Saturday, September 27, 2008

Substantial loss in a world overrun with the famous-for-nothing...


As we're overrun with ill-informed pundits and sex-tape celebrities - we've lost a man of style and substance...

An icon... a gifted actor... a spirited race car driver... and an innovative philanthropist.

My thoughts are with Joanne and the Newman family...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Penny Grigio here...a Sauvignon Buck there...

Pop the cork it's time to plaigerize myself!!

Recently a friend posted about some cheap wine treats. I wrote a pretty long [LONG] comment on the post and thought, upon re-reading it, that it may make for a fun read here... So here, then, is my two cents on wine and price:

"I used to work with wine + spirits clients when I lived in New York. I worked with restaurant clients in Chicago... At Whole Foods - we launched our first boxed wine product...

Here's the poop. Time after time...sommeliers and wine buyers alike told me - price, label, prestige matter less than what taste experience you seek. Do you like sweeter wines? That's not necessarily the hallmark of an uneducated palate as some wine snobs would have you believe. Sure - I think everyone may agree that white zin is the devil's own juice - but...

Two Buck Chuck? Serves a great purpose as a no-nonsense table sip. Lost Vineyards - an Argentine brand available for $2.97 at my Kroger (and at my local Whole Foods, too) - makes some neat blends. From a refreshing Pinto Grigio/Torrontes [an Argentine exclusive] blend, to a smooth Shiraz/Cabernet blend - it's less than $3 and quite nice.

Many boxed wines are indeed a deal and quite good. I know when we launched ours at WFM - it was from a reputable Australian producer and many believe the bladdered {I know - ugly word} box kept the wine fresher longer and you certainly couldn't beat the price.

SO - on a final note about this [pay attention, this part is good]. I worked with a client in New of the most unreasonable, demanding, delusional clients I ever had the misfortune of performing flawlessly for with no recognition. Maison Nicolas offered a selection of really inexpensive, French varietal wines - all from $5.99 to $9.99 or so. We launched a wine called Consensus for them. We held a blind tasting at a 4-star NYC restaurant for wine writers and critics and the like. It was paired against, I believe, 6 other wines?! ALL of the wines were more expensive. This was around $7.99 or $8.99. Wouldn't you know it - this inexpensive wine didn't win - of course - the Consensus [I know bad pun] was that it scored smack dab in the middle of the $13 to $49 wines.

SO THERE!!! SIP what you like...enjoy and don't worry what people think!"


Thursday, September 11, 2008

addendum to today...

a friend just forwarded me our Email string from this day 7 years ago...

My out-of-office message gave me a twinge to see and read:
"I will be out of the office starting 09/11/2001 and will not return until 09/13/2001.

Due to the unfathomable tragedy unfolding in Manhattan - our offices will be closed today - and possibly tomorrow.
I will check voicemail on Wednesday.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those on the planes and at the World Trade Center.
I'll review E-mail and voicemail when I return to the office.

Michael Duffield
Senior Account Supervisor
Magnet Communications

That Sunny Autumn Tuesday...

It's been seven years. Television, politics, real emotion...they're all going to collide today in New York. A while back when I was writing regularly for the Chattanooga Pulse - I, along with other contributors and readers, was asked to write of my memory of that earth-shattering day. I found what I wrote and thought I'd share it again - as it seems like yesterday.

Here then is my remembrance:

Just another lovely autumn day in New York. I was running a little late that Tuesday morning - no surprise. I was supposed to be at work in Chelsea at 9 AM. It was about 20 'til and I was ready to bolt out the door and hop onto the subway for the quick one-stop ride up to 14th St. My roommate hollered upstairs to take a look at the TV before I left. Odd - I thought. But - he didn't usually talk to me in the morning - and certainly not before I was caffeinated. So - I popped on NY1. Hmmm...looks like a Cessna flew off track and into one of the towers we agreed. Perhaps the pilot had had a heart attack? In fact, we had no clue the size or severity of the damage. It wasn't until the smoke became much more pronounced that it was apparent there was a large fire as well.

