Welcome to the Digital Viking: The EDSBS Guide to Spicy Living. Published every offseason Friday, the Digital Viking embraces zesty living with a six-part review of the essentials:
--A patron saint invoked for inspiration
Diligent study of the Digital Viking's recommendations will increase spiritual happiness and liver circumference. Apply weekly and live daily for best results.
Antoine Charles Louis Collinet, comte de Lasalle. Pop quiz! Which anecdotes from the life of Lasalle did we just make up, and which ones are real. It's like Highlights magazine, but for awesomeness, and not for dim children!
To Roederer’s question if he were traveling via Paris, Lasalle replied, "Yes, it’s the shortest way. I shall arrive at 5 a.m.; I shall order a pair of boots; I shall make my wife pregnant, and I shall depart."
Lasalle was known for being utterly brave, loving of danger, often laughing at his own hardships, and frequently charging with a long pipe instead of a saber in his hand.
Napoleon gave Lasalle 200,000 francs as a reward. When they met at the Tuileries Palace, Napoleon asked "When is the wedding?" Lasalle replied saying "Sire, when I have enough money to buy the wedding presents and furniture." Napoleon said "But I gave you 200,000 francs last week, what did you do with them?" Lasalle replied "I used half to pay my debts and have lost the rest gambling."
He also founded the "Society of Alcoholics" an initiative that shocked the entire high society of Paris except for Napoleon. It is reported that in one month they drank all that existed of foreign wines in Salamanca.
Lasalle was well-built and looked every inch soldier though he was only 5 foot 8 inches tall, and throughout his career had a succession of flamboyant moustaches. He was a superb horseman and once rode into a ball where he made his mount dance.
He told his aide-de-camp, "I will not survive this day." He wrote a letter to his wife that read: "Mon coeur est à toi, mon sang à l'Empereur, ma vie à l'honneur" (My heart belongs to you, my blood to the Emperor, my life with honor).
Orson: What, pray tell, is a spring beer? The hell if I know, since my best definition of a spring beer is "beer you drink in spring, since you're desperately trying to form a cocoon of alcohol so that you might emerge a happier, more fluttery person when it stops being cold and shitty." This lack of spring beerage explains why we've been drinking wine, which is like beer, but gets you drunk faster and more efficiently while maintaining the marginal edge of being good for you in small amounts.
I'm not drinking it in small amounts, but like my grandfather with Seven Dust and Miracle Gro on plants, if a single dose is good, a quadruple dose will make the proverbial tomatoes sing with glee from the vine. Being unsubtle we like similar wines, and that's why Australian wines rule. Affordable and as refined as a hammered Aussie come-on line ("Oy, wanna fuck?"), it's perfect shit to drink with dinner while getting slightly tipsy and defending a second glass with "IT'S LIKE STEROIDS FOR THE HEART, HONEY." [gulp.]
d'Arenberg's Stump Jump is the jam of the moment, but that's only because there's a special on it at our local booze tree, and that's enough for us because the subtleties of wine and its bloated descriptors boil down to a few basic flavors in all cases:
- Hey, berries, and some other cool stuff! <---Shiraz
- Hey, berries wrapped in some kind of parsley and shit! <---FRENCH WINES, HO
- I'm confused! <--Pinot Noir
- This tastes like my eight grade algebra teacher smelled! <----ALL WHITE WINES
- I want a steak now. <---Cabernet
- Mmmm, alcoholic blackberry jam in convenient drinkable form. <---Malbec
If you're worn out on beer (and seriously, after a winter's drowning in it you might be) go wino for a few weeks as a changeup and for fuck's sake don't start spouting off about how you can taste duck fat and pencil shavings. You can't, especially after you've had four glasses and are eating Nutella out of the jar with a shrimp fork.
Holly: This is a public service announcement to all our brothers and sisters back home at UT: Cheerwine is now distributing in Knoxville. The impact of this on the lives of Vawls cannot be overstated. [SHILL ALERT: We know about this because we are Facebook friends with Cheerwine (of course we are Facebook friends with Cheerwine) and they threw a party on the river last night to celebrate their glorious arrival in the Tennessee market share. They do not pay us to scream from the rooftops about their product, but if they could hook us up with a Cheerwine IV that we could wheel about at all times, that would be just fine.] Livvy and ourselves used to drive back from spring break at our parents' place in Sakerlina with 12-packs of the stuff piled high in the backseat, and now it's RIGHT HERE. Soda gods be praised, y'all.
