Prelude To A Whole Lot of Preludes and Fugues
Catherine Wheel: Ferment and Chrome

A World I Didn't Know Existed

There are many such, I'm sure.

A couple of days ago I was reading an article about the legal battle between Hunter Biden and his "baby mama," mother of a child whose paternity he has attempted to deny, and whose existence Joe Biden refuses to acknowledge. (Yeah, one could say a lot about that, but why bother?--anyone paying much attention has seen what kind of men they are. Kindly, honest Uncle Joe is a creation something like the Keebler elves.)

The article mentioned that the mother is a "former bottle girl." What could that possibly be, I wondered? Via the internet I encounter many things that I have never heard of, and via the internet I can usually remedy my ignorance pretty quickly. And I quickly found this article, "I'm A Bottle Girl at a Las Vegas Nightclub." She never actually explains the word fully, offering this semi-recursive definition: '"Bottle girl" is slang for girls who work in clubs and do bottle service.'

"Bottle service"? I gather from the article that it means a very attractive young woman bringing extremely expensive bottles of champagne and other liquor to extremely rich men (and women, too, I suppose), in a sort of ceremony. It strikes me as pretty strange that such a job exists, but not really all that surprising. What did surprise me--and I'm still shocked--is the amount of money that may be involved.

If you have a $10,000 minimum, you're agreeing to spend $10,000 on liquor, and that doesn't include the tax, the venue fee, or gratuity. When we bring bottles over, we use lights, confetti sparklers, and costumes. All the clubs compete to bring something new to that, because obviously the wholesale value of the liquor is not what the markup is. We're selling the experience and trying to create nights that people are never going to forget.

We only do presentations with Champagne. Occasionally there are exceptions for very high-end tequila or cognac. On New Year's Eve, you're probably going to have to spend at the very least $5,000 to get lights and confetti because we're going to have tables with $30,000 minimums.


Their minimum was probably $200,000, but customers like that will always go over.

Yes, one could make a moral observation about all this, but it seems superfluous. 

And this was funny:

You wouldn't order a Long Island iced tea from me. I personally don't even know how to make one.

I've always naively assumed that a Long Island Iced Tea is just iced tea and vodka or some other alcohol. Once again the internet dispels my ignorance. It sounds a little on the nasty side, actually: "typically made with vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola." (Wikipedia)

Would she bring me a PBR?


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For ten grand she would bring you as many PBRs as you want!
Has his predecessor ever acknowledged any of his grandchildren?

I hope she's saving her money. "Bottle girl" is probably not a career that can be pursued past sometime in her 30s.

Your question seems like a possible symptom of TDS. ;-)

Now I'm curious as to whether anyone has ever said that one of Trump's sons is the father of their child.

I've never heard anything of that sort, but that doesn't mean much. Though you'd think it would have been shouted from the housetops if there were anything.

Yeah, Long Island Iced Teas are deadly, but they do actually taste a bit like iced tea. The Coke's only there to give it color. It's basically a cocktail that you can get drunk on quick but which goes down easy. You seldom see someone simply drinking one for pleasure.

Biden seems to be a similar class of person as Trump -- he just hides it better (learned from the Kennedy's?)

"Biden seems to be a similar class of person as Trump"

Right. I consider them pretty equal as far as basic character is concerned. Both pretty rotten, but in different ways.

The description of Long Island Iced Tea sounds kind of sickeningly sweet.

I thought about putting this in a more appropriate thread, but it would probably get lost.

Has anyone seen the English version of Ikiru called Living? The screenplay is by Kashuo Ishiguro, stars Bill Nighy.


Not I

Haven't seen or even heard of 'Living' till now, but just ordered it from the library. Was a little skeptical, as Ikiru is an all-time favorite of mine and you hate to see a classic like that botched up, but the reviews are uniformly good.

Well, I asked because I wanted to know what y'all thought about it. I wish I had seen the original more recently. I just found it when I was clicking around looking for something to watch.


I watched Living, Janet. Thought that Bill Nighy was real good, as he always is. The story was enjoyable too; a well made movie. Then I went back and re-read The Death of Ivan Ilych, which both movies are said to be based on, and found little resemblance between them. Not a complaint, just an observation. I have never thought that Ivan Ilych was very compelling; the movie with Nighy was much more interesting to me.

