Sunday, October 30, 2005

My tongue feels so good it hurts...

My dear friends and lovely wife surprised me with an excellent birthday meal, accompanied by much laughter and good wine, including a bottle of 1986 Clerc Milon.

I am abgestuffed!

From the Wine Doctor:

Chateau Clerc Milon

Chateau Clerc Milon is a property with which all lovers of Pauillac should be familiar. Although in illustrious ownership (it is part of the Rothschild stable that also includes Mouton Rothschild) it hides at the fifth growth level, one of the dozen Pauillac properties that dominate – in numbers at least – this rung of the 1855 classification. But wine buyers interested in quality know that this ancient classification cannot be wholly relied upon, and there are many chateaux outperforming their rank. Lynch-BagesPontet Canet is another under-rated fifth growth. And, based on my recent assessment of five vintages (it was to be six but one was corked – not even the Rothschilds are immune to TCA), Clerc Milon is another. is a classic example, consistently ranked as the equivalent of a second growth, and prices are higher than one might expect. The recently rescued

Chateau Clerc MilonIn the 19th Century the chateau was owned by Jean-Baptiste Clerc, who was running the show at the time of the 1855 classification. He died in 1863, and the mantle was passed onto his widow. Within no time the estate had been broken up, and part sold on to Jacques Mondon; hence the wine was now known as Chateau Clerc-Milon-Mondon. As the decades passed, though, the estate passed through a succession of owners and, as always happens in these circumstances, it gradually fell into disrepair. By the 1960s it was the property of local lawyer Jacques Vialard. Little wonder, considering its condition, that Marie Vialard and Madame Heron, who inherited the property upon Vialard’s death in 1970, were only too pleased to sell this moneypit on. This was to Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s advantage; he secured the estate for the paltry sum of one million francs. Over the next decade it saw extensive refurbishment, with the fruits of the labour being a succession of excellent wines, from the early 1980s onwards.

Milon is a small village near Chateau Lafite, but Chateau Clerc Milon itself is situated in the northernmost part of the Pauillac appellation near Mousset. Here Baroness Philippine de Rothschild – Baron Philippe’s daughter - can oversee activity at Clerc Milon, Mouton-Rothschild and d’Armailhac, whilst keeping up to date with progress at her other interests in Chile (Almaviva) and California (Opus One), as well as the branded side of the business – such as the infamous Mouton Cadet. It is a most parcellated property, with over 100 separate vineyard plots scattered around. The soils are a mixture of sand and gravel, with more clay nearer the river. There are 30 ha in all, planted with 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and an impressive 1% Carmenere; a rare sight in the vineyards of Bordeaux nowadays. In recent years the area planted to Cabernet Sauvignon has decreased, whereas there is more Merlot. The vines average over 50 years of age and are planted at a density of over 8000 plants per hectare. The end result, after fermentation, is the grand vin Chateau Clerc Milon. There is no second wine.

Chateau Clerc-Milon is an unusual wine. It does not have a huge, vocal following in the way that Lynch-Bages does. It does not have the benefit of recent publicity concerning an obvious improvement in quality, with the Parker points to match, in the way that Pontet-Canet has. It does, however, demand a healthy but admittedly not exorbitant price. Nevertheless, I came to a recent tasting hoping to find some decent examples of Pauillac. What I found was an impressive wine; in several vintages a dark, brooding and masculine libation, punching way above its weight. But with it comes none of the cost-enhancing hype that follows some other Bordeaux underlings. One that I should be buying more of, I think. (19/1/05)

Contact details:
Address: Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, 33250 Pauillac
Telephone: +33 (0) 5 56 73 20 20
Fax: +33 (0) 5 56 73 20 44

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Turkish court fined 20 people €70 each for using the letters Q and W...


Saturday October 29th 2005

An irate Brazilian woman started legal proceedings against her partner, because she failed to have orgasms, Terra Noticias Populares newspaper reported.

Police chief Jose Ferraz said he would investigate the case after the disgruntled 31-year-old filed a complaint about her husband's selfish bedroom habits at Chacar Urbana police station.

She alleged that her 38-year-old partner reached an orgasm and then abruptly ceased sexual intercourse at that point.

The Milwaukee Journal reports on an unsuccessful cash robbery by a pair of incompetent villains. A 33-year-old raider attempted to make off with a sum of money after he rushed up to a man in a car park and pulled out a handgun.

He tried to escape with his loot, but was run over by his accomplice in a getaway car. As he limped away from the scene, a woman tried to stop him. He pulled out a handgun and promptly shot himself in the leg.

A Turkish court fined 20 people €70 each for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish new year celebration. The letters are forbidden on signs because they are not in the Turkish alphabet.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It is Fitzmas Eve..I'm so excited!

Brad DeLong writes about his confusion over the ultimate motives of Moe, Larry, and Curly in a way that reminds me of an old quote attributed to Enrico Fermi:
"Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture, I am still confused. But on a higher level."
-- Enrico Fermi


Glaukon: NOC NOC.

Thrasymakhos: Who's there?

