Monday, March 31, 2008

Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene

This is the most poignant and well thought out parody video I've seen to date. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boys and Girls Together

by Neil Gaiman

Boys don't want to be princes.

Boys want to be shepherds who slay dragons,

maybe someone gives you half a kingdom and a princess,

but that's just what comes of being a shepherd boy

and slaying a dragon. Or a giant. And you don't really

even have to be a shepherd. Just not a prince.

In stories, even princes don't want to be princes,

disguising themselves as beggars or as shepherd boys,

leaving the kingdom for another kingdom,

princehood only of use once the ogre's dead, the tasks are done,

and the reluctant king, her father, needing to be convinced.

Boys do not dream of princesses who will come for them.

Boys would prefer not to be princes,

and many boys would happily kiss the village girls,

out on the sheep-moors, of an evening,

over the princess, if she didn't come with the territory.

Princesses sometimes disguise themselves as well,

to escape the kings' advances, make themselves ugly,

soot and cinders and donkey girls,

with only their dead mothers' ghosts to aid them,

a voice from a dried tree or from a pumpkin patch.

And then they undisguise, when their time is upon them,

gleam and shine in all their finery. Being princesses.

Girls are secretly princesses.

None of them know that one day, in their turn,

Boys and girls will find themselves become bad kings

or wicked stepmothers,

aged woodcutters, ancient shepherds, mad crones and wise-women,

to stand in shadows, see with cunning eyes:

The girl, still waiting calmly for her prince.

The boy, lost in the night, out on the moors.


Friday, March 07, 2008

"We didn't meet cute, and we certainly didn't break up neat."

Ben Karlin: Failed Relationship Expert

This is some dude who wrote some book about failed relationships, it isn't so much the subject matter that intrigues me, it's is writing voice that is so awesome.

Things I've Learned by Ben Karlin

We didn't meet cute. She was taking baths on the downlow with a friend of mine while her boyfriend pined away in Ignoramusland, aka Houston. It's not polite to name names. Hers was Jill.

We took up, falling fast and hard in the waning light of life in a college town after you're done with college. You know, the time when you're supposed to have left already but just can't surrender two-hundred-dollar-a-month rent and the idea that these were, are, will be the best days of your life. They weren't, aren't, and won't be. But it's awesome to think so.

Let me tell you a little about her -- for me though, not for you -- in order to reclaim that which has been smothered beneath a calloused heart. She had flaxen hair, wispy and cut short around her opal face. She was fair and thin -- not scrawny, taut. She had cheeks that shot into perfect circles every time she smiled slyly, which was quite a lot. She was a troublemaker. She made me feel like I was a troublemaker, too. I was not a troublemaker. I am a wimp who still doesn't know exactly what spark plugs do.

We moved through the early stages of our relationship in paces that seem stunningly familiar now -- but at the time felt like a fever dream. We lingered outside each other's front doors not wanting nights to end. Walked hand in hand through the farmers' market, envious of no one, living in the goddamn now.

We held out, carnally speaking, partially out of the now comically puritanical notion that it would be better if we waited. (The other part had to do with the fact that she had technically not broken it off with Clueless T. McCuckhold down in Texas.) The whole time, one question slowly built in my mind: What if this is the person I never run out of falling in love with?

Alas, like poorly fenced-in pit bulls raised by angry Mexican youths, the complications of life can only be kept at bay for so long. Eventually, they will attack and tear you apart, and unless there is some passerby to pull you out of their vicelike jaws, you will be grievously injured, if not killed. Come to think of it, most of that last sentence is just about pit bulls.

The point, however, is that upon leaving our college town -- I'll call it Eden to protect its identity from future pilgrims who may flock there to trace the origin of this very story -- mistakes were made. Some were mistakes of vanity. Others of youth. Still others of the vanity of youth. Eventually, these mistakes would pile up and their weight would become too much for any one man, or relationship, to bear. Here are those mistakes.

