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La Belle Epoque

By November 5, 2006thoughts

The guest room chez Upside Up has been officially christened now — Larry and Al came up from New Orleans to spend Friday night with us. Larry has a tendency to arrive with out-of-the-ordinary goodies so it was almost not a surprise when he brought out a silver fleecey wrap and unveiled a bottle of Absinthe.

According to wikipedia, the effects of La Fée Verte have been described by artists as mind-opening and even hallucinogenic, and by those jolly prohibitionists as turning good people mad and desolate. Mad! And Desolate! Rimbaud and Verlaine! Van Gogh! Toulouse-Lautrec! We would swirl around the room, skirts flapping, collars akimbo, spouting orange poetry while splashing through puddles of minty lime. Yet, ultimately, sadly, alone.

You know, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an ear.

Absinthe was banned in most of Europe as well as the United States since the early 1900s, but is experiencing a revival in Europe since they’ve realized that it has no more deleterious effects than good ole alkyhol. It’s still illegal here in the states, although I bet you’d be hard pressed to find a policy maker who could tell you why. But ever since reading a piece years ago in the New Yorker about the resurgence of absinthe in London nightlife, I’ve been itchin to try it. Enter Larry. Thankfully few body parts were shed at our absinthe party, and the clean-up was minimal. Though due to the 70% alcohol (140 proof — almost as strong as Everclear) the melting into the couch was perhaps a little more pronounced than it might otherwise have been.

Meanwhile, check off another item in the long list of Things We’ve Done with Larry. May you all have house-guests like him to perk up a weekend.

Hey everyone, how has your weekend been?

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Bob says:

    File this under WTF.

    I am browsing through stories on and run across this one about biblical omens and technology. This snip stands out:

    “And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

    Frankly, I can’t think of anyone more bitter than political bloggers. The “waters” are the blogosphere, and Wormwood is probably a misreading of WordPress. They have several of the same letters!

    This author’s interpretations aside, my mind jumps back to the Wikipedia article which talks about absinthe being made from, that’s right…wormwood. And so I find the source of the quote, that being Revelations 8:11, and it starts me thinking about whether there might be more than just an indirect relationship between this kooky set of visions our John the Revealer has and the “bitter” green stuff.

  • susan says:

    Leave it to Larry. The story begs the question: where did Larry procure the stuff? Having tried it this past summer in France, I have to say that, while the mystique and romance around absinthe is better, I put it in the Jagermeister category of alcohols, along with other interesting-but-really-not-that-drinkable things like aquavit. But then again, if interesting experiences are what we seek, then interesting flavors are perhaps in order… Glad no ears have gone missing. Hi to Larry!

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