Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Recreating Bootlegger Beer? 1927 Recipe from Hand Brewing of Pawtucket

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Hand Brewing Company in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, existed from 1898 until the late 1920s. What histories I have found don’t talk much about the beer it brewed, though, apparently, the company attempted to sell regular strength beer as “near beer” during Prohibition. Hand Brewing was not a famous brewery, though it had its moments of unwanted attention from the feds.

Recently, I purchased the book above. It is a small, leather bound notebook, partially filled with numbers and ephemera, such as a business card for an insurance company’s boiler inspector and a newspaper clipping of trivia questions. (Q – Who made the first successful swim across the English Channel? A – Capt. Mathew Webb.) Most exciting to me, however, was the recipe for beer, found toward the back of the book.

Is this a scaled down version of an original Hand Brewing recipe from 1927? I suspect that it is. The volume, 16 gallons, is roughly a half barrel, an easy calculation from recipes designed for a brewery which produces beer by the barrel. Similarly, the suggested aging method of storing the beer in a barrel is far more appropriate for commercial brewers than home brewers, who were unlikely to have barrels sitting around the house. Also, I ran the ingredients through my brewing software, and it showed that the recipe would produce a beer of around 4.6% alcohol by volume – a pretty typical figure.

Frankly, this beer looks difficult and nasty to make. Difficult, because of the effort involved in sprouting barley for seven days, and nasty because of several unorthodox ingredients and processes. That said, I feel absolutely compelled to give it a try. Also, sprouting my own barley will give me an understanding of the malting process, which will help deepen my knowledge and experience as a brewer.

I have been getting very serious about the long festering plans to open a brew pub (6/14?), and this recipe could be a perfect match for the early Kansas City theme I have in mind. If it tastes awful, it may explain why Hand Brewing of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, never revived after Prohibition. If it tastes great, or at least interesting and palatable, it may help launch a new brewery.

Commentary on the recipe: Several elements of the recipe are surprising to me. First is the use of sprouted barley. In a nutshell, this seven day sprouting process looks like a recipe for creating homemade malt. Why would a recipe that includes 11 pounds of malt require 4 pounds of home-malted barley? One possibility is that home or brewery-prepared malt is much, much, cheaper than commercially prepared malt. Without having done the research, I suspect the price difference was as great or greater in 1927. By using a majority of commercially prepared, presumably quality-consistent commercial malt, the brewery could assure itself of relatively consistent quality, while supplementing that malt with its much cheaper self produced malt. Also, purchasing only 11 pounds of malt for a 16 gallon batch is much more consistent with producing “near beer” (if brewed without adjuncts such as sugar and self-malted barley), in case the feds were watching grain purchases.

Another surprising aspect to the recipe is the liberal use of sugar. Contrary to popular belief, brewing with sugar makes a beer drier, not sweeter, because yeast is able to digest sugar so thoroughly. What is left, however, is whatever flavor “impurities” the sugar introduces. Molasses has a lot of flavor beyond sweetness, so I would expect such a large amount of molasses in the beer to produce a strong molasses flavor. By modern standards, the use of this much sugar is unheard of. Even the wonderful Lagunitas Brown Shugga beer uses only around 2 pounds of brown sugar, and no molasses, for a similar sized batch.

Another oddity is the 5 hour boil. Most homebrewers boil for an hour, while perfectionists might go an hour and a half while brewing with certain kinds of malt. 5 hours is virtually unheard of – my brew recipe software doesn’t even calculate for boils longer than 2 hours. When I brew this, I’m going to give it a try, because such a long boil might introduce some interesting flavor affects. Energy costs have always been a major component for breweries, so if they boiled for 5 hours, they must have had their reasons.

