Saturday, August 25, 2007

Changing my mind about screwtops

So for a couple of years I have rejoiced in the rise of the screwtop wine bottle, mainly because I love when 'traditional' elitist methods become exposed as a bunch of crap. I was under the mistaken impression that corks had recently been exposed as actually worsening the quality of wine, or perhaps inhibiting good aging. As usual, it turns out the situation is much more complicated....luckily TIME has straightened me out here.

Essentially, it seems that cork quality has been going down for some time, leading to variability in quality of wine and also leading to a certain small % of wine being lost each year due to spoiling caused by bad corks. Hence this recent move towards aluminum caps. However...while I thought this would be a nice narrative that would jive with my anti-elitist (or maybe just anti-French) opinions on this issue, there is a whole sustainable development angle to this as well:
Today, the survival of cultivated cork forests, many of which are on private land, depends on their worth. If nobody is buying cork, landowners will use the farmland for something else. Enter the conservationists. As wineries began ramping up experimentation with new closures, WWF launched a program in 2004 encouraging consumers to "choose cork" to protect the forests, the biodiversity they support and the thousands of rural jobs they create.
What I like about reading about this program, however, is that it is finally consumer-centric, market-oriented conservationism, rather than regulatory tightening. Check it out.

Jon Stewart goes off - and doesnt get many laughs

Brilliant, bittingly sarcastic, and I think a little angry summary of US foreign policy in the middle east...

My favorite line "Oh, billions of dollars, is there no dispute you can't settle?" In general his point is all too true, why exactly do we need someone with foreign policy experience screwing things up over the past 50 years? The knock on Obama is all the more unfair because the one important foreign policy decision on which he could weigh in (the Iraq war), he has been famously, and consistently, right.

OMG the nazis are funny

Check this one out. My favorite line: "Hans.....are we the baddies?"

Top Seinfeld Moments

I've gone a little youtube happy this morning, and I'm thinking of doing regular posts on top seinfeld moments. Without further ado, here is a selection of the best from the Merv Griffin show episode, a classic in my view (clip from real Merv Griffin show). I love how into it Kramer gets. "Yeah, we're talking this way". But the actual 'moment' nomination is when George comes in, and Kramer starts playing the theme music, and then asks him the wrong question ("So you and Jerry dated for a while, what was that like?....Wrong card").

It kills me every time. One infinitesimal complaint, however. There are two Seinfeld Kramer incidents where he plays a theme music (the other being on the Kramer bus tour), and for comedic effect, Larry David et al. include on the tape a voice saying `turn music off`. While I love it, and laugh every time, I am nonetheless struck by the fact that no tape would ever have that on it, for it defeats the entire purpose! As a cue to a sound operator, it is a blunt instrument that advertises to the entire audience the behind-the-scenes audio workings, which doesnt seem to me to be desirable. As a joke, its fucking hilarious.

Laugh starters

A classic from Tobias:

This one's appalling

I dont know the details behind this, but this is really ridiculous. In an effort to mitigate bad press over a crashed plane, China Airlines painted over the logo on its plane.

And now it thinks this isn't bad press? Who are the morons behind this?

Who wouldn't click on this link?

Astronomers find enormous hole in the universe: