The White Russian

Before Captain Larby turned me on to The Big Lebowski, I had probably consumed no more than a handful of White Russians in my brief drinking life.  And most or all of those were probably ordered up at the dearly departed Jack Lynch’s Webb Street Grille, a teeny tiny little drinking hole with the coolest damn bartender I ever knew (wish I could remember his name).  Back when I was pre-legal, I had an in at Lynch’s and made it my mission to sample everything behind the bar.  Yes, it is true that Long Island Iced Tea and Alabama Slammers taste like Hi-C and will wollap you hours later. 

This sampling took place a couple of years before I saw Lebowski, and since then the White Russian has been revered as a sacred elixir.  Larby and I honed our mixing technique over repeated viewings of Lebowski, as well as other favorites in his extensive collection.  That Atwood Square apartment hosted some damn good times and some epic conversations that should have been recorded for posterity.  We’d debate the merits of more Kahlua than vodka (which had to be Smirnoff like The Dude), 2% milk versus 1% milk, and how many ice cubes made it perfect.  I dare say we were pros.

I recently discovered that a chic little bar in my neighborhood makes killer White Russians.  However, even though they are tasty, they are not potent.  I can’t give them an A overall.  Next time, I’ll watch while it’s being made, but I suspect a splash of Kahlua, a splash of vodka, and mostly milk.  That just doesn’t cut it.

So, what’s your drink of choice?  I got this round.


Are you coming back or not?

I’m a conspiracy theorist.  Tell me about a conspiracy and I’ll believe it.  Our own U.S. government assassinated JFK for botching the Bay of Pigs Invasion you say?  I’m on board.  Chuck Barris was a CIA operative/assassin who used his The Gong Show hosting gig as the perfect cover you say?  You bet.  Again, our very own U.S. government gave Bob Marley cancer (or some other cancer-resembling, ultra lethal, quick-acting disease) because he was stirring up “too much” black pride and backed the “wrong” Jamaican prime minister candidate?  I read you loud and clear.

So, it only stands to reason that I am also keeping my eyes open for Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison.  Heck, they’re probably playing Texas Hold ‘Em down in Uraguay right now.  Chances are they probably died in the 1970s, but I’m holding out hope.  Both talked about faking their deaths so they could escape the harsh glare of the media and their fans and go back to living a more normal life.  Since they talked about it and had the money to execute it, what if they actually did it? 

Just once I want one of these stories to be true.  Can you imagine how the world would be turned upside-down and inside-out upon the announcement that Elvis was back from the “dead?”  Or if Jim Morrison returned to LA, pushed Ian Astbury out of the way and started recording with The Doors again?  Am I asking too much for something like this to happen just once?   Maybe Elvis and Jim are just waiting for a grand re-entry, to be televised on Maury, along with living recluses JD Salinger and Harper Lee.  Hey, that would be enough to get me to buy a TiVo.


According to 100.7 WZLX-FM in Boston, Eric Clapton married Pattie Boyd-Harrison on this day in 1979 in Tuscon, Arizona.  Pattie had been married to Clapton’s best friend, George Harrison, when Clapton lured her away from Harrison.  She had been the inspiration for Clapton’s song ‘Layla’ about 9 years earlier.  Somehow, Harrison remained best mates with Clapton.  Maybe that’s because Harrison was (allegedly) cheating with other women himself.  Would this catch up with Clapton?

Clapton was devastatingly lovesick over Pattie.  He pined for her for years, pouring his unrequited love into his music.  Maybe this even contributed to his heroin and alcohol abuse habit.  But just a few short years after finally marrying his muse, Clapton hooked up with an Italian model and had a baby boy, Conor (this was a just one year after another mistress gave him a daughter).  Not exactly how you’d think a guy would treat the one great love of his life, eh?

Anyone who has heard ‘Tears in Heaven’ knows it was written for Conor, who died a tragic death.  Conor was buried on this day in 1991, 12 years after Clapton’s marriage to Pattie Boyd-Harrison.  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but the eerie timing of these events just might be a message from a higher power.

Hoboken must be full of suckers

I’m not sure what’s worse.. first there was Matthews Advertising Escapades and now there’s the Sudoku master.

On my way into work this morning, I passed a wall full flyers advertising various things (Matthew was not on there). One blue sign caught my eye, which was someone selling Sudoku lessons. “For the low, low price of $35 per hour, I will teach you too to become a Sudoku master. Ever see people playing this addictive game on the train or on the bus and want to learn how to play too? Now’s your chance.”

There were 5 tabs of paper missing from the bottom. Hoboken must be full of suckers.

My blood ran cold

Setting:  Boston, Massachusetts – Back Bay to be exact – January 1996.

It was a frigid winter Saturday afternoon when Captain Larby, his girlfriend Greenhair (because the dorm shower water turned her blonde hair green), Dr. Little (our best friend next door), and I decided to venture out into the city for some lunch and shopping.  Our favorite little haunt was a cafe that I cannot bring myself to name (I’ll call it simply Cafe), wedged halfway between BU and Northeastern at the end of Newbury and Boylston.  It was a hip cafe full of health food, vegetarians, vegans, hippies, bohemians, and we felt cooler just walking through the door.

Either Dr. Little or Captain Larby got credit for finding that place and Larby was eager to share it with Greenhair.  Fast-forwarding a bit, at the end of our meal, the decision was made to put Greenhair in charge of handling the money and calculating a tip.  I don’t recall what her major was, but it was apparent that she was better equipped to handle math than two Political Science majors and a Psychology major.  Nevertheless, we were all actively involved in making sure we left the waitress a good tip.  Afterall, we dug that place and wanted to return many times.  So, Greenhair left somewhere in the vicinity of 18% to 22%, we bundled up for the freezing temps outside, and were about to cross Mass Ave for Newbury Street when the unspeakable happened.

