I first made Johann, the founder of Seef Bier, in San Francisco, when he was here to do a presentation with his importer and the Belgian Trade Delegation as he was beginning to import his beer to the U.S. And I quite like Seef, and have since I first tried it. I saw him most recently last month in Belgium, when he was on hand to pick up the gold medal for Seef he received at the Brussels Beer Challenge. At any rate, this morning he sent me this fun video of Christmas Wishes from Seefbier, a spoof of the popular Christmas carol recorded by Andy Williams, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It really is the most wonderful time to drink beer. Enjoy.
As if you needed further proof that cartoons weren’t always for kids — and still aren’t — here’s an interesting one from 1930. Today was the debut in 1919 of the popular cartoon character Felix the Cat. It was actually the third film using a similar-looking cat, but the Adventures of Felix, released today in 1919, was the first time the name Felix was attached to the character. Felix became very popular and remained so until sound was introduced, when he fell into cartoon obscurity when his transition to sound tanked. There was a much later cartoon version, from when I was a kid, that began in 1958 and was shown in television through at least the 1960s and 70s, and that’s probably the one you’re more familiar with.
But the earlier Felix was darker and less kid-friendly, for the simple reason they were aimed at adults going to see a movie in a theater.
Woos Whoopee was one of Felix’s later cartoons (at least of the earlier black and white and largely silent ones), and takes place in a speakeasy (it was still Prohibition after all).
Felix stays out late, drinking and dancing, while his wife paces at home angrily, watching the clock with a rolling pin in her hand. Finally, well after 3 AM, Felix begins to stumble home and begins to hallucinate. Finally, after a surreal journey, he makes it home around 6 AM. I thought sure he’d be in more trouble, but besides shooting the cuckoo in the clock, not much happens to him after he gets home. Oh, well, at least he had a few laughs and drank a few beers.
Today in 2013, US Patent 20130327064 A1 was issued, an invention of Thomas C. Stein, for his “End Table with Concealed Built-In Refrigerator.” Here’s the Abstract:
An end table with a concealed built-in refrigerator unit for use next to a chair, sofa, or bed with a front door that opens down like a dishwasher door for easy access to the interior compartment of the refrigerator unit to retrieve canned and bottled beverages or food, while in a seated position. The built-in refrigerator of the end table has a thermoelectric Danby Diplomat type cooling system for maximum efficiency in cooling and whisper soft operation.
I’m not sure why this patent was granted, such end tables have been around for at least a few years, if not longer. I wrote about ManTables’ End Table Refrigerators five years ago, and this was patented two years back. There’s also another Man Tables – Mini Fridge End Tables for sale that looks remarkably like the drawings filed with the patent application.
But a quick Google search reveals quite a few similar, but distinctly different, designs for refrigerator end tables. Here’s one that’s at least similar to the patented design.
And here’s another one that has more of side door instead of folding down from the top, and also includes an actual working drawer.
Today is International Tongue Twister Day, a day to celebrate those expressions that tend to tie your tongue in knots. A tongue-twister is defined as “a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly, and can be used as a type of spoken (or sung) word game. Some tongue-twisters produce results which are humorous (or humorously vulgar) when they are mispronounced, while others simply rely on the confusion and mistakes of the speaker for their amusement value.” Here are several I managed to uncover that involve beer. Enjoy.
Brewer Braun brews brown beer (Braubauer Braun braut braunes Bier)
Bold and brave beer brewers always prepare bitter, brown, Bavarian beer (Biedere brave Bierbauerburschen bereiten beständig bitteres braunes bayrisches Bier)
Rory the warrior and Roger the worrier were reared wrongly in a rural brewery.
An old seabear sits on the pier and drinks a pint of beer.
A canner can can anything that he can,
But a canner can’t can a can, can he?
Do drunk ducks and drakes drown?
Betty Botter had some bitter,
“But,” she said, “this bitter’s bitter.
If I brew this bitter better,
It would make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter,
That would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter –
Better than her bitter butter –
And she baked it in her batter;
And the batter was not bitter.
So ’twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better bitter.
The bitters Betty Botter bought could make her batter bitter, so she thought she’d better buy some better bitters!
Today would have been the 200th birthday of George Boole, the self-taught mathematician who came up with Boolean algebra and Boolean logic. He’s been called the “father of the information age” because his Boolean logic made possible modern computer science. “Boolean algebra has been fundamental in the development of digital electronics, and is provided for in all modern programming languages. It is also used in set theory and statistics.” Boolean logic is “a form of algebra in which all values are reduced to either TRUE or FALSE. Boolean logic is especially important for computer science because it fits nicely with the binary numbering system, in which each bit has a value of either 1 or 0.” How Stuff Works has a nice overview of How Boolean Logic Works.
