February 4th, 2009
Nips – 2/4/09
I’m finally getting my ass in gear over what to do with those little items that are worth mentioning but don’t warrant an entire post: I’m filing them in series of posts called Nips, after those little bottles of booze you get on airplanes, in hotel minibars or at liquor-store checkout counters. (Fun fact: Until 2005, South Carolina liquor laws dictated that bartenders make drinks with nips instead of free-pouring or measuring into a jigger. Holy idiocracy.)
1. Do you remember those ads for Miller High Life in the late ’90s and early ’00s? They were understated little vignettes capturing the modern alterna-male’s winking appropriation of bygone “guy-ness,” from an era when men had bowling trophies and dedication to a particular brand of beer. The ads were unlike anything else you saw on TV. That’s because they were directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, Standard Operating Procedure). Since documentary filmmaking — even Oscar-winning documentary filmmaking — doesn’t pay the bills, Morris, who lives in Cambridge, has done lots of ad work. I’d like to thank A Continuous Lean, Michael Williams’ terrific blog on American design, for reminding me of the Miller ads. You can watch all the spots here.
2. Here’s another homework assignment. Read these two recent articles on Slate:
3. How about the recession-induced proposal to put a 5% tax on liquor purchased at package stores? If it’s approved, will it make you drive to NH to buy booze?
4. More recession news. A little while ago, the Globe published what I thought was a detailed and fair article on Locke-Ober’s historic decision to close for lunch and what that signified for anyone who thought the old-fashioned business lunch (you know, the one with Martinis) was still alive. Well, that story sparked a rumble in the comments section between those who hold Locke-Ober dear as a Boston institution even though its food and service have been eclipsed many times over by competing high-end restaurants, and those who are seriously bitter over their financial and employment circumstances and want to mow down anything in their path that smacks of aristocracy, including Locke-Ober. Yikes. Personally, I love the place despite its silly prices, because it is a Boston institution. But resting on your laurels is not a business strategy. I wish, at the very least, that Locke-Ober would hire a team of bartenders who could bring cocktail hour at L-O back to the glory of the Gilded Age.