The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012


October 1, 2008


Big News — Dip Into Delicious!


Joanna and her sister Tara have been a busy pair. Over the last 6 months or so, they’ve been hatching a whole new business, and it just went live!

Krispy Dips

I’ll let their description cover it for you:

A Krispy Dip is the grown-up version of the crispy marshmallow treat you loved as a kid.

We start with our signature recipe for the original “Krispy” square made from real imported Madagascar vanilla, creamery butter and the gooiest marshmallows we could find. Each hand-crafted square is then dipped in the finest chocolate and topped with an array of decadent toppings including rich caramel, real espresso beans, sweet coconut and roasted nuts.

Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us. Every order is dipped then shipped to ensure quality and freshness. We are dedicated to providing a superior product that you will come back to again and again. So come dip into delicious!

They’ve worked very hard to create a truly unique and elegant product. For those of you looking for new gift ideas for friends and family over the holidays, you won’t be disappointed. And for anyone who either owns a small business or sends out corporate gifts to thank important clients, they can do customization to give it the personal touch. They’ve already been involved in a wedding, a baby shower, have provided Dips for an LA Dodgers function, and will be doing a major function later this month with another SoCal sports team. They’re even working towards entry into local gourmet markets.

And last, but most certainly not least, they taste great. If anyone happens to be a fan of dark chocolate and espresso, the espresso bean flavor is my favorite. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and that one blows me away!

So head on over and give it a look. It truly is a new and refined twist on a familiar treat, and it’s sure to please!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:29 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Business, Food, News, Personal Life


July 18, 2008


A Novel Way To Drum Up Business

Gas prices are rough on all of us, and some businesses have picked up on that. Some businesses, ones that I thought were fairly recession-proof, are having to offer perks to entice business to their perky wares:

At the Shady Lady Ranch brothel in Beatty, Nevada, clients who spend $300 or more this month will receive $50 gas vouchers as part of a promotion to beat the summer slump in business.

“It’s rocking along. We’re doing quite well. June and July historically are not big months,” said James Davis, who co-owns the ranch with his wife, Bobbi.

The first $1,000 in gas cards were given out within a week, he added.

Good luck, Shady Lady Ranch. I would hate to see your employees filling up the unemployment lines!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:42 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Humor, News


July 16, 2008


He Stole Jesus!

Having a Catholic wife is sometimes interesting. As I was raised Lutheran (the original heretics!), I learned at an early age that large-scale powerful organizations were prone to corruption and should be mistrusted. Maybe that’s how I became a libertarian?

That being said, I still ended up getting married in the Catholic church, with a full mass, and a drunken Irish Catholic priest… I made my guests earn their spot at the open bar at the reception, dammit! But I didn’t, and wouldn’t, enter the classes to join the church. Obviously I’ve got my own issues with religion in general, but I know that if I ever made it back to a church of any sort, it wouldn’t be the Catholics.

This story makes me glad not to consider myself amongst their ranks:

A University of Central Florida student claims that he is getting death threats for messing with something sacred.

Webster Cook says that, instead of eating a Eucharist wafer as he was expected to do during the Sacrament of Holy Communion, he smuggled the blessed piece of bread out of mass. Once blessed, the piece of bread is viewed by Catholics as the true Body of Christ.

Catholics worldwide became furious.

Furious? That’s just the start of it. Others started accusing him of committing a hate crime, while many outraged fellow students are issuing complaints to bring him up before the university for a hearing.

Sorry folks… It’s just a cracker. And if you truly believe otherwise, you can believe that this student will receive otherworldly retribution for his actions; you don’t need to be the one to protect Jesus.

Appealing to this student’s respect and tolerance for your beliefs by calmly asking him to return the cracker makes you look magnanimous and coherent. Calling for him to be brought up on hate crime charges for stealing a cracker makes you look childish and insane. Which one do you want to be?


Below The Beltway linked with The Right To Be A Jerk
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 2:05 pm || Permalink || Comments (7) || Trackback URL || Categories: News, Religion


July 8, 2008


Fear Of Boogieman Implies Hatred Of Jazz, Too…

Sometimes a story comes along, and it just needs to be passed along without comment. This one needs no added comedy.

