Thursday, July 18, 2019

I Might Regret This

Abbi's book about heartbreak. I don't think I've ever gone through heartbreak like the kind she describes in this book.  I had guys break up with me and it felt like getting fired from a  really crappy job... you...are firing me? How dare you? I'm sad! Oh wait, this is awesome. The longest I've been sad is three days. I've been sadder longer about being out of maraschino cherries. Hey, when you are out of the actual cherries you can put the syrup over ice cream...it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Abbi is very much a Millennial which is fine, fine, Millennials have passed baby boomers recently as the biggest generation. I welcome our new overloads. I love all the headlines that say "Millennials are killing Hooters by never going to the completely outdated concept for overpriced crappy food and misogyny." I might be paraphrasing.

I Might Regret This will make a lot more sense if you've seen Broad City. Some say you don't need to but I really think you should. Otherwise this book makes almost no sense. It's decent but at the same time don't feel bad if you skip it. She has some of her drawings in here which are quaint but also kind of crappy? I don't mean to be a hater but it kind of inspires to draw again as I would never publish those. She definitely puts herself out there in Broad City and this book. Not me. Nothing is ever good enough. A Gen X book is more title is more like: This Book Probably Sucks.

Abbi gets an over-hyped and overpriced cactus pear margarita. I think I once had a cactus pear candy. It was underwhelming. They just don't have a ton of flavor. Cute as all get-out though. Lets try a better margarita and: Raspberry Margarita mix 1 &1/2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce triple sec or Cointreau, 1 ounce lime juice, and 1/2 fresh raspberries and one cup of ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a chilled margarita glass.  Garish with a fresh raspberry. Normally I'm against frozen blended drinks but with summers like this I'm willing to forgo my prejudice.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?


So Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? No. There I saved you some effort. Apparently scientists in animal behavior are kind of like PG rap-battlers...."You didn't get peer reviewed research, Fool!"  I bet you didn't even do a fellowship in that field...sucker." "Don't come all up in here with without empirical evidence to support that hypothesis....dummy."

Honestly, when I pick up a non-fiction book on animals I just want to know what dolphins are thinking. I just want some wonderment in my life is that too much to ask? The thesis is solid in this book but it takes all the wind out my sails. I just want to know about whales' songs....like what are they saying? I like to think they cover all kinds of news like: Mabel is mating with Chester this year, be careful around Japan these days, there is an underwater volcano near the Azores right now and my barnacles are really bothering me.  I'm going to try to scrape them off on Newfoundland. Hey, if you see Ethel tell her I haven't forgotten....she'll know what that means.

If you want a book more like that then you should read Alex and Me. That book made me laugh and cry. This book casually mentions her research in a polite but patronizing way.  Fine, the lady's life work is wasted. You win. But do you? She gets to spend her time with talking parrots who are ornery and adorable and you have chimps give you the side eye. Who really wins? Who am I kidding he has a fulfilling life dealing with banana hiding chimps. Most people I know spend all day trying to save an insurance company extra money or trying to sell cigarettes to babies. Even worse, they want to talk to me about their job...ewww...why can't people make up fake whale conversations like normal people?

Animals love fruit. But I suspect they don't like lemons. Too bad for them and more for me. It's hot and this sounds delicious: Limoncello Collins (This makes a pitcher--serves 8): 16 ounces of Limoncello, 12 ounces of gin, 8 ounces of fresh lemon juice, and cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Make 24 paper-thin lemon slices and press 3 lemon slices inside of a Collins glass (it's just a tallish glass), stir the mixture and add to glass and stir in 2 ounces of club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig if you will. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Romanvos

Remember the club descriptions from "Stefon" from SNL?  This book is uncannily similar.  Go to Club Romanov...there are giantesses, dwarfs, magic drinking cups...a fat lady marrying a pig, sex cults...it has everything.  Add pretty much the whole plot to Game of Thrones minus the dragons and you have a clue as to the Romanovs. (Yes, it's big and occasionally boring with everyone fighting over Poland for some reason). 

Now, anyone who writes a biography or anything really can pick and choose and this author really picked some extra juicy bits I suspect. Lots of sex and war.  A lot...of sex. Yes, venereal diseases because well, penicillin was discovered  in 1928. People got sick a lot. Syphilis, typhus, poisoning and the occasional gunshot wound. It was rough back then. Well, I think Russia might be rough right now too.

If you don't mind some military strategy it's a big book but actually more compelling than Fire and Blood. I was reading that at the same time which was really kind of freaky. The ending is certainly something GRRM would write. The whole book you'll be shaking your head like....what? What a weirdo!  No! That's dumb! You are lucky that worked!  Also, be wary of anyone called "The Great" because those folks are like frat house President and every night is pledge night.

A good classic Black Russian seems right: 1 and 1/2 ounces vodka and add 3/4 ounce coffee liquor and an optional maraschino cherry.  I have some Polish vodka and someone could fight over it if they want.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Murder of Roger Ackroyd

If you already know about the Dunning-Kruger effect than you don't probably don't suffer that illusion. I think of it as a existential experiment, am I so dumb that I think I'm smart? Well, after reading two Agatha Christie books and not figuring either out either one of them--the verdict. A little dumb. That's fine. Jokes on you, I knew that already. Hey, that's what mystery books are supposed to do, especially by a grand dame like Ms. Christie. Like when Homer conned a carny..."We were beaten by the best, boy. We were beaten by the best."

