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The Quest for Corn Liquor

My lovely wife, the Irish Woman, has a taste for top shelf bourbon. She’s of 100% Irish ancestry, you see, and a proud native of the Bluegrass. The sweet smokiness of bourbon is the scent of her childhood, it’s taste as sweet as mother’s milk.

So, she knows her whiskey. White label Jim Beam or Wild Turkey 101 is cooking bourbon. Many a dish in our home has been flavored with them, from Boston butt in the crock pot to the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Maker’s Mark is the minimum for sipping or mixing with Coca-Cola. Woodford Reserve, Maker’s 46 or 101, and Knob Creek are good enough for company.

Our liquor cabinet groans under its load of bottles. The daily stalwarts lie among their more esoteric brethren. Friends and family know that bourbon always makes a good present or thank you gift. Bottles of every size, weight, and shape nestle themselves on the shelves, waiting to be opened and poured out a few drams at a time.

But Wild Turkey Rare Breed, now that’s the tipple that brings a twinkle to her green eyes. She discovered it one hot summer afternoon when we visited the distillery. We were returning to Louisville from a weekend at the lake, and decided to stop off for a tour of the distillery and a tasting at the visitor’s center.

At the visitor’s center, we met an older gentleman named Jimmy. He was perched on his red and white scooter, chatting with the tourists and being 100% the Kentucky gentleman. He noticed Irish Woman’s accent and asked where we were from.

“Kentucky,” I replied. “We’re from Louisville.”

He quirked a half smile, looked me in the eye, and said, “Son, there’s no Louisville in Kentucky.”

This brought a grin and an “I told you so” from Irish Woman. Truly, this was a true son of the Commonwealth. He bleeds blue, has a dry sense of humor, and knows bourbon like the back of his hand.

Jimmy and Irish Woman talked while I wandered the racks of tee shirts, crystal glasses, and coffee mugs. Imagine my surprise when I had picked out and paid for a few doodads, then found my lovely wife waiting for me with a brown paper bag in her hand.

Jimmy had suggested a bottle of Wild Turkey’s top shelf bourbon, Rare Breed. It’s smooth as a baby’s behind, with a sweet, rich flavor. It comes in a special, ornate bottle that stands out against a background of its plainer neighbors.

It quickly became Irish Woman’s favorite. She doesn’t drink every day, but one or two drinks of Rare Breed on a Friday or Saturday evening make Irish eyes smile. It’s rather expensive, but it’s her favorite and she makes a bottle last for months, so it’s an indulgence that’s worth every penny.

So, you can imagine her surprise when she could not replace the bottle she finished over Christmas. No matter which liquor store she went to, be it a huge market stocked full of every variety of booze you can imagine, or the smallest of mom-and-pop operations with a couple shelves of top-shelf behind the counter, she could not find the object of her desire.

Friends and family have helped by checking their own nooks and crannies, but alas, no Rare Breed is to be found. Yes, we could pay most of a house payment for a bottle on the secondary market, and a few places online have it. But I prefer to pay for the roof over our heads rather than the booze in our glasses, and Kentucky has some rather…. interesting laws when it comes to buying alcohol from out of state.

So, what did my beautiful wife do, you ask? Did she find another obsession, I mean, appropriate substitute? Did she lower her expectations for the flavor and strength of evening nip?

No, gentle reader, she went to the source. She called Wild Turkey and left a voice mail asking where all the Rare Breed has gone. I imagine a plaintive, tear stained plea for the makers of high-proof hooch to release just enough of this truly rare bourbon that Irish Woman could stock up for the coming booze apocalypse.

Amazingly enough, she got a reply. Gotta hand it to Wild Turkey, you don’t see representatives of a large corporation calling a lonely customer back that often these days.

The nice young man explained to She Who Shall Not Be Denied that Wild Turkey did, indeed, have enough whiskey to last out the dark times ahead. No, the issue they have had with getting more of the blessed Breed out was the glass in which it is sold.

Supply chain issues have kept Wild Turkey from getting the special bottles Rare Breed uses. Rather than put their bourbon in a different, possibly inferior bottle, they just haven’t sold any of it.