Yeah, Stu, if I remember correctly Ikiru was only "loosely based on" or "inspired by" the Tolstoy story, while it appears from the description of Living that it's more directly drawn from Ikiru. It's even set in the same time period (early 1950's). I'm very much looking forward to watching it.

I sorta would like to watch it again, now that I'm thinking about it. The relationship between the main character and the young woman continues to have me thinking. Nicely, it is not very long. So many movies these days are such a slog to get through but this one was not. It was free on one of my streaming services, which would be either Amazon Prime or Netflix, not sure if it still is. Would like to know Janet's thoughts too; but we can't give too much away as Rob wants to watch. Though it perhaps mirrors the Japanese version he has already seen.

It's on both Netflix and Prime. Which is surprising. On the former it's free, on the latter you have to buy or rent it, for FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS!! Outrageous.

Maybe I'll watch it. As far as video is concerned, I've been pretty much on a fast food diet for some time. Just finished Jack Ryan, for instance (good if you like that sort of thing).

I have a hard time seeing any resemblance at all to Ivan Ilyich, and I just read and listened to a discussion of it last year, so I am pretty clear in the details.

Living is much shorter.


"Living is much shorter" is a funny sentence, Janet. :-)

Nowadays, I can confirm the veracity of that statement.


I keep reading PBR as PBJ.


Re: video fast food I've been doing the same. Watched an Italian "limited series" called 'The Trial' (pretty good as courtroom dramas go) and am currently watching a series from Luxembourg (!) called 'Capitani,' named after the main detective. It's quite well done, and is notable for the fact that its episodes are only 30 minutes long. Wasn't sure if that would work at first, but they pull it off very well. So far there are two seasons and each contains 12 half-hour episodes. I'm near the end of the first.

I also watched a series set in Luxembourg but that name doesn't ring a bell. I can't come up with much about it now except the way a young beautiful policeperson pronounced the name of the country: "Looksemboorg", "oo" as in "loose." Surely the same show...? It made me realize I've been pronouncing it wrong all these years: "Luxemburg", "u" as in "luck". I'm so embarrassed.

"I keep reading PBR as PBJ" :-)

For some reason Pabst Blue Ribbon kind of caught on among beer drinkers as a semi-ironic favorite low-grade beer and acquired that nickname. I don't know why it was Pabst and not Miller or something.

Also I don't know what happened to the brands that were very prominent when I was growing up: Schlitz, Falstaff, the one that was claimed to have "gusto".... Must have been poor at marketing because I doubt there was all that much difference among them.

I don't think I've ever heard it pronounced that way by an English-speaker, so I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. It's like Mexico vs. Meheeco, I imagine.

A lot of the brands like the ones you mention were terminated in the 80s and 90s when the big brewing companies started consolidating. They were bought out and absorbed, and the big guys kept the names of the ones they deemed profitable and shut down the others. This happened here in Pittsburgh in microcosm, as it did in a lot of other cities with multiple "mainstream" breweries.

In related news, America's oldest "craft" brewery, Anchor (San Francisco), is being closed after 120+ years, after being bought by one of the biggies a few years back. I read about it last week, and by the time I went out looking for any remaining Anchor products on Saturday everyone, both beer stores and bottle shops, had sold out. Couldn't even find a stray 6-pack at the supermarket.

Sad about Anchor. As I'm sure you're aware there's a trend for craft breweries to be bought out by the corporate giants. A few days ago I bought a 12-pack sampler of New Belgium beers. I thought maybe they were one that's been bought out, so I checked when I got home, and sure enough: "In 2019, New Belgium was acquired by Lion, an Australian subsidiary of Kirin beverage group of Japan." (Wikipedia) Bummer. But I have to say the beer is good. One of them is a sour called Dominga. I don't usually care much for sours and got this sampler partly because I thought my wife might like that one. But of course I tried it and it's quite good. Not all that sour.

I took a look at Capitani last night and it's not the thing I watched. I think that must have been an English (French? Dutch? Belgian?) cop on temporary assignment to Looksemboorg.

I was mostly joking about being embarrassed by the way.

Sometimes when those indies are bought out the quality suffers. Lion bought Bell's in 2021 and their formerly excellent wheat ale 'Oberon' hasn't been the same since. Friends who drink IPA's say the same thing about their flagship 'Two Hearted' -- not what it used to be.

