“Any road“ is, an English colloquialism. You know, “English” as from England or British (Britain). Instead of how many of us use and say “anyway” (any way), “any road” (anyroad), takes on a similar meaning. example: Anyway as I was saying, I have to get to the dentist or anyroad (any road), traveled, I must get to the store. 🙂
There is an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where the following line has been incorrectly attributed to, Lewis Carroll. It appears all over the Internet and all kinds of merchandise are being sold with the line, falsely quoting Lewis Carroll, as its author. The line reads as follows:
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
This MAY (?), have been someone’s paraphrase of the exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, but Louis Carroll never wrote those words!
BrainyQuotes inaccurately attributes this to Carroll.
And you could even buy a vinyl decal from Amazon (and other places), with the line and supposed quote by Lewis Carroll. Note: Currently this item is not available from Amazon (but it was, just do a search). Maybe they figured out they were selling something falsely quoted?
The Cheshire Cat, NEVER said this!
Anyway or Anyroad, back to ‘Alice.’ 🙂 Below are the actual words of the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, from Chapter 6, ‘Pig and Pepper’ of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
Alice Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cheshire Cat That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.
Alice I don’t much care where— said Alice.
Cheshire Cat Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.
Alice So long as I get SOMEWHERE, Alice added as an explanation.
Cheshire Cat Oh, you’re sure to do that, said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.
Excerpts: Chapter 6, ‘Pig and Pepper’ – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Oh NO, he did NOT say or write this!
So, if neither Alice or the Cheshire Cat never said the line or the words “any road” (and they didn’t), and Lewis Carroll never wrote them (and he did NOT), who did?
It MAY(?), also, be found in the ancient Jewish Babylonian Talmud?
But if not Lewis Carroll, Alice, the Cheshire Cat, someone’s paraphrase of the three or the Jewish Babylonian Talmud, who else could have written these words?
‘Any Road’ is, a song written by the late, former Beatle, George Harrison, who passed in 2001. The song was released as a single and from his posthumous album ‘Brainwashed,’ in 2002. Notice in the lyrics to follow, the line is NOT “…any road will get you there,” but “…any road will take you there.”
CD Jacket of ‘Brainwashed’
Oh YES, He said it, sung it and wrote it!
By George Harrison
Oh I’ve been traveling on a boat and a plane
In a car on a bike with a bus and a train
Traveling there and traveling here
Everywhere in every gear
But oh Lord we pay the price with a
Spin of a wheel with the roll of a dice
Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
And I’ve been traveling through the dirt and the grime
From the past to the future through the space and the time
Traveling deep beneath the waves
In watery grottoes and mountainous caves
But oh Lord we’ve got to fight
With the thoughts in the head with the dark and the light
No use to stop and stare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
You may not know where you came from
May not know who you are
You may not even wondered how
How You got this far
I’ve been traveling on a wing and a prayer
By the skin of my teeth by the breadth of a hair
Traveling where the four winds blow
With the sun on my face, in the ice and the snow
But ooee it’s a game
Sometimes you’re cool, sometimes you’re lame
Ah yea it’s somewhere
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
But oh Lord we pay the price
With the spin of a wheel, with the roll of a dice
Ah yea, you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
I keep traveling around the bend
There was no beginning, there is no end
It wasn’t born and never dies
There are no edges, there is no sides
Oh yea, you just don’t win
It’s so far out – the way out is in
Bow to God and call him Sir
But if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The only known public recording of this song by George Harrison was on VH1 in 1997. For your enrichment and enjoyment, the link to the YouTube video follows here.
The last song on the last album by all four Beatles (Abbey Road) was ‘The end.’ The last words are:
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
But all things considered, in the end, for me-
“All things must pass” [G. Harrison] “Let It Be” [the Beatles]
All the unknown and undone and what I’ve left this life, showing
I’d rather to have been on the road and known, where I am going!
PS And at my end, I’m taking more love with me and in me, than it is possible, for me to have ever made, in 10,000 X 10,000 lives! I cannot equal, out-give, out-love and out-live God, but His Road will take me there!
As the end word (a suffix actually), in the title suggests, this is all about a Martini.
I call it, The Mano a Mano Martini.or The Mano-tini for Short. I am a curios fellow in that when I become interested in something, I dig or dig into the details. Perhaps this in part due to my training in journalism in that the very first paragraph should contain— WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW. It is my intention to fulfill this by paragraph’s end. I am a gregarious fellow in that I like to share my discoveries with others (YOU)! I would like to think that even if you do not drink alcohol or like martinis, you might find the following interesting and maybe even humorous, for your time spent here. This perhaps ‘long in the tooth’ piece will conclude for you that do like martinis, would like to try one and try a new recipe for one IF, you keep reading until the end. You could, skip or scroll all the way to the bottom if you want to. 🙂
Like a bartender’s or mixologist’s list of ingredients and preparation, here, there are some parts of fact, parts of fiction and some history in our list of ingredients, for preparing this alcoholic libation.
