Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Friend Died Today

A legend died today. His name was Jimbo and he taught me how to tailgate. Now, we’ve all seen those overdone displays of tailgating with the inflatable tents, chandeliers, and party trailers equipped with port-o-potty and plasma screen. But, the essence of the tailgate isn’t in the toys. Tailgating encompasses what we are as people. The ability to serve as congenial host to both home team and visiting foe is more than courtesy; it is quite simply what should be done. Jimbo defined this.

When I met him, he wanted you to have the cornbread. This cornbread was made with jalapeño and habanera. You survive the heat and you made a friend for life. I bit into this breaded lava and began to sweat immediately. He simply put his arm around me and reached into the closest cooler. He rummaged the bottles of beer explaining why each failed to meet my desire to put out the fire in my mouth. He finally explained that the beer in the back cooler must be colder. By the time he found the beer for me I had already thrown two pieces of ice into my mouth. We laughed and I slammed that beer.

Others would find that his recipe for crown and coke called for the smallest splash of coke known to man. When visiting fans joined us, whether we brought them or they just wandered up, he got their take on the game, poured them a drink, and offered them great shrimp. Obviously more than just he could claim responsibility for the hospitality bestowed upon those lucky enough to say hello. But, for many of us, Jimbo will always be the paragon of tailgating.

So, tonight we raise a glass to the man who taught so many how to be a great host. Others can overcompensate with grandiose displays of fake fandom. Others can be the Johnny-come-latelys and wannabes. Jimbo was old school. Win or lose a smile graced his face. A win brought celebration and the unfortunate loss an opportunity to show what we were made of and his words “when you spread those newspapers out tomorrow, what will you find?” It’s only been a few hours, my friend, but I already miss you greatly. Roll Tide, anyway.

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Observation on the Obvious

Welcome to my two cents. The media is a-buzz about Michael Sam being drafted. I would like to go on record on this wonderful tool we call the internet. Now, it has been 400 forevers since I strapped on pads. At the same time, a team is a team whether your job is to tackle somebody or build a better widget. It is important to remember that Michael Sam is not the first gay player in the NFL. He is just the first with either the societal opportunity/courage to step out and proclaim his sexual persuasion. According to everything I’ve read concerning those who came before him who were unable to comfortably able to speak freely, the teammates have never showed anything other than the desire to work together and win. Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that the world was sunshine and unicorns, but it is better than outright locker room ostracization that one might expect.

So here’s the deal. While Sam is a true football player who dominated the college game, let’s remember the number of Heisman Trophy winners who have done NOTHING in the NFL. The Heisman goes to the most outstanding player in college ball. The co-SEC Defensive player of the year even has to deal with the jump to the next level. Even the Heisman runner up this year was a late round pick and he owns three national championship rings.  Sam has been blessed by finding an opportunity to make the team on his merits as a player. I for one am pulling for him, cause he has game.

One day we will not look at a player because of what he looks like, who he dates, or who he prays to. I am a solid college football fan. My favorite pro team has not won a league championship in my lifetime. I will safely say I would be proud to claim Sam as a fellow alum of a member of my favorite team. Alas, he is neither. But I  will be watching his progress and wishing him well. But if we are to truly live in a society in which all are considered equal, then let’s hope he earns that spot on the roster for something other than marketing.

Creating a Thesis

The time has come to be more constructive. Therefore, blogging will be accomplished at regular intervals.

Since, added to my passions of fermentation, football, and fear is History. You notice I write the word with a capital letter. I will provide updates on the progress of my thesis. For starters, the working argument concerns the legitimacy, or lack thereof, enjoyed by the chief claimants to the dead King Edward the Confessors throne in 1066. Spoiler alert! The Saxons lose. I have compiled my primary sources, spent years studying the period, and have written pages upon pages on the various aspects of the fall of the Anglo-Saxon. The time has come to academically put up or shut up.

To provide the cheat sheet for those who are either not in the know or have yet to suffer through a drunken bout of listen to the boring guy at the end of the bar, I will start with the four claimants with the best case for the crown.

Edgar Aethleing – the youngster grandson of Edmund Ironsides who was briefly king before the Viking Cnut took the English crown. Factors against him were both age and the fact that he was born in Hungary due to his father’s exile.

