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Archive for May, 2010


I attended a wine/food fair this afternoon.  Prince Edward County has yet to find a good red.  They are all thin, no finish, no body reds.  The whites are OK, but price points are silly.  $24 for reasonable Chardonnays, and adequate Rieslings.  After ten years in the ground, you’d think the roots would have had enough time to go deep enough to find the minerals and flavour that makes you go WOW!  But not so.  If the wineries here think they can go on forever selling wine to bus tours, then power to them.  I for one can find spectacular wines for half the price these guys think they can command.  But the absurd highlight of the afternoon happened at Kent-He’s booth.  The winemaker is a respected originator of the wine industry in this county.  And a pretty good writer.  But picture this.  I approached the booth and asked to try their Pinot Noir, supposedly a spectacular vino.  I had to cough up $4 for a piddly sampling.  The winemaker then directed my eyes to a more sensibly presented goblet of the stuff.  So I picked it up, did the sniff and thought, hmmm…. that’s a pretty fine nose.  Holds promise.  Let’s see what the flavour has to offer.  I quaffed a mouthful and was immediately reproached for having tasted the stuff.  Apparently, the big goblets were meant for sniffing only!  If you wanted to taste the stuff, you had to sip from the little sampling glass that came with your entry fee.  Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?  I mean, if I offer a guest a glass of wine, the assumption is that I can drink from the receptacle proffered.  I had apparently committed a grievous error in tasting from the public sniffing glass.  Did they really mean that this goblet was meant solely for smelling?  Whose snot and boogers had visited the glass before me?  Whose bacteria laden breath had tainted this wine prior to my arrival?  It was a scenario worthy of SNL.  And the wine just died on my palate.  Thin, no lingering flavour, nothing.  Just washed out coloured water.  They charge $40 per bottle for this plonk!  We lasted an hour there.  The most satisfying part of the day’s adventure was a stop at Oeno art gallery, where we lucked into an opening exhibit.  Decent chardonnay and exceptional cheese from Fifth Town Artisan Cheese.  I’m talking about the kind of cheese that makes you swoon.  Goats milk.  Heavenly stuff.  I’ll buy the cheese.  But PEC wines are at this stage only suitable for people who like flavoured water, at least the reds.  Whites you could buy, but for the price, don’t bother wasting your money.  I still marvel, hours later, at the ridiculous notion of offering a glassful for smelling only.  Is there not any lcbo or health & safety regulation against such silly presentation?  Smell, but don’t think of drinking it!  Time to quaff some real wine from Italy!

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Well, you had to figure this was going to happen.  Just got off the phone with my Dad, and he’s admitted Mom to a nursing home, again.  But thankfully a different one this time.  And, she has one of her neighbors as a co-resident, that should help to alleviate at least some stress and resistance.  Dad had a meeting at the home this am, and I knew Mom would end up in the home.  Things are just too much for pop to handle, he tried but Mom is on the downhill side of the slope, and she’s not going to climb up any more.  Complicating matters, is the fact I have a brother who is not much help.  He’s been dealing with his own life dilemmas.  Enough about that, too personal to share on the net.  And so the saga continues, Milvi God bless her, has taken up residence in St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas.  It has better cred than the last home she was in.  And looks like your faithful scribe will be adding km’s to  his car again as he embarks on the difficult path of continually managing the family problems.  Who ever voted me into this position?

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It’s a beautiful Wednesday evening.  Still 28C bitchin hot.  I’ve been hanging out with the in-laws all afternoon.  Normally, I’d say entertaining them, but today it seems that we have been enjoyng each others company enormously.  Of course, the prodigious quantities of wine and beer have  added a new perspective, one which you usually do not have the pleasure of enjoying with kin.  Especially kin so far removed from your generation.  But we’re having a blast.  Checked out the kid’s new music studio/crash pad out back.  We have some land here, so I cleared out one of the out buildings and turned it into son’s music studio/shaggin palace.  Well, that’s a stretch, he is 12.  But picture this.  Your own crash pad, hang with your buddies, and other “friends”.  Spin some tunes.  Create some tunes. And all this can be done in the privacy of your very own house.  Never mind your own room.  We’ve given our kid his own house!  You know what.  He will use it marvellously.  What is the downside to this move?  Kid has his buddies come by, we can see (well, more or less) what is going on, and they are nearby, out of harm’s way. 

