Lush Life: Just a Ridiculous Amount of Flavor

Like many people, I sometimes dream of kicking the wheel chocks out from under my gypsy caravan and moving someplace else. Sure, New York has a lot to offer, what with its abundance of chain drugstores and elevator disasters, but the simple fact is that each and every building in this town is being flushed of its contents and refilled with retro-chic knife makers and curators of artisanal beer cocktails:

Like any American with a chronic need to blunt the pain of my own existence, I enjoy both beer and cocktails. (And wine, and sake, and, when none of these things are available, the contents of a spirit thermometer.) However, the fact that I tend to enjoy my beer and my cocktails in separate glasses now makes me hopelessly old-fashioned. See, I just like flavor, but now it's about ridiculous flavor:

“We’re taking beer which, already within itself, is very complex with so many aromas and flavors,” Roshia said. “And we’re adding artisan spirits and liquors, and creating just a ridiculous amount of flavor.”

Ridiculous indeed. Brooklyn is now a place where even the simple act of getting a drink has been bullshittified beyond all recognition:

To craft the perfect beer elixir, Roshia uses booze as diverse as triple sec and clear corn moonshine. The result is colorful cocktails such as the Dark and Smokey, a moonshine beverage with rosemary, ginger liqueur, agave and a smoked porter; and the Clandestine Moon, which combines moonshine, Drambuie, blueberries, mint and Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold.

Clearly then I need to reside someplace where you can enter a simple dining or drinking establishment without first having to research its backstory. But where to go? This sort of thing is happening everywhere, not just in New York, and the only thing worse than modern Brooklyn-style douchefication is the lame second-tier douchefication you now find in other American cities.

At the same time, though, I am hopelessly and irrevocably urbanized, which means that the places where douchefication isn't taking place frighten and confuse me even more than the douchefied places do. In short, I'm totally helpless anyplace but here. Really, that's what's so insidious about the whole douchefication/bullshittification phenomenon. Eventually, what happens is you want a nice cocktail, and so you cave and go the artisanal beer cocktail place, and despite the fact that you're resolved to hate your drink you have to admit its delicious. Three days later you find yourself thinking about it, and so you go back again, and next thing you know you can't drink anything that doesn't contain artisanal home-fermented agave nectar.

Then one day you discover you can't start your day without a Japanese slow drip coffee, and you can't end it without a Appalachian Moonshine IPA Porter Gimlet. You are now a douche, and the only hope for you is a painful detox program deep in the American midwest.

Still, I know there must be a better place somewhere. In fact, this past weekend I visited my ideal city:

Sadly, it doesn't exist, since the city I visited was the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. This is too bad, because when you take New York City's greatest architectural hits and combine them with an extensive rail network, lush vegetation, and a comfortable greenhouse climate in a car-free environment you have nothing less than the ideal city. Then again, maybe this is what global warming has in store for us anyway, so perhaps all I need to do is wait it out.

Meanwhile, in the real New York, filmmaker Casey Neistat (the guy who made that famous bike lane video, among other things) found himself embroiled in a controversy over the weekend after he posted a film in which he cuts somebody's lock because they passed it through his brake cable:

The perceived overreaction made many people angry, though Neistat defended his actions by saying that adjusting brake cables is a "major inconvenicence:"

Unfortunately, I never got to see the video, since I was so busy pretending to live in the fake Botanical Garden version of New York City that by the time I heard about it he had already deleted it:

Much to the delight of the "Twitteroni:"

Not having seen the video or Neistat's bicycle, I'm not qualified to comment on the difficulty (or lack thereof) involved in simply removing the cable and freeing the bike. (Though depending on his setup I'm guessing the difficulty level was somewhere between "pretty easy" and "laughably easy.") Furthermore, as a semi-professional full-time Internet douchebag, I'm really not in a position to judge somebody who exploits a minor inconvenience for the purposes of entertainment. I will say though that Neistat might want to use his angle grinder to "curate" himself a less-snaggable cockpit like this:

(Forwarded by a reader.)

Or maybe the owner of this bike already ran afoul of Mr. Leistat, who then went and hacked off his drops.

Another New Yorker who made bike-related news this weekend was Woody Allen, who apparently told Interview magazine that he thinks one of the worst things about present-day New York is "uncontrolled bike riders:"

New York has changed for the better in some obvious ways, like the dropping of the crime rate and people don't squeegee my windshield when I come to a stoplight. On the other hand, uncontrolled bike riders are a great hazard, and the wonderful idea of more and more people having bikes in New York will turn sour as people become alienated because so much of it is out of control. That will be a pity.

I guess he does have a point (perhaps he got buzzed by Lucas Brunelle at some point), though I was dismayed to see him single out reckless cyclists instead of much greater hazards like reckless drivers or purveyors of artisanal beer cocktails--especially since "back in the day" he didn't think cars belonged in Manhattan at all:

"They should ban all cars from Manhattan."--Woody Allen in his 1979 film, "Manhattan."

Sure, "Manhattan" was just a movie, but it's safe to believe it accurately reflected his beliefs at the time. After all, he also dated a 17 year-old Mariel Hemingway in the film, and while out-of-control cyclists may frighten Allen he's certainly proved himself to be a man undaunted by "epic" age differences.

Lastly, while I was perusing the Twitter I also noticed that component manufacture SRAM has picked this week to flog its new Red group on the aforementioned social network by using the hashtag "#RedDetails" and "leaking" ambiguous pictures. This mostly seems to involve sponsored riders like Levi Leipheimer issuing stilted "Tweets" like this:

The dynamic personality of Levi Leipheimer and a photo of a single derailleur pulley? It doesn't get much more exciting than that.

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