Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Mixing Kids and Wino Weekend Warriors

October 11, 2012
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Back in August, I solicited the interwebs for insight on bringing a toddler out to wine country.  I was about to head to Oregon’s Willamette Valley with a motley crew of parents, kids, wives (well, wife… she’s put forth ZERO effort to find any sister wives).  Having made the trip to Sonoma with an infant who, well, pretty much slept the whole time, I was unsure how accommodating an industry of escape-from-the-day-to-day would be towards a critter bouncing off the walls.

Turns out, it can be done.  In fact, quite easily.  Granted, the trip has to deviate a bit from bacchanalian booze cruise, but no one wants to see you naked and dripping with wine anyway.  Okay, I do, but for the purposes of this family-friendly post, let’s say I don’t.
Got kids, but love wine travel?  Here are some tried-and-true pointers that make the trip as harmonious as Champagne paired with chicken nuggets:
1)  Do a little research.  Visit the websites of Vintners’ associations in the respective area you plan to tour.  Many offer lists of the number of “family friendly” wineries.  Some places are just more laid-back than others.  In my experience, places like Sonoma County (CA), Willamette Valley (OR), Eastern Washington, and Santa Barbara County (CA) are more down-to-Earth, so they’re not as uptight about kids running around.  The Napas of the world are great to visit, but may be a little high-strung.  Of course, that’s a sweeping generalization, so you can always…
2)  Call ahead.  Find the wineries you want to visit, and simply call ahead or email to make sure they are kid-friendly.  Some are very sensitive of their adult guests, and don’t want toddlers running around and screaming.  Granted, I’ve seen plenty of adults running around and screaming at the fifth tasting of the day.  Not me, mostly because I can’t see myself.  Anyway, a quick conversation with the winery can eliminate all doubt and apprehension about showing up to a classy joint with a kid on a leash.  You don’t use those kid-leashes, do you?
3)  Rent a house.  There are tons of wine country homes for rent on websites like VRBO.  By renting a house, you eliminate the need to have to eat out for every meal, so there’s no need to worry about kids behaving at swanky restaurants (though there are many family-friendly ones around).  Bonus point:  wine country is an agricultural area, so there tends to be extraordinary produce and other vittles available.  By renting a house, you have access to a kitchen.  Just don’t screw up those lovely ingredients if you’re a terrible cook.
4)  Bring activities, and abuse technology.  Got an iPad?  Invest in Netflix streaming, and some good 3G service.  You can plop your kid in the corner with a few Disney movies and let the babysitter do its magic.  There are also special earphones for kids with noise protection.  Are you a hipster who hates technology?  A bag full of coloring books can do wonders.  I recommend the markers that can only write on the special paper in the books.  Crayon draws anywhere.
4)  Solicit traveling babysitters.  I know not everyone can do this, but I bribed my parents into coming along on the trip.  We rented a big house and they helped chip in to watch the little one.  The wife and I even got away for some tastings by ourselves.  I only recommend this move if Thanksgiving is a joyful experience for you.  Otherwise, there are lots of websites like care.com that can help you find a local babysitter.  You can trust that sitter with your kid, but hide those good bottles of wine.
5)  Mix in some non-wine tasting days.  Wine Country always has so much besides wine to offer.  Working farms, nearby oceans, berry-picking, festivals, farmers’ markets, breweries, balloon rides, hiking, etc. seem to always offer creative alternatives to spend your money.  We spent a full day out on the Oregon coast (most of it winding through that damn coastal range), and didn’t miss wine tasting a bit.
Look at that happy tike.  Still not convinced it can be done?  
Have fun in Disney World, you flake.

