How can I be more like this dude "Vitas" in every way? I mean every way. I'm sold after four minutes. I haven't been this jealous of a foreign-born artist since the Macarron Chacarron. Sign me up for the full Vitas package. I'm going to start by finding that suit (I know where they sell them), drinking a shit ton of Becherovka (that sounds kinda Russian), and then screaming my lungs out with a creepy smirk on my face.
It's that time of year again, folks. The time to reset the soul clocks with some cold weather, some even colder water, some cold friends, and some cold, obscure beverages. Might as well get started on those semi-delicious liqueurs, because with the Indianapolis Becherovkas at 13 - 0, you know you've got some in your future anyhow (Thank god the Ballsalina "Entire bottle of Becherovkas" have already been eliminated from playoff contention).
As I've often said, I wish Christmas ended with the OB Christmas Parade. Can you imagine? The carols and the sales and the MOTHERFUCKING JEWELRY COMERCIALS slowly start to wear on you throughout November, but you soldier through and have a tasty Thanksgiving meal with family and/or friends. Then one week later, you have about 4500 calories worth of cocoa and irish cream in my front yard, we go watch a kooky parade, Sketchie signs us all into the local VFW afterwards, and everybody has a holly, jolly Christmas time with the vets all night.
And then it ends.
Jane Seymour shoves her open-heart jewelry up that deaf couple's ass, Santa goes on vacation early, and we all start gearing up for New Year's Eve in four weeks. New Year's Eve becomes even more spectacular because we're fresh and we've got forever to prepare, instead of one exhausted week after Christmas as it stands now. Call me a Grinch if you want, but that would be my ideal world.
At least I have the delicious combination of egg yolks, heavy cream, high fruck-tose corn syrup, nutmeg and brandy to help me get through it all. Who the fuck thought of drinking that? And then calling it that?
The British. Not the commoners, who never saw a glass of milk again after they were weaned, but the rich people who could afford eggs and dairy products. The name is either from "Egg in the Noggin" - the noggin being a wooden bowl used to serve booze- or "Eggs n' Grog" - grog being the pirate term for booze. As it turns out, almost every culture has a drink made from eggs and booze - invented before or after egg nog, who knows or cares. I knew about delicious, delicious Rompope from my time in Mexico, but I didn't know about the "Kogel Mogel" or all the rest.
First off, what is the official booze that goes in egg nog? The consensus seems to be brandy. But when the silly Brits started taxing brandy we colonists started using rum garnered through the "Triangular Trade". If I remember correctly, the triangle trade is a happy, geometric way of saying "slave trade" without using the word "slave". How did it work again? We got rum, and Africans, and the Caribbean got ... um cotton? And Europe got sugar? And Africa got ... rid of their rivals? Wait now we have a square. I don't remember. It's Christmas time, no time for slavery talk.
(By the way - that is not Vitas playing a car alarm solo. That is Vitas playing a voice solo.)
Where was I?
History. So Rum it was, until the triangle got lopped off by the revolutionary war. Then we switched to whiskey. In the end, it seems you can put any sort of booze in there and it's pretty good. Let's take a tour, shall we?
Kogel Mogel? It's the Yiddish version. The kind Vitas drinks (when no one is looking) to prepare to use his voice to free someone that might be trapped inside something made of glass. Egg yolk, sugar and Vodka.
Eierpunsch is fun to say. It sounds gross to drink, though. Native to Germany, the Eierpunsch is not, apparently, a disgusting internet video / live sex show phenomenon. It is instead approximately:
1 bottle of white wine
8 egg yolks
7 tablespoons of sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon
250ml of strong tea
Just as disgusting as when I thought it was a deviant sexual fetish. When I said "you can put any sort of booze in there" I didn't mean white wine. I say we avoid this one, unless we want to surprise a wife or girlfriend with a good ol' fashioned Eierpunsch from behind on a romantical wintry eve. I couldn't afford a diamond heart inside another diamond heart, my sweet little Kogel Mogel, but here's some fucking lemon tea / wine / egg yolk shit I discovered on wikipedia. Every Eierpunsch begins with a little Eierlikör beforehand.
