All the angry little nutjobs…

This popped up on an associate’s feed[1] on the FaceTubes today:

I don’t have many rightwing nutjobs on my feed these days; I suspect they’ve weeded themselves out because of my relentlessly liberal posting of facts (which have a liberal bias, alas). It’s always a bit of a shock, therefore, when I see stuff like this.

This particular blob is of the sneering-at-POLITICALLY CORRECT/WOKE variety, and it’s a particularly stupid one. Let’s see if we can follow its logic.

  • Bald people don’t need to use shampoo.
  • People with hair do need to use shampoo.
  • Bald people are offended if people who do need to use shampoo, use shampoo.


This is what passes for snark on the other side of the aisle.

(I am also perturbed by “At the rate we’re going” and “they’re,” implying that the whole PC/woke thing is an organized conspiracy against the Righteous, but we’ll let that pass for now.)

The problem with this blob is not its logical shambles. The problem is that the speaker/poster chooses to embrace the fact that it is not kind, it is not generous, it is not — dare I say — Christian to use terminology that demeans a marginalized person. It’s essentially a really dumb way to say, “We can’t even say n****r or f****t any more!” They’re mean, and they mean it, and they’re genuinely angry that the rest of us think they’re shitheads just because they’re mean to people.

I felt like replying with something like:

At least my snark punches up, even if it’s no more true than my “associate’s” snark.


[1] I can’t bring myself to refer to these people as “friends.”

New Cocktail: Semele’s Flame

Youssef, if you’re reading this, this one’s for you, kiddo. (Youssef is the charming young waiter/bartender we met at the Semeli Hotel on Mykonos last month. He and I had a great chat one afternoon about cocktails; he, like me, is self-taught, and like me he has invented cocktails. To my shame I have forgotten the name of the cocktail he made for me, but it made me forget I don’t like ouzo or grapefruit juice. Well done, Youssef!)

My traveling party thought it was a no-brainer for the hotel to have a cocktail on its menu that referenced the myth of Semele and Zeus: Zeus got her pregnant, and when Hera found out she disguised herself as a crone and visited Semele. She expressed doubt that the girl’s lover was actually the king of the gods, prompting Semele to beg Zeus to reveal himself in his full glory to her. He refused at first, but eventually he decided to show her just a small portion of his divinity. Unfortunately, even that was too much for the mortal Semele, and she perished in a burst of flame.

(Zeus rescued the unborn child and sewed it up in his thigh; the baby was born from his thigh — Dionysus, who then rescued his mother from Hades and installed her on Olympus. She was in charge of whipping up the Bacchantes into their frenzies.)

So after mulling over the possibilities, here’s what I came up with.

Semele’s Flame

First off, using Metaxa was a no-brainer: It’s a quintessential Greek brandy-based liquor, and it’s quite tasty. I decided to start with a Metaxa version of the Bee’s Knees. (Honey is also a Greek specialty.) It was okay but lacked the punch of the original gin-based cocktail.

Perhaps some herbal notes would help? I experimented with adding a bit of Faccio Bruto Centerbe, a passable substitute for the increasingly rare Green Chartreuse, and it wasn’t bad. I even made a version using actual Green Chartreuse, but thankfully (for my cabinet) the Centerbe was better.

However, it still wasn’t a great cocktail. My next thought was to add some smoke; I settled on mezcal, although I could have gone with a smoky scotch or scotch blend. Much better.

And then, on a whim, I smeared some honey on the rim and rimmed it with a honey/sea salt mixture. (The sea is yet another Greek thing.)



  • 2 oz (60ml) Metaxa (I used the 12-star)
  • ¾ oz (25ml) lemon juice
  • ½ oz (15ml) honey
  • ⅛ oz (5ml) mezcal
  • honey/sea salt* rim

Smear honey around 1/4 of the rim of a martini glass. Dip it in the honey/sea salt mixture.

Add the 1/2 oz of honey to a shaker. (Instead of trying to scoop the honey out of your jigger, use a tablespoon and scrape it from there. 1 tbsp = 1/2 oz)

Add the other ingredients and then stir to dissolve the honey. Add ice, shake, and strain into the martini glass.

*I happened to have a tin of honey/sea salt, but you can make your own by combining granulated honey and fine sea salt, probably in a 1:1 ratio. Experiment.

Pro tip: If you’re going to be making a lot of these, batch the honey and lemon juice mixture (2:3 ratio) so that you don’t have to dissolve the honey each and every time.

