Five to nine

Have a drink.

July 31, 2004


it's a little flat and not very good. It leaves a bitter taste.

So after that, I avoided the beer at Dodger stadium. But I started going to all the games i could, because I was a new fan of baseball. I had grown up in a home with no appreciation for major league sports of any kind. (I was however taken to my first bullfight at the tender age of six. I loved it. I still do.) But after my buddies dragged me to a game, and I saw this big hoser trot onto the field like an expensive horse who's been overfed, and demolish the 9th inning in 7 pitches against the then world champion anaheim angels, I was hooked!

Who was that? What's a closer? What's a save? How many in a row!? That sounds like a lot. What's the old record?
And as i learned a little more, I started learning player names and habits. One of them caught my attention when at first base he leaped 2 feet into the air to get a guy out and preserve Odalis Peres' no hitter late in the 8th. A CATCHER no less.

One day my aunt Anita died, and as I drove home from her funeral, feeling emotionally pliable, I drove past a mixed by barkeep @ 2:41 AM 1 drink with me

July 30, 2004

Cheers to icons, old standbys and forgotten classics.

I know where Hugh Hefner was tonight between 6:45 and 10:00 p.m. A reception and a movie at the academy building on Wilshire. Hef covered the cost of restoring "Tillie's punctured romance" (as well as every other silent picture showcased at the UCLA Festival of preservation), and sat there and watched it with us.

"Tillie's punctured romance" was based on the stage play "Tillie's Nightmare", which I think is a more appropriate title. The movie is about a homely country girl who is convinced by a vagabond gigolo to snag her farmer dad's savings and run away to the city. L.A. of course. The smooth-talking (err, smooth-miming?) Lothario was expertly played by a very young, extremely handsome Charles Chaplin. This was the first feature length (84 minutes) comedy ever produced. Throughout the movie, the slapstick was uninterrupted, and i do mean not even for a split second. But throughout, this comedy told a very sad story about people taking advantage of the each other; stealing; manipulating etc. I notice this about old movies that they tend to be heavy on the tragedy, and light-hearted about reacting to it. I wonder what that says about the audience. Were moviegoers in the past more ready to accept tragedy as amusement? Have we gotten soft? Maybe it's just that so much is lost without dialogue, movies couldn't afford a bit of subtlety either in acting or in storyline. But then again, it was a play first.

We were the first audience to see it in it's entirety and unembellished in about 70 years. There was a five piece band playing a ragtime composition written especially for the screening.

There sat Hef, 12 rows ahead giggling at the non-stop slapstick like the rest of us mere mortals. If the reception wine had been a stronger brew, I may have tried to, by example, encourage people to talk aloud about the movie during the movie. Think about it, if you walk into a theater in 1917, it would never occur to you to hush up and listen to dialogue, cause there was none. The band in the background is loud, and lively like in a pub. Smoking cigarettes was still allowed everywhere and concessions sold beer. Very different than the antisocial entertainment they have become.

If the reception brew had been stronger I may have tried to introduce myself to Mister Hefner. Think about it, I may never be so close to this living icon ever again. He wasn't surrounded by bunnies or mad-partying celebrities or twins like in all the small pictures in the Playboy pages. (The brightly colored pages right before the articles start. Don't play dumb.) Just a bunch of friendly looking people who liked moving pictures.


