Sure - Walla Walla wine is on my mind, but believe it or not sometimes other things are as well. Take this long Memorial Day weekend - Friday afternoon I made up a few flower pots to take to the cemetery that evening. I seem to have a routine. My father and grandparents get the posies and some attention to detail of their graves and stones. Along the way I visit the graves of an uncle, "Charlie and Alice" (adopted grandparents) and one of my best friends who died of an illness when we were both in our mid-twenties. I had been her maid-of-honor and she was a new mother. Of course, I couldn't help notice all of the American flags flying from the soldier's graves. It got me to thinking about our current war situation. My daughter is employed at the Veterans Hospital in Spokane. She shares with me some of the special needs of her patients and their families. Her patients are men and women who have lost a limb or have a severe head injury and it is up to her to take care of their needs whether it be counseling and/or prosthetics and usually both. And of course, there isn't enough money to assist, but we keep sending more men and women over. My father's generation of WWII soldiers came home heroes. My brother's generation of Viet Nam soldiers came home to persona-non-grata. How will we meet this new generation of veterans?
Gas is $4 a gallon. At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, I remember as a kid when my dad would "loan" me a buck and I could drive around in the 1966 Ford Mustang for at least two evenings with my friends. I try really hard to find a positive side to negative situations and the best is that perhaps the high gas prices kept our locals home and their shopping dollars into Walla Walla's economy instead of elsewhere this weekend. That's the best I can come up with right now.
The polar bear is on the endangered species list. They cannot become extinct. I believe that the loss of another animal brings us that much closer to our own extinction.
Then the LA Times has an ambitious young Gen-X reporter who says it is time for Baby Boomers to stifle themselves (and if I listened to her, I wouldn't be blogging right now). In her article, titled The millstone of boomer milestones," it seems as if Ms. Daum is tired of nostalgia and the references to the music of Dylan, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. She's tired of our anniversaries of Kent State, Woodstock, Earth Day and the day the Beatles broke up. She writes:
So boomers set the tone for everyone. Their tastes, needs and values are considered America's default setting. They turn 60, and it warrants magazine covers. They get a cold, and the world sneezes with them...
I quite don't know how to respond to such an article other than: "Boo-hoo!"
Last but not least, wine shipping laws suck! We have the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) calling on the states (or is that more like greasing palms?) to limit and enforce interstate wine shipping. The WSWA wants to control all wine sales making them the middle man, which would not allow me to work directly with the local wineries. However, they will tell us that their reason for control is not out of monopoly, oh no, but originally it was "all about the children." You know - - to keep the children safe from buying $35 bottles of wine over the internet with their American Express credit cards, waiting three days for delivery and hoping to make it home during recess to fake an adult signature in front of the UPS man. What selfless saints the WSWA have been! Didn't pop-star Michael Jackson say the same thing "it's all about the children"?
Okay - so that argument about protecting the children didn't go well and now the WSWA has a new reason why they should control all wine sales - - they want to save the consumer from tainted or counterfeit products in the market place. As an example here is what they are saying - before I buy a bottle of Walla Walla wine from a local winery to sell in my small and meek little wine store, it needs to go through a wholesale distributor first who is a member of the WSWA and they will "inspect" the wine and then I can buy the wine from the wholesaler instead of the winery and of course, the WSWA will want their cut for their inspection and then I can tack on that extra cost to my customers or try to keep my little business - - in business with less profit. And by the way, how do they "inspect" this wine? Do they hire Superman with his x-ray vision?
And to make matters worse, we have the largest internet wine retailer in America who a few months ago was running their own "sting operations" on small wine businesses like myself. They took it upon themselves to make sure everyone was in compliance by sending illegal wine orders to small wine stores to see if the small wine business would take their bait. If so, the small wine biz would be reported by the largest wine retailer in America - - and one of the stings happened right here in Washington State. Shouldn't the largest internet wine retailer be setting an example for the rest of us by minding their own business, being the very best they can be and then they wouldn't have to worry about the little businesses?
And it gets worse - the politicians of Illinois decided that their residents should not be allowed to have wine shipped to them from Internet wine shops and out-of-state wine stores as reported today in the Chicago Tribune. Illinois wine lovers have had the freedom to buy wine interstate now for 15 years, but next week their right of choosing what wines to drink will be limted. Basically Illinois wine lovers will only be able to drink the wines that a member of the WSWA chooses for them to drink and probably the most significant thing is that the state of Illinois might as well flipped a middle-finger to the U.S. Constitution. Didn't the U.S. Supreme Court recently rule: "States may not enact laws that burden out-of-state producers or shippers simply to give a competitive advantage to in-state businesses." So if you want to send a prized Walla Walla wine to your Aunt Martha for Christmas - - no way. It's against the law.
So that is what is on my mind today and in a few minutes I am going to give my mind a rest and settle in with a nice glass of wine and thank my lucky stars that for now - - I still have some choices in the wine I drink,