Also, it might be interesting to float the mezcal rather than adding it to the shaker. And maybe try barrel-aged honey… More work is required.

update, 5/13/24: Having run out of Metaxa at my birthday gathering last night — Semele’s Flame was very popular — I made one tonight with brandy and am happy to report that it works nearly as well. You could add a dash of rose water for that floral aspect that Metaxa brings. I first tried a peaty scotch, but it vanished in the citrus/honey, so stick to mezcal.

Yes, Republicans, that’s how it works.

Here’s a story I didn’t expect to see:

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $7 Billion Solar for All Grants to Deliver Residential Solar, Saving Low-Income Americans $350 Million Annually and Advancing Environmental Justice Across America

We can now expect to see Republicans melting down over what is clearly an unmitigated good not only for the low-income citizens it affects directly but also for the nation (and the planet) as a whole.

And why would they go all splodey with fake rage over this? For the same reason they always go splodey with rage when a Democratic administration does anything that benefits average Americans: “THEY’RE JUST DOING IT TO BUY VOTES!!!!”

So, Republicans, let me see if I’ve got this straight. If the government does something that benefits the average citizen, and said average citizen thinks, “Hey, you know what, this is a good thing, I think I’ll vote for these guys” — as opposed to the government doing things like banning water or rest breaks in the summer heat for outdoor workers or lowering tax rates on the richest people at the expense of the poorest or driving OB/GYNs from the state because of vague laws criminalizing healthcare, or… — then that’s “buying votes.” Got it.

Have you guys ever thought about doing that, just going with policies and laws that protect and enhance the lives of most of us rather than the corporations and the ultra-rich who are currently — quite frankly — buying your votes?

I guess not. Carry on.

See you at the polls.

update: More of the same at Wonkette.

The Savoy Variations: The Hanky Panky

I’m bored, so I’m taking random cocktail recipes from The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), giving them a try, and modifying/improving them if I think it’s necessary, and reporting my findings here.

The Hanky Panky

[p. 80]

I will admit to some embarrassment about this one. The Hanky Panky is not an obscure cocktail at all, but I am not a fan of the distinctive profile — if I may call it that — of Fernet Branca. And so I’ve never made it. It came up in my reading through the Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails in the H section — y’all should go look up hogo — and I decided to try the thing.


  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 tsp Fernet Branca
  • orange peel
  • stirred, not shaken

It’s pretty amazing. I had two and neglected to get a photo either time. It got added to the bar book on the spot.


  • Savoy: 7
  • Dale: 2
  • Sink: 4

(It might appear that the Savoy is easily winning this game, but I will remind you that most of the recipes are so gross that I’m not wasting my booze on them just to declare victory. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

The Parable of the Mud

Once a man had a vision as he was meditating. He told his friends:

As you know, my practice is to meditate on the four elements — Fire, Water, Earth, Air — and express my gratitude to the spirit of each for what it has granted me in my life.

Last night, as I meditated, I gave thanks to Air for my breath, my mind, for inspiration. In return, Air gave me inspiration and creative breakthroughs.

I thanked Fire for my will, my blood, my passions. Fire gifted me courage and transformation.

With Water I was grateful for my emotions, my unconscious, even my aging and death. Water gave me love, hope, compassion, and dreams.

To Earth I gave thanks for my body and for the earth’s great riches.

But the spirit of Earth in return mocked me: “You presume to thank us, but your pride in your spirit is misplaced. Soon enough you will die and will be nothing more than mud.”


I sat quietly with this thought. I brought to mind the gifts of all four elements, Air, Fire, Water, even Earth — all part of me and the sum of me.

I spoke to Earth. “It is true that I will become mud. But I am not mud now, nor will I become mud until I am Earth again, when I am no longer One of Us.”

Earth was silent.

“And even then, O Earth, I shall be Earth and Air and Water and Fire — I shall be All of Us once again.”

Earth listened.

“And why do you scoff at my mortality, Earth, when you know that soon enough we will all combine again to become a new spirit, a new being, and we will once again be One of Us. You will be One with Us.”

Earth was still silent, but I knew the Earth had blessed me.

“Thank you for this blessing, Earth, for without your harsh truth I might not have found this comfort.”

And his friends marveled.

The Highlights Reel: Part 1

When you transition into the Hoarding Lifestyle — as we have been doing recently — you may uncover a great deal of flotsam.

Did I say ‘may’ uncover? Honey please. It is a dead certainty that you are going to end up with a whole room full of stuff that you have no memory of wanting to keep around.

