Alcohol Professor: How Dry I Am

September is Bourbon Heritage Month, and while the idea of limiting my celebration of bourbon to a single month is hilarious, I have never the less chose to honor the month on Alcohol Professor by writing about my old home, Oldham. How Dry I Am is a look at how a dry county came to…

The Hourglass Sanatorium

Polish director Wojciech Has harbored no desire to make a political film. But in Poland under Soviet rule, where film promoting social realism was the mandate, not being political was the most political thing he could do.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

A fairytale about a young girl attempting to navigate the many predators surrounding her becomes an allegory for the challenges of womanhood and the trials faced by then Czechoslovakia in the face of Soviet aggression.

Cultural Gutter: Whatever Happened to Saturday Night

I’m celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The world doesn’t need another review of the movie, so Whatever Happened to Saturday Night? is instead a mini-memoir about my first time seeing the movie, at Louisville’s Vogue Theater in 1987

Lady Day on Swing Street

There are few moments more perfect than walking into a dimly lit old bar late at night and hearing a Billie Holiday song, either on the jukebox or being covered by the four-piece in the corner. “These Foolish Things” is practically custom made for sliding onto a stool and ordering an Old Fashioned as you prop your elbows up on the bar and think about lost loves and life’s regrets.

High Spy: The Espionage Fiction of Adam Diment

In the midst of Swingin’ London, and in stark contrast to James Bond, English author Adam Diment created Philip McAlpine, a reluctant, shaggy-haired, dope-smoking spy in the latest Carnaby Street fashions.

The Pan Am Worldport

In Live and Let Die, the first of Roger Moore’s many James Bond films, 007 arrives in New York via the Pan Am Worldport, one of the great feats of airport architecture.

History of Diving Museum

The History of Diving Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of historical diving equipment.

Cultural Gutter: That’s What She Said

This month on The Cultural Gutter, I’m tackling Ann Leckie’s Hugo Award winning space opera Ancillary Justice. That’s What She Said examines the awesome sleight-of-hand Leckie pulls by writing a pretty straight-forward, old-fashioned space opera with one tweak.

Alcohol Professor: That Secret Brand

Spanish single malt whiskey? Mysterious brandy? A cognac only one farmer from France has ever heard of? High quality, low profile, and generally a lot of fun to drink, how did a chemical engineer from France become an importer of such unusual spirits in the United States? On Alcohol Professor, That Secret Brand looks at PM Spirits.

Inside the Explorers Club

Gifts from the Dalai Lama. A voodoo drum that it is said will curse those who play it without possessing a proper witch doctor’s credentials. A penis harvested from a dead whale, and the horn of from a narwhal. Tusks from a wooly mammoth.

Aboard the African Queen

In the summer of 2015, I came a little bit closer to my childhood dreams of living an African Queen adventure, thanks to the fact that the actual African Queen ended up, through a circuitous series of events, docked in Key Largo.