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Recanting (not Decanting)

September 13, 2012
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In the spirit of a Presidential Election Year*, I’m completely changing my position on something.
A while back, during the Olympics, I wrote a post positing which singular wine each country would nominate as representation in a worldwide competition.  Like a Greco-Roman wrestling tournament of the wine world, with less slathering of bodies with olive oil, and even more awkward groping (I mean, have you ever been to a massive, wine-trade tasting?).
I’d reference a link to said post, but it’s not that freaking hard to ferret out one of my 2012 posts.  My writing’s been more sporadic than Honey Boo Boo’s blood sugar level (who, yes, is from Georgia.  Son of a biscuit).
Anyway, I said that Italy would put up Brunello di Montalcino, a Tuscan wine made from a very specific clone of the Sangiovese grape.  My decision gave all-due-respect to the prodigious, Nebbiolo-based wines of Barolo and Barbaresco.  However, I argued that Sangiovese is the most ancient, rustic, “true” Italian red grape, and Brunello is said grape’s most ethereal expression.
I’ve tasted a sea of Italian wine over the past month.  While what I’ve tasted is only a small sampling, and not necessarily an adequate sample-set of all the great Brunellos out there, I can only work with the evidence I have.
Barolo– at least at this very moment in my mind- is the king of Italy.  While I don’t stray from my sentiment that Sangiovese feels more “ancient and rustic”, the Nebbiolo grape offers so much complexity.  On the nose, in the wine’s formidable structure (belying it’s lighter color); these wines just scream, “I am going to constantly evolve.  I will keep you guessing.  I will always be exciting.”  
Well, they don’t actually scream that.  They’re actually very quiet, as long as we’re speaking literally.
Anyway, to all you folks who jumped down my throat about selecting Brunello over Barolo:  I was wrong.  At least at this very moment.  But I’m very fickle.  As I should be.  Election year, bitches.
*for the record, Election Years are my least-favorite years.  If I knew which year an asteroid is going to smash into Earth and destroy all plant and animal life, I might pick that one as my least-favorite.  But it would be a tough call.


Wine [Country] for Kids

August 8, 2012
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Back in 2010, the wife (for legal purposes, “the wife” referring to either current wife or any future wives thereafter, as to preserve the legitimacy of said post) and I headed out to San Francisco for a wedding, 4-month-old in tow.  After the wedding, we sojourned to Healdsburg in northern Sonoma county for a few days to soak in the wine culture.  As it was early September in the Dry Creek Valley, temperatures soared into the 100’s, leaving us with no choice to abandon our original plan of leaving the kid in the car to sleep while we attended tasting rooms.

…geez, I’m kidding.  We weren’t ever planning on leaving the kid in the car.  I post a picture of a kid slugging from a wine glass, tastelessly joke about leaving my infant in a hot car, and suddenly I’m flagged as a “terrible parent”.  Sensitivity!

In actuality, we knew touring wine country with an infant was a gamble.  Truth be told, many Napa tasting rooms let me know ahead of time that we would not be welcomed with bundle-of-joy attached.  Fortunately, she was a trooper, spending most of her time sleeping in her Graco Snugride® 22, while we sampled the wares of Northern California.  And, since you already think I’m a dreadful parent, be assured that I was always maintaining sobriety during the daily tours, as to safely squire my fair ladies around the Dry Creek and beyond.  Such a gentleman.

Admittedly, infants are pretty easy.  You keep the diapers changed, supply them with a bottle, and they pretty much sleep all the time.  Furthermore, they can’t move, especially at 4 months.  If you put an infant in one place, she stays in place.  They’re like tiny versions of video gamers.  Our gamble paid off, and the experience was both wonderful for us and not upsetting to the little one.

However, as we head back to wine country next week (Oregon’s Willamette Valley in this case), the 4 month old has blossomed into a rambunctious 2+ year old.  Full of energy, rarely napping, and always looking for something to get into.  Don’t get me wrong:  she’s one of the best-behaved 2 year olds I’ve ever seen, and does very well in our favorite hotels and restaurant-type places.  But… she’s two.  Take my mental capacity and immaturity and put it into a small body with boundless pep.  Trouble brewing…

So, as I am in the wine industry, I do wish to be especially respectful of those in the tasting rooms and vineyards.  I assumed the best course of action is to just call ahead to any places I’d like to visit and make sure that they’re fine with kids.  That said, I don’t like to stick to an itinerary.  There are certainly articles on the web documenting the most “kid friendly” wineries, but I didn’t find many that seemed to serve “jaded, snobby, wine rep- friendly” wines that I desire to try (okay, I’m not that bad, but most seemed to be places that are already well-distributed back home, and I want to try new things).

To this end, in a brilliant stroke of persuasion, I’ve invited my parents to join us on the trip.  Mostly, I wanted to share the wine country experience with them.  As a pleasant side-effect, they’ve offered to act as babysitter when necessary.

