Friday, April 29, 2011

The 1st Annual Abney Gold Cup

So to make no bones about it, I am a bourbon connoisseur.  Hailing from the State of KY you are expected to know three things: Basketball, Horses, & Bourbon.  In order to not let my state down I embarked on the 1st annual Abney Gold Cup Bourbon Challenge.  All contenders on this list are of bourbon products that I frequently enjoy, but have never individually compared.  Sure you may consider this a convenience sample, but when you're a broke Ph.D. student, the ability to dissect every bourbon is limited.

Testing Methods:  In order to test the individual bourbons, in between samples I snacked on cheese and spring water in order to cleanse my palette.  In total 9 different bourbons were sampled for this study.

First off on the list...Good Ole Buffalo Trace

Price: about $25
Color: Light Amber
Nose: Great smell....reminds me of the "Angel's Share" in the bourbon warehouses, nice hint of vanilla, caramel, and oak
Taste: Very sweet, some maple and vanilla lead the way then hint of the oak
Finish: Nice finish.  Warm, but no burn and nice fade out.
Overall: Def a contender and a great bargain for the price.

Next up....Jim Beam Black.

Price: about $23
Color: light amber
Nose: Sweet, very sweet. can detect honey subtle hints of spice
Taste: Honey, spice, and some rye added in
Finish: Warm finish can first feel the sweetness of the bourbon then some spice at the end, good finish
Overall: To be honest I'm not a Jim Beam person.  I just tried this the other day and was very surprised at the quality of this product compared to regular Jim Beam.  Great bourbon for mixing, a nice product.

Batting Third...Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Whiskey

Price:  $33
Color: Light Amber
Nose: Very heavy oak smell, nice corn smell, some floral
Taste:  Pretty dry taste, not good, not bad. Def can taste the corn/rye to it. Some Earthy flavors as well.
Finish: Dry finish.  Going down there is a sweetness that comes about.
Overall: This is a good bourbon don't get me wrong, but doesn't stand out esp when price is figured into the equation.  

The heavy hitter....Willett Reserve

Price: $41
Color: Mild Amber
Nose: Heavenly. Nice smooth oak smell, very rich nose can def smell the grains involved on this bourbon
Taste: Very full and well balanced taste, can taste everything from cinnamon to vanilla, to oak and other spices
Finish: Quality finish, no burn extremely smooth bourbon, very fruity on finish.
Overall: I like....alot... def can tell the step up from the before 8 yr old bourbons to this 12 yr old.  

The Constant (always quality day in, day out)...Woodford Reserve 90 Proof
(no image available...seriously my last amount of Woodford was in a flask)
Price: $30
Color: Mild amber
Nose:  Sweet, can detect citrus, ginger, slight waves of oak and char, some pine
Taste:  Some hints of the pine/spice taste, little hint of vanilla
Finish: A decent warmth to it, like how its sweet and can taste fruit on it
Overall: Good for both the quality and price.  Def gets the award for most versatile bourbon

The Sequel... Maker's 46

Color: mild Amber
Nose: Great smell, nice shades of vanilla and caramel along with some clove and cinnamon
Taste: Def taste the spice that Maker's Mark is known for that then goes to sweetness tastes of caramel 
Finish: Nice short warmth that fades out, can detect the vanilla, oak, char on finish 
Overall: Some sequels are better then the original, Maker's 46 is proof of that

Gettin Wild..... Wild Turkey Rare Breed 

Price: $35
Color: Mild amber
Nose: Def some char and vanilla mixed in on first sniff along with oak and leather
Taste: Earthy tones are abound on this one, can taste the corn/rye, along with the vanilla
Finish: Combo present between the vanilla and spices makes for a great finish
Overall: Great overall profile of this bourbon from the spice, sweetness, great small batch bourbon

The unknown... Four Roses Small Batch

Price: $26
Color: Light Amber
Nose: Very light nose which is good, floral and sweet smelling
Taste: Citrus and Licorice describe it best, but in a good way
Finish: It lets you know it's there...a short warmth to begin with that quickly fades out (I mean quickly)
Overall: Def better then basic Four Roses. It's character however leaves you wanting more.

