Monday, November 29, 2004

More o' nothin'...

Wow! I've had a really non-eventful week. My life is as exciting as watching paint dry. I did drive up to my parents for Thanksgiving. It's kind of pointless to drive 3 hours, have some turkey, and drive back 3 hours in the same day. It's also kind of dangerous. That turkey put me to sleep. I'm not generally a football fan (or of most sports for that matter), but the Lion's really got their asses kicked during the annual Thanksgiving game. They lost 41-9 to Indianapolis. At least no fights broke out. I'm actually selling some wine to three of the defensive tackles. They're the biggest, toughest looking, but nicest guys you'll ever meet. I'm starting to pay a little more attention to them since I've met these guys. One of them gave me tickets to the Green Bay game a while ago. That game really sucked, but it was my first NFL game. A camera caught me off-guard and I actually was on the Jumbotron. By the time I realized I was on screen I only had a few seconds to do something "cool" before the camera panned away. Apparently it's impossible to be "cool" on the Jumbotron, as I discovered. At the time I thought a good ol' rock n' roll devil horns and tongue out would be the coolest pose ever. It wasn't. Ford Field is a beautiful stadium. It'll be perfect for the 2006 Superbowl. I just wish the rest of city were up to par with Ford Field. Rumor is that rather than tear down all the abandoned buildings in the vicinity they're going to "wrap" advertising around the buildings. They couldn't possibly demolish all of those buildings in time. It would also look like there was nothing left of Detroit if all the vacant buildings were destroyed. There would be about 10 buildings left in the entire city. It's kind of funny, but the new really expensive restaurant on top of the Renaissance Center got a horrible write-up in Hour magazine. I don't think they've ever published a negative restaurant review. It cost $8 million to build, but apparently the bartender doesn't know how to replace a used ashtray. I don't want to speak too negatively, because I have nothing but the highest regard and respect for the corporate Sommelier. Hopefully they'll get all the bugs out in time for the Superbowl. I found out a few weeks ago that Joey Harrington (Lion's QB) lives in my voting precinct. He was behind me in line on November 3. It's nice to see to him fulfilling his civic duty. Way to go Joey! I'm not going to talk about the election. I've already done enough of that.
This week at work is going to suck ass beyond belief. I'm really not looking forward to it. I won't go into detail other than I've got an ass-load of work to do. "Ass-load", by the way, is quantifiable. If I remember correctly from the conversion chart inside my Peechee folder, an "ass-load" equals 100 reems. Whatever happened to Peechee folders? I guess they became obsolete with the introduction of Trapper Keepers and PCs. I heard that they don't even teach hand-writing in schools anymore. They teach typing instead. Typing is very useful, especially these days, but what the hell? I had to learn hand-writing (cursive). I think today's kids should too. I took a typing class in high school. I didn't do very well (I still have to look for the number keys), but I get by. Very helpful class.
Luckily I have something to look forward to this week. I'm having some friends over for dinner on Sunday. That should be fun. I just have to survive the work-week. I'll need a drink or two by Sunday.
Today's wine recommendation- 2001 Leasingham Magnus $10.99
This shiraz/cabernet value comes from the Clare Valley in the state of South Australia. It also happens to made by the very BEAUTIFUL and talented Kerri Thompson. She's a gifted winemaker and very sweet and lovely person. (I had the great honor of having lunch with her a couple of years ago in the Detroit area, and then again spending time with her on the train in Australia). It's got raspberry and blackberry fruit and a little spice on the finish. It's got solid body for such an inexpensive offering. It's a steal for the small price. It's schmick!

Until the next bottle...

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! This is just a quick one. The only time I eat canned green beans all year is on Thanksgiving in the classic green bean casserole (green beans, mushroom soup, and fried know the one). Normally I eat fresh grean beans, but you can't screw with a classic. It just wouldn't be the same. Well, this year my mom (who is a great cook and a saintly person) switched it up a bit. She used the "French Cut" style canned green beans. You'd think that it would be just the same other than texturally. It isn't. Good. Entirely edible. But there was something slightly "off" about it. It just isn't the same. Try it for yourself if you dare. I'm putting my tryptiphan-whooped ass to bed (turkey and 6 hours of driving don't mix).

