Thursday, November 30, 2006

God Bless America!

Earlier this morning, I saw this headline: "US man saved from alligator jaws" from the BBC. It seemed like an interesting enough story from the headline, but after reading it, there was a bit more to it than the headline indicated.

Then, this afternoon, CBS came though with a truly American headline that tells oh so much more of the story: "Gator Attacks Naked Man on Crack". Awwww yeahhh, baybee.
posted by Dennis at 12:14 PM (permalink) 0 comments

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Perfect Martini

Ever since my honeymoon to Vancouver, BC back in '98 I had been on a quest to recreate the perfect martini I had there. Unfortunately I don't remember the restaurant name, but it was incredible. It was perfectly chilled, with a silky smooth taste and some very thin, beautiful ice crystals layering the top (a must have if done right). I perfected it sometime ago, but thought I'd put it out there for my one reader to take advantage.

  • Ice (cushed works best, but this technique works with cubed as well)
  • Premium vodka (I usually use 3-4 oz. Skyy for everyday, Belvedere for special times. Grey Goose, like most things French, including Evian, is soapy-tasting and yucky to me)
  • Vermouth (I like Martini & Rossi Extra Dry - needs to be fairly fresh)
  • Olives or other garnish (other options include black grapes and blueberries. Blue-cheese-stuffed olives are the best!)
  • Worthy martini glass (you decide)
  • "Sticker" for garnish
  • Metal Shaker with strainer
Directions (no steps may be skipped):
  • Before anything, the martini glass goes in the freezer. It should be in there until the very last moment.
  • Add ice to the shaker
  • "Rinse" ice with cold water and then empty the water from the shaker. This removes any pieces that are chunky enough to seem like "ice in the glass" but that are small enough to fit through any staining apparatus. You really are "rinsing" the ice of unwanted pieces.
  • Add vodka and vermouth in a rough 6:1 ratio respectively. This is the perfect ratio. Anything more than 10:1 is just vodka. Less than 4:1 is gross - you might as well just drink the vermouth (!).
  • Shake/stir the shaker. Lots of debate here - you decide. I prefer shaking because it makes the concoction really cold. It's not done long enough for "bruising" of the vodka (to me, that's just an illusion of the insane anyway). Regardless you need to do it until the shaker is so cold that it's actually too painful to hold (again, shaking is better in making this determination. I shake in a figure-8 pattern).
  • Set the shaker down and don't touch it or even look at it for a full 60 seconds.
  • Meanwhile, get your garnish on your sticker, and pull the glass from the freezer.
  • Put the garnished sticker in your glass.
  • Pour the beloved mixture into the glass and let it envelope your garnished sticker (lots of potential double entendre jokes here, but let's keep to the topic at hand - this is a martini, after all).
  • And finally the best step of all, enjoy this drink of drinks the way it was meant to be. Then make another.
On a final note regarding vermouth. I will offer my opinion as unadulterated fact: Use dry vermouth. Don't even look at "wet" (or sweet) vermouth.

There are also lots of quips about how folks make "dry" martinis (i.e. more vodka, less vermouth). My favorites, in opposite order of humorousness are:
  • Put a capful of vermouth into the glass, roll it around to coat and then dump the excess (this is actually ok)
  • Spritz the vermouth into the glass before putting the vodka in (similar to previous)
  • Pour a capful of vermouth, dump it back into the vermouth bottle and then hold the cap over the martini glass (!)
  • And #1, pour a shot of vermouth, drink the shot, and then breathe into the martini glass :)
Despite those entertaining ideas, a martini is not straight vodka. It's vodka and vermouth (an herbed wine). Through trial and error I've determined that 6:1 is the perfect ratio. It can be a "rough" ratio because anything close to that is ok as long as the vermouth is dry, relatively fresh, and a good brand.

posted by Dennis at 11:30 PM (permalink) 0 comments

Walter E. Williams, Conservative

Walter E. Williams is amazing in that he seems able to talk about a particular subject, and yet capture almost all of the tenants of conservativism all at the same time in his columns.

From his 11/29/06 column, he finds it egregious that "at least two-thirds of the federal budget represents forcing one American to serve the purposes of another. Younger workers are forced to pay for the prescriptions of older Americans; people who are not farmers are forced to serve those who are; nonpoor people are forced to serve poor people; and the general public is forced to serve corporations, college students and other special interests who have the ear of Congress."

That pretty much ecapsulates so much of the core beliefs of true conservativism as well as what is really wrong with our current overindulgent and unconstitutional federal government.

I've never had a desire to become famous, but sometimes I wish I had the pull to get every single American to read and understand certain works or bodies of work. Mr. Williams' writings are among those.
posted by Dennis at 2:32 PM (permalink) 0 comments

Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman (07/31/12 to 11/16/2006) - R.I.P.

Thanks for all of your work. The lunches are free forever now.
posted by Dennis at 1:25 PM (permalink) 0 comments

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Well, Yeah.

So, it seems that "US" Chefs are more interested in taste than in health (what about all of those decadent French meals?). Thank goodness for that. If I want to eat healthily, I'll cook myself (well, I'll cook for myself anyway. If I cooked myself, then that would just be another high fat meal...). When I go out I want good food.

As I've said before, what about this is actual news?
posted by Dennis at 1:29 PM (permalink) 0 comments

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election Perspective

As a registered Republican (but conservative first), I have no problem saying that the Republicans completely gaffed this election cycle. However I do think that they would have had a much better showing if they had stuck to (or in some cases adopted in the first place) conservative principles.

It was sickening to me to hear John McCain say, the morning after the election that things would have been better for the Republicans if they had not spent so much, and if they had followed the principles of Ronald Reagan instead of what they actually did. It made me sick because John McCain is one of the principle players in the moderate, non-conservative, pain-in-the-ass Republican horde.

That all being said, I believe there is some perspective to be gained on what the actual results were this week. Ann Coulter does a column on gains/losses during the second terms of previous administrations that is at the very least interesting (even if you don't like her, this particular column is worth reading). The results of this week may not be quite the mandate the Democrats would have everyone believe....

UPDATE 1:51pm 11/9/06: Another look at the same thing - i.e. that the gains in Bush's second year are actually the notable events, not the losses this week, which are entirely ordinary. (It's frustrating nonetheless, as the current Republican body are way too moderate and yellow-bellied to be the home of conservativism).
posted by Dennis at 9:15 AM (permalink) 0 comments