Monday, December 21, 2009

My Christmas Thank Yous

The past year at HoseMaster of Wine has been about The Million Point Scale (which gives me 999,999 more points than Fox News--their only point is ignorance is covered by the First Amendment) and The M.S. Conspiracy (wiggling my once private dick at every passing sommelier wannabe), about Jess "Huckleberry" Jackson and Gary "the Human Stain" Vaynerchuk, about 82 posts and about 82 posts too long. I've taken potshots at just about everyone in the wine and blog business who I think deserves it, and a bunch that didn't. Along the way I may have said six funny things. But, hey, somebody has to be the jackanapes around here.

I rarely step out of the HoseMaster character on this blog, and, believe me, the HoseMaster is a fictional character, just like Tiger Woods, but Christmas is a time for gratitude and reflection. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea why I continue to crank out this garbage week after week. There's no money in it, there's no fame or glory in it, only nine people read it. Wine blogs, I've come to believe, are, for the most part, tools for self-promotion--not the promotion of the enjoyment and culture of wine, but the self-promotion of the clown writing the blog. And I'm not interested in self-promotion. Self-abuse, sure, that's an area I like to keep my hand in, but not self-promotion. So why do I continue to throw blog grenades at all the fools, spend countless hours writing "humorous" posts, waste enormous energy trying to come up with something original to say a couple of times a week? I'm an unemployed idiot, that's why.

I began this blog because I was bored and felt some primitive urge, more peristaltic than anything, to express myself. The attention barking of a lonely poodle. When I began to look at wine blogs I was dumbfounded by what passes for thought, writing and wine tasting skill. I searched and searched for writers and found typists. I went looking for originality and found the same old stuff in April, May and Jejune. I thought it would be fun to have a little fun with the whole thing. And it has been fun, though perhaps not as fun as I'd hoped. Turns out it's a lot of work. This is what so many wine bloggers discover and why, gratefully, so many of them abandon their blogs. Wander through the blog list over at Fermentation and it's like walking through an abandoned shopping mall; you can hear the echo of your cyber-footprint as you walk by empty shell after empty shell, the bankrupt sounds of yet another really stupid idea. Really, when you think about it, who needs another B. Dalton Books or Spencer's Gifts? But wine blog lists are filled with them.

But as we near Christmas and the end of 2009, I wanted to say thank you to a few people specifically, and to everyone in HoseMasterWorld in general.

Thank you, Kathleen. My wife, surely the object of much pity, has steadfastly encouraged me to keep working on HoseMaster of Wine and put up with all of my self-loathing and frustration, the job requirements for writing comedy. It is your laughter and love that have inspired me to work week after week at this foolishness, and I am grateful to be married to you. I never knew Beauty until I stepped inside your heart.

Thank you, My Gorgeous Samantha. Everyone who reads this blog and Samantha Sans Dosage thinks that Samantha and I are old friends. We've never met. We began an online mutual admiration society which blossomed offline into a very meaningful and powerful and wonderful relationship. Samantha is a woman of enormous talent, courage, wisdom, kindness, love and wit. If the only thing I had received because of this stupid blog was my love for Samantha it would have been far more than enough. When this blog goes the way of the polar bears, shot by Sarah Palin, I'll still have my Samantha.

Thank you, Tom Wark. Ask most wine bloggers who gave them the best advice and the ones who don't say "Jack Kevorkian" all say Tom Wark. When I began HoseMaster of Wine last year it was Tom's notice that drove my traffic and gave me some motivation to continue. I think he might be the only blogger who likes when I make fun of him, surely the sign of a quality human being. And all of the advice he gave me about blogging was wise and given unselfishly. Thanks, Tom. You still owe me lunch.

Thank you, Charlie Olken. When you spend a career admiring someone's work and then find that they like yours, it is very satisfying and meaningful. Thanks, Charlie, it was an honor to meet you, and a blast to travel to Livermore and taste wine with you. Your comments on my blog lend me some of your credibility, which I can never repay. Again, as with Samantha, your acquaintance, which came because of this crap, has enriched my life.

Thank you, Anonymous 1. I know who Anonymous 1 is in real life, if you call that real, but you know him as the guy whose comments are funnier than my posts. So, yeah, thanks Anonymous 1.

Thank you, Marcia Macomber. I love your comments, I love your participation, I adore you. I still wish you'd write a chapter of The M.S. Conspiracy though. And meet me for a drink some day.

Thank you, Arthur. You lend an air of dignity to this cesspool and I appreciate it. I see your name in my comment section and I don't know what to expect. Keep makin' me nervous.

So many others who comment now and then. Diane, my Wine Bitch, I adore you. Erin, where are you, have you forsaken me? Don't let your blog go under. K. Mahoney, my newest friend, a woman with but an initial, thank you for being here. D J R-S, my Puerto Rican Fan Club, thanks for your kind words. I do very much appreciate each and every one of you participating in my foolishness and pantagruel.

