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AUG/SEP 2006 | COLUMNS | HOP CAEN

Heard It Through The Hopvine
By Hop Caen

Send any items you might have to hopvine@celebrator.com.

Dirty Water Blues Dept.: The Standells song “Dirty Water” can be heard blaring from the speakers at Fenway Park in Boston after every Red Sox victory (both of them) and is a part of the baseball-crazy Beantown legacy. The 1966 hit recently turned up in some Budweiser commercials, according to an Associated Press story. This was a big surprise to the band. The Standells’ management has filed suit to a different tune — the tune of one million dollars. The song, which made it to Number 11 on Billboard's Top 40 chart, immortalizes Boston's once infamously polluted waterways. "I love that dirty water. Oh, Boston, you're my home." Muddying the water further, Bud scored no points with that town…

A landlord in beer-loving Utah entered his rental property after the tenant vacated and found a stash of at least 70,000 Coors Light beer cans! Empty Coors Light beer cans. The cans covered every floor and surface in the place and were at least waist-deep. Seems the former tenant was out of work and just stayed home and drank Coors all day. He stopped drinking and now has a job. The landlord recycled the cans for about $800. Probably more than the clever former tenant now makes in a month…

Kinky Friedman (remember the Texas Jewboys?) is a-runnin' for governor in Texas. I guess he figures that if George W. Bush could do it, so can he. Mr. Friedman (I just can't bring myself to call him Kinky), who is noted for his trademark black cowboy hat and cigar, was grand marshal in a St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas this year when an enthusiastic fan put a can of Guinness in his hand. Quick on the draw, Mr. Friedman took a big swig off the can, thereby violating a Texas law about open containers and automobiles. Back in Lyndon Johnson's day, it was not only legal but expected. Not anymore. The Class C misdemeanor had a maximum fine of $500. For Guinness! Friedman, not noted for being PC, was quoted as saying, "Guinness is the drink that kept the Irish from taking over the world. It would be unthinkable not to have a Guinness during a St. Patrick's Day parade. In fact, it would be spiritually wrong!" Friedman is best known for his song “Drop-Kick Me, Jesus, Through the Goal Posts of Life.” Go, Kinky…

Beer Technology Dept.: A beer mat that knows when a glass is nearly empty and automatically asks for a refill has been created by thirsty researchers in — where else? — Germany. Andreas Butz at the University of Munich and Michael Schmitz from Saarland University came up with the idea while out drinking with their students. The disc-shaped mat can be attached to a normal beer mat so that it still soaks up liquid and displays an advertisement. But it also contains a pressure sensor and a radio transmitter to alert bar staff of the need for a refill. The future is looking brighter when your pub mat does your thinking for you…

Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher of Berks County, Pa., dismissed charges against a man in August for buying beer for his underage neighbor, ruling that the prosecutor hadn't proved all of the elements of the crime. Specifically, said Sprecher, there was no evidence offered by the prosecution that Miller Genuine Draft is "beer." Even our new Supreme Court would have trouble arguing with that logic.…

"I am a SNOB. And now I could be a WABL. Or would that make me a WABLing SNOB?" asks beer goddess Lisa Morrison. Lisa, a founding member of SNOB (Support Native Oregon Beer), is also a fan of WABL (Washington Beer Lovers). WABLing SNOBs will be in great profusion at this year's Oregon Brewers Festival and all during what is now being billed as Oregon Beer Month. I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but Don Younger got my liver…

Starbuck/Bock Wars Gets a Shiner: A federal judge heard arguments recently in a trademark infringement case that pits coffee giant Starbucks Corporation against a café owner who once sold a beer he called StarBock. U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent said he would decide the case in August. Rex Bell, owner of Galveston's Acoustic Café, said he began selling the draft beer in 2002 after he combined Lone Star and Shiner Bock beers into a glass for a customer, suggesting he try a "Star Bock." Get it? As more customers began ordering the beer, Bell said he decided to register the name and found that the one-word name “StarBock” was available. He paid $355 to register the trademark and continued to sell his beer under the two-word name “Star Bock.” Starbucks' lawyers said Bell was aware of the similarity to the Seattle-based coffee company's name and wanted to cash in on it. Bell filed a lawsuit in Galveston to allow him to market his beer, and Starbucks countersued. Bell said he hopes to sell his special blend again if the case is settled in his favor…

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