Both Tracie P and I had a tough week this week. Let me just put it this way, people: sometimes work is a bitch.

And so last night, when work was done, we decided to treat ourselves to an evening of dueling DJs (Tracie P took it over the top with MJ’s “Wanna Be Starting Something”), kitchen-dance-floor grooving, Polaroid self-portraits, and a bottle of 2005 Barbaresco by what is probably our favorite winery of all time in history: Produttori del Barbaresco.

The wine was bright, tannic but generously nimble in sharing its lip-smacking wild berry fruit and succulently muddy flavors. We paired with gruyère and crackers, we dedicated songs to each other, we danced around the dining room table, and we forgot all of the worries of our world. It was PRODUTTORI TIME.

Tracie P and I aren’t the only ones obsessed with Produttori del Barbaresco: one of the wine bloggers we enjoy and respect the most, Cory (and one of the funnest and nicest people to hang and taste with, above), wrote about Produttori del Barbaresco in his wrap-up to the 32 Days of Natural Wine, in a piece I highly recommend to you.

Like last year, Cory had to deal with plenty of משוגעת from folks who didn’t agree with this or that and other bullshit.* But, man, this dude deserves a medal. He’s the nicest sweetest and brightest guy and his hypertextual project, 31 32 Days of Natural Wine, represents a truly fascinating study in semiotics, not to mention an encyclopedia in fieri of natural wine around the world. Wine writing is by its very nature an affliction otherwise known as synaethesia — humankind’s overwhelming and at times unbearable urge to capture in words the literally ineffable, ephemeral, and ethereal experience of tasting wine. With his unique project, Cory has warped the boundaries of wine blogging in an exhilarantly meaningful way.

So, people, whether Puzelat or Produttori, pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine on this hottest weekend of the year, squeeze your loved ones tight and remind them how much they mean to you, remember that first kiss and the way you felt when those lips touched yours, and remember that very first moment you tasted a wine that made your heart flutter…

* Yiddish meshugas, Esp. in Jewish usage: madness, craziness; nonsense, foolishness; (as a count noun) a foolish idea; a foible, an idiosyncracy (Oxford English Dictionary, online edition).

Up in smoke in Austin…

apple juice

Above: Josh used apple juice to baste the pork shoulder.

Folks in Texas like to smoke. No, no, no… It’s not what your thinking. They like to smoke their food.


Above: Smoked pork shoulder was the main attraction.

In other places where I’ve lived, lots of folks like to break out the hibachi or Weber when summer arrives. But, in Austin, a lot of our friends will stoke up the smoker, sometimes the night before.


Above: Josh’s dad gave Seana and him this new smoker as a housewarming gift. They just moved in together and last night’s was a house-warming party. Congrats Seana and Josh!

Last night, Tracie B and me went to a “smoker” party at our friends’s, Seana and Josh.

stuffed jalapeno

Above: Bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with Philadelphia cream cheese.

Josh smoked up whole apples, whole cloves of garlic, a pork shoulder, steaks, bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese, and bratwurst.

deviled eggs

Above: Seana’s deviled eggs. All I can say is HELL YEAH! They’re almost as good as Tracie B’s Mee Maw’s. ;-)

We had a blast at the party, listening to Michael Jackson and arguing over the finer points of his career, remembering all those moments from high school when you heard a song for the first time or how many times you played it over and over on cassette tapes. (Check my friend Shawn Amos’s moving and funny remembrance of Michael Jackson.)

Congrats, Seana and Josh on y’all’s new place!

In other news: flash back 1978…

Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke was released in 1978.

The Jacksons released their first self-produced album, Destiny and their single “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” hit number 7 on the Billboard charts.

The minimum wage was $2.65 and Vietnam invaded Cambodia.

I turned 11 and my whole life changed in 1978.

I read the news today o boy: man in the mirror is gone

michael_jacksonWhere were you when you heard the news? I was outside San Antonio, at the end of the work day, in a traffic jam and on the phone with Tracie B, who saw the lugubrious headline flash across a feed on her computer screen.

Whatever your feelings about Michael Jackson (or lack thereof), you knew his name, you knew his songs, you knew his image, and you knew how he changed the world. He was one of the greatest songwriters and performers of all time and my generation came of age with him — whether you liked his music or not. I have always loved his music and his songwriting in particular.

Last night, Tracie B and I slowly sipped Clos Roche Blanche Cabernet Franc as we listened to MJ on our Ipod and danced and sang along to all of our favorite songs. Then we watched some of the Larry King conga line freak show.

I once had a job, back when I was a grad student back in the 90s, archiving video footage of Motown artists (for Berry Gordy’s publishing company Jobete). In one interview with the young Michael Jackson, the journalist asked him how he felt about racism he encountered while touring in the South. “Sometimes you go to a movie theater,” he said, “and someone says something mean and it just ruins your whole day.”

It’s amazing to think how the world changed in the arc of Michael Jackson’s lifetime — and ours.


If they say
Why, why, tell em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say
Why, why, tell em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
I like livin this way