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Last minute wine recommendations for Thanksgiving

First of all let me say that the new Simpsons season has been pretty good so far. Some of the best lines in a while. For example...
"He who ha-has last ha-has best." (Nelson)
"I wanna be a triangle." (Ralphie)
Great stuff! Keep it up. I'm really curious to see who "comes out" this season.
My friend Michael, the world's biggest Simpsons fan, posted a comment to my last post about a moderately priced T-Bird wine recommendation. I don't know if he means T-Bird wine as in Thunderbird, MD 20/20, Night Train, or Boone's Farm or a wine for turkey. Hopefully he means a wine for turkey, as I hope he's not living on the streets peeing down his legs and washing car windows. So here are some Thanksgiving wine recommendations with approximate pricing (Michigan pricing is higher than most states).
2003 Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99)-Great with a traditional sage stuffing and asparagus (the ONLY wine that pairs with asparagus is sauvignon blanc).
2002 Valckenberg Gewurztraminer ($12.99)-Freakishly aromatic (rose petals) with lychee and clove notes. Fruity, but not sweet. Great with turkey and sweet potatoes and just about anything else.
2003 Husch Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer ($15.99)-Same aromatics, but drier with more body.
2003 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River (Western Australia) Riesling ($23.99)-DRY riesling with peach, lime zest, wet stone, and white floral characters. Bracing and fresh! Great with duck or goose also.
2001 Zind Humbrecht Riesling Brand (Alsace) ($79.99)-Not cheap, but insanely good. The BEST dry riesling you'll ever have. Freakishly complex with pear, apricot, flint, wet stone, marzipan, chirimoya, and lemon zest notes. Olivier Humbrecht-MW is one of the world's greatest wine-makers. Holy crap!
2002 The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc (Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand) ($14.99)-Perfectly balanced SB. Some New Zealand SB's can be too grassy, grapefruity, or have too much "cat pee" aroma. This one is dead-on and balanced. Great acidity with citrus and mineral notes and a crisp, focused finish. Pretty versatile with any course (except red meat).
2003 Castle Rock Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($12.99)-Second label of August Briggs winery. This is a great value. It's not a high-alcohol powerhouse zin, but it's got great balance and length. Nice upfront raspberry fruit with subtle peppery, briary spice. Great with a fried cajun turkey or Turducken.
Frei Brothers Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($19.99)-I don't remember what vintage this one is right now. Dark cherry fruit and good acidity with subtle earth and strawberry. GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE! Everyone's favorite comfort food.
2002 Panther Creek Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley (Oregon) Pinot Noir ($44.99)-Amazingly complex and full-bodied pinot! Dark cherry, raspberry, cola, smoke, and truffle notes. Big pinot with a long finish. Try with a smoked or brined turkey.
2002 D'arenberg The Footbolt McLaren Vale Shiraz ($19.99)-Big and bold shiraz, but everything is in check. It's full-bodied, yet elegant at the same time. Raspberry and blackberry fruit with subtle leather, mint, and tellicherry pepper spice. This is the little brother of the famous D'arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz (mmmmm......). Try with cajun injected fried turkey, spice rubbed turkey, or leg of lamb.
Try a champagne/sparkling wine. They're great for Thanksgiving! Try a sparkling shiraz for something really unique.
Try an Australian Rutherglen stickie made from Muscadelle (Tokay) or Muscat with your pumpkin pie and you'll be in heaven.

Remember, wine is subjective. Drink whatever you like best. Your favorite ripple will do.
Have fun, undo your pants, and slip into a tryptifan-induced coma.
Until the next bottle...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

WTF? Another reason to be a proud Detroiter...

You've probably already all heard about the basketball brawl that took place at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday night between the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons, and the Detroit fans. It's just another black eye for the city of Detroit. We've already got a lot to be proud of. We're the murder capitol of the US, we've been taken over by blight, we're fat, we've got the highest STD rate in the country, and drugs and violence are rampant. Woo hoo! At least we're good at something. It makes me proud to be a Detroiter.
Detroit is certainly not the world's greatest city. In fact, I'd rather live just about anywhere else. I've been to some amazing cities on three different continents and every one of them beats Detroit, hands down. Detroit, however is home to some of the nicest, most thoughtful, and honest people that I've ever met. Detroit is a very honest city. Plus, my friends are all here. Detroit is good people. All it takes is one drunken white guy to throw a beer and we're again #1 on the American media shitlist. Most news stories paint Detroit in a negative light, and usually rightfully so. Detroit may look like Old Chicago on Buck Rogers (I vaguely remember an episode where Buck left the safety of New Chicago and went to Old Chicago where everyone was a mutant or a crack-head looking gang member). That show jumped the shark when they left New Chicago and went into space and introduced Hawkman, by the way. Large pockets of Detroit certainly look like London after the Blitz. It's embarrassing, really. Many articles may point out that every other house may be a crack house, which may certainly be true. Detroit may have all sorts of problems, but I'll also be the first to defend it.
I actually had a letter published in Spin magazine a couple of years ago. There was an article about St. Andrew's Hall which is a popular concert venue/nightclub. The article stated that St. Andrew's is the most dangerous club in America. Apparently there are all sorts of fights, stabbings, shootings, and general ickiness going on. I've never seen a fight at St. Andrew's and I've probably been to over 100 shows there back in the day (all the cool shows are now at the Majestic or the Magic Stick). The only fights I ever saw were between the crack-heads outside while I was standing in line. It spoke of the bad-ass bouncers, the fights, and the general decayed state of Detroit. Most articles about Detroit are bad, but this one was so negative that it prompted me to write a letter and Spin actually published it. I wrote in defense of Detroit and St. Andrew's and they pretty much edited out at least 3/4 of my letter and slightly re-worded it. There was one benefit from reading the article. It made me feel cool and tough. They did keep my favorite quote, luckily. "Thanks for making me feel like a hard-ass. I didn't realize that Detroit was that bad."
Detroit has a lot to offer. It's a great town with wonderful, brutally honest people. The most honest people I've ever met. There are great restaurants, the DIA, the DFT, the DSO, the MOT, great nightclubs, Eastern Market, and lots of other cultural diversions. When you tell someone that your from Detroit they look at you as if you're about to stab them. It's kind of cool to have "automatic streed-cred" even though I'm a pansy-ass honky. Detroit is cool and Detroit is honest. Detroit is "keepin' it real", as it were. I'll take honesty and humbleness over pretentiousness and bullshit any day.
Thanksgiving is almost here and here a few wine pointers. Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Merlot do not go with turkey. Don't even think about it! Try a fruity shiraz, a zinfandel (red), a pinot noir, a dry riesling, a sauvignon blanc, or a gewurztraminer. Chardonnay is clumsy with most foods (especially a fat, oaky one). Cabernet will clobber the turkey. It's too big and tannic for turkey. Merlot is too big, also. Also, Merlot sucks (except for a few random producers like Pride, Duckhorn, Camaraderie, Le'cole No. 41, Shafer, etc.). Merlot isn't very good. Get over it.
Today's wine recommendation- 2003 Anselmi San Vincenzo $11.99
This delicious single-vineyard Soave is imported by Leonardo Locascio (that's a good thing). The nose is reminiscent of citrus, fig, and wet stone. It's crisp, yet it retains decent body and expresses notes of lemon cream, melon, and mineral on the palate. It's a fantastic change from pinot grigio. Try it with roasted lemon chicken or Coquille St. Jacques.
Until the next bottle...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Please help Winky and Wanda

