Pale Fire

Pale Fire with cats, while polishing a blaster part

Blade Runner 2049: much like the original in its time, the film is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition.

We loved it for the literary references, the quality of the cinematography, and the use of silence in the soundtrack (much like The Witch, Blade Runner 2049’s soundtrack uses more ‘ambient’ noise than orchestration to accompany the action). All those factors help underscore the film’s main questions about authenticity and what it means to be real, favorite topics of mine in a different arena.

Bonus: strong– nay, kickass– female characters, two over 40. Let’s raise a glass to that, at least, even if we cannot agree on other points.


Pale Fire
140 ml Cocchi Americano
28 ml Fernet Branca
4 dashes Hella Bitters citrus bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass.
Add ice and stir until chilled.
Strain into cocktail or coupe glasses.

makes two

Bound to make reading Nabokov’s work more tolerable, right?

Foul-Weather Fighter

Tricked out for fighting with a shako

I’ve been reading Revolution in Color lately, which is a noisier business than you might think, as every eight or so pages I find a new annoyance, which I must of course share with my companion. The most frequently referred to irritation in this house is to the cartridge box “tricked out for foul weather fighting,” as we pack for various events, discuss furniture tacks, and generally comport ourselves with all the dignity expected of those engaged in this foolish practice of living history.

Thursday evening, like many people my age, I was fighting pain in various regions of my anatomy and was therefore searching for a remedy to augment the acetaminophen and naproxen cocktail I’d already taken onboard. With ginger beer in the fridge, I searched the handy NYTimes Cooking app and hit upon Julia Moskin’s Cantina Band. I’ve renamed it the Foul-Weather Fighter in honor of the historian’s interpretation of Mr. Copley, and provide the adapted recipe forthwith:

1.5 ounces Fernet Branca
.5 ounces Catoctin Creek Gin (or the gin of your choice)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
.75 ounce simple syrup
Ginger beer

Combine the Fernet Branca, gin, lime juice, and simple syrup in shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Pour into a tall glass, and top off with ginger beer.

It’s hard to describe the taste of Fernet Branca; it’s a challenging amaro, and combined with the Catoctin Creek Gin, lime, and ginger, this has a slightly minty but herbal flavor that’s aromatic, but not bitter, the way Campari can be– or Fernet Branca on its own. Combined with gin and ginger beer, it’s the perfect thing to drink when you’re trying not to be bitter about the way some historians ignore material culture.

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