I purchased my first ever bottle of Calvados, which is a brandy from Normandy, made from apples.
Apple orchards and brewers are mentioned as far back as the 8th century by Charlemagne. The first known Norman distillation was carried out by “Lord” de Gouberville in 1554, and the guild for cider distillation was created about 50 years later in 1606. In the 17th century the traditional ciderfarms expanded but taxation and prohibition of cider brandies were enforced elsewhere than Brittany, Maine and Normandy. The area called “Calvados” was created after the French Revolution, but “eau de vie de cidre” was already called “calvados” in common usage. In the 19th century output increased with industrial distillation and the working class fashion for “Café-calva”. When a phylloxera outbreak in the last quarter of the 19th century devastated the vineyards of France and Europe, calvados experienced a “golden age”. During World War I cider brandy was requisitioned for use in armaments due to its alcohol content.
The appellation contrôlée regulations officially gave calvados a protected name in 1942. After the war many cider-houses and distilleries were reconstructed, mainly in the Pays d’Auge. Many of the traditional farmhouse structures were replaced by modern agriculture with high output. The Calvados appellation system was revised in 1984 and 1996. Pommeau got its recognition in 1991; in 1997 an appellation for Domfront with 30% pears was created.
Calvados is distilled from cider made from specially grown and selected apples, of which there are over 200 named varieties. It is not uncommon for a Calvados producer to use over 100 specific varieties of apples, which are either sweet (such as the Rouge Duret variety), tart (such as the Rambault variety), or bitter (such as the Mettais, Saint Martin, Frequin, and Binet Rouge varieties), the latter being inedible.
The fruit is harvested (either by hand or mechanically) and pressed into a juice that is fermented into a dry cider. It is then distilled into eau de vie. After two years aging in oak casks, it can be sold as Calvados.
(click here to continue reading Calvados (brandy) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Calvados by itself as a digestive could be ok, but in all honesty, there are not many times when I eat a big enough dinner that I need a digestive afterwords. Plus, I enjoy exploring the science of mixology.
- 1.5 oz Calvados
- 1 half of an orange, squeezed vigorously
- ½ oz Orange Curaçao (I used Cointreau)
- ½ oz orange bitters (a very large amount, but I happened to have a bottle of blood orange bitters that needed using. You could dial this back a bit, if you are not a fan of orange bitters)
Add ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, give it a hearty shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
I also tried a Honeymoon Cocktail (almost pictured). I made it like this:
- 2 oz Calvados
- ½ oz Benedictine
- ½ oz Cointreau
- 1 half of a lemon, squeezed until the juice comes down your leg
Again, goes without saying you pour these ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, give it a hearty shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Bears further study – especially since I still have most of a bottle of Calvados in my bar…
Of course, the Toronto Star is no fan of Rob Ford, because, truth be told, Rob Ford is kind of a jerk, not to mention a Tea Bagger Wanna Be…
That was backed up by three members of the Garrison Ball organizing committee, one of whom said Ford “seemed either drunk, high or had a medical condition.” Six guests at the ball were interviewed saying they had concerns over Ford’s behaviour. Given the Ford administration’s history of launching blistering attacks on its enemies, these sources insisted on anonymity. And, to be fair, others at the event were quoted saying they saw nothing untoward. But Councillor Paul Ainslie, a Ford ally, did confirm that the mayor was asked to leave. These allegations are what Ford specifically branded “an outright lie.” But they’re just the latest links in a chain of damaging incidents coiling ever tighter around the mayor.
Earlier this month Ford was at another public event where former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson accused him of grabbing her backside while posing for a picture. Ford dismissed that, too, as a lie but a photo emerged showed him rumpled and stained — hardly an inspiring look for the leader of Canada’s sixth largest government. Ford caused embarrassment a few days later when he reportedly showed up disheveled at a gathering attended by several orthodox rabbis and awkwardly delivered a pro-casino rant. This was reported by the Toronto Sun, which quoted Councillor Joe Mihevc as saying: “He did not do honour to our good city.” And an incident at a downtown Toronto restaurant, on St. Patrick’s Day last year, generated concern about Ford’s drinking, according to sources cited by the Star.