Claim: Kids who say ‘yuck’ may be racist

LONDON, July 7 (UPI) — Toddlers who say “yuck” when given flavorful foreign food may be exhibiting racist behavior, a British government-sponsored organization says.

The London-based National Children’s Bureau released a 366-page guide counseling adults on recognizing racist behavior in young children, The Telegraph reported Monday.

The guide, titled Young Children and Racial Justice, warns adults that babies must also be included in the effort to eliminate racism because they have the ability to “recognize different people in their lives.”

The bureau says to be aware of children who “react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying ‘yuck’.”

“Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships,” the guide says.

Staff members are advised not to ignore racist actions and to condemn them when they occur.

But don’t worry, I’m sure that any child with these racist anti-social tendencies will be cured once he gets enrolled in a government indoctrination center public school.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:10 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Humor, News, Snark


July 2, 2008


Milk Stout Takes Stout Category In Regional LongShot Competition

Results

Obviously, the bad news is that doesn’t win me another free trip to Denver.

The good news is that this is still a heck of an honor, especially since the Stout category can often be very crowded. After the results it garnered in the AHA National Comp (won first round in my region, advanced to 2nd round but didn’t win a medal), I was hoping to see some additional positive results for this beer.

I think this recipe is a good one. Considering I’ve got some of this beer, plus some of a very similar recipe to the beer that was a national finalist for LongShot last year, both in my kegerator right now, I’d say I’m in good shape :-)

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 7:23 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, News


June 30, 2008


10 Reasons To Support Getting High Before You Fly

From that bastion of objective news, The CW:

SAFER, Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, which got a ballot initiative passed to make enforcing marijuana laws the lowest legal priority in Denver, is now pushing to allow passengers to get high before they fly. But since the FAA oversees the airport and smoking pot is against federal laws, the idea has some people scratching their heads wondering how it would work.

SAFER members aren’t mapping out the legal landmines. Instead, they just say that the smoking lounge, outside of security at Denver International Airport, falls under Denver Police jurisdiction. And since the new city ordinance was enacted, all penalties for adult marijuana possession have been removed. So they think adults should be allowed to smoke either marijuana or cigarettes in the airport’s smoking lounge.

So why should you support this?

10. It’s the mile-high city. Duh!
9. It makes the jerk in the seat next to you for 5 hours much funnier.
8. Letting a drunk out of his window seat three times during a flight to pee is annoying.
7. Flying 500 mph at 35,000 feet in a steel tube is just plain trippy, man… Whoa.
6. It’s probably easier to get weed through security than liquor.
5. The event of a “water landing” is a great cure for cottonmouth.
4. Pilots fly better stoned than drunk.
3. No sober person wants to watch “Snow Dogs.”
2. Because it’s natural, dude. It’s from the earth…

And the reason that it might actually happen?

1. The airlines will find it a lot easier to sell a bag of Doritos for $5 if passengers have the munchies!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 1:36 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Humor, News, Travel


February 4, 2008


Take The Chair With Ya, Bob.

What happens when you take someone who is controlling, violent, hotheaded, and one of the finest basketball minds in the nation? Well, when you’re a university Athletic Department, you watch as your win total and the cost of your PR department’s “damage control” team rise.

Bobby Knight has retired. The man who has spent time in the news for several “unconventional” coaching practices now gets coverage for the sheer strangeness of his farewell. But then again, it’s no surprise:

“I guess you can never be surprised at some of the things Bob does,” former UCLA coach John Wooden told the AP.

I don’t think I’ve ever been surprised by Knight. Appalled, perhaps, but not surprised.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:08 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: News, Sports


November 30, 2007


The Subjective Nature Of Taste

I came across this post by Doug a while ago, and have meant to comment on it for quite some time. While his post is largely a question of whether there can truly be a wine “expert”, since there is subjectivity to taste, the key that I saw was this quoted passage from his source article:

What these experiments neatly demonstrate is that the taste of a wine, like the taste of everything, is not merely the sum of our inputs, and cannot be solved in a bottom-up fashion. It cannot be deduced by beginning with our simplest sensations and extrapolating upwards. When we taste a wine, we aren’t simply tasting the wine. This is because what we experience is not what we sense. Rather, experience is what happens when our senses are interpreted by our subjective brain, which brings to the moment its entire library of personal memories and idiosyncratic desires.

