Beer Birthday Again: Jay Brooks

Today was my 53rd birthday, and I’ve once again been overwhelmed by an embarrassment of riches from well-wishers sending me notes via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. My sincere thanks to one and all. As it’s usually me posting embarrassing photos of my friends and colleagues, for the fourth year in a row, here’s some howlers of me from over the years.

An indian birthday at my grandmother’s house. No idea what year this was. It couldn’t be later than the mid-1960s.

I can’t even believe this is me, it’s so posed. And what’s with the black baseball? Why is that the prop they chose?

At my mom’s second wedding to my stepfather in 1964, before he became a psychotic alcoholic.

Sitting on a cannon at the battlefield in Gettysburg.

An elementary school photo, where they wet my hair and combed it in a way that I never, ever did, except in this photo. It almost looks like I’m bald and it’s a comb-over.

It’s hard to tell in this early 1970s photo, but that outfit was green and purple; green jacket and tie with a purple shirt. Sheesh.

There’s many more where these came from, for a good laugh just check out the photos from the last three years at Beer Birthday: Jay Brooks, Beer Birthday: J (Yes, Embarrasing Myself This Time) and Beer Birthday Overkill, from 2009, when I posted a bunch encompassing my first 50 years on planet beer. Oh, and thanks once again to everybody for the generous birthday wishes.


  1. Chris Darby says

    Happy B-Day. Thank you for all of your hard work on the site and keeping us updated on a daily basis. I enjoy having your feed on my google homepage.

  2. says

    Happy birthday and well done for the brave photos. Somewhere an entire archive of me in pale blue sweater vests exists that will never see the light of day.

  3. says

    Happy birthday, my friend. That pre-comb-over comb-over makes you look like early Dick Cavett … who ever he was. Very nice and destined for greatness.

    Cheers, Tom

  4. says

    Happy birthday, beer buddy. So glad we’ve become friends. Wish we could hang, drink, and go on expeditions in search of perfect fries more often.

    Best, Bob

  5. J Doyle says

    Happy Birthday!

    I look forward to your daily beer blog and especially enjoy the Beer in Ads feature.

    Please keep up the good work!


  6. beerman49 says

    Happy prime number birthday! 6 yrs to your next one, then 2 yrs more to the next & then another 6-yr wait. Prime numbers (divisible only by 1 & themselves) are weird; they’re all odd except for 2. For each decade thru age 110, you get only one in your 30’s (37) & 90’s (97). You get 5 age 1-9, 4 age 10-19. After that, it’s 2 in your 20’s, 50’s, 60’s, & 80’s, 3 in your 40’s & 70’s, & 4 again in your 100’s (would that we be the rare ones to live that long & still have our wits about us).

    The pic of you holding the black ball has some sort of a comb-over – at that age, I, who, like you, have a high forehead, was doing the low-maintenance “butch” cut (I hated combing/brushing). Tho the ball loox like a baseball, it’s too big. On 1st glance, I thought bocce ball; when I saw the stitches on 2nd look, I realized that it was a softball.

    Whatever – it takes guts to reveal “embarrassing moments” to a mass audience when that’s not your normal MO. Rodney Dangerfield made millions from self-deprecating humor that was almost totally contrived; your presentation is both REAL & funny, & for that you deserve KUDOS!

  7. Phil Price says

    Jay, what can I possibly add?? The Ed pic is before State St., so where did you live before then? We used to go bowling, so maybe that is a duckpin ball. I know the living room from the 70s shot, though…I spent many a day trying to keep Devona off my lap there!!! Happy Birthday, my friend, even tho I’m a three-month older fart than you!

    • says

      Before that we lived with my grandmother in Mohnton, in the house you also know well. That wedding day photo was actually taken at State Street, as my mom bought that house right before she married Ed. Thanks for the birthday wishes, my friend. J

  8. beerman49 says

    Phil Price provided the other ball possibility, & he could be correct! I bowled tenpins for 40 yrs; during my 16 yrs in MD, I horsed around occasionally w/duckpins. That the photo is B&W makes it tough to determine; duckpin balls rarely were black, usually dark green/red/blue. The stitches are the prob – there’s not enough depth of field in the photo to determine painted on vs real.

    For ye going “huh?” on duckpins:
    1. It’s “small ball” bowling (max ball diameter is 5″); alley’s the same as for tenpins.
    2. Duckpin is about half the height of a normal bowling pin; it’s fat point is lower to the ground but same diameter as a tenpin’s. “Rubber band” variation (PA & north) has a band that’s .75″ or so high & probably about 1/8″ thick across the fat point, which makes for higher scores.
    3. Rules & scoring are the same, but in non-rubber band ducks, you get a third ball to max out your frame. Nobody’s ever thrown within 40-50 of 300 in normal ducks; “perfect” game if you’re horsing around is 100 – 10 frames of 10 (clear the lane w/3 balls/frame). Getting a strike/spare 10 consecutive frames is extremely rare; duck equivalent of 200 is 135-140 (175 in rubber band; the bands make the pins closer together & bounce around more off the sides & rear).

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