Last but certainly not least!!   Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2000

Price: $28
Color: Light Amber
Nose: Inviting, warm and sweet can detect hints of citrus and nutmeg
Taste: A coconut meets vanilla armageddon, but very good.
Finish: Quality finish,  short warmth /tingling but in a good way nice sweet takeaway
Overall: Some people automatically place Evan Williams into the bottom of the bourbon pile, this nice reserve proves those doubters wrong.  

So now that the tasting has been completed it's time to hand out the bronze, silver, and gold medals to all of our participants.

Bronze: Buffalo Trace.  For the price there is no way you are going to find a better quality bourbon.  Very sweet bourbon that can be used in a varying amount of ways and is a good bourbon to sip on throughout the day.

Silver: Willet's Pot Still Reserve.  For a 12 yr old bourbon this is a quality product.  It had nice hints of both sweetness and oak along with a great nose and quality finish.  

Gold: Maker's 46. Comparing Maker's 46 to Maker's Mark is like comparing The Empire Strikes Back to Star Wars, every once in a while the sequel is better then the original and Maker's 46 is no different.  I love everything that this bourbon has to offer from the nose all the way to the finish.  Maker's Mark has def hit a home run in a product that has been on the shelf for right around a year.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This is the end.....

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end 

And just like that, this semester is coming to a close.  Tonight marks my last appearance (in class at least) for Tech 621, aka the class that got this blog off the ground and running (or at least quick limping).  It is pretty bittersweet as I learned a lot in this class (such as having a higher intelligence because of my use of Twitter) along with the darkside and pitfalls that can exist using social media.  As the great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson once said, "Buy the ticket, take the ride," which is exactly what I did this semester, from moving to Indiana 4 hours away to a place where I only knew my loving fiancee who came with me, to enrolling in classes as a Ph.D. student and meeting new people, to even the joys of Tech621 and making up a new word (EPICLY).  It's been a blast and only the beginning of what will be my overall short time in Lafayette.  

There are things to take from this class, esp. on how to make social media work for me (note to readers, Google yourself every now and then see what comes up, also join linkedin, and remember to keep Facebook/work life separate).  Social media is here to stay so having a class like this definitely can enhance the experience.  I would recommend anyone who has a chance to take Dr. V's class, or any social media class, to please do so.  Your only hurting yourself if you don't.  

From here on out, I'm trying to figure out how which direction to take this blog.  I have some ideas along with a lot of free time due to my still lack of employment (seriously if someone is around Purdue and even needs a pool boy I'll do it, but I'm not wearing thongs....unless the price is right).  

Tomorrow is a new day.  Thanks everyone from Tech621 for providing feedback for the blog, it's been a blast these past few months...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


There are a lot of ridiculous pictures when you type in the words, "Charlie Sheen Not Winning"  and that picture easily takes the cake because...well it has kittens and puppies and how can you not like that?

Next week (well technically May 3rdish) will be a bittersweet week.  It's my last week of Tech 621 and I really can't think of a better class to have experienced to be baptized in the black and gold of Purdue.  I made several friends in that class who are epicly awesome, and had an instructor who encouraged my rambling, babbling, sometimes incoherent thoughts, that have become blog.  However, as much as will miss this class, I will not miss the subject of my final paper.


I've already gone over my relationship with Sheen (no I was not previously the unnamed Goddess contrary to popular opinion) and how I decided to tackle his downfall as my project study of Image Restoration Theory with Radian 6 software.  At first this was a fun topic, he was "duh...winning" and I thought that by researching Sheen, I too could be a Vatican Assassin Warlock.  However, I was wrong on this being both fun and becoming a warlock.  

Sheen has become a headache that I am ready to take two advils of and be done with.  He is a talented actor and I will always enjoy Major League and consider it on par with Shakespeare's Hamlet, but as a person, well he's immersed himself in a reality where he believes that he can do know wrong and instead of apologizing and trying to call amends he's continuously digging himself a deeper hole.  Me going against Sheen may classify me as a "troll" but if that's where all the sane people are then I'll be more then happy to be in that hunting party.  The two months of research, and countless TMZ articles I have read along with news interviews is more then enough Sheen for me to handle for my next three life times.

