a blog.

en residènce \ 16 dec 17 /

putting the lie to event fatigue.

we've been keeping you updated on the hideout's event calendar. and since our beers are "en résidence" there all month, we've been there quite a bit. taking advantage of the great and legendary venue and its varied performance set.

tonight, a few door tickets may be available to see andrew bird!! and the head-turning-how-the-f-can-a-voice-be-so-simultaneously-beautiful-and-powerful my brightest diamond is opening. and the whole show benefits foundations of music. the benefit tonight will pay for music lessons for a chicago student for one year.

and then tomorrow night. it's time again for the inimitable hideout dance party. what does inimitable mean? i'd tell you, but one of my friends who just began his masters program in writing, told me that your favorite mailman needs a clearer message. an editor. "there's too much brush in your letters", he says. it's like when a second-year med student uses the word diplopia when he gets drunk and starts seeing double. pretty soon he'll be correcting my typos. in this, my 5am blog.

but fuck it. inimitable means so good or unusual as to be impossible to copy; unique. and that's what the hideout dance parties are. in a way, they're a perfect representation of the hideout generally. they're legendary. and always unique. and always surprising. and always fun. this week, gramaphone records will be helming the back of the house. you'll hear so many amazing dance songs, you'll forget that the sweat on your forearm isn't even yours.

and on sunday. during the day. a live essay that's sure to be interesting. about the status of a local theater critic's press pass. should it be rescinded? the subject critic certainly misunderstands the reality of being a young black man in america. and focuses too much of her concern on white policemen. and her insistence that any social commentary on police violence against young black men make note of the violence within the black community sounds like something that ill man said yesterday as he was thrown off the bus.

... /\ ... "WHAT ABOUT BLACK-ON-BLACK CRIME??" oh. hmm. never thought of that. clever one, you are. but let's get back to the topic of state-sponsored, state-empowered, state-armed individuals shooting unarmed black men. and the unusually high rate at which they do so. i think that topic alone gives us plenty to discuss and think about. ... /\ ...

all that said, it seems very wrongheaded to me to try to take away the critic's right to criticize. to express those opinions. if we continue to hide and ignore uninformed opinions, they'll never be countered. and they'll grow like a goiter. ... anyway, go grab a middle brow beer, listen to the live essay and participate in democracy. there's no better place in town than the hideout to do so. thank goddess for it.

this picture was ripped from the hideout's website. lovingly.

this picture was ripped from the hideout's website. lovingly.

middle brow | citizen how \ 16 dec 17 /

the trouble with freedom.

this dispatch seems rudderless. should critics have the freedom to advance institutional racism? should newspapers have the freedom to fire such critics? should corporations have the freedom to charge people whatever prices they want? should consumers have the freedom to access whatever content they want at the same price? 

should you have the freedom to drink two of our ten per cent beers in one half-hour? should the bar have the freedom to kick you out afterwards?

yes. but...
 

the freedom to forget history.

hot damn! there's so much to write about today. about the high end's new marketingcampaign. (because that's all it is.) about obamacare and the absurdity of signing up for a healthcare plan and committing to pay thousands of dollars to an insurance company for what you know will be pennies in value-return. about the very constant sense that republicans are living in a completely different era. and i'm not talking about roy moore and his medieval sexual tendencies. i'm talking about congressional republicans as a whole. being stuck in the late 80s. obsessed with taxes. obsessed with free market solutions. dogmatic about them. as if the last 20 years never happened. as if, and this is especially odd, the last election never happened.

and surely i have future rant space for those topics. but i think the thing that's been most on my mind as part of this retro republican thinking is net neutrality. net neutrality... ? WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? net neutrality. first, it's an attempt by dems to frame something in their favor. which framing you can't possibly be surprised about. since it's completely impenetrable. republicans would have called it "fair internet" or "free internet" or "keep your internet" or "pro internet". see, e.g., "pro-life".

but i think we can get at the meaning with a reference to the subject's history and an analogy (inspired by my lawyer friend, and proud alabamian, zac). last decade, an internetprovider in some middle western state, let's say iowa, decided to buy a phone company. so, they offered the internet and landlines to their customers! both things! but this is odd, since the internet offers ways to call friends without using a phone. remember vonage, for example? and the era of VoIP, i.e. voice-over ip. so this iowan internet provider, since they wanted to increase their landline business (ha!) made it impossible for anyone using its service to log into their vonage account. from the customers' perspectives, their vonage accounts mysteriously stopped working. and they were forced to use landlines to call their friends and favorite pizza delivery girls. this is plainly anticompetitive and bad for consumers, right? right. so these vonage customers sued. and won. and the net neutrality movement was born.

so net neutrality proponents argue, in effect, that internet providers shouldn't be able to do what that sleepy iowan internet company did. they shouldn't be able to slow down certain services and speed up others. like, imagine at&t starts its own streaming service. they'll be highly incentivized to speed up their streaming service while making netflix virtually impossible to load. and anyone who's ever met any corporation. or any child under the age of 5. knows that people and corporations (who are people) always do what they're incentivized to do. as long as they're free to do it.

and so... if you're wondering which side to take in the big, boring net neutrality fight, think about this analogy: a shopping mall. let's take two scenarios. first, the scenario where a landowner and builder team up in private, with zero help from any government anywhere. and they build a big, beautiful, shining shopping mall. like something you'd see in dubai. and it stretches on and on and on and on. it has 500% more storefronts than there are companies in the world. and it's lush! and green! and fountain-y as f! and every high school boy who asks any high school girl or boy for their phone number gets it! and every slice of pizza has soft crust! and every cinnabon store is shuttered because cinnabon went out of business! it's paradise.

now imagine a new business concept comes along. let's say the business makes male shirt collars that wick away neck dirt. and the collar creator approaches the mall owner and demands a store front. for free. the mall owner would, and should, laugh the collar man out of her office. after all, she built the beautiful mall with her own sweat and blood and money. and she should be able to decide which stores to offer to her customers, and the conditions under which to offer them. if she wants to charge stores rent to help pay for the building, she should be allowed to. if she wants to charge some stores more rent than she charges other stores, she should be free to do that. if she wants to place some stores near the entrance doors, and hide others in the dark near spencer's gifts, it's perfectly within her right to do that.

but now imagine that instead of building that shopping mall with her own sweat at tears, she asked the government for help. and received such help. she got millions and millions of dollars in tax breaks for building the mall. and then she got millions and millions more in tax breaks for upgrading it and maintaining it. and those tax breaks, in effect, came out of the pockets of the citizens surrounding the mall. because the government had to raise taxes on its people to pay for the budget shortfall created by the tax break they gave to the mall owner. and so, practically speaking, the surrounding neighbors paid for the mall. but still, to help allay some of the other costs associated with building and running a mall, people were charged an entry fee. do you believe that?!?! $50 per entry?!?! but customers begrudgingly paid the $50 because the mall was so charming and beautiful and expansive that it put all other malls and mom-and-mom shops out of business.

