la sbornia chiaroscura

Although larger doses of alcohol lead to more severe symptoms, hangover is not solely dose-related. Acetaldehyde, the dehydrogenated product of alcohol metabolism, might be responsible for hangover symptoms. Congeners, the byproducts of individual alcohol preparations (which are found primarily in brandy, wine, tequila, whiskey, and other dark liquors), increase the frequency and severity of hangover. Clear liquors, such as rum, vodka, and gin, tend to cause hangover less frequently, which may explain why patients with chronic alcoholism use these liquors disproportionately. In an experimental setting, 33% of patients who consumed 1.5 g/kg of body weight of bourbon (which has high congeners) but only 3% of those who consumed the same dose of vodka (which has low congeners) experienced severe hangover.
—Jeffrey G. Wiese, Michael G. Shlipak, and Warren S. Browner, “The Alcohol Hangover”, Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 132 no. 11, 6 June 2000, pp. 897-902, at p. 899

If true, this observation cuts across the Russian distinction between intoxication (интоксикация) by alcohol and hangover (похмелье) construed as withdrawal from that toxic substance. Stateside, hangovers are the province of alcoholic dilettanti, as per their R—E—M—O—R—S—E, immortalized by George Ade. Furthermore, the ease of consumption attributed to good vodka by good Russians, is in all likelihood also due to the lack of fusel oils.

a raging and savage beast of a master

[John Travolta] said that Cary Grant once gave him weight-loss advice. “Cary Grant told me to forget the whole thing about food, eating—just make it not important. I didn’t like that piece of advice, but often I had to use it to lose weight for film. Now cut to 20 years later: I told Marlon Brando what Cary Grant had said, and he said, ‘Don’t listen to Cary! You eat what you want, when you want it. You deserve it. You’ve earned the right!’ Of course I liked that advice, and as you can see, to this day I adhere to that advice!”

— “The Trials of Travolta”, The New York Observer, 12 December 2004


Harper’s Weekly, Vol. VIII. — No, 390.
New York, Saturday, June 18, 1864.

Rebel Cruelty — Our Starved Soldiers. — From Photographs Taken at United States General Hospital, Annapolis, Maryland

    Cary Grant’s advice resonates with the detachment of Epictetus’ Encheiridion. In its Hollywood applications, it might not be meant to follow its classic prototypes in suppressing the remaining six deadly sins. On the other hand, Michael’s neighboring community standards readily embrace the application of same technique, mutatis mutandis, to rid oneself of ugly fat between the ears. The trick is to forget this whole thing about thinking, reason — just make it not important. This exercise is most helpful in anticipation of old age. Continue reading a raging and savage beast of a master

nocturnal auscultation

    George Spiggott: In the words of Marcel Proust — and this applies to any woman in the world — if you can stay up and listen with a fair degree of attention to whatever garbage, no matter how stupid it is, that they’re coming out with, till ten minutes past four in the morning… you’re in!


Judith Leyster, The Proposition, 1631

    Rachel Wang: I wonder there were something missing in you, you don’t feel disturbed and annoyed easily. […] You are too pure and you are too spoiled.

Michael’s Inbox at ten minutes past four in the morning

    Rachel calls and emails. She complains that she cannot sleep. She complains that Michael does not really like any woman. She complains that Michael envies men. She complains that Michael regards women as something to rely upon. She wants Michael to marry an old and successful lady whose husband left her a big fortune. She wants Michael to find himself a same sex lover to admire and love. But Rachel is a good woman. She still has that tender feeling towards Michael. When she meets her ex-husband, she calls him Michael. And vice versa. Rachel is lonely now. She misses her family. She cannot go back to China to face them the way she is. She is tired. She wants a warm body to hold. She wants to be held. She is 2,462 miles away. She had to leave town because she couldn’t stay away from Michael otherwise. She can’t stay away from him anyway. She hates him.