(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser. If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped.)
In the last post, I covered a number of miscellaneous categories – most of which were not related to bars or breweries, but since my Beerchasing expeditions to new venues are temporarily on hold, please pardon my editorial license
As I mentioned in the last post, rummaging through some of my old files has uncovered some “treasures” and elicited some laughs when I harken back. Consequently, I have reviewed some older Beerchaser posts in light of current events.
The First Tuesday After the First Monday……
One of my first jobs out of the Navy was in the Clackamas County Elections Department where we administered not only the Primary and General Elections, but hundreds of school and special district measures. Understandably, most citizens have no comprehension on the amount of detail, technology and legal compliance required to manage an election.
On election nights, I still have some empathy for election officials who are trying to maintain the integrity of their systems while concurrently being pressed by print and broadcast media and candidates to give them immediate returns.
While the initial data are always qualified as preliminary and un-audited, that disclaimer is often forgotten.
Oregon Law (ORS 254.056) states the General Election is held as stated on the day in the caption above in even numbered years – and that, my friends is only 109 days away.
Since this is a blog about bars and beer, I typically refrain from political topics, but unless one has been living under a rock for the last 18 months, it’s difficult to stay above the fray.
A Precursor to the “Digital” Age (Excerpted, in part, from Thebeerchaser May 18, 2017)
And we know from the 2020 Primary, campaign divisive politics will be unceasing and brutal going forward. It causes wishful thinking about the civility and at least reasonably bipartisanship approach of leaders from past decades that characterized Oregon politics e.g. Tom McCall, Norma Paulus, Hector MacPherson, Vera Katz and the US Congress e.g. Senator Mark Hatfield, Speakers of the House Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill.
And don’t forget my late friend and law firm colleague, Wendell Wyatt, who served from 1964 to 1975 and was an effective Congressman, a wonderful person and skilled attorney at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt.
Yet, based on the nature of the beast, there were times years ago – even in a more refined era (without 24-hour cable news coverage) when emotions overcame propriety – something which lent some humor and excitement to the news.
Such was the case on September 16, 1976, when Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was campaigning with Sen. Bob Dole, who had been selected to be President Gerald Ford’s running mate.
A student in a group of hecklers gave the finger to the VP and he immediately reciprocated the gesture — with gusto! I’ve kept the picture below from the newspaper for all these years thinking I could use it at some point and the excerpt below describes the incident:
“At the time, Rockefeller’s finger flashing was scandalous and the gesture was referred to thereafter as ‘The Rockefeller Salute.’ Rockefeller refused to apologize for his outburst. ‘I was just responding in kind’ he said, neatly avoiding the point that the apology was not expected to go to the hecklers but to the general public.”
Bob Dole was asked by a reporter why he didn’t join Rockefeller in “the salute”. “I have trouble with my right arm,” the wounded WW II veteran replied. (Rarehistorical photos.com October 16,2016)
This Beer Really Hops….
And since limited activity during the pandemic results in time to free-associate, seeing that image brought back the memory of one of my business trips in the late ’80’s which I recounted in Thebeerchaser on February 8, 2013. (Excerpted below)
Thebeerchaser’s youngest daughter, when she was in grade school, had a wonderful frog collection – ceramic amphibians, posters, stuffed frogs, etc.
Each time I had a business trip, I would seek out and bring home an addition to that collection, which grew to be almost 100 in number.
On a business trip to Chicago, I consumed an excellent light-colored amber beer from a brewery in Michigan and decided that the empty bottle with the amazing Bad Frog Logo would be a unique supplement to the group of cold-blooded amphibians in my daughter’s room. The bottle survived a suitcase ride home and my daughter liked it.
Thebeerchaser’s spouse, however, had better judgment – much better! – and you will probably understand why. She refused to accept my assertion that our young collector did not yet understand the underlying message conveyed by this rebellious frog.
Jim Wauldron, the founder, was not a brewer, but a graphic artist and t-shirt designer, who created the image and merchandise – but initially – no beer.
The Bad Frog story is quite interesting and you should visit this link to their website to see their story and perhaps even purchase a sweatshirt:
“Well we did learn about beer and started brewing in October 1995. Then the whole thing went BESERK! We’ve expanded to 25 states and overseas. We were BANNED in 8 states.
The banning of the Beer and the non-stop legal battles with each State prevented the expansion of the Beer, but BAD FROG fans all over the world still wanted the BAD FROG merchandise. We’ve been featured on CNN, CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC. BAD FROG was even featured in PLAYBOY Magazine TWICE.”
