The Legend Behind Beer-y Christmas

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I thought this was a fun little video, created by Heather Arment of Seattle, Washington, for an advent calendar of beer bottles. Her animated video is entitled The Legend Behind Beer-y Christmas. And since Advent just started on Sunday, this would be a very cool way to celebrate it.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell if it ever actually was a real product or not. The website, BeeryChristmas.com is down for the count. But they obviously spent a lot on the design of the packaging, which was done by Dustin Wallace, and Arment did another video on who the beer advent box works.

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Of course, in the end, they were trying to sell a cardboard box, which gives it something of a pet rock vibe.

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Perhaps if they had sold them full, but it might be cool to fill one yourself. Although that is a tough commitment for a gift. It requires that the person giving it knows what to fill it with, then has to find the beer to put in it. I think that’s why the pre-packed gift boxes sell so well. All the hard work is already done. All you have to do it buy it.

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But I have to confess getting one like this would be a great gift.

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Hmm, I wonder if in fall of 2011 this ever saw the light of day? It looks like it didn’t but I subsequently discovered that Heather Arment was also the inventor, and she’s still trying to get them produced through Quirky, which is a website for inventors and their … ahem … quirky inventions. People submit their ideas, and get them posted on the quirky site, and people vote on them. Ideas which get enough votes go to the manufacturing stage and are created and sold, also through the Quirky website, but also at select retailers, too. It looks like her idea for the beer advent box may actually become a reality, though probably not in time for this year’s holidays, because the web page currently says that the “idea has been placed under Expert Review,” which suggests it’s passed one hurdle is on to the next step in their process. So now you know what to get me for the holidays next year.

Hello Kitty, Hello Beer!

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Here’s a hilarious marketing development, one that would absolutely never fly in the land of the free and the home of the “think about the children” neo-prohibitionists. If you’ve been the parent of a young daughter, you’re probably already familiar with the marketing juggernaut that is Hello Kitty and her legion of cute minions from Sanrio. It’s hard to think of another character with as much licensed tie-in merchandising as Hello Kitty. She makes Disney look like amateurs. So really, it should come as no surprise then, that Sanrio has licensed Hello Kitty for a series of four fruit beers, brewed by the Taiwan Tsing Beer Co.. The four initial fruit beers include Peach, Passion Fruit, Banana and Lemon and come in 330 ml cans.

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Bloomberg Businessweek referred to the announcement as Zen and the Art of Crass Marketing, which is surprising since I never really thought of the business press, or indeed the business world generally, as having high moral standards if there was a buck to be made. When you consider that it was big business that sank the country, and the world, into a global recession, then getting a bailout from us, while still collecting their bonuses, I have had time swallowing Bloomberg’s assertion that this is the line that business dare not cross, that this is the one going too far into crassness. If anything, this is pretty harmless and funny.

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The ABC News Report is slightly more balanced, and reveals that these “new fruit-flavored cans mark Hello Kitty’s second entry into the world of alcohol. Previously, Hello Kitty wines were licensed in Asia, Europe and the United States.”

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I can’t say any of them look particularly good, but one thing most news accounts overlooked is that the beer is actually only 2.3% a.b.v., making them session beers, and actually the opposite of the evil Bloomberg makes them out to be. Also, Kotaku, reviewing the beers, describes them as “closest to Chimay but with stronger fruit flavorings. The fruit isn’t a note or a sense in these beverages but instead the overpowering star of it all.” That’s hard to swallow, but then I haven’t actually tried them and it’s likely I won’t ever have the chance to, not that it will keep me up at night. Still, an odd and twisted development.

Captain America Drinks Beer

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As a long time geek of many stripes, not just beer, I’ve been a longtime reader of comic books. I still regularly read a number of comics, and I’ve gotten Porter into them as well. We have our weekly father/son ritual of going to our local comic book store each Wednesday to pick up the new books. He’s a big fan of Captain America. He loved the movie and started reading the comics shortly after it came out. So an item about some new superhero art in the new issue of Playboy stood out.

A French artist, Grégoire Guillemin, did a series of works under the title “The Secret Life of Heroes,” where he drew many of the classic comic book superheroes, and few other fictional folks, engaged in mundane pursuits, many quite ordinary and few others downright racy and subversive. They remind me of a cross between Roy Lichtenstein and Mel Ramos.

The series includes such images as Wonder Woman scratching her butt, Batman eating a doughnut, Hulk rolling a joint, Superman eating a hamburger, Spiderman brushing his teeth and … well, you get the idea. Go take a look. There’s one more that stood out as a favotite, and that was one of a number featuring Captain America; this one’s entitled Captain Drinks, and features him knocking back a cold bottle of beer. Enjoy.