I imagine a Wild Turkey branded cargo ship, stranded somewhere off Long Beach, its hull bursting with the crystalline vessels needed to satisfy the appetites of bourbon connoisseurs the world ‘round. Patrol craft encircle it, keeping the pirates of Southern California away and ensuring that the bottles will eventually reach their destination.

Rest assured, the purveyors of the brownest of brown liquors are striving to source their special bottles. This will be a trying time for those who cannot see surviving without their 90 proof, single-barrel reason to live, but it is temporary.

And anyway, the longer it takes to get the bottles, the longer the whiskey sits in the barrels. I’m told that a long life in the barrel leads to a better whiskey, but I don’t appreciate fine bourbons as much as someone who grew up close enough to bourbon country that she could smell the distilleries on a windy day.

So, as we go through a period of mourning and expectation of the return of the Rare Breed, please raise a glass to the Irish Woman. She shall spend this time in quiet contemplation of which of the myriad of whiskeys available to her will be a good substitute for her favorite.

As for me, as the weather turns warm, I shall go back to the heresy that is gin and tonic, or perhaps even have a nice glass of scotch on occasion. And if I feel like a bourbon, I will do as I always do: randomly pick one out of the liquor cabinet, pour a few fingers worth into a glass, and sip at it for a few hours.

Christmas Movie Meanings

We’ve all heard the old saw about how “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” is the story of how people will make fun of anyone different until they’re useful.  I was thinking about this and came up with some explanations for other Christmas movies and TV shows.

  • Frosty the Snowman – The story of the responsibility a necromancer has when she entraps a soul in the body of an ice golem.  Luckily for her, when things start to go badly, a celestial being swoops down and takes said undead frozen minion to a place where its soul will never be freed.
  • Charlie Brown Christmas Special – The story of how most people have to be shamed into not thinking of themselves, even if for only one day.
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – This yarn explains that you have to convince children that they are under cradle-to-grave monitoring by an entity that can punish them for any infractions.
  • Miracle on 34th Street – Maybe that old man wearing polyester red fur, mumbling to himself on the subway platform, is really Santa Claus.  Hey, Saint Nick can stink of booze and dumpster juice, can’t he?
  • It’s a Wonderful Life – The story of how a man’s life can be almost ruined because his boozer uncle can’t be trusted to keep track of anything important, but he himself is important to many people who would fall apart were it not for his presence.  Think “The Butterfly Effect” and “Somewhere in Time” wrapped in a big Christmas bow.
  • Home Alone – Child neglect and abandonment can be really funny, huh?
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The story of a loner who finally snaps and decides that if everyone won’t leave him alone, he’ll just ruin their holiday for them.  This one is one of my favorites, except for the last 5 minutes or so.

Kung Flu Curriculum

Well, out of an abundance of caution, Boo’s school is closing for the next two weeks.  The week after that is spring break. He gets three whole weeks away from Our Lady of Eternal After School Activities.

The school gave every student a packet of worksheets on the first day of school for snow days and the like.  I doubt there are ten days of instruction in that manila envelope.

So, in order to keep my sprog busy, entertained, and educated, I have worked up the following to keep him busy in mind, body, and spirit.

Week 1

  • Research Project – What was John Moses Browning’s best invention and why? Minimum of 500 words.
  • Reading Assignment – The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert Heinlein.  There will be a test on Friday. (No, not the book. He’s not quite ready for that.)

Day 1

  • Mathematics – Algebra problems based on the carrying capacity of dear old Dad’s ammunition boxes and all of the loose shells in his truck.
  • Health – Lecture – “Personal hygiene and the 11 year old boy”

Day 2

Day 3

  • Home Economics – Lecture – “Nutrition and Budgets – How to Eat Properly Without Bankrupting Your Father”
  • Shop – Firearms Maintenance and You

Day 4

  • Physical Education – Archery, intermixed with 15 meter wind sprints to and from the target
  • Computers/Religion – Patching Linux From Source Code, an Introduction to Self-Flagellation

Day 5

  • Personal Finance – How to get through the drive-through at the church fish fry without spending more money on Girl Scout cookies than you do on fish.
  • Physical Education – Free Play intermixed with yard maintenance


Week 2 

  • Research Project – Find the most efficient route to Texas from our house without crossing into Illinois.  Draw map, to scale, on presentation board, complete with points of interest and COVID19 detention centers.
  • Reading Assignment – The Cornered Cat by Kathy Jackson.  Complete 1000 word essay on the ethics of armed self-defense.