Mistake #1

I told her I was moving cross-country -- to Los Angeles -- and wanted to stay together but didn't want a long-distance relationship. Instead of inventing a new form of relationship, I simply moved without discussing it further. One clue this might not be the most mature tack: at least once during this period, we had sex where weeping was involved. "What, are you sad? Did it hurt? I thought it was quite good!"

Mistake #2

Expressing indignation, rage, and heretofore unseen emotions when I discovered she had started seeing someone else in my absence -- even though I gamely, albeit futilely, attempted to penetrate Southern California's hyper-Darwinian mating scene. Yes, by my own design I left things impossibly murky and vague -- but that was for my benefit. Not hers! She was supposed to be pining for me. Hoping that I came around.

Mistake #3

I came around.

On a last-minute, half-baked romantic whim, I flew from Los Angeles to her parents' home in Iowa, where she was visiting. This was a surprise move, confusing everybody, especially the parents, since they knew she was doing some other dude. I didn't know that. Yet.

Why did I fly to Iowa? What was it that kept me coming back when Reason and Practicality were screaming, "Let it go, dickwad!" (You should know that Reason and Practicality are mean.) Well, though the heady days of falling and falling and falling in love were shrinking in a rearview mirror, there was still hope. That niggling itch that if you keep at it, persevere, it will come back. Maybe not permanently, but in waves big enough and frequent enough to make everything else worth it. I wasn't ready to give up. And what came of it?

For a few days we enjoyed something resembling romantic bliss. But, as I soon learned, it would be the roller-coaster style. The kind that makes you puke. I helped her move -- not to L.A., where I lived, but to Chicago. On the drive, we went into further detail about each other's sexual exploits during our time away from each other. My part was easy. Zero sexual exploits. "And you? What's that? More baths?" What is it with her and bathing with dudes? Now I got really angry. And sad. I was probably more angry than sad, but I found sadness seemed to affect her more. So I went with that. In a dramatic flourish bordering on the baroque, I demanded to be dropped off -- not in Chicago, but twenty miles outside the city at O'Hare Airport, where I told her I would pay any amount of money to escape this nightmare. (This was not true. In my mind I had decided I would spend no more than six hundred dollars for a ticket.)

Mistake #4

I stayed.

Finished the drive. We arrived at her new place and I went right down the street to a bar on the corner. Drank two shots of Jameson, which seemed like the appropriate thing to do. I was in uncharted territory here. Maybe it should have been Jack Daniel's. You know what, I just realized it should have been Jack Daniel's. I walked back, and -- at this point I am really taking my cue more from popular music and seventy-five years of American cinema than anything resembling actual human behavior -- I told her I'm not going to run away. I was going to stay and fight. We enjoyed romantic bliss, again. Cue the nausea. Vomit from the Jameson.

Mistake #5

We made a new plan.

This plan called for complete sacrifice -- from her. She would bide her time in Chicago as a lame-duck resident. I would go back to Los Angeles and pick up my life as if nothing had changed, save for the fact I would be talking on the phone more late at night. As late as it was for me, it was two hours later for her -- and she had the job that started at nine. I made my own hours and frequently didn't put on pants until one p.m.

Three months later, I flew back to Chicago to pick her up and drive cross-country together. We stopped in Sedona, Arizona, and got so high we slept through New Year's. That was fun. And not technically a mistake, though I believe we did have dinner reservations and that is a very uncool thing to do on New Year's Eve.

We arrived in L.A., but not to live together. (This is a mistake within the larger mistake, but not necessarily one that warrants its own number.) I helped her find an apartment a few blocks away with a friend of mine, convincing her this gave us something to look forward to -- a step to take together. I will admit, at this point I was starting to believe my own bullshit and, worse still, had lost the ability to determine what was bullshit and what was truth. Now, this is an easy call. Bullshit. The truth: I was afraid to live with her for fear of it not working out and feeling guilty that I dragged her all the way to L.A., only to have it end badly and now we live together and it sucks for everyone. In poker and the stock market this is called hedging your bets. In relationships it's called being a pussy.

