You Just Never Know Who You’ll Bump Into in the Harwich Spirits Shoppe – Sam Jonsson

February 27, 2011

Cisco here, the HSS blogging cat…

This Thursday night past I was doing the usual (pilfering Da Gizz’s wine, scratching up his office chair, strategically launching hair balls into his computer) when all of a sudden this tall dude walked in. By female humanoid standards, he might be considered handsome (see a pic here…), but by cat standards, he was just… too… um… bipedal. Anywho, it was Sam Jonsson, a services rep from the now famous Scott Brown camp. He’s an interesting character… Here’s a snippet from “The Herald News”

“U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has announced the hiring of Sam Jonsson of Dartmouth and an Air Force veteran who recently served in Afghanistan as his constituent services representative for the Southeastern Massachusetts region.”

Like I said… Interesting… He just stopped by to see how business was. (Winter on Cape Cod… Remember?) And we all chatted a while… Nothing too exciting, but a great example of the spontaneity of the Shoppe…

I’m telling you… Ya just never know who you’ll bump into in this joint… Ya got to stop by… Rumor has it that Elvis and Big Foot are going to make a surprise appearance accompanied by the ghost of Billy the Kid… It could happen…

Waiting by the racks…

Two cats blogging


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Bird and Fish Carving for Wine Lovers and Other Heathens…

February 24, 2011

Hi,


We’re just two HSS cats, but at least we’re honest… Ponchita and I have never tried to hide the fact that we personally think of you wine-sipping, snooty, condescending, types as little more than knuckle draggers in high places. This post will stay true to form.


Alrighty then… We’ll try to go slowly and start at the beginning… So you want to carve a bird or a fish… (Now why would two cats focus on those subjects???) No problem… Here’s what you need to do…


  1. Get yourself a little tool/supply kit. All you really need is a locking knife, some scraps of longish rectangular wood, sandpaper in various grits, a pencil, scissors, thin soda-pop can aluminum, epoxy in a plunger, and misc. paint. (Other really cool stuff like a scroll saw (preferably electric), and a Dremel help immensely!)

  2. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all safety instructions that come with your supplies. (In other words grape groupies… don’t cut, stab, burn, abrade, poison, or blind yourselves.)

  3. What to do next? Simple… Trim your stock to the max dimensions plus a foot in length for your model with a smidgen extra.

  4. Here’s where the creativity comes in… Imagine your subject frozen in time, and you have the ability to move around said creature. Picture in your mind’s eye looking straight down on the thing. Alrighty then, draw on the appropriate side of your stock what you see. (This is called the “plan view” or “back view”.) Keeping the bird or fish locked in place in your imagination, move around so that you’re looking at the side view (“profile view”) and draw that on the next side of your material. Doing that, you should end up with something like the following…


    Don’t worry about twists yet, just draw the big picture, keeping the excess wood as a sort of handle and squaring reference.


  5. Now just cut/whittle to a rough, slab-sided shape. You should end up with something like this…




  6. That out of the way, simply sand/carve the final shape into the fellow. This is where you introduce movement…




  7. The pic below shows two subjects in various stages of completion. The funky fish and the more serious hummingbird are the end, and near-end results… (To get a perspective for size, that’s a AAA battery in the shot.)



  8. Finally, add hardware and paint as needed. Got that tannin lappers?

Two cats creating by the racks…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Why We’re Screwed, Part 2

February 21, 2011

Hey,

Cisco the HSS blogging cat here…

Oh, why should we leave a cheery subject as, “Being Screwed”… especially when the world is heading over the edge as quickly as it is…

Here’s a fast look at what’s really happening in the Middle East in such places as Egypt, Bahrain, and Syria,… Oh, so many in the MSM (Main Stream Media) will fall all over themselves claiming that the movement to democracy is a wonderful thing… They knee jerk to the concepts of religious tolerance, denunciation of misogyny, rational justice. Small problem… The Middle Eastern “Man on the Street” paradigm of democracy, civilized appropriateness, and flexibility does not quite match ours. Consider the following from the Miami Herald:

Regarding peace with Israel, 27 percent said they would like the peace treaty scrapped and 37 percent said it should remain. The rest didn’t know or refused to answer.

The MEI poll offers glimmers of hope. But there is a serious problem with it: It was taken only in Cairo and Alexandria. It is not representative of the whole country. It was also conducted by telephone, which means it probably undercounted the views of the very poor. Some 40 percent of Egyptians live on just $2 a day.

A better poll was taken last year by Pew Global, and the results should cause a collective gasp among those who want individual freedoms and true democracy for Egypt and the entire Middle East.

The nationwide survey showed 84 percent of Egyptian Muslims favor the death penalty for people who choose to leave Islam. The results were similar in other countries in the region. (emphasis Cisco.) That view is plainly incompatible with the most basic principles of liberal democracy, such as freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.

Egyptians by large numbers also support stoning adulterers and cutting the hands of thieves.

