Cuba’s Wonderful Retro Classics

oldtimer-629006_640

Have you seen the photos of the classic cars that populate the major cities of Cuba? Since Cuba has effectively been isolated from western society for almost 50 years, certain features of its society are locked in time, and automobiles are one of them. Today if you visit Havana, for example, you will find the streets are literally loaded with these 1950s vehicles. They are regularly used for personal transportation and even commercial use. Want one? Well, that might be possible soon.

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Oops – Accidently Pumping Gasoline into a Diesel Vehicle

Fiat-Panda

Accidents happen. The size of a gasoline pump nozzle is smaller than that of a diesel pump nozzle. As a result, if you are distracted, it’s easy to pump gasoline into a diesel car. So what do you do if this happens to you? Let’s take a look at three different scenarios:

1) You essentially filled your diesel car’s tank with gasoline

If this has occurred, then stop filling the car and arrange to have your car towed to a service station and have the tank drained. Don’t try to start the engine. Diesel engines operate at very high compression and having a volatile fuel like gasoline being pumped into the combustion chambers is probably going to damage the engine.

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Drink of the Week: The Brojito Mojito

the Brojito Mojito It’s probably not the focus of your weekend plans, but you might be interested to know that this Sunday is National Rum Day. I wound up getting a few pitches for rum-based cocktails for the day, but the makers of Shellback Silver Rum got to me first with a pretty interesting variation on possibly the most popular of all rum drinks (as well as the usual free bottle in the mail). It’s a pretty good way to show off their light rum, an intriguingly vanilla-forward entry in the very crowded silver rum arena.

The Brojito Mojito differs from the classic Mojito in two ways.First, there’s the addition of a-little-goes-a-long-way anise flavored liqueurs to the mix, and, second, it adds, well, more — more lime juice, more simple syrup, even more mint leaves. In fact, while there’s nothing overtly bro-ish about Shellback’s Mojito variant, it’s definitely a drink that goes big and refuses to go home. The emphasis on excess actually made me think of a key scene from the tough-guy movie classic “Key Largo,” in which bad-guy gangster Edward G. Robinson admits to basically just wanting “more.”

Still, there’s nothing at all nefarious about the Brojito Mojito and it’s probably not fair to compare it to the fascistic criminal from John Huston’s enjoyably overheated film noir. It’s a tasty and fun variation on a drink with a great many variations. If more isn’t always more, it’s often very nice indeed.

The Brojito Mojito

2 ounces Shellback Silver Rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce absinthe or Herbsaint
2 ounces soda water
10-15 mint leaves

Start with a highball/collins glass and add the mint leaves. I personally get impatient counting out ten to fifteen mint leaves and therefore prefer to think of it variously as either a “bunch” of mint leaves or perhaps a “buttload of mint leaves.” Muddle them very lightly — you don’t want to bring out of the bitterness that over-muddling can result in. A light tap or two will suffice.

Next, add all the liquid ingredients and stir. Then add plenty of ice and stir some more. Prepare for one big mojito.

****

I have to admit I’m not in love with the name but, beyond that, this is a pretty decent not-so-little beverage with a nice kick. It’s a bit on the sweet side, but it’s balanced by the addition of  the very strong, somewhat bitter anise flavors of an absinthe, or the somewhat milder variation of Herbsaint (marketed as substitute absinthe, back when absinthe was illegal,). I leaned slightly towards the absinthe simply because, with an entire ounce of simple syrup and a relatively sweet base spirit, the Brojito Mojito is plenty sweet enough and needs as much counterpoint as it can get.

Finally, regular readers might notice that I didn’t include an option for using superfine sugar in place of simple syrup. That’s because — and I have no idea why this should be — the result simply didn’t taste very good. Don’t ask me why. The ways of cocktails, like the ways of men, are mysterious.

  

Heatstroke and Kid’s Left in Cars

Acura ZDX

It seems every summer that we are bombarded with stories concerning children that have been left in hot vehicles and have died. In the past two decades, some 750 U.S. children have died in hot vehicles, according to KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit child safety organization.

Experts explain why it happens. Most of the parents involved aren’t malicious; they are simply busier, under a lot of stress, and often sleep deprived. In virtually all cases, it’s just an accident or slip in judgement. “About half of the time, a parent just forgets the child was in the car,” said Kyran Quinlan, M.D., chair of the Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention for the American Academy of Pediatrics. In other cases, a parent may decide to dash into a store, figuring he/she will be gone just a few minutes, but then gets delayed and returns to the vehicle to find his child has undergone heatstroke.

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Movie Review: “People Places Things”

Starring
Jemaine Clement, Stephanie Allynne, Regina Hall, Jessica Williams
Director
James C. Strouse

Writer/director James C. Strouse has become somewhat of a regular at the Sundance Film Festival; all four of his movies have premiered in Park City, which makes you wonder whether he has an open invitation to screen each new project there. (Not that his previous appearances weren’t fully deserved.) Though it’s been six years since his last film, the Sam Rockwell-led high school basketball drama, “The Winning Season,” Strouse is back with his most personal movie to date. The generically titled “People Places Things” explores pretty familiar territory without bringing anything new to the table, but it’s a nonetheless sweet and honest little indie that’s held together by a great performance from leading man Jemaine Clement.

The New Zealand-born actor stars as Will Henry, a graphic novelist and professor at the School of Visual Arts who lives with his longtime girlfriend Charlie (Stephanie Allynne) and their twin daughters, Clio and Colette (Aundrea and Gia Gadsby), in Brooklyn. While entertaining guests at the girls’ fifth birthday party, Will accidentally walks in on Charlie having sex with another man in their bedroom. Charlie insists that she’s not happy anymore and wants a change in her life, so Will is forced to move into a small apartment in Astoria, only getting to see his daughters on the weekends. One year later, Will is still recovering from the break-up when one of his students (Jessica Williams) sets him up on a date with her mother, Diane (Regina Hall), a literature professor at Columbia University who could be just what Will needs to get him out of his funk. But after he expresses an interest in spending more time with his daughters, and that wish is granted when their nanny suddenly quits, Will’s life becomes chaotic as he must learn to juggle work with raising his kids and pursuing a casual fling with Diane.

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