Advocaat. Two A's in a row? And it was invented by Dutch people living in South America? I'm already excited. Advocaat, as the name suggests, was apparently an avocado liqueur. Except back in what ever the hell part of Europe Dutch people come from, there weren't any avocados. So they made it with ... drum roll please ... egg yolks. That story sounds completely made up to me. But I don't care. I'm going to find me some Advocaat this Christmas if it's the last thing I ... what's that? ... Oh. O.K. Great.
I could go on and on. There's Coquito (de Puerto Rico!), Ponche Crema (the Venezuelan heavy-weight challenger to Eierpunsch), and Zabaglione (go ahead, guess what boot-shaped country belongs to that eggy concoction).
It seems the whole world, except those tiny continents of Africa and Asia, can't get enough of yolks, milk, sugar and alcohol. Drink up, my Indo-European friends, and then refill your cup. To Christmas! And more accurately, to your health!
WOW. What a beautiful city! Dubrovnik, Croatia is a quick hour and a half
flight from Stuttgart, but it could be on another planet when comparing the
5 days ago
Truth Be Told
Last 10 Albums
RAC, "Strangers" I bought an album! Off the internet! Hadn't had time to check out any music in months - since a certain someone showed up. But a quick visit to Ween's place in SD is all you need to discover something new you like. I also don't have time to look into the story of this artist, but I do know that 'RAC' stands for something stupid so I'll just leave it at 'Rack'. Whoever they are have discovered a chemical procedure to distill pop down to a near-pure form. To the hardened, crystalline pop they remix back in some vocals from a variety of guest musicians, and what results is 16 hits lined up one right after the other. It's the kind of album I would hate if it were played on the radio all the time. But it's not, so I really like it.
Beck, "Morning Phase" Unless you want to go all the way back to Nick Drake, the only comparison to be made here is with a previous Beck album. It's Sea Change, of course, the mother of all break-up albums. Sea Change is a national treasure, but is it possible that Morning Phase is better? I feel sacrilegious even suggesting it, and we'll need more time to pass before knowing. Here's how I did the preliminary math: Sea Change is so sad and so beautiful. Morning Phase is just beautiful. Or maybe I'm a little too into Beck, I don't know.
Blitzen Trapper, "VII". Just as B-Trap makes the "automatically buy any new albums list" - they get kicked off. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine album. I've just tired of it, I think. The classic rock/roots/funk/blues/western vibe with modern synthesizer flourishes a la Beck is still cool, but unlike Beck, the faux-rural nonsense lyrics about "holler' logs" and "rusty pails" have worn thin. The album still has some gems. My favorites now tend to be the least elaborate and most earnest tunes like "Don't Be a Stranger", that, ironically, are least Trapperesque. It's got to be tough to produce as a band for so long. Change too much, and you alienate your audience. Don't change enough, and, well, I guess you end up here.
The Avalanches, "Since I Left You". Another one from the "why have I never heard of this?" file that fills up pretty quick when you listen to KEXP. This album is 13 years old, and apparently was not followed-up. It just sits there, grooving in its own unique little time capsule. I guess my best description is a lost, Australian, Fat-Boy Slim album, except one in which the Fat Boy smokes a big joint before he starts spinning, and zones out for long stretches of his set making the whole thing much less frenetic and much more smooth. In 20 years when you throw a silly "2000s" themed party - you could do worse than making this the soundtrack. Burn it onto a CD, I guess, for maximum authenticity.
Nada Surf, "The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy". Are they, Nada Surf? Are they really?Doesn't observing anything change it? I don't know, that's just something I've heard. Like many bands that I've liked for a long time, these guys may be getting old. Luckily, they appear to be aging gracefully.
Django Django, "Django Django". Although some of the music wouldn't be out of place on the soundtrack, I'm fairly certain this band is unrelated to the Tarantino film. The "D" is still silent, though. These guys are a British band in the style of Gomez, with a great combination of surf guitar and electronic effects. Their vocal style is odd, a sort of monotone chorus with constant harmony, but they make it work for them.
