Spoooky Beer Review: Narragansett “Innsmouth Olde Ale”


The local inhabitants of old Watertowne have created much controversy among the scholarly professionals who have made it their business to research local legends and tales. The natives of this quiet little town have become lately restless. Strange whisperings among the more decadent and degenerate of their kind have indicated that a beverage, based upon an old recipe torn from the pages of some dark tome, has found its way onto shelves of numerous liquor stores.

In the hills of New England, various tribes of primitive man were known to cavort during the month that we know as October. Under the light of the dead moon, they would quaff deerskins brimming with an ale that was known to pierce the veil of their own understanding of how the mechanics of the universe function. During this time, when the skin of the world becomes transluscent and we can see through to the underspires of some other fantastical, cyclopean realm that beggars all rational thought, they would drink deep and see into the minds of the Old Ones.

It is with some hesitancy that I commit my own findings to the written page. I hesitate only because I know that I will only impel others to seek out what I myself have found and rob me of what appears to be a limited supply of this dark brew. I found Narragansett’s Innsmouth Olde Ale, on display between two pumpkin ales. My hands trembled as I reached toward it and I felt my mind retreat in upon itself. I knew not what happened then, only that I found myself back in my apartment, the six cans in my fridge and the pervasive odor of the sea clung to my garments.

I poured the can into the glass bearing the label of a lost and forgotten brewery. It is an amber-deep color, and smells of sweet fruit, reminiscent of cherries. There is a powerful amount of flavor, without it being overwhelming, reminiscent of a doppelbock. There are non-euclidian notes within, complexities upon complexities, and it does not do one well to drink quickly.

This is a beer to be enjoyed slowly and with great care and respect for the unendurable and immortal powers that created it. In a season replete with the intoxicating spices of pumpkins and the simpler, cleaner flavors of the Octobfest beers, “Innsmouth Olde Ale” is a refreshingly different alternative while still invoking the season in multiple ways, from its deep and hearty flavors that stave off the oncoming chill to the evocative can design.

If you’re a fan of beers like Tröegs Troegenator Double Bock and Spaten Optimator, you will enjoy “Innsmouth Olde Ale.”

I would give this beer five R’lyehs and the utter loss of my sanity instantly upon viewing the label.


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Trying New Things

I have never seen much of the Halloween series. I watched the first two or three and I’ve seen Rob Zombie’s attempts, but that’s about it. Considering it’s the movie that started the slasher genre, I’ve paid shockingly very little attention to it.

So I’m going to delve right in and watch all eight of the original movies, skipping the Rob Zombie remakes, mainly because I couldn’t stand the second one.

I don’t feel this will be particularly instructive or that I will gain great knowledge into slasher flicks, but goddamn if I can’t stand having this gap in my knowledge base. It’s the movie that helped to start it all and helped to define the genre for almost fifteen years, for better or for worse. There needs to be some respect paid. Also, considering how many times I’ve seen all of the Friday the 13th movies (including the abysmally dull remake), I feel like I owe our boy Michael Myers something.

Starting tomorrow: The Great Halloween Movie Marathon!


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“All these traditions, jack-o’-lanterns, putting on costumes, handing out treats, they were started to protect us, but nowadays… No one really cares.” – Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

Every October, I have to watch the music video for Thriller. And not the truncated version, but the full, thirteen-minute extravaganza with the werewolf AND the zombies. No matter how the rest of the month goes, I have to kick it off the same way every year. In that one video, you have the directorial skills of John Landis, the director of the greatest werewolf movie ever made, the effects wizardry of Rick Baker, the crawling and creeping voice of Vincent Price and Michael Jackson at his prime. There are worse ways to kick off the Halloween season.

Halloween marks the start of the holiday season and it plays an important role. Halloween is the lead-in to the cold winter months, the point where Summer turns to Autumn, where the air takes on a definite chill, where the leaves die and fall and where light gives ground a little more to the darkness every day. This is the moment that we could go and bundle up and hide and prepare for the worst that Winter has to offer.

Instead, Halloween is the point where we dress up and march into the darkness and take control over our fears. We boldly strike out into the night dressed as our favorite monsters and let the creatures that bump in the night know that we are not afraid. It’s the last hurrah of Summer before we brace up for Winter.

Traditionally, for me, Halloween has been a period of high creativity. I feel the most in my element and it all feels so electric. For that one month out of twelve, everyone is on the same page as me. So for the first time in months, I feel like it’s time to start writing again. I don’t know what I’m going to fill this space with, but expect more over the next few weeks.

