Archive | You Outta Know RSS feed for this section

Pizza Beer Exists

24 Jan

In what has to be one of the oddest flavor profiles for beer ever made, Tom and Athena Seefurth invented “Pizza Beer” on Labor Day 2006. The couple had a surplus of tomatoes, garlic and a dream to create a beer that would pair well with many different types of food.

After surfing around the Internet, they found a recipe they liked and began brewing. They added basil and oregano to impart some pizza spice flavor. Here they describe the brewing process on their website:

The Margarita pizza is put into the mash & steeped like a tea bag. A whole wheat crust made with water, flour & yeast is topped with tomato, oregano, basil & garlic. The essence of the pizza spices is washed off with hot water and filtered into a brewpot, where it is boiled for a long, long time. During the process, we add hops & spices in a cheesecloth type bag & filter the cooled liquid into a fermentation vessel. (big glass 6 gallon water jug).

You can buy the finished product online at Malloy’s Finest Wine & Spirits.

Live-Tweeting While Reading Is Stupid

23 Jan

Live-Tweeting

A disturbing trend has emerged recently. Lots of young people hear about some new article, read it, and live-tweet their reactions to it. The practice drives me nuts, but I think it brings up some broader points about how society uses Twitter.

This latest habit (I hesitate to use the overused word “trend”) has emerged over the last year. I’ve noticed it acutely with three articles in particular. “Getting Bin Laden” by Nicholas Schmidle (New Yorker), “The Shame of College Sports” by Taylor Branch (The Atlantic), and “The Obama Memos” by Ryan Lizza (New Yorker). In each case, I saw groups of people (including, but not limited to, journalists) live-tweet their observations and favorite quotes from each piece.

Live-tweeting simply isn’t effective while reading. Each of these three articles is lengthy, complex and delivers an involved argument. Picking out one quote or observation in the middle of it nearly always misses the broader argument of the piece. I want to hear what other people think of these pieces, but the most valuable service journalists offer is analysis and careful consideration of the arguments. That simply isn’t possible on Twitter, in 140 characters, while trying to read something.

In 99 cases out of 100, the Twitter user would benefit from taking a step back and writing a blog post when they finished reading the story.

Now, this is not to suggest that live-tweeting itself is bad. To the contrary, I think it’s wonderful when used properly. At press conferences or when following breaking news, for example. In those cases, live-tweeting is the fastest, most effective way of getting news and instantaneous reactions (which are most often accurate).

This brings up several larger arguments about Twitter. In my mind, the service does three things really well: 1) It allows users to rapidly scan various services for information, 2) It allows users to share links to other content their followers might be interested in and 3) It allows information to spread much more quickly than any other existing technology. Beyond that, it breaks down.

Observations shared on Twitter are rarely insightful and, at best, simplistic. After all, who can fully share their thoughts in 140 characters? Even the best writer has to condense and oversimplify their arguments to fit within that space constraint. So, I see Twitter as an ideal location for information sharing and a horrendous spot for sharing opinions and observations.

So stop live-tweeting as you read other literature. Write a blog post when you’ve finished and had time to digest it. Tweet me a link. I’ll gladly read it then.

Photo: Adikos

Most Awkward Use of Gloria Estefan Song?

23 Jan

Back in 1989, Gloria Estefan was pretty much on top of the world. She had a new lead single, “Get on Your Feet,” which would become the name of her forthcoming world tour (that tour was cut short by a near-fatal bus crash). The song rose to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Since then, the song has been used sparingly, but extremely effectively, in pop culture. My vote for most awkward use has to come from Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, who went nuts to the song during his introduction at an internal employee-only pep rally back in 2001. This is the type of dance I do in my room when no one is watching.

So that would be the pick for most awkward, but then Parks & Recreation used the song in this amazing bit. This is so awkward, but hilarious.

