lummi island wine tasting june 23 ’17

(note: some photos will enlarge when clicked)

Bread this week

Buckwheat Walnut & Honey – a nice flavorful artisan bread. Made with fresh milled buckwheat and bread flour. A little honey to balance the earthiness of the buckwheat and some toasted walnuts for a nice crunch. This bread goes well with meats and cheeses – $5/loaf

Spelt Levain – Spelt is an ancient grain similar to wheat and has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. It has gluten but it isn’t as strong as the gluten in traditional wheat. This bread is made with a levain, or sourdough, traditional bread flour and about 1/3 spelt flour and fresh milled whole spelt. – $5/loaf

And for pastry this week…

Hamburger Buns – made with bread flour and freshly milled whole wheat, some milk and butter for a tender crumb and topped with a flavorful onion topping. These are nice soft buns that go well with everything. – 4/$5



Why Republicans Really Hate the ACA

The Affordable Care Act was paid for by cuts to several areas of government spending and by increases in revenue in several others. Savings of some $700 billion came from cutting payment rates to doctors and hospitals for services to be paid for by the system. And some $900 billion of new revenue was raised through penalties on those choosing to remain uninsured ($55 billion), penalties on employers ($106 billion), an excise tax on “Cadillac health plans” ($111 billion), a 3.8% tax on those earning over $200,000 on investment income ($318 billion), and $87 billion in fees on certain manufacturers and insurers. The old adage of Following the Money provides considerable insight into Why the Republicans have been Frothing at the Mouth over the ACA all these years: because it dared to take proportionally more from the Rich than from the Middle Class or the Poor– an example of progressive taxation, which they have been trying to Stomp Out of Existence since 1980.

Since the 1950’s, tax rates on the wealthiest Americans have dropped some 40%, while tax rates on everyone else have remained about the same. The idea behind Progressive Taxation is that a given tax on a subsistence income is more burdensome  than a tax on those who earn far more, so it takes a larger share from the More Fortunate to Hurt as Much as a smaller share from the Less Fortunate. But for the past forty years Republicans have been Asserting that the Marginal Value of a Dollar is Independent of how many you already have!

They Hate Obamacare because it Robs the Deserving Rich to prop up a Bunch of Losers. And as the Great Reagan Taught them, there is No Room in the Lifeboat for All Those Losers. However, Studies at the IMF have demonstrated clearly that “Specifically, increasing the income share to the bottom 20 percent of citizens by a mere one percent results in a 0.38 percentage point jump in GDP growth…But when the income share of the top 20 percent increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term.” Which is to say, Sorry, don’t expect Anything to Get Better Any Time Soon for the 99%. And which is also to say, transfers of income from the richer to the poorer are not just good for the Soul; they are good for the Bottom Line.


Solstice and Tides

Okay, tides have very little to do with Solstice, except that we just experienced Summer Solstice two days ago as this is being written. Actually tides have very little to do with the Sun at all, compared with the effect of the Moon, but still, there is a solar effect. All of this comes up because for the last few weeks I have been trying to teach myself how I can look at the Tide and know where the Moon must be, or vice versa.

As shown in the model, gravitational attraction between the Earth and the Moon are more or less constant, and on any given day, the moon is relatively fixed in space relative to Earth while the Earth rotates. In a 24-hr cycle, the Earth makes a full rotation relative to the Sun and the Moon, while the Moon moves 1/28th of the way in its path around the Earth. The image shows how the Earth’s oceans try to catch up with the Moon, but don’t show that the tide is always about six hours behind the Moon.

That’s because there is a lag between the maximum gravitational pull of the Moon (when the moon is at zenith above or at its nadir below on the other side of the Earth) and how fast the Earth’s oceans can flow to follow the Moon. It turns out that the flood tide is about six hours behind the moon, so when the moon is at the horizon the tide is high, not when it is overhead. When the moon is overhead (or at nadir) the tide is therefore low. More or less. Sadly, this image and most available don’t show this 6-hr lag, and that is confusing if you are looking at the tide and trying to figure where the moon is right then, or looking at the moon and trying to figure out where the tide is right then. Of course, this isn’t an issue many of us think about very often, but not so many years ago, such knowledge was second nature and essential.


Mar a Lago Update

IMG_20160719_143417564_HDRIt’s hard to imagine that Anyone in the Republican Leadership is happy with the Tweetster. And for sure No One in the Democratic Leadership is either, except maybe for the Death Spiral he Continually Courts for the entire Republican Party, and That of course would make it Almost Worth It. So today’s Fantasy is Wouldn’t it be Interesting if…

Consider: wouldn’t it be Logical for the FBI Director to have access to very sophisticated listening and recording technology? And wouldn’t it be entirely Reasonable for such a Director to employ that technology to record any discussions with Pwesident Tweetster as a far better method of documentation than post-meeting notes? And then to keep them Secret until they become, um…”useful…?”

Consider: wouldn’t it be Logical for the Privileged Committees of the Congress to gather Evidence wherever they can that would Incriminate the Notoriously Impulsive Mar a Lager (now available in Growlers!) for Something Substantive Enough for some kind of Removal? After all, he has already Broken all Kinds of Rules: Withholding Financial Disclosures, Violations of the Emoluments Clause, Layers upon Layers of Nepotism…and while he demands Loyalty, he doesn’t seem to give much back in return. So why should they Trust him or Support him?

Of course all this is just Wishful Thinking. Being Old in this country right now is pretty Disorienting. Everything I ever Believed about America has been Shattered to Bits. I can’t bring myself to Believe that all those people really Voted for this guy, or that if they did they can for very long maintain the Illusion that he is on the Side of the Worker. And then, the Painful Realization…OMD, this Nightmare could go on for a Long Time. Wow. Sobering, huh…?

Thank Heaven we have the Wine Shop, a friendly place where we can all Huddle Down and fine Warmth during these Dark Times!


This week’s  wine tasting

Elk Cove Pinot Gris ’16 Washington   $17
Golden straw in color, this fresh white wine approaches with aromas of Asian pear, honeydew melon and hints of lemon thyme and ginger. The palate bursts with star fruit, tangerine and apple pie mingling with notes of pithy lemon-peel and white tea.

Regaliali Nerello Mescalese
Deep salmon-pink in color, with delicate aromas of cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and-appropriate to its name-rose petals.  Rich on the palate with refreshing acidity and a long, flavorful finish, this is what Sicilians enjoy in the summertime.

Virginia Dare Pinot Noir ’14     California     $17
Uncomplicated but entirely engaging with notes of blackberry, ground black pepper, and black olives along with typical Russian River notes of strawberry and pit fruits.

Lar de Maia 5°  ’13     Spain   $15
Tempranillo, Garnacha and Syrah; mouth-filling notes of concentrated fruit leather with lingering notes of cherry and pomegranate; lively and fruity with hints of vanilla, coconut and liquorice.

Ded. Reckoning Flintlock Merlot  ’13     Washington  
Ripe and rich with layers of berry syrup, cassis, raspberry preserves, milk chocolate and baking spices. Big and fat, with soft tannins and gentle acids. Beautiful and supple now, it does have the capacity and structure to age for 5 or more years.


Wine Tasting

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