Month: December 2017


The Gin Cometh

During 2017, I veered more and more toward gin (reducing my intake of vodka).

It started in London last November (2016). I couldn’t drink the beer, but I could drink the gin and tonic, which is an English classic. I was impressed by the higher quality of both the gin and the tonic, as well as the many varieties offered in English pubs (Tolkien’s Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford, incidentally, had perhaps the best selection). That trip made me a wholesale convert to high quality tonic water, though, lamentably, the practice has not sufficiently spread over the pond to the States.

About the only high quality tonic I really like in the United States is Fever Tree, and its main brand doesn’t make much of a “splash” with vodka. If I’m drinking vodka tonic, I’m just as happy using a 99-cent two liter bottle of tonic water. Fever Tree makes a tonic geared toward vodka (“Mediterranean”) that I’m excited to try, but I’ve never been able to find it. So until I get a better tonic to go with vodka, I’ll probably stick with gin.

Especially now, since my oldest son, Alex, got me the Christmas gift pictured above. The bottles of gin presumably need no explanation. The box is from Té Tonic. It contains a variety of infusions and spices, along with recipes to make different types of gin and tonics. A typical recipe (and a delicious one Alex and I drank Tuesday night):

Pour 1.8 ounces of gin into a glass, drop in the Orange Passion infusion tea bag.
Let steep for five minutes.
Add ice to another … Read the rest



Ceiling. TrastevereStruggling with that new electronic gadget? Wired’s guide might help. The Master Guide to Setting Up All Your New Devices.

Ceiling. TrastevereFive things professors actually said in 2017. Link. It’s worth reading, but honestly, given the absurdity that is “higher” education, I expected far worse.

Ceiling. TrastevereI’m continuing to dig Relevant Radio. It’s the network that simply seems intent on doing everything right, especially on its app. For the holiday week, for example, it posted as many as five episodes from each of its regular shows: all repeats, but shows nonetheless, most of which I hadn’t heard yet. I also discovered this week that, if I say, “Hey Alexa, play Relevant Radio,” my Amazon Echo channels the station. Very nifty, nifty indeed. … Read the rest


The Good Marxist

Yes, I’ve started reading Marx’s Capital. The reason: Marxism is on the rise.

At first, I thought it was just a college nimrod thing. I mean, how can anyone with an ounce of sanity (of which academia has virtually none) believe in Marxism? But then I started fearing that it could actually be on the upswing for real. That concern was legitimized when I listed to Thaddeus Russell’s most recent discussion with Doug Lain, a self-professed Marxist in Oregon. Notwithstanding my kneejerk disgust, I started listening to it.

I was stunned. Here was a Marxist who wasn’t an unmitigated bastard. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. And on top of that, he was intellectually honest, something that I thought I had pretty much disappeared from the left altogether over the past ten years, but here I was, listening to a man from the far left who had common sense and acknowledged problems with his positions. When Russell pointed out that capitalism has done more to help the poor than any government has done, Lain said, “You’re right. That’s something we have to develop an answer for and right now, we don’t have one” (rough quote). Wow. He then said that capitalism creates untenable problems, like nuclear weapons and chronic stress for the capitalist society’s denizens, which I kinda agree with (though I don’t know why he blames capitalism for The Bomb, since it was the U.S. government and the USSR that developed it). Quite frankly, I agreed with almost everything he said, and I found him engaging and a heckuva decent guy that I’d like to have … Read the rest


The Spirit, Vegan Update

Ceiling. TrastevereGreat Christmas this year. Of course, Christmas isn’t over. We try hard to keep the spirit through January 6th . . . much, much better that way. It’s pretty easy to keep the spirit through the 1st, but after that, it gets a little hard not to be depressed.

Ceiling. TrastevereA few years ago, I had to go to Chicago on business the weekend after January 1st. Downtown was empty. I got a hotel suite near the Magnificent Mile for a lot less than it would normally cost for a regular hotel room at the same location; there were very few people on the streets; there were no waits anywhere. I think even the most energetic busy-ness obsessed Americans need a short breather after the holidays.

Ceiling. TrastevereVegan Update: Starting on the 23rd, I ate like it was 1999 . . . with zero adverse effects. It was a 180-degree opposite reaction from my stomach than what happened at Thanksgiving. Go figger. I’m getting back on my vegan diet today, but I’m confused about how my stomach could handle a lot of meat and animal byproducts for three days with no immediate adverse effects when I was doubled-over in pain the day before Thanksgiving. It might have been the alcohol. I haven’t drank at all the past three days, whereas a drank a lot the day before Thanksgiving. Maybe I can handle harmful food without the alcohol . . . or alcohol without the harmful food . . . but not both. Oh well. The Great Vegan Experiment continues.

Ceiling. TrastevereI got some great presents this year, one of which will be featured this … Read the rest