Journalists, Twitter, and Breaking News

22 Jan

Twitter

There should be a quite a lot of soul-searching in the journalistic establishment after an epically disastrous Saturday evening on the Interwebs. Enterprising journalists from around the world rapidly spread two completely false stories by Twitter. The incidents should give everyone pause and offer the opportunity to reconsider social media policies when reporting breaking news.

First, the two stories.

1. Jeb Bush’s Reported Endorsement: Shortly after the South Carolina primary was called for Newt Gingrich, CNN’s John King appeared to land a big scoop. He announced that former Florida Governor (and brother of ex-President George W. Bush)  Jeb Bush would endorse Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination. Problem was Bush didn’t have any intention of endorsing anyone (he later issued a statement to confirm that).  Jim Roberts of the New York Times probably spread the news quickest with this tweet, but other people picked up on it quickly. Pundits jumped on the announcement and began analyzing its impact on the race before Bush denied the rumor in his statement.

2. Joe Paterno Died: Perhaps more disturbingly, Twitter exploded with news that Penn State’s legendary coach Joe Paterno passed away last evening (since then Paterno has of course sadly passed on). Journos around the world tweeted and retweeted the news. Unfortunately, the reports were traced back to one student publication, Onward State, who tweeted that Paterno died around 8:45 p.m. (their leader has since resigned over the flap). CBSSports.com picked up the story and published their own based (apparently) solely on the original report from Onward State. They later issued an apology, “CBSSports.com holds itself to high journalistic standards, and in this circumstance tonight, we fell well short of those expectations,” managing editor Mark Swanson wrote. Other major news organizations like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed also published stories that cited the CBSSports report as the source of their information. It’s worth noting that none of the major news organizations like the New York Times, Reuters, AP, Washington Post or ESPN confirmed the news on their websites.

So how should these incidents be viewed in the journalistic community? More than a condemnation of Twitter, I think instead they remind us of the importance of getting the story right and maintaining solid journalistic fundamentals. Social media sites have transformed how people obtain their news and how they share it (for example, I learned about the deaths of Steve Jobs, Gaddafi, Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il by Twitter first). Once something breaks, it literally moves around the world in minutes. And that’s a good thing overall.

But, one of the first things journalists are taught is to verify your information and cite your sources. Particularly at the national level, when dealing with important, sensitive stories, those principles become even more important. Everyone is human and mistakes will be made, but there is no excuse for publishing a story about the death of a legendary sports figure with the uncorroborated reports of a student online publication as your sole source. CBS Sports fell down on their responsibility and other journalists must ensure they don’t fall into the same traps.

Breaking news and grabbing the scoop remains an important part of the business. Everyone wants to do it. That does not mean that standards should slip in order to accomplish the feat. Getting information correct has always been a vital part of the news business (it’s essential for maintaining credibility among the public), but it has taken on an even greater importance since the advent of social media.

The best line about grabbing the scoop comes from Walter Cronkite: “Get it first, but get it right.”

Photo credit: NLSven

North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il Dies at 69

18 Dec

North Korea’s enigmatic and bizarre “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-Il has died of “physical fatigue” while riding a train, North Korean news agencies report. Kim was riding a train around 8:30 a.m. Saturday when he suffered a “severe myocardial infarction along with a heart attack.”

Kim ruled North Korea with an iron fist since his father and the nation’s founder, Kim Il-Sung, died in 1994. Though hampered by a stroke in 2008, Kim continued to rule the country.

State officials announced a period of mourning that will last until December 29. The Supreme Leader’s funeral will take place December 28.

North Korea suffered from crippling famine and nonexistent economic development. For reminders about the brutality and suffering under Kim Jong-Il look no further than:

Political control now passes to Kim Jong-Il’s son, Kim Jong-un. The New York Times profiled Kim Jong-Il’s third son earlier this fall. He apparently loves NBA basketball and attended school in Europe. Live coverage of Kim’s death here.

Here’s Kim in happier times. The United States and North Korea announced a major deal less than a day before Kim’s death was announced.