We are still early enough in the proliferation of cell phones that people have not learned and developed judgment and discipline in their public use. I occasionally find this irksome, but struggle to find a way to stop it. Stephen Karlson at Cold Spring Shops has some useful recommendations that he has gathered from around the Internet.
I particularly like the cards that he linked to from Annie at Going Underground for use on the London tube (although I have to say I’ve never had particular annoyance with cell phones on the Tube). But the one that hits the closest to home with me is the suggestion from Ideoblog:
Here’s my plan: do what you can to piece together the details of the conversation. Then ask the speaker some questions to fill in the blanks. If the speaker is annoyed, flustered and suddenly reticent, point out that you’re curious enough to turn to Google for help with the rest. It would be nice if you could figure out your seatmate’s name, from the conversation, briefcase, laptop screen, or whatever.
A while back (I’m being deliberately vague) I was in the O’Hare Admirals Club at about 5:45 AM, and it was dark and hushed, as you’d expect for that hour, except for one gentleman who was on the phone. He was working on a particular transaction about which I actually knew something because it was in the electric utility industry. I could tell who he worked for, who he was talking to, and all sorts of details that I’m sure the board of the company in question would not be happy to have potentially figured out in public.
I’m sure the guy looked at me and thought that the short blonde with the tall boots and the messenger bag who looks younger than she is doesn’t know squat about goings-on in the oh-so-boring electric utility industry. That’s a very dangerous assumption …
But this is the first time I’ve mentioned it, although I was sorely tempted to go over and tell him what I do for a living and how much I was able to infer from his side of the conversation.
Christian over at Turn the Screw has a good post describing a dinner part for 20 that he sommelier’ed (if that’s a word!) recently. The wines he chose for each course sound great (as does the food), and are all in the reasonable $13-16 range. I like that he recommended Gruner Veltliner for the first course; GV is a clean, crisp white wine from Austria that goes very well with rich meats like sausages, Wiener schnitzel, and the tuna with which they served it.
But I particularly liked what he said about Chateau Routas, which I’ve always found to be one of the most reliable value-for-money buys:
I have been running with the wines from Routas for some time now. They are one of the few houses I have found that produces incredibly good wines at unbelievably low prices. Across the board, if it says Routas, buy it. I had sold the 2000 vintage like gangbusters, and had hoped to serve it at this dinner. The day before the event, a case of the 2001 arrived. I was a bit worried, not having had time to sit with the wine, but it performed true to form, albeit a little quicker in progression. This wine is 50%/50% Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah. There’s a little blurb on the back label about an old (and now highly illegal) practice of the people of Bordeaux heading east to buy Syrah from the Rhône valley to bolster the Cab in weaker vintages. This wine is Routas’ homage to this. Straight away, the wine screams Italian. The nose shows (for lack of a better term) a certain rusticity that I associate with wines from The Boot. The acid is blazing, another Italian characteristic and the fruit on the palate guarded. About 20-30 minutes in, the Cab starts to flesh out and the wine drinks like a Left Bank Bordeaux. Maybe the homage is a little too close to reality. After 45 minutes or so, the fruit works itself out, the tannins while present, become a little more integrated and the wine drinks like a Pomerol with a few years on it. Curious, because there is no Merlot in the mix.
Served with “Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Gorgonzola Cream sauce with Carmelized Onion, Pears, and Parsnips in a Rosemary Vinaigrette on a bed of Fresh Arugula”. Wow, does that sound great (except for the gorgonzola thing).
OK, off to the gym …