Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Swayze Party Costumes

Jester and I threw a Patrick Swayze-themed party Saturday night.  Why?  Because this is America, and it seemed like an awesome thing to do to remember a man five years after he became a real ghost.

Attendees were strongly encouraged, but not required, to dress up as any character from any Patrick Swayze movie or TV show.  Only songs from Swayze movies or TV shows were played during the party.  I made homemade Zima, which I dubbed SwayZima, although it tasted more like vodka and lemonade than anything else.  

I even got a cake made for Jester featuring the climax of Dirty Dancing. 

The whole night was great, although unfortunately Son was in bed by the time the party started, so I did not get a chance to put a baby in a corner.

There were some fantastic costumes from a variety of Swayze features.  Because each costume was awesome in its own way, I can't really rank them, so I'm just going to go chronologically by movie or TV show.

1.  Greasers (The Outsiders)

2.  Socs (The Outsiders)
I didn't have the heart to tell Daughter and Lollipop that they were probably going to get shanked later.

3.  Jed (Red Dawn)

4 and 5.  Baby and Penny (Dirty Dancing)
Complete with a coat hanger for Penny.  Hiyooohhhh!

6.  Double Deuce staff (Road House)
No one seemed to notice the boot knives several guests were wearing.

7.  Brad Wesley (Road House)
What an asshole.

8.  Jimmy (Road House)
When I still had my throat.

9.  Dalton (Road House)
Jimmy used to fuck guys like him in prison, which is probably why he didn't want to show his face.

10.  Molly (Ghost)
Complete with homemade pottery.  Several people who couldn't make it informed me they were in attendance as Sam from Ghost.  That's either the best costume or the worst cop-out.

11.  Chippendales (Saturday Night Live)
Everybody's working for the weekend.  The sketch itself is embedded as well, for your viewing enjoyment.

12.  Bodhi (Point Break)
If I had to choose a winner, this would probably be it.

13.  Pappas (Point Break)
Your focus is probably on the Swayze-on-Swayze action in the foreground, not even realizing that Gary Busey is hanging out in the back, waiting to do what he and Utah couldn't do in the movie:  kill Bodhi before the 50-Year Storm does.

14.  Jack Crews (Black Dog)
Both of these guys thought that this was obscure enough that no one else would possibly be coming as Jack Crews.  Both were wrong about that, but right about their choice, driving gloves and all.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The OC Episodes Ranked and The Cast Then and Now

It's been over eleven years since the greatest show in TV history, The OC, debuted, and over seven years since it was so ruthlessly taken from us.  My love of The OC is no secret, and frankly, it provided this blog with a lot of energy in the early years.

Today, Gawker released its rankings of every OC episode ever.  (Thanks to Jaleh for the link.)  I'll let you take a look and reach your own opinions, but the fact that The Rainy Day Women -- an episode that has been deemed by some to be the single greatest episode in any television program ever -- came in at #57 calls into question the integrity of the entire list.

Also, frienemy and fellow OC connoisseur, Ryan (no relation to Atwood), sent me a link to a Buzzfeed article entitled "Here's What The Cast Of "The OC" Looks Like Now."  It has a cool little feature, where you can slide a line across a picture to see what the actor or actress looked like then and now.  Included are:

1.  Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper).  She still looks pretty good.  I still wish Jester and I would have had the courage to ask her to be our nanny when we saw her at the Troubadour in 2010

2.  Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts).  She pretty much looks the exact same.

3.  Adam Brody (Seth Cohen).  He looks like was was stoned to the Bejusus belt in the "before" picture.  More than anyone, I think he was the character who made The OC.  Fans of The League, of course, know him as Ted, the guy with AIDS in the league who got hit by a car and died in the season premiere this year.

4.  Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan Atwood).  He won't allow God to let him age.

5.  Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen).  TV's second-greatest dad ever (behind Cliff Huxtable) still has his eyebrows.

