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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Voyages au Pays des Fées
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Artemis
QUOTE
You seek a great fortune, you three who are now in chains. You will find a fortune, though it will not be the one you seek. But first... first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril. Mm-hmm. You shall see things, wonderful to tell. You shall see a... a cow... on the roof of a cotton house, ha. And, oh, so many startlements. I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation.


Oracle's verdict, delivered to Ulysses, Delmar, and Pete.

Artemis
Last year, at LFX in Allentown, I told someone I had gone in the hope of meeting a saint.
"A New Orleans Saint?", he asked.
Hell no, I can meet those any time. They practice right across the river several times a week. Someone else there told me he had expected to meet a superhero (me!) but had come away disappointed. That made at least two of us.
Artemis
Earlier this year I became aware of an Autumn project planned to take place in Walton, New York, at Delaware Phoenix Distillery. Kirk was going to foot the bill for lodging and meals and provide some of his home-grown plants. Cheryl was going to make her facility available. Eric was going to provide a recipe and his expertise with the "Texas Rectification" method in an effort similar to that which involved him and some others traveling, some years ago, to Europe to meet with Pierreverte and Oxygenee and to help make a commercial offering called L'Artisanale that was pretty well received.

Autumn in the Catskills was the icing on the cake, and I counted myself in, but without commitment, as usual, until almost at the last moment, with September on the horizon, I got a call from Kirk inviting me in a polite way to get off my ass. Honestly, I didn't know what I could contribute. As always, I wanted to be there, but I didn't want to go there. It's a long way to go, in more ways than one.

Ultimately I decided to face my fear, de-hobbitize, and make it my contribution to get the wizard safely there and back again. I called Eric and invited him to set up the itinerary. He decided that we should travel by way of South Bend, Indiana, his boyhood home, to allow him to spend some time with his family and friends, and that we should hit as many barbeque joints and snake farms as was reasonable on the way, documenting the whole thing for the potential amusement of friends and fellow forumites.
Artemis
I set out for Austin, Texas on September 11th and got back home to Louisiana on the 27th.

4,500 miles

Five barbeque joints in five states

A couple of live blues sessions

Intense autumn leaves (but not in the Catskills, where autumn had not set in - it was in a river valley in western Virginia after we had taken the wrong way to the Interstate and had to crawl toward Tennessee through the countryside)

Too many good beers to remember

New York pizza and deli sandwiches

Some absinthe got made

as well as some new friends

Artemis
Barbeque I:

