New (unnamed) cocktail (but now named)

I’d like to name this one Upside-Down New York Sour, because that’s what it is, but that’s just unwieldy.

A New York Sour is as follows:

New York Sour

  • 2 oz rye or bourbon
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz red wine

Combine the first three ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass. Float the red wine on top.

It’s a tasty, elegant cocktail; it served as the inspiration for my Rose-Colored G.

Now it has inspired this:

New York Sunset (formerly known as Inverse Sour)

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1-¾ oz oleo saccharum (recipe to follow)
  • ½ oz Barolo Chinato Cocchi

One is supposed to shake any admixture containing citrus juices, but I must admit I just poured the bourbon and oleo saccharum straight into the glass. More work is required. It probably could benefit from a lemon peel garnish as well.

So mix the first two ingredients, and then add the Barolo Chinato Cocchi. I had not considered that this fortified wine might have a different specific gravity than regular red wine, so I was a little disappointed when it didn’t float but rather sank to the bottom. (It occurs to me that this is more like a Tequila Sunrise in looks…)

No matter: It is a very tasty, sophisticated drink.

Note: It is also a fairly expensive drink, given the cost of the Barolo. But if you can swing it, it’s worth it.

Oleo Saccharum Sour Mix

There are multiple versions of this recipe online. This is the one I’ve settled on, but you can do all lemons, or any variety of orange instead of grapefruit.

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 large lemon
  • .4–.5 cup sugar
  • .5 cup lemon juice

Peel the grapefruit and the lemon. Place the peels in a medium bowl; add the sugar.  Muddle the peels with the sugar about a minute.

Leave for 4–6 hours.  The oils from the peels will puddle at the bottom of the bowl.

Add the lemon juice and stir to dissolve all the sugar.

Strain into a container. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Now to name it. Sour Sunrise? Barolo Sunrise? Barolo Sunset? Bloody-Bottomed Sour? Or how about plain old Newnan Sour?

UPDATE: Alan Brown on Facebook has suggested New York Sunset, which I think is perfectly cromulent. I’ll see if it sticks.

UPDATE 2: Having checked to see if such a cocktail with that name already existed — it does not — I am claiming the name for this drink.

Dishevelment update, 1/11/21

No, I still have not gotten a haircut.

It’s been a full year, and I’m rather enjoying my long, luscious locks, actually. They’re long enough to hit my shoulders now; when I pull it back with my Longhair Guys‘ hair ties, it now forms a man-bun rather than a stumpy little ponytail.

Yeah, I’m cool. Especially now that I have cut off the weird strands at my temples that looked more like a Seuss character’s sideburns than not. (Sorry, no photo of that phenomenon.)

Now I’m in the phase of figuring out what most women and dedicated longhair guys already know: how to maintain it so that it doesn’t always look like the mugshot of someone who believes Trump won the election.

The problem is that my hair has always been superfine, and it’s only since I’ve gone gray that it has had any body at all. If I had done this when I was younger, I’d be on my way to pulling off Jared Leto or Elrond at this point. But as you can see, it tends to wave, so I’m having to explore that delicate balance between the RIGHT SHAMPOO, KENNETH, conditioner, and frequency. NOT TO MENTION PRODUCT, KENNETH. Ugh. Too much work.

With vaccines here — I’ve had my first dose — it will eventually be safe enough to get a haircut, and then I will have to face the question: do I want to keep the long hair?

I don’t know. Probably not. It’s a lot to deal with, and I’m really over having to keep it out of my eyes. But I have enjoyed it; it’s been a great way to recognize the disruptive nature of the pandemic. If you can’t break down societal expectations during the plague, when can you?



The least of these

Last night, there was some kind of political news show on the television which had as a guest some evangelical preacher who was exhorting us all to vote for “LIBERTY, KENNETH,” and he actually said this:

“It is not the government’s job to take care of poor people. The only job the government has is to keep our citizens safe from …” and here he kind of sputtered around, but his point was that maintaining a police state was the only function of the United States government.

Of all the conservative shysters out there, none is more puzzling — nor more infuriating — than this creature.

If he had been pressed, he would have told you in no uncertain terms that it is the Church’s job to take care of poor people, i.e., individual charity, not some nefarious government agency. As far as he is concerned, this is a “one of us should take care of this” thing, not an “all of us should take care of this” thing.

If you are a sincere Christian, then you understand what Jesus told you to do: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the oppressed. Sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, etc., etc. So yes, it is the Church’s responsibility — but here’s the deal: would you not then want your government to reflect those values? How could you possibly think that God had commanded you to care for the least of these but that he/she would find a government embodying that principle to be abhorrent?

Especially since the people who promote this repellent dichotomy are also pushing as hard as they can for a theocracy — they want the government run according to “God’s laws,” BUT NOT THE CHARITY TO THE POOR PART.

