Jigsaw Puzzles!

Craig McClain at Deep-Sea News always has something interesting and educational.  It’s a slow news day for him, so he posted a jigsaw puzzle made with this thing.  Cool.  Here’s one for the math and stats folks.

Don’t Pull on the Lion’s Tail

I never cease to admire the British for their ability to be reserved, polite, and understated.


There’s not much I can add to what Norm Geras, Robert Mandel, or Wretchard have to say.

Union Jack
After 9/11 we were all Americans, after 7/7 we are all Englishmen.

Update: Dave Mercer’s wife has designed a t-shirt.

Chronicles of Plonk: Papio 2003 Merlot

Geez, I love it when people are suspicious of a good deal.  The
mrs and I were out running a few errands this evening, and I suggested
we check to see if her wineshop had any of that $3.60 "monkey wine"
left. "S-u-r-e," said she, always the good sport.  Lo! and
behold!  There were cases of the plonk, stacked for the
taking.  Ten of the chardonnay, and one each of the cabernet and
the merlot, through the checkout, into the boot of the Beater, and home
in a trice [$43.20 for a case of wine? Our grocery stores sell single bottles for more than that!
Tonight we sluiced down the leftover pizza with a Papio 2003
Merlot:  nicely dry, with plenty of fruit.  Another splendid
plonk!  I recommend a case.

Flag-Burning Hissy Fits

As usual, Mark Steyn says everything I think about the proposed amendment against flag burning, only better.

the folks most incensed by the amendment call this racism:


they call this facism:


and they call this well-reasoned protest:


Speech it may be, but none of these folks are nice people.

UPDATE: Cox and Forkum share my opinion of people who want to junk up the constitution; they’re not very nice either.

Beginning: Plonk Blogging

The blogs are full of specialty blooging: catblogging, birdblogging, foodblogging, gunblogging, and wineblogging, to name a few. I read many of these with great interest (OK, I skip all that kitty-cat crap), and I especially do appreciate the connoiseurship of the winebloggers. They point me to some truly remarkable vintages, and I value their experience, taste, and insight.

However, I always tell myself "Get a franken’ grip! This is just a farookin’ bottle of wine that you and the mrs are going to gulp down with supper!" [We do a fair bit of suppertime wine-gulping.] We do not, as a rule, drink $30 wine [3 bottles per week comes to $4680 per annum, before tax and aspirin], nor $20 wine, and only rarely $10 wine. And yet, we’re not untutored savages, drinking Boone’s Farm from a brown paper coozie; we do have our standards. Therefore, we have appropriated a term from the Brits, to describe palatable table wines that are priced under $5: plonk. We love plonk.

Plonk is wonderful. For about $1800, you can have a bottle of it with every dinner of the year, and maintain a low, even buzz. You can spit the wine back into the glass [Reidel crystal if you want, you can afford it] and bellow "Lousy, all that’s missing is the pickles!" and you’ll have still gotten a full $5 value, just for an excuse to act outrageously. But more often, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much good everyday wine is out there. My suspicion is that the developed world is close to being awash in good wines, and that many of the people buying "luxurious" wines are wasting their money, not realizing that the better is the enemy of the good. When I find a great luxury wine, I might buy one or two bottles. but I know it won’t last. When I find a great plonk, I buy 2 or 3 cases, and enjoy it for months.

Today’s plonk is Papio’s 2002 Chardonnay. The mrs stumbled upon a promotion at a local wineshop: Papio was selling for $3.60 the bottle [$1314 buys a year’s supply!], so she took a flyer on one. Although I am normally not a big chardonnay drinker [I have recommended some chardonnays for suppository use only], I consented to try the Papio with this afternoon’s homemade pizza. Dang! that’s pretty good plonk! Sweet with lots of fruit, a texture similar to a good Gewurtztraminer, only the tiniest vanilla tinge, and not a trace of oak. It’s a good thing the mrs only bought the one bottle, or we’d have split two over supper. The label is goofy, and has an interesting backstory; vintner Michael Kafka is a jazz afficianado with a soft spot for jungle primates. So…his labels have monkeys playing music in the trees. Not bad for monkey wine, I say. Papio 2002 Chardonnay, go buy a case.

Happiness is buying a fine bottle of wine to go with your dinner—and getting change back from a fiver.