April 26, 2007


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Got milk?

Creating is more exciting with a bit of booze
By Tim Protzman tprotzman@sbcglobal.net

Boredom is the bane of modern American life.

We have all these channels. We have all these leisure activities and some of us still get bored. Maybe we have too many choices and the depth of the experience is worn thin.

Or maybe boredom’s the necessary counterpart of excitement. It’s here to keep us from turning into annoying little adrenalin junkies.

Despite all the things I’ve done to alleviate boredom, this weekend was the first time I invented anything to escape it.

I know lots of people who hold patents. It’s usually something esoteric like the formula to make viscous membranes semi-permeable. But Paula actually invented something. Something people buy. The general public.

Paula and I had an on again, off again relationship. She had a lovely home near the beach. We traveled and worked in her yard. But, like anything you have too much of, we soon got bored. We didn’t stay in touch. We didn’t talk on the phone. But I ran into her at a garden center and the last thing she said was: “You’ll have to come over some weekend.”

I was touched but not convinced. Then I got an invite. So I said yes.

The first day we spent at the beach. We cooked dinner and relaxed. We were on her patio. She got up to go into the house and came out a few minutes later.

“I forgot what I went in to get!” she said.

Most of us have done that before.

She told me her mother, sister and she had an idea for a wristwatch recorder that you could talk into and play back in the next room in case you forgot what you went in for.

You’d say “scissors” into the little recorder. It could be tape or even a digital chip and when you got into the next room if you forgot what you were after you could play it back to remind you

I thought it was a stupid idea and I told her so. What if you got up and forgot to record what you were looking for? Should you get two wrist reminders? One for what you need to remember and one to remind you to record what you need to remember? The weekend took a cold turn after that. The next day she took me to the hardware store. She needed me to rewire her dryer and washing machine.

Then six months later I’m bored. Nothing on television. Too cold to go out. But I see this 90-second infomercial about a wristwatch reminder that helps you remember stuff. I call Paula to see if it’s hers. It isn’t, but they’ve seen the commercial and they’re kicking themselves for not doing it first. She tells me all the plans she has for her garden and how she’s going to put in a fountain. Then she invites me over for a weekend when the weather gets better. And I can tell there’s going to be some fountain-building involved.

This weekend we wanted to sample some wines. We were bored. I suggested going to a restaurant and sampling a few wine flights, which are five or six small glasses of different wines, usually around a theme like “wines of Tuscany.” This was vetoed even before I could plead my case that a co-worker had dined at Panorama in Philadelphia and sampled an expensive wine flight that included a 2004 Barnett Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Vineyard and a delicious little ringer from a Pennsylvanian vineyard that she doesn’t remember that name of. Forgetfulness and boredom are the bane of a wine writer’s life.

After torpedoing the movies (going and renting), making pizza dough, the pool hall, Starbucks and mini-go carts, Daniel told us about this drink contest. He found this Web site that’s soliciting recipes. First place prizewas a cocktail shaker!

We headed out to shop for ingredients, confident that something would jump out and say, “Buy me. I make the perfect drink!”

Soon grenadine syrup, tomato juice, cream of celery soup and strawberry/banana were ruled out.

Bouillon and mayo? Uh-uh. Anything blue was nixed. Pickles were verboten, as was anything with more than three different spirits in it.

What we came up with was not novel. But it was such a different twist on an old favorite that we’ve made a place on the bar shelf for the first-prize authentic Naugahyde cocktail shaker. And Daniel even came up with a stupid little name that shamelessly trades on another product’s branding.

I.B.C.-ing Double
1 bottle of I.B.C. root beer
1½ shots of white rum
½ shot of vodka
A splash of chocolate stout
1 scoop French vanilla ice cream

Pour the rum & vodka over ice. Chill. Strain and discard ice. Add half the ice cream. Add the chocolate stout. Fill the glass with root beer.

Maybe we won’t win the Nauga-shaker, but after one of these we weren’t bored. In fact we had a strange desire for kickball and Webkinz.

Here’s this week’s wine:

• 2003 Chateau Clerc-Milon ($27.44). This is a fifth growth Bordeaux, part of the Rothschild wine holdings. One part of the family produces Chateau Mouton Rothschild and the other side produces Chateau Lafite Rothschild. I expected a little more from this wine, specifically more definition. But the fruit was big and tasty. More Napa in style than Bordeaux.