The legal challenges resulted because of the frog’s none-too-subtle extension of its middle digit. Liquor Commissions in multiple states banned the beer. Eventually the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the New York State Liquor Authority‘s ban on selling Bad Frog Beer in an interesting and extremely entertaining First Amendment case Bad Frog Brewery, Inc. v. New York State Liquor Authority 134 F.3d 87 (1998).
Lawyers would love the language from the court opinion which has some great footnotes and includes,“…..(The logo) is patently offensive’ and presumably a suggestion to have intercourse with oneself.”
It appears that one can still purchase Bad Frog merchandise, but the beer disappeared a number of years ago, in part, because of the problems associated with all the legal issues.
While current headlines are shattering, we can also view many wonderful acts of kindness, sacrifice and charity to help those who have been affected by the virus and these unselfish deeds continue to occur.
And though all of this, we need to maintain a sense of humor and optimism and realize that life is filled with joy and tragedy. I thought a good quote to reflect the ups and downs, was from Joe Lansdale’s novel Bad Chili which I mention in my post entitled Books and Brew published in November, 2018.
The action is innovative e.g. an early encounter with a “vicious, angry, bloodthirsty, rabid squirrel.” The author’s dialogue is unique and rich with quotes such as this one from Jim Bob Luke, a primary character:
“Life’s like a bowl of chili in a strange café. Sometimes it’s pretty tasty and spicy. Other times, it tastes like shit.”
Now while the next quote has nothing to do with the pandemic, it always causes me to smile and at least it’s related to bars. I originally covered it in a 2011 post about one of my first Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter.
James Crumley was a Montana author who taught at both the University of Montana and Portland’s Reed College. Some critics describe his final book The Last Good Kiss as “the most influential crime novel of the last 50 years.”
Others maintain that initial sentence of the book is the best first-line ever written in an American crime novel.
“When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.”
At the time, I suggested that you could toast Fireball Roberts with a pint of In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen from Flying Dog Brewery in Denver.
It appears that this beer is no longer available but they certainly have some of which Fireball would approve. (For example, Raging Bitch Belgian IPA at a robust 8.3% ABV – strong enough for any mongrel….)
Cutting to the Chase
With the lockdown, many of us have transformed wardrobes to sweats or “quarantine casual wear” especially when working at home. Even when one has a Zoom meeting, there’s always the tactic of using a landscape or photo as background rather than a live shot.
But it is entertaining to see the impact that the absence of haircuts or styling for about four months has wrought. From the requirement to have “stunted” hair during high school basketball and then during NROTC all during college, my locks have undergone a number of transformations over the ensuing years.
I even tried the beard and mustache route in the late ’70’s because of a misguided belief that it was cool.
Last week, I was scheduled for a haircut and as I pulled into my guy’s parking lot, he called my cellphone with this information:
“Don, I have a story for you. I got a call one hour ago from a couple whose hair I cut last week. They have Covid, so I’ve been exposed. I get tested tomorrow.”
I thanked him for the call and reflected on the good timing and decided to let things stand for awhile. This sentiment was reinforced after I saw some former male colleagues in a Zoom meeting this week who are of about the same demographic. One looked like a Mountain Man and the other essentially had bangs, but both looked good.
My daughters are urging me to continue to let it grow, but for both time management and economic purposes, I’m seriously contemplating returning (maybe regressing) to the crew cut and black Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star High Tops.
According to the Converse website the Chuck ’70 has:
“More cushioning, tougher canvas, same versatility…..is built off of the original 1970’s design, with premium materials and an extraordinary attention to detail…… No reason not to wear them all day, every day.”
Even before all of us are able to frequent bars and breweries again when it is safe and permitted, we can still support these establishments by buying their products and using takeout options – many of which are innovative.
A friend with strong knowledge of the hospitality industry stated in an e-mail about watering holes on the Oregon coast:
“The joints are teetering. It really is dire.”
And even in Portland, one of my favorite breweries Old Town Brewing, which I reviewed last year, was forced to temporarily close their Old Town location since many people are not traveling downtown because of the violence occurring with the continuing protests.
Owner Adam Milne showed innovation and collaboration with other breweries early on in the pandemic by hosting a Brewers Market at their second location and brewing headquarters on NE Martin Luther King Blvd.
It’s a weekly assembly of booths offering various breweries’ beers to-go in a drive-thru meets farmers-market setting. Adam turned the parking lot there into a mashup of a drive-thru and a brewer safari.However, as reported in a July 12th Willamette Week article:
“‘The moment of a temporary closure became, sadly, clear on Thursday when our revenue for the day was $18.75,’ he says. ‘I spent the last week trying to get a rent reduction from our landlord, but was unsuccessful. We really need help from the city. Downtown businesses have been hit especially hard with the high density, vandalism and tents in front of our business.'”
This is just one example and all of us can help support OTB and other small businesses.
Cheers and Be Safe!