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Like sand. Like leaves.

Two guys walking, tall guy speaks:
So long as one knows.


Two guys walking, short guy speaks:
One can bide one's time.


Two guys walking, tall guy speaks:
One knows what to expect.


Two guys walking, short guy speaks:
No further need to worry.


Two guys walking, tall guy speaks:
Simply wait.


Two guys walking, short guy speaks:
We're used to it.


Two guys walking, no words exchanged:


Author's Notes:

The long time reader with a good memory may recall that I used this Waiting for Godot artifice previously in a 2004 strip. But if you can't steal ideas from yourself, who can you steal from?


I was hoping to log on to some good information. This waiting shit sucks.

The anticipation of an event is more satisfying than the event itself.

-Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester

Damn, I really want Santana...

Johan "Santa"-na is comin' to town...

Detroit just transformed their team into a real contender last night. Their pitching staff is equal to or better than the Sox IMO. Getting Santana is even more of a priority now. Unfortunately the Detroit deal shifts the leverage back to Minn. I fully expect Jacoby to be included after these events.

I don't know, Scott. Willis is really spotty (hit or miss, to use a bad pun). Plus, there's the "Josh Beckett 1-Year Getting Familar With the AL" thing to consider as well.

I don't believe the Detroit deal gave the Twinkies any additional leverage. If the reports are true and the Angels and Yankmees are really out of the Santana race the Sox are the only show left in town for the Twinkies to deal with. Take it or leave it. You figure Lester is good for 13 wins with the Sox in '08 (SWAG)....and Santana, lets say, does win 20. 7 game differential and that can be made up just by dumping Gag-me!! IMHO the trade is not that big of a deal one way or the other. Sure it would be nice to have Santana, but not at the expense of half our promising prospects.

Sorry for taking up so much space, but Buckner emailed me an Absinthe link and asked if I could share with the class. (generally good article, but I disagree with the guy who dismisses thujone.)

Green light

Absinthe, illicit and alluring, is now available in Boston

Globe Staff / December 5, 2007
At Deep Ellum in Allston, bartender Emily Stanley is pouring absinthe, something that until recently she would not have been able to do without breaking the law. She prepares the spirit in the traditional way, setting a special slotted absinthe spoon over a glass, then placing a sugar cube on the spoon. Then she departs from tradition: She drips the anise-flavored drink, a brand called Lucid, over the sugar and sets the cube on fire. Absinthe traditionalists would cringe - why obscure the flavor of good absinthe with burned sugar? - but it does make for a nice piece of theater. And then it's back to tradition. She slowly pours cold water over what's left of the sugar cube; as the water trickles into the glass, the green-tinted spirit turns cloudy - an effect known in absinthe-speak as the "louche."

"It won't make you see purple monkeys or anything," Stanley says. "But it will make you feel like a rock star."

Absinthe has been effectively banned in the US since 1912, but its reputation precedes it: It inspires visions, it drives you crazy; it makes you paint masterpieces, it makes you kill people - so the stories go. It's said to have been created in the late 1700s by one Dr. Pierre Ordinaire as a tonic, made from wormwood and other herbs. Nicknamed "la Fee Verte" (the green fairy), it went on to become a favorite tipple of fin de siecle France, featured in the works of Picasso, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh. They drank it frequently, as did poets Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and Ver laine. Hemingway and his characters also famously imbibed; Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson are known for appreciating absinthe. (Manson has even launched his own brand, called Mansinthe.) It can be served with the ritual sugar and water, but also in cocktails such as the Sazerac, the Corpse Reviver No. 2, and Death in the Afternoon.

What makes this drink, which tastes like a very complex Luden's cough drop, the subject of such myth and controversy? It's a long story involving marketing, misunderstanding, the temperance movement, tests on guinea pigs, and the ineluctably romantic pairing of dissolution and creative genius. (For more information, try the websites oxygenee.com and feeverte.net.) But the short version of the story centers around a substance called thujone. Found in the grand wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) used to make absinthe, thujone was said to be hallucinogenic and/or harmful; it's why there's been a de facto ban on absinthe all these years. Those in search of the drink's herbal flavor long had to content themselves with Absente, a liqueur made with Southern wormwood, or illegal (and often poor quality) absinthe smuggled in by travelers from Europe.

Earlier this year, however, two absinthes made with grand wormwood, Lucid and another called Kubler, were allowed onto the US market; they began arriving in Boston bars and liquor stores about a month ago. What makes them legal? At the time of the ban, says Art Resnick, a spokesman for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), "the testing method that was used by the FDA, which is the recognized testing method in their regulations, couldn't recognize thujone at less than 10 parts per million. If it's not detectable under their methods, they as a practical matter consider it thujone-free."

Lucid and Kubler come in under the legal limit. Attorney Robert C. Lehrman, who headed the fight to get Kubler on the market, began working on the issue in 2003. The TTB refused to let the company use the term "absinthe." Then, earlier this year, there was a change. "They surprised us by saying 'We are not going to let you use that term in any big way,' " he says. "It was a gigantic shift. We were suddenly arguing about size and placement, not whether it was OK to use that term. Approval followed from there. The law never changed."

