The Sloppy Mermaid

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Soulless" Universities

"Soulless" universities: "He takes Harvard as his case study, but many of his conclusions apply to the rest of American higher education. Mr. Lewis finds American universities "soulless" and argues that they rarely speak as "proponents of high ideals for future American leaders." He bluntly states that Harvard "has lost, indeed willingly surrendered, its moral authority to shape the souls of its students ... Harvard articulates no ideals of what it means to be a good person."

Arguing that American universities are soulless did not originate with Mr. Lewis, of course. In fact, it is one of the main themes of Allan Bloom's classic (and more entertaining) "The Closing of the American Mind," a book to which Mr. Lewis strangely never refers."

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tough love

calendarlive.com: Tough love: "In an essay on Saul Bellow's 'Ravelstein,' which many readers and reviewers took as a portrait of Bellow's relationship with his old friend Allan Bloom, she writes: 'When it comes to novels, the author's life is nobody's business. A novel, even when it is autobiographical, is not an autobiography.' And: 'Fiction does not invent out of a vacuum, but it invents; and what it invents is, first, the fabric and cadence of language, and then a slant of idea that sails out of these as a fin lifts from the sea.' "

Thursday, May 25, 2006

TIME Magazine Archive Article -- Judgment of Paris -- Jun. 7, 1976

TIME Magazine Archive Article -- Judgment of Paris -- Jun. 7, 1976: "Americans abroad have been boasting for years about California wines, only to be greeted in most cases by polite disbelie ... or worse. Among the few fervent and respected admirers of le vin de Californie in
France is a transplanted Englishman, Steven Spurrier, 34, who owns the
Cave de la Madeleine wine shop, one of the best in Paris, and the
Academic du Vin, a wine school whose six-week courses are attended by
the French Restaurant Association's chefs and sommeliers. Last week in
Paris, at a formal wine tasting organized by Spurrier, the unthinkable
happened: California defeated all Gaul...."

American Wine Comes of Age -- Nov. 27, 1972

TIME Magazine Archive Article -- American Wine Comes of Age -- Nov. 27, 1972: "RISING starkly from the dusty
fields of California's San Joaquin Valley are 100 huge metal cylinders
that look like an array of petrochemical tanks. Alongside them are rows
of mostly windowless industrial buildings that sprawl over an area as
large as six city blocks. This symbol of technological power is not a
pulsing refinery; it is the E. & J. Gallo Winery of Modesto, Calif.
Inside the cylinders, millions of gallons of California Burgundy,
Chablis and rose age. Inside the buildings, squads of chemists pore
over their latest oenological formulations, while viniculturists..."

Restrictions -- Jun. 25, 1923

TIME Magazine Archive Article -- Restrictions -- Jun. 25, 1923: "Premier Benito Mussolini is not a prohibitionist. But he thinks that there exist in Italy ' alcoholic abuses,' and he is determined to lessen the
number of wine shops. Accordingly, he has ordered the enforcement of
an old law of licenses which allows only one for every 2,000 people. Wine growers are planning a protest."

Old Age for New Wine -- Mar. 3, 1923

TIME Magazine Archive Article -- Old Age for New Wine -- Mar. 3, 1923: "Mar. 3, 1923

A French professor, Charles Henri, has discovered a method of 'aging'
wine in a few minutes. In a demonstration before the Academy of
Sciences, he took a bottle of new wine, and by placing it for a few
minutes in an electrostatic field of from 60,000 to 100,000 volts,
changed it in a short time so that in all respects %u2014strength, color,
bouquet%u2014it could not be detected from old wine. Steps have been taken
to commercialize the new invention."

Forlorn French winemakers driven to the wall - and to suicide

Telegraph | News | Forlorn French winemakers driven to the wall - and to suicide : "On Wednesday Mrs Montosson and thousands of other winemakers will take to the streets of southern France to highlight a crisis they claim is driving them into crippling debt - and, in some tragic cases, suicide."

