the gumbo pages
me   |    email

looka, ('lu-k&) Yatspeak. v.
1. The imperative form of the verb "to look", in the spoken vernacular of New Orleans; usually employed when the speaker wishes to call one's attention to something.  
2. --n. My weblog, focusing on food and drink, music, Louisiana culture, news, movies, books, sf, media and culture, Macs, politics, humor, reviews, rants, my life, my opinions, witty and/or smart-arsed comments and whatever else tickles my fancy.

Please feel free to contribute a link.   If you don't want to read my opinions, feel free to go elsewhere.

Page last tweaked @ 12:40am PDT, 10/31/2000

Blame this page on:
Chuck Taggart

Looka! Archive

September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000

December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999

Cocktail hour:

The Sazerac Cocktail


Cocktail Time

Bar Asterie

Ardent Spirits

Mr. Lucky's Cocktails

Let's eat!



Food Network

The Global Gourmet

The Online Chef


In vino veritas.

The Oxford Companion to Wine

The Wine Spectator

Wine Today

Recent Epinions:

1. John O'Groats: Home cooking, better than home

2. Bombay Sapphire: Gin haters, repent!

3. The Cajun Bistro, WeHo: Skip it

4. Absolut Kurant: I'd sooner drink Robitussin

5. Sanamluang: Best Thai food in L.A.

6. Volkswagen New Beetle: Fun fun fun!

Now reading:

Magic Terror, by Peter Straub.

Papal Sins, by Garry Wills.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Philip José Farmer.


Bob the Angry Flower,
by Stephen Notley

by Peter Blegvad

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green,
by Eric Orner

This Modern World,
by Tom Tomorrow

Talking furniture:

KCSN (Los Angeles)
WWOZ (New Orleans)
Radio Free New Orleans
Raidió na Gaeltachta
WXDU (Durham, NC)

Lookin' at da TV:

"The Sopranos"
"Malcolm In The Middle"
"Iron Chef"
"The Simpsons"
"Star Trek: Voyager"
The Food Network

Weblogs I read:

The BradLands
Eat, Link and Be Merry
Ethel the Blog
Follow Me Here
Hit or Miss
Jonno (if you must know)
Lake Effect
LanceLog 2000
Mister Pants
MonkeyFist (+ MF Food)
Mr. Barrett
the nubbin
One Swell Foop
Q Daily News
Robot Wisdom
Slightly North of Tomorrow
Strange Brew
The Other Side
Web Queeries
Whim and Vinegar
Wild Oats

Matthew's GLB blog portal

<< web loggers >>


The Fray (stories)
The Onion (news 'n laffs)
The Deduct Box (Louisiana politics)
Spaceflight Now (just like it says

What's in Chuq's Visor? (My favorite Palm OS applications)

AvantGo *
Launcher III *
Showtimes *
WineScore *
Zagat Guide *

(* = superfavorite)

Hosted by WebCom

Made with Macintosh

weblog and (almost) daily blather

  "There ought to be limits to freedom."
  -- George W. Bush, May 21, 1999

  Tuesday, October 31, 2000  ::  Hallowe'en
Real-life scary.  For anyone who's truly politically progressive, it's widely accepted that Ralph Nader is the only choice. However ... if it were anyone other than George Bush running for the Republicans, if it weren't this close, if it weren't so important to keep this wingnut out of the White House ... I would never say what I'm about to say. But I think that progressives have a more important thing to do this election -- it is more important to keep George W. Bush from being president than it is for you to vote for Ralph Nader.

In any other circumstance I might well have voted for Nader myself. I think back to my first presidential election was in 1980, and I voted for independent candidate John Anderson (primarily out of conscience, even though I knew he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning, but also because I really liked his policies). I do like a lot of what Nader has to say, but ... I don't even want to think about a Bush presidency.

it's starting to look close even in California. When the balance of votes in the archaic, outmoded Electoral College can be swayed by as few as 10-15,000 votes, it's just too close for comfort. I believe it will be absolutely disastrous for Bush to be elected, particularly if the Republicans retain control of Congress. (Being a global laughingstock will be the least of our worries.) I may not be terribly happy with Gore, but he's an infinitely better choice than Dubya, so I'm going to vote for him a week from today. So should you, if there's any chance that support for Nader could cost Gore the election in your state. If next Monday Gore's got a big lead and you think it's safe, vote for Nader to help him get his 5% national totals so that the Green Party can qualify for federal election funding. But if there's any question ... hold your nose if you have to, think about how much damage Bush could do to this country in four years (especially think about the two words "Supreme Court"), and vote for Gore.

The part of my conscience that's not off in a bar getting stinking drunk at the moment asks that I offer a different viewpoint, so read what Bijan has to say on the matter in Monkeyfist. (Sorry, but my fear and loathing of Bush has caused me to succumb to the Loyal Liberal appeal). On the other hand...

I got this in my email a few days ago from, a PAC whose mailing list I've been on since the whole absurd impeachment thing was happening. As today's sole entry I reproduce it in its entirety, if for no other reason than to give you something else to think about in this last week before the election. Along with what's mentioned in the letter, you can also think about the fact that Bush is an intellectual midget who's never truly accomplished anything in his life, who cannot think on his feet, who quite possibly cannot read normally, whose sole "experience" in government has been in one of the most constitutionally weak governorships in the entire union (and with an abysmal record in that state, no less), who will undoubtedly be a puppet in the hands of unelected "advisors", the religious right and all those who see fit to use him to further their own ends. You might think the man is "nice" (when he is, in fact, actually a creep), but he does not have the capacity to lead this nation.

"It now looks like Nader will cost Gore the presidency. In key swing states -- Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Maine, New Mexico -- Nader has garnered enough support to throw the electoral votes to Bush. And those votes could very likely make the difference. Even in key battleground states where Nader support is thin, like Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania, he could take enough votes from Gore to swing the electoral votes to Bush. Latest polls even show Gore at risk of losing California with Nader pulling away 6% of the vote. With the election tightening in every state of the union, no state is safe.

"We've been flooded by emails asking what we can do. The Nader camp is deeply divided over whether they should endorse Gore -- at least in swing states. Many say they never gotinto the race to play the spoiler. What was positioned as a safe protest vote has now become a kind of kamikaze vote. The specter of a Bush presidency looms large.

"Let Ralph Nader hear your feelings. His contact information:
fax: 202-265-0183
phone: 202-265-4000

"Nader has a lot of power in this situation. What should he do?

"Please carbon copy us on your email to Ralph Nader at We want to know what you think.

"As a sample, we've attached below an open letter that has been floating around the net. However, a personalized message is always better.

"Sincerely, Wes Boyd,

"P.S. Here are some of the latest state level poll results, so you can see how close it is in these key races:"

               Gore  Bush  Nader Undecided Source
Washington      45%   43%    5%      7%    10/16 American Research Grp.
Oregon          40%   44%    7%      9%    10/12 KPAM Radio
Minnesota       41%   44%    8%      6%    10/18 Minn. Star Tribune
New Mexico      42%   42%    5%     10%    9/28  NM State Univ.
Michigan        43%   43%    4%      9%    10/19 EPIC/MRA Poll
Florida         43%   44%    3%      9%    10/18 J. McLaughlin & Assoc
Nevada          44%   43%    3%      9%    9/21  ) Public Opinion 
Pennsylvania    43%   45%    3%      9%    10/19 )         Strategies

[Please sign this email with your own name and send it to Ralph Nader at Then forward it to every person in your email address book, to the newspapers and broadcasters in your area, and anyone else you can think of. With the race so close and such a short time until the election, it's time for action.]

