Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BETTER HABITS

Pursuant the recent heat wave here in SF, a reader reacted to my angry squawk on this blog by commenting: "Heading into a cool spell in Boston at the moment. Doesn't matter, I'm an old spinster and I couldn't give a good goddamn what these nasty self-described "Massholes" get up to down in the streets of Somerville. I'm perfectly content to sit at my computer, type up submissions to The Sewanee Review, admonish my cats, chain-smoke Marlboro Lights, and sip on a pitcher of French 75."

Which paints a mental picture.

Please note that I have substituted a typewriter for the computer in the illustration above. It is what came to mind. Many years ago when I lived in Oakland my downstairs neighbor remarked that my typing late at night made the entire building shake. My strongly worded letters to the editor were keeping him awake. Which was their only effect.
So I modified my habits.

The Sewanee Review is one of America's longest published journals, coming out quarterly, containing fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. Founded in 1892, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Remarkably, it does not endorse a pitcher of French 75 as creative juice.
Which is probably just an oversight.


FRENCH SEVENTY FIVE
Le "Soixante Quinze"

Ingredients:
Six parts Champagne
two parts gin
One part fresh lemon juice
One part simple syrup

Garnish with a lemon twist


An old friend lives in the same part of the country as the spinster identifying herself as 'Lady Ignatia J. Reilly'.

He spends his days in his jumbled library cum study at the top of an old building, under the rickety ramshackle roof, which gave way because of the snow a few years ago and needed to be tarped off, smoking his pipes and playing with numbers, while his lady companion utilizes the rest of the house and occasionally makes social appearances. To the best of my knowledge he may never have tried the French 75 cocktail, being in the main a spartan tee-totaller when he isn't swilling Scotch.


I myself have never had it either.
But now I'm curious.


It shows up in the movie 'Casablanca', and seems to be associated primarily with cigarette smokers. John Wayne (Camels), Humphrey Bogart (Chesterfield), and Tenneseee Williams (probably Lucky Strike).


"Heading into a cool spell in Boston at the moment. Doesn't matter, I'm an old spinster and I couldn't give a good goddamn what these nasty self-described "Massholes" get up to down in the streets of Somerville. I'm perfectly content to sit at my computer, type up submissions to The Sewanee Review, admonish my cats, chain-smoke Marlboro Lights, and sip on a pitcher of French 75."



A while back, as an exercise in off the wall humour, I persuaded several bartenders to learn how to mix up a cocktail I had invented, the Henry Darger: Two ounces Bourbon, a Maraschino cherry or a lemon twist, and a dash of grenadine for colour. Over icecubes in a highball glass. Squirt of ginger ale. Two or three drops of bitters optional. It's very refreshing on a hot day. 
A few of them may remember the recipe.

I do not have cats.
But I could.


If you're going to drink cocktails instead of a shot and a splash, you cannot smoke a pipe. Unless you are taking the drink outside, and even then it's unhandy. My preferred smoke is a pipe, usually filled with Virginia mixtures or medium flakes, sometimes when I'm feeling ornery a bowlful of Carter Hall, which is an old codger blend of venerable antecedents.

I'll need to buy some more.
The jar is empty.



TOBACCO INDEX


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3 comments:

The back of the hill said...

It is unknown if John Kennedy O'Toole smoked, and if he did, whether it was a pipe or cigarettes.

Lady Ignatia J. Reilly said...

Ken, as his friends called him, smoked cigarettes. Inexplicably his preferred tipple was beer.

Lady Ignatia J. Reilly said...

In addition. I, and my cats, would like to thank you for the charming likeness. The artistic license of typewriter added a nice touch.

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