Frakkin’ A! Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome is here!

I have been waiting for this for a very long time. Ten webisodes starting today, 2-hour movie (and, I hope, official series pilot to then be picked up) in February 2013. Read more here. Now watch it. I’m going to wait until I get home so I can see it on the largest screen possible.

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

So say we all!

 

Four more years.

Rachel Maddow:

We are not going to have a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more Antonin Scalias and Samuel Alitos added to this court.

We’re not going to repeal health reform. Nobody is going to kill Medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation fight it out on the open market to try to get themselves health insurance. We are not going to do that.

We are not going to give a 20 percent tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kids’ health insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut.

We’re not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control under the insurance plan that you’re on.

We are not going to redefine rape.

We are not going to amend the United States Constitution to stop gay people from getting married.

We are not going to double Guantanamo.

We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of Education or housing at the federal level.

We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the military does not want. We are not scaling back on student loans because the country’s new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents.

We are not vetoing the DREAM Act. We are not self-deporting. We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt.

We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in January. We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help and there was no apology, not ever.

We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with architects of the Iraq war. We are not going to do it.

We had the choice to do that if we wanted to do that, as a country. And we said no, last night, loudly.

Emphasis mine.

The Reagan Era is over. The myth that this is a “center-right” country is dead. This is a center-left country. The growing majority in this country believe more in the social contract than in I-got-mine-buddy-get-yours selfishness and non-altruistic individualism. This country believes more in the liberal fashion of letting people live their lives for who they are, they way they want to, rather than the conservative fashion of “we’re going to make you live your lives the way we want you to live your lives.” It’s concern for your fellow humans and citizens over concern for nothing other than your wallet, and I don’t believe there’s any turning back.

If you happened to have FOX “News” turned on, you saw a spectacle for the ages, and some truly great television. It seemed as if not a single conservative saw this coming. Why? “They were operating at a self-imposed information disadvantage.” Conor Friersdorf:

It is easy to close oneself off inside a conservative echo chamber. And right-leaning outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh’s show are far more intellectually closed than CNN or public radio. If you’re a rank-and-file conservative, you’re probably ready to acknowledge that ideologically friendly media didn’t accurately inform you about Election 2012. Some pundits engaged in wishful thinking; others feigned confidence in hopes that it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy; still others decided it was smart to keep telling right-leaning audiences what they wanted to hear. [...]

Conservatives were at a disadvantage because Romney supporters like Jennifer Rubin and Hugh Hewitt saw it as their duty to spin constantly for their favored candidate rather than being frank about his strengths and weaknesses. What conservative Washington Post readers got, when they traded in Dave Weigel for Rubin, was a lot more hackery and a lot less informed about the presidential election.

Conservatives were at an information disadvantage because so many right-leaning outlets wasted time on stories the rest of America dismissed as nonsense. WorldNetDaily brought you birtherism. Forbes brought you Kenyan anti-colonialism. National Review obsessed about an imaginary rejection of American exceptionalism, misrepresenting an Obama quote in the process, and Andy McCarthy was interviewed widely about his theory that Obama, aka the Drone Warrior in Chief, allied himself with our Islamist enemies in a “Grand Jihad” against America. Seriously?

Conservatives were at a disadvantage because their information elites pandered in the most cynical, self-defeating ways, treating would-be candidates like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain as if they were plausible presidents rather than national jokes who’d lose worse than George McGovern.

How many months were wasted on them?

How many hours of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories did Fox News broadcast to its viewers? How many hours of transparently mindless Sean Hannity content is still broadcast daily? Why don’t Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy as they once did? In part because conservatism hasn’t grappled with the foreign-policy failures of George W. Bush. A conspiracy of silence surrounds the subject. Romney could neither run on the man’s record nor repudiate it. The most damaging Romney gaffe of the campaign, where he talked about how the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes are a lost cause for Republicans? Either he was unaware that many of those people are Republican voters, or was pandering to GOP donors who are misinformed. Either way, bad information within the conservative movement was to blame.