and now imagine the mall owner started weaving clothes in her spare time. and her clothing company grew faster than american apparel. and everyone in town knew about it, but sorta hated it because she was a sexual deviant and assaulted her employees and also her t-shirts were way overpriced and shrunk after only a couple wash cycles. and so naturally she put her clothing store right near the front entrance to the mall. and then, to snuff out competition, she charged customers an *extra* $5 simply to enter any other clothing store that sold plain t-shirts.

should she be free to do that?

if you think so, you should support trump and oppose net neutrality. if you think that's unfair, you should support the massive pile of pro-internet republicans and democrats and support net neutrality. and this is just about fairness. i didn't even touch on how net neutrality made the internet, as we know it, possible. 

freedom is complex. and pushes and pulls us in all sorts of directions. but all freedom ain't fair. 

middle brow | citizen how \ 8 dec 17 /

to adult.

we write a lot about politics. we think a lot about politics, so we write a lot about politics. and we believe staying informed and passionate about such is what makes one a good citizen. hence the title of the weekly rant. ... but we spend almost as much time thinking and writing about how to get older. which is really a very adult thing. something we couldn't have dreamed of writing about in our 20s. when we weren't even cognizant of our physical and intellectual and emotional ages. when we were effectively 14 year olds. or 6 year olds. fuck. virtually anything past reading age. we stayed that way until we were about 25. 


anyway. at some point. you read american pastoral by philip roth at the right time in your life and you realize that you're an adult. and at that moment you realize that despite your "adulthood", there's virtually no distance between you and your 90-year-old adult friends. which you naturally get the second you turn 26. but you also realize that there's very little distance between you and your 90-year-old friend's great grandson. because of how dumb you are. how young and unwise you are. and how fickle wisdom really is. but what sets you apart from your 25-year-old mountain climbing neighbor is that you still realize that you're getting older. that you're aging. and then you hit your 30s and maybe you stop worrying about getting older. or obsessing over it. and you find the right ways to get younger as you get older. i mean, not everyone figures this out. jump off the bus in the gold coast. and most of the older dudes you see. with their pleather pants and earrings and ferragamos with socks and tans in the winter and super clean cars and it's like they're always fucking carrying one of those extra large bags from barney's and there's probably nothing even in the fucking bag it's just a super stiff, like-new barney's bag that they carry from valet stand to valet stand. ever on the verge of lighting the cigarette between their fingers but never quite doing it. or you can go to fulton market and it's even worse these days. the only difference being that fulton market also features women who haven't quite learned how to get younger as they get older. 

but i digress. 

some people hit their twenties and never want to leave. as if it's a place. as if they just took a trip to panama city and got a sunburn in the shape of maryland on their belly and met some girls who talked funny and they missed their ride back to des moines and have been there ever since. in their head. trying to order a drink over a dude who's still talking about his days as an offensive linemen in pop warner football. ... others accept their impending middle age with grace. and something about it teaches them just how valuable it is to recover the curiosity and confidence of youth. and in that sense, they get younger as they get older. and they begin to understand some of the subtler things that can only be understood with age. like the impossibility and importance of going home. and the many ways in which people can be intelligent. and the relatively uselessness of talent. and the communal nature of success and failure. and they marvel at the streetlight that didn't used to be there. and the sign that announced it in advance. ... and they tend to avoid nostalgia. because their present life is filled with contentment. which is just plenty.

but now i really digress.

we try to write about how to get older. sometimes. is what i'm trying to say. and one of the super important things you learn as you age is that you have limitations. and in this fancy millennium. we know so much more about our brains. and we know that our thinking suffers constantly from cognitive biases that make us act irrational. and since we know this happens, we can correct it. 

one of these biases is called "optimism bias". it's defined as a bias that causes one to believe that he's at a lesser risk of experiencing some negative outcome. think: smokers who don't believe their get lung cancer. or young adult males who think they'll never be the kind of person who laughs so hard they pass wind in front of their girlfriend's family. we all know optimism bias very well. we all suffer from it.

so let us modestly propose that this bias is one of the few phenomena that can explain the passage of the shitty, shitty tax reform bill that's about to be signed by donald trump. consider the republican attempt to repeal obamacare. the move was massively unpopular. and it was snuffed out again and again. likely due to the quick and easy mobilization of obamacare proponents. how were folks so easy and quick to mobilize against this unpopular republican move? because it was framed as the repeal of a universal health insurance law. people were told they'd be losing something. and people are inherently loss averse. (another suboptimally rational behavior, btw.) and so when they hear that healthcare will be taken away from anyone, they fear it will be taken away from them. and they react swiftly and purposefully.

compare that to this tax bill. worried about living in one of the most unequal countries in the developed world? sorry. but the bill raises taxes on millions of middle class americans while cutting them on wealthy americans and corporations. worried about the national debt and deficits? sorry. it adds $1.5T to the deficit. that's structural, by the way. (that is, it's not a one-time thing; it's permanent.) worried that our tax code is too byzantine? and that filing taxes is too cumbersome? that postcard was just a joke. due to the nature in which reform was passed, things have gotten even more complicated. we could go on and on in greater detail, but our point doesn't require such: this bill is shit. and it was supported by, like, 20-30% of voters. that's a tiny percentage! that's an extremely unpopular bill! especially for a bill that's framed as a "tax cut"!!!! 

but despite the lack of popularity, virtually nobody protested in the streets. virtually no campaigns went viral on facebook, telling us to call our congresspeople to demand they vote no. how come? because our optimism bias told us we'd certainly be getting a tax cut, even though this bill is garbage. certainly the bad parts of this bill won't happen to us. it's a *tax cut*, and we brush our teeth at least once a day! and we told that funny joke at lunch yesterday. and we're great! obviously we'll be fine. we'll get that tx cut. but poor, poor american middle class. many of them will suffer. ... and this perception that our lot would improve made us lazy. after all, why should we get up and fight if we're not even gonna be harmed? ... and our congresspeople knew this was happening. and one by one, so-called "principled" republicans fell into line with their party. and voted for a shit bill. why? because they knew we were lazy. and that laziness would cause us to forget that it was voted on last week. and certainly, at tax time in 3 years, that it was republicans who made our tax bill higher. 

we were manipulated again. in a stroke of genius by the big guys. the lobbyists and senators and congressfolks felled the little guys again.

