Wednesday, October 31, 2007
From Counter Punch:
Michael Scheuer left the CIA in November 2005 after 22 years of service. Between 1995 and 1999 he was responsible for a unit in charge of tracking down Osama bin Laden. Since 2000 he had been one of the principal anti-terrorism agents within the CIA. While he was still in service, he already wrote an essay criticizing the American anti-terrorism politics ("Imperial Hubris"). Within the CIA, Michael Scheuer is considered as being a detractor. He lives in Virginia with his family.This interview was conducted by the German newspaper Die Zeit.
Die Zeit: You have participated within the CIA in developing a system called « renditions » in the course of which presumed terrorists were abducted to foreign countries and handed over to third countries. Would you say that from the point of view of the CIA these "extraordinary renditions" were a successful undertaking?
Michael Scheuer: Absolutely. For ten years it had been the most successful anti-terrorism program in the USA.
Die Zeit: Why?
Michael Scheuer: Because its aims were clearly defined. First of all, we wanted to identify and put behind bars members and contact persons of the terrorist group Al-Qaida, particularly those having participated in an attack against the USA or an allied state or those who might be planning such an attack. The second goal was the confiscation of documents and electronic devices. The media affirms that we have arrested and abducted persons on the basis of presumptions in order to interrogate them. But this is not true.
Die Zeit: You thus did not wish to interrogate them?
Michael Scheuer: If we had the occasion to do so it was like the cherry on the cake. Basically, we only wished to arrest the person and confiscate his or her documents.
Die Zeit: Why?
Michael Scheuer: Our experience is that aggressive questioning bordering on torture does not achieve results. Persons interrogated in this way tell the agent anything he wishes to hear. Either they lie or they give us precise but obsolete information.
Die Zeit: Who invented the "extraordinary renditions" system?
Michael Scheuer: President Clinton, his security counsellor Sandy Berger and his terrorism counsellor Richard Clarke instructed the CIA in autumn 1995 to destroy Al-Qaida. We asked the president what we should do with the arrested persons? Clinton replied that this was our problem. The CIA indicated that they are not jailors. It was then suggested we find any solution whatsoever to this problem. And this is what we did, we established a procedure and I myself was part of this working group. We concentrated on those members of Al-Qaida who were wanted by the police in their respective countries of origin or those who had already been convicted during their absence.
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 from HealthDay News -- Weight management, exercise and proper nutrition are key to reducing your risk of cancer. And the earlier in life you adopt these practices, the better off you'll be, a new study suggests.
Factors such as birth weight, childbearing, breast-feeding, and adult height and weight also influence cancer risk, according to the report released Wednesday by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the Britain-based World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). Understanding how these factors affect cancer risk, and how to put this information to use to prevent the disease, offer promising new directions for cancer research, the study authors said.
The WCRF said obesity can be linked to six types of cancer, five more than its last report, 10 years ago.
"We need to think about cancer as the product of many long-term influences, not as something that 'just happens,' " Dr. Walter J. Willett said in a prepared statement. Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, was one of 21 authors of the report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective.
"Examining the causes of cancer this way, across the entire lifetime, is called the life course approach," he added.
Among the new types are colorectal (bowel) and post-menopausal breast cancer.
The report, an analysis by scientists from around the world of more than 7,000 studies, offers 10 recommendations to help prevent cancer. They include staying lean, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, limiting your intake of red meat and alcohol, and avoiding processed meats.
"These findings are right on," said Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity at the American Cancer Society. "They are consistent with our own nutrition and physical activity guidelines. They clearly put the emphasis where the emphasis needs to be, and that's on controlling your weight."
"This is a good-news report," added Karen Collins, a nutrition adviser at the American Institute for Cancer Research. "If we are watching our weight, working regular physical activity into our daily life and eating a healthy balance of foods, we could prevent a third of cancers," she said. "Extra weight is not dead weight," she said. "It's an active metabolic tissue that produces substances that promote the development of cancer."
