"Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith."--Christopher Fry
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
House at Spew Corner
We are introduced to Winnie-the-Spew and our story begins
So here comes Christopher Robbin and his precious Bear kerplunking and headthunking down the stairs, bump, bump, bump, one at a time, having awakened Daddy, MS, from his sound, bearlike slumber. One swift kick and Christoper Robbin and Winnie-the-Spew are already downstairs for breakfast, all of their arms bent in funny and unusual ways.
"Oh, look at this, Spew, I can point in two directions at the same time with only one arm!"
"I'm sorry," says Christopher Robbin, "but I just wanted you to tell us a story. Please tell us a story, or I'll simply have to tell Mummy you've kicked us down the stairs again. And you know how much she hates that when her hands are still shackled in the morning."
Usually Bear likes some sort of game when he comes downstairs, a game of matches or running with scissors. But today Winnie-the-Spew, for that's the name Christopher Robbin most often calls him, though it's more of a girl's name and makes Bear piddle, wants to hear a story.
"And what kind of story do you want me to tell you?"
"Oh, please, not about wine and bouquets and drinking and feeling the lovely bumps on Jancis again. Spew likes stories about himself. Those are his favorite stories. Tell us about the adventures of Winnie-the-Spew!"
And so our story begins.
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, it must have been before 9/11, Winnie-the-Spew lived all by himself in the vineyards under the name of Mondavi. Winnie Mondavi. It was on a big gold-plated sign so that's how we know. This is all the explanation you're going to get.
("But what does it mean, 'under the name?'" asks Christopher Robbin.
"Shut the fuck up and listen."
"I hope you die," says Christoper Robbin.)
One day when Spew was out walking in the vineyard he came to a strange building and from the building there was a lot of noise and many strange smells. Spew sat down and stroking his chin with his paw he started to think.
"I don't have much of a brain," said Spew, "but I know that there is a lot of noise coming from this building, and there wouldn't be a lot of noise unless there was something going on. If I'm in a vineyard and most of the grapes are gone it means the noise is wine being made. And if wine is being made then there's only one thing to do. Get shitfaced."
And so Spew entered the large, strange building and there in front of him were giant, shiny steel tanks. "That must be where they keep the wine!" thought Spew. And so he began to climb. He climbed up and up, higher and higher, up and up, and while he climbed he sang a little song.
Isn't it fine How a bear likes wine? Slurp Slurp Slurp You can smell it on my burp.
He kept climbing...and climbing...and climbing...and he climbed so long that he thought of another song.
Wouldn't it be funny Wish I'd thought of it sooner If instead of tasty wine This is filled with fuckin' Gruner?
Spew was getting rather tired now but he was almost at the top. He began to sing a Complaining Song, but we shan't sing it here, and when he was through he was peering over the top of the giant, shiny steel tank.
"I wonder what it smells like," thought our nearly brainless Bear, "if it smells like melons or figs or catpee or Christoper Robbin's bed sheets, though he's nearly nine years old." To find out what the wine smelled like, Spew lowered his head into the giant, shiny steel tank and took a deep breath.
It was carbon dioxide and Spew fell into the shiny steel tank of wine and drowned.
In which we meet Eelaub and search for his nose.
One day Winnie-the-Spew was walking through Nap Valley and came across his friend, the ever-morose Eelaub.
"How are you today?" asked Winnie-the-Spew.
"What's it to ya, you stuffed piece of crap?"
"Oh, bother, you are a pompous ass. Let me take a look at you." And Spew walked round and round Eelaub until he noticed that something was missing.
"Something is missing," he said.
"Yeah, your genitalia, for one thing."
"No, it's your nose. You don't have a nose."
"Are you sure?"
"Well," said Spew, "you either have a nose or you don't have a nose. I think everyone would agree you don't have a nose."
So Eelaub walked over to the Nap River and peered at his reflection. Where once he'd had a nose, and a very nice nose, there was nothing. "Where's my goddam nose?"
"I'm sure that's what everyone in Nap Valley wants to know, Eelaub. Should we try and find it?"
"Well, this accounts for Everything," cried Eelaub, "it explains it all. I've lost my nose. Somebody must have taken it. Isn't that just like them? The whole Valley's full of assholes."
Spew didn't know what to do. He wanted to be helpful, but, really Eelaub was a smelly ass. So Spew decided instead to be helpful, and off he went to look for Eelaub's nose.
Through tasting rooms and walking wine train tracks, Spew searched and searched for Eelaub's nose. Then he came to the CIA, a Stone Grey building where his friend Owl in Meadows lived. Spew knew Owl was home but he banged and banged with the door knocker and nobody answered. The door knocker was kind of wet and mushy, not like most door knockers Spew had seen. Though he'd seen very few knockers of any sort save for Christoper Robbin's mother's set.
"Owl, come to the door. It's me, Bear."
"What is it? I'm rating coats right now. Coats of Bone and Coats of Nuts."
"Something terrible and wonderful has happened. Eelaub has lost his nose. What shall we do?"
"Reward! We'll offer a reward to anyone who has seen Eelaub's nose, though I don't know why anyone would want his terrible nose. But you'd have to believe they'd give it back."
"That's a great idea, Owl in Meadows. We'll offer a reward. And we'll get Christopher Robbin to write out the reward, if his arms aren't still broken."
Then Spew took a closer look at the door knocker. It was a very suspicious looking door knocker, not at all hard and not at all attractive. "Just where did you get this door knocker, Owl?"
"Why I found it in the vineyard. Why do you ask?"
"Because I know someone who wants it. This is no door knocker, Owl, it's Eelaub's nose! We've found it! Hooray!" And Spew grabbed the door knocker, which was really Eelaub's lost nose, and left Owl standing there in amazement.
"Where's my fucking reward, you silly ol' sack of bear shit?" But he never got a reward. And there's a lesson in that for everyone. There are no rewards in life.
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
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"As serious as the world of wine is, it does allow time for humor. Each Monday and Thursday, Ron Washam customarily posts a commentary on his needling wine blog HoseMaster of Wine. Washam, a former sommelier and comedy writer – he might say they are closely related – is the most opinionated, humorous and ribald observer in the wine world. His body of work is irreverent and remorseless. It’s almost always satire and parody, though he occasionally drifts into straight commentary, sometimes even with tasting notes. This past year, one of his posts was named the best of the year in the Wine Blog Awards. His success has spawned several imitations, which in their awkwardness show just how difficult satire is."
--Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/21/6089630/dunne-on-wine-wine-blogs-and-bloggers.html#storylink=cpy
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--San Francisco Chronicle
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