Dear Mr. Nader:

Over the years you have done a great deal for the American people. Now you are about to do great harm. Your candidacy in this election has been important. You have raised serious issues that need to be addressed. But now your message is out and it's time to set aside ideology and step aside. If you don't you will ensure that George W. Bush is our next president. And if he is elected with a Republican majority in Congress, the American people stand to lose most of the social, economic and environmental progress we have made in the last thirty years. If there is any question in your mind of this, consider the following:


Bush will appoint activist conservative judges who will actively seek to take away a woman's right to choose.

They will also support the corporate interests you have been so gallantly fighting against by promoting "tort reform" which, as you know, is another way to disempower the average citizen and take away his or her right to sue corporations who damage them or cause death.

And the Bush Supreme Court will be anti-environment and side with the exploiters and polluters who so willingly sacrifice the public health and safety on the alter of short term profit.


While Gore intends to use the surplus to pay down the deficit, Bush plans to refund a large part of it to the wealthy. He says it's their money and they should get it back. Well, it's their deficit as well and they should help pay it off.

At this time the nation is almost five trillion six hundred billion dollars in the red. That's $5,600,000,000,000. Over the past ten years we have paid over three trillion dollars in interest. This year we will pay an estimated three hundred and sixty-two billion dollars in interest. That's $362,000,000,000, Mr. Nader. About $1,400 for every man woman and child in this country. Do you have any idea what that amount of money could do for the environment and health care and education if it was not being wasted on interest?

Next year we will pay even more. And the years after that still more. And instead of paying down the deficit it will grow larger. Why? So Bill Gates and Paul Allen and all the other multimillionaires can have their much needed tax brakes. And if Bush is elected and then inheritance tax is eliminated, the middle class will be asked to make up the hundreds of billions of dollars in those lost revenues as well.


As governor of Texas Bush has put the polluters in charge of the state's environmental program with the result that Texas is now an environmental disaster. Although he doesn't dare articulate it during the campaign, the Republican agenda includes doing away with the Environmental Protection Agency. If it's not eliminated completely it will be emasculated to the point where it exists in name only.

And in service of his major contributors, the Oil and Coal conglomerates, Bush and the Republicans will encourage oil exploration in environmentally sensitive areas and the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity etc. If you think global warming is bad now, just give a Bush administration a few years to pay of its debt to these special interests.

And whether you want to admit it or not, Mr. Nader, Al Gore has been one of the strongest advocates for environmental protection. He recognized the danger of global warming before most people had heard the term. And he almost single handedly, and against the advice of all his political advisors, saved the Kyoto Accords. But a rabid Republican Congress has blocked their implementation along with almost every other environmental effort put forth by the Clinton Administration. You're correct. Clinton/Gore haven't got a lot done. But if you'd been president these past eight years, neither would you.


You warn us of the growing power and influence of the corporations on our lives and our democracy yet you threaten to help defeat the only candidate with any chance of doing the one thing that will help solve this problem. You know Bush and the Republicans will not support Campaign Finance Reform. But Gore has promised that he will work with John McCain in his mission to bring about the reform we need. Why on earth would you actively work to keep this from happening?


You know Bush plans to divert hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street. It seems like a great scheme while the market is going up as it has been for the past several years. But what goes up also comes down. While this risky scheme may put a few billion in the pockets of the brokers and underwriters, it will turn Social Security into Social Insecurity and endanger the retirement of many people who unfortunately don't have as much money as you do.

Mr. Nader, you have stated publicly that you would rather see Bush win than Gore. You seem to believe that Bush will make things so bad that the country will rise up. This reminds me of the days when doctors bled patients in order to cure them. The problem was the patients often died from the treatment rather than the disease.

As someone who agrees with you on so many things and would love to see you continue your campaign to educate and enlighten us about the things for which you care so much, I ask you to do the right thing. The election is too close and now is the time for you to throw your support behind Gore. If you help Bush win you will have single handedly done more damage than any well meaning person could possible conceive of. Please don't let this happen.


[Your name here]

  Saturday, October 28, 2000
We're streaming! Woohooooo!!   You can now listen to KCSN, the most musically diverse public radio station in Los Angeles (and the best, if you ask this boy's highly biased opinion) live on the web, 24/7. We've finally got our streaming audio signal going, and you'll need the Windows Media Player to get it to work. (No sniggering from people who know how I feel about Microsoft.)

My folk, roots and traditional music program "Down Home" can be heard from 3:00pm to 5:00pm Pacific Time (6-8pm Eastern, 1100 to 0100 GMT/UTC), so please do tune in. Today my special in-studio guests will be singer, songwriter and bluesman Dave MacKenzie and his wife, country/folk singer Adie Grey for an in-studio performance.

Thus spake Dubya.   The latest Bushisms of the week:

"That's a chapter, the last chapter of the 20th, 20th, the 21st century that most of us would rather forget. The last chapter of the 20th century. This is the first chapter of the 21st century." -- On the Lewinsky scandal, Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

"It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet." -- Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

"I don't want nations feeling like that they can bully ourselves and our allies. I want to have a ballistic defense system so that we can make the world more peaceful, and at the same time I want to reduce our own nuclear capacities to the level commiserate with keeping the peace." -- Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 23, 2000

"It's your money. You paid for it." -- LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

That's nice, dear ... come with me to the rubber throne room now ...   I think Chuck and/or Wills should get ready to take over as monarch over there across the pond. Reuters News Service reports from London:

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has been entertaining guests at her Balmoral estate in Scotland with renditions of "Don't Worry Be Happy" in a duet with a rubber singing fish, Britain's Sun tabloid said on Thursday.

The monarch has even mounted the grotesque "Billy Bass" singing fish toy -- which mounted on a wooden plaque, looks like an angler's trophy -- on her grand piano, the paper said.

Buckingham Palace could not confirm the bizarre report, but it stopped short of ruling it out altogether.

"The Queen may have a singing fish, but more than that I couldn't say," a Buckingham Palace spokesman told Reuters.

The Sun said the Queen was given the toy by another member of the royal family and bursts out laughing every time it is switched on and starts to twitch and croon.

"The Queen thinks Billy's a scream -- he's always on her piano," a Balmoral insider told the paper. "It's so funny to see all these mounted deers' heads and stuffed animals hanging on the walls of this grand room."

"And there in the middle of it all is the Queen and a fish mounted on a plaque singing 'Don't Worry Be Happy'," the source added.

  Friday, October 27, 2000
More on the loss of "FolkScene".   Today's Los Angeles Times Calendar section features an article about KPFK General Manager Mark Schubb's decision to cancel Howard and Roz Larman's thirty-years-running radio program "FolkScene" because they refused to sign a contract giving the station ownership of the show -- a show which they've produced at their own expense since said G.M. was a schoolboy and from which they've accumulated a precious cache of 30 years' worth of tapes from the show's live performances.

