So I was watching coverage of the beer summit last night, and wondered what they were really talking about. They looked so uncomfortable — how can you drink beer in a suit? And from those stupid mugs? If you’re going to have a beer summit, at least loosen the ties and get out some real pilsner glasses. Did they have another round, after the photographers were shooed away? One after that? I recalled some of my icebreakers for that particular social situation.
I can recite from memory the “famous” statement from the Budweiser label. Here goes; I’ll let Professor Google vet my accuracy later:
This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no other beer produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood aging produces a taste, a smoothness and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price.
(And…perfect. Although Anheuser-Busch spells it “Ageing.” And they use the serial comma after “smoothness.” Bah.)
Now, see, I’d do that. Then Henry Louis Gates, because he’s an academic, would stand and recite a poem. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” something like that. Sgt. Crowley, being a man of the people, would do the “show me the money” scene from “Jerry McGuire,” but only the Tom Cruise part, because if he tried to imitate Cuba Gooding Jr., that would be racist. Then I’d do my knock-the-matchbox-over-with-your-nose gag, if we could find a matchbox. And by then, we’d be singing “Midnight Train to Georgia” and peace would reign in the valley.
I wonder if they’ll ever figure out a way to show our brain hard drives in fragmented form, so we can really see how much space is occupied by stuff like the Budweiser label and the choreography to Gladys Knight & the Pips songs, while we forget key phone numbers and the date of our wedding anniversary.
What’s your best party gag? Please, those who have seen others in my repertoire? Hold your filthy tongues.
They screened the films from our part of the 48-hour challenge last night. It’s entirely possible our group — one of four — was aberrant, but if it wasn’t, I’d say we’re contenders. Having done it twice now, and knowing how difficult it is, I’m tempted to give everyone a pass just for showing up, but, well, hmm.
Technology is an amazing thing. For not very much money, you can own a fancy digital video camera, a computer and the software to put together a movie — a short, or even a feature — that looks a lot like the ones you see in theaters. The rest of it, however, is a different kettle of fish. Whatever else you can say about our story, at least it had a beginning, middle and end, at least it wasn’t acted by people who appeared to have been dragged in off the street, and at least it didn’t feature some hairy guy trimming his beard, dropping the clippings into a glass of water, and drinking the water. I don’t know what genre that was; maybe there was an Andy Warhol division I didn’t know about.
Next stop: The city awards, a week from Saturday. Fingers crossed.
So, a bit of bloggage? Let’s see what’s out there.
I was reading about Annie Leibovitz’s financial problems — good lord, how many houses does one woman need? — when I remembered a charming story an editor of my acquaintance told me: He saw the world’s most famous celebrity photographer in an airport, approached her, slobbered the usual praise, then handed her his cheap point-and-shoot digital and asked if she’d snap a picture of him. She was amused and said sure. Now he has an Annie Leibovitz picture of himself. Do you?
Michael Pollan on the rise of cooking as entertainment — for the viewer. I’ll be reading “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch,” but not until this weekend. Because that’s when Sunday magazines should be read. On Sunday.
Journalists! I think I found the all-purpose four words that precede every bullshit trend story. Ready? For many, it seems… Click if you dare!
Something else I’ll be doing this weekend: Making mango margaritas. I found a local source for cheap, soft Mexican mangos, and I’ve been making mango agua fresca all week. Now that the weekend’s here, time to add a little tequila. Happy Hour starts at 7. See you there.
LAMary said on July 31, 2009 at 10:49 am
I only made it halfway into the NYT vintage shit story. I was stopped by the first names of the people mentioned. All those people would wear eyeglasses with edgy or quaint frames. NY is full of those folks, many of them living on trust funds.
LAMary said on July 31, 2009 at 10:52 am
My only bar trick was writing backwards, backwards upside down, and forwards upside down without having to think about it. Oddly enough, my ex can do the same thing. We met in the bar in the student union. Just goes to show, having the ability to do that trick is not enough to hold a marriage together.
