“…any food product that feels compelled to tell you it’s natural in all likelihood is not.”—-Michael Pollan
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. Www.FlaccidFatBoys.com. 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 FlaccidFatBoys.com. Though I'd never be more popular than Rush.
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
"If you want a great hoot and howl moment or two...go read the HoseMaster's year-end reflections...that guy is without a doubt the funniest SOB in the blog-world...and thank him for having the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody...HoseMaster for President...HoseMaster for Blogger of the Year...although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year..." --Robert Parker
"...With sometimes crude analogies and occasional droppings of f-bombs, Washam cleverly uses satire to expose the underbelly of the wine business. It's often hilarious stuff as long as you're not the one being lampooned. Washam takes no prisoners in skewering all that is silly, stupid, frustrating and pretentious about wine, and his favorite targets are other bloggers and writers. No one is immune."
--Linda Murphy in "Vineyard and Winery Management"
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity." --JancisRobinson.com
"As serious as the world of wine is, it does allow time for humor. Each Monday and Thursday, Ron Washam customarily posts a commentary on his needling wine blog HoseMaster of Wine. Washam, a former sommelier and comedy writer – he might say they are closely related – is the most opinionated, humorous and ribald observer in the wine world. His body of work is irreverent and remorseless. It’s almost always satire and parody, though he occasionally drifts into straight commentary, sometimes even with tasting notes. This past year, one of his posts was named the best of the year in the Wine Blog Awards. His success has spawned several imitations, which in their awkwardness show just how difficult satire is."
--Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/21/6089630/dunne-on-wine-wine-blogs-and-bloggers.html#storylink=cpy
"Please let this guy write the scripts for Saturday Night Live which has gotten so lame...his newest "wisdom" is worth an Emmy....I wonder if he is the genius behind all those Hitler/Parker,etc. clips? No one else is remotely as funny or as talented.And the wine world sure needs someone to poke fun at all the nonsense and phoney/baloney unsufferable crap out there."
"Washam uses his own blog, HoseMaster of Wine, to skewer the industry in general and wine blogs in particular. If your mouse scoots to your browser's close box while reading a wine blog, Washam may be the blogger for you."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"Ron Washam, former sommelier, is easily the most bitingly funny blogger/wine writer that we have ever come across. He is an equal opportunity crusader who pillories big wineries and amateur bloggers alike, as well as everything and everyone in between...One needs a sense of humor and a tolerance for earthiness to enjoy reading The Hosemaster. We must have both because this guy deserves a wider audience, in our humble opinion." --Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"In my opinion, and that of many others, his blog is one of the best. And in terms of satirical or parodic wine blogs, it has no peer. Ron’s alert eye catches every pretense and skewers it with laugh out loud mercilessness."
"This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes..."
--Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times
"Washam is a skilled wine judge (I have judged with him) who is willing to judge wine double blind, in public. To my knowledge, Parker does not do this and never has. So Ron's credentials are in place, and so is his sense of the absurd."
--Dan Berger, VintageExperiences
"...I consider Ron a very talented writer and I’ve long been an admirer of his scathing wit..."
"And if any free sites think they can conquer the world, there’s always the Hosemaster to take ‘em down a notch."
--Tyler Colman "Dr. Vino"
"Those of you who know Ron either love or hate him, because he throws jabs like a punch drunk boxer, and we’re all in the firing line. He’ll throw them if he hates you, and he’ll throw them if he loves you. He’s a satirist of exceptional quality."
--Jo Diaz "Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz"
"I must say you are an idiot. I've never liked you. I have no idea why people find you funny."
--Reign of Terroir
Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.