Friday, December 31, 2010

I New Year’s Feel Good Story

Did you honestly think we would get out of the NY without a “feel good” story such as this…..I think I would take a chance with the coffin nails vs the rock up side the head -

Report: Wife 'snaps,' beats husband with rock for smoking when he was sick

CALLAWAY — A woman was arrested Wednesday morning for beating her husband with a rock, claiming she didn’t want him to smoke a cigarette because of his poor health.

“A woman can only take so much,” she told a deputy.

According to a Bay County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the couple’s 18-year-old daughter called 9-1-1 about 11:31 a.m. Wednesday when she saw her mother beating her father with a rock.

A deputy said that, when they arrived at the scene off North Lakewood Drive, he saw the victim sitting “Indian fashion” on the ground in front of the residence; he was hunched over with his hands over his head, trying to protect himself. His wife was standing behind him. She kicked him in the hip and was using a rock to hit him in the head, the report said.

A deputy told the 41-year-old woman to get off her husband a few times, but she continued to strike him and scream at him, telling him “to give her the cigarettes,” the report said.

The man, age 51, had cuts and bruises, including a bleeding laceration on the top of his right wrist, the report said.

Both husband and wife told deputies they had been suffering with the flu recently and had not felt well. The night before, they got into an argument and the woman scratched her husband’s face, the report said. When he mentioned going outside to smoke a cigarette that morning, the wife became angry and told him “he did not need to be smoking since he is sick,” according to the report.

She followed him outside and began to argue with him, then jumped on him and began hitting him in the head with “a small ceramic bird,” the report said. She grabbed other items to hit him, finally picking up a rock.

The man refused treatment by EMS. He said “he knew how to take care of himself,” the report said.

The woman was charged with aggravated battery domestic violence. She said she had been dealing with “a lot of (expletive)” for some time and “a woman can only take so much,” the report said.

She said she was upset because he had the flu and she told him not to smoke, but he went outside and smoked anyway. She added, “A person can only take so much before they snap,” the report said.

Told what she was being charged with, she responded, “Yeah, I hit him with the rock,” according to the report.

The rock was submitted into evidence.

What it is all about….

A friend of S&B just posted this on FB-

DM-was in walmart getting liquor, had a gentlemen approach me and say I was drinking on him tonight, I was modest and said thank you but were set, he put $40 in the cart and said thank that gentlemen, thank you for the support sir. fight for my country and get money for booze and beer. cool.

I really doubt that that individual reads S&B, but if he does….well played sir, well played.

Every time I see a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine out and about, I go out of my way to say Thank You.  There have been several times I have bought a drink at an airport bar and told the waitress to put it on my tab without telling the recipient.  I hope all my readers do the same…..if you see a military member tonight (or any time)….tell them thanks.  A little recognition and appreciation goes a long way.

Cheers to all of you guys and Happy New Year.

……and in Texas

Well, this seems to be becoming a common trend.  Just as I earlier pointed out in Florida, they are also doing the “No Refusal” DUI stops in Texas.

What I find particularly amusing is that these only took place on Weekends.  So does that mean that weekday DUI stops are not as important?  I personally think it is so the Judge who has to be on-site (plus the cops) can then make more money on overtime.

What a waste.  IMO, DUI stops are unconstitutional (there is no probable cause to stop everyone….so illegal search) and the fact that MADD sponsors or “assists” in these shows that this is really fringe organizations taking over public service (nobody pays attention to this, yet if a group get together and form a militia…the media is all over it).  For an interesting read on MADD and how the operate/skew statistics….skip over to Modern Drunkard Magazine (and how could you not love a smoking and drinking monkey in a fez?).

Here is the article from Texas.  It should be retitled- You can’t kill our Cash Cow.

'No Refusal' Weekend Program To Exist Year-Round

SAN ANTONIO -- Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed announced plans this week to extend "No Refusal" weekends to every weekend in 2011 as opposed to certain holiday weekends, like New Year's and the Fourth of July.

The move to extend the program drew positive words from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"We're pretty excited about that," said Daniel Garza, youth program specialist with MADD. "It was a great pleasure to hear that this morning that law enforcement is going to get another good tool to be able to combat drunk driving here in San Antonio."

With an estimated 6,000 drunken driving arrests in Bexar county for 2010, MADD feels the program will cut down on arrests in 2011.

"When they're announced and everyone knows that they're coming, they serve as a deterrent," Garza said. "It would be a great pleasure to see it become 365 days."

But criminal lawyers who handle DWI cases see it differently.

"I guess the message they're sending is, 'Get drunk during the week,'" said Jamie Balagia, a lawyer who goes by "DWI Dude".

"They're saying, 'You give us a breath specimen or you give us a blood specimen or we're going to take it anyway,'" George Scharmen, a criminal defense lawyer.

Scharmen said with the district attorney's refusal to take plea bargains in DWI cases, the new policy won't do anything but stretch out cases. He said he has some cases that have waited five years to get to court.

"You have motions to suppress breath and blood draws on the basis of a bad search warrant, on the basis of involuntariness," Scharmen said.

"If they don't have enough evidence against you to make a solid case, how is what little they have enough for a judge to sign a warrant?" added Balagia.

Reed's office released statistics from nine No Refusal weekends between May 2008 and the Fourth of July weekend in 2010. The stats showed that 312 blood tests were taken with an average blood alcohol level of 0.159, nearly twice the legal limit. Twenty-nine of the tests were below the legal limit.

"If you have a special program, there should be a goal and a goal that you can actually show statistically that there's benefit," Balagia said. "Susan Reed can't do that."

"The implication is that on the No Refusal weekend they have a tendency to get more convictions or they have a tendency to get better evidence," Scharmen said.

A New Year’s Poem

I read this this morning on the Freemasons for Dummies blog and thought it was somewhat fitting for this crowd as well.  Please check out Br. Chris Hodapp’s blog if you have a chance, as there are some really interesting things there…even for non-masons.
Happy New Year all- Cheers Smile


The Passing Of The Year

by Brother Robert William Service (1874 - 1958)

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter’s chime
Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
Let us all read, whate’er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope? O Optimist!
What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
Old weary year! it’s time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I—
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

(Brother Robert W. Service was a member of Yukon Lodge No. 45 in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. He is best remembered for his poem, The Shooting of Dan McGrew).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

As Mike said….I need one of these :)

And the Fascists show up in Florida

This story almost leaves me dumbfounded.  Usually if you refuse a breathalyzer, at least in every state I have lived in, your license is suspended….that’s it.  Now, they have a judge on site (how much does that cost?) and will FORCE you to take a bloodtest. 

"We don't want to violate people's civil rights. That's the last thing we want to do, but we're here to save lives”

When does someone use that same logic to say “"We don't want to violate people's constitutional rights. That's the last thing we want to do, but we're here to save lives” and ban guns as well?