Often ingredients are mixtures of other ingredients combined or infused in certain ways, like our word “libation,” for example. Libation has its roots in Greek and Latin and its simple definition was an offering, a liquid poured out. Well, this is certainly how we may think of it today and with this liquid being offered and it being most likely an alcoholic liquid or beverage with its effects, bringing up the ideas of ‘Happy Hour,” “getting a buzz” or “high,” it’s a drink most likely shared at least between two lovers, two friends, two people or two associates, for a good time, to celebrate or just for a happy time among people, even if the two are the bartender and the bar-sitter. 🙂
That’s great, but not so fast. Libation was originally a beverage offered to some deity (god or goddess), as a form of sacrifice, seeking favor of the gods?
OK, just suppose there were no gods or goddesses, but the root word of mythology is, myth. 🙂
Alright, maybe they were made up, but people did and may still believe in them (the gods). How easy would it be to pour out some liquid as an offering for some god or goddess and when others weren’t looking, get yourself a nice, free drink! “WOW,” so they might think, “Not only did the gods take the drinks, they must have accepted them (liked them),” especially if, the beverages constantly just seemed to disappear. 🙂
Cue the myth reel for our next word, ‘Ambrosia.’
“In the ancient Greek myths, ambrosia (pronounced am-bro-ze-yah Greek: ἀμβροσία, “immortality”) is sometimes the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it. It was brought to the gods in Olympus by doves. Ambrosia is sometimes depicted in ancient art as distributed by a nymph labeled with that name. In the myth of Lycurgus, an opponent to the wine god Dionysus, violence committed against Ambrosia turns her into a grapevine.”
Also, at the above link, there is an image of a plate (a majolica plate), thought to have been made in 1530 by Nicola da Urbino. It’s title is, ‘The Foods of the Gods on Mount Olympus’. Oh, that sounds familiar, like the 19th Century USA invention, most of us know as, ‘Ambrosia Salad.’ Well, if this fruit, whipped topping concoction was or is the modern-day equivalent of, “Food for the gods,” what about Mead, originally a fermented beverage of honey, water and yeast some called, ‘Ambrosia’ or, “nectar of the gods?”
Forget the fact that in an area where grapes were not grown too well, but they had to have something alcoholic to drink. And forget the idea that real mead does not taste much more than like just watered down honey water. But like a bartender’s or mixologist’s special add-ins, add some folklore and a little bit of well, whad-di-yah-know’ there is something to be said about all those B vitamins that do increase as the stuff ages. Could they actually help a hangover from too much drinking the night before with drinking some more of the ‘tail of the dog that bit you?’ Supposedly, the word ‘honeymoon’ (honey + moon), came from the celebratory wedding drinking of Mead. The couple was to wed when she was close to being able to conceive. They were to wed during a lunar cycle and drink Mead for a month. WOW, how about that, a month long honeymoon, for you that may have never had one? Mead was supposed to make him more virile and the lady more fertile. Hmmm, is there something more to those B Vitamins in Mead, the ‘Nectar of the gods?’ I don’t know, but people believed it. So what’s my point? Drinking is supposed to be associated with special times and happy and high’ times. Get some gods and goddesses involved and the traditions continue. 🙂
So what? So what does this have to do with Martinis? We’re going there next? 🙂
According to all the sources I checked, a martini may in fact, be a ‘Made in America thing, what it is, but not its name. You ‘re gonna’ love this!
In 1863, an Italian vermouth maker started marketing their product under the brand name of Martini, after its director, Alessandro Martini and the brand name may be the source of the cocktail’s name?
Then another theory is, ‘The Martini’ evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez, served sometime in the early 1860’s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, CA. People hung out there before taking an evening ferry ride to the nearby town of Martinez. And of course, the people of Martinez say, the drink was first created by a bartender in their town? But a, “Martinez Cocktail,” was first described in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 edition, of his “Bartender’s Guide, How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks”
Are you ready for the following? 🙂
“By 1922 the Martini (the vermouth), reached its most recognizable form in which London dry gin and dry vermouth are combined at a ratio of 2:1, stirred in a mixing glass with ice cubes, with the optional addition of orange or aromatic bitters, then strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Over time the generally expected garnish became the drinker’s choice of a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.
A dry Martini is made with dry, white vermouth. By the Roaring Twenties, it became common to ask for them. Over the course of the century, the amount of vermouth steadily dropped. During the 1930s the ratio was 3:1, and during the 1940s the ratio was 4:1. During the latter part of the 20th century, 6:1, 8:1, 12:1, 15:1 (the “Montgomery”, after British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s supposed penchant for attacking only when in possession of great numerical superiority), or even 50:1 or 100:1 Martinis became considered the norm.
My father-in-law thought just passing the cork over the martini made it dry enough! 🙂
“A dirty Martini contains a splash of olive brine or olive juice and is typically garnished with an olive.
A perfect Martini uses equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth.”
“Some Martinis were prepared by filling a cocktail glass with gin, then rubbing a finger of vermouth along the rim. There are those who advocated the elimination of vermouth altogether. According to Noël Coward, “A perfect Martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy,” Italy being a major producer of vermouth. Luis Buñuelused the dry Martini as part of his creative process, regularly using it to sustain “a reverie in a bar”. He offers his own recipe, involving Angostura bitters, in his memoir.”
“In 1966, the American Standards Association (ASA) released K100.1-1966, “Safety Code and Requirements for Dry Martinis,” a tongue-in-cheek account of how to make a “standard” dry martini. The latest revision of this document, K100.1-1974, was published by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the successor to ASA, though it is no longer an active standard.”
“There are a number of variations on the traditional Martini. The fictional spy James Bond sometimes asked for his vodka Martinis to be “shaken, not stirred,” following Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which prescribes shaking for all its Martini recipes. The proper name for a shaken Martini is a Bradford. However, Somerset Maugham is often quoted as saying that “a Martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another.”A Martini may also be served on the rocks, that is, with the ingredients poured over ice cubes and served in an Old-Fashioned glass.”
WOW, does all that not sound factious, factitious, facetious or something with a superfluity of facts?! 🙂 I suppose one could start a religion over a martini, not to mention heated arguments as to its authenticity and origin. But there is, still more.
I have long been fond of James Bond, 007, the fictional character created by Ian Fleming. There is no cocktail served up better to “Bond, James Bond,” than the ‘Vesper Martini. This was from Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Vesper Lynd was one of the few ‘Bond girls’ that he truly loved. She is the reason Bond’s drinks are always, “shaken not stirred.”
According to the author, the ‘Vesper’ is “strong and cold and very well made” —much like 007 himself. That’s all fine and dandy, but neither you nor I will ever get to try it!!! Its ingredients and preparation is specific with Gordon’s Gin, and vodka. The type of vodka was not specific, but the accepted gin was Gordon’s. Gordon’s Gin is thought to be the gin of gin with its strong start and finish of juniper.
But there was also, one unique ingredient that is no longer available, Kina Lillet, the aromatised wine that gives the Vesper its distinct, bitter edge. Kina Lillet was a proprietary blend of sweet wines and macerated fruits with the unique addition of quinine, its signature ingredient.
In the 1700’s, a French scientist named Charles Marie de la Condamine discovered that quinine, a compound found in cinchona bark, is an excellent treatment for malaria. Cinchona is a genus of flowering plants. It is native to the tropical Andean forests of western South America. Cinchona bark is used in powered or distilled from, of the bark of the shrub, to make quinine.
Having some remedy for mosquito-infested territories, where the British and the French Foreign Legion were expanding into, like India and Africa in the 1800’s, this was great news! But quinine is very, very bitter. What to do? Mix it with something else like today, in Tonic water or as in yester-years, Kina Lillet. These drinks were called qinquinas (kɛ̃kinas), or wines flavored with quinine. So, the idea worked successfully. The soldiers got the quinine they needed in a drink they enjoyed. It worked so well, the soldiers developed a taste for qinquinas and kept drinking them after they came home. France’s most popular one was, Kina Lillet. So popular in fact, it spread oversea to even post-prohibition America.
Oh, and if you sit at the bar too long or develop leg cramps, quinine just might help? 🙂
Gin has long been a favorite clear alcoholic drink in the United States. People even made ‘bathtub gin’ during prohibition. Vodka was not favored for a long time. It was thought to be mostly a drink of Russia and there was a time in this country where WE were on an anti-communist kick and WE the People, certainly were not about to drink vodka. A man by the name of Smirnoff (a Russian), sold his livelihood for cheap to an American and with some ‘creative’ marketing, some ginger beer, lime and special copper mugs, with Smirnoff vodka, the Moscow Mule was born in America, with Vodka made right here. 🙂
Now, some prefer their martinis to be solely based on vodka where others prefer gin. Adding vermouth or olive juice to make a dirty martini came later. But that Vesper, the Vesper used both gin and vodka and Kina Lillet.
About 1986, tastes changed and Kina Lillet fell out of favor and Lillet dropped the name Kina, along with the quinine. Today, they offer Lillet Blanc which is supposed to contain quinine, but it’s not the same. Calling this a Vesper today, is just not the same either. In Rochester, NY, there is a pub and grill named,‘The Vesper.’
The Vesper (pub and grill), have of course, what they call, The Vesper Martini. Just remember, Kina Lilliet has not been made since 1986. The Rochester pub relies on Lillet Blanc, which is labeled to contain quinine. But it’s not the same as Kina Lillet. If you scroll down the page of the website to their signature drink offerings, you will find what they call, ‘The Vesper’ and how it is made.
“A twist on the classic martini. James Bond made it famous, and if it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for you. You’ll feel classier immediately. Shaken, not stirred, with Zamir Vodka, Plymouth Gin, Lillet Blanc & lemon twist.”