How does this make sense?[1]


[1] It does not make sense. These Xtianists are full of shit.


This image popped up this morning in Cory Doctorow’s Twitter feed:

It’s a cover illustration by one Earle Bergey from back in the Good Old Days, when Men had forelocks and Women were all Princess Leia, and it occurred to me that it represents almost completely the mindset of the Trump voter.

Wait, where are you going? I can explain.

First, it’s clearly an illustration for some rip-roaring yarn of SPACE ADVENTURE, KENNETH, in which the writer just made up stuff without any regard to science or how space travel might actually work. (Notice how the babe is leaning against the window in terror (as one does); she is clearly not dealing with weightlessness.) It stars the Heroic Manly Man who has to save the Rita Hayworth clone BARE-HANDEDLY, KENNETH, not to mention all by himself. I have no way of knowing how they found themselves in this predicament, but it probably involved sabotage by nefarious foreigners/aliens.

The writer might have been some well-known author — many did write for the pulps — but probably not. Even if they were a respected writer elsewhere, they just cranked out these stories for the pulps every week, getting paid by the word. Imagine the scriptwriters for Hallmark holiday movies, only IN SPACE. Neither reality nor plausibility has anything to do with it.

Now create in your mind the reader of this stuff. It would be someone who was not only ignorant of physics and human nature but also willing to accept the unreality of the tale as perfectly cromulent. He sees himself (let’s face it, it’s a guy) in the Heroic Manly Man, whose world makes perfect sense to him.

Then there’s this:

To Clay the free…, it’s simple: all Trump has to do is put on his Heroic Manly Man suit and… fire the Supreme Court. To Clay, this is perfectly cromulent. It’s what he would do in the same situation, and it’s obvious that this is the solution to the problem. You just “destroy” the enemy. Pew-pew-pew!

Of course, Clay’s vision of how the world works is wrong. It is no more realistic or plausible than 1940s science fiction. But Clay has no other way of looking at the world and — this is critical — he is not interested in any other way of looking at the world. The facts of space travel/constitutional government are completely irrelevant to his worldview, and that’s the way he likes it.



For the last couple of months — and especially since the election — I have been reminded of a sci-fi short story I read in my youth. Thanks to my friends on Facebook: my bare recollection of the plot was enough for them to find the story for me: “The Men Return,” by Jack Vance.

In this story, Earth has entered a “pocket of non-causality,” and cause-and-effect no longer exist:

Far away rose low hills, blurring into the sky, which was mottled and sallow like poor milk-glass. The intervening plain spread like rotten velvet, black-green and wrinkled, streaked with ocher and rust. A fountain of liquid rock jetted high in the air, branched out into black coral. In the middle distance a family of gray objects evolved with a sense of purposeful destiny: spheres melted into pyramids, became domes, tufts of white spires, sky-piercing poles; then, as a final tour de force, tesseracts.

Needless to say, the Relicts, the survivors of humanity, are on their last legs. The Organisms, on the other hand, have adapted quite well:

Out on the plain one of the Organisms, Alpha, sat down, caught a handful of air, a globe of blue liquid, a rock, kneaded them together, pulled the mixture like taffy, gave it a great heave. It uncoiled from this hand like rope.

When you can manipulate matter, feeding yourself is not an issue, I suppose. It’s kind of like being rich.

Anyway, Finn is our hero Relict, and the action of the story involves him trying to find enough food to stay alive. I’ll spare you the details.

The reason this story popped up in my mind is how it ends: the Earth emerges from the pocket of non-causality, and the Organisms, who have spent the entire story as satisfied inhabitants of a Dali painting, are suddenly bollixed:

Alpha [who has had a vision of the future] cried, “Here is my intuition! It is exactly as I knew. The freedom is gone; the tightness, the constriction are back!”

“How will we defeat it?” asked another Organism.

“Easily,” said a third. “Each must fight a part of the battle. I  plant to hurl myself at the sun, and blot it from existence.” And he crouched, threw himself into the air. He fell on his back and broke his neck.

One of the other Organisms attempted to step across as crevasse twenty feet wide and disappeared into it; the other sat down, swallowed rocks to assuage his hunger, and presently went into convulsions.

And so forth.

The story is a lot clunkier than I remember it, and there’s a bit of Heroic Manly Manliness from Finn that is laughable now, but watching Trump voters these days reminds me of the Organisms and their plight: once cause and effect return, once verifiable and reliable reality rule the day, they cannot cope. They flee into QAnon, or the legal boondoggles of Lin Wood/Sidney Powell/Rudy Giuliani, or Parler, and they burrow into ever-narrowing concentric circles, ever-crazier theories about how they’re winning, going to win, eventually will win — and then we’ll all be sorry, KENNETH.


What does it MEEEEEAN???