Oh well….here you go.  Enjoy or shudder as you will-

"No refusal" DUI checkpoints could be coming to Tampa

Tampa, Florida-- With New Year's Eve only days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads.

But now a new weapon is being used in the fight against drunk driving.

It's a change that could make you more likely to be convicted.

"I think it's a great deterrent for people," said Linda Unfried, from Mother's Against Drunk Driving in Hillsborough County.

Florida is among several states now holding what are called "no refusal" checkpoints.

It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test.

It's already being done in several counties, and now Unfried is working to bring it to the Tampa Bay area.

"I think you'll see the difference because people will not drink and drive. I truly believe that," she said.

Not everyone is on board, though.

DUI defense attorney Kevin Hayslett sees the mandatory blood test as a violation of constitutional rights.

"It's a slippery slope and it's got to stop somewhere," Hayslett explained, "what other misdemeanor offense do we have in the United States where the government can forcefully put a needle into your arm?"

The federal government says Florida has among the highest rates of breathalyzer refusal.

"Now you've got attorneys telling their clients, don't blow, don't blow! Because we know from the results from these machines that they're not operating as the state or the government says they're supposed to operate," said Stephen Daniels, a DUI consultant and expert witness.

Supporters, though, say you could see the "no refusal" checkpoints in the Bay area by October.

"We don't want to violate people's civil rights. That's the last thing we want to do, but we're here to save lives," Unfried said.

She adds that this type of checkpoint would be heavily advertised, with the goal of deterring any drunk driving.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has recently said he wants to see more states hold similar programs.

My favorite quote of the year

From my man…..Mike Tyson.

My life is like a tornado, a f---ing hurricane. It's like I'm a naked tornado that comes through a city and there's just so much wreckage. There's so much destruction, and when it's finally over, it's like the morning after and you're sober and ... what the f--- happened here

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Alabama PSA


Illegal to possess too much beer

An excess of "holiday spirits" landed an Albertville man in jail on Christmas Eve.

Albertville Police Chief Benny Womack said 35-year-old Ramiro Santos, of the Kilpatrick Mobile Home Park, was stopped at 10 p.m. Friday at the intersection of U.S. 431 and Mathis Mill Road in Albertville on suspicion of driving under the influence.

During a subsequent search of Santos' vehicle, officers discovered a large quantity of beer, leading to charges of illegal transportation of alcoholic beverages being filed against Santos.

Womack said the list of beer was lengthy and included 14 cases of Bud Light, and a variety of other brands, including Modelo and Corona.

"We don't see a lot of these types of cases," Womack said. "It's not often someone has that much beer in their car."

With many people planning New Year's parties, officials caution drivers to be aware of alcoholic beverage restrictions and laws.

Alabama Criminal Codes state transporting more than five gallons of alcohol is a felony offense punishable by no less than one year but no more than five years in prison.

Drivers are allowed to possess three quarts of liquor or three quarts of wine along with one case of brewed or malt beverages. However, no beverages may be kept in the passenger compartment of a vehicle or within sight of the passenger.

Since many parts of Marshall County are considered wet, or allow sales of alcohol, drivers are subject to an open container law. Under the law, drivers can possess alcoholic beverages for transport, but containers cannot be open and bottles cannot have broken seals.

In dry portions of the area, such as Boaz and Mountainboro, drivers are subject similar laws, according to Boaz Deputy Chief Todd Adams.

"The main thing people need to know is they cannot have alcoholic beverages of any type within reach of the driver or passengers at all," Adams said. "That doesn't matter if you live in the dry or wet areas."

Could this be the end of an empire?

Woman dies at Busch home

Autopsy report to take weeks

HUNTLEIGH (AP) — Police found the body of a 27-year-old woman in the upscale suburban St. Louis home of ex-Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV, though it could take at least a month before authorities know how she died.

The woman was identified as Adrienne N. Martin of St. Charles. Police were called Sunday afternoon to the St. Louis suburb of Huntleigh and found her body in Busch’s gated home. St. Louis County forensic administrator Suzanne McCune said yesterday there were no signs of illness or trauma. An autopsy was conducted, but results could take four to six weeks.

Art Margulis, an attorney for Busch, said Martin was a friend of Busch who was visiting the home and there was “absolutely nothing suspicious” about her death.

“It was a tragic death of a young woman,” he said. Margulis told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Martin and Busch had been dating for at least a year.

Frontenac police, whose area of coverage includes Huntleigh, provided information in a news release that did not say if the death was considered suspicious. Phone messages seeking an interview were not returned. The release did not say why news of the death was not announced until four days later.

The statement from police said the department received a 911 call at 1:15 p.m. Sunday about an “unresponsive person” at the home. Martin was deceased when paramedics and officers arrived, the release said.

McCune declined to speculate on the investigation or the cause of death.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted an unnamed law enforcement source as saying the case was being investigated as a possible overdose. McCune would only say that an overdose was among the possible causes.

Citing a divorce file, the Post-Dispatch reported that Martin was married in 2002 to a 45-year-old man but they separated in February 2009. The couple had joint custody of an 8-year-old son, the paper reported.

A woman identified as Adrienne Nicole Martin, from the St. Louis area and the same age as the victim, posted on the website that she was studying to be an art therapist and was hoping to become a model. “I really would like to do beer advertising,” the woman wrote in the posting.

Busch, 46, was chief executive at Anheuser-Busch from 2006 until the maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers was purchased by InBev in 2008. The $52 billion merger created the world’s largest brewery.

Busch remains a member of the board of directors for InBev.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Busch and his wife of 2½ years divorced in 2009.

In 1983, Busch, then a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, left a bar with a 22-year-old woman. His black Corvette crashed, and the woman, Michele Frederick, was killed. Busch was found hours later at his home. He suffered a fractured skull and claimed he had amnesia.

After a seven-month investigation, authorities declined to press criminal charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Monday, December 27, 2010

DUI in DC since 2000? You may be in luck

As if Traffic Stops were not intrusive enough, no small wonder that stories like this happen.  Great job DC… continue to show your incompetence.

