Aug 22, 2013

Moon and whoo!

OK, so right away I'm gonna let you know that I have no way of documenting this moment besides my somewhat addled memory. I had my phone with me, but it's got a shitty camera. And I don't think I could have captured the awesome that kinda happened even with a good camera.

Lemme 'splain...

Last Friday, while in the glorious throes of a mild bourbon buzz, I happened to notice the not-quite-full moon shining into our living room. What is that called? Gibbous moon? Gibbon moon? Monkey-Ass moon? Something like that. Anywho, we live on the east side of a harbor that makes a setting moon or a setting sun a truly glorious site. Even if the setting planetary body gets obscured by treeline on the other side of the water.'s still glorious.

I see that the Monkey-Ass moon is just about to set behind the treeline, so I grab a fresh whiskey and I head outside to solemnly observe the event. The moon was cooking that night. You know when a film shows a sun or moon set in fast motion? That's how it looked. I was barely out there for five minutes and I could actually see the moon racing to the treeline in some weird surreal way.

Then, just as the moon was going behind the treeline, I heard a gigantic "WHOO!" coming from the middle of the harbor. Maybe just about 50 yards away from where I was sitting. Turns out that there were a couple of guys out there in a dinghy doing some night-fishing. And, apparently, from the sound of the struggle and the joy of the men they caught themselves a big ole bluefish or something.

It was an odd moment. No one is ever out on an a boat in our harbor. We have a jetty close by and a bridge/causeway running over a dam into a salt-water pond. That's where all the fishermen usually hang out. But that night, there was not only one but three small rowboats out on the harbor. All yacking it up, drinking (I hope) and catching fish. At something like 1 or 2AM.

Every year, I tell myself at the beginning of the Summer that I'm going to spend a bunch of time fishing basically out of my back yard. We have availability to a dock, and our neighbor has 5-6 small watercrafts we can use. It still hasn't happened.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Don't answer that.

Aug 16, 2013

Slow and Low

On a recent jaunt, yes jaunt, to a local liquor store I happened upon this beauty:

That's Slow and Low from Hochstadter's Distillery out of Philadelphia, PA. It's the first "bottled cocktail" I've ever purchased, I believe. It's their version of an Old Fashioned. Straight Rye whiskey mixed with orange peel, honey, something called horehound and rock candy. The result is a sweet, extremely drinkable cocktail that you simply pour over ice. That's it. Open bottle, pour over ice and enjoy a nice cocktail. Much easier than, um, fashioning an Old Fashioned at home. See what I did there?

The roots in this product come ye olden days when barkeeps, and later pharmacists, would pour straight Rye over rock candy for a more palatable quaff. The pharmacists because of the supposedly medicinal properties of whiskey. Sure. I know it often heals what's ailing me. Maybe I'm just a throwback. Anyway, that was a Rock & Rye. And Hochstadter's apparently bottled that for the past century or so. Now they've moved into the Old Fashioned game. And it plays well.

So if you happen to run across it in your travels, pick up a bottle and enjoy a simple, tasty cocktail at home that requires little more than pouring it.

Happy Weekend!

Aug 15, 2013

Upcoming posts

Just wanted to write this down because:

A) It's fucking late, and
B) my short-term memory really sucks.

So these are a few blog posts that I'm going to be writing in the next few days/weeks/months. However long it takes. And don't hold me to fucking anything. I'm whimsical.
  • A review of a new bottled cocktail (hmmm?) called Slow and Low from Hochstadter's Distillery in PA. I'm pretty sure I didn't spell that correctly. See the post here.
  • I've seen two Nicolas Cage films in the past two evenings. Both were ridiculous, both were set in New Orleans, both deserve a deft Earl-touch review.
  • I got semi-pissed at a work colleague the other day when he called me insisting that I didn't inform him of a certain business transaction a few months ago. He was kinda pissed and really adamant about it.   Then I forwarded him the three emails that I had written to him about it all from back then. So...
  • Didn't this summer go by way too quickly?
  • I've kinda given up on the NY Yankees this year, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up on baseball. Lemme 'splain...
  • A review of a sci-fi novel dealing with a cyber-attack on the United States, and why I'm now suddenly afraid of everything.  
  • I'm making spicy Asian grilled flank steak with cold sesame noodles for dinner on Thursday. I believe this a cause for a food porn post.
  • My seven-year anniversary with Gia is coming up rapidly. Seems like a good time to reflect on the past seven years and plan for the next seventy.
  • I haven't seen one film in the theaters this summer yet. I blame my friends.
  • That Hyperloop thingamajig. I felt like Veruca Salt when I saw the plans for that the other day. "But Daddy, I want a Hyperloop NOW!!!"'ll be seeing something on all these shortly. Or maybe not. I'm whimsical. 