Please read this press release from the Detroit Zoo and then please consider signing the petition to help save Winky and Wanda by sending them to an animal sanctuary in Tennessee. Elephants deserve a nice retirement too.
It would be really cool if I didn't have to work for a living. It would sure be nice to be independently wealthy and travel the world all the time. But alas, I am poor. I work two jobs to get by. I don't even remember when I only worked 40 hours a week. I was working 40 hours a week when I was a full-time college student. Maybe I should have finished college and gotten a job that I hated (but only worked 40 hours a week). Luckily, I have a job that I like. Actually, to be more accurate, I like what I do. The wine business is cool and I enjoy being good at something. I like selling wine. Unfortunately, my job is stressing me the hell out. I don't want to get into specifics as there's a small chance that someone from work may be reading this. Actually, I kind of doubt that anyone is reading this. Lets just say that being dependable really sucks and the owner of our business has no concept of reality or physical and mental limitations. There's only so much that one person can do. You all know how it is. Work is insane. Don't ever work for a family-owned business.
This made me think of the simpler times of my childhood. Sometimes I just wish I could be a kid again. I remember playing Battlestar Galactica (I was usually Starbuck or Boomer), The A-Team (I was Hannibal), or the Dukes of Hazzard (I was Daisy...just kidding. I was either Luke or Uncle Jesse) during recess at Hayseville Elementary School in Salem, Oregon. Go Tigers! I remember the simple stupid joy of working in the cafeteria for a lunch shift once. I don't remember the circumstances exactly, but kids would take turns working in the cafeteria for a week and get free lunch. I remember scooping mashed potatoes. That was fun. Life was so simple at that time that I remember going home to tell my parents how much fun I had at school. To think that wearing plastic gloves and a hat and scooping mashed potatoes and green beans could be so much fun! I usually brought lunch from home. I had a Muppet Show lunchbox at my first elementary school (Scott Elementary School). Pretty cool, huh? I had some sort of Japanese anime series (which I'd never heard of) lunchbox at Hayesville. It's probably worth a fortune now. Although I didn't really know or like them, I really wanted a Kiss lunchbox. I graduated to brown paper bags in the 6th grade. Aren't you proud of me? I would rarely eat a "hot lunch" so that was always a treat. Maybe this was just in Oregon schools, but I always found it odd that you would get a piece of cheese on the tray on breaded fish day. It was always in the same compartment of the tray. We would always take the straws for our milk and plug holes in the cheese until the straw was full of cheese, and then squeeze it out. Yeah, we were really cool in those days. I often wish for simpler times, but I could never repeat the crapola of my life. Lots of good times and lots of shit to go along with it. I guess I'm glad I've "grown up". I don't ever want a repeat of the teasing and constant moving I had as a kid. It really, really sucks to move and change schools when you're a kid. Especially when you do it more than once. Please don't do this to your kids. Looking back, it made me a stronger and more interesting person. I traveled more than most of the kids I knew, which has had a great impact on my life. But still, it really, really sucked moving around. Don't damage your kid's psyche. Sorry about that tangent. Life was simpler then and I don't ever remember wanting to be "stressed out" when I grew up.
Today's wine recommendation- 2002 Valckenberg Gewurztraminer $12.99
This German Gewurztraminer is a great choice to go with your Thanksgiving turkey. It's off- dry with a nose of rose petal and geranium with notes of lychee, clove, and pear on the palate. It's also great with Thai, Indian and choucroute garni. Try something new, damnit!

