From the debut CD of Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.
Siamese twins walk into a bar and park themselves on a bar stool.
One of them says to the bartender, “Don’t mind us; we’re joined at the hip. I’m John, he’s Jim. Two Molson Canadian beers, draft please.”
The bartender, feeling slightly awkward, tries to make polite conversation while pouring the beers. “Been on holiday yet, lads?”
“Off to England next month,” says John. “We go to England every year, rent a car and drive for miles. Don’t we, Jim?”
“Ah, England !” says the bartender. “Wonderful country … the history, the beer, the culture …”
“Nah, we don’t like that British crap,” says John. “Hamburgers and Molson’s beer, that’s us, eh Jim? And we can’t stand the English – they’re so arrogant and rude.”
“So why keep going to England ?” asks the bartender.
“It’s the only chance Jim gets to drive.”
Things China Makes
The first legal slave owner, in what would eventually become the United States, was a black man, Anthony Johnson. Johnson first came to America as an indentured servant, arriving in 1620 in the Colony of Virginia. He did not come over willingly, as many did, agreeing to become indentured servants for a certain number of years in exchange for passage to the New World. Johnson was captured in Angola by neighboring tribesmen and eventually sold to a merchant who transported him to Virginia, where he was then sold to a tobacco farmer.
Once in America, he worked as a tobacco farmer for the duration of his contract. During this time, he also met a woman who became his wife named “Mary”, who had been brought to America about two years after Johnson, with her contract also being purchased by the same man who owned Johnson’s contract.
In 1635, after working on the tobacco farm for about 14 years, Johnson’s contract was up and he acquired land and the necessary implements to start his own farm. Sources are in disagreement on whether he purchased the remaining years on his wife’s contract or whether she completed it, but in the end, the two, with their lives now their own, began working for themselves.
They quickly prospered and took advantage of the “headright” system in place for encouraging more colonists, where if you paid to bring a new colonist over, whether purchasing them at the docks or arranging it beforehand with someone, you’d be given 50 acres of land. Similarly, those who paid their own passage would be given land under this system.
This leads us to 1654. One of Johnson’s servants, John Casor who was brought over from Africa, claimed he was under a “seaven or eight yeares” contract and that he’d completed it. Thus, he asked Johnson for his freedom.
Johnson didn’t see things this way, and denied the request. Despite this, Johnson eventually agreed to allow him to leave, with pressure supposedly coming from Johnson’s family who felt that Casor should be free. Thus, Casor went to work for a man by the name of Robert Parker.
Either Johnson changed his mind or he never said Casor could go, because he soon filed a lawsuit against Parker claiming that Parker stole his servant, and that Casor was Johnson’s for life and was not an indentured servant.
Johnson ultimately won the case, and not only did he get his servant back, but Casor became Johnson’s slave for life as Johnson had said he was. This officially made Johnson the first legal slave owner in the colonies which would eventually become the United States. There were other slaves before this, just not ones that were legal in the British colonies under common law.
The judge’s decision on the matter was announced as follows:
This daye Anthony Johnson negro made his complaint to the court against Mr. Robert Parker and declared that hee deteyneth his servant John Casor negro under the pretence that said negro was a free man. The court seriously consideringe and maturely weighing the premisses, doe fynde that the saide Mr. Robert Parker most unjustly keepeth the said Negro from Anthony Johnson his master … It is therefore the Judgement of the Court and ordered That the said John Casor Negro forthwith returne unto the service of the said master Anthony Johnson, And that Mr. Robert Parker make payment of all charges in the suit.
About 7 years later, Virginia made this practice legal for everyone, in 1661, by making it state law for any free white, black, or Indian, to be able to own slaves, along with indentured servants, as they’d been able to have before.
While Johnson’s temporarily gain of being granted the services of one of his indentured servants for life no doubt had a positive affect on his thriving business, ultimately the gradual changing of attitudes in the colonies concerning slavery and race came back to hurt Johnson’s family, with slavery slowly becoming less about one’s original financial situation and more about where you or your ancestors were originally from.
When he died in 1670, rather than his thriving plantation going to his children, the court declared that “as a black man, Anthony Johnson was not a citizen of the colony” and awarded the estate to a white settler. Quite a contrast to the declaration in 1654 by the court that Johnson and his wife were “…inhabitants in Virginia (above thirty years) [and respected for] hard labor and known service.”
1. Pizza Beer Company, Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer
While the idea of guzzling down some “liquid pizza” might sound bizarre, that’s exactly what this beer promises. The brew is created by steeping an entire margherita pizza in the mash in order to yield a beer that bursts with oregano, garlic, and tomato flavors. Despite its poor ratings on Beer Advocate, many reviewers say Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer was curious enough to warrant a taste.
2. Rogue Ales, Beard Beer
Bearded brewmaster John Maier went rogue with the creation of his limited-edition Beard Beer, which is brewed with wild yeast that Maier cultivated from his very own beard. Sound disgusting? Apparently, the beer is actually quite good, and contains notes of pineapple and ripe bananas.
3. Mikkeller ApS, Beer Geek Bacon
Bacon-flavored products may be a bit of a gimmick, but Danish madcap brewery Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Bacon beer delivers a smoky, subtly meaty imperial stout that would probably make for a lovely boozy breakfast.
4. Flying Dog Ales, Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
This Maryland brewery’s unconventional stout is made with local oysters from the Chesapeake Bay. While the beer mercifully abstains from adding any obviously fishy flavor, reviewers note that the stout does have subtle notes of brine and salt.
5. Twisted Pine Brewing Company, Ghost Face Killah
Despite bearing the name of a Wu-Tang rapper, the ghost that this beer is referring to is actually the ghost pepper, otherwise known as one of the hottest peppers on the planet. This beer promises “extremely spicy warmth like a straightjacket,” so consider yourself warned.
6. Mikkeller ApS, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
On the surface, Brunch Weasel is a simple imperial coffee stout. But the oddity is in the coffee — the beer is brewed with kopi luwak, or “civet coffee,” a special brew made with the beans of coffee berries that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet. Kopi luwak is actually rare and expensive in its own right, so a bottle of Beer Geek Brunch Weasel isn’t cheap (a 16.9 fl. oz. bottle costs about $15).
Despite its scatological associations, the beer’s stellar reviews on Beer Advocate suggest that Brunch Weasel is a world-class coffee stout… that just happens to be made with coffee mitigated through a weasel’s colon.
7. Pipeworks Brewing Company, Pastrami On Rye
Unlike Pizza Beer Company’s quite literal approach to brewing beer with a special ingredient, Pipeworks’ Pastrami On Rye does not actually steep a pastrami sandwich in its mash. Instead, the beer is brewed with a blend of herbs and spices typically used to cure pastrami, yielding a complex but not unpalatable brew that has notes of mustard seed, peppercorn, and cloves.