Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prize for visitor 100K, part 1

My sitemeter is heading toward 100,000 faster than I had anticipated (thank you to all who are stopping by, even the leftist trolls) so I'll go ahead and give you all an incentive to come back often by revealing the prize package for Mr. or Ms. 100,000. That is if I can ID you and you give me a snail-mail address to send the stuff to.

Part one reflects my love of history, with a special focus on the "odd bits". It is a copy of the book Absinthe: History in a Bottle , by Conrad Barnaby, III.

And if that were not enough you also get this:

A 24 x 36" poster of an advertisement for Absinthe Robette. This is an example of French Fin de siècle advertising art and depicts La Fée Verte (The Green Fairy) holding up an absinthe glass with spoon and sugar cube.

Absinthe is an apartife ( a liquor with a high alcohol content which is sometimes used to stimulate the appetite) which is made with the plant Artemisia absinthium (wormwood). It is anise (liquorice) flavored and contains the chemical thujone, from the wormwood.

Absinthe has a bitter taste so drinkers typically pour a shot into a glass then place a sugar cube on a perforated spoon and drip cold water over the sugar so that it dissolves into the absinthe. the mixture of absinthe, water and sugar turns a milky green.
If you have seen the movie From Hell staring Johnny Depp, you'll remember that Depp's character, Inspector Abberline, also added a few drops of laudanum (opium disolved in alcohol) to his absinthe.

Absinthe never became as popular in the United States as it did in Europe, especially France, but it did have its devotees, including Mark Twain. Twain and his contemporaries would ofter enjoy a glass of absinthe at the Old Absinthe House bar in New Orleans Vieux Carré. At the corner of the bar there sits a green marble fountain topped with a small brass statue of Bonaparte and four brass spigots which would drip cool water into the patron's glasses.

Absinthe was outlawed in most of Europe as well as the US after a wave of hysteria in which it was blamed for everything from brutal murders to the loose morals of young Parisian women. After the creation of the European Union the harmonization of the member nations import/export laws allowed absinthe to be re-leagelized in the EU.

Absinthe is available from various suppliers in the EU by Internet order. A good source is The Fine Spirits Corner, but by the time you pay the shipping it can get expensive.

Note also the more realistic way the female form is depicted on the poster. This is far superior to today's unhealthy "size zero" mania.