Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mount Beermore

Lately, I have had a lot of pretty dark and depressing posts. What can I say, it's been a weird, rough month. That's not what this blog is about though, so fuck it, let's talk about beer.

This is obviously a subject I have touched on in the past (I mean, this blog was once known as "Brews and Balls". Anyone remember that? Nope? Ok.), most notably in The Beer Index. This was Volume 1, and this was Volume 2. I enjoyed doing the Index, but the idea felt played out, which is why I haven't done it since.

One of my favorite writers is Bill Simmons from A few years ago, he touched on Mount Rapmore, the Mount Rushmore of rappers. I decided that would be a perfect new way to attack the beer angle. So here we go; my four favorite beers of all-time.

George Washington: Miller Lite

The old standby. Miller Lite has been with me through thick and thin. Some of my favorite memories from my time at the Main U were playing Tiger Woods golf in battlemode against my buddy Jon, and eating a pile of pretzels. Naturally, the pretzels made us thirsty, so we chased them down with can after can of Miller Lite. Don't believe me? Here's the proof:

Yikes. At least I had hair! Not only that, but Miller Lite has been worn on my chest proudly at softball for years. Pitchers on top of pitchers have been consumed by the squad, at a tidy $5.50 each. So, like George Washington, Miller Lite was there first, comes through when it matters most, and may have owned slaves at one point.

Thomas Jefferson: Grain Belt Premium

PREMO!!!! It is probably my favorite type of suds to enjoy on a hot, sunny summer day. One of the best days last summer was spent on Jon's fishing boat with Aaron, Sweezy and Nate, cruising down the river on the way to the casino in pursuit of strippers and cocaine (Ok, in pursuit of blackjack tables and Marb Reds, but you get the idea). What accompanied us the whole ride down? A cooler full of delicious Premo.

I get tired of the whole "Minnesota Nice" thing, but Premo's slogan, "The Friendly Beer" is fitting. It's a great beer to snag a case of and have at a barbecue. As far as any similarities to Thomas Jefferson go, I can't really think of any. Point is, it had to be on my mountain.

Theodore Roosevelt: Summit Pale Ale

Pound for pound, probably my favorite overall beer. I love the rich, hoppy taste. It's one of the few "heavier" beers I don't mind drinking during the summer because while it is a hearty brew, it still goes down smooth. Plus, the shit will get you fucked up!

I was introduced to Summit by Mr. Jeremy King during bowling league. (Yes ladies, I bowl. I know you want some of this.) During league, if everyone but you marks in the 5th frame, you have to buy the team a pitcher. Since I suck, I've purchased many pitchers over the years, a great deal of them being Summit. Getting beer framed wasn't necessarily a bad thing for me, as I bowl better -unk than I do sober. On the other hand, the wheels completely fall off if I get drunk, so it's a fine line.

Teddy was the Rough-Rider himself, and Summit is the most aggressive beer on my mountain...although I don't believe it has ever overtaken Puerto Rico.

Abraham Lincoln: Fitger's Apricot Wheat

I can hear the cat-calls already: "Tom, you have a beer with the word 'Apricot' in it in your top 4? What, do you prefer the company of men?" No, I do not. Nor do I believe Abe did, despite what you might read (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Say what you will about Apricot Wheat, but it's just a good Goddamned beer. It's rich, flavorful, and stronger than one would expect. One of the best ways to enjoy it is to pick up a Growler and bring it home. A word of advice, though: If you decide to go the Growler route, make sure you drink it all in a couple days. Once the vacuum cap is popped, it goes flat pretty fast.

Looks like that just about does it for good ol' Mount Beermore. I'm sure I will write about beer more (See what I did there?) as soon as I find a new gimmicky way to do it. Peace, bitches!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Death of a Friendship

I always try to be the bigger person.

To him: When you needed a place to live, I welcomed you into my home without question before we were even close. When I needed a friend after the worst break up of my life, you were there for me with an understanding ear. When we both needed a laugh, we were there for each other with goofy nicknames or funny videos or whatever other dipshit thing we were into at the time. When you needed plans for the 4th this year, I had you over to spend it with my girlfriend and our other friends. When I needed you to explain why you were talking to my now ex-girlfriend, you were completely silent. When you could have at least had the decency to let me know what was going on, you remained silent. When you already started seeing her, it was way too late.