Add to that Ford’s increasingly light work schedule and intentionally obscured comings and goings at city hall. The Star has amply documented this in the past . And the Globe and Mail, last month, used a freedom of information request to show that Ford hardly ever schedules meetings or events after 3:30 p.m. — a remarkably lax attitude for the chief executive of a $9.4-billion corporation. Can he not handle more?
Then there are Ford’s repeated calls to 911, including an allegation that he resorted to obscenities with a dispatcher; his drunken tirade at a hockey game, inflicted on a Durham couple and flatly denied until overwhelming evidence forced him to confess; and Ford’s no-contest plea on a 1999 Florida charge of impaired driving . He didn’t tell the full truth about that, either.
Look at the pattern. In all sincerity, what does it show? An innocent victim, laid low by a conspiracy of liars, or a man struggling — and failing — to cope?
(click here to continue reading Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s pattern of behaviour tells a troubling story: Editorial | Toronto Star.)
Mayor Ford, predictably, denies angrily this charge, but not convincingly:
Ford responded angrily to the story on Tuesday, calling it “an outright lie.” Mihevc told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that Ford’s reaction to the story was “not accurate.”
“Certainly the mayor’s comments yesterday were, let’s put it this way, not accurate,” said Mihevc. “There is something there and I think many of us have been privy to it. However I don’t really want to focus on that. It is up to the mayor to come clean and to figure out what he needs to do to pull his life together.”
Galloway asked Mihevc, a left-leaning council member who has at times clashed with Ford but remains friendly with him, whether he has seen Ford appear intoxicated in public.
“I have seen him in situations where it appears he is not fully there,” said Mihevc.
Mihevc was also critical of Ford’s claims there is a concerted effort by the media and those opposed to Ford’s cost-cutting agenda to oust him from office.
“Specifically that the whole world is conspiring against him. That simply is not true,” said Mihevc. “Many of us have deep political divisions with him, however it is just not accurate that there’s this grand conspiracy that involves members of the media and that involves member of his political opponents …. He does a lot of this to himself.”
(click here to continue reading Rob Ford response to drinking story called ‘not accurate’ – Toronto – CBC News.)
My dad turned 70 last weekend on the Ides of March, so without much consideration, I flew down to visit and help celebrate the occasion. I had forgotten that Austin was currently hosting SXSW, but since mostly the plan was just to hang out with family, SXSW turned out not to matter. Travel was a bit more crowded than a normal flight to Austin, but my plane was only 1/3 filled with hipsters. Like the two girls in front of me, who consumed at least 10 drinks each in the 3 hour flight, and discussed, with ever increasing volume their plans. I was amused to hear one admit that she was just going to leave her suitcase in a friend’s car, and keep a change of clothes with her as she found an evening companion. More power to her, I was young once. Her friend never once put her iPhone down, not even during the sacrosanct take off and landing times. The frazzled flight attendant just ignored this transgression.
I don’t plan on joining in on the Ten Years After song and dance routine currently stumbling down Bad Memory Lane – Operation Iraqi Liberation was always a boondoggle, and I don’t feel celebratory towards its inception, nor nostalgic for those days when liberals were accused of being traitors, or worse. There were those of us who did march the streets in opposition to the invasion of a sovereign country on the flimsiest of pretexts, but then, as now, our voices were ignored and marginalized. This tiny blog itself1 was created because I needed somewhere to vent about the ridiculousness of it all.
Charles Pierce writes along the same lines, albeit with more vitriol, about war mongers like Bill Keller, Richard Perle and David Frum:
And precisely what risk did you “manage” ? What chance did you take? You gambled with other people’s children in a game you’d helped rig. What cost was exacted from you, sitting your fat ass in a swivel chair at a wingnut intellectual chop-shop while kids are still staggering around the wards without legs and arms, or the cognitive functions to get them through the day? What price did you pay? You have to send out for lunch one day? Show me the butcher’s bill for the Perle household, you vampire son of a bitch.
And let us not forget Perle’s onetime co-author, David Frum, who’s mysteriously been allowed through the tradesmen’s entrance back into the discourse conducted by decent people. It should be recalled, before we all start doing that which Winston Wolf cautioned us not to do, that Frum did a lot more than write one speech in 2002. Two years later, he also wrote a discreetly McCarthyite book with the aforementioned Perle called An End To Evil. If we’d found a single cache of biotoxins anywhere in Iraq, Frum would have been waving his warrior dick at CPAC last weekend. Instead, we hear about Dick Cheney, and Tony Blair, and how really sorry David Frum is for the hand he played in the deaths of so many people who are not named David Frum.
