How about a little news…                                                      …with your booze?

Here you will find a selection of newsworthy items about bars, or about books, and sometimes about bars AND books.

(lovely image above by Jupiterimages Corporation)

DATELINE: February 27, 2009 — I’m sorry, someone had “leftover Vicodin tablets” and didn’t share them?

Does this poor girl have no friends? I’ll be her friend! Hell, I’ll be friends with anyone who gets me these earrings:

Vicodin earrings by Becky Stern

Practically all of you could say this is my belated birthday present. And I have yet to receive a single get-well-soon gesture. I’ll bet Becky Stern’s friends aren’t so gift-deficient (although those gifts are probably handmade and relate in some way to her knee surgery — yawn).

DATELINE: July 4, 2008 — Happy Birthday, America!

Happy birthday to the greatest country on Earth!!! Yeah, I know, we have some problems. But WE still have liquor stores galore. And some countries don’t:

Alcohol once again for sale in Baghdad (it’s a link — click on it)

This is just one of many reasons to be enthusiastically appreciative to be an American. And The Hostess’s heart goes out to the troops in Iraq who are making this sort of thing possible. Good job, US military. Keep up the good work, and keep safe. You rule.

DATELINE: June 11, 2008 — Tidbit from the Trenches of Treachery?:

Well, well, The Hostess has heard from “Slandered” again (this time from the downright ludicrously fake e-mail address of — poor, self-deluded “Slandered”). “Slandered” had this interesting link to share with us:

“Toasting the Joys of Imbibing Properly” from the New York Times

(Thanks, “Slandered”, but I need to point out three things to you:

    1. Linking to pages where people need to sign on is tacky and annoying. Since you obviously have a lot of time on your hands, learn what permalinks are and use them in the future.
    2. Your cutesy tricks with domain names and e-mail addresses may be very entertaining to you, but the WordPress spam filter is less than amused, very powerful, and quite confident in its competence. Consequently, your pithy comments are being re-directed into a spam folder that I am hardly ever — and I truly mean mostly never — even prompted to check. Therefore, by continuing to use inauthentic e-mail addresses — however ironically illuminating they are — you are running the risk of everyone, The Hostess included, missing out on your contributions to this ridiculous blog, to say nothing of the fact that you are fooling no one with any version of your alias.
    3. If you are feeling besmirched, I suggest you carefully consider your past behavior(s). Perhaps if you had not grievously offended others, no one would feel compelled to vilify, traduce, or otherwise asperse you. Relevant as your comments may continue to be, The Hostess could decide at any time that this ridiculous blog is no place for a remorseless, craven poltroon and censor you completely thenceforth. While making amends and improving one’s Karma may not have statues of limitations, life is too short to be (or provide a forum to) an unrepentant dickhead. An old-fashioned apology — however much its sincerity would justifiably be questioned — might not hurt as much as you think.)

DATELINE: June 6, 2008 — For Harley, T.F.A.:

It has come to The Hostess’ attention that a certain Barfly — aka Harley, T.F.A. — has been complaining that this ridiculous blog is “stale”. Well, Harlely, T.F.A., darling, I don’t exactly disagree with you (although I might point out that you don’t even have a blog, stale or otherwise, now do you?). So this bit of (albeit very tangentially) drinking-related deliciousness is dedicated to you, Harley, T.F.A.. And who knows? They may have a motorcycle version in the works you can use:

Adorable GPS alternative

It’s also way better looking than that drunk chauffeur I used to have, and I wouldn’t have to pay for the teddy bear’s drinks, would I? Will wonders never cease?

DATELINE: May 8, 2008 — Finally, someone has invtented the ultimate breakfast beverage:

Bacon Infused Vodka

(Thank you, Marquise Marie, for alerting me to this reason to get out of bed in the morning!)