I always try to be the bigger person.

To her: I honestly don't have much to say. To say our relationship was a whirlwind would be an insult to whirlwinds everywhere. You chose to come into my life and leave it just as quickly. We were never together long enough to form any real bond. Still, for you to go behind my back and start chatting up one of my (former) best friends is just plain wrong. To say you wanted to be my friend when knowing full well what you were doing was even worse.

I always try to be the bigger person.

To both: I honestly don't really want to say anything more after this. You aren't worth my time. You both say you want me to forgive you and be friends again. I always try to forgive, but I truly don't believe it will ever be possible. Why even try? I have so many much better friends who I can actually rely on and trust. Once my trust and respect for you is gone, there's really no going back. I realize this probably means very little to both of you, but I felt the need to say it anyway.

I always try to be the bigger person.

To everyone else: I don't want you to worry about me. I'm already fine. A girl who never meant much to me and a guy who never should have are both out of my life. I am the better for it. I know that someone who wants to be with me is out there. I also know I have a group of friends who would never, ever, do anything like this to me. Same how I would never do a friend like this.

I realize I'm not being the bigger man today, but I can wake up knowing I am the better one.

Congratulations Joe and Danielle. You certainly deserve each other.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Dissatisfied User

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing due to my horrific experience using In order for you to appreciate how bad it was, some background information is necessary. My wife Julie and I have been married for 15 years and have a 12 year old son named Flip. Both my wife and I were abandoned we were born. Growing up in foster homes, we both beat the odds and thrived. I went to Colgate and became a lawyer; she went to Vassar and became a pediatrician. When we met, we felt like kindred spirits since our childhoods were so similar. Plus, we both have dirty blonde hair and blue eyes; everyone we encounter say we are the perfect looking couple.

While we loved our lives, we saw a commercial of yours and got curious about our backgrounds. Neither of us have ever known anything about our parents. We each felt a hole in our otherwise perfect lives. Who doesn't want to know the parts that make up their whole? We decided it was time to find our family trees.

The problem? It's the same damn tree! My wife is my sister! Obviously I thought it was strange that Flip was born with a third arm growing from his head, but he has always been healthy otherwise. Besides, he is an amazing climber which is kind of cool.

Not surprisingly, my wife and son left me. Every time we looked at each other we felt physically ill. I am quite certain I will never achieve an erection again. Had we never checked your damn site we would still be living in blissful ignorance in our huge house with our special son. (He's only 5'7" but his head arm can dunk a basketball.) I lost my job. I'm a social pariah.

I miss my wife. I miss my son and his incredible hugs. I miss my job. I hope you all rot in hell.

Chad Stephenson, former member

P.S. Your site's navigation is clunky at best.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Losses That Bind

Anyone who even kind of knows me knows I am an absolute sports fanatic. Hell, I'm watching a repeat of the British Open 2nd Round and am about to go to a Huskies game as I type. Anyway, I've noticed that the losses my teams suffer hurt way more than the wins they collect.

The best way to appreciate this is to compare to rooting occasions from the last couple years. The first was the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game 2 seasons ago. The other is the UMD hockey team playing for the National Championship this spring.

Both occasions were similar in many ways. Buddies and drinking were involved. Leading up to both games, our balls all tingled in anticipation (don't ask me how I know their balls tingled). It feels like the first time you're about to make love into a new woman, but have to take a dump at the same time. Like going for a job interview, but then the woman interviewing you is incredibly hot and wearing a revealing blouse. Like rain on your wedding day. Like you feel sick to your stomach, but never more alive.

Both games were extremely intense. Both wound up in OT. The Vikings could have won easily but couldn't get out of their own way. The Bulldogs played well but scoring was hard to come by. Where the games diverged was when Brett Favre threw that awful, horrible, inexcusable INT right at the end of regulation. I went from thinking the Vikings were going to the Super Bowl to knowing they were going to lose. Someone could have punched my in my fat face right then and I wouldn't have even felt it I was so numb. The hockey game never had a crushing blow like that.

