Friday, January 1, 2016

Eight years of blogging! and no book contract. Oh well




Those New Zealand scents of grapefruit and melon leaped from the very neck of the bottle as soon as it was opened. Upon pouring and sampling (and what a gorgeous color, how does one describe a sort of eau-de-Nil that is yellow rather than green?), I tasted a sensory whirligig of more melon, plus vanilla and something almost meaty too, a full and buttery texture. Lobster perhaps? I thought, here is my free gift to the food and wine business: some bright chef must fashion a recipe combining all of the above, grapefruit/kiwi/melon, vanilla, and lobster. I'm sure it can be done. Remember our own amateur efforts with the one-time, irreproducible, crazy-local gourmet recipe?

In this case, the wine to be paired with the new dish will be Brancott Estate's "Chosen Rows" sauvignon blanc. I was lucky enough to receive a sample of this some months ago, along with a few other fine Brancott wines, for a blogger virtual tasting via Twitter. The wine samples don't come to my address so thick and fast as they used to, partly because At First Glass at least had a (small) reputation whose coattails Pluot has not quite been able to grasp, and partly -- probably -- because if I am going to blog things like the sources of Western civilization instead of wine, wineries are going to stop sending me wine. That's understandable. Only "Chosen Rows" retails for about $70, if you can even find it in the U.S., so I do rather regret the lost coattail effect. It was just about two years ago that Blogger pulled my domain name, and I was forced to panic and start Pluot at once. New Year's Eve, however, remains the anniversary of At First Glass' beginning, and so today I still tot up eight years of blogging, and I thank you all for stopping by from time to time. I wish somebody had offered me a book contract by now, but oh well. When the emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote things down that he reasonably expected no one would ever see, he called it "living for the gods." Let's say that is what we are doing. Nobody offered him a book contract, either.

But we have had fun, haven't we? We have gone beyond the world of wine to think about music, we have learned who invented the wine bottle, we have cooked quaint retro recipes. I am sorry there is less of that now, since I am no longer preparing meals for a growing family -- which gives one scope for experimentation -- but only for myself. And of course we have started our new, un-wine-like project, Blogging the West's sources. And the Twenty English Words undertaking, also. Once in a great while we venture into politics and world affairs but it always seems to jar a little. When that is not your forte you cannot be original, but only hem-haw-and-by-Jove over other people's reactions.

I'll just put in one tiny political thing, here at the close of a 2015 that seemed mostly ghastly for world and especially American affairs. Wouldn't it be ironic and delicious if 2016 were the year that Mr. Obama, our dear lord of misrule, got some sort of comeuppance? He's winging his way back from Hawaii soon, with more instructions for all of us. I know it's foolish even to imagine the following prospect, but consider: for all their adoration and protection of him and passionate affinity with him for eight years -- my goodness, for as long as I've been blogging -- nevertheless I think the mainstream press must have a sort of ur-memory of having dutifully destroyed a president, Nixon of course. I'm sure they think that is what they do when called to give of their best; when an emergency is so colossal that they must bravely face down ultimate power and ultimate corruption. Republican, of course -- usually. They are still kingmakers and kingbreakers, declining readership and ad revenue be damned. Even twenty-year-old journalism students must have sat at the feet of sixty-year-old professors who recite the story and perform the laying on of hands as it were.

Now here with Mr. Obama we have a president openly famed, for years, for what is politely called "lawlessness." Spying on Congress is his latest treat. After everything else it's pettily Nixonian. A pundit or two hem-haw-and-by-Jove about how this won't do.  That is what got my attention, and made me think about irony and deliciousness in the coming year. In fact it probably will do, like everything else. But he, even He, -- consider. The more protected and exalted he has grown, the bigger target he might offer. This is his last year in office. Wouldn't it be delicious and ironic if some young newshound, who maybe was in eighth grade when Mr. Obama addressed the crowds at Berlin, should realize that Woodward and Bernstein made history and fulfilled their calling by pursuing something initially minor? What was it? -- a janitor at a hotel noticed a suite door slightly ajar, and the rest was Watergate, right? And consider this. The kingmaker-media hate and are helpless before Donald Trump. One way to deflate him might be to step up, grimly, and preemptively do the work that the American  people seem to want him to do.

If it were to happen, it's precisely because Mr. Obama is an ur-Democrat, and his political life has been as wholly sacred as a Druid oak grove, that I think 'it' would concern something really wildly absurd and trivial, non-political. What beggars imagination, which is itself a bizarre commentary on the times. A young reporter noticed a blade of grass on the White House lawn, bent in a funny way ... and the rest was history.

No. But let's raise a glass to fantasy fiction.

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