Mistake #6

This really is the killer and I will say all the others can be dismissed as mistakes only in retrospect. They are situation specific, original, and unprecedented. This, however, is a really stupid thing I did and something I should have known not to do. I introduced her to all my friends and encouraged her to hang out with them on her own. Now, the operative word here is all. Some is fine. Many is all right. Just about every one would be okay, too. But not all. Not the ones you know are dodgy. Not the ones whose dodginess you have personally witnessed for years. A dodginess legendary amongst his contemporaries. That's just buying a ticket for an express train to Crushtown.

The Dumping and the Damage Done

We drift. We don't break up, but we don't try too hard to address issues either. She tried. I know I tried to try. One time we were in a car with my dad and he mentioned casually how his mother died. Turns out I never knew. I was embarrassed because I was twenty-six and you should probably know this kind of stuff at that age. Especially since by my standards my dad and I had a "good" relationship. According to Jill, that was "telling." I thought about trying to turn my emotional retardation into a plus. "Won't it be exciting to watch me grow up before your very eyes? And there's nothing illegal about sleeping with an emotional preteen!" Alas, I didn't know how to talk to her. Or at this point, if I even wanted to.

Time to take stock of the relationship. Not together. That would have been foolish. I decided to go someplace exotic, but not too exotic so as to undercut the weight of all the stock-taking. I chose Scotland. I had some friends in Edinburgh and I could go and wander around soft mossy hills, awash in sheep dung and low clouds. I went in the dead of winter, so there were only five or six hours of light per day. Then I went to the northernmost part of the country, as if I was trying to escape the revealing light of the sun itself. This added gravity -- especially since I was the only person in all the hotels I stayed at. Do you get it? I was alone. Isolated. A four-year-old could psychoanalyze what I was doing! I thought long and hard about where we were at. What I wanted. What was fair. What was right. I also spent a good deal of time wondering why they call eggplant aubergine. That's just way too fancy a word for, let's be honest, a pretty shitty vegetable.

Soon after I returned to the States, a letter arrived. It was from one of my best friends -- the dodgy one -- telling me he had developed strong feelings for and was now in love with my . . . I guess ex-girlfriend. The letter made no explicit mention of "bath" time, but it wasn't difficult to imagine.

What followed wasn't pretty. Letters and accusations flew. On more than one occasion I uttered the words "I would rather starve than eat your bread." (Thanks for the assist, Pearl Jam!) Gifts and baubles were repackaged and left on doorsteps. Not a small thing, considering one such gift was a decoupaged coffee table. That bitch was heavy.

Then the sadness. Prolonged, boring, mopey. Plotted countless acts of revenge. Odd how there's no plural for the word revenge itself. I wanted revenges. And not of the "living well" variety, either. I longed for calamity. Locusts. Fire and brimstone. A pox on their house and cars that gave them endless mechanical problems. But mostly I felt bad for myself. Overly bad, like "I've been martyred on a cross of two people I had dared to trust" bad. I admit here and now, I started writing poetry as an outlet. Buried somewhere in a storage facility or a basement thick with spiderwebs and creaky ski boots is a yellowed legal pad with the words "The Night Table Years" scribbled on the first page. When I die, someone will find it, be momentarily excited, then read it, and then, I hope, burn it.

Years passed before I found myself in something even remotely resembling a serious relationship. Self-mythologically speaking, I'd say it was because it just took me that long to find someone I actually cared about. In reality, I was broken and disinterested. Also, that whole thing about L.A.'s hyper-Darwinian mating scene. Tough nut to crack.

