Friday, January 29, 2010

Zinn Mourning

I'm not big on mourning or obituaries, particularly for public figures, but the death of Howard Zinn has made me reflective. The New York Times obituary is a solid if uninspired discussion of his life and career (and now I really want to read those plays he wrote!), but A People's History of the United States had a formative impact on the person and the scholar I am today.

I was fortunate enough, in the conservative suburb in which I was raised, to be taught entirely by socialist history teachers in high school. In the summer between my junior and senior years, everyone in my class was required to read one real, scholarly history book. From long list of possibilities, I chose (on the teacher's recommendation) A People's History of the United States. This book taught me, at a very impressionable age, that scholarship can be entertaining and engaging, that history can (and always does) have a perspective and an opinion, and to question the power structures that shape the world. This, perhaps more than anything else I read in high school, prepared me for college and academia and has stayed with me. I've carried this book with me every place I've lived, and seeing a copy on a bookshelf has helped me identify many a kindred spirit.

Zinn's ideas and opinions, and more than that the strength of his convictions, is inspiring to me. Reading obituaries has been even more inspirational, because it reminds me at a period in which I have no purchase, no power, and no real existence in academia that more is possible and that this tiny world isn't all that important compared to the global and ideological struggles in which we are engaged. Zinn's work takes me back to my own core beliefs, but also inspires me to question and think critically about everything. All I can really say is: Thank you, Howard Zinn. I hope his works continue to be read well into the future.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tiki Space Cocktails

Here are the best tiki party-meets-outer-space themed cocktail recipes that I've found. So many obscure ingredients! If you know any more, I'd love some suggestions.


8-10 ice cubes, cracked
1/2 measure white rum
1/2 measure vodka
1/2 measure fresh lemon juice
1 dash passion fruit juice
lemon wedge, to decorate

Put half of the cracked ice into a cocktail shaker and add the rum, vodka and juices. Shake until a frost forms. Strain it into an old-fashioned glass filled with the remaining ice. Decorate with a lemon wedge.

Blue Moon

2 ounces dry gin, such as Tanqueray
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce creme de violette

Fill a mixing glass two-thirds full with ice. Add the gin, lemon juice and creme de violette. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail (martini) glass.

Blue Hawaiian

1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Blue Curacao
1 part Crème de Coconut
2 parts Pineapple Juice
1 Cup Ice

Combine ingredients in a blender or mix well and enjoy on the rocks. Garnish with a cherry and pineapple. Don’t forget the paper umbrella!

Jet Fuel

2 oz Whiskey
3/4 oz Dry Sack Sherry
2 dashes Bitters
Squeeze orange slice into glass

Space Monkey

1 part milk
4 parts rum
4 parts banana liquor

Mix well

Lost In Space Martini

2 oz citrus vodka
1 oz triple sec
1 oz Tang® orange drink
Rim a cocktail glass with powdered Tang®. Shake ingredients in an ice filled shaker and strain into glass.

Rocket Fuel

3/4 oz 151-proof rum
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz blue curacao

Pour ingredients, in order listed, into a shot glass or rocks glass. Serve.

Fuzzy Astronaut

1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz peach schnapps
Tang® orange drink to balance

Build over ice in a Collins glass. Stir, sip and enjoy the shuttle launch!

Tiki Girl

1 1/2 oz rum
1 oz amaretto
Orange Juice
Pineapple juice
splash grenadine

Pour all ingredients except grenadine into a large glass filled with ice. Shake well and drizzle in grenadine.


2 oz Cointreau
1 oz Sambuca

Blade Runner

3 parts Apricot Brandy
5 parts Bourbon
1 part Grenadine
2 parts Lemon Juice

Darth Vader

½ oz. vodka
½ oz. gin
½ oz. tequila
½ oz. rum
½ oz. triple sec
½ oz. Jaegermeister

Pineapple Mai Tai

4 ounce orange juice
4 ounce pineapple juice
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce grenadine

Mix all ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a glass. Garnish with a cherry and a pineapple wedge.

Ambrosia (a la Battlestar Galactica)

6 oz Midori
4 oz Blue Curacao
2 oz lime juice

Mix over ice.

Pan Galatic Gargle Blaster

1/2 ounce Vodka
1/2 ounce Triple Sec
1/2 ounce Yukon Jack liqueur
1/2 ounce Peach Schnapps
1/2 ounce Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce cranberry juice
Fill with lemon-lime soda

Build in an ice-filled Collins glass, filling it with the soda. Stir with a long straw. Garnish with an orange if desired.