6.  Samaire Armstrong (Anna Stern).  In my opinion, she looks better now, without that pixie cut.

7.  Logan Marshall-Green (Trey Atwood).  Apparently that scruffy, patchwork facial hair was not grown only for his role as Trey.

8.  Autumn Reeser (Taylor Townsend).  Maybe it's just a bad recent picture, but she looks a little crazy-eyed.  Then again, perhaps that's why she played Taylor Townsend so well.

9.  Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper).  I still wish Jester and I would have had the courage to ask him to be our nanny when we saw him at a diner in Santa Monica in 2010.

10.  Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen).  Probably drunk, if I know Kiki.

11.  Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper-Nichol-Bullitt).  She still looks pretty good.  And diabolical.

12.  Chris Carmack (Luke Ward).  Probably still playing water polo.

13.  Olivia Wilde (Alex Kelly).  Those couple months where Marissa and Alex were kind of hooking up were some of the happiest of my life.

While I was happy to see all of these shining faces, I thought there were some egregious omissions (with "before" pictures):

1.  Kaitlin Cooper.  When she heard she was left out of the article, she probably said, "Er yaw kedding may?" and then pouted her lips and crossed her arms.  Then she probably said "Gay dad trumps slutty mom" to the wall in her prison cell.  I assume she's in prison.

2.  Oliver.  I want to see what years of pill popping and punching oneself in the head does to a man.

3.  Volchok.  As Ryan pointed out, I suppose we don't need to see a "now" picture of him because vampires don't age.

4.  Johnny.  I could have reached right through the screen and punched him in the face every time I saw that hair.  Sure, he was killed off, but I need to know if he cut his hair because I can't live with the thought that he is out there, somewhere, with that floppy hair just waving in the California breeze.

5.  Che.  Yes, I know he eventually graduated from Brown, moved to Pawnee, Indiana, and formed the band Mouse Rat, but a picture would have been nice.

6.  Gordon Bullitt.  The oil tycoon who wooed Julie was a much-needed spark in the last season supposedly got engaged to Julie.

7.  Dean Hess.  I just have to know that he's dead, and I want pictorial proof.

8.  Theresa.  Perhaps the greatest plot line that was never closed up was the fact that Theresa had birthed Ryan Atwood's child (even though she lied and said it was Eddie's son).  What happened to Theresa and the child?

9.  Ryan Atwood, Jr.  I need to know that the aforementioned child of Ryan and Theresa has now matured into the adolescent cage fighter I know he can be.  Here's what I imagine he looks like:

10.  Hailey Nichol.  She was a stripper who appeared to have moved to Japan for a fashion job instead of sailing with Jimmy to Hawaii.  I'd like to see her face again to know that she's okay.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" by Paul Simon

To continue yesterday's lovefest for my wife, one of her favorite musical artists is Paul Simon.  So, in honor of Jester, here's a Paul Simon video.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Reasons My Wife Is Awesome

Today is the anniversary of the birth of my lovely wife, Jesterio the Magnificent.  She likes candy.  Here are the top ten reasons my wife is awesome.

10.  According to at least one sealed police report, she can hot-wire a Bobcat.

9.  She's really good at making homemade costumes of animals that fly, even though she hates Halloween.

8.  She didn't mind that I sold the rights to the story of how we met to Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

7.  One time, she got into a fight with a dumpster and lost.  Big time.  Yet she still goes into alleys from time to time.

6.  This:

5.  She honestly wants to get into falconry.  What's with the bird fixation?

4.  She understands and enjoys Wed Anderson movies.

3.  She encourages me to speak like Vampire Monet in the bedroom.

2.  She birthed me three lovely children:  Daughter, Lollipop, and Son.

1.  When I suggest on her birthday that we throw a Halloween party on the Saturday before Halloween, she says no, but suggests that I should instead dress up and go out, as long as I trick-or-treat with the kids on Halloween.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Dire Consequences of Scottish Independence

As you may know, Scottish voters head to the polls today to vote on whether Scotland will break free from the United Kingdom and become an independent country.  As a Scotch lover with a small amount of Scottish blood in me and as someone whose inner monologue was once in a Scottish accent for a year or so after seeing Braveheart, I tend like anything Scottish, but I am a wee bit torn about this vote.  I can see the advantages and disadvantages of independence.  

