Monday, December 17, 2007
I'd heard all the stories about absinthe.
I'd heard the legends of how it's supposed to make you go crazy. I read breathless tales of hallucinations and visions. I knew about the greats of modern art and literature, who swore by it as their chemical muse.
Oh, and I also knew about how it's been illegal to import or serve in this country for about the last century.
Is it any wonder I couldn't wait to try it?
After decades as a banned substance, absinthe, the "green fairy" to aficionados, is back on the market and in local stores after the federal government lifted its ban earlier this year.
Hoping to find out what all the fuss is about, I got in touch with Dennis Vasconcelos, liquor manager at Julio's Liquors in Westborough.
The store actually carries two brands of the newly-legal anise-flavored liquor, Lucid and Kubler, both of which sell for upward of $55 a bottle.
To really get the absinthe vibe, though, I need to taste this once-forbidden fruit.
With Vaconcelos' help, I decided set up a taste-test. That's when I got my first lesson in absinthe.
Unlike other liquors, absinthe isn't enjoyed straight-up. There's a preparation that goes along with the drink, one absinthe fans say is as important as the liquor itself.
After pouring about an ounce of absinthe in a glass, Vasconcelos brought out a flat, slotted "absinthe spoon" which he carefully placed over the glass and topped with a sugar cube.
Ice-cold water is then poured over the sugar, dissolving it, and turning the formerly light-green drink a milky white. A quick stir later, and I took the plunge.
Was it any good?
If the idea of cramming a dozen intensely-flavored black jellybeans in your mouth appeals to you, this is your drink. Unfortunately for me, the anise flavor was intense enough to be overpowering.
It was a reaction Vasconcelos said he's seen before.
"We don't see too many adults (buying it)," he said. "It's more college kids. But there are some people who like Sambuca (who also like absinthe). But now it's everyone. We've got adults asking about it.
"One of the wine guys here tried it, and he's in love with it. It's an acquired taste."
What about the stories of hallucinations and crazed rampages?
Pure myth, say Vasconcelos and experts.
When banned, absinthe opponents portrayed the drink as an addictive drug, pointing to thujone, a chemical byproduct of distilling wormwood and a main ingredient in absinthe, as the culprit behind hallucinations and violent acts of absinthe drinkers.
Modern chemists believe such stories are exaggerated, saying tests show low levels of thujone in even vintage absinthe.
Rather, many point to a wine shortage in France during the 1880s and 1890s, during which many wine drinkers switched to the much-stronger absinthe, as one of the main culprits behind the anti-absinthe movement.
With the ban on the liquor lifted, absinthe seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance.
Despite a taste that takes some getting used to, the stuff has been flying off shelves since arriving, something Vasconcelos attributes to the myths around the liquor, and its illegal reputation.
In just two weeks, he said, the stores have sold out of the Kubler brand, and has sold nearly a case of Lucid, the brand I tried. In recent days, Julio's also added a third brand, Absinto Camargo, to shelves.
"If it wasn't illegal to buy it ... it wouldn't be as popular," Vasconcelos said. "It's all myth and marketing. But if you can sell six bottles in two weeks, that's pretty good."
Posted by Gary at 2:49 PM
God asks Peyton Manning first: "What do you
Peyton thinks long and hard, looks God in the
eye, and says,
"I believe in hard work, and in staying true to
family and friends. I
believe in giving. I was lucky, but I always
tried to do right by my
God can't help but see the essential goodness of
Manning, and offers him a
seat to his left.
Then God turns to Tony Romo and says, "What do
Tony says, "I believe passion, discipline,
courage and honor are the
fundamentals of life. I, too, have been lucky,
but win or lose, I've al
ways tried to be a true sportsman, both on and
off the playing fields."
God is greatly moved by Tony's sincere eloquence,
and he offers him a seat
to his right.
Finally, God turns to Tom Brady: "And you, Tom,
what do you believe?"
Tom replies, "I believe you're in my seat."
Posted by gjblass at 1:38 PM
Posted by Chismillionaire at 12:25 PM
These pictures came from a guy in AZ. His mule killed a mountain lion. The lion had been stalking them for the better part of the morning, on the way out to a hunt. They were pretty sure it was after one of the dogs. The cat ambushed them, and the mule pictured tossed its rider and went into attack (defense) mode. The horses scattered and shots were fired, but no one was sure if they hit the cat or not. Unfortunately, it wasn't until it was almost over that one of the guys started snapping pictures. The mule finally stomped the cougar to death after biting and throwing it around like a rag doll. The dogs wouldn't even come close until the mule settled down.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 11:51 AM
My buddy has the SONY LS - it is very nice!!