but if we adult properly. we'll increasingly be able to spot that optimism bias. and overcome it. and force ourselves to get just as amped about stuff that might seem fine for us, if bad for the rest of the lot. because we'll realize that it likely won't be fine for us. or maybe we'll even see the value in fighting for our friends and neighbors.

cross your fingers. and keep faith in your fellow americans. we're mostly pretty all right.

new beer notice \ 8 dec 17 /

*THE MILK-EYED MENDER*. 

is a 10.3% milk stout with pasilla, guajillo and morita peppers, cacao nibs, indonesian cinnamon, vanilla beans, sweet orange peel, and clementine zest. you can eat this beer for dessert.

mostly we make beers meant for moderate weather. or at least that's what people tell us. "this beer would be great in the summer"... oh really? but we just released it in the winter and you clearly liked it!!! but you can't argue with people's tastes. and so we don't. but we haven't retreated on that "moderate weather" thing. we prefer to say we make daytime beers. our beers are great during the day. even on cold, wintry-mix days.

but that doesn't mean that none of our beers work at night. or "in the winter". or when the temperature on the wind shield is lower than zero. that's what they mean when they say "it's 13 degrees at the lake, but -4 with the wind shield", right? 

one of our better known winter beers is ad astra. the salted caramel scotch ale i've told y'all about before. but among the craft beer cognoscenti, our spiced imperial milk stout is far more popular.

just recently, we released a barrel-aged version. well, we're releasing the so-called "real" version next tuesday. the timely version, i guess? the just-plain-fermented version. this version doesn't have it's doctorate. it's simply graduated from some really good college and is ready to conquer the world. not an ivy league college, though. cuz that ain't middle brow. maybe like the university of michigan or northwestern or something. anyway, we're releasing it next week for all of you to drink BY THE END OF THE YEAR. surely you'll spend some time around a dinner table with family or you beau or bae by then, right? or even alone. it's a great alone beer. at 10.3% just two will warm you up. cuz hey, citrus. on a cold-as-f night. you gotta stay positive.

a matter of life and death.

a few years ago. after reading a visit from the goon squad. and many other average books in the franzen-wallace family. i think i landed on "the marriage plot" by jeffrey eugenides. it was incredibly disappointing to read such a good book and feel nothing. i think all the feeling eeked out of my eyes. and oozed up from my chest. and held down my arms. and leaned into my temples. when i read cloud atlas by david mitchell. and so i gave up reading for a year. and that was 5 years ago. and i haven't been able to get through a single book since (other than the luminaries by eleanor catton and tenth of december by george saunders).

so... this past weekend. i forgot about middle brow for about fourteen hours. and read the play "the pillowman" but martin mcdonagh. and i couldn't believe my brain.

i don't want to give it away. but, just to give you a quick sense, it almost answers the question: why does goddess let bad things happen? ... never forsake darkness. for beauty often emerges, in one way or another, from the darkest depths.

i just may start reading again.

a rendition of pillowman by the t. schreiber studio

a rendition of pillowman by the t. schreiber studio

new beer notice \ 1 dec 17 /

unnamed-1.jpg

*IN RAINBOWS* @ B&L

"mauve beer? i mean, i've heard of pink beer. and red beer. and even purple beer. but ... mauve?!?!" that's right. we made a mauve beer. and it's on tap for a very limited time at bangers and lace in both wicker park and evanston.(you may be able to find some at bucktown pub). the beer is so soft and brightly funky that you just might wanna punch it. like, the way you wanna punch your lovable uncle sometimes. the one who listens to the smooth jazz station all day on your summer vacation. and you come back form the beach at lunch time. to microwave up some chef boy-ar-dee ravioli and watch a jerry springer rerun. and all you hear is smooth jazz. 95.5. ... 

well our mauve beer is somehow like that. i promise. it's a milkshake ipa. with raspberries, blackberries, vanilla and a blended yeast quotient. every sip is a fucking treat. (more california clipper jazz. or kamasi washington's truth.) the beer is called *IN RAINBOWS* and it's a collaboration we did with mike van meter of bangers. a real mensch. he even got the bangers folks to donate $1 of every purchase to one tail at a time. talk about a killer bar for the new millennium. if you're a 21-year-old child, you should spend your extra money there. especially since it's at the start of the liveliest, most varied stretch of f+b joints in the city. 

...... and for a limited time! ...... you get a whiskey shot to wash down with our beautifully, delicious mauve beer. beer and shot and a generosity buzz. all for $9!

today ends our formal november residency at bangers. but the beer will stay on and slay on and sleigh on through the holidays.

middle brow | citizen how \ 24 nov 17 /

beer is what.

there's a really goofy trend in beer. developed mostly as a reaction to the recent popularity of much-less-bitter, dare we say softer, ipas. and much sweeter stouts. and that is to say "but they don't taste like beer". it's meant to display the superior beer-smarts of the speaker. but, ironically, it does the opposite. 

beer was likely stumbled upon when humans, who like sweet things, figured out that you can make a sweet beverage by adding hot water to grains. and they made ... beer! and then they started messing with the grains they used depending on availability. did some people not like the new-fangled grain drink? sure. but did they change the name of the drink? no. they called it beer. and then they started treating their grains a bit differently by utilizing caramelization. and it was still beer. and all the while, beers tasted different depending on the yeast that was used, which was largely dependent on location. but these were just different kinds of *beer*. and then they started using hops to preserve beer. and beer got a bit more bitter and aromatic. and did they call it "throat dust water"? no. they called it beer. and then in the modern era brewers the use of a wide array of fruits and spices came back into vogue. and it's still f'ing beer! ... 

so now. people are simply changing the timing at which they hop beers. and messing a bit with the temperatures at which they mash in. or further editing their grains before brewing with them. and suddenly "they don't taste like beer"? nah. people who makes these claims simply don't prefer the taste of these beers. that's all. and that's fine! but when they defend these preferences by pretending to have special knowledge about what beer is, they lose credibility. ... don't ever listen to them. drink what you like. no matter what some bored beer maven says. 

middle brow intrvu. \ 24 nov 17 /

podcast rap.

we sat down sunday for our second (?) podcast ever. with the gracious guys behind The Best Bar Podcast Ever. they were a treat to talk to (at??) for 30+ minutes. (sorry again for droning on and on, dudes.) ... listen on your flight back from the carolinas or the dirty rockies or your drive back from east moline or wherever. or, better yet, you know right before you're supposed to leave for your flight or your drive our to your aunt's. and your best girl has a last minute surprise email she has to answer. or maybe your best boy's shoes don't feel right with the pants he's wearing but he's really attached to the shoes and so now he needs to switch his pants which go fine with his sweater but not so much with the shirt he had on under it? and now you gotta wait like twenty minutes to leave? listen then. it'll either help the frustration pass, or it'll redirect your anger toward me for all the droning. but at least you'll get a bit about the history and future of middle brow. if you care to know it.

