Thursday, July 9, 2015

EPHEMERA: The HoseMaster of Wine™ Interview


A few months ago I received an email from Linda Murphy, who humbly says she "used to be someone in the wine business" (this to someone who has never been anyone at all in the wine business), asking if I’d agree to an interview for publication in Vineyard and Winery Management magazine. Naturally, I was flattered. Most of my interviews are conducted in either a prospective employer’s office, or handcuffs.

Linda asked me if I preferred a phone interview, or email. I’m a writer, well, self-proclaimed writer anyway, so I preferred email. Linda sent me a list of questions, and I answered them. I wonder that people have any interest in me, or my life. It’s the HoseMaster that generates curiosity, and I’m not him.

I wonder that anyone cares about Ron Washam. I’m a huge disappointment in person—there are a lot of people who will testify to that. I’m willdy uncomfortable with my tiny bit of wine business fame, and yet proud of it. But I know that people expect me to be a lot like the HoseMaster in person, and I’m not. I don’t perform comedy, I write comedy. Those are two very different pursuits. I’m much funnier on paper than in real life. And I care as much about writing as I care about wine, maybe more, after having spent many years studying both. But I feel a pressure to be funny with people who meet me and are fans, or even critics, of my blog, which makes me contemplative and recalcitrant in person. I don’t want to be the HoseMaster on a daily basis. Would you? So, yes, a disappointment.

The editor of Vineyard and Winery Management, Tina Caputo, seems to be a fan of my work. I’ve never met Tina, but I hope to one day. Not because she’s a fan, but because I know her work and admire it. The most recent encounter I had with Linda Murphy my brilliant interviewer, was in the parking lot of our local indepently-owned grocery store in Healdsburg, Big John’s. I was getting into my car with bags full of groceries when a woman asked me if I was Ron. I said I was, and Linda introduced herself and said kind things about my blog. I really need to get rid of my California vanity license plates. Mine say “HOSMSTR.” I’ve had those plates almost thirty years. Maybe it’s time to let them go.

All this to get to the link to the interview. Warning—there are also photos. You may want your children to leave the room.

The HoseMaster of Wine™ Comes Clean.

25 comments:

Don Clemens said...

As always, insight into the mind of the "Master" is helpful - and entertaining! Keep up the fight, Ron! You have friends!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Don,
Thanks. The best thing is I have something to publish on a Thursday that was already finished and done a while ago. Like having the day off!

Yes, even I have friends. No accounting for taste.

David Pierson said...

Blinky refused your handshake?? what an honor.. ya gotta laff.. You're not a laugh riot in person?? Geez.. I was looking forward to some laffs over a sip with you.. reminds me of Keith Richards in his auto saying the image was something to live up to.. he hasn't done dope in 30 plus years but everyone still expects Mr Dope Vampire.. pretty funny in a Stones doc.. there's a press conference around 73 I think and a reporter tells Richards about a top ten list of rock stars most likely to die.. oh yeah? Yes, you're number one on the list and he just shrugs it off, I'll let you know, he says.. meanwhile he looks like death warmed over.. but he's still out there rockin at 71.. right on Keef!! you're my inspiration!!

imkarenp said...

Thanks much for your contribution to the wine world and more importamtly, for satisfying my selfish need for satire!

Marcello Cancelli said...

Ron, you are a breath of fresh air. Ok, perhaps not so fresh after all these years but your humble rumblings about yourself are beautiful. A breath of cold air?
You assure us we are not alone in the wilderness. Thank you.
Hope to run into you one day. Keep the plates for identification purposes...

Quizicat said...

Feel free to tell me 'Fuck off it's none of your business', but how do you actually manage to live on 8 cents an hour? You can't even afford Mad Dog at the rate. Perhaps a gigolo? It's not easy to be a bon vivant, man about town. Just curious.

Aaron said...

Grey wouldn't shake your hand? That's just not nice :( I just lost a tiny bit of respect for him. If you can't take a joke, go live somewhere else or join in!

Got nothing else...except this made me think of you, Oh Great HoseMaster!

Sorry it's a FB link, but it's worth the watch
https://www.facebook.com/adan.sumiller/videos/125819008642

Nigel said...

