Saturday, November 10, 2012

Malala Yousufzai Day

On this day in 2012, the country of Pakistan declared today "Malala Yousufzai Day" in honor of the 14 year girl who was shot in the head by a Taliban extremist for choosing to attend school.

Malala, an outspoken proponent for women's education in Pakistan, had known of the danger she faced as a target of the Taliban and responded “Even if they kill me, I will first say to them: what you are doing is wrong.”

Malala is recovering from her gunshot wound, and her attack has brought a global spotlight onto the plight of those worldwide who are unable to get an education. 


Friday, November 9, 2012

On the Cover of Rolling Stone, Has anyone seen my Darmstadtium, Who said I'm not Religious, and the Half Life Cocktail

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On this day in 1967 you could walk into a newsstand and pick up the first issue of a new magazine, Rolling Stone. Started in San Francisco by Jann Wenner (who remains as the magazine's chief editor) and San Francisco Chronicle music critic Ralph Gleason, Rolling Stone would write "not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces."

It has continued that tradition. With a host of talented writers, including gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, RS covered all the subjects that mattered to music and to us; politics, finance, entertainment, and wars all appeared in its pages.

To appear on the cover, is still one of the highest forms of praise in the music industry.


On this day in 1994 the chemical element Darmstadtium (Ds) is discovered. Ds is only created in a lab, is extremely radioactive and the most stable isotope (darmstadtium-281) has a half-life of 11 seconds.
Go Figure.

For the drink - The Half Life Cocktail, but you only have 11 seconds to drink it!


My brother, who will probably take over the writing of this blog should I pass away from liver failure, sent me this.  With the holiday season right around the corner, I felt spiritually obligated to pass it along.

Whisky Advent Calendar Lets You Booze In The Days

Leading Up To Christmas

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In the "I'll definitely drink to that column" Led Zeppelin IV and The Black Dog Cocktail

On this day in 1971, the English group Led Zeppelin would release "Led Zeppelin IV". It would become one of the landmark albums ever released worldwide and become the third-best-selling album ever in the US, with Stairway to Heaven becoming an instant hit.

The Historical Inebriant: The Black Dog Cocktail


3 oz Bourbon
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Blackberry Brandy

Mix bourbon, dry vermouth and blackberry brandy with ice in a mixing glass.
Strain into an old-fashioned glass full of ice.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I heard it on the radio, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Minako Honda and The Nutcracker Cocktail

Note: This was yesterday's post but due to election coverage, I never published it.

Edwin Armstrong invented the regenerative circuit (used in radio receivers between 1920 and and 1945) while still an undergraduate at Columbia University and the superheterodyne receiver in 1918. Even though the technology he developed revolutionized radio transmissions, and is still in use today in most TV and radio receivers, you probably wouldn't recognize the name for that.

What you should know Armstrong for was that on this day in 1935, he presented his paper "A Method of Reducing Disturbances in Radio Signaling by a System of Frequency Modulation" to the New York section of the Institute of Radio Engineers and FM radio was born.

Progressive FM music stations would not come about for years to come, but when they did it provided a forum for new music in a static free clear signal.  The music you wanted to hear, the way it was meant to be heard was at your fingertips.  Rock n' Roll would never be the same.  Now that deserves a stamp!


As we get ready to celebrate this holiday season, remember that on this day in 1893, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky passed away.  My first experience with Tchaikovsky was hearing this composition...on the radio.

The Historical Inebriant: The Nutcracker Cocktail


5 Parts Cognac
1 Part Orange Flavored Brandy
4 Parts Pineapple Juice
4 Parts Coconut Liqueur
4 Parts Lemon Juice

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


On this day in 2005, the Japanese singer and actress Minako Honda, would pass away at age 37 from Leukemia.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Remember, Remember the 5th of November - The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, and The Vendetta Cocktail

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

A corrupt government in a land where just a few institutions ruled all, where great wars devastated populations, and where the winds carried the seeds of an impending class’s headlines maybe...but this was England in the 1600's.

