Friday, May 18, 2012

Slavery, the Foursquare Church and the democracy of Nepal

As we continue our week of highlighting social reforms...
(see the earlier posts if you have not already)

On this day in 1652,  Rhode Island makes slavery illegal.


On this day in 1926, Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare church disappears while visiting a Venice, California beach.


On this day in 2006, Nepal, formerly a Hindu monarchy was changed almost overnight into democracy.  The post Loktantra Andolan government's May 18th Act made sweeping changes - curtailing the power of the King and making Nepal a secular country.


The Historical Inebriant:  The October Revolution

  • 1 part Vodka
  • 1 part Crème de cacao (white)
  • 1 part Tia maria
  • 1 part Cream
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker two-thirds full of ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.

Well, that concludes a week of social/political reforms, hope you enjoyed something a little different.

Have a great and safe weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The end of the Shogunate, Brown v. Board of Ed, Psychiatric Diseases and Gay Marriage

As we continue our week of highlighting social reforms...
(see the earlier posts if you have not already)

On this day in 1869, the last remnants of the feudal shogunate Tokugawa were defeated by Imperial Japanese forces in the Battle of Hakodate, ending the Boshin War and paving the way for a constitutional Japanese government.

The next era for Japan would be known as the Meiji Restoration. it was an era of reforms, in some cases overnight, as the country desperately tried to shed its past and adopt more of the seemingly advanced Western ideas and culture. One of the statesman instrumental in the reforms was Ōkubo Toshimichi, a samurai from the Satsuma clan, one that was always opposed to the Tokugwa.  Ironically, it was Toshimichi who engineered some of the reforms included the prohibition of Samurai wearing their katana (swords) in public.  Toshimichi was assassinated by samurai in 1878 (see Monday's post).

  • 1 1/2 Oz. Vodka
  • 1 Oz. Campari
  • 1 Oz. Crushed Strawberries 
  • Champagne 
  • Strawberry (Whole)

Mixing instructions:Mix vodka, Campari, and crushed strawberries with cracked ice in a shaker and serve in a chilled champagne glass, the rim of which has been dipped in sugar. Fill with cold champagne and garnish with a large strawberry.; This is a special signature drink of The Savoy and the Savoy Group, London, and was created to celebrate the restoration of The Savoy's famous lobby


On this day in 1954, the United States Supreme Court rules unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and as such violates the 14th amendment of the US Constitution.


On this day in 1990, the World Health Organization's General Assembly eliminates homosexuality from its list of psychiatric diseases.

Also, on this day in 2004, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that under the Massachusetts constitution it was illegal to allow only heterosexual couples to marry., and was the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Quite the day.

Eating at KumGangSan

"I am up to the head with these children," you say as we sit down
your slight finger poised just above your brow.

"They are just getting into cab right now."
I sit down at the table, my mind has already
translated your thoughts, your language and the
distance between Korea Town and Flushing
by taxi at the dinner hour.

I decide to order something off the drink menu
that is not misspelled, as if the word and the deed
were synonymous.

Soju Cocktail I say
Bibimbap you say... spicy

I look around the restaurant and see a small statue
"It's the Budda's birthday at the end of the month"
hoping the words alone would make you peaceful
but your plate arrived, that hot cauldron giving up
steam that rose and hovered around your face.
Amusing to me, but all you said was "Not spicy"
Half way through my Sunomono your plate
pushed away.

Go have a smoke I suggest.  I've had too many today was the response
Order a drink then, just don't look at the translations.  No.

I pull a pad from from my briefcase -
Sit by the fountain,
Write down your thoughts on this pad,
Then crumple them up.

You stand up, and taking the pad and my smokes,
and stop by the bar as you head head for the fountain.

When I finish my meal and look up
I see you at the table, your eyes focused past the fountain
the smoke from your cigarette rising up, carried off
by the breeze, past the table, past your offerings to the Buddha -
the small white inconsequential pieces of paper.

The Historical Inebriant:  Soju Cocktail
                              (Take as needed)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Sedition Act, Kuwaiti women vote and ...Meanwhile back at the convention

As we continue our week of highlighting social reforms...
(see the earlier posts if you have not already)

On this day in 1918, the Sedition Act is passed by the U.S. Congress.
(see definition of sedition) The act made it an imprisonable offense to:

1)  Unlawfully to combine or conspire together to oppose any measure of the government of the United States
2)  To write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the United States, or either House of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame, or bring either into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against either the hatred of the people of the United States, or to stir up sedition, or to excite unlawful combinations against the government, or to resist it, or to aid or encourage hostile designs of foreign nations.

The Sedition Act was repealed on December 13, 1920, the same year the American Civil Liberties Union was founded.

Interesting link:


On this day in 2005, in a 35-23 National Assembly vote, Kuwait permits women's suffrage.
Better late...

Meanwhile back at the Constitutional Convention...
(see Monday's post if you have not read it already)

Although scheduled to begin on May 14th, very few delegates were present on that day and the convention's seven state quorum was not met until the 25th when James Madison and the Virginia delegation arrived. As the convention attendees waited for the remaining delegates to arrive, the Virginia delegation presented their plan for the organization of the new government.

Known as "The Virginia Plan" or "Large State" plan, it proposed a two chamber legislature. The number of delegates that each state sent was dependent upon its population, the larger the population the more delegates from that state would be sent for representation. Coincidentally, Virginia's population was the largest of all the states at that time.

The Virginia Plan also called for a judicial and executive branch, so the very important concept of checks and balances was introduced. Now the only question was, would the Virginia Plan hold up once the New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island delegates showed up?

