Month: September 2009

So pretty, so graceful. Right up until they tear a hole through your chest.

unicorn

I, like many in my generation, am a child of divorced parents.  They split for good the summer before my 5th grade, so I guess I was somewhere around 9 or 10 when they finally called it quits. My sister, Sarah Shay, was the ripe old age of 1. And out of that entire nasty business, one real, unexpected tragedy was that because I lived with our dad and Sarah lived with our mom, for many years ours was a relationship far closer to cousins than brother and sister.

That changed when she moved to Austin (awesome) but the the point is this: there weren’t a lot of fairies, ballet slippers, or tea parties growing up. Nor were there unicorns.

If you check the links to the right you’ll see, near the bottom, one titled Whatever. It’s a blog written by a gent named John Scalzi, and in addition to being just a great read, his blog also provides a platform for writers to introduce and talk about their books. Very cool. It’s called The Big Idea and you can find that particular section’s main page here.

Not long ago the featured book was about, you guessed it, unicorns. I’ve included the first paragraph of author Diana Peterfreund’s introduction below and after reading her big idea I’m definitely going to pick up a copy. You might want to do the same.

I feel sorry for unicorns. No other mythical monster has suffered such brand degradation. Nowadays, unicorns are synonymous with weak, childlike, unrealistic naivety. You don’t see folks dissing dragons the way they do unicorns. No one ever equates griffins with rainbows, glitter, and six year olds. The sphinx isn’t cheesy. But the unicorn? The symbol of kings, the darling of artists, the keeper of a magical horn whose rumored mystical properties once made it worth more than its weight in gold and almost drove a real species (the narwhal) to extinction? The unicorn has become laughable.

Photo by Snappa2006

 

Why U2 is the shizzle

towers

Eight years ago today the unthinkable happened.

I remember most of that day very clearly – the phone call from the lovely woman who would one day become my wife, standing in front of the television and watching one horror after another, or later trying to interact with guests when I pulled a double behind the bar.

That was a long, long twelve hours, I might add. Right up until I wiped off the last tap and handed in my drawer, each of my guests had sat quietly, watching one of the televisions that hung suspended from the ceiling, nursed their drinks, and spoke almost not at all. And for me, things seemed to stay like that for almost a month and a half.

And then U2 came to town.

The concert was , in a word, awesome. They did their new stuff, which was great, but about an hour in to the show the red Joshua Tree backdrop lit up across the back of the stage and Bono and the rest of the crew  started pouring through the music most of us there had fallen in love with in the first place; from albums going all the way back to Boy. We were dancing, singing, laughing, and really letting go.  

The weight that had settled onto my chest and into my spirit, the one that I hadn’t even realized was there until the moment it lessened, seemed to slowly shrink and fade, and without warning I found I could suddenly breath again. All of us could.

But they weren’t done.  

Near the end of the concert the band went silent and two large screens slowly descended from above.  Most of us were still smiling and swaying a bit from the previous tune and we looked at the screens and then at each other? What’s this? No idea, but it’s going to be cool. And to be certain, we were right, but not in any way we imagined. 

As we stood, growing more still and silent, names began streaming down each screen, one after another after another, and Bono finally stepped up to the mic, paused a moment, and said, “For all of those lost in September.”  And as the first quiet notes from Edge’s guitar reached us we realized that we were seeing a list of everyone who had died on 9/11.  And it seemed to go on forever.

But during those moments a wonderful thing happened. We stood there, quietly watching and listening, lighters or cell phones winking in and out, and people began to truly let go. There were sighs and coughs. Then there were sniffles. And finally sobs. People held one another tightly, and all around me there were tears and grief and strangers again connected by what had happened. But when the lists finally came to an end there were actually smiles and hugs, and as the last notes faded away we realized that a first essential and powerful step to healing had just happened, and man, we went absolutely fucking crazy. Cheers, claps, shouts, even roars. Joyous, lovely roars as Larry started pounding away at his drum kit.

Thank you, U2.

Readers – what’s your story?

Image by Sister72

The perfect Pina Colada

pina-coladaThis might not be the most inspired post you’ll read today, but for reasons I absolutely cannot explain, the subject has come up twice in the last week. So just in case the universe is trying to tell me something, I offer the following for all of you Pina Colada lovers out there: 

Spend any amount of time in your local Specs, HEB, or liquor store and you’ll find dozens of mixes on the shelves, but the truth is you really only need a few items and a blender for a mixer that’s not only a breeze to make, it’ll absolutely knock your socks off. 

Start with 2 cans of Coco Lopez and one can of crushed pineapple. Pour all three into a blender and let it do its thing for about fifteen seconds. Once blended, pour the contents into a container and set it aside because you now have a righteous Pina Colada mix. See? That easy. 

For a single drink, pour about 1.5 to 2 inches of mix into the blender (depending on the size of your blending cup), a couple ounces of rum (more if you’re feeling daring), and your ice. FYI, a good rule of thumb is to fill whatever glass you’re going to be using with ice and dump that amount into the blender. Next, and this is the real secret, add a splash of half-n-half. This is going to make your drink wicked-smooth and creamy. 

Blend well and enjoy. Pineapple slices and cherries are optional.