Vampire Weekend, "Modern Vampires of the City". For reasons I can't completely explain, I don't want to like Vampire Weekend. Kind of like how I like Ani DiFranco or Jay-Z but feel slightly strange because I know the music isn't for me. Oh, Vampweek is for white dudes, FOR SURE. But if such a thing is possible, they are for dudes even whiter than I am. Like "Stuff White People Like" white. It's all East Coast, Big City, Ivy League, Pop-Jewish, Pastel Polo, "World Music" you hear at a Pottery Barn-influenced, Martha's Vineyard flavored. Stuff I can't really identify with. Yet, I now own three albums apparently, and it's getting harder and harder for me to deny that it's valuable and original music. This new release banishes any lingering doubts that they are in a different category than the post-emo alternative hipster bullshit bands being secreted out of radio stations these days (Lumineers, I'm looking away from your direction in disgust). The third album stays true to the Vampweek sound with the harpsichords and image-provoking lyrics, yet seems like a step forward past their "gimmick" and towards the pantheon.
Mac Demarco, "2". Heard this one while hanging out at the Machine House Brewery last weekend. Casually discovering new music at a brewery - how mainland is that?! Mac's got a real consistent sound, one that features a delightfully warped rhythm guitar. His songwriting reminds me a lot of Sondre Lerche, but the bending notes and (general lack of ) production give it more of an old-timey flavor reminiscent of George Harrison. The consistency of sound really ties the album together like an old oriental rug. It's one of those in which you'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Might as well listen to the whole thing - it's only a half hour.
Meat Puppets, "Rat Farm". Remember the Meat Puppets? You may know them as the band that Nirvana covered all the time during their final live album. Turns out they are still making albums, and since I've got to start transitioning to Northwest mode, I picked up their latest. Wikipedia says the Meat Puppets are from Arizona, but whatever. Details. Wikipedia also says I'm about five albums behind, since I last checked in with the band during 1994's "Too High to Die". It sounds like they, and I, are older now. They are also a little more rollicking, and a little more Western, than I remember them being. But then again so am I.
Parquet Courts, "Light Up Gold". If you loved 80s slacker punk - such as the Dead Milkmen - then you'll love Parquet Courts. They capture the same spirit, with the themes applicable to the economy then or now (see "Careers in Combat"). It makes you really see the resemblance the 20-teens have to the 80s, not only because we're in the 1980s phase of our 30-year cultural remake cycle. The lyrics to "Master of My Craft" might as well be Gordon Gecko's Wall Street manifesto - either in the original movie or the remake. As justification for the narrator's career path, the song reminds us that: "Socrates died in the fucking gutter!"
Glossary of Terms
4x4 magazine model = friend, husband of M.I.L.F.P.B.R., Seattle
80 ounces to freedom = She's work'n for the city. She's got a black belt in karate. She's gotta be strong to fight them. So she's tak'n lots of vitamins.
Aeroheart = my niece
Aftershock = Tour d'Diego III Champion, former girlfriend of Remington Steele
American Spirits = My wife's childhood friends, Bainbridge Island and Charlottesville, VA
Any Breakfast Cereal, or its nickname = my wife
As a Kite = our former next door neighbor, native Arizonan
Björkstë = wife's childhood friend, formerly of Maui, now of Seattle
Black Hole = the Mount Everest of OB bars
Bob Barker = former OBtian, brother of Ween, L.A. resident
Breakfast Cereals We Don't Like (BCWDL) = OBtian, Librarian, wife of Ween
Calves of Steel = SDSU graduate in one of the Ninja sister's lab, Champion of Tour d'Diego One
Captain Vicario = my Las Vegas alter-ego
Catt Me = OBtian, niner fan, married to the E-ticket
Chicken Schwarma = Davis ecologist, husband of the Sierra Club
Chlo-in-the-dark = Hilo friend, Catholic School Girl, now of Oahu
Chompy = President of UF Alumni association, husband of The Gator
Chrysanthemum = former college housemate, Chicago
Cosmopol = British Ecologist from SDSU
Country Roads = OBtian, wife of Ippi, Mountaineer, now pregnant in Germany
Crystal = Kona friend, guidance counselor, former housemate of T.C. and Ken Masters
Da4ve, pronounced Da-for-vra = OBtian, may or may not be dead
Dexter = professional chef, girlfriend of Hooks, Seattle
Die Hard with a Vengeance = fellow Marine Ecologist at SDSU, formerly in Honolulu, now back in California
Dixie Mango Xotsalot (DMX) = former next-door neighbor, last known resident of the Unplex
Doc = childhood friend, now a navy doctor in San Diego
Downtown Tiger = discontinued blog nickname, see "The Prodigal Tiger"
Dr. Lady, D.D.S. = former college housemate, Hilo resident
E-ticket = Obtian, wife of Catt Me
Energizer Bunny = Dekey's friend/coworker from Seattle
Fraoch = Hilo friend, Catholic School Girl
Freaky and Dekey = wonder twins from Idaho
Generator = Hilo friend, Shark Shopstress, girlfriend of Sully
Grizzly = friend and former member of my rugby team in Seattle, frequent mountaineer, now in Los Angeles
Guacansas = former home of Ippi and Country Roads, now known as The Avocado Jungle of Fun
Guadalupe = The Prodigal Tiger's friend from Baton Rouge
Gyrotastic = former Davis buddy, now of Brooklyn. Best friend of Sierra.
