No, it's not fiction. Above is video of Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean chowing down pieces of the raw heart of a freshly slaughtered seal, while children (our future, remember) watch with glee.
How does it taste? "Absolutely delicious."
This has apparently caused some controversy in our northern neighbors, with animal rights activists attacking Jean in extremely harsh terms. She did the gesture in conscious solidarity with the Inuit seal hunt, so I don't think the controversy's unintentional.
It's telling that respect for other cultures -- and a perfectly sustainable, efficient way of getting meat -- ends when their practices are tarred with words like "blood lust," "barbaric" and "neanderthal" (way to be culturally enlightened, PETA). In other words, when "they" gross us out.
It reminds me of more than one person I've encountered that extols agricultural living while managing to despise anyone who actually dwells in a rural area.
On a side note, I'm hungry. And I want to visit Canada again. Toronto, it's been too long.
Asheville and Portland, Oregon, will share honors as Beer City USA, according to beer guru Charlie Papazian.
After thousands of votes were cast in the online poll, the two cities scored about 6,000 votes each, according to Papazian, who posted the online poll at www.examiner.com.
Papazian, who founded the Association of Brewers and American Homebrewers Association, wrote that more than 16,000 people from 46 countries cast ballots between March 18 and May 7 for their favorite Beer City USA in the first such online poll. In a seesaw polling battle, the voting was close right up to the end. Papazian said the poll, while not scientific, was “indicative of the efforts put forth by various communities.”
One thing that a poll like this indicates is the degree of beer culture and networks that exist in various areas of the country. It helps to bring to the forefront that beer culture, beer community and beer enthusiasm are relevant forces in the quest for access to better beer. ... I saw an effective mobilization of beer communities in several areas of America,” Papazian wrote.
As the voting deadline neared, Asheville blogs and Twitter-ers rallied their friends and social networks. The Orange Peel on Thursday pledged to host a celebration if Asheville won.
Full disclosure. Xpress publisher Jeff Fobes, my boss, will be co-sponsoring that celebration.
Also, during all that effective mobilization, things got heated. While there were plenty of barbs from the Asheville side, a particularly special breed of viciousness bubbled forth from Portland partisans. Some choice comments on the original thread included referring to our fair city as "Assville," implying that our love of beer simply included an enthusiasm for warm Coors combined with incest and lastly, questioning how we got the internet in the first place (hint: it involves machines).
This further cements Portland's reputation as a hotbed of tolerance, intellectualism and diversity.
In the spirit of hospitality, I would invite them at any point to visit one of Asheville's many breweries or beer joints, sample a tasty beverage and repeat their remarks, preferably as loudly as possible (with better grammar, one can hope), to the assembled drinkers. I might personally suggest the excellent Wedge Brewery, especially due to the proximity of railroad tracks, abandoned industrial facilities, and a large river.
Sniping aside, I wonder if this might finally strain the much-touted (at least here) tie between the two cities. Maybe we'll have less Portland émigrés shift here in the future, and general negative feeling will cause outgoing Ashevillains to pick a different place to move to.
I'm still dealing with a berserk amount of journalism work at the moment, so my regrets, dear readers, for the fact that posting's been a bit light. There's more coming soon, believe me.
Here, to tide over your ravenous appetites, is Christy Karacas and Stephen Warbick's insanely genius Barfight. Some people say there's too much absurdist animated violence in this world. I say those people are weaklings. Enjoy!
For me, the best aspect of these bars isn’t that they’re essentially theme parks where you can drink, but that the drinks highlight rather than mask the tastes of the spirits. This is as it should be. Lading drinks with overly sweet mixers, thick juices, and fruits amounts, in a way, to a continuation of Prohibition. During the 13-year drought, Americans applied considerable creativity to hiding the taste of bathtub gin and bootlegged liquor, and then never really broke the habit. Seventy-five years after Prohibition’s repeal, we’re returning to the basics at last.
Amen to that. Going through ancient bar books (like the 1941 edition that resulted in that Rum Swizzle recipe a few days back) one of the major differences I noticed was that the oldest drink recipes within used the taste of the liquor -- even when it was just average booze -- and a few simple ingredients to create a good combination. I'm of the firm belief that this beats the hell out of the alternative, and it's fairly simple (also cheap, importantly) to do. I enjoy the buzz of drinking, but like food, the taste is also meant to be savored.
From a 1941 bar book that the esteemed Jenny Bowen gifted me with once upon a time. The above photo (yes, my camera sucks) is taken after the shaved ice melted and I'd had a few sips. It's powerful. It's also not overly sweet like most drinks of our current era, in that it uses the taste of the liquor instead of trying to cover it up. They knew their shit, back in the day.
Mix as follows:
1/4 lime (juice only)
1/2 lemon (juice only)
1 large (and hoo boy do they mean it) Angostura Bitters
1 jigger Rum (at least Cruzan Light, don't use crap rum here)
Place all into glass full of shaved ice, stir well and add tonic water.
Good for casual/social drinking, but ideal for settling down to read (or write) a good book.
If this jovial little report from The New Yorker is to be believed, the time of amped-up Red Bull swilling is done, replaced by things like DRANK, the self-proclaimed "anti-energy drink:"
A few months back, as the modern financial system was revealing itself to be a hyper-stimulated and under-funded wreck, some unfamiliar merchandise turned up in midtown, along with a pitch: “This might be just the thing for jittery Wall Street right now.” The merchandise was liquid—a six-pack of tall purple cans with the word “DRANK” printed beneath a drawing of what looked like a bottle of Robitussin, along with the slogan “Slow Your Roll.” To a hip-hop fan, if not to a banker, the allusion is obvious: purple drank is a kind of instant moonshine, originating in the Houston rap scene, and consisting primarily of cough syrup and 7UP. (Variations abound, some featuring Jolly Ranchers.) It’s a sedative, and therefore well suited to the slow, vaguely psychedelic Southern rap favored by artists like Lil Wayne, whose song “Me and My Drank” includes the lyrics “I’m a sip until I lean hard / Drink got me moving slower than a retard. . . . One more ounce will make me feel so great / Wait, now I can’t feel my face.”
If you think of Red Bull, with its glorified but dubious ingredient, taurine, as in some ways emblematic of the housing boom, then here, perhaps, was something grounding to take a day trader’s eye off the relentlessly correcting ticker. The canned version, which is billed as an “anti-energy drink” and an “extreme relaxation beverage,” will do nothing for your congestion; its active ingredients are melatonin, rose hips, and valerian root. (The homespun stuff works best with codeine and promethazine.) “Eight ounces really puts you to sleep,” a publicist said. Each can contains sixteen ounces: a Rip Van Winkle special. It tastes like a faintly carbonated grape Kool-Aid, with hints of Dimetapp.
Well, no one ever accused our culture of moderation. Things booming? Fuck you! I want more! Sky falling? To hell with this shit, I'm going to bed.
I wonder what the next big drug will be, now that everything from caffeine to amphetamines seems passe. Cough syrup? Really? Here's betting that some brand spanking new type of disassociative or depressant comes down the pipe in the coming years.
Oh yeah, and Gothic Lolita's gonna get really popular. No, don't ask me how those two go together. Just trust me on this.