Monday, January 18, 2010

Profiles in Discourage

I've done countless things in the past that filled me with discouragement. I campaigned for Voluntary Euthanasia to try and help keep health care costs down. But everyone kept volunteering other people. Come on, folks, health care costs are never going to go down unless all the old people decide to use the 15 Items or Less line at the Reasons to Live Checkout Stand! All checkout lines are open, no waiting! I opened a Facebook account in order to start the "Fans Of HoseMaster of Wine" page but the only person to sign up was Chemical Ali. Right, Ali's cousin, Chemical Abuse Ali. Discouragement just seems to be following me around lately. I applied for a job at Constellation Wines and they told me my moon was in Cancer and I should have that looked at. So I went to a doctor and he made me Cassiopeia into a jar while he made fun of my Little Dipper. It's winter, it's cold and dark, and I am severely discouraged.

But none of those discouragements compares to wine blogging. I can't remember ever doing anything stupider than starting a wine blog. OK, aside from joining the Wall Street Journal Wine Club. Though I will say this, the wines in the Wall Street Journal wine club are consistent--always Standard and Poor. A wine blog is a soul-sapping hobby, especially if you like wine more than yourself, an uncommon trait in wine bloggers. I struggle every day with what to write about. I think every wine blogger struggles with subjects, except those who mindlessly blog about whatever wines they've been drinking lately or were sent as free samples. I hate those blogs, every one of them. And they are legion. Who reads that crap? The addlepated? The demented? The unbelievably stupid? Tea Partyers? Their Comments sections read like homework assignments for people who are recovering from blunt force trauma to the head. "Great post, WineCoprophagous! I really enjoyed your description of the St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc as 'perfect with Perry Como,' and I will seek it out. I really enjoy your blog--you use simple words and it's so peaceful here." These aren't blogs, they're cries for help. Google is raising the temperature of the planet two degrees with numberless servers, each the size of an eponymous Napa Valley winery owner's ego, scattered all over the planet so the brain-damaged can log on and read about the free crap some ignoramus received from a Temecula winery? Ah, screw the polar bears, I'm a wine blogger, dammit, and it's important what wine goes with my new Lady Gaga download. (Why, Soave Classico, made with 100% Gaganega...)

Yeah, I know what you're thinkin'. There goes the ol' HoseMaster off on one of his usual rants. Well, you're right, and I'm just as sick of them as you are. But every time I go out into the blogosphere and check out wine blogs I get discouraged. Am I the only one? Probably. I'm the only one in a lot of things in life. For example, I love the long waits in airport security lines--it means more time to play my favorite game, Who's the Ugliest Person in the Terminal? And I'm probably the only person who likes to pick other people's noses. It's really the only way you ever get to know somebody. Yet I don't think I'm alone in being discouraged by wine blogs.

Sure, there are a few wine blogs that are worth reading, present company excluded. The most successful blogs even receive a few thousand hits a day! So the most successful wine blog is the equivalent of the absolute worst porn site on the Interwebs. That's encouraging. And one might assume that the blogs with the most traffic are the best. After all, they say the cream rises to the top. Yeah, so does scum.

When I'm discouraged I even start writing about what all the other bloggers are writing about--say, Sarah Palin speaking at the next WSWA (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America) convention. You know, it turns out Palin misheard the gig. She thought her agent meant the Wine and Spirits "Hole Sailors" of America and it was her chance to speak against gay marriage. Wait until she finds out it's a convention of alcohol distributors! Don't worry about Ms. Palin, she's nothing if not fast on her feet. She's from Alaska, the home of fast thinkers, and next thing you know she'll be giving a discourse on how she prefers alcohol distributors to those ones that use gasoline in her Jeep.

See, even those jokes are discouraging.

When you first start a blog it's very liberating. Then one day you wake up and you're in a prison of your own making, trapped in a 6' X 9' cell with a Hole Sailor eyeballing you like he's got the hot dog and you've got the bun. And all this for the glory of writing for nine people, eight of whom don't even like you. Yeah, it's discouraging.

But it could always be worse. I could be the featured newcomer at Though I'd never be more popular than Rush.


Arthur said...


Do you need a hug?

Samantha Dugan said...

Hey celly, I got yer bun right here. I feel ya kid, I feel myself suffocating under the pompus burping of the self appointed, "serious wine" bloggers...the likes of which will wow us with their profound understanding of the complexities of Crane Lake Shiraz. I would rather have you pick my nose than read that shit. You may be a grumpy bastard but I come here for a voice, a voice of reason and a voice willing to call bullshit on what really is kind of a joke...award handing out, self promoting, lonely people that use their geekdom to feel cool, or worse...superior.
I adore you and I'm first up if you confess to needing that hug.

Arthur said...

Move over blondie, I call dibs!

Ron Washam said...

Hey Gang,

I don't need hugs. Though My Gorgeous Samantha has permanent dibs on that, Arthur. I think I'm just bored with my own blog.

Yeah, I know, get in line.

Charlie Olken said...

Bored with your own blog?

Maybe you need to put more dirty pictures in.

Maybe you need to take a six month break.

Maybe you need to write jokes for Jay Leno.

Maybe there are only so many things one can write about in wine short of writing about individual wines, and thus you are bored because wine blogs are so damned repetitive.

But, even if all of that were true, the fact is that you are like so many writers. You recognize that you are only as good as your next column, joke, story--and that is a big load to carry. So, stop worrying. We will carry you.

And if that is not enough, well, we will send you samples to review. I have a few you might want to try.

And if you are looking for blog topics, you could do worse than to read Heimoff these days. He has corraled the market on nutcases who think that only their own wines are any good and everything else is trash.

I try not to raise my voice in such settings but it was all I could do today to avoid calling one of those posters/poseurs an idiot to his face.

So, believe me, Ron, there is plenty of material left to lampoon.

Arthur said...


While I appreciate your sense of the fickle, wax-and-wane nature of the creative muse, I urge you not to give up.

Tobias Ø said...

Great post, Mr. HMW! I really enjoyed your description of the gaganega and I will seek it out. I really enjoy your blog.. Your sort of faucet doesn't need Palin jokes.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Charlie,

Yes, there is endless material to lampoon in the wine blog world, but, as it is, it's too much inside joking for my tastes. Though I do plenty of it. But I often feel myself beating a dead horse, which is not, by the way, a metaphor for self-abuse. And, of course, it's the deafening silence that resounds after my every post that wears on me.

Hey Tobias,

Long-time follower, first time commenter. Thanks for chiming in.

Palin is an easy target, and I'm not immune to laziness. And, to be honest, I never have the faintest idea what's going to flow from my faucet, I just turn the valve and out comes this crap. I've had "Hole Sailors" in my brain for a while, she just stepped into that land mine.

I do have a rather strange mind.

1WineDude said...


The muse fountain runneth low?

Impossible - I tell you, it's limitless! Behold just a few of the sources:

- Any video, TV, or film appearance by James Suckling.

- Randomly clicking any article in the eBob or Wine Spectator forums.

- Any of the 750,267 blog articles about what someone else said on the eBob or WS forums.

- Any one of my blog posts form the last 18 months.

You doth protest too much, I think.