A THANKSGIVING GUIDE TO DRINKING

here are drinkers and then there are drinkers. We like to think that we fall in the latter category, and as such maintain a strict drink regime for our Thanksgiving celebrations. The key, as any professional will tell you, is not only in pacing but also in variety. To help you along we have mapped out each step of the process, from first thing in the morning through late night reveling, to keep you happy this holiday.

Morning Prep Work

Bloody Mary

We’re going to start things off pretty simply. It’s first thing in the morning and you’ve got to get that bird in the oven, but first, drink. Bloody Marys are not only boozy, but also nutritious (tomato juice and celery, guys!). Here’s what you need:

1 lemon, juiced
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces tomato juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 drops tabasco sauce
1 pinch celery salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Celery sticks, to garnish

SALT the rim of a tall glass by wetting it first with lemon juice and then dabbing it into a small pile of salt.

ADD ice to the glass.

MIX vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco and celery salt in the glass, stirring thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a celery stick.

Turkey Is in the Oven

Celebration Shooter

You did it! The turkey is in the oven and you’re on schedule to having the food on the table at a reasonable hour. You deserve to celebrate, but don’t over do it quite yet. Whip together this quick shooter, knock it back and continue with your preparations – that table isn’t going to set itself!

Dash of whiskey
Dash of amaretto
Dash of cranberry juice (substitute cranberry sauce to really make things festive)

CHILL a double-shot glass in the freezer for a few minutes.

COMBINE one part whiskey, amaretto and cranberry, as the glass will allow. Shoot it back.

Guests Arrive

Negroni

Alright, it’s game time: People are actually starting to show up. You’ll want to get the party going, but undoubtedly still have tons to do. The Negroni is a classic, a crowd pleaser, and a totally easy drink to make:

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth

PLACE ice in a short glass, or tumbler.

COMBINE all ingredients. Serve.

Turkey Time

Something Red

Once the food hits the table, it’ll be high time for wine time. A meal like this will traditionally call for a red, typically something like a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. However, if you want to try something a little different, consider adding a dry rosé or Lambrusco to the mix.

Dessert

Fortified Wine

Now that we’ve got our wine game on, let’s keep the ball rolling. As Thanksgiving is not a time for holding back, a sweet wine to go with your pumpkin and pecan pies is definitely the move. We would recommend a port or sauternes. But remember, this stuff is super sweet, so short pours are a must.

After Dinner

Fernet and Coke

There will eventually come a time when you physically cannot eat anything else. But you will, of course, still have room to continue drinking. At this point, we recommend a little something to help settle your now gorged self – which is where Fernet comes in. Fernet is an Italian liqueur made from a mix of herbs and is traditionally served as a post-dinner digestif. The taste can be a bit different, but if you mix it up with a little bit of Coca-Cola classic or, if you can get your hands on it, some of that imported Coke made with real cane sugar, you’ll be well on your way to the perfect post-feast beverage.

1 ounce Fernet
½ ounce Tuaca
2 ounces Coca-Cola

MIX Fernet, Tuaca and Coca-Cola in a glass with ice, and stir well.

STRAIN mixture into a separate glass without ice. Serve.

Late Night

Sazerac

Finally, after the dishes are done, the leftovers put away and the overly-chatty great-Aunts departed, you can really get your drink on. At this point, all that should be left are your old college buddies and their respective significant others, so we’ve got two words for you: Party. Time. Finish strong by taking things up a notch with this New Orleans absinthe classic:

1 sugar cube
½ ounce absinthe
2 ounces rye whiskey
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Dash of simple syrup
Dash Angostura bitters

CRUSH the sugar cube at the bottom of short glass or tumbler.

POUR in the absinthe and swirl around the glass so that it coats all sides, then discard anything leftover.

MIX ice, rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters in a separate glass.

STRAIN into tumbler. Serve.

 

 

Inside the world of beer league hockey

Where playing the game is as important as celebrating afterward … win or lose.

As a teenager, Joe Mohrfeld played hockey against Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the famed Minnesota boarding school that counts NHL superstars Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews as alumni.

“They destroyed us,” he tells me before jumping the boards. “Especially on their ice.”