DATELINE: April 15, 2008

Good gracious! April is apparently “Alcohol Awareness Month”, and here half the month has slipped away without us celebrating our awareness of this fact, or the elixir. This will simply never do! Watch for The Next Bar! Official Visit details to be announced soon…right after I pop my tax returns in the mailDONE! Click through or scroll down, but don’t miss out on the first “E” with me. Life is too short, lads and lassies…

DATELINE: March 19, 2008 – Barflies, ladies, and gentlemen, I present to you the very definition of meta-satire:

It so happens that there is a sardonically — not to mention, brilliantly — named “improvisational comedy troupe” right here in San Frantastic:

As if their name alone wasn’t enough to send one into paroxysms of hilarity, it turns out that they are performing at the Alano Club, which is some sort of haven for 12-step groups. (Follow the links, folks, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!) What a marvelously oxymoronic venue! It’s been ages since I smiled so wryly…

Now, perhaps The Hostess has just caught a virulently giddy strain of Spring Fever, but I think this is even more exquisitely ironic than the (most recent) New York state gubernatorial sex scandal. Governors having affairs = get in line behind our mayor, you copycats. (Too many Larry’s = 1.)

DATELINE: February 29, 2008 – Happy Leap Year Day!

While there are, apparently, some fascinating facts to ponder about February 29th, The Hostess would like to point out that it is — primarily, really — an extra day to drink this year, which is an occasion for celebration (if not presents, alas). Don’t let this opportunity go to waste!

DATELINE: February 15, 2008 – “Wisdom of crowds” my ass:

I haven’t read anything that has made me quite so giddy in a long time:

Maybe NOW people will stop trying to posit that w***pedia is anything more than the colossal waste of cyberspace I have always proclaimed it to be.

Seriously… read the article as many times as it takes to convince you to never click on that part of the Internet ever again.

(Thank you, Nora Charles, for calling my attention to this journalistic juggernaut, and Malvolio, for sending me the link and saving me the trouble of finding it.)

DATELINE: February 11, 2008 – With a name like Winehouse, no wonder I love her

She’s fabulously talented, she’s got a twisted history with a total loser, and she’s been pointlessly hassled by the feds — I have so much in common with her, it’s no wonder she’s My Muse. She’s Amy Winehouse and she just totally rocked the Grammy Awards:

Read all about it!

OK, so they threw Herbie Hancock a bone. Whatever. I can’t decide whether to go out and get a bunch of tragic tattoos — just to be even more like her — or to just be glad she exists so that there is, in fact, a bigger train wreck than The Hostess could ever be. (I mean, if she’s alive, I must be fine…

DATELINE: February 4, 2008 – This could be the greatest example of “Web 2.0” yet!

While we wait (and wait) for Chica Cherry to make up her mind about whether to incorporate the next Official Visit into her 40-day grand birthday extravaganza, I thought I’d share with everyone this most delightful link to happy hours all over the world that she discovered:

Thanks, Chica Cherry! You are a role model among Barflies, and a veritable resource in your own right. I can’t wait to buy you a drink (so, like check your e-mail, will ya’?).

DATELINE: January 30, 2008 – Why doesn’t this guy run for President?

What can I say, I guess I have politics on the brain — and who can blame me, what with “Super Tuesday” coming up and all. (Anyone want to rendez-vous at The Next Bar! after the polls close and watch me affix my “I voted” sticker to the back of my motorcycle helmet?) Anyway, in between thoroughly researching all the propositions (NO! on all that Indian gaming nonsense…), deciding to vote for the candidate with the best hair (although this shouldn’t really surprise anyone) (never mind , he’s quitting today — I honestly don’t know why I bother to endorse candidates — I have better luck with that inscrutable sex known as men, and that’s saying something about my dearth of political acumen), and my humble effort to satisfy the literature longings of a certain (temporary, and innocent!) inmate of the San Francisco jail who has too much time on his hands and not enough books, I have manged to identify another (not incarcerated, nor obviously somewhat confounded by certain precepts of reality) object of my enthusiastic and patriotic affections: Thomas S. Blanton, First Amendment Stud.

He’s obviously smart. He’s pretty cute (with at least the suggestion of dimples); and he must have a good sense of humor if he allowed that photo of him to be used as his First Amendment Center portrait. Then there’s the HUGE coincidence that he won an award for: “piercing self-serving veils of government secrecy, guiding journalists in search for the truth, and informing us all.” I mean, substitute “bar owners'” for “government”, and “Barflies” for “journalists”, and “best Bars in The Book” for “truth” and Tommy (that’s what I call him) and The Hostess ARE ON EXACTLY THE SAME PAGE!

This calls for a new, commemorative drink. One that is red, white and blue. I’ll cogitate on this if you will…and the best suggestion gets a free drink (not necessarily that one, don’t worry), my treat!!!