thanks again, justin and milos!
 

photo by amy jo royale

photo by amy jo royale

middle brow | citizen how \ 3 nov 17 /

this particular hypocrisy is taxing.

i used to work as a tax lawyer. i knew i needed to quit when i was told that a massive company had forgotten to report $700M of income over half a decade. and that i had to find a way for them to avoid paying taxes on that money. and there was a perfectly legal way to do it! gruesome work. ... i know it's not cool in craft beer to have been a lawyer. but if you want to argue with me about paying dues, please don't hesitate. i have lots to say. you can reach me at this email address. for now, i digress.

so i was particularly intrigued by the republican tax bill that came out yesterday. finally: a republican just came out. too many republicans just pretend. anyway, there's lots and lots to say about the bill. there's some good: e.g., lowering the cap on the mortgage interest deduction is a good thing, since the MID distorts home-buying behavior. in other words, if a gay republican is able to deduct a whole walk-in closet full of mortgage interest from his income every year, but he's not able to deduct *any* of his rent, he'd be more likely to buy than rent. this makes more gay republicans buy homes than should. and it benefits people who buy really big homes.

it also proposes a fairer international tax system called a *territorial* system. for complex reasons, some US companies don't pay taxes on income they make in other countries until that money is brought back into their country. this closeted income totals somewhere around $2.5T. that's a fuckload of money! the new system incentivizes US companies who make money in other countries to bring their money back!

but there's also some bad: the poorest 35% of americans would get no relief from the bill whatsoever. some very, very rich people--like, your friend from the north shore's mom who drinks nice whiskey and pretends to drink nice wine but for some weird fucking reason never has anything but macro lagers stocked in her third fridge and makes $650K/yr--would get a tax cut that they do not need. 

generally people who live in blue states would pay more (lots of gay people in blue states, you know), the reason being that state and local tax deductions would be eliminated. and all the gay cities and states have higher local tax rates. and, for most liberal people, these higher rates aren't offset by the overall federal tax cuts being proposed. 

two examples. a straight, american man in wyoming who rides a horse to his mailbox cuz it gives him a little boner (but it's ok cuz the horse is a gal): he'll get a big tax cut from the fancy boys and sexual harassers in washington dc. but he'll have to start paying his state income tax which is a whopping... 0%. but the gay high school football coach and sexually assaultive priest in new jersey: they'll get a break from the feds. but then they have to pay 9% in state income taxes. it's only slightly more complex than this. but still: ouch!!

but the biggest bad thing: it increases the deficit by $1.5T. and we haven't heard a peep from the republican house no. the house, in fact, *introduced* the fucking deficit-creating bill. this is the same house that wouldn't vote to spend a penny during the *second biggest economic crisis in the history of our country* unless it was offset by a spending cut elsewhere. this is the same house that screamed bloody murder about obama and his deficits for 8 years. which makes me laugh a bit.

to wit: republicans always yell about spending when they're in the minority. but they never vote to rein in government spending when they have power. why? because it would make too many of their totally straight constituents upset. so they just vote to cut taxes. and then: everyone's as happy as a bucktown couple's toddler! everyone gets what they want! low taxes and lots of government spending! on the other hand: when democrats are in power they admittedly vote for higher government spending. but they also vote for ways to pay for it--i.e., higher taxes. 

somehow republicans aren't afraid hypocrisy on this issue. they long ago figured out what guides donald trump: the american people have a three-day attention span. and so we easily forget what they used to purport to believe. or who they used to sexually assault. or what they once voted for. or what they once said. ... remember what happened in las vegas? are some of you thinking about your own trip to las vegas right now? because i almost used the phrase "what happens in vegas" and that made you think of the ad and then your trip and all the gambling and drugs and tasteful decor? have you ever met anyone *from* vegas? ... anyway. i was talking about the mass shooting. remember that? remember the policy response you demanded from your congresswoman and senator? no? because you started reading stories about kevin spacey instead? 

are you the average american voter? don't be.

new beer notice \ 3 nov 17 /

*IN RAINBOWS*.

after our release on tuesday night, we'll prepare for another release thursday night, november the ninth. can you say FoBaB OvErLoAd?!?!?!?!?! but guess what? this beer is not barrel-aged! thank god. we'll need a break from that. and you will too. promise us.

unnamed-1.jpg



the wonderful folks at bangers and lace approached us earlier this year about making a beer whose profits were dedicated to an animal charity. as we always are whenever a retail partner shows interest in the charitable side of our efforts, we were bowled over. we decided together to make a double dry-hopped milkshake ipa with raspberries, blackberries, vanilla beans and lactose. like our other double dry-hopped ipas, this one was fermented with four different yeast strains. it sings with berries and fruity esters. and rounds out with vanilla and a hint of sweetness. oh! and it's a beautiful beer-purple in color. come on thursday night; you'll see what we mean.

profits from the beer will be donated to one tail at a time, who will be in attendance with a mother fecking puppy in tow. come pet it. and maybe even adopt it. i mean, unless you peach-plum forget to bring your heart with you.

hangnails \ 3 nov 17 /


in avondale.

i told you last week 'bout the barrel-aged beauty that we're releasing at the beer temple thiscoming tuesday night. it's a koval whiskey barrel-aged rendition of *THE MILK-EYED MENDER*. i delivered the cases to those fly cats in avondale yesterday. this is a very limited release, so please make sure to get there as early as you can. also: there's a limit of one bottle per customer. 

there's something super special about delayed gratification. it's something brewers and vintners and distillers and picklers know a lot about: you have a creative moment. and then you work and work and work to make the object of your creativity. and then you wait. and you turn knobs this way and that. and then you work again finally to taste the thing. and it's not what you wanted. and fuck!! you waited a whole month for this! but, nevertheless, you get to it again. and eventually it works out. 

and then there's barrel aging. that takes a special kind of patience. the beer we're releasing was made nearly three years ago. it sat in oat whiskey barrels that we stuck in the closet for 2+ years. and we had no idea what it was doing in there. and we bit our hangnails in anticipation. and we put our ears on the barrel staves. and we smelled the area near the bunghole. (!) and it seemed... fine? but we had really had no way of knowing what it would be like.

and then we took the barrel out of the closet. and then we took the beer our of the barrel. and then we let it condition for 6 months more in the bottles. and then we drank one casually. and were happy that our shirts had holes in them. and that we'd been eating beans and rice for years. it was all worth it. this single, beautiful, rich, deep beer is something we never knew we could create.

