On the Banks of the Sandy River

Since being invited to join this blog conversation, I’ve been waiting for my compatriots to go first. It's as if we’re standing on the banks of the Sandy River on a hot summer day, daring each other to jump, forgetting that the current is swift, the water is cold, the hidden snags are waiting and we’ve put away a 12-pack of Bud apiece. Yeehaw!

I’ll plunge in with an introduction: Our blog host and I enjoyed tenures at Portland Center Stage (PCS) that overlapped by three years in the waning days of the 20th century. As we’ve aged (ripened?) gracefully over the intervening decade, our paths have continued to cross as friends and colleagues, with shared interests in the arts, ideas, politics, martinis and more.

I’ve spent my post-PCS career as a fundraising consultant and writer, with a focus on arts and culture in Portland. I recently set aside most of my freelance work to re-immerse myself in the nonprofit arts management world as managing director of a large children’s theater company. None of this qualifies me as an opinion-leader, or even an opinion-sharer, but here I am.

Now, about my chosen moniker, MightyToyCannon:

Last year, the Oregonian’s Sara Perry concluded her interview of a local bartender with a recipe for a drink called "The Mighty Toy Cannon." At the time, I was struggling to concoct a good name for a band (a story for a future blog entry), and liked the ring of it. Thanks to Google (or The Google, according to John McCain), I learned that "The Toy Cannon" is the nickname of former Houston Astros centerfielder, Jimmy Wynn (batting average of .250 over his 15-year career). I was also reminded that when I was a kid, loving parents could purchase a "Mighty Mo Cannon" if they wanted to delight an arsenal-obsessed male child on Christmas morning. (I believe Supreme Court rulings at that time prevented its sale for use by girls). But I digress ... which is the nature of the internet.

I’ve decided to adopt MightyToyCannon as my CultureShock nickname because it conveys a sense of ambition (it’s MIGHTY) and power (it’s a damn CANNON), counterbalanced by meek playfulness (it’s a TOY). Thus, a Mighty Toy Cannon is an instrument capable of generating noise and smoke and spewing confetti all about; yet, in the end, it has little effect. That, my good friends, may be my contribution to CultureShock. And, if I hold true to all of my past efforts at journal-writing, you may never hear from me again.

Enjoy this glorious Portland day.


culturejock said...

Yeah but what's in a Mighty Toy Cannon cocktail??

MightyToyCannon said...

I was afraid someone would ask that question. Thanks to the internet and the Multnomah County Library's online services, I was able to find the original article--an interview with Bob Sterling, bartender at El Gaucho. While the recipe was not included in the digital archive, I found some hints: Mr. Sterling describes his Mighty Toy Cannon as a “new take on the French 75, which was named after a field gun used in the First World War.”

So the Mighty Toy Cannon is related to a French 75, which Wikipedia describes as “a cocktail made from gin, champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. There is some controversy over whether the cocktail was originally made with gin or with cognac and champagne. If Vodka is substituted for the gin it may be referred to as a French 76.”

Mr. Sterling said he chose a drink name that “sums up its explosion of taste to the mouth and the brute force of the brut on the brain.”

Sounds like we need to do some experimenting.

Anonymous said...

Good for people to know.