1. The Deke and I went up to the Old Line Bistro for a couple of hours around 2 p.m. Since leaving Maryland back on November 10th, I had only drunk one Imperial or Double IPA -- it was at Danny and Sharon's house last Monday. Their son had visited and left behind a splendid Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA. Today, I walked into the bistro with high hopes that it would have a Double IPA on tap. Much to my delight, there it was: Baltimore's Union Brewing's Double Duckpin Double IPA. When Chris delivered my pint of this juicy hop bomb to our table, I felt the pleasure of a reunion with a friend I had been missing. I relished the pop of citrus and the clean bitterness of this superb beer as I plunged into my pint. The Deke and I ordered some truffle fries. Later we split a burger. I had tiny samples of two boozy Imperial Stouts. My favorite was Collaboration No. 5, a joint effort of Boulevard and Firestone Walker. You can read all about this rocket launcher of bourbon-aged tart cherry, milk chocolate, vanilla-y sweetness right here. Again and again, I have read about the mad skills of brewers in Vermont and so closed out this session of conversation and food and beer with a lighter beer, a pint of Otter Creek's Free Flow IPA. It was, as advertised: "Hazy in color, smooth by nature and free flowing by choice."
2. After visiting the Diazes, the Deke and I settled into our little life in our little apartment home with our little corgis. They all went to bed early, and I decided to stay up and listen to an episode of a podcast that was new to me. The podcast Undone investigates stories that seem to have come to an end, but examines how the end of the story was really the beginning of something new. Do you remember how on the night of July 12, 1979, a Chicago radio host, Steve Dahl, promoted a Disco Sucks night at Chicago's Comiskey Park and how between games of a doubleheader between the White Sox and the Tigers he oversaw the blowing up of dumpster of disco records fans brought to the park? How, after the demolition, a riot ensued in the ballpark and the second game was canceled? The night marked the beginning of the end of disco music. But the demise of disco gave rise to what came to be called "house music", and I found this episode of Undone entitled, "Disco Demolition Night" fascinating as it explored the significance of disco, the events of July 12, 1979, the death of disco, and the birth of house music. Want to hear it for yourself? Click on this link right here.
3. So. It turns out that that techno-synthy sound and rhythm that is the backbone of the Eurhythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" grew out of house music and so I created a "Sweet Dreams" Pandora station. I didn't really like it, but it did lead me to staying up until after 1 a.m. listening to a bunch of rock music performed by women. I listened to Joan Jett play "I Love Rock and Roll"; I watched a video of Patti Smith and her band just kill "Gloria" on a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live. (Have you watched this performance recently? It is one of the most audacious, defiant, and thrilling performances of any song I've ever experienced. It's here.) Then it was back to Pandora and I created a Sleater-Kinney station. I don't know how I ever got to sleep after spending over an hour listening to Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Breeders, Bikini Kill and other hard driving, uncompromising punky, alt/indie all women rock bands play -- and, I got to this music all because of the death of disco.