Archives: Darth Vader

Oregon Brewers Festival

Assembled from the notes taken yesterday.

I’ve been attending the Oregon Brewers Festival since – oh, since before I was of legal drinking age.  I believe my first OBF was the second or third year of the event.  I have a cupboard full of plastic festival mugs to prove it, much to the dismay of the Mrs.  (This year the OBF switched to glass.  We’ll see how that goes.)

My wife does not care for the throng, finding the noise, the press, the dust, etc. oppressive.  Hard to blame her, really, but I find the beer sufficient compensation so long as I arrive early and leave before the crush reaches its peak.  So, this year I attended solo, biking down from home.  In the past this has been an occasion to congregate with friends and usually bump into people I’ve not seen for a few years.  But this year the usual gang of idiots had previous engagements, work-related or otherwise.  A sign of maturity, or aging anyways.  It becomes harder and harder to justify scheduling a day dedicated to sampling craft brews.  I understand that all too well.  Does youth fade or does it simply get buried beneath the ever mounting pile of responsibility?

This year, then, I brought just the one friend.

We’ll see how many chapters I can get through and if the OBF’s notorious and frequent spontaneous yelling that fills the tents will impair my reading more than the alcohol.

Now, time for another taster.

The people watching is, as usual, top-shelf.  Jack Sparrow just strolled by.  Bald, bearded Elvis strummed his guitar outside the fence for awhile before being upstaged by Darth Vader playing the bagpipes while riding a unicycle.

Report: I was terrified that a beer from Ohio – Ohio, of all places – would top my list.  Of course I handicapped the competition, skipping the local Portland beers.  I can get them anytime.  Thankfully my last taster was Bogart IPA from Fire Mountain Brewery of nearby Carlton, Oregon.  That dethroned Ohio Brewing Company’s O’Hoppy Ale IPA.

At about that point of the day the crowd of the OBF surpassed my comfort level.  And 6-plus miles uphill on the bicycle eliminated the (minimal) blood-alcohol level.  I deem this OBF a success.  I sampled some new beers and I’m pretty sure my caloric intake and expenditure was a net positive on the expenditure side of the balance sheet.

And how was your Saturday?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard – Science Fiction’s Greatest Villain

The captain of the Enterprise D, Jean-Luc Picard. James T. Kirk’s antithesis. A scholar, a diplomat, a man of culture.

And the perpetrator of monstrous crimes. Ming the Merciless, Darth Vader – pikers. Their villainy amounts to little more than a string of misdemeanors compared to the enormity of Captain Picard’s genocidal activities.

Count 1. Picard is a mass murderer on a galactic scale. After the Enterprise captured a lone Borg drone, Star Fleet had the opportunity to introduce a virus that would wipe out the Borg menace. Picard – on his own authority, without consulting with his superiors – ordered otherwise. The Borg subsequently murdered billions of sentients. Thats the big number with a ‘B.’ Billions. Picard would claim he couldn’t have expected that. A laughably weak defense. The Borg actions were eminently foreseeable. Picard’s failure to introduce the virus was reckless, negligent. All of those fictional billions deaths can be laid at his feet.

Count 2. Picard is also a prospective murderer on a vast scale. In the rather forgettable “Trek’”outing “Insurrection” the good captain was faced with an ethical dilemma that shouldn’t have stumped even a frosh philosophy major for more than five minutes. A colony of 600 or so were squatting on the secret of immortality. Star Fleet wanted to relocate them. Picard made the determination that the potential health and longevity of untold numbers of humans were trumped by a rather recent land claim of 600 people. Get that – he made the decision. Were I a Federation citizen facing my looming mortality I think I might be a bit irked that I wasn’t consulted, that Captain Picard personally eliminated the option of my continued existence. Thanks ever so much.

Verdict: Guilty on both counts.

Disagree? Go ahead and lay into me for impugning the good captain. And let’s face it, he could be a pretty cool character and Patrick Stewart was terrific in the role.