For all its simplicity, the origin of the Bee's Knees cocktail is murky. It was created some time during Prohibition and appeared in print after the repeal of the eighteenth amendment in 1933. Because of the secretive nature of drinking during Prohibition (in the States at least) it's not likely to pin down a date or creator. I've read that it was created in Paris at the Ritz by Frank Meier, or it was created by the Unsinkable Molly Brown of Titanic infamy, or came to be in an American speakeasy.
Prohibition was ratified as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1919, it outlawed the manufacturing, sale, import, and export of liquor for drinking purposes in the United States. People could get medicinal alcohol through their physicians, but otherwise they would have to enter a Speakeasy and drink illegally. Prohibition was repelled with the 21st Amendment in 1933.
The first known use of 'The Bee's Knees' was in 1921 as an idiom meaning someone or something excellent, perhaps from the idea that bee's carried honey in sacs on their legs. The actual cocktail is though to have been created in the middle of Prohibition but the first record of it comes from the 1934 Boothby anthology. Bill Boothby wrote a cocktail compendium (that can still be purchased) titled World Drinks and How to Mix Them.
There is a thought from some historians/mixologists that the saccharine aspect to the drink was to hide inferior gin (or "bathtub" spirits). Prohibition meant that any alcohol created had to be industrial (which is used for perfume, inks, fuel, etc.). To deter bootleggers and adventurous dipsomaniacs, the Volstead Act was implemented, this was the impetus to allow enforcement of the 19th Amendment. Deterrents (denaturants) were added to industrial alcohol to make it undrinkable. These initiatives barely slowed bootleggers but it did cause a rise in tainted-alcohol induced death, as at least one third of all industrial alcohol created during Prohibition was thought to have been diverted for personal drink. A 1927 report from New York noted that of the half million gallons confiscated that year contained various forms of toxic additives.
I'm reading a book about the way the New York Coroner's Office detected poisonings, and there is an entire chapter about wood alcohol (and other prohibition era related alcohol deaths). it's called The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum. PBS did a documentary on it as well. It's truly excellent.
November's box was quite snuggly themed, with the overarching theme being "Sweater Weather." Very comfy. It had some different types of products and I really liked them. I've used most of the items so I can talk about them!
I managed to get my kitchen mostly clean, it's still very dated in decor/looks but it's on the list for a renovation. I know some people managed to gut their house during Covid but I have not had the time to get that going. Also, I can't quite figure out what I want. Part of me wants a really basic white-neutral kitchen while the other part wants striking colored cabinets. Like black, green, or blue. Not yellow, orange, or red. Decisions!
Continuing on with this series. I've officially read all the books published in it so far (a new one is coming out...and I've put in a purchase for a pre-order). So one of these books takes place mostly in America and the other takes place back in London. They're both quite fun but I have to admit really enjoying the Queen of Hearts mostly for the Hollywood tie in. Malice at the Palace was also interesting, it has more of a true historical bent (far more royal as well).
I redesigned the website. Well, I changed themes/templates. I was going to learn how to do all the stuff and build from scratch but I was down so much from migraines that I did the normal thing instead.
I quite like this one, it's more compact but brighter. I was going to make everything dark because that's my normal mode but I do like the color scheme. Anyways.
I've downloaded quite a few new podcasts. I've given two a whirl. I'm still on Spotify and they've changed things up again. I can't get rid of the episodes (it's on "all episodes" instead of "un-played") which is quite annoying.
The one I finished was older and already famous. It's called Cold; the first season is about a missing woman named Susan Powell. It's a really horrible and sad murder case. In short, Susan marries a man named Josh Powell and their marriage falls apart. It's a truly unhappy marriage and while the podcast covers how Josh abuses Susan (especially financially) it also covers the insanely creepy actions of her father-in-law. Susan begins the process of divorce and then one day disappears. She's never been found, and is assumed to have been murdered (by Josh). Josh had a legal fight for the two boys that he and Susan had (her parents requested full custody), and while on visitation he locked the social worker lady out of his house and killed his children and himself. The father-in-law was unknown to me until I watched a Dateline episode (and it's covered in the podcast). He has delusions that Susan was in love with him (she was not) and he was very creepy towards her, eventually telling her that he loved her. There are a lot of video tapes from Josh and his father, and a few from Susan. The podcast spares no detail and is disturbing. As they've never found Susan, her family and friends are channeling their resources into domestic abuse causes, which is a lovely thing for them to do.
