Tuesday, July 12, 2016

10 Most Popular Karaoke Songs of All Time

10 Most Popular Karaoke Songs of All Time

List by Dejan Kvrgic 

Today we bring you a great collection, the 10 Most Popular Karaoke Songs of All Time.  In general, it is very hard, or to say almost impossible to measure the popularity of songs, and rank them based on it. We examine that in our 10 Most Popular Songs of All-Time list as well.
There’s always the factor of “taste” and the time factor, as popularity isn’t measured nowadays as it was measured 20, 30 years ago. Today’s list is about Karaoke Songs, and that is even harder to do, as that’s not something often seen on TV, but more in private. Whether it is in the shower, on your way to work, in a small pub in front of a crowd, or up on a festival stage, karaoke was and still is one of the world’s most loved leisure activities.

There’s no doubt in our mind that you’ll find a song you love singing in the section below. If by any chance you missed the opportunity to sing karaoke, or didn’t have the wish to try it, believe us, you won’t regret doing it. Isn’t singing one of the most beautiful activities, something done by the very first human civilizations? Now, technology has advanced so much, with just a few clicks and tweaks, you’ll find yourself sounding just like your favorite artist. Let’s take a look at the most popular karaoke songs of all time.

10. “Rock & Roll All Nite” – KISS
The song in 10th place is originally performed by the famous band KISS. It reached the rank of the top 20 songs in many charts, or even higher, in the year 1976. Some of the bands that later covered this rock song were “Poison” – who recorded it in 1987 for their “Less Than Zero” soundtrack and “Summer Set” – the power-pop band. “I Wanna rock and roll all nite/ And party everyday” – lyrics of the “Rock & Roll All Nite” song, to which every homework-avoiding kid can relate to.

9. “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” – Journey
In 9th place stands the highly entertaining and motivational song “Don’t Stop Believin’ “. Originally performed by Journey in 1981, it was covered by “Glee” whose cover even got the song into higher rankings on many billboard charts. In 2009, it reached the 4th spot, and five years later was used in the movie “Rock of Ages”. Also, a nice rendition of the song was performed on the show “Family Guy” by Seth MacFarlane.

8. “The Gambler” – Kenny Rogers
Here we have a song which is known to everyone. We all learned its lyrics and picked it up during our childhood, and grew up with it, while singing it in school, the choir or with our families. That’s right, we are talking about “The Gambler” a song originally performed by Kenny Rogers.

7. “Summer Nights”
“Summer Nights” is the song ranked in 7th place, originally appearing in the Broadway musical “Grease” in February, 1972. The people who performed “Summer Nights” in the musical were John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Their version reached No. 5 on many charts, during the year 1978. If you have ever seen the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”, you might have witnessed Amy Poehler’s and Jon Glaser’s version of this karaoke hit.

6. “I Love Rock & Roll” – The Arrows  
Even though it isn’t even in the top 3 of our list, there was a period when the whole planet was into this amazing song, and there wasn’t a single person who didn’t know the lyrics to it. That period was during the year of 2002, when Britney Spears did her karaoke version of “I Love Rock & Roll” in the movie “Crossroads”. She wasn’t the original performer of the song; that was the band “The Arrows”, who introduced this song to the world in 1975. Also, one of the well-known covers of the songs belong to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

5. “Let It Go” – Idina Menzel
If the year 2002 was the year when everyone knew the song listed above, then 2014 was the year of “Let It Go”. Originally performed by Idina Menzel in the Disney musical “Frozen” it captured many hearts by storm. The song can still be heard in many contests like The Voice, especially The Voice Kids, in many countries. One of the best-known covers is the pop version by Demi Lovato, which is also quite popular. That is why “Let It Go” is No.5 in the 10 Most Popular Karaoke Songs of All Time list.

4. “Roxanne” – The Police
In 4th place is one the greatest hits performed by “The Police, truly. “Roxanne” is even more popular as a karaoke song than as a single. A lot of upcoming talents who come to show their singing talent in various shows, choose to sing this powerful song. It’s simply one of those tunes where everyone has to sing along.

3. “Born To Be Wild” – Steppenwolf
Now, this is getting serious. In 3rd place lies a hit, so often heard on TV, in movies, simply everywhere. Who doesn’t like to sing “Born To Be Wild” once in a while? Originally performed by Steppenwolf, it is a classic rock tune, which will always create a great atmosphere, no matter how good or bad the singer is. Yes, we all know it’s a bit old, but the fact is – people love to sing it.

