Hump Day Video – Pain is Funny

Everyone likes accidents . . .

  

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2011 Nissan Cube gallery

Bullz-Eye went sporty and funky driving the 2011 Nissan Cube 1.8S KROM in Caribbean Blue. We love when auto companies think outside of the box and actually build a vehicle that’s an original in it’s own right. That’s exactly what the folks at Nissan did when they brought us the Cube. Look for our full review in the coming weeks.

  

Breaking Bad 4.2 – “Go Home, Walter.”

Tonight’s episode begins with a lesson for all casting directors: if you’re on the lookout for a grizzled-looking good ol’ boy who’s filled to the gills with folksy wisdom, you need look no further than Jim Beaver. You’ve seen him on “Deadwood” and “John from Cincinnati,” you’ve seen him on “Supernatural” and “Harper’s Island.” Accept no substitutes: Jim Beaver’s got what you need, and he delivers every time…and, yes, that includes tonight, when he played Lawson, an :::cough, cough::: independent businessman helping Walt to procure a handgun.

It’s pretty clear that most of what Walt knows about guns came from watching TV westerns, because every time he draws his weapon, he looks desperately like he’s trying to be the fastest gun in the west. Lawson offers up a lot of helpful advice, including a beautifully delivered line explaining why Walt should stick with a .38 special over an automatic: “If you can’t get it done with five, then you’re into spray-and-pray, in which case I wouldn’t count on another six sealing the deal.” Lawson tries to be the gun dealer with the heart of gold, recognizing Walt’s handicap as a marksman (“You’re gonna want to practice your draw…a lot“) even pointing out the merits of buying legally over illegally, but when Walt refuses to concede that the gun will be used for anything other than defense, he has little choice but to shrug and say, “I’m happy to take your money.” The next time we see Walt, it’s clear that he’s taken Lawson’s advice about practicing his draw to heart…as well he should’ve. You know, I think you have to wonder just how much of Lawson was on the pages of George Mastras’s script and how much was turned into gold simply by Beaver’s pitch-perfect delivery, but either way, Lawson = awesome.

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Entourage 8.1 – Home Sweet Home

Tonight’s season premiere of “Entourage” was about one thing and one thing only: picking Vincent Chase up out of the gutter and getting his career back on track… again. After a 90-day stint in rehab, Vince is finally free to return home, but little does he know that Drama has been obsessing over making sure that his baby brother doesn’t relapse. Along with getting rid of all the real drugs and alcohol in the house, Drama goes so far as to even prevent any pill-shaped substance from being in sight, whether it’s an Advil or a Tic-Tac. It doesn’t take long for Vince to realize that the gang is babying him (even more than normal), and how could he not? Everyone was acting so awkward the minute he stepped out of the rehab clinic that it was only a matter of time before he called them out on it.

Vince seems willing to put up with all the coddling, however, if it means he can get back to work. And amazingly, Warner Bros. still wants him as the star of that Stan Lee superhero film, “Airwalker,” as long he’s willing to take a drug test. But the movie doesn’t start shooting until March, and Vince is raring to go, so he suggests directing his own film about a real-life story of Romanian miners getting trapped underground. The rest of the guys think it sounds terrible (a Lifetime movie-of-the-week at best), but because they’re trying to be supportive, they refrain from telling him the truth. That is until Eric, who’s still a little pissed at Vince for ignoring him while he was away, speaks his mind.

You can hardly blame him for being so grouchy lately. Though he’s enjoying professional success after taking over Murray’s management agency alongside Scotty Lavin (who, despite being partners, still fight like a couple of siblings), Eric’s personal life is in the dumps following Sloan’s decision to call off the marriage when he refused to sign a prenup. I’m guessing it was more of a matter of integrity than Eric simply being greedy, but that didn’t stop Sloan from sending back the engagement ring in an envelope. And as the gang so humorously points out, “not even a padded one.”

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Drink of the Week: The Negroni

It is with some shame that your humble writer admits that, until a few days ago, he had never tasted Campari. In case you don’t know, Campari is theoretically a very popular Italian apéritif — that’s “before dinner drink” to us English speaking barbarians — that’s essentially a drinkable variety of bitters. You see it consumed with soda in European films and every bar in the world seems to stock it but, classic spirit or not, nobody we know seems to drink it or anything made with it.

So it was with great curiousity that yours truly brought home a bottle of the stuff and broke the lifelong Campari drought. First, a surprising and delicious burst of orangey sweetness reminiscent of a really tasty Italian vermouth, then, a bracing bitterness. A bit strong and not 100% pleasant in the usual sense, but fascinating. Time for had another sip.

the NegroniYep, it was good to take the bitter with the sweet. It was better to try the most famous cocktail made using Campari.

The Negroni

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce dry gin
Twist of orange peel (garnish)

Shake like the dickens and serve in a chilled martini glass. Semi-optional final step: swirl the orange twist around the rim of the glass and “express” it (twist it) over the drink. Drop it in.

If the above seems a bit too sweet for you, feel free to increase the gin slightly and decrease the Campari and vermouth. (David Wondrich‘s version is 1.5 ounces gin to 3/4 ounce Campari and vermouth, and it works beautifully.)

*****

Folks, I’m going to drop the “royal we” I’ve been using and say in the first person that I really love the Negroni. It appeals to my sweet tooth while also being plenty refreshing on a warm summer day and offering a delicious complexity thanks to the one-two sweet-bitter punch of the Campari, softened by the sweet vermouth and with a terrific tang coming from the gin. For some reason, bartenders I’ve met are skittish about this drink and it has a somewhat “difficult” reputation. My take is that, if you can enjoy a Manhattan, you’re probably more than definitely ready for a Negroni and it’s a lot more accessible than a martini. I love this drink and think you will, too.

The Negroni is often served on the rocks, particularly in Europe, but I tried it that way and, like most “up” drinks served on the rocks, the results were not exciting, almost sickly sweet. It’s also often served anti-James Bond style, stirred and not shaken, on account of the bar worker’s lore that gin should only be shaken when non-alcoholic ingredients are present. I tried that too and decided that worrying about the gin here was complete balderdash. Negronis demand a good shaking.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where the name comes from, it’s simple enough. It seems that a turn-of-the-20th-century Italian count named Negroni was drinking another Campari-based cocktail, an Americano, (we’ll cover that some other time) and wanted a stronger version with some gin in it. That’s the whole story.

  

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