Deep Ellum was one of the first local establishments to pour absinthe. And thus I am at the bar to find out if Oscar Wilde was right when he said of his favorite potable: "After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world."

Glass No. 1: At first sip, the predominant taste is anise. Then other herbal notes start to kick in. It's slightly bitter, sort of like black licorice meets Campari. But much stronger. Lucid, the brand Deep Ellum is pouring, contains 62 percent alcohol to Campari's 24 percent, not to mention vodka's 40 percent. How many glasses are we drinking here, Oscar? I'm not sure I'm seeing things as I wish they were, but people do seem unusually friendly. Bartender Stanley joins me for a round; she drinks her absinthe in one shot (rock star). "Ready for another?" she asks.

Glass No. 2: Absinthe seems to make me unusually clearheaded, an effect I'd heard about but didn't believe. I've had two now, and I'm barely feeling the alcohol. But maybe I'm just seeing things as they are not.

Glass No. 3: The couple across the bar from me are trying absinthe. They sip, then grimace; I don't think they like it. My head hurts. I see things as they really are: I am not a rock star. But I'm OK with that. It's time to go home.

There have been no hallucinations, no scrawled sonnets of unparalleled beauty, no murderous urges. I do feel oddly amped, though. All night I have extremely lucid dreams (guess that explains the name) involving detailed but mundane conversations with people I haven't spoken to in years. In the morning I find I'm wearing different pajamas than the ones I went to bed in. A drinking companion tells me he made a snack when he got home but realized when he woke up that he'd never eaten it. Was this thujone at work?

More likely it was alcohol. "The whole thujone thing is ridiculous," says T.A. Breaux, the man who created Lucid, along with other absinthes. Breaux knows perhaps more than anyone else alive about making the spirit - his quest to distill historically accurate absinthe was chronicled in The New Yorker and Wired, among other publications.

"The theory that absinthe causes hallucinations was just exaggerated. There was no absinthe around, so people speculated. I've tested absinthes from the 1800s. Vintage absinthe contained about 10 percent of the thujone that was originally theorized. Vintage absinthes could be called low thujone - they were."

Dirk Lachenmeier, a scientist at the German food surveillance laboratory CVUA Karlsruhe, has studied absinthe extensively and concurs with Breaux. "To my knowledge, a hallucinogenic potential . . . was never proven for thujone in any concentration," he says via e-mail. "The only proven effects are seizures (like epileptic fits) if thujone is ingested in high concentrations (unreachable with absinthe). The limits are certainly justified to prevent potentially toxic thujone concentrations from reaching the food chain. The main human exposure for thujone is not absinthe but sage-derived products (sage filling in turkeys, etc.)."

Lachenmeier's explanation for absinthe's popularity with all those artists and writers is ineluctably unromantic. "It was the psychotropic drug (due to ethanol, of course) with the highest availability and lowest price in this time frame," he says. In other words, it was Belle Epoque Thunderbird. "I presume that Van Gogh, Degas, and consorts would have been equally excellent artists if they had drunk nothing or other beverages like wine, gin, or vodka." Or simply had seconds at Thanksgiving dinner.

But what about my feelings of clearheadedness? Did I imagine them?

John Gertsen, the principal bartender at No. 9 Park, thinks that's possible. "There are many powerful things that happen when we start telling ourselves something's about to happen," he says. "Our bodies are capable of doing those things. The whole absinthe ritual maybe fools some people that they're about to fall into a state."

The ritual at No. 9 Park is indeed seductive. Here, you can administer your own ice water from a tall glass absinthe fountain with four spigots. Chef Barbara Lynch found it at a flea market, and it's even more attention-getting than flaming sugar. Interest in absinthe has been high since the drink became available, Gertsen says: About 20 percent of the customers have asked about it.

At No. 9 Park I drink just one glass, this time Kubler, a blanche, or clear, absinthe. The flavor is milder and less complex than Lucid's, with a lingering astringency on the back of the tongue. Again I feel incredibly alert.

Breaux says he has experienced the sensation, too. "Red wine makes me feel different from white wine. Tequila makes me feel different from vodka. Absinthe makes you feel a certain way. It gives me the feeling of a heightened sense of clarity that lasts for a while."

But ultimately, as with any spirit, drinking absinthe is about enjoying the taste, smell, and texture of a spirit, not necessarily its effects. "When you brush the myths aside," Breaux says, "absinthe is a beautiful artisanal spirit and a unique spirit, and one that deserves to be treated with respect."

Yikes. Sorry H.B...

Didn't realize it would take up THAT much space.

No problem, Bob.

Seems appropriate to offer the absinthe news during this lull.

"There are many powerful things that happen when we start telling ourselves something's about to happen."

Thanks Bob. I am shocked that the state that banned happy hour is allowing absinthe. That website feeverte.net is phenomenal BTW. I spent some time there last year. That New Yorker article is another great piece of writing. If you can find it on the interwebs it's worth checking out.

I have yet to try it though. For the price of a single bottle I can get several bottles of aged rum instead. And on my voyage to blackout island there is nothing better than rum.

