December 10, 2011

Liquid Candy With a Kick.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:39 pm

The three jars pictured above admittedly look like stuff that belongs in an artist’s studio, but, in fact, they are concoctions whipped up by daughter, TJ. As she explained, one starts with lots of vodka (that’s my girl) and adds a quantity of hard candy of one’s choice. It takes several days/weeks and a fair amount of periodic shaking for the candy to dissolve into the vodka, but dissolve it does.

The one on the left is made with candy corn (yeah, the Halloween stuff), the middle jar was made with lemon candy and the red one was made with “Red Hots” candy.

OK, so how do they taste?

I tried the red one first, and guess what? It tastes like “Red Hots.” Lots of “burney” cinnamon flavor goosed up by the vodka. A while back, I tasted cinnamon vodka, and I found it to taste like Lavoris mouthwash. This didn’t. I liked it.

Next was the lemon one. Tastes a good deal like Limoncello. I tasted it directly from the jar into a shot glass. Next time (perhaps after I’m finished with this post), I think I will try it over ice (clear ice, of course) and maybe a splash of seltzer.

I had real doubts about the candy corn one, mainly because just thinking of eating candy corn makes my teeth hurt. I was pleasantly surprised, as it didn’t have a strong candy corn taste, but rather tasted more like butterscotch. I think I shall try that next time over ice (clear ice, of course) as well, without the splash of seltzer.

In sum, I couldn’t drink a lot of any of them in one sitting, lest I go into sugar shock, but each of them will make a fine after-dinner libation. If you find yourself around the House by the Parkway, I’ll give you a taste, provided there is any left.

Linked by Doug Ross. Thanks!

October 1, 2007

Another Vodka Review.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:14 pm

I can hear it now.

“Yo, Jimbo, yet another vodka review? You pick weird, clear booze off the shelf and tell us how great it is. We’re beginning to think you would give gutter water a good review.”

It is true that I have written before about several kinds of vodka such as:

Three Olives Chocolate Vodka;
Three Olives Vanilla Vodka;
Finlandia Mango Infusion Vodka;
Thor’s Hammer Vodka;
Iceberg Vodka; and
Pearl Vodka (I may have missed one or two).

But, a week or so ago, I bought a bottle of Stolichnaya Zinamon (Cinnamon) vodka. I figured, what the hell. Who doesn’t like cinnamon? I brought it home and put it in the freezer for an hour or so. I then poured the ice cold liquor over ice (clear, of course) anticipating a genuine taste treat for an evening cocktail on the deck.

With eager anticipation, I took a long pull on the freezing, crystal clear evening elixir.

ACK! In my mind, there I was, seven years old and sitting in the dentist chair.

The stuff tastes like this.

I cannot recommend this one, unless you wish to combine the exquisite pleasure of an after-work cocktail with a bracing pie hole full of mouthwash.

Of course, over the course of several days, I managed to choke down the contents of the bottle (one doesn’t waste vodka), but I won’t be buying it again. Interestingly, Wikipedia states that Stoli Zinamon is no longer sold in the U.S. Apparently, my liquor store didn’t get the memo.

Bonus information: If you go to the Stolichnaya web site and watch the very very, very Russian ad, you will learn that the booze is not pronounced “Stol-itch-NAY-a,” but rather “Stol-ITCH-naya.” Interestingski.

January 7, 2007

The Speaker’s Rules.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:44 am

PRS has once again scooped the Mainstream Media, just as it did in February when PRS acquired a copy of the New Employee and Intern Orientation Memo that was being provided to Senator Ted Kennedy’s Staffers, and again in March when PRS Operatives gained access to Ted Kennedy’s answering machine.

Now, we have been provided with a copy of recent memo that Speaker Pelosi circulated to her office staff concerning internal office procedures.


ongressionalC ealS.jpg

Date: January 5, 2006

From: Speaker in the House Nancy Pelosi

To: Office Staff

Subject: Office Procedures

Since I have been elected as the SPEAKER in the House, I have become more important than I previously had been. I will be busy doing really important SPEAKER things, and lots and lots of really important people will want to Speak with me. I, therefore, think that it is important that I clearly set forth the manner in which I expect you to perform your jobs.

The following rules and procedures must be adhered to. There are no exceptions. Remember, I am the SPEAKER and this office is NOT a democracy.

1. Proper form of address. At all times, you will refer to me as “Speaker Pelosi”, or “Madam Speaker”. You can forget about that “Congresswoman Pelosi” stuff, because that is so pre-November. And, heaven help any of you who even think about referring to me as “Mrs. Pelosi”.

