I’ll take redneck moonshiners over bluenose revenuers

The Discovery Channel has a series out on moonshiners. The characters are from red states like Tennessee and Kentucky, while the television producers are from blue states like California and New York.

The latter naturally portray the former as stupid.

The red state rednecks tell us that first you find a place for the still, then you haul all the stuff there. There’s a furnace, lots of piping, a condenser and miscellaneous things that go with it like duct tape, barrels, ATVs, propane tanks, sideburns, guns, denim overalls and tattoos.

Lots can go wrong in this business. If you use an old automobile radiator for the condenser, for example, you can poison yourself and your customers with the residual antifreeze. That’s bad for business.

In one episode, a guy named Red Dog had to hop in his pickup to drive his friend to the hospital to recover from heatstroke while they rehydrated with moonshine in mayonnaise jars. In another episode his dog, which wasn’t named Red Dog and wasn’t a labradoodle, got bit by a snake.

The show would have been more interesting — though I suppose less satisfying for the producers — if they had spent less time mocking people they regard as their cultural and political inferiors and more time on science and history. But alas, they’re best at mockery.

The science is straightforward to those rednecks and anyone else who has taken a high school chemistry class. Add yeast to grain mash and let it ferment the sugar into alcohol, then increase the alcohol concentration by heating the solution, letting the alcohol vaporize (it vaporizes at a lower temperature than the water) and condensing the alcohol vapor in the condenser into liquid alcohol.


Being a bit red on the back of my own neck, I made a still with my chemistry set back when chemistry sets contained substances more potent than vinegar and baking soda. My hooch, however, wasn’t strong. Without any special engineering, modern moonshiners (no, that’s not an oxymoron) can produce 190 proof.

That’s also true in commercial distilleries producing legitimate whiskey. The commercial distilleries then dilute the 190 proof with water, which seems a roundabout way to produce 86 proof. The moonshiners often don’t dilute much. Maybe they’re more ethical.

As for the history, I’m proud to report that whiskey-making is rooted in my ancestral home, Scotland, along with classical economics and rational political philosophy.

But whiskey is not the drug of choice for Hollywood producers and their underlings, and they don’t like the classical or rational version of anything, especially economics or political philosophy. When they’re not putting those underlings under them, they like to BS about the philosophy of Karl Marx and Freidrich Engles — whom they’ve never actually read — rather than David Hume and Adam Smith.

Back to whiskey. The Scots always started with malted barley, which is barley grain that has sprouted. They fermented it in the ordinary way.

But the next step in the process — the distillation — presented an unusual problem. Half a millennium ago the Scots denuded their countryside by burning all the trees. They were left with nothing to fuel their stills.

The Scots turned lemon into lemonade while turning spoiled grain into a cognitive-impairing beverage, by burning the only thing left. They burned the earth itself — peat.

As it turns out, peat is better than wood because the peat flavors the scotch. It acquires the distinctive taste of burnt manure, gooey tar, wet leather and dirty underwear. It’s better than it sounds.

Then they put the distilled scotch into old barrels for years where it acquires the taste of old barrels. That’s also where it acquires a little brownness — coming out of the still, it’s clear.

The end product is called scotch. If it’s made at one location with a single batch of barley, it’s single-malt scotch.

When the English began clearing the Scottish Highlands — a policy of genocide — refugees with the skill to make this concoction immigrated to America and often settled in Appalachia to reconstitute their clans, resume their feuds (remember the Hatfields and McCoys?) and practice their criminal art.

Immigrants truly make this country great, eh?

As often happens, the government wanted a piece of the action. The moonshiners refused to pay the stinking liquor tax, so the government types would search out and bust up the illicit stills of these hardworking and hard-drinking souls. Those government types seeking revenue on the trade were called “revenuers.”

So on one side we have entrepreneurial, armed, criminal, drunken, sweaty, backyard-engineering rednecks driving pickup trucks with gun racks while wearing filthy overalls over hairy backs and trying to make a semi-honest living by manufacturing a semi-safe drink.

On the other side we have pusillanimous, under-endowed revenuers with their smug and perverted media enablers stealing money for a leftist governmental empire.

I’ll take the rednecks. And the hooch, please.

(Published Dec. 9, 2017 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-ill-take-redneck-moonshiners-over-bluenose-revenuers/)


It’s Sunday, are the Dems enabling Big Dog today?

Where are Dems today on sexual assault? From their reaction to allegations three or four weeks ago by several women that a Republican candidate for Alabama senator sexually assaulted them three or four decades ago when he was a Democrat public official, the Dems seem to oppose it.

But as with the Dems’ position on Russia, it might depend on what day it is. More specifically, it might depend on when, where and especially by whom.

Remember the Clintons? Hillary was insatiable and predatory but only in matters of money and power. But Bill was in matters of sex. His nickname was “Big Dog.”

Back in the first and only Clinton administration, it all came to a head in the Oval Office when President Big Dog and his cigar and a young White House intern had a threesome. The cigar was not just a cigar.

And it was a foursome if you include the Congressman who was on the telephone.

