Saturday, September 6, 2014

Idle observations on a Saturday night

1.  I don't think many Americans are familiar with the British drink known as a 'shandy', but I enjoyed them for many years in Africa.  Briefly, one blends a beer half-and-half with a mixer, usually ginger ale in my experience, but I've seen Sprite and other mixers used (even apple cider, although I haven't tried that).  Anyway, after a bout of moving boxes and stuff this week I was hot and sticky and wanted a long cold drink in the worst way;  so I bought some beer and some ginger ale, and for the first time in years mixed myself a shandy.  I was instantly reminded of why it's so popular in hot climates.  It slips down easily, not sufficiently alcoholic to give one a buzz, but very thirst-quenching.  One can have two or three of them over an hour or so without becoming unfit to drive.  If you haven't tried a shandy yet, you might be pleasantly surprised.  (For the record, I mixed Yuengling traditional lager - which reminds me of the lager beers I was accustomed to in Southern Africa - with Canada Dry ginger ale.)

2.  For the past couple of weeks Miss D. and I have been experimenting with ceramic coated frying pans (sets were on sale at a local supermarket, so I picked up one to try it).  We've been very pleasantly surprised.  The non-stick properties of the ceramic coating appear to be as much of an advance over conventional non-stick coatings (e.g. Teflon) as the latter were over uncoated pans.  In fact, it's a real problem to get a blackened effect on chicken, or get pot stickers to actually stick to the pot!  The food comes out easily and is very tastily cooked, and the pans are amazingly easy to clean up afterwards.  If you haven't tried them yet, I think you'll like them.

3.  Most used car salesmen really, really hate being put on the spot.  As part of my search for solutions to my truck's electrical problems, I visited a few used car dealers (and used car departments of new car dealers) to price alternative transport.  I went well armed with information, having researched possible cars and trucks on and made lists of what Edmunds terms the 'true market value' of relevant ones for several model years.  I always found that the cars' sticker prices were several thousand dollars above those listed by Edmunds, and I always asked the salesmen to justify that.  They uniformly tried to persuade me that didn't know what it was talking about.  When I produced corroborating values from NADA and the Kelly Blue Book, they'd fall back on the old "Well, we use a different book" excuse.  When I refused to buckle, and insisted on answers, about half of them hemmed and hawed and waffled;  the other half simply refused to talk any further.  It was an education in how not to sell a car, as far as I was concerned!

Only one dealer was honest enough to tell me that they charged the price they believed the market would bear.  If their price was higher than Edmunds' recommendation, it was because that make and model were in demand in this area, or they'd had to invest extra money in getting the vehicle ready for sale (which they backed up with invoices showing the work that had been done).  They made no excuses and didn't try to waffle.  Guess what?  Next time I'm shopping for a used car, I'll go back to Car Hunters in Mount Juliet, TN again.  I appreciate honesty and fair dealing, even if it's not necessarily to my financial advantage.  Recommended.

Ah, well.  It's a quiet Saturday evening after a busy week.  I think I'll mix myself another shandy, kick back and read some more of 'Digger' by Ursula Vernon.  (Click the image below for a larger view.)

'Digger' was one of Miss D.'s and my favorite web comics during the seven years of its twice-per-week release (the archives are still available online, if you've never read it).  When we saw that a one-volume omnibus dead-tree edition had been published, it was a no-brainer purchase for us.  We're re-reading it alternately, and rediscovering our shared delight in one of the most original graphic novels either of us have ever read.  (I love the snails writing graffiti or waving protest signs in some of the frames - you have to look carefully for them.)  Highly recommended.



Able said...

So nice to see I'm not the only one without a social life.

Shandy with ginger ale? Er, I must have missed that one, it's always been beer (generally a bitter although ladies and the 'less masculine' can have a lager, or Lord forbid some American produce) with … lemonade (and not half'n'half, more a mostly with a top-up). Whilst generally acceptable taste-wise no 'real man' would dare order one whilst out, it's seen as a drink for children or ladies at best, even a designated driver would rather have water lest his manhood be called into question.

The difference 'could' possibly be defined by your statement regarding “why it's so popular in hot climates” since Britain has a rather predictable seasonal variation of (Spring – raining, Summer – raining and the occasional glimpse of some strange yellow ball in the sky which is seen so infrequently I forget what it's called, Autumn - raining and windy, Winter raining, windy and occasional sleet although it's not unknown to get all four seasons in one day). Being a staunch Brit I'm afraid when I'm somewhere hot I am required to drink G&T's or the occasional Pims (it's in the Magna Carta, that and having to wear a pith helmet of course. You might be interested to know that an addendum requires, when visiting your former homeland, that we all learn the words to Men of Harlech too - just in case).

