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Two years later, when I turned 30, I did just that. Because I am not the type to jet off to another continent, I took the most banal option. I got a new job and asked for more money than I thought I deserved. I raised my standards and no longer dated losers. I stopped longing for someone else’s life. Slowly, I became happy inside my own.

Eventually, I got married — to a man named Scott who has traveled the world and owns three cocktail shakers. My husband has never had a ponytail or surfed in the Caribbean, but he makes a mean Martini. And sometimes, as he pours me a Cosmopolitan, I think of the other Scott — the first Scott — that bartender who made me a drink that tasted like freedom and who told me how to get it.

— Pamela Hunt-Cloyd

Parallel 33 recently closed.


Irish Coffee at the Ould Sod

-7 oz. coffee in glass coffee cup-Generous shot Jameson whiskey-1⁄4-inch whipped cream on top

The Ould Sod on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights is my favorite San Diego bar. Formerly the Elbo Club, it has been operated by Tom Quinn, Ron Stout, and Mick Ward since 1989. Several years ago, Stout fell ill and is now a silent partner. Quinn and Ward both came from Ireland in the 1980s. For bartending help, they employ two additional Irishmen, Martin Brennan and Tony Finglas.

The Guinness at the Ould Sod has a reputation for being the best in town. Those in the know say it’s due to the bar’s short line between keg and tap.

But, you see, I go to the Sod to drink in hot-blooded Irish camaraderie. Many Irish folk I’ve met still carry, consciously or not, a furious resentment over Britain’s long subjugation of the Emerald Isle, the famine of the 1840s and ’50s, and the war of independence in 1919–1921. It’s as though they were there.

This chip-on-shoulder (who can blame them?) blends seamlessly into strong opinions on our own politics, both local and national, and rubs off on customers. Which is why I think of the Ould Sod as a political bar. Dittoheads and wingnuts gravitate toward the right end of the bar while “loony lefties” (I credit Ward with the phrase) sit at the opposite end, nearest the door. Sports conversations in the center often suck the energy out of each side and prevent donnybrooks. The crowd talks about Obama the socialist — and sports — Mike Aguirre’s bad manners (still) — and sports — Iraq — and sports — and an occasional book of science fiction sandwiched between Limbaugh talking points.

So bellying up to the bar might plop you into a lively disagreement. I discovered this to my embarrassment. In political discourse, I can overheat with the best of them. One particular discussion got me so rattled that my hands shook and I couldn’t even lift the beer glass to my mouth. I decided thereafter to button my lip and listen more whenever I went into the Sod. But that doesn’t seem satisfactory either, so recently I’ve been training myself to discuss things in a more rational manner. It works to a point.

The scene manifests between four in the afternoon and seven in the evening, especially on Fridays, when a gadfly steeped in political websites often visits. He torments the regulars with arcane details that flummox long-held views.

But the political hour is not the only Ould Sod. There is the television-football Sod all day Saturdays and Sundays in the fall. The Sod with the most hours per week is surely the young crowd’s turn, from early evening to closing time. Then you might see, or partake in, the chugging of Jäger Bombs (shots of Jägermeister in a glass of beer) and Irish Car Bombs (a shot of Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson in a glass three-quarters full of Guinness). Music plays, including karaoke on Thursday and Saturday nights.

I rarely show up for these extravaganzas. It’s that civic yet fiery camaraderie I crave. So the Ould Sod was where I went on Election Night last November. On this night, I wanted to watch the returns pop onto those electronic boards the television networks like so much.

A long night is what I expected, and it felt as though beer would tire me quickly. Irish Coffee came to mind. The Sod filled early with customers young and old as I let the hot coffee and smooth Jameson rise into the bones of my face. It tasted so good I ordered two more rounds. And then the evening raced to its ending. The election was called for Barack Obama by eight o’clock. Loud cheering and clapping went up all around, and suddenly John McCain was giving his concession speech. Obama’s speech was over by 9:15.

That night my bed was hard. The Jameson still imbued me with a warm glow. But that damned coffee. It kept me awake until three.

Irish Coffee on Election Night was a serendipitous discovery, but for sleep’s sake I should have stuck with beer. Jameson by itself? That’s a different story. An occasional shot now helps me enjoy mellower political discourse.