Sam's in Austin - famous place in a rough part of town. Rough and tumble, much run down. It was okay, not great. It was Stevie Ray Vaughn's favorite barbeque. People say it was better before Sam died and I don't doubt it.
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Artemis
Barbeque II
Frankie's in South Bend, Indiana - pretty good. Also in a rough neighborhood, that used to be a lot worse. Lots of pictures of famous patrons (mostly black, of course) on the walls. They put barbeque sauce on the fries, an option upon which I wish I had passed. Barbeque is not about sauce. Sauce is for the side, but shouldn't be needed.
Artemis
Barbeque III
Tony Gore's in Sevierville, Tennessee - extremely good. Straight up smoked meat, with a variety of sauces on the side: Texas sweet, Texas not sweet, North Carolina (vinegar with red pepper flakes), South Carolina (yellow mustard based), Teriyaki, and one or two others I don't remember. Deep-fried dinner rolls; that was a first for me. Lots of pictures of mostly lower-tier country music star patrons on the walls. Tony Gore is apparently among them. I think it was his gospel-style stuff that was being played in the dining room. I'll pass on the music but I'll take that barbeque any time. They have a killer Sunday buffet that includes the fried catfish, but it wasn't Sunday.
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Artemis
Barbeque IV
Smiley's Fuel City in Raphine, Virginia. It's a truck stop. The pulled pork sandwich is the genuine article, as good as it gets. Cole slaw and vinegar on the side. Smiley's sign claims the best dang barbeque in Virginia, and I don't doubt it. I was really glad we noticed the sign from the Interstate.
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Artemis
Barbeque V
Jim n' Nick's in Birmingham, Alabama. We had contacted Ted Breaux on short notice, and he had asked us to meet him there, and so we did, without knowing it was a barbeque joint. It was by far the biggest, busiest (despite our arrival near closing time) and most upscale (actually, the only upscale) place we visited. Hard to judge the barbeque, as I wanted to try the sausage, having passed on that at the other places, and I didn't fancy the other options on the combo plate so I wound up with sausage and more sausage. The sausage was okay. The collard greens with side meat were exceptional. They had a nice selection of beers on tap, including a pecan ale that Ted recommended, which turned out to be very nice. Ted said it's the first place he hits when he gets back from Euroland, which sadly knows little of root beer and less of barbeque.
Artemis
Ted seemed very happy to see us, grinning like a Cheshire cat and punching us on the shoulder (ouch - when Teddy Biceps punches you, you know you've been punched). He was in fine form, schmoozing the waitress, putting on his Cajun accent, and telling us about a rather bizarre absinthe cocktail he recently discovered - I'll have to make sure I have the details on that one right, but I think it was nothing but absinthe and lemon juice. He kindly gave us a critique of a sample of Blues Cat (the working name for the absinthe we made in Walton, and maybe the final name) as well as a sample of Cheryl's rye whiskey. I have no pictures because my camera card was full by that time and I had no replacement.
pierreverte
Brunelle Cocktail (adapted up in A Taste for Absinthe from the Savoy Cocktail book - 1930)

1 1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz absinthe
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Combine in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain.

The lemon completely unmasks all aromas (good or bad) under the supporting anise and fennel, like an X-ray.
The best absinthe cocktail to introduce good absinthe to a neophyte (or those stuck on traditional drips) - one of the best absinthe cocktails ever, since 1930.
Artemis
Thanks, Peter.

QUOTE
The lemon completely unmasks all aromas (good or bad) under the supporting anise and fennel, like an X-ray.


That's just about exactly what Ted said about it, and what intrigued me.
Tibro
Uh, snake farms? You said something about snake farms. I'm too impatient for these installment publications.
Artemis
You wouldn't have enjoyed the Crimson Ghost, I guess. At the end of an episode, he might have young Polly spread-eagled on a lab table, while he plugged in an electrical device that emitted a sinister dynamo hum.










Tune in the same time next week, boys and girls, to see him brush his evil teeth.


Artemis
Truth be told, America is not what it used to be.

We saw nary a sign for a snake farm (See the Two-Headed Alligator!!!), and even See Rock City!!! is not as ubiquitous as it once was. It's probably George Bush's fault, or maybe families are seeking their entertainment elsewhere, maybe even staying home and reading Vladimir Nabokov.

But I saw something even better, the Museum of the American Dad, otherwise known as Eric's father's shrine to himself (not intentionally; it just turned out that way) - a fascinating place. This will be covered in a future installment, but for now, here's one of the exhibits, which I hereby nominate as the official Fee Verte vision test.
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G&C
QUOTE(Artemis @ Oct 5 2011, 07:35 AM) *

… Polly spread-eagled on a lab table, while he plugged in an electrical device that emitted a sinister dynamo hum.


I've heard the gas powered units work better.
Artemis
Without electricity, you can poke and stroke till your wrist gets numb, but you still won't hear no dynamo hum. The sparks and the smell of ozone are all part of the fun.

Would ya'll like some more-ah?
Right here on the floor-ah?
And how bout you Fauna?
Ya wanna?