With all the scenarios in place, I’m reaching out to those who have had the wine country experience with toddlers.  I love sharing vacation experiences with my whole family, but would we be best-served leaving our child with my parents and tasting alone (my wife and I)?  I don’t want my folks to miss out on the experience either.  Do we visit some places alone, and bring the kid to others that seem like they can handle it?  Or, do we skip wine and enjoy Oregon’s… uh, I don’t know… marionberry farms?

Ultimately, I’m not worried, and I know the whole adventure will be wonderful.  But I am interested and eager to solicit any insights from those with prior experience.


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Olympic Spirit(s)

July 31, 2012
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What if the medals won by wines actually meant something?

With the 30th games of the Olympiad now underway, my television will be on at all times, showcasing young people in peak-physical condition participating in a collection of competitive sport, meant to spread goodwill worldwide.

Sitting on my couch, observing the physical perfection of superior athletes who likely spend very little time on the couch, I immediately feel inspired to raise my game, go out for a run, eat better, and make positive changes in my life…

…and then I get to thinking about how I can incorporate booze into watching the Games.  Being a man of purity of focus, the latter consumes my thoughts and energies.  “Wasn’t I supposed to exercise or something?  Nah, I’m good-looking enough.”  Either that, or I’ve long ago given up.  Leave the washboard abs to those young bucks in the Olympics.  Sleek, swimmer’s build looks ridiculous in a Tommy Bahama shirt anyway.

But I digress.  Every four years (two, if you count the Winter Olympics, kind of the “New York Mets” of Olympic games), countries around the world present their greatest champions to compete for gold and best-represent said homelands.  Which got me to pondering:  if each country could just put one wine forward to challenge the rest of the world’s wares, which bottles would complete the field?  No “one red, one white, one rosé” or any diplomatic crap like that.  One shot for each country to flog its best wine.

We’re not talking about the contrived, everyone-gets-a-prize medals from hundreds of wine “competitions” around the country.  These accolades would result in the kind of national pride one wants to shove down other countries’ throats.  One wine in the world gets the gold.  One gets the silver.  One, the bronze.  The rest of the countries can suck it.

Sorry, Jamaica.  We’re talking wine, not bobsledding.  You’re hosed.  And with all due respect to the host nation(s) of Great Britain, I’m not allowing Bacchus into this competition.  Just the best of the best gets invited.  You’ll get consideration when I do the “fish n’ chips Olympics” (pending).

Let the parade of nations begin (and the parade of controversy):

  • Argentina – With all due respect to the monolithic Mendoza Malbec, Torrontés Riojano from Salta is uniquely Argentina’s own.  Somewhat creepily, I also feel it would look good playing beach volleyball.
  • Austria – While I’m cheering for underdogs Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch (the red-skinned stepchildren, if you will), Grüner Veltliner from Wachau/Kremstal/Kamptal muscles its way through the qualifying.
  • Australia – Shiraz is king here.  An easy pick?  McLaren Vale?  Barossa?  I’m going to throw a boomerang (I wanted to say “throw a curveball”, but at least respect my regional metaphor) and go with Eden Valley Riesling.  Have had some stunners from there.
  • Chile – I love some of the stuff coming out of Casablanca Valley, but I have to concede to Chile’s adopted only son, Carménère.  From the Maipo Valley.  But not the crappy stuff.  The good stuff that’s hard to find.
  • France – Tough call.  Lots of champion athletes of Gallic stock.  I’ve had Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault that have almost made me cry (almost… I’m too tuff to cry).  Sauternes can be a thing of beauty.  The Loire and Rhône are breeding grounds of excellence.  Bordeaux and Burgundy are as decorated as Mark Spitz.  But Champagne- especially great, grower Champagne, is unlike anything else on Earth.
  • Germany – I like saying “Bernkastler Badstube”.  And if there’s Eiswein from there, I’m slapping it in a speedo.
  • Greece – The birthplace of the Olympics has been making wine for a long time.  Much of it bad, but the training program has been on the rise lately.  Traditionalists would say Retsina, but we can use that to clean the locker room afterwards.  Rather, I want to nominate minerally, almost-salty Assyrtiko from Santorini.
  • Hungary – Tokaji Essencia.  Like a ZJ, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
  • Italy – I’ve narrowed it down to Barolo, Amarone della Valpolicella, an Brunello di Montalcino.  Reluctantly, going with the latter… Italy’s most rustic and classic grape expressed in its most ethereal form.
  • New Zealand – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but there are some solid Pinot Noirs, too.  I’m not sure the Kiwis have enough firepower to compete on the international super-stage (being known for phenomenal value wines), but they’ll always have the toothbrush fence.
  • Portugal – You may pay more for some amazing vintage Port, but 40-year Tawny will always perform.
  • Spain – It’s not the most expensive, nor the most age-worthy out of a sea of wine in Spain, but I’ve heard whispers about the Albariños of Rias Baixas.  You know, the ones they don’t send over here.  I want those.
  • United States – ARGHHH.  It’s easy picking the other countries.  I don’t really care about them. Call me a xenophobe or an isolationist.  But what am I sending to London to represent my home nation?  Many call Zinfandel America’s own.  But it’s really a genetic equivalent of Croatia’s red grape, Crljenak Kaštelanski.  About as American as the U.S. team’s opening ceremony uniforms.  Norton is certainly a purely American grape, but the finest of Augusta, Missouri on the international stage isn’t scratching me where I itch.  I think I’m going to pull a 1980 and boycott the U.S. team.  Or, let’s pump wine up with some anabolics and submit Bourbon.