You look different that I imagined - I thought maybe Hugh Hefner or George Hamilton, with a tuxedo or perhaps smoking jacket and cravat. It's not that I'm disappointed because you actually look like my dearly departed Uncle "Mad Dog" John, who used to like a drop of sherry before lunch. Thanks for doing the interview - I like your satire as well as The Ephemera. It takes an expert on the subject to do good satire and an expert writer to maintain a blog following. I don't always comment on blogs but when I do, I prefer to comment on The HoseMaster!

BobFoster said...

I had W Blake Grey on my panel at the state fair 3 years ago. I nearly pulled out the few hairs I still have on my head.

Ed C said...

A peek behind the curtain is always a welcome event, particularly when someone is known for something as anonymous as a blog. Although I haven't laid eyes on you for over 40 years (not loving how that sounds..) you still have that same, unmistakable, goofy grin -- even if it's now on the body of Omar Paxson. You'll get to see me in the next issue of Occidental Magazine, so you can retaliate then!

Daniel said...

Wow...it's like seeing a picture of a radio DJ, the magic gets ruined!

I was expecting more of a Dr. Demento look, but with one of those beer helmets with the straws (with bottles of wine). I might just keep that image...

"pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"

Bob Henry said...

I liked your photos better with a beard:

http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/As-wine-blogs-mature-what-s-the-impact-3199405.php

With apologies to Eve Peabody [*]:

"You know, it... it does something for your face: it gives you a chin."

[* http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B05E2DE113EE33ABC4E53DFB2668382629EDE ]

Ron Washam, HMW said...

David,
No, I'm not a laugh riot in person. I'm not even laugh civil disturbance. And I don't need to be, or want to be. I can be funny when need be, but I think I intentionally play it down just to be contrary.

Karen,
I assume it's Karen P. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoy my crapola. Thanks for being a common tater.

Marcello,
Yeah, well, fresh air is highly overrated. I'm far more into hot air. The plates used to be funny to me, now they're an annoyance. But dealing with the DMV is always a nightmare, so I'll probably keep them.

Quizicat,
If I relied on this worthless blog for income, I'd be much thinner, much balder and, well, dead. Honestly, I think those who don't blog regularly, with any sort of worthwhile content, don't have the slightest idea how hard this is. You don't give a fuck, nor should you. But it's nearly thankless work. So Linda Murphy throwing me a proverbial bone, which is all I can get at my age, is a nice kind of thanks.

Aaron,
I don't want anyone to shake my hand that doesn't want to. I don't care. I had several witnesses to it, so I'm safe on the truth issue. I don't make shit up. It was funny. And telling.

Love Benny Hill! Stupid and corny and funny. My kind of fool. Thanks for the link.

Nigel,
Thank you, those are kind words. I'm completely surprised by my "following." Honored, and thrilled, but surprised. And I'm surprised that anyone wants to interview me. I'm boring. Obviously. And ugly. Which isn't exactly newsworthy. Unless you're Bruce Jenner, or Caitlyn Jenner, or both. And I look like shit in a dress. So like Caitlyn Jenner.

Bob,
Same judging where he wouldn't shake my hand. I remember your agony. Join the club, Bob, you got Blinkied.

Ed,
I'm not much behind the curtain. Just like every comedy writer, we're not those people, but we're hardly mysterious. Just lonely and out of the public eye. However, you did manage to make me wish I'd never gone to Oxy.

Daniel,
Yes, I have a face for blogging. Believe me, I've met a lot of bloggers, they're damned ugly folks for the most part. We get by on charm.

Bob,
Well, my noble chin is more like noble rot. Makes me sweet and honeyed.

Neil Shea said...

Ron
Nice to read you from the other side,'twas refreshing and enjoyable like your rants. Keep going

Cheers mate.

Francly Speaking said...

I hope that your self confessional helps to inspire you for many years. Knowing we are losing Jon Stewart, in short order, it would be unthinkable to find out you have decided to retire, again. I liken your "linoleum Project' to Stewart's spewing Glen Beck! Brilliant, oh yeah,
perhaps you forgot Voltaire in your list of greats? Keep the vanity plate.

Aaron said...

Well, no, just a shame that he didn't _want_ to shake your hand. Hell, if I ever start blogging and get marginally popular, I HOPE you take some pot-shots at me. Keep my head from getting too big ;)

And thanks for letting me know who it was, I had no clue, so now I can look up some of his other stuff :)

Divine Miss M said...