F.Z.
G&C
Interviewer: "So Frank, you have long hair. Does that make you a woman?"
FZ: "You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?"
Artemis
I knew this thread would be derailed, but I shall endeavor to persevere. Because:

QUOTE
The creation and destruction of harmonic and 'statistical' tensions is essential to the maintenance of compositional drama. Any composition (or improvisation) which remains consonant and 'regular' throughout is, for me, equivalent to watching a movie with only 'good guys' in it, or eating cottage cheese.
F.Z.
G&C
Truer words were never spoken.
Artemis
So, driving west toward Texas was like driving into the sun - literally. The heat wave was broken in Louisiana some weeks ago, but not so for the Lone Star state. There, the heat was oppressive, alien-like. Along Highway 71, near Bastrop, the area has been laid waste by fire. Everywhere, the landscape is crispy, ready to go up in smoke, but around there, it's ashes and trees burnt like matchsticks, police cars every 200 yards or so, just waiting for some ignorant bastard to throw a cigarette butt out the window. I arrived on Eric's street and pulled up to the wrong house (I had been there before, but that was in another lifetime). But the plants in the front yard of a house across the street provided the necessary landmark.

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Artemis
Eric was due to play a gig that night, but I declined to attend, not wanting to be alone in a strange club.
A friend of his, also a bass player, dropped by to ask for a ride and invited me to attend his own gig at a different club: "You won't be alone - the place is filled with wandering lost souls, looking for a friend - they'll notice you."
And so they did, but that was later. I stayed home and watched Antiques Roadshow, and on there saw a woman with an original Absinthe Robette poster (those things are big!). It was in mint condition, and they valued it at $8,000, if I remember correctly.
After Eric returned, we proceeded to the carnival of souls (the Sahara Club), where his friend was playing with the Moeller Brothers, to whom I was introduced by Eric. Both of them play with the Fabulous Thunderbirds (but not on that night), and one of them was one of the "real life" models for Beavis of Beavis and Butthead fame (Mike Judge was a friend of theirs in their youth).
The Sahara Club turned out to be an interesting place. There was an enormous black man sitting at a table near the door, wearing a white suit and Stetson hat. I took him for the doorman or the bouncer, but I'm not sure. He seemed to be asleep, or maybe dead, but sometime later he startled me by shouting "I ain't drunk, but I'm drinking!" before lapsing back into his reverie. In any case, we paid no cover charge, possibly because the King is well known in these circles and passes such barriers unopposed. Or maybe because the doorman wanders through the doors of perception, or wasn't the doorman at all. Some mysteries are best left alone.
Artemis
I settled down in a chair against the wall, safely out of the way of the wandering souls (so I thought, in vain), nursing a bottle of very cold Maine Root Ginger Brew, a glowing green concoction as pretty as any Czechsinthe, and way more astringent - very nice stuff that will strip the fur off your tongue, and a nice counterpoint to the alien heat (it stays 100 degrees for a while even after dark in Austin - the only good thing about that is the near-naked women who then come out to jog - Austin is crawling with pedestrians after dark, moreso than any place I've been, but I'm not sure whether it's a normal thing or a product of that g**damned life-sapping heat that all but assures you won't see anybody outside at noon unless they have to be).
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Artemis
The Moeller brothers were cranking out some low-down nasty blues, some people were playing pool, and a few striking women wandered about, including one platinum blonde in a white satin jumpsuit, with a little Toto dog on a leash, who proceeded to join a game of poker in the corner. Nobody is safe from the lost souls. A fairly robust woman approached and offered me "the best massage in the world"; said I wouldn't have to pay anything if I wasn't satisfied. "She ain't even lying!", I was assured by a tall, sinewy man playing pool, but his testimony was suspect. He had a dangerous aura, pacing all around the club like a panther on crystal meth, carrying his pool stick. Occasionally he shouted some gibberish or other, which was from time to time answered by Johnny Moeller (Beavis) on stage, who apparently understood his jive and shouted right back. I declined the services of the masseuse and she dragged Eric off to dance with her instead. Panther man invited me to play pool with him and I declined that too, engendering from him the most intense look of disgust that I've seen in a long time. I later learned that he shows up at the club from time to time offering guitars for sale at shall we say, rates not commensurate with their obvious value, so I was glad I had trusted my radar with regard to him.
Tibro
I keep anticipating a tasteful, subliminal message to buy something to blip almost imperceptibly across my consciousness.
Artemis
The dance completed, the large woman approached again and enveloped me in a sweaty embrace, clammy and phocine-like. She again offered the potentially-free massage. I told her I was strapped for cash, and would be embarrassed to offer her nothing even if the experience proved to be unsatisfactory. She replied, "So I can't even get a beer out of you?" Hell, all she had to do was ask for a beer if that's what she wanted, no need to make such an adventure of it.

