Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you.

Just two short months after Gene Wilder's passing, we finally get around to celebrating him. And since it's Halloween, enjoy a five-minute version of Young Frankenstein.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Educating the Youth of America (With Bonus Trivia Question)

One of many joys of parenting is the opportunity it conveys to properly educate/brainwash children about the things you find important. In my case, the topics on which my kids actually listen to me are generally limited to liberal politics, respect for our fellow man, and music. I'm doing my best, y'all.

My high schooler was excited to tell me about Miley Cyrus' new song, 'Jolene', earlier this week. For all her eccentricities (and don't try to tell me you wouldn't be just a tad fucked up if you grew up in public), Miley's got some pipes. At least in the sense that she sings loudly and powerfully - we'll leave a discussion of nuance and emotion until she grows up a little. It's a pretty good tune, though.

After I listed to the song, I told my daughter to Google Dolly Parton's original version. As soon as the legend started singing, my daughter's eyes widened, and she said, 'holy shit, she's amazing'. (Colorful language, actually, is one other thing my daughters get from me, now that I think about it.) Ain't that the truth. Now she's been searching for other Dolly Parton tunes to see if she can learn them on the ukelele. Seeds, planted.

I mentioned this briefly on Twitter a few days ago, and a Gheorghie responded to tell me that Dolly's 'Jolene' was on his Top 10 songs list. For extra credit (and assuming you didn't see the exchange online), name that Gheorghie. And for him (or her), I'd love to see that list.

And just for fun, here are Miley and Dolly (goddaughter and godmother, as it turns out) singing the tune together in 2010.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Memory Lane

"Next year is right now. It's 12:30 am, I'm drunk, tears are dried on my cheeks, and I have a perma-grin on my face that's not likely to recede any time soon. To steal from the great Jack Buck, I cannot believe what I just saw." - Misery Loves Company, October 28, 2004

As I settle in to watch one of the most feel-good World Series of my lifetime, I find my mind drifting back twelve years. Thanks to the Chicago Cubs, the 2016 Fall Classic is an opportunity for me to vicariously re-experience one of the great fortnights of my life.

If you'll indulge me, we're off on a blatantly selfish tour of my memory banks.

Popular culture's long past it now, in a millenium when the Red Sox have won three World Series championships, but in 2004, the Boston nine were still losers. Lovable, if you were connected to the Hub, and enjoyably cursed if you weren't. And when they went down 3-0 to the Yankees in the ALCS, one short year removed from a gutting series loss to their greatest rivals, next year seemed impossibly far away.

The morning after the third loss of that ALCS, a mere 10 days before I wrote the quote that leads this post, I said this, "I simply am not smart enough, or talented enough to put adequate words to my utter disappointment with these Red Sox." The Yankees had just pasted the Sox, 19-8, in Fenway, leading to shot after shot of dejected Bostonians sitting in stunned silence in the stands.

Whitney and I started writing Misery Loves Company at the outset of the 2003 baseball season. It made me a better writer, and it made me a better baseball fan. It made me think about the game, and find new ways to talk about it. To be honest, we wrote some stuff over the six years that we did it that I'm quite proud of. (And a decent volume of crap, to be fair.) I really loved doing that blog, and it was made all the better because I got to do it with my best friend. And now, I'm extremely grateful that I wrote all that stuff down more than a decade ago.

I wasn't so grateful after Game 3.

Everyone knows the history (and some of you are Yankees fans), so I'll spare you the blow by blow. That ALCS was so cathartic that I literally fell to the ground after the final out of Game 7 in tears, pounding my living room floor, crying and yelling "they did it!" over and over again.

In all honesty, after the emotion of the ALCS, the World Series against the Cardinals was almost anti-climactic. It's easy to say this in retrospect, but there was no way that particular Red Sox team, that band of idiots, was going to lose. When they finally won, I wrote something that I saw echoed online just this last week:

"Somewhere, Charlie Brown is smoking a cigarette, the Little Red-Haired Girl's head nestled against his shoulder as they lay in the afterglow of beautiful cartoon lovemaking. Lucy's sitting outside wondering how the hell he kicked that ball so far."

That's one of the best paragraphs I'll ever write.

In the days and weeks after the Red Sox series-clinching win, I saw and heard a lot of people writing about how things would change for their fans. That the curse-busting championship would forever change the essential character of Sox fandom. Maybe they were right. I certainly don't follow the Red Sox with the same intensity, though that's a function of the way my life has changed more than any diminishing interest. My Dad's Sox fandom took on a different character as he got older, even though they never won one until he was 57.

