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Friday, October 31, 2014


Coronado Brewing's company jeep rolls into Coronado CA across the Bay Bridge.
For the complete video go Coronado's website.
MORE TREAT, LESS TRICK—San Diego County, California has about 100 independent brewing companies in operation making it the hottest craft beer region anywhere.

With so many brewers in town, it’s no surprise when San Diego does well in world and national beer competitions, the locals reap the benefits.

Two San Diego area brewers are currently basking in the spotlight after winning major awards.

Coronado Brewing Company (located across the the harbor from downtown San Diego) is the reigning Gold Medal champion of the planet for its Islander IPA earned at the 2014 World Beer Cup.  Cool as winning Gold for Islander IPA happens be, Coronado as a brewer also received the highly coveted Champion Brewery/Champion Brewmaster.  Simply put, Coronado Brewing Company is--right this minute--the best in the world. Let's savor it!

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirit, another San Diego-based brewer is basking in Gold Medal glory for its Grunion, an American-Style Pale Ale.  Ballast Point’s Gold was earned earlier this month at  the annual Great American Beer Festival held in Denver.

More on these championship brewing operations:

Coronado Brewing Company:
In 1996, when craft beer was still a foreign term and San Diego County was home to only a handful of breweries, the Chapman brothers Ron and Rick opened a brewpub in their hometown of Coronado. CBC brews abundantly hoppy West Coast-style ales staying true to their San Diego roots. They began distributing their beers throughout the local market, and today you can find Coronado beers in 13 states across the US. In addition to their long established pub in Coronado, the company opened a tasting room inside their newly built San Diego production facility in early 2013.

Coronado Brewing, above, accepting its 2014 World Beer Cup Honors

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits:
After developing a taste for beer in college, founder Jack White decided to try making more interesting beer than he could find in the store or at a keg party. He developed a talent for home brewing in his back yard and soon realized it wasn’t easy to get access to the various supplies and ingredients he wanted—nor did he have anyone with whom to trade ideas about brewing.

In 1992, Jack opened Home Brew Mart, which he filled with the supplies, ingredients, and conversation every brewer needed to make better beer at home. Soon after, he found a collaborator in Yuseff Cherney, a fellow home brewer with a similar passion and a set of home brewing awards to boot. Together, they decided to open a “back room” brewery out of Home Brew Mart. In 1996, Ballast Point Brewing was born.

Victorious Team Ballast Point at this month's Great American Beer Festival
(that's founder Jack White, the big guy, top row).
The Brewspaper is a regular column appearing in Pillar to Post online magazine.  This blog is a media partner with West Coaster, a Southern California-based craft beer centric print publication and website:

Thursday, October 30, 2014


As part of Old Town San Diego’s Annual “Tour of Altars,” produced by the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO), Bazaar del Mundo will transform its shops into a walkable trail of altars, complete with traditional sugar skulls, handmade papier-mâché decorations and special Day of the Dead-inspired clothing and crafts.
SAN DIEGO’S OLD TOWN—GUEST BLOG—By Alana Coons--The annual celebration of Mexico's revered holiday, Día de los Muertos returns to Old Town San Diego on November 1 and 2, produced by Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) as a part of the historical and preservation group’s educational and cultural programming.

The celebration is a means of bringing the community together to experience the tradition and culture surrounding Day of the Dead. Día de los Muertos is not to be confused with Halloween, which precedes it; the celebration is neither ghoulish nor morose, rather it is festive, colorful, and joyful.

This is the largest Day of Dead event in the region. The free family oriented event invites visitors to explore Old Town San Diego from one end to the other to view dozens of ofrendas or altars seen throughout businesses, museums, shops, and restaurants.

"This is one of my very favorite events in Old Town," said Diane Powers of Bazaar del Mundo. "The tour of altars is very dramatic and especially spectacular in the evening, when each altar is aglow with a multitude of candles. Also not to be missed is a visit to El Campo Santo Cemetery along San Diego Avenue, where the gravesites are decorated and the whole cemetery is illuminated."

Multiple zones are identified on the event map this year for easier navigation where visitors will find 8 zones, all with a different variety of altars, music, dancing, and family-oriented craft activities animating the streets and plazas of Old Town. Many craft-making sessions are free and designed for all ages. Come make paper masks or flowers, have your face painted to look like a colorful sugar skull, or decorate plaster sugar skulls to honor someone who has departed this life.

Alana Coons, Education and Communications Director for SOHO, says that "the goal is that everyone will be able to experience the magic of an event that is unlike any other in San Diego and leave with something both culturally and emotionally lasting, as well as having just a great, fun time."

Visit during the day and again at night, for two very different experiences. The easy map defines the areas to visit, activities of all types traditional to the holiday will be found at each zone. Maps can be downloaded at

Visitors are strongly encouraged to take public transit, which comes directly into Old Town, car pool, or if you live close, to walk. Parking and transportation information is located on the website. For more information about this free event for all ages, visit


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Spreckels Organ Pavillion, opening day, 1915, Balboa Park, San Diego, California

"A NOTEWORTHY CONTRIBUTION"--By Thomas Shess--By 1910, John Dietrich Spreckels, (the eldest son of sugar company magnate Claus Spreckels) was fully immersed in San Diego’s enthusiasm for the Panama- California Exposition set to open in 1915.

