Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Dig 'Em": Another example of our curious local custom car vernacular. (I like to joke that Sarah should get her Subaru tricked out in a similar manner. But what brand would be appropriate for a Subaru Forester? A preferred variety of quinoa? Or an eco-conscious toilet paper?)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Turkey Lurkey." Yeah, I dunno. I generally feel compelled to draw some jokey little Thanksgiving doodle, and this is the best I could come up with this year. (You can't imagine the pressure!) Get it: he's a turkey; and he's lurking; hence, Turkey Lurkey. Who or what the heck is Turkey Lurkey anyway? It's just one of those phrases that embedded in my cultural consciousness. Oh yeah, that's right... Anyhoo, happy gobbling.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Unified Theory of Sweet-and-Sour Cocktails

People often ask me, "Slim what's the meaning of life?" to which "I respond, I have no idea, but I will tell you my Unified Theory of Sweet-and-Sour Cocktails, which is almost as good and maybe even better." Are you ready? Behold the Grand Unified Ratio!
2 part booze

¾ parts sweet

¾ parts sour
Amazing, isn't it? Isn't it? Right...? Well, how about a little more detail.

So the world of cocktails is a quirky and heterogeneous place full of idiosyncratic measures, arcane terms, fanciful names, strange histories, regional quirks, emphatic dogmas, and ephemeral trends, but amidst this swirling multi-liquored and -hued booze-cacophony, there are some unifying themes. One of them: many, many, many drinks are composed of something boozy (which is to say, the liquor), something sweet (simple syrup or a sweet liqeur, apertif, or other mixer), and something sour (usually lemon juice or lime juice).* Examples:
  • Whiskey sour—bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice
  • Gin gimlet—gin, simple syrup, lime juice
  • Vodka gimlet—vodka, simple syrup, lime juice
  • Margarita—tequila, cointreau or triple-sec, lime juice
  • Tom Collins—gin, simple syrup, lemon juice (plus soda water)
And so on and so on. (Really, take any combination of a liquor, a sweet, and a sour, and somebody's probably already mixed it up and given it a name.) And generally, these tripartite components can be combined in the something very close to the aforementioned Grand Unified Ratio to make a damn fine drink. Beautiful, non?

But parts? you say, what parts? (Parts is parts.) Now I shall reveal Slim's Secrets of Scalability:
1 drink: For a single cocktail, the part in question is one ounce, so by my reckoning our Grand Unified Cocktail works out to 2 oz booze, ¾ oz sweet, and ¾ oz sour. E.g. to make a sublime whiskey sour, combine 2 oz bourbon, ¾ oz simple syrup, and ¾ oz lemon juice in a rocks glass filled with ice, dump it all in a cocktail shaker, shake the bejeezus out of it, return the contents to the rocks glass, garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry, and serve. To make a sublime gin gimlet, combine 2 oz gin, ¾ oz simple syrup, and ¾ oz lime juice in a cocktail shaker full of ice, stir until frost forms on the outside, and strain the contents into a chilled up glass.

8 drinks: But what if we want to make drinks for a lot of people? (Or a lot of drinks for a few people?) Pitcher time!** To make a batch of eight (what I think of as a half-pitcher) use one cup as the part (1 cup = 8 oz; math, baby!), so that works out to: 2 cups booze, ¾ cups sweet, ¾ cups sour. Combine the ingredients in a pitcher without ice (ice in the pitcher will melt during the party and result in a diluted drink); then prepare each individual cocktail by pouring out one drink's worth (3½ oz, if you're measuring) of the mixture into the rocks glass/shaker/etc. and proceed as you normally would for a single drink.

16 drinks: To get a right good party going, concoct sixteen drinks (a full pitcher) using two cups as the part (2 cups = 16 oz; math, baby!), which multiplies out to: 4 cups booze, 1½ cups sweet, 1½ cups sour. (Yes, I realize that using two cups as one part might seem a bit confusing, but hey, what's a cocktail party without a bit of esoteric math?)
Voila! So just one last factor to discuss, the Rules of Deviation. Perhaps you're asking, how can this one ratio account for all of the complex variables of real-world drinkery? The answer is: it can't. The Grand Unified Ratio can and should be adjusted to account for two specific factors:
Variations in the particular ingredients: The above ratio assumes the "sweet" we're using is standard half-and-half simple syrup.*** But maybe the sweet you're using isn't as sweet. (That's a weird sentence.) Use more. If it's sweeter, use less. The first time you mix a particular combination, you'll have to experiment, but next time, you'll know what adjustments to make and be all set. (Note: I rarely vary anything but the sweet. Generally, booze is booze, and sour is sour.)