"People should take this message to be empowering," Collins said.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Today the president’s support among evangelicals, still among his most loyal constituents, has crumbled. Once close to 90 percent, the president’s approval rating among white evangelicals has fallen to a recent low below 45 percent, according to polls by the Pew Research Center. White evangelicals under 30 — the future of the church — were once Bush’s biggest fans; now they are less supportive than their elders. And the dissatisfaction extends beyond Bush. For the first time in many years, white evangelical identification with the Republican Party has dipped below 50 percent, with the sharpest falloff again among the young, according to John C. Green, a senior fellow at Pew and an expert on religion and politics.
The Evangelical CrackupBy DAVID D. KIRKPATRICKPublished: October 28, 2007After the 2004 election, evangelical Christians looked like one of the most powerful and cohesive voting blocs in America. Three years later their leadership is split along generational and theological lines. How did it all come apart?
EARLIER this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the White House agreed to allow the executive branch to conduct dragnet interceptions of the electronic communications of people in the United States. They also agreed to “immunize” American telephone companies from lawsuits charging that after 9/11 some companies collaborated with the government to violate the Constitution and existing federal law.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Before you make an easy judgment about rendition, you have to answer the disturbing question put to me by a former CIA official: Suppose the FBI had captured Mohamed Atta before Sept. 11, 2001. Under U.S. legal rules at the time, the man who plotted the airplane suicide attacks probably could not have been held or interrogated in the United States. Would it have made sense to "render" Atta to a place where he could have been interrogated in a way that might have prevented Sept. 11? That's not a simple question for me to answer, even as I share the conviction that torture is always and everywhere wrong.
NOTE: According to other sources, this is not true. Atta could have been rendered to "a place where he could have been interrogated in a way that might have prevented Sept. 11"
However, Mr. Ignatius also points out that most, if not all, interrogators recognize that torture does not work. Their reasoning for use of rendition is "emotional leverage," using the person's homeland, family to influence...
by Louise Glück October 22, 2007
All week they’ve been by the sea again
and the sound of the sea colors everything.
Blue sky fills the window.
But the only sound is the sound of the waves pounding the shore—
angry. Angry at something. Whatever it is
must be why he’s turned away. Angry, though he’d never hit her,
never say a word, probably.
So it’s up to her to get the answer some other way,
from the sea, maybe, or the gray clouds suddenly
rising above it. The smell of the sea is in the sheets,
the smell of sun and wind, the hotel smell, fresh and sweet
because they’re changed every day.
He never uses words. Words, for him, are for making arrangements,
for doing business. Never for anger, never for tenderness.
She strokes his back. She puts her face up against it,
even though it’s like putting your face against a wall.
And the silence between them is ancient: it says
these are the boundaries.
He isn’t sleeping, not even pretending to sleep.
His breathing’s not regular: he breathes in with reluctance;
he doesn’t want to commit himself to being alive.
And he breathes out fast, like a king banishing a servant.
Beneath the silence, the sound of the sea,
the sea’s violence spreading everywhere, not finished, not finished,
his breath driving the waves—
But she knows who she is and she knows what she wants.
As long as that’s true, something so natural can’t hurt her.
A journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is accusing aides of John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, of demanding that he remove from YouTube a student report critical of Mr. Edwards’s Democratic presidential campaign — and of threatening to block the university’s access to Mr. Edwards and the campaign headquarters near campus.
Mr. Edwards’s campaign officials said they did not level any such threat during what were clearly heated discussions with the professor and the student over her approach and over the central question in her report: Why has a campaign focused on poverty based its headquarters in an affluent part of Chapel Hill?
Watson isn't the first gene devotee who subscribes to the crude notion that biology is destiny. Every day one runs across popular television commentary about some behavior that is "caused by genes" or "caused by the brain." Such a belief runs contrary to even the most basic kind of wisdom. Human beings aren't automatons whose switches are run by brain cells and genes. If we were, then by a reductio ad absurdeum, neurons are smarter than people and genes know more than the mind.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Like Bill Clinton, Huckabee was born in a town called Hope and became a pretty good governor of a state that doesn’t make it all that easy. (Plus, you have to love the fact that he lived for a while in a mobile home on the Arkansas Statehouse grounds.) He’s extremely inclusive, defending minorities who are illegal immigrants as well as the ones registered to vote. He can be both funny and convincing on the stump. On the downside, I think he’d be a terrible president. He doesn’t know beans about foreign affairs, he wants to replace the income tax with a national sales tax, and his positions on social issues are far to the right of the general populace. But why aren’t the social conservatives rallying around this guy?