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Coming Soon — All Big Brewers Owned By Some Corporate Giant

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It’s a slow Sunday, but I came across this editorial cartoon by Jeff Danzinger from February of this year. Entitled Coming Soon — All Big Brewers Owned By Some Corporate Giant, it certainly plays on the fears of ever-increasing consolidation in the market, especially internationally. It’s happening in the brewing industry, without a doubt, but perhaps more frightening is that it’s happening in virtually every sector of the marketplace. I especially like the Ballantine-like logo on the wall with the tagline “Drink … Pay … Go Home.” You can see more of Danzinger’s cartoons at his official website.

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Here A Blue Law, There A Blue Law

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Given it’s a Sunday, when Blue Laws are usually in effect, I thought I’d share this comic strip by Danny Lewis, who’s an artist living in Massachusetts. Blue Laws, of course, are antiquated laws, usually religiously based.

A blue law is a type of law designed to enforce religious standards, particularly the observance of a day of worship or rest. In the US, most blue laws have been repealed, declared unconstitutional, or are simply unenforced; though prohibitions on the sale of alcoholic beverages or prohibitions of almost all commerce on Sundays are still enforced in many areas. Blue laws often prohibit an activity only during certain hours and there are usually exceptions to the prohibition of commerce, like grocery and drug stores. In some places, blue laws may be enforced due to religious principles, but others are retained as a matter of tradition or out of convenience.

While most have been repealed, not all of them have been, and his comic strip talks about some of the remaining ones.

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Click here to see the cartoon full size.

Three Logicians Walk Into A Bar …

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While I had a logic class in college, and dabbled in debate, I’ve probably forgotten more than I ever learned. But I still love the notion of breaking down the thought process. My son, who’s 11 and autistic, often has trouble understanding humor. As a result, I increasingly find myself trying to explain the punchline of a joke — why it’s funny — and I’ll break it down for him. What invariably happens, of course, is that in that process, the joke is stripped of its humor and is no longer funny. For some reason, that never deters me. I’ve always had a thing for jokes and thinking about why they’re funny. If I wasn’t so damn shy I would have loved to have tried my hand at stand-up comedy back when I was a younger man. I think that’s why I loved The Aristocrats so much. Ninety minutes breaking down and re-telling one joke. What’s not to love?

So check out the comic strip below. It’s mildly amusing, at least to me. You most likely won’t laugh out loud, but you may smile, at least. But from the point of view of logic, it’s also quite correct, and instructional. It was originally posted by Spiked Math Comics, who admits he doesn’t know the strip’s original creator.

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But here’s where it veers headlong into geekdom. It was picked up by a Danish University linguistics student, Emil Kirkegaard, who posted Three Logicians Walk Into a Bar: A Formal Explanation, a breakdown and analysis of the joke, complete with formulas, and explanation of the logic principles behind it.

Here’s one expressing the root problem: E↔(Wa∧Wb∧Wc)

The whole explanation is just as funny as the original strip, to me at least, in its own right and certainly does explain the joke, although if you didn’t think it was funny to begin with, this probably isn’t going to help. But us geeks have to stick together, no matter what geekworld we belong to.

My Little Pony Keg

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I love Google Images. You just never know what you’ll find and over the years I’ve found some truly odd images. And this has to be among the stranger finds. Apparently there are people obsessed with My Little Pony. I really shouldn’t be surprised, for pretty much anything you could name, people have turned their solitary obsession into a full-fledged hobby, with similar-minded people coming together from all over the globe. The internet has made this particularly easy, and I can only imagine that the sheer number of different groups, organizations, associations, clubs, etc. surrounding almost anything we could name, no matter how obscure, has exploded over the last decade. Anyway, I stumbled upon a My Little Pony imageboard — an internet forum — called Ponychan.

An entire thread titled “Alcohol Thread” began with “What is your drink of choice and why? Are you bastards even old enough to drink?” A fair question, given the only reason I am so very familiar with My Little Pony is because I have an 8-year old daughter. The thread includes images of ponies drinking beer and cider, as forum users express their favorite alcoholic drinks.

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My wife informs me — I have no idea how she knows this — that there is an entire subset of adult males who are into My Little Pony known as “Bronies.” That’s more than a little creepy.

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So here’s a few of the drinking ponies from the thread. I can only imagine the neo-prohibitionists would be going crazy if these were to see the light of day, emerging from the murky shadows of the internet. Children’s characters drinking? Oh, the horror!

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But I’ll raise toast to the ponies. Drunk ponies could only be more interesting than I remember them, having to endure their sober exploits with my daughter Alice. Thank goodness she’s moved past the little ponies, but sadly what’s she’s into now — iCarly, Victorious and the Winx Club — are hardly much better.

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