— Joe Deegan


Raspberry Mojitos at JRDN

  • -1-1⁄4 oz. Montecristo Premium Blend
  • -Club soda
  • -8–10 mint leaves
  • -2 lime wedges or 1⁄4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • -3⁄4 oz. simple syrup
  • -5 fresh raspberries

In a tall glass, muddle 3 raspberries, torn mint leaves, and lime wedges or juice. Add simple syrup (sugar and water). Top with ice. Add rum. Fill with club soda. Garnish with 2 raspberries and a sprig of mint. “Never use aged rum,” says JRDN bartender Juan Sanchez. “Caramel notes from the barrel-aging ruin the Mojito’s color and interfere with its citrus and fruit profiles.”

There was this guy.

We hadn’t said more than a few words to each other. I wasn’t even sure he was single. Sharon, my flirtiest girlfriend, said go for it. “Ask him over for a drink.”

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Comments

violadace May 17, 2009 @ 7:23 a.m.

Oh, yeah, I forgot. Shel Silverstein is one of the great writers of American literature. . .

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magicsfive May 3, 2009 @ 5:07 p.m.

what about shel silverstein? the great smokeout? that was awesome!

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SDaniels May 3, 2009 @ 5:25 p.m.

I grew up on his poetry for children. My, what degenerate results!

... cute, magics; thanks for bringing it up :)

"And she reaches 'cross the table and she grabs his bony sleeves And she crumbles his body between her hands like dried and brittle leaves Flickin' out his teeth and bones like useless stems and seeds"

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magicsfive May 3, 2009 @ 5:28 p.m.

EXACTLY!! isn't that a great read though? my kid has one of his books of poetry and just loves it!

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lallaw April 24, 2009 @ 2:19 a.m.

Mr. Lickona: great recipes and great piece! I'm going to print all of them out and keep them poolside for a sweltering day. Thanks for putting that together and making me look good the next time I host a bacchanal. Cheers!

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Matthew Lickona April 24, 2009 @ 9:19 a.m.

Thank you, lallaw! I must confess, it's not really my piece - I just wrote the intro (and one section). The fine editorial staff of the Reader put it together. But I'm very glad you enjoyed it!

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David Dodd April 24, 2009 @ 12:59 p.m.

"Oh, no. All of us writers work out of our homes. They like to keep us separated — if we were all together, we’d just sit around and drink."

This is a truth, at least in my case. Spending hours with my fellow border writers at the Dandy del Sur is one of my favorite pass-times. Of course, I rarely sit at this computer without some sort of beer while occasionally sipping a small glass of tequila, but it certainly gets slightly out of hand when I visit the Dandy.

http://entertainment.signonsandiego.com/places/el-dandy-del-sur/

Try a Michelada:

1 bottle of Tecate beer 1 glass, salted rim, filled with ice 1 bottle of Clamato Squirts of Worcestershire, lime juice, and Tabasco sauce

Mix to taste.

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lallaw April 24, 2009 @ 1:06 p.m.

I LOVE that drink...have you ever had a Colorado Bulldog? Is it too early to start drinking? You guys have gotten me thirsty...

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magicsfive April 24, 2009 @ 1:23 p.m.

ok i know this is going to sound juvenile but there is an app on myspace called Cheers, where you can send people drinks. but the really cool part about it is they give you the recipe for all these drinks. every time i send one, and i do it a lot, i write down the recipe so i can experiment later. perhaps we can try one of each this summer, huh? :)

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David Dodd April 24, 2009 @ 1:23 p.m.

I've never had a Colorado Bulldog, but it's similar to a Dirty White Mother, which is too sweet for me now but I drank them when I was younger.

And in refriedgringo-land, it's never too early to start drinking.

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lallaw April 24, 2009 @ 1:35 p.m.

Colorado Bulldog is: (roughly :)

Tall glass w/ice Baileys Cream Diet Coke (in equal proportions)

Sounds gross but tastes soooooo good. My boyfriend does a Vodka/Diet Vanilla Pepsi tall boy drink that goes down very smoothly and before you know it yer shnockerd. You can also use Vanilla Vodka and any diet or regular Coke or Pepsi product you like...except that cherry flavored stuff is too much, in my opinion, to use with the Vanilla Vodka.

