Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Intelligent Life

I got nothing but some WINE TIPS I stole from a site that will not sue me for the free plug. Also cause I got nothing.

More Intelligent Life

Tom Harrow is often asked by clients in the City what he recommends after a hard day at work. "Which wine is best to numb the pain and transport you most effectively from your woes?" ...


Many great personal revelations, those Damascene moments of clarity, have resulted from hitting the bottle. The problem is remembering these profound solutions once you have awoken on someone's sofa in a strange part of town. Of course most damaging incidents--physically, financially and emotionally--have also occurred while under the influence, but here one's lack of recollection is more of a reprieve. (The problem then becomes the more reliable memories of your drinking partners, those friends who consider it a duty to recall each excruciating detail of your wayward behaviour. The obvious answer here is: drink alone.)

Alone or in company, maudlin or ecstatic, drinking good wine should be a fundamentally intellectual experience--particularly with a red Burgundy or the Nebbiolos of Piemonte. The effect should be to inspire you to engage with the issues of the day, with added vigour and originality.

As a wine consultant, I am often asked by clients in the City what I like to drink after a hard day at work. I imagine they are looking for pointers as to a suitable Puligny Montrachet or 4th Growth St Julien to uncork after unsuccessfully securitising bad debts from 6am until midnight. But my own schedule is different, though no less gruelling: trade tastings from 10am, hosted by various merchants or public-relations companies; then a long lunch (three-course minimum) with a Bordeaux broker, say, whereby splitting a full bottle of Sauternes for dessert is not an uncommon, followed by a cognac, naturally. The afternoon (and any fleeting moment of sobriety) usually segues into evening events of press dinners, wine- and food-pairing masterclasses, restaurant or product launches, etc. Is it any wonder that my tipple of choice, while collapsed on the sofa feeling like human foie gras, is more likely to be orange squash or milk? (I avoid water, mind you, as it dilutes life and steals the intensity necessary for a memorably sensuous experience. My reliance on moisturising cream is therefore conversely intense.)

Earlier this year, largely to counter accusations of softness, both physical and moral, I took up boxing--by which I mean being boxed at. The All-Stars Boxing Gym (all but one, now) is a proper spit and sawdust joint in a suitably gritty locale of West London. (I figure it is better to get beaten up in the ring than to face the same punishment outside, without gloves or my wallet afterwards.) This is a refreshingly different method of dehydration than the one to which I am professionally inured. After a two-hour pummelling every Monday evening, there is much more temptation than usual to punish a bottle of burly Pommard back at home.

This experience has made me re-consider my clients' enquiries: "Which wine is best to numb the pain and transport you most effectively from your woes?" What, for example, might the chief executive of the world's fourth-largest investment bank pull up from his cellar, dizzy, reeling and nauseous, knowing that the jobs of 24,000 employees, a proud 158-year commercial history, over $600 billion and the reputation of an entire profession were about to go up in smoke?

A modest but thirst-quenching Provencal white, gulped down a la Gérard Depardieu in "Jean de Florette" as he hacks desperately further and further in to the unforgiving earth to locate the wellspring to regenerate his land and save his crops; literally digging a hole for himself. Or, perhaps feeling the sword of Damocles hovering above, and realising that €7,000 is a drop in the ocean by comparison, he might uncork a treasured bottle of 1945 Mouton Rothschild; a wine as uniquely affecting and memorable as his own actions. Its length and breadth in the mouth persist in a manner as similarly resounding (but without the bitterness) as the resultant impact across the world of high finance.

I can't claim to be a regular golf buddy of Dick Fuld, the man at the helm of Lehman Brothers' sinking ship. I probably wouldn't recognise him on the street (or as he glides by in his limo). By all accounts a bit of bruiser, a tough, scary super-middleweight of Wall Street, cashiered from the military for punching a superior officer, Fuld would have laughed me out of the ring I'm sure. But if we discussed that post-work drink, considering the options in his wine fridge, I would have recommended that he hit the bottle during the working day rather than after (and preferably a magnum, or two). Then at least he would have had a delectable excuse for Lehman's spectacular meltdown. But now against the ropes and panting heavily, Fuld can merely echo Oscar Levant's quip: "I envy people who drink--at least they know what to blame everything on."

Picture credit: Mike Licht,

(Tom Harrow is an independent wine merchant specialising in wine-tasting events, cellar consultancy and vineyard tours through his company A Moveable Feast, Ltd. He is the author of a regular column for Urban Junkies and his own wine blog.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Little Feat Apolitcal Blues With Mick Taylor

Little Feat
at Rainbow Theatre London 1977 with Mick Taylor guesting.

