Difference Between Bordeaux Guy and Burgundy Guy

Burgundy Guy and Bordeaux Guy are tasting two wines. One, a 1er Cru Nuits-St. George from a small producer. The other, a Bordeaux Second from an esteemed producer.

“This is the better wine,” Bordeaux Guy says, lifting the glass of Cab/Merlot.

“I agree.” says Burgundy Guy.

“Then why are you still drinking that pinot?”

“Oh, because this wine reminds me of the vineyard, where there’s a little stone wall and I sat on it watching the sun come up one morning, and the farmer came out to look over the grapes, and there was a faint smell of horses, and this particular vintage was such a good year with lovely weather and no fall rains and it really brought out the earthiness in the wine.”

Bordeaux Guys takes all this in, shrugs and says “Yeah, well, this is still the better wine.”

“I agree.” says Burgundy Guy, closing his eyes and returning in his mind to the little stone wall.

An Idea Of Restaurant

When I was young I had few ideas. I didn’t believe in my right to live and so I refused to even consider a lot of things that you probably took and take for granted.

So I was kind of a weird, non-religious ascetic. I went without lunch as a habit. One year I went vegan. Just because. I was a skinny kid to begin with. It wasn’t healthy.

When I began to wake up, one of the first appetites I developed was for aesthetics. Which was really weird, since most kids (especially boys) my age were getting interested in hormones and sex and all that fun.

essen und trinken

I had in mind a life that was two lives in one: In one version, I lived in Paris, upstairs from a bistro where I ate every night. In another, I lived in a neighborhood in San Francisco – North Beach, or the Inner Richmond – and I could walk to a bistro once or twice a week and have my meal.

The idea was to appreciate a meal. To be appreciative. To feel honored to eat somewhere without having to acknowledge it, to be appreciative of the skill of the waiters and cooks without being overwhelmed by it.

I have to say, it was a decently formed idea, for as much of a young dumbshit as I was. Of course I got details wrong. And didn’t know anything about what I didn’t know about wine

William Gibson shows how to “never get daunted”

“I was afraid to watch Blade Runner in the theater because I was afraid the movie would be better than what I myself had been able to imagine. In a way, I was right to be afraid, because even the first few minutes were better. Later, I noticed that it was a total box-office flop, in first theatrical release. That worried me, too. I thought, Uh-oh. He got it right and ­nobody cares! Over a few years, though, I started to see that in some weird way it was the most influential film of my lifetime, up to that point. It affected the way people dressed, it affected the way people decorated nightclubs. Architects started building office buildings that you could tell they had seen in Blade Runner. It had had an astonishingly broad aesthetic impact on the world.”

William Gibson, from a Paris Review Interview

Weekend In Wine Country

The weekend in Dayton, WA. Middle America town on the west side of the Divide. Agricultural communities in 2013. The old farm orgs versus the new farm mentality; quantity versus quality. We meet the farmers: “We use the old French techniques, the goat milk mixed with the sheep milk”. The mass producers don’t speak with human voices. Too many layers below the marketing. The logo. Icon and font. Green Giant.

Also, this is wine country. Rhone or Bordeaux? Sometimes both… winemakers from France come here to blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Heresy in the old world. Part of the fabric here in Walla Walla. Washington wine. New World wine.

In Walla Walla, our favorite restaurant is its own blend; He’s European American, she’s from Southeast Asia. They call it a Mediterranean kitchen, but the ideas are from all over. It’s not fusion though. It’s just good. Good ideas executed superbly.


The B&B in Dayton. Octogenarians. This is a couple who was thriving and our age when Kerouac was on the road, or at least writing about it. Mad Men, Don Draper days. Now they find themselves in 2013. With us. Internet kids. Makes me wonder what will come along in thirty years and surprise us…

Christina’s delicious breakfast: Quiche, sauteed squash, berry kuchen. She’s German. He’s a WW2 Vet. Somehow we get to talking about San Diego. Coronado, Chula Vista in the 60s, the airport that won’t ever get built.

All of this under Tom Robbins’ gray, dishrag skies. Raining a horrid torrent in member’s November to remember.

And Rilke along for the ride, scolding me on how to hold my mind:

Buddha in Glory

Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet–
all this universe, to the furthest stars
all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Seven Thoughts On Lou Reed

Lou Reed’s passing in the news this week. The cover of Rolling Stone. I put down the latest Wired and grab it. Commit an SFO -> PDX flight to reading about Lou Reed, thinking about Lou Reed…

“White Light make me sing like Lou Reed…” sang David Bowie.

Lou Reed leads my mind to Andy Warhol, to New York, to reproductions as art: Andy Warhol doing his Instagram filters on Campbells Soup Cans thirty years too soon. It’s the New York of art, fashion, lit, finance and all of these scenes intertwined. A New York that burns in my mind from too much Don DeLillo. I read Mao II in 2002 and fell in lust; I’ve been read everything since then and Underworld three times. Nobody paints mid-60s and 70s New York City like Delillo.

Lou Reed is also the east-coast Tom Waits. In my mind. He is, or was, the eastern pillar.

I really can’t account for not listening to much Lou Reed. The Velvets, yes. The solo stuff, not so much. Dunno why.

Lou Reed reminds me I’ve never been to New York City, not really… I drove through and around, on the Freeways, from the Bronx through Brooklyn through Staten Island on my way to D.C. I saw Manhattan – Walt Whitman’s Manhatto – from a distance, I saw The Towers two years before they fell, I saw the Statue of Liberty. But I’ve never been to New York.

Lou Reed’s passing is another reminder. The 20th century, it’s done. Thirteen years into this new one. The Gods of 1900s, fading into the sunset…

Day After The Storm

Coffee at Barista this morning. Day after the storm, mom still without power up on her island. Portland lovely with mottled skies and sun shining through stripped-out trees. “First the leaves fell, now all the connective junk is falling”. Like hair. Or skin. Just a year gone octogenarian, it’s all. Braised beef cheeks last night. Apple tart. Fall foods. Fall sensibilities. Timbers beat the Fish. Trying writing a poem this morning, something about cities. Not working: I’m too in lust with City, with the idea of City, to write a poem about City. City makes me giddy. All the various and variegated ideas and implications. Trying writing a poem about Portland as a City that’s too easy to pass by as you drive from SF to Seattle, or the other way.

PDX -> SFO flight in a few hours. Back to work…

Tags: ,

categories Fall