The Historical Inebriant:  Virginia "Plan" Eggnog
(serves 10 - perfect for when a delegation comes to visit)


  • 12 egg(s)
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 pint cognac
  • 1/2 pint dark rum
  • 1 pint milk
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • nutmeg

Separate the eggs, putting aside the whites for the moment. Beat the yolks strenuously, slowly adding in the granulated sugar. Continue at tempo until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Slowly pour in the cognac, stirring all the while. Follow with the rum. Pouring the liquor into the yolks has the effect of cooking them more lovingly than any stove could. Now stir in the milk and heavy cream. (The cream may be whipped, but this makes the result a bit rich, so to some tastes, plain cream is preferable.)

Clean off the egg-beating equipment and go at the whites until they will stand without toppling. Fold the whites into the general mixture, then stir in grated nutmeg. If the outcome is too sweet to suit your taste, splash about a little extra cognac (or a lot, if Aunt Henrietta isn't watching too closely). This will serve about 10 people. For convenience's sake, some people make this eggnog the day before the party and put it in the refrigerator. Parked there -- or even on the pantry windowsill -- it will keep perfectly for several days if air-tight glass jars are used.

Tune in tomorrow for our next installment "Snookie visits the Convention"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Labor Unions, Women's Suffrage and...The Cosmo

As we continue our week of highlighting social reforms...
(see yesterday's post if you have not already)

On this day in 1919, the Winnipeg General Strike begins in Winnipeg, Canada.  By 11:00 am, almost the entire town's working population had walked off the job.

Although many Canadian companies had windfall profits on World War I (1914-1919) contracts, the wages and working conditions for the workers did not improve at all while inflation fueled by war dollars had been on the rise . While Canada had two predonimant labour unions at the time, the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada (TLC) and the American Federation of Labor (AFL), representation of unions in the western part of Canada measured only 45 of the 400 delegates in the 1918 TLC Convention. Also at that year's convention the more socialist president James Watters was replaced with a more conservative Tom Moore.

Western Canada, with its large immigrant population, was leaning Socialist by the end of the war. Dissatisfied with Canada's role in the war and sympathetic to the Bolsheviks in Russia, the Western unions being no exception, decided to hold a caucus, (the Western Labor Conference) ahead of the 1919 TLC congress.

In April 1919, electrical, water works and office workers approached the City Council for a wage increase. The City Council offered war bonuses and a promise to revisit the topic after the war. The municipal Electrical Workers took action and began striking on Thursday, May 15, 1919.

Canada's restrictive labour policies recognized establishment of unions in two ways, voluntarily by employers, or through strike action. Workers from both industrial groupings therefore struck to gain union recognition and to compel recognition of their collective bargaining rights. When the electrical workers struck, the other unions joined in solidarity. Even the police and fire departments voted to strike but went back on the job to preserve public safety. At the height of the strike, roughly 30,000 workers had walked off the job.


Although it started peacefully the strike turned violent by Sunday and was put down by the Royal Mounted Police. The strikers were criticized and called Bolsheviks and anarchists, but in the upcoming Canadian elections the labour movement lobbyied against the conservatives and when the liberal party won in Canada 1921 many of the reforms that the strikers asked for were enacted.


On this day in 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association in New York City. They began their journey when it became apparent that women would not get to play in the 15th Amendment (the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude"). It would be another fifty years before the 19th Amendment was passed (August 26, 1920) allowing women to vote.

An interesting article on suffrage in Finland:

Is there a better drink that symbolizes the modern liberation of American women?

The Historical Inebriant:  The Cosmo


  • 1.5 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1/4 wedge of a lime, juiced
  • Orange twist for garnish (or lime twist, if preferred)

    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Cointreau, cranberry and limejuices.
    Cover and shake vigorously to combine and chill, strain into chilled martini glass.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Constitutional Convention, World Naked Gardening Day and The Samurai

A week of posts highlighting Social Reforms  - and the drinks that reform us

Per Wiki:

1787 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates convene a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution for the United States; George Washington presides.

A pretty simple statement. The war had been won, we were independent from Britain, the bonfires and the celebratory mugs of beer were still to be found in the countryside. But now to form a republic from 13 colonies, to insure the individual rights of that population and yet establish a true government with the power and means to move the young, the very young country, forward was the task that lay ahead. I wonder how many times Washington, presiding over the best, the brightest but also the most passionate (these men had all risked their lives for the founding of this nation) of that age - thought to himself "The battles against the British were easier than what now lay ahead."

Perhaps listening to the current news surrounding the upcoming Presidential election planted the seed, but as I looked forward this week scanning historical events I thought I might use, I noticed a theme forming, one of Social Reform - for lack of a better term. I noticed events worldwide that showed the constant struggles even today - 3,000 years from the start of "Civilization" - being fought in the name of reform.

This week I would like to concentrate (mostly) on events highlighting social reform.

But not exclusively...

I thought that World Naked Gardening Day was celebrated on May 14, (that when I always celebrate it) see link below for the MSNBC story link, but it looks like this year it was the 5th. I'm sure that if you want to do your Adam and Eve imitations, pretty much any day will get your point across!  WNGD has their own website, I'm not linking to it here since it's NSFW.  See you all in the flower bed, watch out when you trim the roses!

MSNBC report on World Naked Gardening Day

Ōkubo Toshimichi, a statesman, a samurai of Satsuma, and one of the three great nobles who led the Meiji Restoration was assassinated by samurai on this day in 1878. He is remembered as one of the founders of modern Japan.

The Historical Inebriant:  The Samurai

Japanese sake delicately stirred with a dash of gin and a large measure of vodka.

Garnish with sliced cucumber.