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WHat RaDioHeaD GetS giles turnbull CoFFee DrinkS IlluStrateD lokesh dhakar JeFF & tHe AntiCHriSt todd keisling CaFe Babel: THe European Cit-J MeDia claire ulrich BreakFaSt CerealS CompareD jared adams LiFe iS Far Too SHort to Drink CHeap Beer al everett 10 BeSt BeerS WitH BallS oF 2007 seth plattner BreakFaSt WitH tHe WHite StripeS giles turnbull See HoW We Write laurie kendrick


→→ Al Everett ›› Hop-Talk.com Al is a husband and a father of two beautiful girls, ages seven and four. He recently hit “the big four-oh”, but is really a kid at heart. In addition to his family—and beer—his passions include: The New York Giants, Rush, videogames (especially first-person shooters), board and card games, reading (primarily science fiction), and movies. Did he mention beer? Oh, and “blogging”. As a day job, Al is a ColdFusion application developer working in the Washington, DC Metro Area. The Hop Talk blog (hop-talk.com) is a labor of love, and Al is touched that you care about his thoughts on beer.

→→ Claire Ulrich Claire Ulrich (claireulrich@gmail.com) is a professional French journalist, based in Paris, and has worked extensively for print, tv and on line French media. She says that she rediscovered zest and interest for her trade in citizen journalism and, whatever her professional colleagues may say, she believes in it. Such a pity that, for the moment being, it doesn’t pay the rent…

→→ Laurie Kendrick ›› LaurieKendrick.com Laurie Kendrick is an award winning writer currently living in Houston. She recently handed in a microphone for a keyboard in order to write full time. Her blog, LaurieKendrick.com is one of the fastest growing blogs in the blogosphere and is rapidly gaining notoriety as a very funny read. It was recently nominated as “Funniest Blog” in the 2007 Weblog Awards.

→→ Giles Turnbull ›› Gilest.org Giles Turnbull is a freelance writer based in Bradford on Avon, UK. He has a web site at gilest.org. You can email him at giles@gilest.org.

→→ Todd Keisling ›› ToddKeisling.com Todd Keisling is a two-time recipient of the Oswald Research and Creativity prize for fiction, as well as the author of A Life Transparent. It’s not his first novel, but probably the first you’ll read. His work has appeared in Limestone, Kaleidoscope, 365 Tomorrows, and Soundzine, as well as a few others. He lives with his fiancée, Erica, in Southeastern Pennsylvania where he pretends to be a writer. You can read more of his work at his website, ToddKeisling.com.

→→ Lokesh Dhakar ›› LokeshDhakar.com Lokesh is an independent designer/developer living in Boston who writes about design and user interface development on his blog at lokeshdhakar.com. He can also be found biking around town, listening to audio books (no joke!), and dabbling in arts and crafts. He hopes to stay capricious.

→→ Seth Plattner ›› InventorSpot.com Seth Plattner graduated from New York University in 2006 and now lives in New York City. He has been a Featured Blogger for InventorSpot.com for a little more than a year now and when he isn’t drinking and writing about it for the website, Seth also spends time scouring the web for worthy “blogmatter” and also the occasional architectural marvel. If carpal tunnel gets to be too much, Seth also enjoys reading, watching movies, jogging and competitive board game playing. He claims to be undefeated in Scattegories. InventorSpot.com focuses on news and reviews of the latest inventions, innovations and interesting ideas. Promising serious fun for the inventor in all of us, InventorSpot.com is the most popular invention site on the web.

contributors

photo — yvette2 / stock.xchng  cover photo — dsevilla / flickr

→→ Jared Adams ›› aCalorieCounter.com Jared Adams is the creator of and sole writer for aCalorieCounter.com. He is also the “inventor” of the world’s most literal weight loss program, The Lose Weight Diet (TheLoseWeightDiet.com). Currently 25 years old, Jared has been learning everything he possibly can about diet, nutrition, fitness and just being healthy in general since he was 16. He can do 10 pull ups with an additional 45lbs of weight attached to him, recite the nutritional content of most foods from memory, and do his best to write the Internet’s most unique and useful nutrition content.

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photo — cedric’s Pics / flickr

What Radiohead Gets Giles Turnbull Gilest.org

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y letting people choose how much they wish to pay for their new album, Radiohead are sacrificing a certain amount of guaranteed income. But to offset that loss, the band gathers a great deal of extremely useful data. For a start, everyone who buys “In Rainbows” (either the download or the diskbox) has to register as a user. Registration requires you to enter your personal details, including email address and mobile phone number. Purchasing requires you to enter your credit or debit card details. And everyone who chooses the digital download gets to choose their price. From Radiohead’s point of view, everyone who signs up with their contact and credit card details spells out clearly exactly how keen a fan they are. Radiohead ends up with a database of fans, neatly divided up by the amount of money they were willing to shell out, up front, for the album. The purchasers of the diskbox are the premium customers. Now that Radiohead knows who they are, they can be plied with special offers, invites to gigs, special

releases-with the band fairly sure that most of the people in this category will pay whatever they’re asked to pay, within reason. These are the ultimate fans, willing to spend their money to ensure the music continues to be made. They must be looked after carefully, and they will be. Below them come many strata of fans; those who spent about a tenner; those who spent the same, even though they are in the USA and would be effectively charged double thanks to exchange rates; those who paid just a few pounds; those who got away with as little as they could. Every single category can be exploited in different ways. Some will be lured into spending more; others will be dangled cheap baubles of content, perhaps asked to pay 20£ for a snippet of studio out-take (which of course the premium fans will have been given, for free, a week previously via SMS invitation to download). This is Customer Relationship Management. Radiohead is a premium brand, striking out on its own and with this initial release, simultaneously testing the waters and building the most valuable database it can.

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Coffee drinks illustrated

Side-by-side diagrams of a few common espresso drinks

Lokesh Dhakar LokeshDhakar.com

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’m new to the world of fancy coffee drinks. With the vast number of ordering options and new words with accented characters to pronounce the coffee shop ordering experience can be intimidating. I’ve created a few small illustrations to help myself and others wrap their head around some of the small differences.

E�������

Espresso

[ess-press-oh]

M��� F���

W������ C����

E�������

E�������

Espresso Macchiato

[ess-press-oh mock-e-ah-toe]

Espresso con Panna

[ess-press-oh kon pawn-nah]

→→ About Espresso Espresso is prepared by forcing pressurized steam through finely ground dark-roast coffee beans. Think of it is strong, concentrated coffee. You can add extra “shots” of espresso to make your drink stronger.

S������ M���

S������ M���

M��� F��� S������ H���-A��-H���

E�������

E�������

E�������

→→ About the Diagrams I gathered most of my information from Wikipedia and tidbits from other online sources. Know that drinks might be prepared a bit differently coffee shop to coffee shop, and especially country to country.

[caf-ay lah-tey]

Caffé Latte

Flat White

M��� F���

W����

S������ M���

W������ C���� S������ M��� C�������� S����

E�������

E�������

E�������

Cappuccino

Caffé Mocha

M��� F��� ++ Get your Coffee Drinks Illustrated shirts and mugs at Lokesh’s Cafepress store: http:// www.cafepress.com/ lokesh

Cafe Breve

[caf-ay brev-ay]

[kap-oo-chee-noh]

[caf-ay moh-kuh]

Americano

[uh-mer-i-kan-oh]

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t’s from nightmares of a bloody, ravaged planet that I wake to find a pudgy demon sitting on my chest. At least I think he’s a demon. His body is shaped like an upright football, with spindly arms and legs accented with elongated claws for fingers and toes. I say “he” because of the tiny, engorged phallus poking up from between his legs. He has jagged teeth, horns, eyes of fire and a distinct smell of sulfur, too. For a moment I wonder if I’m still dreaming, if these terrible visions of fiery landscapes and rivers flooded with the fluids of the deceased are still playing out their sick revelations, and I glance at my window just to be sure. It’s morning, the sun is out and birds are chirping. My neighbor across the street starts up his lawnmower. The demon rises to his clawed feet. His knees buckle backwards in the same manner as a goat. “Good morning,” he croaks. The smell of sulfur overwhelms me, stirring up last night’s dinner and in a span of seconds I’m leaning over the side of the bed. Soon my dinner is on the floor. “Wow,” says the demon. “That’s gross.” I wipe my mouth, grimace at the taste of bile and regurgitated teriyaki chicken, and speak: “Are you real?” The demon grins, his teeth black and charred. His erection is constant. “I’m very real,” he says, and extends his hand. “Name’s Jeff.” The demon, he’s so small that, to shake his hand, I have to offer my index finger. His touch is scaly, searing and, after the brief congeniality, I pull away and see red outlines of his claws forming on my skin. “Jeff?” I ask. “What, you were expecting some huge hard-to-pronounce name?” The frustration in his voice is apparent.