On foreign policy, a government that faithfully reflects the views of its people would move away from some of America’s most important priorities. Last year’s Zogby poll showed 86 percent of Egyptians say Iran has a right to pursue its nuclear program. That, even though the majority said they believe the program aims to produce nuclear weapons. In fact, 79 percent said it would be good if Iran acquired nuclear arms.

So, while we in the West are all for, “Power to the People”, we’d better slow down and think about the people who will soon be acquiring all the power. It all boils down to this… Either we (including Obama) sheepishly (though exorbitantly) stand behind the thugs, theocratic madmen, and “royal families” that secure so much of our oil, or we do the morally right thing and really dig our heels in and search for a Mid-Eastern culture that will throw off the shackles of excruciatingly old ways and embrace a comprehensive 21st century Gettysburg Address…

Sounds like a “lose/lose” proposition to this feline…

Screwed by the racks…

Two cats blogging…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Fascinating Story and Fantastic Wine Sale

February 19, 2011

Hey, Cisco the blogging HSS cat here…


Here’s a captivating tale followed by a wonderful wine sale… Let’s get started…


Do you remember Fred MacMurray? Mr. MacMurray was a superb actor who appeared in such classics as the 1944 “Double Indemnity“, 1954’s “The Caine Mutiny“, “The Apartment” in 1960, and the lovable “The Absent-Minded Professor” in 1961. But you may remember him best as Steven Douglas, the wise dad on the TV series “My Three sons” – a show that aired from 1960 to 1972…


Anywho, in 1941, Mr. MacMurray purchased 1,500 acres of farmland in the Russian River Valley in Northern California. Here, he developed MacMurray Ranch and spent his free time raising prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle. As the years passed, the actor made it known that upon his end of days, he’d like to see the entire parcel of land go to some sort of family, which it did. Fred MacMurray died in 1991 and the property finally wound up in the capable hands of the Gallo family in 1996, who turned it into a rather sizable vineyard. (It turns out that the soil there was superb – there were no flies on Steven Douglas.) And so the story comes full circle… MacMurray’s daughter, Kate, began working with Gallo, and ended up their spokesperson. To make a long story short, Kate loves Cape Cod, Da Gizz got to know Kate, and Harwich Spirits Shoppe got to know the excellent signature MacMurray Ranch wines.


All that being said, it just so happens that HSS is having a blowout sale on MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.




It’s a great deal – $18 now, was $29. I have no idea how long this sale will last, but my cat gut tells me this is one of those, “you snooze, you lose” situations… Hustle on down and stock up!


See you by those well-connected racks…


Two cats blogging…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Why We’re Screwed

February 16, 2011

O.K. guys… Hang in there for a tough one, but I promise a brief “Whiz Bang” conclusion at the end…

Heard the phrase “entitlement programs” lately? Geez… It’s almost like some HSS cat warned you about this stuff back in 2009… Now this stuff is all the buzz coming out of the Forth Estate… Golly gee… Are you getting it yet?

Apparently D.C. isn’t. Today, in his first press briefing Jay Carney touted that President Obama’s recent speech boasted of a $400 billion reduction in costs over the next ten years. Four hundred billion??? Look at the chart below… This is from the government – our government…

Let me read that to you… The interest we owe in four months on our entitlement spending is 169 Billion, 361 Million, 712 Thousand, six Hundred and twenty eight dollars and 99 cents. Remember… That’s the interest, and not the principal. So $400 Billion over ten years is… well… a joke. The principal we owe (see warning above) on our debts to foreign creditors is somewhere between $60 Trillion and $100 Trillion+ with absolutely no end in sight. (Read that, “The principal we owe (see warning above) on our debts to foreign creditors is somewhere between $60 Thousand Billion and $100 Thousand Billion+ with absolutely no end in sight.“)

Before we get into the “blame game” of politics, you need to understand how “Big Brother” keeps the books… In fact, there are three books: The first is the one we all know… Our “deficit…” That stands at about $14 Trillion ($14 Thousand Billion) which roughly equals our yearly Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The second is our emergency funds for stuff like hurricanes and floods… But it’s the third that no one, and I do mean no one, has the stones to discuss… That’s the budget for the un-funded liabilities of the “entitlements” of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, pensions, and the ilk… Turns out that Gov’ment has absolute no idea how to meet that $60 – $100 Trillion debt – a debt that is at least five times our GDP.

Now, on to the “blame game” of politics…

Democrats: Shut up. It was your beloved FDR who got this whole mess started with the advent of a generation-removed Ponzi scheme called “Social Security”.  Clinton’s claim in 2000 that the government was no longer in debt was one of his most glaring whoppers (aside from not having sex with “that woman” and “not inhaling”.) Look at the chart above for the year 2000… We were in hock up to eyeballs. And when it comes to the “mess” that Dubya left, Obama has at least doubled or even tripled the problem. Democrats… Shut up.

Republicans: Shut up. All I need to say is “Part D”. Republicans, shut up. (Oh, by the way Dubya, thanks for securing our borders.)