It’s time for monsters and pumpkin beers and horror movies and ghost stories and everything else that makes me tick. And, like every other year, let’s start the season off with an extravagant promise:

A post a day until October 31st.

Merry Halloween, y’all.


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Vaccinate Against Stupidity

I don’t feel that there is any reason to debate an Anti-Vaxxer when it comes to the Science of vaccines. At this point, if someone still believes that vaccines cause autism, no study, no research, no rationality will ever cause them to bend. But, let’s be honest here, vaccines do not cause autism. At all.

No, the point I wish to debate is a new crop of folks that seem to think that vaccination falls under a rights issue; that parents should have the RIGHT to determine if they should vaccinate their children or not. Because this is the new argument I see cropping up online. I see people arguing that, individuals should be allowed the choice of whether to vaccinate their children or not, that no-one has the right to tell them to vaccinate little Billy or little Susan from the measles or the mumps.

Now, I am all for people being free from government intervention in their day-to-day lives. I believe that the State has no place in determining what is marriage. I believe that the State has no place in determining what God we choose to worship (or not worship). I believe that the State has no place in our day to day interactions with each other, so long as those interactions do not harm one another.

The point of a society, on a very basic level, is to ensure a basic level of security and happiness for the individual. Otherwise, we’d be living in the wilderness, huntin’ deer and choppin’ wood and growin’ crops and surviving as individuals alone and free. Society protects us, helps us, keeps us safe on a fundamental level. It provides infrastructure. It provides security. It provides a basic level of support.

We have a lot of laws that protect us from individuals that act in ways that harm the majority. You cannot rob banks. You cannot steal. You cannot blow up buildings. You cannot act in a way that hurts other people. That is the strength of a society. It protects us from the selfish, single-minded, obtuse, moronic and absolutely stupid individuals who believe that they, for some reason, know better than scientists and professionals who make their bread and butter from studying human illness.

So when an anti-vaxxer says that they have the RIGHT to not vaccinate their children, I get a little angry. If you do not have the RIGHT to rob a bank when you need money, if you do not have the RIGHT to speed down the highway when you’re late for work, if you do not have the RIGHT to endanger CHILDREN and PEOPLE in every other instance, what the fuck makes you think you have the right to risk epidemic death and disease just because you are stupid enough to believe fraudulent studies that were disproved years ago?

We have reached the point where we are so afraid of confrontation, of debate, that we are allowing people who have no position, who are arguing a point with no scientific evidence, who believe something with no basis in reality; to determine how the rest of have to live our lives. We are now living in fear of diseases that were wiped out generations ago, because our society has grown so afraid of causing offense, so afraid of dismissing stupidity out of hand, that we have become ineffective.

There is no debate here. There is no argument. There is no discussion. Anti-vaxxers are hurting us, hurting ALL of us, by refusing to vaccinate their children. And every moment that we refuse to shut these people down, every moment that we  allow them a podium where they spew their idiotic and mindless rhetoric, we are allowing them to continue hurting us all.

Society only works when we work together to protect the weakest among us. When we allow morons with loud voices and baseless opinions to hurt our children, which is what happens when an un-vaccinated child spreads disease in a public place, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate the society that allowed this to happen.


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Play Review: Chalk by Walt McGough

Fresh Ink Theater Company presents CHALK. Written by Walt McGough and directed by Sarah Gazdowicz, it is currently running at the Boston Playwright Theater through January 24.

I haven’t been to very many plays.


I’ve been to five plays.

So I’m not the most informed when it comes to this particular medium. However, I do know when I’ve had a damn good time and I had one last night.

Chalk is a tightly wound story, involving only two characters and a single space that, at times, feels perilously small for the heroine. Maggie (Christine Power) is, by all appearances, the last survivor of the end times. Until, that is, her daughter Cora (Caroline Rose Markham) suddenly reappears. It quickly becomes clear that this is not a friendly reunion and that something is horribly wrong.

Chalk makes great use of its space. The set sketched out the environment without being visually overwhelming. Old books, stacked cardboard boxes, and flickering lights and the thrum of a generator in the background let me know all I need to about Maggie’s refuge. And there are so many little touches that helped to enhance the feeling that we were peering into a little slice of post apocalyptic life. As the audience was sitting, Maggie went about her morning routine within her shelter; brushing her teeth, some calisthenics and tending to the circle. It let us into her life gradually, before we were thrown in with a bang.

Both Christine Power and Caroline Markham brought their all to their performances. Power’s Maggie reminded me a lot of Frances McDormand’s character in Fargo: sweet no-nonsense sensibilities with a biting sarcasm when necessary. And Markham was a spitting, mean-spirited creature, full of vitriol and animalistic fury. They counterbalanced one another and drew toward one another and held my attention the entire show.

In spite of the subject matter, which could potentially be overwhelmingly depressing given that is the end of the world, there was hope and humor rather than grim and gritty. Walt McGough‘s story eschewed the usual tropes and cliches that are rife within this genre. This is no The Walking Dead or A Boy and His Dog where humanity is shown to be THE REAL MONSTER: this is a small scale story focusing in on a mother and her daughter. It’s two people circling each other and figuring each other out and it’s funny and touching and wonderful all balled together. There’s one moment at the end, when Maggie throws back a line at Cora that’s hilarious, the kind of line you’d hear in any action movie as a throw-away gag, but it turns into an important, defining moment in the final act. It’s a play with good feelings in bad times and that’s really what I needed right now.

It’s a well-written, well-acted, well-produced feature that provides a great reason to get out of the house and into the theater. Even if you’re like me and you don’t really go to plays, this one you should make the effort to see. It’s seventy-five minutes long, hilarious, deals with the end of the world and will make you have an emotion or two. Go!

I give it five bags of chalk dust and a cherry pop tart.

To buy tickets to see Chalk (playing at the Boston Playwright’s Theater), please go HERE.

For more information about Fresh Ink Theater and their future works, go HERE.


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Spoooky Beer Review: Harpoon’s UFO Pumpkin


Harpoon makes some of my favorite beers, from their UFO White to Leviathon, you’re generally going to get a solid, complex beer with a lot to offer. So I had high hopes when I picked up UFO Pumpkin.

And those hopes were resoundingly rewarded. This if the kind of pumpkin ale that I want to be drinking; when there’s more pumpkin than spices and I feel like I’m in the middle of Halloween instead of the middle of some over-saturated, over-spiced pumpkin pie being served up for someone’s Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s unfiltered, so it has a deep, cloudy orange, making it look heavier than it actually tastes. It’s a deep, rich orange. It’s a satisfying color, letting you know exactly what you’re in for.

There is cinnamon and spice up front, which gives way to a solid and hearty pumpkin flavor. Much like Pumpkinhead, it’s very crisp and ultimately very refreshing.

For day to day drinking, both Pumpkinhead and UFO Pumpkin are good beers. They both have a relatively low alcohol content and don’t overwhelm you with unnecessary flavor. It honestly depends on what you’re looking for in a pumpkin ale. If you’re looking for a more spice heavy beer, I’d go with Pumpkinhead. If you want something a little more pumpkiny (that’s a technical term), UFO Pumpkin should be your go-to this season.  The spices and the pumpkin flavoring go hand-in-hand.

For me, UFO Pumpkin is the way to go and I give it seven cheerful Jack O’ Lanterns and a scowling black cat.


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James Bond: Chapter One; The First Chapter

“Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I’d been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.”
― James Bond, Casino Royale

I like James Bond. And, like everything else I’m interested in, I have to like it in a obsessive compulsive way that deeply worries the people closest to me. I hate half-measures and lackluster efforts. I have to take my interests and plow them into the ground, wringing out every last bit of enjoyment until I can’t stand the subject and put it on the shelf for a year.

James Bond is one I keep coming back to. He’s a hero that has survived over sixty years, from Ian Fleming’s first novel all the way to his next movie that’s due to be released next year.

He has fought communists, insane madmen seeking to blow up Silicon Valley, North Korean terrorists with a penchant for plastic surgery and duplicitous water stealing businessmen.

James Bond is a hero who has maintained the same posture and panache for his entire run, but, throughout, has maintained a relevancy that few other characters can claim. It is remarkable that someone who was so defined by the culture of the Cold War has not only survived twenty years after the end of that war, but has thrived.

He is defined by a cultured ruthlessness, a suave viciousness. He will lecture you on the correct way to drink a martini and then callously dispatch a henchmen without reflection or doubt. He remains, in many ways, thoroughly British, though beloved around the world.

His longevity is compelling in and of itself. He has been portrayed by many different actors in many different ways through vastly different era. His novels are still being written to this day, in spite of the fact that the original author has been dead and buried for fifty years.

Because of my obsessive compulsive madness, I need, NEED, to figure out a way to go the extra mile in James Bond researches. So, with a complete lack of careful thought and a dutiful inattentiveness to how much free time I actually have, I have decided to watch every James Bond movie, in chronological order, until I lose interest or I reach the final movie.

I will start with the first on-screen appearance. Which is, obviously, the hour long TV episode of Casino Royale.

Look for it at this location next week.


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