Hank = me, I, the author, husband of breakfast cereals
Hermione = former undergraduate member of the lab, now in grad school at CSU Long Beach
Holy Grail = My wife's childhood friend, formerly of Los Angeles, now back in Seattle
Hooks = lifelong friend, Seattle
HorseyCow = Comedian, Tuba player and boyfriend of LaKristinian Tomlinson, Houston
Hyundai = the Prodigal Tiger's former roommate, before she became the Downtown Tiger
I Am Sam = Husband of Rock Chalk, Bellingham
If I Could Turn Back Time = Male model for the U.S. Navy / Ensign
Ippi = Navy OBtian, husband of Country Roads, now stationed in Germany
Irish Spring = Popular deodorant soap made by Colgate-Palmolive
Jackie Joyner-Kersee = wife of the Irish Spring, Colorado Springs
JonBoy = OBtian, husband of the Survivor
K-dizzle = Friend, Nematode Ecologist, Davis
Karate Kid II = OBtian, hoteler
Katrina = our wonder volvo, named for her "I was underwater once" electrical unreliability
Kelpy = former roommate, former officemate, fellow ecologist
Ken Masters = Hilo friend, marine engineer, former housemate of T.C. and Crystal, now married to the Queen Bee
Kerrina Sutra = O.B. friend, wife of Mr. Soprano, current Vista resident
Kimchee = Hilo friend, Shark Shopstress
Knievel = the frog son
Knock Out = anesthesiologist friend, girlfriend of T.C., Hilo
Kollette Klassen = former next door neighbor, former roommate of Makers Mark
Krakatoa = my parent's dog
LaKristinian Tomlinson = Mistress of Brunch, girlfriend of HorseyCow, former roommate of Schmandrew Schmeans, now Houston
Lil' Debbie = Delicious Snack Cake and O.B. friend, former roommate of 80 ounces to freedom, now someplace on the East Coast
Lindstrom Shift = the periodicity of cascading aftershock events, each subsequent event of decreasing magnitude, occuring periodically after a particularly good party
M.C. Lil' Xotsie (MCLX) = former next-door neighbor, last known resident of the Unplex
M.I.L.F.F.P.B.R. = native Walla Wallan, wife of 4x4 magazine model
Mahatma Gandhi = Tacoma friend, husband of Mother Theresa
Maker's Mark = former next door neighbor, now gone far away
Man without Blanket = husband of the woman without a blanket
Medicine Bow = mountain view arteest, ex-boyfriend of Dr. Lady, D.D.S.
Mel Gibson = Kelp / Urchin Ecologist, San Diego
Mercedes Benz = OBtian, baby mama of Reagan
Miss Moshizzle = OBtian, art teacher
Moisties = Former housemate of Calves of Steel, Gaucho
Mr. Soprano = former next door neighbor, husband of Kerrina Sutra, of Vista
My CD friend = OBtian, fellow music enthusiast, fiance of the Wolverine
Mystique = the bug's movie-making partner, L.A.
Nalgas = Hooters restaurant. I just don't think the outfits on the waitresses feature the hooters. They really accent the ass cheeks, though. And since "Ass Cheeks" isn't a very good name for a restaurant, I nominate "Nalgas" the Spanish equivalent. Done and done.
No! and Out of the Kitchen! = The prodigal tiger's former hounds
OK! = discontinued blog nickname, see "Rita Risky"
Our Benevolent Father = Fish Ecologist, P.B.
