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Vacation! Seeyas in two weeks.

What, vacation already? Jeezus, he’s only after gettin’ the blog up and rolling … barely three weeks and already he’s fecking off out of town?

Well, yeah.

So, Looka! is likely to be rather unattended for the next two weeks. I may try to make a few brief posts via the WordPress iPhone app, but I certainly can’t guarantee that.

As we’re still figuring out how the new digs work around here, strange things might happen, like legitimate comments to posts getting caught as spam. For that reason I highly encourage to you register for this site as a subscriber if you plan to be a regular participant in the comments (and I hope you do!). Go to the link on the right-hand sidebar under “Looka!dministration” (yeah, I know, it’s silly and I’ll probably change it) and click the “Register” link. You’ll be prompted to enter a username and email address, and a temporary password will be mailed to you. You can change it when you log in, set how you want your name to be displayed, etc. By registering you’re telling the system that your email address is legit and you’re not a scumbag spammer, fit only to be boiled in a vat of molten chewing gum (which is actually too good for spammers).

So … where the hell are we going? (Oh right!)

This evening Wes and I are taking off for a two-week trip to Europe — London, Shropshire in rural western England, then on to Paris for a few days, finally ending up in Barcelona for four days. We got amazingly cheap flights and are staying with friends for the first 2/3 of the trip, which is the way to travel and keep it affordable. Ah yes, the patented Chuck-‘n-Wes-mooch-off-your-friends-as-much-as-possible method.

We’re particularly excited to visit our friends John and Fiona, namesakes of the Hoskins Cocktail (who, sad to say, never actually met gaz regan), who’ll be taking us around London for a couple of days and then whisking us off to their home in rural Shropshire and stuffing us full of pork.  (Mmmm, bacon butties …) Also part of the plan while we’re in London is to meet up with our friend Jay Hepburn of Oh Gosh! and hit a few of his favorite London cocktail bars. (Rumor has it that Morgenthaler will be there too … hoo!)

Then off to see our old friend Dule in Paris, where fantastic food, wine, cocktails, art and everything that is the City of Light awaits.  Finally Barcelona — Gaudí, tapas and … well, everything!  I’m still kind of overwhelmed by the prospect of it all, and I really wish we had more than two weeks to do this.  (Limited vacation days and not being independently wealthy, sigh.)

There should be tons of food and drink porn when we get back.

Cheerio, au revoir y hasta la vista!  See y’all the first week in November.

My favorite movie posters

To be specific, I’d like to talk about my favorite movie poster for a movie I’ve never seen, based upon a novel I’ve never read.

In 1959 the well-known and popular author of Western novels Louis L’Amour wrote one called Taggart (hey, catchy title). I must confess I’ve never read a L’Amour novel, not being a huge fan of Westerns, but I have been wanting to read this one. Here’s the summary from the flap:

Taggart, a novel by Louis L'Amour“His name was Taggart and he rode with a price on his head through the blood-red canyons of Apache country. Behind him was a ruthless bounty hunter — he deadliest lawman in the West. In front of him was a fortune in gold — and a pretty young woman hell-bent on carrying that fortune to safety. Suddenly Taggart was faced with a choice. He could either keep riding and leave the stubborn lady to fate and the Apaches. Or he could stay and help her make it out alive. But for a man like Taggart the answer was simple. He would stay. Even if it meant cutting off his own escape — even if it meant doubling his chance of death.”

Hm, he sounds tougher than I am.

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Lowest of the low?

I spied this on the liquor shelf of a Rite-Aid drugstore in Santa Monica. It was a brand of bottom-shelf rotgut vodka I’d never seen before — plastic bottle, of course — but then I noticed the brand had two varieties. Regular, and … this.

Borski Diluted Vodka

“Borski Diluted Vodka?” The word “diluted” is actually in the name of the product. Bottom-shelf, plastic-bottle vodkas are a dime a dozen, and I pay no attention to them except this time that extremely odd word “diliuted” caught my eye. And diluted it is, to an ABV of 25% (50 proof). Nice and cheap too, about eight bucks for the 1.75 liter plastic bottle.

This seems to be nothing more than a product manufactured and sold solely for the purpose of getting drunk, cheaply, and without burning your mouth quite so much. To top it off, here’s a video review some guy did of it. (F. Paul Pacult needn’t fear for his job.)

The lamest, saddest booze ever? I’m sure that Thunderbird and all the other bum wines are far nastier than this, but in the category of distilled spirits I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite as sad.  Flavorwise, I suppose Victory Gin would be worse, though …

Voilà … Looka!’s spiff new look!

Finally, this place is gonna start looking a bit more like it used to!

As of today, we’ve got the basic look of the blog down.  The theme is based on the free Vesper theme by Valen Designs, which had the kind of layout we were looking for, if not so much the exact look.  (I wasn’t really down wit’ da urnge.)

The custom Looka! theme was designed by my friend Marleigh Riggins Miller of SLOSHED! fame.  Not only is she a terrific cocktails and spirits writer and drink-maker, she’s a very talented graphic designer — the kind of stuff she does for a living — and she did a really lovely job.  It’s still a work-in-progress, and over the next few days or week or two we’ll roll out other features, including navigation along the header with links to full archives, an about page, a list of cocktail recipes (i.e., the old “Cocktail of the Day” feature, which I will gradually import into WordPress going as far back as I can), a page of links (instead of that really long frakkin’ sidebar) and maybe some more.  We’ll see!

I also want to thank my friend Jay Hepburn of Oh Gosh! (the UK’s premier cocktail and spirits weblog, in my humble opinion) for his preliminary work in helping get this place ported to WordPress.  He’s meeting Wesly and me at the Connaught Bar in London next Thursday, and I think there’ll be a drink or three there with his name on ’em.

Onward and upstairs!

It’s a swine of the times

A few weeks back Wesly and I met up with Mary, Steve and Diana at Langer’s Deli, which is widely recognized as having the best pastrami anywhere (and I even know some New York Jews who agree — let the arguing begin!). When we parked at their parking lot a block away, we saw the most bizarre mural painted on the building wall next to it.  For a few minutes we were scratching our heads and saying, “WTF?”


Finally Steve was the one to get it. “It’s swine flu!”   We thought the snot streaming out of the pig’s nose was the killer touch.

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