Todd Keisling ToddKeisling.com

photo — giampaolo macorig / flickr

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jeff & the antichrist 5


He storms across my chest from left to right, his stick arms flailing in the air. “Everybody always suspects Beelzebub or Baal or Mephistopheles.” “I’ve read Faust-” I start to say, but he cuts me off. “My name’s Jeff. Deal widdit.” When you’re looking into dime-sized holes made of literal burning hellfire, it’s hard to protest. I nod in agreement. “Okay,” I say, my mind still bleary and slow. Sometimes it takes me time to warm up and get the gears moving in the morning-even with a demonic creature standing on me. “So, you’re a demon?” Jeff stops, glares at me and shrieks, “WELL I AIN’T THE GODDAMN TOOTH FAIRY.” Another blast of sulfur hits my face, and I try to subdue my gag reflex. It isn’t easy. When he sees my eyes watering

he clears his throat and apologizes. “I get worked up sometimes,” he says. “I noticed.” “Anyway, the reason I’m here is to tell you your time has come!” I blink. His words begin to sink in and my heart starts to pound. I’ve died. I’ve died in my sleep and now Satan has sent one of his minions to claim me. My words are babbling from my mouth before I even realize I’m speaking. “-know I haven’t led a good life, but I’ve tried, I’ve really tried, and I know I should’ve gone to chur-” “Relax,” he says. “You’re not dead.” “I’m not?” The demon shakes his head. His phallus wags like the tail of an excited dog. “Of course not. You’ve come of age. Your reign begins today.” I’m still puzzled. This frustrates him again. I can tell by the bright blaze

date with a member of the opposite sex, but the Antichrist? No. No way. I don’t have a murderous bone in my body. I couldn’t manipulate a fly. Finally I tell him, “Well, I just never really imagined myself as being an incarnation of the devil. I always figured it would be someone else. Like Marilyn Manson.” Jeff shakes his head and snorts. “Too whiny.” “George Bush?” “Which one?” “Um,” I say, “Junior?” “Too stupid. His daddy was closer to the mark, but that’s still a stretch.” I tell him I’m still not convinced, and climb out of bed. He hops down from the blankets and follows me into the bathroom. He climbs up to my shoulder while I urinate. “That’s really distracting,” I tell him. He chuckles in my ear. I try to breathe through my mouth so I can’t smell his sulfurous breath. Once I’m finished I flush the toilet. I stare at myself in the mirror for a moment. His eyes glow in the reflection. “If I’m the Antichrist,” I smirk, “then wouldn’t my penis be bigger?” “You’ve got the Master’s sense of humor, at least.” “Thanks. But seriously, why me? Why even bother?” Jeff leaps off my shoulder and lands on the counter. He marches across its surface, picks up a tube of toothpaste and squirts out a handful. He smears it on the counter, forming an odd design; once finished, he stands and hocks a wad of phlegm into the center. It erupts into a small flame, and suddenly the mirror transforms from a reflection of my face to a scene of bloody rivers and flames. “Hey,” I whisper. “That’s what I was dreaming.”

photo — fdecomite / flickr

in his eyes and the tiny tendrils of smoke rising from his pointy ears. “Jesus, kid, you mean you didn’t know? You’re the bloody Antichrist. You know, the spawn of Lucifer?” He’s not amused by my laughter. “What?” he shrugs. “You are. It’s fact.” “I’m the Antichrist,” I say, trying to hide my incredulity. I’m not doing a very good job. “Me? That’s hysterical.” He shoves one long, red claw in my direction. “This isn’t funny, kid. You’ve got a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. There’s a date set for Armageddon, you’ve got a world to deceive and a god to usurp.” I sit up. Jeff tumbles backward into the mess of blankets on my bed. His skin sizzles against the fabric, and when he stands there’s a blackened outline of his body on my blue comforter. “Sorry,” I tell him. He grunts. This whole Antichrist thing, it just seems ridiculous. Me? Come on. The only worlds I’m destined to destroy are those confined to video games. “You don’t believe me?” he asks. “No,” I tell him. “I don’t.” “Can’t you feel it? The power?” I think for a moment. Right now the only things I feel are my aching bladder and the bitter taste of regurgitated food. I tell him so, and he looks at me with complete disbelief. He shrugs, holds out his arms and says, “Even with me standing right here before you? Me, one of Legion?” He has a point. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a demon before-well, a demon in real life. There are all those horror films from the 70s and 80s, but I don’t think those really count, either. Still, the notion that I could be the Antichrist? I’m nice to people. I pay my bills, I go to work, I even have the occasional

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milk, I grin and say, “No pun, right?” “Funny.” I pour the milk, return it to the fridge and pluck a spoon from the dish drainer. I sit at the table and begin to eat. Jeff rants before me as I shove spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth. “I told the Master you wouldn’t take me seriously. No one believes the little guy. Oh no, he couldn’t ask Mr. High and Mighty Azazel to crawl up here and brave a morning commute to convince your puny ass-” “Okay, look,” I say, crunching down my cereal, “convince me. Don’t just tell me, but show me. Prove to me the human race needs to be obliterated.” He considers this for a moment. His eyes glow brighter, and he smiles. “All right,” he says. “I will.” He snaps two of his claws, and when I blink I realize I’m no longer in my kitchen. My table is gone, my cereal is gone, all four walls are gone. All that remains of my kitchen is the spoon in my hand and the cereal in my mouth. Where we are is some desert. It’s dark, there’s a constant pop-pop-pop echoing from somewhere in the distance, and I’m cold. Not quite what I expected from the desert, but then I realize it’s night. Jeff climbs up to my shoulder. His touch burns me, but not so much that I can’t bear it. He sits on my shoulder and says, “Welcome to Iraq.” “Iraq?” It doesn’t sink in until a squadron of transport trucks roll past us, their headlights shooting out into the arid night. I start to turn and run. Surely our presence here won’t go unnoticed. Jeff pulls on my earlobe. “Where are ya going? They can’t see us. No need to run.” I stop. The sand is gritty between my toes. I wiggle them to no avail.

“Why are we here?” Jeff doesn’t speak. Instead he lets the pop of gunfire in the distance speak for him. When I turn I see flashes from the reports, followed by an explosion that lights up the night. The transport trucks swerve and head off in the direction of the blast. “Convinced yet?” I say nothing. “How about this, then?” He snaps his claws, and the night sky disappears. We’re in a well-furnished bedroom. A four-post canopy bed is at one end, and a large plasma television hangs on an opposite wall. A CNN news broadcast plays, but the volume is muted. The scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen displays the rise and fall of today’s stocks, the latest about Brad and Angelina, the ratings of American Idol. The President walks through the room and jumps on to the bed. He’s wearing a pair of navy blue pajamas. Then he reaches for the remote and changes the channel on the TV. Now, instead of CNN, there is the Cartoon Network. “Just in time for Looney Tunes,” he says. Jeff sighs. “We had such high hopes for him.

