Thursday, February 2, 2012

Glacier Thief Arrested In Chile -- Believed To Be Selling Jorge Montt Ice For Designer Cocktails (from The Guardian, Feb. 1)

A chunk of the 5,200kg of ice, believed stolen from the Jorge Montt glacier, which was discovered by police in a refrigerated truck. Photo: Fiscalia Regional de Aysen/EPA

Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent, Wednesday 1 February 2012 18.25 EST

     Climate change sceptics have acquired a new explanation for why glaciers are retreating: it's not global warming, it's theft.

The Chilean General Prosecutor's Office displays bags of ice allegedly stolen from the Jorge Montt Glacier, more than 1,200 miles south of Santiago, Chile. 

     Police in Chile have arrested a man on suspicion of stealing five tonnes of ice from the Jorge Montt glacier in the Patagonia region to sell as designer ice cubes in bars and restaurants.

     Local media reported that last Friday police intercepted a refrigerated truck with an estimated £3,900 worth of illicit ice allegedly bound for whiskies, rums and cocktails in the capital Santiago.

Jorge Montt glacier site seen from space

     Authorities have accused the driver of theft and are considering adding violation of national monuments to the charge sheet.

     Scientists say Jorge Montt, part of the Bernardo O'Higgins national park, is retreating by half a mile a year, making it one of the world's fastest shrinking glaciers.


Elevated view of Jorge Montt mooring, Bernardo O'Higgins State Park, Chile

     Environmentalists have cited it as evidence that man-made climate change is warming the planet. Sceptics have cited other explanations for retreating glaciers, but theft – until now – was not one of them. It may be the only case in which both sides agree human activity was to blame.


Beautiful photograph of Jorge Montt glacier

NOTE:    When Jane was in 4th grade, she created a rather sophisticated (for her age) audio-visual research project about Chile, which first made me aware of the Jorge Montt glacier.  Coincidentally, around the same time we also saw a terrific show on the Discovery Channel about Chile and the country became high on the list of places we would like to visit.  Santiago looked incredibly beautiful and sophisticated and Chile's collision of sea, sky,  ocean, deserts, mountains, and vineyards, not to mention the world's largest swimming pool (link), was astonishing to behold.  Friends and relatives who have spent time there have all returned with great reports and marvelous stories. 

This story, of course, is both a weird and pedestrian at the same time.  It's essentially petty theft of a lot of ice for small commercial gain.  

I'm not sure whether, if offered a glacier ice drink, I would trust the establishment making the claim to be telling the truth, but perhaps I'd be intrigued enough to want my Pisco Sour made that way. 

Anyway, I think I would be remiss in not offering here a recipe for Chile's signature cocktail.  This one emanates from  Ryan McGrale of No. 9 Park in Boston, a superb restaurant worth logging significant travel time to visit.  I have occasionally thought that I would be happy living at its bar.

Pisco Sour

1 egg white
2 1/2 ounces Pisco Capel (see note)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Angostura Bitters (see note, below)

In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine egg white, Pisco, simple syrup, and lemon juice.
Cover, shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and strain into six-ounce cocktail glass. Top with a few drops of bitters.

Bartenders Note:

In this recipe, any Chilean Pisco will do, but be aware that Chilean and Peruvian Piscos are not interchangeable. Chilean Pisco is sweeter and has a slightly lower proof. So if you use the Peruvian stuff, adjust the amount of lemon juice and simple syrup accordingly. Both kinds are available at many good liquor stores.

Chilean Amargo bitters are virtually impossible to buy in the U.S., but easy-to-find Angostura Bitters make an acceptable substitute. Yet since, as Ryan McGrale says, they are "sharper and spicier, go a little lighter on the bitters if you're using Angostura."


Music Cue: Ice Fishing At Night -- John Paul Jones (wr. Jones-Blegvad), from The Thunder Thief

The world’s largest swimming pool, Algarrobo, Chile


  1. Beautiful story. It reminded me of a favorite filmmaker, the late Chilean Raul Ruiz. He made an enigmatic film in '82 named 'On Top of the Whale' in which some anthropologists travel to Patagonia to document a nearly extinct tribe whose language consists of one word.

