Tag Archive: Pabst Blue Ribbon

“I think we have a fun deficit in America.” – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clintonhillarynosmile

Can you imagine a fun evening downing a few PBRs with Hillary?

You’re right: Drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is akin to making love in a canoe, so scratch that idea.

Back to the point: Would you look forward to hoisting a few tall ones, even microbrews, with Hillary?

What are your alternatives? Trip to the dentist’s office? Afternoon at DMV?

Or how about joining outgoing Senate leader Harry Reid for a few Nevada microbrews (is “Nevada” and “microbrews” an oxymoron?) And why is Harry always POed?reid

Do these people ever smile? Seriously, do they ever break out a grin?

Is this a problem? Check out the latest SNL skit with Kate McKinnon playing Hillary for your first clue. A lot of truth is often spoken in jest.

Will Hillary be hiring “smile” coaches?

According to the mantra of Nordstrom and McDonald’s and possibly others in the customer relations business: “Hire the smile.”

No one really wants to be around “Negative Nancy,” “Gloomy Gus” or Harry Reid for that matter. They want happy, fun people instead … and maybe a little gravitas too.

Persona Matters

“Voters don’t remember specific issues, they remember the ‘feel’ of the candidate — his values, his passions, his competence, his persona.” — Pollster Pat Caddell prepping former Vice President Walter Mondale for his first debate against President Ronald Reagan

There is little doubt that Hillary can be as wonkish as anyone on the planet, including Harry Reid. If that skill is the only criteria, then maybe she should start ordering the drapes for the Oval Office.

She is raising tons of money and undoubtedly will summon her disciples to write even more big checks. The legal tender will not be a problem for her second campaign for president.

She is the spouse of a former POTUS. The problem is her charm deficit. Her other half can turn on the smile in a few nanoseconds and draw potential supporters into his personal gravitational pull. This is where Hillary will always be wanting.merkel1

Certainly, Hillary has gravitas. The same is true for Fed chair Janet Yellen and German Kanzlerin Angela Merkel. The latter is lovingly known by at least a majority in the Vaterland as Mutti. Hillary is more like America’s Mother in Law.

Why do über-cautious Yellen at the Fed and compromiser Merkel in Berlin succeed when it comes to likeability and Hillary seemably comes up short? Call it a shortage of persona. The author of Almost DailyBrett will never forget the words of my own mumsy: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

Kennedy and Reagan

“There is a reason why the two major parties continue to search for a new Kennedy or a new Reagan, and why so many presidential contenders offer themselves as such. It is because they believe it’s what the American people want. And there are surveys that show just how remarkably popular Kennedy and Reagan remain.” – Scott Farris, author of Kennedy & Reagan: Why Their Legacies Endurekennedysmile

Undersecretary of the Navy Paul Fay wrote the 1966 bestseller, The Pleasure of His Company, about his relationship with JFK. Reagan was known for his stories and one-liners with a huge smile on his face, an obvious bonus from his days in Hollywood.Portrait

Both men are held as the modern-day models of popular, charming and engaging presidents. Will candidate Hillary or second President Clinton ever reach that precipice or come even close? Hubert Humphrey was known as the “Happy Warrior.” Should Hillary’s handlers bring that one out of the public relations vault for their candidate?

Political junkies all know the track records of those with personality deficits and how they ultimately performed under the day-to-day spotlight of presidential campaigns. Remember President Ed Muskie? How about President Scoop Jackson? President Michael Dukakis? President Bob Dole? President Newt Gingrich? President Al Gore? President John Kerry? President Mitt Romney? They all exhibited sooner or later (usually the former) personality issues that contributed to their ultimate demise.

Even one who won, Richard Milhous Nixon, was gloomy, suspicious and paranoid. His next elected successor James Earl Carter could flash a toothy smile, but transformed himself into a mean candidate running for re-election in 1980.

Do the Democrats see a contemporary charming John F. Kennedy in Hillary? Seems like a silly question. But then against Hillary’s candidacy is a serious business.

Maybe a little bit too serious.






Running Out the Clock

Oregon’s offense is known for its dizzying combo of tempo and speed.


The ball is snapped on the average every 13 seconds.

Sometimes the same “read-option” play is run three times in a row.

The offensive brain-trust doesn’t care. The objective is to spread the defense across the field, exhaust them, and eventually overwhelm them with score after score. Damn impressive.

When it becomes clear that victory is near, the same juggernaut offense starts taking the maximum amount of time, nearly 35 seconds in-between plays. The plan is to achieve first downs and keep the clock running.

Finally, it will be time to line up in “Victory Formation” for a series of administrative kneel-downs followed by informal chats with Oregon’s vanquished opponents, a scenario that has played out 46 times in the last four years.

It’s nice to run out the clock when that is your intent.

The scene shifts to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

A 69-year-old man-jitterbug with more than a few miles on his personal odometer is prancing around the stage to the chords of Freddie King’s “Going Down.” Guitarists John Mayer, 35, and Gary Clark, Jr., 29, are backing the singer…who is twice their age. Hopefully they have the tempo and the speed to keep up.

Watching Mick Jagger on last December’s globally televised special, one has to wonder if it is possible to have this much energy, this much stamina, this much moxie and mojo at the completion of a seventh decade.

Jagger is slim and trim, reportedly a 30-inch waist. The man, everyone thought would be dead years and years ago, is backing him on rhythm guitar, Keith Richards. Charlie Watts is keeping time at 71, while the “youngster,” Ronnie Wood, is playing lead guitar at the cradle-robbing age of 65.