The Lyrics and my sentiments.

Well my telephone was ringing
And they told me it was Chairman Mao
Well my telephone was ringing
And they told me it was Chairman Mao
You can tell him anything
'Cause I just don't wanna talk to him now

I've got the apolitical blues
And that's the meanest blues of all
Apolitical blues
And that's the meanest blues of all
I don't care if it's John WayneI just don't wanna talk to him now

Or you can try this song.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Steve Forbes Kinda Makes Sense

Just briefly can you give us an overview of your proposal as outlined in your recent book “The Flat Tax Revolution?” A link to the link of the audio interview 39:15 minutes.

Steve Forbes: Yes. What we would do is take the federal income tax code and all of its intendant rules and regulations, as you know the whole thing comes to 9,000,000 words compared to 5,000 words say, in our constitution and the 773,000 words in the Bible which took centuries to put together and just start over again.

Steve Forbes: They tried to simplify it 20 years ago and since then we’ve added thousands of amendments and 3,000,000 new words.

Steve Forbes: So, what we’d do is replace it with a single-rate tax system, flat tax system, that would have high thresholds. For example, a family of four: mom, dad, say, two kids, would owe no federal income tax on their first $46,000 of income and then anything above that level would be taxed at only a simple rate of 17 percent, 17 cents on the dollar.

Steve Forbes: It’d be no tax on savings and no death taxes.

And on the business side, the profits tax would be cut from 35 to 17 percent and there’d be no more depreciation schedules.

Steve Forbes: So, if you make a capital investment, whether it’s buying a PC or a factory or a piece of machinery or a truck or anything else, you’d be able to treat it as an expense for tax purposes. That way you wouldn’t have to try to figure out are you eligible for a credit or accelerated depreciation, what’s the useful life of the asset and all that stuff.

Last year, for example, we spent six and a half billion hours filling out tax forms. So, we’d have billions of hours of brainpower applied to more productive purposes, including leisure and it would also remove a huge source of civic corruption in our society.

Steve Forbes: I mean everything we do now revolves around the tax code. Want to go on vacation? Hey, tie it into a business conference, get a tax deduction. It’s corrosive.

Steve Forbes: And just to insure that people don’t feel that they might be euchred or suckered in some way, you have a choice. In other words, when we have the new system, you can file under the new system or, if you wish, you can stay with the old system. In other words, let people see for themselves which one is better.

John Kennedy, for example, a Democrat back in the 1960s, proposed a 23 percent cut in the federal income tax and in those days, Republicans were against tax cuts and the criticism was this would cost the government a lot of money at a time of budget deficits. Instead, when the budget tax cuts were finally enacted, the economy got stronger and tax receipts went up.

Steve Forbes: Same thing happened in the 1980s. Top rate, for example, was cut from 70 percent down to 28 percent, rates were cut across the board by 25 percent and federal revenues doubled.

Yeah and to give our listeners an idea, one of the charts that you had showed that, I think it was a family of four, as you mentioned, those with incomes under $40,000 would not pay taxes, and in fact some of them would be getting money back from the government, and at $90,000 the effective tax rate would be about 8.1%.

What about dividends and capital gains? Are they considered income for the flat tax?

Steve Forbes: They are considered an investment, a savings, and so they would be exempt.

And those people who are in retirement and need income, when they are investing in dividend-paying securities, they are not paying taxes on those dividends.

Steve Forbes: And they are the ones who are hurt most by this kind of double or triple taxation. And another good thing of course is, your retirement benefits, i.e. social security, would not be taxed.

What I found fascinating is that as we become more of a global economy, there really is a competition for jobs, there is a competition for industry, and a lot of the countries that are turning to flat tax and to taxation systems that appeal to the worker and taxation systems that appeal to companies and corporations are countries in the former USSR, and it seems that they are getting quite a bit of industry from Western Europe which has not had a lot of competition in a long time.

Steve Forbes: Well, I think it was Walter Riston, great banker, now deceased, who once said “Capital”, and he meant by that both money and people, “goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well treated.”

When I ran for president 10 years ago in the state of New Hampshire, H&R Block sent a mailing warning of the impending end of civilization if we got something like a flat tax.

That is one of the things that is frustrating for a lot of us, is that we see ideas like the flat tax and it is so often presented that it is going to hurt the people with the least when in fact those are the people who absolutely have the most to gain.