please make plans to come buy one on tuesday night. we promise it will make you happy, too.

in the meantime, we'll kill our dinner with karate. which mostly means we'll eat vegetables and fruits and grains and legumes. and, if we're really lucky, a small fish. 

unnamed.jpg

middle brow | citizen how \ 27 oct 17 /

sex, much simpler.

this week, a very well-liked and talented guy was fired from a very well-liked and successful and, by all accounts, fair-minded restaurant group. the guy was 28, but started with the group at 23 or 24 and catapulted into a position of power by 26 or 27. and has done some truly great work in the chicago restaurant scene. and he didn't personally harass anyone. but he didn't act to stop obvious harassment. but still. it got me thinking. about why people sexually assault other people.

is it because they're so unable to get a little rub-rub from any other source, and so they have to go steal one in the night? or in broad daylight? or on a bus? or on a train? or in the rain? or from dr seuss?

yes. sometimes yes. sometimes that's the exact reason. and in those case, women should punch men. sorry to promote violence. ... or at the very least, women should yell at that man very loudly. and shame him. and lock him up on a boat. or with a moat. or, naked, near a hungry, hungry goat.

but most of the time it's not about that. shit. i'd bet the supermajority of the time it's not. mostly it's about exerting power over someone else. males (and sometimes females) get off on this. females have been telling us this for decades! and they're obviously right! and in most cases, it's easy to see: when a male executive brings a female employee into his office and tells her to describe her last sexual encounter in detail, it's about power. the man isn't bringing a fellow executive into his office and forcing her to do that. he's dominating a female *employee* instead. and when a man with a wife grazes the chest of a random girl on the train, it's not simply about touching some tit (;P) with the back of your forearm. it's about committing a social transgression and getting away with it. because he could touch his wife that way any time he wanted.

other times it's maybe a little subtler: when your best bro in senior year of high school told the whole locker room that a particular girl was "easy", was he doing a public service? or did he want you to go pursue her? no. the answer to both of those questions is no. he wanted you to think he was cool. he wanted to feel more powerful for a minute, or a month. and he likely did.

so if it's *mostly* about power, is it any surprise that we're seeing so many men in power fall so gracelessly right now? (and thank goddess we are.)

but what this means is that we have to be very careful about who we give power to. for example, we should not allow people with a clear record of sexual assault to be teachers (generally speaking). and most states already do this! and for good reason! ... so let's apply that logic elsewhere. let's not let anyone likely to commit sexual assault into any position of power (like, for example, the presidency). deal? ok. great. glad that's all taken care of. ......... 

jk. because obv we can't always know who is likely to commit sexual assault. because many women are not supported when they try to report sexual assault. and so the record is wiped. and many women just plain don't report it. and so the record is thin to begin with. and we usually can't (and shouldn't try to) predict who might commit sexual assault if they were in a position of power. so what then?

well. this is where organizations come in. companies big and small often build frameworks for decision-making in the face of sexual harassment and assault. i'm not sure how effective they've been. (seems like not very.) but if older, wiser executives and managers used the framework so frequently that it provided quickly-and-easily referenced examples to mid-level employees and, shit, other folks in upper management of how to behave in the face of sexual harassment and assault. then we might see a lot less of it. at least in the workplace.

and then, if an organization wanted to give lots of power to a 26-year-old wunderkind with fuckloads of talent at, say, cooking vegetarian food. it can! because most 26-year-old wunderkinds, while very talented in this field or that, and while often very honorable people, lack the wisdom and natural tools to respond appropriately to sexual harassment and assault. and when they see it go unpunished constantly (like they would in, say, the restaurant industry), they freeze up. and forget it happened. and hope it just goes away. 

but with the right framework and examples, wunderkinds and wunderadults would know exactly how to respond in the face of this shit. and look. none of this framework talk reflects any bit of cleverness at all, really. it's just top of mind now that so many goofy-looking dudes are getting their comeuppance. but somehow, these frameworks and examples have been sorely lacking in the food and beverage industry. where the high school harassment culture is alive and well and thriving. and so, kudos to that restaurant group for providing the first big example in chicago. the older and wiser folks in the industry have to keep the dipshit kinds in line. even the kindhearted ones. and hopefully this particular wunderkind will pay his hard-learned lesson forward. 

--

my cousin made a really strong point last night. the whole #metoo campaign is wild. because almost every woman has a story. and so, as sheer math alone suggests that an enormous number of men engage in sexual assault, many women hate all men. she also acknowledged very quickly that the math doesn't work that way. and that something like 30%, say, of men actually engage in sexual assault. just, a lot of it. 

but, she reminded me, that's 3 of your 10 male friends! that's a lot of men! and so we all need the same kind of framework mentioned above to use in our everyday lives. outside of work.

what's the framework? i don't know. maybe, since power is mostly at the root of this type of behavior, guys should play the same game back to the dickhead dude they're in the presence of. e.g., if you see a guy grab the ass of a girl on a train, take your bag and start poking him in the ass. and when he looks at you, give him a little smirk. or when your buddy shows you a naked picture of a girl, start taking pictures of him in unflattering positions and posting them, one after the other, on facebook. or shit. even just smile and tell him to "get that insecure shit out of here". 

never mind. these are all probably way off. don't listen to me. i don't know shit about this. 

but if i come across any handy sort of guide for how to counter sexual harassment or assault on the street, i'll pass it on. promise. cuz we 70% of guys should be joining the 100% of women in the fight against the scuzzy, cowardly 30%.

middle brow | new beer notice \ 20 oct 17 /

unnamed.jpg

*SELLS OUT VIC*
 

so we tweak. and we massage. and we finesse. and we botch. and we discover. and we make some beers over and over and over again. and this is good. this is part of making good beer. or, when it's already good, better beer. ... so naturally, this is what we chose to do with our #sellsout series. where we sell out and make IPAs.

sells out is our double dry-hopped ipa. "double dry-hopped", or DDH, is the term that seems to be forming around beers that derive from the newish new englander tradition of making really juicy, aromatic, sweeter-than-average IPAs. sometimes you'll see NEIPA instead of DDH. 

anyhow. sells out is our take on this new move. but, as we're wont to do, we couldn't get comfortable making a simple DDH IPA. instead, we experimented a bit by fermenting our pilots with several yeast strains. in the end, we settled on using *four* different yeast strains. a wallonian saison strain, two ipa strains, and a faux wild strain. and now that we've landed our base DDH IPA recipe, our rhythm section. we search for a charismatic duet partner. one who's sweet. and whose voice has curves. and earth. and light. that is to say: we change the hops from beer to beer. e.g., sells out mosaic. sells out vic. etc.

