Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quotation of the Day

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
-- Andrew Carnegie

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Quintessential Mint Julep

With the 132 running of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, I feel that it is my absolute duty as author of The Mint Julep, to write a post concerning that lovely libation that is the essence of Kentucky in May. Of course, I am talking about the Mint Julep. Just as I did on this day, one year ago, so too today will I include a letter, written from a Lieutenant in World War II, to a fellow comrade. The description of how to create this fine beverage is one worth reading in whole. Last year I only included a brief segment; however, for your benefit, the entire letter is found below. Please enjoy.

March 30, 1937

My dear General Connor,

Your letter requesting my formula for mixing mint juleps leaves me in the same position in which Captain Barber found himself when asked how he was able to carve the image of an elephant from a block of wood. He replied that it was a simple process consisting merely of whittling off the part that didn't look like an elephant.

The preparation of the quintessence of gentlemanly beverages can be described only in like terms. A mint julep is not the product of a FORMULA. It is a CEREMONY and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients and a proper appreciation of the occasion. It is a rite that must not be entrusted to a novice, a statistician, nor a Yankee. It is a heritage of the old South, an emblem of hospitality and a vehicle in which noble minds can travel together upon the flower-strewn paths of happy and congenial thought.

So far as the mere mechanics of the operation are concerned, the procedure, stripped of its ceremonial embellishments, can be described as follows:

Go to a spring where cool, crystal-clear water bubbles from under a bank of dew-washed ferns. In a consecrated vessel, dip up a little water at the source. Follow the stream through its banks of green moss and wildflowers until it broadens and trickles through beds of mint growing in aromatic profusion and waving softly in the summer breezes. Gather the sweetest and most tender shoots and gently carry them home. Go to the sideboard and select a decanter of Kentucky Bourbon, distilled by a master hand, mellowed with age yet still vigorous and inspiring. An ancestral sugar bowl, a row of silver goblets, some spoons and some ice and you are ready to start.

In a canvas bag, pound twice as much ice as you think you will need. Make it fine as snow, keep it dry and do not allow it to degenerate into slush.

In each goblet, put a slightly heaping teaspoonful of granulated sugar, barely cover this with spring water and slightly bruise one mint leaf into this, leaving the spoon in the goblet. Then pour elixir from the decanter until the goblets are about one-fourth full. Fill the goblets with snowy ice, sprinkling in a small amount of sugar as you fill. Wipe the outsides of the goblets dry and embellish copiously with mint.

Then comes the important and delicate operation of frosting. By proper manipulation of the spoon, the ingredients are circulated and blended until Nature, wishing to take a further hand and add another of its beautiful phenomena, encrusts the whole in a glittering coat of white frost. Thus harmoniously blended by the deft touches of a skilled hand, you have a beverage eminently appropriate for honorable men and beautiful women.

When all is ready, assemble your guests on the porch or in the garden, where the aroma of the juleps will rise Heavenward and make the birds sing. Propose a worthy toast, raise the goblet to your lips, bury your nose in the mint, inhale a deep breath of its fragrance and sip the nectar of the gods.

Being overcome by thirst, I can write no further.

S.B. Buckner, Jr.

Rumsfeld Heckled in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Anti-war protesters repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a speech Thursday, and one of them, a former CIA analyst, accused him in a question-and-answer session of lying about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

So, there you have it. However, apparently Rummy held his own. Read about it here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Zacarias Moussaoui's Sentence

A friend of mine had this to write, following the life sentence which was handed down to Zacarias Moussaoui yesterday afternoon.

What is this crap?
He was the ONLY one tried for the 9/11 bombings, and they gave him life in prison, whereby we (taxpayers) have to pay for him to stay alive in prison (he is only a young guy...age 37, like Dennis in Monty Python's Holy Grail), which by the way is absurd because he's not even a US citizen, he is a frenchman of Moroccan descent. Additionally, after they gave him life in prison instead of the death penalty, he pulled some bullshit:
"America, you lost. I won," he said Wednesday, clapping his hands as he was led out of the courtroom.
Now they are going to give him the opportunity to speak again publicly before he goes to jail: Zacarias Moussaoui will get one last chance to speak publicly Thursday before he is sent to a super-maximum security prison with little to no contact with the outside world for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Why will he get to speak publicly? They were worried about him being a martyr if he were killed, who knows what sort of Muslim rage he will incite when he is allowed to speak.
I hope the jurors felt like shit when he taunted them after his sentencing.
Then his mother blamed France and his race for his sentencing...he's lucky he's not on death row lady: Zacarias Moussaoui's mother on Thursday blamed France for not fighting harder for her son's case, and said his race and his color were partly to blame for the U.S. jury's decision to sentence him to life in prison over the Sept. 11 attacks.
I blame Virginia...the trial should have been held in Texas.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nietzsche in Wall Street