But I wouldn't trade those 10 days in October 2004 for anything, even if it means I don't get to feel the same gut-twisting, will-it-ever-happen anxiety again. That time brought me a joy that I still find hard to express. Everyone should be so lucky.

And right now, Cubs fans are four games away from being just that. My own memories of 2004 are fresh enough that I know exactly how they feel. This was famed Cubbie backer Bill Murray after the Cubs toppled the Dodgers to win the National League pennant.

I know how you feel. Boy, do I.

FOX Sports opened its coverage of this World Series with a montage of elderly Cubs and Indians fans talking about their excitement to have a chance to see their teams win it all just one time. It reminded me of hearing about so many New Englanders in their 70s, 80s, and 90s experiencing the bliss of the Sox finally winning it all.

Sometime in the next week or so, another long-suffering group of fans will feel a joy they worried they'd never experience. And I'll be thrilled for them. Joy, after all, is worth celebrating.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WWzD: Big and Classy, but Cheap

I like to kill a few minutes here and there by browsing through the Hemmings app, usually looking at cars I can't afford but occasionally finding a few gems that make me consider clogging up my driveway. I'm typically looking for something undervalued or underappreciated by the masses, ideally for sale by the original owner. One particularly effective category of zclickbait is big classy old cars that are surprisingly cheap. And by "classy" I mean the type of car that people notice and recognize but isn't overly ostentatious. You can find a Turbo R or Eight for under $20,000 but unless you're a senior citizen with a British accent you'll look like a dooshwhistle in a Bentley. I'm looking for the type of car your grandfather bought as a gift to himself on his 69th birthday.

For example, this 1983 BMW 733i is available for "$15,000 negotiable." And it looks pretty crispy. I love the angular shark-like front ends of early 80s BMWs and the 733i was the flagship of the US line in 1983. It has a straight six making 181 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The 5 speed manual transmission makes it especially choice. It only has 88,000 miles and it's being sold by the owner (as opposed to a used car dealer) who bought it new and states "As I approach 90 need for a highway tourer has diminished and I believe it is time for another caring owner." And it's in Greenwich so the whole story sounds legitimate. The price is well above book value but I suspect it's worth it. If you're looking for a big old Bimmer this is a great place to start--see if you can haggle your way down to $12k and don't look back.

This 1986 Jaguar XJ6 can be taken home for the paltry sum of $7,900. If not for the fact that we're redoing zbathroom next month I would be hard pressed to come up with a reason not to buy this. The XJ6 might be the most beautiful sedan of the past 45 years. This one has the classic Jag straight 6, under 58,000 miles, very good paint, an excellent interior, and it's about 13 miles from my house--for sale by owner nonetheless. It would be perfect if it were green. But if you're looking to get into a hand-built British luxury car for less than a Nissan Versa (which is the cheapest new car in America), look no further. It's less reliable than the 733i, but you won't find a better combination of price and beauty. People will automatically assume you're old money when you pull up in this thing.

The most obvious big classy cheap car is a four-door Mercedes. There's a reason Jay-Z has a thing for them big body Benzes. They're iconic. The W123 series are also plentiful, nearly indestructible, and typically pampered by their original owners. I have a soft spot for the ones with matching hubcaps and my love of station wagons is well documented. This 1981 300TD pulls especially hard on my heartstrings because it has the legendary turbodiesel 5-cylinder engine. And it's a manual. Yes, that's right, a 35 year old red Mercedes stick-shift inline-5 turbodiesel station wagon with matching hubcaps. I'm completely smitten. It's for sale by a dealer, which gives me pause, but their video is absolutely pornographic.

I would eventually swap out the clear fog lights for yellow ones, that's easy. I can live with the few interior flaws, but the hood ornament doesn't stand up straight which makes me wonder what happened to the front end over the past three-and-a-half decades. And it's in Michigan. If a little old lady in Bronxville was selling this thing though ... I'd be hurtling up the Henry Hudson with $9000 in cash instead of writing this post.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dave Is Brilliant (according to Dave)

Although we've been a little slower pumping out the episodes since school started, we are still making The Test.

I haven't posted all the episodes up here, because my prolific creativity annoys Marls, but the newest episode is something special (and my favorite one so far). This is mainly because the final question-- which I conceived in my super-brilliant brain-- is a culmination of not only everything we've learned on the podcast, but quite possibly ties all the knowledge in the universe together, an enormous version of Lebowski's rug. The ladies might not wholeheartedly agree with my assessment, but they don't totally disagree either.