The Acoustic Music website also details the sordid goings-on, including letters and emails to and from the KPFK G.M.  I'm completely with the Larmans on this one, and I hope you are too -- if you're a "FolkScene" listener, give them all your support.

Schubb's most appalling comment in the article:

"People use radio like an appliance," responds Schubb. "If they find something they enjoy listening to, they'll listen to it. It's a wonderful time slot. Whatever we put there, we'll find an audience."
What a putz. It's obvious that this guy doesn't give a crap about the music or the audience; all he cares about is business.

I would also have told this guy where he could put such a contract, which also declared the signers to be "work for hire" but who are not entitled to any compensation ... how's that for an oxymoron? This Draconian contract also claimed the life of another long-running KPFK show, the heralded science- and science fiction-related program, "Mike Hodel's Hour 25". I'm done giving money to Pacifica stations, I swear. The Pacifica Foundation is its own worst enemy.

From feet to fat.   Science marches on. The wacky folks who brought you the Stinky Meat and Stinky Feet projects have embarked on another project almost worthy of Momus Alexander Morgus, M.D. -- can someone gain 30 pounds in 30 days "without the benefit of pregnancy or some other horrible disease?" Check in sometime between now and Tuesday, when the project ends.

Absolutely insane.   That's how I'd describe some feckin' eejit who paid $5,100 on eBay for a Sony PlayStation 2 that's worth $299 -- I don't care how feckin' scarce they are. I could damn near get a G4 Mac with a Cinema Display for that. Hoary but true old clichés like "a fool and his money are soon parted" come to mind. Christ on a bike. (via Slashdot)

Earworm of the day.   While flipping channels the other night, I happened to catch part of an episode of VH1's usually excellent "Behind the Music" program, this one being about Lynyrd Skynyrd. I now have "Free Bird" stuck in my head.


  Thursday, October 26, 2000
Just say nein.   American journalists and expats in Europe are reporting home. Apparently Europeans and Canadians are terrified at the prospect of a Bush presidency.

An American journalist, who covered the war in Kosovo and is currently in Hungary, says all signs point to another explosion in Kosovo. Yet, Bush wants to pull the relatively small number of American troops out of the Balkans and let the European contingent of NATO go it alone. Worse, he lied when he claimed Americans made up the bulk of NATO forces in the region. American troops constitute only 15 percent of the NATO peacekeeping force.

Ms. Adams wrote, "A German woman questioned me the other day, 'Is it true the American people are so dumb that they're going to vote in Bush?' I said I don't know. But I do know that if it doesn't become clear real soon to more people that a foreign policy of only fighting and winning war, while weakening the NATO Alliance and UN efforts to promote peacekeeping, would be an all out world catastrophe, then I concede that Americans are really dumb."

Shuck dem erstas.   It's important to learn a wide variety of survival skills. You never know when your ability to shuck an oyster might save your life. (For instance, if you're starving to death and there's no food around but an oyster.)

The Food Network's site has a nifty little video demo section which includes a potentially life-saving demonstration of how to shuck an oyster (and a clam, too).

Just make sure you have the right equipment. I once tried to use a clam knife to shuck the oysters I needed to make Oysters Gabie, and the thinnger, more flexible knife slipped. I gashed my hand open and bled all over my favorite Throwing Muses t-shirt.

  Wednesday, October 25, 2000
Payday, woohoo!   Thank Gawd, 'cause I'm out of Old Overholt rye whiskey for my Sazeracs, and I need more Calvados too.

What, me worry?   Slate's Michael Kinsley wonders how George Dubya Bush is getting away with all the stupid and contradictory things he says. It's not just holding our nation hostile and subliminable, it's his spouting a bizarre mumbo-jumbo of rehashed rote-memorized policy briefings without truly understanding what he's saying.

David Corn of AlterNet also wonders how Dubya can get away with such stupidity. Why has no one pointed out (among the many other contradictions, inconsistencies and gaffes) that Bush strongly supports the death penalty as a deterrent but admits on a late night talk show that the deterrence is "hard to prove"? Is the reason he can't answer questions posed to him that he's incapable of reasoning or understanding what's being asked?

It's not that Bush was caught in the headlights during the debate. In a recent interview with Charisma, a magazine for evangelical Christians, Bush was asked, "Many Christians believe the death penalty is supported by Scripture, while others believe it isn't. How have you applied your faith to this issue?" That's a good, meaty question that aims to get to the heart of the matter. Here's the answer the born-again Bush served his comrades-in-Christ: "It's a very difficult issue for a lot of people. And it's not easy being the governor in a death penalty state. But nevertheless my job is to uphold the laws of our land. When I swore on the Bible at my inauguration as governor of Texas, I swore to uphold the laws. I also believe it is important to focus on the innocent victim when it comes to crime. If the death penalty is administered surely, swiftly, and justly, it will save lives because people will know that there is going to be a consequence to crime."

What about answering the query? How does he reconcile his faith -- Jesus is his favorite political philosopher, and the Methodist Church to which he belongs opposes the death penalty, citing the teachings of Jesus -- with state-sponsored killing?

Bush will not or cannot engage in such a sophisticated discussion. That's no surprise; he once explained his stand against abortion by saying, "Don't like it. I have an opinion." In the Charisma interview, he reaffirmed his anti-abortion position and noted, "this country needs to have a renewed understanding of the preciousness of life." How does that square with his capital punishment stand?

The most depressing passage from the above story:

Perhaps as a reaction to the Bill Clinton years, millions of potential voters are enchanted by Bush's anti-intellectualism. (Clinton's legacy may well be a Republican-controlled Congress and a Bush back in the White House.) At one Bush rally, a senior-citizen W. enthusiast -- no names, please, she said -- told me that it was obvious that Bush could not match Gore in terms of gray matter. But that did not faze her. "Smart people don't have all the answers," she said. "And if you're not so smart, maybe you won't tell the rest of us what to do." Perhaps after the past seven years, many Americans actually are eager to have a president they do not have to take seriously.

In his Salon article "It's the stupidity, stupid", Todd Gitlin raises another depressing point: "No presidential candidate ever went broke betting on the anti-intellectualism of the American people." Dubya himself expressed this point to David Letterman in one of the few cogent things he's said during this campaign:

Well, a lot of folks don't think I can string a sentence together so when I was able to do so, the expectations were so low that all I had to do was say, "Hi, I'm George W. Bush."
More reasons to think twice before voting for this man:

Follow W.'s gaffes more carefully and something more sinister than sloppiness emerges. There's a quality of mind -- or mindlessness, rather -- at work in George W. Bush that ought to give pause to voters and journalists who may think kindly of some of his positions. After all, a vote for president is not a vote for positions. It is a vote to place a person in power -- or, as Bush likes to call it, "leadership."

Bush gives ample evidence that he does not reason. He thinks not in logical arcs but in scatters. There's a slapdash disorder to many of his infelicities -- they are piles of disconnected words, a sequence of flash cards. Each stands for a slogan that stands for an impulse. He knows he is to repeat them, but he is not clear on what relation they have to each other. So he strings these chunks of words together and they go clunk, one against the other. Most likely he has been primed with these bullet points. But reason he does not. His mind darts -- he cannot keep focus. He loses track of the points he is trying to make, so they come out redundancies -- "Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it" (St. Louis).

