Archive for March, 2011

A Devastating Blow

As we all know a couple of weeks ago Japan was devastated by a massive tsunami, that was triggered by an even bigger earthquake. Cars, ships and even buildings being swept away in the Fukushima prefecture, after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake. The quake struck about 250 miles from Tokyo at a depth of 20 miles, shaking buildings in the capital for several minutes. A state of emergency has been declared at a nuclear power plant, where pressure has exceeded normal levels. Officials say 350 people are dead and about 500 missing, but it is feared the final death toll will be much higher. In one ward alone in Sendai, a port city in Miyagi prefecture, 200 to 300 bodies were found. In the center of Tokyo many people are spending the night in their offices. But thousands, perhaps millions, chose to walk home. Train services were suspended.

Even after the most violent earthquake anyone could remember the crowds were orderly and calm. The devastation is further to the north, along the Pacific coast. There a tsunami triggered by the quake reached six miles inland in places carrying houses, buildings, boats and cars with it. Outside the city in a built-up area a fire blazed across several kilometers. Japan’s ground self-defence forces have been deployed, and the government has asked the US military based in the country for help. The scale of destruction from the biggest quake ever recorded in Japan will become clear only at first light. The quake was the fifth-largest in the world since 1900 and nearly 8,000 times stronger than the one which devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, said scientists. Thousands of people living near the Fukushima nuclear power plant have been ordered to evacuate. Japanese nuclear officials said pressure inside a boiling water reactor at the plant was running much higher than normal after the cooling system failed. Officials said they might need to deliberately release some radioactive steam to relieve pressure, but that there would be no health risk.

After seeing the catastrophic damage done I think it is safe to say that it is unethical to shift focus from one of the biggest earthquakes in history to talk about saftey of nuclear plants. Many lives have been lost and even more have been ruined. There is no telling how long it will take Japan to rebuild from all this. I believe that a natural disaster is one of the worst things that can happen to a country because it is 100% unpreventable.


Crown Royal is a blended Canadian whiskey , 40% alcohol by volume, 80 proof. The brand is currently owned by Diageo, who purchased it when the Seagram portfolio was dissolved in the year 2000. It is the top-selling Canadian whisky in the United States. The name came about when King George VI underwent a deeply painful root canal. He asked his wife Queen Elizabeth to find him an elixir to sooth his recently replaced crown. The queen then asked the president of Seagram company to make a quality elixir to be packaged in a crown-shaped bottle and dressed in a distinctive royal purple bag to be presented to the king. Like the packaging, the name chosen for the product was intended to reflect the quality of the spirit and as a play on words for its original intended use, a marketing concept that quickly caught consumer attention. It was available only in Canada until 1964.

Crown Royal is produced in one location, at the Crown Royal Distillery at Gimli, in Manitoba, Canada. Daily production of Crown Royal uses 10,000 bushels of grain and requires 900,000 gallons of water. The whisky produced at the Manitoba distillery is stored in 2 million barrels, stored in 46 warehouses, on over 5 acres of land. The whiskey is then blended and bottled in Amherstburg, Ontario.

Crown Royal comes in 5 different types:

Original– Crown Royal is a masterful blend of smoke, spice, oak, and a delightful hint of cherry. This sophisticated symphony of palate-pleasing taste make Crown Royal the finest whisky on the market.


 Black– the drink consists of a higher alcohol content (90 proof) as well as a darker, thicker liquid, while still retaining smoothness. This new variation is, on average, $5 more than the signature Crown Royal.

                                                               Reserve– This whiskey is aged for a longer period than the original.

Cask No. 16– It is made from over fifty blended and individually aged whiskies in 12 year old cognac barrels. These barrels are made of oak from the Limousin forest in France. The whiskies are designed to have a cognac type of finish with notes of rye, grain, and fruit.

XR (Extra Rare)– This limited-release special blend of Crown Royal is sold in numbered bottles, and is made from the last batch of whiskey distilled at the Waterloo distillery.

As we have all been watching the news lately we have seen that the African country of Libya is in a great deal of turmoil. This has been going on for sometime now, although recently it has gotten worse. Amnesty International said about 30 people have reportedly been killed in the “ongoing unrest which began early last month.” The head of interim government is eastern Libya has issued a no-fly zone over Libya. The country of Libya is turning to internation communities to help them stop the turmoil before more bloodshed occurs.

Murammar el-Quaddafi, that nations dictative monarch has had power for 42 years, since he was only 27 years of age. Colonel Qaddafi has also built a persona, in particular as a revolutionary still tilting at distant colonial powers, that in some ways resonates with Libyans who remember their bitter experiences under Italian rule. His personal mythology has helped him stay on top of a fractious, tribal and deeply divided society for longer than any other living leader in North Africa or the Middle East. It is hard to know what combination of fear, opportunism and sincere adoration drives supporters to attend the Qaddafi rallies that have erupted across Tripoli — the manic crowds chanting “God and Muammar and Libya, enough.” But the cult of Qaddafi began to take shape in 1975, just six years after the bloodless coup that brought him to power, when he published the Green Book, a grandiose and quasi-coherent work of a Stalin who aspired to become a Marx.

The main question being raised in America is how should we get involved, militaristic or diplomatic. My opionion is that we do need to help the deteriorating country of Libya but only to some degree. Throughout the world often time then not when a country is in trouble they count on us to save them and make it all better. I believe that America gets caught in the trap way too much. We have our on problems in the US that need to be solved first. I feel that we overlook our country and see it as perfect instead of trying to help the millions of people who are homeless, unemployed, or even just the crime in America. As one of the top powers in the world it is our duty to help but we can’t get caught so much in other countries. We need to make it a stable place to live and get out. I think America tries to be superman more than needed.

Knob Creek is a Kentucky bourban whiskey that is aged nine years to perfection. Althought it is not the top selling whiskey, it is the top selling bourban whiskey in the world. It is bottled at 100 proof, which is higher than the standard 80 proof that is the minimum required by the US. It is sold in a rectangular bottle with a corked and wax-sealed top. The bourbon itself has a dark, golden-brown color. The flavor is fairly distinct due to its light sweetness. According to the company, this is due to the long aging process, during which it absorbs more sugar than usual. It is aged near the center of the rackhouse due to the warmer temperatures there, which are claimed to produce a higher quality bourbon.

I am a current active in the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. As a pledge we choose big bros to help us through the semester. Each family has there own bottle of alcohol and I was lucky enough to be in the family with Knob Creek. Although I not remember much of the night, I do recall the quality of this whiskey. It does have a very rich, sweet taste. It contains 50 percent alcohol, so therefore it kicks you in the face even with just the slightest waft. I had never tried this type of whiskey until i was given it by my big bro, but since then I have drinken it a few other time. The reason for its such sweet taste is because the extra aging of nine years allows it to absorb more of the sugar in the wood.

Lighter bourbon usually means less aging, which translates into a less complex bourbon with a lower alcohol content. Knob Creek is more sophisticated. It’s a darker bourbon, with higher alcohol content. This means Knob Creek isn’t the bourbon you usually first start with, but where you end up, after your palate has matured. Kudos if you did start with Knob Creek-you are well ahead of the curve. Knob Creek can often get the best of its drinkers because it is a stronger alochol. I was unaware of the alcohol content in it, because of this for some reason I thought I could drink it like water.  This infact, is exactly why it got the best of me last semester. For those who drink whiskey I would strongly suggest that you try Knob Creek, but do take it easy at first. Unless your the kind that like to wake up in a random house on the couch with three guys standing around you…