Caves & Cucumbers # 12
October 1995

Caves & Cucumbers #12

Oktoberfest Issue or Punch Drunk on Life Issue

Copyright 1995, 1996 by Scoats all rights reserved. Most wrongs unintentional. Published by Scoats,

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Strangeways, Here We Are

The saying for this issue is "Life is strange... but not in a good way". I used to enjoy the bizarroness of living the USA at the end of the 20th century: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Richard Simmons, K Mart, Michael Jackson, Univision, Gary Heidnick, Kato Kaelin, Joey and Mary Jo Buttafucco, California, Jeffrey Dahamer, the Psychic Fiends Hotline, Kathie Lee Gifford, her whipped husband and their demon seeds. Now with all those quasi-news shows like Hard Copy, this strangeness is too mainstream. It is very scary how all the quasi-news crowds out the important news. Also the strangeness has crept over from television into the real lives of me and many nice people that I know. All the USA is now California... but not in a good way. It used to be all the bad or stupid strangeness was mostly kept in California and the rest of the USA just looked on and scratched our heads.

Last year I was in a group conversation and a woman I knew but did not like much was talking about Jerry Seinfeld's teenaged girlfriend Shoshana as though she knew her personally. This seemed very strange at the time, but she ran in a different crowd than us and I assumed that she had some Hollywood connection that I wasn't aware of. Last week that mystery was solved. I turned on the TV to set up the VCR. One of those tabloid TV shows was on and had some video of a TV star brawl on Hollywood Blvd coming up. I had a few extra minutes, so I sat and waited for it. Before they got to the video they had a story about what the cast of Seinfeld is going to do when Jerry calls it quits after this season. They had gossip experts(?) who told me all about Shoshana, her personality, her thoughts and her dreams. I suddenly felt like I could talk about her like I knew her. Scary. Just imagine what could be accomplished on this planet if all the people who spend hours watching this shit actually did something useful or at least watched Headline News and knew important information. I am much too cynical to ever expect that to happen. I can dream though.

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I am writing this in late September which is Oktoberfest time (yes Oktoberfest is in September, those Germans are so efficient, everything is early). I often fall into trends well before they become trends. I've been interested in micro brews long before they became the phenomenon they are now. These are some of my favorite beers.

Yuengling Porter - My favorite. From the USA's oldest surviving brewery (Prohibition offed all the older ones) comes this delicious dark beer. I first tried this on tap at Ortliebs Jazz Haus (which deserves its own article) and was really jazzed (no pun intended) when I found out you could buy it by the case at a reasonable price. It has had a place in my frig ever since. If you go to the right beer distributor, you can even get it in returnable bottles (a plus for the environment). Although porter looks a lot like stout it has a much different, less bitter, more complex taste. You can spend a lot more for lesser beers. As demand for Yuengling products increases, the service area has been decreasing. This should change soon as they are adding greater capacity.

Otter Creek Copper Ale - From Vermont, if you can find it, buy it. Truly delicious.

Weinhards Boarshead Red - From WA, delicious. In my opinion, the best of the RED beers. More complex than Killians or Red Wolf while being throughly drinkable.

Dock Street Illuminator Bock - Deliciously complex, very hoppy. Only available in early summer. Very pricy but worth it.

Coors Extra Gold - surprisingly good lager from the makers of Coors Light, the blandest of bland beers. Reasonably priced too.

Busch (home-made Ice version) - Busch in cans when left in your freezer until just around the freezing point is a very refreshing beverage. Most of the generic traditional yellow beers which are uninspired at 40F are really satisfying at 30F or lower. The trick is take it out of the freezer before it freezes solid. Beer snobs consider Busch to be better than Budweiser because it uses only traditional beer ingredients.

Major annoying trend: Honey. I have had the misfortune of trying four different beers made with honey this year. Sam Adams Honey Porter, Dundee Honey Brown, Leinkugels Honey Weiss, and Brewery Hill Honey Amber.