Consider the governor's extended two-minute drift during the St. Louis debate, in response to a question from a 34-year-old single woman with no dependents about the tax savings she could look forward to:

"Let me just say the first -- this business about the entitlement he tried to describe about savings, you know, matching savings here and matching savings there, fully funded it's going to cost a whole lot of money, lot more than we have. You're going to get tax relief under my plan. You're not going to be targeted in or targeted out. Everyone who pays taxes is going to get tax relief. If you take care of an elderly in your home, you're going to get the personal exemption increased.

"I think also what you need to think about is not the immediate, but what about Medicare? You get a plan that will include prescription drugs, a plan that will give you options. Now, I hope people understand that Medicare today is -- is -- is -- is important but it doesn't keep up with the new medicines. If you're a Medicare person, on Medicare you don't get the new -- new procedures. You're stuck in a time warp in many ways. So it will be a modern Medicare system that trusts you to make a variety of options for you.

"You're going to live in a peaceful world. It will be a world of peace, because we're going to have a clearer, clear-sighted foreign policy, based upon a strong military, and a mission that stands by our friends, a mission that doesn't try to be all things to all people -- a judicious use of the military which'll help keep the peace.

"You'll be in a world hopefully that's more educated so it's less likely you'll be harmed in your neighborhood. See, an educated child is one much more likely to be hopeful and optimistic. You'll be in a world in which fits into my philosophy: You know, the harder work -- the harder you work, the more you can keep. It's the American way. Government shouldn't be a heavy hand. That's what the federal government does to you. It should be a helping hand. And tax relief in the proposals I just described should be a good helping hand."

That, among many other things, is the rambling stream of a very thin consciousness. The man is not competent to lead this nation. Don't let his wings take dream.

Gimme some more o' dem alligator pears.   I love avocados. They were quite aptly described by food critic Tom Fitzmorris as "the foie gras of vegetables". Yes yes, I know it's really a fruit. In fact, when I was growing up in New Orleans we called it the "alligator pear". But we don't eat it like fruit, do we? In the States we generally eat it as if it were a vegetable, for the most part. (We'll get into fabulously wacky and delicious southeast Asian sweet avocado concoctions like avocado ice cream and avocado milkshakes another time.)

Hass avocados from California are the King of Alligator Pears, their high fat content being one of the reasons why they're so delectable. Did you know that the first-ever Hass avocado tree, the mother of every single tree in the world that produces Hass avocados, is still alive?

The avian touch.   Who says that voicemail answering systems are impersonal? Dial (800) 888-3999, then listen to the menu choices offered and wait for option 7.

Cocktail of the day.   Now that I'll be picking up my new bottle of Calvados on the way home from work tonight, I've given some thought to makeing cocktails with it rather than simply drinking it neat. Don't get me wrong -- a snifter of Calvados after (or even during) dinner is absolutely superb. It seems to me, though, that the intense apple flavor and aroma of this magnificent brandy would lend itself wonderfully to a good cocktail recipe.

After my parents came back from their first trip to France several years ago they were raving about Calvados, the superb apple brandy made in Normandy. Dad told me about what became his favorite cocktail while on this trip, a simple mixture of Calvados and apple juice on the rocks. He wasn't sure of the proportions, and this seems to be perhaps the best way to drink this brandy if you're going to mix it. Also recommended is 1/3 Calvados and 2/3 tonic water, but I haven't tried that yet.

Oddly enough, I haven't been able to find any reference to the supposedly classic Calvados/apple juice cocktail on the web, although many Calvados makers produce a product called Pommeau de Normandie, which is a mixture of Calvados and apple juice that's aged anywhere from 1-3 years in oaken casks (and which sounds fabulous). I'll experiment more with the proportions in my on-the-spot mixture thereof, and let y'all know.

In the meantime, have a look at his recipe, which I found on the website of a Calvados distillery. This looks potentially tasty, although I'm not sure about the apricot brandy. Maybe with a good eau-de-vie rather than a cheap sweet liqueur-like apricot brandy (don't use Hiram Walker!) Perhaps I'll try it with some pear eau-de-vie as well.

Le Normandie

3 ounces of Calvados
2 ounces apricot brandy (find some good stuff)
1 ounces lemon juice
1 thin slice of apple (brushed with lemon juice to prevent discoloration)
1 long thin piece of lemon peel

Pour the liquors and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker over cracked ice, shake until chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the slice of apple and lemon peel.

  Tuesday, October 24, 2000
Ack!   Sorry for the lack of updating in six days. Very busy period at work, plus lots of cooking and a very active, away-from-my-computer weekend. (You should be happy for me for that!)

A new cocktail is born.   Wes and I have grown fond of many "classic" (i.e., more commonly quaffed by sophisticated cocktail drinkers 60+ years ago) cocktails, one of which is the "Fancy-Free", consisting of 2 ounces of Bourbon, 1/2 ounce of Maraschino and a dash each of Angostura and orange bitters. Wes, who seemed to be itching to create something new, decided that he was going to concoct a cocktail called ... the "Footloose".

I got mysterious updates all week, as he tweaked unnamed ingredients and their relative proportions. I was finally presented with one last Friday. Initial impression ... pretty! Pink not unlike a Cosmopolitan, but slightly opaque and with a lovely green twist of lime floating in it -- a nice change from the usual lemon. The aroma was familiar yet unfamiliar, with a bouquet of fruit that I couldn't quite place. I sipped it, and the familiar-yet-unfamiliar sensation intensified. It's a yummy drink, but I just couldn't place the ingredients. It was fruity without being cloyingly sweet, and with a nice bite to it (or, as my friend Jordan said, "Oh, like Paul Lynde." Heh.) and a pleasing finishing scent from the lime oil in the twist.

Wes finally let me in on the ingredients. They combined together so well that I might never have guessed. I found it to be very different and quite nice. Try one sometime.

The Footloose Cocktail
created by Wesly Moore

2 ounces Stolichnaya Razberi raspberry-infused vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice (NOT Rose's!)
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a long twist of lime.

AIEEEE!   How did I miss hearing about this?? Terry Gilliam, one of my favorite directors, is confirmed as the writer-director of a forthcoming film of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's  Good Omens, one of my favorite books. Woohoo!!

Alcohol is not candy.   Christian Conti, one of my favorite reviewers on, writes a great many reviews of various spirits. He has a wide experience and fairly exquisite taste (although I have yet to acquire his taste for Fernet Branca), and more often than not we share the same opinion on spirits.

He despises those ghastly DeKuyper "schnapps" and "Pucker" products as much as I do, and his most recent opinion was on DeKuyper's "Butter Shots" butterscotch schnapps. There was one passage that struck me particularly, and which should be required reading for the rowdy drink-to-get-drunk crowd:

While I have this soapbox to stand on, and since it is germane to my low rating of this product, I would like to make a general plea to all drinkers:  Stop Buying Sweet Garbage. Alcohol is not candy, it's something sophisticated that people should respect and exercise caution and class when using. Super-sweet liqueurs not only attract children to drinking, but they also cause a great deal of out-of-control drunkenness due to the fact that sugar masks the burn of alcohol.

This stuff is an odious concoction that appeals to the worst in people, that horrific childhood addiction to everything sweet and syrupy. I highly recommend that you avoid it at all costs.

Amen, my brother.

