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Friday April 21, 2006

You may not even need to click the link, but yes, a man was caught coming into MIA with a suitcase of dead birds. The suitcase was confiscated, and the man was allowed to go on his way. Good times.

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Thursday September 8, 2005

Frances Trombly has her day

Frances Trombly makes some of her work by hand, weaving and cross stitching; other pieces are created on a loom. Either way, it’s time-consuming stuff, and the woman has been busy lately. She’s just come off a well-received show at Tachme’s, has a current show at MoCA, and is in Hanging by a Thread at the Moore Space (opening tonight) and in Reduced at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (opening tomorrow).

Others have written about Trombly’s work much more eloquently then we’re going to, but let’s have a brief run-down. The work succeeds through a kind of clear-eyed pith, married to hard work. Say what you will, but work resonates when it presents itself as the result of effort spent, whether that effort be physical, mental, or (as here) both. Trombly uses several different fabric-related media, and carefully selects her subject matter to each one. The roughness and rigidity of plywood, for example, lends itself well to cross-stitching. There is a value in drawing attention to the medium in this sort of work which Trombly seems reluctant to do. Rumor has it that she considered recording her loom and playing back the sound for the installation at the Art and Culture Center, although ended up not doing so. A careful balancing act, perhaps?

More samples of her work can be seen on her web site (a not-too-bad flash design).

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Sunday May 28, 2006

Haitians stand to benefit from bill. That is, Haitians, like the woman who “forged” a passport to get here, would have a chance to stay if the Senate version of the immigration bill passes. The probability of which seems to be dwindling by the hour: house Republicans are adamant about not including a “path to citizenship” in the bill, oblivious to the fact that we’re essentially at full employment, and illegal immigrants are pretty much an indispensable part of our economy.

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Friday February 2, 2007

Trafficnightmare weekend

SBXLI

Superbowl. Yawn. Speaking of things that irritate me, I’ve decided that any titles I get in all-caps will be reduced to all lower case. Without anyfurther ado:

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Thursday September 7, 2006

Pitchfork pans Rick Ross’ Port of Miami. “Sure Ross needs these beats—he has all the charisma of a cold meatloaf.” Ouch.

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Friday August 3, 2012

Drums and beats weekend

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Wednesday October 4, 2006

Rat Bastard, circa 2002

Rat Bastard, 2002

Hey, cool, Rat Bastard has his own wikipedia page. Years ago, I was playing in a band, and Rat took us into his studio (the old one on Washington Ave) and recorded a pristine 4-song demo for some absurdly low amount of money (I think it might have been a hundred bucks). He did the same for probably thousands of bands, including Marilyn Manson, and has been a catalyst in bringing tons of notable bands to town, and organizing shows for local nights. Oh, and I also played with Rat’s Laundry Room Squelchers for a while.

I haven’t seen Rat in years, but then my attendance at Churchill’s has been pretty spotty. It looks like he’s doing fine; him and V, who took that last photo, are an item. And the Squelchers website has him touring with a bunch of boys (as ‘To Live and Shave in L.A.’) and a bunch of girls (as LRS) in 2006. Go Rat!

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Friday January 5, 2007

Strong mayor debate

Strong mayor debate

At the strong mayor debate last night. Senator Gwen Margolis argued for the proposal, Commissioner Sally A. Heyman argued against; and Nancy Liebman, president of the UEL, MC’d. A very good meeting, and all three had a lot of interesting things to say, but it wasn’t completely satisfying, and I’m less certain of which decision is right then I was going in.

The gist of Margolis’ argument was that under the current system, county department heads who form alliances with a few of the commissioners become very difficult for the county manager to fire, since thel thirteen commissioners directly hire/fire him. She cited successful cities that have a strong mayor. She pointed out all the corruption and scandals that have plagued the government, and was adamant that a single person, accountable to all the people of the county, was the solution. On the other hand, she was short on reasons why a single person is inherently less corrupt then thirteen. Also, she seemed torn, repeating “this is about an issue, not a specific person,” but also citing the talents of Carlos Alvarez as a reason to vote for the proposal.