So what does any of this have to do with beer? Practically nothing, except that Scientific American had an article yesterday about Boole to celebrate his 200th anniversary coming up today. In the piece, The Bicentennial of George Boole, the Man Who Laid the Foundations of the Digital Age, after writing about Boole’s life and contributions to the study of mathematics, the author turns to some examples of how his Boolean logic is applied in the real world in, for instance, Google searches:
Boolean algebra and Boolean logic are very well known today, and form the backbone of electrical engineering and computer science. Indeed anyone who even casually searches the Internet , say for “Michael Jackson” the late beer and whiskey expert rather than the singer and dancer of the same name, knows how to make judicious use of AND, OR and NOT.
It’s pretty cool that he picked Michael Jackson as the search topic, and it’s a good choice since it’s hard to get just beer-centric results when the more famous Michael Jackson usually tops the list unless you figure out how to filter out the king of pop. Michael used to joke that the singer was named after him, since he was older, but it must be a pain in neck for anyone who shares a name with a person more famous them themselves. Remember the character Michael Bolton in the wonderful film “Office Space?”
It’s a lengthy post I did a couple of years ago, Know Your Beer Gods & Goddesses, in which I researched world cultures and created a list of gods and goddesses that had something to do with beer, discovering over 100 examples. I jokingly included an entry for Michael as the “God of Beer Writers,” so that’s why my post turns up in a search for Jackson’s name. So that made my day, nice to show up in Scientific American, however tangentially.
And just to round out the ephemeral post, I’ll leave you with a little Boolean humor:
As I’ve revealed many times here, I’ve been a huge fan of The Muppets since I was a kid. I’ve even gotten my own kids to love them, as well, showing them the old Muppet Show on DVD, along with all of the films. So imagine my delight when ABC announced a new Muppet Show called simply “the muppets” that debuted last month. So far it’s been pretty good, with their signature bad puns, musical numbers, celebrity cameos and much of the same type of humor that I loved in the 1970s. Plus, they’re making fun of reality shows, which as a genre I absolutely loathe, so that’s a bonus.
With the kids schedule, and mine, we Tivo almost everything and finally got around to watching Episode 4, Pig Out, yesterday. If you don’t have Hulu, try Putlocker or, depending on your cable provider, the ABC website.
The episode’s plot revolves around the staff unwinding after hard days dealing with their insufferable boss, Miss Piggy, who is miffed she’s never been invited to one of these after parties. She manipulates Kermit into geting her invited with the promise that she’ll turn them down. Then, as you’ve probably guessed, she accepts and everyone assumes that the evening will go downhill fast.
They go to a karaoke bar, and indeed it is quite awkward at the beginning. In fact the bar is called “Rowlf’s,” as you can see on the beer mugs they’re shown drinking out of. Rowlf, a brown shaggy, piano-playing dog, was one of the very first Muppet characters back in the 1960s, so it makes sense that he’d own a bar in the new incarnation.
But then Ed Helms unexpectedly arrives at the bar and things begin to liven up. There’s much drinking and karaoke singing — the Swedish Chef’s turn at the mic is particularly memorable. Halfway through the evening Helms’ is leading a sing-a-long to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” when at one of the tables in the bar, something caught my eye. One of the more obscure Muppets, Chip, and the Swedish Chef were drinking Lagunitas IPA! Chip was drinking out of a mug but the bottle sat on the table while the Swedish Chef was drinking straight from the bottle.
It’s only there for a few seconds, but there’s no doubt what it is. If you don’t think that trademark is important, or that typefaces and fonts can, or should, be protected, both my wife and my son immediately recognized the bottle when I showed it to them as being from Lagunitas, and all you can see of the label is the single letter “I” on the sideways bottle.
You can also see humans in the bar holding bottles of Lagunitas IPA throughout the scenes shown in Rowlf’s. They’re all quick cuts but it’s still unmistakable. The Muppets definitely drink Lagunitas IPA. Nice to see my local brewery’s beer on a show I love.
Okay, this is pretty silly, but starts out with some interesting comparisons. The infographic by Visually, asks the question If Your Blog Were A Beer, What Kind Would It Be? Once they start trying to define blogs by type of beer, it goes off the rails. For example, calling stouts “the heavyweights of the beer world,” shows that they don’t really understand their beer. Still, it’s fun little exercise, even it went goofy in its execution. Oh, and I don’t think I fit any of their identified blogs.