Steve Forbes: Exactly.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Indianapolis and The Moto GP

I live in the Indianapolis Indiana area. Which is home of the Indianapolis 500 ,The Brickyard 400 and once again after a 9 year hiatus the Indy Mile also I suppose I should mention as a side note to stay abreast of the local press the Moto GP.
The Motor speedway is privately owned and as a rule does not share statistics, people only guess at the attendance, which is generally, for a good year at the 500 a crowd of between 300,000 to 500,000 spectators. Them’s a lot of people…
The Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400 generate more revenue for the city (each) for the city than a Super Bowl. So now the privately owned unsubsidized business at the Speedway revealed some statistics for the Sunday GP attendance, 94,000+ they had an exact figure but Its so buried in the news now what with the Colts coverage and such that I think 94,000+ will work. I was there I am familiar with the Speedway, the place looked empty, so when you have nearly 95,000 spectators at an event held in the rain with winds gusting up to 60mph. This speaks volumes on the popularity of this sport. I watched both practice and the race (I admit I do not follow the GP on the International scale) rest assured there were millions of people around the globe watching this world class event unfold. Bernie Ecclestone boss of F-1 tried to get Tony George the owner of the track to solicit money from the government to fund his race, Mr. George essentially told him this is the US and we do not ask for government subsidies for our sporting events. Now after the numbers are shown, how does Ecclestone save face and beg his way back into the track.
The Indy Mile on all accounts had a record breaking crowd the night before the GP. Many of the GP racers were there for the event, it was a great race which Chris Carr won. I wish I could have been there but I had complications and did not make it on time.
Why do I find this relevant when I am a dirt trail kinda guy? Well I am not a stick and ball sport fan, and I did grow up with a father who raced Flat Track. I even did a lap on a mile track myself before the officials pulled me and my 60cc bike off the course and made me race in the kids class. The Indy Mile won some Flat Track fans Saturday to be sure, not to mention for Nicky Hayden and his roots to glory.
So once again how does a trail kinda guy find himself singing the praises of GP and Flat Track? Well I suppose it does relate to the image of motorcyclist’s. A week prior to the race I was speaking with an acquaintance who is an attorney and he gave me the inside scoop, the Indy Police force was really beefing up security because of the possible gang violence due to happen at these moto events. I tried to explain to him that this was not a gang sport but he would have nothing of it, he assured me that the police had the inside scoop on some bad stuff ready to go down. So the point is the GP had less riff raff than a small wholesome town, the Indy Mile? Well, it turned into an international event and the evil bikers had to make room for the crowd. I guess it goes back to Bruce Brown’s words “Desert Racers are nice people.”


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stunts a Site to Behold

I just walked home from the Village. Broad Ripple avenue was blocked off for a free style moto event. Modified dirt bikes, a steep narrow ramp and then a wide ramp for landing, 75' apart. The fourman crew were jumping above all the village buildings. The announcer who I believe without question said they were 34' high. Out of the four riders on 250 two strokes one of them did four (separate) 360 degree back flips over the pavement with people crowded on the side walk. I was so compacted into the crowd that I could not clap when the enthusiastic announcer tried to rev up the crowd. So after the cool presentation, we left, took a local short cut through a bar out the backdoor to the peace and quite of Connors Pub, a Rugby bar.
Connors Pub is the mainstay of Broad Ripple and it is a rare day when you walk in to this pub for peace, after 10PM. The show was very cool, when you consider I rode my bike down BR avenue today at 3:00PM and all I saw in the form of preparation was parking meters covered with bags.
We wandered over and arrived at 8:07 to watch the warm up and then the main show. They were going to have the GP bikes at around 10:00 but we chose to seek shelter in Connors,$2 dollar bottled Bass and seats, not to mention a toilet. It is a sport that requires an immense amount of talent practice and something just not quite clinking in the skull. Evel Kneivel who was one of the most successful promoters of himself and this form of stunt would be proud.
Please do not try this at home or even at your neighbors, it hurts bad, real bad. Why do I know this? Because from past experience when I was a wee lad we built ramps we jumped and sometimes we made the jump and sometimes we hurt real bad. Peace Trails JW
Definition and history
A great Video

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Exeloo Auto Toilet

I want this for my birthday. I actually spent a few minutes in one in Northern Italy back in the 20th century, one of my best toilet experiences I ever did have.This company is a little dated in its technology compared to what I experienced but its still pretty cool. Seattle just recently auctioned off five of theirs that they spent 5 million dollars.They used ebay and some lucky fella bought all five for just under $13,000 or just over $12,000 I cannot recall the exact figure but a real bargain.I could go on and on about this but I have to hit ebay, I really want one of these things. Kind Regards and there are only a few shopping days left in September for my birthday so if you are at a loss, a free standing self cleaning toilet is on register at Thank you in advance JW


