Wednesday, January 30, 2008
By KIRSTEN GRIESHABERAssociated Press
BERLIN — Germany and beer go together like Porsches and the autobahn, but health-conscious residents are turning from the country's traditional beverage in favor of juices and bottled water, sending suds sales down to the lowest levels in 15 years.
According to a government report released today, the amount of beer sold in Germany fell to the lowest sales figure since 1993 — dropping by 2.7 percent in 2007 to 22 billion pints, down 612 million pints from 2006.
The Federal Statistics Office said the drop in beer sales came as the demand for beer mixed with fruit juices, soft drinks and other nonalcoholic beverages rose 18.1 percent from 2006 to 2007, with some 887 million pints consumed by thirsty buyers.
Beer consumption in Germany has been falling steadily for more than a decade, a trend that experts have attributed to an increasingly health-conscious public and an aging population that is less likely to binge.
For last year's decline, the German Brewers Association blamed a rainy summer, noting that foul weather dampens the mood for lifting a stein on a summer evening.
But the group also pointed to shifting tastes.
"Our regular customers are getting older and don't drink as much anymore, and generally Germans prefer milder tastes today, and are more health conscious," spokesman Marc-Oliver Huhnholz said.
For the country's remaining beer drinkers, there's more scary news: Their beloved beverage — often called 'liquid bread' because it is a basic ingredient of many Germans' daily diet — is getting more expensive.
Some breweries have already raised prices, and many others say they will follow later this year.
The director of the famous Hofbraeuhaus beer hall in Munich said the brewery would increase its prices by about 74 cents per case in April.
"This is not about profit, it's about cost increase," Michael Moeller said, adding that the raw materials for the national beverage — barley malt and hops — have been getting more expensive.
Moeller said that per case of beer, the price of malt had increased by 30 cents and hops by 7 cents, and that energy costs to brew beer had risen by 10 percent.
On top of all the bad news, the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg has said it is considering a ban on selling beer from midnight to 6 a.m.
It's no wonder the Germans lost the title of biggest per capita beer drinkers to the Czechs a few years ago.
But, Huhnholz said, they still drink more than the Irish, who closely follow Germans.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Coprophagia. Yup, that is a fancy way of saying "poop-eating".
Just the other day, I was trying to think of the word, it was on the tip of my tongue, but it wouldn't come to me...but alas, it was coprophagia. Duh.
How Far Would You Go to Cash a $0.35 Check?
Would you cash a 35-cent check? Two days ago I wouldn't have known the answer to that question. Now I do, and, I'm sorry to say, the answer for me is yes. Yesterday I spent 30 minutes traveling to my bank and back to cash a 35-cent check.
Here's the story and what I plan to do with my spoils.
Two weeks ago I received a letter from my health insurance carrier. Excited to be receiving an unexpected check, I tore into the envelope and retrieved a check written out to me for the grand sum of $0.35. I went to chuck the check into the trash bin, but some unknown and unseen force held me back.
Staring at the check, I laid it next to my computer, where it sat for two weeks, buried by the usual clutter that seems to follow me like grunge follows Pigpen of Charlie Brown fame. Two days ago while I sifted through the grunge, the check resurfaced. Convinced it had taken on a life of its own, I started to tear it up, but again something held me back. So I relented and took the check to work with me yesterday.
My bank, Citibank, is just across the street from where I work, so at midday I set out on a 35-cent adventure.
As I neared the bank, though, something didn't look quite right. As I got closer I noticed a large chain wrapped around and through the bank's door handles and held together by a padlock. At first I thought, "Wow, the credit meltdown took out Citibank! This is worse than I thought." Looking around I soon realized, however, that all the shops were closed because the office building had just begun renovations.
Racking my brain to remember where the next closest Citibank branch was, I reversed course and headed back the other way for five blocks. Entering the Citibank branch, I marched up to the teller and triumphantly tendered my 35-cent check.
"I'd like to cash this check, please. I'd prefer quarters and dimes." The teller looked at the check and without missing a beat said, "Are you sure you're comfortable walking around with this much money?" Nice.
Now get this: I actually had to sign for the cash. She just smiled and said it was bank policy. Now I'm thinking the insurance company and the bank are owned by the same company. Anyway, with cash in hand, I left the financial institution with my head held high and change a-jiggling in my pocket.
So what am I going to do with my newfound wealth? I'm putting it toward my savings goal. With that $0.35, I've already achieved .000875% of my goal. Giddy up.
From PEOPLE website:
After months of speculation and rumor, the Kids are coming back. A well-placed source tells PEOPLE exclusively that New Kids On The Block are indeed getting back together.The band's Web site, www.nkotb.com, which had been dormant, is now back up and running in anticipation of the official announcement, which the source says will be made in the next few weeks.