A few years back a friend smuggled in a bottle of absinthe from out of the country and we tried it. He went through the whole prep process.

I thought it tasted good, but no side affects that I recall (or maybe I am living a hallucination, like in the movie "Jacob's Ladder")

I really hope the Santana watch turns out better for us than waiting for Godot did for Vladamir and Estragon. :)

Seems absinthe may overtake Santana on the interwebs. From today's SF Chronicle (sorry forgot how to do that cool hot link thing - refresher course Dr. Kaz?):


As for pitchers: Batshit wants out so he can start. Nice if the Rangers take him for Salty. Need a worthy catcher.

12:15 p.m., from Peter Gammons
• Don't expect to see a Twins-Red Sox or Twins-Yankees whopper. The sense is now that Minnesota will hold onto Johan Santana.

//Don't expect to see a Twins-Red Sox or Twins-Yankees whopper. The sense is now that Minnesota will hold onto Johan Santana.//

Ah Christ, it IS Waiting for Godot. Should we resolve to bring a sturdier piece of rope, wait another day and then hang ourselves tomorrow, if Santana does not show?

With all due respect to Gammons, this deal is going to get done.

(I've got a bit of inside info myself on this one.)

//(I've got a bit of inside info myself on this one.)//

Nice. Enough to know if Ellsbury is included the deal they will take? :)

hb,are you wearing a gorilla suit? Never mind,I don't want to know :))

I have wasted so much energy pretending to work the past few days...

From Ken Rosenthal:

NASHVILLE - As the stalemate lingers in the Red Sox's pursuit of Twins left-hander Johan Santana, the possibility increases that other teams could enter the mix.

The Angels continue to insist that they are not pursuing Santana. The Mets probably can't offer a good enough package of young players.

But the Mariners, a team that is trying to add two starting pitchers, do not hide their interest.

That interest only figures to intensify if the Mariners fail to win the intense competition for Japanese free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.

The Mariners, rival executives say, are intent on making a splash and acquiring a big-name starting pitcher, with Orioles lefty Erik Bedard another potential target.

I stand by my source. The holdup has to do with medical/health of one or more players involved. Due diligence taking place.

That is, it's not a "stalemate" so much as a CYA on the part of one of both of the clubs regarding health of one or more of the players.

That's interesting h.b. I wonder who's lying to Peter Gammons and why. Bradford also contradicted Gammons on the addition of Ryan Kalish to the Sox offer (making it a 5-for-1 deal). Bradford talked to Kalish's agent who said that the Sox told him that Ryan's name *never* came up in trade negotiations with the Twins.

That's 2 strikes on Gammo if he was wrong about Kalish AND about the Twins wanting to hold onto Santana now...

Wow, didn't now we were privy to insider trading info.

I just read "Waiting for Godot" last week actually. Can't say I'm a fan.

Waiting for Godot http://portugueselotus.multiply.com/video/item/49

I just read "Waiting For Godot" while holding for this deal.

Oh, my bad. it was a DVD called "Whaling on Gidget"

anyhow, I heard Ellsbury on EEI today. He sounds a bit anxious, not that I blame him. He said noone from RS had spoken to him. Funny, hb knows more about this than Ellsbury.


Lou, if you're in doubt about angels being real...wait until you see my Gidget.

Oh man, I wish I coulda been a 60's kid just to sit and imagine myself giving young Sally Field the ol' "Flying Nun" move.

When you're done with that DVD, can you pass it along?

//Oh, my bad. it was a DVD called "Whaling on Gidget"//

As LC knows, that was everyone's favorite before "The Brady's in Bondage"

//Funny, hb knows more about this than Ellsbury.//

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

who knew?

Sure you wanna stick on that one, h.b.? If it doesn't go through, you'll lose all credibility as a source for trade rumors.


Ha! I'm just kidding; intriguing that you have some sort of inside track...the mystery of h.b. grows...

everything about hb grows, as evidenced by his wood posts of the past few days

He grows AND he takes the inside track, lc.

Absinthe makes the wood grow firmer? The HB/Gammons differences of opinion adding "louche" to the situation for we mere fans? Discount the thujone, indeed; pass the Level, makes-me-feel-different-than Stoli...

Rock on, HB.


H.B. is right. You guys got Santana. Oye como va.

• Agent Barry Axelrod said Matt Clement is fully recovered from surgery, but some clubs are wary because of the extent of the work that Dr. James Andrews did on Clement's shoulder. At the moment, interest in Clement isn't quite as brisk as it initially appeared, and he might have to sign a minor league deal.


Geez, Bob, just posting the link would have been enough! You outdid yourself with the whole article! Thanks for passing it along. really sucks to not get my Soxaholix fix at work any more...
Anyone up for a little Soxaholix absinthe fest? Maybe to celebrate truck day?

The problem with the waiting for Santana thing is - for me - that I had no expectation of getting him up until the Herald went nuts on a story. Since then, I've been waiting with baited breath. I almost wish it went down like the Nomah deal: two days of whispers, then a monstah deal.

Soxaholix absinthe fest? Oh yeah!

I'll bring the Zele, someone else can get the King of Spirits Gold.

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