The description according to their website at rocthevesper.com
There are two main problems with this. For one thing, missing is Gordon’s Gin. I’m not so concerned about their choice of vodka, but Lillet Blanc is NOT, the same thing as, Kina Lillet. So how could this be good enough for you, when it would NOT be good enough for 007?
The original drink was 3 parts Gordon’s gin, 1 part Vodka and ½ part of Kina Lillet, shaken (“not stirred”), with lemon peel. Despite that Lillet lists quinine on the label of its Lillet Blanc, it’s not the same and no mater what The Vesper of Rochester calls itself or its drink, it is not The Vesper Martini!
This entire post all began with my trying to discover and make for my brother-in-law Kevin, a Vesper Martini. Before continuing, this is a good spot for some back story.
I have painted a lot of houses inside and out in my past. I used a lot of oil-based or alkyd paint. To clean my brushes, I often used turpentine. Turpentine smelled like gin and gin like turpentine to me. I was danged if I was going to paint all day then drink anything that smelled like what I cleaned my brushes with! I did not like gin to put it mildly! Then in 2014, my wife and I were in Australia.
After a local fair one evening, son Jonathan and I stopped for a nightcap on the way home. He ordered a gin and tonic. I was in a curious mood and I asked if I could try it. I did and thereafter, it has become a favorite drink. Even it has certain ingredients I like. The gin is Bombay Sapphire. I like its blend of botanicals. Recently, I have once again confirmed my mother’s description of my personality which is, I have, “Champagne tastes with a beer pocketbook. “ 🙂
I have an acute sense of smell so what can I say, if I don’t like how something smells, I will not like how it tastes. I discovered Fever Tree brand of Tonic. A four pack of 12 ounce bottles can cost around $5.00. One can buy other tonics for a lot less, but to me, there is nothing better than Fever Tree tonic which has, real quinine in it!
I was never fond of vodka. To me, vodka was mostly a clear alcohol with little taste that blends well with other ingredients like fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup, for my beloved Vodka gimlet over ice. Believe it or not, I also use vodka in my pie dough to retard the gluten process when making pie. Maybe you can make pie? I could not. My recipe is about the same as any other, but I use half as much chilled water and replace it with chilled vodka. Science allows me to make a flaky, tasty crust every single time. The alcohol cooks out and there is no taste of vodka left behind, just delicious crust which really is, maybe 90% of what makes great pie! By the way, my taste buds have evolved. Not all vodkas are equal!!! I use and prefer Tito’s. And it’s made in the USA.
Martinis? Gin? Vodka? Some of both? Me? No way, until discovering…
…micro brewed beers (micro-breweries), are no longer a niche market. They have become the standard for excellence and quality, our tastes demand. Local wines? The same has become true. Local hard ciders are becoming hugely popular. Local distillers are producing gins and vodkas (and other spirits), which worry the big-name-brands. They should be worried! Often the locals are far superior in quality, purity and most importantly, taste, but also, they are often less expensive! Why? Put your money into the end product and less on marketing, transport overseas and hype!
These small independent breweries, wineries and distilleries may not have the volume of the big ones, but they certainly make up for it in quality and imagination and incredible innovations and taste explosions. Why in fact, the US government hold them to greater standards than the big established brands. Pretty much, you do get what you pay for from the little ones and a whole lot more!! And on the economic side, these small drink makers probably contribute greatly to the employment market. Small breweries, wineries and distilleries are everywhere nowadays, state by state. And all those that work in them that I have met, all seem to love their work where they see themselves as personally invested crafters of quality, rather than mere unknown workers of volume, for BIG-corp’s profit and bottom line. Hey, I believe there is much to be said about putting love in what you do. I believe love can actually improve the quality and taste of what is made!
We recently returned from a trip and visited two small distilleries in Tennessee. One makes a true, 100%, excellent bourbon and a gin (more about the gin later), and the other had excellent and to my surprise, both a clear whiskey not oaked (not aged in oak barrels for that distinct taste and color of traditional whiskey), and a clear Rye (also not oaked). We bought some of all mentioned. That good? Oh, YES, that good!!! Oh, and one more thing about that little distillery (maybe a few thousands of gallons made per year as opposed to the big boys that produce tens-of-thousands of gallons an hour, day after day. H Clark Distillery is the first distillery in 106 years that can accurately and legally call its product, bourbon. Not even Jack Daniels, Dickel or Pritchards can call their offerings Bourbon! To do so, certain ingredients must be used and in certain ways. They all do this. The big three mentioned have another step they use, which is an organic process, but it disqualifies them from calling their product, bourbon. H Clark Distillery in TN, only uses the standard practice and ages their bourbon in brand-new oak barrels, for the taste, smoothness and amber color of true Tennessee, 100%, pure American Made Bourbon! And they make an incredible gin to rival say, Gordon’s gin! Again, more about this later.
