New in bookstores, and already in its second printing, is “The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies,” an essay collection edited by Edward P. Comentale and Aaron Jaffe (Indiana University Press, $24.95). The book is, like the Dude himself, a little rough around the edges. But it’s worth an end-of-the-year holiday pop-in. Ideally you’d read it with a White Russian — the Dude’s cocktail of choice — in hand.
In 2007, the U.S. government reversed its 95-year-old policy, once again allowing the sale of liquor products labeled absinthe into the country. Since then a slew of old and new brands hailing from France, Switzerland, Austria, and America have hit the market. All of them have less than ten parts-per-million thujone, the compound in wormwood that's dangerous in high doses but considered safe (and certainly nonhallucinogenic) at these small levels.
Many people do not realize that absinthe tastes like anise, fennel, or licorice, depending on your frame of reference. But bartenders do. They've been using it (and substitutes like Pernod and Herbsainte) in cocktails for more than a hundred years. Below are five cocktails that feature absinthe in different ways: as a primary flavor, as a rinsing agent, and even as breakfast.
As a lawyer, Stan Abrams should be more sympathetic to protests against a legal system that has no semblance of due process, but I did appreciate one comment he made about the Akmal Shaikh case:
[I]t surely would bolster their credibility on this issue, in my eyes at least, if the British government came out with the usual “great vengeance and furious anger” the next time the State of Texas put someone to death with an IQ of 37 — they do this once every month or so. Or maybe at least some mild criticism of the Saudi criminal justice system?
The Russian Far East, the eastern edge of Siberia that borders China and the Pacific Ocean, has only 6 million people, and that number is dropping fast. Just across the border, though, the three provinces of northeastern China
have about 110 million people. Meanwhile, the Russian Far East has substantial reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal, which China needs to run its supercharged economy.