“For something to be funny, the audience has to be in a position to sense the truth of it. It has to be primed. Satire can crystallize what’s already in the air, but it can’t really put it there.”--Garry Trudeau
Monday, April 21, 2014
Salvation Army of Jokes
I seem to have a lot on my mind. When I sit down to write a new piece for HoseMaster of Wine™, I often don’t know where to begin. It’s obvious I also don’t know when to end. I keep a running list of ideas for the blog, and I never run out of ideas, but many of those ideas are not good enough to warrant an entire piece. Which assumes I have any ideas that are worthy of an entire piece. So I thought I’d assemble a few of those random ideas and make a throwaway post out of them, a kind of closet cleaning, taking all the worthless crap to the Salvation Army. You can sift through all of my junk ideas and see if there’s anything you want. Leave a little change on the front counter. It’s all for charity.
Hey, it's a slow day after Easter, a Monday, time to throw out the trash.
Does anyone doubt that the major wine publications, not to mention Wine Enthusiast, have inflated wine scores over the past decade? Their explanation is that wines are simply better than they’ve ever been. This might be true, but it’s a stupid argument. If wines are better than they’ve ever been, then adjust the goddam scale. Here’s an analogy. Gymnasts are also better than they’ve ever been. Way better. Almost every woman gymnast now has a more difficult routine, and is better, than Nadia Comăneci was when she scored the first perfect 10 at the 1976 Olympic Games, yet not one of them scored a 10 in the most recent Summer Olympics. Why? They adjusted the scoring, recognizing that the bar for the sport was being set a lot higher as the competitors improved. Why can’t wine writers do the same with wine scores? It would bring some actual meaning back to a 95 point wine when it becomes a rare occurrence. Those thousands and thousands of 89 point wines, why can’t they become 80 point wines? That’s what they are. Wouldn’t it be nice to read a review of a wine and be excited that it got 91 points? No one gives a crap about a 91 point wine any more. That’s like falling twice off the balance beam. The whole team is laughing at you.
My beautiful wife remarked to me the other day, “You’re the Napa Valley Wine Twain.” Not true, but a quality joke.
Why don’t I have a Wikipedia Entry, OR a Facebook HoseMaster of Wine™ Fan Page?
This is a complete mystery to me. I have two, yes, two Wine Blog Awards! I’ve been featured in countless publications, a few of which still exist. I’m a famous sommelier. I bet Raj Parr has a fucking Wikipedia entry. But he’s a kiss-ass, and that’s how it works. Only kiss-asses get Wikipedia entries when they’re alive and not really anybody—Alder probably has one too. So, OK, now I don’t want a stupid Wikipedia page.
The Most Interesting Man in the Wine World
“He can use his tongue in place of an ah-so."
“He’s given an orgasm to every M.W.—blind.”
“He drew the maps for the Cistercian monks.”
“Winery dogs lick his balls.”
“He sabers Champagne with his penis.”
He’s the Most Interesting Man in the Wine World:
“I don’t always drink wine, but when I do, I drink somebody else’s.”
STEVE! A Throwaway Joke
The wine world was surprised by Steve Heimoff's announcement that he was leaving his job as wine critic for Wine Enthusiast to take a position with Jackson Family Estates. The surprise is everyone thought he'd been working there the past ten years.
Wine Blog Leagues
I always think that the wine blog world in the United States should break up into competitive leagues—Western Division, Central Division, Eastern Division and Southern Division. It’s kind of that way anyway, when you think about it, but we should formalize it. And then have playoffs at the end of the year. I know my Western Division would kick ass. I mean, look at our lineup! Heimoff leading off—he’s a pesky little hitter, a guy who knows how to work the count, and with him at the top of the lineup, well, he scores a lot. Then behind him you have Wark, who can hit from both sides of the plate, often at the same time, not with any power, but gets on the other team’s nerves constantly. Alder bats third—sure, he’s way past his prime, but he’ll see even more softballs thrown at him with the HoseMaster batting cleanup! Every Poodle knows the HoseMasterhas all the power. Behind me, you’ve got Samantha Sans Dosage—she brings a big bat and isn't afraid to swing it. Hitting sixth is Charlie Olken—easy out, but has a big fan base. W. Blinky bats seventh—constantly and effortlessly strikes out, but, hey, he looks good doing it. I mean, this is a strong team. Some speed at the bottom of the lineup with RJonWine—no one can catch him with 200 wines in front of him, except maybe Alder, but Alder’s lost a step since he’s carrying an M.W. around. And, for gravitas, WakaWaka hits ninth—she has VERY long at-bats, which really wear down the opponents.
The Central Division? What a joke. Nothing but sissies. Alfonso—come on! All talk. Dr. Jeremy Parzen? Oh, please, the guy’s all flab—he put the high Ph in Ph. D. And with the Wine Curmudgeon in the lineup, well, cheap is the active word.
The Eastern Division looks formidable—1WineDoody, Dr. Vino, Lenn Thompson, Evan Dawson, Meg Houston Maker? Looks impressive. But, really, when you take a close look at them, it’s all empty chatter. Not a power hitter in the bunch, just a lot of reputation with nothing to back it up. Yeah, they have Asimov, but it’s a team game. He tries, but he just can’t carry that dead weight East Coast load.
Well, you get the idea. Fun idea, but way too Inside Baseball. But bloggers love to see their names on HoseMaster of Wine™!
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.
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.