Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wineries don’t advertise the ‘fine’ line between regular and vegetarian wine

Good Day World!

There appears to be a conspiracy of silence on the part of winemakers when it comes the subject of vegetarian wine.

 That’s right. Did you know there was such a thing as vegetarian or vegan wine?

I’ve visited wineries throughout California and never heard of vegetarian or vegan wine until very recently. While on a visit to relatives in Southern California, my sister told me and my wife that she had discovered them.

My sister has been a vegetarian most of her life and the idea that animal parts are used in the wine-making process literally sickened her. She had been drinking wine for about ten years, blissfully unaware of this fact.

Before I explain how animal parts are involved in the wine-making process I would like to pose this question to all the wineries in California; "Why don’t you warn people that animal parts are used (if applicable) in the production of your wine on your labels, or in the literature you pass out?"

Fact. The FDA does not mandate that wineries (or breweries - yes they can be vegetarian too) provide information about animal parts used in the making of their products. It’s little known unless you’re the winemaker or an expert in viticulture.

There’s a natural settling and clarification process that occurs when wine is aged. It’s an inefficient and inconsistent way to prepare wine for the public however, according to Foodista, a vegetarian blog that pairs vegetarian wines with meals.

Most people don’t want to drink cloudy wine or wine with particles floating in it. The answer is to "clean up" the wine after fermentation, either before, during, or after aging.
This process is called "fining.

It’s a method of clarifying or chemically stabilizing the wine. The fining agents, filters, and additives are the "devil in the details" for vegetarians and vegans.

You may be surprised to hear that animal blood could be in your wine. How? The charcoal used to remove impurities and odors from wine is frequently made from animal bones. 

Refined sugar, sometimes added to wine to enhance sweetness, is also filtered with charcoal.

Here’s a list of agents from that could be used during the fining process:
Egg whites, milk, blood, gelatin, carbon, fish paste, casein (the principal protein constituent of milk and cheese) and isinglass (an extract of sturgeon bladders).

Don’t despair however, as there are alternatives. There’s a heat stabilization process using bentonite (a clay of hydrated magnesium silicates) that clears and purifies wine. 

Another method involves using Irish Moss. Some wineries don’t even bother with the fining process and sell their vino, particles included.

Winemakers use various filtering methods to remove undesirable elements. There’s depth or sheet filtration, surface or membrane filtration, and sterile filtration, in addition to those listed above.

There are numerous blogs about vegetarian and vegan wine. If you’re a vegan, you’ll want to check out "Barnivore," a site run by two vegans. They let consumers know which wines are strictly vegan. 

I’ve already mentioned two vegetarian sites, and there are others online. If you walk into a winery, try to find a sign stating vegetarian wine is available.

Out of 21 wineries in the Temecula area in Southern California, only one sells all organic vegetarian wine. That’s Bella Vista Winery, where I went with my sister. Even there, they don’t make a big deal about being vegetarian-friendly. The servers seemed proud of the fact, but it wasn’t prominently displayed in the wine tasting area.

Maybe I shouldn’t say the fact that most wineries don’t talk about being vegetarian or vegan is a conspiracy. Perhaps the subject simply doesn’t come up very often.

I called wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties, and not one person who answered the phone knew if they served vegetarian wine. They all had to consult with winemakers to give me an answer.

Like I said, maybe that’s just a coincidence. Maybe wineries don’t care if the word does get out that vegetarian or vegan wine exists. I’m no expert and probably have no business bringing this whole subject up. 

But were you aware of it?

Time for me to walk on down the road...
Editor's Note: I wrote this column six years ago, and it's still relevant.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Definition of Humor Has Changed During My Lifetime

Good Day World!

That's me in the photo, looking ridiculous.

I've always been a clown at heart and love good jokes and comedians.

But I've watched, with growing alarm, as humor has been hammered into a hole by politically correct groups in this country during the last four decades.


Growing up in the 1950s, I watched some of the greatest comedic acts of all time; Laura and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Comedians like W.C. Fields and Rodney Dangerfield, left me weak with laughter countless times. Both men would probably be booed off the stage if they did their act today.

That's sad.

Speaking of sad, it's been painful watching Bill Cosby's illicit past catch up to him. I have to admit, I loved his early records. Wonderfullness and Why Is Their Air? are comedy classics.

When I look at what passes for humor in today's comedy acts, I can't help feeling disappointed. They're usually foul-mouthed. Fuck this, and fuck that. 

