Farewell, Timothy Riley’s Bar

“Farewell, Timothy Riley’s Bar,” Lane said softly. “Home of the nickel beer. Snooker emporium. Repository of Bluebird records, three for a dime. We honor you and your passing. Farewell. Farewell, Timothy Riley—and terraplanes and rumbleseats and saddle shoes and Helen Forrest and the Triple-C camps and Andy Hardy and Lum ‘n’ Abner and the world-champion New York Yankees! Rest in peace, you age of innocence—you beautiful, serene, carefree, pre-Pearl Harbor, long summer night. We’ll never see your likes again.”

“There are a thousand small honest breweries in this country that because they have been too poor and localized to compete with the big boys have been forced to close, or else operate under famous names while they turn out yeast, or hops, or some other important but unnamed ingredient of the main company’s beer. Now, with the trains full of soldiers and supplies rather than pale ale, perhaps people far from the great breweries will turn again to their local beer factories and discover, as their fathers did thirty years ago, that a beer carried quietly three miles is better than one shot across three thousand on a fast freight.”

“The Australian jewel beetle has sex with beer bottles.
The beetles are a light chocolate color with dimples all down their back and dark black legs and heads that peek out from underneath their carapeces. Their bodies are big and long instead of round, and they resemble cicadas more than they do ladybugs.
The male Australian jewel beetle is hardwired to like certain aspects about the female jewel beetle. They like females to be big, brown, and shiny. The bottles they make love to are bigger, browner, and shinier than any female could ever hope to be. In Australia, a certain type of bottle called stubbies overstimulates male jewel beetles. In a trash heap filled with bottles, you will often see every single stubby covered in male jewel beetles trying to get it on. The stubbies are what evolutionary psychologists call supernormal releasers. They are superstimuli, better than the real thing. The beetles will mate with these bottles even while being devoured by ants.”

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