Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, October 26, 2018

Four Things

1. Fellow soccer fans might enjoy this list of 15 colorful soccer terms from around the world. My favorite was the fourth:

Stofzuiger -- Vacuum cleaner (Netherlands)

Neat work from the holding midfielder -- he hoovers up the loose ball and moves it on to a team-mate. Every side could do with a vacuum cleaner like him in their ranks to keep things tidy in midfield.
The Brazilian idiom meaning where the owl sleeps is also good.

2. Forty years after he was killed, a man's body was found when a researcher became curious about an unusual tree:
The tree was spotted in 2011 by a researcher who was curious as to how the tree had ended up in the cave and especially in a mountainous area where it was not usually found.

While carrying out his research and digging around the tree, he was then horrified to find a human body underneath and raised the alarm. On digging further, police recovered a total of three bodies.

Munur Herguner added that her brother was believed to have been the one that had eaten the fig, and blood samples from her family matched DNA fragments which confirmed it was her brother's final resting place.
The murder weapon, a stick of dynamite, created the hole in the cave that admitted the sunlight required by the tree.

3. This PJ Media story on "The Five Most Overrated Beers" is spot-on, even about Yuengleng, the one on the list I sometimes drink:
Also overrated. (Image via Pixabay.)
I can't count the number of times I've asked, "Does the restaurant have any beer that I'll like?" only to be told by the individual recommending the restaurant, "Oh, yes. They have Yuengling." What makes that annoying is that most of my friends know me as a "beer snob." One of my first writing jobs was writing about beer for a music site. What makes that answer extra annoying is that it reveals that people assume that Yuengling is a legitimate craft beer and a good beer, to boot. It's neither...
The list also reminds me that I haven't made any beer recommendations here in a long time. Maryland's blue laws are partly to blame, along with the fact that the only place that allowed me to build a six-pack from single bottles was off my beaten path. I'm not obligating myself to a time table, but we move to Florida soon, and both of those annoyances will disappear.

Is it time for my excited-to-move-to-Florida list?

4. Statistician John Cook sums up his post on why programmers aren't paid in proportion to their productivity:
The romantic image of an über-programmer is someone who fires up Emacs, types like a machine gun, and delivers a flawless final product from scratch. A more accurate image would be someone who stares quietly into space for a few minutes and then says "Hmm. I think I've seen something like this before."
(Not calling myself a real programmer, but...) And then there are hacks like me who slap a few search terms into Google a few times and piece those results together into a script that ends up saving lots of time or effort. "I think someone else has seen something like this before," usually turns out to be true.

-- CAV


Dinwar said...

The problem--and the greatness--of something like beer is that it is something which is entirely up to individual taste. I mean, there are certain criteria that a beer has to meet to be drinkable, but after that it's up to each individual to make up their own minds. On the most basic level, physiologically we don't taste the same. I'm largely anosmic, so aromatic aspects of beer are not as important to me, to give one example. Whether you drink your beer warm or cold will change it as well. I can't see any justification in judging someone for the beer they drink.

There is also a place for small beer (think American light lagers). Small beer is what "beer" was for most of its history: something people drank when they didn't want to get drunk, but still wanted to enjoy a beer, with just enough alcohol in it to keep it from going bad. The roots of small beer go back as far as those of lambics (another beer I've never heard a so-called beer snob discuss). Simply put, if someone complains about a beer for having too little alcohol or too little "body", I write them off as too ignorant of beer history to be worth listening to on the topic; it's epistemologically equivalent to someone saying "Ayn Rand is an idiot because she as a fan of a psychopathic killer".

I get why people enjoy beer. I do myself--heffs, IPAs, stouts, lagers, ales, they are all delicious. But I do not understand the concept of putting people down for enjoying something that may not be to someone else's taste. Snobbery is second-handed and honestly drives people away from the activity, making it harder for everyone else to enjoy. I LIKE that there are a few thousand types of beer available in any descent-sized city. The more varieties of beer people enjoy, the more I get to experience! There are no conflicts of interest among rational men; your enjoyment of a hops-rich IPA (to give a random example) doesn't reduce my enjoyment of a cold Coors while working in my garden on a hot day, or vice versa.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the interesting comment and the opportunity to clarify a couple of things.

(1) Regarding the term "beer snob", I suspect that the author of that piece is using the term very loosely (as I myself do) simply to mean having a strong preference for types of beer that most people find unusual, or at least craft beer or what used to be called "imports". In any case, I don't personally regard a matter of taste, such as the type or brand of beer someone likes as a basis for looking down on someone else.

(2) I think one can still speak of a beer as being overrated. Yuegleng is an excellent example. I like that beer, but have to be in the mood for it: It's of a style and strength I don't normally care for, and there are better lagers out there (such as, for example, Spaten, which I have accidentally purchased a couple of times when I intended to buy their Optimator). I like it, but it's not in a league with what I normally drink.

That said, I enjoy the occasional lambic. That's a very interesting style.


Anonymous said...

when you get to Florida, try some from the Funky Buddha Brewery. They have a VERY wide selection of uniquely flavored craft beers. Their brewery tours are great too if your in the Ft Lauderdale area.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the tip. I'll be a few hours away from there, but with a memorable name like that, I'll be sure to look them up if I find myself around there.


Anonymous said...

Did you ever make it to Max's Taphouse in Fell's Point? It's a bar, so no takeout, but has a large selection from which to choose and enjoy (and the bartenders know the beer).

Gus Van Horn said...


I've heard of it, but haven't been. I didn't work in Baltimore proper, so logistics -- a forty minute drive each way and hiring a baby sitter were part of any trip there for me -- kept me away.


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you caption, "Also overrated."

Having seen David Lynch's Blue Velvet at an impressionable age, I have to say that just seeing the bottle reminds me of the product placement in that movie, which was...less than welcome to Heineken, I expect. (The link is NSFW for language.) When you think about it, having Heineken possibly standing as a symbol of innocence and Pabst Blue Ribbon as a symbol of decadence and having Dennis Hopper trash your product is just too pointlessly complex for effective advertising, but it is memorable in its own way.

Gus Van Horn said...

Amusingly, despite the clear tone of judgement, you could not really apply the term "beer snob" to the guy, figuratively or literally.