(To which, someone named Bob replied: “Will American politics ever be sexy? Violet Blue thinks Elliott’s new book might make it so

Stephen Elliott’s ‘Sex for America’“)

DATELINE: January 20, 2008 – The Hostess will leave her entire fortune to the person who agrees to kill her if this ever actually happens:

Humans fall in love with robots, and NOT twisted up in the covers of a science-fiction novel!

Seriously? I want to go on record as preferring the real, human (overwhelmingly pathetically underwhelming) actual male specimens I have had the (usually extreme) misfortune toward whom directing my penchant for attentive and affectionate appreciation over robots. (And if you think The Hostess might be referring to you, I probably am. But do feel free to inquire where you fall on the “whelming continuum”, if you have any doubts.) I mean: I prefer the losers whose portraits are hanging in the Long Hall of Louts (yes, it exists, and if only if they could see themselves on those walls!) to anything non-human. I mean: ick!!!

In fact, robots are hereby permanently banned from becoming Barflies. (The Hostess will end this madness before it begins…) For that matter, so are cloned humans (one can’t be too careful). In the inestimable words of Owen Meany: “this gives me the shivers!”

DATELINE: January 10,2008 – Librarians do so much more than just shush people (and look hot):

A Manhattan librarian stayed awake for 29 hours to win a stupid contest.The Hostess stayed awake for 27 hours ringing in the New Year.

The moral of this story: don’t try to keep up with a librarian…

DATELINE: December 31, 2007 – If they really do this in San Francisco, Operation Mission of Mercy will be launched…

This is just so wrong on every level:

Five years ago, officials in Tacoma, Wash., tried a deceptively simple plan to cut down on public drunkenness – they made getting drunk more expensive.

Way to kick folks who are down! And now, our gruesomely-opposed-to-fun mayor wants to do this in San Francisco.

Well, The Hostess is just not going to allow this to happen without a fight. In fact, if the pool table leveler/movie star doesn’t show up at the appointed dive bar in the Tenderloin on New Year’s Eve (UPDATE: saved by a text message — my mission of mercy will have to wait ’til next year!), I’m going to spend the evening buying up pints of what the so-called “chronic inebriants” are partial to and handing them out to the poor people curled up in doorways who already have enough problems without having to journey to nicer neighborhoods to buy something to drink. What on earth has this world come to?!?

DATELINE: November 8, 2007 – I was pretty agitated:

I guess it’s another round of “Gruesome Newsom”. <sigh> I blame you (you know who you are). People, it appears that only 29% of the eligible voting population in San Francisco voted in this election. GIVE THE HOSTESS A BREAK! You cannot expect me to believe that there are more of “them” than “you” in the city of San Francisco, of all places in this state. Is the concept of “use it or lose it” unbeknownst to you? Are you telling me that we couldn’t at least get John Rinaldi second-place?!? I’m disgusted. You are pathetic. Hello, “community” (now you definitely know who you are), this is not some art project gathering dust for one week out of the year in the desert — this is REAL LIFE. The man over to whom your apathy just handed our fair city for another term is the person who canceled Halloween this year. I hope he cancels your lame ass lemming-fest next year. Maybe then you will get off your stoned asses and use your creative energy to make a difference in the actual world where things really do matter.

Of course, I’m not holding my breath. Instead, I’m waxing nostalgic about a better time, when a quality mayor could be pressed into service while he was browsing in a bookstore…

I’m raising a glass to Mayor Taylor at the next Official Visit. Bring me your election ballot receipts (or your wrinkled “I voted!” sticker) and I’ll buy you a drink for bothering to do something that a whole lot of the rest of the world thinks is important enough to die for. (Thanks to Paladin for pointing me to the story. Least that sorry liar could do, actually.)

DATELINE: October 26, 2007 – Well, it was fun while it lasted:

Call me a sucker for a point eloquently stated, but I’ve decided to re-endorse “Chicken” John Rinaldi for Mayor. Read this:

Why you should vote for Mr. Rinaldi, too.

Given the shots he takes at our local paper for typos and bad grammar, I think he might finally learn how to spell “definitely”, and you have to admit that a run-off would be AWESOME. So don’t waste your vote on someone who doesn’t need it. Vote for “Chicken”.