I also set a cunning pepper-related trap, which they fall into headfirst (and refuse extrication). And we solve a mystery.

It's an amazing tour-de-force. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll shoot mucous from your nose, and if you're not careful, you just might learn something (pepper-related).

Sunday, October 23, 2016

World Series Open Thread

(Read: lazy man working on a World Series post didn't get it done.)

We'll break down the Series, G:TB style, over the next few days, but suffice it to say that our editorial position is that it's really freaking cool to see the Cubs make it to the this point, and it's hard for some of us to root against Terry Francona.

Friday, October 21, 2016

I'm going to miss Joe Biden

I never understood how I went to college in southeastern Virginia, NASCAR country, but only met one other car guy (El Weenaldo). We need more car guys. Guys like Joe Biden and his mint 1967 Corvette. 1967 was the final year of the second-generation (or "C2") cars, and I think they are some of the most beautiful sports cars ever, especially the convertibles. Biden's has the base 327 engine but it can still lay a patch.

Any car guy would love a C2 Vette in Goodwood Green. But this is more than just a great classic car to the Vice President. Watch this video.

Every time he sees this car, he's reminded of his father whom I'm sure he loved. Every time he sees this car, he's reminded of his wedding with his first wife who died tragically. Every time he sees this car, he's reminded of his son Beau who also died tragically. I can't fathom the memories and emotions this hunk of iron and fiberglass stirs in him. The smells of combusted leaded gasoline and burned rubber, the clatter of sixteen pushrod-activated overhead valves and almost unfettered exhaust, the feel of the road through the bottom of the seat and the huge skinny wheel, the whole experience has to be moving every time he gets behind the wheel.

Maybe you never worked on a car with your father, or your father never had an American car with a big V8 and a convertible top, or maybe you saw your father every day so your only quality with him wasn't the drive to and from his house on Saturdays. Maybe this video doesn't choke you up from 1:15 to 2:20. Maybe you aren't a car guy. But if you are, you understand why I went from misty-eyed at the 2:10 mark to full-on "FUCK YEAH JOE!!" joyousness at the 2:27 mark.

I'm going to miss Joe Biden. I hope that in a few months he gets to drive his cherry Vette as much as he wants and that he enjoys everything it evokes inside him.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Progress Is On The Ballot

I've struggled for a while, probably for this entire cycle, to articulate the reasons why I'm voting for Hillary Clinton. I mean, I'm unequivocally voting against Donald Trump, for reasons that are self-evident to anyone that knows me. But when I saw this ad a few days ago, it fell into place for me.

I'm voting for Hillary Clinton because she's a continuation of the progress that I believe President Obama has made. And because she's a direct repudiation of the strategy of obstructionism, cynicism, and yes, racism, that the modern GOP employs. I don't love everything about her, but I'm with her.

I'm with her because of him.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

They're Playing Our Song

As a devoted fan of American Whiskey, I've been watching a new trend that purists may find close to blasphemous. Distillers across the country (and the world) are blending different whiskey types to create new hybrid styles.

According to Bloomberg (please don't tell my employer that I read something from Bloomberg), the practice isn't entirely new. In the sober days of Prohibition, boozemakers running low on spirits would mix their stuff to extend their stock. Now, though, distillers are doing it on purpose.

And if I know my audience, I believe I've found the hybrid whiskey that'll soon be gracing bars across the Gheorgheverse.

Japanese spirits house Chichibu is marketing Ichiro's Malt & Grain, a blend of whiskeys from "the big five" whiskey-producing countries: the U.S., Canada, Scotland, Ireland, and Japan. Bloomberg says the $65 bottle (hard to find in the U.S. under $100, apparently) is "silky and elegant, with warming, almond-like tones and a honey-pepper finish".

Bloomberg also touts a three-decade blend from The Hilhaven Lodge (rye from the 1980s, Tennessee whiskey from the 1990s, and bourbon from the 2000s), Wild Turkey's 'Forgiven', which is 78% six year-old bourbon and 22% four year-old rye, and High West's Campfire, which includes rye, bourbon, and a bit of Scotch.

