Babushkas and Brewskis
Bad news: We may be facing a nuclear conflict. Worse news: You may not be able to drink to forget it.
Things have been hectic at Unprepared headquarters this week, so we’re doing a quick news roundup on a couple of stories to have on your radar.
Before we start, maybe you’ve been wondering how people have been getting by with this insane inflation. I know I have. Turns out, the answer is crippling credit card debt. What could go wrong, especially as the Fed keeps raising interest rates to control inflation, which in turn jacks up the interest on the credit cards people are loading up to pay for their groceries?
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Putin’s Back on His BS
In case you haven’t heard, the Russian war effort in Ukraine isn’t going well. Russia is blocking fighting-age men from leaving the country and dragging them to the front lines. Additionally, Putin is now directly threatening nuclear retaliation. Take a couple of minutes and listen for yourself.
The good news, such as it is, is that Russia is heavily invested in tactical nukes, which are short-range and relatively low-yield. If Putin goes nuclear, I think he starts with tactical nukes. Probably good news for Americans, not such great news for Europeans (sorry Europe, not a lot of good news coming for you). But… things could escalate quickly. No one’s used nuclear arms in combat since the end of World War II, it’s a bit of a geopolitical event horizon.
I know everyone’s sick of the war, and I don’t think you should be overly worried at the moment, but understand that this is a pressure cooker of a situation that is slowly building up to an explosion. Putin isn’t backing down, neither is NATO, and Ukraine can’t back down.
“The whole world should be praying for Russia’s victory, because there are only two ways this can end: either Russia wins, or a nuclear apocalypse,” Konstantin Malofeyev, a nationalist Russian tycoon, said in an interview.
“If we don’t win, we will have to use nuclear weapons, because we can’t lose,” Malofeyev added. “Does anyone really think Russia will accept defeat and not use its nuclear arsenal?”
Frankly, I think it’s time for Putin and Zelensky to settle this in single combat. It’s a fair enough fight: Zelensky is much younger and in good shape while Putin is a trained killer but much older and reportedly in poor health.
If you’re hoping to dull your Russia anxieties with a cold glass of suds, I have bad news: Axios and others report that we may soon see a beer shortage, or at least higher prices due to a carbon dioxide shortage. Crazy fact: they get the carbon dioxide for American beers from an extinct volcano in Mississippi.
Personally, I’m scratching my head about why this is a problem. I used to make beer before I quit drinking, and it carbonates itself since it’s a fermented product. In any case, now would be a good time to quit beer, and there are so many reasons to do so:
It’s chock full of calories. “Beer belly” is a term for a reason.
The hops in beer are chock full of phytoestrogens. And those awful IPAs everyone seems to love now are full of hops1. If you’re a dude, it’s literally sapping your manhood.
Alcohol makes you feel like crap in the long run.
If you insist on beer, I recommend making a batch of your own and miss the carbon dioxide tax. Pretty much every beer you buy from the shelf is pasteurized, which means you don’t get all the goodies produced by the fermentation process. Plus, you can control the level of hops in the beer—or better yet, just throw the packet away.
There are lots of great tutorials online, and you can have a kit shipped straight to your door. It’s not hard, just tedious. Specifically:
The stressful period when you have to quickly cool the wort to room temperature so it doesn’t kill the yeast when you throw it in (you’ll want a thermometer for this). Serious beer makers use specialized beer chillers, but we plebs get by with an ice bath.
Everything has to be super clean. Brewers joke that they’re glorified janitors. You’ll want a squirt bottle full of Star San and spray it compulsively on and in your bucket, hoses, spigots, tools, etc.
You have to wait about a month for the beer to mature.
Bottling the beer, which is tedious, messy, and potentially explosive. And again, you have to wait a bit after bottling…
Even though I quit booze, I’m glad to have this skill because you never know when you’ll have to turn random grains or fruit into shelf-stable calories. The Founding Fathers drank beer for breakfast and that turned out pretty okay2. Plus, it’s the first step in distillation, which you can use to produce fuel or medicine3.
I’m convinced microbrewers have shifted to IPAs because they can’t produce good beer consistently so they just cram it full of hops so you can’t tell if it tastes “off.”
America has its problems, but for a country founded by a bunch of 20-something insurrectionists who drank beer all day every day, I think it’s turned out amazingly well. Yeah, okay, it was usually low-alcohol small beer, but let me have my dad joke.
Don’t do this. The ATF would love an excuse to shoot your dog.