Shut up, all of you. Go away. You are complicit in one way or another in a giant crime containing many great crimes. Atone in secret. Wash the blood off your hands in private. Because there were people who got it right. Anthony Zinni. Eric Shiseki. Hans Blix. Mohamed ElBaradei. The McClatchy Washington bureau guys. Dozens of liberal academics who got called fifth-columnists and worse. Professional military men whose careers suffered as a result. Hundreds of thousands of people in the streets around the world. The governments of Canada and France. Those people, I will listen to this week. Go to hell, the rest of you, and go there in silence and in shame.
(click here to continue reading Iraq War Anniversary New York Times – Pleased To Be Shutting The Piehole Now – Esquire.)
There were other chicken hawks and war mongers equally as vile, like Andrew Sullivan:
Andrew Sullivan is re-publishing his posts as a war blogger: March, 2003 bit.ly/Z05QkS For the purpose of showing how wrong he was.
— Jay Rosen(@jayrosen_nyu) March 4, 2013
The horrible irony is that thanks to our collective amnesia, most people today mistakenly identify Andrew Sullivan’s punditry with intellectual courage — that he turned against Bush’s war earlier than most of his fellow neocon pundits, supposedly at great risk to his reputation and “brand” because he turned on the very same bloodthirsty war mob he’d been organizing and firing up for years — lending him contrarian credibility… despite his record of viciously attacking critics of Bush’s war as traitors, collaborators with terrorism and evil, at a time when being targeted as a national traitor by a major media figure like Sullivan was genuinely dangerous to a critic’s career.
People are already forgetting the ugly explosion of McCarthyism in this country around the invasion of Iraq and the months afterwards, just as they’ve forgotten the attack dog role that Andrew Sullivan played in all of that, before his allegedly “brave” turn away from Bush and towards a safer weathervane politics of libertarianism and Obama-boosterism.
(click here to continue reading If Andrew Sullivan Is The Future of Journalism Then Journalism Is Fucked.)
On the tenth anniversary of the American-led invasion of Iraq, Media Matters looks back at the work of some of the media’s most prominent pro-war voices. Instead of facing consequences for backing the invasion based on information that turned out to be false and criticizing war opponents, many of these media figures continue to hold positions of influence and continue to provide foreign policy reporting and commentary.
Paul Gigot / Wall Street Journal Editorial Page
Fred Hiatt / Washington Post Editorial Page
(click here to continue reading Where Are The Media’s Iraq War Boosters 10 Years Later? | Research | Media Matters for America.)
Eric Boehlert adds a thought: could those of us gnashing our teeth in 2002 have been able to reach the corporate media through Twitter? And changed the trajectory of that sad history? Probably not, but maybe…
Thinking about the historic failure of the Times and others in the media a decade ago, I couldn’t help wish that Twitter had been around during the winter of 2002-2003 to provide a forum for critics to badger writers like Keller and the legion of Beltway media insiders who abdicated their role as journalists and fell in line behind the Bush White House’s march to war. I wouldn’t have cared that recipients might have been insulted by the Twitter critiques or seen them as mean and shallow, the way Keller does today. Sorry, but the stakes in 2003 were too high to worry about bruised feelings.
Looking back, I wish Keller and other pro-war columnists had been “bullied” (rhetorically) as they got almost everything wrong about the pending war. I think the revolutionary peer connection tool would have been invaluable in shaming journalists into doing their jobs when so many failed to. (Keller later admitted the invasion was a “monumental blunder.”)
Twitter could have helped puncture the Beltway media bubble by providing news consumers with direct access to confront journalists during the run-up to the war. And the pass-around nature of Twitter could have rescued forgotten or buried news stories and commentaries that ran against the let’s-go-to-war narrative that engulfed so much of the mainstream press.
Considering the central role the lapdog media played in helping to sell President Bush’s pre-emptive invasion, I wonder if Twitter could have stopped the Iraq War.
Make no mistake, the nascent liberal blogosphere was raising its collective voice against the war in 2003 and calling out the press for its lapdog ways. In fact, one of the catalysts for the rapid expansion of the liberal blogosphere one decade ago was the ingrained sense of frustration. Progressive often searched in vain for passionate and articulate anti- war voices within the mainstream media. (And when they found a champion, Phil Donahue, he was summarily fired just weeks before the invasion.) Denied a voice, they created their own platform, liberal blogs.
