Intelligence + competence = monkey tail

Alexis Sanchez cannot stop dominating every game; therefore, the Gooner Triumphal Feast cannot stop its Chilean theme. As previously threatened, we are going with the famous Monkey Tail cocktail. You may find the recipe here.

There will be some cheating on the vanilla bean requirement in this recipe. I am also contemplating cheating on the rum because I’m visiting Kentucky this weekend, it seems bourbon would be more appropriate. However, I am somewhat afraid to make a substitution of that caliber. Will give that some further consideration. And we’ll probably need to go noncaffeinated on the coffee. And some people attending the feast will need the virgin version of the drink.

You may say, “Then why bother with this recipe?”

To which I reply: Pipe down. If you’re too nervous or pure to follow my lead, wait until we report on it later.

Ozil doesn't take Alexis's goal sitting down. (Jan Kruger/Getty images)
Ozil doesn’t take Alexis’s goal sitting down. (Jan Kruger/Getty images)

I watched the match with my niece, a talented high school soccer player. Before the end of the game, she was doing some gasping with me, mostly Aaron Ramsey-induced gasping. Arsenal didn’t make easy work of it and Watford looked ever-ready to hit the target, but it was a comfortable 0-3 win to the Arsenal in the end. Alexis Sanchez scored the first goal, seconds after what appeared to be a penalty-quality foul on Ozil in the box. Giroud came off the bench for the second, and Aaron Ramsey managed the third. I had been sweating over him the whole match (a continuation of sweating his play across the season). My niece pointed out that he did many beautiful things each time he had the ball, except for the very last moment of his possession which was usually disappointing. It was good to see him finally hit the back of the net. Maybe he just needed someone to bank the ball off of.

Anyway, it’s time for some hiking. Will be back later with photos from the feast.

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The title of this post was inspired by the comments Arsene Wenger made after the victory with regard to the team performance. He identified intelligence and competence as key to the win. As is often the case with a comprehensive win that’s accompanied by a clean sheet, the team performance was indeed marked by intelligent and competent play. But our Man of the Match, Alexis Sanchez, while certainly competent and intelligent in his play, is more well-known for effort. Arseblog once referred to him as a “trying machine.” He never stops trying to get the ball, or to stop the other team, or fight his way to the goal. While he also exhibits beautiful skill, what you notice about him, above all, is that he is relentless.

Alexis seems unhappy that the Monkey Tail is being served warm
Alexis seems somehow dissatisfied that the Monkey Tail is being served warm

We made the Monkey Tail in celebration of his performance using rum as the recipe demands and we substituted vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. It was quite good, reminiscent of Kahlua and cream, except we served it hot.

The idea of purchasing alcohol in this town where I used to live (and where my mother and brother’s family still do) is strange to me. For decades, the town sat in a dry county where no alcohol was legally sold. To get alcohol, a person would have to drive 25 or so miles to Nicholasville. Years ago, Nicholasville was what you’d expect a town to be that sold alcohol in proximity to many dry counties. It had lots of liquor stores, many of them drive-through. In fact, in my memory, Nicholasville had drive-through liquor stores before many fast food restaurants had drive through windows.

Every so often, our county or town would vote on whether to allow alcohol sales. The rationale for not allowing alcohol was simple: did anyone really want their town to be like Nicholasville?

Over time, many nearby counties went wet. At some point the door to selling alcohol in Danville was opened a tiny bit as it was made legal to sell wine and beer in restaurants of a particular size. One thing ultimately led to another and now it seems that a person of legal age can buy alcohol in restaurants and liquor stores with relative freedom. It’s still a charming southern town, and nothing like Nicholasville. I would guess that even Nicholasville is no longer like Nicholasville. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t been through Nicholasville in over a decade.

We had a good hike this afternoon around Shakertown. Shakertown is officially called Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, and was the historic location of a Shaker Village that stood for more than 100 years and has been carefully restored. The Shakers were a religious sect that lived communally, believed in equality in every permeation, and lived in simplicity. What they dispensed with completely was sex. This made it somewhat challenging to propagate the sect, quite literally, and keep it growing. Interestingly, the sect was established in America by Sister Ann Lee, a native of Manchester England who came by ship to New York via Liverpool. The Shakers located in several places in America, including in Kentucky, not far from Danville, where I am visiting.

Most people say that the Shakers left England to avoid religious persecution. As an Arsenal fan, it’s clear to me why they chose to leave Manchester and, especially, why they [chastely] kissed England goodbye from Liverpool. They were afraid of that brand of football.

shakerThe Shakers were also known for creativity and hard work. One of their enduring symbols is an image of a hand with a heart in the middle. Its meaning is “Hands to work and hearts to God.”

Alexis Sanchez is no Shaker, but it’s somewhat fitting that we hiked around the Shaker Village on a day that we celebrate a guy who personifies creativity and, especially, hard work.

His hard work does not much involve his hands, but it sure has heart.

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