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Vacation Journal: As our journey comes to an end, it’s all about the grapes

Our west coast adventure has culminated in the beautiful Napa Valley.  What a gorgeous landscape.  Vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and other lucious grapes line the roadways and hillsides in meticulous rows dotted by olive, orange, lime, and Meyer lemon trees.  Nearly 500 wineries exist in the Napa Valley, a place many consider the wine mecca of America.  However, I was surprised to learn that Napa wines comprise less than 5% of wine produced in the state of California.  Even so, some of the wines from this region are considered the best in the world and this community of wine growers and their employees take great pride in the Nectar of the Gods that they produce.

The winery employees taught us about the grapes, the fields, the history of the region, ampelography, and the methods they employ for creating distinct wine profiles.  They let us sample the grapes (mmm yummy), and they taught us how to maximize our enjoyment of the various wines. For example, did you know that it takes at least 3 sips of wine, swishing it all through your mouth, to acclimate your taste buds and olefactory glands to the distinct flavors of the specific wine you are drinking?; and that the cherry, citrus or other fruit notes listed on the label are not ingredients but an indication of the magical quality of grapes to mimic the flavor of other fruits? These are just a few of the things I learned while traveling the Napa Valley and engaging in some extreme wine tasting (anything past a 2 oz. sample is enough to get me lit; what I ingested burnt the house down.)  Oh, and those who really know about wine, i.e., the winery employees, hate those people that act as though they are wine snobs.  Real wine connoisseurs are unpretentious about their wine knowledge.  I’m neither, so I guess I’m safe.  I just enjoy a nice glass of pinot noir or pinot grigio – my personal favorites.

Our family will take so many memories home with us of this trip to the central and northern areas of California.  The spectacular landscapes of Yosemite, the breathtaking cliffs and rocks of the coastal areas, the uniqueness of San Francisco’s architecture which follows the steep inclines of their streets, and the stunning beauty of the Napa Valley, all stand as reminders of how fortunate we are to live in a country such as ours and how blessed our family was to have this opportunity.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice glass of Napa Pinot Noir.  It’s on me.

Oh…and Big Dawg is my hero!!  This is an open thread…


They’re contenders


Going, going, GONE!

This morning:

Rookie Joe Martinez has pitched in two major-league games, better known as the ecstasy and the agony. On Opening Day he got a win. Two days later, a Mike Cameron line drive fractured his skull.

Martinez finally gets a third big-league game today.

This afternoon:

Where do you start, with the rookie who pitched and won for the first time in the big-leagues since his skull was cracked by a line drive, or the 29-year-old backup catcher with 2,200 minor-league at-bats who delivered the victory with his first homer in The Show, a grand slam?

There were so many dark days for the Giants over the past four years when fans struggled to grasp a single positive story. In this season of rebirth, now two-thirds complete, yarns like these emerge from every corner of the clubhouse. On Wednesday, two of them served as the foundation for a 10-6 victory.

Joe Martinez, saying, “You don’t want to be known for getting hit in the head with a line drive,” earned the win with his first five innings of major-league work since Mike Cameron’s April 9 comebacker thrust him into the headlines.

Martinez won because Eli Whiteside broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning with a deep and high grand slam against Brian Moehler, into the Crawford Boxes in left field, at Minute Maid Park. There was a little bat flip as he watched it soar. Why not? He waited years for this.

If there is a God and he is merciful then the LA Dodgers will burn in hell.

This is an open thread.

Mobs of old ladies?

The above video is a DNC web ad.  Contrast the language of the narrator with the images you see.  The “mob” you hear described appears to be mostly women, many of them with gray hair.  There are many people carrying signs, but I didn’t see any torches or pitchforks.  I also didn’t see any party labels on anyone.

Back in 1996 Newt Gingrich issued his infamous GOPAC memo wherein he stated, “Language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party.”  He gave his acolytes a list of positive words to describe themselves and negative words to use against Democrats.  The negative words included:

bizarre – cheat – coercion – corrupt – decay

destroy – greed – hypocrisy – intolerant – pathetic

radical – selfish – sick – threaten – traitors

When you read or hear descriptions of these protesters, pay attention to the nouns, adjectives and adverbs being used.