We all know how things ended. The Vikings lost, the Bulldogs won. Make no mistake, we were all ecstatic when the Dogs won it. Homoerotic ass slaps and bear hugs were shared all night long. The thing is, that level of elation just was not on the same level as the crushing pain after the Vikes game. After the Vikings game, we tried in vain to find an open bar, drove through a snowstorm to gamble, I spun off of the freeway, and we finally gave up on life being fair that day.

Granted, we do care more about the Vikings. Personally,it's fairly close for me but the Vikes are my first love. Still,I think for whatever reason most people take something bad happening harder than they get excited about something good happening. I know I do...maybe because I hate myself, but I know I'm not alone in this.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Page Turner

So, today sucks. Actually, this has been the first bad day in what has been an awesome Summer so far. Right now I kind of don't feel like doing anything. Not the general laziness I've been known to succumb to. More that I'm really not sure what I would even want to do (other than this I guess).

But just because today sucks doesn't mean that tomorrow has to. Something I feel like I'm getting better at is not letting what could have been ruin what still can be. There's no sense in worrying about what won't happen when there's still plenty of things that can and will happen. I used to beat myself up pretty badly when things went wrong. I feel like I'm better at handling adversity than I used to be. I suppose that's because I've had more practice going through it.

Some people like to say "If you can dream it, you can do it." I don't believe that to be true because a person's will is only one of the many factors that determine success and happiness. Still, I do believe that if you lose something it should harden your will to find something new and better. Maybe you can't make yourself be happy, but you can certainly prevent it by wallowing in self-doubt and sadness.

So yes, today sucks and tomorrow might too. But I know it will stop sucking sooner rather than later. Something to look forward to.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Quick Look Back

I've decided doing this blog is one of the best decisions I've made. Growing up, I always hated writing but only because I was being told when and what to write, which sucks. I'm not particularly artistically inclined and I'm musically retarded, so this is a nice outlet for me.

That's not to say everything I've done on here has been good, or even decent. This sucks, this sucks, this is depressing. I would never delete any of it though (unless I drunkenly made an anti-Semetic joke about Jeremy or something). This thing is a progression and it's interesting looking back every now and then.

The hardest part of doing this is actually making myself post often enough. I love doing it but sometimes I just don't have anything I feel like writing about. It seems to come in waves; I won't have any ideas for weeks (like now; which is why I'm doing a post that is essentially about nothing) then I will do 3 in 5 days. If I was smart, I would write a bunch when I had ideas but wait to post them until when I didn't, but I've never claimed to be smart.

Anyway, what I said at the outset of the Summer of Tom still stands. I still plan on writing as much as possible and I still hope to be adding some new wrinkles. We will just have to wait and see whether or not it actually happens.

Friday, July 1, 2011

U.S. of Eh?

As another Independence Day is nigh, one of my greatest pet peeves comes to mind. As a lifelong Minnesotan, I realize we have a bit of an accent, some of us more than others. It isn't that bad though. Someone needs to tell Hollywood that we are Americans, not Canadians. Believe me, I've been to Canada twice; it's insane how different it is from Minnesota. Plum sauce instead of sweet and sour? Whaaaa? Gravy instead of ketchup on fries? Delicious, but what the hell? My buddies and I were wearing golf shirts, and not particularly spectacular ones up there. They immediately knew we were Americans because we, "look(ed) like you came from a Gap catalog."

Yet, almost every time a movie based in Minnesota, they make all the characters sound like assholes. Remember Fargo? I demand reparations Coen brothers! You too, William H. Macy.

Look, I realize there is an anti-twang in our voices. I get it. But to go that overboard ridiculous with it is, well, overboard ridiculous. Even worse? Places like this who exploit this nonsense for profit. I'm sure they would call it pride but I call it perpetuating a stereotype.

I'm sure there are plenty New Yorkers, Bostonians, and Texans who feel my pain. It's easy to exaggerate. All I know is, I'm proud to be a Minnesotan and proud to be an American. Happy 4th!