The problem was the liberal blogosphere got the war story right, but they did it in something of a bubble. It was a bubble the mainstream media bolstered to isolate their progressive critics; to isolate and marginalize the new band of rowdy citizen journalists. Still new enough in 2002 and 2003 that they didn’t necessarily command journalists’ respect, and lacking the technological ability to reach into newsrooms, liberal blogs were often ignored by media elite, despite the fact the blogs were raising all the questions about the pending war.
(click here to continue reading Could Twitter Have Stopped The Media’s Rush To War In Iraq? | Blog | Media Matters for America.)
via Matt Wuerker, a final thought…Footnotes:
US Saigon Rift.PNG
The BBC has disclosed troubling history of Richard Nixon’s actions during the 1968 election, news I’ve not seen reported elsewhere. I just searched again, and for instance, The New York Times hasn’t mentioned this revelation, nor has The Washington Post, nor The Wall Street Journal. I wonder why? I’m not a conspiracy minded person, but it is a bit ironic that a British paper scooped the American press on a bit of American history.
Anyway, the BBC reports that Richard Nixon definitively sabotaged the peace talks between North and South Vietnam on the eve of the 1968 election by promising the government of Nguyen Van Thieu they would get a better deal if they waited until Nixon won the election. Foolishly, the South Vietnamese took this advice, and the Paris peace talks ended. Of course, the Vietnam War didn’t end for another 5 years, with thousands of U.S. casualties and thousands more Vietnamese casualties needlessly incurred.
There is no two ways about this: Richard Nixon deemed his own election chances more important than his country. Treasonous fuck.
The idea that Johnson might have been the candidate, and not Hubert Humphrey, is just one of the many secrets contained on the White House tapes.
They also shed light on a scandal that, if it had been known at the time, would have sunk the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee, Richard Nixon.
By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks – or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had “blood on his hands”.
It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign.
He therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault (born Chen Xiangmei – Chinese: 陳香梅), a senior campaign adviser.
At a July meeting in Nixon’s New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault.
In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris – concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared.
Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.
So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out.
He was also told why. The FBI had bugged the ambassador’s phone and a transcripts of Anna Chennault’s calls were sent to the White House. In one conversation she tells the ambassador to “just hang on through election”.
Johnson was told by Defence Secretary Clifford that the interference was illegal and threatened the chance for peace.
In a series of remarkable White House recordings we can hear Johnson’s reaction to the news.
In one call to Senator Richard Russell he says: “We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. Mrs Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move.”
(click here to continue reading BBC News – The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon’s ‘treason’.)
And yet, Johnson never went public with Nixon’s treasonous behavior. I wonder if LBJ had, and the country became understandably outraged, would Nixon have won the election? Probably not as it was so close. Also, would Regan’s team been bold enough to rig the end of the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1980? Also, probably not.
Update, at least one major news outlet has covered the story: Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. She compares Richard Nixon’s treason with the intentional misinformation in the run-up to the Operation for Iraqi Liberation, as the Iraq War was originally called before they realized the joke (O.I.L.) was a bit too obvious.
Probably won’t happen, as the Czech are all shook up about this proposal, but still amusing to an American. We are very familiar with a government that wants to control what and how we eat and drink…
PRAGUE—In most restaurants and taverns across the Czech Republic, a mug of beer is, literally, cheaper than water. The country’s health minister wants to change that as he tries to put Czechs on a lower-hops diet.
It won’t be easy. Here in the birthplace of pilsner, beer is known as “liquid bread.” Czechs drink an average of 37 gallons of the stuff per person per year, the highest per capita consumption in the world and more than double U.S. levels.
Pub patrons go through the sudsy amber liquid so fast that the nation’s largest brewer, SABMiller unit Plzensky Prazdroj, maker of famed Pilsner Urquell, delivers beer with the kind of tank trucks used to haul gasoline, and pumps it into bars’ storage vats.
“Beer is like mother’s milk for adults,” said Marek Gollner, a 36-year-old computer programmer and regular customer at the U Zelenku pub in the Prague suburb of Zbraslav. “For a Czech, it’s like wine for a Frenchman or vodka for a Russian.”
