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Thieves! Australian beer! California! Circumlocution!

1. I got my money back from the thief. You see, he tried to buy so much that the plane ticket and purchases from myancestry.com overdrew my account and remained pending until the people he bought from decided to refuse the sales. You can't fuck with me! I'm terrible with money and don't have enough in my account for you!

2. I came across an article on wikipedia about this beer war in the state of Victoria, Australia. I don't know much about beer politics elsewhere, so I looked up what it's like in the U.S.. Prohibition and World War II ruined brewing and beer innovation, allowing the Budmilloors monopoly of boring American beer to flourish. Only recently have independent and regional breweries been successful. Still, American beer is pretty American. There are no boundaries. (for the most part)

Australia is much different. Each state has very significant differences in popularity by brand. Look!

In 1999 a gentleman's agreement to stay out of each other's states between the two big breweries Lion Nathan (representing New South Wales, home of Sydney) and Carlton United Breweries (CUB) (home of Melbourne, and Blake, the Aussie who stayed with me and whom I stayed with way back when) was broken and Lion Nathan invaded Melbourne and the rest of Victoria. CUB's flagship beer is Victoria Bitter (VB), which accounts for 1/3 of all Australian packaged beer sales. Lion Nathan re-tooled Toohey's Draught to make it taste more like VB and renamed it Toohey's New.

New South Wales and Victoria are the most populated states in the country, so it only made sense for each brewery to make a presence on each other's turf. Victoria Bitter just started selling more in New South Wales. But Toohey's did the real invading. They converted 32 of the country's 52 race tracks (a big deal there) to drop CUB and start selling Toohey's exclusively. They also bought the naming rights to the Melbourne Cup, Australia's biggest horse race (quite a slap in the face to VB and Melbourne), until 2009. They also purchased 62 hotels in Melbourne solely to get them to start serving their beer. People in Victoria got angry that their pubs had changed brands and Nathan Lion had been forced to sell a lot of the hotels they originally bought.

(I love this part) They bought venues around universities to attract the younger crowd and started the "Beer Monster's Club". Students paid $10 to become a "Citizen of the Keg" and would then pass out free Toohey's at parties. This program was dropped because of issue with Liquor Licensing (not necessarily giving alcohol to minors). I equate this with a guy at a party who's passing out Red Bull to everybody and trying really hard to get them to all to keep buying Red Bull. But imagine the Red Bull is beer and then imagine American colleges' problems with free beer. Fucking fiasco.

Now, I'm a bit biased here. Blake's from Victoria. The first beer I ever got drunk off of was Victoria Bitter while staying with him on my trip there. This fight to me seems like a mix of Coke vs. Pepsi and Red Sox vs. Yankees. It's more than just beverage, it's loyalty to territory and buying local. I can't really analyze it properly. But from the point of view of an idiot like myself, it's all so very intriguing.

PS: While doing my 'research' on this, I found this really good ad for Victoria's other big beer, Carlton Draught, that proclaims that it's "made from beer".

3. Upon further review, if/when I live in America for a prolonged period of time after teaching in France, etc. I'm going to live in California. Not L.A., but California. Yes.

4. I just took a practice ACTFL OPI, oral proficiency interview, with a French professor training to get into ACTFL. It was very humbling. I need so much practice. BUT! I found that I'm the king of circumlocution.

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