On this night, 18 years later, and on this ice, tucked into the back end of an Austin, Texas, strip mall, the hockey is not quite as good. Author Don Gillmor’s observation that hockey’s beautiful geometry is never more obvious than when it doesn’t work is on display as passes miss their mark and shots fly wide.

The rink itself smells stale, like freezer burn.

A sallow patina has jaundiced patches of the walls like armpits on an old white T-shirt. Despite this, players come and go with an evident pride of place. It’s late on a weeknight, but the parking lot hosts a dozen players whose own games ended one, two, even three hours ago.

Inside, Mohrfeld, 32, tallies two goals for his team, dubbed the Junior Ehs, but his on-ice contributions are secondary: Tonight the acclaimed former head brewer at Odell Brewing Co. and current director of brewing at Pinthouse Pizza Brewpub has beer duty.

“We don’t draft Joe for the goals,” says Ehs co-captain Paul Eno, 46, whose team is so upbeat you’d never guess they lost. “We draft him for the growlers.”

This is beer league hockey, where it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether you brought the beer. In the U.S., more than 174,000 adults pay good money to play hockey at odd hours, where the refs are blind, scorekeepers can’t stay awake, and success is defined by the ability to play alongside your friends for as long as possible. It’s organized hockey in its purest form, unencumbered by money, skill, ambition, fans or advancement.

Photo by Nick Cote

Photo by Nick Cote

“I can’t imagine life without it,” says Steve Albers, 28, who is launching Center Ice Brewing Co., a hockey-themed craft brewery in St. Louis. He echoes a once-provincial refrain that can nowadays be heard coast to coast. Hockey is growing in improbable locales like Arizona and Virginia, while California hosts the country’s largest beer league and is second only to Michigan in terms of adults registered with USA Hockey.

Nicole Warner is one of 17,000 adult women in U.S. beer leagues. “I saw an ad on TV featuring women’s hockey and I thought, I want to play! Or at least try.” At 30, she enrolled in a learn-to-play program, and three years later she is a veteran of nearly 250 league games.

“Hockey people are family to me.” The back nameplate on her jersey reads GOONIE. “And you can’t beat the camaraderie.”

In fact for many, beer league offers a brief respite from the burdens of reality. “When I hit the ice,” says Warner, “I can’t help but be in a great mood, no matter the kind of day I’ve had.”

Beer comes first in the name, but not as much in the game. Governing bodies across North America forbid drunk hockey, and most players will tell you it’s a bad idea. “Before a game, one beer is not enough and three is too many,” says Nick Dean, 33, in a fading Russian accent. “Two is good.”

Alcohol policies differ from rink to rink. The luckiest leagues play in rinks with bars on site, like the Ice Forum in Duluth, Georgia. “After each game, the Breakaway Grill sends a complimentary pitcher to both teams,” says goalie Kevin Mizera, 44. When I sound impressed, he hedges. “It’s probably worked into league fees somehow.”

For many players, the quality held in highest esteem isn’t directly related to hockey or beer. At 85, Ontario’s Jan Loos hits the ice three times a week and holds the Guinness World Record for Oldest Ice Hockey Player—a title he may soon lose to Minnesota’s Mark Sertich, 94.

“Those guys inspire all of us,” says Brian Hill, 63, of Boston. “The goal isn’t to play until you’re too old, it’s to have played on your last day.”

The night after seeing Mohrfeld play, I’m at a crowded Pinthouse Pizza enjoying a Man O’ War IPA when I wonder what drew him back into hockey. “One afternoon he told me he was thinking about playing again,” says Daniel Conley, 29, a brewer at Pinthouse and former youth hockey player himself. “I said, ‘If you do it, I’ll do it.’”

When I press Mohrfeld for specifics, he balks. So I ask why more than half the beers on his tap wall are made by competitors—Hops & Grain, Austin Beerworks, Odell, among others.

“I don’t see it like that,” he says. “I look up there, I see my friends’ beers. Craft brewing isn’t about fame or making tons of money, it’s about making great beer and being part of a community.”

I see an opening. “Kinda like beer league, right?” He and Conley exchange a look. “Not really.”

Oh well. It was worth a shot.