Jill and I didn't meet cute and we certainly didn't break up neat. In fact, we never saw or spoke to each other again. But in the years that followed, I came to realize it most certainly wasn't all her fault. In fact, it may be no more appropriate for her to ask for my forgiveness than it is for me to ask for hers. But I'm the one writing, so I get to do both. And, in the same way military cadets eventually thank their drillmasters for their cruel tutelage, I offer my gratitude. Everybody gets crushed. For the lucky ones it only happens once.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yummy Martinis

Oz Dust Martini

1 1/2 oz DeKuyper® Sour Apple Pucker schnapps
1 oz Goldschlager® cinnamon schnapps
1/2 oz vodka
1 splash 7-Up® soda

Pour both schnapps' and vodka into a cocktail shaker half-filled with crushed ice. Shake until bruised. Strain into a Champagne saucer or martini cocktail glass. Top off with 7-up or Sprite.

Chocolate Mint Martini
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz white creme de cacao
1/2 oz green creme de menthe
1 oz dark creme de cacao
1/2 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/4 oz peppermint schnapps
1 oz cream

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a sprig of mint and an After Eight mint stick.

Chocolate Raspberry Martini
1 oz Stoli® Razberi vodka
1 oz white creme de cacao
1/2 oz Chambord raspberry liquor

Chill vodka and creme de cacao. Pour into chilled glass. Garnish with chocolate kiss and fresh raspberry.

A Monkey's Rum (Banana Coconut Martini)
1/2 oz Bailey's® Irish cream
1/2 oz banana liqueur
1 1/2 oz Myer's® dark rum
1/2 oz cream
shredded coconuts

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Garnish rim of glass with shredded coconut. Strain into glass and serve.

Lemon Drop Martini High Class
1 - 1 1/2 oz Absolut® Citron vodka
1 - 1 1/2 oz limoncello lemon liqueur
2 oz sweet and sour mix
1 - 1 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes; shake well. Swirl half a lemon around the rim of a margarita glass and dip in sugar. Pour the contents of the cocktail shaker into the glass, and serve.

123 Lemon Drop Martini

1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 sugar cube/packet of sugar

Add sugar to the rim of an old-fashioned glass, and drop a cube or packet of sugar into the bottom of the glass. Pour vodka and lemon juice into a stainless steel shaker over ice, and shake until completely cold. Pour into the prepared old-fashioned glass, and serve.

Lemon Drop Martini "Perfect" Version
1 1/2 oz Absolute Citron Vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1 tsp superfine sugar or Simple Sugar
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Mix everything in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice cubes. Shake well to make sure sugar is blended. Pour strained liquor into a sugar-rimmed martini glass and garnish with a twisted peel of lemon.

NOTE: To create a sugar-rimmed glass, take a lemon wedge and rub the drinking surface of the glass so it is barely moist. Dip the edge of the glass into sugar.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Non-Martini Drinkeroos

Friskt Normansson (Grapefruit and Blackcurrant)
Named after the Norwegian poet Ekir Normansson, who was the first to mix the said cocktail and who had quite a few in his time. "Friskt" is a Swedish word and can mean cool, chilly or healthy.
2 oz vodka
1 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz creme de cassis [blackcurrant flavor!]

Shake with ice and strain in a chilled old-fashioned glass.

Blue Incan (Cranberry-Orange w/ Mint)
2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
2 oz cranberry juice
mint leaves
club soda

Place some mint leaves in the bottom of a highball glass. Bruise them with a muddle. Add ice and pour in the blue curacao and cranberry juice. Top off with club soda as
desired, stir and serve.

A Kissed Buttery Nipple

2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream, iced
2 oz best quality butterscotch schnapps, iced
2 GLAZED cherries, pre-soaked in Jack Daniels Black Label Whiskey for a week or longer

Don't shake it - put the schnapps in the glass, then, gently, a layer of Irish Cream.
Top with a small dab of heavy whipped cream (not that ersatz canned stuff).
Drop in the Glazed, whiskey-soaked nipples - erm, I mean cherries - last, right through the whipped cream. They'll sink to the bottom, carrying the different flavors with them.

For the best effect, use a large brandy snifter for your glass.

The whiskey-soaked cherries are good for lots of things. I keep a supply of a pint or so always available in my home bar. They get better as they age - just keep adding glazed cherries and Jack Daniels.