Ponch = Catt Me's best man
Queen Bee = dancer, diver, wife of Ken Masters, Hilo
Reagan = OBtian, baby-daddy of Mercedes Benz
Remington Steele = Fish Ecologist, Fun Documentarian, ex-boyfriend of Aftershock
Rita Risky = Seattle friend, former housemate
Rock Chalk = Wife of I Am Sam, Bellingham
Salem's = comedy, reggae, and skins bar, OB
Schmandrew Schmeans = O.B.C. comic from Texas, former roommate of LaKristinian Tomlinsen
Seamus O'Djembe = former late show resident, former roommate of the Spigot, drummer, now in Nashville
She-ra = O.B. power vixen / social worker
Shotgunner = Seattle courvoisier, girlfriend of the Bard
Sierra Club = Plant Ecologist, Davis. Best friend of Gyrotastic. Married to Chicken Schwarma
Sketchie = OBtian, Navy Bomb Squad
Sound Traveling Across the Water = Maui teacher friend, Karaoke enthusiast
Speedo = Björkstë's ex-husband, Maui
Spiderman = the olsens' dog
Spigot = We can build on this! We can build on this from Nashville!
Suffragette = Marine Ecologist, Musical collaborator, native San Diegan, now at Stanford
Sugar Tits = Seattle friend, Idahoan, husband of Sugar Tits
Sugar Tits = wife of Sugar Tits
Sully = Hilo friend, guidance counselor, boyfriend of the Generator
T.C. = Hilo friend, helicopter pilot, housemate of Ken Masters and Crystal, boyfriend of Knock Out
Tequila Divinity = Hilo friend, guidance counselor, waterfall owner
The Asian Mussel = Invertebrate Ecologist, boyfriend of the Dumpster, Davis
The B.O.B. = OBtian, O.B.C. comic
The Bandit = the Bug's Husband, collectively they are now "the Bandits"
The Banyan Brothers = Hilo friends numbers 2 and 3, now good knows where
The Bard = fellow troubador, online nemesis, Seattle
The Blondyan Sisters = a Hilo posse specially trained to replace the Banyan Brothers
The Bug = the frog daughter, "sister from another mister", Virginia Beach
The Chicken Wing = SDSU Fish Ecologist, tailgater, now in Olympia!
The Dumpster = Sea Turtle Ecologist, captain of GATR II winning team, girlfriend of the Asian Mussel, now at Davis
The Fight'n Tiger = discontinued blog nickname, see "The Prodigal Tiger"
The Flystrip Company = A fat, meaty slice of P.B. right here in O.B.
The Frogs = godfamily
The Funplex = former home of me, the wife, Mr. Bitey and a rotating supporting cast
The Gator = former SDSU ecologist, wife of Chompy
The Jondo = residence of the Survivor and Jonboy
The Model = NOAA postdoc, Seattle
The Ninja Sisters = Actual sisters, Science types, San Diego Friends
The Noodler = my other niece
The Olsen Twins = Davis friends, a Shark Ecologist and a Crossbird Behaviorist
The Prodigal Tiger = Mammalogist, former next door neighbor, now at Virginia Tech
The Schmreen Room = Former Home of LaKristinian, Schmandrew and Horsey
The Shogun = Manager of Salem's, OB
The Staciemonster = Kelp Ecologist, L.A.
The Survivor = OBtian, JonBoy's wife
The Unplex = former home of me, the wife, Mr. Bitey and a rotating supporting cast
The Wolverine = fellow marine ecologist, Humboldt State, fiance of MyCDFriend
Thoreau = Kollete Klausen's ex-boyfriend
Thousands of Locations Countrywide = My sister-in-law, San Juan Island
Tunnel of Love = Marine Ecologist, jersey girl, SDSU
Tyrone = best man, Walla Walla, R.I.P.
Veronica Mars = former neighbor, ex-girlfriend of Bob Barker, L.A.
Viking Twins = the bug and mystique, collectively
Virginia = discontinued blog nickname, see "Sugar Tits"
Walrus = tailgater extraordinaire, now at Woods Hole
Wayne Coyne = my brother-in-law, San Juan Island
Ween = OBtian, brother of Bob Barker and husband of B.C.W.D.L.
White Chocolate = the Bug's ex-boyfriend, Walla Walla
Winger = discontinued blog nickname, see "Sugar tits"
Woman without a Blanket = Kelp Ecologist at SDSU
Wrench Face = Three-quarter kilohorsepowered split-hulled water craft of pleasure