Long story short, Sheen may be telling himself he's still "winning" but research I've done, people leaving his shows, and polls I've looked at beg the differ.  Do yourself a favor Sheen, look at Benoit's IRT and stop ignoring the last step, Apologize.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Article Analysis 5

Charlie Sheen's image goes up among many fans: poll

The before mentioned link is to the poll that will be used for my fifth and final article analysis.  Is it whole heartedly scientific? Probably not.  But is there good data and criticism for the poll?  You betcha.  I decided to mainly include this poll because it was the most thorough poll I was able to find in regards to my final project for Tech 621:Charlie Sheen.

The poll was conducted early February 2011, right when the whole Charlie Sheen bandwagon wheels were just starting to turn and a little bit before said wheels became coming off.  It was published in The Hollywood Reporter magazine to show that people were behind Sheen based on their results.

The method that they used was to survey 700 people aged 13-59 who described themselves as "Avid fans" of Two and a Half Men.  In that statement lies at least two problems. One how did they conduct the survey?  Was it by phone, email, website, outside of the local Wal-Mart? That question is never answered.  For instance, if they surveyed people outside of a mall, then that is merely a convenience sample and in no way could be representative  of how people across the nation felt about Sheen at that time.  The other problem is how did they describe someone being an "avid fan"?  Were they simply able to say there were a fan if they mentioned they liked the show, did they have to admit to watching a certain amount of hours of the show, was there a test involved regarding the background of the show only people familiar with Two and a Half Men would know? The poll does make mention of men and women but doesn't give data out on how many of each gender participated or an age group graph to show differences. These may seem like trivial questions, but if you're going to put information out there, then you need to be more clarified on how you collected your data especially when dealing with human subjects.

Another quick note is that this poll result was based just on fans view, not those who may have indifferent views of the show/Sheen, or negative views which is a whole different animal.

From their results such statements were made as 28% of men and 42% of women thought Sheen should be removed from the show
56% believed that a future episode should address Sheen's personal issues (again this is when the continuing production of the show was still a realistic possibility)
96% wanted Sheen to return to the show (wait...isn't this kind of in contrast with the first statement?)
22% actually have a more favorable view of Sheen due to his current drug and personal issues
50% believe he should take time off to get better for the show while 34% believed he should work through his personal issues (apparently the other 16% didn't care)
and the best stat for me
59% believe Sheen isn't playing a character on the show, but actually just playing himself.

There were a few other scattered stats that were insignificant for my research, but I felt that the previous statements were ones to take a look at.

In hindsight, I do believe that the intentions of the data are somewhat good.  During this timeframe of Sheen's downfall people still viewed him in a positive light and it seemed genuinely wanted Sheen to get better not only for him, but also for the show itself.  It seemed that when people were dealing with Sheen in such a small quantity before his "Winning" ways, he maintained a favorable view with his key demographics, those who enjoyed his show.  It would have helped if there was also a poll showing the views of those who had either an indifferent view/negative view of Sheen during this timeframe to concur that Sheen was still held in a favorable view overall.  Unfortunately, no such poll was able to be found.  Fast forward two months from this poll and it seems that the public has flipped on Sheen as even as recently as last night, people could not find the exit signs fast enough for his nationwide tour.  The downfall of Sheen has been a fast and violent torpedo downward.  Sorry Charlie, maybe defeat is an option.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lost In Translation

A funny thing happened last Friday morning.  I posted on Twitter a picture of this year's Keeneland Maker's Mark bottle.  Needless to say though my brethren in KY who followed me knew exactly what I was talking about and offered words of encouragement for spending almost 4 hours in line to get the bottles signed (seriously from around 3:45 AM to about 7:30 AM I was at a racetrack waiting to get 5 guys to sign my bottles), my friends from elsewhere thought I had lost my mind and was drinking at a fairly early time (that may or may not happen).  I had to do a little bit of explaining about what my rightful purposes were because I forgot, sometimes things can be lost in translation even between those who only live a few hundred miles apart.  I figured I would create this blog to explain some "KY thangs" in order to create less confusion for future purposes because there is a real good chance that everything in this article will somehow be incorporated into an epicly awesome tweet later on.  So without further ado I will try to explain some of my habits from KY.


