Golfer’s Dilemma–What would you do?


This brief video is 78 seconds long, and will bring a smile to a golfer’s face!

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Wine Spectator, Feb 2013


James Laube:

Vintage ratings matter less today than they ever did.  Advances in viticulture and winemaking, along with selection, have elevated quality and leveled the playing field.  The highs and lows that used to separate the great years from the lesser ones have been  marginalized.  Want proof?  Try tasting a vertical of wines from a given producer.  If it’s blind, odds are you’ll be surprised by the results.  The vintage everyone thought was a bust will be far better than you imagined.  And the monumental years, the ones everyone clamored for, won’t seem head and shoulders above the pack.

His pet peeve:

…how many people continue to equate price with quality.  In our 2012 Top 100, the average bottle price is $46.

Matt Kramer:

…Stop fretting about when a wine is ready to drink!  I used to really care about when a wine was “ready to drink.” No more.  Yes, I continue to hold wines in my cellar for a better tomorrow.  But here’s the catch: I don’t wait anywhere near as long as I once did (or intended, anyway).  And I’ve concluded that after, say five years of all but a handful of wines, additional cellaring soon reaches a point of diminishing returns.

Bottom line: Buy interesting wines.  Store them in a cool spot for up to five years.  Then pop and pour…

Harry Steiman:

His pet peeve,

…”bottle variation” because of cork taints, aka TCA, affecting roughly one bottle per case…he says give up the corking and go to screw tops.

Kim Marcus:

His pet peeve,

…the pricing of wine in restaurants…hard to swallow the blatant overpricing.  I recommend frequenting restaurants that gain an “inexpensive” pricing designation in our Restaurant Awards programs or the have moderate BYO prices ($25 or less per bottle).

Maryann Worobiec:

Her pet peeve,

…having my wine class filled to the top, not giving me any room to swirl.

  • CF Note:  not complaining here about ordering wine by the glass and getting a generous pour, rather when buying the bottle, or bringing your own, the overenthusiastic server tries to keep the glass topped off.

The monthly beauty contest, Spectator Ratings, of note, Cali favorites


  • 96 Points: 2010 Lewis, Napa Valley, Hillstone Vineyard, $135
  • 95 Points: 2009 Paul Hobbs, Oakvill Beckstoffer To Kalon, $275
  • 94 Points: 201o Lewis, Napa Valley, $90
  • 93 Points: 2009 Justin Isosceles, Paso Robles, $62
  • 93 Points: 2010 M. Etain, Rutherford, $125
  • 92 Points, 2009 Vineyard 29, Saint Helena 29 Estate, $225
  • 91 Points, 2009 Cliff Lede, Stags Leap Cinnamon Rhapsody, $95
  • 91 Points, 2010 Lewis, Napa Valley Mason’s, $60
  • 90 Points, 2009 Chimney Rock, Stags Leap GanyMede Vineyard, $125

Grenache & Blends

  • 94 Points, 2010 Epoch, Sensibility Paderewski Vineyard, Paso Robles, $65
  • 94 Points, 2010 Epoch, Veracity Paderewski Vineyard, Paso Robles, $65
  • 93 Points, 2010 Linne Calodo, Sticks and Stones, Paso Robles, $72

Pinot Noir

  • 97 Points, 2007 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Blue Slide Ridge Vineyard, $90
  • 96 Points, 2007 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard, $125
  • 95 Points, 2007 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Three Sisters Vineyard, $75
  • 92 Points, 2010 Paul Hobbs Russian River Katherine Lindsay Estate Cuvee Agustina, $100

Syrah & Blends

  • 95 Points, 2009 Araujo Napa Valley Eisele Vineyard, $135
  • 95 Points, 2009 Shafer Relentless Napa Valley, $63
  • 93 Points, 2010 Epoch Estate Blend Paderewski Vineyard Paso Robles, $40
  • 93 Points, 2009 Linne Calodo Booker Red Paso Robles, $80

Zinfandel & Blends

  • 92 Points, 2010 Epoch Paderewski Vineyard Paso Robles, $55
  • 92 Points, 2010 Linne Calodo Cherry Red Paso Robles, $70
  • 92 Points, 2010 Linne Calodo Outsider Paso Robles, $55
  • 92 Points, 2010 Linne Calodo Problem Child, Paso Robles, $55


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I Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Problems!


From across the cubes, “Corrie, we have a problem…,” then dead silence.  This type of pronouncement drives me crazy as a manager, co-worker, subordinate, “boss”, whatever.

It feels to me as if someone has left doggie-doo in a paper bag on my doorstep, lit it on fire, rang the doorbell and run.

Bring me an issue, but bring it with a thought process, and possible courses of action.  Don’t just dump the manure bag and then run and hide!

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Formal Fridays


As an old fogie who has grudingly acceded to the casual Friday epidemic which began in Silicon Valley two decades ago, it makes me smile to see this article from the Wall Street Journal.

As a manager who has had to attempt to delineate between acceptable sandals and unacceptable flipflops in the dress code for casual Fridays, I would welcome a return to dressing up as adults.

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Bay Area Food News in 2012


From SF Chron, December 27, 2012, and article by Paolo Lucchesi.  Nice summary of the restaurant business in SF, comings and goings.

