Alex Chesbro's Blog

Summertime, and the Living is Easy…

August 1, 2009
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So I just got done mowing the back yard, and like a real man, I craved a nice crisp beer after being in the 97 degree sun for 2 hours.   I reached into my fridge and grabbed a Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager.  Against my will, really.  I’ve got some Widmer Drifter Pale Ale in there as well, but I wasn’t feeling “fruity” at that moment.  I was thirsty.

I like this beer, I really do.  But I’ve got my qualms about it.  3436902288_9f1d917a39Let’s start at the beginning though…

I love Lagers.  Love them with all my heart.  That said, I love Pilsners just as much, possibly more, especially Budvar (Czechvar for you US people).  I don’t know what Sierra Nevada was trying to pull here, though.  Well, I do really; they were trying to make a European Pilsner, as evidenced by their inclusion of the Perle and Saaz hops and Munich malts.

Someone forgot to show up to the party though.  They were Mr. Saaz, Mrs. Perle, and the mayor of Munich.  Seriously, this tastes like a slightly-better Miller High Life.  Ok, it’s not that “bad,” but it’s no Premium Lager. I’ll drink a Becks import over this any day of the week.

But that’s not to say it’s not refreshing.  Sierra Nevada is known for its copious amounts of hops that they use, always well-balanced.  I don’t know if they used American Saaz and Perle hops or what, but the true colors of those flowers sure didn’t shine through.  It has more a citrusy, floral nose than it really should.  And the taste, the taste is “American Pilsner” all the way.  It’s an expensive Miller Lite, and it’s priced accordingly at “1/2 a kidney.” 

Ok, this beer is good, not Sierra Nevada’s best by any means, but it’s not Lager Good.  I could go so far to call it “American Pilsner” good, but I’m not going to.  I don’t know if they continuously ferment, skip kraeusening, or what, but Summerfest Lager taste just like a beefed-up macro brew lager/pils.  Not good enough for me to drink all summer, but good enough for me to enjoy once in a while.  Maybe as a 6-pack that I bring to a BBQ, or want to chill out on the porch when I want something tasty and decent.

I remember when I was still living in Dusseldorf, Germany, sitting outside one day concepting with my Art Director partner.  We were at a bar, sitting outside, the sun blaring at us.  2pm or something like that.  We drank lagers the whole day, and that’s how I like to remember lagers.  Eminently drinkable.  Smooth.  Crisp finish, thanks to Czech Saaz hops, German Perle hops, German Munich malts.  Everything from where it’s supposed to be.  

Thats what we want to be able to do.  Brew America the first Great American Lager.  Ales are great and all, but you can’t exist on bread and water alone.  We want to bring you the “Fluessiges Brot” of Germany, and let you drink it ’till your gullets explode.  

More coming soon…..

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Brewing Up Some Dreams

July 28, 2009
2 Comments

I figured I should let y’all know what I’m actually doing.  For those who have already donated to the brewery fund, thank you.  For those who plan on it, get your ass in gear.  And for those on the fence, read on.  No, this isn’t a scam.  I’m not trying to take your money.  Although, that’d be awesome.  Instead of just blabbering, I’m going to write down our goals and our plans.  I’m writing up the business plan this weekend; I’m gathering all the data this week, so we can have something professional for when/if we go to a bank and a loan officer.

“Imagine drinking your favorite beer.  Now imagine paying $6 for that six-pack.”  That is our short pitch-line.

The purpose of our brewery is to “provide the American people with something that they deserve, but that they have been lacking: a beer that deserves the name ‘craft brewed’ or ‘import,’ but one that doesn’t empty the wallet.  A true Value for Money brand.”

Our goal is to bring this to the American people.  We want to give them an honest choice in the supermarkets, in the bars, in their home.  As it stands now, they can pay $3.50 for a 6-pack of Miller High Life, or pay almost $9 for Sam Adams, Dogfish Head 60 Min IPA, and more.  Or spend even more on specialty brews, seasonals, et cetera.  The time has come to change this structure.  While I respect all those expensive beers, and will buy them, it’s not something I like to do all the time.  So how about this.  A beer priced a between Miller and Sierra Nevada.  But a beer that’s quality reflects craft brewing, while it’s price reflects the Values of America.