On this day in 1605 a plot by a group of Catholic conspirators lead by Robert Catesby to place 36 barrels of gunpowder in the basement of the House of Lords was foiled. Disillusioned by the continued persecution of Catholics by the English monarchy, their intent was to assassinate King James I of England while he attended the annual State Opening of Parliament. Also in attendance would be most of the lawmakers of the land, the country's senior judges and most of the Protestant aristocracy.  Their goal was to blow up the building killing all inside and to install King James's daughter Princess Elizabeth, on the throne as a Catholic Queen.

Over the months it took to come up with the plan, some of the conspirators (concerned with the great loss of life that the bombing of Parliament would cause) were having second thoughts.  An anonymous letter was sent to an English nobleman informing him of the planned attack.

On the 5th of November, 1605 conspirator Guy Fawkes was captured in the basement of Parliament as he stood ready to light the fuse on the gunpowder.  The rest of the conspirators were quickly captured and executed.

While it could be argued that the fuse to the gunpowder was actually lit by King Henry VIII, who following the Catholic Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce broke away from the Catholic church and removed all papal power in England.  In the coming years, England would sway back and forth between the Catholic and Protestant churches.

Mary I, attempted to violently restore England to Catholicism through severe Protestant persecution, when Elizabeth I ascended the throne in 1558, she began a systematic course of repression and persecution of Catholics within her country to the point where the mass was abolished and any hint of sympathy to the Pope could lead to harsh penalties.  Years later, under the reign of James I, those penalties would be reduced.

Today, in England, to celebrate the discovery of the plot and the saving of the King and Parliament there are large fireworks displays and huge bonfires with the effigy of Guy Fawkes (The Guy) being burned in each of them.  It is one of the biggest parties of the year.


The Guy Fawkes image has been used most recently in the movie "V for Vendetta" and of course by the internet activist group "Anonymous".

“People should not be afraid of their governments,
Governments should be afraid of their people.” V

The Historical Inebriant: The Vendetta Cocktail


¾ oz fresh squeezed orange juice
¾ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ oz vanilla syrup
¼ oz pimento dram
1½ oz tequila blanco
dash aromatic bitters
8 drops herbsaint

Mix all with 6oz fine crushed ice in top-down drinks mixer; alternately blend with 6oz regular ice in 5-one second full pulses. Pour into footed goblet or double rocks, garnish with lime wheel.

If you like making Tiki drinks at home please visit the site this drink comes from. It's a fun site with excellent Tiki drink ideas:

For more on the Gunpowder Plot:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

This I Believe...

There is a great program on NPR called This I Believe. Per the NPR website:

This I Believe is based on a 1950's radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. In creating This I Believe, Murrow said the program sought "to point to the common meeting grounds of beliefs, which is the essence of brotherhood and the floor of our civilization."

Now updated and airing on Monday mornings, it's a very revealing insight in our societal core.

This I Believe Promo 

 If you have a moment, take a listen to some of the very compelling stories here:


What made me think of this is that, as many of you know, I recently lost my phone.  My previous phone had died only two weeks earlier so this phone was brand new.  I knew a few places where I might have left it, but some where closed by the time I realized the phone was gone.  In the end, retracing my steps, I was able to find where I left it and was amazed they still had it.  With so much of our lives contained in these small, powerful devices the loss of one (even for a short time) is quite disruptive.

(Going back to topic)

This I believe...if you own a smart phone there are a number of apps out there that will allow you to ring your phone, track your phone's GPS signal, and in the instance where you think it may have been stolen, wipe your phone's memory - all done remotely from your computer.  And these apps are FREE.

The one I now use is "Where's My Droid", but there are quite a few of them out there.

The one catch - you do have to download one of them onto your phone PRIOR to losing it!

Do yourselves a favor, check them out and install.  Well worth it!