If you have ever attended college or even worked in Central Kentucky then there is almost a 95% chance you have been sick sometime during a Spring or Fall meet and the only way to cure your illness was by visiting the track.  Keeneland is a horse racing track located on the outskirts of Lexington that is only open two months out of the year, April and October.  It can be best described as a classier version of it's bigger cousin, Churchill Downs (I only say this because the only time I have been to Churchill was during the Derby and it was horrible!! but then again I was sitting in the infield).  If the race track loosks somewhat familiar that may be because it has been used in such movies as Seabiscuit and more recently Secretariat due to the lack of modern renovations that have been done at the track compared to other horse racing tracks such as Pimlico, Belmont, and Churchill Downs. 
Keeneland is also a few miles away from the famed Central KY castle.  Why do we have a castle in KY, the question is "Why not?"

Almost everyone who attends a race follows the dress code, suits,button ups, and slacks for men, dresses and goofy hats for women.  People actually tailgate at Keeneland for the races, that is how serious us Kentuckians take our horse racing (and apparently drinking too).  Even though I have changed state residencies, I still made it a point to return for one day of racing this past weekend and even hit an Exacta (correctly placing first two horses).  *Note some people who bet on the horses bet due to names, buy a program and bet on the jockey or trainer.  The winning % of both are located in the programs *


Above is my current collection of Maker's Mark collectible bottles.  The White (Rich Brooks), Blue (John Calipari), and Gold Wax (Keeneland) bottles are all Keeneland edition of Maker's Mark.  Each year for the past decade (give or take some years) Keeneland and Maker's Mark team up and create a special edition bottle that proceeds from the sale of the bottle will go to a charity (usually from UK).  Whoever the featured person/group on the bottle is, will usually be involved with the bottle signing at Keeneland a week after the bottle goes on sale.  

The other bottles are just collectible bottles that I have bought over the past two years (still a rookie).  The best way I can describe the special edition Maker's bottles are they are like baseball cards for adults. Some of the other cooler bottles that have been done are one for Breast Cancer Awareness, a Harley Davidson bottle, and a Mardi Gras edition.  While standing in line to get this year's Keeneland bottle, one gentleman said he had met a guy who had over $19k invested in Maker's Mark bottles.  Which speaking of....


That man who is dressed real funny looking (not me, the other guy), that's Bill.  As in Bill Samuels, who until this past weekend was the CEO/President of Maker's Mark (it is in transition of being passed on to his son).  Seriously, how many CEO's of a worldwide known product such as Maker's Mark take the time to mingle with everyone regardless of stature on a daily basis?  The picture was taking this past weekend at Bill's retirement party (where again all ticket sales from admission went to a women's shelter in Louisville) that is lieu of what is known as Thoroughbreds and Redheads weekend (Keeneland Friday, Maker's Mark party Fri. night, Ambassador day Saturday).  I have met Bill Samuels several times and each time he has been extraordinarily friendly and will talk your leg off.  The business model he has created at being easily accessible to his customer base is pure marketing genius.  
Ain't no party like a Maker's Mark party....