Behold, Highlights for Children, April 1962. I’ll save you the mental math: that was 62 years ago. I was eight years old, or about to be.

I have no clue as to why I would have saved this particular issue.

I thumbed through it yesterday and was struck by a bunch of things, which I think I shall discuss over a few blog posts.

First of all, it is a product of its time, so occasionally you will find terminology that we would no longer use. (One story is about the main character bringing a baby rabbit to cheer up a “crippled” boy at the “Crippled Children’s Home”; the boy had had polio. Another includes the “fact” that Brazil was “discovered” by Pedro Alvarez Cabral.)

On the whole, however, it is astonishingly inclusive. There are stories/articles about:

  • A Burmese family farming rice
  • A Jewish family celebrating Passover
  • An American boy in a fishing contest
  • The Bible story of Gideon and his soldiers
  • A Iroquois legend about how Native Americans began to fletch their arrows, illustrated by the Chief of the Iroquois
  • The Couperin family of composers/musicians from the 17th century
  • Drawings by children of Tunisia

The texts range from “Preparation for Reading” through “Easy Reading” to “More Advanced Reading,” and there is a chart in the front, a Guide for Parents and Teachers, that lists every item in the issue and has check marks in those columns. (Other columns include “Manners, Conduct, Living with Others”; “Nature and Science”; “Stimulation to Think and Reason”; “Stimulation to Create,” et al.)

At the bottom of many pages is a black star — ★ — indicating a footnote for parents about the thrust of the item:

  • Learning to be kind to trees
  • For arousing kindly feelings towards a boy in Burma
  • For the child when he is ready to have phonics practice
  • Being a selfish or unselfish playmate (yes, this is Goofus and Gallant)

On the whole, I am rather impressed at the magazine’s organization and commitment to reading and learning. (Its founders were both well-known educators.)

And there’s more to discuss! Stay tuned.

The Savoy Variations: Doctor Cocktail

I’m bored, so I’m taking random cocktail recipes from The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), giving them a try, and modifying/improving them if I think it’s necessary, and reporting my findings here.

Doctor Cocktail


This one surprised me a bit, for two reasons: 1) with only two ingredients, this cocktail is far simpler than most in the Savoy; and 2) seeing Swedish Punsch as an ingredient — it’s a bit of a niche liqueur.

Easy enough: 1.5 oz of Kronan Swedish Punsch, .75 oz of lemon juice, et voilá:

It was delicious, hands-down: sweet and tart, very sippable. I made a scaled-down second one using lime juice — equally delicious. I added it to my bar book.


  • Savoy: 6
  • Dale: 2
  • Sink: 4

The Savoy Variations: Morning Cocktail

I’m bored, so I’m taking random cocktail recipes from The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), giving them a try, and modifying/improving them if I think it’s necessary, and reporting my findings here.

The Mule’s Hind Leg Cocktail


I had bookmarked this cocktail some time ago and decided to tackle it, finally, last night.

Ugh. Way too sweet, cloyingly sweet. I tossed it.

I had interpreted the “1/5” to be 1/2 oz, so I revisited the proportions, bumping the gin up to a full ounce and reducing the Bénédictine, syrup, and apricot brandy to 1/4 oz (leaving the applejack at 1/2 oz).

It was still gross. Into the sink.


  • Savoy: 4
  • Dale: 2
  • Sink: 4

So I backed up a page.

Morning Cocktail

[p. 109]

Here I took “1/2” to mean 3/4 oz, and I actually measured the dashes. (One dash is 1/8 tsp, so the 2 dashes were 1/4 tsp — a lot easier than whacking the bitters bottle over the admixture and hoping for the best.)

I wasn’t expecting much from the drink, since I am not a big fan of dry vermouth, and absinthe is always a bully in a cocktail. (“Bully” is an actual cocktail term!)

But incredibly, this drink was very drinkable, with enough layers of flavor to keep it interesting. For once, the absinthe played nicely with its neighbors. I will give this drink another whirl.


  • Savoy: 5
  • Dale: 2
  • Sink: 4

How they do it, part #3,967

I was all geared up to deconstruct the vicious rhetorical fuppery used by the appallingly incompetent Katie Britt, an actual Senator from Alabama, in her official GOP response to President Biden’s State of the Union address last week, but Gary Legum did a great job over at the inestimable Wonkette, so I’m going to take a different tack.

