Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Let's talk TEA !

I grew up with Lipton tea which I still consider my favorite commercial tea. I rarely drink it now because ... back in '05, my friend Randee brought me some premium tea from the west coast, I've been hooked on premium tea ever since. After ordering from various on-line companies, Peet's Tea & Coffee I've found to be my favorite. Another excellent supplier is TeaGschwendner . Adagio Teas are also good, especially for green, herbal, decaffeinated, and flavored teas.

I generally drink black tea strong with turbinado sugar, green tea - as is. If you like robust tea, brewed deep red... nothing is better than Peet's Assam Extra Fancy, an Indian black tea. I buy it by the pound, it's about $48 /lb and well worth it. Peet's description: "our best Assam has a distinctly malty aroma and a bright red liquor. Lively, full-bodied and complex taste with lots of depth." This is my daily tea.
I just received an interesting new tea, Peet's Imperial Red, a China black tea classified by Peet's as a 'rare tea.' It's pricy at $96 / lb, but very good, rich, complex and unusual. The first time I drank it, I got a serious caffine buzz. Peet's describes it: "A rich and complex handmade black tea with chocolaty and malty notes." Tastes very good cold too.
Another nice tea with a fruity flowery taste, available usually in the winter and spring only is Peet's Osmanthus Fancy, a China black tea blend with osmanthus flowers that smell sweet like peaches. It's about $40/ lb and is not quite as robust as the two varieties above. I sometimes mix Assam in with Osmanthus to give it a bit more body.
All of the above varieties and many more can be purchased from Peet's by the 1/4 lb tin. Other Peet's favorites include Pride of the Port, a China /India tea blend that tastes robust but more more similar to English style commercial tea. Darjeeling Extra Fancy Kalimpong is also a nice variety, flowery and never bitter. I just ordered a sample of one of TeaGschwendner's best Assams. We'll see how it compares with Peet's. I love drinking and brewing tea from clear glass tea pots, infusers and mugs that I keep impeccably clean. I recommend the Large "Mikado" Glass Teapot & infuser. Price range $32 - $50. These large burner-safe glass teapots are becoming very hard to find, here is one source. Peet's also roasts and sells rare and special coffees. I'll save that topic for another post. Above photo - my 3 favorite Peet's varieties in their quarter pound tins. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

GOP War on Global Warming = War on Al Gore = War on Dems = War on the Environment = More $ for Polluting Industries = More Campaign $ for GOP

The GOP war on science does have a motivation... it goes full circle. The nation's top polluting industries are closely tied to the Bush administration in terms of both campaign contributions and pollution policy making. Beginning with the 2000 campaign season to 2004, the 30 biggest utility companies owning the majority of the 89 dirtiest power plants have poured $6.6 million into the coffers of the Bush presidential campaigns and the Republican National Committee. Why? It costs money to produce clean energy, money that could go into such things as company profit, GOP campaigns, and $400 million retirement packages as was received by Exxon's CEO Lee Raymond. So, despite the mountain of scientific evidence including that of the government's own National Academy of Sciences, that establishes man-made factors that are contributing to climate change, who does the GOP attack? The scientists! Worse, the energy companies fund junk science to confuse the public and legislators on the issue.

"We know that the White House possesses documents that contain evidence of an attempt by senior administration officials to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming and minimize the potential danger"
- Henry Waxman, Chairman- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
This level of secrecy of the White House Energy Policy is the norm. What are they hiding? Even legal action has not yet been able to reveal the substance of these meetings between Cheney and the leading energy companies.

This report out on Friday, 2/2 is said to be the most definitive and current on human-induced global climate change. It is the first phase of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This segment, written by more than 600 scientists and reviewed by another 600 experts and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries, includes "a significantly expanded discussion of observation on the climate," said co-chair Susan Solomon, a senior scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bill's Article in Feb. Issue of ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLE Magazine

My article: The Path Less Traveled - North Georgia Trailing includes several great photos and an adventure story of trail riding in the remote Cohutta Mountain Wilderness in North Georgia. More photos on my Dual-Sport Motorcycle Page .

