How Hippies Make Fine Wine

I just read about the Summerhill Pyramid Winery in British Columbia, the first organic and bio-dynamic certified winery in BC.

Bio-dynamic. That’s an impressive word. I was captivated by it, as I often am by words I don’t really understand and want to toss around in conversations. However, as I’ve been known to use words incorrectly, I looked it up first.

According to Wikipedia, bio-dynamics is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. This means that I’d sound ignorant if I walked out of my yoga class and declared that I felt bio-dynamic, unless I was also coated in dirt and chicken poop.

But here’s the part of the article that really got my attention. Evidently one bio-dynamic technique this winery uses involves using rainwater mixed with the manure of a lactating cow that was harvested during a full moon, stuffed inside a cow horn and buried under the ground for around a year. Then it was dug up during certain astrological conditions. I’m fuzzy on the details, but I’m pretty sure that Uranus was in opposition to something.

“I smell something bio-dynamic.” (image via dreamstime)

I am not making this up. In fact, if you want to see cutting edge wine technology in action, click this link: dude digging up poo-stuffed cow horns.

This process produces a biologically-active fertilizer, which is then sprayed on the vines in order to suppress and resist mildew and fungal diseases, as well as enhance nutrients flowing to the roots. The fact that the cow is lactating makes all the difference. The manure of single cows who’ve decided to adopt is not desirable here. We’re not making a judgment on their lifestyle choices, just their manure.

“I’m really focused on my career right now.” (image via dreamstime)

I’m kicking myself because when I was lactating I flushed biologically-active fertilizer down our commode on a daily basis. I could have had my own vineyard and supplied myself with bottles of bio-dynamic stress reliever, plus made a boat load of cash! Then again, considering that I didn’t even brush my hair or apply body lotion the whole first year of my daughter’s life, maybe running a vineyard would have been aiming a little high.

They’re still calling this wine vegan-friendly because the animal byproducts never actually touch the wine. Though they do ferment herbs in stag bladders and cow intestines, but these things only touch the soil, which is a shame because if I’d gone to the trouble of fermenting some herbs in a stag’s bladder, I’d want to sprinkle it over some pasta or something. They do not use any fish bladders, gelatin, egg whites, milk, or milk byproducts in their winemaking, which is (attention my drunk, vegan friends) evidently a common practice among winemakers.

If you’d like to see the winemakers dig up some stag’s bladders, animal skulls stuffed with what looks like supernatural ectoplasm and other nifty items not found at your local butcher, click on this link dude digging up weird animal parts. You’re going to want a big old glass of grappa when you’re done watching it. Nothing goes with ectoplasm like a Riesling.

But wait, there’s more!

Did I mention that this winery has a genuine pyramid? Yessiree. But don’t expect a bunch of slot machines inside.  According to the proprietor, Stephen Cipes, “the knowingness of eternity awaits us in this sacred chamber.” You can’t get knowingness at the Luxor.

I bet Bartles & James never had a pyramid

As I understand it, the theory is that humans are mostly liquid, especially when they’re pumped full of wine, so when they enter the sacred chamber, it’s an opportunity to “clarify their own inner selves”. Like butter. The chamber helps them get to the “knowingness of who they are,” which may be just a bunch of cow turd-loving winos, but y’all know I don’t judge.

The chamber “enhances our receptiveness, opening the left and right sides of our brains, much like the dolphins, whales, and elephants” which are apparently all new age animals and “in touch with the all-one ‘soul of the world,'” even though you almost never see a dolphin getting a palm reading.

“I’m more of a numerology mammal.” (image via dreamstime)

Awe. Some. I love hippies. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready to climb into that pyramid with a bottle of bio-dynamic wine and some elephants and just get wrecked on clarity.

Tell me you wouldn’t go drinking with this cutie. (image via dreamstime)

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What To Do On A Thursday Night In Nebraska

Every once in a while as I’m reading the news I stumble across a story that really grabs me. I identify with the subject–sort of a “there but for the grace of God go I” type of thing. Take, for instance, this man, Jason Dornhoff, out of Kearney Nebraska.

Mr. Dornhoff was smoking methamphetamine one recent Thursday night when, according to court documents and the Huffington post, he decided that he needed to acquire a job and fulfill some sexual fantasies. (We’ve all been there, am I right?) He then drove over to a local restaurant and filled out an application, but, perhaps fearing that he wouldn’t stand out in this job market, decided to write a little note on the back of his application.

Allegedly.

According to the Kearney Hub, he wrote: “I have no money, a huge bomb in my truck, and a syringe of bleach that will kill you instantly. If you be quiet and help me, you won’t die.”

Now if that doesn’t put you at the top of the application pile, I don’t know what will.

The article didn’t mention exactly which restaurant Dornhoff had used to commit this crime, but I immediately pictured a TGI Friday’s, because I’ve worked at a couple of TGI Friday’s and he matches the description of some of my former customers. Maybe his sexual fantasies involved a waitress covered in fajita grease and “flair.” All of those buttons make a girl look mad sexy.

