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Food and Drink

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Better Napping Through Chemistry.

“But here’s the trick of the coffee nap: sleeping naturally clears adenosine from the brain. If you nap for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, your brain is more likely to enter deeper stages of sleep that take some time to recover from. But shorter naps generally don’t lead to this so-called ‘sleep inertia’ — and it takes around 20 minutes for the caffeine to get through your gastrointestinal tract and bloodstream anyway.”

Citing various recent research, Vox’s Joseph Stromberg extols the benefits of the coffee nap. “So if you nap for those 20 minutes, you’ll reduce your levels of adenosine just in time for the caffeine to kick in. The caffeine will have less adenosine to compete with, and will thereby be even more effective in making you alert.” And just imagine how much more fulfilling a Red Bull-Guinness-Coffee-Nap would be.

Gone with the Whiskey.

“The memo..[is] candid in its assessment of the writers’ strengths and weakness. Of William Faulkner, who had written a few screenplays in the early 1930s, the anonymous memo author notes that he was now living in Mississippi but ‘can fly anywhere in his own plane.’ On the downside, Faulkner was ‘not very reliable in his plane nor his habits.’”

But has he taken a stab at the rasslin’ form? Rebecca Onion of Slate birddogs this memo to David O. Selznick on possible Gone with the Wind screenwriters. The quip above reminded me of Mencken’s review of Lewis’s Elmer Gantry, from the dissertation: As good as Babbitexcept the last 30,000 words, which you wrote in a state of liquor.”

The Knicks’ll Take Her.

“I mean, do you want context? Do you need it? Can’t you just enjoying this incredible GIF of First Lady Michelle Obama dunking a tiny basketball on LeBron James?”

What DCist said. Sorry if this 3.3MB file just crashed your browser, but, c’mon now, this is the First Lady dunking on LeBron — kind of the thing GIFs were made for. Enjoy — preferably with a Subway $5 Footlong, since they could use some love now that the crazies have declared a jihad on them, for all the usual reasons.

The Emperor’s Cabinet.

General Veers, prepare your men for a whiskey, neat. The Emperor’s Cabinet, a.k.a. an AT-AT wet bar, made of plywood, mahogany, brass, and glass. Hey, Skywalker, don’t be getting drunk and toppling this beautiful imperial machinery.

Good News, Coffee Achievers.

“In one large-scale epidemiological study from last year, researchers primarily at the National Cancer Institute parsed health information from more than 400,000 volunteers, ages 50 to 71, who were free of major diseases at the study’s start in 1995…men who reported drinking two or three cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to have died than those who didn’t drink coffee, while women drinking the same amount had 13 percent less risk of dying during the study.”

Better living through chemistry: The NYT’s Gretchen Reynolds touts the potential medical benefits of caffeine addiction. “Participants with little or no caffeine circulating in their bloodstreams were far more likely to have progressed to full-blown Alzheimer’s than those whose blood indicated they’d had about three cups’ worth of caffeine.” Factor in all the taurine I consume to boot, and I’m disco.

The Place Beyond the Weetabix.

Hey Girl, one of America’s most memeable stars has gotten memed again: Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal. Clever, clever — I’m surprised no one’s thought of this sort of thing before.

Spin Spin Sugar.

In the disk of gas and dust surrounding this newly formed star, we found glycolaldehyde, which is a simple form of sugar, not much different to the sugar we put in coffee,” study lead author Jes Jørgensen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, said in a statement. ‘This molecule is one of the ingredients in the formation of RNA, which — like DNA, to which it is related — is one of the building blocks of life.’”

The Land of Chocolate? Astronomers find sugar molecules orbiting young star IRAS 16293-2422, 400 light years away. “‘A big question is: how complex can these molecules become before they are incorporated into new planets?’ Jørgensen said. “This could tell us something about how life might arise elsewhere, and ALMA observations are going to be vital to unravel this mystery.’”

Prohibition…What Fresh Hell is This?