Editor’s note: “A Noteworthy Contribution,” was part of 18-month series published in San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine that led up to San Diego’s Balboa Park’s Panama-California Expo centennial in 2015.  This segment, published in the December 2013 edition, received a First Place Award for Outstanding Journalism by the San Diego Press Club.  It is the second year in a row the top award was presented to series author Tom Shess.

He wanted the city to be shown in its best light and recognized that the expo would be good for business. Among his holdings were the San Diego Union newspaper, Hotel del Coronado and San Diego Electric Railway. John reportedly offered to fund an organ pavilion and underwrite exposition costs should the venture fall on its face in exchange for the city’s park commission locating the expo at what is now Balboa Park and allowing his railroad to lay tracks through the center of the park from downtown to Hillcrest and North Park.

After the commission approved the deal in October 1913, John commissioned Harrison Albright to design the pavilion for $66,500 and Austin Organ Co. of Hartford, Conn., to build the organ, named Opus 453, for $33,500. He also paid the pavilion’s first organist, Humphrey Stewart, through 1917.       

Dedicated on Dec. 31, 1914, the organ had 3,400 pipes, ranging from the size of a pencil to 32 feet long. In 2002, the organ was expanded to 4,530 pipes.

Many expo architects railed at Albright’s ornate Italian Renaissance design instead of the more daring Spanish Colonial Revival designs of the expo’s lead architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue.

Now, almost 100 years later, the organ and its pavilion remain one of the icons of the San Diego social and cultural fabric. There have been six civic organists. The current holder of that position, Carol Williams, is the only woman civic organist in the country. She continues the tradition of free weekly concerts on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m.

In August 2013, the Organ Pavilion received its latest update: the addition of Wi-Fi.

Credit: Image courtesy of the San Diego History Center via San Diego Home/Gardens Lifestyles Magazine.

Additional research for this article was provided by San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles intern Jinell VanCorbach while she was a journalism student at Pt. Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


SWEEEEET--Our online friends at went to a lot of effort to let us all know that today is National Chocolate Day, one of those new annual events that’s too sweet to pass up.  Here’s what the Calendar folks had to say on how chocolate is made:

“...Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree.  Cacao, which has been cultivated for at least three millennia, is grown in Mexico, Central America and Northern South America.  The earliest known documentation of use, of cacao seeds, is around 1100 BC.  The cacao tree seed have a very intense bitter taste that must be fermented to develop the flavor.

Once the seeds have been fermented, the beans are then dried, cleaned and roasted.  After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs.  The cacao nibs are then ground into cocoa mass which is pure chocolate in rough form.   The cocoa mass is usually liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor.  The chocolate liquor may then be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Unsweetened baking chocolate –  cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.
Sweet chocolate –  cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat and sugar.
Milk chocolate – sweet chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk.
White chocolate – cocoa butter, sugar and milk but no cocoa solids...”

Yes, yes, other breakthroughs in science have aided mankind and today happens to be Dr. Jonas Salk's 100th birthday, but aside from curing polio, there are few other more tasty scientific discoveries than the following: RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT CHOCOLATE, WHEN EATEN IN MODERATION, CAN LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE.

To celebrate National Chocolate Day, try one of the following “tried and true” recipes:

Monday, October 27, 2014


Apt road sign outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, McAlester, Oklahoma
GUEST BLOG—By the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.  The following summary regarding the execution of prisoner Clayton D. Lockett that took place on April 29, 2014.

Re: Case Number 14-0189SI

To view the report link to the following:

The following is not in the above State of Oklahoma summary:

Lockett’s Criminal History:
In 1999, Lockett kidnapped, beat, and shot 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and ordered an accomplice to bury her while she was still breathing. She died from two wounds from a shotgun fired by Lockett. In 2000, he was convicted of murder, rape, forcible sodomy, kidnapping, assault and battery and sentenced to death. Previously Lockett was sentenced to four years in prison for a conviction in 1996 in Grady County for conspiracy to commit a felony.
At his 1999 murder trial both DNA from the dead victim, fingerprints from the duct tape used to bind the victim, and eye witness testimony led to his murder conviction.
Stephanie Neiman, a high school graduate and friend of Lockett's other victims, was a witness to his crimes. The men beat her and used duct tape to bind her hands and cover her mouth. Even after being kidnapped and driven to a dusty country road, Neiman didn't back down when Lockett asked if she planned to contact police. After she stated she would go to the police, Lockett decided to bury her alive.


After Lockett’s death station KFOR in Oklahoma City released the taped confession of Clayton Lockett for the first time to the public:  Go to the following link to see KFOR reporting.

Sources: State of Oklahoma Department of Public Safety; Wikipedia; TV 4 KFOR, Oklahoma City.