The Moeller brothers completed their set (to say it was good would be a vast understatement) without fanfare. The patrons, although mostly grooving the whole time, didn't seem to pay them much attention, and vice versa. It wasn't a matter of disrespect, it seemed to be that each side expected exactly what they got, in a good way. We departed to get not nearly enough sleep before heading for Chicago in the morning.


Artemis
QUOTE(Tibro @ Oct 5 2011, 07:05 PM) *
I keep anticipating a tasteful, subliminal message to buy something to blip almost imperceptibly across my consciousness.


I shamelessly recommend the purchase of all products and services heretofore mentioned, excepting only the massage.
Tibro
QUOTE(Artemis @ Oct 5 2011, 09:11 PM) *

accepting only the massage.

N.B.: Freudian slip captured before redaction.
Tibro
"So I can't even get a beer absinthe out of you?"

What kind of story is this, anyway?
Artemis
Way more beer than absinthe was consumed in the making of this story, which is not about absinthe anyway. It's a story about truth, justice, and the American way. About sin and redemption. Confession and absolution. Too soon old and too late smart.

Ain't that ain't no blues.
Artemis
But to keep it on topic, I will consume a mominette of Blues Cat before resuming, after an indefinite intermission.
Tibro
Thanks for the phocal point, but I give a great clammy hug as well. Superhero xit or no.

Can't I get a absinthe, 's what I want to know?
Provenance
I'm looking forward to future installments -- this is classic. It's "absinthe" in a way that has nothing to do with alcohol.
Jaded Prole
Indeed!™
Artemis
I didn't sink the mominette, but there's probably no doubt in my mind I'll relish the Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB I may or may not drink later mo bettah. It has a head that lingers to the bottom of the glass, like a diminishing foam iceberg on a malty sea, waiting for one last seal to climb aboard and give it a salty hug before it reincarnates as a cloud that smells like Fuggles.
Absinthe is so 1999, it's not even funny.
And right now the muse that calls is Pasithea.
Jack says here's looking at ya!
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Provenance
QUOTE(Provenance @ Oct 5 2011, 12:20 PM) *
It's "absinthe" in a way that has nothing to do with alcohol.

It's a beautifully told story. An Admin should pin it.
Jaded Prole
Yes it is, but hopefully there's more to come.
Artemis
On a Tuesday, we packed up herbs and jars and sheet music and Eric's old box guitar and headed north, just me, Eric, and Rush Limbaugh. I always listen to Rush on the road - it helps make three hours go by. Eric was talking back to Rush quite a bit, engendering quite a bit of discussion between us that at times neared vapor temp (it was bound to happen), but at least there was no vacuum. In Dallas, it was 108 degrees and crispy. Less than 24 hours later near Kankakee, it was 51 degrees and raining. There's a lot to be said for heading north at the right time. Darkness and fatigue had gotten the best of us near Memphis and we had stopped for the night. Although I have reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland, there was no time for a visit to the worldly version. Eric thought one of us should pose with a sign near there. I didn't think it was a good idea. Shotguns and signs like that go together.
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Artemis
The soft rain and falling temperatures all through Missouri and Illinois were soothing balm. Once on Seinfeld, "Mr. Steinbrenner" told George a cautionary tale about hitchhiking and being picked up by a bakery deliver van:

