Public Enemies

22-1177236732-1I suppose this is a post I could write each year at this time.  But upon reading today that the state of California thinks it can generate almost a billion and a half dollars a year by legalizing pot, it brings to the forefront how off kilter things are when it comes to the sale of wine.

For the past few weeks I’ve found myself waist deep in paperwork, renewing out of state permits and seeing my local notary public more than I see my wife.  And each year I do this, filling out line items, printing out reports, trying to follow incomprehensible instructions (all to cut checks that don’t exceed ten dollars in some cases), I realize we’re really no better off than we were in the 20’s when the sale of alcohol was just flat out illegal.

Don’t get me wrong, the states deserve to collect their taxes – I’m not against the paperwork, I’m against the mindset that has created it.

Back in my software days we used to joke, after dealing with some henious bug problem that couldn’t be fixed while people left threatening messages on our answering machine, that in our next business life we were going to sell plastic spoons.  An item so utterly boring and idiot proof to use, nothing could go wrong.

So what do I do?  I end up trafficking in the sale of a beverage that has created nightmares for those trying to sell it, buy it, enjoy it.

The questions are simple.  Shouldn’t a company selling a legal product be able to do so to a consenting adult in all 50 states without problem?  Without the need to find a distributor (I’ve never met) who can sell to someone (they’ve never met) who wants to buy from us after meeting us?

(If that sentence is confusing I guess it’s meant to be)

And all this would not seem so absurd, especially here in CA, where you can now walk into a store and buy pot for medicinal purposes of course, with little more than stooping over and pretending you have a back problem.   These stores are not the speakeasy’s of the new millenium mind you, with a black door topped by a sliding window where you are allowed entry only after giving the password (Maui Waui).  No, these are storefront locations with matching websites that have big juicy green buds on their home pages and offer free gifts (choose from one of several glass bongs or Grateful Dead records).

I’m all for the legalization of marijuana, for those who just want to enjoy it as some of us might enjoy a glass of Riesling at the end of a long day, and I certainly want to see it available to people who are simply looking to fight off the effects of endless rounds of chemotherapy.  If it works, it works.

So lets get an extra billion dollars into the state’s pockets by making pot legal.  But while we’re at it, can we please legalize wine too?

Published in: on July 16, 2009 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Hollywood (Bowl) and Vine

PIC-0078For those that know me, my taste in current, popular music is a bit anachronistic, with most of my iPod selections being created somewhere in the century between 1880-1980.  Sure there are exceptions, I’ve liked much of what Coldplay has done, have been known to download a dance track (see: Britney, Beyonce, Cristina) here and there and even attended a KCRW concert last year featuring The Shins and Lily Allen, an artist I somehow came into contact with and liked *before* the show.

This all said, most new music I buy and listen to these days still arrives via artists who made their first records during the time period above (see:  Springsteen, Costello et. al).

So I’ll admit to no advance excitement when I was invited to the Hollywood Bowl this past Sunday to see a British singer named Adele.  My desire to go stood solely in the fact that I love the venue, especially when I get to enjoy it within the confines of the cozy boxes that round the front section.  It’s always a great excuse to pack up the picnic basket with goodies (see:  cheese, bread, almonds, salads, desserts) and head outside to listen to music under the stars.

But my favorite part of being in the boxes is sneaking peaks at people’s wine selections (I do this at restaurants too but for some reason it feels more like a competition at the Bowl).  Within sight of my corrective lenses were familiar labels like Williams-Seylem, Longoria, Guigal, Cakebread.  In my own box we had a Chateauneuf Du Pape,  a 2004 Cab and a (shameless plug) Six Degrees.  All complimented the food and atmosphere perfectly.

The highlight of the night though was the singer herself, a 21 year old with a voice that carried through the Bowl and lifted us up.  Surely there were others like me, there with a season ticket in hand, who come out regardless of the performer, be it the LA Phil or David Byrne.  So no doubt there were many among us who had never heard of Adele.

I’ll venture to guess though that more than a few people (myself included) came home and downloaded her amazing album 19 and are listening to it right now, as I am.  Every once in awhile, as fellow blogger Marc Goldsmith often notes, music has the ability to fly us places we thought we’d never go.  To feel something the dictionary can’t help us to describe.

Do yourself a favor and download the track, Hometown Glory.  If it doesn’t move you to tears, I’d check your pulse.

You might be dead.

Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm  Leave a Comment