So, what have we seen and learned and where have we been up to this point? Taking all the best points, our libation should be poured liquids to share with one another; to celebrate life, toast each other to-the-day and share some moments together. Should these beverages include alcohol, they should be finely crafted to produce the best taste possible and should be consumed responsibly. Now to be true, to drink responsibly, would NOT include alcohol or any drug or substance which can diminish our ability to act in an emergency, in the best and fastest way possible. But if we do drink or will drink, let us do so as the old adage says, with—“All things in moderation!”
One last thing to do here before giving my recipe for the Mano a Mano-tini or in short, the Mano-tini. What is in a name or what’s in a name? For one thing, I for one, am not about to try to make a Vesper, when ALL of the exact ingredients are not used (Kina Lillet is NOT available)! And I am NOT going to try to replicate it, while using alternatives and call it a Vesper. I will not even use the words Vesper Martini. But I will do two things. First, I will make, name and claim my own drink. Secondly, I will shorten Martini to just ‘tini,’ which will still suggest the type of drink it may be listed under, in the world of bar guides and mixology.
Have you ever heard or seen the words “mano a mano?” For a long time, I thought they were Latin words. They are not, they are originally, Spanish. I and many people thought and many still do think that they mean, man to man. That’s an easy stretch when the first three letters of mano is man. Is that sexist? Could not “man” be an all-inclusive noun, to describe all men, women and children as in mankind or humanity? I think yes, yes it could. But what is its meaning?
The god of words since 1823, Meriam Webster, defines “mano a mano” as: “in direct competition or conflict especially between twopeople.” Please note the words “two people” as I have underscored them.
OK, I can sort of understand how these words have and are still being used today. Perhaps images of hand to hand combat come to mind? And the original meaning of these Spanish words are pretty close to that (minus the combat part). 🙂
“Mano a Mano” just means, “hand to hand.” I like that, especially when talking about making a drink by hand, making it by hand and hand-ing’ it off to another to enjoy! From the hand of the bartender to the hand of the bar-sitter, from one lover’s hand to another’s hand, from one hand of a friend or an associate (even a stranger), to another’s hand, let us celebrate life and each other!
So without further adieu, I give you, ‘The Mano a Mano- (from my hand to yours) tini! 🙂
Most of its ingredients are made in America, and fitting and proper since most likely the “tini,” began in the USA!
Mano a Mano-Tini or Mano-Tini
3 Parts H Clark Distillery Tennessee Gin (prevalent juniper notes at the start and finish)
Note: Previously, I was using Tito’s Vodka, but they have gotten “too big for the britches” in my opinion or for sure, they have priced themselves out of my pocketbook! I now use New Amsterdam Vodka. Just as good as Tito’s (that was compared to Absolute), if not better, is made and bottled in Modesto, CA USA, and is moderately priced.
1 Part New Amsterdam Vodka (made in California and comparable to Absolute and less expensive)
½ part of Lillet Blanc (French)
3-4 drops Cinchona (quinine distillate from South America)
3 parts H Clark Distillery Gin (made in Tennessee, USA)
1 part New Amsterdam vodka (made in California, USA)
1/2 part Lillet Blanc (made in France)
3-4 Drops of Quinnine Distillate (made with cinchona bark from South America)
Lime peel twist
Add gin, vodka, Lillet, and the cinchona (quinine) drops to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with lime peel (I like lime better than lemon peel, but use either to your liking.
If you use lemon peel, maybe you can call it, ‘The American 007’ and when “Bond, James Bond,” is in the USA, he will like it. 🙂 But mine is made with lime peel. I am for short just calling it, ‘The Mano-tini’
Walk on a darkened life stage
Unannounced and unknown
You are a stand
You are a microphone in hand
A single focused spotlight is upon you
Silent expectation rises
Will you sing A cappella
Will you voice something written
Will you sing impromptu
The eyes and ears of hearts trill
Waiting loudly in the seats of silence
May your every need, be ever met
And your heart, always full
And all the best that’s yet to come,
May it be your crowning jewel
May love and hope ever find you,
sharing these two, with all you meet
And this, ever circling
will never find complete!
Following the Youtube video, you may click on the PDF file below for a copy of the entire poem, if you so desire. We hope you enjoy this work and such as it is (sound quality and an out of tune piano), may it fill your heart with believing, hope and love!
Press Play and enjoy the snow and the music while you read below! 🙂
Sorry, if you are viewing this on a smartphone as an Apple iPhone. They do not support the snow or the music, but here is the link to the music – Bing Crosby sining “White Christmas” – https://soundcloud.com/dahni-4/sets/holidays-1
Tis’ the season and eggnog a reason. How about starting your day with some Latte Nogee (eggnog + espresso coffee)! It is pronounced [nah+gee]
What you will need:
1. Good quality espresso beans and a grinder
You may use ground espresso if you prefer, but I like them as fresh as is possible. Some people believe beans should never be frozen as it changes the flavor as the beans go back and forth from the freezer. It’s about moisture. But I take out from the freezer, exactly what I need from the bag and return the rest to the freezer. I have never had a problem. The espresso beans I used just this morning have been in the freezer for 2 years and NO PROBLEMO! 🙂
2. Some way to brew your espresso coffee. We rarely use our machine, but it is great to have around for special occasions and holidays. Our was a gift several years ago and it still works perfectly. Ours is a Melitta brand. The simple two-four cup espresso machines are not all that expensive (around $100) and well worth itI
3. The best eggnog you can find or make
4. The best nutmeg you can find. Grind your own from a fresh nutmeg. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Milk to foam or froth
6. (2) big tall holiday mugs
Let’s DO IT!
