The Peatier Principle

I don’t know whether to be delighted or dismayed to discover that David Edelstein’s taste in whisky appears to be similar to mine, and to find him publicizing it. I am not much of a drinker and have been known to comment that ethanol could disappear from the face of the earth without a whimper from me… except for single malt whisky. Single malt drinkers are the snobs of those who imbibe distilled spirits, and those of us who gravitate to the seven peaty varieties from the Hebridean island of Islay, off Scotland’s west coast, turn their noses up at the rest of the run-of-the-mill snobs in the quest for an experience of sublime ferocity. My devotion to the Islay malts led me to make a pilgrimmage to the island the focal point of one of the bicycle touring trips to Scotland, perhaps my favorite place on earth, which I have arranged for myself every few years for the past several decades. Alas, unlike the Islay devotees Edelstein describes in his article, I was not able to bring the island’s aroma home with me.

Edelstein, Slate‘s film critic, does a good job of describing the lay of the land in preparing Slate‘s readership for a ‘net whisky tasting. I was excited to learn that Ardbeg, perhaps the most sublime of the sublime, is to become available again now that the owners of the popular highland malt Glenmorangie have resurrected the distillery. In one of the most thoughtful gift-giving acts anyone ever did for me, a friend searched high and low several years ago for a bottle of Ardbeg when it was largely inaccessible. I still sip from it, but perhaps I do not have to remain so parsimonious if it is becoming available again! Counterbalancing these glad tidings is Edelstein’s news that the other of my Islay favorites, Lagavulin, is becoming rare due to distillery shortages. I hope Edelstein’s influence in creating snob appeal doesn’t singlehandedly drive up demand and hence the price of my next bottles. Think I’ll head for a wee dram now…

Smearing the messenger

The Bush machine aims its poison darts at another military hero — Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski. “There they go again. Whenever the Bush machine is put on the defensive, it immediately goes on the offensive, and character assassination is one of its favorite weapons. I’m not talking about the attacks on John Kerry’s patriotism. I’m talking about the poison-tipped assault on another military veteran, retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, whose damning eyewitness account of how neoconservative zealots in the Defense Department bulldozed the facts and drove the country to war was published in Salon last week…” —Salon

Lost Your Drive?

Antidepressants may tinker with our evolutionary mating instincts: “…(L)ovesickness has been with us for more than 3,000 years. But psychiatrists may be unintentionally “curing” us of that experience and other aspects of romantic love with modern antidepressant medications.

So argue the anthropologist Helen Fisher, and the psychiatrist James Thomson Jr. Their case, sketched out in Fisher’s recent book, Why We Love, centres on how certain antidepressants could be blocking chemical pathways in the brain that were paved by evolution to help us meet and keep mates.” —Times of London

Titan Missile Complex for Auction on eBay

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Huge Underground Facility in Central Washington State; US $3,950,000.00: “Underground tunnel level 5 stories below ground level.

Underground has a constant unheated temperature of 55 degrees.

Wall thicknesses 2 feet to 14 feet.

Built to withstand a 1 MEGATON blast within 3,000 feet and survive!

Private water system with 700′ well.

360 degree view. Few Neighbors. Private, secluded location.

Possible Uses: Ultra Secure, Ultra Private, Personal/Corporate Retreat

World Class Winery – Plant Vineyard above, Store Vintage below

Backup Data, or other long term storage

Year Round Youth Camp or Boarding School…”

1 silo could be a 155′ Rock Climbing Wall

1 silo could be a 100′ deep SCUBA Training Pool”

Flak in the USSR

“The Royal Opera’s sexually charged production of Lady Macbeth reignites one of our most burning cultural conundrums – the ‘Shostakovich Question’... The ‘Shostakovich Question’ is a debate is over the relationship between the composer and the triad of Stalinism, Mother Russia and Shostakovich’s own deep humanism. It asks: why did Shostakovich remain in the USSR, while others like Stravinsky left? Was he obliged by a love of country to acknowledge, if not accept, the government? Or was his life torn between a public and private self? Indeed, was every musical phrase a thread woven through a tortured tapestry of dissent, a passionate but coded cry of opposition?

The ‘Shostakovich Question’ was blown open by the publication in 1979 of Testimony, by defector Solomon Volkov, who claimed his text was a memoir based on conversations with Shostakovich prior to the composer’s death four years earlier, ostensibly confirming that Shostakovich’s music was indeed coded dissent against Soviet totalitarianism.” —Observer.UK

Spain Likely to Pull Troops From Iraq

“Spain’s new prime minister-elect today reiterated that Spain will withdraw its 1,300 troops from Iraq, barring a United Nations mandate for a continued military presence.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said ‘the war has been a disaster, the occupation continues to be a disaster. . . . There must be consequences. There has been one already,’ he said, ‘the election result. The second will be that Spanish troops will come back.'” —Washington Post

Socialist win stuns press:

“The Spanish press analyses the Popular Party’s shock election defeat in the wake of the Madrid bombings.” —BBC

Scientists find ’10th planet’

“Scientists may have discovered the solar system’s 10th planet, more than 3 billion kilometers farther away from the sun than Pluto.

NASA is set to make an official announcement later Monday U.S. time.

The object — about 10 billion kilometers from Earth — has been given the provisional name of Sedna after the Inuit goddess of the sea….

Sedna is the largest object to be found circling the sun since Pluto was discovered in 1930.

The discovery has also sparked debate over what constitutes a planet.” —CNN