Saturday, July 7, 2012

A little less History, a little more Rock n' Roll...& bars

It's the start of a new page for THI.   No really, look up top at the page headings and you'll see a new one!  Mostly an extension of the twitter account @thi_stamford, it will be a place to feature travels to local bars and the local bands that seem to hang out there.

It doesn't deal much with history...or biology.
Definitely mixology.

It's live, it's up there, check it out for a band to see this weekend.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Hartford Circus Fire, Ivan Kupala Day, Kvas

On this day in 1944 – The Hartford Circus Fire, kills over 160 and injures more than 700, making it one of America's worst fire disasters. The fire started about 20 minutes into an afternoon performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in a corner of the tent that held approximately 7,000 people The blaze was accelerated by the waterproofing on the tent - paraffin soaked in gasoline - that was common at that time.

Tomorrow is Ivan Kupala Day. Originally celebrated in Poland, Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine as a pagan fertility holiday (Kupala), it is celebrated on June 23/24 in the Gregorian calendar which is June 6/7. The pagan rituals still continue to the present day, even though the holiday was transformed into a John (Ivan) the Baptist feast day.

The holiday begins on Kupala eve, a night of merriment, waterfights and innocent pranking.
An ancient belief is that midnight on the eve of Kupala is the only time of the year when you can find the elusive fern flower - which bestows prosperity, power and good fortune on whoever can find it. Now a ritual for young men and women, unmarried women enter the forest first, (ostensibly to find the flower*) with the young men following shortly thereafter.

Kupala day is filled with celebrations of life. There is singing and dancing, bonfires and bathing in the river. The Goddess Kupała is the Water Mother as well as the goddess of herbs, sex, and midsummer.

The Historical Inebriant:  Kvas

Kvas (квас) is an ancient and beloved beverage from Slavic Europe. While it is basically a low-alcohol beer, it is enjoyed as a soft drink, even by small children. Factory-made versions have been available for some time and many are quite good. But homemade will always be best. Often spelled "kvass."

For more information (and some cool pictures):

* Ferns do not, in fact, flower.

Truly Bizarre

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spam...the kind you eat...or don't.

On this day in 1937, Spam (the luncheon meat) is first introduced to the market. Its name comes from the words "Spiced" and "Ham" and that's about all we know about it.

Urban Dictionary Definition of Spam (pretty funny, if you have time, read them all)

I searched for a Mystery Meat drink recipe but this is the closest I could find.

The Historical Inebriant:  Mystery Drink

3 oz Gin
.5 oz Lagavulin 16 year old Single Malt Scotch
1 Jalapeno stuffed olive

Shake gin and scotch over cracked ice and serve in chilled cocktail glass. 

I fear there are two mysteries here: 1) Why anyone would think of mixing these ingredients
2) Why would anyone want to drink this.

Back to the Spam


You Absolutely have to watch this - and as the judge says "It's all in the presentation"


Interesting post on Spam:

To reserve a spot at The 2012 WAIKIKI SPAM JAM:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

...we pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

In 1776, in a letter to his wife, John Adams wrote:

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

The event Adams referred to was the passage of the resolution of independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. It was this act that "declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States."

The Continental Congress then voted to create a Committee of Five who would draft a document giving reasons for the Resolution of Independence. The committee was made of: John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert Livingston of New York, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.

It is the result of that committee, the Declaration of Independence - which contains such extraordinary language about freedoms - and the date of its signing, July 4th, that Americans chose to celebrate. However, Adams' words on how to celebrate this holiday of freedom from Britain are as accurate today as when they were written.

The Historical Inebriant: 

Whatever a free man in a free land wants.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

...And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred  Honor.

Fun Facts

The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin who was 70 at the time. At the signing, Franklin famously said "We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

John Hancock was the first and only person to sign the Declaration on July 4, 1776.

Thomas Jefferson who was the author of the Declaration of Independence and member of the "Committee of Five" along with John Adams who was also a committee member both died on July 4th 1826, exactly 50 years to the day the document was adopted and printed.

The original was engrossed on parchment which is an animal skin specially treated with lime and stretched to create a strong, long-lasting writing support. The printed version is on paper and was read aloud from town squares throughout the colonies, so that those who could not read would receive the news about intended separation from England.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted by 12 of 13 colonies (New York not voting) on July 4, 1776, but wasn't actually signed by all the delegates until August 2, 1776.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer...

During the hot days of summer the Greeks noticed that Sirius, the brighestest star in the Canis Major (Large Dog) Constellation, was visible at the start of the day and the end of the day. It was not long before it was being blamed for those especially hot days when, as Homer describes in the Iliad:

Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion's Dog they call it, brightest
Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat
And fevers to suffering humanity.

The Romans would sacrifice a brown dog at the start of the Dog Days (July 24th through August 24th) to appease Sirius, hoping the days would not be so oppressive.

In more recent times, Brady writes in Clavis Calendarium describing dog days as when,"the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid..."

On this day in The Old Farmer's Almanac the Dog Days of Summer begins and will end 
August 11. 

The Historical Inebriant:  Dog Days

1 oz Headlong White Dog Whiskey
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1 oz Fresh Orange Juice
2 Dashes Angostora Bitters
Shake with ice and strain  Serve up or on the rocks.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Final Countdown, World UFO Day, and The UFO Cocktail

If this were a common year (not a leap year) today would be the midpoint with 182 days past and 182 days remaining.  If it were a common year we would, in theory, be taking stock of the achievements of the first half (hopefully with slight inner celebration) and making plans to complete the balance of the year on target or slightly ahead of schedule.  I mean, if 2012 was, in fact, a common year.

This of course, is not a common year. Aside from the obvious fact that it is a leap year, it is also the year the Mayans predicted the Earth would would end on December 21st. I don't know much about the Mayans, (except for the fact they invented Television) but apparently, their calander has been spot on for centuries, until now.

Bearing that in mind, this year's midpoint was over a week ago. It occurred while you were asking your boss for Thursday and Friday of this week off, or while you were picking up tablecloths with flags on them, or even more foretelling - shopping for fireworks. It happened during the worst heat wave in recent history...and you didn't even notice.

Ok, ok, relax. I'm just screwing with you. But this is real...


Today is World UFO day...

and just where did you think that fancy Mayan clock came from?

The Historical Inebriant:  The UFO


1/3 Glass Bols Genever
2/3 Glass Bitter Lemon Soda
You pour the Genever in a glass fill it up with bitter lemon add some ice cubes.
(you've got to love some of these drink recipes, but there is not too much out there, I checked!)

As a backup drink, please see our 4/17 post and view the Alien Brain Hemorrhage Shot.
You can also read about How not to Handle Alien Remains.

How not to handle alien remains.


It's Coming....