Terrible. Surprising. Frankly - not earth-shattering. But that changed very quickly. We say "good morning" and continue getting ready. I turn my back to my TV - having set the "sleep" timer and head for the door. My roommate screamed and I turned in time to see the fireball explode from the second tower. Speechless, shocked, a little weak-kneed, I stood dumbfounded - mouth agape. I immediately called my boss and told her what was happening and that I would be late. She laughed it off to my chronic tardiness. I had to really force the issue and stress the gravity of the situation and make her turn on a TV in one of the conference rooms.

Not knowing what else to do, I left and headed for work. I somehow knew I shouldn't take the subway, I didn't know why.

As I walked out of the building onto the street it was SO eery. If you've ever been to New York - you know what a MAJOR thoroughfare Avenue of the Americas, or Sixth Avenue, is. There it was... all traffic at a dead stop. Cars, cabs, trucks just stopped willy nilly. People standing in the street staring. Quietly. It was so quiet. I joined them and just stood there. Eventually someone ran out of a bodega and shouted "They hit the Pentagon." It really set in that things were simply not right. And it wasn't just Manhattan. Stunned - I began walking to work. I really didn't know what else to do.

As I walked slowly, kind of dazed, to work - I felt a rumble, the ground shaking, and heard people begin screaming. I turned to see tower one collapse. Initially, I thought it looked like an explosion because the smoke was rising. It wasn't until that smoke began clearing that it became obvious that the building was gone. I choked back a teary gasp and kept walking.

When I got to work everyone was in the main conference room watching events unfold on the large screen. I quickly called my parents in Las Vegas and told them that when they woke they'd see that terrible things were happening. But - that they should know I was OK and north of the area - living in what would become the first secured military zone - but far enough to only be shrouded in smoke several times as the wind shifted.

As we watched, the antenna shifted and we all gasped as we knew tower two was down. Bewildered, exhausted, we tried to see who could stay where since the bridges and tunnels were all closed and many of our co-workers lived in New Jersey, Connecticut and the outer boroughs. Some walked across the bridge to Brooklyn. And - end of day - they began ferry service to get folks off the island.

We all hugged and dispersed. Not really know what to do...I walked home watching and smelling the thick smoke from lower Manhattan. After hours and hours of watching the same horrible footage over and over and over again, I had to get out of the house. The only traffic on the street was military and emergency vehicles. It was surreal. Worse yet were the fighter jets that kept circling the city. Loud and unnerving. I made my way to my favorite neighborhood bar - The Monster. It was somber and pensive. But - there was a sense of community, comfort and familiarity. No one paid for drinks that night.


That's what I recall...

Monday, September 1, 2008

a summer Sunday in Atlanta - the next great American city...

SO - I finally got out of bed on Sunday. Donned a crisp white cotton shirt, red patchwork Madras shorts and my new butter-colored Converse All-Stars and set out on a walk.

As I strolled down the tree-canopied streets of my Midtown Atlanta neighborhood - I pondered the sturm und drang of my job search and the pursuit of new business... Would I have to leave my beloved new home to find work? What's next? My neck is beginning to exhibit the same stress aches that it did during the final weeks of my terrible tenure at Waterhouse PR in Chattanooga. Not a good sign.

But - the clear sky and warm air was relaxing.

I sat on a bench and began to unwind. The clear blue sky...the puffy white was lovely. The breeze cooled the steamy summer air and kept my cool. It felt lush on my bare legs. I listened to the breeze rustling through the towering Oak trees and the shiny Magnolias...the Dogwoods...the was lovely. In the distance - the faint sound of a trumpet wafted. Hilariously - it played "The Entertainer" and some Herb was a hoot...

The great equalizer of the city - its amazing green space - our Central Park - set my mind at ease. It was a lovely afternoon.

I hope I can stay here.