Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Brandy Alexander Day!

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 5:12 PM



Yes, Owen Morris is the resident cocktail connoisseur of Fat City, but I knew he would let me pay homage to one of the most famous mixed drinks in the cocktail canon: the Brandy Alexander. Saturday is National Brandy Alexander Day and this concoction of brandy, creme de cacao, heavy cream (or sometimes ice cream) has been an inspirational beverage since it was first created in 1922.

Legend has it that the cocktail was created in London, for the wedding party of England's Princess Royal and Viscount Lascelles. But 1920s drama critic and wit Alexander Woolcott insisted the drink was named after him -- although there's no evidence to back up this claim. Woolcott loved to drink them, though.

The cocktail was featured in two movies as the lure that ultimately led to the "road to ruin" for two young women. In The Days of Wine and Roses, it's the drink that Jack Lemmon's character buys for a pretty girl (played by Lee Remick) who loves chocolate, but not the taste of alcohol. She becomes a drunk.

In 1958's Too Much, Too Soon -- based on the real-life memoirs of actress Diana Barrymore, the doomed aunt of Drew Barrymore -- teenage Diana, played by Dorothy Malone, visits her hard-drinking Daddy, John Barrymore. Real-life heavy drinker and Don Juan Erroll Flynn plays the adult Barrymore, who orders a Brandy Alexander for his little girl because it "tastes like a milkshake." Soon Diana has moved beyond the Brandy Alexanders to the real hard stuff and becomes an alcoholic. The movie has an upbeat ending, but in real life, Diana died young -- at age 38 in 1960.

John Lennon and Ringo Starr loved Brandy Alexanders and two bands, Feist and The Walkmen, wrote songs with the name of the cocktail as the title.


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Overheard at the comic shop

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 4:24 PM


Pitch art director Zachary Trover gets sad every time he buys comics on a new comic Wednesday. Earlier this week, Zachary was shopping at the B-Bop Comics when a rather large and intense woman demanded several copies of the Barack Obama and Spider-Man Inauguration Day special edition comic book. The shop owner ignored the one per customer sign and let her buy four so she'd go away. Zachary thinks the woman might be banking on the comics being worth a lot of money some day. Uh, not if they're in their third or fourth print.

This woman wasn't the only special person trying to get rich at B-Bop on Wednesday. A man in a NASCAR jacket waited impatiently until the woman had her Obama comics and then asked if the shop keep if he was interested in buying sports cards. Uh, no. On his way out the door, the man in the NASCAR jacket said just loud enough so everyone could hear, "I guess these fags don't like sports."

No wonder why Zachary is sad every Wednesday.

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MSNBC interviews Claire "Tough as Nails" McCaskill

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 4:00 PM


Look at our girl, making Missouri proud while calling Wall Street bigwigs "idiots."

According to Gawker Media site Jezebel, Missouri's senator looked like she wanted to "cut a bitch" while introducing a bill on the Senate floor proposing salary caps for employees whose companies are receiving federal bailout money.

We want to join her for a glass of congratulatory champagne -- er, make it Pabst. Watch the clip here.

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Brownback yielding seat on Judicary Committee

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Sam Brownback's decision to run for governor will immediately cost Kansas some status in Washington. With Topeka beckoning in 2010, the two-term senator took one for the Republican team and yielded his seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee has 19 members. Democrats were entitled to an 11th seat after the November election increased their majority.

There had been speculation that Republican Sen. Tom Coburn was going to lose his seat on the committee. Coburn is an eccentric who once complained on the campaign trail about "rampant" lesbian activity occurring in school bathrooms. In 1997, he called NBC's decision to air Schindler's List "an all-time low" on account of the violence and nudity it portrayed. (Yeah, Spielberg, that scene in the second act where the chainsaw killer interrupted the orgy was totally gratuitous.)

Alas, Brownback is reportedly stepping aside, keeping Coburn's agile mind where it is. 

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SUV crashes and burns on Interstate 670

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 2:41 PM


Nasty accident last night. A driver crashed a SUV through a concrete barricade near Locust Street and landed on Interstate 670.

My morbid curiosity took over, and I went to look at the scene just before lunch.

Continue reading »

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Heidi Phillips of Frogpond and Abileen Starts New Solo Project (MP3-enhanced)

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Heidi Phillips
  • Heidi Phillips

It was only a couple years ago that Heidi Phillips and her band Abileen recorded a full-length album only to break up as it reached completion. Take It All Back has since seen some hand-to-hand distribution, but much of Phillips' best work has remained largely unheard.

That will hopefully change this year, as Phillips returns to local stages with a new band composed of former Abileenians Jeff McGinness (drums) and Danny Krause (formerly on bass, now on guitar) as well as Sunshine Destroyers bassist Calandra Ysquierdo.

"I'm playing out under my name so I can play whatever I feel like playing," says Phillips, a former co-songwriter for Kansas City alt-rockers Frogpond. "I feel like I've got a large enough catalog that I don't want to have to redefine myself anymore. I want to look at my body of work as a whole and embrace all those creative times."

That means Phillips will be playing Frogpond songs, such as these two from the Art Alexakis-produced Count to Ten album.

Continue reading »

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Christopher Elbow named number one chocolate in all of America

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Christopher Elbow showing off his some of his chocolates

Christopher Elbow is the premier chocolate maker in Kansas City, but now he can start bragging that he's the best in the country. This according to Food & Wine magazine, which in its February issue lists Elbow's No. 6 Dark Rocks chocolate bar as the number-one chocolate.

No. 6 Dark Rocks is one of 14 chocolate bars available in Elbow's line. The rocks refer to the candy pop rocks embedded within the Venezuelan dark chocolate. Other chocolates in the series feature ingredients from the traditional peppermint to the exotic chili blend.  

Elbow, who's in the middle of preparing for Valentine's Day (more on that next week), said the ranking was a shock to him: "I knew they [Food & Wine] were going to do something but I didn't know what it was. They had asked me for some samples back in November and were interested in our artisanal chocolates, so we sent them the line. Then this month we just found out ... there's been a definite uptick since the article came out."

The article is available here, and the chocolate is available online and at Elbow's store at 18th Street and McGee. If you have a choice between the two, definitely spend the time to go in person and treat yourself to a hot cocoa as well.

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Getting ready for the Super Bowl

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM


Somebody once told me that for copyright reasons or some crap like that you're not supposed to call it the Super Bowl but the "big game" or the "championship." I say damn the torpedoes. It's the Super Bowl and it deserves some super snacks! I'm not talking some chips and weak-ass salsa here but some manly, innovative snacking.

Jason Day and Aaron Chronister have the right idea with their bacon explosion, which has enough calories to kill Oprah's studio audience. While they're now famous, they are by no means the only pioneers into the unhealthy world of snacking.

Pictured above is the snack food stadium.

Continue reading »

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McCaskill wants to cap salaries of bailout recipients

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM


If the federal government's bailing you out, then you're not going to make more than President Barack Obama. At least if Sen. Claire "Bear" McCaskill has her way. She's introducing a bill right now -- on CSPAN 2: The Deuce! -- that would cap pay for employees of private companies taking federal bailout money. Employees couldn't make more than Obama's $400,000 salary until their company stopped receiving federal dollars. McCaskill's people say the salary cap would also include bonuses and stock options.

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