Faced with such attitudes, Health Minister Leos Heger’s campaign to make Bohemia a bit less bohemian is starting with baby steps.
He wants to require restaurants and bars to offer at least one nonalcoholic beverage at a price lower than that of the same amount of beer, primarily to offer teens, who can legally drink at 18, an alternative. The easiest thing to do, Dr. Heger said, would be to offer patrons pitchers of tap water.
For at least a thousand years, beer has been a staple in the Czech lands, and the country’s native hops are renowned for being aromatic and bitter. St. Wenceslas, a martyred 10th-century Czech nobleman, is a patron saint of brewing and malting, in addition to being the patron saint of the nation.
When the city of Plzen, about 60 miles southwest of Prague, got its charter in 1295, its people were given the right to brew beer, helping ensure the settlement’s prosperity.
At a typical local pub, a pint—500 milliliters, actually, in this metric-measuring country—costs about $1. A similar portion of water, juice or soda generally costs twice as much. Offering free tap water as at U.S. eateries is extremely rare.
At U Zelenku, a neighborhood institution for more than a century, for instance, a pint of the cheapest beer goes for 99 cents. The same size of soda water is $1.30. At the fancier Kolkovna restaurant in touristy Old Town, a pint is $2.50, while mineral water is $2.29, for a bottle less than half the size.
(click here to continue reading Brewing Controversy Over Proposal to Make Water Cheaper Than Beer – WSJ.com.)
Smirnoff in Space
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of those rare scientists who also has the gift of explaining complex scientific phenomena in clear language. I’ve long been a fan of his Nova shows on PBS. Granted, it is a little strange that his new show is going to be broadcast on climate change denying-Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network, but maybe it will be informative despite that constriction. I’ll certainly watch it.
He also makes a good point about the trend of Christian Taliban slowly taking over our government, escaped 12th century residents like Rep Paul Broun, who we ignore at our peril…
These days, Dr. Tyson is less focused on the planetarium than on creating a new iteration of “Cosmos,” the hit PBS series featuring Carl Sagan, which was first broadcast in 1980. This sequel, for the Fox network, is planned for early next year.
One of its producers is Seth MacFarlane. Yup, that Seth MacFarlane, the “Family Guy” guy and (to some viewers) the cringe-inducing host of this year’s Academy Awards show. Whatever one may think of his brand of comedy, “Seth MacFarlane is deeply committed to science literacy in this country,” Dr. Tyson said, and the two of them share a goal: reinforcing the idea that “science needs to be taken to people’s hearts in a way that they become better citizens for it.”
Is he saying that we treat science and mathematics shabbily in this country, where many people are all too proud to admit to a fear of all sums? Actually, Dr. Tyson said, “I don’t think the country’s less literate in math and science than ever before.”
…Pop culture, too, is part of “a positive trend line,” given science-themed blockbuster films like “Avatar” and the durable “Star Wars” series, and popular television programs like the “C.S.I.” and “NCIS” franchises and “The Big Bang Theory.”
“There was a day when we didn’t have science at all in television programming,” Dr. Tyson said between sips of his soda. “Now it’s there, without having to stereotype the lab-coated, wire-haired character.”
Here’s the real problem, as he sees it: “You have people who are not scientifically literate who have risen to positions of power and control,” whether on local school boards or in Congress. He mentioned Representative Paul C. Broun, a Georgia Republican (and doctor) who sits on the House Science Committee and who says the world is 9,000 years old and was literally created in six days.
Voters, Dr. Tyson said, need to grasp the consequences of their electoral choices, especially if they produce officials who “undermine the source of creativity for tomorrow’s economy.” Meddle with the citizenry’s understanding of science and technology, he said, and people “will emerge on the other side incapable of making the discoveries and innovations that the nation requires in order to stay economically competitive.”
When it comes to the Creation, “if you use the Bible as your science textbook, you will go astray — there’s no question about it,” he said, adding: “Galileo understood this. He can be credited with drawing a line in the sand with his famous quote that the Bible tells you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
(click here to continue reading To Planetarium Director, Siberia Meteor Showed Value of Science – NYTimes.com.)