Since that last paragraph may appear jumbled, due to my excitement of how cool that night/picture was I will try to explain my crush on the Maker's Mark product.  First, you too can become a Maker's Mark Ambassador just by signing up on their website and it's free.  Each year you get a cool little gift for Christmas, this year was an ice tray that made globe shaped ice cubes/ball for your "sippin glass."  The other advantage that being an ambassador entails is access to special Maker's Mark events.  Last year I was one of the first 75 who responded to an email and was invited to the first ever Maker's Mark Cocktail Challenge where world renowned bartenders from different countries came to Lexington to prove that their drink recipe was the best in the world, and being one of the 75 meant I got to sample the different concoctions and vote on who would take home the title of being the best bartender in the world.    As mentioned earlier, each year Maker's Mark has an "ambassador homecoming" where the distillery is open just to ambassadors and you can do such things as dip your own special edition Ambassador bottle on the factory line, eat free Moonlite BBQ (great BBQ from Western KY), and again, meet Bill.  Lastly, the best thing about being an ambassador is getting your own bourbon barrel.  That's right, they put your name on a bourbon barrel and when your barrel has aged the 5 years they let you know and you go to Loretto KY with your golden ticket (just like Willy Wonka) and get a special Maker's Mark bottle that was made just for awesome is that?
My name on this barrel is so far the highlight of my life

One more thing to touch on regarding Maker's Mark is they are easily accessible through social media.  Those who are in my tech621 class know I have sent several tweets to Maker's Mark, and each time they have responded back and every once in a while I ask them a random question and they still refuse to block me and will talk to me instead.  So in conclusion with Maker's Mark, their accessibility that Bill has laid out is genius and makes people want to be a part of their product.

Bourbon Country

Bourbon country is the area of the map that you see above.  96% of all the world's bourbon is produced in the state of KY.  Remember all bourbon is whisky, but not all whisky is bourbon. 
To be bourbon the spirit has to meet the following conditions: 
  1. Only Whiskey produced in the U.S. can be called bourbon
  2. It must contain at least 51% corn
  3. No artificial colors or chemicals are allowed
  4. Can not come off the still at higher then 160 proof and go into the barrel at 125 proof max
  5. Must be aged in a new charred, oak barrel
  6. It must be stored for at least 2 years

Okay enough of my history lesson...also..Bourbon is the only spirit to be classified as the "official alcohol of the U.S." by Congress

 The barrels that are listed on the map (though rather small) are 6 of the most prominent bourbon distilleries in the state of KY and are what as known as the bourbon trail (Maker's Mark, Heaven Hill, Four Roses, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey).  You can get a passport and visit each of the distilleries and get your passport stamped.  Once your passport is completed, send it in and get a free shirt for all your troubles (it really is a sweet shirt).  

That beautiful picture there is Buffalo Trace distillery.  Though it is no longer on the bourbon trail, it is still one of the most prominent distilleries in the nation even laying claim to the title "Oldest continuously operating distillery" (that's right no prohibition for that place).  I will probably start referring to that place a lot because well...that's where I'm getting married at next year so I had better include at least one reference to this place so my fiancee doesn't kill me : )  

So even though there are a few more places that need to be included on the list (Austin City Saloon, Red River Gorge, Hall's beercheese, Ale 8) I figured this would be a pretty good start for the time being to keep people from think I'm going crazy when I mention one of these places.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Article Analysis 4

Michel M. Haigh. "'The Cream,' The 'Clear,' BALCO and Baseball: An Analysis of MLB Players Image." Journal of Sports Media 3.2 (2008): 1-24. Project MUSE. Web. 21 Jan. 2011. <>.

The article above is one of the many articles I reviewed for my final project for my Tech 621 class involving image repair theory.  Again I'm reviewing articles on IRT for my paper on good ole Uncle Charlie (Sheen that is).  

This article touches on how baseball became so impure as many of baseball's brightest stars fell due to their involvement with performance enhancers.  Some of the topics it covered ranged from the athletes stats before, during, and after their involvement with performance enhancers, to what/if any thing they did to try to get back in the public's good graces.

The methodology that Haigh employed was by using code readers for content analysis of over 292 articles that were reviewed featuring statements from the accused.  The one thing I really enjoyed about the methods were the articles were compromised from The NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and Sports Illustrated.  The researcher's method of choosing the newspapers were they were the 4 biggest in differing parts of the United States which made sense, the others were chosen due to their appeal to a national audience as well as SI being one of the leading publications for sports related material.  Dates were chosen from Sep. 2003-March 16, 2006 and even then, those were chosen for significance.  September due to that being the time BALCO was raided (hq for being the company that was giving out steroids like candy) and March being right after the time of the congressional hearing regarding the case.  

