Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yuletide cheer

This year Mister Booze was a very good boy. Santa Claus came and delivered a present most excellent; Jameson gold. Jameson gold is a blended whiskey, with no parts of the blend less than 12 years old. A portion is a pot still whiskey aged in virgin oak casks. This is unusual for an Irish whiskey, I know of no other of it's kind. I am anticipating that the virgin oak will impart a strong vanilla sweetness. I will definitely give a full report here. Will it stack up well against Red Breast? That venerable pure pot still whiskey is one of Ireland's finest; mr. Booze holds it in high regard.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter survival from ages past

What seems like 1,000 lifetimes ago I once commuted 3 hours a day for work. The days were growing shorter and the nights became longer. It was a time of darkness, and I found myself taking naps in my car on my lunch break. I once fell asleep to NPR, who introduced me to the ancient Sami art of Joik. They tell me it isn't called "singing", because they aren't songs. But for you gringos it is Finnish folk singing.

Of course because it is in Northern Europe, there is a Heavy Metal version

Naturally, there is also a lame techno remix

And modernist interpretations

Sometimes I wonder if my life is a myth, created by my own nightmares from which I cannot awaken.

This is my favorite version:

Maybe these girls can wake me from my slumber?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Japan is awesome

I have to find a way to get on this Japanese game show:

Why can't American TV be this good?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Internet quests

Have you ever been on an internet quest? I just finished a coat quest recently, which predictably lead to Ebay. In the past my internet quests were a search for music. Call it atavism, the quest I am about to begin will be another music quest.

My newest adventure is to find a CD (old fashioned I know) with this woman singing:

So the first step is to find her name. From the comments I gleam that it is Nely Andreeva. Finding a CD will probably lead to a website in Bulgarian. Let the adventure begin.

Friday, December 18, 2009

End of year list: Revenge!

This is the time of year when people typically make lists. Children make lists for Santa. Guilty make new year's resolutions lists. Pundits make best of lists. Mister Booze makes revenge lists.

First up is the person pictured below wearing my coat, Mr. Carach Angren

Do you see what I see?

Now I know who outbid me on Ebay for that coat! And look, you're going to smear makeup on the collar. Do you have any idea how much it costs to have a coat like that dry cleaned? Do you? Yes, revenge is in store for you Mr. Angren. Side note: don't you feel bad for the gentleman (gentlewoman?) on the right who could not afford a matching coat on Ebay and had to get a cheaper gray one that is only single breasted?

Next up, the makers of Old Charter bourbon. You know what you did, and when we meet you'll know why you have it coming.

Old Charter

It is all fun and games until someone buys a bottle isn't it?

Sgt. D, for getting the following song stuck in my head:

I don't know what ice cream paint job means, but I spent a week saying "Cream on the inside, clean on the outside". Thanks.

Finally, the office fascists who think they can stop the godmachine.

wash your hands

You cannot stop it. Don't even try.

So there you have it. Sadly, I made very few enemies this year, and have a short revenge list.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mister Booze takes a holiday: Doing it our way

Recently I had a chance to visit a magical fairytale land. Through magical forces (alchemy?) beyond my comprehension, water was transmuted into beer.


These are apparently some of the secret ingredients necessary to cast the spell.


The witch's cauldrons.

If you ever find yourself in the Northlands with nothing to do on a Monday, I highly suggest going to visit the New Glarus brewery. I'm not a big beer drinker these days, but speaking as a former connoisseur their beers are really good. You walk into the gift shop and buy a beer. You can walk all around the premises drinking your beer, watching more being made. The tour is "self-guided". You can basically waltz around the brewery like you own the place. Everyone there is really friendly and happy to answer your questions.

Oh, did I mention you should go on Monday? Go on Monday. Monday is bottling day.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 schamiel, schamozel, hasenpfeffer incorporated!

Doin' it our way!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The secrets of aging

The flower of my youth is wilting. Father time is sweeping my leg. Not to worry, I have foreseen this day for a long time coming. There is a secret to aging. You must envision and embrace your future self to become him. This is something Elvis and Michael Jackson refused to learn. Look what happened to them.

This could be you!

There are several roads you can take on life. Will you be a fat old man or a skinny old man? I am gunning for skinny old man. Thus I have cut back on beer and upped my whiskey intake. You don't see old men who've spent a lifetime drinking whiskey on the rocks with fat bellies.

This is what a lifetime of drinking Jack Daniels looks like. Not bad.

Some people try to cover up their gray hair. Why? Don't you love the grizzled old Willie Nelson far better than the young hippie Willie Nelson?

