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
eclectic mix of commentary on culture, food, tax, and econ 101 to
distract from the focus on red wine.
We appreciate your patronage.
TWC's Theme Song:
Tax & Accounting Offices of Michael R Snell
Accounting & Tax Consultation for the Discriminating Client
We will not sell, share, or otherwise disclose your email address or other personal information obtained on this site to third parties unless compelled to do so by subpoena.
Your email address is not required in order to leave comments. If you provide your email address, it will not be displayed with your comment.
Michael R. Snell & Associates will not disclose any client information to third parties without the client’s permission unless compelled to do so by subpoena.
A note from our crack legal team at Dewey, Screwem, & Howe, LLP.....
All tax and other information appears here as a courtesy to readers and clients. Please understand that we are not rendering legal advice and that each individual should consult his or her own tax professional before acting upon any of the information contained herein.
Effective June 21, 2005, regulations issued by the Treasury Department governing written communications, including email communications, between all tax practitioners (including attorneys) and their clients that have the issue of tax as a material element of the communication must include the following disclaimer:
As required by United States Treasury Regulations, you should be aware that written information contained on this site cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under United States federal tax laws.
This site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of a variety of issues including but not necessarily limited to, taxation, politics, human rights, economics, and science. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as is provided for under § 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, said material contained in this site is made available without profit for research or educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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.
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote in Oldtown Folksthat the king and high priest of all festivals was the autumn Thanksgiving. When the apples were all gathered and the cider was all made, and the yellow pumpkins were rolled in from many a hill in billows of gold, and the corn was husked, and the labours of the season were done, and the warm, late days of Indian summer came in, dreamy and calm and still, with just frost enough to crisp the ground of a morning, but with warm trances of benignant, sunny hours at noon, there came over the community a sort of genial repose of spirit—a sense of something accomplished, and of a new golden mark made in advance on the calendar of life—and the deacon began to say to the minister, of a Sunday, I suppose it's about time for the Thanksgiving proclamation.....
Thanksgiving is unpretentious simplicity. A single day dedicated to the celebration of life, the change of the season, and the appreciation of family, friendship, God, and the many blessings that have crossed our myriad paths
As we break bread and pour wine in celebration, we should remember that it is an accident of birth that finds us in a land of material well being and relative freedom. Be grateful that your family won't hear air raid sirens tonight. Give thanks that home isn't a squalid refugee camp in Pakistan or a mud-walled, tin roofed shack on a back alley in Haiti. Appreciate your friends and family this day, many in the Phillipines won't have that opportunity again.
TWC is grateful to my clients, who make it possible for me to earn living doing something I enjoy and are the very reason why I have eaten breakfast with my kids almost every day of their lives.
I am thankful for friends and family; for your friendship, love, and kindness. And to you, Gentle Reader, who takes time out of your busy day to drop by every so often. If you didn't read the musings of a wine dog, there wouldn't be much point in writing it. Thank you.
We used to do the huge family Thanksgiving dinner with all the in-laws and such that we could muster out, but that tradition has seen livelier days.
The Boy is off to the desert for the weekend with friends and I must say that offering up a manly hug and and a wish for a happy Thanksgiving left me feeling somewhat peculiar. [shrugs] That leaves just three of us, The House Blond, Mrs TWC, and moi and calls for a small turkey, which TWC plans to grill over a low temperature mesquite fire.
That said, this brine works nicely for our smallish turkey and it will also do the trick for a bird large enough to feed a houseful.
The brine is simple to make.
Two cups brown sugar
Two cups Kosher salt
One quart apple cider
One quart water
Five cloves garlic
Five tablespoons fresh rosemary or two tablespoons dried rosemary
Orange zest from two oranges or four ounces of orange juice
Combine the first four ingredients in a large non-reactive pot and simmer on the stove top until the sugar and salt is dissolved
Dice the garlic and rosemary and add to the pot
Set aside to cool
Once cooled, add the turkey to the liquid inside the stockpot
Add a 50/50 mix of apple cider and water to the pot so that the turkey is almost completely submerged
Cover and refrigerate for at least twelve hours. A full day is better
Rinse the turkey thoroughly before cooking
I use a large stockpot, but that may not be large enough for a big turkey. Any large container that won't react to the sugar/salt/cider mixture is fine.
By adjusting a shelf in the fridge, my stockpot will fit. If yours won't, stick it in an ice chest. Pot in first, then surround it with ice.
If you live in the cold climes, put the pot in the garage or shed. Make sure it doesn't freeze, but don't let it get warmer than forty degrees.
For those who aren't familiar with brining, the sugar and salt tenderize the meat and enhance the flavor without leaving your turkey tasting more like sweet, salty apples than turkey. You must still season the turkey exactly as you always do.
I've had the good fortune to have had breakfast with my kids nearly every day of their lives. I am the short order breakfast cook and I'm just the guy to hammer on them about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. It is, and if dad is the breakfast chef, then he knows that the kids are eating before school.
The Boy always has enjoyed a Cup of Joe in the morning. It had an especially soothing effect on him in elementary school.
You'd think with the thousands of pictures I have there might be one or two of the kids eating. And you'd be wrong. LOL.
TWC is grateful that it's windy, chilly, and clear in the aftermath of a passing storm, which left a little snow behind in the Southern California mountains. Might be a little snowboarding going on over Thanksgiving weekend as we settle into our normal winter weather pattern.
A few days of yucky, soupy, dripping fog, courtesy of Coastal Eddie and Onshore Flo. Hate those two, especially that Flo chick.
The fog then gives way to cold storms sweeping down from Alaska bringing blessed rain.
The storms clear off leaving us with cool, clear days and views to the horizon
After which gale winds descend upon us from the Great Basin, cold at first, then warming as the friction of air moving through mountain passes heats the Santa Ana Winds, leaving us with us with balmy, shirt sleeve weather for a few days.
The entire cycle takes two to three weeks to run its course and repeat.
That's Mt Baldy across Lake Mathews at sunrise this morning, just one of many things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving.