Sunday Morning Grab Bag

This weekend I've been trying to learn a song written by a guitarist who's said that he got so much action in his day that he doesn't even like sex anymore. He also did so much heroin that he had to have his teeth removed. That John Fruiscante is still playing guitar is astounding. That he's doing it as well as he is still is nothing short of a fucking miracle.

He's played far more complex guitar parts than Under The Bridge, but the little things he did on that album are just fucking cool. There's one point where he plays a C# power chord on the downstroke and a C#minor on the upstroke--Correct people on that bit and they might accuse you of nitpicking-- but what it adds to the feel of it...

Those of you reading this who don't play guitar may not be following. Those who do are probably wondering why I haven't noticed this before. Way to go, Pat.

Sort of an interesting whodunit as to some push polling in GOP primaries. Sounds to me like it was Guliani in Arizona, with the untraceable front company. They are, of course, all in the Accusing Parlor pointing fingers.

A friend of mine turned 27 the other day, and I took it upon myself to bake something. She and I are big fans of whiskey, so I thought I'd break out something that my grandmother makes; whiskey cake, which is essentially yellowcake (not the kind that Saddam wasn't looking for in Africa) with a whiskey sugar and butter glaze. It's delicious. A cousin of mine once tried to get drunk off of it. There were two problems with this. One, the alcohol content is boiled off when the glaze is made. Two, there's maybe a shot of whiskey spread out over the cake. you don't actually taste the whiskey

I didn't have the bundt cake pan so I was going to have to do something different. I made cupcakes. More surface area to cover meant the need for more glaze. The original recipe called for

1/4 cup whiskey
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter.

I quadrupled the whiskey, put in a 3/4 cup of sugar, and let the butter stay constant.

The way I combined the ingredients involved putting as little direct heat under the whiskey as possible--melting the butter, dissolving the sugar in it (I did need to add some of the whiskey to the heat so that there would be enough liquid to dissolve it) and then adding the rest of the whiskey Obviously you may not want to do this if there are chilluns around, but everyone I was making these for was over 21.

The problem was, though, how do I go about applying the stuff to the cupcakes. I realized that this would be a problem as I was pulling them out. In bundt cake form, you just pour it all on top and it works. but that was a problem here. First I dipped them each in the mixture, but didn't manage to sop all of it up. I was running short on time at this point, and tried to hastily add powdered sugar and butter to it until it became frosting. This didn't quite work, but it did become something that could be applied to the top like it was a frosting and stay there (ish)

The result was tasty, but quite messy. I achieved my primary objective in creating a form of whiskey cake that actually tastes like whiskey, but as far as presentation and practicability this is still in beta.

The whiskey I used was Bushmills; which I find to have the most favorable taste/cost ratio (I wasn't going to get the bottle just to cook with it, after all). The handle only ran me forty bucks, and it's delicious... significantly smoother more subtle than Jameson. I've been meaning to give the ten year single malt a try, but haven't been able to hunt it down. Of course, to my knowledge, only one of you drinks whiskey, so, you know, whatever.

Two notes for high school theater directors

1: Do NOT cast people who can't sing in singing parts in a musical. If you don't have enough singers, then just don't fucking do a musical
2: Don't fucking use microphones. There's no god damned reason any actor, even in high school, shouldn't be able to fill a room with their voice. I have yet to see a mic'd high school show that didn't suffer for it.

It's a shame, because even though there was only one competent male singer in the play in question (my cousin's high school's rendition of Anything Goes, by Cole Porter), the females, my cousin included, were excellent. Actually this happens a lot with high school musicals, and it makes me wonder if I couldn't make a tidy sum in royalties if I were to write shows in which only the females had difficult singing parts.

It's possible that I'm an asshole here. My theater group in high school took the matter far more seriously and shied away from anything amateurish, despite the fact that we were amateurs by definition. I never sang a lead in my school's shows, and my voice didn't exactly suck.

I guess I just hate to see people throw in the towel where younglings are concerned, even if it's something as (admittedly) non-vital as a high school show.