Somewhere in the Pacific

Since I am celebrating my birthday. September. The entire month of September(tradition) I would like to be somewhere on the Pacific kinda like the picture, but the women I would prefer to look a little more feminine. So my goal is to hit the ocean before the end of my birthday. How? I do not know but I do know I need big blue to bring me some solace that I am another year older and yet still growing better looking everyday...I looked at the photo again and those are not women, those are my buddies Dr. Pepper and D Baker, both of them hung over one near death but he survived.The sea she is rough but she is calling, send money. JW


My Birthday

I want one of these, so my birthday is this entire month.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Plan is Essential

Come the week of Sept,12,13 and 14th is a huge moto event just outside my doorstep. Now this discipline of racing is not my cup of tea, however I am interested in watching the events unfold. I have a couple of free pass's from a friend who works for the Speedway.
My father bless his heart passed on his grace and speed to me while on a race course. He loved (loved as in he is still alive and I hope he comes out to watch the return of the Indy Mile with me) Flat Track and so did I and even entered some events but then eventually found enduro, or just trails. I seem to end up less hurt if I am not put on a course head to head with other racers, the ole competitive spirit comes out and when you lack grace and talent the ole competitive spirit can create danger to one who is mot blessed with these gifts.
In Indy this is a big event and I suddenly have friends from all over remembering their good ole friend Josh. I have reservations set up for a friend but have not heard back from them or been invited (not even a phone number) to join so I have people from all over knocking on my door, phone, email etc...I am kinda of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda guy so when a friend who has been in direct contact with me calls via phone, I feel kinda guilty for not having a place for his family to stay until I hear back from my phantom friend.I wrote my friend,read below letter.You know its kinda hard to plan your weekend with all this going on, I do not want to leave a friend hanging, I do not truly want to leave my house unlocked. I think the saying goes either shit or get off the pot.

The Letter,
Hey, I have not heard from you and need to set up a plan. I cannot leave my house open (unlocked) so I am taking Friday afternoon off, if you are coming to town. I have some friends from out west who are coming and of course locally so let me know when to be around.
There has been a rash of break-ins in the village the last year or two. Last fall I returned from the pub after two beers and a salad ( always the health nut) and as I was opening my storm door I was greeted by a gent (short hair, polo shirt, short khaki pants) who exclaimed "oh shit!" I was puzzled and a little slow ( salad does not soak up the beer) and I stood pondering...How do I know this person, did they just get divorced and needed a place to stay (a common occurrence) but this bastard interrupted my train of thought. The brute threw open the door, hit me in the head, I slipped on the wet wood of the deck and he ran out the back steps of my deck. I regained my footing and ran out my front gate and the gave chase but the guy was fast, real fast. Some guy walking his dog screamed and I asked him where the guy went and he said that way (South) I ran and the guy was gone. A true athlete this fella.
I walked back talked to dog walking guy and he agreed that the guy was really booking or however you spell the French phrase Bucu! To make a short story longer a firetruck came and I thought,( how did they know I was just attacked savagely?) I approached the truck and it seems they were just lost and needed directions so I gave them directions and then told them while I chuckled that I thought they had come to rescue me, they said no but they would call the police thanked me and lord knows if I sent them into oblivion or they found their way. At any rate the police were on the spot within minutes, I told them what happened, dog walker came back (sans the dog) and offered his testimony. I took an officer into my house and he asked me if anything was missing, I could not find anything missing which is often the case when you loose something. But the public servant was nice offered me some advice and gave me his name and office number if I discovered something missing.
Come the morning I was showering thinking about the nights events and then I thought...That bastard took my keys! ( habit dictates, walk into the village and leave the keys on my table with the door unlocked, it worked for 17 years) so with this thought I crawled out of the shower walked dripping water on my waxed hardwood floors and confirmed that the bastard had indeed stolen my keys. So from this day on I am forced to lock my doors and even keep my downstairs windows closed for fear some sort of opportunist may choose me as easy pick-ins'.
In other words let me know what your plan is, I will probably be staying out at a friends motor home come race day eve, I dunno. Please let me know your plan so I can either clean my guest room or let it lay fallow and I can run amok without worry of leaving a friend behind. Kind Regards JW


Monday, September 01, 2008

Vintage Roscoe and the Future

Bruce Brown Film maker, Endless Summer the "THE SURFER FILM" also On Any Sunday "THE MOTORCYCLE FILM" shaking hands with Malcolm Smith one of the Stars from the movie,I think Steve McQueen was in the movie, maybe financed it, but his son did show up and at this event sponsored by the Orange County Dualies which generated a create deal of money for their favored charity, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
As Steve Narrated the Movie I will paraphrase but it goes something like this, motorcyclists are good people.
To Steve, Malcolm, Bruce and to Roscoe's recovery. Thank you all for the inspiration.