Bad example. Ignore it.” Another snap, and we’re in the center aisle of an airplane. By the time I get my bearings, I see two men rise from their seats with box cutters in hand. Two more appear from behind. Men, women and children all scream in panic as they shout in broken English. I close my eyes and try to block out the shouts, but I can’t. “How about now?” Jeff whispers. “No.” He snaps, and now we’re standing on the wing of the plane. How we are, I have no idea, but we are, and that’s not what concerns me. The plane banks over a city and repositions itself in the path of a large tower. “That’s enough,” I tell him. He chuckles. “This is the best part,” he says. I pull him off my shoulder and squeeze him. His eyes of fire bulge and crackle from their sockets. “Okay,” he grunts, “okay, okay, fine.” Just as the plane is about to collide with the building, there is a flash, and suddenly we’re standing on a sidewalk underneath a bridge. Directly across

photo — taniwhaiti / flickr

“I know,” Jeff says. “You were born for this.” I watch as charred, eviscerated bodies surface in the muck. I see people killing people; I see countless lies channeled over the airwaves-gross misleading statements designed to keep the meek confined to their pens while tyrants wage war for the sake of power and money under the guise of a false prophet. In the flames, atop a decimated capitol building, is a version of myself, aged twenty years, ruling with an unflinching fist. I close my eyes and blink away tears. “You will rid this planet of God’s plague.” “No,” I tell him. He looks up at me with a look in his fiery eyes that reminds me of a sad puppy. “Whaddya mean, ‘no?’” “No.” More smoke begins to rise from his ears. “You… you can’t say no! Embrace your destiny! Carpe diem!” I walk out of the bathroom and downstairs to the kitchen to make myself breakfast. He follows after me. His footsteps melt the carpet and leave black pitter-patter marks as he goes. “I’m not going to destroy the human race,” I say, and begin to pour myself a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Jeff climbs up one leg of the table and glares at me. “But you have to!” he exclaims, and stamps his feet. The wooden surface begins to sizzle. “Do you mind?” He grunts. “Yeah I do,” he says. “I came all the way up here to deliver the news. The Master himself charged me with this task, and I’ll be goddamned-” Reaching into the fridge for the

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the street is a river. I let go of Jeff. He falls to the ground with a sick thump, and he says, “Watch this.” Two men walk past us, deep in conversation, but I can’t understand what they’re saying. As they walk, a black car drives up behind them. The window rolls down, the muzzle of a gun protrudes and fires. One man goes down; the other ducks for cover and reaches for his own firearm, but there is no where for him to go. The assassin in the car fires two more shots-one hits the target in the chest, the second in the forehead. Then the car speeds off. I stare at the two bodies and the pooling blood. There are no sirens. Aside from the sound of traffic on the bridge above us and the churning waters of the river, there are no sounds. Just us and the two dead men. “Human killing human, monkey killing monkey, and you mean to tell me humanity doesn’t deserve to be manipulated into submission?” I say nothing. Jeff climbs back up

to my shoulder. I can’t stop staring at the dead men. Who were they? I wonder. The pointlessness of what we just witnessed makes my stomach churn. I turn and begin to retch, but nothing comes up. “We knew it would turn into a mess like this. He gives you dominion over a rock and leaves you to your own devices. We tried to tell Him, we tried to reason with Him, but He wouldn’t listen. So now here you are, fighting amongst yourselves, sometimes in His name, most times not.” “I’ve seen enough.” “No,” Jeff muses, “I don’t think you have.” I open my mouth to protest, but it’s too late. We’re not under the bridge any more. We’re in someone’s bedroom. A little girl’s bedroom, from the looks of things-there are jewelry boxes and Barbie dolls and large, pink pillows. The little girl in question-she can’t be more than six or seven years old-runs into the room, her cheeks glistening with tears.

and she doesn’t want to be late. Typical gold digger. She finds ‘em, seduces ‘em, marries ‘em and leaves them with half of their worth.” “Wow.” “Yeah,” he says. “But things are about to get a bit more interesting.” The car sputters forward too far, and she collides with the back of a minivan. Traffic comes to a standstill. This woman, she climbs out of her car, her face red and eyes hidden behind sunglasses. Her bleached blonde hair glimmers in the sunlight. She’s screaming at the driver who tried to cut her off. He’s out of his car now-a scrawny guy who’s beginning to go bald far too early in life. She says something about his poor driving; he retorts by telling her to go fuck herself. She threatens a lawsuit. He reaches into his van, pulls out a gun and threatens her life. “I’ve seen enough,” I say to Jeff, and open the door of the car. I maneuver between the rows of traffic and make my way to the sidewalk. Jeff trails after me. “Well, how ‘bout it?” “How ‘bout what?” I stop in the center of the bridge and look down at the Schuylkill river. Its waters are endlessly polluted, muddy and constant. Sometimes, when it rains too much, it floods and the streets have to close. I lean against the rail and stare into the murk. “Don’t play coy with me,” Jeff says. He hops up to the railing and plants both clawed hands on his scaly midsection. His demonic erection is still in full effect. “What do you say about the Antichrist business? Humanity’s time is up. It had its chance and blew it. Let’s wipe ‘em out and start something new. Show Him how it’s really done.”

photo — michele™ / flickr

A man, presumably her father, approaches the doorway and stands there with his arms crossed. “I hate you!” she screams. He stares in silence. The way he glares at her makes me uneasy. “This guy,” Jeff says, his voice filled with glee, “has a criminal record of pedophilia. Here he is, free to walk the streets, and now he’s befriended the lady at the diner down the street from his apartment. Now he’s sleeping with her and oh, what’s this, she has a child, a little girl, how lovely, he just loves children.” I watch as the man begins to remove his belt. He curls it around his fist, steps into the room and closes the door behind him. His glare transforms into a leer, and the little girl screams. Jeff snaps again, and now we’re sitting in the backseat of a car. It’s the morning rush hour. The radio DJ proclaims a five-mile congestion due to an overturned semi. Outside, two lanes of cars move a couple of inches every few minutes. I recognize our surroundings for the first time. “Penn Street bridge,” I whisper. “You got it,” Jeff says. In the driver’s seat is a middle-aged woman in business attire. She’s tapping her fingers on the steering wheel. When a car in the adjacent lane flips on its turn signal and moves an inch in her direction to establish a kind of automotive dominance, she jams her hand on the horn and screams, “Piss off, asshole.” She taps her foot on the gas and the car lurches forward. “She’s in a hurry.” “Want to know why?” I decide to humor him. “Why?” “She’s late for a meeting with her attorney. It’s her third divorce

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“Yeah, so?” I return my gaze to the river. “So you don’t need an Antichrist. All you need is patience.” “Patience?” “Yeah,” I tell him. “Humanity doesn’t need someone to lead them to oblivion. It’s doing a fine job on its own.” He thinks about this for a moment, running one claw across his scaly chin, and for a moment I think he’s going to go on another rant. But he

doesn’t. Instead of smoke streaming from his ears, he bends over, shoves his hand up his tiny demon rectum and pulls out a black cell phone. I blink and stare. It’s all I can do, really. He flips it open, revealing a red, inverted pentagram on the screen. He dials a number, puts the phone to his ear and says, “The Master’s gonna love this.” “You think?”

“Oh yeah,” he says. “It’s gonna cut expenses in half. Master! Hey, listen-” As Jeff attends his cellular phone conference with Satan, I consider the whole Antichrist business one more time. Yeah, it would be great to taste power, to amass a legion of hellspawn and rule over the world with an iron fist, but I think I’d rather just play video games. That way, at least, I can turn it off when I’m finished.

photo — atomicshark / flickr

“Jeff,” I tell him, “I think you’ve missed the point.” He looks at me, scratches himself and says, “Whaddya mean?” I turn and gesture toward the pistol-wielding bald guy and the arrogant gold-digging woman. He’s got the barrel of the gun an inch from her forehead, and her mascara is beginning to trickle down her cheeks. “You talk about wiping out humanity.”