 

ROSS BONANDER

Beertown, U.S.A.: Tampa Bay

Thanks to a vibrant cross-section of cultures and an increasingly cosmopolitan flair, Tampa Bay has emerged as the next great locus for the inquisitive imbiber.

BREWERIES

Dunedin Brewery (Dunedin, dunedinbrewery.com) is Florida’s oldest continuously run purveyor of top-shelf microbrews, a fact evidenced by scores of loyal locals eager to settle in for the evening, soaking up nightly live music and feeling warm and cozy after a few Pipers Pale Ales. With a titular tip of the hat to the city’s proud Cuban heritage, Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, cigarcitybrewing.com) features what might be deemed more a tasting room than a bar—it’s snug and sparely decorated, though that doesn’t detract a bit from the pleasure of quaffing some of the Bay Area’s finest hops, especially the Jai Alai IPA, which, if you’re not careful, will hit you like a 175 mph pelota to the head. Renowned for its Belgian style ales, Saint Somewhere Brewing (Tarpon Springs, saintsomewherebrewing.com) prides itself on brewing techniques used a century ago. The brewer’s latest time warp, Pays du Soleil, is a delectable, fizzy saison concocted from Saw Palmetto berries and whole hibiscus. A comfortable oasis in the heart of the region’s most debaucherous quarter, Tampa Bay Brewing (Ybor City, tampabaybrew ingcompany.com) employs a dozen serving tanks once used by Britain’s Bass Ale Brewery and routinely offers nine house brews on tap. Pull the trigger on a basket of wings made with Red Eye Ale cider sauce, and if your evening isn’t over, perhaps the One Night Stand Pale Ale will prove auspicious. Jaunt southbound over the Skyway Bridge to Sarasota Brewing (Sarasota, sarasotabrewing.com), where the varnished wood furniture and cobblestone walls wouldn’t seem terribly out of place in some decadent medieval castle until you notice the rather non sequitur design ornaments like team pennants and nautical bric-a-brac. It’s an eclectic scene for what’s essentially a sports pub, but will you really notice anything else once you plop down for the game under one of the two 84-inch flat-screens with a cold micro in hand?

 

BARS

Formerly located somewhere between a Rainbow Apparel and a Body Shop in one of Tampa’s largest malls, Mr. Dunderbak’s (Tampa, dunderbaks.com) has finally decamped and set up shop as the finest Bavarian biergarten around, with more than 400 bottles and 55 on tap, not to mention more succulent sauerbraten, spatzle and schnitzel than you can shake a stein at. The Independent (Downtown St. Petersburg, independentbeer.com) is like a miniature beer garden meets swanky urban lounge and has contributed mightily to the area’s ascendant nightlife scene. Grab a seat outside and mix with the young and good-looking. If you’d rather talk shop with a beery crowd, Oldsmar Tap House (Oldsmar, oldsmartaphouse.com) is precisely the kind of joint where people show up just to discuss beer with the stranger sitting next to them; it doesn’t hurt that there are a couple hundred conversation starters behind the bar. New World Brewery (Ybor City, newworldbrewery.net) may not stew its own suds anymore, but with more than 60 bottles and 25 taps you’re sure to find something to sip on. Besides, the allure of the place is the intimate open-air music venue, frequently graced by regional and national acts that tend to appeal to the hipper set. You could spark a conflagration not seen since ancient Rome with the alcohol content of an ordinary cocktail at The Hub (Downtown Tampa, thehubbartampa.com), where on any given night you’ll find pink-faced septuagenarians, hot-shot lawyers, tattooed pin-up girls, folks with funny accents, hungover artists, grizzled bikers and thirsty scholars weaving precariously on the next barstool. Tucked away in a renovated bungalow a couple blocks from the beach in a sleepy arts community, Peg’s Cantina (Gulfport, pegscantina.com) is the ideal spot to sit outside and watch the afternoon lazily give way to dusk. All the better while savoring a Dancing Cody IPA, one of the house originals.