My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right I should say I never saw him drive a car.
He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.
'In those days,' he told me when he was in his 90s, 'to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.'
At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: 'Oh, bull----!' she said. 'He hit a horse.'
'Well,' my father said, 'there was that, too.'
So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.
My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.
My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. 'No one in the family drives,' my mother would explain, and that was that.
But, sometimes, my father would say, 'But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one.' It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first
But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from
a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.
It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.
Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.
So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. 'Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?' I remember him saying more than once.
For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.
Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.
(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)
He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.
If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests 'Father Fast' and 'Father Slow.'
After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: 'The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.'
If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, 'Do you want to know the secret of a long life?'
'I guess so,' I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.
'No left turns,' he said.
'What?' I asked.
'No left turns,' he repeated. 'Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.
As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.'
What?' I said again.
'No left turns,' he said. 'Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights.'
'You're kidding!' I said, and I turned to my mother for support 'No,' she said, 'your father is right. We make three rights. It works.' But then she added: 'Except when your father loses count.'
I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.
'Loses count?' I asked.
'Yes,' my father admitted, 'that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again.'
I couldn't resist. 'Do you ever go for 11?' I asked.
'No,' he said ' If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week.'
My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.
She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.
They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)
He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.
One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.
A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, 'You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.' At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, 'You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer.'
'You're probably right,' I said.
'Why would you say that?' He countered, somewhat irritated.
'Because you're 102 years old,' I said.
'Yes,' he said, 'you're right.' He stayed in bed all the next day.
That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.
He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: 'I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet'
An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:
'I want you to know,' he said, clearly and lucidly, 'that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.'
A short time later, he died.
I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.
I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, Or because he quit taking left turns.'
Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.'
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Has anyone asked the question, where are the real leaders in America? One term, two term senators, actor-turned senator, well heeled investment banker, son of political family turned governor, former first lady now senator of state she never lived in, oh my! Perhaps the idea of the “hero-leader” as outlined in John Keegan’s Mask of Command is passé or politically incorrect in an age where the confident, tested, and masculine leader is denigrated while the feel good, “why can’t we all just get along” approach is applauded.
Today’s leadership watch what they say, take positions that have been crafted out of countless poll-analysis sessions, and try not to offend anyone. The leaders who take positions which are out of step with the media’s twisted concept of right and wrong are deemed extremist. Why the media and fringe elements (both Right and Left) are considered the standard of right and wrong, I do not know.
For example, Senator McCain was quoted saying it was important the next President is Christian, this of course made front page news on Yahoo.com. To rephrase his comment, what religion would American’s feel most comfortable having their president practice? The overwhelming majority would respond with Christian, Catholic, or Protestant. Is this because Americans or John McCain are extremist? No, it is because America is a nation whose customs, culture and traditions are based on Judeo-Christian principles. This is a fact of life, tour other countries and you will find the same, Mexico/Catholic, India/Hindu, Russia/Eastern Orthodox etc…
Compare how the media treats Senator Clinton whose middle of ground, carefully analyzed approach to issues offends no one and causes no major waves in the media/political arenas. Whether it is the war in Iraq, homosexual marriage or illegal immigration, Senator Clinton takes positions that have a little bit of everything for everyone. The same can be said with Senator Obama who has taken this same broad-based, safe-approach to issues while hiding behind his “beltway outsider” label.
Senator(s) Clinton and Obama’s leadership is false, it is acting. It is pseudo-leadership which works when the seas are calm and the barbarians are at bay. The same can be said for Candidates [Romney]and Thompson who evoke less than inspiring images as potential “Leaders of the Free World.” Smooth sounding speeches and poll-based principles are not what America needs when she is engaged in a real war, facing real challenges to her hegemony, and confronted with real domestic problems such as the urban decay of our cities and a culturally fractured society.