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bringing eUropeanS TogeTHer onLine, in SeVen LangUageS

story photos — claire ulrich

Cafe Babel

The European Cit-J Media

Claire Ulrich

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n 2000, Italian students Adriano Farano and Nicola Dell’Arciprete were spending a year in Strasbourg, France, on a European Erasmus university exchange program, Strasbourg is where the European Parliament congregate. The two friends studied political sciences. But what made them passionate about Europe are the fellow Europeans they met during their year as Erasmus alumni. European trade laws are boring, but sharing a flat with students from every corner of the continent never is. Coming from Italy, where political debates are explosive, Adriano and Nicola both longed for a civilized forum where young Europeans could further this enlightening experience of “the year abroad,” describe their respective country and discuss current affairs across borders, in their own language. They knew nothing about citizen journalism at the time. But a citizen media is exactly what they launched, with the fabled two basic ingredient of this new trade: passion and lack of money. No capital risker, even high on drugs, would have financed a quality newspaper about Europe, much less circulated it across 25 European countries. They founded a non profit company to launch the Cafe Babel Web site, in 2001, with European Community funding. Why Cafe Babel? “Cafe Babel sound like an oxymoron,” admits Adriano. “A cafe is where people meet. Babel is what separated them. But according to alternative translations of the Bible, Babel is not God’s curse, it’s a blessing. Languages are a gift, they allowed Man to disperse and diversify where uniformity causes death.”

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On their web site, Adriano and Nicola invited like-minded Europeans to contribute in three different ways: writing news and opinion pieces on their respective countries or European current affairs in their native language; translating other contributors’ pieces, and organizing local Cafe Babel events and conferences in their respective country. Very ambitious: Dutch and Greek people have absolutely nothing in common, except a passport stamped with “European Community” in gold letters, and now, a common currency, the euro. To top it all, the founders insisted on a “quality only” editorial policy from their amateur reporters. Against all odds, it worked. Six years later, Cafe Babel has around 1,000 active writers and translators. The content is published in seven languages. Yes, seven: French, German, English, Italian, Spanish, Polish, and Catalan (spoken in the Spanish province of Catalunia). Unique visitors total 400,000 per month (2 million page-views) contradict a wide spread rumor that European affairs makes everyone yawn. The non profit organization is financed by private and public foundations with a yearly budget of 300,000 euros in 2006. This wonder of trans-continental and multilingual citizen journalism across 20 cities—where Cafe Babel maintains local correspondents— requires very sound coordination. The “hub” of Cafe Babel is in Paris. In a corner of an historical building lent by the City of Paris, eight young full-time staffers drive this tiny multinational from their desktops. They are German, Irish, Spanish, Italian, French… You name it. Another part-time staffer works in Brussels (Belgium), and a full-time Polish editor

has taken over the very successful Polish edition in Warsaw. Poland is now a full fledged member of Europe and the interest of Polish readers for European affairs is intense. What about the readers? Twenty percent are students, 10 percent university or research staff, 6 percent journalists, and the rest are… just Europeans. Still, six years after Cafe Babel launched, Adriano doesn’t see himself as a citizen journalism entrepreneur. “The participative nature of Cafe Babel is a mean, not an end. We just cannot afford to hire professional journalists and translators all across Europe.” Nevertheless, he is now sure that quality is an essential ingredient in the success and staying-power of a collaborative media. Hence the need for professional editing, moderating and promoting. It’s interesting to learn that the most successful section of the site is “Cities”: A collection of articles about European capitals. In a very “Babel-gone-Web 2.0” way, articles about Prague are written by Spanish, Vietnamese, and South European contributors, often journalists who contributes regularly to the site. They are sent on location in foreign capitals by Cafe Babel, to cross-breed perspectives, in one of their many experiments in multiculturalism the site sponsors. Their articles have been translated in seven languages… who knows? Maybe an Englishspeaking Danish au-pair in Portugal or a French expatriate interning in Dublin. It probably feels absolutely natural to them. Cafe Babel has obviously tapped into a new, easy and seamless way to be a European, and this is the real achievement.

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→ Q�A With Cafe Babel Q—Please tell us about your site. How did the site get started, and what are its goals? Cafebabel.com is the first European citizen media in Europe. It is translated into 7 languages-English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Polish-and relies on a network of over 1,000 collaboratorsauthors and translators-all around Europe. Cafebabel.com was created in 2001 by a group of Erasmus students and has quickly evolved into a professional association employing 9 ½ full time staff members. The objective of cafebabel.com is to create the first pan European media, analyzing current affairs from a European perspective. It aims at promoting the emergence of a European public opinion, by allowing all citizens to debate and speak their minds! In June 2007, cafebabel.com counts 400,000 visitors per months and 2 million pages viewed. It has 30,000 subscribers to its newsletters. Q—What sets your site apart from traditional media outlets such as The New York Times? Cafebabel.com is analysing current affairs from a resolutely European perspective, contrary to traditional European newspaper. Thanks to its unique network, it is able to provide with original stories that you can’t find on other media. Q—Has your site been called the first citizen journalism site in your country or region? It is the first European citizen journalism site. Q—How has citizen journalism matured and gained mainstream acceptance since your site launched? Citizen journalism is getting more and more accepted as an alternative and useful source of information in Europe. Q—Please explain how the editorial process at your site works. How can citizen journalists post articles on the site? Does your editorial staff work with citizen reporters in the field who pitch story ideas and then get paid if they are accepted? The editorial team based in Paris sends call for articles to the networks of registered

citizen journalists. Prior to publication, each article is discussed, fact checked and edited by a professional editor based in Paris. Citizen journalists are not paid for their contributions. Q—What do you consider some of the main principles, or tenets, that form the basis of citizen journalism? Original angle, verified information, journalistic style. Q—Do you consider independence an important hallmark of citizen journalism? If so, what does independence entail? Independence is fundamental to ensure impartiality. Q—How does your site maintain its editorial integrity instead of being a vehicle for its founder’s point of view? The web site as an editorial line which is determined by the editorial team. Q—Does transparency play a role in citizen journalism? How does your site use transparency? Of course we are “transparent,” we have nothing to hide… Q—When it comes to accuracy, what is the track record of citizen reporters of your site? Each c itizen journalist is registered in our databases. In case of inaccuracy, the article is immediately updated. Q—Are the contributors of your site allowed to include subjectivity and point of view in their work, or is “objectivity” the desired focus? Subjectivity is valued in cafebabel.com, as long as it is clearly stated. Our main focus lies with in-depth analysis, where the border between subjectivity and objectivity tends to blur. Q—What is the business model of your site? Cafebabel.com is a not-for-profit organization relying on public and private subsidies. Advertisements represent a marginal source of income. Reading cafebabel. com, accessing to the archives, or subscribing to the newsletter is totally free.

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photo — pawpaw67 / flickr

Jared Adams aCalorieCounter.com

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Breakfast Cereals Compared

o, what did you eat for breakfast this morning? More likely than not, it was cereal. In fact, cereal isn’t even just a breakfast food. You could have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, diner, or a snack in between. You could have eaten it in a bowl with milk, in a bowl without milk, or just by taking handfuls right out of the box. Cereal is one of those anytime foods. And it makes sense too. It’s as quick and easy as can be, and it just so happens that most cereals taste fantastic. Of course, not all breakfast cereal is equal. Despite coming in similar sized boxes, with similar shaped pieces, for similar priced prices, there are quite a few differences between most cereals. Some claim to be high in whole grains and fiber, to be a good source of vitamins and minerals, and to be good for your heart and cholesterol. Others however just want you to see their “wacky” cartoon characters and “fun” shapes and colors. Even still, the biggest differences lie not on the front of the cereal boxes, but rather on the back. It is there, my friends, where the important differences can be found. To help show this, I’ve put together a side-by-side comparison of over 50 of the most popular breakfast cereals from Post, Kellogg’s, General Mills and more to see how they all stack up against each other in terms of their nutritional content and ingredients. Also included at the end are my picks for the best and worst cereals. So, if you’ve only been eating cereal based

on how yummy it is, here is your chance to start taking nutrition into account as well. →→ The Best Breakfast Cereals Here are the cereals that came across as being the best (aka most healthy). When picking these cereals, I used the following requirements. First and foremost, they had to contain absolutely no trans fat. Second, they had to contain no saturated fat. Third, they had to contain little to no sugar. Then, after that, I started taking fiber content into account (higher the better) and added the cereals that contained a good amount of fiber (yet still fit the first three guidelines) to this list too. I also paid attention to protein content as well as whether the cereal contained any HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), although I did not treat these two quite as importantly as I did the above guidelines. The final thing I took into consideration was the ingredients and whether the cereal was made from whole grains (good) or refined grains (not so good). So, in no specific order, here are my picks for the best breakfast cereals: ›› Cheerios (General Mills) ›› Shredded Wheat (Post) ›› Fiber One (General Mills) ›› Grape Nuts (Post) ›› Wheaties (General Mills) ›› Total (General Mills) ›› GOLEAN Cereal (Kashi) ›› All-Bran (Kellogg’s) ›› Wheat Chex (General Mills)

