Reasons for alternative bourbons (or Tennessee whiskies)

Fark pointed out today that Jack Daniel’s has quietly lowered the proof of its flagship Black Label Tennessee Whiskey, from 86 to 80.

I’ll be going out tomorrow to see if there are any of the big bottles left in our local liquor stores—at 86 proof. And I might even sign a petition

In the meantime, these other fine bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys are still at their original higher proofs:

  • Labrot and Graham’s Woodford Reserve (90.4 proof)
  • Henry McKenna’s (100 proof)*
  • Knob Creek (100 proof)
  • Old Forester (86 proof)*
  • Elijah Craig (94 proof)*
  • Maker’s Mark (90 proof)
  • And, ironically, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel (94 proof)

* Have not personally tried but have heard they’re good.

Quick-n-easy image resizing, two ways

I had been meaning to cobble together a quick script to do automatic image resizing (occasionally the images that Amazon provides for album covers or book jackets are larger than the standard sizes I use on the site, and I always want to resize album covers to 65 pixels tall), but was scared off by GraphicConverter’s AppleScript dictionary, which indicated I had to specify a scaling factor rather than an absolute pixel height. Today on MacOSXHints someone saved me the trouble, providing (a) a sample script that uses the built in Image Events application to do the scaling and (b) a link to information about a command line tool called sips that accomplishes the same thing.

North End meets Hollywood

A week or two ago, I was on my way up Salem Street to our favorite 24-hour bakery in the North End, Bova’s, when I noticed that traffic was even worse than usual in front of the door and there were some seriously bright lights. I went inside and asked the lady at the counter what was going on. She said they were filming location shots for a movie to be called “Fever Pitch.” Apparently Jimmy Fallon’s character, the obsessed Red Sox fan, lives above the bakery in the movie, and Drew Barrymore’s character buys a cannoli there—from the lady I was talking to.

I took my bread and turned to go. She was already telling the next customer, “Yeah, I sold Drew Barrymore a cannoli the other day!!”

All I could think was, Tony Pierce’s Drew-obsessed friend Ashley would totally freak out over this news.

I went back last Friday and the street was back to normal. “No Hollywood today,” I commented to the lady inside. She nodded and said, “They might be back, but right now they’re reconstructing the street corner in Canada somewhere.”

“At least they’ll have better parking there,” I said.

Expressway to Yr Skull

My brand new Airport Express is now happily parked downstairs next to my stereo, where it’s streaming tunes from my PowerBook into the receiver and out through my B&W speakers.

And it’s interesting, because I can tell a definite difference with the digital tunes. I always play jazz for audio “firsts”—first time in a new house, first tune on new PowerBook, first tune for new speakers—and this time I chose the Brad Mehldau version of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place,” from the iTunes store, meaning it’s encoded as 128-bit AAC.

And yeah, it was flat, even through those speakers. No bounce in the bass, no life in the piano. I can probably tweak the eq and get some life back in it, but I can already tell I’m going to need a lot of hard disk space if I want to take my CD library digital, because I’m going to need a higher bit rate. Maybe even lossless.

Oh, the setup? I wish it had been easier. I plugged in the unit and connected it to my stereo using an (analog) Monster cable to the tape inputs (which were available), then installed the included software, rebooted, connected to the unit’s wireless network, and tried to use the Airport Express Assistant, which appears automatically, to connect it to my network. Only it didn’t want to. The assistant is programmed to set up a standalone network only, as far as I can tell. And I couldn’t get it to connect to my 128-bit WEP network the first time; I had to reset it, then reconfigure it. Finally it connected.

So my updated network topology (see this post for the previous version):

network map with audio