Looking For Mike

For those who had been looking for information on Mike Huber, I have taken down my post at his request.  Fortunately the newspaper article about him did not cause any negative stir, but rather revealed to many people great testimony he has the and amazing journey God has brought him through.  Many people have learned the truth through the post I made and have come to support Mike in his ministry.  If you would like to know more you may contact me and I will be happy to respond appropriately.

 

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{Book Review} Kahuna Kevin’s Why is the Rum Gone? By Kahuna Kevin

Why's the Rum Gone?The newer cocktail books of the Tiki genre seem to fall into one of two categories nowadays, one type of book tends to be a well researched tome of full old tiki drink recipes.  The drinks crafted by the patriarchs of tiki decades ago and secretly passed down until revealed today in all their glory.  The other type of book is usually a kitschy collection of (Usually over) simple and (Usually over) sweet recipes complied for the casual home drinker who doesn’t want to spend the time or the money to craft truly complex and tasty drinks.

This is where Kahuna Kevin comes in and offers us a glorious and refreshing third-way in “Why is the Rum Gone?”  Kevin has taken up the banner of the tiki drink-makers of old by crafting original, innovative, complex and most importantly tasty rum based cocktails.  The drinks in his book are not for the faint of heart or weak of liver.  You will often have drinks with over ten ingredients, and many a time they will call for somewhat obscure (Yet still readily available online and in big liquor stores) ingredients.  But when the long and winding recipes are followed you are often treated to magical and mysterious rum based libation that is sure to put your mind at ease and liver on red alert.

My only mild criticism of the book and its recipes is that author is very specific in his ingredients, almost always requesting certain brands and ages of rums, syrups and mixers.  While this is good for providing an accurate replication of the drink as it was developed in the Kahuna’s Tiki Test Labs is can make some drinks a daunting task to round up all the required recipes.  Perhaps calling for slightly more generalized genres of rum would make for a more accessible and serviceable ingredients list.

But baring that one suggestion I am very impressed with Kahuna Kevin’s book and the included recipes.  With forty original concoctions from the “Addled Wench” to the “Unassuming Bastard” you are sure to find something to tickle the taste buds, soothe the nerves and probably kill some brain cells too.  I encourage you to pick up this book if you want some truly original tiki cocktail recipes made in the spirit of what the original tiki drink makers had in mind for their drinks and their patrons.

{Book Review} Hi-de-ho : The Life of Cab Calloway by Alyn Shipton

To put it simply this is the definitive Cab Calloway biography.  I don’t think anywhere else you will find a better researched or better documented book about the jazz legend.  The author had the arduous job or researching and writing about a larger than life character with a huge stage persona who actually lead a very private life.  Shipton has done an excellent job sourcing out every interview with the legend himself and talking with as many sidemen, friends and family as possible to give us an idea of what Cab Calloway was really like.  Easily one of the most charismatic and entertaining band leaders of all time Calloway deserves and receives excellent treatment in this book.  I had always considered myself a fan of Calloway ever since I saw him in the Blues Brothers movie as a young child and my fascination with him grew as I got older, I would search out magazine articles and excerpts in book when I could find them about the Jazz Pioneer.  But I never found a well written comprehensive telling of his life story till now.  For anyone interested in the man Cab Calloway I cannot recommend this book anymore highly, and also if you are interested in the era of Cab’s existence and the racial issues of the early to mid 20th century jazz scene this book is also well worth reading, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

{Book Review} America the Edible by Adam Richman

I am not going to lie, when I first got this book I was a bit skeptical.  What was I to expect in a book written by a guy who I only knew from watching him eat very large amounts of food all over the country?  Well what I got was actually a very fun and light hearted read.

This book really amounts to sort of an early life memoir and travel guide from Adam Richman.  In the text he basically covers his young adult life as he traveled across the country for various reasons and the food memorable food encounters he had during that time.  From New York to St. Louis to Los Angeles, Richman hits many major cities and discovers much of their authentic cuisine.  Each chapter focuses on a different city and his memorable eating experiences while staying there.  At the end of each chapter he offers a few “Must Visit” places and one recipe that for him sums up his experience with the town.

The book was fun to read as Adam seems to be a light hearted and funny guy who just happens to have great times with regular food that you and I could have too.  None of the places he talks about are haute cuisine or restaurants that will require a reservation two months ahead.  They are all average joe type places you and I could visits and the collection of recipes he offers are all quite easy for any normal home chef.

In the end I recommend the book, not just for the food recommendation and handful of recipes, but also for the fun stories.

Arizona Fallout Ramblings

+++Next on my mind is the tragic Arizona shooting and the fallout from it.

It has got me thinking about quite a few different things.

Many on the left want to take issue with the rhetoric the right used prior to this and use it as an example of going too far and possibly inciting this sad violence.  While I completely understand where they come from with this, I don’t think it fair to hold one person’s political speech as the responsible for another person’s action.  There needs to be personal responsibility here.  And while I don’t approve of much of the speech being accused of inciting this tragedy, I don’t think you should place limits on what can be said in a public forum.

 

Despite the fact that I still vehemently opposed flag burning, and I think corporate contributions to election campaigns and political action committees is a horrible idea.  I have become more and more a believer in free speech.  The ability to say whatever you want is one of those things that I think the founding fathers got right, as opposed to the right to own and bear arms.

 

The right to unrestricted free speech is a truly amazing and American thing.  I heard a story recently form the UK where an election was annulled and a candidate suspended from politics for three years because he made false statements about his opponent during a campaign. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11761986) What an amazingly civil thing to have, and quite British when you think about it.  But to quote Penn Jillette “Fuck Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. Marketplace of ideas can not be toned down for the insane.”  I kind of agree with that.  And I think this whole concept of “Blood Libel” is not close to something of an accurate description of what has been going on.  Plus I do not think many people even knew what “Blood Libel” meant before the week started.  I do not agree with much of anything Sarah Palin or other arch-conservatives say, but I do believe in her and their right to do it, no matter how stupid, insane or inerrant.  True freedom of speech unregulated by the government is, I believe, and essential piece of our democracy.