Admit it, you’re picturing me in those buttons right now. (image via flickr & Ray Yu)

He was probably hoping to run into a waitress with a hostage fantasy, which is not unreasonable. Toward the end of my shifts I often wished to be dragged out of the restaurant and stuck with a syringe full of bleach. Bleach is, after all, one of the few things that will remove the smell of fajitas from your hair while simultaneously whitening your teeth and giving you highlights.

I identify with this man on so many different levels. First of all, what is there to do on a Thursday night? I was just asking myself that very question. I was all like, “should I smoke some meth and then go down to Applebee’s with a bomb threat or should I just watch season four of True Blood?” The truth is that they both seem kind of pointless, so I might just fold some laundry.

And what about all of your pent up sexual energy? Where does a lonely horndog go for satisfaction? PeeWee Herman and Fred Willard could tell you that an adult theater is not the way to go. Lord knows a park bathroom is also a bad choice. Thank you, George Michael. The options start to dwindle until finally you find yourself at the local watering hole with a job application and a misunderstood, grammatically incorrect love note.

To be fair, crystal meth messes with your grammar. And your teeth. So let’s not be judgmental.

Also, have you been to central Nebraska? My dad was raised there and I bet if he were alive today he would tell us that he might have done the exact same thing…if it wasn’t the Depression and he hadn’t been living in a tent and the local restaurant wasn’t simply a soup line. I drove through Nebraska a couple of years back and if I hadn’t been trying to outrun what I thought was a funnel cloud, I might have made a similar choice.

Nothing saves you from a bad choice like a natural disaster. (image via flickr & Thomas-birdpics)

I think we all have a purpose in life. Maybe this guy was simply fulfilling his destiny. Just this morning I was having a discussion with my daughter about the perils of drug use (because nothing goes better with oatmeal than cautionary tales) and I told her that if she did drugs she could find herself down at Chuck E Cheeses telling them that she’d detonate the bomb on her scooter if they didn’t give her a job or some game tokens. Maybe his life purpose was to scare my daughter straight. I wonder if he can get her to go to college.

(Okay maybe that conversation didn’t actually happen, but if could have…if Hubs read the story. He loves “teaching moments” that confuse and horrify the children. It’s one of his more endearing qualities and why we make such a good team.)

At the very least, people like Jason Dornhoff give Hubs job security and me a smile. And for that I am grateful. Thank you, Jason Dornhoff. Your next order of fajitas is on me.

The Edit Button

You might not know this about me, but I can sometimes be funny. You’re shocked, I know, but it’s true.

One of the reasons for this phenomenon is that I have a twisted point of view. I see comedy in just about everything. Sometimes that comedy might be considered inappropriate and best kept to one’s self.

The other reason is that my internal edit button, the one that is responsible for filtering out potentially offensive or off-color thoughts before they enter into conversation, doesn’t work very well. So whatever inappropriate comedy is born out of my twisted cerebral cortex often rolls right out of my mouth. Sometimes it’s funny to other people as well. Sometimes not.

This has obvious drawbacks. I run the risk of offending people and sometimes misrepresenting myself as an insensitive, drunk, white trash whore. I try to remember to edit myself when in mixed company or when trying to make a good impression, but sometimes my edit button shuts off on its own. Often at unfortunate times. The larger the audience, the deeper I will insert my foot. In graduate school I became semi-famous for it (meaning I was well-known within a half mile radius of the conservatory front doors.)

Usually I have better luck with this when I’m writing, because it takes longer to type offensive thoughts than it does to say them, which gives my edit button time to engage and say, “what the feck did you just write? You were raised better than that, Missy. Go ahead and tap that delete button. In fact, just lean on it for a solid minute.”

But sometimes my edit button doesn’t engage and things slip by.

For instance, yesterday I was tweeting (as I do from time to time in an effort to reconnect with the 14-year-old girl inside me) and I wrote:

On its own, not at all offensive. Unless you are offended by bad grammar and punctuation. Unfortunately I felt the need to add this little tag:

Remorse immediately set in. I was appalled by my own lack of tact. And the fact that I misrepresented myself as some sort of morally bankrupt cannibal (as opposed to the ethical cannibals, who only eat Fair Trade people and mentor young cannibals in their spare time.)

I’m pro-homeless. Which is not to say that I’m for people being without homes. I simply support their right to exist without being made an appetizer. Love thy neighbor. Don’t eat thy neighbor. Even if your neighbor is passed out on the sidewalk. (That last part might not technically be in the Bible, but I’m fairly confident that it’s implied.)

I tried to right my wrong with a follow-up Tweet.

But really, how do you bounce back once you’ve advocated cannibalizing the disenfranchised? I really ought to fix that edit button.