The Judgment of Paris

The Judgment of Paris.
By Mike Steinberger
: "Today is the 30th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, the legendary tasting in which a pair of unheralded California wines bested some of France's most celebrated reds and whites. It was, you might say, the collective slurp heard round the world. France losing to the United States at wine? Unthinkable. In a century filled with indignities for France, the Judgment of Paris was another cruel blow. For the most part, though, the French refused to take the result seriously, dismissing it as either an aberration or, worse, the product of Anglo-American chicanery"

Food And Wine

Napa Valley Register Online | Food And WineFeatures
: "On the 30th anniversary of that landmark event, the so-called Judgment of Paris was re-enacted in part at the same time Wednesday in London and Napa, at Copia.

Once again, the New World -- or, to be more specific, Napa Valley -- came out on top."

NAPA V. BORDEAUX, ROUND TWO Vintners re-enact famous '76 tasting

ContraCostaTimes.com | 05/25/2006 | NAPA V. BORDEAUX, ROUND TWO Vintners re-enact famous '76 tasting: "Exactly 30 years after the historic Paris wine tasting that changed the wine industry forever, a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon once again beat out its prestigious Bordeaux peers in what has come to be known as the wine rematch of the century."

California trounces France 30 years on - decanter.com - the route to all good wine

California trounces France 30 years on - decanter.com - the route to all good wine : "A handful of venerable Californian wines have once again beaten their French counterparts - in a re-run of the Paris Tasting of 1976. Against all expectations the Cabernets %u2013 Ridge Monte Bello 1971, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973, Mayacamas 71, Heitz 70 and Clos du Val 72 %u2013 were voted superior to their rivals in Bordeaux.

New World wins again in a vintage rematch

Telegraph | News | New World wins again in a vintage rematch: "At the time it was unthinkable. French wine, surely the finest in the world, was put to a blind taste test against the best California could offer. It was 1976, the tasting was in Paris, and wine from the New World was considered no better than cheap Retsina. Imagine the heart-stopping moment, then, when nine experts, all French, ruled that Californian wine was superior."

California wines beat the French -- again / Even after 30 years of aging, state's Cabernets still tops

California wines beat the French -- again / Even after 30 years of aging, state's Cabernets still tops: "Who says California wines don't age?
The French do. Repeatedly.
Yet Gaul is biting its tongue today after California smoked France Wednesday in a cross-continental tasting of wines that have matured in cellars for three decades. The California Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines placed first through fifth, followed by four wines from France's hallowed Bordeaux region and then another California Cab.
Sacre bleu!"

Monday, May 22, 2006

The art of sport

The art of sport - The Boston Globe: "Gumbrecht laments that most contemporary academic analyses of ''sport' as a cultural phenomenon tend to be socially patronizing, dismissive of sports fans as having fallen for a modern-day version of the old bread and circus treatment. Such thinkers, he argues, ''find it difficult to admit that the fascination with sports can have respectable roots in the realm of aesthetic appeal' more typically associated with the so-called high arts. Conditioned to look for aesthetic pleasure in a concert hall or museum, we fail to recognize that watching a tense seventh game of the World Series (or a championship fight or a 100-meter dash) might be considered a legitimate aesthetic experience as well."

Friday, May 19, 2006

High Noon With a Twist

High Noon With a Twist - New York Times: "I saw this guy with a Rubik's Cube, and he was working it pretty furiously, the kind of furious that got the attention of a bunch of people on the subway train. That loud, rhythmic clicking. He was totally blase about it but also totally wanting attention. He was slouched across a couple of seats, and his wrists were slack, but his hands were whizzing around. I have to admit, I was pretty fascinated."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Doom and Demography

Doom and Demography: "What is perhaps most remarkable about the incessant
stream of dire - and consistently wrong - predictions of global
demographic overshoot is the public's apparently insatiable demand
for it. Unlike the villagers in the fable about the boy who cried wolf,
educated American consumers always seem to have the time, the money, and
the credulity to pay to hear one more time that we are just about to run
out of everything, thanks to population growth."