Day 1

  • Home Economics – Laundry 101 – The Washing Machine is Your Friend
  • Chemistry – Evening class – Bourbon and All of its Wonders

Day 2

  • First Aid – Morning class – Hangover Cures for the Middle Aged Man
  • Philosophy – Is there life after death?  Keep talking while Dad is trying to work and find out.

Day 3

  • Shop – Lawn Mower Use and Maintenance
  • Geometry – Folding Laundry Can be Fun!

Day 4

  • Physical Education – Weight Lifting done by repeatedly picking up things on the bedroom floor and putting them away
  • Photography – Go outside and chase some birds for a few hours, will ya?

Day 5

  • Physics – How much crap can Mom and Dad fit into the rental car?
  • Astronomy – Navigating the Interstate by the stars

Marvel Movies Round-Up

Over the past few months, we’ve been watching the movies that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We had seen and liked Iron Man when it first came out, but for one reason or another, have never watched the rest of the films.

So, due to me being a big kid and Boo coming to that age where he could watch them, we decided to give them a whirl.

We finished up this morning by watching a matinee of Captain Marvel. Next comes the new Avengers movie at the end of April, then all of the rest that will flow from the great Disney hive mind over the next decade.

In no particular order, here are my impressions of the movies:

  • Iron Man – Rich son of a World War II hero realizes that making weapons is bad when one is used on him. Makes up for it by creating the most advanced weapons system in the history of mankind.
  • Iron Man II – Hero of the last movie turns into even more of a douche, then runs into the son of a man his father had deported back to the Soviet Union for the unforgivable sin of wanting to become rich.
  • Thor – The eponymous God of Thunder gets a little tough love from Father Odin, then meets the girl of his dreams while at the same time learning that violence only solves family issues.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger – A 90 pound weakling, while not posing for the before pictures in Charles Atlas comic book advertisements, is turned into the after picture for Charles Atlas comic book advertisements. Hijinks ensue when he discovers a talent for punching super-Nazis in the face.
  • The Avengers – All of our heroes team up to fight an alien invasion. Said invasion is facilitated by Thor’s brother Loki, thereby proving that if you’re gonna kick your brother’s ass, you better make sure it’s well and truly stomped.
  • Iron Man 3 – Our favorite poor little rich kid is back, this time whining about how he created his own problems by blowing off a disabled genius so that he could nail a hot genius. Tony Stark also learns the meaning of the phrase “Talk shit, get hit” when he challenges the big bad guy on national television and is thus treated to what we used to call the “Apocalypse Now” treatment.
  • Thor: The Dark World – The God of Cream Rinse reunites with his lady love after she forgets the one rule any good D&D player knows: Never put your hand in the red glowy stuff you find in a dark cavern.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Steve Rogers is becoming disillusioned with the world as he found it after unthawing, not unlike every other member of his generation who actually had to live through the flower children, disco, Jimmy Carter, M.C. Hammer, and the Clinton years. An old army buddy resurfaces for a heart-warming reunion, which is marred when everybody wants to murder said buddy, and he’s happy to reciprocate.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – The most relatable gang of A-holes ever comes together for a really fun heist movie. Between old pop culture references, pretty good music, and sexual innuendo, our heroes find time to save the universe from a threat almost nobody in the universe noticed.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron – Tony Stark and Bruce Banner unleash a menace upon the earth, mainly because they were bored and needed something to do. In order to destroy said menace, they repeat their experiment and create a new MCU character out of his personal version of SIRI. In between all this, they lay waste to cities on several continents, just going to show what a bunch of Americans can do if they put their minds to it.
  • Captain America: Civil War – Tony Stark is appalled by the amount of destruction his little group can unleash on a long weekend, so quislings his way out of it by getting the UN to step in and put a leash on Captain America. Said Super Soldier goes rogue to save his old Army buddy, leading to one of the most stupendous beat downs I’ve seen in any movie. We are introduced to the new Spiderman and the little nation of Wakanda, a small place which I’m sure will have no important role to play in the rest of the series.
  • Doctor Strange – An arrogant neurosurgeon puts himself through the spin-cycle once or twice, so he has to go to Tibet in order to become an arrogant mystical warrior monk. We learn that there are some things man isn’t meant to know. That is, of course, unless you happen to be an ex-neurosurgeon with a penchant for sneaking into the restricted section of the library after hours.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 – Those lovable murder hobos are back, this time in a quest to get to know Peter’s dad. We learn the truth behind the hero’s heritage, and why the man who raised him has such a cool hair cut.
  • Spiderman: Homecoming – Our friendly, neighborhood wall crawler is back, again, but at least we don’t have to endure another retelling of the legendary spider bite. This is the movie where I got in trouble for differentiating it from the older generations of Spidey movies by labeling it as “The one where Aunt May is hot”.
  • Thor: Ragnarok – Odin is dead, Thor got left out of the will, and he has to perform in the arena for the mob. Thor also learns a valuable life lesson – If you can’t have your parents’ stuff after they die, hire a guy to burn the whole darned place to the ground.
  • Black Panther – Noble Africans fight less-noble African Americans. Apparently all that technological advancement the Wakandans have never extended to ranged weapons.
  • Avengers: Infinity War – You know, except for that whole universal genocide thing, Thanos is a really reasonable guy. Seriously, I wouldn’t mind having him as a neighbor. Marvel did a really good job of cleaning out the stable so that they can introduce fresh, new characters to make more movies and sell more lunchboxes.
  • Captain Marvel – One of the best two hour recruiting ads I’ve ever seen. This movie has a strong female lead, a strong male lead, and a cat. What more can you ask for? Also, it adds more evidence to my theory that the Air Force has a near-monopoly on attractive women in its ranks.

