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Showing posts from March, 2020

Evan Williams Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey

I am a bourbon man. Give me the sweet, brown, fiery, distilled corn juice over the smoky Scotch or the smooth Irish whisky any day of the week. And the brand I love best is Evan Williams. You know Evan Williams. It's the one with the square bottle and the black label just like Jack Daniel's. Many people think of Evan Williams as inferior, bottom-shelf whiskey. Well, all I can say is: they are entitled to their stupid opinion.  I've tried fancy bourbons. I have had Pappy Van Winkle a few times, done my rounds with Blantons, used to love Basil Hayden's for a while, even Bulleit and Buffalo Trace used to be frequent residents of my liquor cabinet. However, day to day, week in and week out, I always come back to Evan Williams.  Bourbon is something I believe is best when it's unrefined, just like something else I love: Italian food. To me there is no use eating "fancy" or gourmet Italian food. It's best when it's simple and hearty, peasant f

New Yorker Fiction Review #238: "Super Goat Man" by Jonathan Lethem

Review of a short story from the Dec. 30, 2019 Archival Issue of The New Yorker (reprinted from the April 5, 2004 issue)... I kept this particular issue of The New Yorker around solely because of this story by the great Jonathan Lethem and I'm glad I did. The genius of this story is how Jonathan Lethem writes about an ex-hippie, half-man/half-goat who used to be a minor super hero but now teaches literature, almost as though goat people and aging, over-the-hill super heroes were part of every day life. In a story such as this, you can't help but expect an undertone of humor, but Lethem manages to keep it subtle and focus on the essential, driving narrative of the story: a young man looking back with mixed emotions on an enigmatic, mysterious -- as turns out, charismatic -- presence who haunted him over several epochs of his life. Come to think of it, I don't even really know what this story is about. But it's funny, intelligent, and has an ex-hippie, half-man/half

The Orvis Clearwater fly rod (103-4)

This is the first time I've ever reviewed a fly-fishing rod on my blog. Because I just realized it's the first time I've ever actually had to buy a fly rod. My father bought me or passed down to me every fly rod I've ever owned. But as I've moved beyond his tutelage I've now had to supplement his very impressive rod collection -- and my own -- with an Orvis Clearwater 10 foot / 3 weight / 4 piece rod. I bought this rod because I have been trying to get the hang of Euro-nymphing, and the consensus of everyone to whom I looked for advice seemed to be that this size of rod was best because it's long enough to get your leader and nymphs way out into the stream, and yet the light weight makes it sensitive enough to feel the fish biting.  Overall: A great rod for the money. I spent about $205.00 on this rod, including shipping. While Orvis may not be the best or most cutting edge supplier of fly-fishing gear, you can pretty much always rely on th

New Yorker Fiction Review #237: "Kid Positive" by Adam Levin

Review of a short story from the March 2, 2020 issue of The New Yorker... I wouldn't call this a "story" so much as a pastiche , or collage; a bunch of independent but related, stand-alone pieces sewn together to accomplish an overall goal. In this case, the goal is to contrast the writer's own childhood -- in which he was at turns conniving, bullying, violent, and self-obsessed -- with what he perceives (now, as an adult) to be the state of modern childhood, in which, at least in his mind, children seem far more innocent and pure-hearted than he ever was. I don't know if this piece "works" in the sense it was intended to work, as a broader statement on 80s childhood vs. modern day childhood. We all know that childhood looked pretty different in the 80s than it does today. Even given the way memory distorts things, there were certain basic differences: no computers or cell phones, and no bike helmets, for starters. The world was a lot less "co