I don’t think I’ve blogged specifically about this, but, you guys, I seem to have a cosmic connection with the New York Times crossword puzzle. Multiple times in a week, either in the daily puzzle or the mega-collection of Sunday puzzles I amuse myself with of an evening (I’m on my second book, thank you very much), something will evince itself in my life that is a direct reference to a clue/answer in the very puzzle I am working on.

It’s bizarre. My Lovely First Wife  is the TV watcher in the family,  and as we sit watching The Crown or The Good Place or whatever hellish Hallmark holiday movie she’s binging, I’ll be working on  a puzzle in my recliner, and pop! as I work on a clue, it’s referenced in Holiday Princess or whatever the hell we’re watching.

Don’t believe me? This just happened and I came upstairs to blog about it.

This morning, a former neighbor dropped by with some fresh-baked bread and a few other things. One of the items in the bag, which she oddly did not mention, was this:

This is a dragon fruit. I knew what it was, but what I didn’t know is what to do with it.

So off I go to the intertubes to find out. First stop, Wikipedia, which alas was all scientific without any regard to those of us who had to consume the thing.

The only thing Wikipedia had to say was this:

Dragon fruit is used to flavor and color juices and alcoholic beverages, such as ‘Dragon’s Blood Punch’ and the ‘Dragotini.’

Alcoholic beverage, you say? Show me that footnote.

Small, Ernest (2011). Top 100 Exotic Food Plants. CRC Press. p. 105. ISBN 9781439856888. Archived from the original on 18 November 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.

I followed the link, which led to:

Did you get that?

An Ivan Dragotini.



Today’s (Nov 25, 2020) New York Times crossword:


What does it meeean???

Dishevelment Update, 11/04/20

For those who are just joining us, I have not had a haircut since Jan 2020 because of THE PANDEMIC, KENNETH, and it doesn’t look as if I’m going to be able to get one any time soon, either. Yes, I know the salons are open, and I see guys every day who clearly have had their locks shorn professionally, but it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m going to be stubborn about this.

I last updated you five months ago, and since then I have moved past hairbands into hair ties, starting with a couple that my Lovely First Wife loaned me and then moving into actual boy hair ties, you guys. I came across the Longhairs last month, and I fell for their charming shtick and their cool products, plus their support of Children with Hair Loss. (I don’t think my hair will get that long, and I’m not sure how many kids want distinguished salt & pepper tresses.) Cool guys.

Here I was last month, with a hair tie.

And here I am yesterday, with my now-leonine dishevelment.

I have to say that this is pretty rakish. I like it. Took me eleven months to get here, but now it’s good.

Pro tip: last month a random encounter with another couple whose male half was also disheveling led me to the use of simple pomade to help control the hair and make it more styled. I bought two pomades to try, one with medium hold/matte finish and the other with light hold/sheen finish. Both work.

And as rakish as I look in selfies, the hair still bothers me if I have work in the labyrinth to do or supper to cook; on goes the hairband. And I have taken to wearing one of the Longhairs hair ties on my wrist like a bracelet so that I can whip that distinguished mane back into a ponytail if necessary.

Because I’m now one of those guys.

More useless

I received an email this morning that wanted me to know that a link on a post I wrote six years ago linked to a Flash game and, in the interest of staying ahead of the Great Flash Doom of December 2020, gave me the link to a safe HTML5 version.

I had no memory of the post or the game — I was still in a post-GHP haze when I wrote it — but thanks, person!

Of course I had to try all the links in the post, and the first one goes to the source: The Useless Web.

Buckle up, because I’m going to waste time this morning.

Labyrinth update, 10/04/2020

I have not enthused about my labyrinth in a while, so let’s do that.

Last night we built a fire and had a quiet evening outside. It’s getting chilly now, so the fire was most welcome.

I decided to get photos of some of the points of interest, so take a walk with me. First up, the southpoint: the element for south is fire, so we have a sculpture representing the sun, by Richard Hill.

Isn’t this area lovely?

It’s the men’s loo.

Somehow I didn’t get a photo of Apollo. Hope he’s okay with that; you know how touchy he can get. I’ll have to get one tonight.

The nook…

… with the Green Man…

… and the bench, this time with angel and windchimes.

The westpoint: water is the element of the west. (Bowl by Montgomery artist Brooks Barrow.)

The northwest corner, with the Dancing Faun standing in for Dionysus. He was looking particularly fine last night.

The northpoint: earth is the element of the north. Here we’re looking at the earthwork from the bottom of the bank, a small grotto lined with stone and now covered with peacock moss.

And from the labyrinth, a standing stone.

A wide shot.

Another wide shot.

The new fence was installed in 2016, and it was only recently that I realized that someone — either the representative from the First Fence of Georgia who drew the plans, or the young man installing the fence — had taken the trouble to center the fence on the two trees at the westpoint. A warm letter of appreciation is in order.

Eventually the fire, which was glorious all night, was down to embers. With only the standing stone still lit, it was a quiet ending to a quiet night.