Two new studies find a correlation between intelligence and a thirst for alcohol. Hey, I buy it – Thank you, science, for lending support to my vices! And, as Bogey said, “The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.”
“With Perlow’s Mail Goggles, users can specify which hours they would like to enable the feature. If a user tries to send an e-mail during the self-selected time — say, midnight to 3 a.m. — a screen pops up forcing the user to solve a series of simple math problems before the message can be sent.” Thinking outside the box for new and useful apps, Gmail engineers try to tackle the thorny problem of drailing (drunk e-mailing.) “Perlow created the function last fall when he found himself sending messages to an ex-girlfriend — late at night — asking to get back together.” I feel you, brother.
“But even those who hailed absinthe saw unsettling shadows. Wilde explained: ‘After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.’” In the NYT, critic Edward Rothstein sings the praises and surveys the notoriety of “the green muse,” absinthe, which is apparently making a legal comeback both here and in the EU. “Absinthe was the premier bohemian drink, as inseparable from the avant-garde of mid-19th-century Paris as was scorn the bourgeoisie. It played the role well; absinthe helped overturn that bourgeois world with seductive visions of another.“
A new minority staff report by the Senate Finance Committee concludes that “[f]ive conservative nonprofit organizations, including one run by prominent Republican Grover Norquist, ‘appear to have perpetrated a fraud’ on taxpayers by selling their clout to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.” Among the organizations called out are Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (sheah), an outfit created by Norquist and former Dubya Interior Secretary Gail Norton, whose office was already waist-deep in ill-gotten Casino Jack loot. (In fact, Abramoff’s point person in Norton’s office was CREA’s president, Italia Federici.)
Update: In related news, Abramoff flunky Bob Ney pleaded guilty today to conspiracy and making false statements (without, mind you, resigning his seat in Congress.) While he didn’t speak with reporters, Ney’s written statement noted that the “treatment and counseling I have started have been very helpful, but I know that I am not done yet and that I have more work to do to deal with my alcohol dependency.” Ok, one more time, people. Alcoholism means you drink too much. It does not mean that you bilk the public, indulge in bribes, or send teenagers dirty IMs.
More Foleygate fallout: As the representative in question heads to rehab for alcoholism (I always thought alcoholism meant you drank too much…never knew about the whole IM’ing underage folks about their masturbation habits part of it), the House GOP leaders’ story keeps changing about what they knew and when they knew it (apparently, warning signs of Foley’s shadiness go back to 2001), and the Republicans as a whole wonder if this might be the straw that broke their electoral back… Update: As Foley’s story continues to get creepier, his attorney adds childhood abuse by a Catholic clergyman to the explanatory alcoholism. Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion?
“More alarming were Richard Nixon’s last years at the White House. After a good many evening martinis, he would call Henry Kissinger, and the secretary of state would grin silently as he passed around the telephone so that others could listen to their commander in chief’s unbalanced ramblings. Since Nixon was in a position to blow us all up, this suggests a somewhat esoteric sense of humor on Kissinger’s part.” With the fall of Britain’s Charles Kennedy, Slate‘s Geoffrey Wheatcroft very briefly surveys the sordid history of alcoholism in politics. (He could, I think, have done more with The Alcoholic Republic.)
Lost in a wine-dark sea, Miles (Paul Giamatti) is withering on the vine. His wife left him two years ago and he’s still in the drunk-dialing throes of despair. His novelist aspirations are dying an ugly death in ever-smaller publishing houses. Both oenophile and alcoholic, he drinks too much, eats too much, surveys the world in furtive glances, and cringes with self-loathing every time he looks in the mirror. He’s lugubrious, pedantic, bristling with negativity to the core. In sum, Miles is almost completely beaten down by life…so of course he attracts the attention of a smart, beautiful woman (Virginia Madsen) who shares all his important interests and remains fond of him, even and despite his awful behavior.
If you can get past this one critical and wholly improbable plot point (and I did, eventually), Alexander Payne’s Sideways is a trip to California wine country well worth taking. The movie basically plays like an approaching-middle-age version of About Schmidt (right down to the unfortunate nude scene), but this seemed a more well-rounded and generous film than its predecessor. (I thought Schmidt derived too many laughs from turning Dylan McDermott’s character into a buffoon. That being said, I also think Sideways flinches from reality in the closing moments in a way About Schmidt didn’t.) And, while I’m about as far from a wine connoisseur as you can get (whites with chicken and fish, right?), Sideways also succeeds in making the subculture of oenophilia both accessible and reasonably engaging, a few ham-handed “wine-is-life” soliloquies notwithstanding.
Special nods go to all the actors involved here, and particularly Paul Giamatti for making it so easy to empathize with the easily unlikable Miles…I can’t think of many other folks who could have pulled it off so well (In fact, looking back I’d say Nicholas Cage pulled it off less well in Adaptation.) I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Thomas Haden Church, as Miles’ low-key, horny doofus of a best friend, and Virginia Madsen, as the previously noted underwritten muse of second chances, get some action come award time (which may end up meaning sour grapes for the Closer crowd.)
“The creepiest on-screen clone army of 2003 wasn’t The Matrix’s league of Agent Smiths at all, but Masked and Anonymous‘s cast of Bob Dylans. He was everybody, everywhere. Or, rather, everybody was him.” Via my friend Mark, an intriguing take on Bob Dylan’s recent run, including M&A, Live 1964, and the new book on Blood on the Tracks. (No Victoria’s Secret, however.) Also in Dylan news, by way of Absolute Piffle, Bob’s apparently also gotten into the wine business. Lingerie, wine…are Dylan-brand scented candles next?
More grist for the orals mill:
|Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism.
William Gillette, Retreat from Reconstruction: 1869-1879.
Matthew Josephson, The Politicos.
W.J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition.
The Boston Globe sheds a little light into the dark corridors of oppo research. Of course we already know Dubya was a alcoholic cokehead who went AWOL for a year to escape a drug test and had so little sense that he’d drive around drunk…and we still elected him for four years. So skeletons in the closet just ain’t what they used to be.
Let us spring up from out of our sober shells – We will soar like drunken eagles. A friend of mine passed along this collection of drinking hand signs, which look to be quite useful for crowded, noisy pub crawls.
Via an old crew friend, famous drunkards battle it out. I woulda thought the British Bulldog could have taken down Burton.