Until the next bottle...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Is Hollywood out of original ideas?

I've been generally discouraged by mainstream Hollywood for years. Although I'm not typically a huge fan of Hollywood crapola (as I tend to much prefer foreign and indie films), there's still something to be said for a solidly directed, well-acted, slickly-produced bohemoth of a film. Hollywood can't even seem to get this right anymore. The current trend in film-making seems to be borrowing from a more clever past. It seems that the bulk of today's films are just a sloppy rehash of something that's already been done. They're turning TV shows into movies, redeveloping superheroes, replacing models and fishing line with computer animation, and re-making classics. Actually, a film doesn't even need to be a classic to be re-made any more. As long as a director (that has grossed enough to appease the studios) has a "new artistic vision" or "direction" for a shitty old film they get the "green light". This bothers me. I guess that's why I enjoy foreign and independent films. I'm sick of the formulaic bullshit. Rather than re-shoot a film 20, 30 , or 40 years later (significantly dumbed-down for the current movie going audience), why not just re-release the original "classic" in theaters for the current generation to witness. Oh wait, I'm sorry, kids today don't have any sort of attention span and have never seen a black and white TV, let alone a black and white film on screen.
Case in point- I went to see Alfie yesterday. Although it's not entirely bad, it's certainly not great. It's a mere shadow of the original. It was not my first choice. I wanted to see Sideways (which was not showing at the theater), Ray, or even The Incredibles. By process of elimination we settled on Alfie. It was certainly a better choice than most of the other options. It was not my first choice because I knew I would be in for a letdown. It was solidly cast, well-acted, and shot well, but it was disappointing all-around. Jude Law is a brilliant actor and has an amazing future ahead of him (not to mention that he's got about 300 movies in theaters now). His portrayal was solid and charming, but flat. The original Alfie with the amazing Michael Caine just had more style. Michael Caine's "Alfie" character had more "cool", "confidence", "style", and his emotions were worn on his sleeve. It's like comparing George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton's "James Bond" to Sean Connery's. The film was entertaining. It didn't suck. It didn't insult my intelligence. It just didn't have any spirit. Thanks to the often underrated and oft joked-about Michael Caine for one the performances of his career. Thanks, Hollywood for screwing with a classic. Which brings me to my next point...
"Don't fuck with a classic!"
So, I was watching VH-1 tonight and they had this "Retrosexual" thing about sex in advertising and entertainment in the 80's. God, I miss the 80's! I wouldn't want to repeat that time in my life, but the 80's were fun, irreverent, and stupid. Good times...good times.
If anyone is reading this I'd like to insert a stupid random poll to see if anyone is paying attention. "Which way do you put the toilet paper on the holder? Are you an over or under person?" I'd appreciate any response. Thank goodness for "Double-Roll Toilet Paper". I think it's one of the greatest developments of the last decade or so. I used to occasionally find "Triple Roll". I haven't seen any in years. Do you know where I can find some? Just curious...I'm not obsessed.
Today's wine recommendation- 2004 Yalumba Y Series Viognier $9.99
This stuff is one of the best buys around! This Aussie beauty is made by a fantastic gal named Louisa that I met in Australia. I had the great pleasure of spending 24 hours on a train with her and then dinner at Chateau Reynella with her in Adelaide. She's in charge of white wine production for Yalumba. Viognier is a fickle grape, and it's hard to find such a good one for such a low price. Peach and honeysuckle are evident on the nose and continue on the palate with subtle citrus, pear, and mineral. The finish is relatively short, but ever so enjoyable. Try with lightly curried halibut, apricot chicken, or mild scallop ceviche.
Until the next bottle...


Friday, November 12, 2004

Yasser Arafat is...dead.

It's been officially announced that Yasser Arafat has passed away and his body will be buried in Egypt. Let's all hope and pray that some day peace in the Middle East may be a reality. Don't stop there, though. The world needs all the peace it can get.
I received a chain e-mail from a friend today regarding women's rights. I cut out the private info and have left the guts for you to read, because it's quite a scary prospect...