If you’ve ever used an all-in-one computer, you probably know how ridiculously convenient they can be. One box, usually the monitor, acts as your “tower,” display and speakers. That means USB and other ports are conveniently located within arms reach. All-In-One PCs have been around since the days of the Atari 800, yet new technology has created a new class of computers.
These new PCs are hardly any thicker than the average LCD monitor, yet they incorporate nearly every part of your computer in a slim and sleek package. Just add a mouse and keyboard to the equation and you’re ready to roll.
- The iMac: The iMac is Apple’s all in one computer. It comes in 20″ and 24″ varieties, both widescreen. The smaller of the two houses a 2.0-2.4 GHz Core2Duo, 1GB-4GB of memory, and up to 750 GB of storage. The larger version includes an optional 2.8 GHz Core2 Extreme and up to 1 TB of storage. Base price is $1200 for the 20″ version and $1800 for the larger one.
- The HP TouchSmart IQ775: This media center PC houses a 1.9 GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 Processor, 2GBs of memory, 500GB of storage, and a 19″ touchscreen. It is among the fist media center PCs to take full advantage of Microsoft Vista’s touchscreen support. The HP TouchSmart costs $1,600 in its only configuration.
- The Dell XPS One: The Dell XPS One features a 20″ widescreen display, and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. It is available with an optional Blu-ray burner and up to 500GB in hard drive space.
- The Gateway One: In its sleek body, the Gateway One houses a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, a 500GB HDD. It also has an ATI Radeon HD 2600XT, and up to 4GB ram. It also features great cable management system as well as a removable back panel. However, its 1440 x 900 is among the worst in its class.
- The Q42: A high end PC in an aluminum 42″ 1080p display. It includes 1 Terrabyte of hard drive space, an Intel Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM, all stuffed into a three inch thick enclosure with no fans.
- Sony LT and LS series: The LT houses a 1.5-2.2GHz Core2Duo, up to 4 GB RAM, and a 320GB hard drive, all behind a 22″ widescreen display. The LS is similarly spec’d, but with a 19 inch screen. Both PCs use glass to create a “floating PC” look and they are both wall mountable.
- The Averatec All-In-One: Standard All-In-One PC with a Pentium 4 processor, no dedicated graphics card, and Windows XP. Although somewhat dated, it seems like a solid computer, especially if the price is right.
- The Cybernet All-In-One PC: The Cybernet All-In-One comes in 17 and 19 inch varieties. The 19 inch Model comes with optional touch screen. All varieties can be attached to a wall, making them perfect for hospitals and industrial environments. The only down side is the Pentium D processor.
- The Tangent VITA 3200W: This television houses a 3GHz Pentium D processor, 4GB DDR2 RAM, and up to 500GB storage. The Tangent VITA is available in 32″ and 42″ varieties, both running at 1280 x 768.
- The Cybernet All-In-One PC (Inside a Keyboard): Usually the All-In-One PC includes a monitor but no keyboard and mouse. This All-In-One PC includes the keyboard and mouse, but no monitor. The Cybernet All-In-One Keyboard boasts a Pentium 4 Processor, 2 GB RAM, and a 500GB Hard Drive.
Posted by gjblass at 10:16 AM
Posted Dec 15th 2007 8:49PM by Alex Nunez
click above image to see high-res gallery of the BMW X6
BMW's big Detroit debut will be the production X6 Sports Activity Coupe (unsurprisingly, BMW avoids the somewhat unbecoming "SAC" acronym), which will be arriving in US showrooms sometime during the second quarter of 2008. When it does, buyers get two flavors to choose from. The xDrive50i is powered by a new twin-turbo, direct-injected 4.4L V8 pumping out 400-horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The xDrive35i, meanwhile, gets the automaker's acclaimed 300-hp TT inline six-cylinder. Dynamic Performance Control is a standard feature that can direct torque to either rear wheel, further aiding steering in both dry weather and sloppier conditions. Design-wise, the production X6 looks pretty much just like the hybrid-equipped concept version we saw earlier this year. Basically, it's a larger "X" model with a coupe roofline. Not bad, as SUVs go, but the sloping roof obviously forces owners to compromise some space in the name of style. Still, the driver and three friends can stow their golf clubs in back while riding in comfort. Interior appointments are typical BMW fare, meaning they're quite nice. If you've been in a modern Bimmer, you know precisely what to expect. The X6 is no slug, either, with a manufacturer-claimed 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds for the turbo V8 model. We'll have plenty more to say after we check it out firsthand in a few weeks.
Posted by gjblass at 10:04 AM
Posted by gjblass at 9:21 AM