Bogus Breathalyzer Results may go back a DecadeWhistleblower contends Washington, DC breath testing machines have not been accuracy checked since 2000.
Motorists in Washington, DC may have been falsely accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) for more than a decade as a result of faulty "Intoxilyzer" breath testing equipment. Whistleblower Ilmar Paegle, a veteran police officer now working as a contract employee for the District Department of Transportation, argued in a memorandum to the city's attorney general that the breath testing machines have not been properly calibrated since 2000, as first reported by WTTG-TV.
To date, the District has only admitted to bogus breathalyzer results taken between September 2008 and February 4, 2010. Of 1100 cases prosecuted in that period, 300 were convicted based on evidence provided by faulty machines.
"As a result of the miscalibration the instruments apparently produced results that were outside the acceptable margin of error to be considered accurate," Deputy DC Attorney General Robert J. Hildum wrote in a June 4 letter to DC trial lawyers. "OAG [office of the attorney general] is in the process of notifying the defendants and their counsel in those cases."
Paegle's discovery that the breathalyzers producing bogus results forced the Metropolitan Police Department to stop using the machines on February 4 and switch to Intoximeters. Hildum blamed the problems on Officer Kelvin King who began replacing motors in the breathalyzers in September 2008 as part of routine maintenance. Under DC law, the machines must be tested for accuracy every three months, but the District failed to codify procedures or standards for this testing. Paegle was concerned that the District has never performed these accuracy tests, raising concern among legal experts.
"You too could have been pulled over on the basis of a minor traffic violation and put through a series of difficult and humiliating field sobriety tests," DC-based defense attorney Jamison Koehler wrote on his law firm's blog. "After blowing into the breath test machine, you could have spent the night in a jail cell with other people who were drunk, angry, disorderly, mentally ill or whose sweating, panting and retching signaled to you that they going through drug withdrawal. You could have had to shell out thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer and missed work on so many occasions to attend court hearings that your employer warned you might be fired.... On the basis of the faulty breath test results, you too have been convicted of driving while intoxicated even with blood alcohol levels far below the legal limit."
A copy of the OAG memo is available in a 220k PDF at the source link below.
Source: PDF File Letter to DC Superior Court Trial Lawyers Assoc. (DC Office of the Attorney General, 6/4/2010)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Small Batch #1 - Baker’s

It’s Christmas time, and with that comes some of the great gifts that come my way.


This first one is the “Original Small Batch Bourbon Collection”, a boxed set highlighting four fine bourbons.  This one is kinda funny, because my wife got it for me…while at the same time, I had picked up one for Mike for his stocking (after learning he would be joining us Christmas Morning).

The first one I wanted to try was Baker’s, a 170 proof 7 seven year old bourbon named after Baker Beam, grand nephew of Jim Beam.


Color- Pale Gold

  • Nose- Nutty with Honey and Caramel.
  • Taste- Strong, sweet honey and vanilla with a syrupy mouth feel.  Reminded me of a rye with with a bit of a backbite.  Splashed with water smoothed this out somewhat and brought out a little leather, while at the same time enhancing the vanilla.
  • Finish- Long lasting and very warm.  Hints of spice and orange gave this one a well rounded finish.

Overall, Baker’s was (for some unknown reason) the first bottle I gravitated to in the set.  While not great, very well rounded and drinkable.  If the remaining three are as good (I’ve had Knob Creek before and it comes recommended by Morton Ahput), then this set will exceed expectations.

Stay tuned for more……

Friday, December 24, 2010

Remembering the Battle of the Bulge- On Christmas

- Christmas 1944 – 66 years ago -- was a difficult time for U.S. troops holding Bastogne, Belgium.

It came in the midst of the famous Battle of the Bulge, the last-ditch major German offensive in which the German High Command threw thousands of tanks and troops into what was perceived to be the weak point in the Allied lines, deep in the Ardennes region of northeastern France.

It turned out to be one of our finest moments.

Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, in an attempt to hold the critical road intersection at Bastogne, Belgium, had rushed in the famous "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne Division to reinforce previously ploaced armored units.

The tanks and soldiers of the German Army, however, completely surrounded the U.S. forces in Bastogne and laid siege to the town. It was one of the coldest winters on record.

On Dec. 22, three days before Christmas, the Germans sent a party of four -- a major, a captain and two enlisted men -- up the road to Bastogne carrying a large white flag, bringing a demand from the Nazi commander for the Allied troops to surrender. They were met on the road by U.S. troops, were blindfolded, and taken to one of the U.S. command posts.

The acting U.S. commander, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, replied to the demand with just one word: “Nuts.” 

Two days later, on Christmas Eve, McAuliffe issued this message to his men:

“Headquarters 101st Airborne Division

“Office of the Division Commander

“24 December 1944

“What’s merry about all this, you ask? We’re fighting, it’s cold, we aren’t home. All true, but what has the proud Eagle Division accomplished with its worthy comrades of the 10th Armored Division, the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion and all the rest? Just this: We have stopped cold everything that has been thrown at us from the North, East, South and West. We have identifications from four German Panzer Divisions, two German Infantry Divisions and one German Parachute Division. These units, spearheading the last desperate German lunge, were headed straight west for key points when the Eagle Division was hurriedly ordered to stem the advance. How effectively this was done will be written in history; not alone in our Division’s glorious history but in World history. The Germans actually did surround us. Their radios blared our doom. Their Commander demanded our surrender in the following impudent arrogance:

‘December 22nd 1944
To the U.S. A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

‘The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Ourthe near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hombres Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

‘If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A.A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. Troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

‘All the serious civilian losses caused by this Artillery fire would not correspond with the well known American humanity.

(signed) ‘The German Commander’

“The German Commander received the following reply:

‘22 December 1944
’To the German Commander:


(signed) ‘The American Commander’

McAuliffe continued:

“Allied Troops are counterattacking in force. We continue to hold Bastogne. By holding Bastogne we assure the success of the Allied Armies. We know that our Division Commander, General Taylor, will say: Well Done!

“We are giving our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present and being privileged to take part in this gallant feat of arms are truly making for ourselves a Merry Christmas. A.C. McAuliffe”

*  *  *

“The United States Army in World War II,” the official history published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History on the U.S. Army Heritage Web site, reports what happened at Bastogne on Dec. 22 this way: 

“Major Alvin Jones took the terms to General McAuliffe and Lieutenant Colonel Ned D. Moore, who was acting Chief of Staff. The paper called for the surrender of the Bastogne garrison and threatened its complete destruction otherwise.

“It appealed to the ‘Well known American humanity’ to save the people of Bastogne from further suffering. The Americans were to have two hours in which to consider. The two enemy officers would have to be released by 1400 but another hour would pass before the Germans would resume their attack.

“Colonel Harper, commanding the 327th, went with Jones to Division Headquarters. The two German officers were left with Captain Adams. Members of the staff were grouped around General McAuliffe when Harper and Jones arrived. McAuliffe asked someone what the paper contained and was told that it requested a surrender.

“He laughed and said, ‘Aw, nuts!’ It really seemed funny to him at the time. He figured he was giving the Germans ‘one hell of a beating’ and that all of his men knew it. The demand was all out of line with the existing situation.

“But McAuliffe realized that some kind of reply had to be made and he sat down to think it over. Pencil in hand, he sat there pondering for a few minutes and then he remarked, ‘Well, I don't know what to tell them.’ He asked the staff what they thought and Colonel Kinnard, his G-3 [third in command] replied, "That first remark of yours would be hard to beat."