However, I read an article today that put me firmly in the "No" camp.  The article is entitled "Independence would hit Scotland's whisky sector: bank," and it explains that independence would cause short-term (although the article doesn't define "short-term") problems for the Scotch industry thanks to uncertainty about access to international markets, the applicability of EU agricultural policy (which currently helps farmers who supply grains to distilleries), and what currency an independent Scotland would use.  Please, Scotland, think of the Scotch drinkers above all else when you vote today. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "You Might Think" by The Cars

This past Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the very first MTV Video Music Awards.  Yes kids, MTV used to play music videos.  The most memorable moment of the awards show was Madonna's now-notorious performance of "Like a Virgin" in a wedding dress and bustier, where she simulates some sort of coital activity.  

However, the prize of the night -- the Video of the Year Award -- went to The Cars' "You Might Think," which beat out "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock (who won five awards that night), "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, and "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.  "You Might Think" is one of The Cars' most famous  songs, as well as one of the band's most successful ones, peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The video is one of the first to feature computer graphics, which may not seem like a big deal now, in the age of CGI, but it was pretty cutting edge back in 1984.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Hair Band Songs That Charted Outside the Top 40

Back in May, I did a Tuesday Top Ten with hair band one hit wonders.  One of the things that surprised me when I was doing my research for that post (to make sure that certain bands were, in fact, one hit wonders) was that there were a lot of great hair band songs that never cracked the Top 40. So, I decided to do a Tuesday Top Ten of hair band songs that charted outside the Top 40.

Here are the criteria:
1.  The song has to have been released as a single by a hair band.  My definition of "hair band" is relatively loose, since there are some bands who are not traditionally thought of as hair bands who released albums in the '80s that very much had the hair band sound.
2.  The song has to have been released during the Hair Band Era (essentially 1980-1992).  Thus, a song by Bon Jovi in the early 2000s would not count -– not that it would necessarily make the list anyway.
2.  The song has to have appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
3.  The song's highest-charting position on the Billboard Hot 100 must have been between #41 and #100.

As with many of my musically related Tuesday Top Tens, because of the plethora of great songs, it was tough to narrow this down to ten songs, but I did (kind of).  Here are my choices, as well as the other songs I considered.  Both lists are alphabetical by artist, and the number after the song is its peak chart position.

Other songs considered:  "In and Out of Love" by Bon Jovi (#69); "Girlschool" by Britny Fox (#89); "Heartbreak Station" by Cinderella (#44); "House of Fire" by Alice Cooper (#56); "Bringing on the Heartbreak" (remix) by Def Leppard (#61) (note that this is not the original version of the song, or else it would definitely be in my top 10); "Burning Like a Flame" by Dokken (#72); "In My Dreams" by Dokken (#77); "Cherokee" by Europe; "Rock Me" by Great White (#60); "Yesterdays" by Guns N' Roses (#72); "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" by Judas Priest (#67); "Lick It Up" by KISS (#66); "Home Sweet Home" by Mötley Crüe (#89); "Primal Scream" by Mötley Crüe (#63); "Looks That Kill" by Mötley Crüe (#54); "Too Young To Fall In Love" by Mötley Crüe (#90); "Shot in the Dark" by Ozzy Osbourne (#68); "No More Tears" by Ozzy Osbourne (#71); "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" by Quiet Riot (#51); "Wanted Man" by Ratt (#87); "You're In Love" by Ratt (#89); "Rhythm of Love" by The Scorpions (#75); "Wasted Time" by Skid Row (#88); "The Way It Is" by Tesla (#55); "Little Suzi" by Tesla (#91); "Give It To Me Good" by Trixter (#65); "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister (#68); "And The Cradle Will Rock..." by Van Halen (#55); "Right Now" by Van Halen (#55); "Big Talk" by Warrant (#93); "Blind Faith" by Warrant (#88); "Little Fighter" by While Lion (#52); "Summertime Girls" by Y&T (#55)

1.  "Smooth Up In Ya" by BulletBoys (#71)
BulletBoys were popular for about a minute in the late '80s, thanks in large part to this sultry rocker that has about as much subtlety as a jackhammer fucking Mothra.  Lead singer Marq (yes, he spells his name "Marq") Torien delivers some gritty, wailing vocals, and it's a shame the song wasn't more popular.

