Back in my teenage and young adult years, I was an avid National Review fan . . . and loved the Misanthrope column by Florence King. I didn’t know she was kind of a lesbian.
“She called herself, at least once, a conservative lesbian feminist, and she was not to be pegged and not to be trifled with. ‘I don’t mind being regarded as perverted and unnatural,” she said, “but I would die if people thought I was a Democrat.'”
I should’ve called this entry “Miscellaneous Rambling: Day Three.” I had a backlog of BYCU-worthy entries for the past couple of months, but now find myself dry. I’ve had to do something I really don’t like to do: surf the Internet for content. * * * * * * * Believe it or not, the vast bulk of what I post to TDE is stuff I independently find interesting. What I mean is, I read it in a book or stumble across it and like it, without regard to whether it makes good blogging material. I then make a note of it for possible future posting to TDE. * * * * * * * But today? I have to artificially surf for alcohol content. * * * * * * * A random surf for vodka news reveals that there are even more flavors of vodka coming on the market, including cucumber-lime, from Burnett’s. If you’re not acquainted with Burnett’s, it’s a favorite among college kids. Well, at least college kids in Ann Arbor, who drink it by the gallon and refer to it as “Burnasty.” * * * * * * * Some dudes are also now making vodka from sugar beets. I don’t think it’s beet-flavored. It’s just vodka made from beets. * * * * * * * Vodka can be made from pretty much anything. Wheat is the most common, probably followed by corn, at least in the United States. I think potato might be the second most common vodka in Europe. A friend of mine gave me a bottle of the Polish potato vodka “Chopin.” It was excellent. * * * * * * * Of course, I always mix my vodka, so I can’t really appreciate good vodka, but I mix my drinks strong, so quality does seem to make a small difference. * * * * * * * No less a connoisseur than Frank Kelly Rich at Modern Drunkard Magazine says quality of liquor makes little difference. Because I greatly enjoy Rich’s prose, I’ll let him explain it himself, in this article about throwing the ultimate wingding party:
A Word about Switching Liquors
“Good food and good wine are not matters of money but of manner,” said the astute Mr. Brillat-Savarin and he was dead right, for reasons he would most likely deny if he were alive. Just because your pocketbook can’t support the presence of expensive liquors does not mean you cannot appear to have superior booze on hand. While this is entirely illegal in bars, pouring cheap liquor into expensive bottles is entirely acceptable when you’re giving it away. It is also quite illuminating. Human beings put much more stock in what they can see than what they can taste. A study conducted in the 1970s conclusively proved that the vast majority of drinkers cannot tell the difference between good hooch and bad, especially when a label is leading them astray. And because the drink is free, it will automatically taste better.
This maneuver will not only save you a great deal of money, it’ll prevent the heartbreak of watching an acquaintance you can barely tolerate sink six bucks of good scotch right in front of you.
Of course, there are limits to your subterfuge: Substituting Old Sergeant for Jim Beam is safe, switching with Johnny Walker Red is risky, trying to pass Sarge as The Glenlivit is bound to fail. If someone does mention the liquor tastes off, deny everything. Tell them you may have let the bottles languish in the beastly heat of your trunk too long. Tell them your cousin Ian sent the bottle directly from the town where it’s distilled, and it’s merely the extra freshness that’s disturbing their palate. Tell them anything but the truth.
Another sound strategy is to buy a set of cut glass decanters (readily and cheaply available in thrift stores). There’s nothing like a little faux crystal to transform rotgut into top of the line.
If you do find it in your little black heart to serve expensive liquor, keep the bottles separate from their more pedestrian cousins. Perhaps even tastefully display them atop a silver tray in a dim corner of the kitchen. This provides a velvet-rope effect, lending an aura of exclusiveness that will cause the less confident—usually strangers—to think twice before helping themselves. Thus leaving more for you.
“The New Hampshire primary was today and in Dixville Notch, the first town to complete voting, Republican candidate John Kasich won, beating Donald Trump by just one vote. Honestly, I’m kinda surprised Trump didn’t win in a place called “Dixville.” Seth Meyers
Someone once asked a monk what they do all day in the monastery. The monk replied, “We fall down and get up, fall down and get up.”
It’s an apt description of every earnest life, especially during Lent, which might be called “the layman’s monastic experience.” For forty days, we’re called upon to strive like monks. And for forty days, we’ll fall down and, hopefully, get up . . . only to fall again.
