Welcome to the Digital Viking: The EDSBS Guide to Spicy Living. Published every Friday, the Digital Viking embraces zesty living with a six-part review of the essentials:
--A patron saint invoked for inspiration
Steady study of the Digital Viking's recommendations will increase spiritual happiness and liver circumference. Apply the principles weekly and live them daily for best results.
Teddy Roosevelt was rich, which almost always means you grow up to be a simpering lacy napkin of a man, and had his chances of complete foppery doubled by childhood illness. Roosevelt placed both in a headlock, bore down, and asphyxiated any and all signs of weakness out of himself by boxing, earning a black-belt in jiu-jitsu, moving West just for the hell of it to be a cowboy, hunting large animals with his bare hands and then posing next to the carcasses with a gun to spare the feelings of lesser men who used firearms to kill, organizing African and Amazonian expeditions back when that was a good way to end up exotically dead, earning his degree from Harvard fair and square unlike a lot of other fatbacked pantywaist plutocrat-fruit, oh, and let's just pick up a Nobel Peace Prize for irony's sake after leading the charge up San Juan Hill at the age of 40 in the Spanish-American War.
Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight
Holly: First things first: Prosecco is not champagne. It is a "sparkling wine," and among its many subtle differences with champagne, its alcohol content isn't quite as high.
Yet in a diabolical way, that discrepancy is the prosecco drinker's undoing -- you have two glasses, you think, "Wow, I'm not buzzing nearly as hard as I would be if I was drinking champagne," so you have two more. They're like wine coolers for grown folks, and somehow that's not
Lather, rinse, repeat, until you're waking up on the floor wondering which ex-bosses you might have called to taunt them about how totally fine you're doing without them. Yet Europeans of various nationalities have been known to guzzle this stuff out of cans; in Italy, grade-school kids can probably buy them out of cafeteria vending machines. For looking Prosecco's sneaky murderousness in the eye and muttering "Bring it on," they have our respect.
Monkey Gland: 2 oz Citadelle Reserve Gin, 2 oz Fresh Pressed Orange Juice, Dash Obsello Absinthe, Dash Raspberry Syrup. Mix well with ice, strain and serve.
Orson: The Fried Grouper Sandwich.
A Floridian classic as essential to the state's identity as random murder and malaria. Floridian cuisine is, for the most part, a whopping clanking disappointment you choke down after a day on the beach: overdone fish in one of three varieties: fried, blackened, or baked in the very taste of sadness itself, the watery butter/lemon sauce someone a thousand years ago used to cover the taste of bad fish. This is usually served with hush puppies in tourist restaurants with wood floors and fake seafood in nets on the wall. When hurricanes wipe them from the shores, no one misses them.
The Grouper Sandwich shines as a luminescent buoy of happy batter-fried excellence in the midst of this sea of Buffett-ized mediocrity, and we have no idea how it happened. Most likely, it was luck: grouper happens to fry up brilliantly, solid enough to stand up to a good roll in the deep fryer while lacking the serious oils that turn other fish into glistening artery bombs.
For some reason it's also nigh-impossible to get a bad one in the Tampa Bay area no matter how hard you try. Usually served with some tartar sauce, you should get it fried no matter how dire those shooting pains in your left arm are, and it should be consumed with a cheap, cold beer, because that's how the 813 and 727 roll. (OH WE SEE YOU ST. PETE. And you're playing shuffleboard in order to steal grandma's meds when she's not looking.)
Holly: Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos, or Twice-Fried Four-Cheese Potatoes. Inspired by the TV show Psych, which we have never seen but which contains Dule Hill and therefore must be a fine upstanding television program, the instructions are as follows:
Inject potatoes with a 4 cheese mixture, fry them ¾ a way, pull them out, batter them, fry them again and then serve them with bacon and ancho chili sour cream.
Holly: In honor of the recently crowned Best Picture of 2009, here's the opening four and a half minutes of "The Hurt Locker." The big boom-boom doesn't happen right away, but your patience will be rewarded:
Holly: Matthias Rust maybe ought to be up there under "Patron Saint", for excellence in Digital Viking-style transit and sheer mansome moxie. As a teenager, he stole a plane he was using for flying lessons, flew it to Moscow, and cruised right on into Red Square. In 1987:
For violation of the Soviet airspace and oddly enough, hooliganism, Rust was put on trial. He served 432 days of his four-year sentence. The boy whom the media called "the new Red Baron" or "Don Quixote of the skies" never flew again. Inside the Kremlin walls, Mikhail Gorbechev would use the incident to shake up the Soviet military industrial complex and sack his top-brass.
Among Gorbachev's chief failings was his inability to recognize and appreciate a chill bro when he saw one.
Holly: Mille Bornes. The premise is simple. First player to lay down a thousand kilometers' worth of mileage wins. On the way your opponents can stymie you with flat tires, accidents, speed limits, and empty fuel tanks.
This French card game was a staple of summers at the beach and a staple of ensuing fistfights that threatened to send us all home early, and to this day causes such a high degree of bad behavior in grown-ass adults playing it you'd think it was a drinking game. I've never known anyone with the stomach to actually attempt it as such, but it's a long offseason.
Orson: Year Zero, Francois Ponchaud. Tired of all that refreshing sleep you've been getting? Read French journalist Ponchaud's account of being in Phnom Penh as black-clad teen zombies trudged out of the Cambodian forest, took over the capital, and then began demanding death and more death in shovelfuls. Phantasmagoria of the realest and most harrowing kind oozes from the book: the eerie quiet of the city after the takeover, the dead look in the eyes of the 14 year olds who formed the backbone of the Khmer military, the pile of burning televisions the Khmer Rouge made as part of their attempt to eradicate all corrupting foreign influence. It's not pleasant, but it does make the skin crawl in an arresting manner you likely won't be able to put down. SPOILER: they kill everyone.