Monday, May 16, 2016

The Walrus and the Winemaker

The sun was shining on the vines,
  Shining with all his might.
He did his very best to raise
  The sugars to great height—
And this was odd because it was
  The middle of the night.

The Cab was ripe as ripe can be,
  High 20’s was the Brix.
“I can add some acid later,
  And some water to mix.
And then a lot of new French oak
  Should fool those stupid pricks.”

The Walrus and the Winemaker
  Were walking close at hand.
They laughed to think about the way
  wine ratings were pre-planned:
“A Hundred Points! A classic wine!
  The scores we share are canned.”

“If seven chimps with seven scales
  Gave ratings for a year,
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
  “That they would be less clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Winemaker,
  And shed a bitter tear.

“O, Suckers, come and walk with us!”
  The Walrus did beseech.
“We promise that we’ll take the time
  To clarify and teach!
Ignore our silly numbers, it’s
  Our adjectives we preach!”

The eldest Sucker looked at him,
  He dearly loved a rating.
A wine that scored a hundred points
  Was cause for masturbating.
Big scores to him were mother’s milk—   
  And critics were lactating.

“I sucked the teat of Spectator
  And nursed on Robert Parker.
Galloni’s nipples must be sore,
  I’m sure that Boone’s are darker.
I’m such a chump,” the Sucker said,
  “Each one’s a carny barker.”

But more young Suckers hurried up
  Enchanted by the numbers.
The Walrus published countless ones,
  Their pointlessness encumbers—
That sort of shit is usually the
  Provenance of plumbers.

“I hate the scores, their emptiness,”   
  The Winemaker abjured.
“I only use them in my press,
  Of this I can’t be cured.”
And not a single Sucker saw
  He was a lying turd.

And more consumers followed them,
  Then more and more and more.
And thick and fast they came at last
  And purhased just by score.
This made the Walrus very rich,
  The Winemaker a whore.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
  “To talk of many things:
Of points—and pics—and paid placements
  Of what your dollars bring—
And why integrity matters some,
  But dollars fucking sing!”

“But that can’t be,” the Suckers said,
  “The numbers are so clear.
They help us buy the wines we want
  Without an ounce of fear.
And ignorance is bliss, you know,
  When you take it up the rear.”

“’Tis ignorance,” the Walrus said,
  "That makes you lovely Suckers.
Come follow us and praise our skill—
  The wines all taste like Smucker’s!”
“They do,” the Winemaker had to say,
  “You stupid motherfuckers.”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
  “To play them such a trick.
To make them spend their hard earned bucks
  On numbers that mean dick.”
“Oh well,” replied the Winemaker,
  “It makes the business tick.”

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said,
  “I deeply sympathize.
The wines you make are dull and crap,
  And based upon my lies;
You only live to hear my scores,
  But here is the surprise:

“I taste your best wines only once
  And then I’m in a hurry.
I’ve tasted hundreds on that day,
  My senses are quite blurry.
But I really do not give a crap—
  I’m both the judge and jury.

“The scores I give are etched in stone.
  They cannot be debated.
You’re fucked because I say you’re fucked,
  You’re highly overrated.
I’ve found a new guy on the block—
  The public’s never sated.

“You’ll never get big scores again,
  Your numbers will be less.
I’ll give high scores to those who know   
  To kowtow to the Press.
You live by points, you die by points—
  In Peace, I hope, you Rest.”

“O Walrus,” said the Winemaker,
  “I’ve had a pleasant run.
I scored a lot of Parker points
  I had a load of fun.
The wines I made were not that good—
  Yet I sold every one.

“So I don’t mind those days are gone,
  No, not the slightest bit.
Let’s take the Suckers home,” he cried.
  But silence greeted it.
And this was scarcely odd
  Because he’d killed the piece of shit.


Don Clemens said...

Wow! I'm not sure what prompted this particular piece, but it was amazing! Jabberwocky was never quite that interesting to me before - I may have to get our my Lewis Caroll stuff for an intensive re-read. Thanks, Ron, for getting my Monday off to a proper start!

Mark Rader said...

Well, you have raised a long-treasured art form to a new level. Or something...

Unknown said...

Can "Jabberwine" be far behind?

jock said...

What a memory. My father could recite that from memory when I was young and I in turn memorized it to recite to my children. Your update is brilliant. Thank you.

PaulG said...

Beware the Jabbing Schmucks my son!
The scores that bite, and claw and scratch!!
Beware – they'll flip the bird, when done,
For them you are no match!
They’ll take their verbal swords in hand:
Long time the retail trade they mock --
And ne’er will rest until the best
Are trembling in their socks.
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The verbal blade goes snicker-snack!
They left some dead, the rest have fled
In fear of an attack!
“But has thou slain the Jabbing Schmucks?!?
Come to my arms, my beamish Hose!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
I’m laughing to my toes....

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Common Taters,
First of all, Bravo! Paul. Nicely played. Your more regular presence here has been missed. Thanks for this.