2.  "Gypsy Road" by Cinderella (#51)
Cinderella is a very underrated band, in my opinion.  They had a ton of great songs, including five Top 40 hits.  "Gypsy Road" is one of their great songs that didn't crack the Top 40, off of their 1987 album Long Cold Winter, which should be the official soundtrack of last winter here in Chicago.

3.  "Women" by Def Leppard (#80)
"Women" -– which is the first track on Def Leppard's 1987 mega-album, Hysteria -- is the only one of the seven singles released off of the Hysteria album that didn't crack the Billboard Top 20.  It's a brooding homage to, well, women.

4.  "Nightrain" by Guns N' Roses (#96)
This is a catchy, rocking ode to a shitty cheap wine that the band wrote while walking down the street and sharing a bottle of said shitty cheap wine.  Of course, as an innocent adolescent, I thought the song was about a train that ran after dusk.  Regardless, I loved it then, and I love it now.

5.  "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)" by Mötley Crüe (#78)
This is my favorite Mötley Crüe song.  I frankly can't believe it didn't crack the Top 40 because it's just so damn catchy.

6.  "I Want Action" by Poison (#50)
This is one of the first Poison songs I remember hearing, probably because it was one of their first singles and I listened to the radio a lot when I was a kid.  It's a solid song about going out at night and trying to get any kind of pussy you can.

7.  "I Want a Woman" by Ratt (#75)
I have always liked this song.  It's one of those songs that evokes memories of being a teenager in the '80s, which is weird, since I wasn't a teenager in the '80s.

8.  "No One Like You" by The Scorpions (#65)
The Scorpions are awesome, and this is one of my favorite songs by the band.  I was definitely surprised to see that this song didn't crack the Top 40, since it's one of the band's signature songs.

9.  "Youth Gone Wild" by Skid Row (#99)
Skid Row's first single apparently made more of an impression on kids like me than it did on the charts.  It was (and still is) a ballsy, powerful rocker that served as a great anthem for reckless youth.

10. "Hot For Teacher" by Van Halen (#56)
This is one that really surprised me.  I would have thought for sure that "Hot For Teacher" was a Top 40 song.  It's a classic.

11. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Warrant (#78)
Before the song "Cherry Pie" had been conceived, Warrant's second album was supposed to be titled Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Then record execs pushed the band to make a song for the radio, and the band came up with "Cherry Pie," which meant the name of the album changed to Cherry Pie and Warrant, for better or worse, was forced to deal with a megahit.  Late lead singer Jani Lane said that he wished he had never written "Cherry Pie," and perhaps that's because the original title track, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was a pretty damn good song that got kind of got lost in the shuffle during "Cherry Pie" mania.

12. "Still of the Night" by Whitesnake (#79)

I've always thought this song was Whitesnake's impression of Led Zeppelin, and I mean that as a compliment.  The song kicks ass.
Top Ten Hair Band Songs That Charted Outside the Top 40 by GMYH on Grooveshark

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "Juicy" by Notorious B.I.G.

This Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album, Ready to Die.  Admittedly, I was always a bigger fan of West Coast rap, although I have never been willing to die for that stance.  That said, Notorious B.I.G. seemed a little different (i.e., better) than many of the other East Coast rappers at the time, so I didn't disregard him as I might have done with, say, Onyx.