So tell me, is there some Craft Brew Excise Tax?  Nope, there isn’t.  But most Craft Brewers don’t produce enough product to drive their prices down.  Sam Adams is the largest Craft Brewer, and I believe they come in a little shy of 2 million barrels per year.  Their goal is to be the 1st craft brewer to get to 3 million barrels a year, and I applaud them.  But their prices are still too high for their, in my opinion, mediocre products.  Most craft brewers, on the other hand, rarely brew more than 400-500,000 barrels a year (I could be wrong, though).  

My personal goal is to be able to sell our beers for 6 dollars a 6 pack.  Just think about it.  We’d be producing enough product that it would let us lower the prices while still covering our overhead and creating profit.  Lower prices overall mean lower prices in the bars too.  Imagine paying $2.50 or $3 for a pint of your favorite craft brew.  Blows your mind, huh?

In the Declaration of Independence, does it say that for every person who wants to pursue their happiness, that if their happiness requires something of exquisite quality, they have to pay hand over foot for it?  No sir, it does not.  I’m writing my own Declaration of Independence.  A Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of craft brewers who keep their stocks low and their prices high.  This isn’t war profiteering.  They’re not selling you a missile launcher.  

In Europe, in Germany especially, beer is cheaper than water, literally.  Each 500mL bottle costs anywhere from 50 cents to $1.50 in the supermarket, and 6-packs are rarely over $4.  And this is the good shit we’re talking about.  There’s no Bud Light equivalent.  We’re talking Sam Adams for 60 cents a bottle.

And that’s how it should be.  And that’s what I’m planning on.

So now that you know a little about the plans, maybe you’ll consider donating.  Any little bit helps.  $10, $5.  $100 if you’re feeling generous,  but I don’t expect that much, nor am I asking for it.  Every little bit really does help, and by helping us, you really are investing in a little help for yourself.  Because you’ll know when you see us in the store, or on tap at the bar, that you helped us get off the ground.

And it goes without saying, for those who donate, if you come to the brewery when it’s open, a few beers are on the house.

For anyone who wants more detail before donating, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me.  I won’t attach our business plan (proprietary information), but I will go in-depth and answer any questions that you may have.

Thank you.

Alex Chesbro


The Perfect Beer

July 27, 2009
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What is the perfect beer? Is it a Lager?  If so, is it a American Light Lager (Bud, Miller, etc), a German Lager, Czech Lager, anything lager? Is it a Pale Ale?  If so, is it the American Pale Ale, the British Pale Ale, the IPA, which?  It’s a tough question to answer.  It’s a tough question to ask in any kind of company because of the convictions everyone feels towards their favorite beer.

For me, there is no perfect beer, only beers that go amazingly well with occasions.  

Take a warm, humid day in Orlando, or anyplace warm as balls.  I want something crisp.  Something light, and with inherent drinkability.  I don’t want something that’s going to get me balls drunk, and I don’t want something that’s going to overwhelm my senses.  I want something that’s going to enhance what I’m feeling at the moment.  I’d probably go with something crisp like a Pilsner, or a German Pils.  You really can’t go wrong with either of these.  You could go with a Veltins or a Bitburger, but if you can find it, Spaten should fill your German Pils quotient.  Personally, if I could find a good deal on it, I’d buy up all the “Czechvar” that I could find (Budvar to those in the know), and drink it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  As Michael Jackson said (the beer dude, not Jacko), it’s the one reason to move to the Czech Republic. 

If it’s not so humid, I might switch to a heavier lager, but I’m not sure.  I’d probably reach for an Altbier.  An Alt, especially Schlussel or Diebels, is what I like to call a “perfect beer.”  Not that it tastes the best or anything, but that it balances maltiness and bitterness perfectly, almost 50/50.  So it’s suitable for year-round drinking.  Unlike stouts, which I can only drink when the weather turns sour.  But to each their own.  Alts, to me, are half ale, half all-malt lager.  Very strong malt taste in the beginning, and it finishes with the perfection of a subtle Pale Ale.  If you’re ever in the Dusseldorf region of Germany, an Alt is going to be your go-to session beer.

