Elder Monk

All too often the cocktails I find have names that make little or no sense. Sunday’s new cocktail did not have that problem. It has a name derived directly from the ingredients.

The Elder Monk had the following recipe:

1/2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Benedictine
1/2 oz. St Germain
1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse
1 oz. Lemon Juice
1 twist lemon (as garnish)

Shake, strain, over ice into an old-fashioned glass.

St Germain is an Elderflower liqueur, which provides the adjective. Chartreuse is made by monks and Benedictine is named after a monastic order. Therefore, the monk has two claims on the name.


There was a comment on the site from which I culled this (http://www.kindredcocktails.com/) to go light on the lemon juice. The half lemon that I squeezed produced 1/2 oz., so I went with that.

Despite the drink sounding as though all of the herbal flavours and the gin would clash, it is a delightful drink. If you are not a fan of gin, I think you could use vodka and there is enough coming from the other ingredients to keep it interesting.

Published in: on 31 March, 2013 at 16:48  Leave a Comment  

Top Ten Albums

I love making lists of my favourite things.

This night I was listening to albums. Did not get to a full ten, but I heard enough to confirm that these belong in my Top Ten

Human League  : Travelogue
Hawkwind           : Warrior at the Edge of Time
Levellers             : Levelling The Land
Amanda Palmer : Theatre is Evil

Published in: on 29 March, 2013 at 22:40  Comments (2)  


Once again we reach Easter weekend, when I recall four day weekends, as I work Friday and Monday. This year, however, I look forward to three days of excitement.

Saturday: Return of Doctor Who
Sunday: Return of Game of Thrones
Monday: Return of baseball

Technically baseball returns on Sunday night with the Astros and the Rangers, but Monday is the A’s first game of the season and I have a ticket to see the Division Champions start the defense of their crown.

Published in: on 28 March, 2013 at 21:20  Leave a Comment  

Dull Wines

On Sunday we went with my niece and her boyfriend to The City; which is the local name for San Francisco. No sense of false modesty there in assuming that the definite article should belong to SF. On the recommendation of a work colleague we ate at Scoma’s; a place whose age is shared with me. I think I owe the colleague a glass or two of wine for an excellent recommendation.

There was one oddity. The menu implied that most of the wine list was dull, as it highlighted those bottles that were “interesting”; damning the remainder by omission.


Published in: on 26 March, 2013 at 6:00  Leave a Comment  

My Other Car

In the US, number plates are placed in a frame and that frame is attached to the car; rather than fixing the plate directly. In common with most people, I still have the holder that came with the car that advertises the dealer who sold it.

Some people make the effort to change it. The one below caught my attention on Saturday.


Published in: on 24 March, 2013 at 18:34  Leave a Comment  

Not The World Cup

We are in the middle of the World Baseball Classic (WBC). The organizers believe it is the baseball equivalent of the World Cup.  I can give you four reasons why it is not similar at all.

  1. Most of the best players are choosing Spring Training with their teams over representing their countries
  2. No one at work is discussing the competition. There was more chat about the last World Cup than there is about the WBC
  3. Network TV is not covering the tournament, whilst every game of the World Cup was on live US channels.
  4. The country that invented the sport believes it has a Deity given right to win the tournament, but always manages to lose in an embarrassing fashion.


Ok, that last one makes the WBC look an awful like the World Cup. 

At least England has 66.


Published in: on 16 March, 2013 at 6:07  Leave a Comment  

Personality Test

Which of the following options is the worst choice for drinking water

a) The Toilet
b) A bath full of warm water and people
c) A fountain that recycles the same water
d) A bowl of water that is cleaned and refreshed at least one a day

If you answered d), you are probably our cat. He rarely drinks from his bowl, but will always try the other three options.

Published in: on 15 March, 2013 at 17:57  Leave a Comment  

Alma Mater

I was watching a recently recorded episode of The Big Bang Theory, which had a plot about encouraging women in science. That made me think of Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, one of only four women to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Until 2009 she was the only woman outside the Curie family to be so honored. She was a former student of the High School that I attended. Our science block bore her name and she was the school’s most lauded pupil.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

It was only today, looking up Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin on Wikipedia that I  followed the link to Sir John Leman High School. The entry included a list of notable famous students. On that list was the veteran actor Sir John Mills. I cannot recall him ever being mentioned, although to most he was clearly the more recognizable name and face. Maybe he was and my science geek tendencies just made Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin the more memorable person.

Having written this post in draft, I put it aside and watched a charming British coming of age comedy called Sixty-Six. The film included a mention and archive footage of another Sir John Leman alumni; Sir Stanley Rous in his role as president of FIFA.

Published in: on 11 March, 2013 at 6:05  Leave a Comment  

Canary Watching

As long as Norwich stay in the Premier League, I can see every game in its entirety on TV. It is not yet certain that they will avoid relegation this season, but I remain hopeful. I was in the UK, I would not be able to see as many games. After watching Saturday’s display, that may be a mixed blessing. Norwich got a draw; would have won it the death, but for a penalty save from the Southampton goalie. It would not have been a deserved victory.

Watching the game, did cheer me up in one regard. At the start of the match it was pouring down with rain, which as the temperature dropped turned to a mix of sleet and snow. Saturday lunch was spent drinking fruit juice in the warm sunshine. Watching games at a cold Carrow Road from the warmth of California has definite advantages over being there.

Published in: on 10 March, 2013 at 12:37  Leave a Comment  


In honour of National Grammar Day, which was on Monday, this post is a moan about an annoying habit of using unnecessary words with acronyms.

ATM Machine: Which when you expand the three letters becomes Automatic Teller Machine Machine (American for cash machine)

PIN Number: The N stands for number.

Jeb Bush: Brother of George W Bush. His actual name is John Ellis, so the B is for Bush. His name has two Bushes in it. Based on White House history, a second Bush is a bad idea.

Published in: on 7 March, 2013 at 7:00  Leave a Comment