Oh. I was going to say something about this. I don't pretend to have a hell of a lot of knowledge regarding the effect that subsidy has on agriculture as a whole, but as I see it we fucking pamper the corn farmers in this country and that shit has to stop. For one, high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient in so many god damned packaged foods has been demonstrably negative to our health. More importantly, corn ethanol is bullshit. Sugarcane ethanol is cheaper and eight times more efficient, but we don't grow sugarcane here. And there's a prohibitave tariff on imported ethanol, which means that getting it on the outside doesn't come with a financial advantage, which means it doesn't happen. As far as the rest of it? Subsidies have been increasingly going to the largest and wealthiest farms, but the average voter in the effected states doesn't seem to see it that way.

I as always make room for the possibility that I'm completely off-base. And room for the possibility that now is maybe the time to stop typing and get some sleep.


  1. I must admit that I haven't seriously listened to RHCP for quite a while. This could, no doubt, be considered a cardinal sin in certain circles. Having said that, I'm sure that this comment applies to any guitar music.

    Having been a guitar player on-and-off for many years, I have come to believe that it's the subtleties that make the difference between good playing and great playing. The stuff that your average listener is not even going to notice (on a conscious level, at least) is the stuff that gives a song something extra. I'm generally an acoustic player, so I tend to take a lot of notice of acoustic guitarists... the really good singer-songwriters have a brilliant and elegant guitar style that is ultimately quite understated. Since I spend a lot of my time trying (emphasis on the trying) to find that elegance, methinks it's considerably more difficult to achive that unassuming touch than it would be to do a Joe Satriani and set fire to your fingers.

    Anyway, that's the long way round of saying that I think Under the Bridge is one of those songs that apply. It's a technically difficult song to learn, but it has way more than just technical skill going for it.

  2. You cook too? You're almost perfect then ;)

  3. You're right on the corn, lots of people making good money off the subsidies.We need to subsidy veges so people can eat healthy.

    The cake sounds awesome.

    Lucky for everyone I'm not cooking anything.

    Happy T day babes.

  4. Heh, I discovered an interesting combo at a local event called Waynesgiving here in Ohio this weekend (i.e. a 60ish Vietnam Vet/ globe hopper / K-2 hiker invites a bunch of his favorite mid-20s drunkards, er, responsible adults to his house for early feasting).

    Kentucky's finest moonshine goes really well with pumpkin pie. With the sweet potatoes, too.

  5. steve: exactly. It's why once you're exposed to guitarists and their taste in music you discover all sorts of different music you'd never be exposed to before.

    steph: almost ;)

    cooper: Happy T day

    Jason: Sounds like a fun time. I'll have to give that a try.

  6. Now I'm not much of a whiskey drinker, not any more, but when I had a ten year aged bottle of Bushmills this one time (in a special box, oh the excitement) I was a bit thrilled. Well before I tried it I was a bit 'meh, how much did THAT cost'. After I tasted it I was a bit more 'PEEEEEAACHHHHY' smitten. Even after the liquid had gone I couldn't throw the bottle away, the smell, so sweet, so fruity, so subtle, so tender, was too good.

    And what you say about changing the chord between the up and down stroke is interesting. beyond my capabilities, but interesting. I'd love to understand all the intricacies that theory offers, how to make the listener feel what you want, but I'll stick with the lazy option of instinct for now. Especially since it's been forever since I even had a listener.

    Phew. A longer comment than I meant to make.

    Hi, how are you btw?

  7. Anonymous4:11 PM

    The way I look at it, music is a language, and the two ways to improve one’s vocabulary are to increase one’s technical ability or think up creative ways to alter tone within it. The best guitarists tend to do more of the latter because it is an exercise in a similar type of ingenuity as that which is required to write great music. I see just as much potential in the second path though. A guitarist who has focused on having amazing technical skill is in a position much like that of a composer. While he does not have the creative control over each individual sound that some other musicians may have, he is capable of expressing himself on a scale wider than almost any.