Heyman was very adamant that the corruption/scandal situation was not tolerable. But she argued that the solution was to enforce anti-corruption laws, strengthen the ethics committee, and weed out the bad department heads, who are the real problem. She pointed out that a strong mayor was a dangerous concentration of power, and anti-democratic in the sense that the locally-elected commission is more directly accountable to the people. She also pointed out that giving the mayor direct hire/fire power over department heads makes those positions more political (currently the non-elected county manager makes those decisions), and that those decisions are not subject to change by the commission, even by a super-majority, under the proposal. However, for all her insistence that corruption was a long-standing problem, she didn’t give a satisfactory answer as to what could be done about it, and why it hadn’t been done up to this point (she wasn’t for term-limits — surprise). And her argument that since the only legal requirements to be mayor are a minimum age of 18 and a 3-year residency in the county (vs. a long list of professional qualifications to be hired as county manager), we might well end up with someone unqualified in the job, was just bizarre. Does she not think the voters consider a candidate’s qualifications?

That’s it in a nutshell — uncompelling arguments on both sides. Some other things that came out of the discussion:

That’s the high points. Genius of Despair was there, and here’s what he had to say. MKH and Rebecca Wakefield were also present, so maybe their thoughts soon. The debate continues; the vote’s on January 23rd.

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Wednesday June 13, 2007

Interested in being an MTV host?

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Saturday December 17, 2005

What is a Cuban cigar problem?

Dade county police arrested a Cuban cigar forging ring. Essentially, they’d take cheap cigars, put bands on them to make them look like Cubans, and resell them. As someone who knows very little about cigars, or the relationship of the embargo to cigars, I have some observations (do correct me if I’m wrong). This news story seems to presuppose the following:

  1. Cuban cigars are fairly widely available – otherwise customers would have been immediately suspicious of the counterfeits
  2. Cuban cigars are considered the best; better then, say cigars made in the Dominican Republic from Cuban seeds – yet they apparently are not – otherwise the fakes would have been found out
  3. Our government considers customers getting what they’re expecting more important then the embargo. Otherwise, why not let them keep selling the fakes?

“The sale of Cuban cigars is prohibited in the United States, police said.” But they wern’t Cuban cigars . . . this sounds more like breaking the code of honor among thieves then breaking the law. “Police seized more than $100,000 worth of counterfeit Cuban cigars . . . ” Um . . . is that $100,000 the actual value, or what they would have been able to sell them for? You see my point . . . $100,000 of cocaine is one thing, but if something is fake, then it matters whether you’re discussing its value-if-sold-as-real, or its actual value. The AP report doesn’t specify.

My favorite line, though, comes from the AHN article:

Investigators estimate the counterfeiting operation cost the legitimate cigar industry millions per year in losses.

Huh? What industry are we talking about here?? Either they’re expressing concern for the smuggler’s profits, or they’re deluding themselves into thinking that the potential “victims” of this scam were now going to buy legal cigars. See #1 above: they’re going to buy the real Cubans now.

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Saturday July 14, 2007

Jelly fish Saturday

jellyfish

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Thursday August 16, 2007

10 good cheap restaurants at Daily Candy. I’m concerned that lots of stuff on DC is paid advetorial, but this list looks pretty good to me.

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Thursday April 27, 2006

Right back at ya, SunPost

sunpost cover Tiffany Rainey’s article on Miami blogging is out in this week’s Sun Post. A pretty great rundown of some of the more prominent local blogs, illustrated by the totally awesome Chris Meesey.

