If You Think You Can Survive on ‘Junk Food and Cigarettes’ You’re an Idiot
The Daily Mail has been trailing a new book this week by “leading science writer” Tony Edwards. Titled The Good News About Booze, which sounds like an off-license run by a Jehovah’s Witness, it tackles three of the middle class’s greatest obsessions: dying of cancer, mediocre sex, and drinks that middle-class people like. The first extract from the book, published last week, gave the paper a valuable opportunity to address the important question of whether red wine causes or cures cancer.
The book (or at least the extracts—the email I sent requesting a review copy remains unanswered) is exactly what you’d expect. Edwards claims to have conducted an “in-depth study of around half-a-million scientific papers about alcohol”, which is basically impossible unless he has an army of minions in his basement. In the best traditions of Malcolm Gladwell, he takes a banal and well-known truth—that drinking a moderate amount of red wine is healthy—and pretends it’s some kind of shocking revelation that some indefinable cabal of wine-hoarding misers don’t want you to know about. Throw in a few silly exaggerations for added measure, like “red wine may well be one of the most effective ‘medications’ in history” or “I’m just an averagely intelligent science journalist,” and you have a perfect piece of click-bait for the lazy editor to shove in the paper.
Kyrgyz Your Enthusiasm – Fresh Off the Boat: Moscow, Part 2
In Fresh Off the Boat - Moscow part two, Eddie further immerses himself in Russian culture. He learns what it was like to live under Soviet rule, shares tea with Kurdish immigrants, and begins to understand the issues that connect people, regardless of the invisible lines which separate them.
How to Survive Thanksgiving
Immediately after the big Thanksgiving meal, the scene in my parents’ house usually plays out something like this: I’ve got indigestion, everybody hates the Cowboys, and a baby or animal has thrown up in my brother’s lap. Thanksgiving is more agreeable with the aid of a cocktail.
For most people, the liquor cabinet at one’s parents’ house hasn’t been updated since the DeLorean was considered cool. But if you’re lucky, there’s a good chance that a bottle of America’s oldest spirit, applejack, lurks behind those unopened bottles of cream sherry and Midori. My prayers are with you if you’ve resorted to the family Midori.
Applejack is distilled from hard cider, and has been getting Americans sauced since the 1600s. Boozehound George Washington produced the hooch at Mt. Vernon, Abe Lincoln poured it by the glass inside his Springfield, Illinois, tavern, and that freegan-looking vagabond, John Chapman
, was the spirit’s unofficial spokesman in his lifetime, instructing farmers on how to freeze-distill—a process known as “jacking”—their own cider while he roamed about the countryside, spreading his seeds. Literally.
Soju Is Responsible for the South Koreans Passed Out In the Streets
Soju doesn’t waste time. It cuts straight to the point and gets you drunk very quickly. This is something I’ve known since I was 16, when I was an underage drinking Korean-American teen growing up in Queens. But this concept didn’t fully register
until I moved to Seoul for a short stint three years ago. It was my first night in South Korea’s capital city. I tagged along with my cousin and his crew of hard drinking buddies to hit the crowded streets that surround Kang-Nam Station. One of Seoul’s most frequented subway stops, the area was packed with bars filled with endless herds of partygoers who assemble there to partake in one of Korea’s national pastimes—getting sauced.
It was a sober hour in the early evening when our group hatched a plan for the drunken night ahead of us. Shortly before 7 PM, the sun was still out and the streets were teeming with thirsty imbibers, the cramped packs of competition in our race to grab a table at the closest bar. I took a moment to soak up my environment. For the first time, I was living in my parents’ homeland, where everyone looked like me and I was naturally supposed to blend in. This was the place where I was supposed to feel as one with my fellow Koreans, who I could connect with if we all sang Arirang
, in a made-for-TV moment in my imagination. But the reality was a lot of drunk-ass people roaming the streets.
In the next episode of Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie goes to Moscow and falls in love with Russian kabobs, learns the difference between American and Russian vodka, and explores the underlying racial tensions that modern Russian youth are fighting to overcome.
Part one will air Monday, November 25.
Watch the trailer
The Real Drunk History: Cider
Last year, I started living an alternative lifestyle. I unwillingly transformed into a gluten-free human being. Being gluten-free might not be as shameful as having a micro-penis or a father who is the BTK killer, but it’s close. It automatically excludes you from important things like pizza, sandwiches, and beer. The last one was the hardest life change to accept because of all the things that are associated with beer: Clydesdales horses, rocky mountains, Trappist monks, steins, hops, and neon signs. All of this was taken from me when I realized that drinking beer is not supposed to make you feel like you have a cold, give you a pounding headache after the third round, or have you shit your brains out after the fourth drink.
I thought that my days spent talking to friends from the seat of a barstool were over. Drinking beer allows me stay for hours—sipping my frothy beverage—all the while maintaining a somewhat sane level of sobriety during conversation. Once I was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant, I thought my former life was stripped away forever. That was until I decided to give cider that second chance. In the past, I figured that Woodchuck was reserved for dorks. English and Irish ciders that usually populate draft lines in bars seemed like they were reserved for cool old ladies and European soccer fans.
