juke box
back in the dining room
where I sometimes played,
but bar spittoons always intrigued me,
men spat, often missing, one of the things
they only did at Packy’s.
Many nights I laid in bed and listened to them
talking or singing and being loud, having fun
at Packy’s. Sometimes fighting
after Packy threw them out and I wanted
to go see who got clobbered
with a brass spittoon off the floor.
Look both ways cuz it’s not always what you think.
Mind the gaps and don’t trip over spittoon.
I am feeling uninspired now, and have for months. I think I whined on this before. Is there such a thing as very uninspired? I have no idea if I can place a degree on it, like on a scale from one-to-ten. I know I’m okay, not panicked. I have ideas and I work on them. But I think other things (forces?) in my non-writing life are short-circuiting my writing and the transmissions from mind to this keyboard. Or maybe my mind is a void. I just can’t seem to complete what I want to do.
I can start things, but then I mentally bog down. I worked on several poems, some of which I have been picking at for weeks. After about an hour of working on one or more in my uninspired condition, I feel like the poems and I are both considerably worse off. I would get more done if I’d watched TV instead of playing writer, editor, or poet. The strange part is that no one else seems to think anything is wrong with me or my craft. Is what I feel something normal? Wife says it’s writer’s block. Could it be because the creative climb is too steep, and I’m using this dryness as an excuse? I continue to write something every day. Oh, poor pitiful me. My WordPress account is rusting.
I think about reading – but what? Books on writing or poetry? I’m honestly not in the mood for that either. I prefer to listen to music, but I haven’t been able to listen to music while I read or write in years. Music inspires me. Reading also inspires. Multi-tasking confuses me.
It’s been raining, normally that would help. I’m not tired. I wish I could write and finish what I start. But, I am writing. I want something inspirational. Maybe a few good lines in the poems, or perhaps I could drum up a coherent essay. How about writing a self-help blog on what to do when you are uninspired? Elizabeth Gilbert and my poet friend, Sue, would tell me that I am not being open to inspiration from the cosmos. I disagree. Okay, maybe they’re right. Assuming they are, then what? Hello, Cosmos of Inspiration, I am open here. Can we do a few lines? Not those kinds of lines – poetry. Prose, I suppose.
I read a couple of those ‘ta-da!’ blogs with all the answers before writing this. Seriously? Seven things to do when you feel uninspired. What a joke! How many ways can people come up with to say, “don’t be uninspired.” Get busy, they say. Fuck you, I say. Seriously. I’m not saying no to the inspirational meta-verse. If I could get busy (pause and sigh). Well, don’t they think I tried that? Ya know what I would like to do? I think I should drink. Get drunk and write, what I call “doing a Hemmingway.” I may not get anything constructive done, but I won’t care. Maybe a wee dab of doobie?
It’s Sunday. Okay, it was. I don’t know what day it is. But I would like to go to a bar, sit and sip a fine pint, and listen to some moron bitch and complain about some totally unimportant and irrelevant shit. I have no idea why that might help improve my writing dilemma. But something in me feels like listening to some neggy-Ned, so I can roll my eyes and feel superior to him (Nelly, if it be a her). I could say, “You think that’s bad? I can’t even finish a damn little poem!” Maybe I’d have a little crappy cryin’ in my beer C&W session, or some fine R&R music playing in the background. It would not inspire me and the only thing I would feel better about would be the contents of my stomach and a wee tingle in my semi-functional brain.
The thing is, I’m not bored. I am really quite fine (but, MS Word is trying to piss me off by underlining that and telling me that really and quite are unnecessary words, and it’s working. But I ain’t changing shit.). Here’s my plan.
I will go see what wife has on the flat screen. I will watch for a while, then excuse myself and head out for some nearby watering trough. I will sit there and pretend to write, or maybe read, but I’ll be people watching and eavesdropping. If you walk in and some old fart has a notepad out and is sort of eyeballing everyone, while sipping a tall, dark stout (beer with the appearance of coffee, the taste of chocolate, and a head like a coke), and jamming with some oldie tunes, just wave. If you even nod and pout a shallow grin, you’ll make my pages. Congrats. Now where’s me keys?