Harald Hardrada – The total B.A. king of Norway had grown past his prime, but according to a treaty, he was to ascend to the throne of England in case Cnut’s heirs had all died out. Among the negatives for Harald were his total lack of ties to England, the fact that it had been decades since a son of Cnut ruled England, and the idea that he only sailed west because of Harold Godwinson’s brother Tostig talked/conned him into it.

Harold Godwinson – The most powerful man in the most powerful family of England. He served King Edward as his father did before him. A capable leader and general, he maintained order for the pious Edward. His sister was Edward’s wife and he enjoyed the support of the Witan (the nobility who elected Saxons kings) and a deathbed blessing of rule from Edward himself. However, the Normans seem to disagree heavily with his claim and counterclaim that Harold swore an oath to put Duke William of Normandy on the throne.

Duke William of Normandy – Not only was he an illegitimately born son of the duke, but he only held such formidable power through force and coercion. He was, however, the maternal nephew of Edward and claims Edward promised him the throne while Edward was exiled to Normandy during the reign of Cnut and his sons. The problem is only the Normans seem to remember this promise. Moreover, Edward seems to have been liberal with who he promised the crown to.

Why Do I Keep Watching the Same Story Told Hundred Ways?

Perhaps the easiest horror film plot in the world is young people trapped in isolation. There are so many ways to go from there. Serial maniacs and backwoods cannibals notwithstanding, the possibilities are near endless. Old hotels, cabins in the woods, or even a spaceship in a futuristic field trip, teens and college kids have the ability to fit in anywhere they can have no ability to reach the outside world or safety. Once you get them to wherever they are going, the next phase of clichés begins.

Now, what I have always wondered is how they can place so many loners in the mix with the cool kids, jocks, and token ethnic/nerd characters. It’s almost like without a James Dean, no one is getting saved. Once you bump everyone you can off, you throw in that wicked little twist. Unless your attempt at twist is more clichéd than your stereotypical teens you are in good shape. So, now that the slaughter has culminated in a good feeling of relief and a tummy full of popcorn what do we have? Probably about two thousand of the same flick told in dart board fashion. All you have to do is choose the location, characters, and twist by where your dart lands.

Alright, why have I read this far you ask? The payoff is to do yourself a favor. Watch the brilliant twist on the subgenre that is Cabin in the Woods. I provide no spoilers in this blog. But, I will say that it has Thor, so there ya go. If you have already seen it, then watch it again. Restore your faith in American horror with gems like these. Then do me a solid and let me know if I need to catch something that pushes the edge of horror or reinvents those little stories that we have heard, seen, and read so many times before.

B Horror

I admit that I am a sucker for bad horror movies. I enjoy them as much as the good ones on occasion. It’s true that most are formulaic and poorly written, yet it never fails to amaze me that recent movies are put out with virtually no regard for any accuracy. The key to quality horror is the suspension of disbelief. Within the confines of the world created the question becomes ‘do I buy this.’

  • Rule 1 – Make the protagonist at least somewhat likable. If you don’t then why do I care.
  • Rule 2 – Google police procedures. With the boom in cop shows, bad movies are no longer fooling anyone with convenient plot twists that fail miserably when measured against the basic realities of how the world works.
  • Rule 3 – If your villain is supernatural, preternatural, or otherwise unworldly, then having them hit someone over the head with a bottle and forcing their head under water is lame. No two ways about it.

While most bad horror fails to entertain, I have found some amazing gems. Never judge anything by its cover. But, sometimes you know pretty quick if the cover was right.

 

Kickoff Is Upon Us

The 2013 NCAA FBS season is here. For such a monumental moment a podcast has been added to the blog. For high level thoughts on how the season will play out feel free to listen. As to whom I see making noise this year I have added a watch list. My upset of week one is TCU over LSU. I worry that the D won’t be ready for the opener.