Ah, Ron, but you are funny in person - just a kinder, gentler type of funny, and very good company. Happy to share a glass with you any day.

Charlie Olken said...

I have stayed away from this conversation because, for me, it is a little like "inside baseball". But, I think you have nailed it in your most recent comments. You are quieter in person, and that did take me a bit of getting used to, but you can also be funny when the spirit moves you. A stand-up comic, you are not. No reason why you should be--although the Hosemaster, which is one extension of your lifelong forays into humor, could easily lead anyone to think that you might be.

My best friend in high school was one of those guys who was always "on". He loved it until it got to the point where it was demanded of him. That never worked. And, he never "wrote" his material, it just came out of him non-stop. Much of it was stuff he had heard elsewhere, and some it was total improv at the moment. We talked a bit of doing a piece for the HS comedy night, but he could not deliver a staged line--or even write one.

He was very hilarious in his own way--and the common taters obviously appreciate your own brand of humor in the format that works for you. That's enough for me--although you are not exactly tongue-tied in public either.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Neil,
Thanks, and thanks for being a common tater. I'll keep going until I don't. That's my promise.

Francly,
I've been interviewed now and then before Linda, and the questions tend to be pretty similar. I think you'd find that most people who write comedy and satire are pretty serious folks, for the most part, who channel their anger with humor. It's a wonderful self-defense mechanism as well as a way to deal with all of our self-loathing.

I don't belong in the same paragraph as Jon Stewart.

Aaron,
What's interesting is that after all these years of insulting people, lampooning them, the request I get most often is a request from writers and bloggers to please make fun of them. There's a tendency for folks to say, after I've gone after them, "Oh, man, you've made it, you got Hosed." I guess that's flattering.

I'm more careful now who I pick on. Many of the folks I don't especially like personally, or find distasteful, I don't write about. Ignoring them, now, is my best revenge. Which sounds like I'm bragging, but I'm not. I'm a tiny little poodle in a tiny little kennel.

Ah, Miss M,
A joy to see you here, and I love your company as well. Thank you for the kind words. I like to think I'm good and thoughtful company. More cerebral than hilarious. Well, cerebral as in "bald."

Charlie,
As you point out, writing comedy and delivering comedy are two very different things. Many funny people are only funny in context, give them a pen and ask them to write jokes and they haven't a clue how to do that.

I never wanted to be funny. Never. I wanted to write jokes. Sounds contradictory, but it isn't. Writing jokes is a kind of poetry. It comes from a strange place, and it's all about rhythm and timing. It's more akin to music than anything else. I feel no need to make people laugh when I'm with them. I do strive to make them laugh when they read my work.

I often hear, and have often read, that I'm a disappointment in person. Not very funny. I don't take that as an insult, but as a simple statement of fact. I don't know where the expectation comes from, maybe it's Mel Brooks' fault. I just don't care to be funny. I once knew dozens of brilliant comedy writers, and I can tell you for a fact that they are not that funny sitting at the dinner table either. A few are, but most are not.

So when you meet me, folks, be prepared. I am not the HoseMaster of Wine™. I just write his material.

Thomas said...

Nice interview. How much did they charge you for it?

When I met you I thought you were a scream. Of course, we sat a mile apart and you said nothing to me, but I could tell you were a scream because you didn't stop laughing.

Seriously: a nice interview.

Samantha Dugan said...

Thomas! You sat a me apart and while clearly revoltingly giant, I'm not quite a mile long....yet.
Humprf.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,
Well, let's put it this way. I did all the work, Linda Murphy got the check.

But without Linda, there's no interview (and, of course, Tina Caputo contributed), so I should be grateful.

I wasn't a scream, it was more a cry for help.

Thanks, Thomas. But I should probably be more like J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon from now on. Well, the rich part anyway.


My Gorgeous Samantha,
That was a great night. Dinner was fun, too.

I love you!

Thomas said...

Sam:

Was that you???

Edgar Znutins said...

I know how you look now.
It's almost like I ordered a wine in a restaurant and before it was opened, took a picture to check its score on vivino just to make sure I'm getting the 'right stuff' you know..

Sydney said...

I'd say your satire is better than Swift's, although "Blank Space" is pretty catchy. Very nice interview, indeed!