Dr. Strangelove, I Presume?

kim jong il twnWell, he’s at it again.  Well, we think it’s Kim Jong-Il at it again, though we can’t be entirely sure.

North Korea’s periodic saber-rattling comes as no surprise.  They’ve been at it for a little while now.  The combination of a new nuclear test, restarting its nuclear program, launching a satellite long-range ballistic missile and now short-range missiles, and saying it will no longer acknowledge the terms of the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

The international community has been pretty clear in its demands that North Korea cease and desist in its latest round of belligerent behavior but, aside from the usual causes for spouting off and the notion that the DPRK is poking a still-new U.S. president, there is some thinking that this has to do more with the Dear Leader’s health than anything else.  In fact, this seems to be exactly what regimes like this do when there is, or is about to be, a leadership vacuum, to scare everybody off while they sort through their own internal power struggles.

Makes Dr. Strangelove look sane by comparison.  Taking further provocative action doesn’t seem to be in North Korea’s interest, even from their perspective.  So,  I can only hope what we’re seeing is an effort to ward off any effort to take advantage of a change in regime, because most of the alternatives only get uglier from there.


In Search of…. Chablis

290Chablis gets a bad rap.  Its name is used on white wine that is about as far from real Chablis as diesel fuel is from Chanel No. 5 and has, as this writer describes, negative connotations formed in the 1970s.  As my friend Brian once observed during a period when we were experimenting with variations on the martini theme, my tastes run more toward the savory than the sweet, so it’s not much of a surprise that I like Chablis – the genuine item, please; the mislabeled jug wine, not so much.

“Real” Chablis is described as “dry and fruity, pale gold with greenish hues, reminiscent of citrus (lemon or grapefruit) and small pleasant touches of fern or coriander, with mineral notes.”  It’s the mineral notes, sometimes even described as metallic, that appeal to me.  Having had a good glass of Chablis from time to time, I find it a refreshing change from the more lush styles of white wine – though I like a good California chardonnay (just don’t get too carried away with the oak).

After reading this article I found a bottle of 2007 Joseph Drouhin Chablis (not premier cru, but, oh well).  Now all we need is some good shellfish and the time to enjoy them both.

Grill of My Dreams

What is this thing men have for grilling?  There are theories based on the premise that most men don’t cook, they only grill.  Men who ordinarily wouldn’t be allowed or wouldn’t be caught dead in the kitchen are, at least in this part of the country, magically endowed with the ability to cook simply because it involves fire (electric grills need not apply) and being outdoors (though the backyard is usually a far cry from the wilderness).  These theories don’t hold in my case, since I do about 99 44/100ths % of the cooking in my household.  Well, they don’t entirely hold in my case, I suppose, since I do like the simplified cleanup.  But compared to a gas range, getting a charcoal grill going is a bit of an ordeal, so it’s not all about convenience.  Nor is it about what I tell my girls, that is “if the fire isn’t big enough to see from space, it just isn’t big enough.”


(photo credit: Jennifer May for The New York Times)

Continue reading

Even More Than a Grecian Urn

ferrari_rm_auction1.03Yeah, see, “What’s a ’57 Ferrari worth?” just doesn’t provide the setup.  But even adjusting for inflation $12 million is a lot more than 20 drachmas after taxes.  And after spending $12 million for this piece of rolling automotive art history, do you suppose anyone would actually drive it? Probably not, which is a shame, because as beautiful as some classic cars may be as static objects, they really have to be seen, heard, and smelled in action for their real art to be appreciated.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and find out that Jay Leno is the buyer, in which case we might see and hear (but not smell, not over the Internet, anyway) this car the way it was intended – being driven in a segment of “Jay Leno’s Garage“.

(See this post at Autoblog for a really nice photo gallery.)

Open House


From today’s open house at Whitehorse Gear in Center Conway, New Hampshire.  This is the second real “motorcycle gathering” I’ve been to – not to be confused with a “biker” event (two very different things – not judging, just saying).  Good deals (Riding in the Zone and Roadshow), good company, good food and, at least while there, good weather.

Continue reading


That’s what I got.*

*Not really, but I either a.) have been too busy, which sounds like a cop out or like I’m trying to impress everybody (not) or b.) haven’t been able to hold a thought long enough to come up with a coherent post.  Answer b.) is my story and I’m sticking to it.