2. “Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond
The runner-up spot goes to a song performed Mr. Neil Diamond, who is neither a classic rock star nor a lounge singer, but somewhere in between. The song “Sweet Caroline” which maybe doesn’t ring a bell immediately, is Mr. Diamond’s greatest hit ever, which is hard to sing, but the loveable piece. Be warned if singing this on your own – the chorus is pretty special.

1. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
Many times we wrote that the things separating No.2 and No.1 in our lists are small, just tiny details; that is not the case with the winner of the 10 Most Popular Karaoke Songs of All Time. “I Will Survive” is one of the most famous disco songs, which will light up the atmosphere of every party. Honestly, do you happen to know anyone who doesn’t know the words to this tune, or its melody? Gloria Gaynor performed it originally in 1979, and already then it became an instant hit. Jennifer Love Hewitt was one of the many actresses and actors who sang their version. She did it in the 1998 movie “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”. We hope you enjoyed this list, now go grab yourself a mic, and start singing.

Article courtesy of www.insidermonkey.com
View original article

Stop by Harry's on Thursday nights at 9pm for Karaoke by JAWZ! We always have an amazing time, great song selection and awesome people! See you in Pismo Beach!


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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Some Good Advice for Cover Bands

We at Harry's love supporting our local musicians and providing a Live Music Venue to play at, but we need you (bands) to help us (venues) help you (again, bands)! Here is some good advice to get a better turnout at your gigs and grow your audience, on and off the stage!




Top 10 Reasons Why Your Cover Band Is Not Successful

by Steve Witschel

All around the world, there are tens of thousands of musicians that play covers. The presentations vary considerably including, but not limited to - wedding bands, tribute bands, corporate bands, party bands, top 40 bands, bar bands, acoustic happy hour solo artists, and weekend warriors - and most play on a regular or at least semi-regular basis. Just about all of these musicians play for some compensation, usually monetary. And I'd venture to guess that the majority of them prefer to play with people in the room.

In this day and age, there are so many things that a band or artist that plays cover tunes for money could easily be doing to elevate their success - even if it's only by a small amount. In fact, there are things that bands should be doing and they're simply not, whether it's because they don't know how, or they don't put thought into it, or they think they don't have the time, or they don't realize how much of a difference some small bit of effort can make.

I've been running the Facebook Page Cover Band Central for a while now. The effort is to showcase ways a cover band or artist can improve their situation, with the intention being to entertain as well as educate other musicians. With many bands sharing their links, I've come across many instances where some of the points below are neglected, executed poorly, or just completely omitted.

I want you to succeed. I really, really do. Read the points below, and if you have any interest in having more people at your gigs and potentially making more money, and you are violating any of the infractions listed, then act on them immediately. They are all simple fixes that take very little time and very little effort, but will pay off well in the long run.

I should preface this list by pointing out that not every performer or band is looking for anything more than they already have. There are many musicians that have regular day jobs and just play as a hobby or for fun. Some play once in a while, usually locally, and have an audience of friends and/or regulars, or perhaps a built in crowd, and are content with the way things are. If you fall under those categories, then you can close this article now. You're doing just fine and if you're happy, you don't need to change a thing.

Some of you know this stuff cold, too, so you'll find all of this info to be obvious. This article is directed more towards the players that are looking to improve upon their existing situation, in whatever capacity, and need a good checklist or at the very least, good reminders. If that is you, then read on!

1. No Facebook Page
If you're reading this article, chances are you have a Facebook account. If you play in a cover band or project and you don't have a Facebook Page as well, you are missing out on a simple and free way to gain more fans, and a platform that you can use to easily communicate. Even if you just play once in a while, and only five people join your Page, that's five people that can stay on top of everything you're doing. But the potential is unlimited, and the options are greater than your regular Facebook account.

With a Facebook Page, you can create a video section, upload a photo gallery specific to particular categories - including memorable shows, promo shots, fan pics, etc. - keep a current gig calendar, and so much more. It's a free and easy place to interact with your friends and fans, and if you play live cover songs, there is no excuse not to have one.
(If you do have a Facebook Page, be sure you're making the most of it.)

2. No website
As a performer, you want to have a representation of your specific act online. You don't necessarily neeeed a website, but in most cases it will help you and your band.

The benefit of having a website is that you can customize it any way you like. This will give you the ability to showcase what you bring to the table, and will help you to rank in search engines when people are looking for a band. It also makes you look more professional, and that is a big plus in getting work and getting more people interested in you.

