Archive for the 'Various and Sundry' Category

“We are at an abyss”

The view from the MGM GrandJust before Garagiste Mike and I arrived in Las Vegas for the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention last week, actor Tim Robbins shot the moon in his keynote address, earning a press blackout and a “controversial” label on his remarks. The only controversy, of course, is that what he said about the state of broadcasting was controversial.

Enough is enough… Now is the time to move away from our lesser selves. Now is the time to stop making money on the misfortunes of others and the prurient and salacious desires of the public.

Amazingly, his speech seemed resonate across the political spectrum. As one Chicago conservative wrote in the comments below the original link in Advertising Age,

Hard to believe I agree with anything Tim Robbins or his odious partner has ever said. However, his speech was a 10 ring bulls-eye with which I fully agree and wholeheartedly support. I always saw him as Crash (Costner) did – “Meat.” But on this particular occaision I applaud his opinion efforts with[out] ambiguity or qualification. Well done Mr. Robbins – try and keep it up.

There’s some hope yet. Well worth the six minutes of your life it will take to watch the highlights here.

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Stratospheric record for Garagiste wines

Garagistes Proffer for Alice AuctionI just got word from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that the Garagistes package I donated to their Alice Awards fundraising auction pulled in a record haul: $285 smackers!

Contrats to the lucky (and so savvy) bidder — and thanks for supporting the BTA so generously!

Let’s break out the slide rule. In addition to DVDs of Life in Vine, The Real Dirt on Pinot Noir, and Mondo Ego, the package included a temporal panorama of Garagiste flavors:

    2003 Klipsun Cabernet
    2004 Peugeot
    2005 Cabernet Franc
    2005 Peugeot
    2006 Merlot
    2006 Deux-Chevaux

So, let’s stipulate that the DVDs made up $75 of the price ($25 each – what a deal!). That leaves $210 for the six bottles, or $35 each. Since the 6-pack we donated to the Auction last year pulled in $22.50 each, that’s a new world record!

Start screaming in earnest, Screaming Eagle

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Smooth isn’t just for wine anymore

On the move with Mr. Smooth!Sadly, aside from the wine-colored halo its amiably vain title character wreaths around himself in the title sequence, this piece has nothing to do with wine. So I won’t be insulted if you just give it a look, rate it highly, email it to all your friends, and think on it no more…

It’s a piece I made for the City of Portland to help launch its first foray into “bike boxes” (special areas at intersections reserved for bicycles to help prevent accidents), titled “On the move with Mr. Smooth.” Its audience is car drivers — since everyone agreed that bikers would easily figure it out on their own, we decided that the best use of the minuscule budget would be to weight the messaging heavily toward motorists. The basic idea: wrap a few key messages in a tongue-in-cheek storyline that didn’t feel like a standard, lecturing PSA. It’s meant for online distribution only.

Does it work? Since it’s a public policy issue, it’s naturally been the subject of some heated comment, but thankfully, the reviews seem to be generally positive. And, uh, no publicity is bad publicity, right? Right?

What’s your review? Take a look and let me know what you think…

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An idle threat

American Blog Awards voting ends at midnight tonight (March 28th), so if you’ve enjoyed reading our scrappy little blog, please consider throwing a vote toward our quixotic quest for “Best Overall Wine Blog.”

Do it, or we’ll drink this wine. Oh. Okay, do it or we’ll drink this other wine. Uh…

Here’s the ballot. Thanks!

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Citizen Keen

Competition in the American Wine Blog Awards is apparently tight, which leads us to wonder if there’s something we might be missing, something no respectable wine blog should be without, something that says we’re serious about being the go-to URL for all your vinous bloggy needs. Ah, yes. How could we have forgotten?
Why Paul Masson didn’t run these outtakes as the final ad is a mystery; they’re among the most compelling work in Welles’ entire oeuvre.

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Thanks, judges!

2008 American Wine Blog Awards Finalist logoTom Wark, impressario of the influential wine blog Fermentation, just sent word that we’ve made it into the finals of the American Wine Blog Awards this year — in the “Best Overall Wine Blog” category, no less. Wow! And we don’t even own overalls!

Seriously though, that’s news as amazing as it is humbling. Many thanks to the judges for wading through our stuff (really, it comes off with pumice stone and a little proxy-carb) and selecting us as one of four finalists in our category. These anonymous and dedicated folks — hopefully inebriated to dull the pain — surely had their work cut out for them, slogging through scores of blogs to winnow a list from which you now get to choose.

Of course, running that gauntlet now appears to have been the easy part. We’re up against some stiff competition in our category, two of them long-time denizens of our blogroll at right. I had the honor of hosting Vinography‘s Alder Yarrow at last year’s IPNC, and I can assure you he’s as knowledgeable, passionate, and still somehow good-humored about wine as he comes off in his blog. And up against Eric Asimov’s seminal New York Times blog, The Pour? Man, we’ll be lucky if I vote for us.

But, er, don’t let me talk you out of it. Check out list of finalists across all the categories and vote for the ones that most drive you to drink – wine, anyway. Voting is open until 12:01am on March 29th.


It’s Oscar time… for wine blogs

Don’t tell Joan Rivers, but she’ll be snarking the wrong Oscars tonight: the much more prestigious and important event is the Oscars of the wine blogging world – the American Wine Blog Awards – now taking nominations until February 27th.

Generously wrangled by Tom Wark at his excellent Fermentation blog, the Awards celebrate the apogee of inspiration across eight different categories, including (oh, to pick a few at random – ahem) “Best Winery Blog,” “Best Wine Blog Writing”, and “Best Wine Blog Graphics.”

Now, it goes without saying that we’d be flattered and humbled if you nominated our efforts here, but there’s a lot of great wine blog action there, so now’s the time to show you favorites some love. A great place to start, actually, is our list of Wine Links at right.

But should you be so moved, you can nominate us here. There, in the right column, you’ll find a list of categories: just click the one in which you want to nominate us, and then post a comment with your vote and our URL (

Again nominations close February 27th, so pull that black party dress out of the closet and limo on over to Fermentation. Thanks as always for your support!

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