30 December 2010

New Year's Resolution I: Revisiting Old Slights.

Surfing around the internet, I found this from SE Cupp:
What’s your New Year’s resolution? — Bentley M.
Same as every year, Bentley M: Watch more TV, gain weight, exercise less, drink more, waste money, treat my friends with disdain, spend more time alone, help no one and squander my success. I’m always trying to do this, see, but it’s a lot harder than you’d think.
The joke here, of course, is that these are resolutions that can actually be met, as opposed to the more obvious resolutions that take effort and are hard.  It's a funny joke (if not original to Ms. Cupp).

It reminded me of this post from some blog I never heard of, taking issue with a comment I once made at Brothersjudd, to wit:
Is there anything scarier than a human being armed with a moral code that he can live up to without being a hypocrite?
The topic, of course, was atheism and morality, and I have to say that, revisiting this comment almost six years later, I really like it.  It's epigrammatic, witty and True.  It is the functionalist argument against atheism whittled down to its core.

The wonderful thing about the Haight Speech response is that it proves my other point about atheism; that it's a Christian heresy.

29 December 2010

In The Mail

Today, I received Ian Buxton's 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.  I immediately poured myself a glass of The Macallan (12 year old sherry oak, not in the book, though the 10 year old and 18 year old are) and started to page through it.  A wealth of knowledge is afforded the reader.  Opening it at random, we find Dalwhinnie, distilled by Diageo in Dalwhinnie, Inverness-shire, just off the A9.  It is the highest distillery in Scotland, though to no obvious advantage, but it is affordable, yellow gold in "colour" and immediately appealing.  It is available at the visitor's center.

I was glad to see that Ian recommends drinking from a brandy snifter, if no whiskey glass is available.  I stumbled on to this tactic years ago.  I say "tactic" because not only does it allow you to better appreciate the whiskey, but it also seems to lead bartenders to pour more generously.

I have sampled disappointingly few of the recommended whiskeys, and hope to begin working my way through the list.  My strategy, of course, is to stop at 100.  I don't wish to gain immortality through having drunk a lot of good whiskeys; I plan to gain immortality through not drinking one particular whiskey.  Nominations are welcome.

25 December 2010

Happy Non-Judgmental Winter Period

Merry Solstice to all, and to all a good existential reflection.

22 December 2010

It's A Hanukkah Miracle!

People often say to me:  "David," they say, getting off to a good start, "you usually seem like such an upright, level-headed young American.  Why do you seem to so often visit England or Commonwealth Countries?"

It is, I think you'll agree, an excellent question and, like all excellent questions, it has a simple answer.  It is much easier to find Bitter Lemon wherever Queen Elizabeth is on the money.  America not being a bitter country, it has become almost impossible to find Bitter Lemon here.  In fact, it's become difficult to find people who understand what you're looking for when you ask for Bitter Lemon.

Imagine my joy, therefore, upon discovering that my supermarket now stocks the Fever Tree line of mixers, including Bitter Lemon:

As it happens, friend of the blog Brit is one of the world's foremost Fever Tree bloggers, has personally witnessed me breaking off from a long line of pints to order a Bitter Lemon, and yet somehow never mentioned Fever Tree Bitter Lemon, which, while not the ne plus ultra of Bitter Lemon (which would be Schweppes), is pretty good.

UPDATE:  Unfortunately, "now stocks" turns out to be unfounded optimism.  The Bitter Lemon is only on the shelf on about a third of my weekly visits, with the result that I immediately buy up all they have left.

17 December 2010

At Least She's Not One Of Those Parents

Meandering around the internet one day, I came across this review of the Curious George store in Harvard Square:
This is a wonderful store and was our first stop off of the train. Visiting from Chicago, we couldn't wait to bring our children into the store as we had fond memories of the place from when we visited childless and in Cambridge many years ago. Unfortunately on this visit, before I could even explore beyond the first row items, I noticed a lady who worked in the store hovering over my son and me. My son being 16 months old and curious himself, was gently touching the toys and books that were at eye level. I was right next to him, ensuring he was not hurting anything. At first, seeing this woman who works in or owns or manages the store, hovering over us, I didn't think much. But then when she snatched a toy away and with her non verbals acted as if we opened it, I began to wonder. Then, my son clearly committed the unpardonable sin by picking up a dolly bottle and put it in his mouth for a second. Upon seeing this, this woman said "I wouldn't DO THAT..." in what was a judgemental and cruel tone. She then proceeded to ask me which bottle he had placed in his mouth because she needed to wash it. This shocked me and I calmly asked her if she didn't want us there. When asked, she said "well, I noticed he has a cold and..."that was enough for me. This crazy GERM O PHOBE was stalking us in the store because my innocent little guy had a slight cold and she didn't want him touching anything in the store. At that point, I told her we understand when we aren't welcome, and that she had offended me greatly. When I asked her if this was her store, she said yes. Whether the owner, or the manager, I'm not sure. All I know is that she was very offensive to a pro-reading, book and child loving, respectful of others family. I love the shop, and wouldn't have left empty handed by a long shot, so she lost a sale of at LEAST $100. The saddest part though is that her rude and hurtful treatment of me, and my baby son, ruined my day, and made me think all day about how disappointing it was that something we were looking so forward to could have be ruined by such a cruel person. I am not one of these parents who thinks my children should be allowed to mess wherever they go. Maybe she gets so many customers who are this way that she is worn down.All I know is that the Curious George bookstore in Cambridge should have a sign out front that says "curious children and children with colds are NOT welcome." Thank you very little for a hurtful experience.
So, just to reiterate, a mean, judgmental toy store owner wanted her to identify which toy baby bottle her 16 month old son, who had a cold at the time, put in his mouth.  That crazy "GERM O PHOBE."

13 December 2010

"Missing The Forest For The Trees" Illustrated

On the one hand, beautiful.  On the other hand, there might be something essential about "cakeness" that the baker is missing.