Sometime early in the first cocktail hour — one of seemingly millions of cocktail opportunities last week — a gentleman of Anishinabe Indian heritage directed me to the far side of the shrimp station, where a vodka company had set up one of those ridiculous exercises in branding. You gotta see this, he said.
Three attractive servers stood behind a bar made entirely of perfectly clear ice, decorated with flowers and flanked by two large frozen vertical S’s. You gave your martini order to one, who shook it up and handed it to one of the flankers, who gave you a frosted glass, then climbed a stepstool and motioned for you to hold your glass under a spout at the bottom of the S. She then poured your drink into a funnel frozen into the ice, and it snaked through a tube and exited at the bottom, into your glass. Quite cold.
“That’s very clever,” I said. My new pal said he thought so, too. We talked some more and I said I didn’t want to keep him from networking and I’d see him around. I stepped out onto the 800-foot-long porch of the Grand Hotel to sip my cranberry Grey Goose martini, and thought about how this very island belonged to the Anishinabe, and not all that long ago. Then the world revolved around the sun a couple hundred times, and here we were, May 29, 2012, and I was just served a French vodka martini in the largest summer hotel in the world in the company of one of those folks, and he works for a high-end grocery store and I work for a think tank.
What a weird world it is.
I’ll have more to say about the conference; I’m still sorting it out in my head and on my desk. It was a pretty lavish affair and I met a lot of people and heard a lot. On the final day I was felled by a virus of undetermined lineage. I spent Friday and Saturday writhing in misery back home in my guest room, but seem to be on the mend now. I am at least cheery enough to have gotten a mighty chuckle out of the fact I spent most of the past week hearing that DETROIT IS BACK, BABY and today the city’s Grand Prix came thisclose to being called on account of a pothole.
In the meantime, my only bit of bloggage is this: What am I bid for this lovely portrait of Andrew Breitbart as a knight?
Have a great week.