Glaukon: Not "knock knock." "NOC NOC." Non-Official Cover.


Thrasymakhos: Do you understand it?

Glaukon: No. Does anybody?


Thrasymakhos: Indeed not. But my not-understanding is at a very elevated and sophisticated level.


Thrasymakhos: Focusing on the seriousness of the underlying act--trying to hide one's pathetic little affairs with interns from one's wife vs. harming the national security--works well, doesn't it?

Glaukon: Yes, it does. I am lost in admiration.

Thrasymakhos: I am a trained professional.

Glaukon: Yes you are. What else do you not-understand?

Thrasymakhos: Alger Hiss.

Glaukon: Alger Hiss?

Thrasymakhos: Yes. Alger Hiss was convicted not of espionage but perjury. On today's right-wing line of argument, charges should have been dropped once it became clear they couldn't prove espionage. Doesn't anyone on today's right remember Alger Hiss? Everyone who was anyone on the right was there: J. Edgar Hoover, Richard M. Nixon, Joe McCarthy, William F. Buckley, Whittaker Chambers...

Glaukon: No.

Thrasymakhos: No?

Glaukon: No. William F. Buckley remembers that Alger Hiss was convicted not of espionage but of perjury. Perhaps a few of Buckley's epigones remember. (But they are keeping very quiet.) Nobody else. What else do you not-understand?

Thrasymakhos: The pointless, boastful lying in the fall of 2003. Cheney: "I don't even know who Joe Wilson is!" Bush: "Gee. I really hope they catch those leakers!" When all the while both of them knew that Cheney had launched the leaking campaign and that Rove, Libby, and company were in it up to their necks. It didn't gain them anything. And now it makes them look like the sleazy liars that they are--and makes them look so in a soundbite simple enough for the media to understand it. That I really don't understand.

Glaukon: You don't have much experience with fratboys, do you?

Thrasymakhos: I'm afraid not.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fitzmas

From the Al Franken Show

It’s beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas
Ev’ry where you go
The indictments are on their way
On that special day
Scooter, Hadley, Cheney, Rice and Rove!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas
Bushies moan and wail
And the day’s growing near, indeed
When the GOP VIPs
All will rot in jail!

Steve Clemons

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ten Tips for Dealing with Fitzmas

georgia10 on Daily Kos has


10. Put down the caffeine: For the next 48 hours, cleanse your body of java, aspartame, splenda, and whatever other shit you've been putting in your system. Your body will be producing more adrenaline during Fitzmas than it did when you were a hormone-crazed teenager, so don't fuel the fire.

9. "Refresh" is the AntiChrist: Resist the urge to press "refresh" every TWO SECONDS. Checking into Drudge every minute won't make any indictments come any'll just give him hits and make Drudge's head swell even more. Eww. I put "Drudge" and "swell" and "head" in the same sentence. I just grossed myself out.

8. Gossip Folks: Don't believe anything in the next 24-48 hours. Guess what!! I can report on my blog that Condi will be VP when Dick resigns...and because it's on a blog, it must be true! And my scoop will fly through the internets at twice the speed of sound and I'll be so convincing, Condi herself will hear my scoop and think "Shit. I need new shoes!" and next thing you know New York Daily News will be reporting that Condi was in NY shopping for Jimmy Choo shoes that look "Vice-Presidential" and Teresa Heinz passed her by and called her a "bitch." Get my point?

7. Turn off the TV: Why submit yourself to the torture of watching The Situation Room and listening to Wolf's "I'm-reading-a-script-but-I'm-trying-to-make-it-sound-live" voice in the hopes that some pundit will throw out something like "Rove will be indicted"? You all KNOW that the talking heads don't know shit, and that their dirty little secret is that they really get their info from the, gasp!, blogs, so why waste your time? So, Kristol says Rove and Libby will be indicted. Um...99% of the pajamajadeen have said the same thing for the last couple months. Give your blood pressure a break and turn off the TV.

6. Don't listen to Tip #7: Well, do turn off the TV, but turn it on for Scotty's press conferences. Nothing eases the nerves and apprehension of indictments than watching Puffy McMoonface squirm as he fends off a resuccitated press corps. With Scotty spinning so fast, you KNOW there's some serious shit going down.

5. Don't take off of work tomorrow: Yes, there are some of you who would actually skip work or school to stay home and catch the indictments breaking live. I've confessed to being a Plamegate junkie, but please. Those of you who view CSPAN as political porn need to put things into perspective. The indictments may not break tomorrow...and then what? You spent a whole day, one hand repeatedly refreshing dkos and drudge, the other hand holding a remote and flipping channels between CNN and MSNBC and, gulp, FOX, flipping and flipping and flipping and it'll all be for naught. So treat tomorrow just like any other day, use school and work as a distraction...and, um, did you hear blogging more than once a day can make you go blind?

4. Visit Freeperville: Watch the tension melt away as you read about how Wilson was the leaker, how Fitzgerald is really a closet Dem fucking Hillary at the Watergate hotel, and how Plame orchestrated all this just to get name recognition for 2008. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you might even throw up in your mouth a little bit. But it'll be a great distraction from the anticipation of Fitzmas.

