Thursday, December 20, 2012

Uncle Milton's Biodynamic Ant Farm

Christmas is my favorite time of year, just nudging out jury duty. And what I like most about Christmas is shopping for loved ones. That moment of knowing you’ve purchased the perfect gift for someone you adore, already envisioning the joy on their face when they open it, and imagining the greater joy they’ll feel as they return it for store credit. It sets my heart aglow like nothing else, aside from barium enemas. I’m not a religious soul, so the “true meaning” of Christmas is a mystery to me. I see a manger scene with the three wise men and I always think their names are Salmanazar, Nebuchadnezzar, and Threesevenfive. He’s the short one. I grew up in a home where Christmas meant decorating the tree, baking Christmas cookies, and leaving a bottle of Smirnoff for Santa to enjoy with Mom after he slipped down her flue. Christmas is, after all, also flue season. And from all the sounds coming from the living room, Mom and Santa had a grand time, until Santa had to leave to deliver more presents in the same ’68 Impala “Uncle” Larry drove.

Christmas, they say, is about giving. And it’s about this time each year that I am repeatedly asked for recommendations of gifts for wine lovers. This is yet another reason I love Christmas—endless stupid premises. Here, then, are the HoseMaster of Wine™ Gift Ideas for the Wine Aficionado in your life. In the St. Nick of time.

A Gift Membership in the Wine-of-the-Month-Club-of-the-Month Club™

Victoria's Secret Wine Club Selection
I only recently learned of the existence of the WOMCOMC™, and I think it’s a terrific concept. Each month your beloved wine lover receives a shipment of wine from a different Wine-of-the-Month Club! This is a stunning array of wines available nowhere else, and for good reason. Not a wine buyer in the world wanted them. These are the best wines rejected by the finest sommeliers and savviest wine shop owners all over the world, delivered right to your door, and at impressively exaggerated prices. You’ll want a membership for yourself. January it’s 12 bottles from the Wall Street Journal Wine Club, $60 of wine for the introductory price of only $9/btl. How do they do it? February look for a shipment from the New York Times Wine Club. Yes, I know, too good to be true! The New York Times actually has nothing to do with the selection of wines for their club, the Newspaper of Record only lends their name to the enterprise for a tidy profit. Exactly like Roy Rogers did for chicken. Haven’t heard of that Bordeaux in the February shipment? What are you worried about? It was carefully selected by someone smart enough to buy off the damned New York Times!  In March, it might be the selection of the Victoria’s Secret Wine of the Month Club. You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted crotchless Old Vines Zin—smells like punt. And for the final shipment, just in time for next Christmas, The Rudy K. Wine of the Month Club! Word to the wise—don’t drink ‘em, auction them off to pay for your Christmas spending! At least in the Rudy K. Club, the fake labels are fake labels of actual wineries.

The Wheel of Fortune™ Wine Rating Game

Ever wonder how the pros rate wines? Many people believe that wine scores are arrived at purely randomly. Oh, pish-posh. Like these Wine Gods simply swirl the wine in their glass, breathe deeply, accept a few ounces into their Blessed Facial Cavities, gracefully expectorate into their adoring assistant’s mouth and declare it an 89. Don’t be so na├»ve. Now Wine Enthusiast along with Merv Griffin Productions has released this game that actually recreates the method used by all the top critics, and Tim Fish. The wine lover in your life will be grateful and excited to learn this once closely guarded technique, the same technique used to make or break real wineries, often after years of toil and financial jeopardy (coming next Christmas, Wine Country Financial Jeopardy, with Alex Trebek--“I’ll take “Wine Barrels” for $1200, Alex.”). It turns out giving scores to wines is fun! You’ll need a partner to play. The partner sets up the Wheel of Fortune™ puzzle board with the name of the wine you’re going to be served blind. You taste the wine, and then spin the wheel. The wheel lands on an adjective, which you write down for your final description of the wine. The wheel is based on the dreaded Aroma Wheel created by Ann Noble, which also has little basis in reality. Solve the puzzle and you’ve solved the mystery of what’s in your glass, and you’ve got a convincing description as well. Just like the pros do it! Now you move to the bonus round. Spin the Points Wheel and see what score the wine will receive. It’s uncanny how well this works, and how often the description and scores you end up with match the reviews found in prestigious publications. It’s damned exciting to see a wine only get 86 points knowing it will ruin the winery's reputation and slow sales to the pace of $50 Australian wine! It’s fun, and it’s educational. I played a very long round with Natalie MacLean—she just kept landing on “Bankrupt.”