This is an interesting article that a friend of mine wrote concerning Nietzsche's philosophy in the movie Wall Street. I found it fairly interesting. Enjoy.

The movie 'Wall Street' clearly demonstrates one of Nietzsche's more important ideas – the will to power. The main character in the movie, Bud Fox, starts out as an 'average-Joe' trader at a company in New York City, where he works cold-calling people, trying to get them to buy stocks. Fairly dissatisfied with the direction his job seems to be going, Fox calls big-shot investor, Gordon Gecko, fifty-nine days in a row, asking for a chance to set up a meeting. Finally Fox's persistence pays off and Gecko agrees to meet with him. It is at this meeting that Fox's will to power surfaces. When it appears that Gecko is about to end the meeting, Fox makes a desperate last-ditch attempt to win Gecko’s approval, and reveals a private piece of information concerning the airline for which his father works. He tells Gecko that a lawsuit in which the airline was involved, unbeknownst to anyone outside of the company, has been decided in a way favorable to the company's stocks. By 'inside trading' like this, Fox demonstrates that his will to power is stronger than his loyalty to his own father, as well as than his will to truth and honesty. This superiority of the will to power is a part of Nietzsche's philosophy, and an idea that is carried on throughout the movie.

Nietzsche argues that the will to power is the highest and most important aspect of the human personality. Throughout the movie, Bud Fox demonstrates the ability of the will to power to take over a person. Once Fox gets his initial taste of the power and the money he can gain through the illegal practice of inside trading, he can't stop trying for more and more, even to the point where he attempts to 'out-power' the most powerful of the powerful, Gordon Gecko. Working for Gecko, who believes and preaches that “greed is good...greed works,” Fox is surrounded by power-hungry businessmen, much like himself, all competing for the most powerful position. He increasingly becomes more and more dishonest as his will to power keeps growing.

If there was to exist a society based on Nietzsche's idea of the will to power, it would be a very unpleasant society filled with people similar to Bud Fox and Gordon Gecko. It would be 'every man for himself' in a struggle to become the most powerful – the Gordon Gecko of the society. There would be no place for morality or consideration of others. No one could be trusted as, like Bud Fox, people would lie, cheat, and exploit others in order to get ahead. Such a society clearly would not be desirable, as very little happiness can be derived from having nothing other than power and the things that come with it. 'Wall Street' put Nietzsche's philosophies into a real-life setting, demonstrating the way in which the will to power can destroy a person. While Nietzsche does have some valid points in his writings, the movie clearly demonstrates why and how his idea of the will to power could lead to a corrupt and evil society, as well as to the possible downfall of such a society. Bud Fox depicts this through his own personal downfall which ultimately leads to the receding of his will to power. The circle that Fox travels throughout the movie – from demonstrating little will to power, to maximum will to power, and back to having much less will to power – proves, through his experiences at each stage, that the will to power cannot be the basis of a wholesome or successful society.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


My apologies for not having posted anything in nearly a month. This April has been extremely busy for me, and this blog was not exactly on the front-burner. I hopefully will now have some more time to put up interesting articles, jokes, and other miscellaneous items.

Before I put anything of any substance up, here are some random things that I am excited about:

- The Kentucky Derby runs in 4 days - however, I don't see a strong contender to vie for the Triple Crown this year. Hopefully I am wrong about this.

- The Cincinnati Reds are leading the National League right now, behind the strong performance of Boston-acquired Bronson Arroyo. He is 5-0 and threw a complete game against the Cardinals last night.

- The Detroit Piston took a 3-1 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks last night.

- This is something I am unhappy about and does not relate to sports - The price of oil is probably going to continue to rise through the summer. Gas will remain high and probably get higher. We hate this.