2. Proper form of greeting. When I enter the office for the first time each day, a staff member must say either “Good morning, Madam Speaker. You look particularly nice today”, or “Good morning Madam Speaker. You look absolutely stunning/radiant/breathtaking in that suit.” I expect that you will devise a system that ensures that each staff member is regularly given a chance to tell me how nice I look. It’s only fair.

3. Referring to members of the “other” party. When you are in the office, never refer to members of the other party as “republicans”. They must always be referred to as re-THUG-licans, Wing Nuts, Chickenhawks, Reich-publicans, War Mongers, or mouth-breathing knuckle dragging morons. I know they can’t help how really stupid they are, but we won, and it sucks to be them.

4. Beverages.
Each morning, no later than ten minutes after my arrival, I must be served a cup of freshly made Indian chai, which must be prepared with Assamese tea, and organic ginger, cardamom pods, cinnamon, and cloves.

I also expect that there will always be no less than a case of Cristal on hand, two bottles of which shall remain chilled at all times so as to permit immediate consumption, as I direct.

Under no circumstances are any staff members permitted to drink the aforementioned Indian chai or Cristal. You are permitted to drink the non-alcoholic beverage of your choice, provided that: (a) you bring it from home, (b) it is organic, and (c) your choice of cup does not displease me.

5. Permissible Music. The only music that is permitted to be played in the office are songs by the following artists: Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Donovan, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. Wearing those i-Pod things in your ears so you can listen to different music is absolutely forbidden. If you don’t like Gracie Slick, you damned well can’t work here!

6. Handling Mail
(a) Mail from Constituents: Don’t bother me with that crap! That’s why I have you working here!

(b) Mail from other Members in the House or in the House of the Senate: Unless it is from Senator Clinton, or Senator Obama, in which case, I want it immediately delivered to me unopened, don’t bother me with that crap either!

(c) Other Mail: My Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogs are to be wrapped in brown paper and immediately brought to my private office. Botox literature is to be handled in the same fashion.

7. Chuck Schumer. Ever since November, that dreadful man has been following me around like a dog in heat. Under no circumstances is he to be admitted to my private office.

If you have any questions about these rules and procedures, they better be good, because I am the SPEAKER, and I do not have time to waste on the likes of you.

December 19, 2006

Apple Knockers and my Buddy Paulie.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:04 pm

Applejack.jpgThis Sunday at the Post, we made up a gallon or so of Apple Knockers, which consists of fresh apple cider into which one pours commercially available mulling spices and heats it to just shy of a boil. It is laced with a generous slug of Laird’s Applejack (New Jersey’s very own for almost 300 years – George Washington drank the stuff) and served with a cinnamon stick.

Once the spices, cider, Applejack and cinnamon stick sing in harmony, the drink smells wonderful and is simply delicious. So much so that it was happily quaffed by the all the Usual Suspects – except for my buddy Paulie. You see, Paulie is a Budweiser Man down to his bone marrow, and when he’s in top form he can keep the night shift working at the brewery. Spirits never pass his lips.

Still, I thought that he might just like an Apple Knocker. What’s not to like? So, I figured I’d offer him a sip of mine

:Me: “Yo, Paulie! Try this.”

Paulie: “Nah, I don’t drink that shit.”

Me: “Just taste it, fer Chrissakes; it’s apple goddamned cider with a little apple whiskey in it.” (offering him my cup)

Paulie: (Takes the cup and sniffs) “It smells like a f***ing candle!”

Which caused everyone anywhere near him to piss their pants laughing.

Paulie … I farookin’ love the guy.

Update: More about the infamous Paulie here. He absolutely slays me.

January 3, 2004

Sam Adams Utopias MMII

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:01 pm

Sam Adams Utopias MMII
A Steal at $200.00 per Bottle

Yesterday, I took a ride over to one of my favorite liquor stores, which is a supermarket-sized place that sells nothing but liquor, wine and beer (and also has a fair cigar selection). In short, definitely my kinda place. The vodka selection alone takes up approximately 2/3 of the average sized supermarket aisle! But I digress.

While there, I took a peek at the high-end stuff that is kept refrigerated under lock and key. Predictably the locked cooler contains mostly Champagnes (there is a separate lockup for high-end things that don’t need to be refrigerated, particularly those that apparently are popular with shoplifters). Anyway, I saw the bottle pictured above and marveled at the idea of a bottle of beer costing $200.00.

