Saturday, August 1, 2020

Beer Crowlers

Do you know what a crowler is?
I didn't until now. Arriving at Keuka Lake last month, my life was transformed by a delicious Mocha Stout served fresh on tap at Keuka Brewing Co. I took home a four-pack, which is now gone, and want to drink more but it isn't sold in local stores. So I opted to buy some from their website and they offer the beer only one way: in crowlers.
Contrary to popular belief, the best way to store beer these days is not bottles, it's cans. Can technology has developed and is now superior to glass containers. Craft brewers try to explain this to customers who mistakenly believe, from past marketing, that cans are inferior to bottles.
A crowler is a 32 ounce aluminum can. Bon Appetit confirms everything I just said above and proclaims crowlers are "the future of your craft beer consumption."

Friday, July 31, 2020

Weird Business News

If you follow business news in chaotic times, you expect surprises. But seldom do you see one like this.

Kodak, the ancient photography company in Rochester, was huge and highly-profitable when people had to buy film to take pictures. Kodak made film that every family needed to record social gatherings. It was a mammoth business that nobody ever thought would end.

But along came digital photography -- and, stupidly, Kodak failed to see the writing on the wall. Its management, in a classic case taught in business school, didn't adapt or even recognize the existential threat digital technology posed to its core business. As a result Kodak was decimated. In 2012 things were so bad they had to declare bankruptcy. Since then Kodak has limped along on nothing but fumes. With only meagre IT to sell, Kodak's stock price sat flat at $3 a share for years.

Then, suddenly, resurrection. From an unexpected place with weirdness all over it. This week the federal government announced it is giving Kodak, the film company, $765 Million to manufacture ingredients for generic drugs. 3/4 of a Billion dollars? Drugs? What?!

The ostensible justification for this largesse is to bring drug-manufacturing back to the U.S. from China where almost all drugs are produced. Obviously, however, Kodak (and all American companies) can't compete with Chinese manufacturers on price so it's clear Kodak drugs will cost 30-50% more than their foreign competition. That's where government support matters: the U.S. government is committing to spend your taxpayer money propping up a less-efficient, more costly company simply to have drugs made here instead of elsewhere.

Kodak stock shot up from $3 a share to $60 a share. It's sliding down since then to $45 and now $30.

Weird, right?

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Mermaid Rock

Many years ago I met a wonderful friend named Darlene. She lives in Canada on beautiful Vancouver Island. I met, dined and shopped with Darlene during one of my recent visits there.

Like many of us, Darlene developed a hobby during the pandemic. She started painting rocks. Rocks! Her painting got better and better and now she's terrific. I was admiring her talent when she offered to send me a rock as a gift. Of course, we both agreed it should be a mermaid rock.

Here it is. It arrived with two other painted rocks and a gorgeous pair of vintage earrings. (You'll see them soon, too.)

P.S., Darlene also rides motorcycles! She's a woman of many talents. :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Finger Lakes (NY)

I've fallen in love with the Finger Lakes. They're a group of eleven lakes carved by glaciers into the western part of upstate New York. They're the perfect distance for a weekend trip (4-6 hours) and full of wonderful places to stay, eat and relax.

That last quality is the one I like the most: relaxation. The lakes have a peaceful vibe that causes you to slow down. To savor nature. To chill. Unlike the eastern part of upstate New York (e.g., Catskills, Hudson, Lake George, Lake Placid, Adirondacks), the Finger Lakes aren't crowded with down-staters who travel north and carry an air of frenzy with them. In the Finger Lakes, you don't feel that, you feel like someone living a century in a simpler life.

Which Finger Lakes have you visited? Last year I began with large Seneca Lake (near Watkins Glen). This month I added smaller Keuka Lake to the west. I just made plans for next month to take Robin up to Cayuga Lake, the other large lake, whose southern tip is Ithaca. That will leave four smaller lakes on each side of the big three.

It's good to have goals.  :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Bloggers Art Gallery

Lovely Kezzie of England has arranged a multi-blogger post for today. The theme is art in our homes. Here are the participants:

Let me start by saying Kezzie is one of the nicest people I've know. She's a teacher who cares about others and gives of herself. Her kind and charming personality appeal to me and will to you as well. You should follow her.

The catalyst for my blog, started a decade ago, was a desire to explore my uncommon gender identity. I have always been female in my head but socially fettered into a male role by parents and others. Being prevented from living authentically in the past, I try to experience now what I couldn't then. This blog catalogs my efforts to wear pretty clothes, experiment with femininity and enjoy traditionally female activities.

Years ago I created two spectacular blog-posts which I memorialized with professional photographs hanging in my house. The first is my attempt to re-create a high school prom; the second is my best shot at being a mermaid.

(Photography by Michi Rezin)

Among my passions is the sport of baseball. To celebrate it, I collect baseballs with team emblems on them from every stadium I visit. Over time the collection grew to the point where I wanted to display it so I found an attractive wooden bowl and put the balls in it. The bowl and balls are visible in my house so anyone can pick a ball up and toss it around. I like that -- interactive art is cool!

And finally, if you expand the definition of art to include sculpture that moves at 140 mph, here is my final entry -- my pride and joy, a red BMW S1000R motorcycle. It's not only pretty to look at but can transport you on magical journeys through the realms of physics.

Thanks for visiting! I look forward to seeing everyone else's art.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Ian Dury

Over the course of a long life, I've had occasion to witness great artists at work, some of whom have since been forgotten. One of those was British punk rocker Ian Dury.

Ian was the most unlikely of rock-stars and yet, in 1978, he was the hottest thing around. His band (Ian Dury and the Blockheads) had the number 1 record in England ("New Boots and Panties!!"). Everyone in Europe could quote its lyrics by heart. During the late-70s, Dury was the most interesting, vibrant performer in rock music. And you would never have expected that from his past.

Ian was born to a poor family in England during WWII. As a child, Ian caught polio from swallowing infected water in a public swimming pool. The disease paralyzed and withered his whole left side (shoulder, arm, leg). For the rest of his childhood, he was teased and bullied -- which had the ironic effect of making him immensely strong and confident. Later Ian toiled at a music career for years and suddenly hit stardom at an unusually old age for that time (31). If you don't know Ian's name, you probably recognize some of his global hits, like the huge "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll." Ian sang with a humorous Cockney accent and his songs rock with driving rhythm.

There's a connection between Ian's physical disability and later success. He didn't have a good voice but he can SELL a song. He wrote compelling lyrics that he performed with brio bordering on braggadocio. His songs grab you hard. I remember the first time I heard him, I had to hear more. I bought "New Boots and Panties!!" in 1978 and wore it out, listening to his voice over and over. I still own that record and other Ian albums.

Ian died in 2000 after several years of suffering with cancer. Despite much time passing, Ian continues to have an active website dedicated to his music and life. Ten years ago a film-biography was made about him, starring talented Andy Serkis, which is as wild as Ian was.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Memento Vivere!

(That's Latin for "Remember to live well, because we all die in the end.)