1. Measure enough espresso coffee (finely ground) to make (2) 3 ounces of coffee. see. the picute of the machine above. It shows the pot having about 3 ounces of coffee that has been brewed. For single serve, this is all you need. But to share with another (and this is all the fun), double the bre pot.
2. Heat enough of your cold eggnog on the stove to fill each mug to about two- 2 1/2 inches from the top of each mug.
3. Brew your coffee and pour half into each mug
4. Pour about 1/2 cub of milk (or skim milk) into a stainless steel frothing pot and foam the milk from the leftover water/steam from your espresso machine.
4. Pour half of the heated eggnog into each mug.
5. Pour half of the frothy (foamed) milk into each mug.
6. Garnish with as much fresh ground nutmeg as you like or as an option –
7. Put a dollop of whipped cream on top of each cup then garnish with fresh nutmeg. Then –
When I was a child, our grandmother that we her ‘kidlits’ (as she called us), called her Nanny. This name was probably due to the trouble my brother had with the ‘g’ and ‘r’ sounds as in grandmother, grandma and granny. So Nanny just stuck.
Well Nanny used to sing this little song called ‘Jacky Frost.’ I loved it and still sing it, especially when the weather gets colder and/or as the holidays approach.
I married a music teacher with a master’s in music. She taught K-6 for over 25 years. But she had never heard of this song before I sang it. So I taught a teacher at least this one thing. 🙂
To my wife Susan’s credit, she was recently able to find the words and the music for this little known, perhaps forgotten, but enjoyable little tune for children of all ages. I will share it here for all, just in time for the holidays.
The lyrics to this song were adapted from the poem, “Jacky Frost”, by Laura E. Richards. You can find this poem in the collection “Tirra Lirra Rhymes Old and New” by Laura E. Richards.
The music was composed by Eleanor Smith, who included the song in her music textbooks designed for children. These textbooks are over 100 years old. You can find the song in “The Common School Book of Vocal Music” by Eleanor Smith. She adapted the poem just slightly to fit her melody.
Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Came in the night;
Left the meadows that he crossed,
All gleaming white.
Painted with his silver brush
Kissed the leaves and made them blush,
Blush and blush again.
Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Crept around the house,
Sly as a silver fox,
Still as a mouse.
Out our little Jenny came,
Blushing like a rose;
Up jumped Jacky Frost,
And pinched her little nose.
I was outside on Tuesday afternoon on May 20th, just sitting, when a little mockingbird showed up. She was maybe three feet away from me. When she saw me she flew away. Later, around 12:30 am eastern daylight time (EDT), the following morning, I was still awake and I went outside to see the night sky and if there were any stars visible. As I came out of the side door, I could hear her singing in a nearby tree. So I recorded her songs. Later I played it back and she imitated herself. It was quite amusing. 🙂
I’m not sure why she was up so late or why she was singing? I counted at least 7 or 8 different sounds she made and one sounded like a hawk. Maybe this was a defense thing, just in case there was a real hawk closeby? Maybe it was to discourage a real hawk, from thinking they had first ‘dibs’ on sounds like many birds, a varietal early morning breakfast in the tree, because another hawk, had gotten there first? 🙂
I mentioned food. What do mockingbirds eat? Mockingbirds eat mostly insects during the summer and switch to fruits in the fall and winter.
Mockingbirds are best known for the habit of some species, mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians They often sing loudly and in rapid succession. Our little bird’s scientific name is, (Mimus polyglottos) and means, “many tongued mimic.” The Northern Mockingbird is known for its intelligence. A 2009, study showed that the bird was able to recognize individual humans. Maybe she knows me? Maybe she likes me? Maybe she will stay here and raise a family?
Some mockingbirds may learn as much as 200 songs, throughout their lives. Some have been known to imitate car alarms and animals and frogs.
I call my Mockingbird a “she” because, OK, I like guys, but I love girls, alright? 🙂
But my mockingbird is most likely a he. It is usually unmated males that sing at night and particularly, during a full moon, which by the way, happened recently and is still a pretty good size. Maybe this is part of the reason, for it’s late-night/early-morning singing?
Mockingbirds are the the ‘state birds,’ for five (5) states in the United States: Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. It used to be the state bird for South Carolina from 1939-1948, when it was changed to the Carolina Wren until 1976, when it was changed again, to the present state bird which is, the Wild Turkey.
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, had a pet mockingbird named, ‘Dick.”