Today is the birthday of American actor, vaudevillian, comedian, filmmaker, stunt performer, and writer Buster Keaton. He’s best known for his silent films, and especially The General, considerd by many to be one of the best films of all-time. In 1962, Keaton made a series of commercials for the William Simon Brewery of Buffalo, New York. The ads were done in a silent film style, employing many of Keaton’s best gags from his glory days on the 1920s.
Initially, I only had these three gifs made from one of the commercials, but happily discovered that the whole ad has now been posted on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSf4ZKsv2HEYouTube:
And here’s another one Keaton did:
And a third:
And finally, a fourth ad Keaton did for Simon Pure Beer.
If you’re one of those people who can barley stand a bad pun, you may want to reconsider reading this post. Personally, I’m a ferment believer. I love a good pun, the more groan-inducing the better, but I have learned that there are people in the world who do not agree; and while I can’t understand them, I do try to sympathize. So be warned, weizen up and it will be smooth aleing. Hopefully, bad puns are the yeast of your problems. This post is just for Schlitz and giggles, and for what it’s wort, it will all turn out for the best. Ales well that ends well.
So the website Atlas Obscura partnered with Digg to crowdsource groan-inducing puns that businesses used in naming themselves. You’ve seen them, ones like “Hannah and Her Scissors” or “A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn.” So they put out a virtual call for submissions and got around 3,000 back, whittled down to 1,900 after eliminating duplicates. In the end, they decided that while many submissions weren’t technically puns, but also included movie allusions, homophones, and dirty words, they were funny enough and were in the same spirit so allowed many of those, too. Apparently the most submitted name was for Vietnamese noodles, “9021-Pho,” and there were also inexplicably quite a few hair salons named “Curl up and Dye.”
Then they created an interactive map with all of the punny names, which they called The Ultimate Crowdsourced Map of Punny Businesses in America. They even divided them into major categories, including Cleaning Businesses/Flower Shops/Portable Bathrooms, Coffee shops, Doctors and Dentists, Food Trucks, Hair/Nail Salons, Pet Care, Restaurants and Other (including retail stores, vape shops and lots of yarn stores).
Then there was one other category that caught my eye: Bar/Pubs, which even included one brewery, although I’m not sure I would have listed it. Since it was crowdsourced, I feel certain they probably missed a few, or even a lot, given how many bad or punny bar names I’ve seen over the years. Some of these name you just know had to be created after a few drinks. Do I think alcohol may have been involved? Of Coors I do.
Abe’s on Lincoln, Savannah, GA
Al Smith’s Saloon, East Troy, WI
Anchor Management Bar and Grill, Oroville, CA
Bar Celona, Pasadena, CA
Bar None, San Francisco, CA
Beer and Loathing in Dundee, Omaha, NE
Beerhive Pub, Salt Lake City, UT
Brews Brothers, Galveston, TX
Brews Brothers Taproom, Murphysboro, IL
C’MON INN, Fountain, CO
Catcher in the Rye, Los Angeles, CA
Chez When Cocktail Lounge, Sedalia, MO
Dancin’ Bare, Portland, OR
Deja Brew, Wendell, MA
Devil’s Advocate, Tempe, AZ
Dew Drop Inn, Cincinnati, OH; Washington, DC; Oak Creek Canyon, AZ & New Orleans, LA
Dick’s Halfway Inn, Rosedale, MD
Dupont Italian Kitchen Bar, Washington, DC
Fumducks, Houston, TX
Gordough’s Donuts, Austin, TX
Hi Dive, San Francisco, CA
Holmes Plate,Corning, NY
John’s Plumbing, Greensboro, NC
Kegler’s, Crest Hill, IL
Lei Low, Houston, TX
Longshots, Joliet, IL
LowBrau, Sacramento, CA
Mother Muff’s, Colorado Springs, CO
Mustang Alley’s, Baltimore, MD
My Brothers Place, San Bruno, CA
Neil’s Bahr, Houston, TX
Nice Ash, Waukesha, WI
Olive Or Twist, Portland, OR & Pittsburgh, PA
Paddy O’Beers, Raleigh, NC
Pour House, Hartford, CT; Jamison, PA; Exton, PA; St Louis, MO & Sacramento, CA
Sir Vezas, Tucson, AZ
Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn, Fairbanks, AK
South Side Liquor Box, Toledo, OH
Stocks and Blondes, Chicago, IL
Stowaway Pub,Stow, OH
Swagger Inn, Lyndon Station, WI
Tequila Mockingbird, Ocean City, MD
The Big Legrowlski, Portland, OR
The Crossbar, Havertown, PA
The Crow Bar, Mount Holly, NJ
The Frosty Beaver, Cleveland, OH
The Hungry Beaver, Wrangell, AK
The Picnic Tap, Nashville, TN
The Pour House, Siren, WI; Raleigh, NC & James Island, SC
The Red, White & Brew, Hammond, LA
The Stagger Inn, Edwardsville, IL
The Tapp, Tarrytown, NY
The Tavernacle, Salt Lake City, UT
The Trappe Door, Greenville, SC
The Wine Seller, Williamsburg, VA
The Wurst Bar, Ypsilanti, MI
Thew Alibi, Coos Bay, OR
Thirst N’ Howl, Little Rock, AR
Torrey Pints, La Jolla, CA
Unwined, Discovery Bay, CA
What Ales You, Burlington, VT
Winegasm, Astoria, NY
Wish You Were Beer, Madison, AL
Wit’s Inn, New Orleans, LA
21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
While the original list is now closed, if you know of one they missed that would fit into the spirit of this list, please add in the comments here. I feel confident there are many more. And if they included beer names, or even just hop pun names, the list would run into the thousands.
