Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bernaltage, KC's meritage blend

OK, so it really is cool to be around all this wine. And one of the more interesting things about working this show is taking home a whole boat load of open wine bottles from the day of the show. But what do you do with multiple cases of open wine bottles? If you do nothing, they all go bad in a matter of days. You can gas them, and if you do it well, it will make them last a week or two.

Not me. I play wine maker. I invite my wine friends over and we mix our own wines. They last for months—maybe longer but I wouldn't know. And sometimes they come out really tasty. When they don't, who cares?

Of course, by the time I pull the cork on one of my blends I typically have no idea what is in the bottle. It's kind of enjoyable that way, but also a bit disconcerting. Especially when it tastes really good. If you drink wine for the pure taste experience, it's great. If you have some need to be an expert, or bask in the prestige of the pursuit of fine wine, it's really disappointing. Which is why I love it.

This year I have one blend that I made in an opened screw top bottle that I shared immediately at my blending party. We had the unique chance of tasting the two ingredients separately, then tasting the mix.

And it was good. Very good.

So I christened it Bernaltage!

I'm seriously tempted to chase these labels down and try this again. The blend was way, way better than either of the two bottles were on their own. And you tell me, when will you ever taste a blend of an inexpensive South Australian and rare Paso Robles wines? Only if you make your own Bernaltage!

Here's the mix:
2-parts Wakefield, 2004, "Promised Land" Cabernet Merlot
1-part Rotta, 2003, Paso Robles Cabernet Franc

Net Neutrality: This is serious

Ars Technica linked me up to a very cool, very concise, very simple, clear treatise on the crux of the net neutrality issue, Tim Berners-Lee on Net Neutrality: "This is serious.":

Don't let the telcos break the Internet.
Read the Ars article, but be sure to read Berners-Lee's original post, Net Neutrality: This is serious:
I hope that Congress can protect net neutrality, so I can continue to innovate in the Internet space. I want to see the explosion of innovations happening out there on the Web, so diverse and so exciting, continue unabated.
There is a lot of dense information out there about what this issue is, what it means, and why it is or is not necessary to act now. But this short post by one of the primary inventors of the Internet, by one who has continued to surf on the vanguard of the web and all it's possibilities, is the most potent arguments for protecting network neutrality.

Wine Camp, my favorite weekend of the year

OK, maybe a weekend skiing on fresh powder is more fun. And there's not doubt that I wok harder on this weekend than any other—hands-down. But I really love working the wine competition.

Of course, it's cool being around all the wine, checking out the judges, and tasting all that wine. But it's not just about the wine. The longer I do it the more I dig jumping into the beehive and getting the work done, sharing the whole experience with a crew that I only see around this show. I definitely look forward to it in a big way.

As I said last year, Thanks Chandler!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"'I'm going to fight to the death for Fluff,'"

This is a battle worth fighting! I mean, come on, we're talking about my upbringing here. If you are what you eat, I'm probably about %50 Fluffernutter—and proud of it!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Daily Kos: The Libertarian Dem

I've always described myself as a small-l libertarian, and I've spoken up regularly on the core importance of liberty—here, here, and here

So I'm thrilled to see DKos articulating this idea so well: The Libertarian Dem:

So in practical terms, what does a Libertarian Dem look like? A Libertarian Dem rejects government efforts to intrude in our bedrooms and churches. A Libertarian Dem rejects government 'Big Brother' efforts, such as the NSA spying of tens of millions of Americans. A Libertarian Dem rejects efforts to strip away rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights -- from the First Amendment to the 10th. And yes, that includes the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms.

So far, this isn't much different than what a traditional libertarian believes. Here is where it begins to differ (and it shouldn't).

A Libertarian Dem believes that true liberty requires freedom of movement -- we need roads and public transportation to give people freedom to travel wherever they might want. A Libertarian Dem believes that we should have the freedom to enjoy the outdoor without getting poisoned; that corporate polluters infringe on our rights and should be checked. A Libertarian Dem believes that people should have the freedom to make a living without being unduly exploited by employers. A Libertarian Dem understands that no one enjoys true liberty if they constantly fear for their lives, so strong crime and poverty prevention programs can create a safe environment for the pursuit of happiness. A Libertarian Dem gets that no one is truly free if they fear for their health, so social net programs are important to allow individuals to continue to live happily into their old age. Same with health care. And so on.

The core Democratic values of fairness, opportunity, and investing in our nation and people very much speak to the concept of personal liberties -- an open society where success is predicated on the merit of our ideas and efforts, unduly burdened by the government, corporate America, or other individuals. And rather than always get in the way, government can facilitate this
And I'm equally pleased that this post has caused a big splash, and that he's planning a book on the same subject. Maybe its time to change my moniker from small-l libertarian to Libertarian Democrat. I like that.

Josh Marshall on the fall of conservatism

Hopeful words from TPM's Josh Marshall on the decline and fall of conservatism:

But as it was with Communism, so with conservatism. When all the people who call themselves conservatives get together and run the government, they're on the line for it. Conservative president. Conservative House. Conservative Senate.

What we appear to be in for now is the emergence of this phantom conservatism existing out in the ether, wholly cut loose from any connection to the actual people who are universally identified as the conservatives and who claim the label for themselves.
It's not just Bush either. Decades of failed conservative regimes, at home and abroad.

Time for something else. Like DKoz's libertarian democrat?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Zero tolerance for trans-fats in our house!