Today’s Earworm

With apologies to the Beach Boys and the non-geeks out there.

The hardware was made by HP
The OS, by Torvolds and me
Old SourceForge, we did comb
Patching all night
It wouldn’t boot right
Well, I need some coffee
I wanna go $HOME

So, boot up the VMS box
See how the kernel rocks
Call for the NOC to test
Let me go home, SYS$HOME
Where’d I leave my coffee?
I wanna go $HOME

The DBA, he got drunk
Deleted data using trunc
Data Protection had to restore it all from tape
By the eyes of Torvalds,
Why is this subnet firewalled?
Oh, no.
Have you seen my coffee?
I wanna go  $HOME

So, boot up the Solaris box
See how the kernel rocks
Call for the NOC to test
Let me go home,SYS$HOME
Who poured out my coffee?
I wanna go $HOME

The Windows box, it caught a worm
Wouldn’t answer to PowerTerm
Then the AIX, it came crashing down
Let me go $HOME
Why can’t I get to SYS$HOME?
Oh, this is the worst shift, I’ve ever been on.

So, boot up the HP box
See how the kernel rocks
Call for the NOC to test
Let me go home, SYS$HOME
Well, we’re out of coffee
I wanna go $HOME

Olympic Origins

Like a lot of folks, I’ve been watching the Winter Olympics a lot lately.  OK, more than a lot.  As I’ve enjoyed the different events, I’ve wondered how they came to be, and I thought I’d share my research with y’all.