When I arrived home, I searched for this expensive bottle of suds on the net in order to learn a bit more about it. I found it here, but the price was not $200.00, but rather was $499.00 a bottle!! Holy Budweiser, Batman!! That’s almost five hundred bucks for a bottle of beer, albeit very fancy schmancy beer. Here is the seller’s description of what must the nectar of the Beer Gods:

Sam Adams Utopias MMIIâ„¢ is the only beer (domestic or import) brewed with a fine selection of Noble hops, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter and Czech Saaz. The brew is then aged in port, scotch and cognac barrels. The brew uses: 2 Row Harrington, Caramel and Vienna Malts. The aroma offers the distinctive smell of cinnamon and vanilla with subtle hints of floral, citrus and pine. Sam Adams Utopias MMII offers a rich taste that is surprisingly light on the palette, featuring a smooth, lingering finish. Samuel Adams Utopias MMII, the strongest beer in the world to date, has 24 percent alcohol by volume and is 48 proof.

At $200.00 per bottle, I probably should run back to the store and buy a case of the stuff. On second thought, that would be a pretty pricey investment, and an “investment” it would have to be, because, as much as I believe that life is too short to drink cheap whiskey or beer, I think I might choke drinking a case of beer at two hundred (or five hundred!) bucks a bottle (even if it does contain “Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter and Czech Saaz” hops).

I think what I’ll do is go back to the store, explain to the guy that I am an upscale lush and ask the if I could get a small brown bag with the bottle so that I could drink it in the parking lot.

December 26, 2003

The Christmas Party and the Post-Christmas Cleanup, Rest… Cleanup, Rest, etc.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:22 pm

Christmas at the House by the Parkway was indescribably exhausting, but also indescribably great. TJ and husband arrived in the morning (he with some unidentified virus that had buckled his knees a couple days ago and she with a newly acquired cold), and everyone exchanged gifts – lots of gifts. It’s a good country.

They won in the creativity department. TJ sneaked off to Café Press and had some things made that bear the “Parkway Rest Stop” Logo, which I thought was really clever. Of course, wearing the shirt will ensure that I will have to try to explain what a blog is to the uninitiated. (“No, it’s not a ‘blob,’ dammit.”) TJ’s husband had scoured the internet for a Hopalong Cassidy Poster that referred to the “Bar 20,” and found a great one for the movie “The Bar 20 Rides Again.” Its significance is that “The Bar 20” is another name for the “Usual Suspects,” the gang with whom we regularly raise hell. Besides, as a kid, I loved “Hoppy.” I even know the name of his horse. Do you? But I digress.

Not long after the wrapping paper was cleaned up and the mountains of food that had been prepared over the prior 48 hours was placed in the warming oven, came the onslaught of friends and family. As in past years, I spent most of the day standing in a corner of the kitchen making drinks (this is a drinking crowd), assisted by good friend, Anal-Retentive Ken.

The preferred drink of the day was apple martinis, served “up,” with a slice of Granny Smith apple and the rim of the glass coated with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. A half hour in, and already damned near half of a half gallon bottle of vodka was gone. Did I mention that this is a drinking crowd? I also made a bunch of cosmopolitans, which were carried out of the kitchen to whom, I’m not quite sure. Because I love to shop in liquor stores, this is the kind of house where you truly can name your poison. Chances are, I’ll have it. It’s a good country.

Lest you think that all we do is drink, it was also a day of food, rich, calorie-laden food, too much food. It’s a good country.

First came the appetizers, which consisted of a cheese board and hot appetizers brought over by TJ (asparagus and cheese baked in little rolled dough things) and the Original Bill (pepperoni bread and stuffed mushrooms).

Then came the serious food, a ridiculous amount of food, decidedly international fare, including baked ziti, and sausage with peppers and onions (both, New Jersey staples), kielbasa and sauerkraut and gowumpkees (spelled phonetically) i.e. cabbage rolls, reflecting about half of my ethnicity and all of Mrs. PRS’s. There was also a Christmas ham, fried chicken, piles of cheese, homemade potato salad and macaroni salad with Jewish rye, Russian rye and Italian rolls. Our neighbors (who are Jewish and always spend Christmas day with us) showed up with a huge plate of genuine homemade latkes (potato pancakes), which were to die for. It’s a good country.

The Main Feed was followed by a dazzling array of homemade cookies. As in the past, my niece stole the cookie show with a tray of very fancy cookies that would rival anything one would ever see on the Food Channel. The chocolate mousse cups (chocolate mousse in a homemade chocolate cup) should probably be entered in some kind of national cookie contest. I assume there are such things.

Of course, the drinking continued throughout the food thing, as did the scullery work, ensuring that I (and Loyal Friend, Anal Retentive Ken) stayed on our feet and working (and having the occasional drink) the entire time.

This was the first year that Bill the Ham (as in ham radio) a/k/a “Tall Bill,” “New Bill,” and “Joe Cigar” made an appearance. Of course, he came bearing and sharing some very excellent cigars. He also served as my “refrigerator guy,” a job I suspect he will keep for future Christmases.