It is sad when the only candidate ([Senator McCain]) whose resume’ most closely resembles that of a “hero leader” stands no chance of winning his party’s nomination. This reality is due to his principle-based positions on issues which require hard answers to hard questions (the War in [Iraq], Immigration, Values). American’s would rather elect people who take the road most traveled, those who dared less to win rather than those dared all to win. Will the real leaders please stand up?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
John Mays, Democratic candidate for SC House District 94, said that his failure to pay child support to his x-wife should not factor into his campaign to represent the peoples of South Carolina.
So, it doesn't matter that a man poised to represent South Carolinians is a person who ignores civil law?
It doesn't matter that he does not financially support his children? It doesn't matter that Mr. Mays has been in jail several times for non-payment?
Why would anyone vote for a man (or woman) who excuses not paying child support, a person who has to be brought before a family court judge three times!? a person who actually has to go to jail before he will pay what he owes?
Source: THE SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE, Wednesday, October 24th, 2007.
Updated: Turns out that the Summerville Journal Scene reports that John Mays has dropped out of the race for the House seat in District 94, SC.
I know the Lord welcomed him home, telling him: "well done, good and faithful servant."
My uncle was a pastor, a missionary, a father, a husband.
I am glad he has left us, but I will miss him anyway.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This is a very good movie by Sean Penn, starring Emile Hirsch. Hirsch delivers an extraordinary performance, making us feel what Christopher McCandless felt, making us believe that this young man was truly an adventurer.
Hal Holbrook's performance is also grand. Vince Vaughn as Wayne and William Hurt as the boy's father are also top-notch.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
We made excellent time, arriving at the Bat Cave exit in a record 3 hours! (Everyone was driving at least 80mph today!)
We found Lyda Farms without difficulty on Hwy 64E, stopped for a short time, picking out 3 "ghost" pumpkins (they're white), and a bag of Arkansas Black apples.
Then, we drove into downtown Hendersonville, ate lunch at Cypress Cellar. I had pecan drenched catfish with ratatouille and fried okra with a wonderful salad. My son had linguini andbread. A very relaxing lunch as this is NOT a fast-food joint.
Did some window shopping: in an antique shop we saw a William Tell bank priced at $2,100 dollars...wow.
On the way home, we stopped in Spartanburg at the Barnes & Noble bookseller to have coffee and diet root beer.
I glanced at a graphic novel, TOWN BOY which looked intriguing...I did not purchase it, however.
My son perused GUEST OF THE AYATOLLAH.
Coming back, we also stopped in Columbia to have an unsatisfying dinner/snack at Fazoli's...
All in all, a good day.
The health care system in this country is irrevocably broken, in part because it is only a "health care" system, not a "health" system. We don't need universal health care mandated by federal edict or funded through ever-higher taxes. We do need to get serious about preventive health care instead of chasing more and more dollars to treat chronic disease, which currently gobbles up 80% of our health care costs, and yet is often avoidable. The result is that we'll be able to deliver better care where and when it's needed.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Hod Lipson demonstrates a few of his cool little robots, which have the ability to learn, understand themselves and even self-replicate.
At the root of this uncanny demo is a deep inquiry into the nature of how humans and living beings learn and evolve, and how we might harness these processes to make things that learn and evolve.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
What sort of father risks his son's admiration in such a manner?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Millions of consumers who recycle every day think that because they recycle their bottles and cans, everyone else is recycling too. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Americans waste (landfill, incinerate, or litter) twice as many beverage containers as we recycle.Like many small cities around the U.S.A., my town's private garbage company picks up plastic/glass one week, paper the next, and so on.
In 2006, more than 138 billion beverage bottles and cans were not recycled. Nationwide, that’s about 460 per capita— up from 300 per capita just a decade ago, and this trend of increased wasting is expected to continue.
