• No more for us. We’re good

    No more for us. We’re good

    In Greece, it’s considered impolite to let your party guest stand around with a nearly empty glass. A proper host circulates with a carafe of retsina, pouring to the mid-line so that you don’t have too little or too much. Moderation. The Greeks invented it. Once or twice, we even tried it. Meh. But we’re

  • Faith, hope and clarity

    Faith, hope and clarity

    In his upbeat assessment of everything, “It’s Better Than it Looks,” author Gregg Easterbrook charts the four basic types of knowing. One type of knowing is certainty: The sun is 93 million miles from Earth. Another is faith: The Patriots will win the Super Bowl in 2019. A third is opinion: “Gone with the Wind”

  • Those things for which we would kill

    Those things for which we would kill

    The two leading incentives for getting in the best shape of your life are the Olympic trials and your 50th high school reunion. On our calendar, June 9 has a circle around it. Why? Here’s an important hint: The Olympic trials are not scheduled for that date. It is the date of our marital partner’s

  • Try to remember

    Try to remember

    The news last month that Harvey Schmidt had died sent us down one of the sweeter byways off Memory Lane. Mr. Schmidt, 88, and his pal Tom Jones wrote the world’s longest-running musical, “The Fantasticks.” It opened in 1960 at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village and ran for 17,162 performances. You’ve seen it,

  • If at first you don’t impress, try, try again

    If at first you don’t impress, try, try again

    It’s unfortunate that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Example: Our first impression of Portuguese wine was that it was pleasant, retiring and lacking in muscle tone. This evaluation was based on our experience with vinho verde (“green wine”) and Dao vinho tinto (“red wine”). Vinho verde is deliberately light,

  • Eccentric millionaires

    Eccentric millionaires

    Our marital partner left town Tuesday morning. By Tuesday evening, our bachelor party had become a situation comedy. We put too large a load into the washing machine, which went on strike early in the rinse cycle. We had to unload several pounds of wet sheets and towels, lighten the load and start over. Later,

  • Your perfect body

    Your perfect body

    Wines, like humans, have body types. In the case of people, you’re an ectomorph (too thin), endomorph (too tubby) or mesomorph (too hot). The informing substance is fat. Wines fell into three analogous categories until the invention of the box wine, when a fourth division was added. The informing substance here is viscosity. Thus, with

  • Grape expectations

    Grape expectations

    Our niece, Ivy, prefers Log Cabin syrup to the real thing. Having grown up in California, where maple syrup must be imported, she finds the real stuff too intense. Her loss, yes, but … there you are. Our own sainted mother, a dedicated drinker of black coffee, dawn till the 11 o’clock news, actually believed

  • Valentine wine

    Valentine wine

    Ogden Nash’s mini-poem, “Reflections on Ice-breaking,” posits as follows:   Candy is dandy But liquor is quicker.   Clever, yes, but why must it be a competition? Why not have candy and liquor — especially if the liquor is a red wine and the candy is dark chocolate? Never were two basic food groups so

  • Auld Lang what?

    Last Thursday, Jan. 25, was Robert Burns Day. The Scottish poet’s birthday is an occasion for drinking, bagpipes, poetry and haggis. We indulged in all said diversions with the exception of the haggis and the bagpipes. Also, the poetry. Haggis is a delightful Scottish dish in which taste-tempting sheep’s offal is mixed with yummy suet

  • Crimes of passion

    Crimes of passion

    Martin Cruz Smith, in his breakout novel “Gorky Park,” profiles a beverage called chifir. His protagonist is chugging it to stay awake. “Chifir was tea concentrated not twice or 10 times but 20 times,” Smith wrote. A man without food, Smith continued, “could work three days straight on a few cups of chifir.” Chifir came