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' 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 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.