Conclusion: Here are those three simple ways of thinking of all this…

Our nation’s economy is no different than yours – we have a budget we have to meet. Right now your total household income might be $50k and your total debt might be $50k… No big deal right… The problem is that the “significant other” has secretly racked up $300,000 on credit cards. In fact, the significant other has used no less than 32 credit cards to pay just the interest on the other credit cards. Replace the credit cards with our foreign-sold treasury bonds and blow the unspoken debt up into Trillions facing compounding interest, and you have the U.S. economy.

How did this happen??? The “Honorable” (insert your local dirt-bag politician name here) has played you like a cheap plastic fiddle.

Finally, let’s look at this like it’s a stack of dollars… How tall is $400 Billion? (Not that it really matters given the $60 Trillion pound gorilla in the room, but here we go anyway…) $400 Billion is roughly $500 Billion or one half of one Trillion dollars… (Read that… “$400 Billion is 1/120th of our real debt.”) But even at a pathetic savings of $400 Billion over ten years, that would equate to a stack of dollars over 2,700 miles high.

And that my friends is why we’re screwed. My advice, pay off your debt, stock up on long-shelf-life wine, and brace yourself…

Two cats blogging by the racks…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Three Wines on Sale Just in Time for Valentines Day

February 12, 2011

Ain’t they pretty… Each 750 ml of heaven… So what have we got???

  • Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio (750 ml) 2 for $23. Regular price $13/bot
  • Latitud 34 Cabernet Sauvignon (750 ml) 2 for $20. Regular $12
  • St Hallett Faith Shiraz (750 ml) 2 for $30. Regular $18/bot

Ecco Domani is your nice reliable Pinot Grigio, it’s a dry white wine with clean and crisp finish.

Latutud 34 comes from Argentina. It’s a good inexpensive choice for people who prefer dry full bodied red wines.

St Hallett Faith Shiraz comes from Barossa Valley in Australia. It’s a full bodied Shiraz with intense notes of dark berries and long structured finish. And when I say “full bodied Shiraz” I actually mean that it’s a full bodied style of Shiraz. As you probably know Shiraz in general is not as dry and full bodied as say Cabernet or Merlot. But if you compare Faith Shiraz to mass produced yellow tails… Well, let me just say that it’s a much more “serious” wine of higher quality.

The red wines described above will benefit greatly from being breathed, especially Cabernet. Open the wine, pour it in a glass and let it sit for half an hour to 45 minutes.

And there you go… All you need for Monday… Are you prepared?

Ponchita by the racks…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


17 Degrees, Blowing Like a Bustard, and Mission Control, We’ve Got Chupas and then Some!!!

February 9, 2011

Yup,

That’s right… In Harwich, we’re freezing our tail sections off. Why I’ll bet it’s so cold that you’ve completely forgotten Valentines Day… We’re just trying to cover your six boss…

Back to the cold… This is post number 203… Think of all that nice warm weather we’ve shared over the last couple of years and even taken for granted… Not any more… It’s a stinkin’ 17 degrees out there, and that’s not the worst of it…

There’s something you non-Cape people don’t quite understand about the “Land of the Cod” – we have chupacabras.

Yes, yes, yes… We also have your ubiquitous zombies, ghosts, bigfeet, and politicians, but nothing is a pip on a cold windy night like the chupas pounding on the back door and stomping on the roof. Though I do remember one particular blow-up after the lights were out and the doors were locked… The the wind was wailing (just like tonight), and the temp wasn’t fit for man nor beast…

As usual, the chupas were pounding away… (If memory serves me right, Ponchita and I had snuggled in with a nice pilfered white wine, some Slim Jims, and Frank Sinatra on YouTube…) And then the pounding stopped, and instead was replaced with a mean, shuffling, struggling sound – a surreal donnybrook in the making. Now, I’ll tell you straight up… I don’t know what started it… But I do know this much – all the denizens of SyFy were duking it out round and round ye old HSS. And without a doubt, the politician was winning. (Don’t quote me on this, but the pol looked like Mike Dukakis dressed up like Fozzy Bear.) So the brawl went on and on… Ponchita and I raced from window to window to watch the melee like children of old, buzzed on eggnog and sugar, racing from window to window to spy Saint Nick (or at least watch him crash and burn.)  Let me tell you something brother, I don’t care if you’ve been intimate with five movie starlets all at the same time whilst wearing Mickey Mouse ears… You simply haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed “Mike D./Fozzy B.” drop kick a squawking chupacabra over the rooftop and into the cold darkness of the local “Quickie Mart” all to the syrupy strains of Sinatra singing, “My Way”. But so it went… Frankenstein got kneed in the “you know whats” and did a superb imitation of a groin-injured Michael Jackson doing his damnedest “Thriller” moves all the while sucking on a sour ball. A bunch of the ghouls actually held down “Billy the Wolf Boy” and gave him a mohawk. And so it went… Ah, what a night…

But for right now, it’s a cold, windy Cape Cod night, and the chupas are pounding… Where’s “Mike D./Fozzy B.” when you need him,

Smiling by the racks…

Two cats blogging…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.