“General McAuliffe didn't understand immediately what Kinnard was referring to. Kinnard reminded him, ‘You said 'Nuts!’ That drew applause all around. All members of the staff agreed with much enthusiasm and because of their approval McAuliffe decided to send that message back to the Germans.

“Then he called Colonel Harper in and asked him how he would reply to the message. Harper thought for a minute but before he could compose anything General McAuliffe gave him the paper on which he had written his one-word reply and asked, ‘Will you see that it's delivered?’ ‘I will deliver it myself,’ answered Harper. ‘It will be a lot of fun.’ McAuliffe told him not to go into the German lines.

“Colonel Harper returned to the command post of Company F. The two Germans were standing in the wood blindfolded and under guard. Harper said, ‘I have the American commander's reply.’

“The German captain asked, ‘Is it written or verbal?’

“‘It is written,’ said Harper. And then he said to the German major, ‘I will stick it in your hand.’

“The German captain translated the message. The major then asked, ‘Is the reply negative or affirmative? If it is the latter I will negotiate further.’

“All of this time the Germans were acting in an upstage and patronizing manner. Colonel Harper was beginning to lose his temper. He said, ‘The reply is decidedly not affirmative.’ Then he added, "If you continue this foolish attack your losses will be tremendous." The major nodded his head.

“Harper put the two officers in the jeep and took them back to the main road where the German privates were waiting with the white flag.

“He then removed the blindfold and said to them, speaking through the German captain, ‘If you don't understand what “Nuts” means, in plain English it is the same as “Go to hell.” And I will tell you something else -- if you continue to attack we will kill every goddam German that tries to break into this city.’

“The German major and captain saluted very stiffly. The captain said, ‘We will kill many Americans. This is war.’ It was then 1350.10

“‘On your way, Bud,’ said Colonel Harper, ‘and good luck to you.’

“The four Germans walked on down the road. Harper returned to the house, regretting that his tongue had slipped and that he had wished them good luck.”

The Greatest Christmas Song Ever

The other day (HERE) I mentioned the greatest Christmas Song ever…and if you know me or follow the blog, it should not surprise you in the least that it is by the Pogues (blogged about HERE, HERE and HERE).

Fairytale of New York is without a doubt on of the greatest Christmas Ballads, if not one of the best songs ever.  Don’t take my word for it, try this on-

First lets look at the Peak Positions in the charts by year-

  • 1987- Number 1 in Ireland and Number 2 in the UK
  • 1991- Number 10 in Ireland and Number 36 in the UK
  • 2005- Number 3 in Ireland and Number 3 in the UK
  • 2006- Number 6 in the UK
  • 2007- Number 3 in Ireland and Number 4 in the UK
  • 2008- Number 8 in Ireland and Number 12 in the UK
  • 2009- Number 13 in Ireland and Number 12 in the UK
  • 2010- Number 11 in Ireland and Number 19 in the UK

23 years later and it is still in the Top 20s.

On top of that, look how it has been rated on various UK based polls-

  • Number 1 the VH1 greatest Christmas song chart three years running, 2004,  2005 and 2006
  • Number 11 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Christmas Moments
  • Number 27 on VH1's Greatest Songs Never to Make Number One
  • Number 23 on VH1's greatest lyrics
  • Number 83 in Q Magazine's 100 Greatest Ever Songs
  • Number 84 on BBC Radio 2's top 100 greatest songs of all time poll
  • The Hits music channel rated "Fairytale of New York" number one in 'The Nation's Favorite Christmas Song' countdown
  • In December 2008 The Music Factory UK did a poll which found that the song was the favorite Christmas song.
  • Number 1 song of the 80s by voters of The Radcliffe & Maconie show on BBC Radio 2 & BBC Four's Pop On Trial season in January 2008.

This is not a one hit wonder but a a song that really has some legs.

I will let everyone interpret the lyrics themselves, but here is some trivia for you:

  • Watch for cameos by Matt Dillon and Morgan Freeman
  • Jack Daniels was the whiskey of choice on the piano during the video.
  • There is no NYBD Choir, so the NYPD Pipe and Drum Corp fills in.  They also didn’t know “Galway Bay” so they sung the Mickey Mouseclub Theme and it was slowed to the songs tempo.
  • Although the song finished 1987 as the 48th best seller of the year despite only a single month's sales, it was denied the Christmas #1 spot by the Pet Shop Boys' cover of "Always on My Mind". MacGowan commented on this in his typically forthright manner: "We were beaten by two queens and a drum machine". MacColl later said that she did not feel they were really in competition with the Pet Shop Boys as they were doing a completely different kind of music.
  • Censored on Dec 18, 2007 for it’s use of Faggot and Slut by BBC Radio 1, the station later backed down the same day due to public backlash. 
  • This is the ONLY song that I have ever done at Karaoke….as a duet with my beautiful wife Debi Smile
  • Kirsty MacColl sadly died in a tragic boating accident in 2000.

As you can see…..I 100% back this song, and I can never hear it without smiling and thinking of Debi….if we had “A Song” this would be it.

Merry Christmas everyone…be safe and have a Happy Holiday.

Cheers from Smokes and Booze.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Smokers need not apply

Well, here we go. 

I post below (in it’s entirety) an article from CBS Boston entitle “Smokers Need not Apply”.  In it, we learn of Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport Mass…where they are now imposing the draconian tactic of screening new hires for Nicotine.  For the record, I wish to point out that Nicotine is a legal substance and available to any adult over 18 (or 95% of the children in Columbia Mo if the kids outside of Rockbridge is any gauge).  It’s based on a possible flawed test that can give false positives even from second hand smoke.  If you test positive, you can retest after 30 days, but you will have to alter your lifestyle and allow your employer to impose their morality on your life. 

I’m sure the hospital doesn’t have any questions about the potential employees sexual habits (risk of Aids), their entertainment choice (high risk entertainment like Scuba or Skydiving) or their choice of transportation (motorcycles are more dangerous than cars)….instead they go after the smoker.  In fact, while they may have incentives for their employees to quit smoking, I bet they do not target current smokers who work for the hospital.

In the end, this is pure discrimination.  As an employer, I cannot descriminate against Race, Sex or Orientation….so how is it legal to do so against a lifestyle choice.  What is next, their opinion on obesity (probably if Michelle Obama gets her way). 

NEWBURYPORT (CBS) — If you smoke, don’t bother applying for a job at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.

The hospital is requiring job applicants to take nicotine tests. If they test positive, they’ll be rejected. If they quit smoking, they can try again six months later.

“How far do we want our private employers to intrude in our private lives?” asks employee rights attorney Philip Gordon. “What happens if, during that blood test, they find out something else about me?”

Hospital spokesperson Deb Chiaravalloti says, “We believe as a health care organization we need to make sure we have a healthy environment for our employees and our patients. Smokers are not a protected class.”