Dorothy said on July 31, 2009 at 11:01 am
This weekend I’m alone since Mike went to Pittsburgh this morning. I have to clean and get ready the two spare bedrooms we have at our house. In two weeks we’ll be welcoming two new students (one from Nepal, one from the Ukraine) who will be attending Kenyon this fall. They only need a place to crash for 3-4 nights, then their housing will be ready. Then we’ll be their in-town contact while they are attending college, their USA Mom and Dad if you will. Here’s hoping this experience will be much more fulfilling than the one we had with the Russian high school kid in South Carolina. Remember him? The one who started running a bath and then decided to surf the ‘net for porn, and subsequently flooded the second floor of our house. Yeah… that one.
Jen said on July 31, 2009 at 11:11 am
I don’t have any really good bar tricks, but my sister can tie a cherry stem with her tongue. She has impressed many, many people with that trick.
Margaritas sound very, very good right now, even though it’s only 11 a.m. Too bad I have to work this afternoon and tonight!
moe99 said on July 31, 2009 at 11:17 am
Jen, my daughter can do that as well. Guess her ivy league education paid off. Her father used to put a paper napkin up to his face and push his tongue through it. Was used to entertain the kids when they were little, too. His less effective trick was to try to dribble water out of his mouth while holding a napkin underneath his chin. That one did not work so well, as I recall.
Me? I remember faintly (it’s been years) if you wrap a dollar bill tightly around a cold beer bottle, you can’t burn a hole through it with a cigarette.
coozledad said on July 31, 2009 at 11:24 am
I don’t know if you can call this an icebreaker, because I usually had a near lethal amount of whatever we’d been drinking when I’d sing the only country Gospel song I’ll ever write: “Hitch Up Your Wagons to Jesus’ Magic Carpet.” The ice was already way melted by then.
Hitch up your wagons
to Jesus’ magic carpet
cause nothin’s gonna stop it
once she’s goin’ boys, She’s gone!
You’d better keep the covenant
cause you cain’t trust the guvment
when the fires of Armageddon come a sweepin’ across your lawn.
Well the Russians seem real quiet
and the Jews’d have us buy it
But you better keep them muskets loaded,
go to church and say your prayers
You don’t want to be a sleepin’
when Ivan comes a creepin’,
cause he’ll steal our precious womenfolk,
our sofas and our chairs.
As I recall, the practicing Christians who witnessed this spectacle would chuckle politely or hide their faces in their hands. I never tried this at a bar. I think it was the ironic 80’s equivalent of a tearful rendition of “Danny Boy”.
MarkH said on July 31, 2009 at 11:30 am
And you haven’t published that, Cooz?
coozledad said on July 31, 2009 at 11:38 am
Mark H: Audience response led me to believe there were certain obstacles to broad mainstream acceptance.
Sue said on July 31, 2009 at 11:57 am
My best party gag is having a margarita, giggling for a couple of minutes and falling asleep. Gets ’em every time.
4dbirds said on July 31, 2009 at 11:58 am
I can whistle very loudly with two fingers in my mouth. Does that count? Of course there’s always pulling your shirt up and showing your tits.
Jenine said on July 31, 2009 at 12:02 pm
I would love to hear that, Czldd, but I’d rather skip the hangover.
My husband does the tongue through the napkin trick. The important part is the build up where he says this is a magic trick and he has to get ready, carefully unfolding the napkin and putting it across his face. Everyone watches the blank expanse of paper and then — tongue!
It’s fun to see who can roll their tongues or cross their eyes. I always thought the ability to roll your tongue was determined by a dominant gene. But I have just learned that no-fun geneticists say it’s more complicated than that. Crossing your eyes can be taught. My husband was aghast that I was teaching our children to cross their eyes and he actually hauled out the threat that “they’ll stay that way!” until I chewed him out. I spent many happy hours as a child learning to cross my eyes, raise each eyebrow independently and turn my eyelids inside out. Why should my children be deprived of all that?!