DINE

Devoted to organics and sustainability, Café Dufrain (Harbour Island, cafedufrain.com), languidly nestled on an island waterfront, crafts informally elegant New American cuisine that flirts with Korean, South American and North African culinary traditions. The posh décor is vaguely European, and the outdoor seating promises lovely skyline views. Meanwhile, Guppy’s on the Beach (Indian Rocks Beach, 3bestchefs.com/guppys) dishes out seafood far too distinctive for its flip-flops and tank tops dress code: Sophisticated items like tandoori crusted swordfish belie the unassuming fish shack vibe. The “best burger in town” debate is a never-ending one, though here it’s a good deal less heated thanks to the existence of El Cap (St. Petersburg, 727.521.1314), whose perfectly cooked patties, grilled onions and toasted bun conspire to produce a meal beyond reproach. Here’s a fact: Bern’s Steak House (SoHo, bernssteakhouse.com) boasts the largest wine cellar in the world—about half a million bottles. Think that’s impressive? Wait until you get to the cut-to-order dry-aged steaks, which have fed presidents, dignitaries and other bold-faced names from across the globe. And because no Tampa Bay visit is complete without Cuban fare, sidle up to the no-frills lunch counter at La Teresita (Tampa, lateresitarestaurant.com), where monumental portions of unbelievably tender stewed pork, ox tail and ropa vieja (shredded flank steak) recall the exotic flavors of majestic Old Havana.

SLEEP

South Tampa is the trendiest district in the Bay Area; stay in the middle of it all at the Hyde Park Hotel (South Tampa, hotelinhydepark.com). Located at the mouth of the historic Old Northeast neighborhood, the Beach Drive Inn (Downtown St. Petersburg, beachdriveinn.com), a bed and breakfast built in 1910, features four sunny rooms and two suites combining turn-of-the-century Florida elegance with modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and private jetted tubs. Spend your days sipping cocktails in a private rooftop garden with panoramic views of the bay before an evening out at any of several restaurants and watering holes just steps away. The Don CeSar (St. Pete Beach, loewshotels.com) is enormous, pink, world-famous, supposedly haunted and has accommodated the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Al Capone during its Jazz Age heyday. Plus, it looms imperiously on a tranquil stretch of beach, which you’ll surely enjoy if you can be pried away from the 4,000-square-foot spa or four-diamond restaurants. Mosey on up Gulf Boulevard to the SandPearl Resort (Clearwater Beach, sandpearl.com), the Gulf Coast’s prime mecca of waterfront luxury. Apart from innumerable inclusive perks, arrange for daily excursions to nearby coastal gems, such as immaculate Caladesi Island State Park.

DO

Tampa Bay Downs (Oldsmar, tampabaydowns.com) is the only thoroughbred racetrack on the state’s Gulf Coast and one of the country’s oldest; after the ponies, take advantage of the 22-acre golf facility and bustling poker room. Spend a delightfully cerebral afternoon among 400,000 interactive exhibits at the sprawling Museum of Science and Industry (Tampa, mosi.org), where you can pedal a bicycle across a 30-foot-high steel cable; brave elaborately constructed earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis; or grab a beer and get ready for the singular cinematic experience of the IMAX Dome Theater’s 10,500-square-foot screen. All that empiricism may have you longing for a spot of the surreal; you’ll be pleased to discover that the Salvador Dalí Museum (St. Petersburg, salvadordalimuseum.org), featuring 200-plus paintings and a dizzying collection of photographs, drawings and sculptures, houses the most comprehensive body of the flamboyant Spaniard’s work anywhere on the planet. There are few better places to wile away a long afternoon than at Ft. DeSoto Park (Tierra Verde, pinellascounty.org), lauded as one of the nation’s best beaches. Formed from five interconnected islands, the 1,136-acre paradise is more than just pristine white sand and breathtaking vistas of the sun melting into the Gulf: It’s the perfect locale to sate the outdoorsy spirit with nature trails, boat docks, campgrounds and bike rentals. •