Honorable Mention (countries who could put up an accolade-worthy wine):  Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Israel, Macedonia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uruguay.

Disagree?  Make you arguments.  I will be too lazy to respond.  Sitting on the couch takes a lot out of me.

Posted in olympics, wine, ZJ

Out of the Ashes?

July 13, 2012
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I don’t want to say that I was ready to shut it down.  I like to run things into the ground (be that automobiles, running shoes, revealing cut-off jean shorts, etc.).  But I always told myself I’d stop posting once it became “work”.

Well, it did for a while.  Having left my previous industry, where thinking about wine was an “escape”, and jumping wildly into an industry where thinking about wine is part of the job description, my evenings no longer required a need to forget the matters of the day and engross myself with the distraction and rejuvenation of hobby.  I actually enjoyed what I was doing during the day.

So, what was the purpose of the blog at this point?  I think I originally (at least in part) put it together to make more connections in the wine business.  Mission accomplished… lots of new contacts, and no shortage of new, wonderful friends.  I wanted to learn more about wine.  Certainly a never-ending endeavor, but that- too- is a goal that has been met.

It’s hard to remember, but I think I was excited at the prospect of getting free wine.  All greatly appreciated, but this is no place for another collection of wine reviews.  Too many other options there, most of them not something I want to read (though I’m happy folks are turned on by wine and want to write about it.  Go nuts and to hell with the naysayers!).  Plus, the expectation of wine reviews from the providers of said samples is more than I can bear.  I don’t blame them, but that model turns this blog from my own little piece of cyberspace into an endorsement gang bang that I don’t control 100% (or, at least that’s the way I feel about it).

So, knowing that I wasn’t fishing for samples, had other avenues to learn about wine, no longer needed an escape from the grind, and (long ago) gave up on the idea of generating a stream of advertising revenue (also, a way to lose control of my site), the only reason to continue the blog going was because I like to write.  And, as personal as blogs can be, and as much as we say that we’re not seeking attention, I love and dearly appreciate being able to connect with the few people who like what goes on here.  Self-absorbed or not, making someone laugh, teaching someone something he didn’t previously know (in, hopefully, an approachable way)… well, that all makes me feel good.  I’m not expecting accolade, or attention from popular media, blog awards, comments, reposts, or any of that.  I know who’s out there who digs my stuff, and keeping them entertained; adding a perhaps a bit of humor to their days, is all I could ever hope for.

What I’m getting at is:  I don’t know how often I’ll post.  I’d rather post less than force some garbage.  But, the blog’s not going anywhere.  The phoenix has risen from the ashes, and may return to ashes, only to rise again at another point in time.

Thank you for reading, through the sparse times and the flush.  More coming, whenever that elusive muse hits me.


