Frontier Psychiatrist

Archive for December 2010

Happy New Year!  Far be it from us to suggest a toast, let alone to whom.

That said, in honor of FP’s first year and in gratitude for the platform it has provided for the antique ramblings of your humble cocktail enthusiast, perhaps a raise of the glass with an original, eponymous cocktail?

The Frontier Psychiatrist

1 oz. applejack

1 oz. rye whiskey

½ oz. dry vermouth

¼ oz. Amaro CioCiaro

¼ oz. peach liqueur

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir all madly with ice; strain into a chilled coupe glass, ideally one etched with an Edwardian pattern; enjoy without a twist, preferably with carefully selected musical accompaniment.

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If you were a Jewish teen growing up in the DC area in the 90’s, chances are you may have gone on an Israeli summer teen tour.  And if you went on an Israeli summer teen tour, chances are you went on that behemoth of Israeli teen tour franchises, Masada.  I actually tried to avoid Masada by going with one of its smaller competitors, the slightly more religious United Synagogue Youth (USY) tour.  But it got swallowed up by Masada, and so I too was caught in its vortex.

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Can Duran Duran Help You Talk To Girls?

What can you do with pop music? If you’re George Michael circa 1983 sometimes it wakes you up in the morning with the bass line, a ray of sunshine. Pop stars from Elvis to Lady GaGa and their fans have considered pop music the optimal method to confuse the shit out of old folks. According to Rob Sheffield, pop music is also good for talking to girls.

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[Welcome to Literary Frontier, FP’s new weekly showcase of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Today we’re thrilled to debut Django Haskins, a singer, guitarist, and prolific songwriter.  This column is the first of three excerpts from The First Class Passenger, a biography of his great-grandfather.]

PART ONE

On 10 April 1912, slender, sandy-haired Karl Howell Behr,  twenty-six year-old international lawn tennis star, boarded Titanic in Cherbourg, bound for New York. He was in love, and felt as unsinkable as the great ship herself. The object of his devotion was Helen Monypenny Newsom, a dark and delicately beautiful nineteen-year old friend of his sister’s. A month earlier, Helen’s mother had swept her off on the Grand Tour, presumably to cool the development of their courtship. But Helen discreetly encouraged Behr to join them, which he did, using hastily arranged business meetings in Austria as pretext. They then spent ten blissful days and nights together — under the exasperated, watchful eye of Helen’s mother — exploring Algiers’ narrow moorish streets and Funchal’s luxurious gardens before Behr’s business responsibilities separated them in Nice.

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[Today on Literary Frontier, we continue with an excerpt from a biography of Karl Howell Behr and his adventures aboard the RMS Titanic. Author Django Haskins is a singer, guitarist, and prolific songwriter. He’s also Behr’s great-grandson. If you missed last week’s installment, here’s Part One.]

PART TWO

As the lifeboat creaked its way down the edge of the great liner, first class passenger Dr. H.W. Frauenthal seized his last chance to join his wife. With two lifebelts wrapped around his portly figure, the doctor and his brother leapt onto the small craft, knocking unconscious Mrs. Annie May Stengel in the process.  Even with this dramatic addition, the boat only carried about 35 passengers (all first class), including more than a dozen men, plus five crew members, well short of its total capacity of 65.

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[Today on Literary Frontier, our third and final excerpt from a biography of Karl Howell Behr, survivor of the RMS Titanic. Author Django Haskins is a singer, guitarist, and prolific songwriter. He’s also Behr’s great-grandson. In case you missed them, check out Part One and Part Two.]

PART THREE

For those in Titanic‘s lifeboats, the hours passed slowly in a freezing daze. The starry sky was vast and brilliant but, in the absence of a moon, provided almost no light. The shivering tenants of boats five and seven strained their eyes to the horizon. Occasionally someone would spot a mast light, only to discover that it was just a flashlight in another lifeboat. Less than an hour after Titanic disappeared, a soft glow appeared on the horizon. In their disoriented state, some thought it was the coming dawn. It seemed too early for that, but surely stranger things had happened in the North Atlantic. As the glow increased, however, they realized that what they were witnessing was the ethereal spectacle of the Northern Lights, a cruel reminder on such a night of God’s awesome power both to wreak destruction and create beauty.

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The mathematics of living is invisible, ghosted like dry erase marker on my father’s whiteboard. The mathematics of bicycling, however, is about to be much, much clearer. Bike academia is back!

When I was a kid, my mathematician father had his office in our basement. One wall was dominated by a whiteboard, which had not yet appeared in “regular” schools, and thus considered by my friends to be military grade. On it he wrote incomprehensible codes in the slanted writing of a scientist. That whiteboard was mysterious as nuclear engineering (for all I know, it may have been nuclear engineering), and I never fully believed that it related to the times tables or other actual math.

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