and so here we are. noticing all of you. about our newest beer. *SELLS OUT VIC*. it's a DDH IPA, and it's arguably our proudest weird beer yet. it's puzzlingly heavy with vic secret, pacifica and mandarina hops. which together make you feel like you're walking through a valley in oaxaca, harvesting papaya, trimming pineapple stalks and drinking a guava jumex out of one of those blue cardboard liters. as ever with our sells out series: it's got a soft and very moderately sweet finish. so you can drink two. 6.5%.

please go buy it and drink it this weekend. while it's still fresh. available at any number of bars and shops. the green lady and bitter pops in rosko village, to beermiscuous in lakeview. the beer temple in avondale. warehouse liquors in the city city. or the open bottle or beer cellar in the suburbs.

middle brow | citizen how \ 13 oct 17 /

big trust.

we were super excited to have released *EDDIE* this past week at lucky dorr at the park at wrigley. did they win last night? hope so. even as a bunch of sox fans. this coming monday, dat park will be showing let's play two, the documentary about pearl jam's shows at wrigley field last year. and our beer, which is named after pearl jam, will be on tap just there. only there. just over there. around the corner in that little corridor next to the stadium. and only there. so got get it.

but thinking about pearl jam and beer made us think about ticketmaster and the 90s.

the pearl jam-ticketmaster story is sorta infamous. but i'll break it down for you hee-er.

it all started when pearl jam threw a **free** thank-you concert for 30K fans in seattle. and ticketmaster charged each fan a $1 service fee. which ain't a lot of money. yeah. i know. we know. they knew. but shit. if you're throwing a "free" show that costs a dollar. that might make you push your checkered-hot-dog-boat filled with french fries across the diner table in disgust. you just can't eat anymore. you just can't. f'ing greed. ... and so pearl jam started sticking their fingers in the many eyes and up the many noses of ticketmaster. and it all eventually came to many heads.

anyway. the more serious and sober story is this: ticketmaster signed a bunch of contracts with venues across woody guthrie's great land. these contracts made them the exclusive ticket provider for any event staged in any such venue. with this long-term exclusivity, ticketmaster could do what it wah-nid. and what else would a massive corporation do in such a scenario but stoke its greed?!? so, perfectly in step and tune, they started adding surcharges to tickets. for shit like parking. and services. and "conveniences". read: bull shit. apparently, these fees would sometimes reach 25% of the headline ticket price. 

and fuckin'-a man!!! eddie vedder was pissed!!! and so was stone gossard!! and mike mcready!! but not jeff ament. he was busy perfecting his bass-player sways and jumps and jimmies. what a bass performer!

so anyway. when pearl jam demanded that their tickets be kept under $20. with surcharges no higher than $1.80. ticketmaster told them to go suck an egg. so they did. they boycotted ticketmaster. and they filed a motion with the federal government dude! you're trying to tell me kurt cobain was cooler than eddie vedder? this vedder dude took on a giant, greedy, one-track-mind-one-trick-pony corporation. and convinced a bunch of crotchety white senators with train-loads of power to investigate it. and they found something shitty... ticketmaster, go figure, was likely engaging in anti-competitive practices by entering these contracts and then inflating ticket prices for unjustifiable reasons.

now this (and other radical behavior by the band) all angered the big foul giant. so ticketmaster even leaned on lots of venues where they didn't have these exclusive contracts. in some unsavory ways. and made it near impossible for pearl jam to play in the summer.

but nevertheless. the superbly sonic seattle crew designed a national tour through a hodgepodge of self-made, rural, outdoor venues and a smattering of non-ticketmaster venues and other similar such. and boy! was it a fucking bear to get tickets to those shows! we remember. cuz this was right around the time that we started waiting in line for tickets to shows. at the local carson pirie scott. for hours in the rain. and the fake pigs (mall security) would drive by. and everyone would laugh at their geo trackers. and the girl with the bells would give you an eye or two. and you'd ask her for a lighter. and she'd have one. and you'd sit down next to her and tell her all about andrew wood. and she'd tell you all about david byrne. and then you'd invite her to your 12th birthday party.

but we could never find pearl jam tickets! how the f were we supposed to without the internet? pearl jam didn't have a number in the goddess-forsaken phone book! 

it turns out: most of the pearl jam fan folk felt the same pains. there were too many ticket tricks. and nobody in woody guthrie's great land could figure them out. pearl jam just couldn't beat the horned beast. and so they cancelled their tour. and their boycott. (and. go figure. now they sell tickets at three digit prices through their old foe.)

and then. a short bit after pearl jam lost their stomach for the fight. the justice department ran out of resources and stopped investigating ticketmaster. but we learned something interesting from the 'fuffle: that ticketmaster was using part of the "service" fees to pay concert venues for exclusivity. that is, ticketmaster was paying venues to refuse to use any other ticket provider.

***

now, this is pretty perfect as beer fan fodder. didn't we just talk about how it should make the heavens roar and the hells lech when a business wins not because they offer a better product and not because they brand their product better and not because they deliver it more efficiently but instead because they have lots of cash flow and they use that cash flow to lick-and-pinch-out the newly burning flames of smaller, competitive businesses?

well that's what ticketmaster was doing. and still does. (and it's what lots of beer distributors and some big craft beer companies do.) and it should not be allowed. and you should care about it. because it tends to reduce choices. and raise prices. and lay off your brother-in-law. and bankrupt your neighbor's small business. and enrich a few wealthy executives and stockholders. and make the world a worse place.

what does this say about consolidation in the beer industry? watch lagunitas and goose island and ballast point. i guess we'll see. and what does it say about consolidation in the grocery industry? watch amazonian foods. i guess we'll see. but the history of the healthcare industry. and the media industry. and the telecom industry. and the ticketing industry. and the retail industry. and the airline industry. suggest some not very good things.

middle brow | new beer notice \ 6 oct 17 /

eddie.

last week we told you about our collaboration with lucky dorr. well... this week it's here! come to l'park at wrigley this sunday in the early evening and grab a little slug of #eddie, our blended yeast, rye saison with ginger. it's got everything a girl could want: ginger. it's also got everything a boy could want: ginger. it's also simultaneously autumnal and crushable and not an oktoberfest. go figure! and it'll make you hum a pearl jam song. just please check that awful cubs tribute at the lucky dorr's door.

oh. and we'll be donating half our profits from the beer to the logan square farmers market. so as to help them. in some #modest fashion. to continue their cool work on the boulevards and in the barrios. and because real food is culture.

unnamed.png

ad astra.

in stores near you. now. go grab some. and then eat dinner. and then crack a can. caramel in your nose. light chocolate and smoke on your tongue. salt to round out the sweetness. it'll remind you of the depth of your favorite HBO characters. or the fresh tobacco smoke of your uncle's truck or den. or the richness of your grandma's old fashioned. 

how very autumnal, these things. the time for richness and depth and memory is upon us! let's all celebrate it.
 