To all of those who I may have offended in the past six months, thank you for understanding that it's all in good fun. Like all truth.

And to all of you who read HoseMaster and wisely choose to remain faceless, I hope I've given you a few laughs this past year. Thank you for reading and telling your friends. I hope I can bring everyone a few more smiles in 2010.

Merry Christmas!

Ron Washam


Samantha Dugan said...

You humble me.
You are so stuck with me now.
I love you my dear, sweet friend.
It is an honor to call you that.
An honor to know & love you.
Thank you for
Big Hugs
Sloppy kisses

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

If we keep this up I'm going to have to put a warning label on the blog for diabetics.

You know how I adore you. Thank you for a fabulous six months of love and friendship.

Charlie Olken said...

One of the first things I ever said to you was that I know how hard it is to write comedy. Now, I admit that some folks laugh at everything I do, ( I forgive them because they know not what they do) but I used to write a periodic column called Thoughts While Shaving, and it was fun to do and funny--for about three months. And then it became real work. And then it got less funny. And then it disappeared altogether.

And I was honored that you would suggest that I write a chapter of The MS Conspiracy. So, I tried. No can do. Real comedy, of the type that lasts beyond a few cheap gags, is not a gift that most of us possess.

You have it, and I wish there were more outlets for it than just the Hosemaster. It may be hard to do, but you have a wider audience than you know. Was not the Hosemaster rated 69th on the wine blog list? Or did you pay someone for that ranking? Hard to believe you could have got it for free. It was well deserved. Who wants to be a tree when you can be The Hosemaster?

Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy to you and to all my friends who post here including Anon 1, whose name I dare not reveal because I am guessing, but, I really only know one person who calls me Mr. Olken, Sir, other than the dog (no wait, that is Mr. Olken, grrr).

Keep it up, Ron, someone has to make wine fun.

Marcia Macomber said...

Thank you, Mr. Hosemaster, Sir! It has been a pure pleasure to check in every week on the Conspiracy and other HMW dispatches. Important lessons have been learned from your posts (such as no sipping any beverage of choice immediately before reading to ensure it doesn’t end up squirting out one’s nose).

This post: 999,999 points!

You’re on your own to see where the Conspiracy goes. For reasons previously posted you know we wouldn’t dare attempt a chapter, but we’ll all wait with baited breath (and glass in hand) for the next episode (something about the midget’s glass being…half full…?)

We’ll do that drink sometime when I’m over on the Wine Road…or perhaps in conjunction with a paddle down the Russian River past Healdsburg. (You can work that into the MS Conspiracy, right? Have I got stories on canoeing wipeouts while taking the river’s bends @H-burg …. Canoeing past the vineyards is most agreeable when imbibing on the river, another form of drinking while driving, er, paddling. Otherwise, it is soooo much work!)

Merry Xmas, Ron!

Erin M. said...

I'm here! I'm here! This holiday season has dealt me a 6-day work week at the wine bar. And crappy tips. Santa will surely leave coal for those folks.

Thanks for the mention, and for being one of the few wine blogs that I seek out and read on a weekly basis.

I adore the HMW, but more so, Ron.

Samantha Dugan said...

Goood point...let's go back to talking shit on people that piss us off.

Diane said...

Dear HMW,
I'm still here! Since my cheap-ass boyfriend dumped me - I never understood what a 'two-buck chuck" was until I met him. Hey, I'm a nasty girl and I thought it meant . . . well, you know.

Anyway, for me to suck down a decent charmes chambertin means answering my 976 line a lot more than I care.

Keep up the writing, you are my tracy jordan.

Your wine bitch,


BTW: Your best post of the year, was the one that displayed awesome courage to write. You know the one. That scored a 999,999!

The rest of the posts? Didn't you once say, "it's only wine."

Diane said...

Dear HMW,
I'm still here! Until meeting my cheap-ass boyfriend - I thought "two-buck chuck" was . . . well, you know, I'm a nasty girl at heart, what can I say. He can keep his "two-freakin' chucks" to himself.

If I want to suck down the charmes chambertin, I've got the answer my 976 line more often.

Your wine bitch,


BTW: Your best post of the year was the one where you demonstrated your courage at a personal tradegy. On the Hosemater scale, it was a 999,999! Wasn't it you who said, "it's only wine at the end of the day?"

Keep writing, you are my tracy jordan.

Merry New Year!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Dear Charlie,

I have often thought that the wine business is the stuff of great comedy. It is a veritable sideshow attraction, the one where there are hundreds of inflated balloons stuck on a board and all you have to do is throw darts at them to explode them. I see myself as a dart thrower.

What you say is my "gift" I think of as my curse. It's no secret that the soul of humor rests in anger. We all try to find healthy ways to channel our anger--I guess I chose comedy. Though it feels like it chose me. And I harbor plenty of anger to last far longer than three months.