A Few of My Favorite Things

1/2 oz amaretto almond liqueur
1 oz Bailey's® Irish cream
1 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/2 oz vanilla liqueur
1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps
1 oz vodka
7 1/2 oz milk

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a highball glass, and serve.

Abortion (Shot Drink)
1 oz white creme de cacao
1 oz amaretto almond liqueur
1 oz Bailey's® Irish cream
1 splash grenadine syrup

Pour the creme de cacao into a shot glass. Layer the amaretto and then the bailey's to create a 3 layer drink. Insert a toothpick to the bottom of the shot glass and dribble some grenadine so it floats in the bottom of the glass.

80's Berry Wine Cooler
4 oz Gallo® White Merlot
6 oz Fresca® soda
1/2 oz blackberry juice
1/2 oz raspberry juice
1/2 oz strawberry juice
1/2 oz blueberry juice

Mix together the blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and blueberry juice together in a mixing glass. Pour the wine into a tall wine glass, and top with Fresca. Add the juice mixture, and serve.

Amy's Tattoo (Pineapple Orange)

1/2 oz dark rum
1/2 oz light rum
2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz orange juice
1 splash grenadine syrup

Shake all in tall glass.

Bad Acid Trip (Coconut Melon Orange Raspberry)
1/2 oz Midori® melon liqueur
1/2 oz Malibu® coconut rum
1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz vodka
1 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
1/2 oz Chambord® raspberry liqueur
sweet and sour mix

Fill collins glass with ice and add Midori, Malibu, Gin, Vodka and Sour Mix. Shake ingredients and pour into shaker (not into glass yet). Pour Chambord into bottom of the now empty collins glass. Pour other now shaken ingredients into collins glass which now contains chambord. Pour generous amount of Blue Curacao onto top of drink. The result should now be a brilliant blueish drink that fades to purple and is very eyecatching and delicious... BIG hit with women but very strong.

Breast Milk On Acid (Coconut Melon Orange Licorice)

3/4 oz Jagermeister® herbal liqueur
1/2 oz Malibu® coconut rum
1/2 oz Midori® melon liqueur
1 splash orange juice
1 oz sweet and sour mix

Throw all of the ingredients into a shaker along with ice. Shake well and strain into a large shot glass.

Bengal Tiger (Pineapple-Orange Cherry)

1 1/2 oz brandy
1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz triple sec
1 oz pineapple juice

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Jumanji (Pineapple Cherry Licorice)
1 oz cherry brandy
1 oz Taboo®
1/2 oz port
1 oz grenadine syrup
3 oz pineapple juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake well. Pour into a large cocktail glass and garnish with fresh fruit.


1 oz lime vodka
3 oz orange juice
3 oz 7-Up® soda

Add the vodka, orange juice and 7-up to a collins glass filled with ice cubes, and serve.

Irish Rose (Chocolate Strawberry)
1 oz Tequila Rose® strawberry cream liqueur
1 oz Bailey's® Irish cream
1 oz brown creme de cacao

Pour ingredients into a stainless steel shaker over ice, shake until completely cold then strain into a chilled stemmed glass or rocks glass filled with ice.
PomTea Spritzer
1 part Vodka
A splash of Raspberry liqueur
2 parts Pomegranate Juice
1 part Sparkling water
1 part Iced Tea
A splash of honey

This entire recipe is basically mix to taste. In a pitcher combine one bottle of Pomegranate Juice (we used the blueberry one, for extra antioxidants yay!) with a generous amount of decent vodka, a quick splash of Chambord, about a cup of Iced Tea, and sweeten with a good squeeze of honey. Stir until the honey is dissolved and dump in the seltzer water, enough to be fizzy but not watered down. Enjoy the irony of drinking healthy pomegranate juice while punishing your liver

imoncello Liqueur
7 lemons
1 liter alcohol
1 liter water
700 g sugar

Soak skin of 7 lemons in alcohol for 2 days. Strain. Boil water and sugar and chill. Mix with alcohol. Store in the fridge.