"Sometimes when those indies are bought out the quality suffers. " Shock!

I'm a little bored with IPAs. It got to be kind of an indiscriminate fad, just keep loading up the hops and people will like it. Though my local brewery has one with a shot (or whatever the right word would be) of jalapeno that I'm fond of. The IPA is called 51 (I think because that was the ABV, although I don't think it still is) and the jalapeno version is Cinco Uno. Ha ha.

Yeah, I was never a big fan of IPA's myself, although there are/were a couple "old school" ones that I liked and will still drink occasionally. These are generally either original IPA's that came out before the trend arose to just load up on the hops, or newer ones that imitate that older style. When it came to hoppy brews I was always partial to lagers rather than IPA's. If I remember correctly the first non-mass produced beers I ever had were Pilsner Urquell and Beck's Dark, and both of those are on the hoppy side. This was in the mid 80's prior to the microbrew boom, and if you wanted good beer you generally turned to the imports.

One newer IPA that I like a lot is Jai Alai, which is from Cigar City Brewing in Tampa. It's hoppy, but it's more balanced with malt than a lot of recent IPA's. Cigar City also does a really nice brown ale called Maduro, and a moderately hoppy pale ale called Guayabera. My local watering hole gets these on tap occasionally, and they always go fast.

I was about to express surprise that Cigar City is available there and then realized I was confusing it with Oyster City, which is semi-local--based on the Florida panhandle (Apalachicola) and has a brewery in Mobile. I don't think I've had any Cigar City beer but some of the stores here have it.

They usually have Jai Alai at Callaghan's too, Mac. I've been surprised by the quality of our local breweries, in particular Fairhope and Braided River. Fat Tire has always been one of my go-to beers when out and not trusting that local brews will taste good. The other is Sam Adams. I would fall into the enjoying moderately hoppy beers crowd. Too much just kills it. I want flavor, but not that much!

I'll have to try it. I don't get to Callaghan's that often but my daughter lives down the street and she and her crowd go there a lot. I'm sorry to say that I like Braided River's Beer Here Now a little better than Fairhope's comparable Cheap Sunglasses.

Sam Adams usually puts out a summer and a winter beer that I usually like. I would have bought some recently but I wanted cans and they only had bottles.

I like IPAs. Not the newfangled hazy ones. Old fashioned west-coast style. Load them up with IBUs. Tonight I had a ridiculous triple-IPA. 18% ABV. Clouded my judgement enough to make me think of having another, but not enough to actually do it.

Good move

A friend of mine who once owned a microbrewery says that the hazies shouldn't really be called IPA's, because there isn't really any malt to speak of in their production. They are made more like wheat beers. The IPA name comes from the fact that they are hopped like IPA's. I'm not a fan and rarely drink them. To me they all kind of taste the same.

I don't think I can tell the difference between hazy and regular. Never went out of my way to try the former.

The interesting and sad story of Anchor:

I think that if you drank them side by side you could tell the difference. They really don't taste much alike except for the hoppiness.

Interesting history for sure. The biggies really don't seem to like leaving well-enough alone, do they? (Of course that applies to more than beer.)

The first few times I had one of those hopped-up beers, I thought, "This is great." Then I realized that if I kept going down that line, I'd be like an addict, always looking for a bigger hit. So I made a point of often getting beers that were more moderate in their bitterness. But now and then, a big hard-hitting IPA is fun.

Now picking up a different strand of this thread, I was coming home from work on May 5 and thought, on a whim, I'll get some Mexican beer. So I stepped into the store and bought the only one I could think of in three seconds, which was Dos Equis. When I got home and looked at the label, it's not only owned by a Dutch company, but actually brewed in Holland! Pretty annoying. (It was originally made in Mexico.) It's a pretty uninteresting beer, too. I hear its ads are famous, or controversial, or something.

I've always found Dos Equis to go well with Mexican food but that's about it. I wouldn't drink it on its own. My favorite Mexican beer is probably Pacifico. I've heard that Bohemia is very good but I've never had it.

I like Modelo. Either Especial or Negra used to be my usual at the Mexican restaurant which used to be near my house. At the Modelo web site I find this:

"Constellation Brands, Chicago, USA | Brewed in Mexico."