 

unnamed.jpg

middle brow | citizen how \ 6 oct 17 /

gans.

i didn't want to rap about gun control this week. 'cuz i've already typed my heart out on facebook twenty times over the past ten years about it. but i had a few thoughts this week that hadn't really occurred to me before. so, we share.

another white man mowed down his fellow citizens monday. this time in a particularly gruesome fashion. (did you read about the 22yo who got shot? and his 21yo girlfriend? the new mother of their child? who laid over his body to shield him from more bullets? she was shot too. and what bout the teacher who died holding her fiance's hand? go read his facebook post. the stories don't stop. and you should share every last one of them. but i digress.)

it's likely he was mentally ill. but i'm tired of blaming mental illness. and, frankly, giving a bad name to the many mentally ill people who work every fucking day of their lives to be "normal". to have "normal" interactions. to feel ok. and who, 99.9% of the time, do a great job. 

it's time we instead blame something else... 

ok. look. unsurprisingly. as soon as the first body dropped. two dozen gun advocates were already booked on fox news. and facebook was filled with excuse after excuse that deflected blame on guns. but it was the same shit you always see. the same badbadnotgood arguments against gun control that are so easily debunked: 

if we ban or restrict gun ownership, only the bad guys will get them. (who said anything about banning guns? and then, what's the point of speed limits?)

it's the people, not the guns. (ok. then if we have so many such people, how about, instead of making it easy for them to kill others, we make it harder?)

but most people like me who propose gun control don't ever face the argument that many gun deaths can't be stopped by the simple measures they propose. small gun control measures wouldn't change the story very much on suicides. or gang violence. or domestic violence. and those three things make up the bulk of gun violence. there was even a viral washington post article about it. it's a tough point to counter. 

vox, unsurprisingly, took a whack at it by zooming out and addressing a different point: does gun control save lives? the answer is, generally, yes

but how can you square those two circles?

is it so obviously culture? yes. but bear with me. the point might not be as boring or obvious as it sounds. 

so, what makes a culture? culture isn't a word with a clear definition, but we can all agree that our food. and our sports. and our music. and our language. and our stories. and our religion. and our weather-coping mechanisms. these things are all culture. how do they become culture? through practice. through repetition. if we habitually cook with peppers (because, say, they're plentiful on our land), our culture becomes defined by spicy food. if we ritually sacrifice goats or good times to some god, animal sacrifice or pleasure deprivation become part of our culture. stories we tell again and again, and the motifs that go along with them, define our culture. how many ways has shakespeare been interpreted?

so then what if we make guns marginally harder to acquire? even the staunchest republican must agree that as things become marginally harder to do, people do less of them. it's the entire rationale for their tax policy. (the higher we tax income, the less people will work.) so, likewise, if we tax guns. or restrict gun access. or regulate bullet purchases. or whatever. we should see marginally less gun activity. and marginally fewer gun deaths. but this is just rational actor stuff. where does culture come in?

right now. think about the copycat effect—the tendency of sensational publicity about violent murders or suicides to result in more of the same through imitation. think about how mass shooters often are mimicking the assholes who came before them. and think about how "practices" make a culture. if you're gonna lose your mind and terrorize and traumatize a bunch of people, how should you do it? well, a mass shooting seems like the best way for white american males! it's in our culture.

or think about gang shootings and other gun activity on the south side of chicago. if your neighbor shot a kid who glanced at his girl, what are you gonna do when someone glances at yours? you're gonna find a gun and respond the way people in your america respond. 

but also think about availability heuristic—the psychological phenomenon whereby decisions are made by referencing examples that are easy to recall, either because of their recency or sensational nature. this can oddly be used to understand gun activity in ganglands and in las vegas hotel rooms. but it can equally be used to explain the tendency for average janes and joes to buy up every gun in their walmart. the more gun crime you're exposed to, the more you think you'll be victim to it, and the more likely you are to want a gun for "protection". (good luck with that, by the way.)

so look. the point is this: the NRA always blames our people and our culture for gun violence. not guns. and sure, maybe the problem is with our people and our culture. but if guns became harder to get. and therefore fewer people had them. and gun activity dropped generally. then our gun culture would change—that is, we'd see fewer copycat mass shootings, and fewer shootings in our cities, and fewer people buying up every gun they can to "defend" themselves. so, as i see it, fuck all those arguments about the true effect of this policy or that policy. fewer guns means less gun activity means less of a gun culture.

if the NRA wants to blame our culture, then fine. let's do something about it. let's change our culture. let's enact some gun control.

middle brow | slavery \ 29 sep 17 /

birth of a nation.

have you seen birth of a nation yet? we see fewer movies these days. (nick and bryan of mb met in the romantic comedy section of a hollywood video. pete was there, providing color commentary.) but we recommend this movie bigly. we'll reserve judgment on its acting and script and cinematography and story. the only four things we know how to judge in a movie. (wtf does a director do anyway? a producer? how do we really know whether an editor was good or the director was just really, really efficient?) and instead we'll judge it based on it's social commentary. is this the first movie about slavery that lacks a white savior? are there any redeeming white people in this movie? finally. a movie about slavery lacks a white hero for us to get all squishy over. ... either we need to watch more movies. or this one was really refreshing in that regard.

this foe-toe was taken from indiewire. they're cool. cuz they're indie.

this foe-toe was taken from indiewire. they're cool. cuz they're indie.

middle brow | heroin \ 29 sep 17 /

a wasted metaphor. 

middle brow has a very, very modest orbit. but even in our tiny orbit. big pharma, the single most evil "big" in the world, wreaks havoc.

while we're mostly powerless up against them, there are still things we can do to try to limit the number of young men and women who fall victim to heroin and other addictions. i mean, we ain't doctors. and we ain't experts on addiction. but we've seen a lot of it first hand. and from our experience, we've learned a child's handful of things. first: treat addiction like the disease it is. do not shame addicts. insist, instead, that they're not weak or bad. that they're simply sick. insist that they get to a doctor. or fuck getting to a doctor. insist that they take the phone from you when you call a doctor for them. just to chat. second: treat addiction like a disease. stop glorifying it. stop showering positive attention on heroin (and other) addicts. be constructive with and demanding of them. but don't look at them with star-crossed eyes. don't make excuses for them. don't myth-make on their behalf. being a good friend. a good human. requires that.

