Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Search of a Good Muddler

This is why I love America.  I need (want) a muddler, and the best ones - PUG! Muddlers - are hand-made by a guy named Chris.  Chris Gallagher.  Only he's in New York, the muddlers aren't sold in stores, and his website is under construction.  Still - only in America, right? - if you need one, like I do, he asks you to send an email.  And bingo, he hooks you up.

Mr. Chris! (went my message) I'm a bookseller by day (I know, an industry with such a future!) and a writer and drinker by night.  I first heard tell of your muddlers when I was trying to find a good one.  And there they were!  But then, out of nowhere, this really fabulous bottle of Rye jumped in my lap, and I bought that instead - apologies apologies!

Though if you've ever tasted Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey, you'd forgive me.

But now?  Now I'm in the market again and would like to buy a muddler from you.

So, what's the deal?  I'm out in Cal-i-For-nie-A, and you, you're on that other coast.  How does this work?  Do I get on a train and meet you at Grand Central?  I could do that.  I'll wear a yellow carnation.

And just to get ahead of myself - I've got this side-gig.  Only "gig" might lead you to believe that I get paid, and of course I don't.  But the gig is my blog, DrinksWithNick.blogspot.com.

What's that, you say?  Do I really hate the sound that "blog" makes?  Yes.  Yes, I do - but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

And what this guy wants to do is purchase one of your beautiful muddlers and then sing its praises online.

Why now? you're thinking to yourself.  Well, the story has come full circle.  See, it was the Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey that led me astray, and of course the Sazerac is the official drink of New Orleans.  And I have just received - in time for Mardi Gras - illegally, I might add, through the US Mail, from New Orleans no less, a bottle of King Cake Vodka, and one of the concoctions I want to try calls for the muddling of 12 coffee beans - but I don't have a muddler, did I mention that?  So I want one.  Of yours.  Because New Orleans led me back to you.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Heart Books

Yes, I stole the idea from Diesel, a bookstore - I hope Alison and John won't mind.  But then after the amazing Samm put the books together, and I took pictures, I couldn't choose.  A shot with context, like the one above? 

Or would the Heart channel Norma Desmond and whisper, All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup.

Then I realized it didn't matter.  Happy Valentines Day from Books Inc. in Alameda.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

World Book Night

What's World Book Night?  Just about the coolest thing to hit books since Gutenberg.

Conventional wisdom says, Books are Dead.  Of course, CW also once said that Zeppelins were the wave of the future.  Go figure.

But the Book isn't all dead.  Could it use some love?  Sure - couldn't we all?  So last year, some smartsters across the pond came up with WBN.  It was a way to take the love of books that so many have and share that conviction with those who might not be as enamored with the word-made-paper as they could be.

What was their plan?  They picked a night - April 23rd - to go out and spread the word.  Why April 23rd?  Not because it's the birthday of Lee Majors.  Because both Cervantes and Shakespeare shuffled off this mortal coil on that day - also because it just so happens to be that great William's birthday, too.

So April 23rd.  On that night, in 2011, book lovers fanned out across England and Ireland and gave away a million books.  Just gave them away.  Why would the book industry be interested in giving away their product?  First, because it's fun.  Second, because there are those among us who might not be able to splurge on a book.  Third, because it's fun.

Word spread, and we decided over here not to let those over there corner the good times.  So welcome to World Book Night, American style.

What can you do?  Well, here's the deal - the organizers are looking for Book-Givers.  Could you give away 20 free books in one night?  If you think so, and you're available on April 23rd, then go here to sign up.  DEADLINE IS MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6TH.  Here's the list of 30 books that Carl Lennertz and crew picked out.  It's broad and amazing.

They'll ask you some questions.  Don't do what I did.  Don't try and be funny.  See, they want to know how you plan to give away your books.  I got to thinking and decided it'd be a blast to do a bar-crawl.  We got us some pretty fine bars here on the island - lots and lots of them - and I thought it'd be a hoot to go drinking, carrying my bag of books, and start conversations.  Start talking to people and then present those unsuspecting imbibers with a gift.

Instead of saying that, I responded to the official World-Book-Night query To whom do you intend to give your books? with the reply, Drunk hot chicks!

That was a joke, but we book people have notoriously poor senses of humor - witness the joke itself - and now I fear I may have made a mistake.  So don't do that.

But - please! - if you think this sounds like the great idea I think it sounds like, join me.  Join me and turn someone onto a book that they wouldn't have read otherwise - and have fun doing it.

April 23rd, friends, April 23rd.

And tonight, in celebration of the free-book idea, I thought I'd mix up a fancy-free cocktail.  So here she is, from the 75th Anniversary Edition of Mr. Boston.  Page 206.  Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce the