McManis is Magnificent!

We had a new Total Wine & More open near us so we headed up there on Saturday to check it out.  We had a tasting of Williamsburg Winery wines (two whites and a red), a tasting of Spanish wines (three reds and two whites) and I tasted a few beers from St. George’s and some brewery from North Carolina.

As we’d just about dinished perusing the store, looking and selecting a number of bottles, the store began setting up another tasting.  There was a white, the McManis pictured above, and The Prisoner, which doesn’t normally get tastes as it goes for about $40 a bottle.  I’m glad we waited for the guy to finish setting up.  Wow!  The McManis is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has replaced my previous favorite, Annefield Vineyards (and a good thing since they went out of business), and will likely be my new go to wine since it’s regular price is less than $10.

The Prisoner, btw, on hit my “it’s okay” meter, which certainly isn’t high enough for me to spend almost $40 on it.

I highly recommend McManis.  I know wine is highly subjective, but it’s certainly worth you givng it a taste.


HBD, Pops!

I know it’s kind of an arbitrary age to write a post to one’s parent, but seeing as how life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns, and how tomorrow is promised to no one, this post is dedicated to my dad on his 73rd birthday.

This post is a two-parter.  It contains the opening and closing paragraphs of a writing course assignment in which I had to write about someone I admire.  It also contains lyrics from Dan Fogelberg’sLeader of the Band“.
Here are the opening and closing paragraphs of my assignment on my father, The Professional Soldier:

Woosha-woosha-woosha.  The whispery sound of brush on shoe quietly echoed through our house each morning.  Each morning also brought the musky smell of Old Spice, my father’s after shave.  In the kitchen, Old Spice mixed with the aroma of coffee and peanut butter on toast.  One more quick trip to the bathroom to brush his teeth and my father was on his way to work.  Routine.  The Army drills until its tasks become second nature in any terrain or climate.  Similarly, whether we were living in Germany, Hawaii, or one of the U. S. states, my father ‘s morning regimen was precision.  He left the house on time every day looking sharp, ready to accomplish the tasks the day presented.  For many years, to me, he was the embodiment of the Army –the professional soldier.

My father taught me more than he knows about setting standards for ourselves and always striving to maintain those standards.  He showed me how to be a leader.  He inspired me to always do my best, to set high standards and work to achieve my goals.  I suppose I also got my unwavering patriotism from my father, the professional soldier.

Leader of the Band is a great ballad that Dan Fogelberg wrote as a tribute to his father.  While my father wasn’t a musician, he did love playing his records, and I credit the variety he played with influencing my love of so many varied genres.  His “stories of the road” were stories of places he had lived growing up and after enlisting in the Army…some of which my family were part of.  The rest of these lines are self-explanatory, but so aptly apply:

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough

Happy Birthday, Dad!
I Love You!

Chip Your Boss

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips are used for tracking, as well as to store and communicate info on some biometric devices.

 So, last week, while we stood around at work, out of our cubes, at the designated congregation point, awaiting the “big boss” to show up and present an award, I got to thinking how much time we waste waiting for bosses to show up…to present awards, conduct meetings, give keynote speeches, etc.
 Why don’t we RFID these folks?  I’m not saying they should be implanted with chips, but that’s a possibility, too, I suppose.  A simpler approach would be a mobile, pocket-able dongle/card/clip-on/whatever that could track their whereabouts.  If you know they’re supposed to be coming into your area, you login to some system that shows their current location.  When they get close enough, you rally the troops so they’re in place for the dog and pony show when the boss walks in, but they don’t stand around, unproductive, hoping the boss is on time.
Now, the security nuts will scream that the system could be hacked and the location of the boss learned by people with potentially nefarious purposes.  Possibly.  So, maybe you have a handful of RFID trackers and the one assigned to the boss is chosen randomly every day.  Or, maybe the tracking system is only used on a closed network, removed from Internet connectivity…maybe even a standalone computer.  The person running that system would then have the task of alerting those expecting a visit of the boss’s ETA.  You could even have an on/off switch to only activate the tracker when the boss is on the move.
If there’s always someone with the boss, an assistant or an entire entourage, you might think it would be just as easy to chip (one of) them up, but here’s where you can run into false alerts.  Say the boss has a meeting somewhere in your building that’s near your office.  While the boss attends the meeting, the chipped up assistant runs to the restroom that’s near your office, or decides to give you a heads up about the boss being there soon.  You note the movement of the tracker toward your office, earlier than expected, and sound the *Code 10 to get everyone in place quickly…only to find out it’s the assistant.
It’s probably better to just stick with the boss being “chipped” and, really, how many bad guys are out there aiming to take out your boss vs. how much time is wasted by overly concerned under-bosses having their folks waste time waiting on the big boss?
*Code 10 scene from Lean on Me

My Favorite Apothic

My wife has long been a fan of Apothic Red, but it’s never been high on my list.

Today, we Apothic Dark. There is now an Apothic blend on my list of very tasty red blends.  Mmmmmm.

Seven Military Leadership Lessons from Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin & Hobbes is a great comic strip. I have several of the compilations and my kids love them, as well. As the Angry Staff Officer mentioned, Bill Waterson frequently managed to sneak life lessons into the strips…some for the kids, some for the grown-ups.

The Angry Staff Officer


When I was seven, my mother did the worst thing I could conceive of: she took my Calvin and Hobbes books away from me. Why, why would she do such a horrible thing, I asked her at the time, probably kicking and screaming and waving my tiny fists.

It was a very simple answer: I was acting too much like Calvin.

Little did my mother know, taking away my comic books for a little while would do nothing to cure my obsession for Calvin and Hobbes. Oh sure, I stopped dressing up as Stupendous Man and giving the baby-sitter a hard time; I simply got more subtle. I went ahead and took the lessons from Bill Watterson’s masterpieces and made them a part of my life. Not only that, I took it a step further and made them a part of my military leadership style.

Which maybe explains a…

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Hint, hint, wink, Winking Owl


So, we’re in Aldi’s grocery store and we come to the wine section and there are these bottles with cute little owls on them winking at us.  There’s cab, merlot, shiraz, chardonnay, pinot grigio…all for $2.98. What?! Yep, $2.98. Well, I figured we can’t miss on this.  Even if it sucked, that would only be a loss of three bucks.  Well, this Winking Owl cabernet sauvignon is surprisingly good.  It’s not the best I’ve ever had, but at about $3, you can’t really beat it.  The label describes it as more full-bodied than light and semi-dry, and it is right on.  I’ve never seen Winking Owl before, but we’ll certainly pick up a couple the next time we ‘re in an Aldi’s.

A very tasty GR8RW by Acronym.


Acronym. makes a very tasty cab. Picked it up on sale at half off at about $10…and it’s definitely worth it.  While I really like it at this price, I’m not sure I’d buy it for $20…mostly because that puts me over the regular price of my current go-to wine, Casillero del Dialbo’s Malbec, that runs about $13.

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