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Remember the Where’s Waldo books? A modern classic series back in the Age of Print. Big hardcovers that opened to panoramic cartoons of countless people in quirky settings engaged in practically every possible human behavior except fornication. And somewhere on every spread stood Waldo, hiding in plain sight: round-frame glasses, goofy-cool striped hat, smile. The idea of the book was simple and sweet: find Waldo. Ah, good times.

And now, an updated, wined-up version: Where’s Hardy? Read the rest of this entry »

Listen up, wine lovers: Fermented grape juice and hulking SUVs have something in common besides ethyl alcohol as an ingredient. The federal Cash for Clunkers program has been extended to wine.

The Wine Skewer has learned that thanks to secret negotiations hammered out this weekend over copious quantities of nondescript Merlot at an undisclosed wine bar in San Francisco, aides to Governor Schwarzenegger and President Obama are expected to announce that relief is at hand for millions of American enthusiasts whose wine cellars once seemed cool and wonderful but are now hallmarks of inefficiency and/or bad taste.

According to a reliable inside source (the bartender), the plan—dubbed “Greeno for Vino” until someone comes up with something catchier—will cover the following categories. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s July, and America is still sweltering amid the extreme high pressure front of the Great Economic Downturn. Wine is not immune. In fact, the econo-doldrums have prompted some surprising, even outright bizarre, measures on the part of wine makers and marketers. To wit, consider the following wine ventures that the Wine Skewer—exclusively, mais oui—has learned are in the works….

[tignanello tail]. This mash-up of high-end and low-end wine was bound to happen. On one hand we have the 16 {or is it 60… who’s counting?} generations of winemaking Antinoris, whose Super Tuscan pre-eminence has been reduced to worthless press clippings as their $100 blends draw more dust than glances on U.S. retail shelves. On the other hand, we have Yellow Tail, the Jammy Juggernaut of Oz, King of Critters, the wine that every 30-years-and-under American can remember, pronounce and afford. Look for bottlings of this new joint venture to appear for $19.99 {hey, it’s the new $99.99}. Read the rest of this entry »

Couch Potato America reclined and recoiled the other night upon learning that the Reality TV stars of Jon & Kate Plus 8 have filed for divorce. The split can not come as too great a surprise, what with mounting tabloid rumors, not to mention the cumulative stress of raising twins and sextuplets amid the relentless glare of cameras. What may come as a shock, however, is the real reason for their split: namely wine. Read the rest of this entry »

American Idol’s got nuthin’ on Murphy-Goode Winery. Why do people all over the country go ga-ga over this glorified camp talent show, when over in Sonoma, there is some serious career carrot being dangled? And drama building! Read the rest of this entry »

They’re starting to sweat out in wine country. Several major sales indeces in April indicated that the U.S. wine market—which had been holding its own while the rest of the economy swirled counterclockwise down the toilet—has flattened out, and now is tapering. Not only are people “trading down,” as in moving from Cakebread to CK Mondavi, they are also drinking less vino.

Hoping to avert a full-fledged crisis, a group of consultants has issued a top-secret report advising the movers and shakers of northern California to take action. Naturally, a copy of said report was leaked to The Wine Skewer. Among the consultant recommendations:

Consolidate. Lose all the sub-appellations; combine Napa and Sonoma counties into one powerful entity to be known henceforth as “SONAPA” (written in all caps, to command more attention). Read the rest of this entry »

It has become clear in recent months days that what is clearly needed in the wine world today is education.

Yes, education. But not about wines, and their myriad combinations of distinctive grapes from far-flung places. We’ve got that part settled. Everyone who knows anything about wine knows: it’s all about personal taste. Find and follow your own palate. The rest is gravy. The age of needing critics to guide one to specific vintages from specific producers is gone.

No, the training people need now is how to deal with the trappings, the minutia, the devilish details that have come in the fast-paced, Web-driven new age of wine. With that in mind, I hereby am opening the E-cademy of Worldwide Wine. Or EWW {pronounced Eww!}.

All classes will be conducted via twitter, tumblr, facebook, Yelp, YouTube, Ning and/or other online platforms. No tuition, no need to register, just “Tune in or tune out,” as the great wine critic of the 1960s, Dr. Timothy Leary, used to say. Our first batch of classes will include… Read the rest of this entry »

I’m really trying to get the hang of this blogging thing. Went to a big tasting yesterday – Provence in the City – table upon table of jewel-like bottles of fresh rosy vins, with representatives at the ready to espouse as well as pour… Doing my best to poast at blogger’s speed, and yet, here I sit, more than 24 hours later, trying to muster up some passion. To paraphrase a song from A Chorus Line, “I feel nothing… I feel nothing…”

It wasn’t the wines’ fault. I tasted maybe a third of them. Enough to sense correctness; the wines as a group were fresh, clean, pure, mildly fruity and more than ready to take on the fig- and olive-centric array of edibles on hand at, conveniently enough, Fig & Olive restaurant in the meatpacking district. But there was something missing… Read the rest of this entry »