Ugh.  Early morning sternum-to-hipbone distress made for a bad sleep. I chalked it up to too much Cowboy Caviar and Fritos and pizza and M&Ms duringthe five-hour  Super Bowl event, but Wife - who had none o that at all - was similarly incapacitated. So the day was spent getting better. It was a three-column day, too, and man, let me tell you, I'm sure it's the most lackluster arrangement of words I've arranged in a long time.

I tried a new whisky on Friday, and this is not about that. It's about marketing. The bottle has a name, but if you stand in the aisle and google it, you will find dark mutterings and open contempt. The name sounds old and Scottish, but there's no distillery withn that moniker. Well, that’s okay; I don’t require every dram to have a 150 year history with five generations of men named McTaggott tasting the stock to make sure it has the same flavor great-great-grandpa made, although god knows how they’d realize if it was different. It’s the game of telephone, whisky-wise, no? Things drift.

Anyway. What mattered was the cost-to-disappointment ratio. Google any whisky, and you have experts and enthusiasts locked in combat. A strange sort of combat, though. They never address each other’s complaints, aside from saying “I don’t understand all the hate for this one,” or “I can’t believe this has so many good reviews.” No one ever takes another reviewer to task for insisting that the whisky had a banana finish with a high note of ink and clove. No one ever says Where the hell did you get that? Perhaps it’s your insensate palate, paved over by forty years of Prince Albert tobacco, but there’s you’ll find more banana in a hunk of igneous rock.

And that's a good thing. Everyone leaves everyone else's opinion alone, partly out of respect, but mostly out of indifference.

Some sites are single-voice reviews, no comments. They’re all the same. Every damned one of them. Maybe the nose is harsh, maybe it’s not. Maybe it opens up with water, maybe it’s best taken neat. Score, 82. Awarded a gold medal at the National Association for Handing Out Gold Medals Convention in 1994.

You can’t go by price. It might be really quality whisky, but you might hate it anyway. I’ve had some difficult whiskies that required some care and understanding, and eventually we came to an agreement, but man, that Mortlach bottle was a tough one to kill. There’s still two rations in the bottle, so I can pour one out to a guest and say “tell me if this is sublime, and hideous.” I mean, anything that rich and multi-flavored and intense has to be good in ways I cannot comprehend. So when you pour some, you think this is an astonishing experience, and I can't wait until it's over.

You can go by the name: Macallen, Balvenie, Laphroig. Those are safe. Climb up the price range and you’ll probably get better and better whisky, but is the worst $100 whisky twice as good as the best $50? No.

But. Here’s this new product on the shelf in four varieties, aged in different casks. By “aged” I mean they pour it into them for a while. Maybe a week, maybe a year, you don’t know: there’s no age on the bottle.

Your googling reveals what you suspected: it’s a house brand masquerading as a whisky from some distillery on a wind-swept spit of land, where there’s naught but the sound of gulls and the crash of waves on the rocks, a place where they will sell no scotch before its time. (Clock strikes noon) “All right lads, it’s time, pump a thousand gallons into the truck.”

Some of the reviews were brutal: drain pour; harsh; burned; cat licked it and went blind; hole in stomach. Others raved: fantastic whisky for the price, couldn’t believe it, all my friends bought a bottle as soon as they learned how much it cost.

Ringers? Who knows. What matters is the cost-to-disappointment ratio. This isn’t expensive stuff. Upon reading some more reviews (Reddit is good for this, because the user base has a great tolerance for average stuff and rarely beats up on people for having plebeian tastes) I discover that the raw material was probably sourced from Grants. Well, I like Grants! It’s my favorite ordinary blended Scotch.

So here we go. It’s the French Oak Maturation variety. Oak is nice enough, but French Oak? I’m sure that will impart an ineffable whiff of Gallic sturdiness.

Okay, first impression:

Liquified roofing tar diluted with mortuary disinfectant

But. Let it expand a little with some water. By which I mean, four cubes of ice.

Later: it's quite nice. It's like a wild beast that respects you after you use the ice to show it who's boss/ I think I pick up some banana. And maybe an atom or two of Madagascar clove.




It’s 1957.

Instant was such a popular word. Times were fast, technology was changing everything for the better, and now you could be gratified in an instant. It was also changing for the worse, what with the H-bomb; now you could atomized in an instant. So make the most of your time!

You wish you could go back and tell them how “instant” ended up as derogatory word for some ersatz experience, and how their fast pace would seem like 1890s small-town life in Willoughby now.



 Bosley Crowther of the New York Times wrote a scathing review and made reference to the film's ad campaign which asked "Why Did Mamie Leave San Francisco?" His opening line of the review: "If you must know why Mamie Stover had to leave San Francisco, you'll have to ask someone other than this reviewer, who did not get the answer from the film..."

Then he was sleeping through the part where she's shown to be  a hooker.





Googling "art allen how to separate" just turns up stuff about Woody and his movies.

Everything’s Tautological too! Yes, you'll thrill to periodic water eruptions, enormous personal firearms, and anthropomorphic horses with monstrously oversized heads that keep them from standing:

If you want the quickest way to tell someone 1957 was different from today, it's this: they used guns as an enticement.


You can still buy Flame Room coffee.



The star of Can-Can was Lilo. And who was Lilo that she could get away with one name like Cher does or Prince did? Well, she was a beautiful and leggy chanteuse who had become an international sensation in French music halls in the early 1950s and was therefore a pretty good choice to portray a nightclub owner in 1893 Paris. She had a striking and sexy voice (listenable on the original cast recording), and for her efforts, was well reviewed in the role.

But it was Gwen Verdon who stole the show. Lilo only did one more show, and it closed after 3 shows.

For those of you who like the taste of daisies in the morning

Or perhaps toasted daisies with jam


I do not have a beauty operator.

Wonder how many people asked for shinna-dish, and were gently corrected by the grocer, who wore a green apron and had a pencil tucked behind his ear.



Well if you don't have Shinna-Dish, do you have any Flack-O?

No waiting or shaping. Popovers practically on demand. The age of miracles is upon us, in an instant.




That will do. I'm all better now but still behind in my work, so I take my leave. You want more, take it up with Fireball Twigg.





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