Here in America Budweiser and football fit together as snugly as the stitching on the ol' pigskin. But transplant the duo to Deutschland (and substitute soccer as the sport) and the combo loses its luster, says Johannes Schnitter. So enraged is the 25-year-old Berliner about Anheuser-Busch's official sponsorship of the World Cup the finals of which are to be played this summer in Germany he has launched a Web site, www.budout.de, urging soccer fans to boycott Bud.
Looking to better understand Herr Schnitter's bitter assessment of our hometown brew, Unreal initiated an e-mail Q&A.
Unreal: Is that an image of the A-B eagle vomiting that we see on your Web site?
Johannes Schnitter: Yes. The eagle is throwing up Budweiser, because in our opinion the beer is quite nasty.
You're saying it doesn't taste good?
It's flat and it's boring. Not all American beer is bad. I've had microbrews that are good. But since Germany is hosting the World Cup, we should showcase [our] great breweries. It simply doesn't make sense to have an American company providing the games with a watered-down pseudobeer.
Which would you rather drink: the warm, salty sweat that drips between David Beckman's butt cheeks or a cold, frosty Budweiser?
That's like asking if I'd prefer lethal injection or the electric chair.
What kind of responses are you getting to your Web site?
Well, it's still under construction. We've seen tremendous response from people all over the world (but mainly from the U.S.) who are very, very supportive and thankful. It seems there are large numbers of Americans who are not happy with Budweiser and the way they push the beer on the public.
What impact could your Web site have on U.S.-German trade relations?
I don't think it will impact global diplomacy. We haven't heard from A-B and I don't think we will. Besides, why should they be upset with us? We're upset with them! People at A-B: Please make some better beer and I promise we'll take down the Web site right away!
Which is more likely to happen this summer: the U.S. wins the World Cup or millions of Germans discover they love Budweiser?
Neither! Germany wins the World Cup and millions of Germans discover they love Coca-Cola!
The Fifth Estate
Ah, America. Ain't nothin' like the home of the free and the land of Alcoholics Anonymous. That's what Roy Pollack used to think.
A New Yorker, Pollack got to St. Louis sixteen months ago (long story). He started attending A.A. meetings at the Hampton Facility on Marquette Avenue but quickly grew disillusioned.
"A lot of people use words like 'nigger,' 'spic,' 'fag' and stuff like that," Pollack tells Unreal. The bigotry, he says, was tolerated, along with "sexually predatory behavior" and other "disgusting displays."
Pollack responded by taking a hiatus from meetings and penning a series of newsletters parodying the place, titled "The Hampton Asylum," copies of which he'd leave at the meeting place. Speech is free, right?
"They banned me!" Pollack complains, alleging he was informed that if he ever dared darken the facility's door again, he'd be physically removed from the premises.
A (verbatim) sampling of the parodies: "A.A. Changes Policy on 1st-Year of Sobriety Dating" (AP& Other Wire Services): Alcoholics Anonymous announced today that it was amending its policy on dating for people in the first year of recovery. "We have been committed to 'no dating' in the first year of sobriety mainly because we at the management committee level have no hope of even getting laid again and didn't want anyone else in recovery having any fun. The married folk in A.A. especially didn't like people dating because they haven't had any in years,'" said a high ranking member of the Executive Committee of St. Louis. "We wanted to promote loneliness and sexual frustrations as our best answer to continuing sobriety. It just makes sense. It's a shame we had to change the policy for the good o' the progress." A.A. members were unavailable for comment because they were out soberly having a good time.
God Is My Pilot!" (I'm just the bombardier.) "This is your Captain speaking. Please fasten your seat-belts and place your food-trays in the upright position. Please observe the 'No Drinking' light and return your seats also to the upright position. We'll be landing at Lambert Field-St. Louis International Airport at approximately 6:15 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The current weather conditions are partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain and the temperature is a balmy 78 [degrees].
"If you look out the windows on the right side of the plane you can see the Hampton Facility across from Tilles Park. Notice the man urinating behind the tree up on the hill. He was once a member of A.A. Homegroup 321. Now he's wasted on Schlitz. He'll be landing about 12 hours after we do so welcome him with open arms when he comes back in to the facility.
"We hope you had a nice flight and thank you for flying A.A."
They Are the Champions
Jill and Ben Dufour can play Pokémon like nobody's business. They kicked ass and took names at two recent tournaments in suburban Chicago, with seven-year-old Jill earning a trip to the upcoming national championships in Columbus, Ohio, and nine-year-old Ben pocketing a $750 college scholarship.
Their mom hooked us up with an exclusive phone interview from their house in O'Fallon so we could ask them what the heck Pokémon is.
Unreal: What is Pokémon?
Jill Dufour: You have to know how to read and do math. You have to read the card and then add the 60 damage plus 30 more damage if your opponent has a stadium card, so that's 90 damage for certain cards. I first starting playing when I was three. My favorite card is EeVee because she's cute, and white is one of my favorite colors. She's white and brown. It's fun to play because you get prizes no matter if you win or lose. And when you buy a box, which is 36 packs, you're pretty much guaranteed to get two EX's and maybe one Shiny. A Shiny can be more powerful than a regular card. It's rarer, maybe has higher hit points, and probably can attack better. I've made friends playing Pokémon.
Ben Dufour: I like playing it because you can win scholarship money for college, and it's fun. I've made a lot of friends, because when you battle, you sometimes get into conversation. I don't really have just one favorite, I like a lot of cards. Manectric, maybe. I don't play it at school, because I kind of like playing basketball at recess.
Local Blog O' the Week
"The Mayor of Affton"
Author: J. Patrick O'Brien
About the blogger: O'Brien is a 32-year-old father of two, works at a "fine university" and calls himself Affton's "(un)Official Mayor."
Recent Highlight (April 11): Your Mayor traveled extensively in his life however, loves to meet people from other lands, and supports a very liberal immigration policy on the whole. To those who oppose this, I offer travel photos of places like western Kansas where there is so much damn space with nothing there but sunflowers. Clearly this land is very useable for a community. Although it is land out of my jurisdiction, I think that fans of sunflowers or sunflower seeds are the only potential opposition. In the event of a shortage of the snack, I propose that people switch to Big League Chew which also comes in a pouch and is fun to eat and involves less spitting in public. Although the gum does not yet come in Jalapeno or Ranch flavors, I'm sure we could work it out. In fact, it's probably as inevitable as Diet Coke with Bacon.
Anyway, my experiences with local immigrants have ALWAYS been positive. Affton is home to a growing population of Bosnians that are climbing the economic ladder. As a result, they are investing in local real estate, pimping their rides and spending money locally. My only complaint is that their voter turnout is very, very low. I think that if we can overcome our fear of them and welcome them to Affton, they will begin to creep out of their shells and get involved in civics, PTA meetings and the planning of the Affton Days festival.
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