Most trends suck: Dry Beer - stupid, who wants beer with 1/3 of the taste missing? Ice Beer - good concept, but home-made ice beer is better. Icehouse (on tap) and Rolling Rock Ice are both good. Red - Stupid examples include Schmidts Red, Genny Red and Coors Red Light "It's big man's beer". The Coors Red Light Ads: Dumb. The Beer: Tasteless (or is it the other way around?). Draft - dumb. If Miller Genuine Draft is supposed to taste like Miller on tap, what is Miller Genuine Draft on tap supposed to taste like? And like the world really needs Pabst Genuine Draft.

The beer companies have run through a lot of trends in the last few years. They are going to run out of ideas soon, but a few trends to look for may be honey beers (yuck, which is still only a microbrew trend) brown beers, fruit beers (I am undecided on Brewery Hiill Raspberry), and fresh beers (shipped and stored cold, with a very short shelf life).

A trend they should have is more varieties of non-alcoholic beers. Currently the only type of NA beers available is the typical American yellow lager. I, for one, would be very interested in trying red, brown and black varieties of NA beer.

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Life is like a toilet. It's filled with crap; try not to get flushed.

Give! Give!

Between movies, American Movie Classics is now begging for money to restore American movies made before 1950. They have various celebrities asking you to "give and give generously" so these movies can be restored. They want you to give money so the movies can be restored and then they want to pay your cable bill to be able to see the restored movies. Shouldn't the profit motive be enough incentive for someone to restore these movies? I am sure Ted Turner or Bill Gates could turn a profit on it. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. I was going to give that money to the Philadelphia Committee to End Homlessness, but AMC needs it.

No news to anyone, but this is not the only self-serving organization which wants your money. I get really irritated by parents and other adults who put little leaguers out on median strips to beg for change. First: How much change do those kids collect anyway, 5-10 bucks each. Charge the parents the extra $10 and get the kids the hell out of the street. They make you miss the light and you have to wait an extra three minutes. (They are always positioned at high volume three minute traffic lights). I don't drive on their field; stay out of the street. Second: Where does this money go anyway? The city pays to keep up the fields. Third: Is begging motorists for loose change the type of behavior they want to teach their children? Hey kids, if you need money to pay for your leisure activities, don't work for it, beg. I particularly hate this because I do not find it easy choosing between running down the kids or missing the traffic light. I have always chosen to miss the light, so far. This is one of the many reasons why I hate driving (sounds like grist for a future issue).

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The Life is Like a Toilet Logo is now available in Windows bitmap format; right click on the image on the right to save it.

I received the WFMU Catalog of Curiosities via USPS yesterday that sells both the William Shanter and Leonard Nemoy CDs. They cost $22 each (they're imported) and of course there is shipping. Their phone number is 201-678-4277. I suspect they will be getting my money before long. MST3K had a reference to Leonard singing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins". No wonder I love that show. Even though I have only heard it once, just thinking of that song is making me laugh. Now if I could only get a videotape of William Shatner performing "Mr. Bo Jangles", he did it for a Grammy show back in the 70s or 80s. At one point there are three of him on stage performing (I wouldn't exactly call it singing), one of which is drunk. Almost as good as the eight Kathy Lee Giffords (another keeper I don't have). I also need the video of Shanter performing "I Want to Sex You Up".

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Bitch of the Month

Refrigerator Kick Plates: The kick plate on my frig falls off with the slightest nudge. It took me seven months to figure out how to put it back on correctly. It is really easy if you open both doors and let out all the cold air from both the frig and the freezer. This was not obvious because every time it fell off, both doors were closed. If it falls off with the doors closed, it doesn't make sense that you have to open them to reattach it. It was only when I was getting something out of the freezer and the loose kick plate irritated me and I tried to fix it with the door still open that I figured it out. One reason why I bought this particular frig was because it was a new energy efficient model. Opening both doors to reattach the kick plate is extremely energy inefficient. Life is strange... but not in a good way.

Luckily the kick plate for my frig is soft plastic. The one for my parents is hard, rigid plastic that breaks every time something from the freezer falls and hits it. After replacing three of them at fifty bucks a pop, they now tape it on.

Conclusion: since these are the biggest problems we have with our refrigerators, we should be happy.

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