Thursday, October 25, 2012

faciem capillus sapientia

Dear Reader:

"Movember is just around the corner, which means men around the globe will be foregoing the daily shave in favor of a little cold weather scruff for the sake of charity (Movember raises money for and awareness of men's health issues)." 

No-shave-ember > Mo(stache)vember > Movember. What ever you call it, I am participating again this year. Just for fun, head on over to my Movember page and have a look at my "flavor saver" site. 

Please rate my site 4 or 5 moustaches (if you like it), and while you are there, drop some coin in the coffer!  

If any of you Mo Bros are also participating (Tom? Lach? Ange? Rick? Richard? Brian? Looking at you, gents...You too, Michael...) let me know! Send me a link you your site. Let's Mo!

And to you ladies, be a Mo Sista! As you well know, your nurturing support raises much more than a man's moustache. Your support also raises awareness about Men's Health issues! And let's face it, how else are you going to get away with talking about testicles in mixed company?

Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, I appreciate YOUR support this Movember! Together, let's change the face of Men's Health!

Your "hand-brushed and face-grown" correspondent,

Signing off saying,

"faciem capillus sapientia."

In facial hair [there is] wisdom.

Dave / Foam Fan / 2008 Road King / US Army (Ret)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blind IPA Tasting at Rick's

Chris updates the scoreboard at Rick's Wine & Gourmet

Chris, pictured above, sent out the following message to subscribers of Rick's newsletter:

"The first ever Rick's blind IPA tasting went off without a hitch! I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. I'll post the results below. I was impressed. Several of you lovely people were able to pick out all 5 beers! And I...*ahem*...well, didn't. Tröegs Perpetual really threw me off, for whatever reason. My blind top 3 were: DC Brau, Heavy Seas, and then Port City. The tweaked Monumental recipe really is delicious. They are more than worthy of their bronze medal at the Great American Beer Fest!"

The final results:

1. Devils Backbone 8 Point - 111 Points (15 First / 27 Second / 12 Third)
2 (tie). Heavy Seas Loose Cannon - 95 Points (20 First / 9 Second / 17 Third)
2 (tie).  Port City Monumental - 95 Points (10 First / 29 Second / 7 Third)
4. DC Brau Corruption - 74 Points (15 First / 7 Second / 15 Third)
5. Tröegs Perpetual - 65 Points (12 First / 6 Second / 17 Third)

Chris continues:

"What can you take from this? Well, for one thing, this is a divided IPA world. Most people that liked malt balance would mostly pick DB / PC / HS (the lower 3, IBU-wise). And those of us that love palate-wreckers went with the higher IBU beers (Troegs and DC Brau). I was initially shocked, but after thinking about it, this outcome makes perfect sense. "

My own personal ranking belies my love of the hop!  Here are my rankings, which are essentially most to least hoppy. I also show what I thought I was voting for (in parentheses). What actually tasted hoppiest to me did not always track with my recollection of hoppiness by brand.

1. Tröegs Perpetual (Heavy Seas Loose Cannon)
2. DC Brau Corruption
3. Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (Tröegs Perpetual)
4. Port City Monumental (Devils Backbone 8 Point)
5. Devils Backbone 8 Point (Port City Monumental)

I was surprised that my preferences were the inverse of the majority. I had assumed that people who love IPAs were drawn to the style by the bitterness. Like a more balanced brew? There's a Pale Ale for that. Prefer malt-forward brews? May I suggest a stout tasting instead? I guess the difference in preferences among beer lovers is important to recognize and celebrate. 

I was also surprised by the fact that I was unable to correctly identify the beers without the labels. I have enjoyed all five of these brews. I believe I could describe them from memory fairly accurately. However, if that were really true, I should have been able to pick them out. I was unaware that Monumental IPA has been reformulated. That unexpected hoppiness torqued the rest of my guesses.

Even though my preferences are 180 degrees out from the group as a whole and I only correctly identified 1 of the 5 beers, I had a great time.    

Chris concludes:

"Everyone universally liked doing this! I think we will have to make this a somewhat recurring theme! My thoughts for next time: Blind Quad or Blind Imperial Stout. Yeah, that'll work juuuuuust fine."

My vote? I'll be there, Chris!


Here are five things I am grateful for at this very moment:

1. Terry Gross, the host of NPR's Fresh Air

2. My Mo Bros and Mo Sistas helping raise awareness of Men's Health issues, one moustache at a time. Think about it: how else are you going to talk about prostates and testicles in public?

3. The numbness in my right hand tells me how much I love riding my motorcycle.

4. Notre Dame football matters again.

5. Olive oil.

For what are you grateful right now? Share  the first thing you think of by writing a comment, and i thank you.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Classic Collectible Cars and Coffee at Katie's

On Saturday, Oct 6th, the Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club, Ch 20 hosted a ride to Katie's Coffee House in Great Falls, VA.

Cars and Coffee is an international celebration of classic and collectible cars, trucks, and motorcycles. I believe the movement started in Southern California. With all the wealth we have in northern Virginia, it makes sens that a local chapter of car enthusiasts should form. And so it has!  

During the week, Katie's Coffee House supplies residents in and around the village of Great Falls with the essentials of a good life: bread and coffee. However, a transformation takes place early Saturday mornings, especially when the weather is nice. Owners of classic cars from miles around drive in to the village, as early as 6 am, to snag a spot in front of the Coffee House, where they park, grab a cup of coffee, and talk cars with passersby.