Those all sound tasty, but I think we all know what we'll be looking for at our local packie. First one to find Ichiro needs to report back to the class.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Gheorghasbord: Happy Fun Time Edition

As we lurch on towards November 8, each day seemingly more disgusting than the next, our relentless plumbing the colon of the body politic exposing our ugliest secrets, it's high time that we find a few reasons to be happy to be alive.

First and foremost, we're alive. That's pretty fucking great, even as we sometimes focus too narrowly on the things that aren't (present company really guilty). And according to the highest authority in the land, we're alive at the greatest moment in human history. In a guest essay for Wired, Barack Obama said, "...the truth is, if you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you’d choose this one. Right here in America, right now." (He also admitted to being a Trekkie, which we probably should've known - the ears, and all.)

The fundamental optimism of his essay stands in stark contrast to the elemental doom projected by the GOP Presidential nominee, which is just one more of a thousand reasons why I'm going to greatly miss President Obama. As, after a time, will nearly all of us.

Shlara had an inkling that I'd be writing this kind of post today, because she linked to a story about finding happiness in being present in the comments of the previous post. Penned by a former touring musician, it explores the notion of the relativity of joy and peace. When the author, stuck washing dishes in a bar owned by Michael Stipe, questions the R.E.M. frontman's complaints about having a bad day, he gets a lesson. According to Stipe, “Getting rich and famous only solves two problems. Not being famous and not having any money. And it hands you a whole new set of problems you never knew you could have.”

Here's to the problems we've got, and may they pale in comparison to the joy at hand all around us.

This is Lynden Gooch. He's an American.
You'll hear more about him.
While the election's certainly important, I'd much rather be focusing on November 11. On that date, the U.S. Men's National Team begins the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Jurgen Klinsmann's lads, fresh off a pair of middling tune-up performances, take on old rival Mexico in the first of ten qualifying matches. We host Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, where we've beaten El Tri four consecutive times by identical 2-0 scores. If you hear your soccer-minded friends saying 'dos a cero' a lot in the run up, you'll know why.

We're odds on favorites to advance to our eighth consecutive World Cup, needing only to finish in the top three of the six teams (besides us, it's Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and Honduras), but there are no guarantees. After playing Mexico at home, we play at Costa Rica, and there's a non-zero chance that we start in a hole. Getting a result in at least one of those two matches would go a long way to easing the nerves of American soccer fans.

Finally, the thing that's probably got me the happiest at the moment is the fact that college basketball season is a mere month away. On the same night that the U.S. entertains Mexico in Columbus, a handful of really good games tips off the season. Indiana plays Kansas and Arizona takes on Michigan State in the Armed Forces Classic, getting the season off to a quick start.

Guys, I think this is the Tribe's year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Name's Pete Nice. You Want My Autograph?

I recently uncovered an old iTunes playlist I made for a party many years ago. I loaded it onto my iPhone for shits and gigs. I played it while walking to the train for my commute home. Two big takeaways:

1) Super Bon Bon is the perfect Manhattan walking-with-a-purpose tune. Catchy, intense and angry, but not the kind of speed metal that makes you want to punch someone.

2) Hol-ee crap, do I dig the old 3rd Bass tunes. Everyone kinda digs them, I know. This isn't a big call I'm making. But cranking Brooklyn Queens is all kinds of awesome. And after watching Boogie Nights 69 times, I now recognize that the tune sampled Best of My Love by The Emotions. Totally enjoyable tune as I trek from 50th & Park to 50th & Broadway to take the 1 train south to Penn Station.

Dig it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Daddy's Little Psycho

It's been 18 months since I wrote about Green Day in this space, Now, on the occasion of their latest studio album, Revolution Radio, I return to celebrate* the greatest pure rock band of my generation.

(* - I'm gonna write a few sentences and post a video.)

Green Day turn 30 years old this year. Its primary members are all squarely in their mid-40s, the inchoate and aimless rage of their early 20s replaced by an idealistically socially conscious one. For me, that idealism serves a selfish purpose, as my 15 year-old daughter just got turned onto the band and is fast becoming a fan.

In March, Green Day bring three chords and the truth (contractually obligated to say that, at this point) to the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, where I'll get to fulfill one of my own rock and roll bucket list items alongside my kid. Not quite 'She's a Rebel', but an 'Extraordinary Girl' in my book.