Vile. Poisonous.   And while we're on the subject of vile DeKuyper schnapps products, an unfortunate incident this weekend prompted me to repost a link to my own review of DeKuyper's "Sour Apple Pucker" apple schnapps, a product even more distressingly ubiquitous than the Butter Shots brand.

A friend of mine had a terrific party this past weekend to celebrate his 29th birthday. After two "blue martinis" (vodka and blue curaçao), he was finished off by a so-called "apple martini", consisting of vodka and that DeKuyper swill. He was carried off to bed long before the party ended, and spend most of the wee hours of the morning sprawled on the bathroom floor, vomiting. Poor guy.

Yes, I'm aware of the fact that he drank a lot of alcohol that night, but I'm convinced that it was the final blow of the "apple schnapps" that triggered the nausea. You must realize that this execrable green effluvium is in no way, shape or form the product of a fine distiller's art. It's an example of worse living through chemistry.

Please be aware that not a single actual apple has come anywhere near a bottle of DeKuyper "apple" schnapps during its production. It's an artificially flavored, Borg-green artificially colored bottle of sugar syrup spiked with low-grade grain alcohol. Its popularity never ceases to befuddle me except for this appeal to people's nostalgia for cloyingly sweet childhood hard candies (in fact, the usual praise I hear sung for this poison is "It tastes just like a Jolly Rancher!")

Well, as Christian said above, alcohol is not candy. If you drink these sweet syrupy liquors because you don't like the taste of alcohol, then maybe you shouldn't be drinking alcohol.

Read this if you're thinking of voting for Ralph Nader.   Salon posted an article today which is certainly enough to give one pause. Yes, the two-party system is awful. Yes, even if you do vote for Al Gore you'll probably be holding your nose while you do it. Yes, third parties like the Green Party need to be included in the political process. However, the fact is that Ralph Nader is not going to be elected president. If you care about this country, you should think about doing whatever you have to do, no matter how personally distasteful or painful, to keep George W. Bush out of the White House.

What naive voters may well face on the morning after Election Day is a disaster that hands control of both the White House and Congress to Republican conservatives, without even providing the dubious consolation of a future multimillion-dollar subsidy to the Greens. And if Nader does achieve his desired 5 percent threshold of the total popular vote, that will mean rewarding the Green Party with a federally funded bonanza for its ruinous effect on this election. (That's one check that President George W. Bush would no doubt be delighted to sign.)

...what if, as recent polling data so plainly suggests, American voters aren't "too smart" to elect Bush? What if they not only elect Bush but keep Tom DeLay, Dick Armey and Trent Lott in charge on Capitol Hill? The damage to Social Security, Medicare, tax fairness, consumer protection, equality of opportunity for women and minorities, labor rights, occupational safety, the natural environment, judicial integrity, international human rights and nearly every other cause that Naderites supposedly hold dear will be incalculable.

At that point, it will be cold comfort indeed if Ralph and his fellow purists have a few million bucks more to play around with when the next election comes.

  Wednesday, October 18, 2000
A qua táo a day keeps the doctor away.   Today's Los Angeles Times Food Section features a lovely article by Thy Tran about how an apple represented the bounty of America to a Vietnamese immigrant family. (There are some lovely recipes, too.)

When my mother was a child, living in a small village in Vietnam, her aunt returned from travels west carrying a single red apple. The family, from the eldest to the smallest child, gathered as her aunt unwrapped tissue paper to reveal the first apple (qua tao in Vietnamese) any of them had ever seen. Her grandmother received the honor of cutting this exotic and extravagant fruit into 32 slices. Then everyone feasted in silence, savoring as slowly as possible.

Jesus H. Christ: reports hoax as news.   Granted, we already know that as a substantive, reputable, reliable news source, Fox News is only a couple of steps above the National Enquirer. Granted, the story in question here was in their site's "Et Cetera" section for weird and strange news and not on their man page. Still...

A week or so ago I came across the hilarious Second Coming Project site at, which I found highly entertaining and which I discovered with a single click was a side project of Feral House, the rather infamous alternative publishing house run by Adam Parfrey.

Fox, that bastion of journalism, wrote a story about the "secretive group" and their supposed efforts to clone a new Jesus from relics containing some of his DNA as if there this group really existed when in fact it should be apparent to anyone with half a brain that the site was a joke. They even interviewed a skeptical biologist, a predictably horrified Southern Baptist and a perplexed professor of Christian ethics about the "project". The funny thing is that all it would have taken was for Michael Y. Park, the author of the story, to have clicked on one link on the site that said "For more information click here!" or to have done a whois lookup on the domain to find out that it was owned by Feral House. Apparently Mr. Park missed class on the day they taught that all-important rule in high school journalism class ... CHECK YOUR FACTS. Sheesh.

My JAYsis ... what a bunch of eejits.

UPDATE -- As of today, the site is down, although it was working up until yesterday. Perhaps their couldn't handle all the hits from the "news" story.

No more debates, thank Gawd.   Al Gore has lots of answers, but just not to the question that he's asked. George Dubya Bush spends lots of time babbling because he has no answers at all, because he doesn't know jack.

I cannot imagine this simpleton leading our country. I cannot imagine this man who can't even pronounce names of foreign leaders moderating, for instance, a deadly-serious summit between Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak. The only reason I can come up with that such a man is supposedly the Republicans' best choice for president is that other people in the party feel certain that they'll be able to manipulate him like a marionette once he's in office. That worries me.

Vote Gore. Vote Nader. Vote Browne. Except for Buchanan, jeez ... vote for anybody but this twerp.

Speaking of whom...   Here's a hilarious article from today's edition of The Onion:

Bush Horrified to Learn Presidential Salary

AUSTIN, TX--Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush was aghast to learn Monday that the position of U.S. president, the highest office in the land and most powerful in the free world, pays just $200,000 a year.

"That's it?" asked Bush, struggling to comprehend the figure reported to him by aides. "A measly couple hundred grand a year? Not per month, even? Because I've already spent more than $60 million to get this job. I'll have to be president for 300 years just to break even."

"I guess I just assumed that a job like that would have a much bigger salary," continued Bush, shaking his head. "You know, something like $120 million. That's what my friend Vance Coffman makes as CEO of Lockheed Martin, and that's just an aerospace firm, not a whole country." [more]

Speaking of The Onion...   You can now get The Onion to go! They've got a page set up for you to create a custom AvantGo channel so you can have the mobile edition of The Onion right there on your PDA -- smaller, and harder to read.

Is uisce beatha Éireannach go h-iontach é!   Scotch is popular and trendy (particularly the single malts), Bourbon is everywhere and even Canadian whiskey seems to get ordered more often than good old Irish whiskey, which more often than not seems to get relegated to an Irish Coffee ingredient. There are some fine Irish whiskeys out there (I'm partial to Jameson and Black Bush myself), so give Irish a chance sometime. It's lovely stuff.

This is no way to live.   A depressing article in today's New York Times says that unless you're that genetic minority that can eat anything you want and never gain an ounce, you're going to have to obsess about what you eat, severely limit calories (and basically eat like a rabbit) as well as exercise for an hour to an hour and a half a day if you don't want to be fat.

Well, screw it. I do want to exercise more and I do try to watch what I eat, but I'm not going to eat like a rabbit every single day. I love fine cuisine, from the top restaurants to the tiniest holes-in-the-wall. What's the point of looking like a beanpole and living until you're 100 if you're denied the pleasure of good food and drink? Bah!

