Pinot Noirs of the World

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Lustau Sherry Manzanilla

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The Refrigerator Farted, or “Who Farted in the Refrigerator?”

Taken from the application form for Dartmouth College:

Mickey Mouse farted and said:
A. “Excuse me.”
B. “Ooops.”
C. “Pluto!  What have you done?”
Choose one, in less than 100 words explain your answer.

Fart.  So, where do we begin?  The word traces its origins, first to Middle English ferten, farten and then to Old High German Ferzan… to break wind.  Meaning, that the roots of the present word were well established before William “conquered” England and brought Norman French as a layer to our present tongue.  The French equivalent did not exist in 1066, so the linguistic work-around back then fashioned the term best translated as, “what Saxon slobs do”. Thankfully that term, no longer in use, is lost to the dustbins of history.

But etymology is not why we are here today.  Rather it is about hard cooked (boiled?) eggs.  Clearly, bringing water to boil & plopping in a few eggs seems simple enough.  Why worry?  If it was that easy then why are there so many tips on the internet detailing the best way to make hard boiled eggs?  So? It ain’t all that easy!  Witness Sandy, who has successfully prepared countless hard boiled eggs for my enjoyment.  But, and this is the tragedy, there are those times (infrequent to be sure), when an egg bursts its shell in the hot water bath and Sandy is forlorn with grief.  As am I. 

We proceed to last evening’s egg prep.  After cooling, Sandy consigned the clutch of hard cooked eggs (including a ruptured-shell egg) to the fridge, and placed them carefully into a re-purposed plastic egg crate. But then the egg that burst thru its shell was free to release its distinctive perfume.  A scent that clearly would bring to mind the worst SBD you had ever encountered. Later that evening (and not prepared to meet the consequences of the egg mishap), I was just hitting the fridge for a glass of cold OJ… I opened the door and felt my knees buckle under the weight of the ultimate “silent but deadly” fart. 

Quickly closed the door.  It was of no use.  My nostril hairs were already singed. Damage done.  Thankfully, concern that my just acquired sliced mortadella might have been contaminated proved unnecessary.  The contents of the fridge withstood the blast, even if I was emotionally shaken.

Seen below, the suspect egg in the fridge, ready to cut loose!

My man frog, Richard Parker, prepared a light refreshment to go with my superbly assembled Tanqueray Martini: sliced egg with a drizzle of Russian dressing.

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Laughing at Midnight

I have been known to tell rather long & elaborate anecdotes/jokes.  Once, a friend during one of my epic recitations excused himself and took refuge in the restroom.  To save you from a tale of unexpected length, please find the “punch line” (actually a cartoon) directly below.  If you are of the mind, the entertaining back-fill follows after.

“Note the Piquant Tartness at the First Taste, Subsiding Subtly to a Delicate, Gracious Nuance…”

Background detail: Saturday afternoon I hosted a wine tasting.

Forgive me.  I am old.  There are two principle reasons why my sleep could be disturbed in the depth of the night. The first is a terrifying nightmare that totally unnerves me. Like:  I have blown off two of my three courses the spring trimester of my Senior year.  There is no way that I am going to graduate in June!  What am I going to say to my parents?  I won’t be graduating with my class!!  I awake from my slumber (at midnight, or near).  In my anxiety I have acquired a coating of perspiration. Awakened, rubbing my eyes clear, I remember that I rec’d my B.A. from Union in June 1971 – witnessed by my parents! {Side note: since high school, I have been beset by academic nightmares of this type my entire adult life.}

But then there is a second reason to disrupt a night’s rest.  My bladder has reached the limit of its endurance, and must be relieved.  And it is here that the central point of this exposition spins.

While in the loo, and this happened around midnight, an image of an old cartoon returned to my mind. Do not ask why.  Maybe it’s related to the wine tasting on Saturday?  But there it was. The cartoon had taken up residence in my brain.  A cartoon that I had seen nearly 50 years ago.  I started to laugh.  Like, really laughing.  It’s past midnight and I’m in the bathroom laughing (laughing mostly in my head because I didn’t want to alarm sleeping Sandy).

I returned to bed, re-positioned my pillows to no gain.  The cartoon was embedded in my head.  I had to stifle my laughter. I reduced it to a steady giggle that burbled like a hot mud spring.  I had to find that cartoon! This is the internet age!  I’ll find it! Who was the cartoonist?  Savage?  Brian Savage? Attempts to fall back to sleep were fruitless.

Sleep not arriving, I retreated to my desk and laptop downstairs and I got busy googling (in black & white films of yore I’d be in full pajamas, bathrobe & slippers.  I was in plaid boxer shorts, a Grumpy t-shirt & barefoot).

Brian Savage’s cartoons appeared in both The New Yorker and Playboy.  In a few minutes I found the cartoon.  Just seeing the drawing sent me into a paroxysm of laughter.  I wouldn’t find the caption ‘til later that day; but the drawing alone was priceless.  No caption was really needed!  And if it had turned necessary I knew I could write a caption in a blink.

A great cartoon is music… a combination of melody and lyrics (line drawing and caption).  Savage’s talent is that his drawings standing alone are worthy of study and can set a grin on your face.  Dave Berg at Mad Magazine had that talent.  As does Bill Watterson – creator of the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip.

But a great caption can take a drawing to a different level of laughing pleasure.  A great caption confirms and extends the humor of the image.  And so it was when I returned to my desk at 5:30AM, still in full giggle mode, I was able to locate the original caption!

I loved it!  And yes, I could riff off the text.  But why?  Why look to improve on a Rogers & Hammerstein tune? Just laugh!  Laugh as I did at midnight.  Or maybe you won’t find this cartoon as funny as I do.  At least it’s better than getting poked in the eye with a hot stick.

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