During the art blogging panel, and in a few other conversations I’ve had with journalists, the supposed merging of blogging and journalism comes up often. But the conversations I’ve had with Tiffany, and other journalists, lead me to believe that the opposite is true: what I do looks a little like journalism, but the process is almost the exact opposite. Journalists are usually assigned stories (maybe sometimes they suggest them, but still there is editorial input at every stage), do a whole bunch of research, place phone calls, gather facts, and present a balanced piece that conforms to a previously established format and length. I, on the other hand, write about whatever the hell I feel like, at whatever length I want, and my research, if any, consists of a google search. I could count on one hand the number of phone calls I’ve made to gather information for CM. More then that, though, there is a distinct lack of planning about the whole thing – the average length of time between an idea for a post and the “publication” is maybe an hour. My saving grace is being able to cast a wide net – everything from personal experiences to a long-ass list of RSS feeds (some of which are extremely secret) makes it relatively easy and fun keep finding stuff that’s interesting to me to write about.

Oh, but and so I wanted to talk about the SunPost… I first read the Post a few years ago, when it was sort of shit. It was around the same time CM started that I noticed it getting more fun to flip through, and my first post about it was back in June of last year. Since then much of the Post’s core reporting staff has turned over, and the new team, consisting of Tiffany, Omar Sommereyns, Rebecca Wakefield, and Alfredo Triff (the latter three are all, curiously, New Times transplants), along with a few others, are pushing the rag in a new direction, more community-oriented then the New Times, yet much hipper then ‘straight’ newspapers. The paper has also expanded it’s reach (previously, it was limited to only a few sections of Miami/Dade), and updated its look (some fancy design firm thing).

What’s missing is a modern web site. I’ve railed on about the lack of proper permlinks on numerous past occasions, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg – the Post’s site insists on attempting to duplicate the feel of reading the “real” paper, sacrificing the benefits of the web. And no RSS feed? Give me a break: the Herald has close to 200 different feeds. But whatever; they’ll figure it out, and the SunPost will continue to be an asset to the community.

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Wednesday October 31, 2007

Two more roosters found!

william burroughswilliam burroughs

Muchas gracias to Suzy of MB411 for sending these photos over. She says: “I found you some more cocks! These aren’t Cuban though…I found each of them outside of Nicaraguan establishments! The first one is on Flagler and NW 16th Ave and the second is on SW 2nd ST and 8th Ave.”

Perfect. I’d say that we now have enough material to get a tag up: cocks. And while careful examination of the shapes suggests that not all the photos are originate from the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust program, clearly there is a family resemblance. So . . . does anyone have any more cock pictures?

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Monday August 20, 2007

Carli Teproff on the little Chinese district along 167th Street. Very interesting, though I wish there were more photos. [Previously, here: Maggie’s Oriental Mart, China tag. ]

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Saturday April 29, 2006

YOU get over law

Hey, I have an idea! Why doesn’t the state pass a useless (and possibly dangerous) new law that requires drivers to do something they’ve never had to do before, and then keep ticketing every single person who “breaks” it, until they learn. Oh, nevermind: they already thought of that.

Here’s the deal: if any police, fire, ambulance, tow truck, etc. has it’s emergency lights on and is standing by the side of the road, you have to get out of the MBPD logo lane adjacent to the stopped vehicle, or slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit.

So, picture a routine traffic stop on, say I-95. Say, on the left shoulder. Suddenly, everyone in the fast/carpool lane has to merge with the next lane or slow down to 35 mph. Am I the only one to whom this sounds like a recipe for a massive pile up? If the previous situation was dangerous for police officers, how is this not going to be 10 (100? . . . 1000?) times as dangerous for the regular drivers driving by?

Well, that would only happen if drivers actually followed the law (I find it extremely difficult to remember, even though I’ve known about it for months). And as they begin to, things are going to get dicey, and probably the law will be revoked. But not before police departments get some serious play out of all the tickets they were writing. I passed by that “operation” on MacArthur friday (by the sheer will of God I wasn’t in the right lane, otherwise this would be a much crabbier piece), and there must have been 30 cops on motorcycles there, just pulling over one mark after another.

If police want to be safe during traffic stops without causing mayhem, why not use those PA systems they have in their cars and instruct the poor sap to pull all the way off the highway before stopping? (via Miami Transit)

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Thursday May 17, 2007

About 70% of Broward elementary and middle schools have mandatory school uniforms, and Steve doesn’t approve (I think).