Quote of the day:   From today's edition of "The New Orleans Menu Daily", with a heads up from Michael Pemberton (thanks, bra!):

"Next to eating good dinners, a healthy man with a benevolent turn of mind must like, I think, to read about them."

-- William Makepeace Thackeray

  Tuesday, October 17, 2000
The hypocrisy train keeps rolling along.   First John "ex-gay" Paulk, who makes a living telling gay people to turn straight, gets caught chatting up guys in a gay bar for 45 minutes. Then Matthew "Clinton is immoral" Glavin, who has of late made his career attacking the President for his sexual immorality, pleads guilty to public indecency for spanking the monkey and groping an undercover Fed in a public park.

The latest passenger on the religious right's hypocrisy train is Mike Trout of the ultraconservative Christian group Focus on the Family. He abruptly resigned his top-level position and his job as Dr. James Dobson's on-air partner because it was revealed that he had an extramarital affair.

It never fails. The religious right just can't seem to practice what they preach. This man should have been focusing on his own family all along.

How tonight's presidential "debates" will go.   My pal "Tater" Brad Kellam sent this to me in email this morning. I didn't write it. Unfortunately, the email didn't contain the author's attribution, so right now we'll credit it as "author unknown". Doubtless the author will eventually find this and email me, demanding that it be removed. Until then, here it is.

This is funny, but more true than funny, which makes it more sad than funny. Truly.

Jim Lehrer:
Welcome to the second presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush. The candidates have agreed on these rules: I will ask a question. The candidate will ignore the question and deliver rehearsed remarks designed to appeal to undecided women voters.

The opponent will then have one minute to respond by trying to frighten senior citizens into voting for him. When a speaker's time has expired, I will whimper softly while he continues to spew incomprehensible statistics for three more minutes.

Let's start with the vice president. Mr. Gore, can you give us the name of a downtrodden citizen and then tell us his or her story in a way that strains the bounds of common sense?

As I was saying to Tipper last night after we tenderly made love the way we have so often during the 30 years of our rock-solid marriage, the downtrodden have a clear choice in this election. My opponent wants to cut taxes for the richest 1 percent of Americans. I, on the other hand, want to put the richest 1 percent in an ironclad lockbox so they can't hurt old people like Roberta Frampinhamper, who is here tonight.

Mrs. Frampinhamper has been selling her internal organs, one by one, to pay for gas so that she can travel to these debates and personify problems for me. Also, her poodle has arthritis.

Gov. Bush, your rebuttal.

Governors are on the front lines every day, hugging people, crying with them, relieving suffering anywhere a photo opportunity exists. I want to empower those crying people to make their own decisions, unlike my opponent, whose mother is not Barbara Bush.

Let's turn to foreign affairs. Gov. Bush, if Slobodan Milosevic were to launch a bid to return to power in Yugoslavia, would you be able to pronounce his name?

The current administration had eight years to deal with that guy and didn't get it done.

If I'm elected, the first thing I would do about that guy is have Dick Cheney confer with our allies. And then Dick would present me several options for dealing with that guy. And then Dick would tell me which one to choose.

You know, as governor of Texas, I have to make tough foreign policy decisions every day about how we're going to deal with New Mexico.

Mr. Gore, your rebuttal.

Foreign policy is something I've always been keenly interested in.

I served my country in Vietnam. I had an uncle who was a victim of poison gas in World War I. I myself lost a leg in the Franco-Prussian War. And when that war was over, I came home and tenderly made love to Tipper in a way that any undecided woman voter would find romantic.

If I'm entrusted with the office of president, I pledge to deal knowledgeably with any threat, foreign or domestic, by putting it in an ironclad lockbox. Because the American people deserve a president who can comfort them with simple metaphors.

Vice President Gore, how would you reform the Social Security system?

It's a vital issue, Jim. That's why Joe Lieberman and I have proposed changing the laws of mathematics to allow us to give $50,000 to every senior citizen without having it cost the federal treasury a single penny until the year 2250.

In addition, my budget commits $60 trillion over the next 10 years to guarantee that all senior citizens can have drugs delivered free to their homes every Monday by a federal employee who will also help them with the child-proof cap.

Gov. Bush?

That's fuzzy math. I know, because as governor of Texas, I have to do math every day. I have to add up the numbers and decide whether I'm going to fill potholes out on Route 36 east of Abilene or commit funds to reroof the sheep barn at the Texas state fairgrounds.

It's time for closing statements.

I'm my own man. I may not be the most exciting politician, but I will fight for the working families of America, in addition to turning the White House into a lusty pit of marital love for Tipper and me.

It's time to put aside the partisanship of the past by electing no one but Republicans.

Good night.

Joke of the Day (other than George W. Bush):   From Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish:

The first riddle I ever heard, one familiar to almost every Jewish child, was propounded to me by my father:

"What is it that hangs on the wall, is green, wet -- and whistles?"

I knit my brow and thought and thought, and in final perplexity gave up.

"A herring," said my father.

"A herring," I echoed. "A herring doesn't hang on the wall!"

"So hang it there."

"But a herring isn't green!" I protested.

"Paint it."

"But a herring isn't wet."

"If it's just painted it's still wet."

"But -- " I sputtered, summoning all my outrage, "-- a herring doesn't whistle!!"

"Right, " smiled my father. "I just put that in to make it hard."

  Monday, October 16, 2000
"FolkScene" taken off the air!   Roz and Howard Larman's internationally renowned folk music radio program "FolkScene", which has been on the air for thirty years, was abruptly and for no good reason cancelled by KPFK general manager Mark Schubb on Friday. I hesitate to go into details just yet, but from what I've heard so far, this is the result of some very fishy dealings on the part of KPFK management.

I urge all KPFK subscribers, listeners and fans of "FolkScene" to call KPFK and ask Mr. Schubb for the reasons behind the cancellation of the program. If I'm dissatisfied with his explanation, I don't intend to give that radio station another penny of my money. I encourage this approach to this situation if you're equally dissatisfied.

Guilty. A wanker and a liar to boot.   After vigorously issuing denials that he was guilty of the charges of public indecency (public masturbation and groping an undercover officer in a well-known gay cruising area in a Federal park), former President and CEO of the Southeastern Legal Foundation Matthew Glavin has pleaded guilty to what has turned out to be his second such offense.

Glavin and the SLF have been working hard to see that President Clinton is disbarred for his sexual misconduct and lying, as well as having opposed the interests of gay and lesbian Americans for many years. As the article says, "That a man who worked so hard to damage the President with allegations of sexual misconduct and lying should himself be publicly accused of sexual misconduct and -- now that he's pleaded guilty after all his denials -- lying, is an irony that has been lost on no one."

  Saturday, October 14, 2000
Happy birthday, Mom!   It's my mom's birthday today. She's ... um, 29. (I know, I'm 38 and she's 29. She's actually been 29 ever since I was in third grade. Weird, ain't it?)

Happy birthday, Lou!   It's my friend Lou Weinert's birthday today. It's easy to remember 'cause it's the same day as my mom's birthday.

