Ad of the Week: That’s Some Party

A couple of years ago, I talked to Robert Klara, a writer for, about old bourbon advertising, and the shifting perceptions of bourbon over the generations. I enjoyed our telephone conversation, and I appreciated that Klara made me look smart in the subsequent article. I’ve followed his work on and off since then, and so when I saw AdWeek’s insightful and intelligent look at the subtle history of gay themes in advertising, I was unsurprised to see that Mr. Klara had written it.

Klara describes how, in much of the advertising from the middle of the previous century, gay themes are subtext; they’re closeted, if you will, obvious to a gay consumer, but easy to overlook by straight ones — and, more to the point, by straight executives at the brands in question.

“It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” says Bruce H. Joffe, professor of communications at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., and author of A Hint of Homosexuality?: “Gay” and Homoerotic Imagery in American Print Advertising. “A straight person who looked at these ads in Time or Life magazines would just turn the page and not think anything, but someone with a gay sensitivity would say, ‘Oh my God, look at that!’”

Here’s an example, not mentioned in the article, but culled from own collection of booze ads. This is for Hiram Walker ran in the June 27, 1938, issue of LIFE:



The fellow in the blue smoking jacket and ascot seems to be taking in the view, yes?


All the Boys Think She’s a Spy

Whatever you might think of Edward Snowden, you can keep to yourself; this is a booze blog, after all. But in reading a recent New York Times story about his flight from Hong Kong, I found a funny tidbit.

You see, when a group of lawyers arrived to advise Snowden in Hong Kong, he asked them to stash their phones in the refrigerator. According to Adam Harvey, a designer specializing in countersurveillance, it seems that the materials in the fridge walls serve as a Faraday cage, a space that can disrupt radio communication.

For the drinker with something to hide, however, there’s a better solution:

Another household object that functions similarly, Mr. Harvey has learned through his research into cellphone data transmission, is a stainless steel martini shaker.

“It’s a perfect Faraday cage – it will block all radio signals unless you decide you need to pour yourself a martini,” he said. Although this sounds like a plot point in a James Bond movie, Mr. Harvey has actually done extensive tests on the shaker in the process of developing a surveillance-blocking cellphone case called the OFF Pocket.

Now that’s cool. Most of serious cocktail geeks probably have four of those damn, otherwise-useless things cluttering our barware. At least they’re useful for something.

Death to Google Reader

Y‘know, for a couple of years now, I’ve been increasingly dissatisfied with Google Reader. It seemed clunky, visually unappealing, and in sore need of a redesign and an upgrade. I kept wondering why Google didn’t invest any resources in updating it.

Well, a few months ago, we learned why, when Google announced it would be shutting down Reader, as of July 1 of this year.

Hey, July 1 is moving very quickly in our direction, so if you’re a Reader junkie, and you haven’t made plans to switch, now’s the time. I’d hate to lose any readers of ADoB or my work on Drinks, just because Google’s giving up on Reader.

I am one of the millions — yes, millions — who’ve switched to Feedly. Migrating your full Reader feedlist is eeeeeeeeeasy. Go to to get started.

I don’t have any financial interest in Feedly or anything. I simply like and recommend the service. The nice thing is, they opened their API to other developers. I happen to like Feedly’s web interface, but I’m no fan of their iOS app. No problem. Feedly’s API powers Newsify, which I use on my phone. My feeds stay synced between services, no problem.

Trust me: it’s easier to switch now, no matter what service you migrate to, than it will be in early July.