Mockingbirds are found quite often in works of American culture. I’m sure most of you recall one in a title of a book that was made into a movie – ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ by Harper Lee. In the book, mockingbirds are portrayed as innocent and generous. Two of the major characters, Atticus Finch (played in the movie by Gregory Peck) and Miss Maudie, say it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because,
“They don’t do one thing for us but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing, but sing their hearts out for us”.
Source: Lee, Harper. (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird (50th Anniversary (2010) ed.). HarperCollins. p. 148. ISBN 0-06-174352-6.
Scene from the movie
“Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. Your father’s right, she said. Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
The previous lines are from from Chapter 10 of the book and are the source of the novel’s title and introduce one of the key metaphors of the book: the idea of mockingbirds as good, innocent people who are destroyed by evil.
Well, I don’t know if it is a “sin” to kill a mockingbird or if they are so “innocent,” but there may be some truth to their singing being, just for us or mostly, for us because, apparently their songs don’t fool other birds. Their singing and songs seem to warn their own kind to stay away from their territory. The males also sing, to tell other males to stay away from their ‘girl’ or that, “all’s fair in love and war,” and as if to say: “I’m moving in on your girl to make her mine!” Right, the males sing to get “chicks.” Oh, that was literal, not figurative. 🙂 But to get “chicks,” (baby birds), you first, have to attract the ‘Lady Bird’ to become the ‘Mama Bird.’ I can attest to the fact that singing does work in attracting females! Yep, singing does work for sure! It is after all, how I attracted my Susan. OK, actually it was with poetry, but Susan said it was purty’. 🙂
Male or female mockingbird recorded below? Enjoy the singing. 🙂
Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie Katoomba travel guide
On April 11 through the morning of April 14th, 2014, we went to The Blue Mountains and rented a cottage (see last post) in Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia.
Today, I want to share with you some of the flavor of Katoomba. It was a quaint, charming and eclectic community – MY KIND OF PLACE! Besides the fact that it is located in The Blue Mountains and is quite hilly to walk the streets, it reminded me of Telluride, Colorado in the United States. Telluride is a community in the Rocky Mountains where people come to ski in the winter and it is also a hub to get to Aspen or Vale when those areas are closed to airports or other transportation, due to the weather. Although Telluride and Katoomba do not share the same type of weather conditions, it’s their common flavor that is similar to me. Telluride basically started as a ‘hippie communue’ back in the sixities. I suppose as many of them grew up and decided to get jobs and start a ski resort? 🙂
In Katoomba, there are many young people, arts and crafts, just like in Telluride. Our pictorial journey below, begins with an example of some local artwork, a mural painted on a brick wall of an abandoned garage across the road from our cottage. We saw this as we were heading into town.
Mural on wall of abandoned garage
In Katoomba, we noted many wonderful and fashionable hats on the heads of many people, young and old, male and female. ‘The Hattery,’ where I found and purchased my Akubra hat you see me wearing in the picture above, is from Katoomba. For more information about my hat in a previous post on this blog see: Hats
But Kotoomba is more than just a young/artistic/eclectic community, it is a travel destination! Katoomba is the city host or gateway to The Blue Mountains and both attract many people from around the world, every year. We noted many differnet people, accents and languages being spoken while we were here. There are several popular and international establishments and connections here. A friend from the United States informed me that soon after we returned from our trip to this area, Prince William & Kate of England were planning on visiting the following week. The English and Australian connection is just one example of many international connections.
Our first night here as we were walking to downtown for some food, some one-hundred (at least) sulfur crested cockatoos flew over our heads. Caitlin stayed at the cottage with baby Felix and she saw them fly right over our deck and into the eucalyptus trees of the Blue Mountains, right around sunset. Even though I did not get a picture of this amazing sight, in a future post, I will share pictures of four of these beautiful birds and sppecifically one that certainly seemed to want to pose for me, from the huge evergreen near the deck of our cottage.
But this night, on recommendation of a local librarian, we went to dinner at an authentic Korean restaurant. Susan and Jonathan ordered each a different entree and I chose one that is supposed to be one of the most popular among street people in Korea. Dduk Bok-ki was so incredible, both Susan and Jonathan wished they had ordered it! It was a sweet rice, shaped like tube pasta, but not hollow. It was made from rice flour and steamed. It was included in this huge plate of steamed vegetables. You could have it mild, medium or hot. I chose medium. It was inexpensive, delicious and so filling and yet, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing, even sharing a lot with Susan and Jonathan, I was stuffed with delight!
