Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Open Letter to all Americans

An Open Letter to all Americans 
on the Subject of Beer 
from your old friends the British

Dear Americans,

We are here to help.  That yellow bubbly substance that you affectionately call “lite beer” is not beer. Not at all.

Beer, real ale, is crafted using water, malted barley, hops and yeast, creating a brown, delicious bubble-free nectar of the gods.  It should be capped with a white frothy head at least an inch tall.

That stuff that you like to drink too late at night on your holiday weekends in the back of your pick-up trucks upsetting the peace and quiet at the campgrounds of your National Parks (which are very lovely by the way), is nothing more than 7-Up with a wee bit of food coloring thrown in.  It looks like horse urine and doesn’t taste a whole lot better.

Beer is supposed to be stored at room temperature which, where we live, is a tepid 57° on most days.  It is drawn - or draught, hence the name - from a cask by means of a wooden handle.  Please note the spelling of draught, not draft which is what your government employed to make you fight in the Vietnam War against your will.

While we’re on the subject of spelling, please note that the word light is spelled L-I-G-H-T, the same as bright or fright. Lite is not actually a word and should not be allowed.  Look it up.  We invented the language.

After beer is pulled from the cask (that’s a wooden hand-crafted barrel in case you’re not sure), it is to be poured slowly at precisely a 60° angle into a beer mug, one made of pewter or glass, equipped with a handle.  This exact measurement will procure the desired one inch head. Real beer in casks should never be artificially pressurized. Adding a combination of carbon dioxide and nitrogen to pressurize your kegs is neither funny nor clever.

We disapprove that you have now invented labels that change color to tell you that your “beer” is cold.  Apparently it’s becoming too difficult a task for you to pick up the bottle and feel the temperature against your clammy hand.  We have been informed that you can now go to a “liquor store” (whatever that is) and buy “lite beer” bottles in boxes that are already built as coolers.  Is it really that hard to open a box and transfer the bottles yourself into a cooler, one that you can store in your over-sized garage and use again next time?

Please be advised that Her Majesty’s Government has issued a proclamation declaring that “lite beer” is no longer to be referred to as “beer” at all.  Please refrain from all usage of the term immediately.  You may choose an alternate name from among the following:
“gnat’s piss”
“yellowy water with bubbles in it”
“oh my gracious what is this foul-tasting sack?”

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
The British

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gratitude from the Third Grade

Last day of school today.  The third graders at Friends’ School sent me home with a collection of thank you notes they had written after I helped them with their end-of-year play, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.

As a head of school, I don’t have as much contact with students as I once did during my twenty years in the classroom, so I cherished my time in rehearsals with the third grade.  They did an outstanding job and the play turned out wonderfully.  The thank you notes contained some great lines:

“Thank you for helping me with the play.  I learned a lot about being loud!”

“Steve, you really can direct.  You showed me how to change in my costume really fast.”

“Thank you so much for hepping me with all my lines and were to stand and when to talk. You heped make me a akter.”  (We’re still working on spelling in 3rd grade.)

“Thank you for helping me with my accent.”

“I learned what stage left and stage right is.”

“Dear Steve, Hey Steve, Thank you for making me the best silkworm ever.”

“What I learned is that you don’t want to talk too fast because the audience won’t understand you.”

“Thank you soooo much.  It was my favorite play ever.”

And my two favorites:

“Thank you for being a good person.” (Wow!)

And this one from a girl who was at a different school last year:

“Dear Steve, you rock.  Sorry I just HAD to say that.  Thank you so so much for helping us with the play!  You the best directer and your way nicer than my old princable Mr Neil.  He’s all gloomy but your all nice and chill.”

So now you know - I’m one chill princable.  Happy summer, kids!