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A Fact Check of the Facts…thanks to Scientometrics


From Dec 24, 2012 Reason article by Ronald Bailey, “Half the Facts You Know Are Probably Wrong.”  Mr. Bailey cites a new book by Samuel Arbesman, “The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date.”  Interesting points,

  • Scientometrics is the science of measuring and analyzing science.
  • Scientific knowledge has been growing steadily at a rate of 4.7 percent annually for the last three centuries.
  • With the consistent growth rate of knowledge, it should not be surprising that many facts people learned in school have been overturned with new knowledge, and the relevant question is, at what rate do former facts disappear?
  • In one study of a specific field of medical knowledge, Arbesman found a half life of 45 years for former facts to disappear.
  • Facts are being manufactured all the time, and many of them turn out to be wrong–experimental results need to be replicated by other researchers to gain weight as a fact.
  • In 2011, a study in “Nature” magazine reported that a team of researchers over 10 years was able to reproduce the results of only six out of 53 landmark papers in preclinical cancer research.
  • In 2005, the physician and statistician John Ioannides published “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”, citing reasons such as studies that are too small and that financial and non-financial conflicts of interest are common.
  • Ioannides concluded that “for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”
  • Another reason for the factual decay is that people cling to selected facts, and persist in only adding facts to their personal store of knowledge that jibe with what they already know, aka “confirmation bias.”

My conclusion?  We should be open to new knowledge all the time, and be loathe to anoint new information as fact.  Furthermore we should have a little more humility about our own set of selected facts by which we choose to live.


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Matt Ridley: Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change, Wall Street Journal


From December 19, 2012 Wall Street Journal article.  My favorite excerpt:

The big question is this: Will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC’s existing 2 degrees C - 4.5 degrees C “likely” range for climate sensitivity?  Unfortunately, this seems unlikely–given the organization’s record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.

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Advice for the Holidays


Received this email from friend Mike:

First, I wish you all a Merry Christmas season and a wonderful New Year. May you and your family be well and have a wonderful festive season.

Now, please be careful during the many holiday parties, and I would like to share a personal experience with all of you about drinking and driving.

As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the police on our way home from an occasional social session over the years. A couple of nights ago, I was out for an evening with friends and had a couple of cocktails and a rather nice bottle of Pinot Noir. Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I never done before~~I took a cab home. Sure enough, I passed a police sobriety check point, but since I was in a cab, they waved it past. I arrived home safe and sound without incident, which was a real surprise; as I have never driven a cab before and am not sure what to do with it now that it’s in my garage!

Cheers and Happy Holidays,


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Robert Parker 2.0…Maybe only 1.5?


Wall Street Journal article, Dec 10, 2012, “A Wine Advocate Hands Over Reins”.  Unfortunately, You may have trouble viewing the full article if not a subscriber.

Interesting bullet points…

  • The Wine Advocate is a 34 year-old publication.
  • By the end of 2013 they intend to phase out of the print version.
  • Parker is selling a substantial interest in Wine Advocate to a Singapore investor group who will take over day-to-day operations from Singapore, in a move from Maryland.
  • Lisa Perrotti-Brown will take charge of editorial oversight from her Singapore base.
  • The publication will widen its worldview and pay increased attention to the Asian wine market, including wines produced in China.
  • In a major move, they will begin accepting advertising, though not from the wine industry, so as to continue to avoid any perceived conflict of interest in their ratings.

Since Parker is now 65 years old, it would seem a transition makes sense.  “Version 1.0″ has had an amazing run, and has affected the wine industry like few other forces, some will say for the better, others may say for the worse.

For the better, it has given recognition to many wines that may not have otherwise been able to find such a broad audience.  For the worse, it has fostered a generation of winos that buy on Parker ratings, rather than trusting their own taste (to which I plead guilty).  Furthermore it fosters a “Parkerization” of wines, as they are often made to chase the Parker taste, in search of the high ratings which drive sales.

Fortunately, it seems that I like the Parker palette, but I couldn’t tell you for sure whether it’s because it’s truly my taste, or whether my nascent palette was groomed that way.  Doesn’t really matter at this point, as there are many competitive sources of wine ratings from which to choose.

I have learned that though I will find an interest in a wine because of a rating, I am best served by trying before buying!


A follow-on WSJ piece, Dec 13, 2012, entitled “Wine Advocate to Stay in Print,” makes me smile.  It contains a couple of points of clarification on the above…

  • The company will not move from its Maryland headquarters, though Singapore will be a “second office” from which the new editor Lisa Perrotti-Brown will be conducting her day-to-day business affairs.
  • The Wine Advocate will not phase out its print publication next year, apparently in response to a bit of an uprising from subscribers.
  • To clarify their advertising intent, they claimed they would never run ads in the hard copy of pdf versions of the Wine Advocate Newsletter.

Apparently customer concerns are still important to Parker and to new management.

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My close friend Bob was going through a dark period years ago, including a separation and divorce, and found himself alone often.  One night at yet another solo dinner at California Cafe in Palo Alto, Bob was seated at a table for two for his meal.

In a moment of insight, he decided to take off his jacket and hang it on the empty chair across from him.  To self he said, “Tonight, I’m not having dinner by myself, but with myself.”

Genius, on so many levels!

So often when going through such difficult periods in our lives, a key learning is how to be alone without being lonely.  What a wonderful insight Bob had to help with that lesson.

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