  • Cross-Country Skiing – Wow, it’s really snowy, and I’ve got to get over there as quickly as possible.
  • Biathlon – Wow, it’s really snowy, and there’s a bunch of people over there that need to be shot.
  • Downhill Skiing – I’m at the top of the mountain, and I really need to be at the bottom of the mountain in a few minutes.
  • Slalom – Trees!  Trees!  Trees on the mountain!
  • Ski Jump – Two Norwegians, a mountain, and a keg of beer all contributed to the inception of this activity, I just know it.
  • Snowboarding – Well, there’s too much snow for skateboarding.  What’re we gonna do now, dude?
  • Speed Skating – Well, the lake’s frozen, and I really need to be over there then get back here as quickly as possible.
  • Short Track Speed Skating – Go fast, lean left.
  • Short Track Relay – Go fast, lean left, push on my butt so I can go faster!
  • Figure Skating – I feel pretty, oh so pretty!
  • Ice Dancing – All the funny clothes of figure skating, without all the grace and jumps
  • Bobsled – We’ve got a sled, a steep hill, gravity, and a lot of ice.  Punch it!
  • Luge – Bobsled? Wimps.
  • Skeleton – Pffft!
  • Curling – I really have no idea how this got into the Olympics, but I’m glad it did.  I never realized how hypnotizing this game was when I was little and curling was what people who were too old for hockey did on a Friday night.
  • Hockey – Soccer pitch is frozen over.  Well, might as well make the best of it.

Interplanetary Playlist

After the successful launch of the SpaceX heavy rocket yesterday, we all watched as a red Tesla Roadster convertible, complete with a spacesuit in the driver’s seat headed out toward Mars and the asteroid belt.  As OldNFO reported, the car is playing music to the stars.

So, of course, I’m wondering what music Elon Musk and his intrepid crew programmed into their monument to “Hold my beer and watch this”.  Here are a few suggestions:

First, of course, we have some David Bowie, although it’s not the song they chose for the launch.

Then, we have some Peter Schilling.

And who can do a space-based playlist without Sir Elton John?

Of course, we will need Valentine Michael Smith’s favorite song.

We’ll need some encouragement for anyone who travels out beyond the Roadster’s orbit.

And finally, just in case there are any visitors who might have hostile intentions toward our little blue planet, we need to have something that’ll let them know who they’re messing with.

Have suggestions for the playlist?  Leave them in comments!

Irish Woman Word for the Day

Gun Hickie – The bruise you can get on your shoulder the day after a good, long day at the range.


Yesterday, I reviewed the new movie, Dunkirk.  Reader mrgarabaldi pointed out that there has been a kerfuffle due to the relative lack of non-white and/or female characters.  Well, I’ve done a bit of digging, and found out that Mr. Nolan had to cut out a lot of content to make the movie fit into his allotted length.

I have spent zero time literally hours combing through this additional content, and I am happy to report that if you see the super-duper expanded director’s second-cousin’s cut, you will get to see the following characters who aren’t white or male:

Warning, major spoilers ahead!

  • If you’re looking for African-American characters, have no fear.  Nolan used black actors for all of the German aircrews.  The bomber crews, of course, were female.
  • The u-boat captain, whose deleted scenes run to almost three hours, is a woman of south Asian and Filipino heritage.  You’ll know her by the black swastika embedded in her ruby nose ring.
  • Her first mate may look like he just ran naked through a bleach factory, but rest assured that he is Russian of Tatar extraction.  You can tell by looking closely at his eyes while he’s peering through the periscope.
  • The crew of the Swedish battleship includes your standard blonde, pasty-white Scandinavians, but Nolan added a bridge crew that includes Syrians, Libyans, Somalis, and a couple Japanese observers.  Japanese count as people of color, don’t they?
  • Unfortunately, due to contractual disputes, Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the commander of the H.M.S. Mother****** was cut out of the finished product.  Thankfully, a battle royale that included agents, lawyers, SAG enforcers, and several rabid dogs has brought about an agreement that will bring his performance to the extra-special BlueRay release just in time for Christmas.

No matter how much we prize historical accuracy about the bravery of our forefathers, there’s no reason we can’t check all the correct demographic blocks in our entertainment.

What a time to be alive.


Overheard in the Kitchen

Irish Woman – It’s a wonder your people ever progressed at all.

Me – Oh, yeah?  Well, it took all of the potatoes dying to get your people off their island!

Irish Woman –  Oh, yeah?  Well, what got your people moving?

Me, turning on my smoldering gaze and dropping my voice into a sultry whisper – Irish women. <wink>

Her, pointing to door – Get out of my kitchen.

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