Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Summer is here, and that means it is time for a Daiquiri. The daiquiri is an adult drink. It's a drinkers drink. Ordering a mojito automatically makes me judge you a little. Ordering a daiquiri makes me respect you a lot. I mean, Hemingway drank daiquiris. Need I continue?

The best part about the daiquiri is that it is not fancy, not difficult to make, and yet so easy to drink.

1.5 oz white rum
3/4 oz simple syrup or a level tablespoon of sugar
1/2 oz of lime juice (which is often about the juice of a half a lime)

Combine in a mixing tin and shake the hell out of it.
Serve straight up.

Sit back and sip with care. These things go down so easily, you could be lounging next to the pool in the porcelain in no time.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

All Those Years Ago

Well now! I haven't posted on this blog in about a year now. I've grown up a bit, I'd like to think. Going back into my own archives, I'm tickled by what I read. It really doesn't feel like yesterday. It feels like a different lifetime. A different person! But, I can close my eyes and remember those days perfectly. (Look at me. "Those days". Like I'm talking about 20 or 30 years ago. It was 4 years ago! It puts things into perspective, I guess).

Reading these posts now, it reminds me of something from my "youth" (I'm only 26). Whenever I was being a little asshole to my mother, she knew just how to get under my skin. She knew the one thing that she could say that would trump all other arguments. The one thing that would end the session.

"Matthew, you're so young."

I can't describe how pissed off I would get after hearing that. Here I was, a moderately well traveled boy who had gone to college, gone to Europe, been on my own-- and I'm accused of being "young"!

She was right.

Reading these posts, I can't get over how young I sound. How vulnerable! How willingly vulnerable! I really let my life pour out on to those posts. I couldn't fucking imagine writing some of those things today. Details of my romances (or lack thereof)? My idiosyncrasies and idle thoughts?

Growing up, to me, seems to be about becoming more guarded. More analytical. More careful. I have a better filter now. I look before I leap. I don't quite wear my heart on my sleeve, as I used to. All those cliches. The change is motivated by a combination of trying to be more professional, more selfless (well, that's a tad dramatic. Let's go with "trying not to be an asshole"), trying not to hurt others, and trying, myself, to be better protected against insult and injury. I don't want to be ridiculed, so I am careful with what I say (and in the case of this blog, where I say things). I have my moments where I forget that I'm supposed to be "mature", and that's usually when I end up putting my foot in my mouth.

I like how elderly people revert back to their youth, lose the filter and start saying whatever the hell they want to say. Insults are not important anymore, as they've all been heard by that time. Plus, we're all gonna die sometime, so we might as well start telling it like we see it. It's a wonderful cycle.

Well there you go. I opened up! Maybe somethings haven't changed. Maybe I am still so young.

Hey, Hey, The Gangs All Here!

Syrian "armed gangs" are to blame for a bus ambush.

"Armed gangs" are to blame for killing 120 security forces.

In April, "tribal leaders" were threatening rebels in Misrata, Libya to lay down their arms.

And now in Yemen, "Islamist gangs" have captured several towns.

I hate useless labels. They are meant to scare, or they can be used as a substitute for lack of information. A perfect example is the word "terrorist". It's empty! It means very close to nothing. Ready for a curveball? How about the word "patriot"? Define patriot. I'll give it a shot: "One who exemplifies and embodies the values that a certain nation or country holds as central to its identification". Pretty good.

Here's the rub. To many, Sarah Palin is a patriot. To others, John McCain is a patriot. Still others say that Barack Obama is a patriot. John Brown, Abe Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Herber Hoover, General MacArthur, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton (your choice), Bush (the latter). All have, I imagine, at one time or another been called a "patriot". I'm also reasonably sure that all have at one time actually been called a "traitor" or a "disgrace".

Calling somebody a "patriot" reveals more about the speaker, the one who is doing the labelling, than it does about the one who is labelled. Calling somebody a patriot means that they embody the ideals that YOU hold sacred or important. It says very little about the "patriot" themselves.

I find that the same holds true for words like "terrorist". The worn cliche of "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is apt.

In the previous news articles, the use of the phrase "armed gangs" straddles the "lack of information" and "fear" categories. I also find it pretty laughable. I will gladly admit that I derive actual pleasure from the Syrian government's use of the phrase. As if the world has descended into this Mad Max dystopia where armed gangs rove the streets of Daraa, randomly killing security forces and strapping them to the fenders. The gangs have no names and no motives, except their thirst for vengeance! And gasoline! And victims for the Thunderdome! Ridiculous.

What's most laughable is that the Syrian government switched the meaning, or the motive, of the "armed gangs" over the past three months. When the riots first broke out in Syria in March, the armed gangs were killing the rioters. They were, effectively, the opposition to the opposition. Read: it was a label for the security forces of Syria.

But then, in WWE fashion, the armed gangs turned face and started fighting the security forces. In effect, they went from the opposition-of-the-opposition to just the plain old, against-the-government opposition! They switched sides! But, the Syrian government didn't bother to stop calling them "armed gangs". No, images of roving armed gangs is much more sympathy inducing than calling them, oh, "pro-democracy protesters", or (dread the thought) "the people".