Doug: So we were hanging out with some SBN bros at Midway, one of the best-stocked pubs in Atlanta, last week and asked for a Bell's Hopslam Ale only to be told they were out. Found a sixer at Green's the next day, and when we brought it to the house of a buddy in Athens who was having a cookout before the Georgia-South Carolina basketball game, we were immediately peppered with "Where did you find that?!?"-style questions as if north Georgia had been in a state of strict Hopslam-rationing for weeks. Don't know what the reason for the scarcity is, but if you were going to pick a beer to hoard in your home for the coming apocalypse, this would be right up there. Can't decide if the sensation is more like a) being punched in the face by a six-foot-tall tatted-up hops plant or b) making love to same -- maybe a little bit of both? Don't tell me you haven't had relationships like that.
Holly: If there's one thing we love in the comestibles department as much as stuff what will kill us with fat, it's stuff what will kill us with fire. Meet the Dorset Nagas, chili peppers bred in England to bear fruit early in the season and be hot enough to drop a grown man to the ground.
Just how hot Dorset Naga turned out to be, however, took Joy and Michael and chilli aficionados everywhere completely by surprise. [...] The heat value was truly unbelievable. Until then, most of the world's ultra-hot chillies were rated at around 300,000 to 400,000 SHU, the Guinness world record being 577,000 SHU for the Red Savina chilli. According to the American laboratories, our new chilli was three times hotter that the average ultra-hot chilli and significantly hotter even than the Savina.
Doesn't that sound like something you'd hear in a retrospective about how hot peppers rose up like sentient robots and took over the world? Because we're okay with that.
Doug: About a decade ago, I was living in Decatur, my best friend Kristen was living in Midtown, and throughout our adventures into the wee nooks and crannies of Atlanta dining and nightlife, we were every bit as disdainful of chain restaurants as two aspiring hipsters should've been. Yet every few weeks, one of us would call the other and say, "Man, I really want to go to Chili's, you down?" and the other would go "Wow, dude, that's really random HOLY SHIT YES NOW I DO WANNA GO." And then, like Ted Haggard sneaking off to meet his gay lover at a seedy motel, we'd skulk off to Dunwoody under cover of darkness and gorge ourselves suburban-style. Our Holy Grail: the Southwest Egg Roll, a deep-fried tortilla filled with black beans, corn, jalapenos, monterey jack and a whole bunch of other things rarely mentioned within ten paragraphs of the words "egg roll," or anything else Chinese, for that matter. Some would hold up the Southwest Egg Roll as yet another sign American culture is bottoming out; I, on the other hand, point to the fact that only America could create something so counterintuitively horribawesome and swell with pride. There's no point in resisting, you know; they'll be serving these in Kandahar by summer.
Orson: They made a breakfast fort. To keep out the haters.
WE GETTIN' DRUNK OFF PANCAKES. My love for Epic Meal Time knows no bounds.
Orson: In a perfect world, Craig James would be forced to wear this in the broadcast booth.
You're damn right we're setting it for level six.
Holly: Via DigiVikes ShareBro DressHerInWhiteAndGold, the mini tabletop cannon. Handy for stadium use.
Doug: Sorry, I reject the whole premise of this category.
Holly: "There is a move afoot to recognize Bala for something besides cranberries." Well, of course there is. A Canadian club is attempting to break the world record for nonstop curling to raise money for their expenses. This is a kind of transit, because curling involves movement over ice and is totally badass. SHUT UP THIS SO COUNTS AS TRANSIT. (If you've never seen the photo set from EDSBS Goes Curling, by the way, here's your chance.)
Doug: So a couple weeks ago I bought my first new car in nearly 12 years, a Volkswagen GTI, and I was all set to use this space to brag about it until I learned that VW had an even hotter hatch in their back pocket the entire time.
This is the GTI W12-650, a Mk5 GTI with the back seats ripped out and replaced by the 12-cylinder twin-turbo engine from a Bentley Continental GT. That engine has been tuned up until it produces 641 horsepower and will launch the car to a top speed just north of 200 mph. Yeah, but does it have a functioning air-conditioning system? No? Suck it, then, mine's still better.