Last year, the hospital prohibited employees from smoking in the designated fenced-off area outside the building.

Next year, the hospital plans to ban smoking on the campus all together, even for patients and visitors.

While Anna Jaques is the first hospital in Massachusetts to require nicotine testing, it is not the first employer. Last month, the Massachusetts Hospital Association announced it is no longer hiring smokers.

London Pride–A beer review

Fullers London Pride

On my recent trip London, I was given the opportunity to try a beer that would not normally be on my radar – Fuller’s London Pride.

I won’t get into details as to why I got this chance (let’s just say an airline stewardess wanted to placate me for all their mess-ups on my flight).

The presentation sucked, as it was from a dented can (can’t have glass on an airplane) and was served with a plastic cup….so no real good way to determine color or clarity.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

Color- Looked to be a dark amber through the plastic cup

Head- A nice dense head, that held all the way through the beer.

Nose- Highly malty, with hints of caramel and fruit.

Taste- Lighter and Hoppier than I expected and a little bitter. This complimented the sweet malty taste and really made this feel like a well rounded beer.  While fruity, I really picked out the taste of honey and raisins more than anything.

Overall this beer was very good and made more appealing as it was free. Smile  I would prefer to get this in a bottle, as there was a little bit of the aluminum aftertaste associated with cans (not a good pairing here) and I would really like to try it in a pub on tap (didn’t have time to pubcrawl this trip).  I really enjoyed this beer and would give it a straight 4 stars.  Well done.

An interesting side note….if you take a cab from Heathrow to the Thistle in Euston, you go right by the brewery.  I never noticed this before, so of course I see it this time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A few gift ideas from Smokes and Booze

Here at Smokes and Booze we try to be a public service vs a public nuisance (emphasis on the word TRY).  So, here are a few things I saw on the net that you might still be able to get for under the tree this year.  I get NO kickbacks from any of these, so feel free to ridicule them as much as you want.


The Gift Guide For Sinners


First we have the Christmas Drinking gloves.  I’m not overly fond of the fingerless look…but they are festive.

At $5.99 each, not a BAD stocking stuffer…but you could get mini-bottles and enjoy it more



The Gift Guide For SinnersNext on our Christmas S&B List this year, we have the Book Flask.  While cumbersome and not very tote friendly, they definitely make up for it by having the inscription of “Cogito Sumere Potum Alterum” (Latin for “I think I’ll have another drink”) on the spine.  $19.95 seems a little steep (especially since there is no booze included), so I think there are better products on the market.

I personally prefer the hidden bottle of Pyrat Rum in the book promo that was done a few years ago.  We got one and I still laugh at the look….it actually has the “Feel” of a book and would probably fool 25% of views as opposed to the 2% on the Book Flask.

The Gift Guide For SinnersNow I really like this one, not because it has a great name (The WineRack ) or involves boobs (Who Like Boobies?  Charlie Waffles) …but it really is ingenious.  Capable of holding a bottle of wine or a 5th of liquor, not only can you smuggle in booze….but you can have a fuller figure.  Win Win.  Although a little pricey at $29.95 (and currently out of stock), I still think this is a great idea….unless you are trying to get through TSA, who’s gonna pat you there when going through Security?

Honestly though…if you are looking for that something special for the boozer in your life, you can’t go wrong with anything from the Guinness Store.  I’ve bought from them in the past (Including during mine and Debi’s first Christmas) and customer service was excellent.

Smokes and Booze Christmas


Ok everyone….I know it’s been awhile since I posted.  After my Amsterdam trip, I was back into London for a Corp. Strategy Meeting.  Talk about making me want to drink.  But at least I got to drink some Cobra again (Review HERE) and I have a new review coming out (London Pride).

Anyway, I should be back in the saddle again until my Berlin trip in January, to be followed by KC in Feb and LA in March.  None of these trips will be as demanding, so I should be able to continue to post.

So to kick off the few days left before Christmas, I’ve found some videos for everyone to enjoy……Starting with Bob and Doug.

Bob and Doug McKenzie singing the 12 Days of Christmas will always be a staple of my childhood memories.  Who can forget riding Bus 21 with Jeanie Larkey and or Bus 9 with Jim Barnes and this song coming on.  It was Pure 80’s…..and is (IMO) the 2nd greatest Christmas song ever.  What’s number 1?  You’ll just have to tune in later to find out….but until then, enjoy these two drunk Canadians (I’ve posted about them before) and the other videos below.


How about some vintage smoking commercials for Christmas while we are at it?  I love the blatant commercialism of the first two (Camel and Lucky Strike), where they even leverage that the boxes have Christmas decorations.  Awesome.  The Dutch masters is just classic.


Meanwhile, Jack Daniels goes a more tasteful route….bringing Christmas to Lynchburg.

How about a Japanese Gin (Suntory) Commercial?  That’s what I thought too….and the tune is catchy….in a satanic, load a gun and start greasing people sort of way.  Leave it to them.

Finally, leave it to the true artists at St. James Gate….where only Guinness can create something so subtle.  You can almost imagine everyone going home and pouring a pint of the black, sitting in front of a fire and relaxing.  Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from S&B

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  This is the first year I am not doing a turkey ( Sad smile remember THIS and THIS?), but instead….I am doing Duck.

It should be interesting, as this is my first attempt…..what can go wrong?

Supreme Cut Duck Breast in Grand Marnier

Serves 4

Prep: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Oven Preheat: 350 degrees

Supreme Cut Duck Breast

  • 4 Supreme Cut Duck Breasts
  • Grand Marnier Sauce
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Orange Zest
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Ounce Gran Marnier
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

Season duck breast with your salt and pepper.
Cover wing bone with foil.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees for ½ hour.
Brush Duckling breast with Gran Marnier Sauce and continue baking until done. Internal Temperature should be 140 to 150 degrees.

Gran Marnier Sauce
Heat orange juice, orange zest, and sugar. Bring to boil on medium heat. Add Gran Marnier. Turn down to simmer. Thicken with corn starch. Mix with wire wisk until smooth.

Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Asparagus

I am varying the recipe by doing a whole duck vs just the breasts.  Should be interesting.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the WKRP TURKEY DROP.  Enjoy and have a great Holiday Season.



WKRP Turkey Drop - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Traveling PSA

The TSA has issued a list of Thanksgiving food that won't make it through the checkpoints

There are certain Thanksgiving foods you won't get through the airport checkpoint. The Transportation Security Administration says no to cranberry sauce; creamy dips and spreads; gift baskets with salsa, jams and salad dressing; gravy; jellies and soups. Also on the list are wine, hard liquor and beer. You can avoid a problem by putting those items in your checked bag. Pies and cakes are ok ... but may face additional screening. You can find out more at the TSA website.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Classic Johnny Carson (Ed McMahon)

I know some of you younger whipper snappers have only grown up with cable/satellite TV.  When I was younger, there were only 3-5 stations: ABC, NBC and CBS… an independent (we had Channel 55) and/or PBS if you were lucky.