ON THE WATERFRONT: There’s no shortage of outlets for indulging in Tampa Bay’s beaches, lakes and rivers, and since it never gets that cold here, you can enjoy aquatic action year-round. Named for a 19th-century French pirate, John’s Pass (Madeira Beach, johnspass.com) is a cheerfully ersatz little fishing village comprising inexpensive seafood restaurants, surf shops and kitschy art galleries, but it’s also a veritable promised land for the watersporting adventurer. Parasailing, waverunners, powerboats, snorkeling, island tours, dolphin and manatee-watching excursions and deep-sea fishing charters can all be found along the weathered wooden boardwalk overlooking a serene inlet to the Gulf. If you’d rather take things slow, rent a canoe at Hillsborough River State Park(Thonotosassa, floridastateparks.org) and explore the almost totally undeveloped 54-mile-long, spring-fed river that snakes through endless verdant canopies of wild swampforest. Cap off the evening in style with a moonlit meandering around the bay courtesy of Yacht StarShip (Downtown Tampa/Clearwater Beach, yachtstarship.com) luxury cruise lines, which pamper with four-star feasts, live entertainment and unimpeded backdrops of romantic twilit horizons.

By Jeremy Brown

 

===================================================================

6 Off-the-Beaten-Path Caribbean Ports

If you’ve cruised into the same old Caribbean ports so many times you know the straw market vendors by name, it might be time to broaden your horizons — which means seeking out a cruise itinerary that ventures to less-traveled islands.

True, cruise ships can’t be accommodated everywhere in the islands. But some lines — particularly those with smaller ships, including Star Clippers, SeaDream Yacht Club, Island Windjammers and Windstar — call at some truly off-the-beaten-path Caribbean ports of call.

Here’s a look at some lesser-known spots ripe for discovery.

Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The main port on this hilly, quiet island is the town of Clifton Harbour, on the eastern side. It’s a popular mooring center and has a number of surprisingly good restaurants, considering its small size. There’s also a gourmet shop that caters to the yacht crowd.

An hour-long hike or a bone-jarring, 30-minute trip via four-wheel-drive vehicle leads to Chatham Bay on the island’s west coast. There’s a crescent of smooth white sand and several colorful beach shacks operated by welcoming locals. They’ll cure what ails you with a Painkiller made with local Sparrow’s rum, or throw a lobster, fresh from the trap, on the grill.

Commercial sailing ships including Star Clippers, Club Med 2, Island Windjammers and Windstar call here.

The Trafalgar waterfall of the caribbean island Dominica and amaryllis flower

Dominica (Dom-in-EEK-a)

Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, the Southern Caribbean island of Dominica is a nature-lover’s dream come true. Its rugged volcanic mountains harbor lush rainforests, spectacular waterfalls, geothermal springs and inland rivers. It isn’t highly regarded for its beaches, but the interior attractions more than make up for the lack of sugar-fine white sand.

Among the must-see attractions is Trafalgar Falls, twin falls with an upper “Father” cascade and a lower “Mother” waterfall. The 20-minute trail to the top is well-groomed and suitable for novice hikers, though less energetic sorts can stick to the lower falls, where natural pools — one hot and one cold — soothe and refresh. The falls are in the massive Morne Trois Pitons National Park, site of many otherworldly sites including Boiling Lake.

Small-ship lines including Azamara, Star Clippers and Windstar call at the island’s capital of Roseau. But so do some larger lines, among them Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.

Bequia (BECK-way), St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The tiny (just 7 square miles) island of Bequia harks back to an era before tourism exploded in the Caribbean. It’s quiet, low-rise and low-hustle.

The main town, Port Elizabeth, has a good array of restaurants, a few shops that cater to visitors (intricate handmade ship models are a specialty here), and a lively open-air food market.

Retail businesses line a path bordering Admiralty Bay. Stroll along it and you’ll reach Princess Margaret Beach, about 30 minutes from the heart of town. A few restaurants and concessions are located on the pristine beach.

Other attractions include the Oldhegg Turtle Sanctuary, where hawksbill turtles are hatched and raised. The schooner Friendship Rose makes day trips to Mustique, another off-the-beaten-path Caribbean island.

Lines that call here include P&O Cruises, Seabourn, Island Windjammers, Windstar and Star Clippers.

Couple snorkeling in turquoise tropical water among a small boat

Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands

While not technically a port, this U.S Park Service-protected island lies just 1.5 miles off St. Croix’s east end.

A number of operators offer half- and full-day trips to the 176-acre preserve. Turtle Beach, on its west end, gets rave reviews. And the surrounding waters harbor some of the best snorkeling in the islands.

Major cruise lines including Carnival and Royal Caribbean visit St. Croix.

Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe

This eight-island archipelago of the French Antilles, about six miles off Guadeloupe, is an overseas department of France. Its inhabitants are mainly descendants of colonists from Brittany and Normandy, and speak Creole French.

Its most developed island (and the only one with overnight accommodations) is Terre-de-Haut; Fort Napoleon with its military museum is the island’s sole tourist attraction. But most visitors come for the beaches and bays. Plage de Pompierre is a palm-shaded arc of sand on a beautiful bay, while the best bet for snorkeling is Plage Figuier. There’s also a nude beach, Anse Crawen (though some sunbathers bare all on other beaches as well).

Among the small-ship lines that call here are Star Clippers, SeaDream, Island Windjammers, Hapag-Lloyd and Windstar.

Pinney's Beach at the foot of the Nevis Peak volcano

Nevis

This coin-shaped, eight-by-four-mile island lies just two miles across the channel from St. Kitts, its larger and more bustling sister island. Development is low-rise, and the attitude is laid-back.

The commercial hub of Charlestown is compact and walkable, lined with Georgian and Victorian buildings that date from its days as a British colony. A shrine to Nevis’s most famous native son, Alexander Hamilton (he lived the first 17 years of his life here), is in the restored home where he was born. British admiral Horatio Nelson (of Battle of Trafalgar fame) also rates a museum.

Nevis‘s signature palm-shaded beach, Pinney’s, is a 15-minute walk from town. Or consider hiring a cab to see other historic sites including Montpelier Estate, which houses the Botanical Gardens.The Hermitage Plantation (now a hotel) claims fame as one of the oldest wooden buildings in the Caribbean. It’s just one of a number of gracious historic inns, many of which have public bars and restaurants.

Among the small-ship lines that call here are Azamara, SeaDream, Island Windjammers and Star Clippers.

How Art and Poetry Can Help People Deal with Challenging Times

(StatePoint) Whether you are dealing with personal tragedy and loss in your life, or are concerned about current events, some experts believe that creating and appreciating art can help you cope with the emotional fallout of challenging times.

“Art and poetry can be a beautifully effective outlet for dealing with tragedy or loss,” says J. Chester Johnson, a critically-acclaimed poet, essayist and translator of over four decades and author of the recently published book, “Now And Then: Selected Longer Poems.”

Johnson, who worked on Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts and was a regular volunteer in the months following 9/11 at St. Paul’s Chapel (the Ground Zero relief center for recovery workers), wrote the iconic poem “St. Paul’s Chapel,” published worldwide, about endurance in the face of terror. His poem remains the memento card for the thousands of weekly visitors to the Chapel that survived the 9/11 terrorists’ attacks at Ground Zero, and more than a million poem cards have been distributed to-date.

When one needs hope and healing, here are some ways you may find it through creativity and art.

• Art therapy is a common treatment for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, adverse physical health conditions or psychological impairment. The creative process often gives patients an opportunity to explore feelings and develop self-awareness.

• For those dealing with trauma, depression or other crises, keeping a journal is a way to regularly connect with one’s feelings. It also offers opportunities to be creative through verse, which Johnson says can be beneficial. “Acts of violence and mayhem often result in words being produced that describe, give solace or inspire,” he says.

• When your mind is racing or you feel anxious, consider picking up an art project that allows you to relax. Whether it’s knitting a scarf or simply coloring, such activities can allow your mind to take on a meditative state.

“Acts of violence and mayhem often result in words and art being produced that describe, give solace, or inspire,” says Johnson. “Poems occur where things happen and that’s where many people find comfort and assurance when dealing with challenging experiences.”

And when such challenging experiences as natural disasters or terror attacks are experienced by many people, the sharing of comforting words and images often becomes widespread. “After 9/11, poems by W. H. Auden and Galway Kinnell that touched the depth of the responsive feeling to the terrorists’ attacks, circulated over the Internet,” points out Johnson. “At that time, my ‘St. Paul’s Chapel’ was also posted on many websites, sent from friend to friend and appeared on many a refrigerator door.”

More information about Johnson and his poetry is available at jchesterjohnson.com, which offers details on his new book, “Auden, the Psalms, and Me,” a memoir and literary and historical commentary on the retranslation of the Psalms for the Episcopal Church.