Big Dog probably could have pulled it off, except that at the time he was a defendant in a sexual assault case brought by another woman. He gave a deposition under oath in that case where he was asked whether he’d had sexual relations with the intern, as rumored.


Big Dog being the Big Dog, he did what comes second most naturally to him. Continue reading

It’s Sunday, do the Dems think the Russians are coming today?

In the 1966 comedy movie, “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming,” a Russian submarine accidentally runs aground near Cape Cod.

It turned out that the Russian submariners were good guys, and all ended well. But not until after the buffoonish Americans made fools of themselves for assuming that the Russians planned to make good on their longtime promise to do to America what they had done to Poland, East Germany, the Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.

The movie’s sympathetic view of the Russians had little basis in events of the day. It was just a few years after President John Kennedy stared down the Soviets when they installed nuclear missiles in Cuba just 90 miles from Miami.

But then, as now, Hollywood never lets facts get in the way of sympathy for America’s enemies.

Kennedy’s clear-eyed view of the Soviets was the same as that of his Republican and Democrat predecessors. All had seen the carnage of Soviet communism. Stalin killed over 20 million people — 12 million in the gulags, another 7 million by orchestrated starvation and 1.5 million that were simply executed. Stalin killed more people than Hitler (but only half as many as his Chinese competitor in communism, Mao Zedong).

Later Soviet autocrats were not as bloody but just as threatening. Nikita Khrushchev famously promised, “We will bury you!” At a meeting of the United Nations, he raged and pounded his shoe on the table.

In Afghanistan, the Soviets conducted a genocide that killed 2 million people. The Red Army systematically raped women and threw them from helicopters.

Republicans never stopped being wary of the Russians, but something strange later happened with Democrats. Continue reading

Aspen Retirees Should Pass the Torch of Freebies to a New Generation

Here in Aspen, we have taxpayer-subsidized housing for people making as much as $189,000 a year. The subsidy is 60 percent to 90 percent and sometimes more.

To disguise this welfare for the middle to upper class, they euphemistically call it “affordable housing.” I call it freebie housing.

In my neighborhood, there are four units of freebie housing close to the ski slope. Based on nearby comparable places, those units are worth over $3 million each. According to the housing records, the residents got them for less than $300,000.

Aspen’s freebie housing is similarly subsidized with respect to property taxes. Because they are artificially valued at a fraction of their true value, they bear only a fractional portion of the property tax.

The way residents get their freebie housing is by winning a lottery. Insiders are very lucky in this lottery. A few years ago, four of the five city council members were getting freebie housing, including the mayor. They never recused themselves from votes on the subject.

Many of the editors, writers and columnists for the local media also are in. Continue reading

Will football follow the circus into oblivion?

As a fan, I’ll mourn the demise of football. What happens at football games during the national anthem is bad, and I’ll get to it in a moment. But what may end the game is what happens after the anthem.

Post-mortem dissections of the brains of 112 former NFL players recently revealed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE) in 111 of them. The study was published last summer in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association and summarized by the New York Times.

The Times reports that the symptoms of CTE include “memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia. The problems can arise years after the blows have stopped.”

Football players sustain CTE through frequent impacts to their heads. Their helmeted heads routinely collide violently with other helmets, shoulder pads and the ground. Even with a helmet, the impact is equivalent to driving a car into a brick wall at 30 miles per hour.

You may respond that playing football is voluntary. You may say that if people want to risk their brains and bodies to be rich and idolized, that’s their right.

I disagree. Continue reading

Does Aspen Really Need Silver Plated Sidewalks?

Here in Gucci Gulch, the enviros once tried to outlaw fur coats. And the lefty mayor once decried rooftop hot tubs atop private $20 million penthouses that are not even visible from the street on the grounds that they’re “excessive.” The hot tubs, that is.

But nothing is too excessive if the bill is paid by taxpayers. Here’s the story.

Local government bureaucrats with too much time on their hands and taxpayer money in their pockets want to use some of both to build an elevated sidewalk. It would be cantilevered over an embankment alongside Castle Creek Road, which threads through a beautiful canyon that has the misfortune of being within the jurisdictional kingdom of these rich and idle bureaucrats.

The sidewalk would run about a half mile and cost about $6 million.

Let’s do some math on this $6 million sidewalk. Continue reading

Like Herpes, Hillary won’t go away

Certain dread diseases are not curable.  They might go away for a while but eventually they come back with ugly pus-filled sores that itch, fester and ooze.  They’re painful and embarrassing.

Hillary Clinton is like that.

Just when we thought she’d gone away, she’s flaring up worse than ever.  She has a new book out, for which she’s started tours.  You have to pay money to come to the book tour to hear her pitch this book that she wants you to pay money to buy to read about what a generous person she is.

We shouldn’t be surprised.  This is the woman who was charging public universities and charities a quarter million for one-hour speeches.

This book – her latest vehicle for monetizing the American political system – is about how she was humiliated by an amateur in the last election. It’s called “What Happened.”

No, it’s not called “What the f— Happened.”  And it’s not called “S— Happens.”  It’s called “What Happened.”

Everyone else already knows what happened.  Continue reading