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.


Friday, April 17, 2015


Beaches, Books, and Whales


     Growing up on a beach town located on the East coast, summertime meant  heading over to the local beach for a little summer fun and relaxation while soaking up the sun. Maybe I would bring a good book or the radio, and enjoy the fresh salt air with the smell of coconut tanning oil wafting up.  All that was missing was a nice Martini, which I had not yet acquired a taste for, nor would I have been allowed to drink on the public beach.  And from this backdrop of shoreline reminiscences I encountered two recent news stories which caught my eye.  One of them was about a sperm whale which washed up on the California coast while the other story (how to put this delicately?) relates to a recent story posted on yahoo about a plus size blogger showing off her new swimsuit that has "gone viral."  At the risk of sounding somewhat insensitive, my mind linked these two seemingly disparate stories.


      Now before you go and start attacking me for a reference to the plus size blogger in the same post about a beached whale, let me say this:  It was actually the icon associated with the Yahoo story that first got my attention. It was a picture which referenced A Brave New World, that wonderful novel by Aldous Huxley.  The title of the novel is taken from Shakespeare's play, The Tempest.  In it, the character Miranda, who has lived on an isolated island, famously asserts the following lines upon meeting outsiders who come to the island:

O wonder!
How many godly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

That has such people in't.

In Huxley's novel, there is a similar moment, when the character John "the savage", who was brought up in an isolated "reservation", is brought back to the "modern" world.  There is irony aplenty in that utterance and I recommend you read the novel in it's entirety.  I believe the Yahoo writers have gone a bit overboard in equating this woman's shunning of social and fashion norms as John's refusal to submit  his ethos to "A Brave New World".  To her credit, the plus sized blogger rightly distanced herself from the brave label.  I think it borders on sacrilegious to mention such a fine novel in the same light as a discussion about the relative merits of a morbidly obese woman donning a bathing suit.  Such is the state of affairs in our own brave new world.


      This past Wednesday, at Mori Point in Sharp Park State Beach located in Pacifica, California, biologists and veterinarians arrived to investigate the likely cause of death of the sperm whale which washed ashore.  The whale had no broken bones, and though there was evidence of some hemorrhaging, it wasn’t enough to indicate being hit by a ship or other blunt-force trauma, according to the Marine Mammal Center. Likewise, there was no mention of harpoons.  What would have really made this story enthralling was if the whale were white and the skeleton of Captain Ahab was lashed to his carcass.  So apparently the White Whale, Moby Dick, may still be on the loose.  

      I queried google on Moby Dick, Herman Melville, and Gin.  Low and behold, there it was! I have read the novel twice and somehow glanced over this passage.  Perhaps watching the cinematic attempts to recreate the novel  have sullied my memory of the reading.  Surely I would have remembered the mention of this before. It is a recount of a manifest for the Dutch Whaling fleet. 
that I found a long detailed list of the outfits for the larders and cellars of 180 sail of Dutch whalemen; from which list, as translated by Dr. Snodhead, I transcribe the following:
400,000 lbs. of beef. 60,000 lbs. Friesland pork. 150,000 lbs. of stock fish. 550,000 lbs. of biscuit. 72,000 lbs. of soft bread. 2,800 firkins of butter. 20,000 lbs. Texel & Leyden cheese. 144,000 lbs. cheese (probably an inferior article). 550 ankers of Geneva. 10,800 barrels of beer.  Most statistical tables are parchingly dry in the reading; not so in the present case, however, where the reader is flooded with whole pipes, barrels, quarts, and gills of good gin and good cheer.
I did a little calculating and that 550 ankers of geneva is roughly 21000 liters!  For 180 men on a typical 3 month whale hunt, that would be about 1.3 liters of genever per day.  How they managed to sail the vessel, let alone hunt, kill, and process the whales, is beyond me.  I think that this warrants an experiment aboard one of those whale watching cruises.  Call Me Ishmael!

      To go along with our summer whale theme, you might want to try The Filthy Liar Syrup, which is a premade mixer for your favorite gin.  It is produced by  White Whale Mixers.
This cocktail mixer was handmade in Durham, North Carolina by White Whale. Made from lychee fruit and rosemary, the Filthy Liar Syrup adds a floral fruit flavor with an herbal kick to gin drinks.
8 fluid oz.
Pure filtered water, sugar, lychee juice, rosemary oil, clove, organic lime juice, natural flavors.
Each bottle makes 8 cocktails.

Looking forward to my next trip to the beach this summer, hopefully with no decomposing whales or questionable fashion statements.  Unfortunately Martinis are typically forbidden on public beaches,  something seems incredibly wrong with that.

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