We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Rate Beer

Most everything I do these days involves taking a decent idea and bringing it to a level beyond casual enjoyment. To that end, my recent forays into beer drinking is another example of exactly one of those items. Having been nicknamed for one of the fattest drunks in the history of television (Norm, Cheers), you might imagine I would have a handle on good versus bad beer. While I can surely tell the difference between Bud and Sam Adams, my taste buds beyond that aren't so refined.

Recently I've taken to trying to find more beer and wine that fits my level of taste. Surprisingly, wine has been easy. There are 2 key elements to wine for me. Red is good in the winter, white in the summer. The second is that the guys at the liquor store are well versed in wine and enjoy many of the same wines I do. Thus, the vast arrays of wines become much easier to manage with their direction.

Not so with beer. I assumed I would be able to find any number of beer sites on the Internet, but this optimism was soon quelled by reality. The first site I found was As you might imagine, my initial thought was that this would be an excellent resource for someone like me. I have a decent range of beer experience, but I still need a lot of work. If this site could illustrate how I can fairly taste the difference between a Pilsner and a Pale Ale, it might help in my going forward in future beer endeavors.

I started by clicking the link "View the top beers." This was an exercise in futility, as I recognized only Dogfish Head on the list of the top 50 beers. Could it really be the case that of the top 50 rated beers on this website, I had drank none and only heard of 1? How absurd.

I then clicked on the "Top 50 Accessible Beers" link and was relieved to find that my recognition rate rose to a more appreciable 50%. Of course, I still fail to see how the top rated Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock is accessible to me. Same goes for #2, the well known North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - apparently well known on the North Coast of...somewhere. Around #9 I start to chime in, with a Sierra Christmas brew. After that, I've had just about everything on the list of 19 - a far cry from the 50 suggested by the link name.

Aside from this, the site sucked for me. I was looking for a site to help me with beer basics. Some of the people on this site have rated more beers than I will ever drink in my lifetime. Am I missing the point, or are they? I'm looking for a few select beers to enjoy, maybe picking up a few here and there along the way I might not ordinarily have tried. Some of these people rate 14 beers in one night. I don't know about you, but after just a few my tastes buds make an exit stage left and have little remaining for tasting new beers.

Instead, this is another of the numerous Internet web sites which have so much potential but deteriorate into the common cock fight nature of men who need to assert their anonymous male domination over other men they do not have to actually meet. Their imaginary cock length is based on the number of beers they drink & rate - the more arcane the better. For those of us who imagine a 4 pack of Sam Smith is about as high class as it gets, I guess we'll never be accepted into their world. Oh well, I suppose I'll have to live with my mediocre beer world until I find a better reference site out there. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I Am Still the Advertising Demographic

I turned 34 this week, which means I now sit precipitously on the edge of the core advertising demographic. The realm of aged 18-34 males is still mine - I still belong. Because of this, I have decided that for the next year, I'm going to whore myself to any and all advertising regardless of the content. While I may not buy anything, I still need to know that advertisers love me, or more precisely, love my wallet.

What is it about age 35 that cuts us off? Being realistic, I know I'm not their target audience and haven't been for a few years. I hate advertising, going out of my way to not buy things because of the ridiculous ads I see. I once got an offer for the New York Times at 85% off the newsstand price (or whatever) for the next 6 weeks just days after I told my wife I wanted to start getting the Times. Instead of taking the offer, I subscribed independent of it because I didn't want them to think the advertising worked.

When I see a commercial that's mildly interesting, I note the URL they give for the product. You have to be brain dead to not know they're trying to direct you through their bean counting portal when the website URL is something like Naturally, I would never use the gateway. I would always go straight to, if I were so inclined to learn more about it. This, of course, is why we fall off the advertising bandwagon at age 35. We become sick of it, cynical to all the dogshit we've had to watch for so long.

On the subway there's a cognac ad for Remy Martin which says, "It's so nice of you to stand." I will never in my life buy that garbage. Aside from the fact I think it tastes like whale piss, the advertising annoys me. This, and the fact they repeat the ads every 4 feet shows me they know absolutely nothing about riding the subway. I'm sure some Cranium from Harvard stepped on a subway for 18 minutes and determined that the vast majority of the people don't look more than 2 feet to their left or right. So the brain surgeons repeat the same ad 4 feet to the left, and 4 feet to the right. Brilliant.

The single best thing about advertising is that it attracts graffiti in the subways. Otherwise, it would be an overwhelmingly drab blast to the senses when I'm in absolutely no mood to be oversensitized. Who the fuck wants cognac at 7:59 in the morning? What's wrong with these people?

So I enter the final year of the advertising whore house. Maybe the telemarketing calls will finally stop and I'll cease to even notice the ads on the subways, instead noting that the walls have suddenly become astoundingly clean. I tend to doubt this, but I can only hope. In the meantime, I'm going to use the next 364 days to compile an even more comprehensive list of products to never buy again in the future.

After that, I'll probably beg for the attention they once gave me.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


What is news? Webster defines news as, "A member of the tribe of Judah." Oh wait, that's Jews. My bad. Don't you just hate when people start a commentary with, "so-and-so dictionary defines dictionary as...well, this you jerkoff!"

News is this phenomenon whereby we sit around a television at some predefined time every day and have a pair of moderately not ugly people reveal to us a random cross section of what happened since the last time we performed this ritual. More often than not, this consists of crime. For whatever reason people absolutely love crime. Maybe it's a release which allows us to get angry at society at large for being so barbaric.

I'm not sure why else we would be so taken with news. We all know the percentages, that we're astonishingly unlikely to be raped or murdered by someone outside our family. I recently found that 97% of crime is within the same creed. For those of you scoring at home, it means that white women usually get raped and killed by white men, which is also the same for black, Latino, or any race. (As an aside, it's odd that Latino gets capitalized in my spell checker. Don't we White and Black people have any proper form? Oh right, we're Caucasian and Africa-American now. What are black people from Africa called? I once heard a sportscaster call an African athlete in the Olympics an African-American. The PC train is running way out of control.)

News is this vacuum of ratings where stations try to lure you in by showing you glimpses of how horrible someone else is. It's also this strange replay of how we have not learned anything from our past mistakes. Think about it. How many times have we seen a certain person of a certain race get killed in a certain neighborhood? Or how many times have we seen a certain country oppress a certain people and absorb the repercussions in the form of some certain other people blowing up their assumed oppressor? Or that some certain CEO is bilking the shareholders? It's a sordid cycle we find so fascinating. But if you took the news from a year ago and played it tonight, how many people would even notice the difference?

News is all of that, plus sports and weather. Let me save you the trouble. Some team beat another team. And it rained somewhere. Get outside and stop watching TV. You might learn something new, which would be real news.

Accommodation in aviemore