Then at Wikipedia this:

"On June 12, 2008, The Wall Street Journal stated that Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owned a non-controlling 50% stake in the company, might attempt to acquire the remaining 50%.[3] On June 29, 2012, it was announced that Anheuser-Busch InBev would acquire the remaining 50% stake for an all-cash price of $20.1 billion.[4] On January 31, 2013, the US Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit in an attempt to prevent the buyout. The matter was settled, and the two companies merged in June 2013,[5] with the transfer of all United States rights to Constellation Brands.[6] As a result, all the company's brands are made (in Mexico) by an unrelated company. In the United States, Grupo Modelo brands are distributed by Constellation Brands.

In May of 2023, Modelo Especial became the top selling beer in the United States by retail sales volume, surpassing Bud Light, which was in the midst of a boycott."

I didn't know it was so popular.

On the basis of just one or two experiences, I dislike Corona.

There's not much to Corona. It's just a standard Mexican lager that caught on with yuppies in the 90's for some reason (I read one theory that it was the clear glass bottles) and then as a result became more widely popular. In one of his beer guides Michael Jackson lamented this, as it tends to cause people to miss better Mexican beers.

Surprised about Modelo, although I did notice a lot of advertisements for it over the past couple months.

I was in a Mexican restaurant last night and had an Especial, to refresh my memory. It was quite good. Nothing very out of the ordinary, just a good clean pilsner (according to the label--I would not be able to tell a pilsner from any similar lager by taste alone).

Not the same Michael Jackson, surely?

Years ago I thought that Corona Light actually had some taste that I did not find in their regular version. Modelo (both), Bohemia, Tecate, Dos Equis dark, Pacifico are all Mexican beers I think taste good. Oh, Carta Blanca is another I think!
It is amusing to imagine the Michael Jackson of pop stardom writing a beer guide. The dead pedophiles guide to Latin American beers.

Oppenheimer was super good .


Got Living on DVD but probably won't be able to watch it till Friday or Saturday. And went to see Asteroid City, which was good but not great Wes Anderson.

I've come to the opinion, after watching all of them numerous times, that all of the Wes Anderson movies are equally good. Of course I have my favorite (The Royal Tenenbaums), but they are all so unique in their weird ways. I didn't even think I liked The French Dispatch the first time I watched it; but now after I think four times I keep enjoying it more and more. The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably his best, but then I go back to that scene from Rushmore where the kid is talking to the dean about his probationary status, and it makes me laugh just to recall it (of course I've spent my entire life working in education). I had remembered The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as being the weakest of them all; then on re-watching I found it to be very very emotional and nice, and of course just the fact that a young Cate Blanchett is even in it made me happy. Up at my parent's house a few weeks ago I noticed that somehow my father had The Darjeeling Limited on DVD, so we watched it. Another one I remembered as being very subpar, but then I enjoyed it so much and felt that the relationship of the three brothers was again so much more profound than the silly plot of the movie. Okay, sorry, I'm a big Wes Anderson fan, and have not been able to see Asteroid City (darnit) because it came and went from the Mobile area quickly. :(

On Sunday I almost went to see Oppenheimer, Janet. I looked online for showtimes and the theater was almost sold out for a 3pm showing (that seemed a little much for me). I was astounded that in Mobile a 3-hr movie about the creator of the bomb would be so popular. Perhaps it will stick around awhile so I see it on the big screen.

So what do y'all think of the Barbie movie? ;-)

It's puzzling to me that these two movies have made such a sudden splash simultaneously. It's like someone sent some kind of signal that they were to be big hits, and people obeyed. Not that I think y'all are doing that, but it's odd. Of all the movies that come out every year, why these two and why right now?

Everyone seems agreed that Oppenheimer is excellent. I didn't know it was three hours!

I saw Rushmore, which I liked, and of the other Wes Anderson movies you mention I've only seen The Life Aquatic, which just left me kind of puzzled. It seemed neither fish nor fowl, neither comedy nor drama--nor an engaging mixture. At least that's how I remember feeling.

You wouldn't mind it being three hours. We went because Bill wanted to. I was surprised at how many people showed up at this small-town theater for a 2 pm showing.