  Friday, October 13, 2000
Booooo, scary kids!   Today we honor Friday the Thirteenth with a visit to the Scientific Genius who kept me entertained and enlightened during the breaks in hundreds of televised horror films -- all the way from the Old New Orleans Icehouse, may I present the esteemed Dr. Momus Alexander Morgus, M.D..

Not only is it Friday the 13th, but it's also a full moon tonight. Brrrrrrr. I'd stay inside tonight if I were you. Who knows what kinda of loonnies will be lurking around tonight. Occupy yourself with a scary story. And if you managed not to read it when you were in ninth grade, here's the archetypical scary story, truly scary because you never see the scary thing. Hollywood would do well to learn this when they make so-called scary movies.

Okay, this is actually creepy.   I got a bona-fide shudder when I read this with my cereal, toast, juice and bacon this morning.

What use could there be for such a creature? Well, the Republicans could run him for president. It certainly couldn't be any worse than that thoroughly mediocre eejit they're running now. This is a man who says things like "a child can walk in and have their heart turned dark as a result of being on the Internet and walk in and decide to take somebody else's life" (this man doesn't know the Internet from the Interstate) and who is quite possibly additionally disabled by being "dyslexic to the point of near-illiteracy". Ya want his finger on the button?

Sue him, Viktor.   Apparently George Dubya Bush thinks he can get away with committing slander if the target of his remarks is from a former Communist country. Guess what? Doesn't work that way. From today's Wired News:

The Russian Is Suing

When George W. Bush, during his recent debate with Al Gore, accused Viktor Chernomyrdin of lining his own pockets with misappropriated credits from the International Monetary Fund, he probably never thought the former Russian prime minister would be listening. He was wrong. Not only did Dubya's words get back to Chernomydrin, but the Russian was quick to respond: "I think that it's necessary for Mr. Bush Jr. to prepare for a court examination on this question." Bush made the charge while trying to back up his contention that foreign aid should be tied to reform. Meanwhile, an IMF spokesman said there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by Chernomydrin.

  Wednesday, October 11, 2000
Thousands line up to worship "rainbow-colored splotch".   Lots of people lined up in front of a New Jersey home, hoping to see an alleged image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a window. Despite the fact that it actually was nothing more than a rainbow-colored splotch that looked more like Edvard Munch's "The Scream" than anything else (at least to me), determined B.V.M.-watchers kept at it.

In an amazing (perhaps even heavenly) coincidence, the B.V.M. decided to leave as soon as the homeowner sprayed Windex across the visage and wiped it away with a cloth. "Cleaning the window didn't remove her. She left when she was ready to leave," he said. Mmm hmm.

I hate tailgaters.   And here's a very good reason why you shouldn't tailgate. (Hee hee hee.)

  Monday, October 9, 2000
Craftsman Weekend was a blast.   Pasadena Heritage did another great job this year with the Ninth Annual Craftsman Weekend, celebrating the Arts and Crafts tradition in architecture, design and decorative arts. We saw lots of fabulous furniture, pottery and artwork we couldn't afford, plus some wonderful houses (including that of Myron Hunt, the Pasadena architect who designed the Rose Bowl, the Huntington Library and the Pasadena Playhouse). I also learned that just because you have enough money to own a large, beautiful, historic home, it doesn't mean that you don't have appallingly bad taste in decor. (I won't mention which house it was, but if you were on the Craftsman Home Tour this year ... you know.)

Happy Murdering Native Peoples in the Name of Christ and Infecting Them With Smallpox While We're At It Day!   For a long time, I've thought that this is a weird "holiday", particularly given historical illumination as to Columbus and his lot. It's not even a real holiday. I have to go to work, as does everyone I know, plus I don't get any mail.

If you have any desire to commemorate this "holiday", do it by reading Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, a fascinating look at Columbus' legacy.

Mmmmm, brains!   If you haven't had lunch yet, have a look at a list of some of the most unappetizing packaged convenience foods in the world.

Ah, the glamour of space travel.   Um ... all of a sudden I'm not so enthusiastic about getting on that new NBC show and hitching a ride to Mir.

  Thursday, October 5, 2000
I (heart) Uncle Bill.   One of the occasional perks of working at a radio station is that every now and again someone from the station calls up and says things like, "Hey Chuck, we've got a couple of extra tickets to the Billy Bragg and the Blokes show tomorrow night. Wanna go?"

Um ... yeah!

The show was at a relatively new club in Hollywood, The Knitting Factory, a local branch of the legendary New York venue. It's a pretty decent space, actually -- fairly intimate, and with easy proximity to the bartenders. (I must also compliment the bartender in the back for actually knowing how to make an Old Fashioned. Unfortunately, his Cosmopolitan was lame -- not enough cranberry, and way too much of that awful sweetened lime juice.)

The opening act was a folky-bluesy-jazzy singer-songwriter named Kevin So, who was actually pretty good (I'm usually suspicious of opening acts, but Billy doesn't let just anybody open for him, he usually has a say). He's got links to some MP3s which are worth checking out. He was additionally distinctive in being the first Asian-American folksinger I've ever seen, which added some interesting perspectives to some of his songs. For instance, his song "But I'm an American" was inspired by his having seen a news headline during the Olympics when skater Michelle Kwan lost out on a gold medal -- it read, "American beats Kwan". (Sheesh.)

The second opening band was relatively new, featuring L.A. native and former Long Ryder and Coal Porter Sid Griffin, plus a bassist from Belfast, a pedal steel player from Edinburgh, and a "genuine Cockney" on the drums. They're called Western Electric, and I had expected them to be a bit twangier than they were; there was just a little too much noodly psychedelia for my taste. They really got going toward the end of their set, though, and the last two songs were terrific.

Uncle Bill and the Blokes were as superb as ever. He did LOTS of Woody Guthrie material, including some "Mermaid Avenue" which have Jeff Tweedy lead vocals on the album. The arrangements were also different, giving these new/old songs yet another breath of fresh air. He was entertaining and funny, and of course as socialist as ever. We got a rendition of one of my favorites, "There is Power in a Union", dedicated to the striking transit workers and Screen Actors Guild members, an an exhortation for Santa Monica voters to vote against Proposition KK, which is disguised as a living wage guarantee but is in fact written and financed by Santa Monica's luxury hotels, and specifically excludes hotel maids, janitors and kitchen workers from the guaranteed living wages (typical).

There's a new "official bootleg" record out too, featuring the Blokes doing lots of the Guthrie material, plus a few Bragg classics. It's only ten bucks, and you can get it via Billy's website.

T-shirt slogan of the week.   Seen last night at the Billy Bragg show, worn by a presumed Nader supporter:

Bush and Gore
make me wanna

Okay, he's got my vote.   Yeah, I know he's wooden and uncharming (and his best attribute is that he is NOT George W. Bush), but I've finally got a great reason to vote for Al Gore. He and I have the same favorite movie.

"I'm a wanker, I'm a wanker, and it does me good like it bloody well should..."   Ah yes, that classic song by Ivor Biggun and the Red-Nosed Burglars. I'll bet it's being sung with operatic splendor by Matthew Glavin, an arch-conservative and head of the Southeastern Legal Foundation -- those people who are trying to get President Clinton disbarred. Turns out that the fine, upstanding Mr. Glavin was caught flogging the bishop by an undercover federal officer in a public park outside Atlanta. Gee, those holier-than-thou conservatives always seem to get caught with their pants down sooner or later ... *snicker*

  Wednesday, October 4, 2000
Recipe treasure trove!   That's in this month's issue of Gourmet magazine, where it's restaurant month. Their online version features an easily searchable archive of over 100 great restaurant recipes.