Look both ways on good days and bad.
Mind the gaps, but don’t let them live in your head.
Zymurgy (zy-mur-gy; zī mәr jē) is chemistry that deals with the fermentation processes (as in wine making or brewing), There are zymurgy clubs around America, a brew pub called Zymurgy in Torrance, CA, and even a magazine called Zymurgy. It’s a fancy word for something we didn’t know we had a fancy word for. In words like this, experts, specialists, and aficionados find each other.
A toast to the Grog By Bill Reynolds
Hold your drink high as we all salute, Stand proud and tall as you toast our success. Long we have toiled to blog the last dribble, To the craft of zymurgy, my final tribute.
To the blessings of grog from the art of the craft, I brought you my twaddle, the sweet and the daft, With creative support of that spirited guest, I sent you my poems, the poor and the best.
From the wine to the beer, The ferment and brew, The stout and the red Went straight to my head.
My thanks to my readers, Both critics and lovers, And for the crafters of zymurgy to brew, Grateful to all, I am thanking you too.
Wine to the left, beer on the right,
Look both ways and have a great night.
Of the gaps be mindful, it’s been so delightful.
I seldom eat the whole pizza any more, at least not in the same evening. My wife may have one slice, but not always. Still, why do some religious folks insist that if, per chance, the wife wants none, I’ll go to Hell?
Am I gluttonous? I eat more than that guy, but less than that one, and maybe about the same as the other dude. When does eating and drinking become one of the deadly or capital offenses? Where do we cross the line that assures our trip to the inferno?
I’m not going to argue that overeating is good for us. We all know it’s not. But the reason is biological, not spiritual. Besides, I do it more than I care to admit. I don’t think I am alone in my gastronomic fault. In fact, for an American, I’m probably about average.
In the Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas said, “Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire… leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists.” Inordinate? I only know this limit after I am well past it.
Devils, Demons, and Witchcraft says those who commit the sin of gluttony are punished in Hell by being forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes. Are they cooked or raw? Do we get hot sauce? Since these are eaten by people around the world every day, I feel so not threatened.
I posted about Epicurus back in the Spring, so I want to invoke him here. His name and philosophy has been incorrectly associated with glutinous behavior for centuries. I had it a bit wrong. Further, we’ve also bogarted his name to be associated with fine dining.
The word epicure is linked to indulging the appetite, but that is not the teaching of the man to whom we owe the word. That ancient Greek philosopher taught of simple pleasures, friendship, and a secluded life. He believed in the pursuit of pleasure (as do I), but pleasure for him equated with tranquility and freedom from pain (Dude! Try this plant.) – happiness.
Detractors of Epicurus misrepresented his notions of pleasure to material and sensual gratification. When epicure entered the lingo about 500 years ago, his philosophy had been trivialized. Epicure or epicurean became synonymous with “hedonist.” Way back, he showed a lot of wisdom.
“Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And to say that the season for studying philosophy has not yet come, or that it is past and gone, is like saying that the season for happiness is not yet or that it is now no more. Therefore, both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come. So we must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it.” —Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus
His philosophy combines a form of materialism with ethics that emphasizes moderation of desires and cultivation of friendships. His world view was optimistic, stressing a philosophy of not fearing death or the supernatural. It can teach us how to find happiness in almost any situation – without moaning after we’ve eaten the whole thing.
The opposite of gluttony is abstinence. Once again, from one extreme to the other. Abstaining from food can be a diagnosable eating disorder. We know how much, and of what things we should eat and drink. We must eat, but not too much; we must sleep, but not too much; we must drink. But there’s no such thing as too much fun.
“Moderation in all things, especially moderation.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Eating is an essential part of life.
Eat well, be happy, and enjoy all that life offers.
If we mind the gaps and look both ways, we’ll be fine.
Forty years ago tomorrow, I was the father of two boys: one age five, the other was two (two years later we added a daughter to the pride). Tomorrow would be my 30th birthday.
I was the navigator on a B-52 bomber crew. I recall that as I was taking a shower about fifty yards (roughly 45 meters) from a nuclear armed airplane cocked and ready to go blow the crap of somebody, I was quietly lamenting my age.