When the weather turns cold, most of us, myself included, like to start drinking “warmers.”  That is, beers with lots of booze to get us drunk.  But I also like a lot of flavor in my beer.  I’ve been disappointed with stouts from the US, recently, or maybe it’s just my palate adapting to them.  I’ve never really had them a lot before.  And Guinness’ new 250th Anniversary brew…it sucks.  But I’m going to plug something, and say it’s my favorite stout.  I usually don’t agree with beer reviews, because everyone’s different.  So when I see a glowing review that’s all “100%”  “10/10,” I get suspicious.  But I tried it, and it is the nectar of the gods.  It’s put out by Oskar Blues Brewery in Colorado, and it’s absolutely amazing.  It’s called Ten-Fiddy.  I can only imagine they named it that because it pours like 10w50 motor oil.  Rich and viscous, no carbonation at 1st, but a head materializes magically in the glass.  I’ll try to post a review later today.  If you can find it, buy it, even if it costs $12 a 4-pack.  It’s worth it.

But my favorite session beers?  The beers I’d like to drink tons of when I’m with friends.  Those come cheap, because you don’t need expensive things when you’re with company.  Yes, we do love great beer, and we’re willing to pay for it.  But when we just want to go out and build a fire and shoot the shit?  Or when we’re out camping and want to stock up?  We don’t want to set aside a paycheck for our beer rations.  We’ll gladly pay a higher price for a better beer to accompany a great meal, or to celebrate, to try something new, or just to relax.  But to pound back the brew?  No way.

Miller High Life.  Genesee Cream Ale.  If you can find Genny Cream…buy as much of it as you can.  You’ll thank me later.

So tell me, what’s your “perfect” beer?  Do you go cheap with friends to pound them back and shell out the extra cash to relax and enjoy?

As always, the donate button is on the side.  Every small donation helps us get on our feet sooner, and getting a less-expensive better brew to you guys, the People.


Beerfest! Who likes beer?

July 22, 2009
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Well, everyone likes beer.  Or at least, most of the people I know can enjoy and savor a good beer.  That’s why I’ve decided something.  I was down in Orlando the past week visiting a buddy from college, and we made a decision.  We are going to open a brewery.  We’re working on recipes as I type this, and we’re determined to succeed.  I’ll tell you our plan below.  But 1st, the donate button.  Before we go to big financiers, we might as well try this.  Any little bit helps to get us off the ground.  Lots of people donating a small sum of money is better than trying to get 1 person to fully fund us.  So here we go…read the pitch and donate!

What do you like about a good craft-brewed beer?  The taste, right?  Always satisfying, always adventurous.  And with over 1500 smaller breweries in the USA, there’s always something new to experiment.  What sucks about a good craft brew, and especially those imports we all love?  That’s right, the price.  Even Samuel Adams, the largest “craft brewer” in the USA (makers of the Boston Lager) still charge a regular $8 or more for a 6-pack.  Sierra Nevada Pale Ale?  You’ll be lucky to find it for under $9 a six pack.  

 There’s no such thing as a “Whole Foods Excise Tax.”  But you wouldn’t know that by buying beer there.  In the same strain, there’s no “Craft Brew” tax either.  There’s no surcharge for being sold in uppity white neighborhoods, but if you walk through one, get ready to pay out the ass for a good bottle of beer.  

We want to change that.  Our long-term goal?  $6 a six-pack.  You heard me.  $6.  6 bottles.  Obviously the cost would be higher the 1st year or so, but depending on the size of the operation, that could change VERY fast.  There is one thing separating Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada from reigning in tons of profit, and those are self-imposed “standards.”  Yes, they keep their brews perfect.  But they price themselves out of the reach of the common person who has no other goal in life when it comes to beer consumption than to quaff a great beer at a great price.  We want to present to the the FIRST true American                 Value for Money brand.  

Think about it.  A beer as good, if not better than the already commercially available craft brews (Sam Adams, Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, etc), but sold for 2 dollars less.  You’ve got your cheap beer in Miller High Life or MGD or Bud.  They are $3.50 a sixer.  Then you jump to Sam Adams and the $7.50-8 and above range.  And let’s not get started with the “speciality” brews that are $20 for a 4-pack.  There’s a void that we intend to fill.  It is something that America craves, that America desires.  

