Catching Up

They call 'em cherry tomatoes, but they're sweeter than cherries

Whew doggies! It's been a busy month this week. Limited Edition looms, there are conferences to get ready for, gardens to harvest, apples to pick, friends to visit, visitors to befriend, bread to bake, DVD's to edit, PowerPoint presentations to finish, and so on! more

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Making Book

Kraken, calamari that fights back

From the Veblen Economics Gone Mad file, it turns out that Kraken Opus, luxury publisher of such scintillating books as the one on soccer star Diego Maradona which included blood and hair samples from the player, and another on Prince's concerts at the O2 arena which will be inlaid with diamonds and will have the symbol the singer adopted as his signature embossed in pure platinum, plans to release a wine book that will retail for more than $1,000,000.00 more

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If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll have noticed that I have a certain fascination with the religious observations and celebrations of many different cultures. My people (Mennonites) are very happy and merry in their own way, but might appear a bit dour to outsiders. That's always niggled at me, because I think if you got to know us, you'd like us (well some of us, I hope!) The obverse of that is true as well: the more I know about other religious traditions and cultures, the more great people I get to know.

One religion I'm learning more about is Islam. I have to admit that until very recently I was more or less ignorant of the details of the faith--a Eurocentric view of history in school and a little bit of news snippets over the years left me without a real clue. With the Islamic prohibition against consuming alcohol it's not like I was going to meet a lot of Muslims in the course of business either! more

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Weekly Wined-Up

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me that a frontal lobotomy

It was the missus' birthday this month, so we had a few very nice bottles to celebrate with, as well as some patio weather and whatnot to work through. more

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Things That Make You Go . . . Bleargh!

Never drink anything that can stare back at you

Wines and cordials flavoured with various additions like herbs, spices, seeds and fruit are part of the long tradition of Western medicine, and we're so used to the idea that few of us rarely think of drinks like Chartreuse being a health tonic (they called it 'the elixir of life) or Jaegermeister being a stomach remedy (for all its taste, I'd rather drink Pepto-Bismol™, thanks). There is even a kind of spiced mead (fermented honey drink) called metheglin, derived from 'meddyglyn', meaning 'medicated'. I need to be medicated to taste mead, or anything else made from bee-sick.

Asians take their medicine far more seriously. Many Asian cultures have densely complex belief systems around the consumption of various animals and plants to instill health, vigour and increased prowess, ahem, in the imbiber. To outsiders it seems strange and to some it's even kind of icky, but those feelings are cultural artefacts, based on our innate desire to reject unfamiliar foods, a survival adaptation of sorts. more

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The Dismal Science and Wine

I sure hope he's got that chart upside-down . . .

Note: 'The Dismal Science' is a derogatory term for economics, coined in the 19th Century by Thomas Carlyle.

I was finishing up my article for the October/November issue of Winemaker magazine and I did a quick whip 'round the interwebs to see if I was on-base or out-in-left-field. The article is on saving money making your own wine (summary: yes, you can. Now you don't have to buy the magazine!) Seems pretty simple, but the results I got from looking at wine and the economy were deeply interesting (at least to someone who works in the industry and drinks lots of wine). more

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A Fool and His Millions

I guess the name 'Le Goofball' was taken

I'll confess: I don't understand people at all. Even being one doesn't seem to help. From the 'more money, no brains' file, luxury purveyor Leon Verres produces $2.75 million/bottle sparkling wine (warning: site has awful sounds and vaguely pornographic images such as the one above, and above all is tacky and crappy and will sap your will to live). Targeted at the sort of billionaires who apparently make money without common sense, it features a diamond encrusted 9-litre bottle inside a sable muff.

While I can't find anything out about Leon Verres, I'm having a very hard time accepting any of it at face value. Even accounting for the concepts of Veblen economics (one of which is that the stupid are afraid to buy things that seem too inexpensive, and are reassured by being overcharged) the idea of buying a bottle of wine with no provenance (they don't say what's inside: it could be Mountain Dew™ for all they reveal) at a price hundreds of thousands of times than the median cost of real Champagne is goofy as all get-out. more

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Back in the Saddle

I been workin' in a coal mine
Goin' down down down
Workin' in a coal mine
Whop! about to slip down more

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