DATELINE: October 23, 2007 – OK, so we have to go to Lithuania, but you have to admit, this sounds like a pretty cool museum. I mean it has a bar, and they must sell shot glasses:

Boing Boing

Lithuania’s Devil Museum

By David Pescovitz on ArtFortean Times visits the MK Ciurlionis Velniu Muziejus, aka the Devil Museum of Kaunas, Lithuania. The institution celebrates devil imagery in art and culture around the world. Visitors are invited to donate their own pieces to the collection too. The three floors of the Velniu Muziejus

The showcased devils are almost exclusively male, and appear in a variety of styles and aspects. Although most are purely works of art, others have been grafted onto everyday household objects: pipes, ashtrays, nutcrackers (one example seen here) and plates all feature in the exhibition. The statues are made from stone, pottery and wood, but devils are also painted on silk or canvas. Some of the beasties have horns, others pointy tails, while still others are hairy. Imposing black and red colour schemes are the norm, though a few more dignified looking Jack-in-the-Greentype works add variation to the collection.

Contributions from countries as diverse as Mexico, Japan and Cuba are all on display alongside the Slavic artefacts, as is folk art from the indigenous peoples of Siberia. The stairways between each floor are decorated with macabre etchings, large-scale paintings or lively caricatures….

The museum harbours an extra treat in the basement: a well stocked bar, which manages to pull off diabolical decor with taste and style. Although it was empty during my visit, I imagine it would make a perfect venue for drunken carousing in honour of the Lord of Misrule.

The guide, Arunas Stankunas, explained that when the museum opened in 1966, it housed 260 statues. Their previous owner, the artist Antanas Zmuidzinavicius (1876-1966), was obsessed by the number 13, also known as the devil’s dozen. (There may be some significance to the fact that 13 multiplied by 20 equals 260) He had obsessively collected them in contravention of Soviet law, which prohibited any religious artefacts. A collection of so much Lithuanian folk art also carried a covert nationalist, and hence anticommunist, message.

Zmuidzinavicius faced exile to Siberia should his devils be discovered. Following Khrushchev’s thaw (after the death of Stalin in 1953), Zmuidzinavicius donated the entire collection to the state in 1966, anddied later the same year.


DATELINE: October 17, 2007 – I’m sure this is not the last word here:
UPDATE: The plagiarists removed Barflies’ comments from their blog. They’re not only amateurs, they’re derivative degenerates!

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery:
Cute kids. For amateurs…

DATELINE: September 28, 2007 – What’s in your trunk:

Hello, Dears.

The Hostess is Very Busy, but wants you to know she has not forgotten about you. While I seriously contemplate taking next Friday off, here is a fascinating article about books for your amusement:

And no, the person in California with a trunk full of books on alcoholism is not me!

DATELINE: August 28, 2007 – The Hostess changes her political mind:

Bars By The Book has a new hero! Forget that Chicken John for mayor nonsense — write in: Paul Addis. Paul, baby, when you get out of The Joint, come on back and let me buy you a drink. Hell, if didn’t have my Labor Day weekend trip all booked, I’d bake you a cake with a file in it and drive all the way to Pershing, NV to deliver it to you.

I’d propose marriage to Mr. Addis right here on the spot, but with my luck (i.e. lack thereof) in the man department, he’s probably gay and/or polygamous. No matter, bravo to Mr. Addis for bumming out a lot of people who, in my opinion, probably deserve to be bummed out. (And Paul, darling, if you need an alibi, Bars By The Book is here for you, just say the word… )

DATELINE: July 19, 2007 – Special salutations to everyone who came to my bon voyage party:

That was fun! If only my cross-country journey was 1/10th as enjoyable … (but we knew that wasn’t going to happen, right?) Suffice to say, I pitched such a fit at the Washington, Dulles airport that “they” threatened to call security. Certainly nothing bearing any resemblance to fun for The Hostess en route. I will spare you the excruciating details of my travel tribulations. My fellow strandees/hostages and I ranted and raved among ourselves long enough for me to realize that no one actually cares about the specifics of any one else’s airline agonies. We can all bond over the 10th Circle of Hell that airline travel has become on a purely philosophical plane (no pun intended); ps — my eternal thanks to the Barfly who clued me in on how to sneak just enough vodka past the TSAutomatons to make it possible to endure almost everything the airlines can do to ruin your day, including putting you on an airplane that inexplicably and incomprehensibly has no vodka in stock!!!