Our waitress, who had not even put on a coat, came running outside, yelling, “Hey!  Hey!  Hey you!”  We all turned around and my first thought was that one of us left something inside.  Dr. Little, bringing up the rear, had the misfortune of being closest to her, so she grabbed his hand, put some coins and a couple of $1 bills in it, and hissed, “Here, you take it!  It’s not even 10%!  You obviously need it more than me!”  After taking great pleasure in reciting her lines with great vengeance and furious anger, she ran back into the Cafe. 

Dr. Little stood there, arm outstretched, frozen.  It was as if the waitress had placed tarantulas in his hand and he was afraid to move a muscle.  We all stood there.  It was 18 degrees outside, but we were burning up with embarrassment.  I don’t know how much time passed before someone spoke up, but it felt like a long, long time.

Greenhair was positive that she had left an above-average tip and we were all sure that we had given her ample tip money.  The only explanation was that the waitress mixed us up with another table.  That is the only logical scenario.  When we returned to our dorm that night, Dr. Little deposited the two $1 bills and assorted coins on a shelf in Captain Larby’s and my room.  It was January.  That money remained there until May or June when we decided to give it to our favorite bum, Jazz Man.  It was blood money and we felt that even if we used it to buy a bottle of water, that we would choke on it and die. 

None of us ever went to the Cafe after that.  Until, that is, I revisited the Cafe two years later.  That was a pseudo-date with the immortal Jamm Murph, who I never saw again after that day. (I need a moment…)

What makes me bring all this up and relive this painful memory?  Swedish Girl and I rented Waiting (starring Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, David Koechner, Anna Farris) over the weekend.  In that underrated, and actually entertaining, film, is a scene where a redneck patron leaves a pathetically small tip.  The waiter runs after him, placing the money in his hand, and recites almost the exact same words that the Cafe waitress screeched at us.  Is there a script that waiters and waitresses are given that covers them in the case of all sorts of restaurant incidents?  I had to pause the movie, catch my breath, and tell Swedish Girl the story of the Cafe.

In Waiting, the patron complains to the manager that he was insulted and degraded by the waiter.  But it didn’t even dawn on four naive college freshman that we could have complained to the Cafe manager.  Instead, we tucked our tails between our legs, slinked away, and whenever we happened to have to cross the Cafe, we looked away and hurried our stride as if we were passing the Boo Radley house. 

My other diatribe

For those that are interested, I’ve started up another weblog — this one dedicated to running. As a result of the recent success from the “How To” article I wrote, I figured ‘Why not start a weblog of similar style posts…”

So I did. I know that I signed a non-compete when I started with the Diatribe here, but — trust me, it will not interfere with my duties or responsibilities here. As with my running post, most of you probably have little interest in reading about running tips and tricks.. but if you do, it’s there.

Anyway, the URL is I’ve managed to get a post or two up there, so check it out if you’re interested. If not, stick around the Diatribe — as I’ll surely be here.

More Than A Woman

I just got off the phone with Swedish Girl.  God bless that woman.  She told me that she just got a haircut.  That may sound like such a simple thing.  Well, it is.  She told me now over the phone, rather than waiting until we see each other this evening so that she could pounce on me if I didn’t notice it within the first 45 seconds.  My hyperactive mother used to do this all the time.  It wasn’t bad enough that she terrorized my dad with that routine, but to pull that stunt with me?  Just another reason why Swedish Girl is one groovy girl.

Say what now?

As I was driving home from work yesterday evening, I was listening to the Boston classic rock station just in time for the daily rock n’ roll diary (a great feature).  As the DJ was signing off, he mentioned that the next day was freak ass Friday.  I thought that was strange.  Very strange.  But I was intrigued.  The DJ quickly ran through the prize giveaways blah blah blah, and how you you have to call in when you hear some sound blah blah blah.  I couldn’t pay attention to all that because I was just wondering why they would dub today freak ass Friday.  The mystery was solved later that night when a more elocutionary DJ identified the prize giveaway day as free gas Friday.  Naturally, I was disappointed.

The man with secret identities

On my way home from work last night, I was walking to the train and I spoted something off-kilter about a man walking towards me. I tried to figure out what it was, and then I noticed that he had two cellphones, a blackberry, and a pager attached to his belt. I thought to myself “Who is this guy, that he needs to have so many devices to keep in touch with people.”

Then I chuckled at the thought that he must have three secret identities, where each one has seperate contact information. Perhaps he’s a super-hero.

A letter to Mitch Hurwitz

Dear Mr. Hurwitz:

I consider myself a very enthusastic fan of your show “Arrested Development” that has unofficially been given the axe by the Fox Network. I have read the rumors flying around the Internet lately about Showtime making an offer to pick up the show. These rumors are also reporting that the future of the show lies in your hands — whether you decide to bring it over to Showtime, or call it quits with A.D.

I can understand your predicament. The past few years must have been very trying — between winning awards for a wonderfully written and produced show — but not having the fan base that it deserved. At the same time, the Fox Network did an extremely pitiful job marketing your work — which has brought us to where we are now. Being nearly cancelled, only to be revived for a dozen episodes must be extremely frustrating.

If you look at the number of shows that are coming out now, though (“The Loop” or ABC’s new show “Sons and Daughters”) these are all copies of your genius. Every review I have read of these shows has made a comparison to your show. If everyone is trying to copy Arrested Development, why would you want to throw in the towel now?
Continue reading A letter to Mitch Hurwitz