On Mid-Week Holiday 2016 Briefs

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Given the mid-week status of this post due to the approaching holiday, this is a variation of the weekly Opinion in the Shorts, which probably won’t reappear until after ringing in 2017.

The next post will be my holiday greeting, which I hope goes live in time for Christmas Eve in Australia/New Zealand. Hope everyone has a time to stop by as there will be quite the selection of goodies.

For the last week of December, I will have a few Explore posts, followed by a post to lead us into 2017.

The Electoral College has voted, so Election 2016 is over. In the aftermath since Election Day, hopefully Americans have learned more about the Electoral College. I know I have – but I’ll save that post for another day.

The fact that I’m not listing a “Obama’s Fault” list is Obama’s fault. However, columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote that President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Obama’s fault.

For those needing some handbell music for the holidays, here’s a recording of the version we will be playing of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

For readers who enjoy a feel-good story, CBS News had this touching report about the origin of Secret Santa.

I was saddened to receive the news of the passing of a blogger – especially one who was kind and smart – let alone talented in her own craft. Blogging makes the world smaller. Even though most of us will never meet, we impact each other through our interactions. To Cynthia Jobin, aka Littleoldladywho, thank you for sharing yourself through your poems and in your interactions with me and others. Here is her last poem (and for those who don’t know, there is also an audio). To me, I heard her talking about herself – but I may be wrong.

The recent announcement of the latest inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ceiling is starting to crack. Although no Moody Blues (which were not consider this year), the wait is over for three worthy bands: Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, and Yes.

On a Surprise Gift

I recall that day in December 2013. As my wife and I were returning from errands, I noticed a package on our doorstep … and we both confirmed that we weren’t expecting anything. But as I approached the box, my brain pulled out the file card with the answer, then I smiled and my heart rate increased in anticipation of what was inside the box. After all, I had never done anything like this before.

Jeff, (@The Drunken Cyclist) has a passion for wine … and there’s no doubt, I would love to be his neighbor. Nonetheless, several weeks earlier he tossed out the parameters of an idea to his readers, and some (including me) proclaimed, “Why not!”

I sent my name, address, and wine preference (red, white, or either) to him. After gathering the information from participants, his wife developed the plan … which meant I received a name, address, and wine preference of a person (and they don’t know it will be from me), plus someone received my information. So there it, inside the box on my doorstep … a wine from my Secret Santa.

Envisioning a delight that would be a highlight to a dampened holiday spirit (as my mother-in-law had passed away a few weeks earlier), I was eager to open the box. Would it be a single varietal or a blend? Would it be from vineyards of Spain, Italy, France, California, Australia, or Argentina?

Image from vinfolio.com

Image from vinfolio.com

As I reached for the bottle, my excitement continued to build, then like a ton of bricks … POW … I crashed when I noticed the wine was from a vineyard in Arizona.

Alright … I knew that every US state has at least one winery, so Arizona didn’t surprise me, but my mind raced with questions and thoughts:

  • Huh?
  • Where is the Arizona wine region?
  • Given the location, a blend has to be better than a single varietal.

I examined the bottle, and on the backside … YES … it’s a blend! Then I gave myself the wake-up call … Hey … wine lovers read Jeff’s blog, so they aren’t going to send lousy wine … so relax and trust the sender!

Tom, my Secret Santa, included a wonderful write-up about the wine, the vineyard, and himself. He gave a quick overview of Arizona wineries (over 50) being at the high elevations (thus cooler) in primarily three regions of the state. In this case, the owner and winemaker is Maynard James Keenan, a metal/alternative rocker who has won awards with this wine.

Sometime in January we hosted a friend for dinner. Knowing that he’s willing to try different wines, this would be the perfect time to share a taste of Arizona. After the first taste, all three of us looked at each other with open eyes saying, “Wow … what a pleasant surprise!”

Caduceus (the winery) is also the staff carried by Hermes …. the staff that is the common symbol for medicine Winery’s homepage: Here’s what we discovered about this wine.

  • Easy to drink
  • A Super Tuscan style of blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese
  • Smooth (not tannic), yet rich with complexity
  • Not overpowering, but cherry with spice are obvious
  • Excellent with our food for the evening (that I can’t recall)

Although this post is very late, I salute Jeff for organizing this fun activity (the rules), Theresa who received my wine, and Tom – my Secret Santa .. and hey Jeff … I hope you do this again.

Here’s  a short video of the winemaker discussing this wine. Cheers!