Que mas.  Back to the in-law story.  They came down to see grandson in the school play.  We will go watch that tomorrow, but I have enjoyed just chatting with them tonight.   The play will be a bonus.   And don’t forget to check out “eco burica” on facebook or go to our website www.ecoburica.com  for a holiday that is out of this world!

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Just a rant


I said I’d write about my $177 oil change but I’ve lost interest.  Suffice to say, a simple oil change ended up costing me $177 because I had asked the dealer to look into the engine light that kept coming on, even after they had previously replaced some cam sensor that was supposedly the problem.  This time it became a “maintenance” issue because I had let more than 5,000 miles go bewtgeen oil changes.  I drove 6,500 miles, big deal.  Long story short, I tired of listening to their circuitous arguments about oil sludge mucking up the sensor, and as my buddy enlightened me, there is no engine sensor that does an oil analysis.  I walked into the shop asking for an oil change, to look at why the sensor light was on again, and I left $177 poorer.  Any way, adios Bob Clute  and your dealership! When GM finally shuts your doors as one of the surplus dealers they eliminated after their own financial woes, you can remind yourself about how lousy your customer service was, that maybe those kinds of stories trickled to Detroit and the VP’s took notice.

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This is from an interview with Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of “The Global Forest”.  This book will change the way you look at trees.

They are absolute geniuses at chemistry.  Trees produce allelochemicals, which actually scrub the ground around the tree of all kinds of growth that the tree doesn’t want to have there.  And trees do mothering – they prepare the ground for their own children to grow.  In fact, the largest living thing in the world is a poplar grove that has cloned itself and it’s about two hectares in overall area.  As well as that, trees produce aerosols, and the aerosols have all kinds of amazing qualities.  Consider a child with a deficit disorder – take that child into a pine forest on a warm day, and a compound called alphapinene that’s extruded into the air will actually help to stabilize the child’s breathing mechanism.  It’s an antibiotic that also has a mild narcotic action on the brain, allowing the child to function better, to be smarter.

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Well, I treated myself to an early father’s day present.  Bought a honking large BBQ.  4 burners plus a side burner to do corn and other sundry veggies.  700 sq in of cooking grill.  Shiny stainless steel all around.  The price was just too ridiculous to pass up.  Enjoyed our first meal tonight.  Pork chops, broccoli and rice.  That BBQ heats up in no time.  It really is a guy thing, unless there are some femmes out there who beg to differ.  But to be standing in front of your new BBQ, wine glass in hand, and flippers (OK, tongs or whatever the “real” terminology is,) ready to flip those protein chunks at the exact right time, it is a wonder of our summer experience.  My neighbor was so impressed that he drove into town and bought himself one as well.  Like he needed a new BBQ like a hole in the head.  Hye, for $199.99 to get this beautiful piece of machinery, it is a deal.  I even paid the store another $50.00 to assemble it.  Be damnned if I was going to spend a few hours trying to decipher the instructions, only to find after 4 hours of frustration, that the ignition did not work.  I am pleased to report, that everythingh works just fine.  The boys at TSC put it together without a hitch.  Unlike the mechanics at Bob Clute Pontiac who totally ripped me off yesterday.  More about that tomorrow.  Now I think I’m gonna go get “Reservoir Dogs” and spend an evenign with the young lad watching a Tarantino classic.  Pura Vida!

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I’m attending a function tonight celebrating one of my son’s ex teachers achievements.  She was awarded educator of the year honors in our area.  That’s no small feat.  To be singled out amongst her colleagues, all of whom are probably pretty darn good educators in their own right.  It takes a special breed of person to handle disparate groupings of kids day in and day out, year in and out.  To bring them a love of learning while maintaining discipline and order in the classroom.  And believe me, there were times in her classroom when discipline was sorely tested.  You can’t just whack a kid with a ruler anymore when they get out of line.  Frankly, I sometimes wonder if that is progress or not.  Teaching is a career that my patience could not handle with the grace and endurance Sheryl has exhibited.  So way to go teacher, hope you let your hair down tonight and enjoy the accolades.

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