What got me thinking about this was an experience I had at the Great American Beer Festival in October. One of the “need to try” things on my list was the Samuel Adams Utopias, a beer unlike any other I’ve tried. At 27% ABV, it’s strong, and due to the way it’s brewed and packaged, it’s a still (uncarbonated) beer. So I stood in line at the Sam Adams booth, I pushed my way up front, I got my 1 ounce taster, and I hated it. I couldn’t stand to even drink the stuff. I simply though it sucked.

But an interesting thing happened. I got a chance to try the very same beer at a beer/food pairing event the next day. Instead of being in a loud convention hall, I was in a nice quiet restaurant. Instead of pushing through hordes of people to get my glass filled, I was seated comfortably chatting with fellow beer lovers. And when I tasted the Utopias, suddenly it had changed. Of course, it hadn’t changed a bit, but I was in a completely different frame of mind when I got the chance to taste it. Suddenly it tasted great! It seemed (as is intended) as a perfect end to a nice meal. Sweet and complex, with a definite “beer” character that you don’t find in a brandy (as it does have hops), but not overpowering or harsh, as I had thought before. When I had a chance to sit down and drink it slowly, I was able to appreciate the subtle flavors inherent in the beer rather than simply feel the warmth in my stomach that something so high in alcohol will bring.

The beer which I had decided merely a day earlier that I’d never buy a bottle of (it’s well over $100 for a bottle, so it is a difficult decision) now seemed like something that might be a good thing to keep for special occasions. And I might end up doing that, as it has just hit its 2007 release here in California.

But it proves that a lot more goes into the taste of anything than simply its ingredients. Much of what we taste is due to what we’ve brought to the table within ourselves.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:48 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, News, Science


November 29, 2007


Brilliant!

Dublin thief makes off with 180 Guinness kegs

A thief made off with 180 kegs of Guinness beer after smoothly driving into the Dublin brewery, which makes the black stout and snatching a trailer load of drink, police said Thursday.

“A man drove into the yard in a truck and took a trailer containing the drink which has an estimated value of 64,000 euros ($94,770),” a police spokesman said.

He drove “smoothly” in…

…and swerved his way out!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 2:17 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Humor, News


November 11, 2007


Breastfeeding And Evolution

Intelligence is not the most understood of human attributes, and is quite certainly one of the most contentious, especially when the field of genetics become involved.

Breastfeeding has been shown in some studies to be correlated with higher intelligence. But a recent study, reports The Economist, suggests that there is a genetic component as well. But here is where the story gets strange:

Dr Caspi and Dr Moffitt, however, were not so sure. They suspected the involvement of a gene called FADS2. This regulates the metabolism of a group of molecules called long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are important for the growth of nerve cells and are abundant in human milk but generally absent from formulas. FADS2 comes in two varieties, known as C and G, and the researchers wondered if these two varieties interacted differently with breast milk.

What Dr Caspi and Dr Moffitt found was that the increase in intelligence associated with breastfeeding only happened to people who had inherited at least one copy of the C version of FADS2. (Most genes are present as two copies, one inherited from the mother and one from the father.) The effect did not depend on the social classes or IQs of the parents, nor on the birthweight of the child in question (low birthweight has been linked to lower IQ). And the difference in IQ was preserved into adulthood.

Only about 10% of the population is double-G, but what is curious about this result is that the G version of the gene has survived at all. If intelligence is valuable, the C version might be expected to have become universal. Indeed, this is the nub of the nurturists’ argument. Natural selection should have pushed intelligence genes as far as they will go, so all variation should be environmental. That it is not suggests there is some unknown countervailing advantage—at least in reproductive terms—to being less than averagely bright.

This is incorrect. That the gene has not disappeared does not show that there is an advantage evolutionary to being dull, only that being dull isn’t a disadvantage to mating. Evolution is not necessarily based on what is optimal, only what is “good enough” to find a mate. I’d say that looks and pheromones are probably much more important traits than pure intelligence. After all, Britney Spears was able to reproduce twice, and nobody will say it was her brainpower that got her knocked up!