I think I could take old metal artists like Dave Mustaine seriously if they let their grays show and started to write bitter old man songs. Something like this:

I'm not going to even post Hurt. Few men have the guts to age so wonderfully. I can only hope to become so gnarled and grizzled.

So what is my vision like? Simple. I will be the old curmudgeon with a cane and a hat, eating at Denny's and leaving a handful of pennies for a tip. I'll tell you about what it was like back in my day. I will be mystified at all the new technology and listen to weird old music from before you were born that you've never heard. I will wear a tie for no good reason. I will call my daily shot of whiskey my "medicine". I will make air quotation marks with my fingers before using any slang words. And I will tell meandering stories like this:

Good Lord it will be amazing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bring on the New Year

My sources tell me that on St. Patrick's day Paddy's Irish whiskey will have a limited run stateside. It will be good for me to see if I like it, and then horde a half dozen bottles. Or not.

Amrut hopes to clear customs by January. That means we can look forward to a happy Booze Year in 2010.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Overcoat review: Soviet greatcoat

The black greatcoats were out of my pricerange. So I settled for this Soviet officer's greatcoat. Bluish grey instead of black. I like the color though. Shipping included it was 35 rubles dollars. That is recession friendly pricing, comrade.

The red collar tabs are ok, but I am tempted to get black ones. The artillery gunner's pin looks cool, but these days the railroad officer's pin has my fancy.

Choo choo! All aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway!

This is theoretically how it would look if I chose to replace the red felt collar tabs with another color. They also have blue ones for the airforce. The airforce pin is a propeller with wings. Crazy, I know.

Buying clothes on Ebay can be dicey, as measurements may not give you a proper fit. Caveat emptor. Luckily it is not too long in the length or sleeves. The length is perfect but...

This could be the style of fitting, or it could be the unusual proportions of the original wearer, but it was difficult for me to raise my arms. It was uncomfortable to reach the steering wheel of my car let alone fire a Kalashnikov. The problem was the pleat in the middle of the back. It seemed a simple fix to have it tailored. Upon further inspection it seemed a matter of unstitching the pleat; the half belt would keep the look the same and maintain the slim profile.

I decided to fix it myself. Would a bourgeois tailor charge more than the cost of the coat itself? So with a sharp seam ripper I carefully went to work. Verily, those were some tough stitches to remove. But it is finished and looks - and most importantly - fits great. For a handful of kopeks on the People's Ebay I found a real gem. Sharp looking too. It will serve you well during the frigid winter of our discontent as the capitalist system unravels just as Marx predicted.

Oh, and is it warm? I should preface this by stating that this is a very heavy coat. Far heavier than my other wool coat. Probably heavier than my leather biker jacket. And yes, it is warm. Perhaps because of the cut, it is the warmest coat I own. It is also an extremely finely woven wool. In fact Soviet wool was a special hybrid from a mix of Angora goats with native Russian breeds, strangely done with Medelian genetics.

Raise the Red lantern

Does it clash too much with my Maoist propaganda posters?

Supplemental reading: Gogol's The Overcoat.

I hope this doesn't mean I have to start drinking vodka. Vodka is a bit of a scam if you ask me, but that is a blog for another day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stuff old people like: Whale pants

Old people like whale pants. Check out this octogenarian back in the day:

Stylin' and profilin'

Maybe the young people will get into it if we sexy it up a little?

whale pants are so in

Does this work for you?

I guess it doesn't have to be whales. Crabs would work too.

Buy them Here. Or if you find them cheaper elsewhere, holla at yo' boy.

Shred the Bach: crank the gain!

Another fusion of Bach and Rock comes from guitarist Ilan Guetta on the disc Ilan Guetta Plays Bach Electric. Here Ilan teams up with the Israeli String Quartet and plays through some classics by J.S. So how does it sound?

To start I should mention that Ilan doesn't crank the gain up as high as Yngwie. For me personally, this is a bit of a bummer because when the gain is turned to 11 that Strat would sing like a violin. Another criticism is that he tends to pluck every single note. Now I'm familiar with many of these pieces and they could use more legato. I think he has to pluck because he doesn't have the gain turned up high enough, which would cause the notes to sing out longer and feedback nicely. Take it from the master. But these critiques aside, it is played very well, much better than I ever could. The guitar marries the string quartet well, and it is a delightful experiment.

Check out samples and purchase Here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Into the fog

Today it stopped snowing and, with my military greatcoat to keep out the elements, I trudged through the snowbanks and once again sought the Tundra swans.