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Tuesday May 31, 2005

Marking Time

A Morir The Miami Art Museum seems to want us to take exhibitions on its first floor less seriously then what goes upstairs. Downstairs is for uneven group shows and the small project room somewhat dismissively called “New Work.” Upstairs is for big, important traveling exhibitions – the draw. So it’s encouraging that we get a show up there that’s curated by MAM staff for a change.

Marking Time: Moving Images is a video art show for video art skeptics. Most of the work in the show is more closely related to photography then to television or film; in other words, it presents images that need motion to make sense, but don’t have conventional characters or plot. In fact, the closest the show comes to a plot is Miguel Angel Rios’ A Morir (Til’ Death).

The piece shows three views of the same surface, from three angles, projected on three walls. Heavy wooden tops spin and move through the scene, which is so alien and geometrically pure that it could almost be mistaken for computer animation. The sound, as the tops slam into each other and hit the ground, is loud and visceral. At the end, all the tops have been knocked down, and there is silence. Everything on the screens has been painted a neutral color; but for a few scrapes, the images would look to be filmed in black and white. The real/not real confusion (i.e. “what the fuck am I looking at?”) makes the piece immediately interesting. But the portrayal of violence and entropy is what makes the piece memorable.

Bill Viola’s superslowmotion classic The Visitation is among other great pieces in the show. Then there are the paper stack pieces by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, which apparently qualify as “moving images” because you can take one of the posters with you. Whatever. Paul Pfeiffer’s sunrise/sunset video splice is soothing and nifty.

The inclusion of non-video work in a show that’s mostly video is probably an attempt to “question the assumptions of the viewer;” and maybe it will do that for some. But the truth is that it emphasizes the tension between looking at video art vs. looking at non-video art (even non-video art that can claim to somehow “move”). They require a different sensory process, and switching back and forth keeps the experience from flowing.

Not to say that the show isn’t well curated, though – the MAM has always had a knack for presenting video art. Each piece is presented flatteringly; some in large darkened rooms, some casually projected on the wall. Alfredo Jaar’s installation of lightbox photographs and mirrors gets a lavish room with its own entrance area. Paul Ramírez Jonas’ airport terminal display is cleverly mounted on the wall of the stairs leading to the show. And so on.

Good show, then.

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Tuesday December 18, 2007

This article about the new Krome detention center has a video that was not at all worth the effort (wouldn’t work in Firefox, played in IE but crashed my browser when finished). The gist: conditions were appalling and people were dying, so congress made them fix the place up a little, but it’s still sort of a hellhole.

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Wednesday April 18, 2007

Redlands real-estate album

where the ultra-rich now live
Click image for slide-show.

These images were made for an e-bay auction of some property down in the Redlands part of Homestead, and they show how quickly that area is being transformed from agricultural to suburban use. In fact, Gabriel, who discovered the set, bemoans the transformation. I’m mainly appreciating them for their inherent beauty, and so they’re presented here in a full-resolution slideshow.

They’re a sort of weird Dan Graham and Barbara Kruger. Apparently photographed with a disposable film camera, they were lovingly scanned and overlaid with magenta all-caps boldface text. One of them even has a line connecting the text to a spot in the picture.

The photographs depict McMansions, both cookie-cutter and outrageous, being constructed, as well as some photos of the surrounding streets and farms. We get a real sense of being between two places, for example in the 4th image, where a dirt country road and a wrecked fence suddenly find themselves juxtaposed with a house that will soon be occupied by an upper-middle-class family. Occasionally we get a glimpse of a slice of the realtor’s car, and in one picture a man spreads his arms invitingly, standing on farmland that will no doubt not exist in another few years.

Gabriel is right — there is a real melancholy to these images. But this is the reality that has always been Miami — people are moving here all the time, and large-parceled suburbs have been swallowing farms since the 1920’s. The transformation in downtown is a part of this too, and while I wish more people liked living in urban high-rises, the truth is that owning a big fat house is a pretty standard human desire. As went Miami, Coral Gables, and Aventura (they didn’t name it “Ives Dairy Road” out of whimsy), so go the Redlands.