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›› Apple Jacks (Kellogg’s) ›› Franken Berry (General Mills) ›› Trix (General Mills) ›› Eggo Cereal Maple Syrup (Kellogg’s) ›› Basic 4 (General Mills) ›› Smorz (Kellogg’s) ›› Oreo O’s (Post) ›› Froot Loops (Kellogg’s) ›› Cocoa Puffs (General Mills) ›› Count Chocula (General Mills) ›› Waffle Crisp (Post) ›› Reese’s Puffs (General Mills) ›› Mini-Swirlz Cinnamon Bun (Kellogg’s) ›› Frosted Krispies (Kellogg’s) ›› Cocoa Pebbles (Post) ›› Fruity Pebbles (Post) ›› Cookie Crisp (General Mills) ›› Frosted Flakes (Kellogg’s) ›› Golden Grahams (General Mills) ›› Lucky Charms (General Mills) ›› Rice Krispies Treats Cereal (Kellogg’s)

→→ Breakfast Cereal Comparison FAQ Just in case anything in the above comparison was a little unclear, here is a quick Q&A that will hopefully clear it all up. What does “Contains Trans Fat” mean? All of the breakfast cereals compared have their trans fat content listed as “Trans fat: 0 grams.” However, in some cases, some of these cereals are flat out lying to you and actually do contain trans fat. Let me explain... By law, the FDA only requires food companies to list trans fat content if their food contains 0.5 grams or more of it in one serving. That means if the food contains exactly 0.49999 grams of trans fat per serving, they get to say their food contains 0 grams of trans fat. Yup, it’s insanely stupid. But, that’s how it is. That means if you eat a few servings of a food like this, you could end up eating a few grams of trans fat without even knowing it. And even if you just eat the 1 serving, ANY trans fat is still too much trans fat, no matter what the amount. Luckily though, there is a way to detect if a food

photo — amjorsfeldt / morguefile

→→ The Worst Breakfast Cereals Here are the cereals that came across as being the worst (aka most unhealthy). First, any cereal that contained trans fat was automatically added to this list, as trans fat is easily the most unhealthy ingredient a cereal could have. Second, I looked at sugar content. Every cereal that contained 10 or more grams of sugar per serving (which didn’t come from actual fruit) made this list as well. Now, does that mean a cereal with 9 grams of sugar is healthy? Of course not. I just used 10 as the sugar cut off number when listing the absolute worst cereals in this comparison. If the above cereals are the best, and these are the worst, whatever isn’t on either list falls somewhere in between. You should use what you’ve learned here along with your own good judgement when deciding if you should eat one of those cereals. So moving on, in no specific order, here are my picks for the worst breakfast cereals: ›› Honey Smacks (Kellogg’s) ›› Corn Pops (Kellogg’s)

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and here (http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup). What’s the deal with the serving sizes? Why are some in grams instead of cups? Most of the breakfast cereals used cups as the unit of measure of their serving size. However, there were a bunch that did not. So, I was forced to list their serving size in whatever unit they gave it in (which in most cases was grams). Why are some of the supposed healthy cereals high in sugar? Here’s something to keep in mind when looking at sugar content in this comparison. Some cereals are high in sugar because they are typical junkfood type cereals. Others however are high in sugar because they contain fruit. Obviously there is a bit of a difference here as the sugar in Oreo O’s is a

little different than the sugar in Raisin Bran. Just something to keep in mind. I’m a little confused about your “best” and “worst” cereal lists. Can you explain them a little better? A quick clarification. There were over 50 cereals in this comparison, and a good portion of them didn’t make the best or worst list. What that means is that none of those cereals fit the description of being either the VERY best, or the VERY worst. This doesn’t mean they are healthy, and this doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. It just means that they aren’t at the very top in either category. So, for example, there are some cereals not listed on the “best” list that are still alright, and there are some cereals not listed on the “worst” list that are still not-so-good. Since making an “in

the middle” list seemed like a silly idea, I did my best to provide enough nutrition information throughout this comparison to help you make informed decisions on your own about those other cereals. Where did you get the nutritional content of all of these cereals from? All of the nutrition data used in this comparison came directly from the official web site of each cereal brand. So, if anything seems screwy, take it up with them. Also keep in mind that the cereal brands themselves included a little disclaimer with their nutrition information that went something along the lines of “This nutrition information could change. In case this happens, check the package in the store before you buy it for the most current ingredients and nutrition facts.” So, I guess this cereal comparison carries the same disclaimer.

photo — tavopp / flickr

(in this case cereal) contains any trans fat, even if the label says it doesn’t. Just look at the ingredients. If you see the term “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated,” that means there is indeed trans fat present in that food. So, for this breakfast cereal comparison, I literally read through each cereal’s list of ingredients to see if they REALLY contained any trans fat, and a surprising number of them did. The ones that did have a “YES” listed in the “Contained Trans Fat” column, and the ones that legitimately did NOT contain any trans fat whatsoever have a “NO.” What is HFCS? HFCS stands for high fructose corn syrup. If you don’t know what it is, you can learn more about it here (http://mayoclinic.com/health/ high-fructose-corn-syrup/AN01588)

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Serving Size (cups)

Calories

Total Fat (g)

Saturated Fat (g)

Carbs (g)

Fiber (g)

Sugar (g)

All-Bran (Kellogg’s)

0.5

80

1

0

23

10

6

Apple Jacks (Kellogg’s)

1

120

0.5

0

28

1

Banana Nut Crunch (Post)

59 grams

240

6

0.5

44

Basic 4 (General Mills)

1

200

3

0.5

Cheerios (General Mills)

1

100

2

Cinnamon Toast Crunch (General Mills)

0.75

130

Cocoa Pebbles (Post)

30 grams

Cocoa Puffs (General Mills)

Protein (g)

Trans Fat

HFCS

4

NO

YES

15

1

NO

YES

4

12

5

NO

NO

43

3

13

4

YES

NO

0

20

3

1

3

NO

NO

3

0.5

25

1

10

1

NO

NO

110

1.5

1

26

3

11

1

YES

NO

0.75

110

1.5

0

23

1

12

1

NO

NO

Cookie Crisp (General Mills)

0.75

100

1

0

22

1

11

1

NO

NO

Corn Chex (General Mills)

1

120

0.5

0

26

1

3

2

NO

NO

Corn Flakes (Kellogg’s)

1

100

0

0

24

1*

2

2

NO

YES

Corn Pops (Kellogg’s)

1

120

0

0

28

1*

14

1

YES

NO

Count Chocula (General Mills)

0.75

110

1

0

23

1

12

1

NO

NO

Crispix (Kellogg’s)

1

110

0

0

25

1*

3

2

NO

NO

Eggo Cereal Maple Syrup (Kellogg’s)

1

120

1.5

0.5

22

2

13

2

YES

YES

Fiber One (General Mills)

0.5

60

1

0

25

14

0

2

NO

NO

Franken Berry (General Mills)

1

130

1

0

29

1

14

1

NO

NO

Froot Loops (Kellogg’s)

1

120

1

0.5

26

1

13

1

NO

YES

Frosted Flakes (Kellogg’s)

0.75

110

0

0

27

1

11

1

NO

YES

Frosted Krispies (Kellogg’s)

0.75

110

0

0

27

0

12

1

NO

YES

Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size (Kellogg’s)

24 biscuits

200

1

0

48

6

12

6

NO

YES

Fruity Pebbles (Post)