    And another film by Francis Coppola named 'Tetro', which takes place in Buenos Aires but culminates in a surreal theater fest also taking place in Patagonia.

    I guess I can only dream about visiting at this point. Although I may be helped along with some Pisco Capel, of which I'm not familiar.

    Thanks for posting on Whatsrattlin. You have a beautiful blog here. I have one also. I've only used it to talk to Sherilyn Fenn. I'll have to get it cranked up I guess.

    I was lucky to see Peter Blegvad three times. In Chicago at The Metro with The Golden Palominos for the 'Blast of Silence' tour, at Shuba's in '96 accompanying Syd Straw, and at Martyr's in '98 with Greaves and Cutler. I guess I'm placated by his various writings on his recordings, but I owe it to myself to at least get some of his comic art. There are some nice ones viewed by clicking on Google Images. Also his website.

  2. Gary -- Thanks very much for writing and for your kind words about this blog. As you can see, I try to keep things lively and varied. It's unlikely you'll remember this, but we met a couple of times a long time ago in the company of Cindy Redmond and her then-boyfriend Steve (whose last name I unfortunately forget), who was a visual artist. Cindy and my wife Caroline Prutzman worked in EMI's publicity department in New York together. I've enjoyed your music a great deal over the years. What an odd story this Chile ice theft is. Hard to know where to fit it in really -- it fits in and sticks out in so many places. Actually, the only time we've ever seen Peter Blegvad "perform" was at a short reading he gave at a neat store on E. 3rd Street called The Shape Of Lies, which is owned by a friend of his. We love his music and, if you're interested, I expect you can still find copies of The Book Of Leviathan (Overlook Press) on Blegvad also recently published a short autobiography called The Bleached Stream through the London Society of 'Pataphysics that's available through ReR. I will check out the films you mention. Caroline left the music business a few years ago (I'm a lawyer who formerly worked for a couple of large entertainment companies) and we now spend most of our time near Philadelphia where I have a kind of solo/affiliated law practice working in entertainment, technology and other areas. I hope you're well and will certainly make sure to follow your performance schedule. Curtis

  3. Funny, that's third time I've been mistaken for THE Gary Lucas. I'm just a bloke in Chicago. An old Beatles fan. I ordered cds from ReR USA and Dave Kerman (whom I've met a couple of times) asked how much I wanted for my cd with Josef Von Wissem (the lutist). I replied similarly.

    Speaking of Chicago it was Jonathon Rosenbaum that made me aware of Raul Ruiz. Ruiz's film THREE LIVES AND ONLY ONE DEATH (Marcello Mastroianni's penultimate film) premiered in Chicago in '97 the same week as Lynch's LOST HIGHWAY . Rosenbaum reviewed them together in the Chicago Reader, similar films about multiple identities. Then The Music Box theater played TLAOOD for almost a month. I went twice. They also ran Ruiz's Proust biopic TIME REGAINED , which costarred Steppenwolf Theater veteran John Malkovich (along with Katherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni).

    Speaking of the other Gary, Van Dyke Parks played here at Shuba's. I played some Gary to get myself in the mood. So I decided to email Gary, more or less as a tease, and related the Kerman anecdote. He was amused and somewhere in Europe accompanying his singer friend (I forget her name, but he urged me to get a recording). And he said he was friends with Parks and I should say hi for him if I got the chance. I didn't but Parks was great!

    Wow! A Blegvad autobiography? A must have in the Lucas household.

    I was so pleased by 'Orpheus: The Lowdown', actually my last order from ReR.


  4. That IS a funny coincidence. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I love Chicago, by the way. My wife and I used to spend at least one weekend a year there (she discovered the city when she would go out on the road doing tour publicity for bands) and from 2003-7, I worked for a Chicago-based company, which meant that I spent a great deal of time there. I love Van Dyke Parks also. We only had a chance to see him perform once many years ago, but it was wonderful. Thanks for writing. I'll check out those movies once I dig out from a large pile of work. Best, Curtis