Guess what? You’ve been invited to dinner at a swanky restaurant and up until now, Olive Garden is the nicest place you’ve ever been (and the only time you've ever used cloth napkins)! You sit down and a waiter puts bread on your very own plate with a miniature knife. Another one pours you a nice sweaty glass of water while you glance at the armory of silverware in front of you. The head of the table barks, “how about a nice Beaujolais, everyone?” You’re thinking,bojuh-what? Exactly. That's when you realize you probably couldn’t tell the difference between a cheap wine cooler and a French Bordeaux. Don’t worry. Here are ten ways you can convincingly fake it! The Whiff
Well, you’ve gotta start faking it somewhere, right? Before you take your first sip, stick your schnauze in that glass and give a good whiff! Do you smell that? It doesn't really matter what you smell, just close your eyes and breathe it in. Assuming you’re with someone, you can even use a cheap blanket statement like, “Oh, that’s good” or “Mmm, I can’t wait.” For all you know, it just smells like any old glass of booze, but to most anyone else, you just hit half-legit.
This one’s good, because you can instantly establish your pseudo-credibility. Let’s say you’re at a little bit nicer of a place. You order an entire bottle of wine instead of just glasses for you and your date (smooth move!). The waiter retrieves it and presents it, opens it, and sets the cork beside you. What do you do? Smell it? Come on, you know you want to. Well, don’t do it, even if your brain thinks, well, what else am I supposed to do with it? The truth: smelling a cork tells you only one thing for certain. That is, whether it has gone bad. Instead, just pick it up and roll it around in your fingers. If it’s almost all dry, you’re good to go. Now, if you really want to sell it, you have a story to tell about how most people ignorantly smell
Wine is better swirled. It releases aromas and aids the wine in breathing. Well, this trick can sometimes be harder than it looks. It’s just liquid in a funny shaped glass. There’s no ice in your wine to stabilize it, so if you’ve never swirled, be careful. You don’t want to stain the table cloth, or worse, your shirt. I guarantee you will lose brownie points for that. You know how in most sports, “it’s all in the wrist”? Not with wine swirling. This is more like “all in the elbow.” Move most of your arm. Save yourself some embarrassment (and dry cleaning), swirl like a pro, even if you’re faking it.
This phrase obviously gets tossed around a lot in wine circles. “Oh! A ’97. Goodyear. That’s a good year.” Well, do you see that chart above? It’s called a vintage chart. I think only the elitists who write those charts know which years are prophetically better than others. Today is your lucky day, because the fact that you now know that there even is such a list out there puts you a step ahead of practically anyone you’ll ever take on a date. Period. If you’re presented with a wine, just say, “Ooh, 2003 (or whatever), that’s a good year.” Who’s going to question you?
Get A Grip
Believe it or not, there is an ongoing debate about whether or not it’s acceptable to hold a wine glass in a cupped hand, like a goblet. Supposedly, if you hold your wine glass in a cupped hand, the residual heat from your hand and fingers will heat the wine inside beyond the ideal serving temperature. Convincing evidence suggests otherwise, but then what would wine enthusiasts argue about? No matter what side you’re on, it’s always acceptable to grab a glass by the stem. So do it. You won’t offend anyone. Note: some modern wine glasses have no stems. If you ever come across them, well, when in Rome…
The Beef on Red
Fact: red wine pairs well with beef. That’s what they say, anyway. For the most part, that’s true. And surprisingly many people know this, even the extremely occasional wine drinkers. Well in reality, red wine pairs well with the fat in red meat. The idea is, you take a bite of meat and enjoy it. Then you sip the red wine, which nicely cleanses your mouth and cuts through all that fat, so to speak. Meat, wine. Meat, wine. That way, every hunk of that divine Porterhouse steak you paid a hundred bucks for tastes every bit as good as the first. Yum! Wanna pretend you know something about red wine, order the steak with it. Wanna sound professional? Tell your date why.
Show the White Some Love, Too
Fact: white wine pairs well with fish and chicken. Correction: white wine goes with not-red-meat. Remember, you’re just trying to pretend you know what to do, so just follow the rule. And if you’re having trouble deciding between the Sauvignon Blanc and the Gewürztraminer Riesling, just close your eyes and point to one on the menu. (Trust me, they’re both good.) People also tend to love Pinot Grigio. (I personally don’t understand the mass infatuation with it. I think people just like to say “Pinot” because it sounds fancy and it has a silent “t.”)