Here's the video from 'Bang Bang', the first single from the new record. It sounds a lot like Green Day.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Trumpty Trump Advises Us All To Just Grab 'Em In The Biscuits

Digital Underground was a relatively popular hiphop group in the late 1980's. Their most popular song was "The Humpty Dance" in which group "member" Humpty Hump stated "I'm the one who said just grab 'em in the biscuits!" which was a reference to another song on the same album, "Doowutchyalike" in which Humpty Hump implored women thusly: "Homegirls, for once, forget you got class, see a guy you like: just grab 'em in the biscuits!" I refer to Humpty as a "member" of DU because he was Shock G's alter ego--he put on a fake nose, spoke in a fake voice, and adopted the personality of a nerdy lecher.

About 25 years later, presidential candidate DJ Trump got into hot water when video footage surfaced of him encouraging the nephew of former president George H.W. Bush that, upon seeing beautiful women, he should grab 'em in the biscuits, albeit less euphemistically. There was immediate hue and cry from the fifth estate.

DJ Trump's wife Melania rushed to his aid with a press release, stating that the man in the video is not the man she knows, that this nerdy lecher Trumpty Trump character in the video is merely one of DJ Trump's alter egos and that the real DJ Trump is worthy of leading the free world. This was one of the first, if not the first, public statements from Melania after giving a speech in which she bit lines from one of Michelle Obama's speeches--once Melania's status as a sucka MC was discovered she went underground.

In a stunning turn of events, Republicans holding elected federal offices felt that Trumpty Trump's advice to Lil Bush was unbecoming of a presidential candidate. In a moment of tremendous courage, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) withdrew his support for DJ Trump, noting that he cannot look his 15-year-old daughter in the eye and tell her what Trumpty Trump said. Seriously, he said "My wife and I, we have a 15-year-old daughter, and if I can’t look her in the eye and tell her these things, I can’t endorse this person." Here's the video.

I guess this means that Rep. Chaffetz can look his daughter in the eye and tell her that Mexicans are rapists; that Gonzalo Curiel is not qualified to judge non-Hispanics because he is of Mexican ancestry; that we should discriminate against immigrants based on their race, religion, or nation of origin; that we should ban Muslims from entering the country; that it's presidential to discuss the size of one's penis; that Saddam Hussein was and Vladimir Putin is strong and effective leaders; that John McCain isn't a hero for his service; that Muslim Gold Star parents don't deserve respect.

Predictably, many Republicans are now walking away from DJ Trump and his Trumpty Trump character. What a bunch of buffoons. After all the atrocities DJ Trump spit on the mic, they expect me to believe that this new misogyny in a litany of woman-hating quotes is the final bridge too far? Of course it isn't. If Trump had a snowball's chance against Hillary they'd still be standing with him. Now that he's tanked in the polls and the debate they're jumping ship at the first opportunity.

I detest the Bush and potential Clinton dynasties. I am disgusted by the idea that the past five presidencies could be held by only three families. It runs against the Founders' intent and common sense--what's the likelihood that four of the best qualified people to be president are contained in two generations of two families? I probably would have voted for any reasonable Republican candidate who didn't run on a platform involving "more guns and more god" as a plank.

Instead I'm voting Democrat on the entire ticket. The top of the ticket is deeply flawed but greatly preferable to the alternative, and the rest of the slate cannot possibly have less integrity than the clowns on the other side of the aisle in Washington.

Hopefully DJ Trump and his Trumpty Trump shtick will fade into relative obscurity like Shock G and Humpty Hump. But I wouldn't count on it.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

G:TB Blows Up

Dave mocked it, because he couldn't understand it. To be fair, Dave has a mental disorder that makes him unable to comprehend normal human emotional range, but he still mocked it.

Davo and Rog understood it, though.

A few short days ago, in celebration of the news that Bob Bradley had been tabbed as the first American manager of an English Premier League side, I tweeted a decidedly mixed message.

The point of this hyperbolic sentiment was that Bradley's tenure as Swansea manager will have an outsized impact on the future of American soccer. If he succeeds, doors open for American coaches and players. If he fails, if the pressure, or the media, or the fans, or the fact that he doesn't have great players at the moment conspire to see Swansea relegated this Spring, then doors close to Americans for a  long time. Bob Bradley carries a lot of weight on his American shoulders.

Men in Blazers' Twitter feed retweeted my take, which earned me fleeting internet fame, as well as Dave's derision when I mentioned it in the GTB comments.

But yesterday, America's leading soccer podcast doubled down on my genius. Check out the most recent Men in Blazers podcast, and skip ahead to 22:15. Check in a few minutes earlier if you want context.