Websites these days are easy to create and maintain and are very inexpensive. You can buy a domain name for less than ten dollars, and find a hosting company that fits your budget and needs. WordPress.org has thousands of attractive templates to choose from to design a site to your liking. It all takes just a couple of hours to build, and mere minutes a day to maintain.

3. No mailing list
As little as fifteen years ago, in order to communicate with fans, you had to gather names and addresses at gigs, copy them all into a mail program, print address labels, design and print a card or mailer, buy stamps, spend hours licking and sticking, and hope that when the intended addressee receives your notification that they don't just throw it out. The process ate up a lot of time and money, and was largely ineffective.

The best people to reach out to are the ones that already like you and either know you as a friend, or a friend's friend, or have seen you perform. In order to keep in touch with these people and keep them informed and involved, you want to create a mailing list and send periodic updates to everyone on your list. All you need to do is write one email on a regular basis - whether it be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even semi-annually - and send it to everyone on your list with one click.

There are several ways to collect e-mail addresses for your list. You can have a friend or fan work for you at gigs as a street team member and collect names on a piece of paper. You can gather up addresses from your Facebook Page simply by asking. You can create a field or even a splash page on your website that asks for a visitor's first name and email address. You can create a Group on Facebook in addition to your Page, and send out your emails exclusively to your Facebook connections. Or you can get creative and think of even more ways of reaching out.

The point is, there's never been a time where it's so simple and cheap to communicate with fans and keep them interested and engaged. There is no reason not to do this, even if your fan base is very small. You'll find that once you make it a regular habit, your fan base will start to grow.

4. No good pictures
The quality of digital cameras has increased exponentially in just the last five years. Even cell phone cameras have jumped from three megapixels in 2007 to today's high-quality ten megapixel (and above) cameras.

There is no good reason to not either take pictures at your gig or have someone take pictures for you. It will keep people engaged and increase your visibility online. You can and should take photos of your band playing, hanging out or goofing off. You'll also keep more fans involved by taking crowd photos and tagging them in your posts.

If you can't do it yourself, another option is to ask people in the room to take photos and post them on your Page. It can't hurt to ask. The worst that can happen is nobody does it, and you're still right where you were. In doing so though, this gives you another way and reason to promote your website or Facebook Page.

Even if none of the above choices are optimal, another idea is to post an ad on Craig's list and hire someone to come shoot pictures for you. There are lots of people sitting around with nothing to do that would be happy to come out and take some pictures for free admission, or a few free drinks, or some extra spending money.

The upshot is that you want to take as many pictures as you can. In the old days, you had to buy film, have it developed, scan it into your computer, and upload it to a website. Now you can shoot as many digital pictures as you want and post them on Facebook (or Instagram) (or Twitter) and have them up online instantly. As long as you post photos showing your band or friends and fans in the best light, it will do nothing but help you.

5. No video
Just as with photos, the ability and ease has made it a no-brainer to be shooting as much video as possible. People online love videos and they love to share them as well. There are very few better ways to promote your band and expose yourself to a wider audience than posting videos. In addition to photos, cell phones today can take some pretty decent quality video. Even if you're just posting snippets of songs, posting anything will always help you, as long as it's a quality performance.

Options to get this accomplished include asking a friend to shoot at one of your gigs, simply setting up a video camera on a tripod and getting some still video, or hiring some inexpensive help to do the work for you. If you want to go big, there are companies that you can employ to shoot high-quality video complete with editing a finished product that you can be proud of.

In addition to promoting your band and gaining wider exposure, you can even monetize your clips on Youtube so that you make some extra cash for the band. It's not a lot of money, unless you get a ton of views or your videos go viral...which can happen. But there's no chance that you will enjoy any of these advantages if you neglect to shoot video of your performances.

6. Out of tune vocals
Of course, having video, pictures, a website, a mailing list and a Facebook Page is all kinda pointless if your vocals are off. When people go to watch a band, most key in on the vocals. People like to sing along with songs they know, and if the singer is off pitch, everything else becomes moot.

This is especially true for background and harmony vocals. Your lead singer may be perfectly in tune, but if someone is singing backup and it sounds funky, it will make the whole band sound bad. One easy fix is to have vocal rehearsals with your band, and make sure that everyone knows their parts solid before going out and performing.

You'll see bands at times where someone is singing but really shouldn't be. So if you can't sing on pitch, then don't sing. Conversely, if you can sing and you're not contributing, then you need to have a mic in front of you at your gig. More vocals make everything sound fuller. Even if you're just chiming in with gang vocals in a sing-along chorus, you'll improve the band's overall sound by joining in the mix.