For those who are not going to click over to Wonkette, Legum’s analysis of Britt’s Big Lie about the 12-year-old girl who was sex-trafficked is spot on: what Britt did was a) mention Biden, b) tell horrific story [that had nothing to do with Biden or his administration], c) punctuate the story by mentioning Biden again, thus tying him in the listener’s mind to this woman’s sex trafficking nightmare.

This is not an anomaly. It is the go-to rhetorical structure for almost all of right-wing discourse, as I’ve covered before here and here. That was brought home to me yesterday when yet another Imprimis[1] from Hillsdale College arrived in my mailbox. For those who are unaware, Hillsdale is a rightwing cesspit, dedicated to keeping the amygdala-based lifeforms fed with fear and anger.

These things come every now and then, addressed to my late mother. I don’t disabuse them of their mistake, because it’s costing them money to mail this thing to someone who skims the main essay, snorts, then throws the thing in the trash (disregarding the mail-in ‘give us your money’ envelope as part of the process), and I’m on board with that. Vive le résistance.

Because I’m in that kind of mood, I red-penciled the thing and flunked Todd Bensman. Let’s see what I found.

First of all, the thing is loaded with panic words, disgust words, and weasel words. Keep those categories in mind.

It is chock full of post hoc, propter hoc fallacies, i.e., putting factoid after another and allowing the reader to infer that the first is the cause of the second.

Finally, the rhetorical trick of elision is a constant issue.

The whole thing is a vector of ooga booga, designed to inject panic and fear directly into the veins of the reader. Check out the front page there: beyond imagining, tsunami, unfathomable, smashed every record, stair-stepping fashion. The rest of the pamphlet sustains that with phrases like public outrage, some may commit acts of terrorism, and the like. Its whole purpose is stir outrage.

To make it easier on both of us, let’s go with bullet points. I’ll quote the essay, then explain the issue with it.

  • “Of the over 7.6 million illegals encountered by the Border Patrol since 2021…” First of all, illegals is a disgust word, a trigger for the amygdala-based lifeforms. Elision: What, exactly, constitutes an “encounter”? Is it an arrest? What? Also, since 2021: that was three years ago. I know, they’re trying to pin it on the Biden administration. I should note here that there are no footnotes, no references, no sources cited.
  • “But with the percentage of those allowed to stay now approaching 100 percent, if current trends hold, the total allowed to remain in the U.S. under the Biden administration will reach ten million by next January.” Weasel words: “approaching” and “if the current trends hold.” This is their get-out-of-lying-free card.
  • At no point does the estimable Todd Bensman dare to explain why so many people are desperate to come to the U.S., probably because the U.S. helped cause the conditions in their homeland that makes them want to get the hell out of there. And you think he’s ever going to acknowledge climate-change as a cause, either now or in the future? Pfft.
  • He does ask “Who are these people?” at one point, but then just gives numbers, not details about who they actually are. Todd Bensman does not give a fupp about the humans whose lives he is so cavalier about.
  • “More than 330 as of November 2023 are on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.” Did you catch that? Elision: as of — in other words, in total, ever. Mr. Bensman wants you to think that at least 330 terrorists are admitted to the U.S. every year, when in fact that number is a total number (since when, he does not say) — and clearly, the total number of people on the terrorist watch list who were caught, not admitted.
  • “Many are murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and violent criminals.” Weasel words: “many.” How many, Todd? Are these the ones who are allowed into the country? How do you know?
  • “More than a million have been lawfully ordered deported by judges in the U.S. but remain in our country regardless.” Elision: Possibly because of due process? Also a bit of panic: “regardless” — THEY’RE STILL HERE, KENNETH!
  • “Never before have the Border Patrol’s 19,000 agents been ordered to abandon vast stretches of the border to conduct administrative intake duty. Elision: “administrative intake duty” = what the rest of us call “legal immigration process.” Also, Todd, check with your congressional team to see how they voted on the recent immigration bill, which would have increased funding for border security, exactly like you’ve been screaming for. Panic: “never before”!!!!!1!! KENNETH!
  • “And never has there been anything like the current conveyor-belt policy to distribute millions of illegals through the American interior.” Panic words: OMG, KENNETH, NOT THE AMERICAN INTERIOR!!!!1! (It’s also a lie.)
  • “One can only assume that the reason for this is partisan bias…” Weasel words: Any time you see the words “assume” or “probably” or “may,” the writer is going for plausible deniability of an untruth.
  • “It is probably not coincidental that hospital systems across the nation have fallen deep into the red since the great mass migration crisis began.” Yeah, it’s probably those filthy illegals who did that, not the red states’ refusal to expand Medicaid in their domains. And it couldn’t possibly be the grotesque for-profit healthcare system we continue to inflict on ourselves. It has to be the immigrants, right? Also, panic words: “great mass migration crisis.”
  • “…to care for the hundreds of thousands showing up with hands out.” Disgust words: “hands out,” because those filthy illegals are only coming here for the freebies, right?
  • “Some percentage will commit crimes…” Weasel words: “Some percentage.” What percentage, Todd? At this point in time, data shows that the crime rate for non-citizens in this country, “illegal” or not, is far below the crime rate of actual citizens. (See Alabama, to pick one state at almost random.)
  • “One prays not, but some may also commit acts of terrorism.” Panic words: Honey, please.
  • “…this great influx will increase joblessness and put immense downward pressure on wages for American workers.” We now await Mr. Bensman’s call to rigorously prosecute companies that illegally hire undocumented workers at less than minimum wage, resulting in stiff criminal and financial penalties.
  • In a paragraph about determining whether a political action will increase or decrease the chances of immigrants taking the risk to try to come here, we get “… in the ongoing standoff in Texas, placing razor wire at the border as the Texas Governor ordered done will clearly decrease the odds…” Since this is a family blog, I cannot transcribe what I scrawled over that, but suffice it to say that this one sentence encapsulates the rightwing’s attitude towards the lives of the less fortunate, and my reaction was righteous if obscene.
  • Finally, he lists five steps that we could take to reduce all this illegal immigration. None of them do anything to fund and improve the immigration process itself, but rather are all punitive and destructive, i.e., rightwing values.
  • He concludes with “Too many of our elected leaders have selfish reasons to let the border crisis continue…” Panic words: “selfish reasons” — If, as Todd is bluntly stating, we are faced with a tsunami of immigrants, most of whom are terrorists and rapists, what “reasons” could any politician have for wanting this to continue?? This is just a dog whistle to those who want to believe in conspiracy theories among the powerful.