Read more of this entry… »

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 7:03 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Baby, News, Science


October 5, 2007


Note To Police — I Brew Beer, Not Meth

Sadly, with a new Texas law, I suspect they’re worried about the latter when I do something innocuous such as purchasing an Erlenmeyer flask… From Wikipedia:

Like many other common pieces of glassware, Erlenmeyer flasks could potentially be used in the production of illegal narcotics. In an effort to restrict such production, some U.S. states (including Texas) have begun requiring permits to purchase such glassware, including Erlenmeyer flasks, as well as chemicals identified as common starting materials.

When I make beer, often neighbors will come by and inquire about what’s going on… As a jest, I often will reply “meth lab”, just to see how they react, before explaining far more about the processes of brewing beer than they ever wanted to know. It really is like a chemistry set, with flasks, burners, glass fermentation vessels, yeast which comes in containers resembling test tubes, etc. I personally have a very nice 2L Erlenmeyer flask, and often find myself having to drive from my house to my brother-in-law’s place for brew day with the flask full of a yeast starter. Thankfully, I’ve never been stopped by the cops; I have to think that would be tough to explain!

Not long ago, I was at a tradeshow with a coworker visiting from Taiwan. We got on the subject of beer, and he asked me “do you need a permit to brew beer?” Of course not, I told him, as long as you’re not trying to sell it you don’t need any permit at all. I guess in Texas, you don’t need a permit to brew beer, just to buy some of the equipment used in brewing beer. I guess we’ve officially kissed the whole presumption of innocence thing goodbye.

Of course, some of you will say that this is just a silly law, and that in the long run won’t hurt anyone. But as he often does, Radley Balko will prove you wrong:

Ariel Alonso and Jonathan Conrad were two lonely men who developed an interest in alchemy. After meeting on the Internet, the two men shared a home in Henry, Virginia, where they practiced amateur chemistry, producing various elixirs that they then sold on their website. Cooky? Sure. But not criminal. Conrad, in his 50s, was into alternative medicine, and generated most of the income from the venture. Alonso, in his 70s, was bit more eccentric — he dabbled in metallurgy. The two had invested thousands of dollars in the lab, but were able to make a decent living from their web business.

On October 13, 2003, local authorities paid a visit to the home, where they saw the men’s chemistry equipment, and (naturally) immediately suspected a methamphetamine lab. For reasons still unclear, a “field test” tested positve (there seem to be lots of false positives with these narcotics field tests). The DEA would later admit that test was only “equivocally” positive.

So later the same day, DEA agents raided the men’s home. The raiding officers devastated the lab, shattering thousands of dollars in equipment, and arrested the men on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine. The two spent 18 days in jail.

Unfortunately for the drug cops, more extensive lab tests later revealed no sign of methamphetamine, nor of any of the chemicals used to make it. In fact, there were no signs of any illicit substances at all. The two men were released.

As Radley goes on to point out, the two men were never compensated for the equipment that was destroyed, and both were financially ruined by the encounter. And all they’ve done was use some equipment specialized to their profession, but a bit too uncommon for a normal household.

So a note to all the authorities. I make beer, not meth. If you come to my house and see strange equipment that you don’t understand, I’ll spend all day (and night) talking your ear off about beer until you’re quite convinced that I’m telling the truth. And my wife will probably thank you, because that will mean I’m not talking to her about beer.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:57 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Libertarianism, News


August 30, 2007


Colored Flour = Felony Terrorism Charges

As is well known to the readers of The Liberty Papers and The Unrepentant Individual, I love beer. It’s also true, largely due to drinking beer, that I could stand to be in better shape. So when I one day found the sport of hashing, I was excited. Sometimes called “a drinking club with a running problem”, it’s an excuse for runners to drink (or in my case, for drinkers to run).

Unfortunately, life got in the way, and I haven’t had a chance to get involved in a hashing club. It’s probably for the best, though, because some hashers found themselves in quite hot water recently:

Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge.

The sprinkled powder forced hundreds to evacuate an IKEA furniture store Thursday.

New Haven ophthalmologist Daniel Salchow, 36, and his sister, Dorothee, 31, who is visiting from Hamburg, Germany, were both charged with first-degree breach of peace, a felony.

