Man Walks Into a Pub, by Pete Brown

manwalksI bought another beer book. I picked up a copy of “Man Walks into a Pub” by Pete Brown on Thursday after noon and it was done by Sunday. Not bad for guy with kiddies. The Guardian said:

So, as well as the irreverent approach Brown takes to beer’s history, he has a refreshingly sensible take on its present.

Sensible is an interesting word. Most beer books are written by nerdy homebrewers or self-appointed gurus like Michael Jackson. Both have a technical interest or at least the desire to impart a reverence for the subject. …I hope the bag of chips are for him…Brown is an advertising executive who has handled both the Heineken and Stella Artois accounts and a someime talking head for TV in the UK on things beery. It shows. He treats fans of real ale as hobbiest and treats them with slightly less contempt than temperence unionists and government regulators. But most of the time not without reason.

That being said, the book is easily accessible, funny and, but for a few factual errors you would only know after having a collection of books and subscriptions to a couple of magazine about beer, a pretty good history of the subject from a 2003 English, rather than even British, perspective. Unlike any other book I have read, Brown focuses on why and how people in England actually drink beer, how they are affected by advertising and changes in pub ownership, and how lager has come to dominate the market while being vapid bubble water – even if from something of a natural apologist’s point of view.

Find a pint of Hook Norton Haymaker or Old Hooky and have a giggle at the expense of lager drinkers.

Asleep on the Beach


I've grown in so many ways in the last 17 years

As my life as PEI resident comes to a close – the water test was clear – I thought I would pull an old chestnut out of the photo album from one of my first “” experiences in the Province.

Taken in 1986, it shows your gentle correspondent in repose on the beach at dawn after about 14 hours of wild-eyed pintin’ at the shore at a cottage in the Darnley area. You will see in the foreground both an empty Keiths and a film case laying next to my sandy head. Through the night I took about 5 rolls worth of pictures of the 30 or so of us which, care of the tripod, came through the event far clearer than I did.

This photo was taken by my buddy Jonny with the last frame of the last roll before he himself keeled over one night, one summer seventeen years ago.

Pay off Google?

From this morning’s Kingston Whig-Standard in a story about efforts to counteract the decline in local tourism from America and elsewhere:

…popular Internet search engine Google was paid to rank the Web site high in Google searches so that people who are looking for information on Kingston or tourism in Canada are sent to the campaign site first.

Surely Google would be useless if rankings were to be affected by payment.

Dead Ducks

Duck soup, duck pie, duck jelly, duck wine....

One of the neat things about this picture from the 1930’s of my grandfather-in-law Stuart Penny and his brother Rae at the end of a day’s hunting at Honey Harbour, Ontario is that I have two of the decoys they used, one with buckshot in its butt.

Tag – You’re It!

…and I am going to quit playing for a while. 11 days off. Drove for 4 of them. 3300 km or so. Other 7 full of cleaning out the house which appears to have sold pending closing. Some thoughts from between Kingston and PEI, the length of the St.Lawrence:

  • The two best looking parts of Canada on the drive are both in Quebec: the Kamouraska areas between Riviere-du-Loup and Pocatiere on Highway 20 (huge granite mounds in the river and on the land, between which the river and the road flow respectively); and the waterfront road at the foot of the cliffs at Levis across from Quebec City (active working river, old rail bed used by hundreds as we watched for biking and roller blading, Chateau Frontenac in front of almost as many layers of mountains in the dusk as Montpellier, Vermont);

  • Old car tapes are a minefield of emotions. Bought before my CD buying days began around 1993, I was brought back to a rawer time. Garnett Rogers is pretty damn good. Damn song about a damn pigeon makes me cry every time I hear it;

  • Worst service in the world: The Kentucky Fried on the west 401 at Cornwall. Stood with wife and children at a till for five minutes as teen staff walked two feet past us setting up a fan for themselves to be told when we said we were leaving becuse the service was so bad, that the sign at the other end of the counter said “cash”. As there were five tills each with other families waiting, the meaning of this message eluded us. Please shun this establishment on your travels;

