August 30, 2010


Category: Humour — Cranky @

IN 1901, Fritz Sick started a brewery in Lethbridge Alberta. The beer he produced was called “Alberta Pride”. Apparently nothing happened until 1916, when Alberta brought in prohibition, and the brewery stopped producing beer.

Prohibition ended in 1923, and in 1926 the formula for Pilsner beer was solidified. Basically the only thing that would change over the next 94 years is the label – and that would change very little. In the 50’s the biplane, car, and train on the label were modernized, and apparently Pilsner drinkers would have none of that. After reverting to the old label, all they did was add a couple more rabbits.

Imagine that – 94 years brewing beer. Now I know by worldwide standards that’s not exactly a long time. My beer of choice, Guinness, was born in 1759, and sells 10 million pints a day. But still, that’s a long time to be brewing your beer. That’s perseverence.

However… Pilsner is terrible beer. If you can’t make it tasty after 94 years, it’s time to go do something else.

Go make shoes or something.


Addendum: Behold Its Dark Glory.

August 20, 2010

Fates of the Famous X

Category: Entertainment — Cranky @

Raggedy Ann

When Raggedy Ann made her debut in a series of illustrated children’s stories in 1915, the world was her oyster. Her homespun look and patchwork clothes endeared her instantly to her target audience, and her lack of pretension made her appeal universal. And so began a half century of success.

She appeared in such classics as 1932’s “Raggedy Ann’s Lucky Pennies”, and 1941’s “Raggedy Ann Goes Sailing”, and as late as 1974 she was still producing material, such as “Raggedy Ann’s Cooking School”. Her marketing team was strong, but cracks were beginning to show.

The culture was shifting beneath her feet, and her audience was diminishing. Really, the shift had started in 1959, when Barbie appeared on the scene, sporting an hourglass figure and perfect skin. The comparisons were inevitable, and the world was embracing surface beauty as the pinnacle of attractiveness.

The late 70’s found Raggedy Ann increasingly frustrated, and she harbored a deep resentment towards Barbie. The disdain that Barbie held in return was clear. In one notable late-night exchange in front of a busy night club, Barbie advised Raggedy Ann, “Drop a little weight and buy a whole lot of pretty”, and the retort came, “Get back in the kitchen you plastic-assed tart”.

But in the 1980’s everything came to a head. Sales had completely dried up, and nobody cared about the antics of a 60 year old cultural relic. In a fit of despair, she turned to her one last hope. In 1986, Raggedy Ann had two softballs sewn into her chest.

In no time, success returned. Back pain aside, she was back on top, and the toast of the town. Sales of her products were through the roof, and Playboy offered her the centerfold. She accepted, and an exclusive opportunity was arranged – she would have the shoot done at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The fateful day arrived. Just before her shoot, she beheld the wonder that is Paris, and she leaned over the rail to look down. That mistake would cost her dearly. The softballs shifted some 60 percent of her body weight to her torso, and she was pulled over the side.

One softball was found 50 feet away. The other was never recovered.


August 12, 2010

Forecast: Partly Cloudy!

Category: Photography — Tags: – Cranky @

I’ve been obsessing over the sky lately.

You know, over the last forty years I didn’t really look up very much. I was interested in what happened in the earthbound plane, and what was happening in space… but I didn’t really think about what was in between. It’s kind of creepy the way the sky just looms over us… occasionally blowing away a trailer park or hitting a golfer with lightning… it’s decisions are swift, and there are no appeals.

I’ve been taking many pictures lately, and much of those shots were directed skyward. I’ve cherry-picked a dozen of the more distinctive of these, and…

You can find them here.

Of course anybody who looks up occasionally knows that you don’t always get the same sky. I’m just a bit surprised at how much it varies in just a couple of weeks.

So picture 2 is exactly how much whipped cream should be found on pumpkin pie. Picture 3 has gorgeous layering. Picture 6… I don’t know what was going on there… Picture 9 – they’re marching in! We’re under attack! And picture 11 should be on a postcard.

Next up: a cavalcade of pictures about dirt!