Produced by Puff Daddy, Ready to Die is now considered one of hip hops greatest albums, as evidenced by its place on various "best hip hop albums of all-time" lists, as well as many other "best of" lists, including best albums of the '90s and best albums of all-time.  The album turned Notorious B.I.G. from an ex-con former drug dealer into a superstar.

"Juicy" was the first single released off the album, and it topped out at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Like many of his songs, it's autobiographical and contains some dope rhymes, as the kids like to say.  On top of that, the song has landed on various "best of' lists, including #1 on VH1's 40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of the '90s list.  And if you didn't know that, now you know that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Oktoberfest Beers (2014 Edition)

Fall is fast approaching, which means it's time to switch from lighter beers and wheat beers to darker fall beers.  Of course, it also means that Oktoberfest will be here soon.  A few weeks ago, I saw my first displays of Oktoberfest beers at the grocery store, and I got a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

In 2011 and 2013, I enlightened you with my favorite Oktoberfest beers, and I'll be damned if I'm not going to do the same thing this year.  Since my post last year, I have been to Oktoberfest yet again and, on top of that, have drunk various other märzens or Oktoberfest beers.

As I indicated in the previous posts, the style of beer that is often labeled "Oktoberfest" or "Octoberfest" beer here in the U.S. is technically märzen, which was developed in Bavaria centuries ago, when beer could only be brewed between late September and late April. The beer was brewed in March (Märzen), and then opened up in the late summer and, later, for Oktoberfest. It is stronger than normal beer, as it must withstand not only the summer months, but also hundreds of thousands of drunken morons like me.  This is beer that is meant to be drunk from liter steins while listening to German oompa bands along with thousands of your closest friends.

Like last year, I will break everything down into a star rating system that I have used the two beer apps that I use, Brew Gene and Untappd (and yes, I use two beer rating apps).  Under each category, I will list the beers alphabetically and identify the ABV and location of their respective breweries.

3.5 stars
Altenmünster Oktoberfest (5.5%; Kempten, Germany)
Bell's Octoberfest (5.5%; Kalamazoo, MI)
Great Lakes Oktoberfest (6.5%; Cleveland, OH)
Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier (6.3%; Munich, Germany)
Sierra Nevada Octoberfest (5.4%; Chico, CA)
Spaten-Bräu Oktoberfest Ur Märzen (5.9%; Munich, Germany)
Wolters Fest-Bier (5.0%; Braunschweig, Germany)

4 stars
Augustinerbräu Oktoberfest Märzen (6.0%; Munich, Germany)
Boulevard Brewing Bob's '47 Oktoberfest (5.8%; Kansas City, MO)
Brooklyn Oktoberfest (5.5%; New York, NY)
Goose Island Oktoberfest (6.4%; Chicago, IL)
Gordon Biersch Märzen (5.7%; San Jose, CA)
Harpoon Octoberfest (5.3%; Boston, MA)
Left Hand Oktoberfest (6.6%; Longmont, CO)
Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest (5.1%; Chippewa Falls, WI)
New Glarus Staghorn Octoberfest (6.25%; New Glarus, WI)
Paulaner München Märzen (5.8%; Munich, Germany)
Point Oktoberfest (5.15%; Stevens Point, WI)
Revolution Oktoberfest (5.7%; Chicago, IL)
Shiner Oktoberfest (5.8%; Shiner, TX)
Two Brothers Atom Smasher (7.7%; Warrenville, IL)
Upland Oktoberfest (6.7%; Bloomington, IN)
Victory Festbier (5.6%; Downington, PA)

4.5 stars
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest (5.8%; Munich, Germany)
This is still the best, in my opinion.  It doesn't have that bitter, almost sour, aftertaste that many of the German märzens have.  It goes down smooth, and it's great for watching football on a fall day, or drinking until the point of blindness in a giant tent on a different fall day.
Magic Hat Ourtoberfest (South Burlington, VT)
I still think this is the best American Oktoberfest beer that I've had.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Magic Hat makes it anymore.  I haven't seen it in a few years, and it's not in the Magic Hat fall sampler pack I just bought, but I'm hoping the good people at Magic Hat will read this and bring it back next year.
Sam Adam's Octoberfest (5.3%; Boston, MA)
his is one of my favorite Sam Adams seasonal beers.  It's really easy to drink.  A great fall beer.
Sprecher Oktoberfest (5.75%; Glendale, WI)
I had this one a few weeks ago on draft at a Sprecher restaurant during a trip to Wisconsin, and it was pretty damn good.