I saw at least 80 cars, 5 motorcycles, 3 military trucks, and 2 pickups on display. I saw everything from a 1949 Coupe De Ville to a brand new 556 hp 2013 CTS-V. There were lots of other American-made Corvettes and Mustangs (Shelby and Cobra)...

... and plenty of British, Italian, and German cars, too: Triumph, MG, Astin-Healy, Astin-Martin, Porche, Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and my personal favorite: Allard.    

Verdis and Dave, hot java in hand, check out a hot Ferrari

Drivers with a sense of humor brought some unusual offerings for display, including a vintage Mini-Cooper with period luggage strapped to the roof, and a rat truck with a weasel stuck in the intake.

Best of show (IMHO) 1951? Allard K2 Roadster

The ride to and from Katie's was an event in and of itself. Our route took us alongside the Potomac River on the George Washington Parkway to the Capitol Beltway, and then out the old Georgetown Pike past Great Falls National Park to the village of the same name.

This was my first Cars and Coffee event, and I loved it! Highly recommended!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

We are stardust

We are stardust

We are golden

And we've got to get ourselves
back to the garden

Well I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going, this he told me:
(He) said, I'm going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, and set my soul free.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I roam beside you? I have come to lose the smog.
And I feel myself a cog in something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year, yes, said maybe it's the time of man.
And I don't know who I am but life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere was song and celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil's bargain,
And we got to get ourselves to some semblance of a garden.

--Joni Mitchell, 1969

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Want a decent life?

“Work hard and play by the rules.” --Bill Clinton in 1992

That was then--before the Internet and globalization.

This is now... these are the New Rules...

"The truth is, if you want a decent job that will lead to a decent life today you have to: 
  • work harder
  • regularly reinvent yourself, 
  • obtain at least some form of post-secondary education
  • make sure that you’re engaged in lifelong learning
  • and play by the rules." 
--Thomas Friedman in 2012, emphasis added.

“We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That’s why investments in our people” — in more community colleges, Pell grants and vocational-training classes — “are more important than ever.”
--Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, 2012, as quoted by Friedman


  1. Are you prepared to work harder to earn a decent life for yourself and your children?
  2. What have you done to reinvent yourself, lately?
  3. How are you fostering the value of life-long learning within yourself and those closest to you?
  4. Should we be teaching computer programming to our elementary school students?

Read Freidman's NY Times article here: New Rules/

Iron Butt Ride in Review

The third time was the charm: 

I finally made it! 1 K in 1 Day and All is OK!

To earn the Saddle Sore Award from the Iron Butt Association, I logged over 1,000 miles in under 24 hours. As many folks know, this was my third attempt. Bad weather and a flat tire dashed my previous efforts back in Nov 2011.

All that's forgotten now... I am basking in the sweet glow of success....

We had 10 bikes and together, riders and sponsors raised $1870 and counting for our selected charity, Not Alone. Some more checks are still coming in, and the online site is still available.

The time logged included a very special hour on the ground at Cape Fear H-D in Fayetteville, NC. There, we spent time with: 
  • Erick S., Sergeant-at-Arms from Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club, Ch 61, Joint Base  Bragg-Pope; 
  • Kelli, a volunteer for Not Alone's Fayetteville Chapter, who reminded us that every dollar donated to Not Alone translates into medical help for veterans dealing with PTSD;
  • John, the G-M at Cape Fear H-D and our gracious host; and 
  • a few Cape Fear H.O.G. members who greeted us and showed us around the lounge (I zoomed in on the coffee pot). 
Ed, Erick, Me, Kelli, Keith, Dave, Laura, Amy

Our cheerful photographer
Smile for the iPhone

Showing Erick my bona fides as a Green Knight

As for the satellite tracker, we had some "technical difficulties!" Keith hit the send button at every stop, but our location never registered.

Out of 10 bikes, 7 made it over 1000 miles in under 24 hours. We had three groups that started and ened at Pariot H-D. Two pairs rode separate routes. Bob and Jerry headed for the Tail of the Dragon. Jean-Claude and Charley chose an out and back route. The remaining six of us took off on a clockwise tour of VA and NC.

We encountered rain, humidity, fog, and cold as we rode. In the middle of a cold and foggy night, our 3 Hoka Hey veterans, Keith, Laura, and Amy, fell victim to the Siren Song of a Hampton Inn. I finished with Dave A. and Ed M. at 1057 miles in 22:37 hours.

Dave catches 40 winks while the energy drink absorbs

A final note: The Iron Butt Association holds an annual Memorial Ride, and I rode in memory of my friend and Baghdad Battle Buddy, Jim Daron, who died two years ago fighting cancer.

James R. Daron, Jr.
LTC, US Army (Ret)
Oct 24, 1952--Sep 18, 2010

There is no doubt in my mind that 2-wheeled travel is a spiritual endeavor. I had no trouble talking to Jim as we rode along together mile after mile. And it's not just me. At one point in Abingdon, Keith had Hoka Hey flashbacks. Coincidentally, we stopped for gas at the very station where he went looking for help when the Hoka Hey instructions were unclear. In his distant gaze, I could tell he was reliving the hours he spent zig-zagging the hills, looking for the trail...

The moon set was spectacular, as was the sun rise. It was a Great Day! All 24 hours of it!

Check that one off the ol' W.I.S.H. List! Wooooo-hoooo!

Thank you for your interest and support!

A day on a bike is a day well spent!