30 grams

110

1

1

26

3

11

1

YES

NO

GOLEAN Cereal (Kashi)

1

140

1

0

30

10

6

13

NO

NO

Golden Grahams (General Mills)

0.75

120

1

0

26

1

11

2

NO

NO

Grape Nuts (Post)

58 grams

200

1

0

48

7

4

6

NO

NO

Honey Bunches Of Oats (Post)

30 grams

120

1.5

0

25

2

6

2

NO

NO

Honey Nut Cheerios (General Mills)

0.75

110

1.5

0

22

2

9

3

NO

NO

photo — rachelg / stock.xchng

Breakfast Cereal

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0.75

100

0.5

0

24

1

15

2

YES

NO

Honey-Comb (Post)

32 grams

120

1

0

27

2

10

2

NO

NO

Kix (General Mills)

1.25

110

1

0

25

3

3

2

NO

NO

Life (Quaker)

0.75

120

1.5

0

25

2

6

3

NO

NO

Lucky Charms (General Mills)

0.75

110

1

0

22

1

11

2

NO

NO

Mini-Swirlz Cinnamon Bun (Kellogg’s)

1

120

2

0

25

1

12

2

YES

NO

Multi Grain Cheerios (General Mills)

1

110

1

0

23

3

6

2

NO

NO

Oatmeal Crisp Crunchy Almond (General Mills)

1

220

5

0.5

46

4

16

6

NO

YES

Oreo O’s (Post)

27 grams

110

2

0.5

22

1

13

1

YES

YES

Product 19 (Kellogg’s)

1

100

0

0

25

1

4

2

NO

YES

Raisin Bran Crunch (Kellogg’s)

1

190

1

0

45

4

20

3

NO

YES

Reese’s Puffs (General Mills)

0.75

120

3

0.5

22

1

12

2

NO

NO

Rice Chex (General Mills)

1

100

0.5

0

23

0

2

2

NO

NO

Rice Krispies (Kellogg’s)

1.25

120

0

0

29

0

3

2

NO

YES

Rice Krispies Treats Cereal (Kellogg’s)

0.75

120

1.5

0

26

0

9

1

YES

YES

Shredded Wheat (Post)

47 grams

200

1

0

37

6

0

5

NO

NO

Smart Start Healthy Heart (Kellogg’s)

1.25

230

3

0.5

46

5

17

7

NO

YES

Smorz (Kellogg’s)

1

120

2

0.5

25

1*

13

1

YES

YES

Special K (Kellogg’s)

1

120

0.5

0

22

1*

4

7

NO

YES

Special K Red Berries (Kellogg’s)

1

110

0

0

25

1

10

3

NO

YES

Total (General Mills)

0.75

100

0.5

0

23

3

5

2

NO

NO

Trix (General Mills)

1

120

1.5

0

28

1

13

1

NO

YES

Waffle Crisp (Post)

30 grams

120

2.5

0

25

1

12

2

YES

NO

Wheat Chex (General Mills)

0.75

160

1

0

38

5

5

5

NO

NO

Wheaties (General Mills)

0.75

100

0.5

0

22

3

4

3

NO

NO

Yogurt Burst Cheerios Vanilla (General Mills)

0.75

120

1.5

0.5

24

2

9

2

NO

NO

*Fiber content was listed as “less than 1 gram.”  **Above nutrition information does not include milk.

photo — ppdigital / morguefile

Honey Smacks (Kellogg’s)

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photo — nebarnix / flickr

Life is Far Too Short to Drink Cheap Beer

Al Everett Hop-Talk.Com

wayS To maXimiZe yoUr beer VaLUe

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irst, stop thinking of beer as a commodity. It’s not toilet paper, or screws, or an all-you-can-eat buffet. Stop thinking of beer in terms of the bland, yellow, fizzy beverages foisted on the American public by huge brewing conglomerates. Not just the big American brewers, who have spent countless marketing dollars convincing most of us that beer is supposed to be bland, yellow, and fizzy, but also their overseas counterparts who offer essentially the same product but use the additional marketing message that theirs is better because it’s imported. In spite of being upwards of 80%+ of the American domestic beer market, American light lagers are by no means the entire universe of beer. In the U.S. alone, the Brewers Association recognizes well over 100 distinct styles of beer, and even within those styles are the brewer’s own variations. Beer is a food. It is made from grain (almost always barley), hops, yeast, and water. Except for the hops, and if the grain was milled into flour instead of malted for brewing, you’d have a basic bread recipe. When is bread best? As fresh as possible. It is just as true for beer. To stretch the beer as bread analogy a little further, industrialbrewed American light lagers are the beer equivalent of Wonder Bread. Don’t you want a nice, hearty loaf? So, if you are ready slough off the misconceptions of maximizing quantity of your beer and instead get the most value, i.e., enjoyment, out of your beer, here are some simple tips. →→ Shun the sun Beer’s number one enemy is light. Riboflavin acts as a photosensitizer, which causes the production of singlet oxygen

from ultraviolet and visible light. The oxygen then reacts with substances called Isohumulones, which comes from the hops, to create a substance called MBT (3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol). It is, essentially, the same chemical that skunks use to defend themselves. “Skunked” beer just what it sounds like. As such, brown bottles are best, and green bottles aren’t much better than clear ones. Cans, obviously, will also work, but there aren’t many craft brewers who use cans.

photo — a4gpa / flickr

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→→ Keep it cool While heat won’t affect your beer the same as light, it can cause it’s own issues. For one thing, greater chance of oxidation. Oxidized beer tastes like cardboard. It can cause other off-flavors as well. You should store your beer in a cool, dark place. →→ Stay fresh Beer, like bread, which is a very similar recipe, is better when it is fresher. (There are a couple of styles which can be cellared, but that’s outside the scope of this discussion.) Depending on the style, beer has, at best, a shelf-life of about six months to a year. A better target is three or four months. Beyond that you risk getting off-flavors or, at the very least, a beer that doesn’t taste its best. Look for a “brewed on” or “best before” date. Unfortunately, not all brewers do this, and far too many retailers leave stock on the shelves until it sells. Here’s a clue: if the bottles are dusty, don’t buy it. →→ Buy local Not to get all “green” on you, but try to buy from brewers who are within, say, 150 miles of you. Less transportation means less pollution, of course. But it also means lower transportation costs, meaning more money can be put

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→→ Serve it properly: In a glass: A large part of our sense of taste comes from our sense of smell. If you can’t smell the beer while you’re drinking it, like drinking it from the bottle, you’re missing most of the flavor. Some beer purists will tell you that each beer style should be served in its own special glassware. I don’t disagree, but let’s not get crazy here. At the very least, use a glass (not plastic) that allows you to smell the beer while you’re actually drinking it. Also, there’s “clean” and there’s “beer clean”. Beer glasses should be hand-washed with a minimum of soap. Actually, baking soda would be a better option. Your beer glasses also shouldn’t be used to drink anything else. Besides, how else

are you going to see the pretty color? →→ Serve it properly: Not ice cold: When too cold the aromas of the beer are not present or very weak. You want to maximize the aroma to have the best flavor. The proper temperature varies by style, of course (pilsners I would serve around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, stout a bit above 50 degrees) but there’s no need to start dipping a thermostat into your beer. When you take a bottle out of the refrigerator, open it, and let it sit on the counter for five, ten or fifteen minutes. It will be much more flavorful than if you drink it right after taking it out of the fridge. In general, lighter styles should be colder than darker styles, but that’s not hard and fast. This is a good one to experiment with. →→ Pour strong! Again with the aromas. When pouring, don’t carefully dribble the beer down the side of the glass. Pour it down

the middle. You want to “break the carbonation” and release the aromas. Aim for (again, depending on style) about two fingers’ width of head. The bubbles in the head should be small and the head itself should be creamy or fluffy. →→ Find your style With over 100 different styles, you are bound to find something, or several somethings, that you like. Maybe you like the spicy hop bitterness of a pale ale, the mild sweetness of a brown ale, the roasted goodness of a porter, the fruity spiciness of a hefeweizen, or the clean crispness of a pilsner. You’ll never know unless you try. If you’re having more than one style in a single sitting, start with the lightest and finish with the heaviest. This will keep your tastebuds from being overwhelmed. →→ Pair it up There is a school of thought that says that beer pairs better with cheese than

wine. That’s not all, of course. Many people have heard that oysters make an excellent companion to an Irish stout. Me, I love having an IPA with anything spicy, like chili or Buffalo wings. The right beer can be paired with just about anything. Look for “beer dinners” at restaurants near you. The Brewer’s Alley in Frederick, Maryland sponsors one about every three months. There are usually about five courses, each paired with a different beer, including dessert.

photo — mandolux / flickr

toward the ingredients of the beer. A shorter travel distance also means the beer is more likely to be fresh. And, of course, has had fewer opportunities to encounter light and/or warm storage.