Turning within the issue a little bit though, I have come to be a believer that the right to bear arms while at the time was perhaps a good idea, today I do not quite agree.  While I do not believe in the complete abolition of gun ownership (For then I do truly think the only people who would have guns are the police and the criminals), I do believe it should be as tough as possible to own a gun in the United States.  I do not want to make it an expensive process, but I would like it to be a lengthy and thorough one.  I would like to see people checked for psychological stability and very complete background checks performed (I should say I feel the same way about car drivers, but that is another topic).  Even with all this I myself am not even sure I would want a gun in my house (I do not have one now), simply because when you look at the numbers having a gun in your house makes the possibility of someone being shot in your house go up exponentially, and I do not think that is worth the risk.  If I were to have children I do not think I would be comfortable even having a gun even locked up in a safe in my house.  You just increase your risks too much.  But there are people out there who treat gun ownership like a God given right and I don’t think that is what the founding fathers had in mind.  In fact the right to keep and bear arms is not a concept found in the original articles of confederation.  And our right found in the second amendment was heavily based off the English Bill of Rights in 1689, which was more about shifting power from the monarch to the parliament.  And when Madison was crafting the second amendment we were a bunch of farmers with muzzle loading rifles, Patrick Henry thought a well armed populace was the only way to ensure liberty, and while I see the reasoning behind that, especially when just coming out of a bloody revolution, I don’t think it applies to today.  No group of liberty loving gun nuts will really be able to oppose the power of the U.S. military, plus despite what Glenn Beck says I do not think the threat of gun violence is really what should keep society in order.

Well I said I didn’t want to ramble and I have, I would benefit greatly from an editor, something I am not.  That is all for now…..more mumblings later.

The Long And Winding Road Back To My Blog

Why hello there!

I certainly have not done this for quite some time, but alas I think I need to get back to writing on a somewhat normal basis and try to get my thoughts and feelings about certain topics back on “Paper”.  So I am going to try and commit to spending some regular time each day during my down time to putting the proverbial pen to paper.

So what is on my mind this morning?

+++ Jerry Brown and his budget for California.  I get it, I really do, California was enormously prosperous during the 90’s and most of the 00’s.  The tech boom, soaring real estate and home sales made the golden state quite flush.  Sadly the state legislature took all that tax revenue and started spending it like crazy on various programs, non essential services, and deals with unions.  The economy drops out, state tax revenue drops out and we are screwed.  We have to do something to get the state budget close to balanced and I think third timer Gov. Brown has the right idea.  Keep some taxes higher and make some big cuts to services.  You got some yin and some yang here, democrats won’t be too averse to raising or keep up some taxes and the republicans will agree with the cuts to services.  My only real fear is that republicans will really try to stall on this and claim that taxes need to be cut to help business develop more jobs in the state.  Deep down I really do agree that job creation is the single best thing that can happen for the California economy, but working in business myself I also know that no tax cuts are going to help with job creation any time soon.  Corporate or small business tax cuts will at best take a year or more to really affect job creation within the state.  Most every business I know or is not basing their hiring practices based on the their tax rates but rather on the overall shape and strength of sales, production, etc..  So while job creation does need to be a long term goal I do not cutting taxes now will affect it in any way.  Rather I think the responsible thing to do is really try to shore up the state’s budget and work from there.  It won’t be easy for anyone, the CalWorks program which my wife works for is looking to be cut up to 50%, which in all reality could mean her losing her job, but I accept that as being for the good of the people.  And I know fees and tuition will go up for state colleges and universities, which I hate to see, but I suspect this will separate the wheat form the chaff.  Those who really want to go to college will have to really work for it now and they will be rewarded, as opposed those who just treat it as a four year extension of high school.  Anywho, I just think that the Governor has the right idea and I hope that republican legislators (Of which I am represented by) might understand this too and try to do the painful but right thing.

Later I intended to take up my thought on the Arizona shooting, our rights, and the founding fathers.

{Book Review} Speakeasy by Jason Kosmas & Dushan Zaric

For the Master Mixologist in You.

I have never had a drink at the Employee’s Only Bar in New York, but I have read about and talked to those who have, and I hear only good things.  Employee’s Only appears to be one of the new wave of cocktail bars truly dedicated to not just respecting the cherished history of the cocktail but also moving things forward and I think that is evident in their cocktail recipe book “Speakeasy”.

I say that they look to the past and the future because of the way they have structured the book.  Going through the pages you will find recipes for classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, Martinez, Sidecar, and Negroni and on the following page you will find an Employee’s Only version that either ups the complexity or takes the drink in an exciting new direction.  So not only do you get the great classic recipes, but you also get a new version to try or even inspire your own experiments.

Most recipes do refer to the spirit ingredients by brand name, but almost all of the brand names mentioned are fairly easy to find.  In the re-invented cocktails there is the healthy use of homemade or infused ingredients, thankfully there is an appendix in the back of the book with directions for the production of such ingredients.

So while making some of these cocktails may require a bit of work to get the required ingredients together or produced I have found that I am almost always rewarded by something complex, tasty, and smooth.

In conclusion I guess I would say that if you are a serious drinker and you like real cocktails and you are willing to work for them then this is a great book for you.  Produced by people whom I would consider true mixologists, this book gives you an idea on how they think and approach their craft by adjusting classic recipes and creating new ones.  I have enjoyed this book and I hope you will too.