I wrote the "Alice in Naturaland" piece for Tim Atkin, and for that I was rereading "Alice in Wonderland." Against my better judgment, I decided to take a crack at doing a parody of one of Carroll's amazing nonsense poems. "Jabberwocky" didn't occur to me, but I've always adored "The Walrus and the Carpenter," so I just jumped in head first and began to write. I had absolutely no idea where the poem was going, and I still don't really know what it means.

I always try to vary the pace and style on HoseMaster of Wine™. Doing the same crap over and over is tiresome and, ultimately, rather disheartening. I don't know how someone like STEVE! manages. I knew that my Trump piece would get a lot of hits, and it did, but I hate pandering in the blog world--which is incessant and pathetic. I write to exercise my sense of the absurd, and no matter how many hits I get, I still work for free. So following a Trumptastrophe with a bit of whimsy (with some profanity) appeals to me.

I tend to fall in love with ideas and styles for a while, then abandon them. I've fallen for Pulp Fiction parodies, Lo Hai Qu (yeah, I miss her, too), Blind Reviews, plus too many others to name; and now "Alice in Wonderland" and Trump. Sometimes I think I'm not exercising my sense of the absurd, but exorcising my sense of the absurd. In any case, thank you all for indulging me.

Charlie Olken said...

Book !!

Yes, the sayings of the HoseMaster of Wine.

A little organization. A couple of new pieces. Maybe an end to one of the MW/MS mysteries. It could be done.

There are at least 28 regulars here who would buy it.

Unknown said...

the Alice in Wonderland pieces have been great. You're a heck of a writer

Ron Washam, HMW said...

If I were you, I'd wait for the e-paperback. Much cheaper.

If I write a book then I'd have to blind review it, and I can be so cruel. Worse than that, I'd have to write it. And I barely have time to do this stupid blog. AND, I actually have fewer regulars than I once had (part of the problem with being around too long and being a bit weird), so it's more like seven regulars. Who can just send me money and cut out the middleman.

Spoken like a new father. Thanks. You're a heck of a common tater.

Marcia Macomber said...

#7 or #28 checking in! (Choose!) That was quite a hoot. The problem with Carroll is that it CAN send your mind spinning off down a rabbit hole. And which way is up? Who knows, but if you tune into the HoseMaster, you'll find out! Bravo!

Charlie Olken said...

Yes, Ron. Writing a book is not all fun. Some of it is work. But, most of it is fun because books are just extensions of what we write anyhow. And we write because we enjoy it.

Marsha and I volunteer (sorry, Marsha for not asking first) to catalog your existing writings and figuring out how to make a complete and useful whole of the what already exists.

I guarantee at least twenty-eight sales. I can give one to each of my family members who shows up like clockwork at Thanksgiving. Now, there is a start.

Thomas said...

There's a book in here somewhere, but I caution those who think blog comment taters--or anyone else, for that matter--buys books. Sales of mine seem to disprove the idea that anyone reads books.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
You know I am a HUGE fan of these pieces. I think it showcases your brilliant ability to capture another writer's voice. Really is amazing sweetheart. I loved The Walrus and the Carpenter when I was a kid so this was a wonderful remake of a much adored piece, now with my beloved wine, and refusal to use points, written with the wit of a man a so adore. Was like a much needed snuggle.

Hey! I bought your book dammit. My history buff of a son is going to read it first but I can't wait kid.

Thomas said...


So that was your purchase that gave me a bump on Amazaon! ...and Sam, you are another person who should write a book.

While I too see books in these writings, I suspect Ron knows that the audience for wine-centric satire is rather limited, not to mention the unimaginatve among us who find satire damaging to their self importance.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Old Time Common Taters,
With Charlie, Thomas, Marcia and My Gorgeous Samantha here, I think we have a quorum.

First of all, the talk is silly because I am not going to publish a book. Not in this day and age, and not, as Thomas points out, a book of time-sensitive wine satire. When you get married, in a few months everyone asks you when you're going to have kids--whether you want them or not. Write an insipid and worthless blog and get a significant audience, and everyone asks you when you're going to write a book--whether you care about publishing a book or not.

Is it flattering to be asked? No. Not really. I value my little audience here a great deal, but I'm quite content without the $40 I'd make from a book.

Don Clemens said...

Ron, thanks for the sobriety test. I am happy that I have enough time to devote to your (to me, at least) continuously entertaining blogs. A book? I think I'd need to join AA.
Keep up the good fight!

Samantha Dugan said...

Is it gracious to tell people that you aren't flattered by their admiration? No, not really. Is it genuine, fuck I hope not. I don't think anyone was assuming you'd get rich writing a book, I think they were just hoping to read more of you.
Just sayin'
I love you....

Bob Henry said...

On selling a book of repurposed Hosemaster blogs, ". . . regulars . . . can just send me money and cut out the middleman."

Just get sued again (The Donald* piece didn't do it?) and we'll once more send you money for your legal defense fund.

(*"Donald Trump Promises To Sue The Media For Negative Stories About Him If He's Elected President" )

Clement said...

$40? Yeah right...