A well-named cartoon strip this morning, "The Buckets," given that the most of the stuff I drink is shipped in them.
I share the inability to find hints of blackberry and essences of chocolate in wine made from grapes, and I suspect that I share Greg Cravens' apparent suspicion of those who claim to.
Mind you, I also dislike the last 10 minutes of "Fresh Air," in which reviewers seem -- to this old ink-stained curmudgeon anyway -- to be trying to write more exquisitely than the people whose work they critique.
Attempted eloquence readily becomes pretention.
Ivan Turgenev and Henry James were friends, but James knew Turgenev was not a fan of his work:
I do not think my stories struck him as quite meat for men. The manner was more apparent than the matter; they were too tarabiscoté, as I once heard him say of the style of a book—had on the surface too many little flowers and knots of ribbon.
Which I mention in part to warn critics about being a bit too tarabiscoté themselves, of attempting to create topiary when you were simply hired to trim the hedge.
And in part to show that I, too, can play that game: Hey, look at me! I'm quoting Henry-bloody-James!
As for the wine, I knew a former Cambodian diplomat who had spent many years as chargé in Paris and then as ambassador to several other countries, who said most California wines were as good as anything the French drank regularly, and that you shouldn't spend more than a few bucks unless you spent a lot more.
French wines in the mid-range, he counseled, were simply more expensive than comparable California vintages.
Those over-rated wines are the ones that used to turn up at the wine-tasting fundraisers they had at the elementary school my eldest went to. They would have several tables of wines, and, at the end of each table, a plastic garbage can full of water. The purpose was so that we could rinse our glasses before moving on to the next wine.
Given the level of the offerings, some of us speculated that we should bend over and swish our heads in the water instead.
I knew he wasn't 40, because, having moved on from Top 40 by then, I only know who he is since I had kids in those days, and they're over 40. Turns out he's actually younger than I might have guessed.
And that his real name is Stanley Kirk Burrell.
I've been a critic of rock stars who make up single names or names with punctuation marks or deliberately misspelled names, but I'll grant that nobody would have become famous on MTV by yelling "Stanley Time!"
In fact, there may have been some kind of "Boy Named Sue" factor here, motivating young Stanley to rise above his name.
Though it's a new world in which people no longer feel the need to add little flowers and knots of ribbon to their names, and, these days, Issur Danielovitch would likely keep that name and let the journalists who cover entertainment damn well learn to spell it.
Behind the Drawing Board
Long-time ghost for Bizarro, Wayno took over the dailies a few months ago, but I didn't realize he had also taken over blogging about them. His write-ups feature more insights about the actual creative process than Dan Piraro offered, and, while I always enjoyed Piraro's thoughts on the gags he presented, seeing Wayno's more detailed breakdown on how particular comics came about is something unique.
Back to Wikipedia
Speaking of interesting blogs, Paul Berge has a piece currently up featuring cartoons from 1918 on the topic of free speech in general and German-language newspapers specifically from within a whipped-up patriotic wartime media.
It's fascinating and scary, but it struck me that suspicion of free speech was not only popular but legally enforced, so I went back to Wikipedia to look up Eugene Debs, who was convicted and jailed for speaking out against the war and for encouraging draft resistance.
It's frightening enough that, in 1919, you could be sent to jail for protesting the war, but even moreso when you realize that, not only did the Supreme Court approve Debs' conviction, but that his was only one of four cases in that period in which the Court similarly limited the First Amendment.
For the moment, we seem protected by the Bill of Rights, but that shield is only as strong as the Court that interprets it, and excuse me for reminding anyone, but the topic of Scalia and probably Ginsburg being replaced by the next president was raised back when we were determining who that next president would be.
I found myself agreeing with Glenn McCoy, though not likely praying for the same outcome.
Those who then brayed "they're all the same," should go read up on Debs v United States and Schenck v United States before November, when whoever takes control of the Senate will also take control of the Bill of Rights.
Speaking of whom
But each loss of an editorial staff position diminishes the medium.