Category Archives: Informative

Remote Control Cars in Track and Field: The Mini, Mini Cooper

There I am, watching NBC’s Saturday late night coverage (I need my Mary fix) of the women’s discus final, when the commentators call my attention to a mini Mini Cooper cruising around the field.

I’m sorry, what?

Yes, in true British fashion, mini remote control Mini Coopers are being used to ferry items (discus, javelin, shot-put, and hammers) back to athletes. Each car can carry up to about 18 pounds of cargo, at about 1/4 the size of an actual Mini.

Objects are loaded via… the sunroof, clearly.

Also, according to NBC commentary (which is never wrong) there is a petition to get Mary Carillo on Twitter, and I’m pretty sure everyone should get on that action.



Filed under Commenting, Informative, Obscure Summer Sports

Humans Do This: Steeplechase

I am late for yet another party.

Last week, in all the excitement leading up to both the Olympics, I was expounding on how much I love to watch steeplechasing. I was referring to horses (apparently for the Olympics we are supposed to refer to this as Equestrian Jumping?), which caused mild confusion because, I am informed—oh-my-life—there are humans who steeplechase and this is completely new information to me. 

I simply cannot comprehend how I have missed this wonderment over the years of my avid Olympic viewing.

I mean, there are water traps. Why is this a thing? Who declared this as a thing? It’s too amazing to me, and I am so excited about it.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the history of steeplechasing humans: “The event originated in the British Isles. Runners raced from one town’s steeple to the next. The steeples were used as markers due to their visibility over long distances. Along the way runners inevitably had to jump streams and low stone walls separating estates. The modern athletics event originates from a two-mile (3.2 km) cross country steeplechase that formed part of the Oxford University sports (in which many of the modern athletics events were founded) in 1860. It was replaced in 1865 by an event over barriers on a flat field, which became the modern steeplechase. It has been an Olympic event since the inception of the modern Olympics, though with varying lengths. Since the 1968 Summer Olympics the steeplechase in the Olympics has been dominated byKenyan athletes, including a clean sweep of the medals at the 2004 Games.”

So awkwardly British.

I mean, true, the gates are not nearly as beauteous as those enjoyed by the equine athletes, but it’s just not a perfect world.

About those barriers: unlike hurdles, they do not fall if you hit them—you just hit them.

The men’s qualifiers were Friday, the final will be on Sunday. Women’s heats  are Saturday and the final will be on Monday. Note it. Watch it.

Humans do this.

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Filed under Informative, Obscure Summer Sports

Sorry I’m Late, Olympics. I’ve Been Off Being An Archaeologist.

Dearest Sportsfans,

It’s true. I’ve been off grid. I promised I would be back for the Olympic joyfulness, and I heartily apologize for my tardiness; however, I have many obscure sports thoughts and am ready to get going now. Please forgive me.

Additionally, if you have any deep (or frankly, incredibly shallow) Olympic-related thoughts to share… you are ever so lucky because I love a guest post (I’m looking at you, Walsh Family—someone told me that the Walsh clan fall into this skill set).

I am also working on the potentiality of more Olympix… we’ll see. But you know, please feel free to exist on the edge of your seat.

Apologetically Yours,

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Filed under Informative, Obscure Summer Sports

Savoy Cocktail of the Week: Modder River Cocktail

Modder River Cocktail

1/4 French Vermouth
1/4 Caperitif
1/2 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into glass. 

Last week we sampled the Modder River Cocktail; but first, a little history:

The Modder River Cocktail calls for Caperitif—sadly (as touched upon previously), this South African quinquina is now defunct. I opted to use my new favorite substitute for Kina Lillet: Cocchi Americano. As we know, quinquinas involve the bite of quinine necessary to keep dear old malaria at bay in tropical colonial territories—similarly we have drinks taken with tonic water. Subsequently, the quinine element became integral to many a modern cocktail.

As for the actual Modder River, it forms part of the border between the provinces of Northern Cape and Free State in South Africa. The Battle of Modder River took place on November 28, 1899 during the Second Boer War, known in Afrikaans as the Battle of Two Rivers (Slag van die Twee Riviere). It was a rather bloody day-long battle, with Boer forces having the upper hand throughout most of the day, inflicting far more injuries on the British side; however, determining their position to be vulnerable, Boer forces retreated during the night, ceding victory to the British.

