Whiskey + history

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What happens when you down a bottle of alcohol and live to tell the tale? (Or, at least, a tale about an American president). One brave director and several famous actors found out:

The next one is disabled, but you should seriously SERIOUSLY watch it on YouTube:

Beer mash

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I never knew I’d have so much to say about beer. Usually after I write Monday’s post I brainstorm a few other ideas that could work for that topic, and I’m lucky if I come up with four. But, just like a good fermented beer keeps feeding on itself, my list of potential topics kept growing and growing…

So here are many of the thoughts that I couldn’t develop more fully:

1. I’ll drink to that

My parents have a set of drinking glasses with words for “cheers” in different languages on the side of them. Here are the words I’ve used to toast, and why: Cheers (English–all the time); Salud (Spanish–while living in Mexico & Spain); A votre sante (French–while in Paris and to sound cultured); Nazdrave (Bulgarian–because I lived for a summer in Provincetown, MA with a bunch of Bulgarian seasonal workers); Slainte (Irish–in Dublin and while drinking with Irish writers); Prost (German–in German class); L’chaim (Hebrew–at Jewish gatherings and at the after-party for “Fiddler on the Roof”); Skål (Scandanavian–I’m a Viking, remember?)

2. Best-sellers

On the multicultural note, it’s interesting–and perhaps somewhat embarrassing–to see which beers are the best-sellers around the world. In the United States we buy Bud Lite more than any other beer. So much for microbrews.

3. How to repurpose an old brewery

Where do breweries go to die? Hopefully, they don’t. Here’s a story of a smart urban planner who found a new use for a wonderful abandoned brewery. (oh yeah, and one of my friends works for this guy).

4. Milwaukee brews

My boyfriend drinks PBR. Pabst Blue Ribbon is the drink of hipsters. Since my boyfriend also wears a lot of plaid shirts, listens to obscure music (he’s a music writer, for goodness sake!), and bikes any time he can, some go so far as to label him a hipster. He counters with the fact that he’s from a town near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and locals always drink local beer. This was known and reported on by the New Yorker in 1960 (it’s free if you’re a subscriber, and I highly recommend it as it’s surprisingly hilarious). Some things never change.

5. Drinking time

My college’s unofficial mascot is Keggy the Keg. Our official mascot is “the big green.” That’s right, a color. Only “big.” No wonder Keggy makes such frequent appearances around campus, like at this tour for prospective students:

Oh yeah, Dartmouth was also the college that inspired this:

I’m planning to add more to this beer list in the coming days, so check back soon!

Doctors on TV

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Even though I have been a squeamish person most of my life, one of my favorite shows for about a decade was ER. I still remember the first show my parents and I watched, where someone lost part of his finger in an ice chest packed with fish. And over the years we tuned in to NBC every Thursday at 9 pm to watch a young(ish) George Clooney smirk his way to stardom and our beloved Dr. Mark Greene battle brain cancer.

It’s apparent why shows about doctors are perennial hits–life and death dramas occur daily in hospital rooms. I know real-life doctors who refuse to watch these shows (“After a day in surgery, do I really want to be entertained by watching more surgery?”), but I also know med school students who’ve been excited by solving medical mysteries on House before Dr. House himself gets around to the answer.

Who are your favorite TV doctors?

Drs. Greene and Ross:

Drs. JD and Turk:

Dr. House:

She’s a witch!

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Need to identify a witch? No need to consult your edition of Malleus Maleficarum; just remember the guidelines set out by Monty Python:

Best superbowl ads


Superbowl Sunday is the one day in the year when people will turn on the television just for the commercials. Based on 2011’s showing, those people would have been disappointed. I can’t remember much, except that most of the ads were dreadful. And then there was that one ray of light:

But will the Darth Vader kid stand the tests of time like other Superbowl classics? Like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird shooting for a Big Mac?

Or like this other great duo?

Slapstick humor often scores big:

As do animals:

And then there are those few companies that put all the pieces together and seem to start a cultural phenomenon every single year:

Cake wrecks


If you haven’t heard of the site Cake Wrecks before, be prepared to lose the rest of your afternoon touring the ruins of good intentions that wound up as terrible cakes. Seriously, this site is nearly as addicting as Cake Boss (and I said I wouldn’t speak of Cake Boss again! I just can’t restrain myself!)

There are the run-of-the-mill miscommunications:

Haven't you heard about NOT messing with Texas?

The alarming misspellings:

Back to shool, back to shool to show my dad I'm not a fool

And then there are those cakes that are downright ugly:

Ha, gotcha! That wasn’t the ugly one. That’s what the bride requested…instead she got this:

Yep, now that is an ugly cake.

Also, if you’ve made it down this far, I want to put in a quick plug for my boyfriend (who would be mortified if he knew…good thing he doesn’t read this!) Back when he first started at City Pages he chose 10 of his favorite cake wrecks and wrote up his own descriptions of them. They’re pretty hilarious.

When the Cake Boss met the Cookie Monster


I promise, this is the last time I’ll talk about Cake Boss. I just wanted to give anyone who hasn’t seen the show a little better understanding of why I’m obsessed with it. There are way too many amazing cakes and great scenes to choose from when picking my Cake Boss favorites, but Buddy meeting his hero, Cookie Monster, um, takes the cake:

And here are some other incredible creations:

This is a replica of an Indricotherium for the American Museum of Natural History

Buddy with his life-size race car cake

An aquarium with brightly colored fish and coral in front and real fish swimming behind

Cake for Chinese dragon boat racing team

Carlo's Bakery crew crowds around New York City

Magnificent men in their flying machines

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Thinking about aviation this week brought to mind an old tune that I couldn’t place at first: Those magnificent men in their flying machines, they go up uppity up up…  Google to the rescue. This is the theme song from an old British movie I watched at my grandparents as a kid that I surely never would have remembered otherwise.

The movie’s full title is Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, Or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours and 11 Minutes and features an international flying contest, replete with cliched characters from Italy, France, Britain, the US, Prussia, and Japan who play out in microcosm the tensions of pre-WWI Europe. Now that we have such a standard model for what a plane should look like, it’s fun to see the varied concepts that were featured in this movie:

DIY: become a detective

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Robert Benchley teaches you all you need to know:

You’re a good man, Jon Stewart

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Watching the news is a bummer. Watching Jon Stewart’s version of the news, luckily, makes everything better. He’s been on a roll for the past two weeks about the scandal over Anthony Weiner, showing that, for a comedian, the hilarity of your material trumps the survival of your friendships any day of the week.

The only bummer about watching The Daily Show is that I see many more clips of Fox News than I would normally choose (I would normally choose to avoid Fox like the plague of inanity that it is). The point of showing these clips though is to destroy Fox anchors with their own hypocrisy, which Stewart does brilliantly. And every once in a while I’m glad to know the name Glenn Beck if only to understand how brilliant Jon Stewart is when he decides to parody Beck’s strange logic:

Also, Jon’s the best host the Oscars have ever seen:

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