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Advice from the Chairman

I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.

~Frank Sinatra


Dino, Frank and a rip roaring good time courtesy of M. Remy Martin, Comrade Smirnoff and the good brothers J&B.  Photo courtesy norma-desmond-way

Dino, Frank and a rip roaring good time courtesy of M. Remy Martin, Comrade Smirnoff and the good brothers J&B.
Photo courtesy norma-desmond-way

In defense of the Noble Drunk

An oldie, but a goodie. Just to put you in the proper frame of mind for the upcoming season of joy.

Kitchen Slattern

Yesterday, while toughing out 20 minutes of enforced motionlessness as I iced my elbow, I ran across an old favorite from movieland, and it got me to thinking. Now, how I developed golfer’s elbow remains a mystery as I don’t play. You may be thinking it could be due to the repetitive strain of lifting glasses of wine, bottles of beer or cases of what have you; however, it has afflicted my left elbow, which is not my drinking lifiting elbow, but that’s a story for another day.

As I said, I was sitting with the elbow swaddled in an ice pack with some time to kill, so I snapped on the tube and was thrilled to stumble upon one of my all time favorite movies featuring one of my all time favorite actors. And since I’m slinging the term around, it was My Favorite Year with none other than…

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Journey to Disappointment

What’s Panera without the bread? No cure for a hangover, that’s for sure.

As it unfailingly does at this time of year, fall has come to New England, and so this morning Mr. Slattern and I rose before dawn to head north for a squint at the leaves. As the alarm sounded at 6 am, it occurred to me that undertaking a 500 mile drive just a few hours after returning home from a festive evening wedding was perhaps ill-advised, but we were committed to this course, and so there was no question of not pursuing it, hangover be damned. And I had one goddamned hangover, let me tell you.

Cinderella’s slipper by Christian Louboutin. Sadly, not exactly what I was wearing.
Via Get Dressed with Robin Fleming.

Of course, at a wedding — especially one that involves two superbly matched, uber-fun queens of fabulosity like our pals Robin and Jen — the champagne should flow like water, and though Mr. Slattern refused a tipple from my slipper, a good time was still had by all. I even allowed myself a big old slice of wedding cake (an indescribably sinful and delicious homemade coconut confection with cream cheese icing, sigh) in direct contradiction of the Feelbad diet plan, aka dinner at Gitmo. I figured I’d probably be incapable of eating for a couple days anyway, so what the heck, I had a brownie and an éclair too.

So anyways, by about 11 am, Mr. Slattern and I both felt like we’d been up for about a week and decided that a little sustenance was in order. Unfortunately neither of us was fit for public view for reasons previously alluded to, so a leisurely lunch at the Old Port Sea Grill was out of the question. Besides, we were in a hurry. So we decided to drop off the highway and go foraging for reasonable fast fare, which is how we ended up at Panera Bread at the ungodly hour of 11:30 am.

Mistake number one. Well two actually, since I guess you’d have to count my appropriation of a full champagne bottle from the waiter and subsequent request for a straw the night before as the first step on this particular trip to hell.

Pocket pal via How Stuff Works

In any case, it’s been a while since we were on this kind of meal schedule, like about sixteen years, which is why I guess we had forgotten that when you eat lunch well before noon your fellow diners will mostly be under five or over 90. Kids I don’t mind so much, provided they’re cute and silent, but as previously documented, the active seniors tend to get up my nose, unless they’re built along the lines of my Grammie Florence, who is still a head turner and party favorite as she approaches age ninety. But of course, she’s the exception rather than the rule.

We spent about eight hours in line behind a foursome with a combined age of about 420 who had lots of querulous questions about free refills and senior discounts. (They all ordered soup in bread bowls, the mere thought of which nearly made me vomit as wet bread disgusts me.) Finally though, we put in our order, received our complimentary Panera vibrator and picked our way across the dining room to a reasonably clean table by the window, which was a tad bright for my liking, but at least was well off the flight plan of the cookie-fueled preschooler whose mother was deeply involved in a phone conversation about what Stan was going to do with all that money and why he shouldn’t spend it on that whore he’d gone ahead and married even though his entire goddamned family had told him it would be a mistake verging on a crime to do so. Maine, the way life should be.

The road to disappointment ends right here with weird puffy egg yolks and transparent greens. Photo property WS Winslow.

Anyway, the vibra-pager eventually lit up and we retrieved our food. Mr. Slattern’s turkey and avocado sandwich was entirely acceptable, even tasty. It came with a pickle and an apple, which made for a satisfying lunch that left him fueled up and ready to drive the remaining three hours. My Panera dining experience, however, was considerably less spectacular, consisting as it did of chicken and avocado atop a Cobb salad made of previously frozen romaine, tasteless tomatoes and some kind of chopped egg product, in which the texture of both the yolk and the white reminded me more of Peeps than anything chicken-related I have ever encountered. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing, putting Peep eggs into a salad; however, one would expect to see that at Easter rather than harvest time. And as the gag inducing egg bits were both indistinguishable and inseparable from the bleu cheese crumbles, I eventually just gave up and lunched on the chicken and avocado. Don’t even get me started on the “vinaigrette.” The apple, however, was delicious.

If Peeps laid eggs, would they taste like marshmallows?

