Summer Weekend in the City

U-S-A! U-S-A! And then, I-P-L!

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Yeah, yeah, we're turning into a Panopticon police-surveillance state; and we have Blimpish foreign pooh-bahs to point out our flaws; and we are as always going to hell; et cetera,

But in what other country can you go around the corner to the Kwik-E-Mart and come back with the haul shown above, representing breweries on the east coast and the west coast and in the Rockies, on a warm-but-not-sultry early-June afternoon? After a healthful and bracing run, of course, in designed-in-the-USA Vibram Five Fingers shoes.

The out-of-focus bottle at the bottom center is worth noting, alongside the familiar stalwarts in their six-packs. It's the new "Double Agent IPL" from Boston Brewing / Sam Adams. Here is what the label would look like if it were in focus:

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Instead of IPA for India Pale Ale, we have IPL for India Pale Lager. Again I say: match this, you ever-rising Chinese with your REEB and Snow, you stylish Koreans with your OB.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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