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Great White Sharks love to eat people, and they’re baiting us in with wine (and I have the proof!)

July 9, 2012
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ATTENTION:  If you drink wine, this post may save your life.

Are elephant seals being mistaken for Robert Parker?  Or, the other way around?

Forget the French Paradox.  All the medical study suggesting that a little bit of wine may be beneficial to your health.  All that crap is a bunch of dinky doo, propagated to sell health magazines and bottles of wine.  Wine- in fact- is the deadliest of all beverages.  It will most likely kill you before your time.  Drinking wine is- without a shadow of a doubt- extremely hazardous to any human being’s health.

There have been rumors that this blog was shut down.  Things have gone very stale.  Maybe I got sick of being lost in the shuffle of thousands of other wine blogs.  Perhaps- after nearly five years of pecking away at the keyboard- I’d lost the desire to write.  Or, simply being in the business of wine sapped all my passion for what has now become a widget on a balance sheet.

Bollocks!  For the past several months, I’ve spent every waking hour painstakingly tracking a correlation between wine tourism and great white shark attacks.  After noticing a swell in stories like this over the past year, my convictions solidified.  Wine consumption is on the rise domestically.  As are  white shark sightings, on both coasts.  My mind began swimming like a foolish California sea lion, as I sifted through data at the National Shark Attack & Wine Tourism Command Center I set up in my garage:

A comprehensive analysis from our collection of massive, 1980’s-style super-computers offered the following, indisputable conclusions:

1)  Sharks love to eat people (we already knew this, but confirmation from an expensive bank of 1980’s-style super-computers bolstered validity)

2)  People love to drink wine, as evidenced by projected meteoric rise in consumption.

3)  Great white sharks frequent cooler waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and New Zealand.

4)  Some of the world’s greatest wine growing regions exist near the coasts in California, Oregon, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and New Zealand.

After digesting the data, I took a large, nervous swig from my glass of cool ocean current-influenced Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir.  I detected aromas of cherry cola, red fruits, earth, water, bloodlust, pelagic skin, death…

My hand began to tremble.  My glass dropped to the floor, shattering as if it were my foolish dreams of chugging a bottle of Margaret River Cab while surfing off the coast of Perth.  Now… I knew.

GREAT WHITE SHARKS ARE BAITING US IN… WITH WINE.

The town of Stellenbosch, epicenter of South Africa’s greatest wine growing region, lies a mere 20 miles from False Bay’s Seal Island.  Some of California’s finest product is grown in Sonoma County, Monterey County, San Luis Obispo County, and Santa Barbara County.  All counties hug the Pacific coast… a coast teeming with hungry, hungry sharks.  Australia sees the most fatal attacks in the world.  Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide are the closest major cities to the sites of these attacks.  Not at all coincidentally, so are heralded regions like Margaret River, Yarra Valley, Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Eden Valley.

And, of course, Jaws was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard, MA.  Conveniently, nearby Long Island’s wine industry is on the rise.

It’s such a simple, sinister plan the sharks have laid out.  Go to wine country, become inebriated in its beauty.  Then, tuck into a few bottles.  “Wow, the nearby ocean seems so inviting.  Let’s take a bottle of this maritime-influenced Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blanc to the beach and take a dip…”

Scientists claim a seal can elude the attack of a fearsome Great White.  But a seal can’t drink a magnum of 16% ABV “cool climate” Bien Nacido Pinot Noir.  Drunken on both hubris and wine, we feel invincible as we sink below the depths, equipped with the awkward, minimal swimming abilities of land creatures.  It’s all too easy.  Bellies swelling with fermented goodness, heads swimming with cloudy visions of elusive 2 oz. tasting pours, livers bloated like foie gras…  It’s not because we look like seals.  It’s because seals look like us that the sharks attack without remorse.

So, dear reader, only because I care about you, I’m offering this advice if you value your life:

1)  Don’t drink wine.
2)  Stay the hell out of the water.
3)  Tell your local winery to move inland.  The hot climate will wreak havoc on the wine, but what good is wine if everyone you hope to buy it is dead?