The best Vodka I've ever had was Stoli's pepper flavored Vodka. I went to this authentic Russian restaurant here in the States and they served the stuff straight, non stop all night. Oddly we drank club soda along with it on the side and the food never stopped so I swear I didn't get drunk (I'm 5'2 105lbs and was called 1 beer L---- [the "L" is my last name which rhymes with beer"] in college). But I felt just fine! And that Vodka was sooooooooooo smooth, even if it was Stoli.

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violadace April 24, 2009 @ 3:06 p.m.

My fave is a soymilk variation on a White Russian:

cold vanilla soy milk tons of kahlua ice

healthy never tasted so good. you can guzzle these and get protein at the same time.

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Josh Board April 24, 2009 @ 3:07 p.m.

Stoli's Vodka played an important, subtle role in the movie NO WAY OUT (can't explain why, or it gives away an important plot point).

What is it with women? They love the Baileys. I know a lady that named her child Bailey, which is a cute name. But I suspect she did it because of her love of the alcohol.

Refriend -- aside from Hunter Thompson, the whole writer/drinking thing, was best portrayed fictionally, in "A River Runs Through It," with Brad Pitt being a reporter, who seemed to have a drinking problem (among other things).

It was poorly portrayed in the very disappointing Ron Howard film "The Paper." Randy Quaid, I believe was a sports writer. Maybe a columnist, can't remember. He would drink and act crazy, and everyone in the building was scared because he carried around a gun, too.

But, in regards to Lall mentioning a bacchanalian party with all these drinks, I was at a party in Rancho Bernardo 5 years ago, where they did this very thing. The counter had all kinds of bottles of booze, and various index cards with the recipes for the drinks you could make with them. It was a clever idea.

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David Dodd April 24, 2009 @ 3:20 p.m.

Josh,

Most of my favorite authors were notorius alcoholics. Steinbeck, Saroyan, Fitzgerald, Bukowski, the list goes on and on.

Cheers!

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Josh Board April 24, 2009 @ 6:27 p.m.

I'm heading out to go to parties and drink in a few minutes here. I never knew Steinbeck was a drinker. Saroyan, yes. Check out his son, he writes some interesting poetry as well.

Bukowski. Yeah, I think that's all he wrote about!

I was looking at the cover of the Reader, and I just assumed it was Mike Myers. But the photo credit listed the "model". Strange.

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SDaniels April 24, 2009 @ 7:49 p.m.

There is a commercial for some local pottery store with a Austin Powers impersonator. Maybe they hired him.

I'm still really looking for a good Pisco sour, anyone?

Angostura bitters seem hard to find, so (gasp) many local bars, if they even make them, omit this ingredient...

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SDaniels April 24, 2009 @ 10:36 p.m.

There's plenty of anecdotal evidence on a link between creativity and use of alcohol and mind-altering drugs--check out fin de siecle opiate-infused novellas and novels. More in your area, refried: Carver's alcoholism might have been fueled in part by Gordon Lish's excisions of his drafts...

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David Dodd April 25, 2009 @ 1:11 a.m.

Lish would have pushed any good writer into the depths of alcoholism. It wasn't just Carver that was affected, Michael Himmingson just published a book about Lish's propensity toward editing anything and everything he could in order to supplant his dynamic on publishing. It makes my skin crawl, like some sort of bad horror film.

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SDaniels April 25, 2009 @ 2:03 a.m.

My point exactly, with a bad joke. Will have to check out Hemmingson's book.

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a2zresource April 27, 2009 @ 4:48 p.m.

Got turned on to cans of Foster's beer while taking Journalism at City College... "Drunkedness in a Drum". No, we weren't allowed to drink it on campus!

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OttoB April 28, 2009 @ 2:45 p.m.

Just as I'm pouring the bourbon in what was gonna be my FIRST new Old-Fashioned, I read where Ollie says "...Really, drinking an Old-Fashioned in this updated and fresh way (don’t forget the oranges, backgammon, and girl) is delightful." Delightful? DELIGHTFUL? I guess I can only hope and pray he NEVER uses that word again. I've yet to have that New-Old-Fashioned.

