Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Gold Thievery, Espionage, and the Martini

The Heist

     The theft of $5 million in gold bars passed by the bottom of the screen on the news ticker with little ado.  An armored car made an unscheduled stop on a "dark stretch of highway" in North Carolina.  It was reported that one of the guards thought he smelled gasoline and was feeling nauseous.  The driver pulled over presumably to let the ill appearing guard out of the vehicle to vomit.  Amazingly, at that very second, they were accosted by the robbers who shouted "Policia" interestingly enough speaking Spanish.  The authorities are a bit suspicious of this story, as well they should be, for the guards also speak mostly Spanish - coincidence I think not.  The authorities are waiting to clear up the stories with the help of interpreters.   It will be interesting to see if more of these surreptitious gold heists begin to occur.  The story eerily recalled to me the characters in Atlas Shrugged.  I would not be surprised to find out that the ringleader of the heist was none other than Ragnar Danneskjold, the pirate of the novel.  

The Pirate

      Ayn Rand  was born in Russia in 1905 and grew up at the time of the Russian revolutions. She witnessed first hand the social ruin that ensued and her novel about that epoch, We The Living,  is largely autobiographical.  Her final novel, which she considered her opus, is Atlas Shrugged.  For those unfamiliar with the novel, I highly recommend that you give it your time.  It is basically the story of the death of capitalistic innovation and entrepreneurialship, as it is hijacked by an ever increasing socialistic government and society in general. Sound familiar???? The three great minds that represent the hope of the return to a future representative democratic society are Francisco d'Anconio, who inherits and runs the worlds biggest mines, John Gault the mastermind, and Ragnar Danneskjold the pirate.  Although it was written in 1957, like all great novel it's themes are universal and timeless.

     In the novel, the general feeling of the population, and thus the government who needed their support to stay in power, was that every man would work according to his ability, but be paid according to his need.  This is a clear reference from The Communist Manifesto by Obama, I mean Karl Marx.  Ragnar was determined to fight this injustice by declaring war on "the looters" and repaying "the producers" the money that was robbed of them through unfair taxation policies.  He plundered government ships sending goods bought with tax money to foreign countries.  Ragnar discusses the legend of Robin Hood in the book, and how the folklore has become distorted and simplified over time to the story of a hero stealing from the rich to give to the poor. In actuality he was taking unjust government taxes and distributing them as charity. In Ragnar's world, he is trying to reverse the injustice of the government system albeit for somewhat different ideals.  In all of his privateering activities, he never accepted any form of fiat currency and only dealt with gold, the universal and enduring currency.  

Here is what Francisco d'Antonio,another main character in the novel had to say about gold:

Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it.

      It is clear that Rand is suspicious of governments, which I suppose is natural given her personal history of loss during the Russian Revolutions.  That governments in general, and the US in particular, went off the gold standard, was concerning to her.  Whether you believe in the gold standard or not, Atlas Shrugged is a great read nonetheless.


      I would be remiss to start a discussion about gold in a martini blog without mentioning Auric Goldfinger from the James Bond film series.  Goldfinger was probably one of my favorite movies in the Bond series.  Auric plotted to set off a nuclear device within Fort Knox, making worthless the US Gold Supply.  As we were taken off the Gold Standard in 1933 by FDR, and I am not an economist by trade, it is unclear what, if anything,  this would have actually meant.  Be that as it may, it did make for an interesting plot.

      Perhaps one of the great lines in all the James Bond series came from this film as Auric had Bond strapped to a table with a laser slowly creeping up to slice him in half.
Bond inquired, "Do you expect me to talk?"
and Auric, half amused at the assumption retorted,
"No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die."

     As we all know, Bond was a Martini drinker, forever linked with his catchphrase,"shaken not stirred."  The first mention of him ordering something close to a true Martini  was in the book Casino Royale.  That cocktail, known as the Vesper, is basically a hybrid martini, made with gin and vodka, and a French aperitif wine instead of vermouth. Bond orders up:
“A dry martini. One. In a deep champagne goblet. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.”  Why he would add vodka to a perfectly good gin is beyond me, but then again he's the guy who's been with the likes of Honey Ryder, Plenty O'Toole, Holly Goodhead and Pussy Galore.

Martini Gold

      I have surveyed the Internet and found several brands of gin which actualcontain gold flakes. Perhaps adding gold flakes to an already perfect cocktail would be considered "Gilding the Lilly", but I would certainly like to give it a try.

If anyone can locate me a bottle, 
I would surely love to have a gold inspired Martini.

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