I left the movie to run to the restroom just as Barbie was getting out, and I saw a middle-aged, blond woman, in a pink sequined dress, and I think white boots. Interesting contrast to me atomic bomb.


I want to see the Barbie movie also. I'm a big fan of the director, and think Margot Robbie is terrific. Of course I'm also curious about all of the elected Republican officials and their "outrage" at a Barbie movie! Who elected these people? Do they ever spend any time on important issues?

I haven't seen anything about elected officials weighing in. Just lots of pundits on both sides praising or denouncing it.

Apparently Ted Cruz says that the Barbie movie is brainwashing young girls with Chinese propaganda. Perhaps he is the only politician linked to Barbie, but I would be surprised if he is the only one.

As usual there is much more to the story. It has to do with China-Vietnam relations and Chinese assertion of sovereignty in parts of the South China Sea. I don't see "brainwashing" mentioned.


My brother has been sent by his company to Phoenix for two weeks, and given the current temperature, there's not much he can do in his free time but go to movies. He said he wants to see Barbie, but he worries that a 62 year old man by himself in the theater will be looked at askance at the Barbie movie.


That would be a concern, Janet. LOL! I intend to go with my stepdaughter and her family. Your brother should see Oppenheimer instead, and will give him even more time out of the heat. Boy, hard to imagine being in Phoenix right now, Southern Alabama is bad enough. Phew!

A few weeks ago I was up at my parent's house in Missouri, and one day went to Pittsburg KS to see a movie. The cost of my ticket was $4.54 for a Saturday matinee. When I got into the theater I looked at it and it said SENIOR. :( Though that's usually only good for $1 so still a very low cost place.

I think I had barely turned 50 when I was first offered a senior discount. By a waitress who was probably 19...

May watch Barbie eventually, depending on the reviews, but will wait for the DVD. Not sure about Oppenheimer either -- I might find it too depressing, so may wait on the DVD for that as well.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far my favorite Wes Anderson movie. I like The French Dispatch a lot too. The rest I can take or leave, although it's been years since I watched The Royal Tenenbaums and I should probably revisit it just to see if it's as good as everyone says. Didn't like the others much and probably won't rewatch them.

Re: Ted Cruz and Barbie. I don't trust anything that the MSM says about conservative pundits and politicos in the same way I don't automatically believe what Fox says about liberals. With both sources I tend to do the opposite of "Trust but verify." Both sources are exemplars of bubble-think.

Rob, what's so great about Tenenbaums is Gene Hackman. He has always been a favorite actor of mine, and the role of Royal Tenenbaum is one he appears to have really enjoyed playing.

"...the opposite of "Trust but verify.""

Right. Assume gross and malicious distortion to the point of active lying. That's been playing out with regard to the Florida black history curriculum. Shamefully led by the vice-president.

The example from the right that made a big impression on me a long time ago was "Al Gore says he invented the internet." Not only did he not say that, he didn't say anything anywhere near it. But I don't think it made it out of the Rush Limbaugh sphere. The Democratic media has much greater reach still, in spite of its steady decline in trust.

Another one on the right that irked me was Obama's "You didn't make that." It was taken completely out of context and twisted to imply something he didn't mean.

Yes, that's my second-favorite. :-) Actually it's worse, because it was taken so seriously. My impression is that it's believed outside the talk radio etc. sphere. I thought it was Elizabeth Warren, though. Or maybe it was both of them.

Mitch McConnell keeps falling, Dianne Feinstein has no idea where or who she is, Joe Biden is an 80-year-old human gaffe machine, and Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind (although in his case it may have little to do with age). They can all be put out to pasture as far as I'm concerned, but that would leave the amazingly unpopular Kamala Harris as the executive in chief. I would really like the first four to simply step aside and retire. Trump cannot because he wants to use the presidency as a way to stay out of jail.

Of course I'm getting all of this by not reading any articles, or verifying anything, so it is subjective and based on random internet headlines. :-)

Your inclusion of Kamala reveals that just getting the old people out of the way won't help that much. :-(

I'm very ready to acknowledge the flaws of people my age and up, but have not seen any reason to hope that younger people are any better, and quite possibly worse.

Mac LOL!
I'm not yet 60 and ready to retire, so I'm guessing there must be something to this political game that makes it worthwhile to try and be there forever. Hmm.

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