Beer Comes to Ohio University

Low beer comes to Ohio University's Baker Center 02-04-1969Curator Jessica called to ask if she could use one of my photos to promote the Athens Country Historical Society & Museum’s Historic Tavern Tours this week. It’s all part of the 9th Annual Ohio Brew Week Festival, not that university students need any excuse to quaff beer. [Miz Jessica explained to me later I was wrong. Brew Week was cooked up to help the bars out during the slow summer season when the student population drops off.]

Kenny Kerr pours the beers

Low beer comes to Ohio University's Baker Center 02-04-1969It was a chilly February day in 1969 when Kenny Kerr (the guy with the shiny hairdo) of Kerr Distrubuting poured the first beers to be served in Ohio University’s Ohio Room in Baker Center.

You had your choice of Stroh’s, Stroh’s or Stroh’s. And, it was low-test 3.2 beer. Low-point beer, as it is more accurately called, is a beer that contains 3.2% alcohol by weight.

Since it could be sold to 18-year-olds, it eliminated having to determine if a drinker was 18 or 21. I don’t think I ever saw anyone carded at the Ohio Room, probably because most college students were at least 18.

Theory about binge drinking

Low beer comes to Ohio University's Baker Center 02-04-1969When I was in Athens over Halloween, I debated going uptown to shoot the costumed pub crawl festivities, but opted out because (a) it was cold, (b) parking was a problem and (c) one of the OU Post’s former editors from my era said, “I got tired of having my shoes puked on.”

He went on to explain that we lived in a different era: we didn’t have any money in 1969. Students would pool their cash with a few friends, head over to the Ohio Room for a couple of pitchers of 3.2 beer, do some socializing, then go home. Now it’s all about large quantities of booze, he said, and the streets are filled with inebriated students engaged in inappropriate behavior, some of which finds its way onto the Internet.

 Pouring beer like water

Here’s a gallery of photos of the day when Stroh’s beer poured like water – and according to some purists – tasted about the same. Stroh’s, by the way, had an interesting history. It started as a regional beer, then ended up as the third largest brewer in the country. It even marketed a Stroh’s ice cream. A whole bunch of market changes caused problems for the company, though, and in 1999, after being in business for 149 years, it sold its labels to Pabst Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company.

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

How Do You Answer the Phone?

Alden Library 10-24-2013_8977I’ve touched on my negative love for cell phones in the past. I carried two-way radios on my belt for 25+ years and never minded that because they were designed as communication devices to be used only when you wanted to exchange important information.

When I became telecommunications manger and had to ride herd on hundreds of wireless devices, I was convinced they were the spawn of the devil.

When I was working, I carried two cell phones, each on a different carrier, because I was the Fone Guy. After I retired, I put all my eggs in one Verizon HTC Droid Incredible basket. The model served me well until just recently when it started misbehaving. Today it locked up, requiring me to pull the battery to do a cold boot. It flashed some debug code on the screen, popped up a couple icons, one shaped like a tombstone with RIP engraved on it, and died. It eventually rose from the dead, but I decided 2008 to 2014 was a pretty good run and maybe it was time to get a new phone.

If you wonder what the photo has to do with the story, it’s something I noticed when I was at Ohio University’s Alden Library last fall. It was striking how many students passed by with a glowing screen cradled in their hands.

I now own a Motorola Droid Ultra

Baker Center 10-24-2013_8997Here are more students with their electronic nooses. The guy on the down escalator at Baker Center looks like he’s holding a tablet, but he’s actually a dinosaur: he’s holding – Egads! – an actual sheet of paper. I showed in another post how more folks were interesting in texting and taking selfies than watching the OU football game they were attending.

The folks at the Verizon store on North Lake Blvd. in Lake Park have been a pleasure to deal with. Michael Valerio patiently showed me what devices were available. He actually listened when I told him I didn’t really care about taking photos, playing music, texting or putting something on my belt that was the size of a TV tray, and pointed me to the Motorola Droid Ultra. The price was right – Free, except for a $30 upgrade fee and the need to buy an Otterbox Defender Series case to protect it.

Getting all my old aps back was a lot simpler than the first time I went through the drill. It’ll take some time to get stuff where I’m used to seeing it, but I’m pleased with how many things things come built into the phone that I used third-party aps for in the past.

There was one problem, though. I had the phone charging behind me when I heard a strange noise. I hadn’t set up the ringtones yet, so I didn’t recognize that a call was coming in. When I picked up the phone, I could see it was Curator Jessica calling, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to ANSWER the bleeping phone.

That was never a problem with my old Motorola MX340 two-way radio.