Subject: Hager FDA appointment
President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two years, during which time its charter lapsed. As a result, the Bush Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new members. This position does not require Congressional approval. The FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee makes crucial decisions on matters relating to drugs used in the practice of obstetrics, gynecology and related specialties, including hormone therapy, contraception, treatment for infertility, and medical alternatives to surgical procedures for sterilization and pregnancy termination. Dr. Hager, the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now." The book blends biblical accounts of Christ healing Women with case studies from Hager's practice. His views of reproductive health care are far outside the mainstream for productive technology. Dr. Hager is a practicingOB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life" and refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. In the book Dr. Hager wrote with his wife, entitled "Stress and the Woman's Body," he suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual syndromeshould seek help from reading the bible and praying. As an editor and contributing author of "The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality Reproductive Technologies and the Family," Dr. Hager appears to have endorsed the medically
inaccurate assertion that the common birth control pill is an abortifacient. We are concerned that Dr. Hager's strong religious beliefs may color his assessment of technologies that are necessary to protect women's lives or to preserve and promote women's health. Hager's track record of using religious beliefs to guide his medical decision-making makes him a dangerous and inappropriate candidate to serve as chair of this committee. Critical drug public policy and researchmust not be held hostage by antiabortion politics. Members of this important panel should be appointed on the basis of science and medicine, rather than politics and religion. American women deserve no less.

And on a lighter note...
I went with some friends last night to see Luna at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. What a great show! I've loved the band for years and have never had a chance to see them live. Unfortunately, it was their last show in the Detroit area as the band is breaking up and this is their farewell tour. It was my friend Glen's 9th or 10th time seeing them. If you're not familiar with Luna, you may remember an earlier Dean Wareham incarnation known as Galaxie 500. I haven't seen a show at the Blind Pig in probably about 10 years. It's nice to know that some places never change. Thanks to Luna for years of musical bliss.

Today's wine recommendation: 2000 Penley Estate Shiraz Cabernet $32.99
This stuff is delicious and I'm not just saying that because I had a great time at the winery. This Aussie stunner from Coonawarra is a beautiful effort in winemaking. The Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes marry perfectly in this seductive blend. A nose of blackberry, raspberry, subtle eucylptus, and rich vanilla is followed by juicy raspberry and blueberry on the palate with a hint of mint and spice. The finish is medium-long and leaves one wanting more. Try with grilled lamb chops, spice rubbed pork chops, or a nice hunk of cheese like Parmegianno Reggiano, or a cave-aged Gruyere. Delicous!
Until the next bottle...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Something to celebrate...John Ashcroft resigns.

Attorney General John Ashcroft turned in a 5 page hand-written letter of resignation yesterday. Woo hoo!!! Let's just hope that the next one is more grounded in reality and the Constitution. We can only hope. Darth Vader is gone, lets try to get rid of Emperor Palpatine if you know what I mean. I'm so happy about today's announcement that I'm going to end my post here with a celebratory wine recommendation.

Today's wine recommendation: Jacob's Creek Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Brut NV $10.99
Great bubbles for the price! This is made in the traditional Methode Champenoise and offers up a fine perlage and creamy mousse. Lemon custard, lime, pear, and brioche are evident on the nose as notes of pear, citrus, hazelnut, and subtle mineral are noticeable on the palate. Good, clean, expressive, and fun! This Aussie sparkler is a fantastic value!


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Wow! My life is incredibly boring.

Greetings! Not much going on here. My weekend was entirely uneventful. I worked at job #2 Friday night. The restaurant was pretty busy. So at least I made some extra cash. Worked at job#1 on Saturday until 9:00. Watched TV and went to bed late. Sunday I stayed in like a lazy-ass and nursed my cold which still hasn't gone away. I was originally going to have some friends over for dinner, but then I was supposed to do computer implementation for work. I rescheduled the dinner party and now the computer implementation has been delayed until the first of the year. Oy. I stayed home and listened to the new Madeleine Peyroux and the new Nick Cave. Both are great. I made a point to watch the Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror". I don't remember much of it. I've been pretty tired because I haven't been sleeping well because of my damn cold! I went to a trade-tasting after work today at Schoolcraft Community College to taste a distributor's wines. I met some friends after that at La Shish in Livonia for dinner. That's always good. I love La Shish, but it's no Al-Ameer. Anyway, I read two of my friends' blogs today (Julie and Kathleen) and they both filled out this survey, so I thought I'd give it a whirl too.

LAYER ONE: On the Outside
Birthplace=Livonia, MI
Current Location=Dearborn, MI
Eye Color=Greenish
Hair Color=Blonde
Righty or Lefty=Righty

LAYER TWO: On the Inside
Your Heritage=Swiss/German
Shoes You Wore Today=Black Carolina Boot Company Combat Boots
Your fears=Dying without having "my one true love", not being liked, the next four years with Bush in office
Your perfect pizza=A simple, but perfect "Pizza Margerita" (fresh/ripe tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and just picked basil) baked in a wood-fired stone oven.

