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In a world without electricity, this will not work.

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t written a blog in almost two months. That wasn’t really by design, it just happened. The reason why isn’t at all interesting: Life happens and it just takes you away from things.

This doesn’t mean that I am gone forever, not at all, as I am currently up to my mid-back in projects that range from getting the Ironclad Words podcast format finished to this Tumblr project I started with a friend of mine that are letters written about the dead “redshirts” from Star Trek TNG: https://transmissionfromstarfleet.tumblr.com/

Point is, I’m just busy. I am also trying to rethink this site, the purpose of it, and where it is going in the future. I started it as a personal blog with a cool logo and name, but now I really want to make it into something more than just a blog or even a review site for multiple types of content.

I am going to be making this place into the study of the written, performed, and experienced word. I want to get nerdy about words, punctuation, and their uses in our world because I feel people just throw words around without thinking about what they mean or their impact.

And no, this isn’t going to be a grammar Nazi site, we punch them in the face around here. Just like Jack Kirby told us to do:

And Hitchcock:

What can you expect from this place moving forward? Changes, changes, changes, they are a-coming. Podcast, videos, short form stories, and blogs about punctuation. Wanna a sample? Check this guy out.

Till then, see ya in the funny papers or follow me on Twitter.

 

Hoarding and zombie beer: How big beer is trying to strong-arm its way to victory

Beer is probably one of the most refreshing drinks to have on a hot night. Cold, crisp, it’s ancient recipe perfected through the generations as each round of humanity takes a shot at making the nectar of the gods. I am not going to tell you what to drink here, I’ll leave that for your snobby beer friends (I might be one), but what I am going to talk about here is how AB (Anheuser Busch) InBev is trying to stick it to craft breweries by using methods that date back to the 1920s.

In total they own 32 brands worldwide, making AB the largest beer manufacturer in the world. There is nothing wrong with owning companies and making a product that people want, but what is wrong is when you use dirty tactics in order to ensure that you are at the top. In the U.S. there are a few hundred, if not thousands, of craft and micro breweries and many of these breweries go after numerous types of beer. None have mastered the yellow piss beer flavor that has been the national standard for decades like AB and the other major beer makers. That isn’t to say microbreweries hate it, I can’t speak for them, but it’s just not their flavor.

Making these odd concoctions takes something called hops. Hops are a flower that is used in brewing almost all beer and imparts onto the drink a citrus or bitter taste. Depending on how much you use you can make a vast assortment of beer and that usually means having to use a lot of it. Using hops to pave a way to victory, breweries like Modern Times, Firestone, New Belgium, Green Flash, and Stone have either teamed up to make fantastic beers or have kept the distribution of it fairly even. The community within the craft beer scene is truly fantastic and very profitable as more and more craft beers have begun to take a vast amount of shelf space in the beer isle.

This hasn’t made AB happy as they’ve seen a large slide in sales and have resorted to using dirty tactics that range from buying a large stake in RateBeer (Without disclosing it to the public) to straight up shaming. Just watch this commercial:

Because if you don’t like Bud you’re the other and being the other is bad. Don’t question. Consume. Also, that tagline “Brewed the Hard Way” what’s hard about it? Do their brewmasters sit up to 3 am babysitting a batch because of poor refrigeration as the beer maker can’t afford to buy a new fridge? That’s the hard way as far as I can see it, and from what I can tell, AB isn’t doing anything the “hard way.” Seeing the ad above backfire, they then switched tones and I have to say, whomever made this ad did a very pretty good job.

I have no idea if the story in this trailer is real, I’d like to research that another day, but damn you for using an immigrant story! *Wipes tears away* Gets me every time.

Even with these ads trying to leverage their heritage or their use of a specific kind of tree in their brewing, AB found their sales only slowing and they weren’t the only big beer company to feel this pain. Instead of trying to out-do these scrappy craft beer makers, they decided to move for a more sinister approach by hoarding hops and buying out craft beer makers so they can turn around and sell their beer at rock bottom prices.

The pettiness is about as bad as our current political climate, meaning this is at 12 year-old levels of revenge. Oh, you like G.I. Joe? Great, I’ll go to every store in town and buy them all and keep them at my house. I hate them, more a Action Man man myself, but if you can’t have any, then I am all the merrier! And you make tie-dye t-shirts? Oh, that’s nice, but I bought another tie-dye shop and I am selling their organic blended shirts at half the price you’re selling them. I’m not making a profit, I’m just doing it because you suck!

