Outside Reading — I Love Trash edition

garbage truck

Why Are Kids Obsessed With Garbage Trucks? An Investigation by Ashley Fetters

I love it when a writer pursues a silly idea with resolute seriousness. For The Atlantic, Ashley Fetters explores all the possible explanations for the excitement many members of the junior set feel when they see a garbage truck come rumbling down the street. In addition to the basic entertainment value of serious professionals weighing in on the aesthetic appeal of sanitation engineering equipment, the article offers a detailed, insightful assessment of the ways we make sense of the world, especially during early cognitive development. The premise of the article of the cute, but the execution is so much more.

Beers I Have Known — Around the Bend English Mild with Coffee

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.


I don’t ever really need a beer, but there are times when I definitely want one. Similarly, normal morning joshing aside, coffee is not a beverage I actually require to get through a day, but I am always exceedingly happy to have a fresh cup poured for me. One of the most blessed things in this misbegotten culture of ours is the emergences of good beer that incorporates coffee as a component.

As noted, I acknowledge there are never instances when I truly need either beer or coffee, and yet I am convinced, deep down in my soul, that there are occasions when only an artful combination of both will do to get me through the task of the moment. I would like to thank Chicago’s Around the Bend Brewing Company for coming to my rescue the most recent occurrence of one of those occasions.

Outside Reading — Scene I: The End of October edition


Angels in East Texas by Wes Ferguson

Part reporting, part reminiscence and reflection, Wes Ferguson writes about the staging of Tony Kushner’s widely acknowledged masterpiece, Angels in America, at an East Texas college in the late nineteen-nineties. Validating a stereotype of Lone Star State bigotry, a play involving gay themes brings out the worst in the community, as bible-thumpers decry it without bothering to read — much less attempt to understand — the work in question. Ferguson tracks the roaming blaze of hysteria and concedes to his own contribution of kindling as a student newspaper editor excited about covering a controversy. The article provides a reminder that it wasn’t so long ago that an entire community could be overtaken by raging, open hate of gay people and any cultural offering that dared to imagine them as deserving of respect and dignity. Of course, while broader acceptance and understanding has improved considerable over the course of the past two decades, similar instances of reactionary, ignorant intolerance crop up to this day. This piece was published by Texas Monthly.

Beers I Have Known — Burnt City Brewing Pterodactyl Deathscream

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.


It can be dangerous to visit breweries while traveling, especially with full knowledge that there is plenty of room in the car for consumable souvenirs. On a recent trip to Chicago, for example, I was quite sure my beer fridge back at home was stocked adequately. Then, on a recommendation, a stop was made at the District Brew Yards, a unique facility home to multiple brewers and their collective tap room built around a unique pour-your-own model. Sampling every contributing brewery’s wares was a pleasure, but the main attraction was Burnt City Brewing. Small pours were sampled and savored, and, before I knew it, a box heavy with cans was loaded into the back of the car. And someone else was driving. I was reminded of that grand adventure recently when I opened up a Pterodactyl Deathscream, a double dry-hopped DIPA and was enthralled all over again. The brewery visits might be dangerous, but they are clearly risks worth taking.

Beers I Have Known — Alarmist Brewing Le Jus

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

alarmist le

With the rapid expansion of dots on the craft brewery map, trying to determine the best place to stop when visiting a different city can be exceedingly difficult. For this reason, I’m especially grateful when I have a guide. And thus a recent trip to Chicago found me and a fabulous group of friends sitting around the bar at Alarmist Brewing, sampling freely from their wares, including the delectable New England-style IPA dubbed Le Jus.

It was, to put in plainly, a very good day.


Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.


As this digital space has spent recent days illuminating, my weekend just closed was turned over almost entirely to the World’s Largest Trivia Contest, an annual fundraiser staged by the student-run radio station at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Hundreds of teams participate, the most serious holding the goal of reaching the top ten, placement that results in a trip to the radio station to collect a trophy. For the third time in our thirty years of history, my team fought to that very accomplishment, finishing Trivia in ninth place:


Trivia runs for fifty-four hours straight, and, like several of my teammates, I was awake for significant number of the contest. With that in mind — in combination with the annual difficulty of transitioning back into the the mundane day-to-day after the dizzying wonderland created by my team of happy hooligans — I am going to gift myself with one of my periodic vacations from daily posts in this space. Coffee for Two will pull the shades down and do dark for the next few days.

We’ll be back to full operation starting on Sunday, with the next College Countdown post.