Saturday, June 2, 2012


   Watching CNBC yesterday morning --  seeing the faces and hearing the voices of the fully employed, highly compensated presenters and guests, including  always-wrong economist Mark Zandi,  when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the May unemployment numbers  -- was sadly revelatory.

      When the 69,000 jobs figure (surely to be revised downward in the usual manner thirty days from now, just as the previously announced April and March 2012 figures were corrected yesterday to hell-level accuracy) and 8.2 % (measured kindly) "upticked" unemployment levels were recited, it seemed like a bomb had exploded CNBC's and the entire news reporting establishment's universe.

   Every single media outlet we surveyed during our morning and afternoon drive north – even zombie, “Yes, Master,” MSNBC – used the same description over and over:  “Disaster.”

     Corrupt Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and feckless Council of Economic Advisers head, Prof. Alan Krueger, alone from the administration, were made to speak about the horrible milestone to interviewers.  Rehearsing identical talking points, theirs was sad testimony and both of them looked and sounded as though they were about to cry.  Their boss, he who sits in the Big Chair and who (formerly) relentlessly promised to "pivot back to jobs" remained totally, gutlessly, absent from the scene.

    Two days ago, attending what you might call a hiring hall (the experience reminded me of an attorney version of the longshoremen line-ups in On The Waterfront), signing up for electronic document review assignments (for non-attorney readers, litigation document review is considered to be about the most déclassé  thing one might ever find oneself doing professionally, although I personally have no problem with it; a job's a job, I like to work, and the people seemed very nice), I had an acute pre-vision of yesterday’s debacle. 

    Then again, the last three-and-one-half years of executive branch misanthropy, megalomania, ineptitude, hot air and  graft had already provided sufficient evidence of the pre-crime that robbed so much from so many.


    I have been practically teetotal recently and happily so, but yesterday's shocking unemployment numbers made me think a cocktail would be restorative, so I turned to reference guides and researched appropriate spirit-lifting libations to celebrate June in any event.  These dreadful, unnecessary,  insult-to-us-all, circumstances will pass and we will find ourselves again on the way to the Delectable Mountains, the Land of Beulah and beyond.  Perhaps we already are. 

    Harry Craddock’s wonderful 1930 drinks bible, The Savoy Cocktail Book, suggests a Corpse Reviver 2, as the drink of the moment and so do I:

Corpse Reviver 2


1/4 cup dry gin
1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1/4 cup Lillet Blanc
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 dashes of absinthe or pastis
Ice cubes


Combine first 5 ingredients in cocktail shaker; fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously 30 seconds. Strain into 2 chilled cocktail glasses.  

  To be perfectly honest with you, something I always try to do, last night my beverage of choice was a Cusqueña beer from Peru, which I tried at the very good local Peruvian restaurant Taita in Suffern, New York, before seeing the terrible (except for Charlize Theron and Sam Spruell) Snow White and The Huntsman.  

  I’d never had Cusqueña before and I’m pleased to report that it was excellent.

   As much as possible, I try to avoid making political comments here.  To any reader who believes that I’ve somehow missed the point (or, possibly, merely overstated the problem), I would simply submit that I haven’t.   


  1. As you know, I am of a different political stripe. Which may not explain why I think this is an excellent post.

  2. Thanks. It was nice to read your note at the end of a mostly pleasant day, especially after the rains lifted. This mostly felt like straight reporting. We watched the 8:30 am announcement and all the rest ensued and that atmosphere hasn't lifted. On the contrary, it felt like a lightning flash/thunder crack at the beginning of a storm and reading idiot Maureen Dowd's column this morning seemed to further confirm that. (I know I needn't feel sorry for her, but I do; her endless self-regard doesn't seem to be keeping her warm at night any more.) But who knows what will happen? I certainly don't. Jane's exams finished; last week of 9th grade looming up. That's enough for now. Back on the wagon tomorrow. Curtis

  3. You and I, also, are on quite different stations along the political spectrum. But, I will have to say, the fawning NYT articles about "kill lists" and "warrior in chief" have made my stomach turn.

    Hope you got back on the wagon safely.

  4. Those reports were very disturbing, but were also the logical extension, I think, of what we already knew about the use of drones. More of the same yesterday from Pakistan. Personally, I see all of this as a sign of a serious disorder. Thanks for reading this. Curtis

  5. I think I liked how low-key yet scabrous it was, or do I mean scabrous but low-key? An evenness such as one finds, to one's relief, in Mencken or Celine. Not like it was a passing gripe.

    Anyway, very funny.

    And don't we all get to detest MD? Endless self-regard sont les mots just.

  6. That's very kind and a little overwhelming. Celine's favorite. Lately, I'm feeling like Sauron's unblinking watchful eye. I will not have a beer tonight, although after some of today's hassles, it's tempting. Yards, a local brewery, makes a terrific summer ale called Saison (it's a traditional Belgian-style brew) that's golden in color like a Pilsener, but deeper and richer in taste. One thing about MD is that she makes me feel like I'm a better person than I am because she's so awful. I remember a number of years ago reading an interview with the current managing editor of the NY Times, Jill Abramson, a close friend of MD, saying that she felt like the luckiest person in the world because she was able to read MD's columns pre-publication. I used to know Jill when she was in high school and college (she attended the same school as my then-girlfriend and they were life-long classmates and friends) and, while normal teen-sarcastic, she never seemed bitter. Actually, you might know her also. She's a year younger than we are and she went to your college. Counting down the end of Jane's school year and trying to keep my head together. Hope you, Francie and the boys are well. Curtis