July 27th, 2014


In Heaven, There Is No Beer.....

People like to say alcohol is the answer to all life's problems.  In NyQuil, it's the answer to both the common cold and being unable to sleep (as Bill Murray recently Tweeted, "If we aren't supposed to abuse NyQuil, why does it come with its own little plastic shot glass?").  In brandy, it's the answer to throat ailments.  When used responsibly, it seems there is nothing alcohol can't help people overcome.

Including rising health care costs.

In an isolated section of rural Massachusetts is St. Joseph's Abbey, a Roman Catholic order.  It is home to 60 monks.  And a lot of them are getting older.  The oldest member is 99.  Father Dominic Whedbee, the prior (second in command) is 65.  The monastery has a 12 room infirmary, and it's usually full.  About a third of their annual budget goes to taking care of them.  Plus, the cost of living continues to go up, as does health care costs.  The mission of Catholic monks is, you are taking a vow for life, if you are pledging your life to Jesus, you should be taken care of for life (Protestants have a much higher dropout rate because they do not do the vow for life thing).  And time is running out.  The Retirement Fund For The Religious is a Catholic group that helps fund such individuals.  In 2010, it had a fund of $8.64 bil.  The number of retired clergy, from priests to nuns, is expected to be four times the number of active laity by 2023.  By 2026, the fund is expected to run out.

The monks have tried various ideas to offset the dwindling funds, making religious vestments and fruit preserves.  But that's not selling, and can be quite labor intensive, more so as you get older.  So what to do?

Well, the monks have just become the first monastery outside of Europe to produce certified Trappist Ale.

The monks sent a fact-finding commission to tour European abbeys.  In addition to finding a recipe they liked, they also studied how the brew was made.  Back home, the brewery is 30,000 square feet and not traditional, but highly automated.  As a result, it requires less manual labor from the aging monks to make the stuff.

So how's it doing?

It's selling out.

The initial goal was to produce 124,000 gallons of beer for distribution around Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island.  They are now expecting to expand production to 310,000 gallons within five years, and expect it to single-handedly support the monastery and all its charities within ten years.

So raise a glass.  Or two.  Tell people it's for a good cause and shut the fuck up.
This Makes Me Moist

Told You I Love You, Now Get Out

There are times when I wonder why humanity hasn't died out, because I frankly wonder how men and women can tolerate each other at all.  People like to talk about how liberating sexuality is.  But that's only when it's good.  When it isn't, it can make you vulnerable and also potentially make you want to blow up the world.

Over at the Huffington Post is a column called "My Naked Truth" by Robin Korth.  Korth is 59 years old, and she looks good, like a person who has lived instead of spent all their time trying to stop the clock.  She's back in the dating pool, and started seeing a 55 year old man.  Things seemed to be progressing quite well.

Then they got to the bedroom.

In a painfully frank column, she described his reaction to her.  He told her, "Your body is too wrinkly.  I have spoiled myself over the years with young women.  I just can't get excited with you.  I love your energy and your laughter.  I like your head and your heart.  But I just can't deal with your body."  He mentioned that, with the lights off, he could pretend she was younger, and maybe she should buy some special undergarments to "hide" her age a little better.

If reading that doesn't make you cringe at least a little bit, then no heart beats within you.  I mean, yes, we should communicate our desires and needs, but come on.

"I felt like a Barbie Doll on acid as I listened to this man.  He was totally oblivious to the viciousness of his words.  He had turned me into an object to be dressed and positioned to provide satisfaction for his ideas of what female sexual perfection should be."

Being a gentleman is a lost art.  And no one seems to be looking for the map anymore.