7. No interaction
As stated above, given all of the opportunities today with social media, you and your band have a wealth of possibilities at your fingertips. Some bands that aren't necessarily the greatest players do extremely well in the business because they interact with their fans and friends online. If someone posts something positive to your fan Page, you should always at the very least "Like" it, or reply with a comment or a simple "Thank You." People want to be recognized and appreciated, and if they are recognizing and appreciating you, then it is a good practice to reciprocate.

The simplicity of tagging friends and fans on Facebook makes it easy to grow interest online and get more people involved and talking about your band. Information spreads very quickly on the internet, and the more positive posts that appear on people's News Feed, the better for your project. Stay involved, reach out to people, and connect as often as possible. Encourage everyone in your group to post about everything. You may think it doesn't make a difference, but I've seen numerous instances over many years where it does, in fact, help you to sustain and grow your fan base.

8. Nothing unique
What makes you different than everybody else? You should be able to answer that question yourself. If you're struggling to come up with a response, then you may need to rethink your presentation. It can admittedly be challenging to set yourself apart from other cover bands, especially when many play a lot of the same songs. However, you are a unique individual, and your group is made up of other unique individuals. That needs to shine through with your performances. Embracing what makes you different is a key element of the overall package.

It could be something as simple as the name of the band. Or the way everyone dresses. Or the way you put your show together. Or perhaps you have an idea that may seem too unconventional and are afraid to try it. Whatever it is, it's important to find or create something about your act that makes you stand out from the pack. You want people to remember you and talk about you, and one of the best ways to do that is to come up with an interesting angle that nobody else has thought of or incorporated.

9. Song selection
I made a list that gets 400-500 hits every day from search engines with musicians searching for ideas for songs to play in their band. The Top 50 that I selected were based on songs that most bands play at one time or another, or often times, at every show. This is not to say that you need to play all or even any of these songs. It's simply a list of essential, popular songs to have in your arsenal as a cover musician.

Song selection is perhaps one of the most important elements that you want to consider when playing covers. Many people will default to several of those top 50 tunes, which usually works out okay for them. Others, however, will play songs that they like, and not even consider what the audience wants to hear. The truth is that the best approach is to play what's proper for the gig, and what will please the people that come to the venue.

If you are playing just for yourself, or to try to show off how good of a musician you are by playing deep cuts from classic bands, you may make a few people happy, and a couple of folks here and there might be impressed with your amazing skills. But I can just about guarantee that you won't have a large audience, and you won't get a lot of work (unless you're a tribute band that specializes in a particular genre or artist). The simple reason is that club and bar owners and managers are looking to sell drinks and make money, and the more people that you bring to and keep in the room, the more you will accomplish just that. People that come out to see live music, for the most part, want to hear songs that they know. (I covered this in greater detail, and many more essential tips in this article.)

To have some success and longevity in the business of playing cover tunes, you need to spend a good deal of time and exercise great care with the songs that you choose to play. You want to find the right balance of making everyone in the band happy and pleasing the crowd at the same time. It's pointless to play only songs you like, unless of course, the majority of people at your gig will enjoy them just as much.

10. Not having fun
I've played in close to fifty different cover bands, and I've seen hundreds more. I've watched several hundred band videos online; looking for artists that are different, talented, engaging, and likable. But probably the biggest aspect that gets me excited about any band is that they are having fun.

Regardless of how skilled the players in a band are, if they are smiling and having a good time on stage, then the crowd will have a good time too. Most people that come out to clubs and bars are not musicians, and they're okay with you flubbing a note or a vocal. Most of the time, they won't even notice, as long as the people on stage are having fun.

On many occasions when I've been on stage playing in a band, or with several of the videos I've seen, the musicians on stage look bored. They appear to be going through the motions and are just there for the free drinks or a paycheck. That is not what music is about, and it's not what people that are going out to have a good time want to see.
If you play in a cover band, or as a duo, trio, or solo artist, you are in the entertainment business. You are the movie screen of the theater. Your job is to entertain. Playing songs isn't always enough.

You have a responsibility as the focal point of the room to get people singing, dancing, drinking, partying, and having fun. If you just want to play music for yourself, there's nothing wrong with that. But if you are out in public, on stage, you need to look like you're enjoying yourself.

Many, many people would kill to be able to play music and get paid for it. So be grateful, smile and have fun. You're fortunate to have the skill to play an instrument and perform in front of people. Let that be glaringly apparent with every note you play. It will contribute more to your success than you can even imagine.