  • Cars are amazing. For about 75 to 80 bucks (Canadian) you can go 1500 kilometres either in one day (my trip to PEI) or over three (the return);

  • Best diners: the Irving Big Stop at Salisbury NB on the Trans-Canada (good diner food including a very respectable Ruben and 2 buck, 12 oz., large tomato juice), the Normandin at Levis (a favorite for over a decade – draft beer is a moslons ex and the waiting staff help you do the whole thing in our respectly poor english and french) – maple beans (aka “the bomb” in a couple of respects) with your breakfast; and

  • Best hotel in the Maritimes – the Sheraton at Fredericton. Great waterfront location in what looks like a park. Staff are capable and relaxed. Room service is fast and the wine celler is respectable. In 1999, they had no rooms left in the class we had ordered and we got the Royal Suite. Literally the rooms the Queen gets when in NB. We could have played basketball in the livingroom. The dinner table sat 12. We paid the same as the basic room we booked. Somnewhere we have a photo of our daughter, then 11 months having a pee on the floor. Although in the the same room, she was too far to run to in time but the camera was not. You have to think way ahead if you want to embarrass the hell out of someone at their wedding reception.

  • NPR – 90.1 Calais Maine; 106.1 Presque Isle, Maine, 106.5 Fort Kent Maine, 104.7(?) Vermont Public Radio St. Albans, 89.5 North Country Public Radio, Northern New York State.

Well, that is it for now. Thanks for stopping by during a slow posting week and a half.

Kołobrzeg! Kołobrzeg!

When looking through the web stats, I got to wondering why, outside of North America, Holland would be the hotbed of the greatest number of my readers when I realized it is the Google effect. Having used the word Nederlands and therefore been linked by a few Dutch blog trolling spiders or bots or whatever they are, I get a bit of a boost on Dutch Google and, bob’s your uncle, I stand tall in the low countries. So…can this be manufacturered?

My wife and I met in Ko³obrzeg, a resort city on the Baltic Coast of Poland where the Nazis met a well-deserved, nasty fate at the hands of the Red Army on the beaches after running out of both land and options in the spring of ’45. The ever patient Ellen and I both taught ESL there and, unlike most others who travelled to Eastern Europe to teach a decade or so ago, briefly enjoyed a rather splendid if corney luxury lifestyle – Bulgarian wines, tinned elk and boar, first walkman in the province, at $400 a month an income 3 times that of a doctor. A sense of the place can be seen in some of its websites for a sanitorium/spa, a hotel/spa, spa-tourism, spa-fishing-poets, spa-investment, yacht-spa, people at the spa town…I suppose I could go on…Anyway, this is an open invite for discussion of all things Ko³obrzeg. What the hell.

PS – if your computer shows a small raised “3” between the two o’s of the name, it is spelled Kolobrzeg with a little bar across the “L” kinda pronounced “e-u”: “Ł” or “ł”

[Update in 2016: proof of the finding of Kay…]

Web Radio

I love web radio as I love radio. You don’t get the romance of the signal fading in and out but crappy buffering almost makes up for it. I love media that let you know they are there. I have recently switched to using the Windows Media Player – and it’s excellent listings pages – and so have had to give up BBC Live Five due to poorer BBC coverage, compared to the Real player, for improved NPR choices.

By the way, I understand there’s some flooding risk in New Jersey – have care if you are out and about there this afternoon.

A Blog is Blorn

Who will have a sip from my experiment??The good lads at silverorange, my pals, former clients, former employers, wise buyers of my furniture and…umm…oh, yea…award winning web designers have listed me on their new development web log. The referral logs here at GenX at 40 HQ are a buzzin’.

One point. Establishing their web log as their playground is a disservice to their office round many days about 3:30 pm when the Snood-fest begins.