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  1. SOPHOMORE = SOPHOS + MOROS = “wise” + “foolish” (Greek)
  2. I just learned that (1) Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet, and (2) the word “crap” does not come from his name. Now I feel totally disillusioned about my knowledge base. Bummer!
  3. My car takes 91 octane. Gas is sold locally in octanes 87, 89 and 92 or 93 octane. So I must average octanes. One would think that gas stations would have figured this arbitrage out. But it is always strictly more profitable for me to mix 92 and 87 octane than 92 and 89 octane. So drivers: avoid 89 octane!
  4. I am such a sucker for Venn diagrams. This one categorizing all drugs is for the ages.
    Disclaimer: For me, caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant (my nightly glass of red wine, angel face). I have had nitrous oxide (hallucinogen & depressant) two or three times. I have fended off the peer pressure to consume all others – does that make me a geek or a nerd? Curiously, cannabis – or marijuana (Mary Jane) – is  simultaneously a stimulant, hallucinogen, depressant, & anti-psychotic.


I am very, very interested in studying one particular one: 18,000 bottles from the cellar of La Tour d’Argent are being auctioned off.  It’s their first auction since the restaurant started in 1582.  They are going through some tough times but:

Adversity is nothing new to La Tour d’Argent, which was pillaged in 1789 during the French Revolution. In the late 1980s, the wine cellar was flooded by the Seine River. And it was plundered in World War II, when the Nazis occupied the city.

The top wine is

a bottle of Corton, a red Burgundy, vintage 1895, its label blurred with mold and its price estimated at 1,000 ($1,488) to 1,200 euros ($1,786) .

The whole list is here. No “star” wines are being sold buy maybe that means there are bargains. It’s better to focus on wines that under the radar.  If you still get excited and overbid, at least you can drink away your sorrow.

Correlation is not causation but for anyone looking for an excuse, this study should be enough to get them guzzling wine if not beer.  It says drinking wine in moderation adds five years to your life while beer adds 2.5.  People who don’t drink die young.

Have not read the study but it reminds me of the fact that married men make more than men who never marry at all.  Does marriage make men more productive?  Does alcohol prolong life or is there another explanation?

The marriage counter-theory is easy: men who never marry on average do not have the social skills to do better at work.  On the alcohol front, people who drink wine are on average wealthier than ones who drink beer.  The rich have a healthier lifestyle, better medical care, cushier jobs etc.  The study took place in Holland.  The beer is great, much of it brought over from Belgium.  Someone who does not drink this quality of beer and avoids alcohol all together has to be really, really antisocial and weird.  Sad and lonely, they die young.  Weak story at the end but best I can do while teaching.

Normally, my palette is not good enough to distinguish between the regular Pinot Noir and the Méthode à L’Ancienne (MA).  But the 2006 MA vintage is so good that pretty much anyone can tell them apart!   There’s lots of cherry, a slight acidity at the end and then the cherry comes back again.  I couldn’t taste the  bacon or strawberry the description mentions. Maybe I will after a few years in the bottle.  It’s worth the extra ten bucks to get the MA over the regular.  Navarro is one of my favorite vineyards for whites too.  Check it out.

Rated 88 – A zesty spice bomb of a Zinfandel, with boysenberry, ripe cherry, licorice and roasted herb notes and long, deep flavors that build toward firm, cedary tannins on the finish. Best from 2008 through 2012. – Wine Spectator

No tannins or licorice left by 2009.  Definitely spicy, lots of cherry.  Complexity added by blend of Petit Sirah and Carignane.  Long finish, lingers with a  bit of roughness at the back of the throat.  Sweet at the start, bitterness at the end too and a little acidity.  I love it and am going to try to track down some more.  Around $30 (on sale for $25 if you’re lucky).

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