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Monday, June 20, 2016

Heat Hacks

How to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning
Article by Lisa Brenner Katz courtesy of KPCC staff


Excessive heat warnings have been issued for large portions of Southern California, with triple-digit temperatures expected to bear down on Southern California in the days to come. 

Below you'll find practical advice from health officials, local resources from safety professionals and questionable suggestions from formerly hot people.

AND NOW, A WORD ABOUT DRINKING

In the face of tyrannical temperatures, it is essential to stay hydrated. Failing to drink enough water can result in a number of dangerous defeats, including, but not limited to, heat cramps, heat stroke and death. 

However, not all beverages are on your side. To make sure you're imbibing only allies, follow these basic guidelines:
  1. Tip: Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water or electrolyte-replacements 
  2. Tip: Drink cool water, not extremely cold water (which can cause cramps)
  3. Tip: Avoid sweetened drinks, caffeine, alcohol
The CDC says that in extreme heat you must increase fluid intake regardless of your activity level. Eight to 10 glasses of water per day is advised. If engaging in "heavy exercise in a hot environment," they recommend drinking:

Two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids every hour.

SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Faintness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased thirst
MORE SEVERE SIGNS 
  • Diminished judgment
  • Disorientation
  • Pale and clammy skin
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)

HOW TO LOOK COOL

In times of excessive heat, authorities say to dress like you're on vacation. That includes:
  • Hat, preferably with a wide brim
  • Loose-fitting, light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and pants
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

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Monday, June 6, 2016

June Gloom

Have you heard of June Gloom?  May Gray?  No-Sky July or Fogust?  It does happen, but usually clears up in the afternoons.  It's also not as bad as the media makes it out to be.  It actually feels nice to our visitors who live where it's 100+ all summer.  It also makes for pretty sunsets!

What is June Gloom?
June Gloom is a California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer, most commonly in the month of June. Low-altitude stratus clouds are formed over the ocean, then transported over the coastal regions by the wind. The overcast skies often are accompanied by fog and drizzle, though usually not rain.
June Gloom has other names in California if it occurs in other months. These include May Gray if it begins early, and No-sky July or Fogust if it continues past June. In the early 20th century, this phenomenon was sometimes known as the high fog. A long June Gloom season, extending late into the summer, is known as Summer Bummer.

Don't let the fog get you down, we're always having a great time at Harry's! Stop in and get out of the gloom!  We always have good music, great drinks, and fun people!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The History of Cinco de Mayo

CINCO de MAYO FIESTA at HARRY'S

Thursday, May 5th, come down and join us for our Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at Harry's in Pismo Beach! We have all kinds of goodies lined up for you! Specials on Mexican Lollipop Shots, Micheladas, Margaritas and Beer Buckets, plus free Chips & Salsa, our senor/senorita cutouts for photos, giveaways, and Karaoke at 9pm! 




Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.

HISTORY OF CINCO DE MAYO: BATTLE OF PUEBLA

In 1861 the liberal Mexican Benito Juárez (1806-1872) became president of a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III (1808-1873), decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat.

Certain that success would come swiftly, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez (1814-1892) set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a rag-tag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and led an assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash.

Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s success at Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement. Six years later—thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, which was finally in a position to aid its besieged neighbor after the end of the Civil War—France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juárez’s forces. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed for General Zaragoza, who died of typhoid fever months after his historic triumph there.

CINCO DE MAYO IN MEXICO
Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely triumph occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration. Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.

CINCO DE MAYO IN THE UNITED STATES
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations. Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

CONFUSION WITH MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

Article courtesy of www.History.com.
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Never trust anyone who is rude to a waiter ... or cocktail server!

Never trust anyone who is rude to a waiter

There's a lot of bad behaviour in restaurants these days. But I always follow my gran's rule …
'The way people treat restaurant staff reveals their character.' Photograph: Getty Images/Fuse
I remember my grandmother telling me that if I were ever to marry, I should make sure he was kind. But she might just as well have said: "Find yourself a man who's nice to waiters." The way people treat restaurant staff is, I think, a kind of poker tell, revealing a person's character in as long as it takes to say: "I'll have the sea bass." A man (or woman) who is actively unpleasant to waiters is best avoided. Ditto those who patronise them. Just as bad, though, are people who treat waiters as though they're invisible. This is not, as these cretins seem to think, a sign of metropolitan sophistication. Do this, and you might as well be wearing a T-shirt that says: "I'm an over-privileged baboon: cold, ruthless, rude and rather stupid."

