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Thursday, May 5, 2005

Good drinkers and good thinkers: Dr. Cocktail takes a barstool

I don’t blog, I don’t blog, I don’t blog. Oh look, I’m blogging.

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I was an early web adopter. Then it was like, ok, I get that we have all this cyber real estate, but what do you DO with it? Write about yourself? Write a poem? Put up a pretty picture? It all seemed so self indulgent before the big corporations stepped in. And that’s how blogging struck me so many years later…a resurrection of the Web’s proud roots….directionless, self-indulgent crap. Ooh, my private diary…. but if you find it you can read about my every puerile whim!

So what happened? Good writers and good thinkers, that’s what. Day laborers who would never make their money with a pen turned out to have a point of view, but, again, so what? Well, so if they end up writing with articulate humor or passion that is enough. As Joseph Mailander, the host of my first blogging indulgence once said to me, "a good blog is the reader’s dirty secret, it’s his or her secret indulgence." A first-person narrative soap opera is what it is, but again, the writing and the smarts in the blogs we’ve come to know make them persuasive, and having laid down that foundation, we cycle back around to the individual points of view, and then we’re hooked.

Cocktails and politics, or to roll it all up and express it daintily, "cultural issues," have snuggled up before, symbiotic, less as a matter of drawing lines of correspondence than "I like Martinis. I like the ACLU. I will write of these two lovers and my menage e trois with them. Surely, it all preceded blogs and the web, but looking at those venues alone we see cocktails and politics again and again, alone and together. The bulletin boards, of course, now take on the aspect of blogs as well - and vice versa via peanut gallery mutterings from the blog comment forms.

Ever since I became notorious in my little corner of whimsy, (cocktail history,) the blogs have seemed like strangers overheard complimenting me without knowing I was there to hear. It was and had to be a fait accompli that I would one day be among them.

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I met up with MartiniRepublic doing a Google search on Laird’s Applejack. It’s one of those searches I repeat on some kind of a schedule. Partially because applejack was the first spirit distilled in this country — and Laird’s was early to do so commercially (having assented to provide George Washington with their formula just to be nice) — and partially because I look for physical and informational artifacts of that history.

Among the Google results was the website MartiniRepublic.com. My inspection was consequential for the Laird piece, and cursory for the rest of the site… except for ONE OTHER POINT. They were Los Angeles-based. I was Los Angeles-based. This was important. It meant someone new to have Martinis with. I suggested as much. The depth of the whole political discourse aspect only sunk in after Joseph assented to the cocktail and suggested I contribute to the site.

Mulling that over, I proceeded to follow the various trails of bread crumbs left by MartiniRepublic leading hither and thither, and I learned. I learned that LA-affairs blogs are like a pit of vipers. They’re like a pond of piranhas. They’re like apples with razor blades in them. Am I putting too fine a point on it? Brother, walk a mile on my freeway. We have the obligatory national politics, liberal and conservative, but when it dips into the cesspool of local LA "cultural issues" jeez, hose me off. Right now we are readying ourselves for a mayoral election, mercifully now narrowed to two, even though all three still want to win. And all three of these gameshow contestants are putzes. We have the incumbent do-nothing putz, the talk big but don’t have a clue putz, and the golden boy who sold out to win putz. Oh, and the blogs get ALL whupped up over these guys and other nuances of the LA scene dealing with, among other items,… immigration, rights of one sort of another, and, oh yes, themselves. I really learned a thing or two when I saw the degree to which these blogs, mosquito-like, feed off each other. You know what it is? It’s love. They couldn’t live without one another, and for that reason I embrace them in all their nutty confrontational passion. Awwwww.

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I met Joseph at the Tiki Ti bar, a clear indication we both knew our LA joints. My Navy Grog (with my special Pimento Dram additive) was already in hand when he walked in, and I knew him immediately. A strange combo of Hector Elizondo with the wry, dry humor only Satan himself could muster, and perhaps just a dash of antimatter Dennis Miller. We drank and I basically agreed to write for Martini Republic. Why? Didn’t I mention I could drink with him? Also, MartiniRepublic and the other rabid LA blogs out there are genuinely smart. I enjoy reading the ones that I by no means agree with, too. Why not? They too are smart. witty, and acerbic, and I embrace a lively divergency of points of view. But MartiniRepublic offered me a gig, they’ll let me write whatever my suspect brain tells me to, and did I mention we can meet for the occasional LA libation?

I’m Dr. Cocktail and I approved this column.

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