Other foods include the best coffee I have either ever had or it’s been so long, I cannot recall any better. This we purchased from a little, almost a hole in the wall, cafe from the Elephant Bean Coffee. Then there was the most incredible fresh-baked croissant from a cute little bakery, I’ve ever eaten and shared the crumbs with a local pigeon. 🙂
In another post in the future, I will share about some Australian beverages, including the chili wine we tasted and bought in Katoomba. Yes, you read that correctly, Chili wine made entirely out of 100% chili. It was sweet and hot. We intended to bring it home, but we opened it as soon as we got back to the cottage and finished it off the next day when we got back home to Camden. It was fantastic with cheese and now that I’ve come to appreciate oysters (at least Australian and Apalachicola, Florida oysters in the US), DEFINITELY WITH OYSTERS!!! I’m almost sorry we drank it with out purchasing another bottle to bring home, but “no worries,” this Australian exclusive product, has a website and this wine can be ordered online and shipped to your door!!!! 🙂
We had dinner and some chocolate at the Paragon restaurant. This place could have a post and then some, all its own. It was a mixture of Greek/Romanesque architecture and art-deco and hand carved reliefs on the walls. It does make me wonder if the garden area behind our cottage might actually be owned by the owners of this restaurant or some related family members? The food was fabulous and but of course, WE HAD TO TRY THEIR CHOCOLATE! According to their interior signage, it’s the chocolate that made Katoomba famous. I have no way to prove or disprove that statement, but this place has been here since 1921 I believe, has a US connection (the wife of the owner was from the United States), and there are many pictures throughout the place of famous people that have signed their names and have eaten here. So what does that say to you?! Some of the pictures I recognized and some I did not. Art Acord (silent film western star), Clark Gable and Peter O’Toole. So, that’s pretty telling. You can search for the Paragon Cafe online and find many interesting things. They also have a page on Facebook.
There were many unusual and wonderful things to experience in Katoomba, but time and words fail me. The best that I can offer you are some humble pictures. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂
As stated previously, Katoomba is quite hilly and it exercises your heart, lungs and legs to walk here, but well worth the effort! The air was crisp, cool and clear at this time of the year during Australia’s late fall or early winter. Days were nicely pleasant with a couple of layers of long sleeve shirts and the nights build-a-fire cool. The downtown district is home to many cafes, shops and stores from the unusual, the bizarre and the, just lovely. There are examples of fine architecture in beautifully restored or well-maintained hotels and other buildings.
There were many unusual and wonderful things to experience in Katoomba, but time and words fail me. As I said, the best that I can offer you are some humble pictures, my personal recommendation to COME HERE if you ever have the opportunity and a link to some Irish music I recorded live, on my way back to the cottage one day. I hope you enjoy all that follows here! 🙂
Mural on wall of the Three Sisters and etc., of The Blue Mountains at Echo Point
Downtown Katoomba – sure why not espresso and waffles! 🙂
The Elephant Bean Cafe (notice anyone familiar?)
The Elephant Bean Cafe (awesome coffee)
Bakery with fresh baked almond croissants. YAY! 🙂
If you must eat croissants, why not artistically!
Closeup of our table
And the pigeons enjoyed your crumbs 🙂
My first ever female street performer. She was actually very good.
Little Aussie squirrels picture, for my sister Carol Lee
Ducks or Kiwi birds in boots? I dunno, but they were cute, so I had to take this! 🙂
Clock bridge over street
Old-time informative bill
Mural of Katoomba Falls I
Mural of Katoomba Falls II
Carrington Place (hotel) Entrance
Hand carved wall, Carrington Place Entrance
Irish connection II
Want to Wassail me for some Mulled Wine? 🙂
The circus in town? 🙂
Paragon Chocolate “The chocolate that made Katoomba famous”
Lost Bear Gallery (art gallery)
Whale out of wooden sticks in window of Lost Bear Gallery
Oh, there the lost bear is! 🙂
Closeup of found lost bear art
Interesting walk I
Interesting Walk II (same walk, different view)
Can you see the heart shape?
Last stop before heading back to our cottage and look what you saw and heard! :
Locals, quite possibly of Irish roots, gathered in this pub for grub, beers and cheers and playing some really nice Irish jigs. There were children present and other watchers/listeners like me. Flutes, violins, guitar, banjo, a concertina (similar to an accordion) and one gent (laddie) played the Uilleann pipes. The bar was open and run by another international connection. She was anice lady from Vietnam. It was a gorgeous day and the windows were open in the pub.
Several flutists and violinists and concertina far left
Flute player closest to me
Uilleann Pipe Player
The uilleann pipes are the characteristic national bagpipe of Ireland. Earlier known in English as “union pipes”, their current name is a partial translation of the Irish-language term píobaí uilleann (literally, “pipes of the elbow”), from their method of inflation.There is no historical record of the name or use of the term ‘uilleann pipes’ before the twentieth century. It was an invention of Grattan Flood and the name stuck. People mistook the term ‘union’ to refer to the 1800 Act of Union; this is incorrect as Breandán Breathnach points out that a poem published in 1796 uses the term ‘union.’
The bag of the uilleann pipes is inflated by means of a small set of bellows strapped around the waist and the right arm (in the case of a right-handed player; in the case of a left-handed player the location and orientation of all components are reversed). The bellows not only relieve the player from the effort needed to blow into a bag to maintain pressure, they also allow relatively dry air to power the reeds, reducing the adverse effects of moisture on tuning and longevity. Some pipers can converse or sing while playing.