Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page


In wine and whiskey on August 24, 2013 at 12:59 am


Ok so on a lark yesterday, because I’m in an experimental mood, I bought the Kirkland 7 year “premium small batch bourbon”. I’d been on a kick of trying single malts and recently at my graduation party walked up the johnnie walker colors to blue. But this stuff was picked by costco, and they’d done a decent job of picking Kirkland branded single malts to sell once a year, so I trusted them.

So my reaction as I took my first taste, uncut: omg this stuff tastes like varnish! Now I know why the dukes of hazzard were always hootin’ and hollerin’ when they were driving. (Ok that was Georgia and this is Kentucky shine, but all the same when it comes to shine runnin’)

I then did what I normally do to non-peaty single malts, 2 pieces of ice. Shellac.

Then I put some crushed ice in it. Furniture wax.

Finally I added some water. At this point I wasn’t hopeful. I’d now doubled the volume of the contents in the glass. Wow…potable! It actually tastes not so bad for 20 bucks. Now I know how to drink it. But boy you really got to want this stuff straight…it’s harsh. Maybe not as harsh as a young talisker, but oooooeeeeee

Today I….

In Random on August 18, 2013 at 1:14 am

…worked outside most of the day. I happened to use a bow saw, an small ax, a two handed limb clipper, the 8 ft manual clipper with the handle pull, my long hedge trimmer (24″ on the 6 ft handle), my chain saw, my lawn mower, my drill ( to fix the flapper on the side of my lawn mower) and my toro leaf blower. Oh all the axes and whatnot were take down a way overgrown evergreen on one side do my house,and trim down its twin so that I could trim it easier next year as well as get lights on it for Xmas. And I did the lawns and blew the driveway clear of sand and grass clippings.

Had to attach my trailer hitch bike rack (to retrieve my wife’s bike from the shop)…put a new flame spreader on the grill that i bought a week ago and I had to switch tanks on my grill mid-meal prep, and discovered that the center burner on the grill had rotted through and needed to be replaced. Neither lowes nor sears had the burners so I ordered a set of 3 (might as well replace them all) on my iPad on the grill mfg site.

At the moment every bone and muscle in my body hurts.

Trying out a hypothesis…

In history, politics, Random, Religion on August 17, 2013 at 11:47 am

A few weeks ago I speculated that what we were seeing was an bourgeois revolution in the Middle East. Today I’m going to propose something else.

Would it be outlandish to consider that the experience of Iraq for the us, including a simultaneous rise in influence of Iran across the Middle East through proxy organizations and governments such as Hezbollah and the Assad regime led to an unexpected response by the us govt?

That response would be, against all normal logic, to allow the downfall of ostensibly secular strongmen in these countries in favor of “democracies” that elected sunni Islamist groups to counterbalance the threat of the Iranian influence through its Shia based proxy organizations. This would only make sense where the west basically felt that the sheiks, pharoahs, dictators and Baathist regimes no longer provided a sufficient bulwark against Iran.

One other thing that also feeds this. Iran, unlike most of the other governments in the Middle East (save Egypt and Turkey) was not based on a tribal culture which coalesced in the last 120 years into geographically convenient national regimes, but that of a pure nation state with both a historical claim (for over 4000 years) of being the main political and military force in this area (not to mention religious in both the Zoroastrian as well as the Islamic eras).

That was what was going through my head as I read today’s news out of Egypt, while I had some coffee…