My Random Thoughts

R.I.P. Maggie Mae

It has been almost a month and I am still numb from my loss. My beer drinking companion died on May 9, 2014 – many years before she should have. As dogs go, she was the best. Intelligent, loyal, and spoiled, we wondered whether she would live past the age of two. Not that her medical problems were going to end her life at the age of two, but rather, her obstinate behavior called into question whether we would give her away. Then something happened – she settled down and became a wonderful companion.

Maggie developed several habits that stayed with her until her last breath. She loved Dunkin Donuts plain donuts. If I walked through the door with a DD bag in my hand, she would run and jump on the couch and anxiously wait for her treat. Left to her own devices, she would inhale a whole donut without taking a breath. To prevent her from choking, we would break the donut up to manageable sizes and feed her.

Her second habit – she loved beer. She would not drink just any beer, though. Her beer had to be good beer, worthy of my glass. It got to the point that when I reclined with a beer in my glass, she would sit on the edge of the recliner and stare at the glass waiting for the last few drops to be given to her. She never drank a lot of beer – just the last drops that lingered in the glass. Her best act of bravery occurred a couple of months ago. Sitting next to me on the couch, I was holding a glass in my hand and she was sitting staring at it with great anticipation. Next thing I know, her mouth dives into my glass trying to drink up as much porter as she could before I yanked it away. Although we were shocked, we laughed at her obsessive behavior. She even had her own chalice   that I would pour the last few drops into.

So it is, the best friends are taken away all to soon. I knew she was not feeling well the day we took her to the vets. She wouldn’t drink any Oberon that I poured into the palm of my hand. I knew she was all but gone. It is with much regret that she did not live longer. I sorely miss sharing my homebrew with her. Maggie probably developed her taste for quality beer from my lead. She too was a beer snob.

Maggie drinking founders

Maggie and her favorite type of beverage – a porter.

 

 

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R.I.P. Chewy

Although you lived with us for only seven months, the love you showed will last a lifetime. You always looked forward to riding in the car, laying under the dining room table and having your back rubbed by my feet, and sniffing the country air.

I’ll miss our nightly talks, and you barking every night for dinner while mom was making it for you. You hated to see us leave, but always greeted us enthusiastically when we came back. And although it was probably coincidence, it seemed that you understood every word we were communicating to you.

The love you gave will stay with us forever and we will miss you. Have fun exploring the woods and eating a donut every Sunday.

My friend.

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Is it better to drink or not?

I am thoroughly enjoying an online science course on beer. The professor, Dr. Mark Morvant from The University of Oklahoma, is leading a 16-week course on the Chemistry of Beer. Although well beyond any course I took in college (some 43 plus years ago), many of the discussion questions he poses are quite interesting.

The unit we are currently working on is titled, Health Impacts of Alcohol.  Besides being crammed with scientific information and chemical equations, we are also reminded of the societal impact alcohol plays on the lives of individuals who overindulge. Thus, when Dr. Morvant posted the question, “Is it better to drink or not?”,  it made me pause and think.

Before you read this, however, let me explain a little about my philosophy. I am an anarchist in the truest sense, not what modern media portrays. Thus my home brewery is know as, The Anarchist Brewhous. I believe that each person is capable of determining what is best in their life, and that each person should be allowed to live their life as they see fit. This, however, is not what media talks about. According to media, an anarchist is one who believes in chaos. That is further from the truth and is what stops most people from honestly looking into anarchism as a viable alternative to a highly regulated police State. Regardless, I do believe in law and order – both of which anarchy can provide. All true anarchists believe that any form of coercion or violence against an individual is wrong. We also believe that taking anything from another person without their consent is wrong. It then stands to reason that each individual should be able to do what they want as long as it does not impact the life of another.

After much consideration, this is what I posted on the Chemistry of Beer discussion board.

Making the assumption that this question is directed to the writer, my conclusion would serve only as antidotal evidence and opinion. However, taking this question to the generic “you,” an assertion could be made that abstinence from alcohol would benefit individuals and society in general. It is well documented that alcohol abuse can lead to many physiology problems that ultimately could negatively impact a person over their lifetime (CDC, 2013). Additionally, negative societal impacts can be quantified over many sectors, ranging from lost production hours to increased healthcare costs (CIBHP, 2009). Furthermore, data suggest many crimes are committed as a result of excessive drinking (NCADD, 2014). Assuming a person’s judgment is impaired after even one drink, (Segal & Duffy, 1999), a strong case could be made that total abstinence from any form of alcohol would benefit the individual and society as a whole.

Nonetheless, recent data suggest that moderate consumption of alcohol can provide health benefits. A recent study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University stated moderate consumption of alcohol boosts the immune system (OHSU, 2013). Other studies suggest people who are moderate consumers of alcohol show substantially reduced risk of coronary heart disease when compared to those who abstain from drinking alcohol and heavy drinkers (Rehm, Sempos & Trevisan, 2003).

In America, it is believed that protecting the minority is the quintessence of justice. Assuming the individual is the smallest minority; each person must decide for themselves as to whether consuming alcohol is beneficial. Additionally, as a country, we must protect that individual’s right to make that decision. Thus, I personally adhere to the “Buffalo Theory” (Wogan, 2014), and strive to eliminate the slowest brain cells each day so I can think faster. I am reminded of the Hunter S. Thompson quote, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Cheers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013, December 26). Fact Sheets-Alcohol Use and Health. Retrieved January 29, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (2014). Alcohol and Crime. Retrieved January 29, 2014 from http://www.ncadd.org/index.php/learn-about-alcohol/alcohol-and-crime

Oregon Health & Science University. (2013, December 17). Moderate alcohol consumption boosts body’s immune system, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217171008.htm

Rehm J, Sempos CT and Trevisan M. (2003). Average volume of alcohol consumption, patterns of drinking and risk of coronary heart disease – a review. Journal of Cardiovascular Risk, 10:15-20.

Segal, B., and Duffy, L.K. 1999. Biobehavioral effects of psychoactive drugs. In R.J.M. Niesink, R.M.A. Jaspers, L.M.W. Kornet, and J.M. van Ree, Eds. Drugs of Abuse and Addiction: Neurobehavioral Toxicology (pp. 24–64). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

The Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy. (2009, November). Alcohol Cost Calculator. Retrieved January 29, 2014 from http://www.alcoholcostcalculator.org/alcohol/about/?page=publicabout

Wogan, T. (2014, January 18). Buffalo theory-or how alcohol might be good for you. The Telegraph. Retrieved January 29, 2014 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/terrywogan/10580037/Buffalo-theory-or-how-alcohol-might-be-good-for-you.html