As for the hangover, a day of green tea and Alka Seltzer eventually put paid to the nausea, which is a good thing because we’ve got party guests at the cottage, and they always stop at the wine store before they arrive.

Slipper, anyone?

When we’re in charge, things are going to change around here

Some thoughts on Viagra, Oreos and war as a dance fight

That’s right, I’m talking to YOU.

An acquaintance once shared a piercing insight with me, namely that a woman would never have invented Viagra or its evil twin Cialis. Rather than addressing erectile dysfunction, she pointed out, a modern day Madame Curie would almost certainly have taken on the larger, more pressing problem of masculine inability to pick up dirty undershorts, socks and T-shirts from the floor and transfer them to the hamper. Among the fairer sex, it is well known that the repetitive act of relocating well worn, often soiled undergarments is a surefire libido killer in women. As a result, Viagra becomes about as useful as sneakers on a fish, and the only thing the suddenly tumescent spouse is likely to be able to use that thing for is a place to hang his damp bath towel.

Hang up that towel! via

For obvious reasons, I often recall this conversation while sorting the laundry, and recently as I was working my way through about six weeks’ worth of washing, I had ample opportunity to consider the question of how our world would be different if women had done the bulk of the inventing over the years.

Now, before my male readers jump ship and go searching for more testerone-friendly surroundings, let me just say that I have no plans to turn this into a husband bashing extravaganza, unless of course I decide to whip up another batch of Bloody Marys before I get to the end of this post. In that case, all bets are off, grammar rules become suggestions and I can’t guarantee we won’t also end up discussing Emeril, Fairway or the New York Yankees in terms that are at best pejorative, or at worst obscene. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I hate guys. Via my

I like guys. I really do. In fact, I have always tended to avoid anything with a feminist label, starting with Virginia Woolf and continuing through the ass-frying ill humor of Gloria Steinem and right on up to the droning, whining sanctimony of the Women’s Studies majors of today. Though I remember clearly the era of bra burning and Women’s Lib, with the exception of Bella Abzug’s hats, I have always found it all too boring and annoying to even contemplate. Call me an ingrate; I’ve been called far worse and occasionally will even answer to the name.

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yes, Madame Curie, Viagra, undershorts. So I have concluded that daily life would be subtly, yet measurably different had women been doing the inventing over the years. For example:

Light bulbs
First of all, any wattage higher than 60 would never have been invented, and if it had, the bulbs would be in use in operating rooms and holding cells exclusively. The notion of domestic overhead fixtures would have been dismissed outright as the product of diseased minds. Why? Because stark 150 watt bulbs are absolutely disastrous for all but the youngest female face. I haven’t screwed in anything higher than 60 watts in my house for years, and we may be on the cusp of a general downgrade to 40 watts in the not too distant future. If my eyebags get any more ruched, it may come to a candles-only policy in the evening. Eventually Mr. Slattern will have to learn to read Braille or start wearing a petzl around the house.

If only Mr. Gravity had been stopped before the scalpel was applied. Via

Now I realize Isaac Newton only discovered the principle of gravity, but I think we can agree his time might have been better spent trying to reverse it. One look at my jawline is proof enough. If only he’d brought his work home, I think Mrs. Newton might have been able to offer some gentle suggestions and guidance as to the direction his work might take for the betterment of mankind. If so, asses might be riding a bit higher in midlife and millions of tragic face, brow and breast lifts could well have been avoided.

Oreos = Health Food
If women ran the food industry, they would have long since developed a harmless and effective way to remove the carbs and calories from sugary treats, so that spending Saturday night with a pound of thin mints or a cherry cheesecake would be the same as a week at a fat farm spa. Also, there would be no “cool ranch” anything, and beef jerky would be sold in the pet food aisle.

And what exactly am I supposed to wear with these?
via foottalk

It would never have existed – at all – and we’d all have been spared the sight of hideous bowling shirts and the horror of rented shoes. If by some quirk the game had been invented by a woman, the shoes at least would come only in black (slingbacks with a kitten heel I think), teams would wear matching caftans and champagne would be sold at a modest mark-up in the bar.

The Theory of War
Forget Sun Tzu. Left to us, war, territorial disputes and power struggles would be resolved by either 1) dance fighting, 2) fashion supremacy, or 3) a series of cutting remarks. Failing that, we’d dress the combatants in formal attire and lock them in a small overheated den with their mothers in law for a few days while The Wheel of Fortune played on a continuous loop. That, my friends, is deterrence that works.

Dance fight! Courtesy

Rum Punch Part 2: Recipe for the passionate island tart

The ultimate sarong courtesy

As my regular readers may recall, I recently spent a little vacation time in the Bahamas, where I was treated to the first class bartending services of Sammy at the Cocodimama Hotel, for better or, on at least one evening, for worse.

Bad tourist behavior notwithstanding, the man gets up to some serious mixology and Mr. Slattern and I were delighted to make regular use of his sevices. We tried all manner of rum drinks, which used all manner of flavored rums. My personal favorite was the Bahama Mama. Now, Sammy makes a Bahama Mama without the aid of passionfruit juice and confines himself to white rum and coconut rum, and if you want to follow the original recipe just skip the dark rum and passionfruit juice and double up on the orange juice in the tarted up version of the recipe below.

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