Anyway, they had a captive audience then…and programming was much better.  Case in point, Johnny Carson.  Forget Leno & Letterman, who cares about The Daily Show or Jimmy Kimmel…back in the day, Carson was KING.  His shows were funny from start to finish….and it was a special thing to be able to stay up and watch him with my Dad after the evening news.

Here is a classic clip featuring Ed McMahon…..

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Star Wars PSAs

I was a really big Star Wars fan as a kid.  Still am.  The prequels had their moments, although some of it was killed for me then (a pox on you JarJar)….the rereleases also had some good and bad.  I remember a time when you couldn’t watch an hour of TV without something from Star Wars being run out in front of you…..including these two PSAs -

The first is pretty funny….a droid smoking.  What was Lucas thinking?  Oh wait, I’m sure he got a big tax write-off for that one.  The second looks like they just used cut footage and then suited a few guys up for the end….add voiceover and there you have it, a commercial.

In reality, if you are going to have a PSA….you need to do it like this-

Aging Tobacco to an Extreme

2.5m-year-old tobacco found

PALEONTOLOGISTS in Peru have discovered fossilised tobacco in the northern Amazon that dates back to the Pleistocene Era 2.5 million years ago, the scientists said today.

The compact block of tobacco, about 30 square centimetres was found by scientists from the Meyer-Honninger Paleontology Museum earlier this week in the Maranon river basin in northeastern Peru.

"This discovery allows us to establish that the plant dates back to the Pleistocene Era, and confirms that it originated in northern Peru," the museum said.

Tobacco was smoked and chewed by Native Americans long before the arrival of European explorers in the 15th century, the scientists said.

It was also used for therapeutic purposes - in everything from eye drops to enemas - and for rituals, such as blowing smoke into the faces of warriors before battle and on women before intercourse, they said.

Read more:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Goat Night is approaching

Ok, who remembers our last Goat Night?  It’s that time of year again….Debi has bought the meat for us and I just got the order of wine.  Now we are just starting to settle on night.

Stay tuned for more information.


Sarah Palin Drinking Game

For the record, I want to say that I actually like Sarah.  She’s Kookie and Funny, and she is stirring up politics a bit. 

However, being a blogger has some immense moral responsibilities… to be an equal opportunity offender, coupled with the new Sarah Palin “Reality Show” premiering tonight, I thought I would include the rules for the new Sarah Palin drinking game.

You might recall the State of the Union Drinking Game from an earlier post…so here is the latest.


From the Daily Beast

There's no need to enjoy the premiere of Sarah Palin's Alaska on Sunday night sober. The Daily Beast's drinking game provides a boozy way to get through Sarah's adventures.

There’s no better way to celebrate the first episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska (TLC) than quaffing some Alaskan ale with your caribou sausage. So here’s the inevitable Daily Beast drinking game that’s guaranteed to get you tipsy by the time Palin reaches Mount McKinley. Bottoms up, you betcha!

1. Sip when Palin stands atop an Alaskan mountain like Simba in The Lion King.

2. Chug when Palin equates U.S.-Mexico border security with the 14-foot fence she built to block journalist Joe McGinniss’ view.

3. Sip when Palin’s children refer to her “Sarah.”

4. Chug when you find yourself thinking of The Osbournes. Or Into the Wild.

5. Sip when daughter Piper complains about her mom being addicted to her BlackBerry.

6. Chug when you catch yourself thinking about the Palins’ carbon footprint.

7. Sip when a plane lands in Palin’s backyard.

8. Sip when said plane takes the Palins to mingle with grizzly bears.

9. Sip when Palin says of (actual) Mama Grizzlies, “They’ve got a nature that humankind can learn from.”

10. Chug if you find yourself rooting for the bears.

11. Take a shot when Palin takes a shot (with a large rifle).

12. Sip when she asks husband Todd for advice on tax policy.

13. Chug when Palin impersonates Marlin Perkins.

14. Sip when Palin closely monitors daughter Willow’s morals by installing a gate at the bottom of the stairs.

15. Sip when the Palins stop being polite and start getting real.

16. Finish your drink, and restore your sanity, when Palin climbs Mount McKinley.

An Early Thanksgiving

Earlier this week, Alby asked if it would be cool to host Donnie’s going away party at our house.  You see, Donnie is joining the Army and is leaving on Tuesday for Basic.  Without any hesitation (other than saying I would have to ask “The Woman”), I of course said yes.  But this lead me to wondering what to fix.  The Harvs were bringing quite a bit of stuff….so I was wondering what to add to the menu.  Enter a timeless classic……

Bourbon Honey Glazed Ham


  • 2/3 cup bourbon or whiskey (I used Maker’s Mark)
  • 1 cup clover honey
  • 1/3 cup molasses (they were hard to catch and get into the cup)
  • 1/2 cup 100 percent fruit orange marmalade
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 (5-pound) whole bone-in smoked ham, fully cooked, unsliced
  • 1/8 cup whole cloves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, heat bourbon, honey, molasses, and marmalade over low heat for 15 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. (When measuring honey and molasses, spray measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray to keep measurements accurate.) Set aside.

With a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern on the fatty part of the ham. Stud whole cloves in each diamond, at points where lines cross. Spread half of the bourbon glaze over the ham and roast for 30 minutes, uncovered. Baste occasionally with remaining glaze and continue to roast for another 15 minutes. Let ham stand for 20 minutes before slicing.

I chose to use Maker’s Mark in the recipe because of it’s unique (somewhat sweet) taste and I would get another Christmas Ornament as well.  Win/Win.  Hell, it mixes well with honey, so might have to try it as a Hot Toddy.

So far, all the prep work is done…….so I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Cheers -



Saturday, November 13, 2010

A blast from the past and look to the future

A friend of mine (Sean) posted a picture that really made me reminisce of days gone by.

Back in the late 80’s, my parents shopped at an IGA Store (Bob’s IGA in Huntington).  In case you didn’t know - IGAs were founded in 1926, bringing together independent grocers across the United States to ensure that the trusted, family-owned local grocery store remained strong in the face of growing chain competition.  There were the original Anti-Walmarts.

General Generic Beer  - Pale LagerAnyway, as a younger kid (around 13-15) I would often see amongst the other generic products, something that caught my eye – BEER.  Not just any old beer, but a white can with big black letters – BEER.  My parents never bought it (my Dad was a Miller “the Champagne of Beers” guy) but later in life I did dabble in those white cans a time or two.  For a 16-18 year old, one a budget and looking for a cheap night out….they were great.  Now, as an adult….I doubt it. 