John Hillcoat’s Lawless — with Shia LaBoeuf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, and an eyebrow-less. potentially scenery-chewing Guy Pearce — gets a director-edited red band trailer. They had me with Hillcoat, although in all honesty I kinda hate the new name of this film — It sounds like a Seagal flick. (I preferred The Wettest County.)

Nectar of the Gods.


All Guinness sold in Ireland, the U.K., and North America is made in Dublin — so the time it takes for a keg to cross the Atlantic puts it at an immediate disadvantage. What’s more, since your average Irish watering hole probably sells more Guinness than its American counterpart, the chances are much higher that a patron there will get a pour from a fresh keg.

In honor of President Obama reconnecting with his Irish ancestry in Moneygall, Slate‘s Maura Kelly explains why Guinness tastes better in Eire. Hey, it tastes pretty good here too.

The Truth Beckons.


As seen on Twitter and speaking of gifts from God: Surely this discovery has some sort of cosmic and spiritual significance, no? (Let’s see the robots pull this one off.)

Guinness for Brains.


Drinking alcohol was ‘unintentional, accidental, and haphazard until about 10,000 years ago,’ says Satoshi Kanazawaat at Psychology Today. Smart people are generally early adopters and, in the context of human history, ‘the substance [alcohol] and the method of consumption are both evolutionarily novel.

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.

Guinness for Strength.

“The company is celebrating the decision by Arthur Guinness, the son of a land steward, to sign a 9,000-year lease on a run-down brewery in Dublin’s St James’s Gate in 1759.” Granted, this whole “Arthur’s Day” business today has the strong whiff of a brazen marketing ploy. Still, I don’t need much of an excuse to raise a glass to my favorite drink (this side of Red Bull and the occasional Jamesons.)

So happy 250th, and Slainte to you and yours. May you all have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a road downhill all the way to home.

Absinthe Muse or Demon Rum?

“Much ink has been spilled on the question of why so many writers are alcoholics. Of America’s seven Nobel laureates, five were lushes–to whom we can add an equally drunk-and-disorderly line of Brits: Dylan Thomas, Malcolm Lowry, Brendan Behan, Patrick Hamilton, Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis, all doing the conga to (in most cases) an early grave…In fact none of these authors would write much that was any good beyond the age of 40, Faulkner’s prose seizing up with sclerosis, Hemingway sinking into unbudgeable mawkishness.

By way of Dangerous Meta, The Economist‘s Tom Shone considers the artistic merits of novelists sobering up. “The radiance of late Carver is so marked as to make you wonder how much the imperturbable gloom of late Faulkner, or the unyielding nihilism of late Beckett — like the cramped black canvases with which Rothko ended his career — were dictated by their creators’ vision, and how much they were simply symptoms of late-stage alcoholism. This suspicion is open to the counter-charge: this contentment and bliss is all very well, but readers may simply prefer the earlier, messed-up work.

My Own Worst Enemy.

“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.

Clinton: I’m relentlessly middlebrow, honest!

Her 41 supermarket moment? As if I needed another reason not to vote Clinton: Though she may knock back boilermakers like us regular joes, the Senator has in fact never heard of Red Bull, the fantabulously addictive breakfast beverage which more often than not constitutes the best moment of my day. (This also means Clinton has lost another excuse for voicing her obliteration-happy nuclear ambitions last week…It wasn’t the taurine talking.)

In other key findings: “Her fantasy date would be with President Abraham Lincoln [to which Sybil says back off!] She refused to choose between comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, said she likes both wine and beer, and wouldn’t select either ‘American Idol’ or ‘Dancing With the Stars’; she said her mother — who lives with the Clintons — keeps her up to speed on both programs.” (The answers, as everyone not running for office knows, is Fey, beer, and neither — both are garbage, not that I’d expect someone who prefers Grey’s Anatomy to The Wire (as per Obama) and spends her free time trying to ban Grand Theft Auto to pick up on that.)