LAYER THREE: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Your most overused phrase on AIM=What's AIM?
Your thoughts first waking up=Why is there a horse's head in my bed?
Your best physical feature=I don't have much going for me here, but my teeth are pretty darn straight.
Your bedtime=Three-ish (AM)

Pepsi or Coke=Coke
McDonalds or Burger King=Rally's (in Michigan), Arctic Circle (out west), or BK if i must choose (they have frozen coke)
Single or group dates=Single
Adidas or Nike=Converse All Stars baby!!!
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea=I really don't drink iced tea. I like Lapsang Souchang tea (hot).
Chocolate or vanilla=CHOCOLATE!!!
Cappuccino or coffee=Espresso an Australian "Short Black"

Cuss=Like a motherf#%*in' trucker with Tourettes
Sing=In the car (I actually have about 10 years choir experience. I was never solo quality, but I was a pretty good Baritone. I haven't sung in years, but I'm more confident in my voice now. I love to sing and listen to choral music.)
Take a shower every day=Yes
Have a crush(es)=Yes. One major. A few minor.
Think you've been in love=I thought I was at the time, but it turns out it was obsession.
Like(d) high school=Hell no!
Want to get married=Yes
Believe in yourself=More than ever
Get motion sickness=No
Think you're attractive=I think I could be(physically attractive) if I lost a lot of weight. I think I'm emotionally attractive and have lots to offer.
Think you're a health freak=Hell no, just a freak.
Get along with your parents=Yes, especially now that we live 150 miles apart.
Like thunderstorms=Love em'. I'll go out on the porch if it's a good one. I especially love them in the mountains.
Play an instrument=I had to play a recorder in elementary school, forgot the only 3 guitar chords I knew, and I own a harmonica., no I don't. Actually I can play "Blowin' in the Wind" on piano with one finger.

LAYER SIX: In the past month have you...
Drank alcohol=Duh!!! I do it for a living.
Done a drug=No
Made Out=No :(
Gone on a date=No
Gone to the mall=No
Eaten an entire box of Oreos=No, but I have eaten a whole package of Peppridge Farms Sausalito cookies
Eaten sushi=Not this month, but I love it.
Been on stage=No, not since high school
Been dumped=No
Gone skating=No
Gone skinny dipping=Not in the last month...
Dyed your hair=No
Stolen anything=No

Played a game that required removal of clothing=No, damnit!
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated=A few times
Been caught "doing something"=No, unfortunately
Been called a tease=No
Gotten beaten up=I was bullied in elementary school, but never completely beaten up.
Shoplifted=I took a piece of penny candy from the Plaid Pantry in Salem, Oregon when I was about 6. Peer pressure. I'm really sorry.

LAYER EIGHT: Getting Older
Age you hoped to be married=30
Numbers and Names of Children=None
Describe your dream wedding=It can be as simple as possible as long as I've found my true love. It would be nice if it took place on the lawn at Kalangadoo House in Kalangadoo, Australia near Penola in the state of South Australia with all of our friends with good wine and food and the Australian Magpies providing the choir.
How do you want to die= In my sleep (hopefully with no dependents)
What do you want to be when you want to grow up=An Australian Wine Importer
What country(ies) would you most like to visit=I can't think of any country I wouldn't like to visit. But, I'd like to go back to Australia more than anything. I'd also like to go back to Switzerland. I'd love to visit South Africa, India, and China.

LAYER NINE: In a boy/girl
Best eye color=blue or green
Best hair color=red or hazel
Short or long hair=Either is fine, but I especially love short hair.
Height=Doesn't matter
Best articles of clothing=I love women who know how to accessorize. A silk scarf is the biggest turn on. Silver jewelry is cool. I wish more Americans would follow the French example. Audrey Hepburn's style is faultless.
Best first date location=You tell me. I haven't had much luck with these. I think the DIA is a pretty nice one.

LAYER TEN: In The Numbers...
Number of drugs taken illegally=I tried pot a couple of times. I didn't inhale. Once was backstage at an Einsturzende Neubauten concert and one of the band members passed me a joint so I took a polite puff.
Number of people I could trust with my life=Not too many
Number of CDs that I own=Over 500 + vinyl
Number of piercings=One long-closed ear hole.
Number of tattoos=1
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?=About three or four times in local papers, a few times in trade newsletters, and a few times in the Michigan Journal (college)
Number of scars on my body=1, very small behind one of my eyebrows (apparently I was a very fast crawler as a baby and ran into a chair leg). I try to avoid getting hurt.
Number of things in my past that I regret="Regrets, I've had a few..."