In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism, tax cuts are the only way to raise revenue, adding neoconservatives to a foreign-policy team reassures American voters, Benghazi was a winning campaign issue, Clint Eastwood’s convention speech was a brilliant triumph, and Obama’s America is a place where black kids can beat up white kids with impunity. Most conservative pundits know better than this nonsense — not that they speak up against it. They see criticizing their own side as a sign of disloyalty. I see a coalition that has lost all perspective, partly because there’s no cost to broadcasting or publishing inane bullshit. In fact, it’s often very profitable. A lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption.

This is a come-to-Jesus moment, conservatives. Can we please just blow up Bullshit Mountain? If you have feasible, workable ideas for the future of this country, we want to hear them. But the voters have demonstrated that this country is tired of all the bullshit, hysteria, negativity and outright lies. Back to Rachel:

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately president of the United States, again.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.

And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing.

And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone`s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually.

And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And U.N. election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism. [...]

Last night the Republicans got shellacked, and they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it, even as it was happening to them.

And unless they are going to is secede, they are going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them, but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center. You guys, we’re counting on you. Wake up.

There are real problems in the world. There are real, knowable facts in the world. Let’s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let’s move on from there.

If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.

Amen.

We’re also tired of the obstructionism (and we’re keenly aware of the fact that the ONLY reason the Republicans held on to the House was the Republican-skewed gerrymandering that happened during the redistricting of 2012). It’s time to start cooperating and working together instead of being the Party of No. Conservatives, if you refuse it truly is the death of your party. From now on, the words “tea party” should only refer to a gathering of people who consume a hot brewed beverage.

Is Obama a perfect leader? By no means. He’s achieved amazing things (despite the Republicans’ destructive goal of attempting to block everything he wanted to do), achieved actual health care reform for the first time (as flawed as it is) but kept and even escalated some egregious elements of the Bush administration. There are four more years to correct that path now.

And what did the American people achieve last night?

There are now more women serving in Congress than any time in history.

We have the first openly gay senator, and the first Asian-American female senator (who’s also Buddhist; as someone amusingly put it, “There go your religious rights, conservatives!” … not).

Marriage equality passed by initiative in three states and a fourth refused to constitutionally ban it. That barn door can never be closed now.

It’s time for America to move forward. Live long and prosper.

 

A darker flower

You may remember the Golden Dahlia. If you do, I both commend and thank you. Commend, because your memory may be tenacious as the proverbial better mousetrap. Thank, because that’s a drink I’m still quite proud of, and one that I think is simple in all the good, even the best ways. What has this got to do with anything? Read on.

I like Kraken. Hell, I have a certain fondness for Captain Morgan’s, as long as it’s in a Cable Car (which I first tasted and enjoyed, believe it or not, at the beautiful Petrossian Bar at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas). But yeah, I like Kraken, I think it’s a fine product, and I’ve wanted for the longest time to do something interesting with it. But what, O what would that be?

That was indeed the question. You could arguably call me lazy, but I was quite happy to fall back on a formula I had previously established as successful, at least as a start. On various evenings, I tried two or perhaps three slightly different variations on the Golden Dahlia theme (rum + amaro modifier) with Kraken as the base spirit and various amari as modifier. Despite my mental conjurations and resultant high expectations, none were successful. (I can be a harsh and demanding but realistic judge of my own efforts.) I found myself feeling frustrated and thwarted. Deep down, I knew this should work. Why did it not?

Weeks went by.

I mean, seriously. I’m not joking. Weeks went by. I pondered, but did not know what to do. And then…the magic happened. As it has done before, but still. I said something along the lines of, “I’m happy with this as far as it goes, but I want it to be, you know, punchier somehow.” And yet I didn’t know quite what to do to punch it up. Fortunately, Chuck had a thought: “I know what will give it some oomph.” The moving finger writes, and having writ, etc.

And so: Kraken, because I like it. (I have a superawesome long-sleeve promo t-shirt! Which, yes, I do wear!) Ramazzotti, because I do so love a good amaro, especially as a rum modifier. Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum, for the oomph. Luxardo Fernet, because it reminds me of NYC (where I first tasted it, at Babbo), and for its clean yet complex flavor that for me is like unto Fernet Branca, but with clear black pepper rather than menthol. Orange bitters, for their brightness.