Daniel Salchow biked back to IKEA when he heard there was a problem and told officers the powder was just harmless flour, which he said he and his sister have sprinkled everywhere from New York to California without incident.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever anticipate anything like that,” he said.

Phew. Thank god our fine law enforcement has saved us from crazy ophthalmologists with flour!

In a sane world I would expect that law enforcement would realize that they’ve overreacted, and everyone would go on there merry way… Knowing the world we live in, though, it makes perfect sense that this would be blown out of proportion and these people brought up on felony charges. After all, if the local authorities admit they made a mistake, they might have to answer to someone for it. Much better to simply deny they’ve done anything wrong and blame the victim!

And that’s just what the spokeswoman has done:

Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city plans to seek restitution from the Salchows, who are due in court Sept. 14.

“You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know,” she said. “It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We’re thankful it wasn’t, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out.”

However, federal authorities have raised us to threat level Orange, until the below terrorist is apprehended.

Hat Tip: Billy Beck

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 7:15 am || Permalink || Comments (4) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, News, Snark, Terrorism


July 25, 2007


I Feel Like Major Kong

So life is pretty good for me right now… Positive things occurring at work, a new baby on the way, a lot of exciting news in the beer world, I live in the middle of sunshine next to the ocean and today’s my birthday.

But sometimes I see news that worries me. In this case, it’s financial. I reported on this over at The Liberty Papers, regarding a housing crash that may rival what we saw during the Great Depression, and knowing that if our government does anything to try to fix it, they’ll only make it worse.

But it’s still a good day… I’m happy and healthy, and I’m sure I can be whoopin’ and hollerin’ all the way down.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 3:13 pm || Permalink || Comments (5) || Trackback URL || Categories: Baby, Beer, Economics, News, Personal Life


July 21, 2007


The Unabomber Against The Computer

This is an angle that I haven’t quite seen exploited on this story:
phil_laak.jpg

Poker champion Phil Laak has a good chance of winning when he sits down this week to play 2,000 hands of Texas Hold’em — against a computer.

It may be the last chance he gets. Computers have gotten a lot better at poker in recent years; they’re good enough now to challenge top professionals like Laak, who won the World Poker Tour invitational in 2004.

But it’s only a matter of time before the machines take a commanding lead in the war for poker supremacy. Just as they already have in backgammon, checkers and chess, computers are expected to surpass even the best human poker players within a decade. They can already beat virtually any amateur player.

This is a really interesting test of AI. Games like chess are fundamentally different than poker, because a computer knows precisely where all of a competitor’s pieces are located at all given times. In poker, you only have imperfect information. Knowing how to calculate odds is important, but reading your opponent is often more important. You can only guess from your opponents betting trends and behavior as to what cards he holds, and a good pro knows how to vary those trends enough to fool just about anyone.

The question of computers and poker are not new, as I mentioned here. Typical poker programs are set up with a varying level of aggressiveness, willingness to bluff, risk tolerance, etc. Setting up a computer to play a moderately “correct” strategy will usually be enough to beat mediocre players, but against a pro, won’t work at all.

So this will really be a good test of how far AI has come. The better they teach the computer to read Laak and vary its own behavior, the closer we’ll get to a computer that can really “think”. So for geeks, this one is pretty interesting.

There’s a bit of a different component, though… Phil Laak has a nickname, due to his fashion sense (hooded sweatshirts). He’s known as “The Unabomber”. The Unabomber, of course, was the guy who was attacking technology companies. Does anyone else find it a bit coincidental that he’s the guy picked to go against the highest level of artificial intelligence and technology?

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:39 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: News, Poker/Gambling, Science, Technology


July 13, 2007


I Hope It Seemed Funny At The Time!

Now, as most of you know, I don’t think pot should be illegal. I personally don’t care for it, but on the list of dangerous drugs, I think it’s clearly less destructive to families and individuals than even alcohol. So the fact that he made himself some special brownies doesn’t bother me in the slightest, even though he’s a cop.

But to call 911 like this?! Anybody stupid enough to do that really shouldn’t be entrusted with the protection of others.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 11:01 am || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Libertarianism, News, Snark, YouTube

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