Dean Clough

December 15, 2023

Portico Darwin: Power Trip


1 Minute Read

No Travel Guide (because there already is one), but of course I still want to wow from Hoboken and Manhattan.

So I present to you what I've seen already in terms of power.  But there's a twist at the end.


The Security Council chambers at The United Nations was one of the few places I've visited that literally took my breath away upon entry.  Can't you just picture Colin Powell lying us into the Iraq war from this very room? 

Higher Power

Here's a great use for this stuff:  as museum pieces.

Real Power

The above is of course the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library.  Did you know this site was once a giant reservoir?  Or that the main stacks for the library are located - on two levels - underneath the adjacent Bryant Park?  It's amazing what one can see and learn from a free tour before oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar, one of my favorite restaurants in the world.

Also Real Power

I just know there are a couple of readers out there that will especially appreciate this photo of the origin of The Paper of Record.

Super Power
Folks, let's be clear:  I have been to a couple of bars in my day.  In fact, I've even visited a couple here already, and it was at one yesterday where my mind was blown.

I was wrapping up my day at Madison Bar & Brill, a go-to here in glorious Hoboken.  And - shocker - that involved a shot of Fernet Branca before my Killer Buffalo wings.  Of course, that brought inquiries from the bartender, and also a verbal nod of approval from a fellow patron.  Naturally, I was only too happy to bang on and on about SF, myself, and Fernet.  No doubt I even vacation-bragged about Buenos Aires and Fernet & Coke. 

But that's not the story.

As I was finishing my perfect Guinness and the aforementioned wings, a guy - obviously a chum of the bartender - sat down next to me.  I said hello and then goodbye, paid my tab, donned my scarf and quite old Spyder ski jacket, and walked outside into the crisp and fresh New Jersey air. 

There was then a tap on my shoulder, and it was the bartender's friend.  He said "I hear you're a big Fernet guy.  I actually have two of the coins in my backpack - come back in and you can check them out."

Well - holy mother of God - this is A BIG FUCKING DEAL!  First, in all my gin mill explorations - in Italy, in SF, and in Buenos Aires, Fernet meccas all - I had only heard of the Fernet coins, but never actually seen one.  And what was even crazier was that this guy didn't just have one coin, he had TWO

Here is the complete story of the coins, from the source.

And get ready:  note that the top coin has Colorado imagery.  That's because the guy with the coins is a bartender.  From Boulder.  Who graduated from my alma mater the University of Colorado in 2016, just 31 short years after I did.

Let me tell you:  everyone did their job and lived up to the legend of the coins.  What an experience - dare I say powerful? 

Have a great weekend.  Us?  We'll probably be OK, assuming we can find something to do.


Arthur was a bit put off - but agreed:  where were the cute girl Rush fans when we were in school?

Lisa Desjardins claims to be a Rush fan; too bad she wasn't around when I was in high school!

Geddy Lee on PBS Newshour

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


If I liked the album more Power Windows from Rush would be appropriate.  But I don't, so instead here is an incredibly electric live album from Tower of Power, The East Bay Archive, Vol. I.

Fun Fact:  despite these guys being Bay Area stalwarts, the "bay" to which they're referring to here is Boston's.

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