Among the two or three “mobsters” you can hear clearly in the video are a short clip of Rush Lamebaugh saying “I hope he fails” and the lady in the red top talking some nonsense about Obama’s birth certificate.  Rush’s comment was made months ago, but the woman did her thing more recently.

Remember when I asked why the birthers were suddenly in the news? It appears we have the answer.  Obamanation wants to conflate opposition to The Precious with birtherism, much the same way they have done with racism.  Actually it’s more of an extension of the race card strategy, because they are trying to tie birtherism to racism too.

Steve Benen:

The question now is whether Dem can get the GOP to “own” these mobs, as a top operative put it to me. This would be a twofer: It would define the GOP as desperate, angry and irrationally obstructionist, but it would also define whatever public opposition there is to Obama’s agenda as merely an illusion manufactured by the GOP and special interests.

Remember when Hillary supporters (that’s us) were bitter, clingy racists?  And then later when Sarah Palin was hosting cross burnings at GOP campaign rallies?

From Peter Daou:

The netroots, excited and energized by the prospect of an Obama presidency, are disillusioned. The administration’s Bush-affirming decisions on secrecy, civil liberties, torture, gay rights, etc. have alienated a good number of influential bloggers and progressive activists. These are the elite opinion-makers on the left, and their voices have been perennially marginalized (and their impact underestimated) by Democrats.

As Democrats fight for a signature issue, a serious strategic blunder has left them scrambling to catch up with their opponents. The White House should have laid out clear, unwavering objectives, a solid plan, rather than leave the health debate to meander through Congress. That vacuum has enabled the proponents of the status quo to marshal their forces.

Perhaps resorting to campaign tactics will turn the tide, I certainly hope so, but it bears acknowledging that the landscape has changed.

As we saw last year “campaign tactics” for Obama include demonizing opponents and ginning up fauxrages to mobilize the Failbots.  It’s all about winning, rather than governing.  That is very reminiscent of this:

“What you’ve got is everything–and I mean everything–being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.”

Can you say “Bush III?”

Continue reading

Olberman’s Obfuscation Can’t Obscure Truth: GE Controls MSNBC’s News Reporting

Yes, Keith. We know you weren’t “party to any deal,” because you were quoted as saying so in the original New York Times story on GE’s control of your joke of a “news” show, “Countdown.” As Glenn Greenwald pointed out in his latest update on this tale of Corporate control of “journalism,” it is utterly irrelevant whether you were party to the deal that your corporate bosses made with Rupert Murdoch. You weren’t invited to the meeting and didn’t need to be consulted. On Monday, Greenwald wrote (bolding added):

I want to return to the subject of GE’s silencing of Keith Olbermann both because there are new facts I’ve obtained that shed light on what happened here and because this is one of the most blatant examples yet of pernicious corporate control over America’s journalism. The most striking aspect of this episode is that GE isn’t even bothering any longer to deny the fact that they exert control over MSNBC’s journalism. They’ve brazenly dispensed with the long-held fiction of the sanctity of journalistic independence from interference by the corporate parents that own America’s largest news organizations.

Continue reading

The Big Dawg gets it done

From the New York Times:

Former President Bill Clinton arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday morning after a dramatic 20-hour visit to North Korea, in which he won the freedom of two American journalists, opened a diplomatic channel to North Korea’s reclusive government and dined with the North’s ailing leader, Kim Jong-il.


“Thirty hours ago, Euna Lee and I were prisoners in North Korea,” Ms. Ling said in brief remarks to reporters, blinking back tears. “We feared that at any moment we could be prisoners in a hard labor camp. Then suddenly we were told that we were going to a meeting.

“We were taken to a location and when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton,” she said, recounting the final moments of her ordeal. “We were shocked, but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end. And now we stand here home and free.”

Bill Clinton – Greatest ex-President ever.  He’s done more since he left office than some Presidents did while they were in it.

It’s hard to believe the Failbots whinged “no dynasties!”



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Two Dudes and a Webcam

(h/t Violet Socks)

This is an open thread – or talk about whatever you want.