Once the sharks no longer have a steady supply of booze-saturated humans to feast upon, they will go into alcohol withdrawal and resort to cigarettes.  Yet, with the water soaking the tobacco and making the use of lighters and matches futile, the pangs of said withdrawal will be too much for them.  Plus, they won’t be able to get on land to buy cigarettes.  And, their flippers can’t flick lighters.  And cigarettes are like $8 a pack in California.  And all the California oceans are probably designated “smoke free” anyway.  The sharks will flee.

It has to work.  And it you don’t believe me, see if you can find any videos on Youtube of shark attacks that occurred during prohibition.

I didn’t find any.


Trying Something New

May 31, 2012
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Familiar is comfortable and safe.

So are turtlenecks.  And Volvo station wagons (are station wagons even around anymore?).  I imagine a pair of British Knights offers both a cushioned sole and adequate ankle support when one wants to comfortably- and safely- dance the Roger Rabbit to the latest hip-hop stylings of Color Me Badd.

But guess what?  After dressing warmly in my ribbed turtleneck & pumped up kicks by BK, then taking to the streets in my 245 DL, I figured out that the conservative route elicits little adventure, and even less sex appeal.  No hot rod will challenge a Volvo off the line at a stop light.  Cops don’t glare with apprehension- and a bit of admiration.  I don’t need to run faster than anyone’s bullets in my British Knights… nobody wants them.  And no sexy American foxes are coming after me when a turtleneck shrouds my bulging biceps and even more impressive liger’s mane of chest hair.

Let’s get as real as the kids say they are keeping it these days:  California Chardonnay is the turtleneck of wines.  Folks who only drink Napa Cabernet also happen to wear British Knights (look at their feet next time!  Seek out that huge “BK” on the side of the shoe, staring you down like a Cali Cab drinker’s scarlet letter).

But I understand it’s tough to deviate, especially to those who are just starting to drink wine.  Many of us started our adventure into adult beverages with 6 and 12 packs of beer.  For the price of a halfway decent bottle of wine, we were getting 12 drinks.  And 12 is more than 1… 1 bottle of wine, that is.  It was always hard to justify- unless trying to look cool and sophisticated in front of a lady for whom I had a fancy- buying only a couple drinks when I could get several.  Alas, I suppose alcohol back then was a means to an end, not something to be considered a compliment to the meal.

So, when the time came to pony up, it was important to go with what we knew.  What had tasted good before.  Its like being in a foreign country and going to McDonald’s.  I think the instinct is to avoid risk and go with consistency.  We’re all guilty of it.  In business travel, I’ve eaten a hell of a lot more Taco Bell in my days than popping into the local place.

With wine, the choices are endless.  Dizzying, even.  And so many don’t know what they may be missing.  I’ve tasted more people on torrontés and bonarda (among others) in the past 5 months who had never even heard of the grapes.  They’ve walked past the bottles a million times, but didn’t want to risk a bad experience.  After tasting, at least 8 out of 10 expressed excitement and favor towards these “new” wines.

Next time you go out to buy, try something new.  If you’re shopping at a good store with knowledgeable wine folks, they won’t steer you wrong, and they probably won’t put a bunch of junk on the shelves anyway.  I rarely buy the same wine twice.  There’s just so much out there.  It’s a great way to learn about the hundreds of grapes and regions that turn out fabulous juice.

Be sure to still wear those British Knights, though.  Most shops require shoes.


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Warranted Outrage

May 2, 2012
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Recently, CNBC ran a special about Costco (The Costco Craze:  Inside the Warehouse Giant), the now-ubiquitous chain that is virtually cornering the big-box retail world.

As part of the special, Costco’s wine buyer, Annette Alvarez-Peters was interviewed.  During the course of the segment, the world’s most powerful buyer was quoted as saying that wine is really no different than toilet paper, spurring outrage from the wine-loving blogosphere.  She suggested that- in such a position- viewing all products as commodities is how an operation like Costco succeeds.

Such vitriol is completely warranted.  We’re talking about a product that comes in so many different styles.  A product that elicits an emotional response; something that comforts us, something we share with our friends when they come to visit.  Something that is infinitely personal.  And Costco’s head buyer has marginalized it.  A thing that many of us cannot live without has been relegated to commodity status.  THIS IS BLASPHEMY, MS. ALVAREZ-PETERS.