1.5 pounds of hops is also a huge amount, even by contemporary hop-head standards. Different types of hops vary wildly in terms of bittering potential, but so much of even an extremely low-bittering hop variety would generate high level of bitterness. Speculating again, I suspect that perhaps Hand Brewing used European hops, some of which which start off with low bitter qualities, and it is also true that the bittering potential of hops diminishes over time. If those low-bittering hops were shipped from Europe on slow boats, perhaps old, weak hops prevented this beer from being quite as bitter as its recipe might suggest. Or maybe the 5 hour boil lessens the bittering impact. Or maybe the bitterness covers up a nasty molasses flavor. Time will tell . . .

The use of ordinary yeast cakes looks odd to contemporary homebrewers, but it makes sense for the time. Yeast itself had only been discovered by Louis Pasteur 70 years before, and the broad selection of multiple strains of lager and ale yeast available to today’s home brewers simply didn’t exist. For homebrewers in 1927, it was ordinary yeast cakes or nothing.

The addition of salt is not wildly unusual in brewing, though I have only tried it once before, when brewing a gose. Similarly, the sprinkling of “Jelliton” over the beer after it has fermented is a way of clarifying it, though most homebrewers these days have moved to other methods.

I will brew this recipe sometime in the next couple months, though I will make some minor adaptations to technique to increase sanitation and I’ll use a nice, pure ale yeast. And, of course, I will scale it down to my 10 gallon batch size. At the very least, it will bring a page of brewing history back to life.

Cowardice or Courage on the Highway?

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Fast food is a coward’s choice on the interstate journeys through the midwest. Yes, you know what to expect when you pull into a McDonald’s or a Subway, but what you expect is something that will give you the same exact experience you would have if you weren’t where you are. Philosophically, you are denying your full experience of life. Gastronomically, you are afraid.

If you’re driving on I-29 between Lincoln and Kansas City, Rock Port is a little town crawling up the Loess hills and bluffs defining the eastern edge of the Missouri River valley. When Lewis and Clark passed this way, they didn’t have firework stands to visit. Their adventure was more in the tension of not knowing what might be around the next bend – hostile parties of local folk, or some exotic new animal. We travel faster, but we lack the suspense. We know what’s coming, and so our journals will not be published, or even written in the first place.

So, please, get off the highway at Rock Port or some other small town and at least try a restaurant that you’ve never heard of.

Like the Black Iron Grill. It’s a big space, and buckets of peanuts are already on the table when you arrive, along with some sauces you haven’t seen before. But A-1 is there, too, and I have loved A-1 since I was a child, and it meant that we were having a special dinner. Through a door I could see the pool hall/saloon that looked lovely, dark and deep, but I had promises to keep, and miles to go before I would sleep, so I passed the saloon by. Regretfully – it looked like a great one.

The staff is friendly – Tricia was a beautiful young lady who wrote her name with a smiley face on the napkin when she greeted me at the table. After driving alone for a couple hours on the rural county highways of Nebraska and then the grand interstates of the heartland, I lose my natural effervescence and my conversational skills turn stagnant, so the cheerful visual reminder of her name was a helpful guide in my halting return to the social world.

The menu (.pdf) offers a good selection of steaks, chicken and burgers, with a few twists that let you know that it’s not some warmed over Bonanza Steakhouse. There is a 77 ounce steak, free if you eat it all with the sides, $110 if you don’t. There’s no such option for the 3 pound burger. The steaks are all handcut by a local butcher, and the ground meat is ground daily by the same guy. If you’ve ever seen the big industrial tubes of hamburger normally used by places like this, you’ll appreciate the local handiwork.

I ordered a more modest half pound “Black and Bleu” burger, with a single visit to the salad bar as my side. The salad was good, and the burger was excellent. Plenty of bleu cheese – I even scraped some off so that it wouldn’t overpower the dollop of A-1 sauce I added to the top.

And, yes, I did go ahead and get the Rocky Mountain oysters. They were further proof that if you batter fry anything, it tastes good. And you can’t get them at McDonald’s or Subway.

3 Things to Say to Annoy a Fundraiser

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Fundraisers get paid to get along with people, so you probably won’t get smacked when you say these things. You probably won’t even see a wince. But you can be sure that you are provoking an internal eye-roll.