Here’s a stroll down memory lane, when in 1955 a Yale professor, Dr. Leon A. Greenberg, declared that beer isn’t an intoxicating beverage “and should be reclassified to the non-intoxicating drinks.” Greenberg was no stranger to alcohol, and in fact in the 1930s invented the Alcometer, “the first machine that analyzed the breath for alcohol,” before coming to Yale in 1933 to head what would become the Center of Alcohol Studies. Seven years after this story, the center moved to Rutgers. Maybe there’s a connection? Certainly when Dr. Greenberg passed away in 1986, his obituary didn’t mention this chapter in his life.
In the story, other scientists may have thought he’d gone crazy, but restrained themselves from saying so, and diplomatically disagreed.
This brought emphatic objection from other scientists. They wanted to know if the man who is “high” or “tight” isn’t also drunk. Beer certainly makes people “high” and “tight,” they said.
The UP story then described his theory:
For people to show consistently the “abnormal behavior” which goes with intoxication, the alcohol content of their blood must be 0.15 per cent or higher.
THE AVERAGE alcohol content of American beers is 3.7 per cent by weight. In order for the alcohol blood level to be at 0.15 per cent, there would have to be two and one-half quarts of 3.7 beer in the stomach. But the capacity of the human stomach is one and one-half to two quarts.
Therefore, no one can drink enough beer at one time to get intoxicated, according to theory. As for doing it by degrees: beer is destroyed or eliminated in the body at the rate of one-third of a quart an hour. So three quarts would have to be consumed in two or three hours, and this, he said, was “physiologically unnatural.”
“The alcoholic must not drink beer. He must not drink beer, not because it is intoxicating but because, like a small amount of alcohol in any other form, it may facilitate the uncontrolled drinking for which the alcoholic has a special liability.
His views were published in the official journal of the Yale studies. Other scientists were invited to publish their objections at the same time. And these objections were mainly that Greenberg did not recognize stages or degrees of drunkenness – the differences between a man who is a little drunk and one who is very drunk.
The Minnesota Star Tribune, which in 1955 was apparently just the Minnesota Tribune, also ran the story on July 7, 1955, but they gave more space to Dr. Greenberg’s dissenters. As they note, it “demonstrates that you can be right about all the facts and still come to the wrong conclusion.”
Dr. Albion Roy King, professor of philosophy, Cornell college, Mount Vernon, Iowa, said Greenberg has performed a “feat of word manufacture and manipulation which simply makes more graphic what everybody knows, that it takes more drinking to get tight on beer than on whisky.”
Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, a psychiatrist and vice chairman of the Connecticut commission on alcoholism, said Greenberg’s view is “simple nonsense – in the eyes of most beer drinkers.”
“They may know nothing about their blood level or the percentage alcohol content of the beer drink, and they care less.
“What they do know is that they get drunk on beer, using their definition. Alcohol is alcohol, in any concentration and its regular use can lead to trouble.”
Dr. Frank J. O’Brien, associate superintendent of schools, New York city, objected to the generalizing on the grounds that alcohol affects different people differently.
It certainly seems almost silly to think he went public with such an obviously false conclusion. Beer may be the beverage of moderation, but it will still give you a buzz. And simple experience would teach anyone that much better than at least one Yale professor. Happy Friday!
Here’s how the UP story ran in the Palm Beach Post on July 7, 1955.