Tuesday, November 30, 2010

[FIND] VICE - Shaft, the black private dick, sex-machine to all the chicks.

This month’s installment of [FIND] Vice brings us the black private dick who’s a sex-machine for all the chicks, John Shaft. Of all the fictional P.I.’s, Shaft is one of the strongest. Thanks to Isaac Hayes and his Academy-Award-winning-pulsating-throbfest of a theme song, everybody knows SHAFT. Aaahh…that harbinger of blaxploitation, that first hint of what a black P.I. could be…. The 1971 film, SHAFT, announced a new decade of African-American cinema. Thank you Richard Roundtree (the original and, for many, the only Shaft.).

As the thrilling detective website puts it, John Shaft, “..wasn’t just black. He was in-yer-motherfucking-face black.” And thank God for that. Here’s to John Shaft. 

The Cigar
We welcome our new cigar connoisseur, Joe Zike (great name for a PI). Joe slings verbs at journalism school and moonlights as a cigar hound at one of our favorite man-cave cigar shops, UpTowns in green hills. Here’s what Joe has to say about which cigar corresponds perfectly to the attitude and character of SHAFT.

Gran Cojonu
Country of Origin: Miami, USA Nicaraguan binder Nicaraguan filler Habano Ecuadorian
Wrapper 6 1/2" long; 60 ring gage; come in a 12 count box; strength-strong

John Shaft walks the streets of New York, surveying his turf, collecting information and sending a message without sending one. He smokes a cigar, and it is the Gran Cojonu by Tatuaje. It doesn't come with a cigar band on it. It doesn't need to. It just is, and people who know, know. It's a large, strong cigar with rich palate-coating flavors (coffee, chocolate and pepper that balance into a creamy smoothness) and an easy draw. The Gran Cojonu, here interpreted as 'the greatest of the ballsiest,' is the cigar for the badass "black private dick" who's a "sex machine to all the chicks."

– Joe Zike, [FIND] Investigations Cigar Connoisseur, UpTowns Smokeshop

The Cocktail

The Patterson House, aaahhh…the Patterson House. Thanks again to our very own spirit monkey, James Hensley, manager at the Patterson House, for another brilliant take on pairing a cocktail with a P.I. Here’s James’ concoction created specifically for SHAFT.


2 oz  Cognac
1/4 oz  Marie Brizzard White Creme de Cacao
13 drops of Regan's Orange Biters

Place all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and express orange zest over the surface of the drink. Insert the orange peel as garnish.

Our man shaft doesn’t walk with a strut, he embodies it. He’s tall, proud, strong, and oh so charming. Cross him and you’ll know pain. Respect him and you’ll experience a terse since of peace. If you happen to be a lady, just ask yourself, “Do you want to be held, or do you want the L.D.?”

Hensley says, “This brandy old fashioned is just what you need before you fight the man and land lady.” The drink is, “Smooth yet potent, much like the man they call Shaft.” Drop by the Patterson House any time and ask for The SHAFT.

- James Hensley, Manager, The Patterson House

Friday, November 19, 2010

Infidelity in the Digital Age

Can social media break up a marriage? asks NPR in a recent feature on All Things Considered.

Not exactly. But sites like Facebook open a world of possibilities for connecting with people in a low-risk and socially acceptable way--people like old flames or co-workers whom you might not consider it appropriate to call at home or meet in person, especially if you, and they, are attached.

There's a casualness and anonymity to email, texting, and Facebook that make it easier to cross lines that felt a little more solid before communications went digital. "In fact," reporter Jenifer Ludden points out, "...a partner can easily carry on an affair in the same house, even the same room."

People often behave more boldly in the digital shadows, where rejection, as simple as hitting an "ignore" button or just failing to reply to a text, feels less threatening than an in-person blow-off. That's why it's so easy to launch the kind of online intimacy that can (as Ludden posits) quickly spiral into an affair. And relationships that begin online can often escalate a lot faster than the more traditional variety.

"When you don't have nonverbal communication, the likelihood of being able to disclose at a deeper level is greater, because there's less inhibition," says Bob Rosenwein of Lehigh University. "So it's going to feel like a more intimate relationship."

Extramarital Facebook flirting and romance have apparently become common enough that a New Jersey pastor has cautioned his church community to give up Facebook. JJ Sutherland's NPR News blog quotes Reverend Cedric Miller as saying he's seen a huge rise in couples among his flock who say Facebook is a main source of their marital problems. "The temptation is just too great," he says.

Sutherland also links to this Telegraph article, in which UK divorce lawyers claim that 20% of their clients cite Facebook as a reason for their divorce, often because a spouse has discovered evidence of sexual flirtation on a partner's Facebook site.

The rather sad upside of this for private investigators and family attorneys is that today's straying spouses often leave a digital fingerprint. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (again, thanks JJ Sutherland for this) reports that 81% of divorce lawyers say they've seen an increase in the number of cases using social media evidence.

We at [FIND] are seeing more of this kind of thing as well--affairs in which the main evidence is a log of text messages or Facebook posts of spouses photographed with their suspected illicit paramours, for all the world to see.

Frankly, you'd think folks would be a little smarter. But it seems that, sometimes, people may begin a digital affair in a way that feels almost innocent. It might even start with a simple, "Whatcha doin'?" text to an attractive casual acquaintance. But when the intimate contact is returned in kind, it can quickly become addictive. The next thing you know, you're stashing the phone under your pillow to intercept 2am texts from someone you barely knew 3 weeks ago.

Here's my personal philosophy on the matter: if it feels wrong, it probably is. I try not to say, type, or text anything I wouldn't be proud for my favorite guy to hear or read. That seems to work pretty darned well for us. But if you're determined to cheat, help a PI out: Facebook-flirt and "sext" as much as you please. We also appreciate any photographic evidence you can provide.