the votes are in

Well, we held the Clementine Challenge on Friday night, as planned. During the course of the evening, 18 people sampled the three drinks we had prepared. Not only did they sample the drinks (on film), but they filled out questionnaires… One of the questions on the form asked the participants to rate each drink on a scale of one-to-five, with one being the worst, and five being the best… So, right now, I’m adding up the points awarded to each drink in hopes of determining a winner…

OK, here are the results…

Drink One:
Pulp of a Blood Orange, Cranberry Juice, Absolute Mandarin
56 points

Drink Two:
Enfamil, Sprite, Triple Sec, Mashed Peaches, Zwieback Toast
58.5 points

Drink Three
Peeled Clementines, Grenadine, Pineapple Juice, Sky Vodka

The winner is drink number three, created by Beth Abraham.

OK, I can accept that – it was a tasty drink, and I’ll be sending Ms. Abraham her prize. With that said, however, I have to tell you that drink number two, the one with the Enfamil and the mashed peaches, would have won if not for the fact that a few people rated it with a one. (Most of the other drinks received threes at worst.) Number two had the momentum. It’s fans were fanatical. It, in my opinion, and with all due respect to the other participants, should have won. Drink three, while delicious, in a tropical kind of way, didn’t confront people. It didn’t slap them in the face and say, “I’m a Clementine. I’m something completely new and different.” Number two did that. It shook people up. It challenged them. It was, for that reason, somewhat polarizing. It got ones and fives. It was either loved or hated.

As long as I’m talking about drink number two, I should mention that I tweaked the recipe a bit at the end. I not only added a wedge of a clementine on the rim, but I added a rule as to how the drink should be consumed.

1. Bite the teathing toast and chew.
2. Down the drink.
3. Bite the clementine.

It’s like doing a tequila shot with salt and a lemon.

Someday, I will make them again for another group and see if the results are the same… In the meantime, I will accept the wisdom of this first test group and announce that drink number three was the winner.

Posted in Mark's Life | 14 Comments

grey gardens

I took a break from working on the case against Desert Moon this weekend to sit down with Linette and watch the Criterion Collection’s release of the 1975 documentary “Grey Gardens.” The film, if you haven’t heard of it, concerns the odd relationship between a mother and daughter (relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) who, although born to wealth and power, find themselves isolated and living like squatters inside a crumbling old mansion. It was thoroughly compelling.

From the minute we enter the house of Edie Bouvier Beale (pictured abover) and her mother, Big Edie, and the filthy room they share, we’re in a world that they’ve created. And, there’s a certain kind of madness – not an overt wiping poop on the walls madness, but a more subtle kind of madness, a What Ever Happened to Baby Jane “let’s sing and dance like we’re children” kind of madness. These are lovely, bright, articulate women… who happen to feed the raccoons that live in the walls of their home, and wear their clothes in ways they weren’t intended to be worn. (Little Edie, the daughter, wears her skirts upside down, and her sweaters wrapped around her shaved head. It’s absolutely inspired.) They aren’t just relatives of Jackie O who happen to be down on their luck, they’re visionary artists. There is clearly insanity to some degree, but the film doesn’t play on that. To its credit, the film never lets you forget that these women have dignity and live worthwhile lives. I was trying to think of how to describe it and the best I could come up with was this — It’s part Citizen Kane and part Tennessee Williams. It’s a story about wealth and sadness, about never following one’s dreams, about society and decay.

I could write about this all night, but I have other things I need to do. If you haven’t seen the film, please take my word for it and rent a copy, or, better, yet, order the “Grey Gardens” DVD from Amazon. (The commentary track is great.)

Seriously, don’t wait for the play

For those of you who have seen the film, I just had an idea for what I think might be a really good Crimewave article. I was thinking that it might be interesting to track down the young man who spends time at their house in the film, the one that Little Edie calls the Marble Faun, and interview him… I’d be really interested to hear what he has to say about the Edies and their tenure at Grey Gardens. (Grey Gardens is the name of the estate on Long Island where they lived.)

Oh, and speaking of Desert Moon, I just did the math and it seems as though they owe us in excess of $3,600. The more I think about this, the more pissed I am at myself for not demanding payment earlier. (They haven’t paid us a dime for either of the last two issues that we sent to them for distribution.)

Posted in Art and Culture | 14 Comments

election day in iraq

I probably won’t be posting a lot about the Iraqi elections today, but I wanted to remind you all that professor UM professor Juan Cole’s Informed Comment site is a terrific source for up-to-date information and analysis. Here’s his last update:

At a little after noon EST, Jane Arraf on CNN is reporting about 30 percent turnout in Baqubah, a mixed Sunni-Shiite city to the northeast of Baghdad. It seems clear that the turnout was largely Shiite.

Although the violence and attacks have been extensive and took place all over the country, the security measures put in prevented massive loss of life. Suicide bombers clearly could not get close enough to crowds to take a big toll.

On the other hand, if the turnout is as light in the Sunni Arab areas as it now appears, the parliament/ constitutional assembly is going to be extremely lopsided. It would be sort of like having an election in California where the white Protestants all stayed home and the legislature was mostly Latinos, African-Americans and Asians.

As usual, you’ll also find a interesting discussion of the events over at the Daily Kos site too.

And, if you’re interested to hear what Iraqi bloggers are saying, you can check out Buzz Machine for a pretty comprehensive list of links… If you find anything interesting, leave a note in the comments section. (I’m working on band stuff today and I doubt that I’ll have time to check any of them out myself.)

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment’s career-builder bulletin board

If only I’d know that anal fisting consultant was a potential career when I graduated from high school… I’m about to write my guidance counselor, Mr. Jost, an angry letter. (Surprisingly, that link is relatively safe for work, by the way.)

Posted in Mark's Life | 3 Comments

we all pay for wal-mart

Wal-Mart is profitable primarily because 1) they have the tightest supply chain in the business, 2) they’re able, due to their size, to wring every penny out of their suppliers (and forcing them to manufacture in China in the process), and 3) they pay their people poorly. The people who shop at Wal-Mart see the one-dollar tub of pork rinds and think it’s heaven on earth. What they don’t see, however, is the fact that they’re also paying to subsidize the company with their tax dollars. Here are just a few examples:

Wal-Mart sales clerks made an average of $8.23 an hour–or $13,861 a year–in 2001. That’s nearly $800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. (Source: Business Week)

In Georgia, Wal-Mart employees are six times more likely to rely on state-provided health care for their children than are employees of any other large company. (Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Reliance on public assistance programs in California by Wal-Mart workers costs the state’s taxpayers an estimated $86 million annually. (Source: UC Berkeley Study)

Wal-Mart is a Welfare Queen. Pass it on.

Posted in Observations | 5 Comments


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