→→ Invite your friends Beer should be shared. Beer is social. Ancient peoples would sit around a communal pot and drink their beer through reeds. (Probably because of all the grains floating in it.) When I get together for a beer with my friends, very often we’re talking about the beer we’re drinking. But, then, most of my friends are beer geeks like me. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is. Beer with friends is the best beer in the world.

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Seth Plattner InventorSpot.Com

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inally, Fall is upon us, and that can mean only one thing: Beer! Well, that shouldn’t be your only concern, but with football season in full swing and the commencement of Oktoberfest, a lot of us out there have beer on the brain. With that in mind, we here at InventorSpot. com bring you 10 of the ballsiest beers we could find. What makes them so noteworthy? Well, the beers on this list push the limits of conventional brewing in a number of ways. Whether they are the stoutest of the stout, or the odd brainchild of a Japanese liquor store owner (milkbeer anybody?), these ales definitely have some gusto that the rest of the beer world lacks.

photo — ijendoorn / flickr

10

Best Beers with Balls of

2007 10

Midas Touch Golden Elixir

The King’s Beer http://www.dogfish.com/ Besides the stout 9% abv (alcohol by volume), Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch Golden Elixir boasts a pretty interesting story behind it. Under a huge mound at the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordion in central Turkey, a University of Pennsylvania Museum expedition in 1957 excavated an intact burial chamber which likely belonged to King Midas himself. Also found inside was an ancient drinking set that, when examined, exhumed residue that revealed an ancient alcoholic beverage. Those determined brewers at Dogfish Head “recreated” this elixir-a mixture of wine, beer and honey-and got their very own Midas Touch Golden Elixir. The taste is rife with fruity notes and is served best in a clute or sniffer.

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The Foodie’s Beer http://www.mammamiapizzabeer.com/ Upon hearing the name of this beer, my immediate reaction is to cringe. Although I like to drink beer with my pizza, I’m not sure how I feel about having my pizza in my beer. However, Tom and Athena Seefurth of Campton Township, Illinois claim to have created the first “culinary beer,” hinting at an air of sophistication. Created in 2006, the beer contains what you would expect: tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, basil-everything you would find on a pizza. Locals claim it tastes pretty much like those ingredients, but there is still the flavor of beer as well. A ballsy move to use such unconventional ingredients? I’d say so. But, who knows, maybe it will catch on?

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photo — jurek d. / flickr

9

Mamma-Mia Pizza Beer

La Terrible

The Purist’s Beer http://www.unibroue.com/ Contrary to the name, there is nothing terrible about this French-Canadian ale crafted by Unibroue brewery. Well, the 10.5% abv might be a little on the dangerous side for the average drinker, but, other than that, this beer performs well. Part of Unibroue’s rare collection of beers brewed with 100% raw materials, this means that it’s flavor is rich and powerful. Look out for a rather thick head on this ale, and enjoy the fruity yet malty tastes that last you all through Oktoberfest.

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EKU 28

The German’s Beer http://www.kulmbacher.de/de/klbag/ In the early 1950’s, the eku brewery of Kulmbach , Germany set out to make the world’s “biggest” beer. But, with traditional malt brewing techniques being a little too sissy, the beer-crazed Germans at Kulmbach doubled and sometimes even tripled the malt concentrations giving the yeast more fuel for alcoholic conversion. And, after an unheard of nine month cold storage period, the brewers got the end result: a robust beer, very sweet beer with an 11% abv that will slap you in the face. Though not the biggest beer by any means, eku 28 still packs a wallop and is not for the timid drinker.

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Samichlaus

The Christmas Lush’s Beer http://www.schloss-eggenberg.at/ Schloss Eggenberg brings us Samichlaus, which, as you might have guessed, means “Santa Claus” in Swiss German. The beer is only brewed once a year, on December 6 (which is the day of Saint Nicholas), which makes it a relatively rare brew. It is in the style of a Bavarian bock, and is fermented slowly over ten months so there is very little sugar left in the final beer. The process also allows for the development of a mind-numbing 14% abv that goes perfect with those dysfunctional family holidays. With one of the highest abvs in the world, this beer will make you forget all about your dead-beat brother and senial grandfather.

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The Monk’s Beer http://www.sintsixtus.be/ The Westvleteren 12 beer brewed by Westvleteren monks pushes the envelope not only because of it’s flavor and alcohol content, but because of the strictness under which it’s produced. The Westvleteren Monks don’t take no crap from no body when making their beer, and, despite their distributors nail biting, they take their time to craft a delicate beer that represents their dedication to brewing. And they’re so successful at it that the Westvleteren 12 consistently ranks among the best beers in the world-even taking the #1 spot on BeerAdvocate. com-and there is even a black market for most of their ales. The Westvleteren 12 is so named due to its 12% ABV and it runs deep with rich aromas and tastes of cocoa, raisins and dates. Gotta find some way to stay entertained in the monastery, right?

4

  BILK

The Weird Guy’s Beer Bilk. What do you think that means? If you guessed beer + milk… then you’re right! Oh yes, a Japanese liquor store owner has fused beer with milk to make Bilk. What a name, right? The mix is roughly 30% milk and 70% beer, and was conceived to help alleviate the amount of overproduced milk in the region. The process of making Bilk doesn’t differ much from that of regular brewing, and the result is actually quite similar to normal beer, but with a strong taste of milk and something fruity. Though only available in Japan, Bilk has been receiving a lot of media attention, and the beer is often sold out. If that keeps up, we might see it stateside yet.

bottom photo — cozymax.org / flickr

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  Westvleteren 12

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3

Smoked Porter

The Hunter’s Beer http://www.alaskanbeer.com/ As you may have gathered, the Smoked Porter from The Alaskan Brewing Company has an unconventional flavor mixed in with the normal brew of barley and hops. One would think that a smokey flavor would be intrusive in a beer, but this beer has actually won numerous awards and wowed audiences at beer festivals all over the country. They get their signature taste by taking selected malts prior to brewing and smoking them in small batches under carefully controlled conditions in a commercial food smoker using local alder wood. The resultant beer is definitely different, but good nonetheless, and they only produce a limited amount in vintage years, so start looking now if you want to try it.

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1

Utopia

The Extremist’s Beer http://www.samueladams.com/ This is easily the ballsiest beer on our list because of one simple fact: It has a 24% abv, which rivals some liqueurs. Not carbonated and meant to be served at room temperature, Utopia is part of the Samual Adams Extreme Beer collection and has a warm sweet taste of vanilla, oak and caramel. But rest assured that this beer, who’s ABV smashes records and gets stronger and stronger every year, is only meant for the serious beer drinker who knows a thing or two about the complexities of ales. Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave Utopia its highest rating back in 2003, but this beer still stands the test of time due to Sam Adam’s dedication to quality brewing.

Kelpie

The Salty Dog’s Beer http://www.fraoch.com/ Taking their cue from Scottish coastal and island farmers, Heather Ale Ltd. developed Kelpie, which is brewed with seaweed. Nearly 400 years ago, these farmers used seaweed beds to grow their barley crop, thus the resulting beer ingredient made for a beer with a distinct taste of the ocean. It caught on with locals and visitors alike, so Heather Ale Ltd. kept producing and it still remains a favorite of certain Scotsmen.