One last bit of info, and then you can decide if you want to donate.  In 2008 around 60 new breweries opened up in the USA.  All of these breweries serve a regional population, and that’s fine.  Revenue is up 10% from this point last year, AGAINST THE RECESSION.  Imagine what a medium-large scale brewery could do for the beer-drinking public of the USA.  Think about your favorite “specialty” beer….and now think about paying $6 a six pack for it.  

Every little bit helps.


Quick Test

July 22, 2009
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Sorry, quick test!


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Welcome Back. Music Monday, yay!

July 6, 2009
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After some time away, I’m finally back here to write.  I’ve had some good ideas, but I’ve just been too lazy to write them down.  So I’m just going to jump back into the flow of things rather than explain a whole bunch of shit to you.  So here’s 3 albums that might interest you, for one reason or another.

Demi Lovato- Don’t Forget

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I was dared to listen to this album and say my 2 cents about it.  And ya know what? It’s not that bad.  Right now, Hannah Montana/Molly Syris (no, I won’t spell it right) is the face of the Disney Cash Cow.  And that’s fine.  But her music, just like her, sucks.  It’s saccharine and terrible to listen to.  I’ll say it here.  If Demi Lovato ever gets the Disney Marketing Machine behind her albums, she will kick that little Mullet-Daughter’s ass.  Don’t Forget isn’t a great album, but it’s not patently unlistenable, like Cyrus’ albums.  It’s not the same “boys don’t like me, but that doesn’t matter, girls just wanna have fun.” Some issues raised in the songs are handled with a wisdom beyond her 16 (yes) years.  What she lacks in looks thanks to a cleft chin and a gap-tooth like Michael Strahan, she makes up for in a clear voice.  The years of shitty Disney Pre-Molded songstresses are over.  If you dig Kelly Clarkson, or listen to that casually, this album’s decent.  Oh, and she wants to open for  Motley Crue.  That’s solid gold right there.   Grade:  B+

Die Toten Hosen- In Aller Stille

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German time, short review.  Great album.  The Dead Pants come back with their 1st album since their MTV Unplugged juggernaut and release this FUCKING AMAZING piece of work.  For me, it’s their best album in 10 years, maybe 15.  Apparently great bands, like great wine, age amazingly.  The Red Hot Chili Peppers of Germany (in how long they’ve played) have released a masterpiece.  From the opening chord of “Strom” (power, energy, current) you can sense that this is going to be a good listen.  If you know German, get this album.  If you like rock music at its purist, download “Strom.”  Grade: A++++++

Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

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Did you like The Strokes, and were disappointed when they started to suck by their 3rd album?  I was in your boat too, but Phoenix picks up where the Strokes left off and decided to do coke in NYC club bathrooms.  This is a very blissful, fun, euphoric album.  Want a song about a teen idol?  Nope, not Billy Idol.  How about Franz Liszt? (Lisztomania)  While there is some electronica in the mix, it never drags the album into the realm of douchebaggery.  Instead, it’s used like how the vocorder used to be used: correctly, and in the correct doses.  And only to ADD something to the music, never to overshadow it.  If you don’t get hooked by the 1st two songs, you need to get your head checked.  This may go down as one of the top 10 best albums of the year.  Yes I’m calling it out already. Grade: A

Damn…3 high grades.  I guess I didn’t feel like getting stereophonically raped this week.  Maybe next week.  But, to end it all, a very sad farewell to Billy Mays.  He’ll forever be giving me the thumbs up for some product I never knew I needed.  I still wake up yearning to hear him yelling to me from the TV.  Out of all the celebs who bit it in June, Billy will be the one I miss most.

billy-mays



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Better Than Sliced Bread

May 31, 2009
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I was having a conversation the other night, and something was said about interactive (YouTube) videos as being the next big thing, in agency websites, that is.  BooneOakley is the agency, and their website (website?) is very cool.  It was the 1st experience for me when I actually clicked something in a YouTube video. Now, it takes you to another YouTube page, but it’s just a continuation of their site.  Very cool, and very fresh, in my eyes.

But down to brass tacks.  What will be the next big thing?  I said in that aforementioned conversation that I don’t think there will ever be a “Next Big Thing.”  Don’t get me wrong, when the Large Hadron Collider finally starts up, there could be a NBT there.  Maybe harnessing some dark matter or some shit.  Either way it’s going to be really awesome.  There are all kinds of possibilities for a NBT to come out of ANYTHING BUT SOCIAL ANYthing.  

