So we’re all stuck at home, alternating between hyper-focus on the latest information about the pandemic and escape into entertainment. For me, the latter has been as essential as the former.

RADIO was meant to be released May 1st but the book is ready and the wait seems needless at this point. I’d rather give you readers the opportunity to add RADIO to your quiver of distractions sooner rather than later.

Amazon Kindle pre-orders for the ebook will begin today and will last for one week until RADIO officially launches on Saturday, April 4th. It will sell for the special launch price of $3.99. While pre-orders are only available on Amazon, RADIO will be available for other ereaders starting April 4th and the paperback will follow in the coming months.

I’m excited for the opportunity to expose RADIO to the world, despite the fact that we humans need to do the exact opposite.

Happy reading and I hope you enjoy RADIO.

J. Rushing

I am writing this from my apartment in Switzerland. An apartment I haven’t left in four days due to symptoms similar to Covid-19. Here in Switzerland, there are no tests available for those outside vulnerable groups or those with serious symptoms. We probably won’t be able to leave the house for another ten to fourteen days.

We’re both fine. My wife’s symptoms have passed and I only have the lingering spectre of lung pain and body ache to remind me that I’m not fully over it. We’re both thirty-six so our bout with Covid-19 is pretty typical. I’ll likely be better by tomorrow. We’re still going to maintain quarantine until we are ten to fourteen days past symptoms because that’s what this is about. To stop this virus we need to stop its spread.

Last Friday the Swiss government implemented some restrictions but mainly appealed to people’s common sense in social distancing. Over the weekend, restaurants, bars, and other public places were packed with a large, defiant portion of the country who wouldn’t let this virus keep them down. On Monday the Swiss government shut down everything but grocery stores, pharmacies, food delivery, limited transportation, and hotels. The country is locked down and the borders are closed. All of that should have happened on Friday because here’s the thing…

PEOPLE ARE COLLECTIVELY TERRIBLE AT COMMON SENSE.

We are coming into this pandemic in a time when people think the world is flat, that vaccines are dangerous, and that Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are the right people to lead anything let alone a nation. We are coming at this with a large part of the populace that are skeptical of science. Science is the only thing that will get us through this pandemic but only if people start to take it seriously. This is a serious event with very serious physical, social, cultural, economic, and emotional risks. From what I saw over the weekend, in this country and my own across the pond, we can’t trust people to use common sense and mitigate those risks.

If we are going to get ahead of this we need to listen to the doctors, scientists, and specialists. We must educate people on why everyone needs to implement social distancing and why those who suspect infection, as we do, need to self-quarantine. The difference between choosing to do so right now and not choosing to, or to delay, is the difference between Italy and China. Italy currently has more deaths than China but with only half the total cases. The difference is response time by both governments and citizens. Both need to work together.

The other thing I’d like to bring up as I sit here in my pajamas, again, and am unlikely to change out of them today, is preparedness. Panic buying is not helpful to anyone. You’ll end up with bulk supplies of stuff you don’t need and be missing things you do. Plus, you’re snaking supplies from others who do need them. But panic buying is not the same a stocking up for quarantine and that is very important distinction. One I think a lot of good people are forgetting in an attempt to do the right thing.

One of the first things that struck me about the prospect of quarantine was that the often recommended two week supply of food and household goods might not be enough depending on your circumstances. I spent over a week slowly building up a one month supply instead and I’m so glad I did. Here’s why.

My wife and I live in a two bedroom apartment. There is no way that we weren’t both getting sick if one of us did. We got lucky and were sick at the same time. If I had gotten sick and my wife had come down with it toward the end of our fourteen day quarantine, that starts the cycle over again with a new fourteen day round. But what if we only had fourteen days of food? We’d need to leave, go to a grocery store when we should be isolated, and potentially spread this thing to more people. A one month supply keeps that from happening. A one month supply ensures that the risk of us spreading this thing is almost null. I don’t want my poor/misguided/misinformed planning to lead to anyone else’s death.

Covid-19 is real, and it’s here, and it’s going to be for a long time. Many governments are being very honest with their citizens, many are not. What all of them are doing is trying to avoid panic. Things are going to get worse before they get better. Take care of yourselves and (remotely) take care of those you know and even those you don’t. We’re all in this together and fighting this together. A collective focus on science and social duty is how we make it through.

The Negroni is possibly the perfect cocktail. Easy, classic, customizable, and complex. It’s as at home on the beach as it is in the snow, but its potent character isn’t for everyone. With a little experimentation however, it can be.

Like a lot of cocktails, the Negroni’s originator is much disputed but its place of origin is less controversial. The north of Italy is famous for amaro liqueurs, bitter, herbal concoctions used as aperitifs and digestifs. Among their ranks is the incomparable Campari, the one ingredient that’s an absolute must for making a proper Negroni. Its bright red color and bitter bite help give the cocktail its signature flavors.

Aside from the inclusion of Campari, one other aspect of this drink is paramount: the ratio. A Negroni always follows a 1:1:1 ratio of Campari, gin, and sweet/red vermouth. That simple math is what makes this drink so easy. Adjusting for size is a breeze when its just 1:1:1.

So we know we need Campari and we know our ratio, now it’s time to customize. The wide variety found within the worlds of gin and vermouth make tailoring the Negroni for your own tastes a journey worth taking. Like things dry and less sweet? Opt for Beefeater Gin and good old Martini and Rossi. Maybe you prefer your drinks on the mellow and sweeter side? Hendricks Gin and Dolin Rouge is a good bet. The options are endless and finding the right gin and vermouth combo will leave you with a recipe you can trust for life.

I like my Negronis spicy and sweet. Here’s my go-to recipe:

1 part The Botanist Gin
1 part Punt e Mes Vermouth
1 part Campari.

Just add the ingredients to a glass of ice and stir. Now you have about 90% of a proper Negroni. It’s more than drinkable at this point but not yet perfect. For that you need fire!

Garnishes are often overlooked when making cocktails at home. In my opinion the Negroni just isn’t complete without its garnish: the flamed orange peel.

Once you’ve built the drink in the glass and it’s properly chilled, peel a decently sized slice of orange rind and and strike a match or lighter. Now, hold the flame over the glass and squeeze the peel, sending the orange oil through the flame and onto the surface of your drink. This is more for your nose than your tongue but the toasted oil makes all the difference for this drink and really makes it shine. Just whatever you do, do not stir the cocktail further. DO NOT STIR IT! Leave that smokey orange oil on top. Its scent in your nose and the taste of the drink on your tongue is such an amazing combination. Don’t skip the orange peel. Who doesn’t have a little pyromaniac in them? Let that fire starter have some fun.

This is one of my all time favorite drinks and it’s too easy to make and the ingredients are too easy to find not to give it a whirl. Enjoy!