And yet there are those who question, why do these old guys keep doing it? Why do they keep writing new music (e.g., Doom and Gloom)? They have more money, fame and prestige than any band has ever accumulated. Their place in history is assured.

They are certainly not content to run out the clock.

It is a typical Friday night at the Jiffy Market in South Eugene.


The “Jif” is a living contradiction. On the outside, it appears to be your standard stop-and-rob small liquor store/market. Inside are six Formica tables set on a well-aged linoleum floor.

What makes the market different is the fruit of the vine, a surprisingly impressive collection of Oregon, California and foreign wines. The deli serves a halibut and chips plate that would make any mackerel snapper happy, even back in the days Rome would send you to hell for eating meat on Friday.

And every Friday night, sits a man running out the clock…the clock of life.

You can find him nursing three 16-ounce cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon or “PBR” for those who think that dreadful lager is cool. He has that same unappreciative look on his pouchy face with the well-nurtured convulations over his belt.

There is little doubt he will be there next Friday night and maybe every other night as well.

My question is what went wrong?

Something went awry. Did he drop out of high school as so many have before, and continue even to this day? We know that education is expensive, until you consider the cost of ignorance. Did he just say that he would go to work, and worry about school later? Later never came…Or was it “self-destructive” addictions that are crippling so many, retarding potential and inhibiting achievement?

My point here is not to condemn someone who I do not know, and chances are, never will. What I am concerned about is the waste of human talent at a time that our society is struggling to emerge from the longest, protracted economic draught in modern times.

How many millions of people are sitting around running down the clock on their unproductive, boring and stultifying lives? What is worse: being alone or being bored?

What are the strategies that we should be taking in our 20s, 30s and 40s to make sure that we don’t have desultory lives in our Golden Years? How can you achieve your bucket list when your foot is stuck in the bucket?


Shouldn’t we be nurturing our vessels, our bodies…both physically and mentally…so we can make the journey of life? What can we do to the equivalent of a Mick Jagger, amping up the crowd, rather than be prematurely incapacitated as a result of a sedentary lifestyle?

The alternative is not pretty. Running out the clock is basically counting down the remaining days of life. The end may be hours of suffering followed by a funeral that no one attends and internment in a cemetery no one visits.

The clock reaches zero.







Putting Lipstick on a Pig

“Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.” – Warsteiner button

You can’t put frosting on manure.” – John Madden

I don’t often drink beer but when I do, I prefer it not to be Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)” – With Apologies to Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

(Scene: A Pabst Blue Ribbon marketing guru walks along a Southern California beach and finds a magic lantern. He rubs the lantern and a genie emerges offering to grant him a wish…)

PBR marketing pro: “I would like there to be finally peace and harmony in the Middle East?”

Genie: “What is the Middle East?”

PBR pro: “See this map? Here is Israel, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan…”

Genie: “Whoa…these people have been at each other’s throats for hundreds of years…Is there anything else I can do?

PBR: “Can you make Pabst Blue Ribbon, cool?”

Genie: “Can I see that map again?”

The definition of “oxymoron” is a figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side including: legal brief, paid volunteer, plastic glasses, pretty ugly, clearly confused, Beaver Nation and Pabst Blue Ribbon is cool.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is duly charged with preserving species that are threatened or endangered with extinction such as: marbled murrelets, northern spotted owls, diamond back rattlesnakes and alligators. Should we also be concerned about saving Pabst Blue Ribbon, the Mother of All Mediocre Lagers?

As a resident of the State of Oregon, we Pacific Northwest-types know a thing or two about rain, salmon, pinot noirs and microbrews. Checking out a public house recently in Eugene, there was a list of ales and lagers to imbibe (mostly the former) and it included a Ninkasi Total Domination IPA, an Oakshire Oatmeal Stout, a Widmer Hefeweizen, a Deschutes Black Butte Porter, a Red Hook ESB, a New Belgium Fat Tire (amber ale) etc. For those who prefer making love in a canoe, there were the predictable offerings: Bud Light and Coors Light.

At the bottom of the beer list was the mysterious listing: “PBR.” What the f… is “PBR?”

It took a while for the little light to go on. PBR is Pabst Blue Ribbon of Milwaukee…err…Los Angeles, California. If you are looking for bad boob jobs, one should head to LaLaLand. Now if you are seeking out desultory lagers, LA is your place as well.

“PBR” is a Hail Mary marketing campaign championing Pabst Blue Ribbon “coolness” and it is already claiming a few victims. This point was evidenced this morning by the empty Pabst Blue Ribbon 40-ounce bottle lying beside the Pioneer Cemetery, located adjacent to the University of Oregon campus (the irony does not escape me).

Carefully picking up the empty, I noted on the label that Pabst Blue Ribbon was celebrated as America’s best beer in 1893. And the Chicago Cubs claimed their most recent World Series championship in 1908. Heck, anyone can have a bad century…and then some.

As a public relations instructor at the university level, I believe that everyone and every organization should be able to tell their story (e.g., Lance Armstrong on Oprah). At the same time, PR, marketing and advertising pros are not miracle workers. And truth and morals should not be flexible.

Maybe, your great-grandfather (and/or great-grandmother) consumed Pabst Blue Ribbon, and your grandparents as well. Quite possibly your father and mother both took a sip from the white can with the blue ribbon as well. Instead of projecting youthful coolness with the acronym, PBR, wouldn’t it be more honest to celebrate Pabst Blue Ribbon as the lager that made your ancestors, your ancestors?




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