As an adult, I would do my research and come across a page like THIS, where I learn that General Generic Beer (as it as known by) is actually a Pabst Brewing product (Strike one right there) in a Pale Lager style (why not just say watered down piss….Strike two).  When you see that it rates a 1 out of 20…..well, I think that it leaves little to the imagination of the taste.

Back to the picture that Sean posted. 

I actually like the name, and find it funny they make it in a “Light” format as well.  Produced by the City Brewery (Melanie Brewing Company in La Crosse Wisconsin), I doubt that this beer is going to make any headways into refrigerators of America (especially with a rating of 3 out of 20).  I do think they are focusing on the those hit hard by the current recession….but I fail to understand how these new mass market beers can be making profit, when there are established “cheap beers” like STAG out on the market (at least it scores an 8 out of 20).

Oh well, to each his own…..and thanks Sean for pointing this one out.  What a trip down memory lane.  If any other readers spot something interesting….please pass it along.  I would love to use it.


Hey Simon….this is in your neck of the woods

And this boys and girls is why I do not miss Indiana… many amateurs. 


Police Arrest Man For The 5th Time With Excessive BAC Levels

EVANSVILLE - NEWS 25 went deeper into the incredible story of Travis Hornback, trying to learn why a repeated D.U.I. offender was allowed to allegedly drive drunk again.

Last week, Hornback was nabbed for being driving with a blood alcohol level more than seven times the legal limit. NEWS 25 learned he was arrested again just Thursday, with an even higher alcohol level.

Evansville police told NEWS 25 for the average person, a blood alcohol level that high would most likely be fatal. Authorities said Hornback is showing some of the highest levels they've seen.

Just before 4:30pm Thursday, at the intersection of North St. Joseph and West Maryland, Evansville police said they found Travis Hornback passed out, behind the wheel of his pick-up.

"Somebody saw him at an intersection. He had fallen asleep inside his vehicle, with his vehicle running at the intersection," explained Corporal Steve Green with the Evansville Police Department.

Officers said they found an empty liter bottle of mouthwash inside Hornback's truck, and his blood alcohol level registered at .586, more than seven times the legal limit.  A week ago, on August 30th, we told you officers busted Hornback behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level of .546.

He was taken to the hospital and allowed to walk away.

"If we watch him or we monitor him, or we guard him at the hospital, it's a case-by-case basis," said Evansville's Assistant Chief of Police Robbie Hahn said last week.

Officers told us they would pick-him up later, after issuing a warrant, but NEWS 25 learned that never happened.

"When we received it and had it ready on September 1st at that time, it was ready for an officer to sign it and a judge to review it, but that didn't take place until September 7th," said Camala Cooley, Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecutor. 

Cooley told NEWS 25 officers did not show up to sign Hornback's warrant until six days after it was processed.

He was never picked-up for his August 30th D.U.I., and Thursday he was busted for his latest.

However this time, officers waited at the hospital for Hornback to sober up enough to take him to jail. This is Hornback's fifth D.U.I. since 2002.

Prosecutors said the repeated offender could now face up to 23 years in jail for his two latest felony D.U.I. charges. Hornback is being held in the Vanderburgh County Jail on a $32,500 bond. He's due back in court September 15th. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

4th sign of the Apocalypse

So now we have come to the 4th Sign (the first being me starting this blog and maintaining it for over a year and here are Number 2 and Number 3) and it is getting more evident that the end is neigh.

So what could be such a convincing sign?????  How about me quoting Martha Stewart?  Pray for our souls………………

Stock up on essentials for a complete bar

From The Detroit News:

A well-stocked liquor cabinet is a good host's secret weapon. Keep these basic types of alcohol, mixers and tools on hand, and you'll be able to offer guests a wide range of drinks.

Beer. Ales and stouts are good choices for winter, whereas lagers taste most refreshing in the summer. Unopened beer can be stored at room temperature and then chilled before serving. Once you've chilled beer, though, it must be consumed before it warms up, or its flavor will be spoiled.

Wine. Store wine on its side or upside down, below 70 degrees and in a temperature-controlled wine fridge if you have an extensive collection.

Vodka. More of a surefire crowd-pleaser than gin, vodka is your No. 1 must-have clear liquor. Sip it chilled and neat, or use it for vodka martinis, vodka tonics, greyhounds, lemon drops, Bloody Marys or White Russians. Store spirits at room temperature (below 80 degrees), and try to use open bottles within a year, since they may spoil over time. It's fine to chill vodka in the freezer for a party, but it begins to thicken after a few months in there.

Whiskey. Bourbons and lighter rye-based whiskeys are best for sipping and mixing. You'll be able to make Manhattans, whiskey sours, old-fashioneds and mint juleps.

These extras complete bar

When shopping for parties, restock your basics and add these extras if you want to offer a full bar or special cocktails.

Gin. A must for true martinis (which are always gin-based), gimlets, Negronis and Tom Collinses.

Scotch. Whiskey connoisseurs will drink it straight, while cocktail fans can have a rusty nail.

Rum. It's the basis for most tropical, fruit-based drinks, such as mojitos and mai tais.

Tequila. Keep silver tequila on hand for margaritas, Bloody Marias, tequila sunrises and shady ladies; and extra-aged, or anejo, tequila for sipping.


Consider brandies such as Cognac and Armagnac, or offer an outside-the-box idea, such as pisco.

Mixers. Store vermouth, sodas and juices in the refrigerator. Other mixers do best at room temperature. If you're serving a signature drink or two, let those recipes dictate your extra mixers.

Modifier spirits. These spirits complement your base liquor and add the main flavor to a cocktail. The most important: sweet and dry vermouth, for martinis and Manhattans; bitters (Angostura and Peychaud's are the classics); and Cointreau, an orange liqueur that provides the sour flavor in drinks such as cosmopolitans and lemon drops.

Juices. Cranberry is a staple. (You can get the white variety if you're concerned about spills.) When using fresh-squeezed orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit juice, strain out the pulp, which turns drinks sour.

Sodas. Always have tonic water and club soda on hand. Ginger ale is also practical.

Sweeteners. Make simple syrup by boiling sugar with water. Or you can use agave nectar in place of simple syrup, but do a trial run with your cocktail recipes because you may need to adjust quantities to offset its sweetness.

Garnishes. Cut fruit as close to party time as possible, so it stays fresh. You'll need limes for margaritas, gimlets, mojitos, daiquiris and cosmopolitans; lemons for any type of sour, lemon drops and Tom Collinses; oranges for old-fashioneds and screwdrivers; and olives for martinis.


All these items can be found at a good kitchen-supply store, unless otherwise noted.

Rabbit, waiter's friend and bottle opener: The Rabbit uncorks wine in a single swift movement. A waiter's friend, also known as a captain's knife, gets the job done, too, and usually includes a bottle opener.