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Barbarella Fokos April 28, 2009 @ 2:56 p.m.

Viola, I used to love White Russians. So sweet and tasty! Regarding writers and drinking, Dorothy Parker, one of my favorites, was a big drinker. I always thought my most interesting journal entries (the private ones) came after a weekend of heavy drug use. Perhaps there is something to that whole, "unlocking the pathways of the brain" thing. But now when I write, the only drinks I like to have on my desk are coffee and water. The wine only dulls my senses, which is why I wait until I close the laptop to pour a glass.

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Josh Board April 29, 2009 @ 12:20 a.m.

one of my favorite songwriters is Jim Morrison, who obviously drank (among other things). I now realize he would've written more interesting, less cryptic stuff had he been sober.

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SDaniels April 29, 2009 @ 4:09 p.m.

Barbarella:

"Oh, gallant was the first love, and glittering and fine; The second love was water, in a clear white cup; The third love was his, and the fourth was mine; And after that, I always get them all mixed up."

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magicsfive April 29, 2009 @ 5:18 p.m.

you know this reminds me of something...speaking of writers that HAD to be under the influence of something...i wonder what Anne Albright is up to these days. you remember her - she had that column here called Kid Stuff, lots of kids. she used to get a lot of grief from her readers. she quit, oh i'd say about 4-5 years ago. I read her column faithfully. Now mind you, i am not criticizing her. you can be sure i will have knocked a couple back before i write the blog i have been promising ;)

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violadace May 3, 2009 @ 6:31 a.m.

Barbarella-- The Revised White Russian (with vanilla soy milk) is a drink you'll appreciate when you reach menopause. (natural estrogens in the soy milk. . . with the upbeat note of a little booze. . .) Thanks for responding to the boys about creativity and alcohol. It's destroyed infinitely more writing careers than it's made. No one, no one is a great writer under the influence. Drinking just makes a drunk think he's a great writer, it medicates the pain under the creativity, and gives the biographers something juicy to chronicle.

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SDaniels May 3, 2009 @ 3:24 p.m.

Maybe you prefer opiate abusers, then:

"And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honeydew hath fed, And drunk the soy White Russian of Paradise."

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magicsfive May 3, 2009 @ 4:43 p.m.

what about lewis carroll? you know he was under the influence.

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SDaniels May 3, 2009 @ 4:50 p.m.

Yep. I wouldn't want to go on a long "trip" with him.

"He had bought a large map representing the sea, Without the least vestige of land; And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be A map they could all understand."

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Joe Poutous May 18, 2009 @ 10:20 a.m.

We have 2 copies of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" at home... an old copy and an newer copy...

Some ass decided to PC the new one up. It's no longer "The Gypsies Are Coming" it's "The Goonies are coming". There are other changes to the book as well.

arg. - Joe

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SDaniels June 3, 2009 @ 1:47 a.m.

violadace, this was meant to be a fun discussion starter, and no one suggested Silverstein was the great white literary hope. There are many writers who have (and have not) either survived or even used mind-altering substances to write enduring prose--whatever our thoughts or judgements may be on the matter--and thank the deities for many of them!

Joe, that is the lamest substitution for "gypsies" imaginable, and I'm sure you'll be holding onto the original! My copy was passed along to other children in the family. I bet you liked Paul Zindel, too ;)

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magicsfive June 3, 2009 @ 7:07 a.m.

wait....is viola being sarcastic? and if so, why do some people always have to try to wreck a perfectly fun discussion????

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SDaniels June 3, 2009 @ 1:44 p.m.

Hey magic girl, good to see ya.

I don't know, I'm still new to online blogging, but it often seems to be more about momentary moods and quick keystrokes than helping to build or take something apart. Then again, people mistake each other's tone online all of the time. Then again, it takes a variety of opinions; I just think it is more interesting when people elaborate a little on alternative topics/views.

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magicsfive June 3, 2009 @ 4:38 p.m.

good to see u too darlin...i guess you're right. now where's lallaw lol...

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