Archive for September, 2010

Inside the Mind of a Bathroom Attendant

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

bathroom attendant

The following is an interview of an acquaintance (FYI…I’d call him a friend if he had a sexier occupation) who is a “professional” bathroom attendant at a popular Manhattan bar. That is, the guy who hovers over the bathroom sink turning the water on and off, then handing you paper towels.  While this interview was meant to be informative, unfortunately it was not.  However, it was humorous.

I should let you know that it was a hybrid written/verbal interview, but the written portion had to be translated verbally afterward, so the write-up is my best attempt at merging everything.  I corrected his grammar here and there, while trying to keep it authentic.  What follows is a glimpse into what you’re dealing with when dealing with the bathroom attendant.

THE INTERVIEW

Kavorka:  How long have you been a bathroom attendant?

Bathroom Attendant: Since I was working in North Carolina.

Kavorka:  OK, but what year did you first start working in bathrooms as an attendant? (more…)

Getting to Know the Characters of Boardwalk Empire

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

HBO offers a pretty solid summary of the first episode. One of the big issues with the show is that the first episode was that it was a bit hard to follow. It was nearly the length of a movie and had a ton of characters, most of whom seemed to be suit-wearing men between 25 and 50. Let’s take a closer look at the likely recurring characters and also whether or not they had real-life counterparts. Much of the information below was gathered from Nelson Johnson’s excellent Boardwalk Empire book.

Who was real and who was fake?

Nucky Thompson from Boardwalk EmpireEnoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) – Nucky is the Atlantic County Treasurer. He is ruthless in his pursuit of power and will dispose of people who bother him. He says he lost a wife to consumption (tuberculosis), but it’s unclear whether or not this is true as he lied about his youth in a speech to the Women’s Temperance Union. His brother is the County Sheriff.

Real Life Person: Enoch L. Johnson. This seems like a spot-on character match as they both share the same nickname, political positions and affiliations with organized crime. Johnson was the public face of organized crime in Atlantic City’s Prohibition-era heyday. Johnson lost his wife to tuberculosis (consumption), so one can assume that fictional Nucky is telling the truth about having had a wife. Real Nucky was a lot bigger than Buscemi, standing an imposing 6′4. He also probably did not order hits on adversaries, just simply cut them off from doing business. (more…)

Boardwalk Empire: A Closer Look At Prohibition

Monday, September 20th, 2010
Nucky Thompsons strategizing

"To those beautiful, ignorant bastards"

With Martin Scorsese directing and Terence Winter writing, HBO’s newest series is sure to be a hit. Expect some deep philosophical prodding in the way that The Wire explored the perpetual nature of inner-city poverty and how The Sopranos showed the human side of gangsters. Boardwalk Empire will be about prohibition, questioning the motives and exploring it’s ineffectiveness, creating a virtual transfer of tax dollars into the pockets of organized crime. The Prohibition Era lasted from 1919 to 1933. Atlantic City was notorious during this time period for its lax enforcement on the alcohol ban.

Steve Buscemi stars as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a character closely based on Enoch Johnson, an Atlantic City politician and racketeer. Buscemi pulls off the dark and calculating role, showing “compassion” for an immigrant by eliminating her husband. Probably worth mentioning: it it kinda creeps me out that Buscemi appears to be wearing lipstick. But that’s neither here nor there.

wife beater dead on Boardwalk Empire

The wifebeater is taken care of in a gesture by Nucky

Gotta love his brokering the sale of 500 cases of whiskey (bought at $70/case and sold at $120) and then getting a kickback when his assistant (Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody) steals the Canadian Club from Luciano and Rothstein’s crew on their way back to Chicago. Al Capone, a young hustler, teamed up with Jimmy for the heist and could be an emerging character as well. As an aside, Canadian Club has been getting some serious airtime lately. Besides being featured on Boardwalk Empire, it’s also on Mad Men as Don Draper’s drink of choice.

Boardwalk Empire Terminology

Some of the language is true to the time period, but not well-understood anymore. Here were a few that stuck out: (more…)

Protein-Laced Devotion Vodka: We Have a Situation

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

The Jersey Shore’s Mike Sorrentino, aka the Situation, is now an equity partner in a new niche of liquor. With 2 grams of casein per ounce and a half (shot), Devotion Vodka’s pitch: vodka with protein!

Jersey Shore's The Situation flirting with a transvestite

Not realizing a tranny - now that's a situation!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. To be nerdy and scientific: our bodies have metabolism priorities. When there’s alcohol in the system, the body isn’t worried about growing or preserving muscle. The highest priority is to metabolize the alcohol into various by-products. Essentially everything else goes on hold, so that extra protein is likely going to be stored as fat, making it no different than adding carbs to the drink. You can’t simultaneously be getting wasted and bigger.

Jersey Shore's The Situation after realizing that he was flirting with a transvestite

The Situation is a little disturbed by the transvestite incident, but shrugs it off

The one purpose the casein (protein) could serve is to make the drinker feel fuller. Casein, a milk protein, does tend to have that effect because it is relatively slow to digest. So, if drinking Devotion Vodka causes you to avoid that late night pizza, it’s a good tradeoff. Otherwise, just stick to regular vodka and you’ll be better off for having had less calories.

Calories in Devotion Vodka: 105

For a 1.5 oz serving, calculated by taking the calories in vodka, 97, and adding 8 (2 grams of protein x 4 calories per gram)

Devotion Vodka runs around $30 per 750mL bottle and like Tequila Avion, is currently available in major U.S. markets.

[Ed. Note - The Situation is also endorsing a pre-workout pill, NoX Edge, which will not be reviewed here, but I will say that the general class of supplements is not particularly useful.]

Don’t Tell Rex Ryan About Deep Fried Beer

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

There’s a new phenomenon on the “if it’s ingestible, you-can-fry-it” scene: this year’s entrant into the Texas State Fair cooking competition — deep fried beer. Against the low-hanging fruit of deep fried latte, coke, and butter, all separate, previous entrants, it actually makes sense.

beer fried ravioliThe reason I mention Rex Ryan is that he clearly loves beer and junk food and has probably 7 of the top 10 risk factors of a heart attack. I happen to be a Jets fan and his performance as the star of HBO’s Hard Knocks has probably made a lot of the country a supporter. He is a supreme leader and motivator, able to balance the delicate mix of authority, self-deprecation and respect for underlings. It’s a management case study on TV, except HBO ignores his brilliance as an elite defensive strategist, which underlies his credibility. So yeah, I don’t want Rex to discover more junk food because the Lap-band surgery hasn’t exactly worked.

rex ryan likes beer

so much for the surgery

And what is deep fried beer? By its creator, it’s been described as beer (Guinness) enclosed in a ravioli shape with pretzel dough. The trick is that it can’t sit too long or else the alcohol in the beer will vaporize (evaporate) and the remainder will be non-alcoholic, like how the vodka in penne alla vodka doesn’t have any alcohol content. So, the pretzel shell provides some protection from the high grease temperatures. I’ll guess that some still vaporizes and there’s a small amount of remaining alcohol. I doubt the competitive eating circuit would allow anything with booze in it, but it’d be an interesting experiment. Maybe the bigger guys could compete with Sonya Thomas in the hypothetical fried beer eating competition. Lofty goals, but we can only hope…

Our jeans not withstanding:  In Rex We Trust