Creative Capital

Shaken not Stirred?  Tisk Tisk

The martini (continued) Global consternation erupted when, in Dr. No, James Bond ordered a Smirnoff vodka martini. He then compounded this felony by instructing that it be “shaken, not stirred.” Previously in this series: How Does a Cocktail Achieve “Classic” Status?Here is the original text of this unfortunate incident: [In the prior scene Bond ultimately wins …

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How Does a Cocktail Achieve “Classic” Status?

The Daiquiri The Daiquiri is one of those terrific drinks that happened by accident. Around the turn of the twentieth century an American engineer named Cox, working in the small town of Daiquiri in Puerto Rico, was entertaining some American visitors. He was about to whip up some drinks but realized he was out of …

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Speaking of Drinks…

Tiki two As I mentioned, I came of legal drinking age at a time when you could only get tiki drinks at Chinese restaurants. The pioneering Don The Beachcomber was no more, and as far as I knew all the Trader Vic’s had closed, except for a few locations abroad. Previously in this series: The …

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The Tiki Phenomenon

I had the great misfortune to reach legal drinking age just as the tiki drink phenomenon was turning into a parody of itself. Formerly terrific drinks such as the Zombie, the Scorpion and the Rum Runner were now available only in Chinese restaurants and they all tasted exactly alike, being made by then out of …

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Strange but True Tales from the Bottle

TOCSC pays for itself  I had barely dipped my toe into The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails (TOCSC) when the book paid for itself – which is saying something – because I found the guy I want to be in my next life. I was still early in the B’s (the TOCSC entries are alphabetical) when I came …

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The Oxford Companion  — a Drinker’s Bible

“What whiskey won’t cure there is no cure for.” — Irish proverb Maybe you’ve noticed those annoying people who conduct all their video calls in front of a carefully curated bookcase full of impossibly erudite volumes that no one – including them – ever actually reads. What you won’t find on those carefully curated bookcases …

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Face the Facts About a “Multipolar” World

“It is simply a myth that the world is anywhere close to multipolar.” — Jo Inge Bekkevold, Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies Previously in this series: Europe’s Shrinking RelevanceWhy is it that so many commentators insist that we live in a multipolar world? Part of it is simply ideological blindness. The university community, like it …

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Europe’s Shrinking Relevance

“As a result of the accelerating decline in Europe’s global influence and reach … the overrepresentation of Europeans in global institutions is the greatest flaw in the international architecture.”Walter Russell Mead Previously in this series: Failing to Get Rich Before They Get too Old“The EU is a construct perfectly adept at standardizing phone chargers … but …

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Failing to Get Rich Before They Get Old

As we saw last week, President Xi understood (as observers in the West did not) that China’s growth model was exhausted and that the only known strategy for continued growth was to transition to a Western-style consumer-led economy. That had been the strategy used by other now-wealthy Asian societies. But Xi knew more than that …

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The New World Order

“The vaunted China model … has entered its death throes.” — Michael Schuman in “The Atlantic” Following the end of World War II we lived in a bipolar world, with the US and USSR vying for domination. When the Soviet Union collapsed around 1990, we entered a unipolar world with the US as global hegemon. But then, …

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VA Conclusion

A Committee of Inquiry was investigating Angie’s attempted suicide at VA, and now the chair and vice chair of the Committee had been in Rich’s office for an hour and a half. They finally left, looking grim, and Rich had remained in his office alone for a long time. Then he summoned Meg and me …

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Medical Emergency

Meg and I had been enjoying some serious quality time on the couch in VA’s front room when Meg suddenly froze – she’d heard something. Previously in this series Disaster StrikesI froze, too, and we both listened. I said, “It sounds like a girl crying,” and as far as I was concerned she could cry …

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Disaster Strikes

As I’ve mentioned, from my first day at VA I’d been flirting vigorously with Meg Petronius, albeit to no avail. What I didn’t know was that Meg had recently ended a troubled, long-term relationship and the last thing she wanted was to fall into another one. Previously in this series: The Resignation But as the …

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The Resignation

Meg had asked me to tell the girls they could get out of their beds, but I’d told her I couldn’t, “Because I don’t work here anymore.” Previously in this series: End of the Line“What the hell are you talking about?” she said. Still sitting under the pine tree, I said, “I quit. I’ll turn …

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End of the Line

I’d just broken up a fight between Earl and Eddie – I was seriously disappointed in Earl and had sent him to the front room to serve a time-out until bedtime. Earl had been a good Head Boy, he had a good job at a sawmill and he was on his way to being a …

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It Came to Blows

I’d returned to VA after visiting a crazy lady’s house and was heading up to my room to sleep off all the beer I’d drunk. Unfortunately, Meg and Terry had heard the Vespa and they came rushing through the kitchen calling my name. My heart sank. Previously in this series: Genny Cream Ale“Thank God you’re …

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Genny Cream Ale

The VA building had many quirks, probably because no one had ever thought through anything – stuff was just added on when it was needed, without any relation to what was already there. Previously in this series: Enter: The Ill-fated LovebirdsOne of the oddest quirks wasn’t structural, though – there was a large, overstuffed, living …

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The Ill-fated Lovebirds

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s chauffeur-driven Cadillac had stopped at VA for directions. and I’d offered him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to the immense amusement of Rich Bolotin – and of Solzhenitsyn himself. Previously in this series: Enter: The Man of MysterySolzhenitsyn’s party was headed to Island Pond to look at a house that was for …

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Enter: The Man of Mystery

The weekend after a brick had been thrown through VA’s front window, I rode the Vespa back to campus and returned with my hunting rifle, a Winchester lever-action Model 94, chambered for a 30-30 round. I carried the Winchester in a faux-leather rifle case and most people assumed I was some sort of musician. Previously …

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A Bloody Face

I’d been on the couch at VA with Meg and Terry Petronius when the front window exploded with a sound like an atomic bomb. Previously in this series: Under AttackThe three of us screamed and fell to the floor in a tangled mess, covering our heads. Then tires squealed out on the road and I …

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Under Attack

I’ve mentioned that I’d been flirting like crazy with Meg Petronius – The Most Perfect Girl in the World – from my first day at VA, but with dismal results. At one point I’d gotten so desperate I even flirted once with her older sister, Terry, who job-shared with Meg. Previously in this series: The …

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The Flinty Vermonter

I had left the repair of the Trombley barn’s floor for last because it seemed as if it would be the simplest part of the job. I was way wrong. More of the joists were rotten than I had anticipated, and the work mostly had to be done while standing in the barn’s disgusting basement. …

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