Tundra swan

Tundra swan

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past

And there they were.

Addendum: the coast is clear, you may fire up your Ebay account and start your own search for a greatcoat. Happy bidding.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shred the Bach

Many years ago I spent long hours listening to J.S. Bach. I had the idea of playing one of his inventions on the guitar. One guitar would play the left hand, and another would play the right. It would be electrified. I searched online to see if someone else had beat me to the punch. They had.

I found an obscure CD called Shimmyo - Metamorphosis that had Invention #8 and #13 just as I imagined.

I also discovered that Alejandro Silva had performed such an arrangement on his live CD/DVD, which is quite excellent.

The video quality on the DVD is much better than this rip, and is quite good.

As far as performances go, I think I prefer the Shimmyo version because the guitars have the gain cranked up higher, whereas Alejandro rolls it back a bit. Anyways enjoy them both.

Turn loose the swans

Every year Tundra swans come south to my town to roost for the winter. They are similar to your typical Mute swan (an invasive species imported from Europe). The differences are noticeable, however. They have a black bill instead of orange. In that regard they look very similar to Trumpeter swans, except they hold their neck straighter, and the neck is shorter. Both Trumpeter and Tundra swans make noises, which is another way to tell them apart. These swans are very shy and thus difficult to observe.

It was a blizzard outside, and the wind was fierce. The snow banks were up past my knees. My approach scared them away, so I ducked behind a bench. After a while, they returned only to leave again shortly thereafter.

Tundra Swans

This was taken with my Yashica 200mm f4, and I cropped it about 30%. If you embiggen it you can see them in the center, still too distant to really appreciate.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eleven years in the making

The last Borislav Mitic album came out in 1998. Finally, right before Christmas, there is another. I just placed my order. Hat tip to Vinny for the good news.

I usually don't buy new albums because they will inevitably re-release it a few months later with bonus tracks, a bonus CD, a bonus DVD, a bonus BJ, or whatever. But I have a feeling there will be no re-release.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stuff old people like

Old people like shoe horns. How the heck are you supposed to get your foot in the shoe properly without a shoe horn?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The culture of the internets

Lately I have been pondering the culture of the internets. It is a terrible culture to be sure. People type such filth and vitriol that they would never dare say to each other in person. The best place to examine this phenomenon is on youtube.

From the comments:

"hey quit with the insults already, two can play at that game.
ok then how about you explaining the equal and apposing forces of space with space being a vacum how can a space ship thrust forward if there is nothing to push against?.
come on queer explain to us none believers."

" hey if that extremely light weight feather fell like a lead fucking ball then how come those big heavy guys needed fucking heavy ass moon boots to keep them from floating like cum in piss?."

"So thats why the sand drops faster then the wired astronaut. Dumbasses! "

And this is a video of an astronaut! It is all downhill from here. I have been trying to understand this, and I have a few theories:

1. The age theory: The internets are filled with children sitting at home and at the school computer lab acting like...well, children.
2. The societal reflection theory: This is simply a reflection of the nature of American society. Dark, angry, and prone to temper tantrums.
3. The true nature theory: without civilization, humanity descends into the abyss. The internet is humanity without civilization's constraints.
4. The acculturation theory: the culture of the internets was created years ago when the only people on the internet were mildly autistic computer nerds with no social skills. The people who joined the internets later went through cultural assimilation, hence the internet culture with no social skills.

Pick your favorite theory, fuckface!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

LIbraryster: the sheet

For the last few weeks it is really one book: Favorite Arias from the Great Operas

Many years ago I played the guitar, bass, and piano. None very well. Unable to play by ear I became frustrated and hit a wall. I stopped playing altogether for a few years. Taking time off has allowed me to unlearn much of what I had learned.

Now I am starting from scratch, and hopefully this will prove successful. I have always been a classicist, but never had a good blueprint for learning to play. I believe I have a good map now. I am learning to sight read on the guitar. These are all songs I know. They are simple and tuneful. The book is timeless. Just read the following description of the Gianni Schicchi aria O Mio Babbino Caro

"The tune is the sweetest and most easily remembered - if not the best - in the opera. Tinpan Alley may be expected to seize on it the moment it goes out of copyright. That, however, will not happen until 1974."

Booze army heroes

There are many booze army soldiers around the globe. Today, let's check in with Continental Europe. Here is a wine ninja, or perhaps a wine MacGuyver, demonstrating some resourcefulness that would make Mr. Wizard proud.

This is a lesson I won't forget!