I would no longer be in my twenties. I thought that I was not young and never would be again. I was knocking on the door of middle age, or so I thought. I was feeling down because I was turning the dreaded big three-zero. “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” was the phrase. I still don’t really know what that means. I just knew it was bad.
Our society convinced me that I was getting old and that I should be sad about it. In four days, that five-year-old I mentioned turns 45. He and his 42-years young brother really are middle aged, and their baby sister is knocking on that door. I was not old, but I was depressed thinking that I was. Thanks to our shallow, f***ed-up, foolish American culture that values all the wrong stuff in people, my thinking was foolish (and not only about age).
Is it all that important to be a thin, white, dark-haired, strong, male member of this country? We seem to think so. I hope that continues to change.
We have to pass laws to keep people from discriminating against older people, and the age in the law is 40. WTF? Forty is not old. Again, forty is not old! At most, it’s lower-middle aged.
And if you plan to call this foul-mouthed, hard-drinking, Fightin’ Texas Aggie, Irish-Welshman elderly; you best be certain that you can kick his ass. Because this one is standing straight-up and walking your way (in silence) to demonstrate that old is not elderly!
But, I will indeed become a septuagenarian at midnight tonight. In the game of life, I will be at ‘Level 8.’ I’ve literally been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it (which I wear proudly). I am on a first-name basis with my cardiologists, and if my peripheral vascular surgeon would do a better job, I would be running three miles a day, instead of walking. I ride a Honda Forza motor scooter because my 800-pound, 2007 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe touring motorcycle got too heavy to pick up (last year). But I still ride on two wheels. I’ve retired from the jobs that pay, but I work every day. I’m a writer and do volunteer work. My only boss is the one I’ve been married to for 50 years.
I like people and I want them to like me. But I also don’t give a flying f**k what anyone else thinks of me or my opinions, politics, religion (or lack thereof), foul language, or beer breath. I do not, and never will, wear socks with sandals. I remain a teenager of the 60s.
I am retired. All the shit/crap that I put up with for all those years of school (nuns-groan), yes, sir and no, sir; kissing up to very few idiot bosses (most were great), scrimping and saving and working – it was all worth it. As my wife would say, “Rave on, dog shit!” And so I do. Every day is a weekend and I can do what I want (with her permission—I’m old, not stupid) whenever.
I want to be happy and I am. My last meal will truly be a good pizza (my wife makes the best) and a fine stout brew. When the time comes, I want to walk into Dr. G’s office and say, “Time to shut it down, Doc. It’s been a great ride and I’ve loved it all. Let’s talk about the final git-er-done.” But that day is some ways off. Getting old is not dangerous, driving on our roads is.
Get ready big eight-zero ‘cuz here I come. ~ Me
I toast the good health of my birth year (1946) peers: Cher, Barry Gibb, George and Laura Bush, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Linda Ronstadt, Sally Field, Ed O’Neill, Reggie Jackson, Daryl Hall, Jimmy Buffett, Dolly Parton, Tommy Lee Jones, Al Green, Loni Anderson, Cheech Marin, and others. We’re still kickin’ the can down the road.
May you have love that never ends, much money, and many friends.
Health be yours, whatever you do and may the universe bless you and yours. Rock on, my friends.
I’ll publish my promised blog on creativity this next Friday. I am also tinkering with one on recovering from middle age (men only, I am unqualified for the experiences of the softer, better looking, and smarter sex) because I have been there and done that too.
Big Block Brewery is a nano-brewery about fifteen miles east of Seattle. When I first visited on a Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t crowded, but it was busy enough. Parking was plentiful and close.
About a dozen customers were either sitting at the bar or around tables. Another twelve were seated in a spacious outdoor courtyard area while a few more played a game that involved the tossing small bean bags into a hole in a wooden target. Several other games were available outside.
The on-tap beer menu was neatly listed on a large, black chalk-board over the bar. Of the four columns, three listed house brews. The fourth column listed several beers from other places. They post this menu on-line so customers can see what is being served.
I thought the atmosphere pleasant. 1970’s soft-rock music was playing low enough for customers to converse in normal voice, but loud enough to be clearly heard. I have tried taking a book and reading — worked fine when I did it. Who needs Starbucks? Restrooms were clean.
The name Big Block refers to big, powerful muscle-car engines. The industrial décor, which was based on cars, engines, and tools was comfortable and consistently themed. The service was good, but I had to go to the bar to order my second beer and to pay my tab.
The porter and black ale that I sampled were good; the stout was better. One customer told me that he liked the IPA. He mentioned that you need to like the taste of hoppy beer for that (I don’t).
The sampler package is cleverly presented encased in a small, red, metal tool box containing five small, four or five-ounce glasses of a variety of the brew on tap. A big part of the business appeared to be filling growlers (one gallon bottles) with beer. Several customers left carrying one or two full growlers.
I am a beer drinker and a bit of a beer snob. I don’t pretend to be a beer aficionado. But based on what I could see, the beer is good—if you drink beer. If you do not, there is an issue. I asked what they serve for people who don’t drink beer (like my dear wife). They have a limited supply of wine, water, and nothing else.
Big Block Brewery doesn’t have food service and offers virtually no snacks. However, customers may bring in anything they want to eat or drink. Making a trip to the convenience store next door seems inconvenient (pun, sorry), but reasonable. So bringing in a sack lunch (open for lunch on weekends only) is acceptable.
Pizza delivery is also okay and Uncle Si’s Pizzais only about 40-paces south. I’m okay with that. I suppose that they have a good reason for the limit (or the freedom, depending upon your point of view). If it works for the owner, I am good with beer and pizza anytime. But there is no in-house point-of-sale for munchies. I think I saw a couple of bags of something on one shelf.
The web page is passable. It has a good backstory about the business and description of beers. It is not as useful as their other sites. The web page beer menu was outdated when I looked at it. The Instagram link from their web page takes you to some great pictures of the establishment. Click the Twitter link from the web page for an updated list of beer on tap. I couldn’t find a link for their Facebook page, but it is useful and has a current menu (Facebook page link).
In my opinion, Yelp also does a good job providing information. The reviews were very positive (4.5 stars). There’s a nice review and announcement on Washington Beer Blog.
Anyway, I will be going back and I hope to see you there. Do you have any favorite places like this near you?
Big Block Brewery:
3310 East Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE,
Sammamish, WA 98075
Operating Hours (49 hours per week):
Closed on Mondays.
Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (3:00 pm – 9:00 pm),
Friday, Saturday (11:00 am – 10:00 pm), & Sunday (11:00 am – 8:00 pm)
I grew up around beer. We had several breweries in town. One (Stegmaier Brewing Company) is still in business but is owned by a competitor of many years (The Lion Brewery). My parents drank beer since before I was born, and I was sucking suds long before I was of legal age. I still drink beer. When people see me with the occasional glass of wine, they ask if I am feeling well.
Here’s to a long life and a happy one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A good girl and an honest one.
A cold pint and another one.
No blog of mine on beer would be complete without the wonderful pub song by Tom T. Hall, I Like Beer.
So this week’s Taco Tuesday recognizes Seattle Beer Week, which is actually 11 days long. It is a huge beer celebration in terms of both participation and geography. The Pacific Northwest has more breweries and beers than I can imagine.
When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let’s all get drunk, and go to heaven!
–Old Irish toast
Walking down the beer isle in my grocery store I experience sensory overload, and that is just a wee sample of the plethora of brews one may imbibe in these parts. Beer week brings together retail establishments, all kinds and sizes of brewers, and beer aficionados of all levels. This thing runs from the cities of Tacoma and Kent south of Sea-Tac Airport to the city of Lynnwood north of Seattle. It runs from Puget Sound to the west then past Lake Washington to Bellevue on the east side.
Here’s to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking.
If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman’s heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me.
The links below are blogs related to Seattle Beer Week, and a few others I thought you might enjoy.
I included a clip from the Washington Beer Festival that was last month, simply because it looks like fun to me.
Of all my favorite things to do,
the utmost is to have a brew.
My love grows for my foamy friend,
with each thirst-quenching elbow bend.
Beer’s so frothy, smooth and cold–
It’s paradise–pure liquid gold.
Yes, beer means many things to me…
That’s all for now, I gotta pee!