If you haven't been to a stand-up performance by a comedian lately, you should check it out.

It's okay to be crude and lude, but within the puzzling limits set by the faceless PC police.

The good news - and there is always a brighter side to things - all those comedians of yesterday that I love, are still available today through videos.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Chaos Candidate: Report Predicts a Global Economic Downturn If Trump Is Elected

Good Day World!

When was the last time the British research organization, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said a candidate for the U.S. presidency could have a dangerous global impact on the world economy?


But this year the group released a global risk assessment, ranking the election of Donald Trump a 12 on a scale of one to 25 — the same number it assigned to the possibility that jihadi terrorism would destabilize the global economy.

"His militaristic tendencies towards the Middle East (and ban on all Muslim travel to the U.S.) would be a potent recruitment tool for jihadi groups, increasing their threat both within the region and beyond," the EIU said.

The report notes that Trump would not beat Hillary Clinton if he does become the Republican nominee.

I'm not sure how they came up with that conclusion. Trump's chances of being elected are being downplayed by a lot of political pundits, but deep down I think their all really afraid he will get elected.

Trump has unleashed a whirlwind and no one knows where it'll take this country. 

I feel like we're watching a train wreck slowly unfold, and are helpless to do anything about it. 

Time for me to walk on down the road... 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guess Who? She's The Queen of Right-Wing Provocateurs & a Big Trump Supporter (Clue: Not Sarah Palin either)

Good Day World!

Meet the meanest, most racist, right-wing provocateur, propaganist in America today.

* She's famous for being the most vicious of all the haters prowling the internet and mainstream media for over 17-years.

* She once said: 

“We need to execute people like John Walker Lindh in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.”

* She loves Donald Trump and wants to see him become the next president. She recently got on Twitter and encouraged more violence in Trump rallies:

"I would like to see a little more violence from the innocent Trump supporters set upon by violent leftist hoodlums."

* She was once riding high as the scourge of all liberals and was featured on Fox News for 17-years before they got sick of her and canned her.

If you haven't guessed who it is by now, then I'll tell you:

Ann Coulter - Still the Queen of Mean and as loose with facts as ever, she manages to spread lies and hate on the web and wherever else she's given the opportunity.

Ann Coulter has fallen from grace - and the reason why is terrifying

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What John Wayne Said When I Told Him I Was Getting Married

Good Day World!

A slice of my life.

After getting out of the Army in 1971, I rambled around the country trying to find myself, never staying anywhere for too long.

Then I fell in love.

In the hot summer of 1974, I got engaged to Shirley Ann Holloway. I was working for Pinkerton Security at the time. One of my assignments was to guard a gated community in Newport Beach full of Hollywood bigshots and stars like John Wayne.

Mr. Marion Robert Morrison (his real name - he never legally changed it) always waved to me when he drove thru. Sometimes he'd pause in his green Ford Station Wagon, and chat for a few minutes.

Just general stuff. I remember complimenting him on getting an Oscar (1969) for his starring role of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.

In all fairness, I didn't keep up with the private lives of stars, so all I knew was The Duke was married to Pilar Pallette, a hot Peruvian actress with one movie to her credit.

He asked me a few questions about Vietnam one day after finding out that I served there in 1970. Nothing too embarrassing. 

One day the subject got around to love. He was a bit cynical of it, and talked about two previous marriages that ended badly.

I told him that I asked someone to marry me and she accepted. His face was a study of fleeting expressions as he digested my happy news.

"Well...I wish you the best partner. I really do," he said. There was an odd look on his face that I only understood a few days later.

A friend told me, after I shared John Wayne's odd response to my good news, that Wayne was separated from his wife. The irony did not escape me.

I was finally transferred to another job, a bank, a couple of months later. On my last day of guard duty in Newport Beach I saw The Duke for the last time. We wished each other luck.

Five years later John Wayne died of stomach cancer...still just separated (not divorced) from Pilar.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Try Chilling Out With Yoganja!

Good Day World!

Here's the thing; marijuana and yoga have been combined for thousand of years.

Ganja Yoga, or Yoganja, is a new concept for Western society.

The practice has been around for at least six years in America. Dee Dassault is one of the first yoga teachers outside of ancient India to publicly offer cannabis-enhanced yoga classes.

According to her personal page "Historically, cannabis has been linked to really early use with Yoga in ancient Shiva cults."