That was a lot, and I haven’t begun to do any kind of deep dive on the actual problems with our immigration policy, which are many, and this post is already too long. I will just say that a major solution to the problem is to go big on actual immigration: make it clear, make it easy, make it fair. You want to keep terrorists and rapists out? Great! Show me how you would do that without just shutting the door and stringing razor wire across our back yard.

Here’s the deal: If the rightwing — Katie Britt, Todd Bensman, et al. — could construct a rigorously logical argument to support their ideas, they would. But they can’t. All they can do is scare the amygdala-based lifeforms into supporting their agenda with rhetorical fuppery. Stay alert and count the silver.


[1] Imprimis translates from the Latin as “first of all,” which is what rightwingers see their rightful place in society as.

I wish to make a complaint.

This morning I headed to Target to buy a shower mirror for our newly renovated shower. As I walked toward the store, this is what I saw:

Very new-looking Dodge, one of those vehicles I call “cockroach cars” because of their tendency to be zooming from lane to lane in speeds far in excess of me, who is already speeding. I am predisposed to dislike anyone who drives one, but I mean, WHAT THE HELL, ASSHOLE?

Let us assume for a moment that this car is incredibly precious to you. I can see where it might far exceed your normal income level to have bought it, and you are particularly anxious that it not be dinged by some negligent person parked next to you, and so you deliberately park directly on the line to provide that necessary space.

Fine. I get it. But here’s the deal, ASSHOLE: a decent person would have driven to the far end of the parking lot to pull that stunt and walked the extra dozen yards to the store. Your cockroach car would have been safe, and you would not have proclaimed yourself as an ASSHOLE to everyone around.

But you’re not a decent person, are you, ASSHOLE? You deliberately blocked a handicapped space merely to protect your cockroach car. To put it extremely simply, you have no sympathy for other human beings. You and your material possessions come before any other person’s needs or rights, isn’t that right? Screw any handicapped person who needs that space — your need to keep your cockroach car new and shiny, plus your desire to park as close as you can so as not to inconvenience yourself, trumps any other human’s needs. You’re basically a MAGA Republican, in spirit and deed if not in party alignment.

I made my purchase and was about to leave, but my conscience made me go back and report this to the cashier, who was as appalled as I and who called their security.

As I exited the store, however, there was the ASSHOLE driving her precious cockroach car away. I should have reported it when I went in.

By the way, ASSHOLE, I have done you an incredible favor of blurring out your license plate, although nothing would give me more vindictive pleasure than to publicly shame you. If you are in fact capable of shame.