(Man, I just had to get at least one good food-related link in here before beginning to blather about politics.)

And while we're at it, how 'bout a cocktail?   A tip from Wes and a little dig into a heretofore unnoticed DrinkBoy link revealed a "new" (to me, but undoubtedly old) cocktail that has been a favorite of mine for the last couple of weeks ...

The Fancy-Free

2 ounces Bourbon whisky
1/2 ounce Maraschino liqueur (I use Luxardo)
1 - 2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 - 2 dashes orange bitters

Shake with cracked ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry. Yum.

Wes came across another old cocktail recipe recently, gave it a shake, and now he's quite fond of it. Since neither of us like vermouth, we've reduced the amount the original recipe calls for (and at half of that, it gives the drink just enough tang without having a too-assertive vermouth flavor), but vermouth lovers may feel free to follow the original recipe. This drink was named after the Algonquin Hotel in New York.


2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce dry vermouth (we use 1/2 ounce)
1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice (we're gonna try 1-1/2 ounces next time)

Same drill as above ... shake, strain, chilled, cherry. Sip. Aaaah.

(Okay ... after two drinks, now I'm ready for all this crap to follow.)

"Debate"?   Somehow, I don't think that what transpired last night would remotely resemble what the debate coach at my high school would call a debate. So what else is new?

Amusing indeed was one of the poll results afterward, which revealed that 96% of the people who watched the debate said it didn't change their minds about whom they'd vote for.

"First he claimed he invented the Internet ... next he'll claim he invented the calculator." Sheesh ... now re-read yesterday's entry and think about how much that makes him sound like a jerk. Couldn't you just slug him? (No, of course not. That would be illegal.) I haven't been less excited about a Democratic candidate since Mike "Well, as the son of Greek immigrants" Dukakis.

I got sick of the whole thing about halfway through. Fortunately at that moment, a friend from Kansas City who's in town on business arrived at my doorstep, and took me to Sanamluang for some fantastic Thai food.

An absolute disgrace.   Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader was expelled from the campus of the University of Massachusetts - Boston last night and threatened with arrest. He produced a ticket to an "alternative viewing site" on the campus, not the debate hall itself, but was confronted by a representative of the "bipartisan" Commission on Presidential Debates and ordered to leave.

If there's anybody in this presidential election hoohah that has no credibility, it's the Commission on Presidential Debates.

"The Smoking Jet"   A retired Air National Guard veteran pilot has written a fascinating article raising important questions about George W. Bush's military record; in particular, how what we know about it now differs from what Bush says about it.

"I think that people need to be held responsible for the actions they take in life. I think that's part of the need for a cultural change. We need to say that each of us needs to be responsible for what we do." -- George W. Bush in the first Presidential debate, October 3, 2000.

"I did the duty necessary ... That's why I was honorably discharged." -- George W. Bush, May 23, 2000

From the beginning of his Presidential campaign, George W. Bush has forcefully and repeatedly insisted that he faithfully fulfilled all his military obligations by serving his time as a member of the Texas Air National Guard.

But the first independent investigation of Bush's military record by a former Air National Guard pilot has revealed the following:

  1. Pilot George W. Bush did not simply "give up flying" with two years left to fly, as has been reported. Instead, Bush was suspended and grounded, very possibly as a direct or indirect result of substance abuse.

  2. The crucial evidence -- a Flight Inquiry Board -- that would reveal the true reasons for Bush's suspension, as well as the punishment that was recommended, is missing from the records released so far. If no such Board was convened, this raises further questions of extraordinary favoritism.

  3. Contrary to Bush's emphatic statements and several published reports, Bush never actually reported in person for the last two years of his service -- in direct violation of two separate written orders. Moreover, the lack of punishment for this misconduct represents the crowning achievement of a military career distinguished only by favoritism.
Bush also trumpeted about how he wanted to be a fighter pilot like his father, so during the height of the Vietnam War, when pilots were desperately needed for combat, he joined ... the Texas Air National Guard as a "weekend warrior". How did he get in to the Guard?

Competition for the few openings in the National Guard was intense, and there was a waiting list of 100,000 nationally at the time. Bush took the Air Force officer and pilot qualification tests on January 17, 1968. He scored 25%, the lowest possible passing grade on the pilot aptitude portion. On his application form, he listed his "background qualifications" as "none." But despite the waiting list, his low score and his lack of qualifications, Bush was given a highly-coveted spot and was sworn in on May 27 for a six-year commitment...
The report goes on and on and on. Fascinating stuff. I wonder if the story has legs, and if so, will anyone will call Bush in public about this, or will it merely languish on a semi-obscure Democratic web site for lack of any kind of confirmation. (Links via Q.)

Faire le *boot*   "Ex-gay" organization Exodus International has removed John Paulk as chairman, but is allowing him to remain on the board on "probationary" status. Guess it won't do to have their chairman getting caught in a gay bar, chatting up guys and buying them drinks. *snicker*

  Tuesday, October 3, 2000
Busy weekend.   Radio show as usual, Yucatecan food on Saturday, a wine tasting (six whites and six reds -- my favorites were a simple white Alsatian table wine, and a 1997 Gascón Malbec from Argentina) and then a huge Italian birthday dinner for a friend on Sunday, and no time for websurfing or writing. (Hey, some web geeks actually have a life, ya know!)

Tubers in the news.   Aah, who cares about the debates? Debates shmebates. The teetering regime of Slobodan Milosevic? In more important national news, Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead have been named Rhode Island's "Family Travel Ambassadors". The state has apparently gone mad with themed Mr. Potatoheads cropping up everywhere. Don't miss Edgar Allen Poe-Tato!

However, Mr. Tourist Potato is apparently provoking unrest. As quoted on Slate, "...the only thing missing is a watermelon." The artist simply responds, "He's a potato. That's why he's brown."

The whole sordid mess gets hashed out on Slate. Because it's a damned slow news day, ain't it? (Sent in by Wes.)

Okay, you Bush people, listen up.   Al Gore never claimed he "invented the Internet". If George Dubya Bush is claiming that Al Gore is a liar with no credibility for claiming he invented the Internet, then said George Dubya Bush is being disingenuous at best and a liar in his own right at worst.

Robert Kahn and Vin Cerf, the two gentlemen who invented the TCP/IP protocol that makes the Internet work, confirm that Al Gore did just what he initially said he did -- as a politician, took the initiative in creating the Internet.

Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.

No one person or even small group of persons exclusively "invented" the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.

Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.

Thanks, guys. Now shut up, George ...and move on to whatever other desperate technique you're using to shore up your campaign.

September Looka! entries have been permanently archived.

Several of my friends and loved ones (and a few kind strangers) contribute regularly to this blog. Thanks to Wesly Moore, Mike Luquet, Steve Gardner, Steve Kelley, Barry Kelley, Tom Krueger, Eric Labow, Michael Pemberton and Greg Beron.
chuq's links | the gumbo pages
creole and cajun recipe page | search this site
Chuck Taggart   <>