3. Lower Your Expectations: Hey, it worked for Laura Bush. Don't expect too much from this. We don't know what was said in that grand jury room; about all we know definitively is that Karl Rove has a "typical" garage. Fantasies of Cheney being indicted and Bush as unindicted coconspirator are just that at this point--fantasies. Trust the Fitz to do what's right based on the evidence, and trust that the result will be as far as he was legally able to go.

2. Stockpile the Booze: Ok, you've lowered your expectations, but sheesh, don't be downer. No matter what comes down, these next couple of days will be explosive. So chill the Cristal (or the Guinness) and get ready. Also, compile a list of all the emails of your most die-hard GOP friends. Plan on sending them emails after the indictments, perferably after you've depleted your liquor reserves.

1. Enjoy the moment: Take a DEEP breath, and savor the fact that you're witnessing history being made. The outing of Plame was a vicious act, but nothing will be as sweet as watching justice being served.

I'll drink to that!

Here is an organization that is "spiritually uplifting".

Drinking Liberally

Promoting democracy one pint at a time.
109 chapters in 39 states plus DC.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Carmina Beerana

Look at this Aussie beer commercial.

Freudian slip

The Huffington Post picked this up from ThinkProgress.

It reminds me of this old joke.
Two guys were going on a business trip. One stood in line and fixed the return address tags on the luggage, and the other walked up to the ticket counter. The woman selling the tickets was breathtakingly beautiful. The guy buying the tickets said, "I'll take two pickets to titsburg please." After a very long pause, she smiled demurely and handed him the tickets. He walked away totally humiliated.

When he and his buddy got far enough away from the booth, he turned to his friend and said, "You'll never believe what I just did back there. I was trying not to stare at that woman's breasts and when I asked for tickets, I actually said 'Two pickets to titsburg.' " His buddy laughed and says, "Yeah, that's pretty common. It's called a Freudian slip. Why, just the other night at supper, I meant to ask my mother to pass the salt and I said, "YOU BITCH YOU RUINED MY LIFE!!!!"

'Mr. Floatie' backs out

I love the Boston Globe.

'Mr. Floatie' backs out of mayoral race

VICTORIA, British Columbia --Mr. Floatie, a community activist who dresses up in a feces costume to decry the pumping of raw sewage into the waters off British Columbia's capital, has withdrawn his name as a candidate for mayor.

The city had planned to challenge Mr. Floatie's candidacy in B.C. Supreme Court.

James Skwarok, the man inside the costume, said the city apparently took issue with his candidacy because only real people can run for municipal office.

"Of course I'm not a real person," Skwarok said earlier this week. "I'm a big piece of poop."

Robert Woodland, Victoria's administrator, confirmed that Mr. Floatie is no longer in the running, the Victoria Times Colonist reported Tuesday.

Skwarok was not available for further comment.

Mr. Floatie has become a regular sight at public gatherings.

He passes out pamphlets drawing attention to Victoria's practice of pumping sewage directly into the Juan de Fuca after only a screening to remove solids.

Well, I declare...

I read a review of what seemed a moderately interesting book - perhaps the review was more interesting than than the book might be. With a teaser like this:

Tales of a teenage slut
In a hilarious new memoir, a "Six Feet Under" writer tackles feminism, teen sex, race relations -- and her dream of an all-female island.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Heather Havrilesky

I was charmed by the reviewer's comments: Soloway may be pissed off, but she gets us on her side by admitting things that most of us never could: That sometimes the people who say, "Everything happens for a reason" deserve a kick in the groin, or that there are days when the word "Toyotathon" can send even the most resilient, optimistic person into a serious funk.

So I thought I could use this as a basis for a writing assignment. I googled "Toyotathon feelings" and came up with only 75 hits, so I thought I had found a web-proof topic so I might actually get something original.

Since my students are still "unformed" writers - a cruel observer might say "uninformed" - my assignment was breathkingly simple: Compose an essay, in simple declarative sentences only, one and a half to two pages in length, on the theme, What are your feelings when you hear the word "Toyotathon"?

The first essay started, "When I hear the word "Toyotathon" I think, huge car sale (the punctuation is the author's).

As Aesop might have put it, "I dede shyte thre grete toordes".

Postscript: EACH student in the class was unable to write an essay in simple declarative sentences only. Some had as many as 26 errors...

One student asked me what was wrong with this sentence: "What were my feelings?" I told him that he was doing "one heck of a job".

My wife suggested that I bring drop slips to class.

Rehnquist or Gilligan?

After reading Derrick Jackson great op-ed piece in the Globe, I am thinking of asking my writing class to compose an essay on the theme, "Who will be missed more - William Rehnquist or Bob Denver?"

Yes, things are VERY different in Ohio...

Gawker picked up this story from the Cincinnati Enquirer

Eyes of nation on us...
'Today' show in town to document our backyard and beer-hall pastime

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Read more about it at, I kid you not, the American Cornhole Association.
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