“In the face of the apparent failure of so many of our attempts, we should remember that God asks not so much for success as for the humility to begin again without allowing ourselves to get discouraged and pessimistic. . . “. Francis Fernandez
Long-time TDE readers know that my weekly Miscellaneous Rambling column sometimes runs to two days. This week is one of those weeks. * * * * * * * Is that alright? Do people like the Miscellaneous Rambling column? It’s probably my longest-running feature, but I’ve never gotten any feedback on it. * * * * * * * Fascinating article about abandoned mansions in Vancouver. These are gorgeous houses in great neighborhoods . . . sitting vacant and deteriorating, much to the dismay of the community. What gives? The Chinese economy, that’s what gives. Rich Chinese were trying to park investments in North America, but when China tanked, so did their interest in the North American investments. * * * * * * * Hail Caesar is tanking at the box office. After for the tenth time seeing the trailer for it, I told Michael, “Man, that looks like a miserable piece of crap, but it’s by the Coen Brothers. I’m kinda curious about it.” Michael told me it had a 8.5 at IMDB, which is really high, but it now appears the IMDB rankings were cooked/skewed (by the producers/promoters, I’m guessing, but heck if I know). It’s on a steady downward slope now. * * * * * * * A movie I would like to see: Divine Mercy – Search for the Original Image. * * * * * * * I”ve never read The Diary. I think I need to, and there’s probably no better time to start than tomorrow. Thank to my Kindle, I have it downloaded and ready to go. * * * * * * * Cool picture: Mt. Rushmore before the blasting. * * * * * * * Humorous Slim Jim commercial. * * * * * * * So what are you giving up for Lent? I never give up booze for Lent. For one simple reason: Booze, in moderation, is practically a sacramental. In my world at least, giving up booze is like taking the holy water out of the churches (a really stupid idea concocted by those with more artistic temperament than logic). Why ever intentionally deprive yourself of a means of grace? * * * * * * * New Fr. Schall book.
Mardi Gras is here. The New Orleans parade schedule is here. * * * * * * * You’d think some cable channel would televise the parades. Talk about cheap programming for an event many people are curious about. * * * * * * * I went to Youtube, thinking maybe I could find some decent footage. I had to take a shower right afterwards. * * * * * * * This ten-minute travel documentary about today’s Mardi Gras is pretty good and safe, but if I missed any R-rated material, don’t blame me. I only watched about two-thirds of it. * * * * * * * Marie and I have long meant to go to New Orleans, but when Katrina hit, we dropped the discussions. We might have to revisit them. . . but not during Mardi Gras. * * * * * * * Is vegetable gardening a manly pursuit? Not according to my circle, which typically addresses me as “faggot,” “Mrs.” and “nerd” when I bring up gardening. I’ve never taken offense, since ten years ago, I would’ve addressed a male vegetable gardener as “faggot,” “Mrs.” and “nerd.” But hey, according to The Art of Manliness, vegetable gardening is one of 75 manly hobbies. “If you have a job that keeps you cooped up in an office all day with artificial light and stale recycled air, gardening is a great hobby to pursue in order to get some exercise, sunlight, and fresh air. As you watch your garden grow from seeds to plants, you’ll find yourself becoming more in tune with the seasons. When you harvest your small crop, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment . . .”. * * * * * * * Problem is, the list contains some doubtfully manly hobbies, such as ballroom dancing, birding, blogging, drawing, cooking, volunteering, singing, and candle making (wth?). There’s nothing wrong with those hobbies, but I’m not convinced they’re any more manlier than, say, quilting, movie watching, knitting . . . or vegetable gardening. * * * * * * * The vast bulk of the list incidentally, is great and includes hobbies I’d never thought of (e.g., alcohol connoisseur, knife throwing, and parkour).
“Wives and such are constantly filling up any refrigerator they have a claim on, even its ice-compartment, with irrelevant rubbish like food. Get one of your own and have it fitted with racks the thickness of a bottle apart.” Kingsley Amis. Amen to that. We have two refrigerators, and it’s hell looking for limes, lemons, a particular beer, etc. It’s gotten even worse with the advent of my degenerative back disk. Thankfully, Marie is still spry and able to do the stooping.
On Music in bars: “If you dislike what is being played, you use up energy and patience in the attempt to ignore it; if you like it, you will want to listen to it and not to talk or be talked to, not to do what you came to the pub largely to do.” Kingsley Amis. I agree with Amis on this one if the music is loud, but I think music in the background is important in a social setting. It fills in the gaps. I guess if you’re with real old friends, the kind you can sit with and not talk for ten minutes with no awkward feeling, you might not need the background music, but otherwise, mild music in the background is nice.
On the Little Arts: “Serving good drinks, like producing anything worth while, from a poem to a motor-car, is troublesome and expensive.” Yes, rat own. And it makes a huge difference, as the cocktailing world has figured out. The difference between a thoughtful vodka-tonic and sloshing Mountain Dew over cheap vodka is huge . . . and the difference between a well-crafted complex cocktail and a decent vodka-tonic is more than negligible.
On Pure Evil: “A friend of mine, whose mother-in-law gets a little excited after a couple of drinks, goes one better in preparing her third by pouring tonic on ice, wetting a fingertip with gin and passing it round the rim of the glass, but victims of this procedure must be selected with extreme care.” Hoooo. That’s a tough one. Tricking a person into thinking he’s getting alcohol but isn’t. I agree with Amis: Victims must be selected with extreme care. If someone did this to me after just two drinks, there’d be hell to pay. But after three drinks, as the evening is wearing on? It could be an act of charity.
Bar Trivia: “Poe himself had a drink problem; contrary to popular belief, he was not a dipsomaniac, but his system was abnormally intolerant of alcohol, so that just a couple of slugs would lay him on his back, no doubt with a real premature-burial of a hangover to follow.” I’ve ran into this problem twice this year (yes, 2016). I am hellbent to lose twenty pounds, with the result that I am constantly hungry and fatigued. This has twice spun my system out of whack prematurely while drinking . . . and one time gave me the premature-burial of a hangover. Until I stabilize my weight under 170 pounds, I’ve sworn off more than two (okay, maybe three) moderate drinks at a sitting.
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