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?).
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
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
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:
Cinco De Mayo Walk-Around Tasting
Paso Robles Wine
Food and Wine Classic
Georgia Wines Spring Wine Fest
New Orleans New
Orleans Wine and Food Experience
$395/person (all events)
Garden State Growers Assn Wine Festival May
Finger Lakes Wine Festival
Vintage Ohio Aug 1-2
Pittsburgh Wine Festival
Vintage Virginia Wine Festival
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).
April 25, 2003