"Uh huh, I understand what you're saying George and I know what it's like to be financially strapped. When I was a young man in Cleveland I use to hitchhike to work. One time I got picked up by a bakery truck. You think that stuff smells good? Try being cooped up in the back of one of those babies. I couldn't look at a donut for the next two years." You know those things shaped like a Christmas tree that people hang from the rearview mirror to make the car smell good? Imagine an absinthe version and we were the rolling promotion for it. It smells like this:

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R3al Caravano
Rush a better band: pick your extreme (Rush or Maher): all (rating) whores and no useful info. The banter those cat produce does not even generate any useful thought. It only takes a 1 hour sitting of CSPAN 2 to see that no one is saying much aside from that the other guy sucks (that's really fucking useful). Next time you tune in to Rush or Maher remember you are paying for entertainment and perpetuating nothing useful.

Good luck to you and Elvis (and all involved) in your useful endeavors. I'm sure they will sway anyone's mind in a good and memorable light by virtue of their being.

Is that fennel by the way? Mine don't get so fat; I merely grow them for show and let the pretty caterpillars eat them.
Artemis
Yes, it's fennel. It's in decent focus in the raw picture; reducing the size messed it up quite a bit.
Artemis
Eric immediately disappeared upstairs to root for boyhood treasures (guitar magazines, original Alice Cooper LPs, etc.) while I kicked back in the parlor. A rainy afternoon in a quiet, elegant old house is a blessing. Friendly dogs are icing on the cake. Later, we had take-out barbeque on the table, Eric's mom was home from work, and people dropped in - Eric's brother John, and his friends Guy and Frank. Guy is a very tall guy. He had no shoes, always a promising sign. He had been surfing in Lake Michigan in the rain. Frank is a very gentle, sweet guy. I didn't realize at the time they are in fact blues cats.
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Rainy Day Parlor
Yeah I know, there's plenty of sunshine through the window. I took that picture the following day, so I wouldn't have to use the flash. I don't like the flash.
Artemis
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Eric and his mom. She's 78, owns her house free and clear, and teaches dancing. She told me she taught dancing in New Orleans in her youth.
Artemis
The next day Eric helped his Mom in the yard and then got ready to go and meet his stepmother. I was going to stick around the house. His father died a few years back and his stepmom is very sick, and from all reports, reclusive and doesn't want to see anybody. We decided it was better not to bring a stranger around, but at the last minute Eric said, "To hell with it - let's go, you need to see this place!". And I was happy I did. Dad ran a radio and later car stereo repair and installation business in South Bend from the 1950s. It grew over the years to include more than that, and the building now houses the remains of the business and a lot of things Dad collected over the years. It's a museum of an American dad - a fascinating place. We spent half the day there and I never stopped finding cool things to appreciate.

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Artemis
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Jay would have liked this place - lots of aviation stuff. That's Eric's dad in the photo behind his helmet liner, and in the photo of the red Ferrari.

Artemis
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I remember when gasoline cost 24 cents per gallon.
Artemis
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Our apprehension with regard to Mary proved to be unfounded. After some initial confusion (she took us to be would-be customers, then for a moment took Eric for his brother), she was thrilled to see us. There were tears all around, but not for long. She couldn't be more different from his mom. They're both nice ladies, but Laverne is quiet and reserved, and Mary is loud and ribald, quite a comic. I liked Mary's U-boat captain's hat.

Tibro
Indiana. I would never have guessed. Not by that parlor, at least. Not sure what I would have expected. I'm totally enthralled by the photos. And a little choked up to be honest. My mom died on her 81st birthday. What I wouldn't give to be able to sit on the couch with her one more time.

Artemis, those are miles well spent. Great contribution.

Eric, you're a lucky guy.
Jaded Prole
Yes he is. Thanks for sharing your adventure, its great to see Eric's home and family.
Artemis
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Poppy was outside and wanted in really bad.

"I'm going to let her in", said Mary, "but there are some things you guys should know. Don't look her in the eyes. Don't try to touch her. Don't move if she approaches you."

This promised to put quite a damper on our tour, but Poppy turned out to be a sweet dog. I have a feeling the average burglar wouldn't think so, though.
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