Personal preference: The above ratio yields a nicely balanced "middle of the road" drink (though what I call "middle of the road" is drier than what you'll find at most bars, which usually use nasty over-sweet pre-concocted mixers). But My Lady prefers a drier drink ("dry" in mixological parlance usually just means "less sweet"****), so I'll reduce to a ½ oz sweet for her. And I have guests of long acquaintance who I know like a sweet drink: I'll adjust to 1 oz or more of sweet for them.
And so there it is, the Unified Theory of Sweet-and-Sour Cocktails! It really is rather lovely, isn't it? (And just in time for the holidays.) Happy mixing!

Questions? Comments? Refutations?

* And then there is a whole addendum of what I'll call Embellished Sweet-and-Sour Cocktails, which take this basic trinity and add fourth and perhaps fifth elements.

** A word of caution: Before making a whole big pitcher of drinks, it's a really good idea to make a single drink with the intended proportions to see if you like it or if it requires tweaking. And it's a good idea to have a bit extra of everything on hand for a final fine-tuning of the batch. That way, you aren't frantically dashing off to the store five minutes before guests arrive to buy more booze or limes or whatever it is that you need to make the evening's beverage palatable. (Plus, you get to sip on your trial-run bevvy while whisking around doing last minute host-type things.)

*** I've described my method for making simple syrup before, but it's worth repeating: "Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water in a sealable container (a rinsed-out wine bottle with a cork does nicely). Close and shake vigorously until the sugar is completely dissolved. (It's not a bad idea to wrap the container in a kitchen towel first so you don't burn your hands. You'll need them later to hold that delicious drink you're making.) Use as much as you need. Refrigerate the rest for later; it will last a long time."

**** Usually, though not always. In the case of martinis, it means less vermouth. (Like I said: "arcane terms".)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Okay, so what's his deal? He's got a bit of a craggy detective à la Colombo thing going on, but then what the heck is he wearing? Is that some sort of pilgrim rain gear? (I drew it so presumably I ought to know, but I have no clue.)

The Funniest Cat Name I've Heard in a While

Because he's blind... and he bumps into stuff. (Sorry, I thought it was funny. Does that make me evil?)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Okay, what's their deal?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Clippity Cloppity

What technical, ethical, and legal obstacles must be overcome before we can shod our children horse-style? May I suggest that we resolve them promptly?*

* Sadly, they don't exist, but if they did, I'd pay good money for the services of a shoe-nanny: Just come in the morning, convince my children to don a practical and matching pair of shoes in a timely fashion; then come back later and convince them, upon taking off their shoes, to place them in the shoe bin (not on the stairs or the kitchen table or in the toaster or wherever they usually seem to wind up.).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why It's No Fun Playing "20 Questions" With a Platonic Idealist*

"Animal, vegetable, or mineral?"
"None of the above."
"What do you mean, 'None of the above'?"
"I mean 'None of the above.'"
"It's got to be one of the above. It's got to be something real."
"It is real, and it's none of the above."
"That's impossible."
"It most certainly is possible."
"... I give up. What is it?"
"The number six."
"It can't be the number six. It's got to be something that exists."
"The number six does exist."
"Never mind. It can't be a number, okay?"
"Have you got something that's not a number?"
"Animal, vegetable, or mineral?"
"None of the above."
"Ergh! No numbers!"
"It's not a number."
"I give up..."
"It's the concept of virtue."
"Shall we play again?"
"It's got to be something physical!"
"I understand. I'm ready."
"Animal... vegetable... or mineral...?"
"None of the above."
"A perfect vacuum."**
Har! (Yes, I realize this post is profoundly nerdy and hopelessly oblique and almost certainly only funny to me, but oh well, you get what you pay for.)

* Wick E. Pedia says...

** I suppose one might argue that a perfect vacuum is not a physical thing but is the absence of all physical things, but I'll contend that it is "something physical" in the sense that it's defined exclusively by physical properties. Whatever. My head is starting to hurt.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Funeral tribute: "MA DEAR"

The aftermath

Friday, November 13, 2009

Red sky at night

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Comic? Certainly. Ironic? I think not. (Are five-year-olds even capable of irony? I doubt it. I imagine in-depth ironological investigations would indicate that irony is a higher-order concept, the capacity for which doesn't develop until sometime around adolescence. But what do I know?)

"In West Philadelphia Born and Raised..."

