My beer is rapidly approaching the bottling hour, and soon thereafter Zero Drink 30. I’m looking for a name for it. Current Ideas:
Speedy Pat’s Winter Ale
Mustard Pat’s Speedy Ale
Winter Pat’s Mustard Ale
I’m leaning toward Mustard Pat’s Speedy Ale. It evokes swiftness, mustard being a metaphor for throwing a ball with increased velocity, as in “put a little mustard on it!” The slogan for the beer could be something like “The beer to chug when you’re in a hurry.”
Winter Pat’s Mustard Ale is another good option. I might be able to sell a few bottles to curious people wanting to know what a mustard ale tastes like. “It’s awesome!” I’ll tell them, having no idea. The beer won’t contain a single grain of ground mustard, and people will drink it and like it. Obviously, calling it mustard ale but not including any mustard in the making of it is deceitful, but imagine if I actually put ground mustard seed into the mix. People would say, “It tastes like mustard,” and I’d have to say something like, “Yes. It’s Mustard Ale.”
Speedy Pat’s Winter Ale has the disadvantage of making it seem like I'm prone to rush the beer making process. What the hell’s the hurry? Make enough to get you through until the next batch has properly aged. That’s the way the big boys do it, and I’m a big boy.
Which brings me to a final option, which is just occurring to me now: Shifty Pat’s Swift Ale. Shifty because back when I played Pop Warner football, I had a coach who told me I should be a halfback instead of a fullback because I was “shifty.” (I have no memory of anyone else telling me they thought I was shifty, but perhaps someone has said it behind my back, like some ex-girlfriend’s grandmother: “Oooh, he’s a shifty one, that Mustard Pat!”)
Name for the new mustard I’m going to develop: Shifty Pat’s Ale Mustard.
Everyone should be an expert in some field or other, and I’m thinking that my field of expertise should be mustards. After all, mustard and I go way back. My early days of spiced ham and cheese sandwiches were slathered with Gulden’s spicy brown mustard, though in our local minor league ballpark and at the concession stands of my Pop Warner football games, the more ubiquitous French’s yellow mustard was offered. Even as a young boy, yellow mustard seemed unremarkable and lowbrow to me. The brightness of the yellow, in particular, seemed to indicate the absence of subtlety and perhaps a dose of food coloring (but hey, it improved a hotdog, so if it was all that was available, I used it).
In my teen years, my parents converted to the religion of Dijon mustard, no doubt thanks to the marketing geniuses behind Grey Poupon. With deep Quebec roots, kids like us thought of ourselves as French (to the dismay of actual French people), and I wonder if my parents bought into the notion that putting Grey Poupon in our fridge made us kindred spirits with chauffeur-driven French elites who ate 3 course meals and passed the wine-infused condiment from one Rolls Royce to another.
One thing that confused me about those commercials was that the narrator always pronounced the “n” at the end of Poupon, sort of like “don’t let the dog poop on the carpet.” Even those of us with complicated and circuitous connections to France knew to eliminate that last consonant sound.
The world, of course, is filled with mustards beyond Gulden’s, French’s, and Grey Poupon, and I intend to explore the many varieties and devote a page of this website to rating mustards on a scale of 1 to 100. Anything 90 or above is very high-quality mustard, worthy of Mustard Pat’s “Golden Seed” award. First up: Inglehoffer hot Dijon mustard, which I will sneak into the next mustard, feta, prosciutto, and saurkraut stuffed chicken cutlets I make. Reports to follow.
I’ve always wanted to be a tough guy, if just for a day. Not a jerky tough guy who bullies smaller folk, but a gentlemanly sort of tough guy, who cheerfully opens doors for people and is quick with a friendly “hello”, but also is quick with his fists in a pinch – i.e. not me. (Oh, sure, I’m fine with doors and all, but fists? No.)
But in my role as lead time-waster in the family (i.e. the family “writer”), I am regularly required to come up with a new way to make a zillion dollars, and therefore will begin developing a TV series with me in the role of Rick Swat, the lead character in this gritty, tough-guy drama. Rick, who dresses sharply (also not me) and is always a gentleman, works in a corporate financial office and has become embroiled in an apparent white-collar criminal enterprise, the tentacles of which grow before our eyes. Rick is anguished by the scandal because some of his good friends are apparently involved, including a woman he has a wicked crush on, who is both beautiful and ultra-smart, holding an advanced degree in economics (and maybe something else!). Always the gentleman, Rick continues to open doors for "Candy" (unlikely name for someone with a Ph.D. in Economics, but I like it) and other felonious “friends” whenever it’s convenient.
The feds pressure Rick into becoming a paid informant, and when he doesn’t deliver enough hard evidence, they lean on him big time. He hates those federal bastards and doesn't want to turn evidence against Candy because she's such a hot babe! As he investigates the huge international financial scheme, he finds himself needing to kick people’s asses here and there. This white-collar criminal enterprise has, you can imagine, a dark underbelly, where lowlifes looking for trouble inhabit seedy parking lots and need to be taught lessons by gentlemanly tough guys.
I've still got to work out some details: 1) Does he open doors for the seedy parking lot inhabiting low lifes?; 2) If he’s getting in street fights, wouldn’t that show at the office? He’s bound to sustain a black eye or broken ribs. How would he hide that?; 3) Lots of other stuff.
My wife and I decided we would spend this Christmas holiday in a New York hotel rather than our cozy home. The thing about New York around the holidays – midtown really strives to entirely banish darkness. Times Square, in particular, has gone miles to blur the line between daytime and night. In a sense, the early morning daylight hours have perhaps the quietest light of all. The sun softens the effect of the giant screens that surround Times Square, which loudly depict things to drink and the bra’d and panty’d of the current generation. Not far off are somewhat quieter lights, with sidewalks that are merely crowded instead of crushingly packed.
Winter Scene in a Lord and Taylor Window
We brought along a nightlight for the kids – they’re scared of what might be out there in the dark even though much of the horror happens in broad daylight – but that proved entirely unnecessary. You don’t need a nightlight when you can look out your window and see an animated, computer generated M&M advertisement, looped all day, 24/7, on a giant screen below. Crack the shade a hair at 9 p.m. and the room is lit up all night long. That’s some kinda loud!
At home, I have some recessed lights on dimmer switches. These are quite loud too. Because we don’t have power in the hallways, we can’t just stick a nightlight into an outlet, so we make use of dimmed lighting. This provides a beautifully soft, elegant light, and scares away the monsters. However, these “cans,” as they call recessed light fixtures in the business, emit a noticeable buzz when fully aglow. As you turn the lights down, the buzz gets louder, until they are screaming at you at 2 in the morning. Eventually, one becomes inured to the noise, until one day the power goes out and you realize how pleasant the silence is.
I finally see a tangible use for all those noise-cancelling headphone offers I get via spam.