Motherboard’s Brian Merchant spent a month living on nothing but Soylent, the futuristic meal-replacement drink. Watch the documentary
Living on an all-soylent diet—for a month.
Reviewing Celebrity Wine
Wine crafted by celebrities is a rampant trend. It’s in liquor cabinets across America. It’s showboating at your local wine shop. The celebrity wine industry is approximately worth$50 million in the US alone, with over several hundred celebrities “making” wine. While their involvement spans from a direct hand in the process to straight up eponymous endorsements, everyone from Antonio Banderas to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Emilio Estevez, Francis Ford Coppola, to Fergie, are cashing in on the wine scene.
We wanted to fall off the wagon with some of these celebrities, so we organized a proper wine tasting. Rather than getting lost in the sauce—with eight bottles of celebrity wines—we called in some help from rapper Sadat X and his producer, Will Tell, known for their shared passion of wine drinking that’s best displayed in their YouTube show, True Wine Connoisseurs. Each episode begins with Sadat X drinking the “brown water” (a.k.a. Hennessey), moving onto drinking and reviewing a wine hand picked by Will Tell. By the end of the show, there’s a rap summation of Sadat’s thoughts on the bottle of choice, paired with any off-the-cuff idea that’s trickling through his mind while the camera’s running. Beyond Will Tell’s hand as musical producer and sommelier for Sadat’s wine-y episodes, he recently produced the True Wine Connoisseurs’ Planet of the Grapes, the first hip-hop wine album in history. The True Wine Connoisseurs crew is even hitchhiking on the celebrity wine bus. Paired up with Club W and Winebow, the connoisseurs have created their True Wine Connoisseur red wine, a Syrah-based California red that will be released on December 1.
Without further ado, here’s your Botox-free True Wine Connoisseurs bible on celebrity wine drinking that includes the presence of musicians Rick Ross, Dave Matthews, Train, actor Drew Barrymore, sportscaster Jim Nantz, and tattoo artist/husband of actor Lake Bell, Scott Campbell.
Rick Ross presents Luc Belaire, Provence, FR, Sparkling Rosé, ($33)
Will Tell: I would actually drink this. Rosé season is over, but I would chill with this on a hot summer day. I’m getting cherry and a lot of flavors. It’s a little dry—it’s a brut.
Where You Should Drink This
Sadat X: This is something I would drink with my lady somewhere. It’s got that type of feeling, ‘cause it’s only gonna take about one and a half of these, and whatever happens, happens.
Will: I give it a smooth six.
Drew Barrymore, Barrymore Wines, Triveneto, Italy, 2011 Pinot Grigio, $17.
Will: There’s not much of a nose on this. I get a little bit of grassy flavors, and the color is even a little bit green.
Sadat: This is feeling like a PTA meeting to me. This is like when the moms get together in the afternoon when the kids are at school. You drink it between 11 AM and 3 PM before the school bus comes home with the kids. You might want to drink this with an ice cube. I wouldn’t bring this into the studio, but if there was a blizzard outside and we had already finished drinking something else and this was lying around, we’d probably drink it. It’s that “this is all I got left,” type of situation, but I still love Drew Barrymore’s other work. Fucked-up Factor
Sadat: If someone who is drinking this went really overboard with it, they’d probably wake up with a mind-splitting headache. I would give this about a strong five or a six.
Is ‘Vodka Sam’ a Role Model for American Women?
On August 31st, during a University of Iowa–Northern Illinois football game, 22-year-old Samantha Goudie was arrested at Kinnick Stadium for public intox. At the police station, it was recorded that she blew a .341 BAC, a level so high that it’s the equivalent of being in a medically induced coma. Experts (and concerned citizens) concurred that she was lucky just to be alive. Elsewhere, inspired in part by Goudie’s hilarious livetweeting of her arrest, her behavior was all but celebrated—after all, here was a chick who out drank all the frat boys at the big game.
A confession: I attended a major football college, and Goudie’s “epic” party behavior isn’t all that surprising, even if her BAC is. Another confession: When Goudie’s story surfaced, I was sort of proud of her. I mean, certainly proud enough to comment on a friend’s post that she was “a role model for American women everywhere.” In hindsight, I may have been drunk when I wrote that (just kidding—I don’t drink anymore.)
The sad thing is, it’s kind of obvious, especially to those of us who have survived football school, that Goudie is basically a bourgeoning alcoholic. Sure, her tweets were nothing short of Apatow-movie glory—“Girl waiting for court with me goes ‘I wish I knew the girl who blew a .341’ I said hi” [sic]—but then her Vine clips surfaced on a college-party–themed website called Barstool U and they reveal a beautiful, elaborately eyelashed young woman pounding shots, hanging out on her futon alone with her dog and cradling a handle of Hawkeye vodka, and, in one clip, looking kind of frozen in terror. At least for me, all of my creepy, latent hero-worship for “Vodka Sam” was sucked out in an instant, eclipsed by the dense shadow that inevitably falls late at night over a day of drinking that began at 2:30 kickoff. I remember it all too well.