**Note: If you happen to be familiar with the news story that inspired my tasteless Tweet about the nude gentleman who was shot and killed by police while snacking on the face of a homeless man, you should know that his girlfriend has gone on record as saying that he was a sweet man who often carried around a Bible and did not do hard drugs.

He sounds nice. Perhaps he was also having trouble with his edit button.

“My edit button tells me not to eat brains.” (image via dreamstime)

Can’t Keep a Good Bean Down

image via NBCLA. If you need caffeine this badly you shouldn't even dress yourself without heavy assistance.

A little over two weeks ago someone drove through the window of this Starbucks near my son’s preschool. Luckily no one was seriously injured. This is especially good news for me because one of my son’s preschool teachers was inside at the time and if anything happened to her I’d have to cut a beyotch. Don’t mess with my son’s education or his teachers’ caffeine consumption. (They need it to cope when he refuses to clean up, stages an impressive emotional meltdown and then pees on the rug–they love my boy, they do.)

By the time I had heard of the incident and had the wherewithal to snoop investigate, the store was as good as new, which is truly remarkable when you consider how long it takes just to have cable installed. How is this possible, you ask? I’ll tell you.

You see, Starbucks in its dark roasted wisdom, recognizes that caffeine greases the wheels of modern civilization. Without it, production and civility (and essential driving skills) grind to a halt. Starbucks cares too much to let this happen.  Now maybe they pumped a team of experts full of French Roast or maybe they used tweaker fairies–the details are fuzzy, but my point is that they did whatever was needed to patch up this here indoor parking lot in record time, so they could go back to doing what they do best: making the world a better place one Venti beverage at a time.

God bless you, Starbucks. I’ll take my green tea lightly sweetened on the hood of a Toyota Camry.

Porn to Run

I saw it on the internet, which everyone knows is the most reliable source of information (even better than going to a doctor or reading a book.) Evidently the threat of mandatory condom usage is driving the porn industry to abandon California and head to an unprotected state.  Very soon silicone laden hoochies may be donning little Hobo bags filled with crotchless panties and jumping on east-bound trains. This has me worried, as it should worry you (and not just because you are about to read a disturbing amount of porn-related puns.)

Yes I'm once again using my children's toys inappropriately to make a point.

This mass exxxodus is going to have an effect on Southern California’s economy, an economy that is already in need of a fluffer. Porn doesn’t happen in a vacuum. (It happens in a warehouse in Chatsworth, but that’s beside the point.) It is a multi-million dollar industry and it in turn helps support other local industries–tanning booths, Cosmeticians and stores selling super-glossy lip gloss and hair extensions, Estheticians specializing in hair removal and body acne, disreputable plastic surgeons, trashy lingerie shops, drug stores carrying personal hygiene products whose names makes good insults, STD clinics and the makers of batteries, lubricant and costumes that all begin with the word “sexy” to name just a few. This will impact their bottom lines as well. And nobody wants their bottom line impacted. It’s really uncomfortable.

I’m also worried about the social and psychological ramifications of a porn-free California. What will become of our local youths with low self-esteem and no job skills? Hot Topic can’t give all of them jobs. Where are they to look for a legitimate source of income and the validation they didn’t receive from their parents? Are they just supposed to hang out on their friends’ couches and wait for their latest YouTube video to launch them into a short-term pseudo-celebrity status or hope that MTV will make them the next Snooki? Suddenly porn starts to sound more respectable, doesn’t it?  Not to mention, how badly will we, as a state, feel about ourselves when even porn has turned us down? Is there enough cookie dough ice cream in the world to take the sting out of that kind of rejection? I don’t know but I hope Ben and Jerry are ramping up production just in case.

"I'm going to lie in the road until porn comes back or I'm crushed under the wheels of a semi."

But you know the thing that really worries me? The thing that keeps me up at night?

What will become of the city of Chatsworth?

For decades Chatsworth has hung its hat on being the city that produces porn. It put the “strip” in strip mall if you will. Sure that is a somewhat tawdry reputation but cool in its own way–certainly worth a mini-tour from lonely deviants hoping that the girl next to them at Subway Sandwiches would say “I’d like a foot long” with cheesy 70’s funk music playing in the background. What is Chatsworth’s future now that it may be deprived of its skanky reputation? Will we simply call it the town next to the town that had the big earthquake in 1993 where everything burst into flame? Will it become just another semi-respectable Valley community or simply an R rated ghost town?

"Ghost" Town - NARA - 543356

Would you look at that--some poor exotic actress forgot her porn wagon.

These questions haunt me. They persist regardless of how many times I watch Boogie Nights. In my heart of hearts I think the only true way for us to weather this storm is to each do our part. Buy that extra pot of lip gloss. Support your local Hot Topic. Drive through Chatsworth blasting a little 70’s funk and then stop to pee in a cup at the local clinic. Tell the young lady with the slutty outfit and the bad boob job that you think her dad would be proud (if you only knew where he was.) It takes a village, people! A really skanky village. We can get through this.