Monday, March 05, 2007

A belated Happy Birthday, Texas!

I apologize for my tardiness in wishing a happy Texas Independence Day to you all. (Altho I'm not the only one.) I finally watched most of The Alamo from 2004 the other day. (Yes, the one with Billy Bob Thornton and directed by Opie.) While I can see that some of the critics didn't like a particular part near the end, there is at least one historical account that describes that happening. (FYI, I'm referring to where Crockett was captured and executed after the Battle.) Overall I thought it was a good rendition and, as far as I could tell, historically accurate. I still prefer the version in Roswell, Texas. (Warning; R,T can become addictive!)

In other news, I drove past the Voth Road Feed Store last week... well, I should say, I drove past where it used to be. It had closed for a while, then reopened under a new owner, then Hurricane Rita bitch-slapped the place pretty hard, and it's been sitting there, a broken eyesore. The front of the building was gone, replaced by a yellow "Danger!" tape and the old corrugated tin roof was peeled back in several spots. Last week, someone finally came with a backhoe and knocked it down, leaving a vacant lot. It's kinda sad because both me and Phoenix have fond memories of going in there with our respective family members (me & my dad, her and her Grandma) and playing with the incubator trays of chicks and other stuff.

I heard in the news that Prince Harry is insistent that he be allowed to join his troops in their upcoming deployment to Iraq, despite fears that he may be especially targeted by "insurgents" because of his being part of the Royal Family. I say, "Good on ya, Your Highness!" I truly understand that esprit de corps a lot better since joining the Texas State Guard; that desire to be with your squad mates, no matter what, not letting them down, not thinking that you're special enough to be exempt from anything they have to do.

I finally saw a pack of Czechvar beer yesterday, at our Super HEB. This is the real Budweiser pilsner, not that American copy of it. Budweiser is the German name for the Czech Budvar, and when messers Anheiser and Busch came looking for their lager, they copied the German name and the style, altho most beer connoisseurs would say they missed on copying the quality. Last year, BBNP, the owners of the Czechvar/Budvar brand, and Anheiser-Busch came to an agreement for A-B to distribute Czechvar in the US, after a century-long legal battle. From Radio Prague's Beer FAQ (which looks to be a couple of years out-of-date):
In 1876, the name Budweiser was adopted by the American brewer Adolphus Bush. When the Czech brewery, a few years later, wished to begin exports to the New World, this caused problems, and Budvar had to be given another name. For a time it was sold in the United States as Crystal, hardly an original name for a beer. Now the two companies largely manage to avoid each other's markets (theoretically). Both companies are currently entangled in a trademark dispute involving the right to use the name "Budweiser" and variations of it in Europe for their two very different beers. Budvar still calls itself, with some justification, "The Original Budweiser". As far as we understand it, the American brewer has been selling its beer as "Bud" in recent years because of the dispute. According to the Czech press, the two companies have outstanding trademark lawsuits in Portugal, Egypt and Italy. The Czech Budvar has a unique bitter-sweet flavour and the brewery has taken up the study of Coca-Cola's strategies over the years for protecting its trademark and recipe. Anheuser-Busch, along with some 40 other foreign firms, has been trying to buy a stake in Budvar since 1989, but the Czech government has dragged its feet in privatizing the brewery. The Czechs are wary of foreign investment in what they consider part of their national heritage. But the world's biggest brewer (Anheuser-Bush annually brews 5 times as much beer as all the Czech breweries together) doesn't give up easily. The company spends thousands of dollars in Ceske Budejovice every year, funding everything from pre-schools to beer festivals to win over the locals.
Great, now I'm thirsty!

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