Considering her dark hue and kinship with her lighter, golden sibling, and meaning and intending no disrespect of poor Elizabeth Short, I have called this concoction:

Black Dahlia
created by Wesly Moore and Chuck Taggart

2 oz. Kraken Black Spiced Rum
3/4 oz. Ramazzotti
1/4 Lemon Hart 151
Barspoon Luxardo Fernet
3-4 dashes orange bitters (your preference; I like Miracle Mile, Regan’s No. 6, and Angostura)

Stir over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist, if you feel extravagant; it is quite fine without.

Dark. Bitter. Mysterious.

You may enjoy it.

Again?

You had to show up on the seventh anniversary of Katrina? Isaac, you’re a dick.

On the good side, this storm is not anything like Katrina. It’s smaller, less organized, and landed as a Category 1. The storm surge is not as high, nor are the winds. New Orleans has a competent and intelligent mayor running the city this time. (My favorite quote from his now-happening press conference, regarding looters: “If you loot, you’re gettin’ an orange suit.” Speaking of which, looting incidents have been minimal; only four reported, and all looting suspects were arrested.) The New Orleans levee and floodwall system is holding up well.

On the bad side … it’s a lot of wind and rain. A lot. Lots of trees, street signs and light poles are down in New Orleans, plus power lines down and transformers blown. Most of the city is without power, there’s some street flooding although it’s not too bad, varying amounts of debris on the streets (which nobody should be trying to traverse now anyway). Gambit just tweeted that “there’s crap all over the roads in the CBD.”) It’s not an apocalyptic disaster but there’s damage and it’s a huge mess.

Everybody I know back home is okay so far but nerves are frayed. People are concerned, nervous and irritated (although some, like my friend Andrew, are defiant). Even worse, the storm keeps stalling and moving very slowly, and won’t get the frak out of the area in a timely manner. The analogy I keep seeing from the NOLA Twitterverse is that Isaac is like that unwanted guest at your party who gets sloppy drunk, makes a big mess, and stays way too long. It’s going to go on all day today and it’s going to be tomorrow before things let up.

People keep saying that this stalling is what makes it feel like a lot more than “just” a Category 1. It’s been worse than expected, especially down in Plaquemines, Grand Isle, etc. It’s been downgraded back to a tropical storm by Wednesday afternoon, but that’s still a lot of wind and rain that’s sitting on top of southeast Louisiana and crawling like a snail.

On the worse side … lower Plaquemines Parish is bad. There’s been levee overtopping and severe flooding in Braithwaite, Louisiana, with flood waters overtopping roofs and over 100 people have had to be rescued so far.

Then there’s the dumbass national media.

As my pal Ed Branley pointed out … BRAITHWAITE IS NOT NEW ORLEANS. It’s outside the levee protection system. It’s a local levee that was overtopped, not the federal levees. Showing images of Braithwaite and telling the country that New Orleans is flooded is wrong and irresponsible. As Mayor Landrieu said, “Sometimes the national media has a challenge with geography.” To say the least. Apparently it’s too much of a challenge for them to, oh, look at a map or know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth.

I keep hearing a lot of complaints about some asshat on the Weather Channel who’s got a boner for panic-inducing statements and demeanor, too. I don’t know why anyone would watch anything but local news right now anyway. We may not have Nash Roberts anymore, but I want the locals who are following in his footsteps. I want Angela Hill and Bob Breck and Margaret Orr. Screw the Weather Channel and the Wall Street Journal; here’s what you should be watching:

WDSU
WGNO
WVUE
WWL

DirecTV Channel 325 is alternating between all these stations’ news coverage as well.

That said, Ed said that the aforementioned stations have been failing at social media. Apparently WWL outsources its socal media outside the city, and the other stations haven’t been doing a good job with it. If you’re following on Twitter, here are some feeds you should be following:

@YatPundit
@The_Gambit
@nolaready
@FleurtyGirl

There’s gonna be another day of this. Hang in there, Louisiana.