The cocktail itself is a light, refreshing cocktail—as can be inferred from the ingredients. It’s not terribly “ginny,” but still plenty strong. I am intrigued to try it again, with various alternative substitutes for the Caperitif—Lillet Blanc, perhaps St. Raphael Gold if that can be found (used for the Savoy Stomp’s version of the Modder River), etc.

Next week I shall confront a cocktail named for the subject of nearly all my graduate work up to this point:

The Napoleon

1 Dash Fernet Branca
1 Dash Curacao
1 Dash Dubonnet
1 Glass Dry Gin

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

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Filed under Savoy Cocktail Book Project

How Most Catholics Feel About Contraceptive Care, via a Snarky Graphic

I came across this ad in my Sunday newspaper and I kind of loved it. Catholic bishops give Catholics a bad name.

Also, Happy Valentine’s Day—most likely brought to you by birth control.


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Filed under Commenting, Dear Life, Informative

Savoy Cocktails of the Week: Mr. Manhattan & a Mississippi Mule

After a post-holiday detox period… we are back with the weekly Savoy sampling!

I promised to try the Manhattan last time I wrote, and since it took me ever so long, I decided to throw in the Mississippi Mule as well. Let’s get down to it.

Unsurprisingly, the Mr. Manhattan is basically like drinking a glass of gin. So if you like gin, and you are using nice gin, you will enjoy this one as a refreshing, ever-so-slightly citrus cocktail. I used fresh clementine juice instead of orange juice. I suppose the orangey-ness would be more pronounced if one used a couple splashes of Tropicana instead. I liked the Mr. Manhattan, although it is not quite seasonally appropriate in the depths of a Chicago winter. I would more appropriately suggest it for a summer afternoon on the veranda.

As touched upon in previous posts reflecting upon Evelyn Waugh, the “Gay Young Things” in question are no doubt the very same “Bright Young Things,” the decadently inclined youth of London’s upper crust in the 1920s-30s. Apparently the is a Stephen-Fry-direct 2003 going by the same epithet (the latter, not the former). It’s on my Netflix queue; perhaps I shall tell you how it goes when the time comes (it is based on Waugh’s novel entitled Vile Bodies, discussed and recommended here).

Mississippi Mule Cocktail

2/3 Dry Gin
1/6 Lemon Juice
1/6 Crème de Cassis
Shake well and strain into glass. 

The Mississippi Mule combines three of my favorite ingredients into a slightly zingy cocktail experience. I enjoy Cassis on a regular basis, sometimes mixed merely with some soda water, sometimes with white wine, and on special occasions (read: when someone else is responsible for the bubbly) as a Kir Royale. It is delicious. You should try it. Also, if you have ever been given a complimentary apéritif in the Latin Quarter, it was probably a Kir (Crème de Cassis and white wine). If you have ever been female under the age of 40 (or not) trying to eat cheap in Paris, this has probably happened to you.

At any rate, the Cassis is a minor but colorful ratio in the Mississippi Mule, its sweetness tempered by the sour lemon and the crispness of the dry gin.

As is usual in our sad modern era, the Mississippi Mule has been commandeered by the vodka drinkers of the world, so if you hate gin, I suppose you could make it that way… but I’d recommend not. After-all, you do realize that vodka tastes like nothing, right?

Also, it’s just good the way it is in the book.

For further reading: Apparently mule racing is a historically important thing in Mississippi. Thanks, Google. Thanks, Ole Miss.

Until next time…

Modder River Cocktail

1/4 French Vermouth
1/4 Capertif
1/2 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into glass. 

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Filed under Savoy Cocktail Book Project

150th Anniversary of the USS Monitor

USS Monitor in action with the CSS Virginia, J.O. Davidson, March 9, 1862

Officially, the 150th anniversary of the launch of the first Union ironclad warship falls on Monday (January 30, 1862 + 150 years). The USS Monitor was constructed at Continental Iron Works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and if you love a little local history, at this very moment in dear old Greenpoint, a whole day of festivities celebrating the USS Monitor is in swing, culminating with a Civil War concert this evening from 7-8:30 pm at the Church of the Ascension (127 Kent St., Brooklyn, NY 1122), where a suggested donation will run you $10. For those who are not lactose intolerant or fans of prohibition, there is wine and cheese before hand.

Additional events will literally carry you through the entire weekend. Go be historical! You might even see Kathleen there.

Additionally, to get in the spirit you can listen to one of my favorite historically geared songs by one of my favorite Brooklyn-based bands: Bishop Allen’s “The Monitor.”

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Filed under Informative, Out & About