The second podcast is more unusual for me. It's called Wind of Change. So it begins with the introduction of a German band called the Scorpions (I know them from "Rock You Like A Hurricane") and their song "Winds of Change." That song was really popular in many European countries at a certain time (like when the Soviet Union collapsed and when the Berlin Wall came down). Patrick Radden Keefe, a writer for the New Yorker, is the host and investigative reporter for the podcast. He hears from a friend (who is connected to people who may or may not be CIA operatives) that the famed song was written by the CIA, as part of a psy-ops mission. Keefe explores several subtopics as he tries to find out if there is any truth to this rumor, so I learned quite a lot (including where the phrase "We can neither confirm nor deny" originated from). Keefe talks to people from the USA to Russia, from CIA operatives to the band itself. It's honestly fun but I'm a cynical person so I don't think the CIA wrote it. Did the CIA pay songwriters in Europe/America/Asia as a soft power play? They could have! My guess is they throw money at a lot of things.
My Chronicle Book Box is a subscription from the UK, that I fell in love with. I willingly pay for the international shipping, that's my level of love. The "extra" goodies are better quality (and less) which I appreciate. I don't need any more junk.
I also like that most of the books included are British or European focused. As I'm across the pond, I don't always have access to them (or get the media, so I might miss the roll out).
This is a seasonal box, with three books (sometimes signed). it's a mix of hardcover and paperback.
The options are mystery or science fiction/fantasy. I think. I get the mystery box so I don't always pay attention to the other box.
They also have an online shop, so if you miss a book in another box, it's available (sometimes) for purchase.
There are always letters from the authors (or author Q&As), plus a letter from Louise, who is the CEO of the box.
I've started a new podcast that seems to have promise (or might be the weirdest thing I've ever listened to). This week is already starting oddly. I started the past weekend with a migraine, but was able to figure out my "trigger" for it fairly fast. Since I caused the migraine, it was pretty bad and my sleep schedule is still pretty messed up.
The cause of my migraine was carpet cleaner! Apparently this is known but I didn't know because I've just not been around when the carpets were cleaned. I bought a little Bissell machine because my old one died after more than a decade and I had spilled foundation on my white carpet. So, I guess it was worth it.
Anyways, lets get back to the books!
I know, I know. So late. I feel like it's a reoccurring theme of my life being in chaos (or at least, my office) so I'm behind. It's really because I can't decide on a layout or organizational method that works for me.
I finally have my TBR pile slightly under control. It doesn't look like it because it's so large, but I'm making huge amounts of progress. I'm in the middle of a project though, so everything else is just piled in a thematic way whilst I plow through it.
Right, the box then. This was such a fun box (and I've used most of it). Since it was October, the theme matched the fun season. It was "witchcraft and wizardry." The card featured a cauldron, broomstick, witch's hat, potions and all sorts of books. Super cute. I actually don't know who designs these cards but they do such a lovely job.
I don't know if I've mentioned this, but Lavish is changing up their model and going quarterly. Mostly because every box I like does this to me (ok, ok, that's not the reason). I've signed up for the new quarterly model but I don't know how they're going to play it as they haven't shipped anything my way yet. I have seen some sneak peaks and it looked good. I'm excited!
I've given the other Rhys Bowen series a try but I can't get into them as much (I think they're more "cozy" in genre than this one?). These are from her "Her Royal Spyness" Series, which is so amusing for me as I'm not a monarchist and they are cozy. Cozy mysteries are not my jam. I get so utterly frustrated with them for silly reasons. During Covid, I gave some of the cozy books in my TBR pile a go and it seemed to work out better (well, I only hated most of them).
This was a poor introduction, but anyways. The next two books in the series don't take place in the UK as much. Instead, they take place on the European continent. Many of our favorite characters make appearances. This is also the first appearance of Rhys Bowen taking themes from classic literature. I enjoy retellings or hints to the classics for the most part, so I enjoyed it thoroughly.
I'm going to try and give them both good reviews (as in, me writing the review well) as I have a migraine starting and it's rudely not getting better even though I took medicine. This weather is going to be the death of me.