1. “I couldn’t do your job. I hate asking people for money.” What, exactly, do you think we do for a living? We’re not out on street corners with cardboard signs. It’s not like asking your father-in-law for help making your car payment. We help people get that great feeling of accomplishment and pride when they participate in something above their daily life. We encourage people to participate in a cause, and help them do it effectively. It’s a great job, working with good people for important causes.

2. “How can you raise money for your cause when there are . . . (people starving/people dying of cancer/homeless people, etc.)?” The fact is, there is no clear prioritization of need, and most people who raise this issue aren’t doing anything to address the people starving or dying or living on the streets, either. Cynically, I might say that they are just using an excuse to avoid parting with money. More generously, perhaps they really do feel powerless to start fixing problems until they can fix the worst problem in the world. Either way, the fact is that most donors give to multiple causes, so they are addressing multiple needs, not just one. Good people understand the need to get involved with issues they care about. Personally, I would not have chosen a Performing Arts Center as the highest need in KC, but Ms. Kauffman chose to build one, and as a result, we have a wonderful civic asset. Who am I to argue with that?

3. “You should put on a . . . (dinner dance/gala/golf tournament, etc.).” Uggh. As a fundraiser, I recognize that some special events are good things, but the vast majority are lousy for the fundraising effort (as opposed to awareness-building and other purposes). There are three main reasons I feel that way. First, they make more money for hotel catering, golf courses and other vendors than they do the charity. I might feel like a hero when I write a $150 check to play a round of golf or attend a dinner, but I’m really only giving 1/3 to 1/2 of it to the cause. Second, they distract from mission-based fundraising. People wind up giving because they are needled by their friends to buy a table, rather than because they care about the cause. Finally, the successes are often false. People report income as profit. People count corporate gifts they would have gotten anyhow as donations to the special event. People round up to the nearest $100,000 when they report the results. And people like me get stuck trying to talk volunteers out of planning the next gala.

Of course, there are many other ways to annoy a fundraiser. “If we can just get everyone in Kansas City to give us $10 . . .” is another one that makes me grit my teeth. “You should get Warren Buffett to support your charity” is a classic. But, for today, the three outlined above ought to suffice if you want to get on a fundraiser’s nerves.

Go Taste Sour Salt-water Beer – Gose on Tap at Bier Station

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

My favorite of many reasons to smile about having Bier Station just down the street is the opportunity to try beers I wouldn’t otherwise get to sample. (Other reasons include meeting nice people at the bar, great pretzels, a smart bottle selection, smart staff, and so on.) So, last night, we wandered down the street for charcuterie, a pretzel, and some beer exploration.

While sitting at the bar, chatting with a new friendly face, I noticed a new tap arriving. It turned out to be a Gose – a style of beer I have only tried twice, and brewed (poorly) once. I count myself lucky; I could follow up my outstanding oak-smoked doppelbock with another German rarity – a sour, salty wheat beer flavored with coriander served right here in my own neighborhood. You can read a good summary of the style and the history behind it here.

To be honest, it’s not something that is going to chase IPA or Porter from the heart of the craft brew universe. In fact, it’s not even something I would drink very often. I had one last night and moved on to a fine Stout, and then a sample of Mother’s Spring Saison, and then a sample of Mother’s Spring Saison with kumquat out of a firkin, and then a sample of Mother’s Spring Saison out of a table top randall with mango and sorachi ace hops.

It’s a big beer world out there. You can see a good part of it at a good bar. I’m glad I got to explore a bit last night.

Sunday Poetry: The Dover Bitch, by Anthony Hecht

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

The Dover Bitch

A Criticism of Life: for Andrews Wanning

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, ‘Try to be true to me,
And I’ll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.’
Well now, I knew this girl. It’s true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn’t judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She’s really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it’s a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d’ Amour.

