skivving off.

Carolina gave me my birthday/Christmas present yesterday. Between that, catching up on season four of “The Wire” and WaPo’s new NFC Playoff Calculator [tip: DC Sports Bog], I think any designs on productivity are shot

more links:
Racism in the NFL draft [via Deadspin]
Jessica’s revenge [again, via Deadspin]

that’s about all for today folks. I’m blowing out of work early with Sadie and heading to the wilds of suburban Maryland.

holiday wine picks

We drink in my family. A lot. Especially on the holidays. I think it’s partially a coping mechanism for having to be together in close quarters for so long (ie over 2 hours). And partially, it’s just because we all enjoy a good tipple. Christmas especially becomes a time for everyone to show off their latest and greatest finds in the wide world of wine. It usually goes something like this:

my uncle: brings over some crappy overly tannic merlot someone tells him about at Costco. proceeds to swill it and demand that everyone else does as well. refuses to believe that anyone, especially anyone without a penis, has any idea about what constitutes good wine. anytime i point out a good bottle, or a flaw in his selection, he responds by citing my love of PBR. he drinks coors light. also is drunk and pretty much worthless after 3-4 beers or 2-3 drinks/glasses of wine. penchant for doing stupid things- over thanksgiving, mum asked him to open the wine for dinner. he proceeded to open EVERY SINGLE BOTTLE ON THE TABLE. heart of gold

my aunt (aka favorite relative): always good for a bottle with a pretty label. begins with mimosas for breakfast and maintains a constant state of “fuzzy-happy-time” for the duration of festivities. fairly adventurous, and more than willing to knock back the harder stuff with me. known in family as “the trouble maker” and with good reason. shares my affinity for things with bubbles, chocolate, and smooth, fruity reds. had conversation with her this morning involving the words “i was pimp-slapped by a bottle of pinot noir”

her husband (aka the Oracle): more of a beer guy, but happy to give anything a shot. switches to the hard stuff later in the day. big fan of woodford reserve. can’t hate on that. Always enjoys the airplane bottles i put in his stocking

their children (aka the girls): wrinkle noses and demand cherry limeade. the older one, in particular, notices when everyone is half-lit, and uses the opportunity to procure excessive amounts of soda from her besotted older relatives for herself and her sister. she’s a smart one…takes after me.

mum: always good for an interesting German white. extremely entertaining after a bottle. moves into bitchy territory after 2. asleep after that. enjoys slightly unusual pairings, like white zin and popcorn or merlot and oatmeal-cranberry cookies. likes the liquor like she likes her coffee- unnoticeable in whatever she’s drinking. consumes the hard stuff with tragicomical results

grandmother: not allowed to drink for various reasons. spends day sneaking sips from everyone else’s glasses, to the chagrin of everyone else

grandfather: where to begin? retired. activities consist of drinking, walking dog, golfing, watching sports on television. holidays change none of these things. rarely buys wine himself, prefers to go off childrens’ suggestions. skews more towards heavier reds or Gewurztraminers. drinks the hard stuff after his morning coffee

sister: far too much of a control freak to ever get completely wasted. last year, she mixed a bottle of Lindemans Framboise Lambic with ginger ale, got drunk, fell asleep, and awoke hungover in time for Christmas dinner. Once drank the most vile appletini ever, made by my uncle. that’s probably what put her off booze.

I used to work in a wine bar, and have gained bits and pieces of knowledge over the years. Also, not being far enough disposed from my college years to have rid myself of an innate cheap-ness, I’m also always on the lookout for a good find under $20. With that in mind, here’s some of what I’ll be drinking over the Christmas holiday, (aside from the aforementioned present-wrapping cocktail)….

Whites
– 2005 Arigolas Costamolino Vermentino (tastes like a day at the beach)
– 2004/2005 Pine Ridge Vigonoier/Chenin Blanc (from my wine bar days…it’s morphed into a family favorite and is pretty widely available)

Reds
– 2003 Tyrell’s Lost Block Pinot Noir (also a holdover from my wine bar days, absolutely delicous, but pretty hard to find)
– 2003 Los 800 Priorat (available at Proof and Rasika)
– 2004 Unio Perlat (Calvert Woodley had it the last time I was there)
– 2000 Scipion Priorat (another from wine bar days…i think Calvert Woodley had it)

Bubbles
– 2004 Paringa Sparkling Shiraz (it’s at the Whole Foods on P for $10.99- BUY IT NOW)
– NV Moet & Chandon White Star (not so much in the under $20 department, but everyone deserves one splurge and it’s just SO DAMN GOOD)

headed down south to the land of the pine…

Being a native North Carolinian, there are several things for which I have a deep and undying love:
1) anything that comes from a pig, especially bacon and BBQ
2) college basketball
3) the Carolina Panthers (this is a more recent development. Bill Simmons has a column about divided sports loyalties. I explain mine like so- I grew up a Dallas fan, and they will always be my first love. However, in ’95, Carolina got a team, and I can’t not root for the hometown team.)
4) sweet tea and Cheerwine

With that in mind, I present you with the foll0wing:
1) bacon candy [via Serious Eats]
2) sad, sad news…yet tempered somewhat by this. [via Awful Announcing]
3) insights from both sides on Saturday’s upcoming game
4) perfect pre-Christmas present wrapping cocktail: Bojangles sweet tea + jack daniels + lime.

holiday parties

While I am all for elaborate dishes every now and again (I almost gave myself a seizure making German Chocolate cupcakes for Sadie’s birthday,) there is something to be said for simplicity, especially when it’s a party. My goal in life is to one day be the perfectly dressed hostess who greets the first guest at the door with a glass of wine, ushers them into the room, and watches as they gasp in awe and the beautiful and delicious spread laid out in front of them.

As it stands, I’m far more likely to be frantically running about the kitchen, waiting for the first guest to arrive, who will then be put in charge of greeting everyone else while I hustle upstairs to shower.

Perhaps I should opt for some of Mark Bittman’s easy appetizers next time. You can never go wrong with endive and goat cheese.

elevenses

The Cowboys sent ELEVEN players to the Pro Bowl-
Starters: TO (WR), Flozell Adams (OT), Leonard Davis (OG), Andre Gurode (C), Jason “Fuck-you-I’ll-run-without-my-helmet” Witten (TE), Demarcus Ware (OLB), and Nick Folk (K)
Reserves: Tony-Freaking-Romo (QB), Marion the Barbarian (RB- I can understand the Purple Jesus getting the nod over MB3. I kind of want to marry him, just so I can be Mrs. Purple Jesus), Terence Newman (CB) and Ken Hamlin (FS).

The ‘Boys also had four alternates– Roy Williams(S), Greg Ellis (LB), Mat McBriar (P), and Keith Davis (S). Word on the street is that Williams, he of the mighty horse collar, was named first alternate, and thus might start in lieu of Sean Taylor, giving the Cowboys twelve players in the Pro Bowl.

On the AFC side of things, the Pats only sent eight players. Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Bob Sanders, Willie Parker and Troy Polamalu, some of my favorite players, all made it.

In other news, Jerrah Jones and Arthur Blank have been talking to the Tuna.