This is what a multi-million dollar enterprise does when they’re being beaten at a game they’ve had cornered for half a century and frankly, it’s garbage. Hoarding hops is straight out of the 1920s, but the zombie breweries are next level. The term zombie, in the context of this industry, are craft breweries that are acquired by a big beer company and then used to undercut the market. Jacob McKean of Modern Times has this to say about the topic, “Not quality, not making dreams come true, not sharing information. The goal is to destroy craft beer from within by operating acquired breweries as zombie brands that wreak havoc in the marketplace long after the life has been squeezed out of them.”

When you walk into a bar and see a handle of Saint Archer on tap, you’re thinking you like Saint Archer and will get some. Except that keg of Archer was sold at super cheap pricing in order to drive out craft breweries that are also competing for tap space. If you’re a bar owner and you have the choice between Stone IPA or Saint Archer IPA, but the latter is half the price of the former, you’re going to go with the latter.

This is how big beer is choosing to win, not by innovation, but by starving out craft breweries or buying them out. It’s sad, but in the current state of American affairs this isn’t out of order as more and more craft companies are being bought out. If there’s one thing Disney has taught corporate America it’s that when you can’t innovate, just buy your way out of trouble.

Resistance is futile, prepare to be assimilated, I’ll take a Lagunitas.

Special thanks to Robert Binns for telling me about this topic.

Was the drought really that bad?

Winter was wonderful as water fell from the sky in California. Most appreciated it while many sheered, “When did I move to Seattle?”

Just know, we hate those people, they don’t represent all of us and they have been sent off on an ice float. It is said that they shouted, “When did I move to Chicago?” when the Pacific swallowed them into silence.

The rain brought us out of the drought and gave us the super bloom. Dawww, have you seen all the photos?

Have you?

HAVE YOU?

While many have found mother nature to be brilliantly beautiful, since all of the dead brown bushes have gone, they have failed to see what the drought was doing for us.

It kept allergies low

Have allergies? Then gird your loins, because this spring and summer will be ramming pollen down your throat. Hacking and coughing will be at Outbreak levels and nothing will stop it. Since a majority of the plants were dead or in hibernation because of the lack of water, pollen levels have stayed relatively low and were mildly annoying.

The lackadaisical days of being able to skip taking generic Claritin on a nightly basis are now gone. Miss a day, and your nose will be preggers will snot of epic proportions.

Unless we cure mother nature of its pollen problem with the bomb from Outbreak.

Low bug counts

No one likes bugs, even the people who love them still curse the little bastards as they buzz by their ears while on hike; except they won’t just be buzzing by your ears this year, but rather making a curtain that you must pass through on your way to the garage. Due to plants getting that crazy thing called water they have gone gangbusters and since there many plants this means there will be many bugs.

Were you paranoid about the Zeka virus before? That feeling will now be magnified by 10 this season as each step outside may lead toward your DNA’s doom since there will be an explosion of mosquitoes this year.

Just remember this simple trick to keeping them away:

  • Don’t go outside, ever.

We will miss you drought

In this state there is very little the population can rally around. A thought that we can universally say, “Yeah, that sucks.” It is of my opinion that living in parts of the country that get incremental weather usually breed nicer people because they are forced to have to look out for one another.

What I mean is this, if your car slides off the road and into snow, people will usually stop because they want to make sure you’re okay. They do this because:

  1. They genuinely worry about others.
  2. When this happens to them they will get help as well, since the person helping them has probably run into this problem before.

If someone goes off the road in my state, they are usually helped, but everyone else on the freeway is cursing their existence for causing traffic to happen. Californians don’t really have a bonding agent like weather, a thing that is out of our control, because traffic is caused by someone doing something that makes traffic. Due to this, we have someone to blame, and therefore that hate for them spreads over the rest of the populous as we think: One of you will be the arbiter of my frustration as I sit in traffic. It will happen.

With the drought though, we had something to bond over. We sympathized with those who owned land that depended on the now dried up wells. We bonded over water waste and made sure to follow conservation rules that were set in place (That really should be followed even if the drought is “over”). I think it helped us all have a common spot to reach out and help someone who could not make their brown lawns into more efficient landscapes due to age issues or money problems.

The drought, in a strange way, caused us to bond a bit.

But seriously, so glad it’s gone. Gonna get my Slip-n-Slide on and just turn my hose on and spray the water into the gutter because I can while taking a 45 minute shower. Why do I need to take such a long shower? Not your problem, it’s my water, I can do whatever I want with it!

Yep, we’ve grown so much.

Namaste.