    – by Anthony Hecht

A few postings ago, I wrote about how Love After Love gained depth for me after I read Love III. Today’s poem is far less subtle – it poses as a bit of a sequel, or a response, to Dover Beach, a masterpiece by Matthew Arnold.

There are at least a dozen ways to come at this poem, but the one that grabs my attention today is simply whether it is funny. It clearly has the tone of a stand-up bit from the start of “So . . .”, and the flippant phraseology of conversation stands in amusing contrast to Arnold’s poeticism. Cosmic last resort, running to fat but dependable as they come, she’s really alright – it sounds like an overheard conversation between buddies at a bar.

But is it funny?

I thought so when I was in high school. The casual and dismissive allusions to sex – I show her a good time – were a welcome macho posture for a kid who had no prospect of showing a girl anything more than an awkward and tedious time. I also appreciated the eye-rolling approach to a literary classic. And the whole thought of retelling the narrative of Dover Beach from the standpoint of the woman seemed so clever.

At 52, the humor is a bit more strained. Referring to the woman as a bitch lowers my opinion of the speaker these days. I now see that his simple approach to sexuality is improbable, and raises more questions about the speaker than it raises chuckles. The dismissal of Arnold’s questioning is more cowardly than blase’, and the whole poem is a dragging down of something bigger than itself. To me, it calls to mind W. B. Yeats’ great poem, The Second Coming:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned

Perhaps the poem truly is funny and cool, and perhaps I am neither, though I wanted to be both when I was 16 years old.

Pure Hokum, or 99.9% Hokum? Beer Glassware Obsession

Friday, March 1st, 2013

As beer geeks like me are becoming more widespread (literally and figuratively), the bar for snobbery has raised higher and higher. When I was new to my avocation, you could be a beer snob by preferring Michelob to Busch, and a real connoisseur by preferring Heineken to either. These days, you can’t raise an eyebrow unless your single hop brett infused oyster stout has been barrel aged in wine casks of a superior vintage.

The obsession with beer cred bears some similarity to a cocaine habit. Money is a fuel source for the addiction, and odd behavior or is no longer a concern. I am pretty certain that I have drunk tinted vinegar with soap suds floating on top, and thought myself cool for doing so.

The new faddish obsession opportunity to demonstrate connoisseurship is not even liquid. Instead, the glass itself has drawn critical attention and impassioned believers. Gone are the days when slapping it decal on a shaker pint represented beer specific glassware. Sam Adams has long bragged about its highly engineered beer glass, complete with a blueprint background in ads to let us know that they are serious. Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head have joined in the circus with their new glass, which they claim has taken over 2 years to develop. (Note to self: seek hourly wage position at Sierra Nevada brewery; productivity standards are nonexistent.)

Glassware manufacturers are making a killing selling high-priced fragility.

Here is my favorite class. It’s most important quality is that it holds beer without leaking. Its 2nd most important quality is that my dad drank beer from a similar glass. Its 3rd best quality is that it is clear, so that I don’t have to pick it up and look inside to figure out when it needs filling.

I could, if I wanted, make serious beer connoisseur arguments for why this glass is a wonderful design. I could focus on the variation in width, which allows for a better appreciation of color, and how the bowl shape offers a nice surface for aroma appreciation. Anyone who has produced or experienced a silent fart on an elevator knows, however, that aroma is quite capable of reaching a beer drinker through a glass wrapped in jeans and underwear.

That is why I claim that 99.9% of glassware hype is hokum. Sure, a nice shape can impact your appreciation of a beer, a tiny bit. Not as much as whether the person next to you is wearing cologne, or whether you had jalapenos on your lunch. When I judge homebrew, I use a mechanical pencil to eliminate the aroma of cedar from my pencil, so I understand the importance of subtle nuances.

By all means, if you have a favorite class, then use it. If you don’t have a favorite class, don’t let anybody convince you that you should invest your beer money on glass. Free glasses are just fine.

