Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How Microbrew Can Save the World


How Microbrew Can Save the World

By Chris O'Brien, Foreign Policy in Focus
Posted on October 25, 2006

The world's cup runneth over with living beer traditions. But this vast repository of cultural brewing capital is under attack by global corporations. The top five brewing companies, all of which are American- or European-owned, control 41 percent of the world market. Perversely, economists and politicians calculate the conquest by industrial breweries as economic growth while the value of small-scale traditional brewing goes uncounted. Much will be lost if this global "beerodiversity" is lost to the forces of corporate-led homogenization.

The globalization of beer not only destroys the social, spiritual, and health-related benefits of small-scale home beer production. It also undercuts the vital role that home brewing plays in sustainable development throughout the world. For 10,000 years, brewing has been conducted at home, primarily by women, who were entrusted with safeguarding traditions that strengthen social bonds and build community identity. As an important component of diet, beer was distributed by female household heads according to the values of the community, which moderated consumption to socially acceptable levels. As an inherently small-scale and local endeavor, brewing also has had a low impact on environmental resources, relying on renewable energy sources and requiring little or no packaging or shipping.

Full story:

George Galloway, MP's "humble" abode

For Sale on this website. Note his "hero wall" in slide six. The photo of him and Saddam must be the one obscured by the bannister.

Do you think he's moving to the heart of Tower Hamlets to be at one with his constituents?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Vale CBGB's

***Shameless excuse for me to trot out the Strummer shot (photo taken @ Brixton Academy, not CBGB's. But hey, I'm wearing the shirt I bought there. And Joe played there numerous times.)***

CBGB's, the grimy Manhattan bar that saw the birth of the US punk movement closed its doors for the last time yesterday, with gigs by Blondie and Patti Smith. I made it there in 2001, where I caught an acoustic set by They Might Be Giants. Hardly Sonic Youth, the B52's or The Ramones, but I made it!

Here's an article from the New York Times about the last couple of days at 315 the Bowery.

Hoffbrau Hell(es)

Sorry for the delay, but was just waiting for a few more pix. A couple of weeks back, Ivan, Katie & myself trekked to Baden Baden, courtesy of the world's fave airline, Ryanair ("Eire O'Flot"), drove post haste to Munchen and immersed ourselves in the great cultural celebration that is Oktoberfest. Ivan's sworn he won't go again, Katie's now got her handbag back (thank you Franziska), and I don't think I lost anything (apart from the requisite brain cells).

Afternoon one saw us heading with Mine host Axel first to the pub for some schnitzel action, then off to Thersienwiesse for chapter one. Most of the tents were full, so we headed to Kaiffer's beer garden, which was fantatsic, considering it was about 28 degrees. The beer flowed like nectar.

On day two, we gave the fest a break and drove to Berchetsgarten, locale of The Eagle'sNest, former summer house of one A Hitler. Fantastic views and decent beer were had by all. While the history of the place is darker than dark, it's good that something positive has been made of the buildings.

Day three, after a brief stroll around central Munich, we met Max & Birgit at the Hacker Pschorr tent back at Ofest. Max downed a duck, we drank many steins, witnessed and participated in some of the weird and wonderful sideshow attractions, had a glass o schnapps, etc, etc. By the time we said good bye at the main gates, Max had fully transformed into his alter ego, BavariElvis and was serenading usll the way to the exit.

Once Mr & Mrs Detsch had left for the mountains, the full "Aussies on tour" genes started to cut in, and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at the Hoffbrauhaus. Not much memory of the latter stages, except we lost Katie along the way. Thankfully she had a bit more presence of mind than Scott and Ivan, and managed to get a taxi back to the flat.

Next day we managed to get ourselves outta Munich and back to Baden Baden for a delayed Ryanair special to Stansted, where, of course we were totally buggered about by the ground transport, getting back to Pyrland Road about 11pm.

Pictorial evidence of our trip can be found right here.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bushfires in Hobart

There's currently quite a few bushfires burning around Australia. Of most interest to me is the one on the Eastern Shore of Hobart, reasonably close to my parents' place in Lindisfarne. Mark kindly sent me some pics that are doing the rounds. they were taken by Ian Stewart. It seems the fires are mostly under control, with no injuries, and minimal losses to property. In keeping with bonehead tradition, most of the fires seem to be deliberatley lit!

There's a link to more photos here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

John Howard, Red hot drawcard

From a Crikey! reader:

Waking up in Pennsylvania, I turn on CNN
: much of their coverage is about the latest congressional sex scandal involving Republican Rep. Foley of Florida who allegedly sent "inappropriate" emails to young pages in Congress. In a segment on what these teenage helpers actually do in Congress, a young page interviewed by CNN described one of their more menial tasks, remarking "when the Australian Prime Minister spoke to Congress we all had to go in and sit in Congress members seats because only half showed up and they wanted Congress to look full on camera."