Honestly, to say that toilet paper is all one-in-the-same pisses me off to no end.  Yet the Costco buyer has the gall to compare it to a homogenized beverage like wine.  Toilet paper is as varied as the individuals who feel its plushness daily.  It helps frame our emotions.  Toilet paper comforts us in our time of greatest need.

There’s the cheap single-ply stuff.  Takes me back to the college days.  Boy, were those good times. When I feel its coarse, sandpaper-like touch- my fingers ripping through its gossamer structure, I recall a simpler time:  when having plenty of Old Milwaukee in the fridge trumped my need to avoid a chapped butt.

But we’re just scratching the surface (pun intended).  Double-ply, even triple-ply fills the shelves, serving high-rollers with powerful flushing mechanisms.  Do I want my toilet paper quilted?  Maybe with ripples?  I can get it.  From “Over the Hill” to “Shit Happens”, the customized prints of any roll are limited only by one’s ability to get to the mall and pop into Spencer’s Gifts.

When the toilet paper runs out?  When it has fallen off the roll into mystery “water” in a public bathroom?  Even when it’s draped over-the-roll when we prefer it under-the-roll… all these dire situations affect our emotions.  The difference between a tremendous day and utter hell is often dictated by the morning pit stop, and the subsequent T.P. situation.

Point is:  there are millions of toilet paper enthusiasts out there, many of them Costco shoppers (myself included).  If this thoughtless monolith wants to continue to retain our business, I suggest Ms. Alvarez-Peters, et al, choose their words more carefully next time they decide to compare a multi-faceted plethora of personal choice to something as simple and interchangeable as wine.

Shame!


The Madness

April 26, 2012
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I have about 10 unfinished posts sitting in limbo: uninspired, unfocused, drunken louts stumbling into the night’s air, seeking the next bar after all the bars have closed.  These posts are half-complete; blog versions of Return of the Jedi Death Stars.  Where the metaphor falls apart (as they so often do) is in the fact that these posts- unlike incomplete Death Stars- are not able to destroy planets.  Planet destructing ability is the Waterloo to so many potentially great metaphors…

So, left with an inability to put cohesive thoughts together, well, for the past 3 months, I decided to default to the only reasonable alternative:  turn on Iggy & the Stooges’ Funhouse (at a reasonable volume… there are kids in the house, for pete’s sake), drink not one, but two La Croix flavored sparkling waters, and just start writing.  Whatever comes to mind.  Death Stars?  Really?  I dunno, but it came to mind.  Just put something down on paper so that I can jar something meaningful loose.

And who the hell is Pete?

Call it stream-of-consciousness, I suppose.  Every writer (term used extraordinarily loosely) gets his William Faulkner moment.  And not that I’m trying to compare myself to Faulkner.  How could I?  I never understood a damn thing he ever wrote.

And then, there is wine.  That’s why we’re all here.  And by “we”, I mean me and a bunch of Russians who accidentally ended up on this site through a search engine because I’m pretty sure I’ve reference Ivan Drago many times.  Maybe something like Argentine Malbec being the Ivan Drago to Rocky’s Cahors.  At the time, it probably made sense.  To my Russian friends:  Ivan Drago was a fictional character, but I still toast you.  Nostrovia, comrades!  And if that toast is too Anglicized, then На здоровье!

photo credit: http://maki-ubermach.deviantart.com/art/Nostrovia-152503208

While we’re toasting, let’s talk about wine.  First thoughts about wine that come to my head:

That didn’t work.  This stream of consciousness thing is tough when your mind is a complete blank.

Anyway, go drink some wine.  It’s good.  Made from grapes.  Vitis vinifera, which translates to “wine grapes”.  I’d ask a Latin-speaker to confirm that, but they’re all dead.  At least the real ones.  Not the posers who teach it in high school and tell buyers to beware.

The end.

Or, perhaps the beginning.  Of what?  I have no friggin’ idea.  Bear with me here.


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Grill Instinct

April 18, 2012
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I’ve beckoned Spring’s call.

Not to exercise.  Or to do yard work.

Spring awakens the animal kingdom’s instinct to procreate.  Me?  I’ve been married 5 years, so that part of my endocrine system is long dead.

But I have another undeniable need:  to grill.  To put food atop fire and make it tasty.  Do you?


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