If you are facing a personal or public crisis and are looking for ways to cope with loss or trauma, consider how you may heal through art, poetry and creative expression.

*****

Petition calls for Confederate Monument To Be Replaced By Statue Of Snooty The Manatee

Get ready for a Snooty statue. Say goodbye to a Confederate monument.

A petition in Bradenton, Fla., is calling for a memorial to Confederate veterans to be replaced with a statue of beloved Snooty the manatee, who died in a tragic tank accident at the weekend only days after celebrating his 69th birthday.

Local media reports that thousands have signed the petition, which is the brainchild of local resident Anthony Pusateri.

“Snooty the Manatee has been a symbol of Bradenton, Fla., for almost 70 years. He suddenly passed away on July 23, 2017 and was the oldest living Manatee on record in the world,” Pusateri wrote on Change.org.

“Subsequently, there is a Confederate memorial statue that stands directly in front of the old courthouse just blocks away from the aquarium where Snooty resided. To honor Snooty’s legacy as a positive icon in Bradenton, I propose that the negative symbol of racism and oppression that is the Confederate monument be relocated and replaced with a statue of Snooty the Manatee,” he added.

According to the Bradenton Herald, Pusateri created the petition on Sunday evening after hearing the news of Snooty’s death. He said he also previously heard someone calling for the Confederate statue to be removed.

“Why not do two birds with one stone?” Pusateri told the paper.

Pusateri told the paper that when he gets 2,000 signatures, he will submit it for consideration by the city and the county. Early on Tuesday morning, there were almost 3,500 signatures.

He noted that he’s not calling for the Confederate monument, which stands next to the Manatee County courthouse, to be destroyed. Instead, it would be moved and replaced by one in honor of Snooty, who was Bradenton’s official mascot.

Snooty died at the South Florida Museum aquarium, reported local TV station WFLA, in what aquarium officials called a “simply a heartbreaking accident” in which he became trapped in a hatch door and drowned.

He was listed as the World’s Oldest Manatee in Captivity in the Guinness World Records 2017 Edition, the station said, and was believed to be the oldest living manatee in the world.

Sean Spicer Resigns As White House Press Secretary

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resignedThe New York Times reports he told President Trump he didn’t agree with his pick for a new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. According to The Times,the president asked Spicer to remain in the position, but Spicer stepped down any way.

President Trump announced earlier Friday morning that he had chosen Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier, to lead White House communications. Axios reports Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was also surprised by the pick.

There’s been speculation for weeks that Spicer was looking for a replacement for himself, so his resignation wasn’t a total shock. However, he was reportedly looking to move to a different White House position, so abruptly resigning was a bigger move than expected.

The people of Twitter had a field day with the news, speculating on what Spicer would do next and making fun of his stint as press secretary.

Some were also sad at the prospect of losing Melissa McCarthy’s impersonations of Spicer.

But, others came to his defense… kind of.

We’re One Step Closer to The Rock Running for President in 2020

The first official campaign committee in support of a Dwayne Johnson presidency, “Run The Rock 2020,” was filed with the Federal Election Committee on Sunday, because why the hell not, right?

In today’s carnivalesque political atmosphere, the actor/WWE superstar/part-time meme isn’t as unlikely of a candidate as he might appear at first blush.

The concept of a Rock presidency first entered the public discourse after he appeared on the cover of GQ’s June 2017 issue, with an accompanying interview that made Johnson seem like a likable, genuine guy- and maybe even a viable candidate.

During the interview, Johnson called a presidential bid a “real possibility.” The article went on to discuss his boundary-transcending appeal, due to both his ethnic ambiguity and his evident charisma.

In the magazine, the article ran with the headline: “Vote The Rock.” Online, the header reads: “Dwayne Johnson for President!” Subtle stuff.

But nonetheless, the suggestion was pretty tongue-in-cheek, and was treated as such. Johnson appeared on SNL in late May and “announced his candidacy” with Tom Hanks by his side.