As always, I am open to recommendations.

Monday, September 08, 2014

BAM!: Munich Day 1 (Wednesday)

Prior BAM! posts:

Well that was a hell of a halftime beer.  Now where was I?  Oh yes, Amsterdam.  We woke up Wednesday morning in Amsterdam feeling virile, or at least I did anyway.  Our flight to Munich was in the late morning, so we all headed to the airport via train.  Chandler left us to go to Switzerland for a wedding, as he's apt to do.  The remaining five of us –- Bonham, Daniel, Gregerson, Colleen, and I –- enjoyed the short flight to Munich on a European budget airline.

Ahh Munich.  It felt great to be back.  As with Oktoberfest trips past, we stayed at the Pension Siebel, which is close to Marienplatz (the city center), the Hofbräuhaus, and the Viktualienmarkt (the city's giant open-air market).  Walking to the hotel from the subway, we noticed that the Lotter Leben –- a popular late-night bar for us in 2007 and 2010 because it is only about a block from the hotel -– was no longer there.  It was a frightening development because we did not know where we would be able to go for a late night beer and also see a flamingly gay German server dance on top of the tables instead of bringing us beer.  But alas, as long as the Mall of America was still around, we would be fine.

Bonham, Daniel, and I shared a room.  Upon our arrival, we made sure to stretch because over the next four days, we knew we were going to put our bodies through the kind of gauntlet of beer and sausage that a non-Bavarian can only handle once every three years.
Once we were loose, we decided to walk around the city, since Colleen had never been to Munich.  And walk we did.  According to Daniel's fancy fitness bracelet, we walked over 27,000 steps that day, which is a little more than a half-marathon.

The first stop was the Englischer Garten, a public park in Munich larger than Central Park.  I had not been to the Englischer Garten since 2001.  On the prior two Oktoberfest trips in 2007 and 2010, everyone went to the Englischer Garten on the day we arrived, while I was stuck waiting back around the hotel for the remainder of our crew to arrive.  This time, that wasn't a problem, since there were only five of us and we all arrived on the same flight.

The Englischer Garten is not only gigantic and gorgeous, but it is also home to various rivers, creeks, and ponds.  Within the Englischer Garten, there are bier gartens, restaurants, and, a nude-optional part of the park that always catches you by surprise, unless, of course, you are used to turning a corner to see a group of 60-year-old naked German men standing in a circle playing hacky sack.

Our first stop in the Englischer Garten was at the giant Chinese pagoda that also doubles as a restaurant and bier garten, complete with a traditional German oompa band.
Knowing that we were coming, Hofbräu sent its horse-drawn cart of beer barrels, which made us feel quite welcome.
To celebrate, we grabbed our first liter of beer on this trip.  I enjoyed a liter of the Hofbräu weissbier, as I'm wont to do.
After downing our respective liters, we walked a little further down the path to another bier garten that sits right next to a big pond. 
Walking makes a man thirsty, so we each grabbed another liter of beer.  This bier garten had Paulaner dunkel on tap, which meant that I enjoyed my first liter of dunkel of the trip.  In the words of a blogger who likes a good pun, don't mind if I dunkel.  Things got intense, as Daniel realized he was surrounded by ducks and swans on the pond –- literally his worst nightmare.  We made sure he sat farthest from the water at the table, although not even that calmed him down.  His anxiety was palpable.
We chugged our beers because Daniel started to have a panic attack as the ducks inched closer and closer to shore.  Thankfully we got out of there before "those demon waterfowl killed us all," in Daniel's words.  We sprinted to the subway station, trying to keep up with Daniel.

