WELCOME to the Lileks Home Page EDITION #2


Faust Beer - it's the Faustiest!
I fell asleep with Gillian Anderson
Lastest Movie Manglings from Boulevard Theater
Cup o'Bugs

A Beer with Soul! Specifically, Yours!

The new beer of the week is a product of those gargantuan swill-spillers Anheuser Busch: Faust. Like most good faithful beer-buying robots, I purchased it for the label - specifically, what the label says about me. This one says I am willing to make a pact with the Dark One in order to achieve full beer satisfaction. Surprisingly, it delivers.

It's part of a series of historical beers A-B is bringing out to remind the upscale drinker that there is a long and honorable tradition behind intoxication. Faust beer, according to the label, was made for Adolphus Busch's buddy Tony Faust, owner of Faust's Oyster House and Restaurant; it also traded on the popularity of the opera "Faust" - Goudot's version, I'm guessing. A modern analog would be, say, "Willis" beer to celebrate Demi Moore's restaurateur spouse and film star.

I bring this up to introduce a new feature here: the Useful Beer Guide. Here we test beers by four simple criteria:
1) taste
2) ability to impair HTML coding after two bottles
3) label design
and, most important, a criterion no one else ever mentions:
4) likelihood of the bottle to shatter into a hundred sole-piercing shards when dropped.

That last one is important. Our recycling bin is on the stairs, right below a mop on a hook. Once a month the mop falls, drops into the bin and shoves it down the stairs. We hear a thumb, a clank, and then the carillion-like chiming of 30 bottles bouncing down carpeted stairs, and then a godawful detonation when the bottles hit the concrete. Last week all the James Page Brewery bottles survived their ride down the carpeted rapids; every single one of the Faust bottles atomized.

Next week: why Busch is bringing back the beer of another time, and a review of how their Black and Tan bottle holds up after a voyage down the stairs.

Oh: Faust rates a 7, an 8, a 10 and a 10. Total LileksScale beer rating: on a scale of 1-100, I give it three stars and two thumbs up.

I Fell Asleep with Gillian Anderson

I took a car trip to Fargo. Four hours. Used to feel like forever when I was in college, but now I can do it straight through, or would if I had a catheter in the car. I know every bend in the highway the point of stupification; for a while I was taking country roads just to ease the monotony. But now I take audio books, which makes the trip pass in a comfortable haze of substandard fiction. I usually start with a few old radio shows - "Suspense" is good, particularly late at night - but after an hour of scratchy overacted radio drama, I want a heavily abridged novel. My standards are high: I never buy a book I want to read. One trip through Iowa was accompanied by Jonathan Frakes reading a Star Trek novel (you have not lived until you have heard him impersonating Majel Barrett as Luxanna Troi.) This trip home I bought an X-Files novelization, read by Gillian Anderson.

Now, I'm a fan of the X-Files, and I believe Gillian Anderson is okay, I guess, if you like that sort of smart, rational, nail-gun-to-the-right-ventricle sort of beauty. I like the sound of her voice. But the book was recorded in small sessions between X-File shootings, and apparently at the end of the day; her exhaustion is damn near palpable, and the weary clinical detachment of her voice made me. . . start to wander. . . start to drift off. . . whenever the action kicked in and she shouted MULDER I would snap awake and find myself rocketing to the ditch - MULDER LOOK BEHIND YOU and in my stupor I would check the rear view mirror. I had to pull over for coffee or start putting out cigarettes on my leg if I wanted to continue with the rest of the story.

I suggest that all books-on-tape should emit a high piercing noise every ten minutes, or read the story in a voice that would keep you alert and annoyed. It would mean less work for Gillian. But Sandra Bernhardt needs the gig.

Sign at the Boulevard "Park in Rear" Theater (All spelling taken from the sign)


Anyone who's been in the Vegas bus station knows exactly what that looks like. The next day the sign had changed:


It sounds like swingin' Rat-Pack era Camelot-style entertainment - JFK throwing the bones with Sammy and Frank, making that crazy old executive decision to let it ride and then get out of town. The next day the sign had changed again:


Now that's power.

Cup O' Bugs

Saturday afternoon I drove to the garden store for the usual spring items - lawn seed and grim poisons, the yin and yang of domestic horticulture. A small display of half-price bugs caught my eye. There was a box of praying mantid eggs, which give me the creeps, and a small container of ladybugs, which do not. Who doesn't like ladybugs? They're small, cute, and easily crushed if they start to annoy you.

The ladybug container - decorated in a graphic style that was last fashionable around the time Rowan and Martin were in favor - contained 1,500 ladybugs, each ready to eat the various leaf-shredding items in my garden. I bought a container.

It occured to me on the way home I what I actually had purchased: a container of winged insects. Key word: winged.

The instructions said to wait until night to disperse the bugs, as they would be sleepy. In the morning they would wake to find my garden a rich source of food, and some would stay. Some would leave, of course, and that's why they put 1,500 in each container. I scattered the bugs, bade them goodnight.

I did a rough count in the garden this afternoon. Total ladybugs remaining:


Final thought: you could cut down on teen pregnancy if you just installed the child-proof lighter device on the zippers of adolescents. You wouldn't even have to change the name of the thing.
Additional final thought: my wife tells me you can foil the child-proof feature "if you just snap it off."
I rest my case.