Now you know way too much about me.
Today's Wine Recommendation: 2003 Panther Creek Melrose Vineyard Pinot Gris $14.99
This Oregon Pinot Gris is sensational for the price. Notes of lime, wet stone, and pear on the nose are followed up on the palate with clean and bright notes of citrus, pear, mineral, and subtle marzipan. The acidity is crisp and focused. Try it with some line-caught Chinook Salmon if you can get your hands on some. Also fine with halibut, scallops, or chicken piccata.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

Yasser Arafat is...alive (Part Doux)-Top 10 Movie Soundtracks

So I wrote this pretty long, pretty kick-ass post yesterday, but my computer crapped out when I tried to publish it. I'm too lazy to re-create it, but some of the highlights included Mr. Arafat still being in a coma and a "where are they now?" segment of the cast of Life Goes On . Has anyone seen Patti Lupone? This is going to be a short one. I was just listening to the Lost in Translation soundtrack and I thought I'd like to share with you my top 10 favorite movie soundtracks off the top of my head (in random order):

  1. Basquiat
  2. A Clockwork Orange
  3. To Live
  4. Kids
  5. Lost In Translation
  6. To Have and To Hold
  7. Wings of Desire
  8. Until the End of the World
  9. Immortal Beloved
  10. Head
Basquiat is probably my favorite. It's a beautifully directed film (Julian Schnabel) and the soundtrack fits it perfectly. The song that sets it off is "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" by Them ( Van Morrison). This, in my humble opinion, is one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded. It's a Dylan tune that's been covered by many (check out the 13th Floor Elevators version), but this version by Van Morrison is eerily beautiful. Words really can't describe it. Check it out for yourself. Make sure to see Basquiat if you're in the mood for a good cry. Jeffrey Wright's portrayal of Jean Michelle Basquiat is utterly brilliant. Jeffrey Wright, as far as I'm concerned is one of the two most talented actors in the business. You may recognize him from Angels in America. He also did a great portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in an HBO film a few years ago. He's done lots of stuff on Broadway as well. Jeffrey Wright is pure genius. I'm also a big fan of a lesser known Aussie actor (lesser known in the states) by the name of Noah Taylor. He's been in The Year my Voice Broke, Flirting, Nostradamus Kid, Shine, Max, Almost Famous, and Vanilla Sky (which I've actually never seen). He's scarily talented. I'll get into my favorite actresses in a future post. I like lists, so I may be posting a bunch in the future.
Today's wine recommendation: 2002 Glaymond Landrace $47.99
This bombastic blend of 70% Shiraz and 30% Mataro (Mourvedre) is a freakin' beast. It's black as night and has blackberry, raspberry, melted liquorice, criosote, leather, and vanilla on the nose. It has tons of black fruit on the palate as well as notes of cola, liquorice, mint, and vanillin. The finish is almost endless. It weighs in at a whopping 16.4% alcohol, but shows no heat or alcohol on the finish. All of the elements are beautifully integrated. Chris Ringland is the winemaking genius behind this wine. Chris Ringland also makes Rockford and Three Rivers (Australia's first $500.00 wine). I first tasted this wine at a trade tasting for work a few months ago with my trusty vinuous compatriot D. We both fell in love with it. I ordered some immediately. We sold out. We ordered some more. We sold out. We ordered some more. Robert Parker then decided to give it a 96 point rating. I immediately ordered the balance of what the distributor had left. As far as I know we got the only 6 cases of Landrace in Michigan. Amazing stuff from the Barossa Valley in the beautiful state of South Australia. Landrace is not for the faint of heart (no Pinot drinkers!). This stuff is mindblowing!!!


Friday, November 05, 2004

Yasser Arafat is...alive.

It's two days after the election and I'm still depressed and I have a wicked bad cold to add to the fun. I'm feeling better, but you couldn't tell from my voice right now. Oh well, life must go on.
So I was listening to the President's press conference this morning on WDET and got some surprising news. A reporter (I don't recall who) told Bush that Yasser Arafat was dead, and then asked him what he had to say about it. Bush said something like "God bless his soul. I look forward to a free Palestinian state that is in peace with Israel". I hate to say it, but Bush handled it fairly well and didn't go off on any wild and evil tangents. Now either the press was trying to set him up or they just made a huge mistake. Did this reporter get his information from USA Today? Turns out that Mr. Arafat is not dead. He is in a coma and is in "grave condition". OOPS! I was telling people at work all day that Yasser Arafat was dead. I guess that everyone should check their sources, including me. Not that there is anything funny about this situation, but a French spokesperson denied the rumor by simply stating "Yasser Arafat is not dead". And then he walked away. French people are funny (in spite of the Jerry Lewis infatuation).
Luckily there is some potentially great news in America. It's been rumored that John Ashcroft may step down after this term as Attorney General. Woo hoo! Mr. Ashcroft is supposedly "burnt out". Religion is fine and good and an important part of people's lives (if they choose to follow that path). But I am a staunch supporter of the separation of Church and State. There is something fundamentally wrong when the Attorney General believes and publicly states that the Bible is more important than the Constitution. I don't know if I would trust anyone who was sworn in with his hand on four Bibles. One should be sufficient. Actually, I think that the Bible should be eliminated and all government officials should place their hands on a copy of the Constitution or Bill of Rights. The Founding Fathers had enough foresight to separate Church and State. We don't need the return of Puritanical rule. There are too many Revelations-fearing, neo-prohibitionist, podunk living, truth-fearing, fear-comatose, Bush bumpersticker-having folk out there (as evidenced by the recent election results). Good riddance John Ashcroft! Now my fear is who Bush may appoint in his place. I'm sure he has some sort of Billy Graham/Goebbels/Buchanan type hybrid lined up. Lets fall on whatever faith we may or may not have and pray that this is not the case. I'm equally scared by the eventual Supreme Court nominations in the next four years. I'm sure Bush has that Alabama judge in mind (no, not the masturbating judge, that was Missouri or something).
Proposal 71 passed in California allowing 3 billion dollars to be used for stem-cell research. Thanks California! I love you guys. Great weather, beautiful mountains and beaches, great wine, and people who aren't afraid to think.
It's also rumored that Colin Powell may step down. I have nothing against Mr. Powell, really. Thanks for being more moderate than your bedfellows. Good luck to you in your future. I hope that you'll be able to make a living on speaking engagements.
That's enough politics for now.
Today's wine recommendation: 2003 Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc $14.99
This delightfully fresh and crisp Australian sauvignon blanc is an outstanding value. A nose of lime, mineral, guava, and subtle grass is followed on the palate with bright acidity. Lime, grapefruit, fig, melon, and notes of wet stone are refreshingly present on the palate. The finish is crisp, clean, and bright. Outstanding with some Australian oysters on the halfshell with fresh lime, scallop ceviche, or your Thanksgiving turkey with traditional sage stuffing. Awesome!


Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'd Rather be in Kalangadoo!!!

I must say that I am truly disheartened and disillusioned with America. I've been disappointed by a God-fearing, tractor-pulling public. So much for separation of church and state. Should I play to people's fears to get ahead in life? John Kerry conceded yesterday. I'm very upset by this. I stayed up until about 3:30 AM before I gave up and went to bed. I was hoping that I'd have something to smile about in the morning (and the following 4 years). Well, at least Kerry won Michigan. I must say that I'm surprised by the city of Dearborn. Kerry won with a decent margin. Way to go Dearborn! I'm especially disappointed with the win of Proposal 2 in Michigan. This country has a long way to go.
This is my first attempt at a blog or anything like this. Don't expect fancy links or pretty pictures because I'm essentially technologically inept. I also have dial-up.
I had the most wonderful opportunity to visit Australia in the Fall of 2003 (Spring in Oz). I won a trip sponsored by the Australian Wine Bureau (I took a series of quizzes, wrote essays, and analyzed a bottle of wine). I've fantasized about going to Australia ever since I wrote a report on it in elementary school. I was lucky enough to join 7 other young wine professionals and two young and very talented wine writers for a jam-packed tour of Australian wine country. IT WAS THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME!!! I cannot thank the AWB enough for the opportunity. I tear up every time I think of it. I met the most amazing people, saw the most beautiful sunsets, had the world's best food, and of course lots and lots of WONDERFUL Australian wine and beer. I've made friends for a lifetime. I'm so thankful. I had the amazing opportunity to stay for two days at Kalangadoo House in Kalangadoo, South Australia, near Penola and Coonawarra in the Limestone Coast region. Kalangadoo House is an 1870 homestead (converted to a B&B) with 50 acres surrounded by nothing but gum trees, cattle, and sheep. Coonawarra is a famous wine region that is fairly big in size, but accomodations are scarce. We had to split into three groups and stay in three separate accomodations. We flew into Mt. Gambier airport from Adelaide and were driven to our accomodations (thanks Karen!). We had a little time to settle in and then get ready to be driven to dinner at the Menzies Room for dinner in Coonawarra. It was at this moment when I believe I was truly at peace with myself. Every part of the trip was amazing, but I was happiest at this moment in my life. We (Philippa, Sara, Tim, Shayn, and myself) sat in the grass drinking sparkling wine and listened to everything that nature had to offer. The choir of cattle, sheep, and Australian magpies (they produce the most beautiful song on earth) against the backdrop of gum trees before sunset was life-changing. I then had a little time to myself on the upstairs porch listening to the deafeningly beautiful songs of the magpies and gallahs. I was at peace. I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that place again. I love the United States, but my heart and my spirit are in Australia. I've become more disheartened with this country as time goes on. The recent election has essentially sealed the deal. I want to be in Australia. I want to see Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne again. I want to go to Broken Hill again. I'll write more about Australia in more detail in future blogs. Australia is AMAZING! But here I am in Michigan. I'D RATHER BE IN KALANGADOO!!!
Today's recommended wine is: 2003 Piping Shrike Barossa Valley Shiraz ($13.99)
This is some damn fine stuff if I may say so myself. It's big and full-bodied with expressive berry fruit, subtle Christmas spice, and vanilla dominating on the nose. Gobs of blackberry and raspberry fruit are further accented with notes of melted licorice, pepper, and sweet vanillin. The finish lingers for about a half-minute. This shiraz on steroids is a monster at 15% alcohol, especially at its fantastic price. Don't pass it up. IT'S A STEAL!!!