Friday, September 11, 2009

Everything in a glass of Beer; dedicated to Mr. Hull

For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
Charles Bukowski (1920 - 1994)

Religions change; beer and wine remain.
Hervey Allen

Cover a war in a place where you can't drink beer or talk to a woman?Hell no!"
Hunter S. Thompson (1939 - 2005)

Marriage is based on the theory that when man discovers a brand of beer exactly to his taste he should at once throw up his job and go work in the brewery.
George Jean Nathan (1882 - 1958)

"Men are nicotine soaked, beer besmirched, whiskey greased, red-eyed devils." - Carry Nation, Founder of the Temperance League.

"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer."- Dave Barry

"On occasions, after drinking a pint of beer at luncheon, there would be a flow into my mind with sudden and unaccountable emotion, sometimes a line or two of verse, sometimes a whole stanza, accompanied, not preceded by a vague notion of the poem which they were destined to form a part of.... I say bubble up because, so far as I could make out, the source of the suggestions thus proffered to the brain was the pit of the stomach." -A. E. Houseman
Since the dawn of time, man has tried to foretell the future. They have tried to divine it from tea leaves, entrails, palms, cards, oracles, the stars, bumps on their heads, and by looking into crystal balls, and at best have achieved mixed results. The trouble is that they are using the wrong medium.

All that the universe has to teach us can be found in a humble glass of beer. The complete record of man's folly and success is recorded between the bubbles if you look close enough and know what you are looking for.

Go get a beer, any beer, and pour it into a tall clear glass. The type of beer makes no difference. It can be an inexpensive domestic or a pricey import, lager, porter, stout or swill. Watch carefully as the liquid slides into the glass, and just like tarot cards, think of the question you want to ask. Does it froth and foam or does it simply swirl and puddle at the bottom of the glass? Does it stick to the sides or does it slide off quickly? Does it smell like spring or something you would use to wash the dog shit off your shoe? Think on this for a moment.

What you hold in your hand might be the greatest analogy for the life of man. A lot of work and effort went into this glass of beer. An unopened beer is like a soul yet untapped. To open it and pour it into a vessel is to bring a new life into this world. And just like the beginning of life, it is full and promising, and effervescent with hope.

You can divine the future, past, and present in a beer and all it takes is a little practice. Sure, some folks prefer to use expensive crystal balls or hard to interpret cards, but the true mediums, philosophers, and oracles use a cold beer.

I could go to great lengths to explain all the nuances to predicting the future with a beer, but let's assume that this is a beginner course, Beer Divination 101. Now you have had a sip and contemplated your question, but you are not ready to reach your answer. You must be made aware of common pit-falls.

Often, the uninitiated are lured into their predictions on their twenty-seventh beer, but your short-term future can only be discovered this way, and it involves aspirin, peeing a lot, and passing out. But by the same token, one should never try to divine the secrets of the universe on one beer alone. Little profundity can be revealed in one or twenty-seven beers. One must find the ideal amount in order to make the grand connection with all things and thus achieve your answer. Since this is a beginner course, I would recommend your fourth beer. It is not so many that you can't tell anything but the immediate future, but enough to hint to you the mystery of the bubbles.

It is also important that you seek your answer at a certain point in the beer. You cannot open a beer, take a sip and have the mysteries of Life, The Universe, and Everything immediately revealed. It doesn't work like that. The Universe asks a little more effort on your part than that. I would suggest three-quarters to half way into the beer for your first time. As your divination skills improve, drink more of the beer before looking for your answer. When you have mastered the skill, you will be able to read the suds at the bottom.

Now you are at the right beer and at the right point in the beer, pose your question again and take a swig. Hold it in your mouth briefly, then swallow. While you are doing this, hold your glass up to the light and examine the beers reaction. The bartender might think you are looking for a contact lens, fake eyelash, bug, or rodent hair in your drink, so it's best to do this at home or among friends.

Contemplate your question and keep it simple. Questions such as "What are the winning lottery numbers?, did my wife blow the mailman and what is his street address, and is this sore on my genitals herpes, cancer, or just a wart I nicked with the razor?" will not be answered. It doesn't have to be a yes or no question, but you have to limit the scope of what you are seeking to learn. "Are the Steelers going to win the Superbowl?" is much easier to arrive at than "What is the exact amount to the kilogram of the amount of tea in China and what is it's 'street value' in rupees?"

Questions about the past tend to be a little easier to answer, as they often have a personal connection with the diviner and therefore facilitate the connection to the grand oneness of the Universe. Questions about the future tend to be marginally harder and the answer is often less specific than you'd like. Questions about the present tend to be the hardest, as you are trying to dip into the pool of the immediate that still ripples from the past and has yet to settle with the influences of the future. Questions of the present cover a five minute cut-off before they are considered questions of the past or future. I don't make the rules up, I just know what I've seen in the bubbles.

Which brings me to the bubbles. How do they sit on the top? Do they form a picture in much the same way a cloud does? (The beer I'm drinking now has a unicorn.) Is there a noticeable ring? Did the foam stick to your lip in a big white mustache? All of these things must be considered as you mull over your question because the surface is the answer to your question. But before you jump to an easy answer, consider the bottom of the glass next. At how many points on the bottom do you see bubbles arise from? These are the various influences on your question and deserve to be examined closely before you have reached your verdict.

Now comes the hardest part. You have seen the top and the bottom of the glass. One represents your answer and one is the summation of what let you arrive at the answer. Now look at the middle. Do the bubbles roll easily past one another suggesting a smooth transition or do they collide and vie for their place at the top suggesting conflict? Do the bubbles cling to the side suggesting a hesitancy to rise? Here is where your divination skills will really challenged, as this is the bulk of your info. The surface can only hint at the final outcome and the bottom can only suggest the threads that bring you to the surface. More than this will require an extensive study in beer and a few classes in semifore. Those who are devoted drinkers of Guinness, see me after class. I have homework for you.


On a side note, the Dark Ages were so named because they had yet to master the art of carbonation when it came to beer, and many kings and princes hired alchemists to to discover the magic formula. "Fuck lead into gold!' they said, "We want bubbles in our beer!" The Church looked into it, but they decided it was easier to just put a few peasants on the rack instead.


  1. I have found that beer drinking and semaphore do not work well together. When I signal I need something, my beer usually spills, and that is just not acceptable.

    This was quite the post Doc, you have done yourself proud, and thank you.

  2. Interesting that I've got a beer fueled post about to publish. I love the quotes and of course your whole life view. I predict more beer in your future.


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