The other morning at breakfast, out of nowhere, June absentmindedly launched into a pitch-perfect correctly phrased and intoned recitation of the theme song from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air":
"In West Philadelphia born and raised,
On the playground was where I spent most of my days.
Chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool,
And all shootin' some b-ball outside of the school..."
It was just about one of the funniest things I've ever heard, and Sarah and I both nearly snorted our coffee out our noses in surprise and laughter.* (Fortunately, we were able to restrain the impulse, because I suspect snorting hot coffee through the nose is an unpleasant experience.) Oh, Lord.

* In addition to being very amused, we were also very confused. To our knowledge, June had never seen a "Fresh Prince" rerun, but June explained that they'd been learning it from a young assistant teacher at school as they waited in line each day for the cafeteria. Glad they're getting a well-rounded education.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Les Brusiers, Circle Bar, Friday the 13th

So we're like, hey, Circle Bar, we're feeling kind of spooky, so can you give us some spooky shows, and they're like, okay, how about Halloween, and we're like, yeah, okay, that's pretty spooky, we'll take it, but have you got any other spooky shows, and they're like, how about Friday the 13th, and we're like, excellent, that's totally spooky, we'll take that too, and they're like, cool, and we're like, cool, and it was pretty cool.

See you there. Cool.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Hurricane warnings and school closures—huh. We're plenty to used to hurricanes or the threat of them disrupting the flow of daily life around here, but that's usually a summer/early fall kind of thing. Sure, Ida's been steadily marching across the Gulf for a couple of days now, giving us ample warning; sure, there are technically three weeks left in hurricane season; but seriously?*

But at present, Ida's looking like a scattered wayward sort of affair, so we'll sit back, hope/plan for the best, enjoy the lagniappe stay-home day, and have ourselves a little hurricane feast (which Sarah started contemplating the moment we got the news this morning, and which she had fully planned out by 7:45 a.m.). Mmm, hurricane feast...

* Plus, we've all been so busy ironing our Saints jerseys and pondering what mysterious reallignment of the universe's energies could have graced us with an 8-0 season start, who's had time to think about anything else?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

"To: Miss Toothfairy"

Ah, the minds of children: mysterious and endlessly entertaining. Louise recently lost a front tooth, and we put it in an envelope to go under her pillow. Louise decided to decorate the envelope—like such:

The front of the envelope "To: Miss Toothfairy from: Louise Olivier Date: 11-3-09". (The middle figure is obviously the tooth fairy triumphantly holding a tooth. I'm not quite sure what the deal is with the two giant disembodied heads on the horizon.)

And the back, with a label, "Tooth stuff" (presumably for ease of filing; I imagine the tooth fairy has a very large "Tooth Stuff" section in her file cabinet), and a sort of crest/seal containing the statement, "My tooth is very small" (which it was).


Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I was at the grocery store yesterday, and a bearded, ponytailed, middle-aged man in a fedora and vest stopped an employee to ask, "Is there such a thing as sauerkraut?" I wanted to interrupt and say two things:
  1. Yes! Yes there is! And it's the most wonderful food in the world!
  2. You've clearly spent a good six decades or so living on this planet; I judge from your accent that you are a native English speaker;* and though your beard-ponytail-fedora-vest combo might be judged mildly eccentric, you don't appear obviously demented and show no signs of having just emerged form a half-century-long coma: How can you not know what sauerkraut is or if it even exists? What sauerkraut-less rock did you just crawl out from under?!**
But maybe that's just my sauerkraut-centric prejudices talking, and there are wide swaths of the populace that don't know the glories of "rotten cabbage". Poor dears, what other sublimely salted and soured members of the vegetable kingdom are they ignorant of? ("Excuse me, is there such a thing as a pickle?") Bless their hearts.

* Not that "sauerkraut" is English, but you know what I mean.

** His sartorial choices had a sort of Euro-Gypsy vibe and gave the impression that, if anything, he should be more sauerkraut-savvy than the average consumer.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Our lovely Audubon Zoo resides in our lovely Audubon Park, and one of the curious consequences is that one can be traipsing around with kids on some mild Saturday, doing park-ish things, and can spot, over some unassuming fence, a wayward giraffe stealing illicit nibbles of some almost-nearly-beyond-reach vegetable delectables.

Monday, November 02, 2009


I woke up today with those terrible name puns from the closing credits of Car Talk—you know, "Russian chauffeur: Picov Andropov..., Head of Working Mother Support Group: Erasmus B. Dragon...,"* etc., etc.—running through my head on continuous loop. What the hell is that about?

* Or whatever. Shouldn't it be "Picop Andropov"? That's how and I remember it and that would make more sense, but I've listed it above as it appears on their web site. Dunno. Don't care. Just want it out of my head.