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.

Score Inflation
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.

Great Pun
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 HoseMaster has 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™!


Thomas said...

In praise of the "better half", and despite her joke's inaccuracy, your beautiful wife gets the best laugh. Maybe some guest appearances are in order.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Yeah, it's the best joke by far. Kathleen is a great wit, so she's twice the wit I am...

For guest posts, I have Lo Hai Qu. I doubt Kathleen would appear in the same spot as Lo. And, besides, Kathleen is too busy to do something as useless as write a wine blog.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

This remark from the distinguished common tater STEVE! (Heimoff):

Glad to be on your team, HoseMaster! Or should I say: Welcome to my team!

Bob Henry said...


Once again risking the wrath of Ron with a link, there is at least one mainstream wine writer/wine critic who did, indeed, recalibrate her scoring scale when she came across transcendent wines: Jancis Robinson, M.W.

The occasion: luxuriating in tasting old vintage Yquems.

"Tasting article #20" - Jancis

So what's more perfect than "perfect" (using the British/Decanter magazine 20 point scale)?

Self-evidently, MORE perfection: 25 points (sic).

~~ Bob

Bob Henry said...


So as not to make a liar out of me, there is a "wee bit" of rewriting of history on the Yqeuem write up link I cite above.

Here's an example of the original website text posted back in September 1998:

"1811 (the year of the comet)

"A quite amazing wine, served blind with 1831, 1911 and 1931 it was the most intense, yet least evolved of the lot.

"Deep amber with green gold rim. So vibrant and multilayered on the nose, it smelt as though it was just starting to unfold, yet was utterly convincing about the treasures it had yet to give up. Spicy and rich and so, so piercingly clean. Racy, long piercing essence of cream and spice. Very, very powerful, long and complete. After 40 minutes in the glass it took on a hint of rum toffees which is not a flavour I happen to like (c.f. the greater delicacy of the 1847) but that is the only criticism I could possibly muster. This is presumably a one-off and probably deserves an even higher ranking than the 1847. 25 [Bob Henry comment: Her 25 point score exceeds her own 20 point scale.] and still a great deal to give. I hope very much to have a chance to taste it again before I die."

The link text cited above lists the score as "20" points:

"Ch d'Yquem 1811 Sauternes 20 [points] Drink ??"

Bob Henry said...

And the 1847 original review:


"The big issue of the day was whether this of the 1811 was 'better'. (Both were absolutely extraordinary. The 1847 gave me more pure tasting pleasure, but apparently this wonderfully pure scent of raspberries and vanilla cream had been apparent on the 1858 and the 1869 tasted previously, whereas there is nothing quite like the 1811 for intensity and youthfulness.) Relatively light tawny-amber. Extraordinary nose, at first perfectly ripe, warm raspberries and then heady vanilla cream. Beautifully balanced. Gentle. Delicate. Perfect texture. Nothing could be finer. 26 [points] and probably still climbing, although the 1811 will outlast it."

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Our team will completely kick the butt of those East Coast bloggers. They got nuthin'. Though now I'm thinking we need someone to dress as our Poodle mascot.

Marcia? And, no, Marcia, it can't be a dachshund.

You just can't help yourself, can you? Sigh.

I love when critics review wines that their readers will never, not ever, taste and say stupid things like "although the 1811 will outlast it." One hopes she was tongue in cheek, though, more likely, she was tongue spreading cheek.

Frankly, I thought the 1847 was much better and should get 117 points.

Bob Henry said...


A natural for your Wine Class: adopt and promote the HoseMaster of Wine 101 Point Scale™.

The final point above 100 is rewarded for graft: the best "freebie" wines and expensive wine junkets.

"Pay for play" shilling.

Compensation for an otherwise uncompensated "content creation" wine blogger.

(Does anyone doubt the overriding motive behind too many wine blogs? The pursuit of free samples . . . if wineries are gullible enough to thinks these folks have sufficient clout to "move the needle" on retail sales.)

~~ Bob

Marcia Macomber said...

I never dress my dachshund in pretty clothes! They may look cute on other doggies, but I can't bring myself to do that to her. (She does have a sweater and winter coat. But the way things are going climate-wise, she may never need them again!)

I read everything out of order in this piece. It seemed to invite jumbling the order by where the eye fell. (Hopefully not out of the head.)

Been waiting for a "Most Interesting Man in the Wine World." Nice going with the sabering!

Kathleen did have the best line though. :-)

And I loved the baseball blogging lineup! What teams!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I've already written, many years ago, about the HoseMaster's Million Point Scale. It allows for every wine I might taste to have a unique score, and begins at 1, not 500,000. Though I like your innovation of charging. Maybe every number above 900,000 could be sold as advertising space.

Marcia Love,
No, I don't want your dachshund to dress as a Poodle, I want You to dress as the Poodle mascot! You'd look adorable with a Poodle cut.

This piece was just flotsam and jetsam that needed to be cleaned up from my twisted mind. Lots of schtick, and very undernourished, but, hey, they can't all be gems.

Thanks for being such a lovely common tater.

Brian Baker said...

Guest appearance at the next dinner party with the Wine Twain and his lovely wife? Huck Fino...

Charlie Olken said...

I object. I am no No. 6 hitter. With all the soft targets out there in the blogosphere, I could hit .750.

You and I have discussed satire many times, and I know you like your comedy to have a biting edge, but just like cigars, there are time when a good joke is just a good joke.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I was just mad my beautiful wife thought of it before I did.

Come on, Charlie, I've put you right behind Samantha! Primo place to be. They'll pitch around her and you'll make them pay. It's a solid lineup.

As I said to Marcia, this piece was just a potpourri of pointlessness to serve up on Easter Monday when nobody cares. One big helping of self-indulgence, to which, as a Poodle, I am entitled. More satire will follow. I'm starting to feel mean again.

Bob Henry said...


A million point scale? Conceived years ago?

Sorry, but I've only been reading your slog -- 'cuse me, blog -- since last Spring.

Hmmm . . . maybe you can sell wine label image reproductions adjacent to the reviews and charge extra.

(Wha??? That's been "invented" too!)

Geez, this ideation brainstorming to monetize your website is hard work . . .

~~ Bob

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I'm not trying to monetize my blog, I'm trying to quit.

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh sure, make the fat girl the Rosie O'Donnell character from A League of Their Own. Whatever, least I won't have to touch any soft balls. I love you!

Alfonso Cevola said...

in fact Raj Parr does have his very own Wikipedia site

so does Edward Scissorhands

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
I sandwiched you between me and Charlie. So semi-soft balls for you. Welcome home! I missed you so. And I love you, too!

Oh, great, fictional characters have a Wikipedia page, but you and I just get Poodles. See, this is why the Intergnats sucks.

But Charlie, who deserves one, doesn't have one either! Raj Parr has one, but Charlie doesn't? That's just wrong.