Sunday Poetry: Belly Dancer at the Hotel Jerome, by Stephen Dunn

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Belly Dancer at the Hotel Jerome

Disguised as an Arab, the bouzouki player
introduces her as Fatima, but she’s blond,
midwestern, learned to move we suspect
in Continuing Education, Tuesdays, some hip
college town.
We’re ready to laugh,
this is Aspen,
Colorado, cocaine and blue valium
the local hard liquor, and we
with snifters of Metaxa in our hands,
part of the incongruous
that passes for harmony here.
But she’s good. When she lets her hair loose,
beautiful. So we revise:
summer vacations, perhaps, in Morocco
or an Egyptian lover, or both.
This much we know:
no Protestant has moved like this
since the flames stopped licking their ankles.
Men rise from dinner tables
to stick dollar bills where their eyes
have been. One slips a five
in her cleavage. When she gets to us
she’s dangling money
with a carelessness so vast
it’s art, something perfected, all her bones
floating in milk.
The fake Arabs on bongos and bouzouki are real
musicians, urging her, whispering
“ Fatima, Fatima,” into the mike
and it’s true, she has danced the mockery out
of that wrong name in this unlikely place,
she’s Fatima and the cheap, conspicuous dreams
are ours, rising now, as bravos.

    – by Stephen Dunn

The Hotel Jerome is in Aspen – I’ve never stayed there, but the J-Bar is simply a classic bar that may be the epitome of old school. We’ve happened upon it a couple times, and enjoyed it for what it is.

Last night, I found this poem in the Night Out poetry anthology I mentioned buying when I wrote about Laure-Anne Bosselaar’s Stillbirth. It’s funny to read poetry about a place you have visited – it adds importance to a place that was completely fine as it was. Then I looked up the Hotel Jerome on Wikipedia, and learned about the wild times of cocaine and celebrities at the J-Bar. Yes, there once was belly-dancing in the room downstairs.

Imaginary gardens with real toads, indeed.

All that aside, I really enjoyed this poem. There’s so much reality in it – it’s kind of awful. Belly dancing is not stripping, and Fatima is a name common among the Shia. Some midwestern blond is misappropriating culture in the basement of a cocaine and valium-fueled hotel. The spectators are prepared to laugh, though a more politically correct response would be to be appalled.

But then it turns human. She’s a good dancer, and she lifts the crowd above the mockery and to a point of appreciation. The speaker in the poem shifts his assumptions about her talent’s provenance from a Continuing Education class to travel and love. Something good happens in that sordid, wrong location, so full of wrong cultural impulses.

Sunday Poetry: At Melville’s Tomb, by Hart Crane

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

At Melville’s Tomb

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men’s bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death’s bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.

Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.

Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides … High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.

      – by Hart Crane

Is this poem nonsense? That is, does this poem make sense? Do dead men’s bones make sense as dice, and do they bequeath an embassy? Really, what the heck is going on here – just some fruitless word clashing by a maddening (or mad) poet?

Fortunately, the founding editor of Poetry magazine, Harriet Monroe, published this poem along with a letter in which she questioned its obscurity. You can read about the exchange here, and you can read Hart Crane’s response here. Folks, to me, this is the essence of “getting” poetry. That, and enjoying the sound of the poem itself. Please take a few minutes to read Hart Crane’s response, if you write poetry, or if you find yourself sometimes frustrated when you read it.

Art Meditations on a Painted Innertube

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Like most amateur unsophisticated art enthusiasts, I tend to think of visual art as something permanent and unchanging. Part of the thrill of seeing a great (or at least famous) piece of art is imagining Michelangelo’s hammer and chisel on the rock that I see, or van Gogh’s paint brush swabbing on that splash of color. And we like to imagine that they are exactly as they were when created.

I have in my house a painted innertube given to me by a local artist friend after his display on the Avenue of the Arts. It’s a fascinating piece, and I have it mounted high and out of the way, which robs it of most of its fascination. Part of the thrill of the piece is the sensuality of its soft, rounded curves. Part of the appeal is its squeezability. I know this is sounding mildly erotic, but I know this guy and, yes, I know he intends thoughts that would make you blush.