ad astra aspera. it's a charming metaphor. but such a waste of one on people who are chasing something they can't catch. #pfuckpfizer. and fuck heroin. it's evil.

middle brow | citizen how \ 22 sep 17 /

let's have a date.

how many years ago was it that born-on dates were born? it makes sense: you want customers to know how fresh your beer is. but you don't want to put expiration dates on beers. because it's not really clear when a beer expires. and that's a really inefficient, backwards way of emphasizing freshness anyway. so i get it. i get why budweiser (or was it miller?) launched their born-on date campaign so many years ago.

but even then i wondered: how am i supposed to know what the f a born-on date means? that is. without some education. without knowing how long a beer generally lasts. how am i supposed to interpret a born-on date? it seemed like an equally inefficient way to emphasize freshness. because it required so much education. and modern men and women. especially the beer drinking kind. don't take easily to education.

but eventually i learned a little something about beer. in fact, a little too much. ... i learned that a fresh ipa was a game changer. and that freshness started to fade from ipas after a few weeks. and so i became a total snob. and started looking at every packaged beer i bought. to make sure it was packaged within that month. browns, lagers, ipas, saisons, sours. ciders even! (jk. i never did this. but so many beer drinkers do.)

and then i learned even more!!!! i learned that hops are sensitive to time. and that the more time that passes, the less hop aroma and flavor make it into your mouth. and that that detracts from a beer. and then i learned that as time passes, many adjunct spices change aroma and flavor and intensity. and some of the time that enhances a beer. but then i finally learned the truth: that born-on dates are much, much less important when a beer is not heavily hopped or spiced. that is, when the beer is malt or yeast forward. now, nobody wants to drink a six-year-old saison. but a six-month-old saison might be beautiful. where it's ipa sister might be shit.

and so i became more discerning with born-on dates.

i hope you all do too.

this all reminds me of birthdays. for humans. the smaller the number, the more exciting the birthday. for the subject human. and for all her friends and family. but over time, that excitement fades. ... should it always? don't some of us get wiser and more interesting with age? i've met a few ipas in my life. but i've met many more saisons. and i'd sure as shit hate for people to presume i was an ipa. and not a saison. and put me down for the lines around my eyes.

unnamed-1.jpg

middle brow | rex \ 22 sep 17 /

middle brow rex.

after 25 years of supporting wxrt. chicago's finest rock. i finally removed it from my presets yesterday. and, out of respect for our 25 year one-sided relationship, i don't think i'll ever call it again. it's over. ... it's been years since i heard a song on xrt that i really cared about. and even longer since i discovered something new there. (but, of course, long live the big beat!) i kept it on preset #2. (2, for peace, obv.) in every car i ever drove. since i was 16. ... the last 5 years or so, it was out of respect. and when you realize that the only thing keeping you steady is "respect", you know you're really disrespecting your pal. and yourself.

here's a few tunes that x r t made for me.
 
low brow.

the b52s - rock lobster. shit. is there a band i hate more than the b52s? scratch that. is there a song i hate more than love shack? it's a song that makes you really pity a band. like gotye's somebody that i used to know. clearly the songwriters in both cases have a talent. some kind of talent. ... anyway, love shack is the kind of tune that reminds you of your friend's aunt at a wedding. doesn't matter anymore the merits of the song. you can't help but picture your friend's aunt. not her lame aunt. or her cool aunt. but her average aunt. the one who's name you can never remember. but whose socks are always bunching up near her ankles when she's not at weddings.  funky little shack.

but i digress. rock lobster is about the goofiest song that any radio station ever could play. but have you ever really listened to it? or heard the extended version? "it wasn't a rock." listen here... careful. you might lose it when they start listing sea creatures. "there goes a narwahl."

wilco - california stars. remember this one?! it was your song! with your girl/boyfriend! in 9th grade! gag me. but wait. let me listen all the way through first... 

high brow.

suicide dream - baby dream. - my old man did some work as a contractor when i was young. i have many vivid memories of tagging along to his project homes and buildings on the weekends. or jumping in a paint van with my uncles to grab hot dogs for lunch. and most of that time was xrt time. one particularly vivid memory came to me about 10 years ago, a few bits after moving to chicago. while i was riding my bike past the morton salt shed. ... the memory's of driving around the elston corridor with phil when i was 10 years old or so. and him running into this supply shop and that. and me tagging along with him. short, and so close-as-f to the dirty, oily floor. drawn to the loud ass light that would pour in through the one or two windows in this warehouse or that mechanic shop. sometimes i'd sit in the car. and once, dream baby dream by suicide came on the radio. and he ran into a light supply shop. and i sat there listening to this terrifically redundant, beautifully ugly song. it was weird and unforgettable. like i hope some of our beers sometimes are. and i didn't know how to find it. and my dad jumped back in the car. and it was still on. but he didn't recognize it. and we turned onto I-94. toward the ryan. and i heard the word "suicide". but didn't know how to spell it. and didn't think to ask my old man. and a decade later, i stumbled upon it again. thank goddess.

talking heads - once in a lifetime. another high brow ditty. turned on to me by x r t. for this one. i was standing on my parents bed. while my ma folded clothes. and julia child was on pbs. and i had chlorine in my fucking nose. and the 80s were everywhere. in the 80s. my ma, the leading 80s lady. david byrne, her unlikely hero. to this day, she may not even know his name.

middle brow. 

built to spill - strange. one night in 2001. as summer was ending. and we were learning about middle brow's future home, logan square. and i ventured back home from lula cafe. and we snuck into a bar. and i told stories about fancy farmy foods in my ambitiously blue collar town. about how my per plate price averaged $25 (whoa!!!!). and everyone pointed and laughed at me. and we wandered back to my parents' garage. to finish our underage drinking session. and listened to a taped episode of the big beat. and built to spill's "strange" came on. we all felt like we better start liking that super-cool, pavement-ready shit. lest we lose our edge.

st. vincent - marry me john. another big beat discovery, i believe. made while driving back to my hyde park apartment. this was around when i realized that the big beat was the only program worth listening to on the radio. and the only thing that kept xrt interesting. i went to her show at the empty bottle later that night. and locked eyes with her a few times. since i was one of twelve other people in the audience. and i ignored my gut-take on my favorite radio station of all time. for another ten years. tapping it the second i sat down in the driver's seat. or the second i jumped in the car at midway arrivals. only to tap away seconds later.

so long, pal. you were cool once. maybe in your next life, instead of just hearing neil young, you'll really listen to what he's saying. and burn out instead.