"Back then," Dassault explained to ABC News, "They weren't smoking it, but drinking it in a milk beverage and burning it as an incense. But if you're burning incense, you're essential hotboxing the temple as a result."

Pot yoga students must have medical marijuana cards in California. Card holders have been able to toke up and mix yoga since 2010 at 4:20 Yoga in Los Angeles. 

Colorado has been a leader in yoganja It was the first pot-legal state to offer it.

Oregon hasn't got any yet (that I know of), but I'm sure that's just a matter of time. 

However, back in May 2015, Dee Dassault came up to Oregon and offered a class for a day.

Washington state offers Ganja yoga.

It all makes perfect sense to me. I find weed relaxing and yoga is supposedly (I've never tried it) calming. Just goes to show you there's nothing new under the sun.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Should We Continue To Do Business With Dictators?

1. Name seven of America's Favorite Dictators worldwide. Remember the amount of money we pour into their economies is a big measuring stick.
U.S. Taxpayer: "I'd have to say King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia; Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan; Paul Biya of Cameroon; Teodoro Obiange Nguema of Equatorial Guinea; Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia; Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov (or Berdymukhamedov) of Turkmenistan; and Idriss Derby of Chad."
Fantastic! You got them all. You correctly named the countries we're happily sinking billions of dollars into regardless of their stance on freedom or human rights. You guessed right that democracy is secondary to getting what we want from dictators whose countries are strategic to us.
2. Name five of the World's Worst Dictators. Take a moment because you have about 50 (give or take) to choose from. We do business with most of them.
U.S. Taxpayer: "I'm going with Hu Jintao of China; Kim Jong-Il of North Korea; Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya; Hosni Murbarak of Egypt; and Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, whose nasty little pastime of boiling his political opponents to death makes him a must pick."
I'm sorry! Looks like you are not keeping up with world events. Hosni Murbarak was recently hounded out of power by the Egyptian people, and Muammar Qaddafi is on borrowed time after declaring war upon the people of Libya (Editor's note: he's gone now).
3. Here comes another tough question, so pay attention: Of the African dictators, whose life seems a parody of the dictator genre? Hint, Peter Maas said this about him.
U.S. Taxpayer: "I'm leaning toward Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, but my gut instinct says Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea."
Is that your final pick?
U.S. Taxpayer: (pause) "Yes ... I'm going with Teodoro."
Even more dramatic pause. You're correct! Congratulations! That was a secret bonus question and you're getting double points! Are you ready for the next question?
U.S. Taxpayer: "Sure, let's roll. It's only my money we're talking about."
4. Name the dictators who rule the following countries: Belarus, Swaziland, and Syria.
U.S. Taxpayer: "OK ... I know the answers. Aleksandr Lukashenka for Belarus, King Mswati III rules Swaziland, and Sayyid Ali Khamenei for Syria. Wait a moment! I'd like to change Syria to Bashar al-Assad in charge.
The clock stops ticking and the bell goes off! You did it again! You're correct-a-mondo. Let's wrap this game up with the final question of the day: How many countries practice capitalism? This is a tricky question so think before you answer.
U.S. Taxpayer: Let's see ... 15, no 52, no ... 189?
Is that your final answer?
U.S. Taxpayer: Yes it is ... 189.
Buzzers blare! I'm sorry, but that's wrong. Capitalism is an economic policy. It's not a political system and it relies on little government control. Just about every country in the world practices a version of capitalism.
This game show host is still amazed to find any taxpayer who knows as much as you've answered today. Thank you for participating. America has looked the other way for decades as these dictators looted their countries, and it's important the public should know that.
Most Americans probably couldn't name three dictators we do business with on a regular basis. You know why? Because the corporate media doesn't talk about dictators unless world events force them to.
Like Egypt, for example. How many Americans were aware it was ruled by an oppressive dictatorship? 
"Capitalism is freedom -- and freedom leads to prosperity," according to Capitalism Magazine. The idea being you can determine levels of capitalism by looking at a country and the rights its citizens enjoy.
It's inescapable; the dictators we do business with are not "good" capitalists by that standard. Does it matter? We need to get that straight if we expect the rest of the world to believe our message of democracy and freedom for all.
As It Stands, if we don't want to appear hypocritical we should re-examine our relationships with the world's dictators.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

It's Time the Mainstream Media Admits This is not a Normal Election

The mainstream media is sending signals that they don't know what to do about the most corrupt presidential candidate in history. Trump ...