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Based on my three decades of selling cars, what one is worth is what someone will pay for it. The closest thing to a commodity price in used cars are "rental rockets". At auction, they spend about 90 seconds on the dock. The rental owner has a minimum they will accept. No bids? Roll it out.

I rarely spent time with anyone wanting to argue. "Hey boss, I need a turn". Not saying that person was wrong, just wrong for me. And, I never believed anyone would "be back".

Harsh? Yes, indeed. Can't think of many businesses that are as harsh.

Keads said...

Indeed. Much like collector cars, the only true value of it is what someone will pay right now for it.

Theother Ryan said...

The only Shady I have had is the Leuniken (sp) summer shandy which is a beer cut with some lemonade. It is a delightful drink for a hot afternoon.

BonTempsRoulez said...

Love, love, Digger. Especially the vampire melons. The author has a couple of podcasts if you're into that sort of thing. Best is the Hidden Almanac. Alternative world with a bit of twist.

Black tea plus a lemony, strong hop flavored beer is a good shandy too. Its an alternative to the old Arnold Palmer drink that makes the rounds in the summer. But not with sweet tea and only strong brewed tea with a very citrus beer works.

Glen said...

Thanks for clearing this up. A brief experience during a UK port visit led me to conclude that Shady was the product of a severely nephrotic diabetic donkey.

Dr Pepper is a much superior drink, as is properly brewed iced tea.

Glen in Texas

Anonymous said...


A lager and cider mix is generally referred to as a snakebite. The drink has the reputation of inducing confrontational behaviour in its imbibers and many pubs won't serve it as a consequence.


Peter said...


"... Sha[n]dy was the product of a severely nephrotic diabetic donkey".

Go, on, Glen, tell us how you really feel!


Anonymous said...

Leinenkugel's sells a Summer Shandy.
So do several other beer brewers.

As mentioned above they are a mix of
beer and lemonade.

A related drink goes by the name
"Strip And Go Naked." It's a mix of
lemonade, beer and gin.
Not something you want to drink in
quantity, without a designated driver.
I thought it sounded terrible. Then
I drank one.

CenTexTim said...

+1 on all the "Shandy = beer and lemonade" comments.

I've been cooking with ceramic covered cast iron pots and pans for years. Love 'em for the reasons you mentioned.

Dad29 said...

The car biz...I'm well-acquainted with a dealer who monitors internet pricing of (roughly) comparable cars and always places its offerings at 'best' (or #2, or #3) 'best' price.

Prospects who have done their homework on the interwebs invariably claim that they can buy 'the same car' elsewhere 'for a couple thousand less.'

The dealer tells them to go right ahead and stop arguing. You'd be surprised how many prospects cough, hem, haw, and buy on the spot.

Shrimp said...

Anon @ 1.13: It's called a Skip and Go Naked. Of course, it hardly matters, as long as people know what's in it. People make up their own names for drinks anyway. I had a young man come into my bar asking for a "dead Korean." I told I'd never heard of it, but if he knew what was in it, I'd make it for him. "It has vodka, cranberry juice and a lime." "Just like a Cape Cod," says I....

Ceramic pans are very nice. I've only ever had one that didn't meet expectations. I no longer own it, and maybe someone who shops at the local thrift store likes it better than I did.

When it comes to car prices, I do my research, knowing what the car should cost. I also know what my trade, if any, is worth. If the place where I'm looking can't or won't come close to the price I know is about right, I just move on.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

3 - Several years ago, Jennifer and I mused about purchasing a new Mazdaspeed 3. There were two trim levels available, and we were highly attracted to the lower trim level. The higher trim level had auto wipers and dimming mirrors and other silly features that we not only did not desire, but specifically did not want in our car. It was also significantly more expensive. It's been a while but I seem to recall that it was more than $5,000 but less than $10,000 higher than the more basic model. Anyway, the local Mazda dealer had several models in stock, but all the higher end version. Add to that, they'd put custom wheels on one, and all three of them were pretty well loaded with every available option. The dealer refused to special order the trim level we wanted, and not only did we not buy a car from them, we decided to not buy a car at all but keep going with what we had at the time.

DaddyBear said...

I used to enjoy radlers in Germany, which is pretty much the same as a shandy, but served in a 1 liter mug. I've been experimenting to replicate the taste, and the closest I can find is to use a medium bodied beer and Squirt soda. The mix kind of looks like a Belgian Witbier in the mug, but is rather smooth and tart.