And there we have a stout list of a few beers that are guaranteed to tantalize and intrigue your taste-buds. As you’ve seen, they range from the weird to the wonderful (and maybe even worrisome), but they all deserve to be called a beer with balls.

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Giles Turnbull Gilest.org

photo — megan cole / flickr

Breakfast with the White Stripes JACK: OH GIRL! Do you want some toast? MEG: No, Jack. I don’t. JACK: OH MEG! MEG! MEG! Don’t you want some toast? MEG: No, Jack, I don’t. JACK: You don’t want toast? You say YOU DON’T WANT TOAST? MEG: No, Jack, I don’t. JACK: NOOOOOOO TOAASSSSST????? MEG: No, Jack, IJACK: NoTOASTnotoastNOTOASTnOtOASTnotoaaaast. Girl. You. Don’t. Want. No. Oh, God! Toast! MEG: No, Jack, I don’t. JACK (Whispering, scarily): Well-maybe-you-would-like-some-yogurt. MEG: Yes please, Jack honey, I’d like some yogurt. That’s the kind of breakfast that won’t leave me hurt. Cos Jack sweetie you’re sometimes a little unseemly. Oh Jack it’s the way that you leave me all dreamy. Oh Jack. JACK (Thumping bass, screaming screams): Plain or strawberry?

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photo — frogmuseum2 / flickr

See How We Write

Laurie Kendrick LaurieKenDriCk.Com

N

»

ow that I’m switching from Broadcast to Print Journalism, I’m meeting new people. They’re nice, mostly younger and make interesting conversation partners… especially when they ask me what is was like back in the good old days of 1985. One recent conversation with a much younger Editor was interesting. We sat around drinking beer at a dive frequented by the closest thing Houston has to the glorious Gilded Age literary ex-patriots. By that I mean former oil men, a few teachers and ex-attorneysturned-writers and me, the 48 year old crone mistaken once too often for George Sand. I’ve GOT to start wearing dresses. Anyway, the subject of our conversation then centered around writing styles. He asked me how I outline.

Outline? I told him that it had been YEARS since I covered a murder. He balked at my sarcasm and shouted “NO!!!” and then said he was talking about my outline for my stories; the one I use prior to writing my articles. That made me laugh then I looked at him with feigned dismay. I told him I don’t ever use an outline. I never have and I never will. I then told him that I don’t even write a summary. I sit down, gather my thoughts for a second or two, then I literally shoot from the literary hip. Right, wrong, indifferent—as they kids say, that’s how I do; how I roll. He looked at me as if he smelled a dirty longshoreman’s unwashed navel and then declared my lack of preparation to be nothing short of sinful and if that wasn’t bad

enough, he then droned on to call it thee MOST most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard of. Apparently, he comes from New York City, where EVERY writer who’s any writer, uses an outline and even alphabetizes their notes. “Notes?” I asked with a fake British accent. “Why, it’s been years since I played a musical instrument!!” After he fired me, I started thinking. I began to question if my way of writing was as odd and unusual as Pugsley said it was. So, I thought I’d ask a few of my favorite bloggersthe ones who actually “write” the posts they publish-about their different approaches to Journalism. I explained what the Seed of Chuckie had said to me, then I asked them to please convey to me how they write, why they write and who and what they like to read. Their answers are as varied as their blogs.

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§ We begin with one of my favorite bloggers: a one Mr. Joe Drinker from www.fourbux.com: To say that I prepare to write about a topic, more than just observing what goes on in my life, would be a stretch. Since I only write about what I know about, specifically, what I see with my own eyes, it helps me keep my perspective, and helps me keep it consistent. While I enjoy comedic writing, I really appreciate the author who can blur the line between reality and satire. When an author takes me along on a written adventure, without telling me how it will all tie back in at the end is my favorite type of read. Since most of what I read all day is either technical work or code, when I read for enjoyment it tends to be fiction. Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve always loved E.A. Poe. I don’t have many modern favorites, but I do tend to read every book Michael Chrichton puts out, partially because my mom buys every crime story he publishes, but he had me at Lost World. What about me, why do I write? I started to write only because I thought I had something to say, but had nobody to say it to. I just began putting it into words, and then hung it out there where the rest of the world could see it. People seemed to identify with some of what happens to me, while other things seem to be unique to my experience, so I just thought I’d keep writing them down. § Our next offering comes from my Vegas honey lamb, scottdammit (http://scottdammit. wordpress.com/): Once I feel the germ of a story growing in my brain like Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, I start jotting down notes, and usually a title pops out at me. For example, if I was going to write about a medical condition I have I’d titled it, “The Chronicles of Hernia” and go from there. Of course,

the strategy changes depending on the length/ girth of the project I have at hand. If I’m writing in my blog I usually just write what comes to mind. A novel however, requires much more preparation. I like to write about people and the funny things they say, do and think. I also like to write about the funny things people say and do when they don’t think. I like to read blogs, but mostly I’ve been reading about subjects that would interest the characters in my book, so I can fully develop their personalities. Right now, I am reading up on Vodou, Rastafarianism and Santeria. Authors I like include Mark Twain. I love Richard Brautigan’s flights of fancy, and Nelson Algren’s arc-lamp symphonies. I love humorous takes on politics and society (the Daily Show and Colbert Report, e.g.). P.J. O’Rourke has always been an inspiration. Laurie Kendrick amazes me on a daily basis. [I swear I DID NOT edit that in -LK] And I write for the same reasons other people breathe. The only alternative is death. § This next summary is from the irrepressible Whore Church (http://whorechurch.wordpress.com/): I approach writing in a very analytical way. If I am writing a paid, non-fiction piece of any length or longer blog posts, I will begin with a single sentence thesis, define a transition statement, introduction, conclusion and several main points. If the piece is going to be long enough I will create a mini-intro, conclusion and sub points for each main point. For short pieces and unpaid brief blog posts I will approach it much the same way but I organize most of the points in my mind, without formal outlining. If I am telling a story (like I often do at My Redhead Life blog) I will typically just begin writing. In the beginning I know where I want to end up and I may have some mental pictures of scenes I want the reader to “see,” but I don’t do any outlining or much thinking ahead. When I am writing for free I do not edit. The posts are my first drafts and, unless there is a major error, I don’t make any corrections. I am just beginning to learn to write fiction, but so far I am approaching it analytically as well: Outlining the direction for the characters, creating a one-sentence plot summary as well as plot summaries for each of the “acts.”

I read just about everything except literature. I am much more likely to read Clancy or King than F. Scott Somebody. I knew why the caged bird sang before Angelou. I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction and enjoy learning about trivial matters of science and technology. Reading humor is always fun, though I tend to read it online. The last humor I read in book form was Lewis Black’s Nothing Sacred. I write non-fiction for money, religious articles to inform and humor for myself. I haven’t yet figured out if I like writing fiction or why I even would.

§ We’ll end this interesting look into the minds of some of my favorite American writers and bloggers with what emonome.com has to share: I almost never prepare when I post in my blog. If I feel like like saying a word or two about something as it’s crossing my thoughts, I’ll start writing and stop only when I’ve written enough and have run out of ideas. A lot of writers outline what they eventually write about but I can’t bring myself to do that. I’d rather let my words surprise me. I sometimes just post a video and have no set topics, either. My blog’s sub-headline is emon@random which is a license for me to find shelter in any form of information/entertainment I come across out there and which can be shared with the masses. I love to read comedy. As they say, comedy is truth. It took a great deal of maturity to come my way in order for me understand what that statement means. I try to not limit myself to specific genres, however. I avoid political works because I don’t find reading them particularly interesting. My favorite authors are Dave Barry, Stephen King, Jhumpa Lahiri, Seth Godin etc. I also read a lot of non-fiction books. Books on business, history, film, media, music, marketing, etc., etc. Ah, the big question: why do I write?? Well, I write because I have the need to share my thoughts with people. I write because it gives me pleasure when people read my work. I write because it makes me think about myself and the world that surrounds it.

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CRAM Magazine Issue 6  

Back to bring you some great reads for the holidays, issue 6 includes tips & advice from two beer masters and an indepth cereal buying guide...

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