Spiritual Voyage: Old Overholt Straight Rye

The condition of being an American trying to scrape together a reason and a means to stay alive post-2008 financial crash is that of  constantly wavering between a sense of guarded optimism and a knowing embrace of doom. The sun will come out, tomorrow / If it doesn’t you can always / Burn your house down.” Every hour of the day is another footstep on a razor’s edge.

Lemme tell you what I’m talking about, in case you’re one of the forty or so billionaires who somehow don’t know. You may be aware that health care in America is completely FUBAR. It’s literally distressing. The amount of money they try to leech out of you for even the tiniest concession is discomfiting to me on a downright existential level. Old as spring as the notion may be, it is completely unfathomable to me that the Greatest Country in the World would allow people to be abused so much by a health marketplace it ostensibly regulates, leaving the sound body and mind of its supposedly fortunate citizens dependent entirely on the much-doubted mercy of the most bloodless capitalists history has ever produced. Some of this stuff is just hopeless, guys. You’re not allowed to win. This is the sort of stuff that’s on my mind whenever I get caught sighing out loud to nobody that I wish I was dead, which I usually find myself doing a couple of times every hour, at this point. Pretty much any time I’m out of earshot, I’m mumbling about how much I want to die.

Anyway, welcome to Spiritual Voyage, the new series wherein I will write about the things in life I’ve dranken, and what I thought about them. Some of these will inevitably be written while I am tipping one back, but some will be more wistful, hearkening back to times long past, and drinks I’ll never taste again. I guess the goal is to create a living encyclopedia of every beverage ever made, filtered through the charcoal of my mind.

The inaugural entry for this sure-to-be-long-running feature is Old Overholt Straight Rye whiskey. I’ll be straight up from the jump: I love this stuff. Old Overholt goes in the rotation quite a bit, and the reasons are threefold: 1) it’s good, 2) the price, and most essentially, 3) it’s good for the price. I cannot overstate how important this is. Old Overholt is my favorite rye for the same reason that Evan Williams Black Label is my favorite bourbon. Inexpensive without being cheap, as good as one can ask for; a standard. Aside from hot fire, it tastes and smells lightly of vanilla and pepper. It is not particularly smoky. It goes down smooth. It’s, like, $14 for a 750 ml bottle, and that shit is so on point to me. Just because we live cheap doesn’t mean we have to live cheap, you know.

Other than that, I don’t have a lot to say about this. It’s rye, which makes it baseline spicy, in a mulling spices sort of way. It’s hard to explain. The rule of tongue is that bourbon is sweet and rye is spicy, but if your palette is totally new to whiskey then all any of it’s really going to taste like is used ass. But this blends okay into mixed drinks and cocktails, and it’s not expensive enough to care about savoring each sip. Drink up.

Anyway, I’m off to suck strangers and murder the weak for gas money or whatever. Maybe I’ll get eaten by a wolf. Jesus Christ, this healthcare thing. It’s going to get so much worse before it gets better. We’re gonna start seeing people demanding dental work at gunpoint. This feature is getting off to a real optimistic start.

Capsule review of the 7-episode television phenomenon “Big Little Lies”

thoughts recorded over the course of an extremely lazy day spent watching HBO’s 7-episode sensation “Big Little Lies”

(three times an episode for the first five episodes) OK. a better name would definitely be Rich White Bitches.

(last two episodes) Hmmmm. Perhaps these bitches aren’t so bad after all.

*SPOILERS**(FINAL EPISODE)********The bitches have united.

I wish the murder was cooler.

I’m not satisfied with how it took seven hours to get to the murder.

I’m not satisfied with the target of the murder or the way the murder is committed.

the murder was both climax and anticlimax…..wow

this show doesn’t have enough twists

the point of the show is that it doesn’t have twists??

the chekhov gun was a red herring

not clear how that one mom affords this lifestyle

The show is about feminism.

actors good

the rich should definitely be killed

I’m not sure what level of irony this climactic karaoke match is on

this show’s not that good

this show’s fine I guess

a second season would be really bad

i don’t really give a shit

there weren’t very many lies in this show at all

perhaps that was the biggest of the lies

probably not going to read it but this is definitely a book-is-better situation

is this a satire?

number of scenes of wife beating necessary to get the point: 2 at most

number of scenes of wife beating I think I saw in this thing: 30, 40 or so

number of scenes of wife beating that were oddly sexy: all of them, up to and including the one that resulted in somebody getting their head fatally caved in

is this more or less of a satire than the young pope?

Man… the young pope was…………..sweet

My Soup Confession

Feeling the need to tell you about something I did. It’s bad.

So, I love Trader Joe’s, right? For all the reasons a twee, quirktastic, adorkable person like me might love a Trader Joe’s. And recently, independently of my zeal for Trader Joe’s, I had a hankering for tomato soup. A hunger—it is a comfort food.

On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I bought a box of their Organic Creamy Tomato Soup. The box art was appealing to me. The adjective “creamy” held some allure. I already had crackers of my preferred variety at home, so I purchased the soup and left. I was sort of excited about this.

At home, I cracked open the soup box’s twist-top and saw that the foil underneath was pierced through. As though some unknown, hairy, filth-encrusted finger had already been by and jabbed through my soup top prior to my knowing it, going fishing. It was an immediately unappetizing prospect. I threw the soup away.

With a sticky note, I affixed the receipt for my purchase to the inside of my front door, so I’d remember to seek reimbursement the next time I went to the store. Or rather, a replacement box. See, I had been burned by Trader Joe’s before—moldy tomatoes—and they’d been amenable to a no-questions-asked exchange. It was encouraging policy. So the next time I went to Trader Joe’s, I took the receipt with me.

This visit, I was intent on not wasting my time. I still hungered for tomato soup—I had a hankering (it is a comfort food)—so I wanted to make this trip count. I walked to the soup aisle, and picked up the first box of Organic Creamy Tomato Soup I saw on the shelf. I cracked it open. And what… what the fuck?

Freshness seal—stabbed through. Again!

This was starting to feel repulsive. I’m no germaphobe, but I know a thing or two about the damn Tylenol murders. That guy never got caught. They’re somebody’s grandparent. Poisoning a food product is one of the most fucked-up and anonymous ways to kill people, the source of many urban legends—I think about it all the time.

I twisted the cap back on this first box, and tried another. Want to guess what I found? You’re correct. Holy shit—a broken seal.

This happened twenty-one more times.

I will admit at this point that a certain stoned fascination took over very early during this process. It blew my mind that so many of these soup boxes with the twist-off tops had been so blatantly, frighteningly violated, and a curious part of me wanted to see just how bad the problem was. How far it went. The feeling was that I was uncovering conspiracy. I felt my love for Trader Joe’s dissolving with each new betrayal. How could they let this many boxes sit here, so obviously, maliciously, systematically tampered with? Every box!

Anyway, it was around box 22 that I finally happened to read the label on the box, a little yellow strip right by the twist-off top.

“JUST TWIST TO BREAK INNER FRESHNESS SEAL”

And then I was like, “Oh.” I realized the whole thing immediately. I felt for the receipt in my back pocket and rolled it up into a ball—don’t need that anymore. I grabbed a box of a different kind of soup and left the store after paying for it. The funny thing is, until the listeria kicks in, no one who shops at Trader Joe’s is going to know what I—completely accidentally, and with the best intentions—let happen to their soup.

I’m probably going to hospitalize forty people. Don’t tell anyone I did this. This is weighing on my soul, y’all. If I were a noble person, I would have bought up all the soup.