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bush approval at 28% in CBS News Poll - ALL TIME LOW

Worse since Nixon .... and getting worse.

Fox News caught lying ... again

The story and Fox video is here.

The lie revealed by CNN.

Just another day of 'Fair and Balanced' News from Fox News. Make sure to keep up with all the fair and balanced news from Fox here at Newshounds.

Tuesday's Concert -1/23: Early Music from Spain and a Rodrigo Concerto

Forget the State of the Union Address, I'm playing a concert. (Guess i'll watch the reruns.... go Senator Webb!)

Tuesday's program in MTSU's Hinton Hall at 8pm will be a tribute to our Spanish heritage. Did you know the first European music ever heard on this continent was from the 16th century 'Golden Age of Spanish Music' ? Yes, we're talking the music of the Spanish vihuelistas. What's a 'vihuelista'? One who plays the vihuela, of course. What's a vihuela? Google it. My students will be thinking, 'why is he playing such easy stuff?' ... well, you gotta have a theme and this one is Early Spain.

In addition to Spanish Renaissance music, I'll play a few short pieces from the Spanish Baroque Guitar rep, a short sonata by Mateo Albeniz (in the tradition of Soler and Scarlatti) before the main course - the Fantasia para un gentilhombre by Rodrigo. A guitar concerto accompanied by Titus Bartos on piano. In accordance with the Early Spain theme, this piece is based on themes of 17th cent. guitarist, Gaspar Sanz. Actually, a thinly-veiled 'dry run' for my upcoming performance of this piece with the TN Philharmonic on Feb 5.

It will be the shortest concert of the season guaranteed. 45 minutes - no intermission. Get yourself some quick recital credit and go home and watch the reruns of the State of the Union Address.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Can you imagine this on any other news network but Fox??

More GOP smear. Fox blames it on Clinton, cites conservative magazine as the source. (Why would Hillary communicate this to a conservative mag? Huh?)
Listen to the way they talk about someone different from themselves on the video. O my god! - his father was a Muslim! Kinda reminds me of the "macaca moment" that lost the Republicans the Senate.

From RawStory -

Fox smears Sen. Obama, says he 'covered up' Muslim past

John Byrne
Published: Friday January 19, 2007

Fox News Channel's morning program Fox & Friends pointed to a report on Friday that Sen. Barack Obama had attended a Muslim 'madrasa' while living in Indonesia as a 6-year-old child.

Host Steve Doocy went on to highlight Obama's middle name, Hussein, and questioned whether Obama was indoctrinated in extremist Muslim doctrine.

Story and video here

Friday, January 19, 2007

More rare than a Lamborghini

This is my 1987 Suzuki DR100. What makes this bike possibly one of the rarest production bikes in the US is that is titled and registered as street legal, because it was originally titled as an off-highway vehicle. Isn't it cute??!!

After adding brake lights, high/low beam, turn signals, mirrors, DOT tires, speedometer, and a custom welded luggage rack, I was told by state authorities (rather tersely) it could never be allowed to be registered in TN for street use. Absurd, particularly since TN doesn't inspect vehicles and all manner of jalopies roll down the road here.

How did I get this little bike registered? Well, a long story. The short version: I took the bike to VA where it passed a complete motorcycle safety inspection. You don't have to be a VA resident to get a VA title. So I transfered the title to VA, then to TN and wha-la.

Check out my motorcycle photo page - "the cycle path less traveled."

This bike has 6 gears and gets near 100 MPG!! Very durable, rugged, starts on the first kick.

What? Two Guitar Concertos in One Week ... in Murfreesboro, TN?

That's right. Two classical guitar concertos in one week in Murfreesboro!!

January 30, 7 pm - MTSU Grad and Adjunct Professor Salome Sandoval will perform the Concerto in D major by Laurindo Almeida with Murfreesboro Youth Orchestra

Monday, February 5, 7:30 pm., I'll be playing the Rodrigo - Fantasia para un Gentilhombre with the Tennessee Philharmonic at First United Methodist Church, 265 West Thompson Lane.
It's really a nice church, I think it's the biggest in town.

Did you know I am "The Elixir of Love" ?