Aug 9, 2013

Happy Weekend!

"We get older every day! And so....we drink"

A classic from Larry Miller. The Five Levels of Drinking.


Aug 8, 2013

RIP Karen Black

In memory of the recently departed Karen Black, here's a re-post from all the way back in 2006 (wow!). R.I.P. Ms. Black!

Thrillogy of Terror!
May 14, 2006

Finishing up our short series of conversations on grand moments at rock concerts. We are up to my experiences at a Radiohead concert that opened up with The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

Great name for a band, eh? For those that don't recall, Karen Black is an actress who played some terrific B movie roles in the 70's. Well, she still does some pretty awful B (and C) films to this day. But most folks remember her from the wonderful Burnt Offerings or the made-for-TV tour-de-force (Wow...lots of dashes there) Trilogy of Terror.

In Trilogy of Terror, she played three, well four, roles in three separate little Horror films. The most well known is the tale of the woman who brought home a Zuni Fetish warrior doll that comes to life and viciously attacks her. It's campy and awesome!

Just like The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. Campy and awesome. I had never even heard of them before the concert, so we made our way upstairs to sit down in the balcony for their act. I was with my brother and two of my friends.

So the lights dim and the band comes out. The women on stage (not sure how many) are dressed all in blue with big flower petals around their heads to give the impression that they are playful, colorful flowers dancing around. Weird, but I've seen weird before so I wasn't too interested.

We start chatting about the band, when I take another look at the ladies. I'm now concentrating on exactly what they are wearing when I realize something. They're nekkid!

Well, they are wearing panties and those ridiculous flower head-dress thingies, but mostly they are just painted blue. Now, let me set one thing straight. Most of them are not attractive women. Not at all. Not necessarily un-attractive, just normal women in an abnormal setting.

But semi-naked women at a rock show is something I really don't pass on. So, I get up to go get a closer look. This would involve a trip downstairs and an ample amount of wading through the humanity that was on the floor. Whatever. Naked women, people!

That's when this conversation takes place:

Me: "Um, does anyone, um, like want a beer or something from downstairs?"

My brother: "Sure, but they sell booze up here I think."

Me: "Yeah, I know, but, um, I just wanna stretch my legs a bit, you know...walk around."

Friend1: "We just came up here to sit down because you said you were tired. Didn't we?"

Me: ", right. I dunno...just getting a little antsy, so I figured I would explore. OK? Anyone want a beer?"

My brother: "What's going on?"

Friend2: "I think he just figured out that the women on stage are kinda naked, and he wants to go check it out."

Friend1 and my brother at the same time: "They're naked??!!"

They practically fall over themselves trying to get out of the seats as they rush down to the floor ahead of me. We leave Friend2 groaning to himself in his seat about our immaturity. And he is, by far, the youngest of us all.

We were just younger in our heads and in our pants. The way it should be.

Good show, though. I think there were songs and stuff. But there was also beer and blue boobies. Good show, indeed!

Aug 6, 2013

Pissed at the Wrong Dude

This has been a wonderful baseball season. My Yankees have been having a rough time of it, with a historic run of injuries. But the Pirates are a great story. So are the Indians, Red Sox, Braves, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout (be prepared for MVP-geddon Part II), Yasiel Puig, Yu Darvish, Jose Fernandez, Chris Davis and a whole host of other great storylines. Even the down-year Yankees have a feel-great story in Mariano Rivera's retirement tour. At 43, he's just as dominant and classy as he's ever been. It's gonna suck not having him around baseball next year.

But the "pink elephant"* in the room is clearly the historic suspensions that were handed down yesterday from MLB coming from their investigation of Miami-based BioGenesis. Well, the suspensions started with Ryan Braun a few weeks ago. And, unfortunately, they will continue because of all the players involved in the case only one will be testing his sentence with an appeal.

Alex Rodriguez.

The twelve others players issued suspensions yesterday all declined to appeal the sentence of 50 games. Which will take most of those players through the end of the year. A couple of them will have a chance to play in the playoffs, if their teams make it. But it will be up to the team to decide if they will be included on post-season rosters.

But A-Rod, due to an alleged overwhelming amount of evidence showing multiple years of use, multiple instances of lies, multiple attempts at obstructing MLB's investigation and his reputation as being an underground PED pimp for some of the other players in the case, is getting 211 games.  211. That's an odd number. It so happens that it adds up to the remaining games this year starting Thursday and all of next year. So it's basically an arbitrary sentence. Had the investigation concluded last week, it would be 217 games. Or if it lasted another week it would be 205 games. Whatever. Basically the suspension was this remainder of this year and all of next year because that's how long MLB (and maybe the Yankees) want him out of baseball. Fine. 

