Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Squid Mixes: Brooklyn

A Brooklyn combines rye, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and Angostura bitters with a cherry garnish.  I got my recipe from  Actually, most recipes, including this one, call for Amer Picon, an orange peel liqueur nearly impossible to find in the United States.  In fact, it's probably because of this rare ingredient that the Brooklyn is not as popular as the Manhattan or the Bronx.  Angostura is the typically recommended substitute.  The drink dates back to at least 1908, its first appearance in print.  

I made this drink when we watched the final episode of Brooklyn 99.  One definitely gets the cherry in the nose.  I think the color is a little pinkish though I wonder if that's merely psychological.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Marvel Unlimited: X-Men #40, Uncanny X-Men #321

Last week was quite a week in the real world for me.  Ran out of time for the Star Trek post.  I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.  Not much time for reading, either.  So it goes.  Onward...

Legion Quest is the prelude story to Age of Apocalypse.  Legion, Professor Charles Xavier's estranged and psychotic son, has gone back in time to kill Erik Lehnsherr before he becomes the arch-villain Magneto. 

My Recent Reads

X-Men Vol. 2 #40
Originally released January 1995
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Andy Kubert

Uncanny X-Men #321
February 1996
Scott Lobdell and Mark Waid/Ron Garney

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Bitters of the Month: Celery

The celery seed flavor in Fee Brothers Celery Bitters is quite strong.  It's saltier than other bitters we've tried, too.  While I already had a drink in mind when I bought it (stay tuned), my immediate thought upon tasting it was that it's definitely going in my Bloody Mary and Tequila Maria recipes.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

On the Coffee Table: Sweet Tooth

Title: Sweet Tooth, Volume 1: Out of the Deep Woods
Writer and Artist: Jeff Lemire

via Amazon

Now a TV show, Sweet Tooth began as a comic book series.  Out of the Deep Woods collects issues #1-5.

Gus is a young boy living with his father deep in the Nebraska woods.  They live isolated from the world outside.  Oh, and Gus has antlers and other deer-like features, though we don't know why yet.

One day, Gus's father dies and he is rescued from would be kidnappers by Jepperd, a drifter.  The two bond as Jepperd takes Gus along on his wanderings.  Unfortunately, this initial story ends in betrayal.

Sweet Tooth is weird and dark but good.  I am definitely up for more.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Marvel Unlimited: Marvels #4, X-Men #38-39, Uncanny X-Men #319-320

Marvels #4 offers a retelling of what is arguably Marvel's single most important story: the death of Gwen Stacy.  Phil Seldon befriends Gwen in an effort to learn the truth about her father's death.  Phil witnesses the tragic event himself and is thus as shocked and heartbroken as the rest of us.  It's a powerful moment in a powerful series.  I am glad to have experienced it.  I'm not prepared to say Marvels is the best series I've read in this exploration as the full impact is so dependent on familiarity with the source material.  But there's no denying the quality.

Next up is the Age of Apocalypse, an X-Men event crossing over numerous titles.  There seems to be a lot of disagreement over the reading order and even which issues are included in the story.  Marvel has, in fact, changed the order in different editions of its collected trades.  For now, until I am convinced otherwise, I will trust in Comic Book Herald's reading list.  He has guided me well thus far.

My Recent Reads

Marvels #4
Originally released March 22, 1994
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Alex Ross

via Marvel Unlimited

X-Men Vol. 2 #38
November 1994
Fabian Nicieza/Andy Kubert

via Marvel Database

Uncanny X-Men #319
December 1994
Scott Lobdell/Steve Epting

X-Men Vol. 2 #39
December 1994
Nicieza/Terry Dodson

via Marvel Database

Uncanny X-Men #320
January 1995
Lobdell and Mark Waid/Roger Cruz
via Amazon

Friday, November 26, 2021

Star Trek: The Masterpiece Society

Episode: "The Masterpiece Society"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5, Episode 13
Original Air Date: February 3, 1992

The Enterprise rescues Moab IV, a genetically engineered society, from destruction but the resulting cultural contamination brings its own complications.  For the inhabitants, our heroes represent the first outside contact in multiple generations.  Deanna Troi falls in love Aaron Conor, the community's leader and he invites her to stay.  Meanwhile, Geordi LaForge demonstrates to his scientific counterpart that his blindness does not prevent him from making meaningful, world-saving contributions.

Much of the writing and production staff didn't care for "The Masterpiece Society" in the end, just another loss of innocence narrative for Star Trek.  But it works for me.  I found each dilemma, as well as its resolution, believable.  And it's a nice story for both Troi and LaForge who don't always get the strongest material.  Yes, it's another doomed affair for Deanna but I buy this one.  Her reluctance to leave feels real.  And it's always fun when Geordi gets to be brilliant, and this time not just for his facility with gears and gizmos.  He gets to make a broader point.

So, not the best Season 5 episode so far but it feels like we're heading back in the right direction after a few mediocre efforts.

Acting Notes

Dey Young played the role of Hannah Bates, the lead scientist on Moab IV.  Young was born Anna Dey Young in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, July 28, 1955.  Her sister, Leigh Taylor-Young, is also an actress.  Their brother Lance is a writer and producer in film.  Dey Young's films include Rock 'n' Roll High School, The Running Man, Pretty Woman and Spaceballs.  This was her first of three Trek appearances in three different roles in three different series.

In addition to acting, Young is a professional sculptor.  Check out her work here.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

On the Coffee Table: Steve Almond

Title: Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America
Author: Steve Almond

via Amazon

In his bio on the back cover, Steve Almond states that he's "eaten at least one piece of candy every single day of his entire life."  In other words, he takes this stuff seriously.

Almond took a self-designed tour of independent candy companies across the United States, among them Lake Champlain Chocolate in Vermont and Idaho Spud in Boise.  As in so many consumer product industries, the candy company is dominated by a small number of giant corporations we all know well: Hershey, Nestle and Mars.  But a few regionally-distributed gems have miraculously survived, even 20 years after Almond wrote his book.  Predictably, Almond's book reflects a nostalgia for a simpler time.

Delightfully, Almond also reveals an industry not entirely unrecognizable to a Wonka fan.  The corporate espionage in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was true to life.  Since a candy bar can't be patented, the production processes are closely guarded secrets.   All of these companies maintain their own ancient equipment as replacing it would run the risk of drastic changes to the products their small but loyal consumer bases have grown to love.

I enjoyed the book thoroughly.  The one drawback for me was Almond's tendency to dwell on his own personal narrative within this adventure.  Frankly, I found it difficult to care - didn't find him particularly likable.  But the candy material is fun.