Ok, this goes back to smelling the wine. Refer to The Whiff section of the article in case you’ve already forgotten. Imagine a rich red cabernet sitting in front of you. You want to feign competence and impress your guest. Pick up the glass, maybe swirl it, and give it a good sniff. You don’t want to use the cheap blanket statement like before. You want some pizzazz! Here’s a real winner: “Oaky.” Yeah, like the tree. Say the wine has kind of an oaky aroma. Why? Good red wine is aged in barrels. Good wine barrels are crafted from oak. White wine is a little trickier. Just describe it as “fruity.” (If you’re not comfortable with saying the word “fruity” for some reason, then say “citrusy.”)
The Candor on the Decanter
You might be thinking, “Decanter? But I don’t know any witchcraft.” Don’t worry, you don’t need to know any hexes for this one. See that fat thing in the middle of the picture that looks like Barbara Eden would poof out of? It’s called a decanter. It’s a device used to expedite the breathing process of red wine. I’ve worked in fine dining and only the snobbiest of wine snobs ask for their red wine to be decanted. Depending on the level of snobbery you’re trying to convey, you can decide whether or not to request the decanter. To a connoisseur, it makes the world of improvement in taste, but as a faker, you’d never know the difference.
This last one is very important! What happens when you unknowingly pick a wine that neither you nor your guest has the slightest taste for? It doesn’t matterwhat else you do, if you don’t like it, it’s going to be a long night. The solution: make a safe pick from the start. First off, stay away from French reds. They smell like sweaty gym socks…and that’s what they’re supposed to smell like! Choose something like a meritage. A meritage is a blend of grapes, so it’s not too overpowering in any way. Like I said before, you could also go with just about anything “Pinot.” Not only are pinots really popular right now (especially with the ladies), they’re pretty easy to stomach for anyone.
So there you have it, 10 easy ways to look pro without the know. Now go, and roam confidently in the wine-o world!
Well, we were going through the drive through at KFC (this isn't the first post about KFC . . .this is) and we saw an interesting sign. The sign was a picture of the types of food they serve, but in a modern artistic style. Here is some appetizing corn we saw:
That's no mistake. There's nothing accidentally splattered on that picture. That's the picture. So I have to ask: how does bloody corn make you feel? Does bloody corn make you hungry or does it make you want to murder other vegetables?
I know one thing, I might change my order at the window after seeing this. How about one of those famous bowls? On second thought, I'll take bloody corn.
I don't usually post one-liners, but this one was funny. (And, I'm kind of short on time this week.) Happy Wednesday everyone!
PS: Hope you all survived the tornadoes! We were watching Pirates: On Stranger Tides and the theatre made us all go out into the halls to wait out the storm . . . ultimately, our movie started 2 hours late. Boo! Our date night turned into a late night.
I'll be honest. I love [good] cake! It can be any kind of cake for any occasion. Then my wife showed me this picture:
It's a divorce cake. I had never even heard of such a cake before. If you Google "divorce cake," you'll find a whole bunch of bloody mess cakes. It's gruesome and bizarre. But this one was kind of funny.
So let me rethink that statement . . . would I really eat cake for any occasion?
Microsoft is wasting exorbitant amounts of money promoting Bing, including bad product placements. Why even fight Google? Microsoft would probably be better off spending all that money on figuring out time travel. Then, they could go back and create "Moogle" before Google. Just a thought . . .
In case you can't see that video, this is the link:
Hmm . . . well, look at the picture first, then we'll talk (even though it probably isn't necessary, lol.):
Now think back to 1992, which is around the time this Ken hit the shelves. What sort of words come to mind when you think "purple leather jacket," "mesh pink shirt," and "blond highlighted hair"? Is heterosexual one of them? Doubtful. It's quite the opposite, really.
This case is interesting for one reason. Earring Magic Ken was the best-selling Ken doll to date and they discontinued it. Why? Because little girls weren't the ones buying them up! And when a newspaper in Washington revealed who was buying them and what the chrome circle dangler around his neck looked like, Matel decided to pull the plug.
Blogger was down last Thrusday afternoon and Friday most of the day . . . soooooo . . . no post last Friday. Bummer, I know! I'm going to continue on this week with a few more examples of product failures that you may or may not remember.
Coors is an interesting case because the product failure below almost makes sense. Back in the late 80's, Coors decided to start selling bottled water:
Pretty clever, right? Coors is made from Rocky Mountain spring water, right? Surely, if it's good enough to make beer out of, it's good enough to drink straight! I'll be honest, I would've tried it once.
Here's the rub, though. There's no alcohol. When your loyal customer base consists entirely of consumers who consume alcohol, you're really setting yourself up for disappointment with bottled water. Coors bottled water is missing the key ingredient they build their brand on: booze!
This would be like Budwiser selling frog legs . . .
or Fat Tire selling bicycles . . .
or Shiner selling pet goats . . .
