About Us

My photo
Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Payment Promise.....

Puerto Rico to get spotlight from Jones Day 

Jones Day, the law firm shepherding Detroit through bankruptcy, is extending its restructuring skills to Puerto Rico with a seminar on the $70 billion market for commonwealth debt.
The firm plans to brief investors today in New York on Puerto Rico’s fiscal outlook and the “possible paths going forward,” according to an invitation to the event. The seminar follows similar meetings last year with investors to assess the benefits and risks of Puerto Rico securities.
The three major rating companies grade Puerto Rico one step above junk, with a negative outlook. Moody’s Investors Service Dec. 11 warned that it may cut the island to speculative grade within 90 days. Puerto Rico officials plan to sell bonds this month or in February.
“There are a number of clients and friends of the firm that are interested in the topic,” Bruce Bennett, a Jones Day attorney who is helping lead Detroit’s $18 billion bankruptcy, said in an interview. The briefing “is forward-looking and not in response to any near-term developments,” he said.
Puerto Rico’s fiscal health affects the $3.7 trillion municipal market because 70 percent of U.S. local-debt mutual funds held commonwealth securities as of Jan. 9, according to Morningstar Inc. The funds own about $14 billion of the debt sold by the U.S. territory and its agencies, according to Morningstar. The securities are tax-exempt nationwide.

Below Grade

Puerto Rico debt trades below its investment-grade ratings.
Tax-free general obligations maturing in July 2041 traded today with an average yield of 8.59 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That exceeds the 6.7 percent yield on a Standard& Poor’s index of high-yield munis with an average maturity of 20 years.
While the commonwealth isn’t eligible to file for bankruptcy, a default could surpass Detroit’s record bid for Chapter 9 protection in July.
Along with Bennett, Jones Day partner Beth Heifetz and Timothy Coleman, head of Blackstone Group LP’s restructuring and reorganization group, are scheduled to speak at the meeting, according to the invitation.
Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who took office a year ago, has said the island of 3.6 million people will repay its obligations on time and in full. Puerto Rico’s 14.7 percent jobless rate in November was higher than in any U.S. state.

Payment Promise

“We made significant progress in implementing our fiscal and economic development plans in 2013, and are determined to continue that progress in 2014,” Jose Pagan, interim president of the Government Development Bank, and Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta said in a statement regarding reports of today’s meeting. “Puerto Rico will take every step necessary to continue honoring its obligations.”
Commonwealth officials aren’t involved in the Jones Day meeting and didn’t call for it, according to the statement.
In November, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, a New York-based law firm that advises on distressed munis, held a conference on Puerto Rico, said a person who attended.

Full story on Bloomberg

Monday, January 6, 2014

Polar Opposite....

Unless you've been living under a rock you've no doubt heard about the Polar Vortex that has the middle of the country (which is exactly where we live) in a record making deep freeze. If  for some reason you've actually  been living under a rock,  you might want to hook up with Benito Hermandez since he's somewhat of an authority on the subject, having spent the last 30+ years with his family under one  49 miles south of the Texas border:

 Benito Hernandez, of Coahulla, Mexico, his wife and their seven children have been living under a 130-foot-diameter rock for more than 30 years. The rock acts as the roof of their sun-dried-brick home, located in the remote desert town of San Jose de Piedras, about 50 miles from the Texas border.

But that's not what this post is about. No, this is about the Polar Vortex that we're experiencing now. I've got to hand it to the weather forecasters, cause they nailed this one. They were calling for 8-12 inches of snow today here in Indiana. We got 11.  That was on top of the 7 we got a couple days ago.  Next  they called for temperature to drop from 31 degrees, which it has been hovering at all day long, to -14 degrees later tonight. That's a 45 degree swing in less than 12 hours, crazy. Those negative temperatures are to be accompanied by 25 mph sustained winds with up to 40 mph gusts.

So you wonder why we like to spend a month in the Caribbean?

 Knowing what was coming at us,  Lorrie wanted to take a walk over to the cabin to check on  things  and to get a look at all the snow before artic blast hit. I had already spent much of the day outside looking at the snow on the end of a shovel, but  the thought of  a walk through the woods sounded nice . It was eerily quiet walking over there. The falling snow muffles most all the sound and creates a surreal environment.

no sky
no land -- just
snow falling


As it was we got into the cabin just minutes before the winds hit.

As I'm typing this  morning the temperature outside is -12 degrees and the winds are howling. Looking outside I  see the most beautiful sun dog.

This is the exact polar opposite of what it'll be like in  less than 4 weeks when we're back on Vieques  and we'll be  the "sun dawgs".  I'm sure this Polar Vortex  will  make us appreciate those warm winter trades even more.  We'll be unveiling a new and improved (at least we hope so) cabana design this trip.


