We should not be asking the question

Now I will fully admit that I am not in a position to assess whether or not this child (please note, I resisted the urge to say “young man” because at 10 years old he really is still just a child) is the best basketball player in the country for his age.  That said, I think that by asking that very question we are opening up a very dangerous dialog that should be addressed head-on.  I am all for the cultivation of natural and learned talents that young people possess and I have a high degree of respect for this child’s parents approach to school first, sports second.  However I am concerned that we are opening the door even slightly – by creating a public forum for these considerations – that cannot be closed.  Judge for yourself:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-0331-boy-basketball-star–20100330,0,1200283.story

2010 list of best places to work in the Chicago area

Crain’s just released their 2010 list of best places to work and from my perspective there are some pretty glaring absences (hint: compare this list to Crain’s largest public companies in Chicago).  In fact, if one examines the lists from 2009 and 2008 the same kinds of firms are missing.  On a positive note, it is worth mentioning that there are a handful of companies who have made the list for the past three years.  Congratulations.

A whole new level of self-service

Imagine a world where you can sit down at a table in your favorite watering hole and pour your own beer.  Gone would be the days of pints that become too warm before you’re able to enjoy them.  That said, I can see how this would get out of control at a lot of bars but if it was closely monitored this might become the new standard for certain types of sports bars (as long as you don’t care what you’re drinking):

http://www.asylum.com/2010/03/10/table-top-beer-tap-serve-yourself-bull-and-bear-bar-chicago/

Beer post III: Mighty Arrow by New Belgium Brewing

I wanted to take the opportunity to fire off a quick note about the pale ale from New Belgium Brewing called Mighty Arrow. Normally I would be more generous with my assessment of a brew related to one of my long-time favorites (Fat Tire) by the same brewery, but I have to say that there is nothing about Mighty Arrow that really distinguishes it from a very crowded field.  I can certainly appreciate the background behind the naming of the beer but I would hope that the brewers at New Belgium dig a bit deeper and focus on decreasing the weight of the beer slightly while balancing the honey flavor with the hops.  Please don’t misinterpret my criticism.  I do like the beer but compared to the other styles consistently produced by the brewery, this one leaves me wanting.  Unlike my prior two reviews, this libation features a 6.5% ABV which the average American drinker will find a bit higher than normal but still very manageable.

The good people at RateBeer.com have rated it an 80 overall.

A noble gesture but I’m not sure about the application

I can definitely appreciate the creative thinking that went into the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s decision to change their standard email font from Arial to Century Gothic, but there is strong evidence suggesting that most people do not print out their emails:

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/university-thinks-the-right-font-could-help-save-the-earth/19415212/

Good examples of Twitter integration

Wondering how to get the most out of Twitter?  Wonder no more:

http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/galleries/twitter-on-blogs/

Immediate gratification in the age of e-commerce

Roughly fifteen years ago I wrote an article about how then-emerging e-commerce merchant Amazon.com was fighting uphill against some foundational consumer purchasing behaviors (i.e., desire for immediate gratification) while successfully embracing others (i.e., price consciousness and the desire to avoid paying taxes). So the argument was that while people want to save money (while sticking it to “the man” in the process) I wondered how that would weigh out when compared to the desire to have “it” now. For Americans the dichotomy is practically an identity crisis.

Now in the second decade of the 21st century we are beseiged by devices that vie for our attention but our desire for immediate material gratification is really no more satified by the strides we have made in e-commerce than when Richard Sears pioneered the concept in the late 19th century. Sure we have music, books and movies “on demand” thanks to the likes of Apple, Amazon.com, and Comcast, respectively. There was even a promising, albeit brief and ill-executed, experiment with near real-time material gratification with dot-com disaster Kozmo.com.File:Kozmo.png In recent years Sears has experimented with a true multichannel retail model that allows shoppers to buy online and then arrive at a single location where their goods will be loaded into their car.  Essentially it can eliminate a trips to a few different stores as well as the time spent wandering around a store filling the cart. That said, I am still waiting for Target or Costco to figure out how to build a last mile fulfillment model that gets consumers their products in hours and not days. Call it e-commerce on demand and let me know when merchants come to me, not the other way around.

You win some and lose some but Bono loses a lot more

On one hand I feel bad for the guy but on the other it is hard to see why the company would have made some of the investments that it did.  After all, Palm?

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2010/03/22/daily54.html

Beer post II: Delirium Tremens by Huyghe Brewery

Following on my recent sampling of New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk I stopped by my local wine and spirits emporium to procure one of my long-standing favorites –  Delirium Tremens by the good people at the Huyghe Brewery in Belgium.  The beer was launched in 1989 and has subsequently taken the world by storm.  In 1998 it was awarded top honors at the World Beer Championships and was crowned “Best Beer in the World”.  Like Dragon’s Milk this is a high ABV brew (8.5%) and should be treated with respect by those who are unfamiliar with it.

The good people at RateBeer.com have rated it a 91 overall.

Beer post I: Dragon’s Milk by New Holland Brewing

Since this blog is at its core a stream of consciousness list of things that I find interesting and curious, it is only fitting that I provide editorial about my love of food and drink which includes (among other things) beer.  Recently I had the good fortune to sample one of the delicious beers from the high gravity series produced by New Holland Brewing. Due to my love of both a delicious pour and fantasy literature, I tried the Dragon’s Milk ale which – according to the bottle – was aged in oak barrels.  Now I am neither food critic nor brew-master but this was a powerfully rich pour.  Dark in color with a warmth emanating from its depth the 10% ABV brew was delicious and featured subtle vanilla undertones.  Given the high alcohol content this is not for the amateur consumer.

The good people at RateBeer.com have rated it a 96 overall.