Carl Sagan – US astronomer, hero
I’ve said often I’m a film school dropout, but the truth is, I’m also a physics student dropout1Footnotes:
- I was accepted at UT-Austin as a physics student, but was daunted by the lack of electives available to me, so eventually switched to the Liberal Arts college. I did continue to work for the Physics Lecture Demonstrations Office support staff for three years though – and would have continued working there if I could have. [↩]
The image recalls work that Mr. Sanders did for an even more famous screen project. In 1966 he was asked by Stanley Kubrick, who had seen some of his experimental, noncommercial collages, to spend months with unfettered access to the set of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and illustrate scenes from the filming. Most of the images remained unpublished for decades. (Kubrick, famously averse to set photographers, seemed to have been ambivalent even about drawings.) But the experience was a formative one for Mr. Sanders in honing an illustration style that balanced slightly trippy abstraction with a concrete feeling of reportage.
Brian Sanders Creates ‘Mad Men’ Poster for New Season
For the second time in history, federal regulators have accused an American state of securities fraud, finding that Illinois misled investors about the condition of its public pension system from 2005 to 2009. In announcing a settlement with the state on Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Illinois of claiming that it had been properly funding public workers’ retirement plans when it had not. In particular, it cited the period from 2005 to 2009, when Illinois also issued $2.2 billion in bonds.
S.E.C. Accuses Illinois of Securities Fraud
John Belushi – source unknown
In the course of writing a new biography of John Belushi, Tanner Colby went page by page through Bob Woodward’s book Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi to check facts, and, and found reality much different than what Woodward had written. A fascinating subject, in fact. Woodward’s reputation continues to swirl downward…
What started as a fun project turned out to be a rather fascinating and unique experiment. Over the course of a year, page by page, source by source, I re-reported and rewrote one of Bob Woodward’s books.…
Wired is an infuriating piece of work. There’s a reason Woodward’s critics consistently come off as hysterical ninnies: He doesn’t make Jonah Lehrer–level mistakes. There’s never a smoking gun like an outright falsehood or a brazen ethical breach. And yet, in the final product, a lot of what Woodward writes comes off as being not quite right—some of it to the point where it can feel quite wrong. There’s no question that he frequently ferrets out information that other reporters don’t. But getting the scoop is only part of the equation. Once you have the facts, you have to present those facts in context and in proportion to other facts in order to accurately reflect reality. It’s here that Woodward fails.
Over and over during the course of my reporting I’d hear a story that conflicted with Woodward’s account in Wired. I’d say, “Aha! I’ve got him!” I’d run back to Woodward’s index, look up the offending passage, and realize that, well, no, he’d put down the mechanics of the story more or less as they’d happened. But he’d so mangled the meaning and the context that his version had nothing to do with what I concluded had actually transpired. Take the filming of the famous cafeteria scene from Animal House, which Belushi totally improvised on set with no rehearsal. What you see in the film is the first and last time he ever performed that scene.
Here’s the story as recounted by Belushi’s co-star James Widdoes:
One of the things that was so spectacular to watch during the filming was the incredible connection that [Belushi] and Landis had. During the scene on the cafeteria line, Landis was talking to Belushi all the way through it, and Belushi was just taking it one step further. What started out as Landis saying, “Okay, now grab the sandwich,” became, in John’s hands, taking the sandwich, squeezing and bending it until it popped out of the cellophane, sucking it into his mouth, and then putting half the sandwich back. He would just go a little further each time.
Co-star Tim Matheson remembered that John “did the entire cafeteria line scene in one take. I just stood by the camera, mesmerized.” Other witnesses agree. Every person who recounted that incident to me used it as an example of Belushi’s virtuoso talent and his great relationship with his director. Landis could whisper suggestions to Belushi on the fly, and he’d spin it into comedy gold.
Now here it is as Woodward presents it:
Landis quickly discovered that John could be lazy and undisciplined. They were rehearsing a cafeteria scene, a perfect vehicle to set up Bluto’s insatiable cravings. Landis wanted John to walk down the cafeteria line and load his tray until it was a physical burden. As the camera started, Landis stood to one side shouting: “Take that! Put that in your pocket! Pile that on the tray! Eat that now, right there!” John followed each order, loading his pockets and tray, stuffing his mouth with a plate of Jello in one motion.
