February 2023


It’s hard to believe that it was just a year ago that the horrors in Ukraine began to unfold.  As may be the case with many alert readers (ARs), my initial shock and disbelief have gradually  turned to numbness.  It’s almost as if I’ve become inured to the barbarism that now seems sickeningly mundane.  I can’t help but be reminded of  Hannah Arendt’s memorable phrase “the banality of evil” in writing about The Third Reich.  It’s in this context that I want to share part of the Christmas message  my wife and I sent out two months ago.







The Beijing Winter Olympics

Featured great hypocrisy,

As China sought to crush

COVID and democracy.


With the torch extinguished

At the Olympic Games,

Other fires broke out.

Kyiv was in flames.


The world looked on in horror.

We’d witnessed this before.

A Russian Czar cried havoc

And let slip the dogs of war.


On TV screens we saw

The misery and pain

That Russian troops inflicted

On the people of Ukraine.


Indiscriminate missiles

Filled the sky with thunder.

Churches and museums

Were stripped by Russian plunder.


Russians kidnapped children. 

They cut off power and water.

They went from house to house,

Engaged in wanton slaughter.


In hospitals and schools

They targeted civilians,

Destroying infrastructure

Worth several hundred billions.


But the world soon realized,

The pundits had been wrong.

Ukraine would not succumb. 

Ukrainians were strong.


Their spirit would not break. 

And their proud determination

Became throughout the world

A source of inspiration.


As we enjoy our freedom,

We look in admiration

To the people of Ukraine.

They are our inspiration.


With challenges worse than ours

Their strong courageous attitude

Serves as an example

For which we owe them gratitude.

Let us not forget Ukraine.

On February 24th I encourage all ARs to commemorate this ghastly anniversary with a toast to Volodymyr Zelensky and the heroic people of Ukraine.





Tom Schlafly
Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery