A Small Fiction, a flash fiction site authored by James Miller, has become one of my favorite indulgences. I brew a cup of good coffee and delve into the site, where humor, logic, mysticism, and more are doled out in 140 character bursts. Yes, the same number of characters and spaces as a Twitter post, but otherwise entirely different: Miller aims to tell a small but complete story in each.
Notes From All Over
Enough, already with the snow. It's like a poorly behaved guest who arrives far later than expected, causes disruption and general mayhem, and then hangs around preventing you from going to bed. Do I sound bitter? Let me explain...
Storm #1 directly conflicted with the New York Tre Bicchieri tasting. Fans of Pour Richard's know we aren't big on critics and scores, but Tre Bicch is different; out of the many many thousands of wines released in Italy each year, a few hundred win this award. These wines are worth your time, even in a 'Bomb Cyclone' snowstorm.
If you'd like to add more creativity, insight, satisfaction, and happiness to your life, try this: add a little artistry to the mix. Engaging with art and artists teaches us that we are not alone; contemplating a painting, experiencing music, or enjoying wonderful food and beverages reminds us that art is about expressing ideas and sharing them with others.
On a recent trip to New York, I didn't feel like running in the cold and instead hit a local gym. This particular gym did a pretty hard sell on using their personal trainers, which I didn't really need for my one day visit, but I did observe a number of them as they worked with their clients. One client/trainer pair was especially noticeable; their interaction has been bothering me ever since.
I am a licorice lover. And by licorice, I mean black licorice. Preferably Dutch black licorice, which is not so much sweet as pungent and even slightly salty. I find black licorice addictively delicious, but other colors bland and boring. Licorice, in its purest form, is the root of a perennial plant loosely related to beans and native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. Black licorice is heavily flavored with this root; red licorice contains none at all.
I spend a lot of my work hours with bottles. Buying bottles, selling bottles, moving bottles, arranging bottles. Lots and lots of bottles. And as long as I am not counting the bottles, I'm ok with that. I love my bottles. But frequently, the people behind the best bottles are as fascinating as the liquid within. Prime example: Oscar Arrivabene, winemaker at Domenico Clerico. Passionate about his work, and steeped in the wines of Barolo, Oscar is like a walking mini-seminar in all things Piemontese, so I was delighted that he could stop by the store last week.
Words matter. In any situation, you can use a 'meh' word, and it will communicate just that: meh. You can use a standard, ordinary word, and it will communicate that: ordinary. But if you use the right word, the perfect word, the word or combination of words calculated to make your exact point, you will communicate exactly what you wanted to say.
"She learned to read quite early, and at an incredible rate."
-Sarah Stewart, The Library
The above quote describes Elizabeth Brown, the protagonist of children's classic The Library, but it could also easily apply to me, whose dad once remarked that it was a lucky thing toilet paper wasn't printed because, well...I'll leave the rest of that thought to your imagination. I cannot remember a time when I didn't possess a violent affection for the written word, ergo libraries and bookstores will forever be My Happy Place. I love them all- but I love some more than others.
In beer, bubbles = good. Nobody wants stale, flat beer. But right now, the craft beer scene might be facing a different kind of bubble: a saturated market that's beginning to seem ripe for a shakeout. According to a recent Boston magazine article, in 2012 there were 47 breweries in Massachusetts. Today, there are 197, with at least 22 more scheduled to open before the end of the year. And that's just Massachusetts. Many other states are experiencing the same boom; the collective effect is that we are awash in beer.
A couple balmy days notwithstanding, as I write this we're back in the deep freeze. Hat and mittens to walk the dogs in the morning, windshield-scraping, car-warming, and yes, please to that mug of hot coffee. Just another winter in New England. If only all that cold were serving some greater purpose-and it may be! According to an Atlantic article, exposure to cold temperatures may help humans lose weight and maintain weight loss.