I’ll be proven wrong at some point.  But bear with me here.  You all remember Facebook right?  I don’t mean the new FB, but the FB that started about 5 years ago.  Little status updated, and they didn’t even let you get to pick the word after your name.  Then they changed it so you could put “is” or “wants” or really whatever the hell you wanted.  Jump back to the future, and woah, HOLY SHIT!  It’s TWITTER.  I’m Twittering you from the bathroom you twittering twats!  

All the crap I’m hearing about Twitter, it’s the Next Big Thing.  But it’s not, really.  Yes, it’s got a search function.  Yes, you can search for shit, real time news, all that jazz.  But what if all the news info is wrong (aka.  Swine Flu).  Oh, and it’s a Facebook status update, but on a separate website, so you have to leave Facebook, log into Shitter…you know the drill.

Then there’s Augmented Reality.  While I admit that it’s cool, and it has its uses, many of those are outside of the “creative” realm.  BMW has some sweet ass repair kits using AR.  And let us not forget that AR was first used, and is still used for that sweet yellow line on the football field.

I believe NBTs are something outside the realm of what we have.  Something that’s not built on things we’re already used to (hello, Twitter).  I do want a Next Big Thing.  But NBTs don’t come out of a reactionary process.  They come from a proactive process.  And until we stop thinking “Oh, how can we use _____ to get our message across,”  there won’t be another Next Big Thing for a while.

 

*rant over*


Mad Men

May 22, 2009
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AdFreak, one of my favorite ad blogs, has a piece on some slutted-up Ad Guys.  The fashion spread was for AmEx’s fashion magazine, something called “Departures.”  Whatever the fuck that means.  I wouldn’t read it if I were forces to wipe my ass with it.  The title of the piece is “Today’s Real Mad Men.”  I take some issue with this.  First of all, let’s take a gander at a couple of the photos.

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Hey Jeff Goodby, how you doin’?  “Aw, yeahhh, just restin my arm on this non-existent shelf.  You know how I do.”

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Yo, Gerry Graf (Saatchi&Saatchi), why you smilin’ like a queer?  “Yo, my wrist bling costs more than a Junior’s yearly salary.  Fo Shizzle!”

So what do I take issue with?  Let’s start easy.  First of all, if your NAME IS THE AGENCY, and it’s over 40 years old, you’re probably not a Mad Man.  Being located off Madison Ave doesn’t really help either.  Second of all, if you’re an insolent dipshit, you’re probably not a Mad Man either.

Now, where’s the beef?  Basically, it’s this.  Mad Men (the show) isn’t about fashion.  It’s barely about advertising as it is (Trust Me did a much better job at that).  Don Draper, Roger Sterling, all of them, were more about their attitude, the way they carried themselves.  They were cool under pressure.  10am bourbons?  Check.  Cool demeanor?  Check.  Using words to kick ass and take names?  Check.  Oh, and Don is constantly out of bubblegum, so watch out.  

These “new” Mad Men are none of the above.  The attitudes and personalities in the advertising business are nothing like the so-called “Mad Men” of the 1960s.  Today, if you’re not a douche, don’t expect recognition.  That’s the way it seems, at least.  Check out Sterling Cooper’s agency.  Do they give a shit about awards?  Meh, Draper goes to the show and doesn’t give a rat’s ass.  Watch him during the presentations.  He wants to make advertising that will be beneficial for the clients revenue.  After all, if you increase the revenue of the client, they’ll come back next year and increase yours with a larger media buy.

This article should have included only one person out of the whole package.  Jeff Goodby.  And if they wanted to be creative, the title could’ve been “The Last of the Flock,” or something like that.  Because he’s the only person on that list that comes close to qualifying.


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Oh America, How I love Thee…

May 15, 2009
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Oh Bogusky, how I defecate thee.