But rubber degenerates over time (pun intended) and paint flakes off. Already, the inner tube has lost some air and grown a bit slack and flabby. Is this a an intentional commentary on the impact of aging on sensuality? I will just leave that one unanswered, but I have a hunch.

But the point is that my grandchildren won’t experience this art this piece of art in the same way I have. It will likely be tossed out after failing to attract a buyer in an estate sale. At a time, it had – perhaps still has, I don’t know – a fair amount of monetary value. Larger, similar works went for 4 or 5 figures on the coasts. Honestly, that’s why I put it up on the high shelf; I don’t want some knucklehead spilling wine on something that might have monetary value, so I have deprived everybody of the experience of touching and squeezing it.

The ironic thing is that when I saw Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia in Florence, it is rigged up with sophisticated sensors measuring the stress on the marble at various points. Give that thing a good shaking, and if I understood the tags properly, the David will become a moderately well hung Venus de Milo.

Art is not truly permanent. Even if it were, its audience is inconstant and will miss the subtleties of the artist’s message within, at best, a generation. The fact that we still love van Gogh even though we do not know the political context of The Potato Eaters has at least as much to do with acceptance of artistic convention as real merit in the piece. How is Warhol’s art changing as pop culture becomes historical? How would we understand the resulting art if a Warhol ancestor in the Revolutionary era had presented Martha Washington the way Andy presented Marilyn Monroe?

Statues crumble. Symbols change meaning. Audiences bring different attitudes. Get what you can out of it today.

But keep your paws off my innertube.

Spring brings Brookside Soccer Memories

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Spring is fast approaching, and, with it, little kids will soon be swarming around orange cones in our local parks in their awkward shin guards. Another Brookside Soccer season is nearing.

For years, I coached a Brookside soccer team. While I hear horror stories of out-of-control parents and bratty kids, my experience was nothing like that. I had parents who were uniformly supportive, and a group of kids I still remember fondly. SW was a quick and physical player with a sense of humor that challenged my own ability to suppress grins and laughter as he would mimic referees giving pregame structures. AM was probably the best player I ever coached; his skill with the ball was a mystery until his father showed up at practice wants and participated in a casual scrimmage. JC was a big friendly kid with a natural ability to kick the ball a mile.

While many teams improved over the years, our team suffered a relative deterioration. Brookside soccer is a recreational/instructional league, and I promised myself and the parents that I would never yell negative things at a child placed in my care. While I probably did not achieve 100% compliance with my pledge, I think I came pretty close.

The unintended side effect was that utterly nonathletic kids who were shamed off of most other teams in most other sports came to love playing soccer for Coach Ryan. Other teams purified their talent pool while mine attracted the runoff.

The missed opportunity to craft a killer team was one I happily surrendered. Several parents with talented kids chose to place them on more challenging teams so they would develop their skills more rapidly. That was absolutely the right thing to do. At least a couple kids I coached showed signs of growing into a budding high school or even college star, and I don’t think my coaching style and talents were ideally suited to sharpening those skills.

Ultimately, the parents were in charge and, like I said before, I wound up with an incredible group of parents. The only time I was ever confronted by a parent about playing time was once when JC got to play a little longer than the rest. His parents just wanted to make sure I wasn’t favoring their son at the expense of another child. I explained the scheduling quirk that caused the extra time and they went away happy. I went away with a clearer understanding of why JC is such a good kid.

Now, when I drive through the city in the springtime, and I see the groups of kids clustered around a beleaguered coach, I start thinking I ought to lose my extra pounds and volunteer next year to coach a fresh batch of soccer players. Then, sanity kicks in, and I realize that my work and travel schedule would not allow weekday afternoon practice sessions, and I am forgetting the cold Saturday mornings with questionable whether. My days of coaching are over, but I’m awfully glad I had them. I hope there are a few coaches out there now having an experience as wonderful as mine.