Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Squid Mixes: Champagne Julep

A champagne julep combines cognac, sparkling white wine, simple syrup, bitters and mint.  I got my recipe from the Cocktail Party app.  I used Prosecco for the wine.  The bitters choice offered: aromatic, chocolate, lemon, orange or Creole.  I went with lemon.

We love mint.  We even have some in the garden - easily harvested in warmer months, not so much now.  And we love whiskey.  So, you'd think we'd drink juleps all the time but not so much.  The champagne variation provides a brighter option than the standard - quite nice.  I can't say the bitters were much of a player.  Again, it might be fun to experiment with the different options.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

On the Coffee Table: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Title: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes collects short stories originally published in The Strand Magazine, 1892-93.  Some but not all editions include "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box."  Mine did not.

Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss) via Baker Street Wiki

There's some decent character development for Holmes in this run.  We learn he is a master of both boxing and fencing.  We learn he has a brother, Mycroft, every bit as brilliant as he is, though not as keen for the fieldwork required of an expert detective.  So he's an accountant instead.  My favorites of the collection are "The Adventure of the Silver Blaze," in which a race horse figures prominently, and "The Adventure of the Yellow Face," in which we see a rare attempt at Victorian Era social commentary.

Moriarty (Jared Harris) via Baker Street Wiki

Most important for the overall franchise is the book's last tale, "The Final Problem."  Holmes's greatest nemesis, Professor Moriarty, is introduced - an arch-criminal whose legacy includes Kingpin, Jabba the Hutt and Keyser Soze.  I like Moriarty and I appreciate his importance but at least in this initial appearance, I don't think he gets enough development.  In fact, to this point, I prefer the Star Trek character.  Worth noting: neither Holmes nor Data could best Moriarty.  But Captain Picard could...

Monday, January 17, 2022

Marvel Unlimited: Age of Apocalypse Omega - Almost

All of those #4 issues below mean I'm getting close to the end of the main story.  So, I'll need to decide whether I want to dip my toe into the prequels or the sequels before my Marvel Unlimited subscription runs out.

My money's on the prequels.

My Recent Reads

Gambit and the X-Ternals #3
Cover Date: May 1995
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Salvador Larroca

via Amazon

The Astonishing X-Men #4
June 1995
Scott Lobdell/Joe Madureira

Generation Next #4
June 1995
Lobdell/Chris Bachalo

Gambit and the X-Ternals #4
June 1995

X-Man #4
June 1995
Jeph Loeb/Steve Skroce

X-Calibre #4
June 1995
Warren Ellis/Ken Lashley

via Amazon

Factor X #4
June 1995
John Francis Moore/Steve Epting and Terry Dodson

Friday, January 14, 2022

Star Trek: The First Duty

Episode: "The First Duty"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5, Episode 19
Original Air Date: March 30, 1992

Captain Picard is giving the keynote speech at Starfleet Academy's graduation ceremony.  While the Enterprise is en route, the crew learn that Wesley Crusher's hot shot flight team has been in a horrible accident.  Wesley has survived with only a minor injury, though one of the five-member team was killed.  In the investigation, the superintendent, Admiral Brand, suspects there's more to the story than the cadets are letting on.  She's right.  Will young Wes come forward with the truth?

It's a strong episode, perhaps Wesley's best story.  It's an important one for the future of the franchise, too.  The seventh season episode "Lower Decks" is a sequel of sorts, in turn inspiring the much later animated series of the same name.  "The First Duty" also brings Robert Duncan McNeill into the fold as Nick Locarno, the flight team's leader.  The character provided inspiration for the Voyager principal Tom Paris even before McNeill himself was offered the role.

Acting Notes

Jacqueline Brookes (Admiral Brand) was born July 24, 1930 in Montclair, New Jersey.  She got a BFA from the University of Iowa, then went to London on Fulbright to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

The bulk of her career was on stage.  In fine Trek tradition, her Shakespeare credentials are particularly extensive: The Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing among many others.  She made her Broadway debut in 1955 in Tiger at the Gates.  Screen credits are relatively modest though she had a four-year run (1969-73) on As the World Turns.

Brookes died of lymphoma in 2013.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

On the Coffee Table: Explorer

Title: Explorer: The Mystery Boxes
Editor: Kazu Kibuishi

via Amazon

As with his Flight series, Amulet creator Kibuishi created Explorer as an anthology series to showcase the sequential art work of others along with his own.  Perhaps the lesson of Flight (see here) led him to be more deliberate in establishing a theme for each installment.  Each of the seven stories in The Mystery Boxes involves just that, a mysterious box.  Obviously, each tale takes the idea in a different direction and therein lies the fun.

Most of the contributors are relative unknowns.  However, Raina Telgemeier (Drama, Smile, etc.) teamed up with Dave Roman to create "Spring Cleaning."  I appreciated the Japanese folk tale elements of Rad Sechrist's "The Butter Thief" and the Looney Tunes-esque zaniness of Johane Matte's "Whatzit."  The strongest, though, is Kibuishi's own "The Escape Option."  I find it reminiscent of Vonnegut and the final panel, which closes the volume, is stunning.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Squid Mixes: Army & Navy

The Army & Navy combines gin, lemon juice, orgeat syrup and bitters.  I got my recipe from the Cocktail Party app, which offers a choice of aromatic, peach, lemon, chocolate or cherry bitters.  I went with lemon, my Bitters of the Month for January.  It is a gin sour variant dating back to at least 1948.  Connection with either service branch or even the football game is unclear.

It's a tasty little drink.  The bitters enhances the lemon flavor and the always pleasing combination of that flavor with almond (though I still prefer lime).  It might be interesting to try some day with other bitters.

And following up on last week's post, it is cold season, therefore a great opportunity to play around with hot toddies.  As with the Army & Navy, the bitters enhanced the lemon very nicely.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

On the Coffee Table: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Title: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collects twelve short stories, originally published monthly in The Strand Magazine from 1891-92.  If the first three books are anything to go by, I prefer Holmes in short form: less exposition, more detective razzle dazzle.  Best of all, no long backstory tangents.

Each of the stories has been adapted to the screen since and they serve to establish both character and standard methods clearly.  In fact, you sort of get used to Holmes's way of thinking after a while, to a point where I solved several of the mysteries well before Watson had a clue.  That's not to say they're not still fun.  Furthermore, I appreciate the fact that some of the cases are not actually fully resolved.  Clever as he is, our hero is not infallible.

Forced to pick a favorite among the dozen, I'll go with the first: "A Scandal in Bohemia."  The story introduces Irene Adler, the rare worthy foil to Holmes.  Adler is popular in adaptations even though this is her only appearance in the original stories.  Violet Hunter in "The Adventure of Copper Beeches" is satisfying for similar reasons.  For a male writer of Victorian England, Doyle did surprisingly well by his female characters.