Joe Kobiela said on July 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm
Lets see after playing rugby for 19yrs there are probably some I should remember. Dave K want to help jog some memory’s.
My passenger for the last two days,hailed from St Louis,after taking him all over the upper and lower peninsular he could not stop talking about the beauty and the friendliness of all the people we met. Give yourself a hand Michigan.
Laura said on July 31, 2009 at 1:10 pm
My husband says that if you play America’s “Horse with No Name” at a party, it will clear a room in under two minutes.
alex said on July 31, 2009 at 1:41 pm
For many, it seems that the camaraderie surrounding the consumption of alcohol has lost its allure.
Let’s see… I can peel the labels cleanly off a beer bottle. (The old “it has to be full and have condensation on it” trick.) And, of course, make bangles out of cocktail straws — rings, bracelets, necklaces.
adrianne said on July 31, 2009 at 1:49 pm
ms. nall derringer, this was not a party trick, but a memory of you in my rooftop aerie in fort wayne at some point in the late 1980s…
at a certain point in the evening, you raided the vegetable crisper and started making rude penis-vegetable comparisons.
Christy S. said on July 31, 2009 at 2:02 pm
“For many, it seems” IS a trend on trends — I’m noticing it a lot, Nancy. Or its cousin: “For many, it appears.” Not only is it poor journalistic writing in general, it’s a yawner of a lede. And what’s really sad is no one edits it out because the editors are so overworked they don’t have time to do rewrites anymore.
Jenflex said on July 31, 2009 at 2:07 pm
Whoooah, Adrianne! Funny! Tell it, girlfriend!
Dorothy said on July 31, 2009 at 2:18 pm
Celery, carrots, green onions, mushrooms – the possibilities are endless!
p.s. Can roll my eyes but not my tongue, in case anyone’s taking a survey.
JC said on July 31, 2009 at 2:19 pm
In my newsroom days, we used to see when the first person would try to slip in “Christmas came early…” as the lead to some feel-good story (donation to pet shelter, playground equipment for daycare center, etc.). As I recall, the earliest Christmas arrived was in July.
I don’t think I ever had a party trick, but my friends still recall that on more than one occasion, after many beers, I would bum a cigarette. Which I would then attempt to light at the wrong end. That will keep your friends amused and keep one from becoming addicted to nicotine.
Scout said on July 31, 2009 at 2:24 pm
“For many, it seems” is the journalistic equivalent to the ubiquitous “Some say” the cable bobbleheads are always spouting in absence of the actual, you know, some who say.
My best bar trick was being able to make a meal out of olives and maraschinos by choosing the seat at the bar closest to the bartender’s garnish supply.
I thought everyone could roll their tongue and cross their eyes, so I never realized I was so multi talented.
paddyo' said on July 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm
At my last paper they intercepted anything with “some say” or “others say” and, of course, “experts say” … not to mention “some experts say …”
And “it seems” or “it appears” were just plain off the table, don’t even try to go there. And that was before the story ever got to the copy desk.
But of course, with the industry-wide decline in staff size and quality, some say that kind of editing is no longer possible.
coozledad said on July 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm
My wife and I used to throw a big party at our former residence. It was called the Granville County Sport-a-Thon, because there was the option of wiffleball and Badminton for the athletically inclined. The best part of the party was always this guy who was sort of a human cannonball. Wherever he was on the acreage, you could tell because of the sound of stuff being broken and the small ripples of laughter becoming convulsive. At one of these parties someone had the idea of placing a ladder back chair in the middle of a group of people who were drunkenly dancing, and they began taking turns leaping over the chair. Cannonball had been doing a kind of Scottish sword-dance when he decided to make his leap. He came down testicles-first on the back of the chair and split the lion’s share of the rungs out of it, then collapsed unconscious in a heap beside the wreckage. It was my party, so while everyone else was laughing I had to try and determine if he was still alive. For this stunt, he was presented a bottle of orange flavored fortified wine at the next year’s party.