  • American Athletic Conference
    • Louisville is the team
  • ACC
    • Clemson, Florida St, Miami
  • Big 10
    • Michigan St, Ohio St
  • Big 12
    • Oklahoma St, TCU, Texas
  • Conference USA
    • East Carolina, Rice, SMU
  • MAC
    • Bowling Green, Toledo
  • Mountain West
    • Boise St, Fresno St
  • Pac 12
    • Arizona St, Oregon, Stanford
  • SEC
    • Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina
  • Sun Belt
    • Louisiana -La

Fear Itself

Horror is subjective. Great works tell a story and sometimes those stories require a suspension of disbelief.  The scariest horror movie to one may be boring and unrealistic to another. I can name several books and movies that I found more horrible than horrific that friends loved and the reverse as well. With the look at fear the universals apply. There will always be fears that mankind shares regardless of technological or social advancement. Consider a work like Silence of the Lambs. It has been called horror; but I would not consider it part of the genre. That does not diminish it in any way and it does fall into one of the traditional fears of man. Let’s take a look at some of the top fears that we enjoy tormenting ourselves with through page or screen.

  • The Dark – Man’s fear of the dark is biological. We have not always had street lights. Old cities had walls for reasons other than defense against man. The dark is where the wild things are and they are hungry. Animals, superstitions, and evil men wait for us in the dark hoping we glide gently into its ebon embrace.
  • The Unknown – Lovecraft mastered the fear of the unknown. But the nature of the unknown has evolved over the years. The mystery lurking in the dark has now become the unknown of the powers that be or the strange sickness that waits for us in a wave of microscopic invasions.
  • Cannibalism – Here is where the aforementioned work comes in. Decent society has for millennia cringed at the notion of becoming another human’s dinner.
  • Loss – The idea that we could lose the things we love most will always be terrifying to us. Nothing could be worse than the loss of a child. The ancients saw lineage as the key to familial success. The success of the bloodline. It is no wonder that so many works have been devoted to the subject.
  • The ‘Devil’ – Whatever the culture calls it, there is always a premium evil that torments and tempts us into eternal damnation. Religion becomes irrelevant to the fear as money and betrayal could replace it in a heartbeat.

So the question is what do you fear?

Support Your Local Brewer

Blog, rant, whatever. Microbreweries, big business, and your local store all need your hard earned dollars. Here’s the trick, though, when you walk into your local chain grocery there is only so much shelf space. Who gets the space? I’ll give you two guesses.

Here’s where we as consumers come in. Yes, there is plenty to be said for the established brands of beer. Personally, I’m a Guinness man. That said, if we want the next generation of beer drinkers to enjoy what we did not have, then we need to support the local guy and his dream to craft a spectacular brew. Who cooks better, big chain restaurant or grandma? There are things you can do to help. As I type I am enjoying a Good People Pale Ale, while not down the street local, they are within a hundred mile radius.

  • When in your local big chain store – ask for the local beer every time you go in. They will catch on at some point.
  • Your local pub/bar has a local – ask if they will dedicate more than one on tap. Moreover, remember that they will sell that which they think sells best. They will listen to their customers. If a bunch of your friends go in each week, then say “hey, do you have the local on tap yet?”
  • There is almost a guarantee that there is a mom and pop shop that sells the local fare – we in the Huntsville area have several. I know I for one enjoy going to Liquor Express to fill a growler off the wall of taps. Get what you like. The key is to savor what wets your whistle.

So, now that you have witnessed the soap box, what are your thoughts? What is the best local beer you sampled?

Here We Go!

Welcome to the blog that addresses the hardest hitting topics of our day. Interaction is always encouraged but the niceties will be observed at all times. A glimpse into the world of Mat Hudson literature concerns the following topics. Hopefully together we can learn and grow into heathens scared to stumble outside to check the circuits when the ball game is interrupted by a spooky power outage.

  • Fermentation – Each week we will explore microbreweries, fine spirits, and frivolity. Sometimes it will just be around my home town and other times we will travel the world.
  • Football – On Tuesdays and Wednesdays check for insights into college football. During the off season for America football and during important events, I will wax poetic on good old football, or as we call it soccer.
  • Fear – Each weekend a different aspect of horror will be examined or reviewed. Hopefully we at TheMatHudson can steer you the readers to good books, movies, and games. Also, your feedback through polls will help us learn more as well.
  • As an added bonus, days with historical significance will often be discussed. Of course, as an Ancient and Classical Historian, those events may not be as well known to the average reader.

 

Join us on our journey to provide insight, inspiration, and inebriation to you each week.

 

Cheers!

Mat