Thurdsday, December 17, 2020

We still live in interesting times. Yet another VDNO via Zoom...although, the first vaccines have been approved for emergency use, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even as the whole country's health care system is going to Helena Handbasket.

The pandemic still ranges on, with new cases increasing in all fifty states (many contracting the disease during Thanksgiving). Some 17.5 million Americans have contracted the disease, there has been an even more appalling number of deaths—315,000+ as of this writing—and there is still no national disaster planning or even a mask mandate in place. On November 3rd, we elected Joe Biden as the 46th president, although his predecessor still has yet to concede. As Pfizer and Moderna bang out millions of vials of vaccine, the government, under he-who-shall-not-be-named, has yet to tell them where to ship them. Rome burns while Nero fiddles.

The saddest thing of all is that I wrote those two paragraphs last month and simply updated the numbers. Nothing has subtantively changed in response to the pandemic, other than the numbers keep going up and there are fewer and fewer hospital beds available. To put it in the words of the immortal jar Jar Binx, "When-a you-sa tinkin' we-sa IN trouble?"

Kevin joined the Zoomroom first. He settled into a a nice glass of The Balvenie Doublewood 12-year-old. It's one of my favorite Scotches and eminently drinkable. Which is to say, I have held this in my own liquor cabinet, and I am now out of it. I am slowly finishing a bottle of Johnny Walker Red and look forward the Talisker 10, which is my favorite Scotch... but back to The Balvenie. It's considered a Speyside single malt, as it's not far from the River Spey, but it's actually located in Glen Fiddich, in the town of Dufftown. In addition to Balvenie, there's Glenfiddich (obviously), Kininvie, Gendullan, Mortlach, and Dufftown Distilleries. Seems like a place to go—for a weekend (or more!)

While were are on the subject of Scotch, people make a big deal about 20+ year single malts. There's nothing wrong with them, of course, but, unlike wine, Scotch does not get better with age: it gets tamer. I prefer the fire of an 8–12 year old malt. It's important to note the obvious that Scotch is distilled. That is, the critters that ferment the mash (the yeast), do not survive the boiling process when it's distilled—there's nothing living in the bottle to "age" the whisky. Instead, you are going to evaporate away a little bit of the alcohol content each year it sits in a cask ("the angels's dram").

The Cloud

Kevin deconstucts the world David begins an epic tale... Kevin and Steve with the embarrassed eyerolls ...Another Happy Ending!

I joined Kevin with a bottle of Ommegang Three Philosophers. This would be a great brew to sip by the fire as your last beer of the night. It's a big, very malty, sweet, Belgian Quadrupel-style ale from Cooperstown, NY. It's also heavy as hell, with 9.7% alcohol-by-volume. It's everything I like, but tonight it's a bit too much of everything. We talked about the weirdness of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with no crowds and the prospect of a New Year's Eve of the same. Naturally, this led to discussions of City, State and Federal governance.

Not long after we dropped into that rabbithole, David joined us for a quorum. This month David brought a nice 2015 Bourbon County Stout, brought to you by the same people who make Goose Island IPA, out of Chicago. In a normal DNO, we'd all get a sip, but Kevin and I only got to watch. Probably just as well given the 12.7% ABV rating. (Is that even still beer?) I switched over to an Ommegang Witte. It's only 5.7 ABV, so it can be considered a "session" beer. It's flavored with orange peel and coriander like the best of beers in this style, such as Hoegaarden. It's certainly good and it's working better for me than the Three Philosophers, but I know Hoegaarden and you, sir, are no Hoegaarden. I am definitely a fan of Brewery Ommegang, but I'd prefer a Hennepin Saison or an Abbey Ale.

It's impossible to capture the nuances if every conversational thread, so I'll simply provide a list instead:

  • The six-hour preparation of Beef Bourguignon ("Don't Burn It!")
  • Kraftwerk, and why Kevin is no longer a MOMA member
  • The lack of oxygen in our nation's capital.
  • The burning of the Doris Duke Theater
  • E.F. Hutton, Marjorie Merriwether Post, Dina Merrill, and how he-who-shall-not-be-named came to acquire Mar-a-Lago at 40% of the asking price.
  • The liberal elite cancer eating away at the Democratic Party and how one "deplorable" comment ended Hillary's bid for the White House.
  • Sam Raimi, and how "The Classic" came to be a fixture in his films.
  • How an "X" appears in Martin Scorsese's films before each death scene.

Put it in the history books. DNO #95 is a wrap.