Despite Herculean efforts to “clean as you go” (as the signs “advise” in Army kitchens), when the last person left, the place bore the aftermath of a great party. The cleanup would just have to wait until the next day, because by that time, each of my feet felt as if it had a toothache.

So, today was spent slowly (verrrrry slowly) cleaning up the debris, and taking lots of reading and coffee breaks. No television, no radio and no music. After yesterday, a sustained period of relative quiet was nice. The only part of the cleanup that still remains is the returning of some furniture to its regular place. Once that’s done, the place will look as if the party had never happened.

But happen it did, and it was wonderful. It is indeed a good country.

December 11, 2003

Necco Wafers.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:57 pm

I don’t eat a lot of candy. I’m just not a big candy fan. However, I do like Necco Wafers and often keep them nearby when I am watching television.

Necco Wafers are those quarter-sized, hard, sugary wafers that are packaged much like a roll of quarters. They come in 8 flavors and colors: lemon (yellow); orange (orange); lime (green); clove (purple); cinnamon (white); wintergreen (pink); licorice (black); and chocolate (brown). The number of each flavor and color in each roll is determined randomly. So, when buying Necco Wafers, the number of each flavor you get in the package is essentially a crapshoot.

The only flavor that can be purchased separately (i.e. all one color) is chocolate**. The good news there is that chocolate is my favorite flavor. The bad news is that it is often difficult to find the “only-chocolate” packages.

Necco Wafers have been around since the beginning of the twentieth century, when they were first manufactured by the New England Confectionary Company, which accounts for the name Necco (N.E.C.Co. Clever, no?). Now, more than 4 billion Necco Wafers are manufactured each year, which is enough to completely encircle the world twice if placed edge to edge. Link

What’s good about Necco Wafers is that, with the right technique, they are very satisfying and take a long time to eat. In fact, with the right technique, even a mini-roll (10 wafers) can last for the better part of a TV program.

Here’s how to eat Necco Wafers:

The first rule is that one eats only one Necco Wafer at a time. Putting more than one Necco Wafer at one time in one’s mouth causes flavor collision, which is a bad thing. For example, orange and cinnamon tend to beat the shit out of each other. Putting two or more Necco Wafers at a time in one’s mouth might be acceptable, but only if they are all the same flavor. Nevertheless, this practice is not recommended, as it will result in the roll not lasting as it should

Second, it is always acceptable to throw away black Necco Wafers, because they taste like licorice, and licorice tastes like crap. With luck, there will not be too many black Necco Wafers in your roll.

Finally, one doesn’t chew a Necco Wafer, at least not when one first puts it into one’s mouth . They are too hard for that, and prematurely chewing them is too noisy inside one’s head, requiring an upward adjustment of the TV volume. Rather, one lets the Necco Wafer sit on one’s tongue for a few minutes until it softens up and is ready for a slow, constant-pressure chew, rather than a chomp-type chew.

Necco Wafers have an interesting history. Admiral Byrd took 2 1/2 tons of Necco Wafers to the South Pole in the 1930’s to give to his men as well as the locals he ran into along the way. In addition, Necco Wafers travel well because they do not melt and, as candy goes, they are relatively indestructible. For that reason, during World War II, the government purchased a major portion of the company’s production of Necco Wafers to ship overseas to the troops.

Be a good American. Eat Necco Wafers.

** It is true that the only flavor Necco Wafer that can be purchased separately is chocolate. However, I recall from my boyhood Rod Redwing saying that the Necco Wafer manufacturer used to provide him with special packages that contained only white Necco Wafers. I know you are asking yourself, who is this Rod Redwing guy, and why was he given special treatment by the Necco folks?

Rod Redwing was an Indian (oops…Native American) man who, in the 1950’s was a movie actor and a “gun coach” in Hollywood. As such, he taught western movie stars how to twirl six-shooters, execute a quick draw, and to shoot straight. One of the things he used to do to dazzle audiences was to have someone toss a small white disc into the air, and he would execute a quick draw and shoot the little disc (methinks he used scatter shot). I saw him do this on several television shows.

By now, unless you have ca-ca brains, you should have figured out what those little white discs were.

Yep. They were Necco Wafers.

November 28, 2003

A Bit of R&R.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:12 am

We are taking a drinking road trip mini-vacation with some of the Usual Suspects. We are heading down to the zero mile marker on the Garden State Parkway to this place. While there, we will surely get half zippered spend a bit of time at this place, quaffing sipping Apple Knockers (hot apple cider with Laird’s Apple Jack, a cinnamon stick and spices) and pigging out on pub grup sampling the cuisine.

See you Sunday night.

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