Well, it might take some doing to get it down to zero, but this New Scientist report will help motivate us: Why fast foods are bad, even in moderation. The study finds that even if fast foods are only a small component of your diet, and even if you control your calorie intake, the trans-fats will lead to pot bellies and greater risk of diabetes. They didn't say if it would make you more prone to buying SUVs, but I suspect they just overlooked that data.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Another gutless Republican worm

This one is a couple days old, but it's too juicy to let slip away. From Crooks and Liars we get this quote from CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the end, Senator Specter has turned out to be yet another gutless Republican worm cowering in the face of pressure from the administration and fellow Republicans. There are not going to be any hearings. Americans won't find out if their privacy is being illegally invaded.
How many times before the public wises up? So-called moderate Republicans are allowed to make moderate, independent-sounding noises, especially for the camera. But when it counts, they all buckle under and tote the party line.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cheney administration disciples quoted

Jon Stewart jokingly cited this Goering quote as a Bush administration inspiration:

"'Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.'"
Hat tip to Snopes for the exact quote.

Another famous fascist quote that fits Bush to a T comes from Stalin:
"Those who cast the vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything."
When will this fascist nightmare end?

News that makes me bow my head in grief

There are many chilling reports of atrocities committed by US forces coming from Iraq in the wake of Haditha. Much of it may be dubiously sourced, but enough of it is reliable and corroborated to paint a dark and disturbing picture. Check out these reports, for instance:

Guardian Unlimited | US confronts brutal culture among its finest sons

American veterans of the war in Iraq have described a culture of casual violence, revenge and prejudice against Iraqi civilians that has made the killing of innocent bystanders a common occurrence.
Capitol Hill Blue's The Rant: Field commanders tell Pentagon Iraq war 'is lost'
Military commanders in the field in Iraq admit in private reports to the Pentagon the war 'is lost' and that the U.S. military is unable to stem the mounting violence killing 1,000 Iraqi civilians a month.

Even worse, they report the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha is 'just the tip of the iceberg' with overstressed, out-of-control Americans soldiers pushed beyond the breaking point both physically and mentally.
Rush thinks we on the left are 'ecstatic' over Haditha. What an ass. Nothing could make me sadder. It's not just the breakdown of the chain of command, the indiscriminate killing, that makes me greieve, it's the enduring legacy this will have on the military and on this generation. This is a war that should never have been fought. Not Iraq, not while Afghanistan was unfinished, not while Bin Laden roamed free, not while Al Qaeda was still on the run. Now look what a horrible mess, what an unfolding tragedy we must live with.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Travel-time Maps

What a totally cool idea. What totally cool maps. I can't wait for this idea to spread around the world, or at least to the Bay Area!

Travel-time Maps and their Uses
Using colours and contour lines they show how long it takes to travel between one particular place and every other place in the area, using public transport.
Hat tip to Boing Boing and WorldChanging

Pharyngula: The problem is faith

Always interesting, always provocative, I love reading Pharyngula. But I'm not sure I can totally dissavow the Kierkegaard inside me. Check out Pharyngula: The god worm

Faith is a hole in your brain. Faith stops critical thinking. Faith is a failure point inculcated into people's minds, an unguarded weak point that allows all kinds of nasty, maggoty, wretched ideas to crawl into their heads and take up occupancy. Supporting faith is like supporting people who refuse to be vaccinated: they're harmless in and of themselves, they may be perfectly healthy right now, but they represent fertile ground for disease, and they represent potential severe damage to the social compact. When you're in a culture that worships Abraham's insanity, you're fostering the nonsense that enables the Son of Sam.

Musselman's money quote

From Ray Ratto's column today, No shame in failing with the Warriors

'When you go in to try and change a culture, it's not easy. Here, the culture is already set up. They have a history of winning. But (in Golden State) things had to change. They couldn't remain the same, and sometimes with change, there's resistance. I mean, if your son is a straight-D student for 10 years, you're not going to change him to a B or C student just with a new teacher.'

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pharyngula: Neutering our kids' exposure to science

Heh heh heh... sounds about right, eh Charles?

Neutering our kids' exposure to science:

It was a process that separated American youth into the majority who got bored with it all and gave up on science, a very rare few who maimed themselves, and a less rare but still minority group who built on the experience to become scientists and engineers one day.

Art of Science returns

The The second post ever on this blog was a link to the first Art of Science gallery. Now it's time for round two.

2006 Art of Science gallery is up. But frankly I'm not as blown away. There are some very nice images, but a lot of them don't grab me that much. And I'm not at all sure I like the addition of videos. I guess I'm just a sucker for a good still shot.

But really. Take this picture of lichen. Then take a look at the shot I got last weekend at pinnacles. I ask you now. Which one do you like better? I'm not bragging or anything (well, not too much), I just think thye could have done better. And that's one of the ones I liked. Oh well. I shouldn't complain too much. There are some really cool images. Again.

A year of breed ‘em and weep?

Just one year? Really? Seems like a blogging lifetime ago when I first found Jenn. We were worried for you back in December when the lights went out for a time. Always glad to catch up with your wonderfully written diary. Congratulations!

Vinography in Liberty Cafe!

Hey, that Vinography blogger is at my favorite restaurant: Liberty Cafe! He does have good taste...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blog? What blog?

Summer is upon us, or is it still spring? Anyways, my focus has been elsewhere these days.

Take this camp trip to Pinnacles National Monument for instance. I put some of the best family shots up on Flickr, and I publisheda bunch more to my own pinnacles gallery.

Nice weekend. Nice camera. Nice time to get off-line and enjoy the outdoors and enoy the family life.