What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Tax reform. This country needs real reform of the tax code. Whether you fall into the “tax the rich in oblivion” camp or find yourself in the “Why the hell do 50% of Americans not pay a penny of income tax” team, the need for reform is the one thing we all seem to have in common. The terms of the current Republican tax plan are still largely shrouded in secrecy, but I’ve already seen two items kicked around that will be will mean I can’t support it as long as they’re in play. I’ll be writing my representative this weekend to let him know that the home mortgage deduction and state/local tax deduction are non-negotiable points for me. Those are two big pots of available cash and I know how tempting that must be for the average politician to put their filthy hands all over… but still, going after two of the most popular deductions around feels like just about the most tone deaf way to get the process started.

2. Temptation. There was beer at work today. Sort of. It was the start of this year’s Oktoberfest celebration – an event that my employer has a tremendous amount of love for, which I can only assume comes from the number of employees who have spent some part of their career in Germany since 1945. Look, if the option is to go sit around listening to oom-pah bands and knocking back cold beer or stay at my desk and pretend to be interested in email, well, there’s not really much of a competition. The problem comes when you’re a few drinks in and everyone is starting to get a little lubricated and entertaining. That’s when the little voice in my head trips an alarm to remind me that it’s probably time to go before I say something that’s both funny and true, but wholly unprofessional. The real temptation, though, was to stick around just out of curiosity to see what offensive or inappropriate sound bite might come flying out of my pie hole.

3. Jared Kushner. Having spent a good portion of 2016 being hot and bothered by Secretary Clinton and her email server, it’s only fair that I call out Jared Kushner in his capacity as Senior Advisor to the President. His use of private email to conduct official business should be investigated by Congress. His files and records should be subpoenaed. If there is evidence indicating he has broken the law, he should be charged criminally and tried. While I’m on the subject, I’ll remind those on the left screaming for Kushner’s head, that there is a world of difference between official email and classified message traffic. That being said, it’s apparently impossible to keep either one on non-government servers. Asshats.

A giant case of meh…

A giant case me “meh” is what I’ve had all day for some reason. No motivation to do a damned thing. Don’t want to write, or read, or talk, or watch TV, or cook, or clean, or really do anything that my seemingly addled mind could come up with. So here I’ve sat, pinging from thing to thing without Red Stripetaking an interest in any of it. For the record, it’s not going to make my list of recommended things to do on a Saturday. Eventually, even though I still don’t really want to write, I turned up here because in the end that’s always what I do. I write, I rage, I rant, and hopefully when I finish my brain is clear of whatever cloud has descended on it. If that doesn’t work, there’s always cold Red Stripe in the fridge. That doesn’t so much clear the cloud cover as make me less apt to care about it being there in the first place. Sometimes, that’s every bit as good as finding an actual solution. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pillage the fridge. Hooray Beer!

Long ago and far away…

Anyone who knew me in high school will probably attest that I wasn’t one of the kids that was going to show up at a party. Frankly, I’m still not one of the kids who shows up at parties. As a general rule lots of people and lots of noise makes me nervous and jerky. As usual, though, that’s not my point. My point (this time) is that I was a late sacwbloomer in the world of alcohol. I don’t think I had my first “serious” drink until I was 18 or 19. At that point my illicit underage drinking budget mostly allowed for such libations as “Mad Dog” 20/20, Milwaukee’s Best, Red Dog, and Honey Brown if it was a McPayday.

That all changed late in the summer of 1997. That’s when I met Sam Adams Cherry Wheat for the first time and realized that beer didn’t have to taste like ass. Unfortunately, you do have to pay a premium for non-skunky beer, but that summer opened my eyes to the idea that tasty adult beverages could be about more than drinking until you fall down. Sure, I still managed to do plenty of that during the last three years of my academic career (Hello quarts at Hi-Way, dime drafts at Repub, and the serve-all-comers dive in the basement of the Gunter Hotel), but the seed was planted.

My palate has widened considerably from it’s humble beginnings with Sam’s Cherry Wheat, but on days like today, when the humidity is up and sitting out in sun is the order of the day, it’s still my go to beverage of choice. There are surely better cherry brewed beers out there these days, but none of them will ever take the place of beer I fell in love with long ago and far away.

Brew…

So once upon a time, one of my more farfetched strategies to get back to Maryland involved a scheme to buy the rights to an old Maryland beer’s name and label and re-found the tradition of brewing in Cumberland. For any number of really good reasons, that plan never went past the “that would be cool” phase of research and development. After spending a couple fordham-brewing-logoof hours at the Fordham Brewery in Dover this afternoon, I think it’s safe to say I have a new respect for the art and science of the “small” craft brewer. From what I can tell, it’s about as far from the stovetop brewing I did in my St. Mary’s County condo as a model plane is from the space shuttle.

Alas, it seems that brewery owner is going to be one of those things best retired to the list of ways I’m going to spend my eventual Powerball winnings. If you ever find yourself in Dover on a Saturday and have an hour to kill, I highly recommend stopping in and taking the $5 tour. With a payout of five samples and a free pint glass, how can you afford not to?

Making empties…

I wish I had one of those USB port in the back of your head kind if get ups that Neo had in The Matrix. If I did, I’m pretty sure the first thing I’d do is download some semblance of patience. I’ve already spent too much time here talking about basically having none of it to speak of so this won’t be a long rant. It’s not like I’m asking for infinite patience, just a little. Enough to keep me from cleaning out the fridge while I’m waiting for the weekend to start. Then again maybe the best thing to do is turn a few of those full bottles into empties and actually try to relax.

Saucer…

The list of things about Memphis that I’ll miss isn’t all that long, but the Flying Saucer is somewhere near the top of it. I haven’t been in as much after my perennial drinking buddies took off for greener pastures, but walking in even rarely as i do, it’s like I’ve been here every weekend. Same corner booth, same smartass servers, same schoolgirl skirts. Good stuff. It’s as close to a “third place” as I’ve found in Memphis. And to Ashley and the rest of the beer goddesses, all I can say is thanks for the good times and for keeping the suds cold. If you’re ever looking to trade barbecue for steamed crab, look me up.

Beautiful…

I’m sitting on the back porch enjoying a cold beer, pulling on a Cohiba la Habana, tapping away on the blog, and keeping one eye on the dogs who always seem to always manage to lay squarely on my feet. It’s probably 70 degrees and there are no bugs to speak of this early in the season. I had a reasonably well cooked steak for dinner and interesting conversation with colleagues I respect. Things will look different at 4:30 tomorrow morning, but right now all is right with the world and that is a beautiful thing.