Is rudeness in restaurants on the rise? It feels like it to me. Several times in recent weeks, I've watched, appalled, as someone on a nearby table has harangued their waitress beyond the point of reason. On one occasion, in a restaurant I love, I came close to intervening. Why is it happening? I'm not sure. On one level, it's connected to the disappearance of manners in general, a loss of grace that I connect to the rise of the smartphone. But perhaps, too, people feel, in recessionary times, able to demand more. Their conviction that the restaurant needs them more than they need the restaurant gives them licence to bully.

I am not rude to waiting staff. Quite the opposite. I begin by being ingratiating, inserting the word "possibly" – as in, "could I possibly have some water?" – into every sentence, and then, bit by bit, I crank it up until appreciation oozes, brie-like, from every pore. On hearing the day's specials, for instance, I smile and nod maniacally, a look of wonderment spreading across my features as if I've lucked out merely to be listening to such poetic descriptions. Should I then fail to choose one of these specials, I'm careful to sound a touch embarrassed, and when my order arrives, I try to look pleased, yet not too pleased. "You were right," says my chastened expression. And so it goes on. I overpraise. I overtip. I am just so bloody grateful.

I like to think I'd behave like this even if I'd been born into great wealth, a houseful of servants to iron my pajamas. But it probably has as much to do with having worked as a waitress myself as with manners. When I see someone in a white apron, leaning heavily on a bar, I can't help but wonder about their shift. When did it begin, and when will it end? I think about their feet, too. Do they ache? I worry about their tips, which may be snatched by some higher authority, and about their boss, who might be decent, but might also be a tyrant, and stingy with late-night taxis home.

Long ago, I worked as a waitress in a pub-restaurant in Sheffield. Except that I wasn't only a waitress. I was a barmaid, too. And a cleaner. Each day began at eight o'clock, with the hosing down of the men's urinals. Cleaning the pub took two hours – or at least, that was how much time I was paid for. So I had to be quick. Polish, Hoover, mop, mop, mop. At 10, I went home for breakfast. I returned at midday, for a five-hour shift behind the bar. We were expected, then, to add the drinks up in our heads. Also, to push two new drinks: Taboo and Mirage. I never knew how best to do this. Neither one had anything to recommend it.

At five, I went home for tea. I returned at seven, and worked as a waitress until closing. When I used to ring the bell, I would think of The Waste Land – "HURRY UP, PLEASE, IT'S TIME" – and smile. It was hard to believe, sometimes, that I had another life – though it was this other life that I clung to when the landlord, having discovered that the till was down, told me that my pay would be docked. "Are you accusing me of stealing?" I asked, knowing that if he sacked me, it was only three weeks until my grant check would arrive. "If you want to see it like that," he said, jangling the keys to his Ford Escort. There's no one on earth half so jumped up as a fat Yorkshireman with a tiny bit of power.

I've written all this by way of a plea: please be good to your waiter. I know it's annoying when things aren't right. I know it's galling to be given a hefty bill when all night you've been wondering why the table that came in after you was served before you. But waiters are mere messengers most of the time, and it's wrong to shoot them, however bad the news. As you ponder your tip, consider this: you probably don't know the half of it.

Article courtesy of The Guardian
Article written by Rachel Cooke
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Monday, January 18, 2016

Favorite Beers and Who Loves them Around the World

Did you know that Bud Light is America's favorite beer? What's yours?

Image courtesy of vinepair.com

Every Country's Most Popular Beer

For Thousands of years beer has filled the bellies of humanity. Beer defies borders and stretches into almost every culture on the globe. The beer companies of the world are some of the most successful businesses ever known.

Huge international business conglomerates are purchasing breweries of all different sizes. A more newsworthy acquisition recently has been the purchase of Pabst Brewing by a Russian corporation. This means my local beer of Lone Star has even less of a foothold in Texas – where it’s regionally sold. Other regional brands like Old Style, and Washington’s Rainer brands are also owned by Pabst, or should I say some business man in Russia.

With the exponential growth of craft beer, market leaders like Budweiser and MillerCoors have all but given up competing with the small breweries. They now just seem to swoop in and purchase the popular craft breweries like there’s no tomorrow.

Although today’s infographic is on a global scale, you must understand a lot of these international beers are owned by just a few companies. If somehow a popular national brew isn’t owned in any way by a foreign agency, you can guarantee their international distribution deal is.

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Article written by Tim Willinghamcourtesy of DailyInfographic.com