From Adfreak, a re-branding of America.  Read their post here, and see all the entries here.  The idea was to “re-brand” America, and Alex Bogusky, Kevin Roberts (of Saatchi & Saatchi) and W+K12, Weiden’s school, did just that.  I’ll post a few with my comments down below.  All in all, very creative, and very good.  Some more so than others.  And yes, I hate Bogusky’s with a passion, which I’ll explain why…and it has nothing to do with who he is as a person this time.  But I’ll start with the good shit first.

kevinroberts1 Kevin Roberts
“America’s Future.  It’s in our hands.”  Corny, yes.  But it rings true, especially with the balls of clay. Very simple, very good.

w+Kstudents2 W+K12

Not the best, but still really good.  I feel that the idea has been used before, but here the ingredients just mean something, well, More.

w+kstudents1W+K12

By far my favorite out of all.  Great execution, especially with the Aleutian Islands as the coccyx.  And the tagline to the visual?  Priceless.  Best creative thought out of the 12, including the professional work.

And now onto the best of the test(es). From Alex Bogusky;

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I get the idea dude.  But guess what?  16% of Americans don’t affiliate themselves with any religion.  A vast majority of those numbers are agnostics and unconfirmed atheists.  So you’re really only representing 84% of America here.  Not what the Founding Fathers were going for.  It’s creative, but…lacking.  Especially when you consider that some of those aren’t really religions (the Masonic G , T-square & Compass) , it doesn’t speak to the full diversity of America.  But, by far the most appealing of his 3.

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This masterpiece takes the award in the “What Can Piss You Off The Most In 10 Seconds” category.  I don’t know where to start, so I’ll ramble instead. 

As we all know, Che joined up with Castro to oust Batista.  We know how well that worked out…just ask the guys who fought in the Bay of Pigs how nice a guy Castro is.  Thanks Che.  Maybe Che’s wearing the Obama shirt because Obama will somehow portray him in a holy light for that.  Now, I don’t know enough of the history of Che to totally say that he did nothing good.  I’m sure he helped out some poor people or some shit like that, which in itself is good.  But then you look at Cuba now, and you’re like, “WTF, Mate,” and Che and Castro were all like “Socialism FTW!”

What I do know about Che is those fucking shirts.  They’re the symbol of counter-culture, the symbol of rebellion.  All the “cool” kids in college wore them.  Except these cool kids were the kids from the Hamptons or Manhattan who haven’t stepped inside a poverty-line county, and live off a trust fund set up by their parents.  Counter-culture, no.  Mainstream non-rebellion?  Of course.  The same kids who wear the Che shirts are the same kids who sit around talking about politics all day, spewing out the same tires rhetoric that will never see the light of day.  I call them Arm-Chair Liberals.  They’re the Monday-Morning Quarterbacks, or even better, the Back-Seat Drivers of politics and progressivism.  As it stands now, the iconic Che Shirts stand for nothing more but capitalism.  Especially when Trust Fund Babies wear them.  Gimmie a break.

 And in real life, I’m pretty sure Che wouldn’t be seen with Obama plastered on his chest.  But that’s just me

Voeckler on the attack

And a picture of Thomas Voeckler.  He’s got more facial expressions than gears on his bike.  This guy is the Al Pacino of cycling.  A lot of over-acting and bluster, but in the end it goes nowhere (thanks, BikeSnob NYC).


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Fuck You, Web 2.0

May 13, 2009
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I got the link to this off of AdScam/The Horror, George Parker’s blog.  It explains everything I hate about this whole Web 2.0/social media/self-masturbatory interactive multitasking togetherness bullshit.  Click the link after the jump, after a quick quote from the original post.

Fuck twitter. Here, I said it! Fuck twitter! Fuck it with all the buzz and the press it gets, with its followers and real-time updates, with the “What are you doing?” 140 characters microblogging shit and the fake celebrities’ accounts. Fuck @ and #, and DM. Fuck retweeting and tweetup, twitpic and twihrl. Fuck twitter’s revenue models and fuck their fund-raising rounds. So they’re going to make a whole lot of money one day, that’s really awesome, whoopy-fucking-do! Fuck the conversation about whether or not Google will buy twitter, if blogging is dead because of it, or if it’s the next search engine. No, really, is there anyone out there that really cares?”

JUMP!!!!  Click here.    

And a picture of Andy Hempstead riding over the Gavia Pass in the 1988 Giro d’Italia.  Because this month is Giro month.  And because Andy is the only American ever to win the whole kit ‘n kaboodle

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Oh, it snowed that day.


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