Inspection- Drunk Bees

by Ken Carman

  I brew braggots. A braggot is a cross between a beer and a mead. I’ve traveled, trod, hoofed and stumbled quite a distance down my own personal brew path, all starting shortly after Jimmy Carter made homebrewing legal in 79.
  The first beers we brewed would probably be classified now as an Imperial Porter, only because I loved dark beer and anything even remotely resembling an Imperial Porter was impossible to get on the east coast at the time. Baltic Porter comes closest, but even commercial examples of Baltic Porter were rarely seen on the east coast until about 10 years ago. Certainly not in the late 70s or 80s.
  Anyway, we went on to brew many styles, then to making cysers: cider fermented with honey as part of the recipe. Only, rather than apple, we did peach, raspberry, blackberry and many other berry cysers. For a short while I attempted to make an experimental mead-like quaff that was made from only maple syrup, only to find it always ended up tasting like mead. Fine, except instead of paying expensive honey prices how was I to justify paying stupidly expensive maple syrup money for the same results?
  Get the notion I like to brew weird?
  Yup.
  As a former president of my Nashville club said to my wife Millie, “You guys are never going to brew anything normal, are you?”
  Probably not.
  Heading up to my retirement palace in the Dacks my last night I transfered two braggots into a less sediment filled vessel because I knew, otherwise, it would be a while before I could do that. Both are probably 15% to 25%.
  One of the braggots was a peach braggot and leaving old peaches in there too long was unwise, so I added fresh peaches, filtered out the old. For a short time I left the strainer filled with the old peaches on the front porch on a storage tote, then dumped them.
  The next morning while we were packing a sweat bee infestation in parts Middle Tennessee was expressing itself down the road at WalMart, in a TSC parking lot and, of course, in our little valley. The bloody things get right in you face, your hair, a lady had me chase some away from her bee coated car in a parking lot. Millie even got stung slapping one away.
  Bees everywhere, in your face and coating cars? Have you ever noticed when life gets surreal you only notice as the “surreal” hits some high point?
  Anywhosie, while jaunting in and out of the house I noticed some odd activity where the strainer filled with old peaches had been the previous night. The top of the tote on the front porch where it had been, briefly, had probably half a cup, at best, of dripped off of old peaches braggot on it. The bees had found the braggot. But they weren’t swarming. The sweat bees were stumbling, flipping on their backs, passed out and, yes, even having what one could call clumsy bar fight.
  I realized we now had a drunk bee problem.
  If you’ve ever experienced sweat bees they are the ultimate partisans. They can go way out of their way to sting those they think are in their way. Sweat bees are, oh, so determined. They make The Little Train That Could seem like a quitter.
  Sweat bees are the extreme political and social partisans of the bug world.
  The bees had met their match with the braggot, but these buggers were unwilling to admit they were so out of control they had become a danger to themselves. Instead of looking for yet another sweet treat the bees had hunkered down. Like the partisan liar caught in a lie who insists on telling worse lies, instead of at least backing off, these bees doubled down and got drunker.
  These days that description fits a lot of partisans. Yes: from now on when I think of some partisans and many other issues, I will now think of drunk bees. The persistence of those who pursued Clinton, Obama and, yes, some republicans too?
  …like bees drunk on their own pursuit so willing to do harm to anyone they perceived as in their way. but doing more harm to themselves.
  Here’s an example. John Stossel is noted for his odd opinions sometimes. But recently, in an attempt to once again beat up on the Affordable Care Act, he said the problem was it was too expensive because women were natural hypochondriacs. Gee, John, why don’t you just go to an NAACP meeting, or true Mexican restaurant, and start screaming racial and ethnic slurs? Anyone tell you that one reason Republicans lost the presidency last time was, um, women?
  I think we all know pundits and pols who, caught in a lie, dig the hole deeper.
  Weiner?
  Edwards?
  Hating Bush, or Obama, has certainly had some infamous drunk bee moments, but the latest example I’m most familiar with is teabagger-related and an old story made new. I posted an old story on a debate site (Volconvo.com) about a public figure, once political candidate, who on Facebook suggested that some one should assassinate that “f-en n-er” and his children.
  My whole point behind posting it was to ask, “Shouldn’t those more on his side, politically, have loudly condemned what he said?”
  Well one could argue that certain bees started “a sippin,” attempting to make it all about defaming teabaggers… and they got drunk attempting to marginalize what a former candidate, public, figure said on arguably the largest interactive social website in the world: Facebook.
