A Whiskey Soaked Night

By Mary Anna Violi |@MaryAnnaVioli

   Last night I had a curious dream. My somnambulistic state was rendered further novel by the fact that I rarely dream. 

   I dreamt about drinking Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. 

My opaque state of sleep seemed also to grapple with the fact that I’m not much of a drinker. The odd glass of wine with dinner, the social drink of liquor [I do fancy the orange notes of Grand Marnier], and perhaps a mixed drink with family and friends, is about all I indulge in with spirits.

   Yet last night in my dream-state, I shared a flight of whiskey with my friend who actually introduced me to my first taste Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. We were then asked by the bartender to rate the various whiskeys of the flight. I rated the citrus whiskey the highest on my card. In my waking life, I have never imbibed a citrus whiskey, cucumber vodka [I like a good French 75] and orange vodka, yes, but not citrus whiskey.

   How strange this morning that I woke up not only remembering that dream, but also wondering if a citrus whiskey really existed! The weather saw fit to be teeth-chattering cold again today, which meant I was less than inclined to travel to a local liquor store and determine if I could purchase a small bottle of citrus whiskey. Again, this in itself would have been a rare occurrence for me. Neither a barfly nor a frequenter of liquor stores am I. 

  Maybe I should do a Google search…be right back…Okay. The Internet is full of citrus whiskey and recipes on how to make them, too.

   I hadn’t classified Grand Marnier and Cointreau in the citrus whiskey category because they are refined liquors, or so I thought. I believe I will hang on to my euphoric notion of Grand Marnier and Cointreau. In fact, I’ll have a shot of Grand Marnier this evening after my humble Ash Wednesday dinner.

   Ciao for now.

The Year the Music Died


David Bowie performing his iconic song Heroes, in Berlin, in 2002, courtesy of YouTube. – tangledpasta.net

By Mary Anna Violi | @MaryAnnaVioli

I do not consider myself a morbid person, yet casting a look back on music in 2016, I believe a case could be made for going a step further than The Day the Music Died, to recasting it as The Year the Music Died. Beginning with my beloved Rock God David Bowie’s death on January 10, followed by Glen Fry’s, and then by Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, and others, it seemed the Grim Reaper loomed large.

Today marks David Bowie’s 70th birthday. I still cannot believe he ceased making music on Planet Earth, but I envision The Starman rocking on, overlooking us all, especially watching over his beloved family. We all now know that three months prior to his January 10, 2016 death, doctors had told him the cancer treatments were over; they were no longer working. It appears the liver cancer won out over medicine and science, as deadly forms of cancer do. I despise cancer in all forms; it has killed people I personally have known and loved. The scourge of cancer and its treatments fast-forwards the ageing process, often emaciates its victims, and plays funky with the brain. It is a curse.

The miracle of David Robert Jones, a.k.a. David Bowie, is that in spite of 18-months of aggressive cancer treatments, he forged ahead, and spun music [his album Blackstar], theater [Lazarus, his off-Broadway collaboration with Enda Walsh], and videos [Lazarus and Blackstar] during his remaining days on Earth. A towering figure in music, theater, film, art, fashion, performance, and in the Internet, David Bowie towered above others, epic and heroic, a visionary who remained true to his Muse to the very end. I respect that he refrained from revealing the extent of his illness, that he protected both his family and himself from invasive press and curiosity seekers. After all, his mother-in-law, his wife Iman’s mother,  was suffering from cancer at the same time; she succumbed in March 2016, after his January death.

Still, I would have liked to have seen David Bowie again in person, the multifaceted, talented meteor that fell to Earth, the man who shifted culture, and whose light burned brightly for us for over 50 years. I am certain that my desire is nothing compared to that of his family’s.

Happy Birthday, David Robert Jones, you are much loved.

Ciao for now.


Internet, Where Art Thou?

Without the Internet, I envisioned myself somewhere warm, like Australia - tangledpasta.net
Without the Internet, I envisioned myself somewhere warm, like Australia – tangledpasta.net

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

Last week I experienced a nightmare:  Our Internet disappeared. No, it was not due to an unpaid bill.  Rather, it turned out to be the sad demise of our modem.  The modem’s age at the time of death was approximately five to six years of age.

Before I learned the modem was the root of no Internet, I rebooted continually over a period of a day and a half to no avail.  Finally, I contacted AT&T.  Thank goodness my iPhone 5 still functioned!  After nearly 45 minutes on the phone with AT&T tech support, the young man concluded the modem was the root of the lack of Internet pulse.  The modem’s last gasps caused the lights to flash red-green-red-green-red ad nauseam, and then the modem lit up no more.

While I waited three days for the delivery of the new modem, I began to morph into a sniveling heap of psychic decay.  I was in Internet withdrawal.  Not that I surf the web continually. No, I use the Internet for thesaurus.com, for checking particular subject points in my writing, for the news on  www.nytimes.com, for e-mail correspondence, and, naturally, for Facebook.  Minus the Internet, I felt isolated, like Napoleon experienced while exiled to the Island of Elba.  Thank God for two Netflix DVDs I had ordered before I could not anymore without the Internet.  I watched those films about three times each.  I turned to magazines that had stacked up on the coffee table, unread, now read voraciously.  I tried writing each night, but without my go-to Internet resources I felt bereft of the friendly web sites.  Sadly, I was forced to admit that I was in the throes of Internet addiction withdrawal.

Yet three days later, the new modem appeared on the doorstep.  Fate intervened once again because the Broadband refused to stabilize.  45 more minutes on the phone with AT&T tech support resulted in a technician riding up like the cavalry to save the day!  After several hours of reconfiguring wiring from the ancient modem to the new, I was back!  It proved a triumphant return to the Internet. Thus, kind readers, is my tale of modem woes turned to happiness once more now that the Internet is back in my life.  The tension is gone, and even the avalanche of snow and frigid temperatures in the Heartland cannot dampen my Internet joy.

Ciao for now.