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A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

It’s been a while since I’ve submitted an article to “Stuff”.  Quite frankly, I didn’t have the time.  I decided to take an online college course, graduate level, in National Security Studies.  Given what happened in Iraq, the timing couldn’t have been better.  After meeting Jim Woolsey, former Director of the CIA and a regular on CNN, I was curious about what drives the security apparatus of our country.  My undergraduate degree in Beer Consumption wasn’t going to help and utilizing my MBA was pure folly given that we were taught that anyone who worked for the government was either stupid or independently wealthy (or both).  I found an online course at American Military University (www.apus.edu, NSS500) and signed up in January.  The course was 15 weeks long, required reading was four lengthy books, and two papers were required.  I acquired a keen understanding for the checks and balances in our democratic system and the ongoing struggle between the U.S. President and Congress.  I also gained an appreciation for some of the hot spots in the world.  While the Middle East continues to surface in the media, my money’s on Indonesia, a boiling kettle among the simmering cauldrons.  (Does this plug change my A- to an A, professor?).

I digress.  Winos John and Bob have been keeping the word processor busy while hitting the party circuits in Northern New Jersey.  I feel a need to catch up with the wino, tech geek, gadget king, and nuclear physicist world that I cater to.  Here’s the ramble.

I bought one of those GPS golf watches made by Suunto (www.suuntosports.com).  I haven’t used it yet for its true purpose (telling me how far it is to the green while I’m traversing the golf course).  Of course, I’ve only played golf once this year (a fact that I’m about to change).  But if I had played 20 times already, I doubt that I would have worked in the time to master the watch.  Quite frankly, while the watch boasts unique technology and clever software (which allows you to keep two sets of clubs online so that you can monitor the effectiveness of each club in each set, among other features), this bad boy is too expensive ($800 list) and too complicated to work (you have to load all the key GPS points into the watch as you walk/drive the course for the first time.  After that data is entered, then you can play a round and utilize the GPS for shot information).  The watch is rather impressive looking however, and is sure to elicit comments like:  “Your mission, should you decide to accept it….”

We’ve had a substitute mailman recently.  I think our regular guy is recovering from hernia surgery.  A probable cause is the raft of wine catalogs, magazines, and Longaberger baskets (a weakness of my wife whose sister introduced her to this highly addictive and expensive hobby) shipped to this house every day.  While substantial in volume, the content of most of this is weak.  I perused the catalogs last week for gift ideas for a few friends and couldn’t find too many items that interested me.  I saw a few tee shirts and aprons with clever phrases and decided that our WinoStuff gear needs some sprucing up.  So, I’m creating another contest.  Send us a catchy slogan.  If we use it, we’ll print it on some gear and ship you a complimentary copy.  (By the way, attempting to tie the connection between our Wino Bob and Bob, the Iraqi Information minister (see www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com) on a tee shirt could generate our first winner).

Unlike Wino Bob who seems to frequent the liquor stores every day (should that problem be featured on the front page of our site with the others, Wino John?), I am a guy with little time who tends to visit a wine store a couple of times a year and stocks up with multiple cases instead of singular bottles.  Of course, if you do that, you’ve got to have a storage system to make sure that your wine doesn’t spoil.  When the Department of Homeland Security raised our color rating to DefCon 5 (oh, wrong movie!) a few months ago, my neighbors decided that rather than investing in some plastic wrap and bottled water, in the event of a national/local emergency, they would come over to my place and enjoy the contents of the cellar while the world was on its way out.  Since I didn’t list that as an advantage of a cellar the last time I wrote the article, I’m adding it now.  It’s particularly an advantage when you live and work in the D.C. area.  Additionally, I’d like to issue a challenge to our hard-core group of 13 readers.  Send me a picture of your current wine storage system as well as an article about how you developed/crafted/bought the system.  We’ll publish this in either our cellaring section or the Lunatic Fringe section (depending on the article or the writer or both).

I found a humorous article in today’s WSJ (Wall Street Journal for you non-finance types) entitled “Putting with Cows”.  Evidently, there’s a trend for some golfers to seek out the experience in playing a round of golf on courses that are little more than cow pastures with 18 flags set out in some semblance of order.  For those of you with a venturous side, go to www.pasturegolf.com for a listing of the closest course to you.  Anyone who experiences this, send me an email update.  By the way, this blurb was not meant to be a slight to my golf-playing brother-in-law, Wino John.  I know that he still plays with clubs stolen from a dead man, but I don’t mean to imply that he only plays on cow pasture courses!  (Editor's notes:  1) There are plenty of good shots left in the Dead Man Clubs.   2) Anyone can hit the ball from a luxuriously manicured fairway.  But for a real challenge, try hitting your ball out of a pile of cow shit or try putting while keeping one eye on an angry bull!  Now that's golf!!!)

For those of you looking for some interesting food and wine events in your neck of the woods, here’s a short listing of some of the ones that I know about:

California
Napa                Cinco De Mayo Walk-Around Tasting                 May 3
                         $15/person            www.copia.org
Paso Robles      Wine Festival                    May 16-18
                         $30/person            www.pasowine.com

 

Colorado
Aspen              Food and Wine Classic                         June 13-15
                         $925/person            www.foodandwine.com/classic

 

Georgia
Ringgold            Georgia Wines Spring Wine Fest                     May 9-10
                         Free                 www.georgiawines.com

 

Indiana
Indianapolis       Vintage Indiana                                     June 7
                         $18/person            www.vintageindiana.com

 

Louisiana
New Orleans      New Orleans Wine and Food Experience            May 21-25
                          $395/person (all events)            www.nowfe.com

 

Michigan
Ypsilanti            Winefest 2003                                         May 17
                         $135/person            www.winefest.org

 

New Jersey
Stanhope            Garden State Growers Assn Wine Festival May 24-25
                          $16/person            www.newjerseywines.com

 

New York
Watkins Glen        Finger Lakes Wine Festival                         July 18-20
                            $25/person            www.flwinefest.com

 

Ohio
Kirtland            Vintage Ohio                                            Aug 1-2
                         $18/person            www.ohiowines.org

 

Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh            Pittsburgh Wine Festival                         May 2-3
                           $75/person       412-380-5634

 

Virginia
The Plains            Vintage Virginia Wine Festival             June 7-8
                            $20/person            www.showsinc.com

 

Once again, on our low budget, but high quality publishing operation, we can use all of the stringers (that’s publisher talk but it also means “free” writers in our talk) that we can get.  Send us a writeup and we’ll publish it.  Wino Mike had a blurb about last year’s Virginia Wine Festival.  I didn’t list the Maryland Wine Festival (cause I don’t want to have to write about it!).  John and I have the brothers and brothers-in-law to attend these events, but they’re too cheap!  We need our loyal 13 readers to check out a few of these. Wino Bob, on the other hand, hangs out with the Bianca Jagger, Aspen crowd, so I’m thinking he can cop a ride on Bianca’s jet, get a free media ticket, and let us know how the event went.

On a serious note, for those of you thinking about a small wine storage system, the time is right to buy.  Check out the wine catalogs, but they usually offer only the smaller name brands like Marvel and Lord Winston.  Do some online searches and you’ll find that many of the major appliance manufacturers have wine refrigerators for sale.  I like the GE.  Most of the 50 bottle models will fit in a cabinet size opening similar to a dishwasher (what the heck, surprise your wife for Mother’s Day and throw out the dishwasher and install a wine cooler!).  I saw a Haier (major Chinese manufacturer) model in a BJ’s Warehouse the other day for $188 (much less than the $500 average).

Wino Wally
Baltimore, MD
April 25, 2003

 


 

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