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DECEMBER 1999/JANUARY 2000 » BACK TO HOPVINE INDEX
 
HEARD IT THROUGH THE HOPVINE
The best movie ’Ol Hop has seen in a while wasn’t “Star Bores” or that “kids getting laid” movie with the pie or the idiot-savant “wandering around with a hand-held camera in the woods” $30,000 wonder-grosser project thing. Nope! Just saw a 1933 vintage flick called “What! No Beer?” starring Jimmy Durante and Buster Keaton. Got it at Blockbuster. Jimmy knows that Prohibition is coming to an end and talks his buddy Buster Keaton into financing the purchase of a defunct brewery so they can start brewing and beat the other brewers to market. The hijinks (as they say in the reviews) begin when they start to brew beer at an old, long-shuttered plant. The wacky piece is peppered with Durante screwball observations like “I’d give ten dollars to be a millionaire” or “You can’t make dark beer in the daylight!” Jimmy’s recipe to make beer: “Two cups of sugar, one can of malt extract, yeast, five gallons of water.” Finally, the old brewmaster shows up and starts making brew for the beleaguered partners. They start selling it at the brewery with a sign saying “Real Beer, 5¢.” The last scene is a close-up of Durante, who looks at the camera and says, “It’s your turn next, folks. It won’t be long now!” He then blows the head off a mug of dark beer. Four stars, no breasts, Hop Bob sez check it out…

Talk about “getting in Dutch”: Julia Carling, a TV personality living in New Zealand, is set to shed the surname she acquired from her ex-husband, former rugby star Will Carling. But rather than a sign of further disenchantment with the man she divorced in 1996, the television presenter's name change is part of a sponsorship deal. The 33-year-old will be known instead as Julia Heineken, losing her surname — which she shares with a rival lager brand — in a cheeky tie-up with the beer firm. (Go ahead, make up your own jokes!)…

Farting is such sweet sorrow Dept.: It may not be socially acceptable, but passing gas is good for your health, according to Australian corporate nutrition consultant Matt O'Neill. “Better an empty house than a bad tenant,” said O'Neill, in New Zealand to promote a national fit-food campaign run by health agencies. O'Neill said that flatulence was so common for men that it was an effective icebreaker for them to discuss their bodies and male health issues. “If you ask people to count how often they pop off in a day, it would be double figures.” If frequency isn’t the problem, then how about the odoriferousness? “If men eat more fiber, they will be producing a lot of hot air, and that's about it — it won't be as smelly. It's the pies, beer and steak that make the smelly ones.” But, Mr. O’Neill, we LIKE pies, beer and steak!… I’m still hard at work on my new book, How to Relax and Enjoy Involuntary Flatulence. It’ll be a gas…

The Celebrator Beer News has received its share of kudos over the years but none stranger than the review from Las Vegas City Life, the alternative news weekly in the city that never sleeps. In praise of an article by our own Bob Barnes on the beer oasis in the desert kingdom, the journal opined, “Local news racks are cluttered with seemingly thousands of free publications, some worth picking up, most not worth wiping your ass with. One that definitely merits an occasional perusal is Celebrator Beer News.” Hey, that’s US! Aside from some awkward grammar, I guess we can rejoice in the knowledge that we ARE worth “wiping your ass with!” Watch out for those staples…

If the millennium weren’t difficult enough (it isn’t really until 2001, ya know…), leave it to the Scots to have their own unique twist to it. Are you ready to celebrate Hogmanay? The term comes from the Gaelic “oge maidne,” meaning “new morning.” Of course, any such celebrating involves copious quantities of “uisge beatha” (Gaelic again), or “water of life.” The Dewar’s folks want you to employ their stuff and have sent out “First Foot Kits” so that the uninitiated can do the Hogmanay thing in proper fashion. The kit contains a wee dram of Dewar’s White Label, some salt, some pure butter shortbread cookies and a lump of coal. After “the bells” ring in the New Year and the assembled (and well-lubricated) celebrators have sung “Auld Lang Syne” (you guessed it, Gaelic for “old times”), the First Foot (the first person to set foot in the house after midnight) will bring good luck to the household in the year to come. The shortbread is offered for hospitality, the coal represents light and warmth, the salt dates to Roman times and represents wealth, and the Scotch… well, you know! So gather your own First Foot Kit and prepare yourself for Hogmanay. (The coal came wrapped in plastic with a note: “Do Not Eat!” We can thank the lawyers for that.)…

And, in the words of Robert Burns, “And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp, and surely I’ll be mine; we’ll tak a cup ’o kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” Happy New Beer!

 

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