Tuesday, November 27, 2007

25th Anniversary

Today, exactly 25 years ago, on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Thornton, Cape Town, I married my high school sweetheart.

I feel we still have another 25 years in us, and I would not want to spend it with any other person.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Kentucky’s Archaic Alcohol Laws

You know Christmas time is nearing because of the leaflets that fall into my mailbox with the falling leaves of autumn. If it is not Dell or Fossil then it’s some cheese and wine hamper business trying to get me to buy something. And it’s the latter that really depresses me…again. On the back of their brochure they clearly state that Kentucky is one of the states they are not allowed to ship wine to. So why send me the brochure? Don’t they know that I would have loved to buy wine through the mail or over the Internet? Do they have to taunt me? Or is it their subliminal way to prod me to take action to get Kentucky out of the dark ages of prohibition. For God’s sake, prohibition ended in 1933! Yes, you can buy wine in select areas in Kentucky, but only if it is brought in via a wholesale business and then sold to liquor stores or if you go to a vineyard and buy the estate’s wine. Unfortunately, the quality of Kentucky wine is still so far behind the quality of Californian and Oregon wines.

But it is not just Kentucky that has these archaic laws still in tact. Slightly more than half, 29 states, allow direct shipping of alcohol, albeit with limitations. But in most cases those limitations are mostly acceptable to consumers. Definitely to me who can only maintain a small collection. Five states allow reciprocity sales. (See map.) Even liberal states like New York and Florida have only as recent as 2005 and 2006 respectively, allowed for direct sales of alcohol, but at least, their legislators saw the light…coming through the bottom of a bottle. I guess!

Commerce laws regarding alcohol sales, any form, is a mess in the US. It is controlled by the states and not by the federal government. Here in Kentucky there is no single law that controls alcohol sales. There are some laws that serve as guidelines. It seems every city or county can make its own laws because the current laws from city to city and county to county can vary vastly. Then off course, many of Kentucky’s 120 counties ban any form of alcohol sales outright. The dry counties.

Excuses for not allowing sales ranges from: It must be properly labeled to protect consumers against fraud, to protecting wineries inside a state, protecting minors from not laying their hands on alcohol, and the inevitable taxman that complains about a lost of taxes. All valid points, but bla, bla, bla. Twenty nine other states have done it. These issues have been resolved. Learn from them, adopt their laws. I think the biggest culprits are wholesales and the politicians. Wholesalers are scared, that they will lose a portion of their monopoly income. They will have to lower their prices to complete with the Internet. Get with the program! Business environments change all the time. Why should they not adjust too? And politicians, well it will take a legislature will balls to tackle the issue here in Kentucky to see it from the point of view of the consumer (the voter). And that’s the problem. Balls. Or the lack there of. If the law allows me to buy wine from a liquor store at a high price, why can’t it allow me to buy it over the Internet for a lower price? Apart from the benefit of lower prices to the consumer, it can actually do the in-state wineries a lot of good because they will get sales from other states and not just from people who happens to visit the winery. (Kentucky laws allow for out-of-state shipment if the wine was purchased during a visit to the winery.) And the taxman, he will probably get more income too. Excise tax and sales tax are still applicable. That looks like a win-win-win situation to me.

So I will stay a frustrated oenophile with an overpriced and mostly empty collection. But I can continue to hope…

Picture courtesy of Northern Kentucky Vintners & Grape Growers Association at http://www.nkvgga.com/.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One for the Technical Help Desk

Dear Technical Support,

18 months ago, I upgraded to Girlfriend 1.0 from DrinkingMates 4.2, which I had used for years without any trouble. However, there are apparently conflicts between these two products and the only solution was to try and run Girlfriend 1.0 with the sound turned off. To make matters worse, Girlfriend 1.0 is incompatible with several other applications, such as BoysNightOut 3.1, Rugby 4.5, and Playboy 6.9.

Successive versions of GirlFriend proved no better.

I tried a shareware program, Slapper 2.1, but it had many bugs and left a virus in my system, forcing me to shut down completely for several weeks. Eventually, I tried to run GirlFriend 1.2 and Girlfriend 1.0 at the same time, only to discover that when these two systems detected each other they caused severe damage to my hardware.

I eventually upgraded to Fiancée 1.0, only to discover that this product soon had to be upgraded further to Wife 1.0. While Wife 1.0 tends to use up all my available resources, it does come bundled with FreeSexPlus and Cleanhouse2006.

Shortly after this upgrade, however, I found that Wife 1.0 could be very unstable and costly to run. Any mistakes I made were automatically stored in Wife 1.0's memory and could not be deleted. They then resurfaced months later when I had forgotten about them. Wife 1.0 also has an automatic Diary, Explorer and E-mail filter, and can, without warning, launch TurboStrop and Multi-Whinge. These latter products have no Help files, and I have to try to guess what the problem is.

Additional problems are that Wife 1.0 needs updating regularly, requiring ShoeShop Browser for new attachments and Hairstyle Express which needs to be reinstalled every other week. Also, when Wife 1.0 attaches itself to my BMW Sport hard drive, it often crashes.

Wife 1.0 also comes with an irritating pop-up called MotherInLaw, which can't be turned off.

Recently I've been tempted to install Mistress 2007, but there could be problems. A friend of mine has alerted me to the fact that if Wife 1.0 detects Mistress 2007, it tends to delete all of your Money before uninstalling itself.

Help requested please!!!!!!!!!

100 Not Out...Yet

This is my 100th post and it comes with some layout changes, and new profile and other art work. (I planned the changes, but not that they coincide with the 100th post. Pure accident.) Gone are the ads, they don't bring in any money really and I don't do blogging for the money in any case. They say a change is at good as a holiday, and seeing that I won't be going on any long holiday soon...(I still miss Italy.)

It seems I have had a bit of blogger's block lately. Written a few articles, but then delete it again because it didn’t feel right. Maybe it is just a lot of shit flying around that is blocking meaningful words from getting out. Maybe, subconsciously off course, I am like many cricketers that get bogged down when they are in the nineties, just before they reach that milestone of scoring a ton. Or maybe I’m just full of it. I hope that the coming few days off during Thanksgiving will electrify the old grey cells and the subsequent explosion will clear the clammy fogginess. I can already hear it: I can see clearly now that the rain is gone…

Oh well, let’s smile and pretend and even try to laugh.

Post Heading: The Cricket Match by Braaq (Brian Shields) - Oil Painting.