Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We Drink Crap Beer

Lots of it.  Charts like the one below (from this link) just astound me.  Two quick points of contention.  One: most of those "domestics" are no longer American.  Two: Yuengling (which is America's largest brewer--based on ownership and production) isn't on the list at all despite being bigger than Sam Adams (and, agian, being America's largest brewer).

It doesn't surprise me that crap beer (and Bud Light in particular) dominate what we buy, it is how far ahead they are from anything of quality.  Maybe it's because I have lived in several places with very good craft brew scenes, but I am still amazed at how small a fraction of the sum total of the craft/micro brewed beers are of the total consumed--it's pretty damned close to 100% of what I, and many of my friends/family buy but it's less than 5% of the total [volume] purchased in the US.

I think what is happening is the confluence of marketing with low-income/poverty and [borderline] alcoholism--maybe I should call it "partying".  It has to be the combination, because if it was just poverty and "partying" then Natural Light, Keystone Light, PBR, and High Life would all score higher (they're all about the same quality as Bud Light, but cheaper).

Note that Sam Adams to the rest of the craft beer is similar to Bud Light to all beers.  Also, I may have mentioned, but Yuengling seems to be missing from the list.  Also, too, I wouldn't consider Yuengling craft, nor Shiner, and Sam Adams is on the edge, but they do enough experimentation for me to still consider them craft...not that they give two shakes.  Also, also, too, I'm kinda surprised that Kona and Stone are big enough to show up but Dogfish and Rogue aren't...the Yuengling thing makes me wonder a bit at the completeness of the list.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Housing for the Stupid Rich

a.k.a. McMansions...

I have a pretty visceral negative response to most McMansions that is neatly summed up near the end of the linked article:
But what I discovered is that the form doesn’t really change. Yes, the houses get bigger every year, gables and gazebos come and go, but what is really striking about the McMansion is its vapid consistency as the decades pass.
What stays the same, and what always gets me when I walk through one of these houses, are the vacuous spaces. The vast stretches of painted sheet-rock. The gaping rooms that are simply too tall to decorate. The billowing industrial roof. The windowless walls. 
There’s something else, too. Stand in the street when the sun hits the McMansion from the right angle and its glare obliterates the fake muntins in the windows and suddenly you grasp the truth about this form: It is staring at you with those blank featureless eyes, those empty holes in that vast, unadorned wall, demanding to be fed. This house doesn’t serve humans, we serve it.
I live in a neighborhood with plenty of large houses (not mine), most of which date to the late 19th, early 20th century.  Houses that were well built, functional and served to house people well.  They are, I still think, too large by half for most families, but they are not the insanity that is the McMansion.  It's the useless space in so many newer large homes that I really don't like.  Space that needs to be heated, cooled, adorned, cleaned, but that doesn't provide any functionality.  In the older houses, even the large ones, you find that most of the space is somehow useful (yes, there are true mansions that have useless space, but at least those are well made and really look great).  The McMansion equivalents around me have relatively small bedrooms, in which a queen sized bed often feels cramped.  The closets range from small to smaller, and bathrooms and kitchens are utility rooms, not designed to be living spaces themselves.  There may be too many rooms, but each room is serviceable.

Other than very large families or frequent hosting of parties there isn't much use to space beyond a certain point.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Family Leave

We should have it, and it should be very much like that in Sweden.  Oddly, it's an issue that traditional conservatives should embrace along with the liberals, except that it runs hard up against the corporate conservatism that actually owns the Republican party (and yes, it largely owns the Democratic party as well).