The site currently features a television graphic with a fuzzy, flickering photos of NKOTB in their heyday, and a link inviting fans to sign up for info.The boy band, which made legions of tweens swoon in the early '90s, selling more than 50 million albums, became a worldwide phenomenon before calling it quits in 1994.
Eighteen years later, they're still "Hangin' Tough." The oldest "Kid," Jonathan Knight, now a real estate developer, will turn 40 later this year. Since the band's demise, former members Donnie Wahlberg, 38, and Joey McIntyre, 35, have seen acting success, while Danny Wood, 38, has worked as a music producer and Knight's brother, Jordan, 37, has continued to record.
In other news: Here is a video of Elizabeth Hasselbeck "Hangin' Tough" - http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20174612,00.html
Monday, January 28, 2008
In the evening, we went to dinner for my friend Leslie's birthday. Now, luckily, I don't think she reads my blog, or at least doesn't yet, because I am about to bash her birthday dinner restaurant of choice. Hugo's on Westheimer - it's upscale mexican - and it's nasty. Everything on the menu sounded gross and it was at least $25 an entree. I ended up getting taquitos, which I don't even normally like, just because I knew what they were...and lo and behold, I did not like them.
Now, I understand that there is a difference between Tex-Mex and Mexican. And yes, i understand that Hugo's is mexican and not tex-mex. But I am here to tell you that I've been to Mexico and eaten their food and loved every bit of it...ain't nobody in Mexico that eats that shit. The menu highlight was Quail Quesadillas with peanut mole. Um, no thanks.
Do not eat at Hugo's. Taqueria Arandas is authentic mexican, it's 0.03% of the price, it's AWESOME and there is always a location near you.
Hanging out with Leslie and Adam was fun though! Food doesn't have to taste good to enjoy the company of friends!
After dinner, we met over at Zach's place to play a new video game his roomate got that day. I was tired and only planned to stay for an hour-ish. 4 hours later, we left (but I didn't even want to go then!). The game is called Rock Band for Playstation - it is also known as The Greatest Game Known To Man to people on the inner circle. It's like karaoke meets Guitar Hero. You have a guitar, a drum set and a mic and everyone sings/plays along to the song. Seriously, it was so fun. After 4 hours of playing, Tommy and I came home and began researching the potential purchase of Rock Band for our house. We had some rewards points slated for the purchase of a Wii, but those points were quickly moved to the Playstation fund...and now one resides in our living room. We played Rock Band from 1PM until I made Tommy turn it off at 9PM...and we only stopped then because I needed to come down off my adrenaline high. Seriously. It's the greatest game EVER. We started a band...we are called "Deadly Don". Tommy is on the guitar and I am on the drums. We got $25 for our first gig.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Drinking with both tiger paws on is always a good call.
LSU won shortly after this last picture was taken. We were unable to see the actually win because the tailgate we were ate had rented their huge flat screen tvs, and the rental company picked them up 5 minutes before the game was over. But that just meant we were on the streets early to play with the Buckeyes. The loss of my toenail did not diminish my ability to have fun at all...although, I seriously considered walking around Bourbon St. barefoot...
We joined the party at the Gingerman wearing our fabulous costumes. Other than the fact that i couldn't put my arms down all the way, the box was surprisingly comfy. It was also a magnet for the opposite sex. If you don't believe me, try it. Cut the arms out of a box and wear it around all night...I bet you get at least 5 phone numbers. I fully recommend this to all my single friends out there. I'm telling you, it works. Tommy's box was stolen (that's how popular they were) and I had to ditch mine in the shrubberies so I could fit in Katey's car for the trip home.
Nonetheless, this is what our Christmas card will look like next year...
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Tommy got a new job (which are very excited about!) and spent a good deal of time last week trying to transfer files off his work computer and get all the essential documents together for his departure. On Monday, when I, the ever dedicated employee, came to work, he worked on this file transfer for most of the morning. Well, he worked until his computer crashed.
Normally when computers crash, you just get the scary blue screen and then everytime you try to reboot, it lets you try to start it in safe mode, but of course that feature never works. Well, when Tommy tried to reboot, all that came up on the screen was "Operating System Not Found". Um, that CAN'T be good.
What does "Operating System Not Found" mean?? I mean, the computer is still there, so where did the operating systerm go? Nonetheless, it seemed very tragic for TB's computer.
BUT, when he took it to the IT guru's this morning, they found that a screw had just loosened a little and disconnected the hard drive. So, with the help of a phillips head screwdriver, the operating system was found.
Way to go TB. Way to go!