These Three Guys Walk Into A Bar…

And ask the bartender where the library is. He directs them down the street three blocks to the Public Library and they thank him.

WRONG. ALL WRONG. The bartender has done a great disservice to literature and society and himself. It should have gone like this…

These three guys walk into a bar and ask the bartender where the library is. He directs them to the next room, where there is a wall of bookshelves full of books. Old, new, big, little. Picture books and books crammed with text. The library has a reading bench and pens and paper in trays . There are big chairs by windows with plenty of light. It is cool and comfortable.

The three guys go in, pick books from the shelf and sit down to read them. The bartender asks them what they’re drinking and they all order. As the afternoon wears on they read more and drink more and the till grows fatter from the cash. The readers do not fight or watch horse races on television. They do not swear or spit. They just read and drink. When closing time comes they are still mostly sober and perfectly satisfied…and will come back again and bring more money with them.

Keep books. Your bookkeeper will approve.

Note: Years later when the third guy writes a seminal novel and the second guy writes a definitive scientific text and the first guy becomes a gossip columnist, they all mention the bar during interviews…and the place is overwhelmed by literary customers eager to imbibe either culture or beer. If you want good advertising, get good advertisers.

Watching Championship Stupid From The Sidelines

We all see foolish things done and exhibited on crass television shows. We see them on Facebook and YouTube. But nothing beats seeing them fresh, live, and right in front of you.

I don’t mean the car crashes and people hitting light poles – these are accidents of our modern life. I also exclude criminal behaviour and its consequences – also a feature of modern life, but one that can stay well away from me. I am thinking of the modest little instances of stupidity that pop up from time to time and make us grin.

Yesterday I visited our downtown area to do a job, and when it was completed I repaired to a bookstore and then to a rooftop bar for a bit of reading and refreshment. It was delightful, until the last inch of beer in the glass. Then tow families of bogans invaded the bar with their 5 squalling children – obviously hungry, overtired, and at the end of a school vacation. The bartender looked like the hatch of hell had opened at his feet; I hastily downed that last inch and dived for the door, pursued by rising screams.

There is a provision in Western Australian liquor laws for children to be on licensed premises under direct adult control for ” reasonable refreshment” but up two flights of stairs onto a city rooftop bar seems to stretch the case somewhat. I can only hope that the children got espresso martinis and red cordial and that the train back home was delayed between stations…

Booze At Bar Prices

When I am out of town – interstate or just in another part of Western Australia – I enjoy a drink in a pub or a tavern. Generally just the one and usually in defiance of the elements; a cold beer in summer and a whiskey or glass of port in winter. Part of the pleasure is the drink and part the experience of the place.

I accept that the price I will pay for the drink is more than I would pay if I had the same glass in my lounge room at home. This is sound business there in the hotel and sound management in front of my own fire. In neither case is there too much money spent – my tastes do not run to champagne or exotic vintages.

But I also do not wish to find that I have paid over the knocker for something that is under the measure – I suspect that this occurs in more places than you’d think. In some cases it is economics and in others ignorance.

The watering of a bottle of anything at a pub apart from a water bottle is supposed to be illegal. It is also impossible to police – at least from the drinking side of the bar. If you order a cocktail or other mixed drink you may very well see something poured from a bottle with a complex measuring spout, but you have no idea what went into the bottle before it was attached to the apparatus. If you order at a table, you get what comes back on a tray. And you are expected to drink it and approve by leaving a tip…in some cases the only authentic part of the transaction is the government banknote you hand over – not even the change is full-strength.

Has it happened to me? Only in three cities – Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. And only in certain establishments – If you want to be properly served in Melbourne I should recommend that you frequent The Gin Palace or Young and Jackson’s – no half measures there. Here in Perth The Mechanic’s Institute is reliable, and I am still exploring Sydney. Country pubs generally manage beer well, though their kitchens can be problematical.

In all of these occasions you can depend upon your on-board sensors to tell you whether you are getting the real deal, the deal, or the reel. If it tastes fine, it is fine and if it tastes watered-down….well, it is watered down. The saving grace about an establishment that serves a cheatin’ drink is the threshold of the doorway. You can step over it on the way out and never re-cross it.

Beer Code Bar Code


I can’t think why no-one has instituted this yet.

You get two bar code tattoos on your forearm – one is for a pint of your favourite beer, and one is your BSB banking details.

Then, instead of standing an a confused gaggle of punters at the local pub trying to get the bar tender’s attention, waving $ 50 notes, and making entitled noises, you merely roll up your sleeve and slide your arm out on the bar.

The bar tender scans it and when a green light goes on over the appropriate beer tap indicating that the order has been received and the money debited from your account, draws the pint and places it in your hand. No language barrier and startling efficiency. If they do this well all night you roll up the other sleeve and expose a bar code that will provide them with a tip.

You cannot leave home without your beer code bar codes!

Who says technology can never be beneficial?