On Matters Washingtonia
May 25, 2009, 6:49 p.m. by Sam
As many of you may already know, I recently moved to Seattle. While I certainly miss Texas--especially the food--Seattle is a pretty nice place to live. The weather is mild and not quite the depressing constant rain that we've all undoubtedly heard so much about. The people are polite on the surface and I can go grocery shopping, get drunk, and eat great Thai food without ever leaving a few block radius of my apartment.
One thing stands out, however. The Northwest is home to many, many microbreweries. Alas, I can find lots of great IPAs made locally. This post is not about great IPAs. This post, gentlemen, is about Rainier beer: Washington's version of Lone Star. Note the white, red and gold color scheme. It tastes about like Lone Star, but not as good. Although I have yet to see it sold in bottles, I'm told that their bottle caps contain the same kind of puzzles found on Lone Star caps. [This guy](http://www.geocities.com/shabber_1/rainier.html) has an archive of solutions. Whether Rainier was made in the image of Lone Star, the contrary, or the two are products of convergent evolution, I'm not sure. That would require about 10 more minutes of searching and I'm due to a Memorial Day BBQ* soon.
*There will be a grill, but whether or not Northwesterners actually know their asses from their elbows when it comes to BBQ remains to be seen.
May 25, 2009, 11:27 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
### Sprint’s Now Network
### Ketel One Vodka
[Ketel One’s](http://ketelone.com/) new ad campaign which is appearing on Hulu features a bunch of manly men (think people acting like Barney from _How I Met Your Mother_) purporting that drinking other vodkas is not manly because they come in “Delicately painted perfume bottles.” They end the ad by saying “Gentlemen, this is vodka”, while at the bottom of the screen they flash “DISTILLED FROM WHEAT. 40% ALC/VOL”. Yeah, real manly, vodka distilled from wheat, why don’t you ‘real men’ try drinking some real vodka made from potatoes.
May 23, 2009, 10:37 a.m. by Paul Stiverson
Recently I’ve had a couple friends ask for my endorsement toward awards for which they were nominated. In case you are unfamiliar, the granters of these awards find nominees somehow then—instead of bringing in a panel of judges to determine who is most deserving of the award—they open up the voting online and basically see who has more friends they can goad into voting for them. I, for one, will not play ball; if there is an award to be given it should be given based on merit, not on popularity (unless of course the award is actually a popularity contest, in which case the two are interchangeable).
[Ben Morris](http://benmorrislive.com/) and the [Great American Boxcar Chorus](http://boxcarchorus.com/) asked me to participate in just such a contest. After fighting tooth and nail to be nominated in a number of categories they perpetually bothered me (via their mailing list) to vote for them in their quest to be named “Live Band of the Year” at the Texas Music Awards. They eventually won the award, but without my support. I probably would have lent my support to them had I seen the band perform that year (and a significant number of the other nominees so I could make a reasonable comparison) because I love “Ben and Them”, but I will not sully the award by supporting their bid for it if I, personally, cannot say that they are the best live Texas country band of the year (judging by the shows I saw last year they were not). I did attend one of their shows after the award was presented, and I will say that they were very entertaining (as is the new album), and I probably would have voted for them given that performance.
More recently a photographer friend of mine was nominated for “Best Wedding Photographer” in Dallas-Fort Worth, and despite the fact that they did not photograph my wedding (I’m not married), despite the fact that I have not attended a wedding which they photographed, despite the fact that I have not even seen any of their wedding photos or spoken to a happy, well-photographed bride, they have asked for me to vote for them. I really only have experience with one wedding photographer in the D-FW area, the elderly couple who photographed [Mark’s Wedding](http://thismatters.net/ramblings/comment.php?post_id=187), and by god I can’t imagine that any worse photographers exist, but that doesn’t mean that my friends are the best. In the email soliciting my support they didn’t even bother to send a photograph of a satisfied bride, they just assumed that by virtue of friendship that I would support them in this supposedly skill-based competition. If somebody needs a wedding photographer I will support my friends by suggesting them as a photographer that I know, but I will not vouch that they are the best in the area because I cannot validate such claims.
I cannot blame my friends for asking for my support, they are doing what is necessary to win the contest, I can only blame the holders of the contest. If you are thinking about giving an award then please, please, seriously please find a panel of judges and look at the portfolios of the nominees to determine which is the best, don’t just put a form on the internet unless you only care about which nominee has the most unscrupulous friends.