A Black Manhattan in Little Italy

I love happy accidents.

As we planned our long-awaited first trip to New York City, I asked lots of folks for advice. One came from New York transplant-to-L.A. bartender Joe Swifka, who among other places highly recommended Torrisi Italian Specialties in Little Italy. I looked them up, found them highly regarded and looked forward to our visit. However, I somehow failed to notice that they’re closed on Mondays, which was the day we of course chose to go there.

Frak. Now what?

Well, here we are on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. As if this is the only restaurant anywhere around! I know that Mulberry Street has developed into something of a tourist trap, but I’d heard that there were good new places to be found, with a little help from the Internets. We walked across the street and a couple of doors down and found a place that was open, a place I wasn’t familiar with called Rubirosa Ristorante .. where I proceeded to have some of the best Italian food I’d ever had.

Rubirosa Ristorante, 235 Mulberry Street, Little Italy, NYC

Happy accidents. Love ‘em. More on the food in a bit.

I was very taken by their cocktail menu, too. Out of ten cocktails listed, four contained amaro of some kind and all of them looked really good. This was the one that really attracted my attention, though.

It wouldn’t be difficult to detect a particular joy for Manhattan variations on this weblog and in my taste, and this was one I hadn’t come across before. It’s simple, just swapping out the sweet Italian vermouth for a bittersweet Sicilian amaro called Averna, which is one of my favorites — herbal, bitter but quite pleasant, citrusy, with a touch of floral and caramel flavors and a hint of licorice. Dashes of aromatic and orange bitters give the cocktail even more backbone. This was a wonderful drink, and another great example of how something fairly simple — two ingredients and a couple of dashes of bitters — could also be so complex.

Captivated as I was, for some reason I took a picture of the menu to remember the drink selection and not a picture of the ruttin’ drink, which I was happy to reproduce at home with a quick and dirty Instagram snap.

Black Manhattan

BLACK MANHATTAN

2 ounces rye whiskey (Rittenhouse 100 proof, preferably)
1 ounce Amaro Averna
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash orange bitters (Miracle Mile or Regans’ would be my choice)

Combine with ice, stir for 20-30 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail couple.
Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

This would not be my only Black Manhattan in New York, either … I received another one as a welcoming cocktail in another borough. More on that in another post. First, the food!

The pizza at Rubirosa was some of the best I’ve ever had, right up there with Domenica in New Orleans. This is real Italian-style pizza, not swill from corporate delivery trucks. Fresh ingredients, thin, crisp crust with sauce almost all the way to the edge, which itself is crisp and crunchy like a cracker — my very favorite style of pizza crust. This one is sweet sausage, broccoli rabe, roasted garlic and mozzarella (my favorite of the two, although I enjoyed both):

Pizza with sweet sausage, broccoli rabe, roasted garlic & mozzarella

Also, mushroom, prosciutto, peas and pecorono:

Pizza with mushroom, prosciutto, peas and pecorino cheese

Spaghetti alla chitarra, with meatballs. Perfect house-made pasta, perfect meatballs. My granny wasn’t Italian but if I had a Nonna she’d have said, “Not bad!” Which would mean, just about the best ever although probably not as good as hers because nobody’s is, even though she doesn’t exist. (Following? No? Have another Black Manhattan.)

Spaghetti alla chitarra, with meatballs.

This was easily the best cannoli I’ve ever had. Leave the gun. DEFINITELY take this cannoli.

The filling was light as a feather yet still rich, and not as dense and overpowering as some cannoli tend to be. Perfectly crisp shell, filled by hand to order and not sitting around getting soggy all day. Perfetto!

The best cannoli I've ever had

We had a few other things as well — some very good arancine, some lovely wine. I didn’t take a lot of photos that day, as we were too busy just having a great meal and great drinks and a great time with our friends, all of whom were mercilessly slagging me for how completely banjaxed I got at the Midtown gastropub where he had dinner following my epic cocktail consumption the night before at Clover Club. I suppose I had that coming.

 

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