This is a Hercule Poirot book and he purposely acts like a dingbat which reminds me of another underestimated dingbat/genius who is better known as Columbo. I also feel like I'm missing a Great Britain-Belgium joke in this book. Are we supposed to think Belgians are likable but naive? Like Canadians? Even if I'm not in on the joke I think I get it. Americans must seem like Australopithecus. Hey, if Americans are the vestiges of this primitive species then why are they named after Australia? *Taps head*

Anyway, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd took an unexpected turn which surprised me. Hurrah! I definitely recommend this if you need an escape. Take this into your tree, bring some foraged nuts, your hoard of lizard heads and enjoy.

Despite my primitive nature this book deserves something sophisticated. Try this Blush Sake cocktail: 1&1/2 ounces sake (Gekkikan preferred), 1/2 ounce Cointreau, 1/2 ounce cranberry juice, splash of lime juice, 2 dashes orange bitters.  Put all this in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.  This is light enough for what Americans call sun-in-sky-before-mammoth-roam-time, aka brunch.
   

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Rising Man (Sam Wyndham series)

A punkah wallah is not the latest burger from Carl's Jr.. It translates to "guy with the fan" who hits a pedal that operates a ceiling fan via pulleys and ropes. He lives in your house and that's all he does! My siblings had me doing some odd tasks when I was a child.  I was not unlike a weird servant you didn't notice until you felt sweaty or inconvenienced.  *startled* "Crap, you're still here? Go run upstairs and clear the blockage in the laundry chute " Me: "OK!" *runs at top speed* Gets a series of increasingly heavy books to throw down the chute....now they are stuck..gets broom--angle is all wrong..Me: "It's broken!" 

Set when Kolkata was Calcutta and the Brits were holding by a thread to their colonial empire in India. A British detective from Scotland Yard with a wealthy, smart Indian cop make an unlikely crime solving duo. Can their bosses set aside the politics and conspiracies constantly making their job harder? Can't they break the rules....just to do their job? Coming to a bookstore near you. I've been watching a lot of 80's action movies lately.

Like a lot of detectives in modern mysteries, Sam, our Scotland Yard detective is hot mess. Literally and figuratively. (It's very hot there--the heat is a like a character.)  Post-war PTSD, a widower...and a crippling opium addiction. He's been in India for a whole year and has never been to the bathroom. Well technically that's not in the book....but it's also not not in the book. Admittedly. most authors don't have characters taking a poop. Except in that book Everybody Poops.

More than a mystery series it has Ghandi-stirrings, uprisings, military issues and race issues. It's a finely researched series and I've read the first three in this series and none are lame.

I'm positive I've included a Pimm's Cup on this blog somewhere but a variation is perfect for these books: Sparkling Pimm's Cup: add 2 ounces of Pimm's No.1, 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/4 ounce simple syrup to Collin's glass and stir. Add ice and club soda or ginger ale and two dashes of Angostura bitters. Garnish with a cucumber peel.   

Monday, May 6, 2019

Hippie Food

I live in a town that thinks putting beans on spaghetti chili sweetened with chocolate topped by a pound of cheese is the "healthy"option. I'm not the only one who thinks well made "healthy" food is comfort food. I really like tacos and queso but also then hate myself and then then my body is like...why you do this?

Hippie Food is a non-fiction book about the history of the health food "movement." It was really interesting in parts but also could be drier that alfalfa sprout sandwich on Melba toast. There was some real characters. Did you know Jack LaLanne exercised every day? Well, he didn't the day before he died at 96. That's probably what killed him. While the author did cover The Source Family but he barely scratched the surface of the depravity of that group. (There is a documentary that is pretty good) The food at their restaurant still sounded good though. Do I support a sex-crazed megalomaniac? What about if they had a homemade avocado and roasted vegetable sandwich with homemade dressing? I think you know what my answer is. I don't even have that option in chili-town. Is it to much to ask for a debauched tax-evading cult to set up a restaurant with grain bowls?

There is a whole history of food co-ops and how Whole Foods started I mean...I guess I care. Some people almost fell into success and other people had a combination of bad luck and anti-commercialism based rebelliousness.  I guess an anarchy based business plan is not going to get you far with the bank's loan officer. Unless there is a punk-rock bank I don't know about. I don't know about you but Bad Brains Bank sounds awesome.

You have to read this with some healthy based cocktail.  It counts as health food right? Komucha Moscow Mule: combine 2 ounces of vodka, 3-4 ounces of ginger or gingerberry kombucha and the juice of a half a lime in a highball glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

And Then There Were None

 And Then There Where None is LIT.  I don't mean literature, well, it could be construed that way too, sure, but "lit" as in the half-time show at an NBA final. You know, like gorillas dunking on trampolines. Perhaps that's hyperbole but this book is surprisingly intriguing. I did not "solve" the mystery because it was weird. Think if at the end of halftime you realize that's not a guy in the gorilla outfit...that is a gorilla trained to dunk.

This is a stand alone novel so you don't have to make any commitments and you don't need much context. It's not even long. It might be helpful to know that spending the weekend on an island in England might involve a lot of rain. I think you already know it's not the foam parties of Ibiza on the islands off the coast of Great Britain anyway.

I managed to not be spoiled even though this was written 80 years ago--so I'm not going to say much but it's short read and totally worth the time.

This cocktail is a freaky twist on a classic which fits well with this book. Gin Old Fashioned: 2 ounces Aviation gin, 1/4 ounce simple syrup, 2 dashes orange bitters, 1 dash Peychaud's bitters.  Add to a old fashioned glass and fill with ice and stir. Garnish with an orange wheel and a lemon wheel.