"The satirist shoots to kill while the humorist brings his prey back alive and eventually releases him again for another chance."--Peter De Vries
Monday, January 20, 2014
House at Spew Corner
One of my favorite books as a child was a compilation of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories. I read it over and over, wearing the pages as thin as a Pinot Grigio. I guess it was only a matter of time before I parodied this children's classic as HoseMaster. When I reread the piece recently, I could hear my own pleasure in screwing with it. Maybe I'll write a few more Winnie-the-Spew tales one day, but in the meantime, here is the Best of HoseMaster, House at Spew Corner, from July of 2010.
We are introduced to Winnie-the-Spew and our story begins
So here comes Christopher Robbin and his precious Bear kerplunking and headthunking down
the stairs, bump, bump, bump, one at a time, having awakened Daddy, MS,
from his sound, bearlike slumber. One swift kick and Christoper Robbin
and Winnie-the-Spew are already downstairs for breakfast, all of their
arms bent in funny and unusual ways.
"Oh, look at this, Spew, I can point in two directions at the same time with only one arm!"
sorry," says Christopher Robbin, "but I just wanted you to tell us a
story. Please tell us a story, or I'll simply have to tell Mummy you've
kicked us down the stairs again. And you know how much she hates that
when her hands are still shackled in the morning."
likes some sort of game when he comes downstairs, a game of matches or
running with scissors. But today Winnie-the-Spew, for that's the name
Christopher Robbin most often calls him, though it's more of a girl's
name and makes Bear piddle, wants to hear a story.
"And what kind of story do you want me to tell you?"
please, not about wine and bouquets and drinking and feeling the lovely
bumps on Jancis again. Spew likes stories about himself. Those are his
favorite stories. Tell us about the adventures of Winnie-the-Spew!"
And so our story begins.
upon a time, a very long time ago, it must have been before 9/11,
Winnie-the-Spew lived all by himself in the vineyards under the name of
Mondavi. Winnie Mondavi. It was on a big gold-plated sign so that's how
we know. This is all the explanation you're going to get.
("But what does it mean, 'under the name?'" asks Christopher Robbin.
"Shut the fuck up and listen."
"I hope you die," says Christoper Robbin.)
day when Spew was out walking in the vineyard he came to a strange
building and from the building there was a lot of noise and many strange
smells. Spew sat down and stroking his chin with his paw he started to
"I don't have much of a brain," said Spew, "but I know
that there is a lot of noise coming from this building, and there
wouldn't be a lot of noise unless there was something going on. If I'm
in a vineyard and most of the grapes are gone it means the noise is wine
being made. And if wine is being made then there's only one thing to
do. Get shitfaced."
And so Spew entered the large, strange
building and there in front of him were giant, shiny steel tanks. "That
must be where they keep the wine!" thought Spew. And so he began to
climb. He climbed up and up, higher and higher, up and up, and while he
climbed he sang a little song.
Isn't it fine How a bear likes wine? Slurp Slurp Slurp You can smell it on my burp.
He kept climbing...and climbing...and climbing...and he climbed so long that he thought of another song.
Wouldn't it be funny Wish I'd thought of it sooner If instead of tasty wine This is filled with fuckin' Gruner?
was getting rather tired now but he was almost at the top. He began to
sing a Complaining Song, but we shan't sing it here, and when he was
through he was peering over the top of the giant, shiny steel tank.
wonder what it smells like," thought our nearly brainless Bear, "if it
smells like melons or figs or catpee or Christoper Robbin's bed sheets,
though he's nearly nine years old." To find out what the wine smelled
like, Spew lowered his head into the giant, shiny steel tank and took a
It was carbon dioxide and Spew fell into the shiny steel tank of wine and drowned.
In which we meet Eelaub and search for his nose.
One day Winnie-the-Spew was walking through Nap Valley and came across his friend, the ever-morose Eelaub."How are you today?" asked Winnie-the-Spew.
"What's it to ya, you stuffed piece of crap?"
bother, you are a pompous ass. Let me take a look at you." And Spew
walked round and round Eelaub until he noticed that something was
"Something is missing," he said.
"Yeah, your genitalia, for one thing."
"No, it's your nose. You don't have a nose."
"Are you sure?"
"Well," said Spew, "you either have a nose or you don't have a nose. I think everyone would agree you don't have a nose."
Eelaub walked over to the Nap River and peered at his reflection. Where
once he'd had a nose, and a very nice nose, there was nothing. "Where's
my goddam nose?"
"I'm sure that's what everyone in Nap Valley wants to know, Eelaub. Should we try and find it?"
this accounts for Everything," cried Eelaub, "it explains it all. I've
lost my nose. Somebody must have taken it. Isn't that just like them?
The whole Valley's full of assholes."
Spew didn't know what to
do. He wanted to be helpful, but, really Eelaub was a smelly ass. So
Spew decided instead to be helpful, and off he went to look for Eelaub's
Through tasting rooms and walking wine train tracks, Spew
searched and searched for Eelaub's nose. Then he came to the CIA, a
Stone Grey building where his friend Owl in Meadows lived. Spew knew Owl
was home but he banged and banged with the door knocker and nobody
answered. The door knocker was kind of wet and mushy, not like most door
knockers Spew had seen. Though he'd seen very few knockers of any sort
save for Christoper Robbin's mother's set.
"Owl, come to the door. It's me, Bear."
"What is it? I'm rating coats right now. Coats of Bone and Coats of Nuts."
"Something terrible and wonderful has happened. Eelaub has lost his nose. What shall we do?"
We'll offer a reward to anyone who has seen Eelaub's nose, though I
don't know why anyone would want his terrible nose. But you'd have to
believe they'd give it back."
"That's a great idea, Owl in
Meadows. We'll offer a reward. And we'll get Christopher Robbin to write
out the reward, if his arms aren't still broken."
Then Spew took
a closer look at the door knocker. It was a very suspicious looking
door knocker, not at all hard and not at all attractive. "Just where did
you get this door knocker, Owl?"
"Why I found it in the vineyard. Why do you ask?"
I know someone who wants it. This is no door knocker, Owl, it's
Eelaub's nose! We've found it! Hooray!" And Spew grabbed the door
knocker, which was really Eelaub's lost nose, and left Owl standing
there in amazement.
"Where's my fucking reward, you silly ol'
sack of bear shit?" But he never got a reward. And there's a lesson in
that for everyone. There are no rewards in life.
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
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity."
"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."