There is a great environmental cost to replacing billions of wasted bottles and cans with new containers made from virgin materials: in terms of pollution, energy squandered, and habitats disrupted by mining, drilling, and other industrial activities. (CRI: Container Recycling Institute)
I am ashamed to admit that for years, my husband and I did not participate, at least not very often. (And I even had a Grateful Dead bears' window sticker on my car windshield touting "Repair, Recycle, Reuse: We Are All We Have.")
THEN, my husband left...me, house, kids...
After my husband's departure, I discovered (duh!) that there's a whole lot of paper surrounding what I purchase at the grocery store. As I was opening a box of frozen waffles, I noticed this as I was tossing the box into the trash can...
I look down my street on "paper" recycling day, and behold a few small blue crates filled only with newspapers.
If I look back at my front yard, I usually see two or three large clear plastic bags stuffed with newspapers, advertisements, envelopes, cardboard boxes from frozen dinners, frozen foods, yogurt cartons, toilet and paper towel rolls...
On "plastic/glass/aluminum can" recycling day, it is less striking in its contrast to others on my street...still, there are items in my bags that are not in other people's. For example, I wash out and include the little yogurt containers, the plastic laundry containers, etc.
Needless to say, my regular trash container is rarely full; and I do not need to put out the garbage every week. I often skip a week or even two without trouble.
Perhaps an odd thing about which to brag...but, hey I think our town's landfill will last longer...yes, just because I don't throw away the cartons that surround my food, shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, water, cola...
You get the picture! Don't you?
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Truth be told, wine is just spoiled grape juice. Any substance high in natural sugars--grape juice, apple juice, even honey--will ferment if it meets up with yeast. The yeast feeds on the sugar and makes alcohol as a waste product. Still, winemakers have learned a thing or two in 8,000 years about what kind of grape juice makes the best wine.
Almost all of it comes from a single species of vine native to Europe and the Near East--Vitis vinifera, "the wine-bearing grape." That species has three advantages for wine production: high sugar content, relatively low acidity, and more than 10,000 different subtypes, for endless variety. Out of those 10,000 grapes, here are the ones you're most likely to see headlining a bottle today.
1. Chardonnay – These golden grapes grow easily and can make a chameleon-like white wine. Drunk young, as in Chablis, chardonnay is dry and crisp, with a tart-apple or lemon quality. But when aged in oak barrels, chardonnay acquires a rich, buttery, even vanilla taste.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon – Blue, thick-skinned cabernet sauvignon grapes are, for many, the font of classic red wine, tasting of blackcurrants and tannins. Tannins are chemical compounds in grape skins and seeds that, while "wooly" on the tongue, help fine wine age in complex ways.
3. Sauvignon Blanc – The flavor of the green sauvignon blanc grape is piercingly distinct. The dry white wine made from it is crisp and acidic, with a natural, unaged taste that can range all the way from bursting green fruits to ripe vegetables to pungent woodsmoke.
4. Merlot – Traditionally, the fleshy, blue merlot grape has been blended with the bolder cabernet sauvignon to form a smooth, harmonious red wine. Yet lately, merlot has gotten some press of its own for its softer, less tannic presence. It can taste of blackberries and hint at chocolate.
5. Pinot Noir – Notoriously difficult to grow and turn into a great red wine, the purple pinot noir grape taunts winemakers with the promise of its richness and complexity. It's lighter, less tannic, and fruitier than cabernet sauvignon, but can have meaty, earthy, and even gamey notes.
6. Syrah (Shiraz) – Blue syrah grapes--or shiraz, as they are known in Australia--can produce some of the deepest, darkest, most intense red wines around. Rich, peppery flavors mingle with dark berries and cherries to yield a wine that, like cabernet sauvignon, can age for decades.
7. Riesling – Of German origin, the hardy, green, frost-resistant riesling is a versatile performer that can make both lusciously sweet and bone-dry white wines--and everything in between. In any style, the acidic grape generally has the scent and taste of fresh limes.
8. Zinfandel – A favorite of California winemakers, the blue-skinned zinfandel can make a pale-pink "blush" wine or a heavyweight red. In fact, all red grape varieties can make a white wine, because grape juice is white. To make red wine, you ferment the red grapes' skins with the golden juice.