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Monday November 19, 2007

Bigups to William Cordova, Bert Rodriguez, and Adler Guerrier aka Dig, who are to will be part of the Whitney Biennial next year. (And down with banal mockery.)

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Wednesday October 17, 2007

Britto-designed uniforms proposed for MIA

Britto uniform

OK, so this design was pretty seriously proposed for all employees of Miami International Airport. The article doesn’t exactly say what the status is, but some of the Miami-Dade Commissioners didn’t like it much. Natacha Seijas actually said, “my maid wears better clothes than this t-shirt,” which really deserves it’s own article, but whatever. My impression is that they want the design changed, but are not averse to having Britto uniforms for the airport. Yes, the shirts are fugly. But there is a larger issue underlying, and we’re way overdue for a serious conversation about this, people.

Now look, I don’t have anything against Britto. A couple of months ago I was working on an overview of everything he’s got going in Miami, and it was going to have a pretty positive spin. He’s a great guy, he makes colorful decorative stuff that makes people smile, and he’s been very generous to lots of positive causes. But in terms of actual art, his stuff is bullshit. Even the people who like it admit that. They’ll say things like, “I know it’s not really good art, but I just like it.” And that’s great — there’s certainly room in the world for a little inane eye candy ((of which talking, you may to enjoy theze superdope screen savers)).

I’m just concerned that it’s getting a little out of hand here. I now pass at least three different Britto sculptures on my commute to work, at least two of which are on public property. Now look here: public art is serious business. It’s based on tax money (which, as P.J. O’Rourke jokes, we’ll kill your grandmother if she doesn’t pay it), and it’s meant to enrich our lives. And trust me, Britto’s stuff may make you smile, but it is not enriching jack shit. We have an Art in Public Places program, and we should not be circumventing that process for public art selection. (The catastrophe of maintaining that art is a somewhat separate issue, btw.)

Fine, public money to my knowledge hasn’t directly funded any of the pieces in question, they’re either on private land or were donated. Private citizens can buy whatever they want. But private citizens should put the breaks on. We don’t let pop stars rewrite the national anthem,* and we shouldn’t let Britto’s formulaic pop-art rehashing become a de-facto flag for the city of Miami just because it’s loud, colorful, and mindless vocabulary ties in with the most easily marketable aspects of our city. Sooner or later, everyone’s going to wake up and recognize this stuff for the bubblegum twaddle it is, and it’ll be too late — the whole city’s going to be covered in it.

* This point is somewhat undermined by this, but still.

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Saturday February 4, 2006

Illegal Art

Illegal Art

Illegal Art opened yesterday at the Art and Culture Center (disclaimer: I work at the Center). I’ve been looking forward to this exhibition since I first heard it was coming over a year ago, and it didn’t disapoint. A lot of the best pieces are videos, but here are a few pieces from the show; above, Heidi Cody, American Alphabet, and Ray Beldner’s “O” sculpture (made of sewn dollar bills), a take-off on the sculpture that Robert Indiana makes lots of money licensing.

Illegal Art

Wally Wood’s Disneyland Memorial Orgy from 1967.

Illegal Art

Diana Thorneycroft’s imaculate graphite drawing of sinister Mickey Mouse and Pooh dolls.

Illegal Art

More Mickey, this time as a possibly functional gas mask by Bill Barminski.

Illegal Art

Yikes! Batman and Robin, the The Ambiguously Gay Duo. (By the way, I photographed all these in the gallery, hence the weird reflections and less-then-perfect quality).

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Friday July 1, 2005

The Critical Miami Guide to Sharks

[contributed by Camilo Santana]

Sharks are nearly blind, but they can make out shapes. When they look up and see a surfer with their appendages hanging out over the sides, it looks just like a seal, their favourite food. So they attack by mistake — literally.

