Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Gentleman in Moscow

Punch the ceiling dance! Our gentleman is one of the most likable characters written in the last 50 years. I'll admit that Samwise Gamgee was pretty darn likable. A BFF who can cook potatoes all those different ways and be willing to put themselves in harm's way?  I can barely get a friend to text me back about going to happy hour. You'd think I just proposed a drink at Mt. Doom. Actually Mt. Doom sounds like a cool bar.

A Gentleman in Moscow has a historical context, set in Stalinist Russia, but wait, its not as depressing as it sounds. I assuming some Broadway guys have some sort of Stalin! The Musical doing pre-production workshops in La Jolla. They did a successful Jimmy Buffet musical so torture is not taboo anymore. The actual propaganda slogans already sound like Broadway songs: "Friendship of the Peoples" and Motherland is Calling" sung by Kristin Chenoweth and Patti Lupone. Hey, this thing writes itself.  Anyway, think the opposite of this cheesy scenario and read this book, it is fantastic. It would make a great book club book for those of you well adjusted enough to be in a book club.  Even on your own it could be a nice balm for the winter blues.

This is the perfect cocktail for this book in more ways that one: Very Merry Bourbon Alexander: 1 ounce bourbon, 1 ounce creme de cacao, 1 ounce half and half, one egg white, dash of simple syrup and dash of salt.  Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake hard (I'm a maniac anyway but you'll want to with that egg white) garnish with a little nutmeg, a cranberry or two and spring of rosemary.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Summer that Melted Everything

Have you ever seen a movie and you can see the strings, the green screen is super lame or, my favorite, the sea rescue scene where the actors look like they are fighting a bathtub? It kind of takes you out of the movie. This book is like that and I'm not having it.

If you like a book with overblown, overwrought analogies and children making more profound statements than the Dalai Lama, you might enjoy this. It felt like if The Onion wanted to make fun of a book it would look like this. These are not direct quotes but they could be: "His eyebrows were like rows of freshly turned earth in a fallow field." "Her hair was like a corn field in windstorm."

The Summer That Melted Everything is about a man who invites the Devil to come to town. I refer to the Devil as the Debil. Someone started this on a podcast and I'm just keeping it going. Well, the Debil shows up and it turns out he is a 10 year old African American kid (or is he a runaway?) Yikes. Well, there is a whole big theme about racism but because that wasn't enough it also covers: homophobia, AIDS, dwarfism, agoraphobia, xenophobia, spousal beaters, child abusers, suicide, birth defects and the list goes on and on. Set it rural Ohio in the early 80's, everyone except a few enlightened individuals, are hillbilly racist crazies. If that isn't bad enough there is a DeLorean in the book. Considering only 9,000 DeLoreans were ever made...NO DELOREANS WERE IN RURAL OHIO IN THE 80'S. I know it's fiction, but now it's getting ridiculous.

I think if you were maybe 19 years old and hadn't read many books maybe it would seem poetic. It's also super-duper sad so....even if you like this kind of thing read at your own risk.  Don't say the Debil didn't warn you. 

Even if I don't like a book, I'm not going to recommend a crappy cocktail. I have my standards. The Sidecar is one of my favorites and this variation sounds interesting.  Rum Sidecar:  Go ahead and sugar the rims of your glasses with lemon juice and sugar, add another 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to a cocktail shaker with 3/4 ounce of lemon juice, add ice and 1 &1/2 ounces of dark or aged rum and 3/4 ounce of triple sec. Shake, strain and garnish with a lemon twist.