Orson: Dune buggies seemingly went extinct at one point in 1979, presumably because the Carter Recession hit, everyone ran out of money for weed, and then turned to their backyard and said "Why did I buy a box on wheels with no shocks, huge fucking foglights, and virtually no resale value as anything but a planter or form of suicide? And shit, when WAS the last time I cleaned out that hot tub?
Still, a childhood of watching Speed Buggy cartoons has never allowed reason to triumph over the unending lust for a machine solely designed to ruin beach vacations and destroy desert habitat. Arnold Schwarzenegger rode one into Rio; Steve McQueen ripped ass in one he helped design himself in The Thomas Crown Affair. Do not watch both of these videos consecutively as you will die of an overdose of testosterone.
Orson: Phil Collins announced his retirement today in the most pathetic, self-pitying thing you will ever read from someone currently massaging himself with piles of cash as a tax exile in Switzerland. Our rule: if someone writes 500 songs, you will like five of them due to sheer probability. Phil Collins is not immune from this.
Five: "In The Air Tonight."
Included not because of any innate quality, but because 19 year old African American athletes of any age are defenseless against its charms. It is the bubble-butted alt girl of songs: they might be mocked for it, they might disavow any affections for it, but they will hit the play button on it every day and twice on Sundays.
Four: "I Missed Again."
Phil really liked to phone in videos, evidently. "Sets? Ah, fuck 'em. Let's just shoot me assing it up on air instruments and get this over with. I've got a suitcase full of clothes in my trunk since I'm on my way to Mallorca to bone a 22 year old Spanish masseur. No wardrobe necessary." Journey would later this this was a great idea for a video. This is proof it was a terrible fucking idea.
Um, Phil? That's the same rugby shirt you will later wear in the "Missed Again" video. Rugby shirts won by a two to three vote to be the official shirt of Genesis, with Senator Rutherford being the lone holdout. Later he would write "The Living Years," and that combined with his refusal to join the horizontal stripe train should condemn his taste and judgment definitively. I actually like the short edit of this song for the whipass drum part and the obviously sampleable breaks and beats neglected by sleepy DJs and producers everywhere, but yeah, LOL POOR 1978 PHIL HAS THREE SHIRTS AND WEARS THEM ALL THE TIME.
Two: "Easy Lover."
The first of the "hey, we're making a music video while making our music video!" videos. Phillip Bailey sings on this, and is therefore cheating by including someone who does nothing imperfect, but we allow it nonetheless because it is awesome on its own merits, and because our dad used to blast down I-75 smoking Vantage cigarettes in the Audi while blaring this from the speakers and wearing Aviators. Dad had his moments.
One: "Against All Odds." I regret nothing: this is a fantastic goddamn song. Sometime you have to sing a song at karaoke to really understand just how good a ballad actually is, since most of the time you're making a wanking motion with your brain when they come on because they're ballads, and sad, melodramatic people are fun to poke with sticks. But one night I got drunk and sang this, and halfway through the song I realized a.) this was a perfectly written ballad, and b.) if you, like Phil Collins, wrote for long enough, you too would probably accidentally make one flawless song.
Bonus points are awarded for having the name of the movie it was commissioned for in the title and chorus of the song, since only songs with the name of the band as the title song are better.
Holly: We do not tire of mentioning this show, ever, but here's a new twist we feel you all should know about: Archer now has e-cards available for very nearly every occasion.
Doug: My mom had a huge crush on Tom Selleck that lasted through most of the 1980s, so I got a steady diet of "Magnum, P.I." for the lion's share of that show's eight-year run. Is it any wonder that I was raised to believe in the almighty awesomeness of Thomas Sullivan Magnum the way Mormon kids are raised to believe that their bodies are filthy temptations that can only be used to disgrace God and country? Let's run down the checklist:
- Ex-Navy SEAL who played QB for the Naval Academy football team.
- Lives in a stunning estate on Oahu, rent-free, as far as anyone knows.
- Has virtually unlimited use of a Ferrari and an Audi.
- Linked to a seemingly endless string of the hottest women in Hawaii.
- One of his best friends owns the island's most exclusive nightclub; the other one owns a helicopter that he gets to use at a moment's notice.
- Solves crimes and shit.
Yeah, Thomas Magnum was basically the American James Bond. So you'll have to excuse me if I hold that up as the absolute ideal of what I want my life to be like, 'cause there's nothing about it that's anything less than completely awesome.