Be a Caffeine Achiever.

Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant in the world, but few use it to maximal advantage. Get optimally wired with these tips.” By way of Follow Me Here and for fellow addicts, Developing Intelligence offers ways to maximize one’s caffeine boost. “1) Consume in small, frequent amounts. Between 20-200mg per hour may be an optimal dose for cognitive function.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.

“We have to realize that we are already living in a society where we are already self-medicating with caffeine.” This one’s been languishing in the bookmarks for awhile, but via Drudge and blog-twin FmH, scientists may have discovered a cure for sleep deprivation in Orexin A. “The study, published in the Dec. 26 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, found orexin A not only restored monkeys’ cognitive abilities but made their brains look ‘awake’ in PET scans. Siegel said that orexin A is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is ‘specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness’ without other impacts on the brain.” But is it cheaper than my daily Red Bull?

No, You Want Bacon.

“I really like my bacon crispy, but I fear it will get burnt too easily. That’s a risk we all take. The price of great bacon is eternal vigilance.” As seen at Looka recently, a very handy bacon decisionmaking flowchart. Hooray for bacon!

Glaucous Witchcraft.

“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.

Sam Adams’ Bacon Lager.

Beer for dogs. Glad we finally got that one sorted out.

Thirty Months for Ney.

“‘Whether or not you’ve served your constituents well, on some level you have seriously betrayed the public’s trust and abused your power as a congressman,’ Huvelle told Ney. ‘You have a long way to go to make amends for what’s happened.’” Casino Jack flunky and former House GOP poobah Bob Ney gets thirty months in prison for his role in Abramoff’s operation. Ney, meanwhile, is still blaming it on the booze: ““I will continue to take full responsibility for my actions and battle the demons of addiction.” Um, at what point between opening the beer and it touching your lips did taking bribes enter the equation? Save that stuff for Oprah…Most people hopefully realize that Ney’s corruption had less to do with the demon rum than with standard operating procedure under Boss DeLay and the Republicans.

Not-so-Super-Grover | Ney Day.

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.

Foley and the Fall.

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 backUpdate: 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?

Red Bull gives you Wingers.

In a happy collusion of one of my favorite sports and one of my favorite drinks, the New York Metrostars are now Red Bull New York. Mmm, Red Bull. I’m not usually one for blatant corporate sponsorship, but I think I may have to buy some RBNY paraphernalia close to immediately. Now if only we can get Guinness to buy the Revolution

Republican Publicans.

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.)

Taurocide.

“There’s too much caffeine in your bloodstream, and a lack of real spice in your life…” Death by Caffeine, by way of DYFL. As a daily consumer of Red Bull, I’m comforted to discover that I’d have to consume 128 cans of said energy drink to drop dead on the spot.

Sippin’ on Gin and Ingsoc.

Just what does Tanqueray have in mind here? How is this foppish hipster supposed to sell gin?” Old friend Seth Stevenson assesses Tanqueray’s new spokesman, Tony Sinclair, who has come to grace a number of bus stops and billboards in my area. For the most part, I think gin is pretty vile — When it comes to the spirits, I’m a Jameson man. That being said, I did enjoy a glass of Victory Gin while re-watching Michael Radford’s powerful version of Nineteen Eighty-Four over the weekend. Winston Smith…now there’s a spokesman Tanqueray should get behind. Doubleplusgood.

Burger King.

“It’s the teenagers who work at the fast food places, and immigrant laborers who come across the border, working in the packing plants, and an executive. It’s kind of from different perspectives. It’s the different sides of the fast food industry.” Richard Linklater discusses his next project, Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, which may star Maria Full of Grace actress Catalina Sandino Moreno. Sounds a bit like Traffic.

From a certain point of view…

From the filibuster fracas to organic foods, Star Wars analogies are back in vogue.

Yum-Yum, Boo-Hoo.

Crying while Eating. So much food, so many reasons… (including winning this hit-counting contest, which is why the site was created.)

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