Thursday, January 2, 2014


Weather in Indiana is crazy. A few days ago the high was in the teens, today is was 60. For whatever reason, maybe something to do with sunshine and "warmer" temperatures, I opted to deviate from what is my normal Friday beer purchase and seek out something more "summerish".  I frequent a small liquor store that carries an amazing assortment of  beers, they also have  great prices. In the winter months we tend to drink more Weisse  beer, don't ask me why, but we do. Our standby is the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse. It's a great all around beer and we can buy it for less than $2 a bottle at my little store.  It comes in 16 oz bottles. I love this video review of Franziskaner:


He is very accurate as to the flavors of the  beer, plus he just loves to drink it.  No pretense and the guy has hundreds of beer review videos.

Summer, warm weather, Caribbean...that means Corona.  But not just any Corona, no. I mean Corona Familiar. From what I can find, the Corona Extra and the Corona Familiar contain the same beer, but the taste is different. The lady that runs  my favorite little liquor store turned me onto this brown quart bottle of Corona, Corona Familiar. She said they started carrying it because the local Mexican folks requested it and said it was the only  true Corona. No lime for this Corona, that would ruin it.  The reason most come up with for the taste difference in the two  is the bottle coloring, which may  prevent the Familiar from being "light struck".  We notice a significant difference in the taste and much prefer the Corona Familiar. Familiar means "family" in Spanish.

Here's a pretty good primer on "light struck" beer, courtesy of Beer Advocate:

Whoa! This beer is skunked!” is probably something you've heard before, uttered by someone who was probably drinking a green-bottled Heineken. And from the guy who thinks he knows something about beer: “That's because it's in a green bottle, dood.”

Not quite, junior beer guru. That so-called “skunked” character has nothing to do with green bottles, or any color bottles. True, some beer bottle colors are more susceptible to being what's called “light-struck,” however, the whole idea that the color is the cause is completely wrong.

What does light-struck mean?
This is when the beer has been exposed to ultraviolet light for a period of time. Hop-derived molecules, called isohumulones, are basically ripped apart. Some of these parts bind with sulfur atoms to create that “skunk” character, which is similar in character to a skunk's natural defense and is such a potent compound that parts-per-trillion can be detected and even ruin a beer. Although brown bottles aid in protecting beer from being light-struck, it hardly makes the beer invincible. Green or clear bottles provide little to no protection. And it's been said that bottled beer can become light-struck in less than one minute in bright sun, after a few hours in diffuse daylight, and in a few days under normal fluorescent lighting.

This light-struck condition is often to blame for a skunked beer. Many popular imports are distributed in green bottles. Pair the two, mix with misinformation and an inexperienced palate, and the common belief becomes that if beer is in a green bottle, it has to be skunked.

Yeah, but everything I drink from (a green bottled, imported beer) tastes skunked.
Well, it's not like there's an international conspiracy by the brewery to expose all of its beer to being light-struck before being sold. Breweries are not in the business to sell spoiled beer. And did you ever consider that that's the how the beer was intended to smell and taste? The natural and often times wanted sulfur character produced by certain strains of lager yeast, under certain beer style brewing conditions, does not make a skunked beer. Nor does a pungent hop character that you might not be used to. Don't confuse these characteristics with being skunked, as it's not always the case.

Yeah, but it's always skunky in the bottle and not the keg.
Drinking from the bottle is a more concentrated experience. Drinking from a glass allows the beer's characters to become more volatile, thus a less concentrated experience. It doesn't necessarily mean that the beer in the bottle is skunked.

How can I avoid skunked beers?
Simple. Don't buy beer on display, don't buy beer in a cooler that is brightly lit and don't leave your beer exposed to light.

So there you have it. Just remember that before you give up on a beer and write it off as being skunked, keep in mind that there's a lot more that could be going on, and that perception of characters is highly subjective. What you might call skunked due to lack of knowledge could be a tasty German-style Pils to another.

I love this video review of the two beers, make sure to watch the whole thing.


Which brings me to the title of this post. What I ended up buying, thanks to a super helpful lady that always seems to take pity on me as I'm standing in front of the coolers, gazing at all the different imports and mico-brews, was something not even on display. She went into the back and brought out a six pack of it.

I was taken back at first with the packing and the name. I ask Patty "what's it taste like?"  I mean, with a name like Gumballhead I was thinking something sweet and candy like.  Patty told me it tastes like beer, with a coy laugh.  She also told me it was really hard for them to get hold of and they only get about a case every 6 months. They limit customers to one six pack. If her plan was to make me feel like a special customer, her mission was accomplished.
Here's  a video review of  the Three Floyds Gumballhead:

After a little research I've since learned that  the Three Floyds is based in Indiana. How kewl is that! It was started by two brothers and their father in 1996. These are craft beers and are a breath of fresh air in this sea of canned "light" beer that I live in. Lorrie and I both tried the beer. It's different, for sure. Lorrie doesn't care for it and knowing that would probably be the case, I bought her a 6 pack of Leinenkugel Berry Weiss as a back up. It's sweet, almost like a berry lemonade.
No where close summer yet, but it sure tasted like it.