The researcher later expanded on the keywords that were used and all keywords were relevant to the matter at hand.  The issue I have with is that the content analysis was done by two undergraduate assistants.  Though they agreed on findings for the majority of the time, and could incorporate statements from the accused into varying levels of Benoit's IRT there still remained problems.  Some of the analysis could not be fit into the IRT and either had to be directed into a category that was deemed appropriate or dismissed.  Though that may seem problematic, my problem is that I believe either high level graduate students should have done the analysis or professor's themselves.  My reasoning for this is even though the undergraduate students may be pretty good at content analysis, I know in my particular case, it wasn't until I was a graduate student where I learned more regarding research methodology and gained a better impression on how to conduct proper research.

Never-less, the findings were the most interesting part of the research.  An overwhelming majority of the accused came out and offered attempts for forgiveness and apologized for their actions.  Others, like Mark Mcgwire, refused to acknowledge that they took performance enhancers.  Then there is the story of Barry Bonds, who basically breaks the mold.  Bonds was seen as the one person who not only didn't acknowledge taking any enhancers, but was trying to blame everyone else (teammates, coaches, media) for the hoopla and placed none of the blame himself.  The researcher makes note that Bonds was one of the few whose case was not resolved by the time of publication, 3 years later and the Bonds trial is just now possibly coming to an end, and again Bonds is not taking responsibility.  

Overall, I felt like the article was pretty well conducted and the findings were interesting.  Of the articles I read for IRT, this was one of the few that tried to combine findings with stats and I felt that the use of stats helped punctuate the researcher's main points and question at hand.  It is def worth a read for anyone who is into sports and particularly what has been labeled as the "steroid era" of baseball.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Dark Side

So within the first what 10 seconds of this post, you have have to be intrigued.  From the post title to the cute/disturbing pic of Lord Vader tempting you to come to the dark side your initial reaction is probably that I'm going to launch into a full scale rant about how the first two episodes of Star Wars should have never been released (I still hate you Jar Jar).
"Me's a going to ruin a franchise"

Instead the focus of this post is about the dark side of the internet (all those who have been mislead of a Star Wars rant are dismissed).  This is a topic that we are set to cover in class (What up Tech 621!) this coming Tuesday night and to be honest I can't wait.  From some of the topics I've seen that are going to be covered I'm sure some interesting questions/perspectives/insight will be gained.  

My topic is porn at work.  Yep, that's right, I get to help open the Pandora's box lead discussion on what may or may not be seen as a taboo topic.  I've looked at several interesting articles about just all the repercussions and downfall of people who can't control their urges at work.  Some of the stats I've seen have been that before the recession only about 18% of people were glancing at porn at work, however during the current recession that number has jumped up to as high as 25% (Newsweek).  Why the increase?  A lot of people responded because they feel like with all the problems that companies have going on that their bosses have bigger fish to fry then their porn habit.  I even saw a video of a state senator from Florida caught looking at porn during a debate about abortion (I'm not even going to attempt to make a joke out of that....not touching it with a 10ft pole).  It's like the hits keep coming with just stories upon stories of people being caught with this.  I even got a great story from my future Mom-in-law who works in HR, about a guy who got caught there and his excuse...well it breaks the mold for worst excuses of all time (sorry got to wait for class to tell that one).  

My overall point is this, thanks to Al Gore and his invention of the internet has helped further man's quest of knowledge, from making shopping at home easier, to editing  reading interesting articles on Wikipedia, staying in touch with loved ones, following your fav sports team, etc.
you  better listen to him, he's super serial

At that same time this abundance of technology has also produced new evils.  Online social sites/chatrooms are making it easier for children to become prey for psychopathic (nicest word I could think of) adults (To Catch a Predator anyone?). It also has made it easier for people to cheat on their spouses, become addicted to the internet/porn, socially withdrawn, etc. As good as the internet has been to mankind, there are a lot of dark alleys that people need to be aware of both for their own benefit as well as those that they love.  To put it in Star Wars terms, the balance of the force is unstable from the light side/dark side of the internet.