If you're too lazy to go to the audio, here's the transcript: "@batogato tweeted us beautifully," said Roger Bennett, before reading the tweet. "You couldn't have put it better. Starting October 15, the whole of this country will be cheering for Bob. Godspeed."

I'm a pretty big deal.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Gheorghie Service Announcement

I guess I could've just texted this to a couple of guys, but I'm sitting here with a killer case of writer's block and trying to reverse jinx the Red Sox by sort of ignoring the first game of the ALDS, so...anyway.

Those of you who dig Drive-By Truckers undoubtedly know about their new record, American Band. NPR Music, which, if you haven't heard us say it enough, is one of the best outlets on the internet for killer music of all kinds, got the band to play the new tunes in front of a live audience. Though the P stands for public, they don't let you embed the video, which is a bit ironic. But you can find it here.

The Houston Press hails the record as not just another terrific rock album, but the culmination of the Truckers' political evolution into the progressive voice of the modern South. From the review, "And some might say that we should have seen this one coming. The Drive-By Truckers have never shied away from pissing people off or addressing the tough issues, but this album represents something much bigger than political ideology or commentary on the state of the South. With American Band, the Drive-By Truckers are ultimately redefining the Southern identity."

"What It Means", the first single from the record pulls no punches, going in straightaway on Trayvon Martin and racial inequality. Judging from social media, it pissed off a lot of Truckers fans. Which may well have been expected. But as The Houston Press concludes, "...being “Ever South” doesn’t have to mean being quite so ass-backwards."

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

There Should Have Been Only One

In all the hubbub in my life last week, I missed my opportunity to celebrate a singular artistic achievement, one that marks a distinct moment in my life. On September 27, Lionsgate (the same people that gave us 'More Than a Game', which led to what's quite possibly G:TB's peak achievementreleased a 30th Anniversary DVD and Blu-Ray of Highlander.

If 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of one of the great, underrated action adventure flicks, it also served as the 27th (ish) anniversary of the first (of dozens) of times Clarence, Dave, Whitney, Almighty Yojo, and I watched that same movie in the Pit, the central gathering area of the College of William & Mary's Unit M, erstwhile home of the Virginia Psi chapter of Pi Lambda Phi (a non-sectarian fraternity).

It's been years since I watched Connor MacLeod's (of the Clan MacLeod) story in its entirety, and I suppose it may be possible that the plot that I found so enjoyable as a young man doesn't stand the test of time. Fuck, it's been 30 years, after all. But I have no doubt that Clancy Brown's Kurgan holds firm to his rightful place amongst the greatest villains in cinematic history.

The word sinister was coined to describe that dude.

In retrospect, the casting of Frenchman Christopher Lambert as the Scotsman MacLeod might've been questionable, and the main character's acting range in the film is charitably described as limited, but you try living for a millennium knowing the Kurgan raped and killed the love of your life and see how animated you are.

One of the real wonders, all these years later, is why they never made a sequel to such a cult classic. Done well, it would've been box office gold. Real shame, that.

Saturday, October 01, 2016


If I'm being honest, I gotta admit that this election is affecting my mood, if not my mental health. I intellectually understand the rise of Trump, but I can't fathom how so many people I consider to be rational adults look at the choice before us and gleefully choose the least qualified major party candidate in modern history. I'm really at a loss, and it's making me reconsider my worldview, which is generally aligned with the whole moral arc bends towards justice thing.

So I think I need to spend more time thinking about beer. And I believe I've found a place to help me do that.

Bruges is one of the world's oldest and most historic cities. It was chartered in 1128, but civilization there dates back to at least the 9th century BC. A city that old, with so much history, has a lot to protect. And a city like Bruges, that loves beer, needs a lot of trucks to rumble around narrow, cobblestone streets to deliver suds. The combination isn't optimal for those who would preserve the West Flanders capital city, a UNSECO protected site.

Enter the geniuses at De Halve Maan brewery, who have been delivering quaffs to Bruges' citizens since 1856. As of two weeks ago, they won't be sending delivery trucks across the city, but they'll be supplying just as many establishments.

Their secret? A 3 km network of pipes that pump beer directly from their tanks to a bottling plant in close proximity to the historic district. The result, fewer truck trips, less wear and tear on centuries-old streets, and beer flowing beneath one of Europe's great little cities.

The next, obvious step, for an enterprising brewery seems obvious. Direct pipes from brewery to taps across a city. Cut out the need for delivery vehicles entirely. And make Flanders great again.