Sunday, however, marked the first official step towards Dwayne “The President” Johnson when a man named Kenton Tilford filed with the FEC. Tilford listed himself as both the Custodian of Records and the Treasurer of the committee on the Statement of Organization, a form that is required “if total contributions received or total expenditures made exceed, or are expected to exceed, $50,000 in any calendar year,” according to the FEC website, although committees can still register without that expectation.

News of the campaign committee’s creation received some amused support from Trump opponents.

Johnson himself has yet to respond to the committee’s establishment or the surrounding buzz, but if he were to move forward with a presidential campaign, his next step would be to file his Statement of Candidacy with the FEC. Whether or not he’ll step into the political ring remains to be seen.

Tilford’s Twitter bio lists him as the founder of Run The Rock 2020. The campaign committee also has its own Twitter account and a website that I signed up for twice but couldn’t access because it said my email addresses weren’t authorized.

But if you’re interested in updates on the committee and don’t mind refreshing your browser a lot, you can smell what Run The Rock 2020 is cooking here.

NYT, Reddit, Kickstarter Are All Suffering a DDoS Attack Right Now

On Wednesday morning, several major sites, including Reddit, Kickstarter and the New York Times went down from an apparent Direct Denial of Service attack.

After a few minutes, some of the sites, like Reddit, appear to have recovered, but Twitter users report that more and more sites are going down. The DDoS attack comes one day after the Petya ransomware attack held computers hostage across the world, including in the U.S., although the two events do not immediately appear to be connected.

Right now, nytimes.com currently displays an “Error 503: Maximum threads for service reached,” one of the common error prompts when a DDoS attack takes down a site. At some point on Wednesday morning, a similar error showed on Reddit, Kickstarter, Github, The Guardian, and other sites.

The NYTGuardian, Github and Reddit have not acknowledged the attack on their public twitter feeds yet. Reddit appears to have recovered, but the New York Timeshas been up and down when I checked it while writing this story. There is precedent for this kind of widespread DDoS attack: in October of last year, a massive onslaught of hacked Internet of Things devices powered a DDoS attack that took down Reddit, Twitter, Spotify, and dozens of other sites by knocking out a single DNS (Domain Name Service) provider that services many websites on the net. While DYN recovered, some of the sites were offline for hours.

This story is developing…

Do Not Use These Recalled Fireworks Next Week

Each year, tens of thousands of people are injured in fireworks accidents. While these incidents can occur when someone is ill-trained in setting off the brightly colored explosives, they can also be the result of defective products, such as the 36,000 TNT Red, White, & Blue Smoke fireworks now under recall. 

American Promotional Events recalled 36,100 TNT Red, White, & Blue Smoke fireworks that can explode unexpectedly after being lit, posing burn and injury hazards to consumers.

According to a notice posted with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the recalled fireworks have been linked to three people suffering burn injuries. No property damage has been reported.

The pyrotechnic devices, which make smoke when lit, were sold from May 2017 to June 2017 at Albertsons, Kroger, Meijer, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers in Illinois, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The fireworks — which can be identified by the UPC number 027736036561 — came in a bag containing one red, one blue and one white canisters.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled fireworks and contact America Promotional Events for a full refund at 800-243-1189 or via email at info@tntfireworks.com.

The recall comes on the same day that the CPSC held its annual fireworks safety demonstration, which was broadcast live on Facebook.

The CPSC’s demonstration included setting off several fireworks explosions mirrored after scenarios that have killed or seriously injured Americans.

“Seemingly simple safety tips can really avoid injuries when using fireworks,” Ann Marie Buerkle, acting chairman of the CPSC, said during the demonstration.

Some of the steps to a safer celebration from the CPSC include:

• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them

According to the CPSC’s annual fireworks report released earlier this week, in 2016 four people died and more than 11,000 were injured in incidents involving fireworks.

On average, 230 people go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday, the CPSC notes.

Of these fireworks-related injuries, 69% involved burns. Additionally, 33% of all fireworks injuries occur on the hands, 28% to the heads, faces, and ears, and 18% on the legs.

As for the products associated with these injuries, the CPSC estimates that 900 emergency department-treated injuries were associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.

Another 1,300 were related to firecrackers. Of these, 47% were associated with small firecrackers, an estimated 4% with illegal firecrackers, and an estimated 49% with firecrackers for which there was no specific information.