Anytime I go to Munich, I make it a point to go to the Hofbräuhaus the first day I am in town.  It is easily one of my top five happiest places on Earth to be.  After our near-death experience at the Englischer Garten, we all needed to decompress.

Fearing the onset of sobriety, we ordered more liters of beer.  I went with the Hofbräu dunkel, as it is one of my favorite beers in the world, especially when it's fresh from the tap at its own haus. 
The beer and some dinner helped calm us down.  At the table next to us, a toddler, who appeared to be of gypsy blood, performed what appeared on the surface to be an adorable version of Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray." 

When I realized she wasn't dancing innocently, but instead trying to steal my soul with her gypsy eyes, I suggested to the group that we avoid eye contact (lest we want to turn to stone), pay our bill, and leave, but that we do it just as we regularly would, so as not to raise suspicion.  We did just that and left the Hofbräuhaus with our souls intact. 

But we were still thirsty.  Thankfully, there are other places in Munich that serve beer, so we went to my second-favorite beer hall in Munich, the Augustiner –- the very same place where my friend Jer went on a highly memorable anti-Swiss rant in 2007, eventually resulting in him destroying his Swiss Army watch later that night.  
Upon our arrival, we went straight to the little outdoor area in the back, and I ordered the only thing that would help get that pint-sized gypsy out of my mind:  a liter of dunkel.  We were so excited to have once again escaped a sticky situation that we took a bierhalle selfie.
In the bathroom at the Augustiner, I finally figured what Jan-Michael Vincent has been up to for the last 28 years:  running a successful hand dryer company in Germany.
The Augustiner fortified our sense of resolve, so after our respective liters of beer there, we decided to head to the Mall of America –- an actual mall by day and a bar and dance club by night whose real name I have never known, but which served us well in both 2007 and 2010, and particularly in 2010, when Shane rubbed his hands in broken glass on the dance floor.  You can imagine our horror when we arrived at the Mall of America to see not flashing lights and drunk Germans, but instead an actual mall that was closed for the evening.  Was the Mall of America a figment of our imaginations?  Had it all been a dream in 2007 and 2010?  We were so confused, but just in case, we walked around both sides of the Mall of America, and our worst fears were confirmed:  if it had been a late night Bavarian discotheque, it wasn't anymore.

Dejected, we walked back towards Marienplatz to Tal, which is a pretty busy street with a lot of bars.  We found a bar there that was open late.  It had an "HB" on its sign and beer steins, but it wasn't Hofbräu and it wasn't related to the Hofbräuhaus.  I could spell it out for you, but that would involve me attempting to pronounce it in my mind, which I'm not willing to try to do.  Here's a picture of a stein in case you want to give it a whirl:
I wanted to set a personal record, so I ordered a liter of my fourth different kind of dunkel in one day, and I gotta be honest, I felt pretty good about it.  We sat at some tables on the sidewalk in front of the bar, when I got a text from my wife asking "Do you want to know what we're having?" with no context.  Assuming she was referring to what they were eating for dinner and that she was eating an Italian beef sandwich at my favorite restaurant in the suburbs, I responded "Paul's?"  I realized she was not referring to food (or hopefully wasn't) when she responded, "No, a boy."  So that's when I found out the fetus that would one day become Son was a boy, and I'll never forget where I was when I got the news, even if I have no idea how to pronounce the name of the bar.

Obviously, we were in a celebratory mood, so we kept drinking.  The sidewalk seating closed at some point, so we had to go inside.  It was then that I took a panoramic picture of the bar because it had a really cool white porcelain mounting that housed all of the taps.  Colleen happened to be sitting to my right when I took the picture.  Panoramic pictures can yield hilarious results, especially when the people in the shots move.  Colleen moved.

Somewhere, Eric Stoltz is crying.

Tomorrow:  affordable lederhosen, beer tents, a drunk Swiss man and his dominatrix, and the traditional riding of statuary lions.