Saturday, October 23, 2004

Wine Update: 3 New Wines

It's been a while since my last update, but we've only tried 3 new wines at home in the interim. This is partially due to traveling, and partially due to enjoying another bottle of the Hardys Stamp Shiraz, previously reviewed here.

1998 Chateau Labarde (Bordeaux)

This is the first Bordeaux we've tried. Despite being the most expensive wine we've tried, it was not from a particularly prestigious Chateau. Some quick Googling turned up this article, which indicates that Labarde is the tertiary vineyard of a Chateau that had fallen on hard times, but is coming back. Still, it is a Bordeaux, and they do make good wine there. We enjoyed this wine, but I don't think it really whet our appetite to get deeper into French wines. We may stick with our apparent preference for Southern Hemisphere wines.

2002 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese

This wine was enjoyable -- fruity, with a medium body, but not too oaky or tannic. I think we'd try it again if we came across it, but we're willing to consider other Sangioveses.

2001 Hardys Nottage Hill Merlot

I picked up this wine at Franklin's after a recent trip. Franklin's is a restaurant and general store just over a mile from where we live, and it makes the best hamburger around. As a bonus, you don't have to fight the students for parking -- just the crowds of locals who show up for good food and the beer from their brewpub.

We both enjoyed this wine; it's the best Merlot we've had in a while. I wonder if the Hardys Stamp Merlot, which generally runs $2/bottle cheaper, would be of similar quality. Christina said she tends to prefer Cabernets to Merlots, so maybe we'll look for a good, reliable Cabernet, although we have several Merlots in the chiller to help us out in that direction.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Android's Dungeon Endorses!

I have to fill out my absentee ballot, so I thought I'd share the research I did to come to my decisions. So long secret ballot -- take that, Australia!


I think Jon Stewart summed it up best: "If one guy drove me into a ditch and said, 'Don't worry, I know how to get us out of this,' I'd give the keys to a 7-year-old." The Android's Dungeon recommends a vote for John Kerry.

U.S. Senator

Let's take a look at an article about the Mikulski/Pipkin debate, since I, like 99% of Marylanders, didn't watch it. Let's see. Pipkin criticized Mikulski for voting to raise taxes "350 times", opposing the Medicare prescription drug bill, and opposing some of Bush's court nominees. On the first charge, if he's using the same math Bush uses to count how many times Kerry has voted to raise taxes, he's lying. Also, even if she has, we have a deficit spiraling out of control, so maybe we should send her back to keep trying. On the second charge, the prescription drug bill was a big waste. The Bush administration covered up the bill's true costs. Finally, the Constitution gives the Senate the task of approving judicial nominees. Inherent in that is the right to disapprove. If Mikulski says she voted for 95% of the Bush nominees, that seems a bit high. The Android's Dungeon recommends a vote for Barbara Mikulski.


We've got the second most powerful Democrat in the House representing us. Why mess up a good thing? The Android's Dungeon recommends a vote for Steny Hoyer.

Judge of the Circuit Court

"Vote for No More Than Three"? Conveniently, there are only three people on the ballot. I tend to think judges should stay in office unless they embarrass themselves significantly. In fact, I'm not sure we should be voting on them. So I Googled the candidates to see if I came up with anything embarrassing. I didn't find anything embarrassing -- well, not for them, but I think the State of Maryland should be embarrassed for misspelling "Judge". The Android's Dungeon doesn't really care how you vote on this one.

Judge, Court of Special Appeals

This one is a "for continuance in office" that passes the Google test.

Ballot Questions

Questions A-E are for approving bonds allowing the county to borrow money for roads, libraries, public safety, county buildings and community colleges. The League of Women Voters directs me to a web site where I can look up the text of these bills. Unfortunately, the text just gives a list of projects and refers me to the county "capital program" for details. I can't find the county capital program on-line. They're making this too difficult. In general, I'm going to vote no. But the roads need help, and I find it hard to believe that libraries can't use the money, so yes on A & B, no on C, D & E.

Questions F, G, H and I are a big mess, but it's basically explained here. The key here is Question H, which will add 2 at-large seats to the County Council. Seems reasonable enough. But it will also make the top vote-getter from the two at-large seats the Council Chair. That seems a little pointless. Question G will overturn that second provision. Question F will amend the term limits rules to prevent my council member from running for one of the at-large seats. I hate term limits, so no on that. Question I will make the at-large members non-voting members. This is just a big waste of time. So yes on G & H, no on F & I.

Question J reduces the number of hours the county can hire temporary employees for. If they want me to vote for this, they need to explain it better. No on J.