First off, Woodward wrongly calls the cafeteria scene a rehearsal, when half the point of the story is that Belushi pulled it off without ever rehearsing it once. Also, there’s actually nothing in the anecdote to indicate laziness or lack of discipline on Belushi’s part, yet Woodward chooses to establish the scene using those words. The implication is that Belushi was so unfocused and unprepared that he couldn’t make it through the scene without the director beside him telling him what to do, which is not what took place. When I interviewed him, Landis disputed that he ever referred to Belushi as lazy or undisciplined. “The greatest crime of that book,” Landis says of Wired, “is that if you read it and you’d just assume that John was a pig and an asshole, and he was anything but. He could be abrupt and unpleasant, but most of the time he was totally charming and people adored him.”
(click here to continue reading Bob Woodward and Gene Sperling: What Woodward’s John Belushi book can tell us about the sequester scandal. – Slate Magazine.)
You should read the rest…
Ok, one more excerpt:
John Belushi was a recreational drug user for roughly one-third of his 33 years, and he was a hard-core addict for the last five or six, from which you can subtract one solid year of sobriety. Yet in Wired, which has 403 pages of narrative text, the total number of pages that make some reference to drugs is something like 295, or nearly 75 percent. Belushi’s drug use is surely a key part of his life—drugs are what ended it, after all—but shouldn’t a writer also be interested in what led his subject to this substance abuse in the first place? If you want to know why someone was a cocaine addict for the last six years of his life, the answer is probably hiding somewhere in the first 27 years. But Woodward chooses to largely ignore that period, and in doing so he again misses the point. In terms of illuminating its subject, Wired is about as useful as a biography of Buddy Holly that only covers time he spent on airplanes.
Of all the people I interviewed, SNL writer and current Sen. Al Franken, referencing his late comedy partner Tom Davis, offered the most apt description of Woodward’s one-sided approach to the drug use in Belushi’s story:
“Tom Davis said the best thing about Wired,” Franken told me. “He said it’s as if someone wrote a book about your college years and called it Puked. And all it was about was who puked, when they puked, what they ate before they puked and what they puked up. No one read Dostoevsky, no one studied math, no one fell in love, and nothing happened but people puking.”
I’ve borked my blog software installation again1, so instead of troubleshooting what’s wrong, I’m just going to dump a bunch of article tidbits for your amusement. No gambling.
“Ten Years Ago: David Brooks, Iraq War Hawk” bit.ly/12yaOJT
— Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) March 8, 2013
“consumers are requested to forward the text message to 7726, which is a central repository for spam messages” nyti.ms/YfuxFC
How We Realized Putting Radium in Everything Was Not the Answer zite.to/Xtqjyw
Russian Police Say Dancer and Two Others Confess to Bolshoi Attack http://nyti.ms/YWjROq
A Locust Plague, Shy of Biblical Proportions, in Israel http://nyti.ms/Zh8yz3
Maryland Senate Votes to Abolish Death Penalty – on.wsj.com/YdQ15P
Illinois Medical Marijuana House Committee Vote: Panel OKs Pot Plan, Full House Vote Next zite.to/12xxlGB
Scary Dairy Proposal: Aspartame in Kids’ Milk zite.to/13Jr3DB
Government Takes Legal Action Over Phone Spam – nyti.ms/Yfu7iB about goddamn time
The Vendor Client relationship – in real world situations: youtu.be/R2a8TRSgzZY all to frequently true…
Take What You Have Gathered From Coincidence
“After the 9/11 attacks, CNN reported, Acxiom was able to locate 11 of the 19 hijackers in its database.” bit.ly/12yoFzD
— Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) March 8, 2013
“The Republicans strategy of rewriting history in order to rewrite our present is anything but funny.” bit.ly/Yhgvn8
— Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) March 8, 2013
“Kids on food stamps don’t eat any healthier” reut.rs/10hSjEe
— Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) March 8, 2013
Celebrated author, speechwriter and columnist Peggy Noonan: Obama made Pittsburgh depressing because he di… zite.to/15CSj4O
— Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) March 9, 2013
Whole Foods to Require Labels on Genetically Modified Food: The grocery chain announced on Friday that it woul… nyti.ms/VRbzJP
— NYT Food & Drink (@nytimesfood) March 9, 2013
Man has 75% of skull replaced with 3-D printed implant zite.to/WzvNcB
— Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) March 9, 2013
When Bowie met Burroughs zite.to/14FvdrV
— Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) March 9, 2013
can’t forget to mention Katha Pollit’s defense of Sheryl Sandberg:
Who’s Afraid of Sheryl Sandberg?
