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Sunday, December 31, 2006

NOTHING TO SAY BUT MAYBE SOMETHING TO MURMUR 

Our local MSM outlet is mopping its brow with relief:
Ennui and exhaustion are idling some online opiners. Next year may see a decline -- or at least a leveling off --in the blogging boom.
We admit, we at Spitbull haven't exactly been bucking this lazy trend lately. It's not only that we have little of value to post (not that ever stops us when we're in the right mood), but we've been spending far too much time toking this buzz.

I think my favorite munchie of the album is this. But they're all kind of mesmerizing. Hmmm ... those Christmas cookies look quite delicious right now...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

WEIRD 

1. This past Saturday--nine days before Christmas and five days before the winter solstice--I went running. Outside, in Minneapolis, wearing shorts. This may or may not be evidence of global warming, but it sure is weird. Not entirely unwelcome, but weird.

2. Last Thursday night I took the kids to the Disney on Ice show at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. If you've never been to one of these, basically what happens is costumed figure skaters twirl around enacting abridged versions of various Disney movies. And there's a handy intermission, so you can be sure to succumb to buying at least one of the overpriced items of Disney memorabilia that you resisted on the way in, and so Daddy can get another beer.

Anyway, about three stories in--it was Beauty and the Beast, and the Beast had just turned into a not-Beast and was gliding blissfully intertwined with whatever the hell the girl's name is as they pledged their eternal love for each other--the five-year-old turns to me and says, somewhat quizzically, "All these stories end good." Meaning they all have happy endings.

"Would you rather they ended bad?" I responded.

"No," she said, matter-of-factly. "It's just weird."

3. Said five-year-old's mysterious predilection for things Chinese has taken a new turn. In our previous trips to the library, she checked out Chinese language books from the children's section. (Mind you, these are not books about China. These are books in Chinese, which, needless to say, she can't read any more than she can read English.) In our most recent visit, I made the mistake of showing her where the foreign language stacks are for the adult section. She promptly put back the children's video she was going to borrow and chose three Chinese novels.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

THE THINGS WE DO 

Is the motivator love? Obligation? I don't know, but this afternoon I occupied a table at the kids' version of Vegas and attempted to corral our designated hostess into giving us plastic forks for the birthday cake (I do know the guests will eat it with their grubby hands, no hesitation, if you don't act quickly).

I've been there before for similar shindigs so I thought I knew the drill but things seemed even more chaotic than I remembered, the hostess more unavailable than I remembered. Finally, she explained. She was a trainee and having some difficulties with her duties. Oh joy. I became more vigilant about the schedule. I called her over again. Weren't the kids supposed to be getting tokens to play the games? Yes, she said, but her twin sister was the one assigned to us and not her. Really.

Of course the kids had a great time anyway. The Warrior Monk had a beer which kept him on an even keel. I? I had a post (the bar is low nowadays).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A CHRISTMAS (SHOPPING) STORY 

I have long reached that stage in life where beautiful young women look at me (if they look at all) solely as a source of babysitting revenue. But Sunday I got not one, but two looks!

She was gorgeous. Probably around 25 or so, blonde, maybe 5'7". Low ride jeans, tight, powder blue top. She was quite thin, but still really nicely curvy, even disproportionately so, in all my favorite places. And – I distinctly remember – she was wearing artsy-looking eyeglasses with green frames. (What is it about eyeglasses that’s so sexy?)

So here’s what happened. I was out Christmas shopping with my two older sons, ages 4 and 2 years old. We came across a store with a revolving door, my 4-year-old’s first encounter with such a fascinating device. Of course I had to let him try it. He went in first, followed by me, holding the 2-year-old in the next section. The gorgeous young woman then entered the next section of the door.

The 4-year-old gathered impressive, properly counter-clockwise momentum, pushing with all his little heart. Then, when he reached the interior of the store, he suddenly decided to go back out the way he came, pushing hard on the opposite wall.

"Stop!" I yelled, but it was just too late. I turned around to warn, but way too late. The door smacked the girl right in the face.

Look #1 was a sort of shock, just what you’d expect of a person unexpectedly thwacked in the face with a heavy glass pane. Look #2 was one I recognize too well – intense irritation.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

BOOZE NOTES 

December 7 is an anniversary too, and while it has no particular connection with cocktails, I had one anyway. A Manhattan, to be precise, made to my usual specifications: Maker's Mark, perfect, rocks, heavy on the bourbon. (I'm eager to try the W.L. Weller special reserve that our co-blogger John recommended but I dropped two and a half bills at the liquor store just last weekend. So it'll be another, er, week or two till I make it back there.)

I also mixed the long-awaited Sidecar for Eloise, and it wasn't complicated at all: one ounce brandy (Korbel), 3/4 ounce Cointreau, and 3/4 ounce lemon juice. The only hitch was that fresh lemon juice was called for but we didn't have any lemons so I cheated and used that ReaLemon concentrate stuff that you always have a five-year-old bottle of in your refrigerator door next to the Tabasco and the Worcestershire Sauce. Still, based on the one sip I took, it was quite tasty, if a little summery, and Eloise drank the whole thing in about eight minutes, which is always worthy of applause.

And I agree with John about the Negroni. Although she has apparently forgotten, I made one for Eloise a few weeks ago after reading that same WSJ article, and my sample sip revealed that, damn, Campari is bitter.

Finally, some trivia for you. Did you know that British sailors used to get a standard ration of 8 ounces of rum a day?
Humans discovered long ago that they could not drink sea water, and required significant quantities of fresh water on extended voyages. Since they were unable to desalinate sea water, fresh water was taken on board in casks but quickly developed algae and became slimy. Stagnant water was sweetened with beer or wine to make it palatable which involved more casks and subject to spoilage. As longer voyages became more common, the task of stowage became more and more difficult and the sailors' then-daily ration of a gallon of beer began to add up.

Following Britain's conquest of Jamaica in 1655, a half pint or "2 gills" of rum gradually replaced beer and brandy as the drink of choice. Given to the sailor straight, this caused additional problems, as some sailors would save up the rum rations for several days, then drink them all at once. Due to the subsequent illness and disciplinary problems, the rum was mixed with water. This both diluted its effects, and would make it spoil slower. A half pint of rum mixed with one quart of water and issued in two servings before noon and after the end of the working day became part of the official regulations of the Royal Navy in 1756 and lasted for more than two centuries.
Time for a nightcap.

Monday, December 04, 2006

CHEERS! 

December 5, 2006 is the anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment, a fitting occasion indeed for a toast to distant friends. I will observe it most reverently.