Archive | September, 2015

#bantheselfie A Friday Ramble

29 Sep

selfie stick3

Now, don’t take issue with the fact that it’s only Tuesday today, OK? I know that but I usually rant or ramble on Friday. I like consistency – order in my world.

Listen, the thing is the world as we know it has ended. Humankind has been rendered down to a selfish, narcissistic orb. “But Bill, why do you despair? Is it the Western world’s halfhearted response to refugees in need? The plight of Mother Earth as she battles climate change? Your lack of luck securing a lunchtime audience with Penelope Cruz?” No, it’s not that – although the last one is indeed troubling.

It’s the selfie! Yes, the selfie is ruining almost everything. Let me explain.

The Director and I haven’t really traveled much this past year as far as visiting ‘tourist’ type sights. We have usually retired to the cottage, visited the Big Smoke, Providence or nearby wine regions rather than visit TripAdvisor. But, this past month, we were in Spain for almost three weeks with our Lonely Planet in hand. And, I was struck by the………..well, how do I put it? I was struck by the Selfie Stick. Actually struck by it as I tried to look at such inspiring places as the Sagrada Familia and the Alcazar.

Everywhere we went, people of all ages were posing – yes, posing like models – so that the sight they’d come to photograph themselves at was in the background. Yes, it appears they went only to photograph themselves. “Great picture Muffy. What’s that building in the background?” “Not sure but it is indeed cool – the picture of me that is. I was there and I’m damn cute.”

Let me give you the drill:
1. You (or worse, you and your  friends) position yourself in the middle of a busy walkway or stairway. with the sight behind you.
2. You either extend your Selfie Stick so that it crosses the entire walkway or, in the absence of the stick, you completely extend your arm with phone.
3. You pose. It’s almost Madonnaesque. I can’t stress how silly this looks – posing at the exit of the Museu Picasso. Women in particular do the Vogue thing.
4. Click. Done? Oh no.
5. You quickly, like a cat, rotate the phone and check the picture because it’s so cool seeing yourself. “I think that I could look cooler.” No doubt about that.
6. Maybe ask all your buds to take a look? Then…
7. Repeat steps 1 through 5
8. Again and again – endlessly. There are never enough pictures of you to post to your 150 ‘friends’.

In some cases, steps one through eight can take longer than Karsch took with his portraits. Hell, Ansel Adams was quicker with his shutter, if you know what I mean. Michelangelo would be tapping his foot! I feel like Rosanna Danna when I say, “Hey, selfie person. Stop with all the selfies. You’re makin’ me sick!”

I’m not complaining about social media. I’ve already done that here. What it is is that I’m frustrated and a bit worried about Humankind. Why so much ‘me’ and not much ‘everyone else’. Why insert ‘me’ into everything around you? Why can’t people just appreciate what they are seeing, doing, without taking a picture of themselves doing it? No one gives a shit really. You may think that they do (the ‘like’ on your Facebook page is really a courtesy). They are more interested in their own selfies than yours. And we non-selfie people? Seriously? We never gave a shit.

What is the origin of this compulsion to be seen? Is it part of our primal makeup? Did Neanderthals pose for cave drawings over and over – “Hey, Grog did you like get my good side? Let me see. Like do another one with my hand on my club and then like we have to post it on the social cave wall (intonation includes cave person vocal fry)”

Whatever the reason for selfie obsession, it’s disappointing. A bit sad and pathetic.

But I’m not here to understand, explain or feel badly for these obnoxious, selfish people. I’m here to mobilize the rest of us! WE MUST #stoptheselfie EVERYWHERE.

Here’s my suggestion to stop this in it’s tracks. I know, we could photobomb everyone taking a selfie making them un-postable. We could buy all the selfie sticks in the world. We could stop ‘liking’ people’s posts with selfies. We could appeal to Apple and Samsung to include a selfie ban within the incomprehensible Terms or Use. We could shout obscenities at selfie takers. Wait, I think I did that last one already. A non-violent approach might be to simply ask the selfie taker, “Would you like me to take that one singular picture of you?” That always met the need before.

What do you think?