Jason T. said on July 31, 2009 at 2:43 pm
“According to a spokesman”: I’m rewriting a press release
“Emergency officials said”: A cop who didn’t want to be quoted
“Told this reporter”: Look at me, ma, I’m doin’ journalism!
“This newspaper has learned”: Suck it, competition
“A sometimes contentious hearing”: Public called board members “a–holes”
And yes, I have been (and still am, occasionally) guilty of all of these. Forgive me, father, for I have written news on deadline.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm
What Christy S. & Jason T. said – and my next updates will be from Walt Disney World . . . yeeeeehaaaah (i feel like Slim Pickens riding the big one down to Ground Zero).
nancy said on July 31, 2009 at 3:22 pm
Whenever people talk about the glamorous parties at this or that Hollywood sewer, I reflect on the many, many affairs I’ve attended like the one Coozledad describes, and think that they are not only more fun than listening to Jackson Browne drone on about nuclear power over canapes, but, well, MUCH more fun. Party on, Cannonball.
adrianne said on July 31, 2009 at 3:24 pm
i believe ms. nall found a zucchini that compared favorably with…oh, i can’t say!
nancy said on July 31, 2009 at 3:27 pm
Adrianne, I told you to hold your filthy tongue. I’m invoking P.J. O’Rourke’s all-purpose excuse: “I was drunk.”
paddyo' said on July 31, 2009 at 3:30 pm
Mr. Cooze —
“kind of Scottish sword-dance”??
So, was he in-kilt or not-in-kilt?
And evidently he wasn’t, uh, kilt by the chair stunt, then…
JT — oh yes, guilty here, too . . . I’m guessing we all have transgressed on that pot-holed road to “some/ others/ officials/ et al. say” … and how about “controversial” to go with “contentious”? “Strongly worded”? “Overheard”?
MichaelG said on July 31, 2009 at 3:38 pm
When I was at the Univ. of Ill. there was a joint called Prehn’s on Oregon. The trick there was to peel the label off the beer bottle (Alex has the method), lay it on your wallet and underhand your wallet at the ceiling. The label was supposed to stick on the ceiling. I got to be pretty fair at it. Practice.
I’m doing the eyeball and tongue thing now. Can you see?
On the ride down to Burbank the other day, the flight attendant sounded exactly like Paula Deen. My gag reflex almost started before I could suppress it. She was also as old as Paula Deen. I like older flight attendants. So many of them have that salty diner persona. On the flight back that aft the captain was a short, chubby, white haired, little old lady with those gold wire earpiece – frameless glasses, if you get what I mean, and a big, smile, and a big, witty, wisecracking voice when she stood in the cockpit door saying goodbye to the pax. She clearly loved her job and I loved her. Airplanes really have, changed since the seventies. The first female airline pilot I had was many, many years ago on the old Texas International Airlines. She was a tall, lanky blonde.
Time for my weekly question. Where is Michael Jackson? Did they bury him yet? Maybe they should cremate him. Sell him off a few grains at a time like a medieval Catholic relic. They could put the grains in expensive designer reliquaries and make tons of money and create a nice black market in fakes.
Jean S said on July 31, 2009 at 4:09 pm
Cooze, I trust you also know “dropkick me Jesus through the goalposts of life..”
moe99 said on July 31, 2009 at 4:09 pm
I owe my existence to maraschino cherries at the bar. The bar at the Old Faithful Lodge to be exact. My parent worked there the summer of 1950. Dad was a bartender and Mom was the hostess at the restaurant. Mom loved maraschino cherries and would sneak into the bar at quiet times and steal them. She got to talking to the tall, gawky blond haired bartender and the rest is history, as they say in journalism. (g)
Of course there were some rocky points on the road to marriage. Like the time my dad’s sister and her husband showed up that summer and mom seated them in the worst table in the room. Or the time my dad heard on the radio that war had been declared in Korea and he and a couple of buddies got drunk–thinking they were going to be drafted. They ended up carrying on some (bunch of guys dancing with each other in the parking lot is what I recall from the story to Waltzing Matilda?) at the same time as mom’s parents drove up. But, somehow everything got smoothed over and the wedding took place Aug. 10, 1951, in Little Falls, MN.