5 Super-Famous Wine Regions
Now, what about those Old World wine labels, the ones that don't highlight the grape? They highlight regions. They highlight la terroir (literally speaking, that's French for "soil"). La terroir says that, while grape variety is très important, wine is inevitably an expression of the unique environment in which the grapes grow, from the climate to the soil.
So, the same kind of grapes made into wine by the same winemaker but harvested from different regions could actually make remarkably different wines. And that means the region on the label can tell you a lot, if you recognize it. Here's the dirt on five of the most famous.
1. Bordeaux – Bordeaux, in southwestern France, is for many the world's consummate winemaking region. The best of the region's red wine--sometimes called claret--captures both the consciousness of connoisseurs and the cash of wine investors, who will pay tremendous per-sip prices. Traditionally, Bordeaux is made from cabernet sauvignon grapes, blended with merlot.
2. Burgundy – Burgundy, in central France, has historically orbited with Bordeaux as the binary star of fine wine. Its reds are voluptuous pinot noirs, traditionally regarded as the sensual foil to Bordeaux's cerebral cabernet sauvignons, while its whites hail most famously from the area around Chablis, known for its dry chardonnays.
3. Beaujolais – Though at the southern stretches of the Burgundy region, Beaujolais doesn't fit the Burgundy profile. The region grows sunny gamay grapes, used practically nowhere else, and employs a winemaking style all its own, in which the grapes aren't crushed or pressed but allowed to ferment whole. The result is the lightest, easiest-drinking red wine imaginable, with the flavor of wild strawberries.
4. Chianti – For many, Chianti is Italian wine. But actually, it comes only from the Chianti region in Tuscany, around the city of Florence. Traditionally made with native Italian sangiovese grapes, the orange-red wine is famous for its savory dried fruit flavor, mixed with the taste of pepper.
5. Champagne – Champagne, in northern France, is home to the world's most beloved sparkling wines. Yet the trademark bubbles were once considered a fault. Yeasts rendered dormant by winter cold would fire up again with spring warmth, causing more fermentation and by-product carbon dioxide. Finally, the wine won fans in 17th-century London's cafes and playhouses. They thought the fizz was fun.
--Michael Himick and Jay Ferrari
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Just venting a little.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Charleston has some absolutely beautiful wetlands, marshes...that are being filled in and destroyed so that certain people may have huge houses near the waterways which lead to the ocean...
Soon, no one will be able to get to the beach at all. Some Saturday mornings, the traffic out to the edge of America (i.e. Folly Beach) is so heavy you might as well figure out a way to turn around and go home...
Seems like there is no way to get people to realize that just because you can live on a wetland, doesn't mean you should... and just because you can afford to live on a wetland with a gorgeous view of the intracoastal waterway and the ocean horizon, doesn't mean that your money should be spent that way...
FIGHT for the LOW COUNTRY!
Sunday, October 7, 2007
At any rate, as I was leaving downtown to get out to my suburb beyond I-526, I noticed that the traffic on East Bay Street was abnormally heavy.
I turned off that street to try another route. For awhile, it was fairly clear. But, as I headed north I realized that I had never seen this amount of traffic in the area at one time (with the exception of a hurricane evacuation, that is.)
Needless to say, it reminded me again that this area has too many cars on too few roads. If we do not opt for a decent rapid mass transit system soon, this entire area is going to come to a complete stand-still.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
I See You on the Sea
How odd life has been today as I have watched myself
Flee pain and search for peace;
As I have discovered that I do not want or need you any longer.
You are a fading memory
Of a boy I knew so far away.
I see you on the sea, tossed about like a tiny paper ship.
I see you in a field being whipped around by winds not even strong.
I see you holding hands with someone who is not the one you promised
To love your whole lifetime.
I see your ship sinking beneath a wave not even tall enough to cover the mast.
Your anchor has failed, and you are drifting away.
I have no means to call you back; no means to right your ship, to stop
The wind from pushing you onto the ground where
You choose to lie face down in mud, thinking it, I suppose,
Sweet to smell and taste.