With the Indy Mile coming back to town I felt it was appropriate to post an ole Roscoe story leading up to the Race.I grew up with a flat track racing father along with moto and trail. Its all good fun, and I am truly looking forward to the renewed interest in the Indy Mile and the next day I zip out to the Moto GP on my 640 adventure. We band of brothers…well we just have to stick together.
Location: Indianapolis

A life on the road gets complicated at times. I tell this so others may learn from my mistakes. The short version goes a cavalry of emergency equipment arrives, cop draws gun, and Roscoe goes to jail.

A more detailed version begins as we found ourselves accommodated by a family friend in the lavish parking area of a famous racetrack. Leelee and I enjoy our morning, the calm after the storm in a typical crisp day. Tater sulks in the camper shower / toilet concluding a 48 minute fit. He’s angry because we told him we would not attend the Dallas-Fort Worth Primate Expo and Monkeyrama. Our serenity brakes as we hear sirens and see familiar blue and red flashing lights approach. Looking to make a good impression, I sprang from my chair and grabbed my jacket. An officer exited his prowler and asked ” Mister, are you wearing a KTM jacket?” I smiled and puffed my chest expecting to hear “You a bike rider? Me too! “. . . “YOU’RE UNDER ARREST! We’ve received a screaming 911 call and GPSed a signal to this location. Have you been abusing the lady?” As the cop car door closed, Tater waved the cell phone and Leelee promised to call a lawyer and vowed to remain ever true, as long as it takes.

The People at the police station seemed to be a little easier to get along with than the arresting officer. I asked the lady taking fingerprints who the hard nose was. She replied “He’s Patrolman B. V. Davidson. The inmates call him Sheriff Skivvies”. The guy hates bikers. When his wife ran off, she took his bike and hooked up with a lady junkyard dealer. (Ouch! That sounds familiar, kinda.) They played the 911 tape and it sounded pretty bad. ” If you don’t quiet down, you’re gonna get smacked “. Then you hear unexplainable screams.

They took me to the cell. It was a large, bench lined, room filled with guys in coveralls. The real jumpy small guy sat down next to me and began talking. Everybody has a story in prison. He said “One day you’re swiping golf carts, just funnin’. The next day you’re somebody’s man-girlfriend “. I told him about Tater throwing the fit over his monkey jamboree and poop fling. I suggested to the guy that using “finger quotes” when he said ‘man-girlfriend’ might get him in trouble. You hit rock bottom when the littlest guy in prison tells you that you are screwed. At this point the biggest guy in the cell walked over and I thought here we go. . . . But all he said was ” monkeys are funny. ” I started telling stories about monkeys and motorcycles. I told stories of our adventures meeting famous people like Boyd Sivle, Ted Nugent, Vince & Linda McMahon. The inmates gathered, some sitting cross-legged encircling the floor. I told stories of Amish go-go barns, boat wrecks, Weiner Mobiles, and Mount Rushmore. The guards amassed and listen attentively. I told legends of Edsel collections, explosive diarrhea, talking badgers, and the Cushman Scooter boys. I even started an open debate; Steven Hawking v Christopher Reeves in a fight. . . does anybody win? One guy began writing notes on his clipboard. It all sounded like a terrific summer flashback TV show but before I knew it, it was time to go to court.

At the arraignment the judge looked over her glasses and asked if I was a violent man or a drinker. Behind me, Freak Show Roy, dressed in shorts, sandals and a tank top, objected from the gallery and proclaimed himself my legal counsel. He and the judge argued at the sidebar for a least 10 minutes and he returned. ” Roscoe, there are no witnesses. Leelee couldn’t wait for you to get out of jail and left for Barstow to follow her show business dream. . If you tell the judge about Tater, she’ll put you in the nut house. The jailhouse psychiatrist says you’re delusional. Tell them you need rehab and you’ll do two weeks max. You’re out of here”…

“Judge, the Tequila and Tang has a grip on me. I need help.”

Rehab later. . .