DATELINE: July 12, 2007 – The Hostess gets politicized:

At last, a San Francisco mayoral candidate worthy of Bars By The Book’s endorsement!

OK, so you have to get past the silly name, “Chicken John”, but I have met the guy, and he doesn’t mind if you call him plain “John”. And I suppose you might have to get past his somewhat unconventional (in a traditional politician sense) appearance, but The Hostess would rather have a cool and interesting and brilliant (I have met him, remember?) mayor than just a pretty (if you go for hair gel, I mean) one. Then there is that bothersome banal man “devotee” business, but it helps to remember that banal man is a lot like Texas: plenty of the people there are great, just everything else about it sucks (and you don’t have to go to either place!). As for Mr. Rinaldi’s (misspelled as “Rivaldi” in the Chronicle article — I don’t think he spelled it wrong on the Official Filing Form Petition I’ll be asking you to sign…) unnecessarily vehement dislike of the bow & arrow statue on the Embarcadero, well, he has plenty of unreasonable company there (for the record, I happen to think the statue is precious and ironic, and certainly not the worst thing about San Francisco, not by a long shot).

The fact is that if I — persnickety and opinionated and prone to disdainful criticism as I am — can get over all of the above, so can you. And so should you. John Rinaldi will make a great mayor, in my not-so-humble opinion. In him, we’ll have a mayor who truly cares deeply about this city, instead of one who cares about photo-opportunities. Plus, I don’t think that John would sleep with one of his best friends wives (although I admit this is pure conjecture, and I can’t speak at all as to any prediliction John may or may not have for The Wrong Women in general). Furthermore, when you talk to John, you are impressed with how carefully considered his views are — from everything to recycling to abortion, and how the right wing fascists should be dealt with — instead of wondering why his voice sounds like he gargles with gravel in the morning, which I find so distracting in the current mayor.

He’s even gone and got himself a Chicken John Rinaldi for Mayor of San Francisco blog. You can read more about John here. You can even download a petition and help him collect the 10,000 signatures required to get his name on the ballot. If you’d rather not campaign, but would just like to sign the petition, I’ll certainly be bringing a copy to Gino & Carlo on Thursday 19 July. Now, I’m not sure about the legalities of drinks-for-signatures, so I’m not saying I’ll buy a drink for anyone who signs it, but you know me — I’m nothing if not generous at a Cocktail Lounge. (Why are you laughing?) Anything could happen…

DATELINE: June 6, 2007 – Mission Accomplished! OK, while this is not a story about bars, or drinking, or even books, it IS a reason to celebrate, which certainly typically calls for a drink, so I’m including it here anyway. I’m also going to add the official “Jericho” website to the Footnotes section of this ridiculous blog (look to the left of the screen and scroll down; see the post for Chelsea Place for an explanation of the Footnotes…). I encourage everyone here to click on that link as often as possible, just to generate cyber traffic, if nothing else. It really is the best show on television (with sincere apologies to Stephen Colbert).

DATELINE: MAY 28, 2007 – This sad story about books made me want a drink: “Bookstore owner burns books in protest”

How this page came to be…

Introducing an exciting new feature: (well, a new feature, at any rate…) Believe it or not, I do not spend all my time plotting and planning Bars By The Book outings and/or recounting them for you (although I can understand if it seems as if I do). Sometimes, I do deign to read and/or watch what passes for news nowadays, and occasionally, I find an item of interest relating to things drinksy, or bar-some, or bookish, or — if the stars are aligned just so — all three: drinking, bars, and books (we call that a “trifecta” at the ‘track). So, I thought it would be the least I could do to share certain headlines relevant to our purposes here. This new (and perhaps exciting, if only momentarily) feature will henceforth be known as “This Just In!” and will appear from time to time as part of this “Foreshadowing” business. And don’t your worry your pretty head about missing any headlines, because I will move older “This Just In!” announcements to a special page you will see over there on the left soon (the picture at the top of that page — currently in “beta” but you’ll be able to see it shortly — is too, too cute; I can’t wait for you to see it!). For now, here is my first “This Just In!” headline: did you hear about this, this truly sad comment on the Way Things Are? WARNING: this is a news item about books, but it will probably make you want to have a drink, which is to say, that is the effect it had on me. Hell, I wanted to find the bookstore owner and buy him a drink!