  There’s a reason: by no means their fault, they swarmed around what they thought would be a sweet target. But what he said: posted in a place that could encourage millions to commit multiple murders seemed to matter not and poisoned their arguments. Instead they decided all that mattered was a bad headline and snarky start to the article.
  Bees drunk swarming around one word in the headline, and one crossed through word in the first sentence: admittedly wrongly placed, and ill-advised. Yet, really, an infinitesimally small part, of the article, and not what the article was really about.
  But the bees were in my face ignoring the main focus of the article… what he said.
  Bother me? It’s as easy as chasing bees away from a lady’s car at WalMart. Nah, I had fun with it. Besides: if such antics “bothered me” I’d never go to a debate site.
  Their poor excuse: death threats happen to the president all the time. But this was no private letter from some drunk bee loon, intoxicated on their hatred. Yes, that happens every day. Hell, why didn’t he just broadcast it on every TV and radio station in the world: and satellite, or lead rallies to murder the president worldwide? That’s the impact of Facebook. Apparently this creep was so drunk on his own hatred appealing to other crazies to do the dirty deed didn’t bother him one bit.
  Obviously much can be said here about the drunk bee obsessiveness of haters, those would defend them, or marginalize their threats.
  But on the other side something several posters pointed out was also drunk-bee like. Without offering a single shred of evidence the potential pol was a teabagger, the author had slapped a headline on the article that identified this public figure as a teabagger politician. Then he had started out the article with a rather snarky strike through the first word in the sentence, “teabagger…” then re-labelling him as a “libertarian.” The rest was about him and what he said.
  I understand those who wish to mock teabaggers have that right. Mocking is part of free speech. But there was an important story to tell here. And since there was a serious question regarding him being a teabagger, for several Tea Party organizations had rejected his candidacy, you understand, Mr. Author, that you did your own article harm through mislabeling it and adding snark?
  Like a bee not noticing what he was sipping on was poisoning his own efforts.
  If you want to write an article making claims about teabaggers, do it: don’t hitch a ride on an otherwise very valid story that needs to be told.
  I had posted the article to make the point that folks on the right: those closest to him politically, could only benefit by firmly, loudly, denouncing what this guy said. I feel the same if it was someone on the left. As with all such statements context and claims must be examined… but this was a pretty clear case that cried out for loud denouncing from all. Instead these same folks attempted distract from what he said by claiming it was “nothing more than about smearing teabaggers.”
  So 99.9999% of the article is about someone who threatened the life of the president, while encouraging others to perform these horrendous acts on what’s arguable the largest interactive social website in the world… and it’s “all about smearing teabaggers?”
  One must ask: in a can of low sodium corn there’s .01% of salt. So what’s in the can is “all about” sodium and nothing else?
  Give me a break.
  Obviously the attempt to make this all about a few words among many is a debating tactic: an attempt to distract. But the author is to blame too. The strike through snark don’t belong. Misplaced snark, at best. But it sure as hell doesn’t make it “all about” the oversensitive, panty twisting, feelings of teabaggers. There’s a more important racist, murder inciting, issue to talk about here.
  And I would say exactly the same about all this if we were talking about Bush or a President Romney.
  But we can’t help ourselves. We hate policies, hate certain public figures and groups we’re told to hate… and hate becomes the peach braggot we can’t resist. We become drunk on hatred, and certainly “bar fights” applies sometimes… not always minus the bar.
  And sometimes people get murdered, even assassinated. But the “bees” think it’s all about them. If you don’t want to be associated with such then stop enabling them by thinking, and arguing, this is all about you and that their very dangerous words mean little to nothing. Ironically the author and the hate monger shared a self destructive nature: one that destroys any perceived good we wish to achieve when we make public statements.
  Back to the actual drunk bees: by the time I found them some of the bees were already dead. I wonder, when I come home, if I’ll find them all dead, or if the cats will play with them and eat them just for the fun of it.
  There are always bigger, meaner, more sociopathic, partisans out there.
  But, on the bright side, when I get home all this will give me some liquid food for thought, while I contemplate dead, or eaten, bees: sipping a few big glasses of braggot.
  Considering the sometimes partisan nature of this column I hope the cats won’t be watching.
  Sometimes they can be quite playful… and sadistic.

                                                       -30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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