Merry Christmas to you and your lovely wife, Charlie. Hope to see you early in the New Year.

Marcia Love,

Do you get baited breath from eating bait?

Yes, please do let me know the next time you're anywhere near Healdsburg. I'd love to meet you. Thank you for all of your kind words. I didn't really mean this post to turn into a lovefest for the HoseMaster. Hell, now I feel like Steve Heimoff and 1WineDude. But comedy needs an audience, unlike endless tasting notes and insipid opinions, and I must say that few blogs have the number of articulate, intelligent, and funny readers that I have.

Merry Christmas to You, Marcia Love

Erin Sweetheart,

I adore you, I understand you're busy, but don't neglect your duties as a participant here. I sulk.

I've always sort of assumed that the sort of folks who frequent wine bars are cheap. I don't know why I'd assume that, but somehow it makes intuitive sense. Short pour the bastards.

Merry Christmas to you, Erin. Come visit me in Sonoma some day!

Diane, My Sexy Wine Bitch,

Your cheapass boyfriend dumped YOU?! Cheap and stupid--sounds like he was marriage material.

Thank you, Diane, for reading and chiming in with your always caustic wit. You certainly spice up the place.

Merry Christmas to you, Wine Bitch!

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Now you're making sense.

I adore you!

Arthur said...

[snort, crotch scratch]

It's all a facade.

A joyous winter solstice to all!

Marcia Macomber said...

My dear HMW ~

Gawd! That's so embarassing.... I shall abate further Malapropisms and bad homonymic application forthwith. My bad. You would be the one to catch my faux pas, Ron. Thank you. Keep me on my toes...wordsmith-wise.

Until my coach transporteth me anon to Hburg...sometime....

K.Mahoney said...

Thanks for the shout-out HoseMaster. You haven't scared me away yet!

Still hooked...


Anonymous said...

HoseMaster, my good nice of you to mention me in your Rogue's Gallery this holiday season! Merci Beaucoup!! It's truly an honor to be singled out with the lovely, the talented and witty Samantha (Avec ou Sans) and the former "Shave Master," the great Mister Olken, Sir.

Your blog is truly a breath of fresh air (baited or not)! This is quite refreshing in a world featuring wine bloggers who only can offer "breaths of fresh errors."

On behalf of the HoseMaster Rogue's Gallery, please wish Mrs. HoseMaster, a.k.a. Saint Kathleen, a most merry holiday season. And the same for you, mon ami ...


viNomadic said...

In a different (-- better, saner?) world, you might be head writer & producer of a couple edgy shows on HBO, with an analyst/therapist on call 24/7...but your adoring audience would be morphed by a marketing lab accident into an unstoppable supervillain name of Rating Points.
I come from a family where self-loathing only very rarely finds the kind of positive, even liberating release you seem to be achieving here. There is no weightless gift that does not burden us one way or another, there are no unmixed blessings. Maybe we get the audience we deserve?
May you enjoy the best of holiday seasons in the company of your loved ones, & may your talent be the magical seesaw on which bright & dark sides of life find playful balance...

Steven Mirassou said...


Happy Holidays, and thanks for making the trek to Livermore to taste with me. I hope you, Charlie, and I have the opportunity again. The two of you, being significantly older :), have a great deal to teach me.

You are very good at what you do, and quality anywhere, is an inspiration.

Steven Mirassou

Puff Daddy said...

You have done your Christmas thank yous, and I thank you for including me, because now that you have met me, I have turned out to be as mortal as the next taster. OK, I have some old wines in my cellar, but you get the point.

I want to suggest a New Year's column for you--not that you need inspiration, but in keeping with Tom Wark's ironic tone re who he wants for drinking buddies next year, I think you need to tell us who would like to have for drinking buddies--and yes, you cannot include this gang, because we are already buddies of one sort or another.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Anon 1,

Happy Holidays to you, my friend. I hope you enjoy a great bottle of Gewerztraminer (inside joke).

Hey DJR-S,

Yup, the ol' HoseMaster is a great release for all of my pent-up angst. Don't know what I'd do without that voice. It's just amazing I can hear it amidst the clamor of all those other voices. Especially the one telling me to release my inner Vaynerchuk.


Happy Holidays back at ya. I had a great time at Steven Kent with you and Charlie and the gang. (Unsolicited plug--anyone visiting Livermore who is not there because they were kidnapped by aliens needs to go to Steven Kent to taste their marvelous wines! Tell 'em the HoseMaster sent you.)

And thank you for the kind words.

Puff Daddy, Sir,

You're mortal? Well, there's another Christmas myth down the drain.

Your idea stolen from Tom Wark (stealing from Wark certainly proves your mortality) just might work, though I'll have to create a somewhat different format.

And you know at the top of my list will be Huckleberry Jackson!

Merry Christmas, my friend! And Happy New Year too! Don't give up too soon on that immortality thing. If anyone can do it...