July 28, 2004

Drinks with Directors

Recently I was lucky enough to have drinks at the Directors Guild of America building. The cocktail conversation was revolving around the Kubrick film we'd all just seen, Paths of Glory. A movie about a french unit forced into an impossible attack with too few men by a zealous general. The movie did not have a moment of levity from 4 minutes into it until that first cocktail. There's an awful feeling that comes with WWI movies. A certain sense of fatalism. It was the last time trench warfare was fought on such a large scale. It was also the first time machine-gun fire was used as a line of defense. This is no coincidence. Such an effective and affecting movie needed just the right drink. Something strong enough to take the edge off, but not so heavy that it would dull your ability to discuss the movie with people who i could learn from. I decided to celebrate the end of the war movie the way some might have celebrated the end of the war, with a Gin and Cointreau cocktail. Zesty and refreshing just like all the good conversation with strangers. The theme of the night was comparing the incompetent general with our own real life commander in chief. It was a nice thought and it brought people out to the movie, however the parallels stand on shaky ground. The general used his unquestionable authority to put his troops in a hopeless position. The goal was in sight but not attainable. In the case of our commander in chief, his authority is questionable because he undermined the very source of it; his goal is an iceberg that Joe Libguilt only sees the tip of, but most importantly, his situation is not hopeless. When i say his goal, I am not naive enough to pretend it was finding WMD and bringing democracy and utopia. Oil is an important and complicated resource. It has many uses, from reprehensible, (like making the already rich superwealthy) to noble (like helping starch farmers in developing nations make more efficient use of their land). There's a billion different things 6 billion different people do with it, and only very few of those things have "alternatives". And in many of those cases the alternatives are the plaything of the haves rather than an actual alternative for the have-nots. We need this oil. Not we Americans, we humans. To leave the last great nearly untapped oil reserve in the hands of a man whose record with natural resources is less than stellar may be viewed as irresponsible on our part. I'm just sayin'.
The arguments against our President are many and valid. But to simplify it as so many have as "Because he started a war instead of pursuing alternatives to fossil fuels" is glib, sad; a sign of ignorance and perhaps most importantly, dangerous.
A tip for mixing thinking drinks. Anything that has gin and something that tastes like fruit in it, will benefit from squeezing half a lemon into it. Also, avoid big cocktails. If you need a drink with some weight, consider lowballs with large ice cubes to keep them from diluting your drink too quickly.

The Delilah

1 shot of gin
1 splash of cointreau
1/2 lemon

Shake hard, take a twist, rim a glass, and sip quickly.

July 16, 2004

Cheers to the helpful young bartender

Remember the good old days when civilized gentlemen showed deference to the late hours of the day by lowering their voices indoors? Well, early evening drinks should be mixed with a similar gentleness. If you would like to adapt your recipes, but don't know how, tell me when your party is and what you're serving and i will be glad to help.

July 13, 2004

Cheers to the bandleader and his blushing bride.

When the first of your high school comrades gets married, it's a big night for everyone, not just the bride and groom. After the ceremony, everyone is still in a sort of state of shock; it's official we have married friends. Thank God for the looming cocktail hour.
Drinks after the ceremony have two very important jobs to do for us young guests. First, we have to celebrate appropriately this new and exciting event. But also, as the shock wears off, we need something to replace the shock so we can accept the thought of our buddy's new station in life.
There's all kinds of weddings, and all kinds of ways to offer your guests drinks. The drinks say a lot about the people getting married, and these drinks said some lovely things about my friends at the head table. When you're a young couple planning a less elaborate wedding, it's important to budget the bar first. However, to receive your friends with a cash bar would be uncouth. Come the bounty of California to the rescue. Because of our crippling oversupply of quality grape, Trader Joe's is able to offer a case of wine (delicious wine? Yes! delicious wine.) for about the cost of an hours wages, keeping even your most lushty friends in pink elephants.
J.R. Stout is an accomplished young bandleader who made his 5 piece jazz outfit (minus their leader of course) and their unbelivable Jazz Singer the centerpiece at his wedding. Sauvignon and savoy mix together beautifully.

July 08, 2004

I don't know much, but I know what I like:

and I like blogs.

Blogs about T.V. or about getting out of the house. Blogs from the left and blogs from the right. Mirthful girl blogs, and Hard working girl blogs. This one will not be so much about work. But about play. Recreational drinking and recreational thinking. I hope to encourage the pouring of beers, the serving of wine, the shaking of cocktails, or the rounds and rounds of shots with the people that you love best, because this is a blog about keeping bar. I hope to prove it can be done from far away.