A-Rod is going to fight, fight, fight the damaged fight, however. He is not accepting the suspension and his appeal could run 20-25 days. Or it could last until November or December as Michael Wiener of the MLB Player's Association has been quoted as saying. Imaging that. He could finish out the year while appealing the decision. Even worse, imagine if he catches fire and pushes the Yankees all the way to the World Series? And THEN he starts his suspension? Ugh...

In the wake of all this information, many fans and members of the media are pissed at who else? Alex Rodriguez. He's a monster. He's tarnishing the game. He should just go away. Even diehard Yankees fans are done with this guy. I'm sure he is going to be welcomed back to Yankee Stadium on Friday night with a resounding Bronx cheer.

But you know what, Yankees fans? You're pissed at the wrong dude.

Imagine this scenario, if you will. It's late 2007.  The biggest superstar in the game is coming off an MVP year. He is in the middle of the biggest contract ever given to a baseball player, but he has an option to opt out. He decides to do so in a most public and crass manner during the World Series. His agent, Scott Boras, said he made the decision because he was unsure of the future composition of the team. Fine.

That didn't stop him from re-signing with the Yankees the following month for an even bigger contract than the one he just opted out of. Ten years and $275 million with a buttload of incentives for passing each career home run milestone. Doesn't matter that the Yankees were probably only bidding against themselves for A-Rod's future services. No other team was going to step up and pay that kind of money. I doubt any other team would have gone over $200 million, but that's just me...talking out of my ass. I thought it was a terrible decision at the time, and naturally I still do. But this is the kind of thing the Yankees do. Fine.

The idea was that A-Rod was the white knight that was going to break every record in the book and he was going to do it cleanly. No asterisks next to his name. He was going to take the spotlight away from Barry Bonds and all the rest of the steroid cheats. The baseball world was his oyster, and the Yankees were going to bask in his glory. Celebrating him at every turn. And as his legend was supposed to grow, the Yankees bank accounts were going to grow in turn. Fine.


It came out in 2009 that he had failed a supposedly anonymous piss test in 2004 when MLB was considering implementing regular testing. He had to admit to the world that he had indeed used illegal substances. But it was in the years prior to his time with the Yankees. And he apologized profusely saying that he has been clean since. Fine.


After several years of declining production, post-season failures and recurrent injuries, he is back in the illegal substance game. And chefboyardee did he hit it out the park this time. As if his reputation wasn't tarnished already, he is now virtually assured to go down as the greatest pariah the game has ever seen. Barry Bonds is off in a room someplace smiling. Pete Rose is doing a jig. Even Ty Cobb thinks he's an asshole.

And Yankees fans are pissed at him.

Fuck that! They should be pissed AT THE YANKEES! I know I am.

They GAVE him this contract after the 2007 season. Think about that. Supposedly the beginning of the post-Steroid era. Barry Bonds had just played his last game, by no choice of his own. He was unofficially black-balled out of the game even though he was still ridiculously productive. Roger Clemens had also just thrown his last pitch. For the Yankees, of fucking course. His retirement was more voluntary. The biggest cheats in the game were gone. Standardized testing was in place. Commissioner Bud was ruling over the cleanest league in the land. And one of the big reasons that the Yankees granted A-Rod this contract was this new era and the promise of breaking every record in the books...the clean way.

So why didn't they include anything in his contract that would punish him for using PEDs?

I mean, here we are in this supposed new era. A-Rod is the guy that is going to wipe the record books clean. They give him EVERYTHING he wanted in this new contract despite the widely-held belief that no other team was even in the running, and they don't even consider some kind of clause that would punish him if he wasn't everything that he claimed to be. Ya know, just in case. And if he and his people balked at that...well then maybe that would have been a red flag. And maybe if there was some kind of punishment for PED use in there, then maybe he wouldn't be in this position today. I doubt it, because he seems like the very definition of a sociopath right now. I doubt it would have deterred him, but maybe.

Hey's a possibility that they did want to include something like that. But if they did bring up the possibility that the white knight was maybe a few shades darker, and they agreed to do nothing about it? Then shame on the Yankees. If they didn't even consider it a possibility after everything that baseball had gone through in the previous decade? Then shame on the Yankees.

Bottom line: Shame on the Yankees. If we should be pissed at anyone right now, it should be them. Because that abhorrent contract is just as disgusting to me as the player that pissed it all away. Well...not literally pissed it away. But you know what I mean.

*This incorrect idiom is courtesy of A-Rod's post-game interview last weekend in Trenton. He obviously meant "elephant in the room" or "eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the room" when referring to the topic of PEDs and BioGenesis. But it was pretty late on a Friday night, so maybe pink elephant was apropos. I want a Delirium Tremens. Moving on...