#bantheselfie #bantheselfiestick

selfie stick


Wine Tasters Under Fire – The Red Daily Slosh

5 Sep

Heading to Spain and this puts me in the mood.

Read an article the other day entitled, “The 6 Most Statistically Full of Shit Professions.” Aside from the awkward syntax in the title, it caught my eye. Who were the best professional shitters? Number 6 – Stock Traders. Check. Number 5 – Wine Tasters. What? The article talked about studies done where ‘expert’ wine tasters were fooled, tee-hee, by cheap plonk. And, that’s not the only reference to we bullshitting tasters. If you search bullshit experts (go ahead, I’ll wait), wine-tasting-is-BS articles abound. I’m looking at my wine tasting friends out there when I say, “Oh, the unwashed masses just don’t get it, do they? And stupid is in. #DonaldTrump”

Here’s the thing: of course wine tasters get it wrong a lot of the time. And, they get it right a lot of the time, too (don’t argue the math of that statement – a lot plus a lot equals 100%). Wine is complex, mysterious, and ever changing in the bottle and glass. Why expect wine tasters as they taste a hundred wines in the morning alone to be perfect? The problem isn’t that wine tasters are fallible. It’s our need to have certainty. And folks, certainty with wine is elusive and, frankly, not a lot of fun.

So, read the shelf talkers as directional keys, not gospel and start believing in your own taste. Except in one case. Take everything this taster says as the brilliant truth. Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and gosh darn it people like me.

On to this weekend’s wines.

When I was in Apulia a couple years ago, I started to understand how you can have big, hearty reds in the midst of the heat that they have there. It didn’t make any sense to me from my perch in Ontario but once you feel the whole vibe – cuisine, sea, olive groves, crusty landscape and the people, it just all fits together. It goes to show me that wine can’t be slotted into perfect matching times, places, and foods as easily as some gadget or website might suggest. This week, there’s a wonderful example of this that’s been on and off the shelves for a number of years. The 2006 Schola Sarmenti Roccamora Nardò Negroamaro #379768 $16.95 is a great example of an aged red from the Italian boot heel. It’s full-bodied, rich, fleshy, and still carries some tannin to prevent any notion of flabbiness or over-ripeness. Rustic, substantial. Perfect lamb stew wine. But, in the spirit I’ve waxed on above, I think it would be great with BBQ during the last days of summer.

I seem to be gravitating to wines from the south of France lately. No, not lately, I’ve always gravitated there. They are reasonably priced, tell me a story about where they’re from (oh yeah, if you listen, you can hear them), and they are good value. In typing this, I just realized something. My average price point in the summer is lower than in the colder months. I wonder why that is? Does anyone else have the same experience?Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, south of France. There is a strong, consistent performer this weekend in the 2013 Tessellae Côtes du Roussillon Old Vines Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre #343517 $17.00. Although the Grenache is first in the name, it seems more Syrah to me. Not as ripe as a Grenache, if that makes sense. Quite seamless from the glass to the swallow. Pure is the word that I’d use. I like this a lot. Could be sipped around the last campfire of the year while telling scary stories or singing “Deep and Wide” and “Michael Row The Boat Ashore.” Great wine to put down below for those wintery days ahead as well.

We had a family reunion kind of thing a couple of weeks ago at the cottage. Hadn’t seen each other more than a few times in 30 years. When the subject of wine came up, as it always does with me, my cousin and her husband said that they were kind of stuck on Malbec. That’s not as bad as it might sound to non-wine peep. Malbec does bring a lot to the table. This week, one of my absolute favourites arrives – 2013 Ben Marco Malbec #657601 $18.95. Now, I haven’t had to lecture on that ubiquitous Malbec that starts with an ‘F’ lately because I don’t believe people are drinking it like they used to. But, if you are, step away from the Fuzion. No, I mean it – STEP AWAY. Instead, splurge (if I can use that word when referring to a wine costing $18.95) on this beaut by Susana Balbo at Dominio del Plata. It has a Syrah spiciness, well integrated tannins. What I mean by integrated is that they prop up the wine but you don’t finish your swallow with a pucker. This is good sh*t.

That’s all for this week. Heading to Spain next week for three weeks will try and post on my journey to Priorat but may be limited to Instagram.


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