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Four million Americans, it is reported, plan to attend activities connected with the Obama–Biden Inaugural in Washington–roughly ten times the prior record. That’s enough to convince any sane person to stay home. So what to do?
I propose an inaugural cocktail. To me it feels like 1933 all over again (not that I was alive then, mind). Herbert Hoover, a far better man than his eventual Republican successor, was heading off to salvage something of his name (he would succeed at that, by the way). FDR was about to start the first of his four terms, and Prohibition was coming to an end.
Of that era’s cocktails my favorite was the Clover Club. It’s a vintage drink, popular enough during the Depression to earn Esquire‘s scorn. A bit sweet, a bit sour, and no need for a second. You take one part grenadine or raspberry syrup (pomegranate juice in a pinch), two parts fresh squeezed lemon juice, and half an egg white. Put them in a shaker with cracked ice and shake vigorously to a creamy froth. Add eight parts gin and a dash of apple brandy. Drink to the strains of Roosevelt’s campaign song, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”