Uncle Milton’s Biodynamic™ Ant Farm®

If your wine lover is like most wine lovers, he doesn’t have a clue about Biodynamics™, the system of agriculture derived from a series of lectures delivered by Rudolf Steiner. Which is like developing a clown school based on the writings of John Wayne Gacy. Now any wine lover can get up close and personal with the principles of biodynamics with Uncle Milton’s Biodynamic™ Ant Farm®. It’s almost exactly like the Ant Farm you remember from your childhood, the one where you spent hours and hours watching those horrible little ants farm using pesticides and RoundUp. In the Biodynamic™ version you learn how to run your Ant Farm® so that it doesn’t harm the big plastic thing they live in. You’ll learn how to do everything on your ant farm according to the cycles of the ant calendar. Is it a Dead Bird Day, or is it a Picnic Day? It matters. Maybe it’s an Along the Walls and Into the Greasy Cupboard Day. What day it is on the ant calendar is important to the biodynamic farming. It doesn’t need to make sense. It’s all spelled out for you on the Ant Farm® Biodynamic™ Calendar. You don’t ask why it’s called Monday. Hypocrite. It just fucking is. See, you’re learning already! And you’ll have hours of fun putting together the Biodynamic™ Teas which you’ll need to put into your Ant Farm® at every solstice. You need to grow your own herbs for the Teas, so you might also want to get your wine lover the new Biodynamic™ Chia Pet®--my favorite one is an exact replica of Randall Grahm’s head. See, this is hours of fun! And when it’s all done and the ants have finally died, your wine lover will understand that Christmas, Biodynamics, and Life are all based entirely on faith, ritual, and endlessly moving one grain of sand at a time until you die.

Merry Christmas!


Andy Perdue said...

Ron, you left out the greatest gift of all, which I shall deliver to you in about three weeks in Cloverdale.

Thomas said...


Merry Jury Duty to you.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

OK, now I'm nervous. See you in Clovertucky!

And a Happy Howdy Duty to you!

PS--I've proudly added some kind words from the legendary Bruce Schoenfeld to my "What the Critics Are Saying" section. It's like Christmas come early!

david fish said...

you had me at john wayne gacy...

we always describe Biodynamics as halfway between organic and scientology

Samantha Dugan said...

Wow, how very out of character for the HoseMaster to have such an uplifting and joyous Christmas card. Gack...moving grains of sand around until I die....fuck me, almost wish the Mayans had been right! I love you though!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
The HoseMaster saves joyous and uplifting for Halloween. Though I really want a Biodynamic Ant Farm for Christmas myself. It's hours of fun watching mindless workers moving sand, it's like your own episode of "Survivor."

As for the Mayans, I never believe a calendar that doesn't have scantily clad women.

I love you, too!

Marcia Macomber said...

So glad to learn of all these new Christmas gift options! I'll be off to Walgreens for that new limited edition ChiaPet of R. Grahm. That's just perfect for someone in my family.

Yeah, always wanted an ant farm as a kid. It's good to know this new version is available. That will make it okay to get as an adult. (How do they get the cowhorn in the little slots?)

PaulG said...

I'm confused! Shouldn't I spin the points wheel BEFORE I taste the wine?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

There's also the Helen Turley Chia Pet, though it's the size of the Colossus at Rhodes, and the Phillipe Melka Chia Pet, which is creepy because its eyes follow you around the room and you can never escape him!

Merry Christas, Love.

So Gabe was right?...

No, if you spin the points wheel before you taste the wine, that's way too close to blind tasting. What's the point in that?

No Peek Daddy said...


What are you trying to do? Change the world? There must be something dangerous out there in the rarified air of the Walla Walla desert.

Taste the wine? Who needs that? Just look at the alcohol statement and the age of the winemaker.

Old guys like me will choose one set of wines using those criteria and the young geeks will choose Ribolla Gialla at 10.7% ABV.