The only real danger is that a shark can enter into a frenzy — they go berserk and eat anything, including other sharks, even their own tails. The way to trigger a frenzy? With blood. A shark can smell a single drop of blood a quarter mile away. So you never wanna be in the water with a chick who doesn’t know her period is on – ahem, 14-yr old girl.

(It’s an ugly probability but one that can’t be ruled out simply because we like to avoid that topic of conversation. Lets see FOX handle that angle.)

Oh, and about the second attack? Knee deep in a sandbar 200 yards out. Umm . . . he was fishing (sounds of distressed fish flapping in the water), and I’d gather them fish bleed when hooked and they weren’t using live bait . . . or perhaps they were LOL?

If I go out into the Cali mountains (they’re five miles to the East here) and start dragging a whimpering rabbit behind me while crouched with fish oil smeared all over my skin I think the chances of me falling prey to a vicious mountain lion attack are pretty high. These people need to practice basic safety.

And for the record, I’ve been in the waters of South Beach (back in ’87 or so) within 10 yards of two rather large sharks. I removed myself from the ocean as fast as I could without splashing. It wasn’t that big of a deal. You do get plenty of warning with sharks.

[Previously: Easy there, Little Shark]

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Tuesday December 4, 2007

Art Basel the links

Installing something impressive in the Botanical Gardens across from the Convention Center.

OK folks, you know the drill. I’ll be delivering coverage from the show all week, more comprehensive information, and sometime Thursday or Friday, the “Art Basel guide for normal people.” For now, let’s get started with some links, of to which I will be adding later:

Updates:

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Tuesday June 13, 2006

Manola’s report from Exxxotica this weekend. Hilarious.

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Thursday June 14, 2007

Ceviche on the beach.

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Wednesday August 15, 2007

2 Live Looks gets the grand profile treatment from the Herald’s Jaweed Kaleem, including photos of the guys in action and a narrated slideshow. Congrats. (Oh, and I get quoted.)

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Thursday February 14, 2008

“Doesn’t the list basically include every fucking condo in Miami?” Cue the fucking confetti and the fucking fanfare, because with those immortal fucking words Duran becomes commenter #10,000 in the history of this fucking site. How about that?

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Tuesday August 14, 2012

The Miami Martini

martini

The Martini FAQ is pretty fantastic, and I agree with 90% of it and generally endorse and co-sign, etc. It goes without saying that in Miami the phenomena of the “Martini Menu,” bearing such abominations as the “Appletini” and the “Chocolatetini,” is particularly rampant. (To some extent this is just a semantic issue, but also, no. No no no.)

Where I start to have issues with Brad is exactly when he recommends shaking a Martini. Yes, Bond, but the whole point is that Bond was wrong about the shaken Martinis, which I think we’re meant to speculate about. (“He was a spy, see? The shaken Martini is more watered down, which allowed him to stay sharper.”) I learned to make drinks from Tony Abou-Ganim, who says you stir a drink with spirits, shake a drink with mixers. (Brad says so later too, but too little too late.)

But my real beef is this, right there in section 1.2, “How do you make a Martini,” long before the discussion of the freezer: “The glasses should be stored in the freezer.”

I don’t know how it is up there, but if I pull a Martini glass out of the freezer it’s going to have frost all over it when I serve the drink, and the stem and base are going to be wet and slippery. You might as well bust out those freezer frost-covered beer mugs like they love at divey Mexican restaurants (where everything is delicious except that one detail) and crappy poolside bars. For a drink as refined and presentation-oriented as a Martini, this is completely WRONG. And a 9,000 word Martini guide that gets this wrong … well, what else is he screwing up?

For the record, here’s how you do it: start by filling your room temperature glass with ice. Add some water. Then go about making your Martini (or Manhattan of Appletini or whatever). Dump the ice and water right before pouring, and wipe the rim of the glass if you need to. Now the part of the glass that holds the drink is cold, the part that you hold is room-temperature, and everybody’s happy. Anything else would be … uncivilized.

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