MarkH said on July 31, 2009 at 4:12 pm
Jason…priceless. Especially the part about “the contentious hearing”. Reminds me of the township trustee and board of education meetings i used to cover in Fairfield Co., Ohio.
paddyo’, more reasons to lament the passing of the Rocky Mountain News.
No bar tricks here (although I too could do the cherry stem knot), just a long ago alcohol-fogged memory involving our web madam, or, How I Met Mrs. Hatchett. Nancy, didn’t you and BFF Becky and I attend a wedding about 30 years ago, after which I convinced both of you we should end the night at the Southern Hotel bar? This was way prior to the renovation, when Bill Mnich still owned the place, and was my employer at WMNI radio. I assured you two that the eclectic (ahem) Saturday night crowd would not disappoint. All I remember is that George, the rotund German bartender was immediately smitten by my companions and kept the drinks flowing until closing. I was Becky’s date, and I woke up next morning sprawled on Becky’s porch with her mother peering around the front door in her robe: “And just who in the hell are you?”
I don’t know if I dare ask you to fill in the blanks, but does any of that sound familiar, Nancy? Sheesh, how’d I live so long….
ROgirl said on July 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm
This song seemed appropriate for the occasion.
Dexter said on July 31, 2009 at 5:43 pm
Big News Dept: Gates switched to Samuel Adams Light at the last minute, from Red Stripe.
Craig Crawford came out today during an interview with Imus . Just like that. Easy Peasy. He’s been with his David for 22 years.
alex said on July 31, 2009 at 7:03 pm
Ah, maraschinos. I had that same quirky habit of swiping maraschinos—when I was five years old. Used to fish them out of unattended drinks at my parents’ parties. Occasionally I’d swipe the jar from the fridge and hide them under my bed, where I’d steal off for delightful episodes of guilty pleasure. On the other hand, that’s the way life taught me that unrefrigerated cream cheese would make me projectile puke.
Scout said on July 31, 2009 at 8:16 pm
Yeah, that’s how I got started in my life of bar garnish crime – sneaking them one at a time from the fridge. Then I learned that after the first Manhattan my parents would believe me when I told them that they had eaten the cherry already, didn’t they remember?
Dexter said on August 1, 2009 at 2:20 am
Follow-up: Jill and Kevin are in divorce court. It started for us at nnc. and it ends here!
(hell of a parody)
basset said on August 1, 2009 at 8:29 am
ah yes, Sam Adams… the “Boston” beer largely made in Cincinnati, in the old Schoenling plant. rather have a Little King myself.
paddyo' said on August 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm
Did somebody say maraschinos? When I was 4 or so, I swiped a whole bottle of them from my grandparents’ bar cabinet, went into the empty living room, sat on the rug and ate them all. Then the grown-ups came in and caught me red-handed — and red-faced (around the mouth, anyway).
Little Bird said on August 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm
This is just a note from Deborah’s daughter. I saw her comment a few posts back.
I really hope that the mix of the three sleep aids works. Her first flight got canceled, so they were diverted to a (much) later flight. Only to find out that their seats are in the VERY back of the plane. Against the wall. Their seats can’t recline. Did I mention that the diverted flight is to London?
This was just an update, for those that have come to know her.
nancy said on August 2, 2009 at 8:43 pm
Yes, let’s hope. On the other hand, if they work too well, she could wake up in Dubai or something. Fingers crossed.