With the publication of Lean In, a feminist-accented self-help book for college-educated young women with bright prospects, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg provoked such wrath among feminists that some of them couldn’t even wait to read the book before condemning it as a rich woman’s vanity project. Talk about leaning in! She’s been mocked as a Silicon Valley Marie Antoinette. She’s been equated with Marissa Mayer, the Yahoo CEO who scorns feminism and abolished working from home for her employees—never mind that Sandberg embraces feminism, the word and the movement, and devoted three whole chapters to combining work and family life in saner, fairer ways. The trouble is not that women are attacking women, but that they are using sexist tropes. Melissa Gira Grant, for example, chides Sandberg for having “staff to help keep house, raise her children and throw her women’s leadership dinners.” Grant means to contrast Sandberg’s privileges with the insecure lives of working-class women (not that she knows how much Sandberg and her husband pay their staff, or even that they are women). But the very fact that the morality of hiring nannies and cleaners and—no! not that!—caterers pops up only when a powerful woman is discussed shows how gendered the attack on Sandberg is. Message to Grant: these people work for Sandberg’s husband too.
(click here to continue reading Who’s Afraid of Sheryl Sandberg? | The Nation.)
That should give you something to read for a moment…Footnotes:
- WordPress widgets are broken – cannot add, delete, or modify anything on my sidebar over there on the right. Probably a conflict with a plugin, or some other problem. Daylight savings has sapped my energy at the moment, so I really don’t feel like digging in and fixing it today, especially since I don’t yet know the solution [↩]
So excited to finally try this – took me a long time to find Lillet Blanc
Basically: The cocktail is simple enough, if you have the ingredients. Quality ingredients are usually worth it – saves your brain for later (i.e., cheapo Triple Sec made with high fructose corn syrup and orange-esque chemicals will hurt you the next day).
1 oz gin
1 oz Cointreau or Orange Curaçao. (My current favorite is Pierre Ferrand Dry, but I need more experimenting before that is definitive. I’ve tried Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and Pierre Ferrand, all taste great in this cocktail.)
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 or 2 drops of Absinthe. Not a dash, just enough.
Mix in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake vigorously, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. You could add a cherry at the end, but I never have.
much better than a Bloody Mary, trust me…
A frequently repeated assertion by Social Security opponents is that Social Security was not designed for a population such as ours, with advances in medicine, yadda yadda.
Or as Dr. Krugman calls it, the Life Expectancy Zombie…
If we look at life expectancy statistics from the 1930s we might come to the conclusion that the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would work for many years paying in taxes, but would not live long enough to collect benefits. Life expectancy at birth in 1930 was indeed only 58 for men and 62 for women, and the retirement age was 65. But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due mainly to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood.
As Table 1 shows, the majority of Americans who made it to adulthood could expect to live to 65, and those who did live to 65 could look forward to collecting benefits for many years into the future. So we can observe that for men, for example, almost 54% of the them could expect to live to age 65 if they survived to age 21, and men who attained age 65 could expect to collect Social Security benefits for almost 13 years (and the numbers are even higher for women).
Also, it should be noted that there were already 7.8 million Americans age 65 or older in 1935 (cf. Table 2), so there was a large and growing population of people who could receive Social Security. Indeed, the actuarial estimates used by the Committee on Economic Security (CES) in designing the Social Security program projected that there would be 8.3 million Americans age 65 or older by 1940 (when monthly benefits started). So Social Security was not designed in such a way that few people would collect the benefits.
(click here to continue reading Social Security History.)
As veteran critics of the post-crash financial industry well know, one thing that has allowed big banks to maintain their rosy outlook is a rule change from the Federal Accounting Standards Board that allows these entities — still flush with toxic assets — to avoid having to mark their assets “to market.” Instead, banks are allowed to essentially treat these assets as “marked to fantasy,” a hoped-for future value that is unlikely to ever be realized. The banks have fought, and beaten back, any attempt to return to a “mark to market” regime, and it’s easy to see why: Reality comes with a cost. Should they ever have to realize the true value of the assets on their balance sheets, their false façade will fall, and it will be revealed that they are more structurally insolvent than they prefer to let on.