The focus is red wine and to get right to it without distraction, click The Wine Commonsewer Speaks. The rest of the enchilada is just enough of an
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Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.
Thanks for another year, Gentle Readers, all the very best of the new year to you and your families.
The Boy came home yesterday with an awesome, gorgeous, hand-made Christmas basket of holiday cheer from his best friend's family to the Santa Snells.
TWC loves him some good Valpolicella and there is an outstanding bottle of 2009 Montigoli Amarone Valpolicella tucked in the basket, appropriately enough, just to the left of J.O.Y. It isn't easy to find a Valpolicella and finding a good one is just plain serendipity. It's pronounced Val Pole-ah Chella. The other bottle is Coppola's 2011 Director's Cut Sonoma County Merlot, which is reputed to be one of his better efforts.
Oh, and those candy canes? Christmas dog bones. One for Daisy. One for Blackie. One for Beans. Not to mention the Godiva milk chocolate. Sweet.
Beans is The Boy's birthday puppy.....all he wanted for his 17th birthday was a dog and a bar-b-que and bonfire for his friends.
Christmas 2010 marked the House Blond's last recital and it was also the finale for her piano teacher, Ms Ruth. Consequently, all four of Ruth's kids were in attendance for Ruth's last hurrah. Gotta love entertainers, they know how to, well, entertain. Might be learned behavior or genetic, but her daughter, Laurie, put together a delightful catered lunch for the proud parents that begged for a good bottle of wine.
Ruth has been involved in the music scene in one way or another since childhood and at eight-six decided to call it a day. She spent many years in the Big Easy, writing and producing musicals in the French Quarter, all of which was lost to Katrina. Guess hard drives aren't the only thing that need backin' up. It's also sort of Kevin Baconish that Ruth's cousin, Stanley Ann Dunham, was President Obama's mother.
As the crowd thinned, a dapper, familiar-looking guy slipped in behind the keyboard and called out for Ruth. Someone wheeled her up front and her son-in-law smiled broadly and began to play an absolutely awesome rendition of the finest Christmas tune ever written. That would be The Christmas Song, of course.
As he finished, he smiled broadly again and said simply, Merry Christmas, Ruth. It was definitely a Kodak moment. That's Tiffany holding the mike for Dorian. Oh, and lots of you know why Dorian Harewood is familiar looking. You remember him from Roots, Full Metal Jacket, and The Jessie Owens Story. I think Tiffany referred to him as Mr. NBC.
TWC could have easily recorded Dorian's performance and therein lies the lesson. When you don't know what's coming, record it anyway. The delete key looms large, but opportunities don't knock twice.
And this is the guy who started it all.....
I believe that this clip is from the final episode of the Nat King Cole Show in December 1957.
On this day in 1791 the Bill of Rights became a part of the Constitution. Bet you didn't realize it. Bet it will not be discussed at my children's school tomorrow. Bet the president will not acknowledge it. Bet EyeWitless News will not mention it.
I was going to make a long speech but I don't have the energy today. So here's a short speech:
There's another someone who wanders around out in the hills where the dogs and I often take our morning constitutional. Her shoes leave a shallow, boat-shoe-like impression, quite dainty next to my manly, off-road boot prints. We've not crossed paths, but the evidence of her passing is apparent in the soft sand and I feel a certain irrational kinship. There is evidence of others, too, off-roaders and shooters. The evidence of their passing is not so subtle and I feel no kinship to them, just disappointment. Certainly, we're all trespassers. After all, if you don't own the land, then you're trespassing. But I'm pretty sure that there are degrees of offense. A hierarchy, I suppose. Some of us leave mere footprints as evidence of our passing. That's got to count for something in the Book of Judgements.
I had no idea that cattails changed colors.
The Wine CommonSanta
Tip of the glass to Carolyn for coining the term: Wine CommonSanta
Here's a nifty chart to help determine the proper response to a variety of greetings you may encounter during the next few weeks. You can print and snip, then slip it into your pocket or purse for quick reference.
Taking the tone of a tent revival preacher, John Kramer, the first Prohibition Commissioner declared that.....
This law (Prohibition) will be obeyed in cities, large and small, and in villages, and where it is not obeyed it will be enforced. The law says that liquor to be used as a beverage must not be manufactured. We shall see that it is not manufactured. Nor sold, nor given away, nor hauled in anything on the surface of the earth or under the earth or in the air.
Shortly thereafter, Grandma's fiance got himself erased in a fire fight with US Customs at the Canadian border while importing some high dollar whiskey.
Though the murder rate rose during the teens, it soared to almost ten murders per hundred thousand people during Prohibition. Note the dramatic plunge in the murder rate that began on Repeal Day 1933.
Prohibition also decimated the wine industry in California, pushing the evolution of high quality wines out for a half century and changing forever our cultural views toward alcohol. Many wineries collapsed because there wasn't enough market for Sacramental wine to make it profitable. Other wineries ripped out wine grapes and replaced them with juice grapes, resulting in a glut of low quality grapes that far outlasted the demise of Prohibition.
Some growers, like the Mondavis, grew Zinfandel and shipped the grapes back east to Italian Catholics who were permitted to make their own wine for sacramental purposes. Guys like Ernest & Julio Gallo hooked up with the Chicago mob to sell wine made in clandestine wineries in Central California, shipping the finished product in tanker cars to Chicago. Prohibition made the Gallo family wealthy. That wealth and power carried through for generations, and today, Gallo controls a huge market share as a resuslt.
Like our modern War on the Bill of Rights Drug War has done for the Mexican drug cartels, Prohibition provided vast sums of cash to people like Frank Costello (Boss of New York's Five Families) and his alleged bootlegging partner Joe Kennedy. One notable difference between then and now is the sheer scale of violence. More Mexican nationals have died from drug war violence in the last five years than perished during the entire Viet Nam war. In stark contrast, neither Bud nor Coors killed anyone this year.
Modern America missed the lessons of Prohibition. The US spent forty billion dollars last year to stop people you know from snorting a little coke at a party or relaxing in the spa with a joint. Forty billion dollars down a rat hole of corruption, deceit, and death, yet anyone who wants drugs can buy them.
On this day in 1933, FDR signed the repeal documents with a flourish and declared.....
What America Needs Now Is A Drink
Let's celebrate Repeal Day with a glass to your health, friends.
Tip of the glass to Polyticks for the awesome chart
Check out the L.E.A.P website for some good documentation and information on America's longest war.
It is the Friday after Thanksgiving and you are now free to commence celebrating the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays. OK, well, technically the first day of Hanukkah was Thanksgiving Day, and I'd like to wish my Jewish friends all the best.
Traditionally, here at Casa de las Rocas Grandes, we open for Christmas with a raucous, upbeat, boogie version of a very familiar Chuck Berry classic. The odds are high that unless you're a long time Gentle Reader, you've not heard it. This is the best rendition of the tune.
You can find several videos of Lynyrd Skynyrd's cover around the tubes, but some years back there weren't any at all. To rectify that tragedy, I made my own. Yes, those are my kids.
Done up right by one of the later incarnations of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the vocals are by Johnny Van Zant, Slick Rick (Rickey Medlocke), and HT (Hughie Thomasson). I love Billy Powell on keyboards, ain't nobody does piano boogie better, except maybe The Killer in his prime. Can Skynyrd replace Billy Powell? I dunno, maybe not.