4/19/2007 More 'Mas'

4/12/2007 Futures in a bottle
3/29/2007 Uneasy glass of spring
3/22/2007 Chateau de blech
3/8/2007 Finding new beauties
3/1/2007 Infatuation or addiction
2/15/2007 The extraordinary ordinary
2/8/2007 A glass of sweetness
2/1/2007 A glass of sweetness
1/25/2007 Ham it up
1/18/2007 Cheating on wine
1/11/2007 Burning down the tree
1/4/2007 New Year's hangover
12/28/2006 Sins of the vine
12/21/2006 Kissing frogs
12/14/2006 Wine for horrible friends
12/07/2006 Like dregs in the wine glass
11/30/2006 Gift of calmer shopping
11/23/2006 YouTube for YouWine
11/16/2006 Welcome to wine
11/9/2006 Fine art, supermarket wine
11/2/2006 The geography of grapes
10/26/2006 Please continue to hold
10/19/2006 The trouble with reds
10/12/2006 Making new friends
10/05/2006 TiVo-ing the wine
09/28/2006 From an unknown battle
09/21/2006 Toast to turkey
09/14/2006 Wine for life
09/07/2006 What are Malpeques, Alex?
08/31/2006 Hanging out wines
08/24/2006 Falling into new wine season
08/17/2006 Where has that wine been?
08/10/2006 Bringing out the dead
08/03/2006 The birth of a wine fop
07/27/2006 Slow process of maturation
07/20/2006 The pain of adolescent wines
07/13/2006 Nice day for a white wedding
07/06/2006 Scoring goals with booze
06/29/2006 Beer, it's what's for dinner
06/22/2006 A drink fit for a czar
06/15/2006 A summer of beer and fried clams
06/08/2006 Keep your cool, fool
06/01/2006 The social lubricant
05/25/2006 Water, water everywhere
05/18/2006 Big fat greek wine tasting
05/11/2006 Drinking to the end
05/04/2006 Schooled in the art of wine
04/27/2006 Make a wish
04/20/2006 Immigrant wines
04/13/2006 A pain in the glass
04/06/2006 Got milk?
03/30/2006 Throw a dart and there's wine
03/23/2006 A life of good wine
03/16/2006 Honoring the dead soldiers
03/09/2006 What once was old i new again
03/02/2006 The taste of sibling rivalry
02/23/2006 Wine travels, doesn’t sing
From grape, to barrel to red-tape jungle

02/16/2006 Love and vine
02/09/2006 A dog-drink-dog world
02/02/2006 The winos' mecca
01/26/2006 Date-nite drinks
01/19/2006 Touring eastern wine country
01/12/2006 Wine, Cheese and Granny Smith
01/05/2006 Resolve to try new wines
10 Wines To Get Lucky With

Adventures in and past the Euro-Cave
A Do-It-Yourself Wine Tasting
A Red For Everything
A Red Wth Your Leftovers?
A Tasty Way To Put Wine To The Test
A Year Of Wine
An Around-The-World Holiday
A wine for every holiday

Basking In The Mondavi Light
Behind One Door Is Great Wine
Beware The Hot Bottle
Brandy and the nude beach
Champagne, The Other White Wine
Cheers And Whines Of The Vine
Days of wine and jelly beans
Deep in the heart of Texas
Drinking for your health
Drinking like a newspaperman

Drinking Whites After Labor Day
Finding A Great Medium-Weight Drink (I)
Finding A Great Medium Weight Drink (II)
Gifts for blood, love or money
Grill and sip, sip and sip. Finding the perfect wine for barbecue
Hey baby, stay cool
How The Corleones Saved Wine

In Praise Of An American Wine
In search of the girl next door
Keeping it in the family
Keeping up appearances
Looking back at the heyday of cheap wine
My Big Fat Greek Wine Tasting
The Best Drinks On A Budget
The Highly Drinkable (Mostly) Merlot
The Long, Strange Journey Of Wine
Old French grape in the New World
Olé! to a week in wine
Opening the Parker book

Our French friends — really
Our Northern Neighbor
Poker faces and wine

Presenting A New England Vodka
Presenting The Wines Of Spring
Rewarding Your Support Staff
Schooled In The Art Of Wine
Shopping for Wine Bargains

Sitting By The Fire And Dreaming Of Wine
Slipping A Little Sideways
Spending the holidays in NYC
Spirit World Tales
Springtime calls for wine and ice cream
Sudden ugly mood swings
The new face of fine wines
The wines of fall
Thinking ahead to the holidays
Time To Stay Frosty
Tipples for turkey day
TV worth drinking
What it means to miss N.O.
What To Drink When You Eat Wild
What's Your Wine Sign
White’s OK after Labor Day
Wine Between The Season
Wine for the NASCAR set
Wine is in at the Inn
Wine’ll make you crazy
Wine Works With Red Sauce