Jiggers or measured shot glasses: Jiggers range in size from .5 ounces to 2 ounces. Keeping all those cups on hand can be a pain, so you can just get a 2-ounce measuring cup, which has markings for every half-ounce.

Boston shaker: A two-piece shaker consisting of a pint glass and a stainless steel base. This is the shaker most professionals use.

Long-handled bar spoon: Used to stir cocktails that contain only spirits (like martinis) because it creates a smoother drink than shaking. (Only shake cocktails containing juice and other ingredients, which require more vigorous mixing.) A bar spoon generally holds a teaspoon.

Zester: Great for making fancy twists of garnish more quickly than with a paring knife.

Hawthorne strainer: A stainless steel strainer with a spring that secures over a shaker. When pouring, place your index finger over the tab to stop large pieces of ice or fruit from falling out of the shaker.

Julep strainer: This strainer with multiple holes rests perfectly inside a glass and is used for straining stirred cocktails.

Muddler: A pestle-like tool used to crush herbs, fruits and sugars inside a mixing glass. It's especially handy for mojitos and old-fashioneds.

Cutting board and paring knife: For chopping fruits and making twists of lemon or orange peels to add to drinks.

From The Detroit News:

Star Trek brings out the Geek in all of us

How can you not love Star Trek.  The premise was mind-blowing back in the 60’s and I personally think TNG was the best of the franchise.  Here are some  Rare Next Gen Pics of the cast and crew from behind the scenes.  My personal favorite is below.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran’s Day

Still as moving as it was when I posted this last year, I thought I would again share something passed on to me from a friend.

This friend is one of my nearest and dearest.  One who I would go to the ends of the earth for if he asked.  He and I went over the humps at Basic, lived in open bays and did flutter kicks in AIT, went our separate ways and finally reconnected later in life.  He came to see me off at Frankfurt when I ETS’ed and has been a guest in my home.  He’s one of the few that have really known me my entire adult life, and I love him like a brother.  Of course I am talking about CW4 Gordon Miller.  “Chief” is still in the Army, although he is in the swansong of his career.  For his friendship and sacrifice to this country, I hope he realizes that all he needs to do is ask…although I know he never will.  That’s the way he roles.  Self sacrifice is his middle name.  He is and always will be my “Gordo” and I salute him.   Thanks Man….Happy Veteran’s Day.

The rest of this post is actually a speech his daughter wrote.....please read, remember and share with your friends and veterans. 

Veteran’s Day Speech
For as long as I can remember, Veteran’s Day has been celebrated at my school by everyone meeting in the gym to hear some people speak about the importance of the day. We salute the former soldiers and the current ones that come to our school to commemorate the day. But when I was little, it started out as just another assembly, just another day. It wasn’t until I was in early middle school that I learned what Veteran’s Day really means.
It dawned on me when I was talking to my father, who has been a soldier in our military for twenty years. I only get to see him in the summer sometimes, and other times we talk over the phone. I had called him one day just to talk to him and it was shortly after Veteran’s Day in sixth grade. After we talked about what he was doing for a while, we moved on to what I had been doing.
“Well,” I said slowly. “We went to a Veteran’s Day assembly not too long ago.”
“That’s cool.” replied my dad. “So, who was there?”
“Just some old dudes that had retired from the military, all our teachers, and all the other students.” I replied thinking back. It was at that moment, which a question popped into my mind. “Dad, are you a veteran?”
“Yeah sweetheart,” he told me plainly. “Veterans can be anyone that has fought for our country.”
“Even if they’re still fighting?” I ask.
“Yeah.” he replied back. It was then that I realized how Veteran’s Day really affected my life. It wasn’t just about an assembly anymore where my school met to observe the day of veterans. It more than that now; it was about my family, especially my father.
As a child, I was narrow-minded; I never looked at the big picture. I never paid attention to what we were going through as a country, which was of course until the September 11th attacks. I remember everyone turning on their TVs and watching the news. I didn’t care at first; the news bored me at the time. What got my attention was when some of the teachers started to cry. I was confused and when I got home I asked my mom about it. She told me that the Twin Towers in New York had been attacked by terrorists. Terrorists, it was a new word for me. I was in third grade at the time, and “terrorists” wasn’t something they taught you back then. However, I still understood the word “Terror”. Then she told me how the attacks had killed a lot of people. Death was something else I was familiar with. I live by a country road and a few of our family dogs had already been killed by speeders. When I imagined the death of the attacks that day, I imagined the feeling of losing one of the pets that had loved deeply. But it wasn’t dogs that had died, it was people. People like you would meet everyday. When I asked why the attacks happened, my mother just told me it was because some people were angry with the U.S. When I asked what we had done wrong she told me that we were just living freely. We had freedom that most others didn’t have.
Then I remembered something my dad told me once. Soldiers protect our nation, and something just as important; the freedom we live by everyday. In the years to come, I learned just what he meant by freedom.
The origin of our freedom lies with the birth of our country. As our country started, I learned that we broke away from England and became independent. Our forefathers created the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, each stood for the freedom that we as a country stand for today. After that we fought England for our freedom and won, making independence official. But it didn’t get any easier after that.
We fought with ourselves in the Civil War and continued to fight other countries. Finally, the entire civilized world went to war. World War 1 took place from 1917 to 1918. After this war, in 1919, President Wilson proclaimed that November 11th would be celebrated as Armistice Day. This day was originally made to honor the veterans of World War I. But after World War II took place from 1941 to 1945, and the Korean War took place from 1950 to 1953, Congress decided to change the name of the day to Veteran’s Day. This is so that all veterans that have served can be honored. This was approved in the year 1954 and has been so ever since.
Since then, we have fought in the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and even now continue to fight in the Iraqi War. Men and women of our country have fought and died to protect our country and its beliefs. We’ve also fought to aid others who share our values of a better way of life. We may not have won every time, but we’ve stood our ground.
Veteran’s Day is especially important to me because I get to thank my dad. He’s not just my father; he’s a man that is risking his life for me almost everyday. Why? So I can have the freedom to be a Christian. So I can speak out on what I believe. So everyone can assemble to honor veterans on Veteran’s Day. Without our veterans, we wouldn’t be the country we are today. We would be just some other country who is suffering under the tyranny of a dictating government. I for one would not like that life. Where I would have no voice, where what I feel and think doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone has an opinion and no one’s opinion is greater than anyone else’s. Some might think another’s opinions are incorrect or unjust, but everyone has a right to express themselves by their voice, to express their opinion.
I would like to end by thanking our veterans who have fought and others who have died for our beloved country. The men and women who have taken on the task of taking up arms and fighting for their freedom; but not just their freedom, for everyone’s freedom. The freedom that we are given at birth; what we deserve in order to live a fulfilling and purposeful life. So, thank you veterans. I hope my words have encouraged everyone that has listened and I hope that we’ll keep fighting no matter what. Thank you.

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