It's hard to put your finger on what's wrong with Coors water. It just failed miserably. It begs the same question as the last few posts: how did this one slip through the cracks?
This one was over 20 years ago, but it's still worth a good laugh.
Here's another brand failure that many people missed. Take a look at this picture:
Mmmmm... Delicious looking stir fry! Broccoli . . . snow peas . . . yellow peppers, red peppers . . .water chestnuts (one of my personal faves!) It's kind of starting to make me hungry. But wait. There's more to the picture (there's always more . . .)
Let's see if I can use a story to describe why this tasty-looking entree failed so miserably:
You're walking down the aisle one day in the freezer section at the store and you're looking for supper, thinking out loud:
"Hum dee dum . . . la la la . . . let's see. What looks good?
. . . Stover's meat loaf? Maybe . . .
. . . Banquet Chicken Pot Pie? Not today . . .
. . . Marie Calender's Mac 'n' Cheese? Um . . ."
And then you stop, turn your head, and scrunch your eyebrows:
"What the . . . Colgate Stir Fry?!"
If that sounds remotely close to your reaction to the prospect of Colgate frozen dinners, then join the club. This product was yanked from the shelves after only weeks of baffled shoppers got a look at it. No one could get past the "Colgate."
Blind taste tests of this dish probably went fabulously. The problem is, the researchers didn't tell the testers they were eating Colgate food. . . . Colgate food. Even if it is great, the name kills it. Apparently, Colgate ran out of things to sell on the dental hygiene aisle. I'm all for branching out into new categories, but not that far out.
Do you know why we have focus groups? It's so that companies can get real consumer opinions about new products before releasing them to the general public. Unfortunately, some products manage to slip through the cracks. It never ceases to amaze me how some of them actually do. I thought I'd spend a few days or so highlighting some of the worst product failures. Some of them are so ridiculous, you can't help but laugh.
No doubt, Cheetos are a great success! Kids love them and adults who aren't ashamed to like their fingers in public like them, too. Even spicy Cheetos are a big hit. There are also Cheetos puffs, Cheetos asteroids, and . . . Cheetos lip balm?!
If only this were a joke! Believe it or not, Cheetos made a lip-smacking-good lip balm. I don't know about you, but for one, orange lips aren't attractive. And two, who in the world would want to kiss someone with pasty, Cheeto-flavored lips? Not me.
I added an "About Me" page to my blog. Since day one, the "about me" button always just pointed to the default blogger profile. Boooooooring! So I finally decided to replace during my blog makeover that's currently under way. :) Check it out!
And since I have your attention, don't forget to like my facebook page, or sign up for post emails, or twitter. Whatever floats your boat! Thanks!
I'm not talking about the movie, either. I'm talking about DHD (Dry Humor Daily). Today is my 300th post! Yipee!
Now... Business. I'm leaving Washington today to fly back home to good old Fort Worth, Texas. I can honestly say, I've missed Texas. But before I go, I'd like to share a few observations about Eastern Washington.
#1 - There are espresso shacks everywhere! I would hate to see what would happen to these people if they all just shut down one day. It would be like a real-life zombie apocalypse!
#2 - There are tons of mattress stores around here. How in the heck do they all stay in business?! Is everyone living in the northwest chronically tired or something?
#3 - Idahoans are the butt ends of a lot of jokes around here. I haven't yet gotten a good explanation as to why.
#4 - It is May and the temperature can still be in the 30's in the mornings. What . . . the . . . heck. The overnight lows in Fort Worth are higher than the all-day highs up here in Spokane. Why does anyone inhabit this part of the country? Cold = No Bueno.
#5 - There is no plural form of the word "highway" here. Why? Because there's only one. That's it.
In spite of the cold weather and over-abundant mattress outlets, I'd live here. It's a nice town, Spokane, WA. (You wouldn't catch me in Idaho too much, though, that's for sure, lol.)
We drove over to Idaho today after work. Do you want to know what I brought back from that trip? A freaking parking ticket. We stopped in Coeur d'Alene to see the famous lake and boardwalk. So we parked in what seemed like the "this-is-where-you-park-when-you-just-want-to-see-the-famous-lake-and-boardwalk" parking lot.
After a brief, 15 minute walk halfway down the boardwalk and back, there was a tiny green envelope on the windshield with a $20 parking ticket inside. What a freaking joke.
Let's talk about hotels for a minute. I like the hotel our company holed us up in. The bed is huge. The TV is nice (although I haven't turned it on yet and probably won't . . . it's still nice). The room is quite spacious and has all of the necessities, including mini-fridge and microwave. Pretty sweet pad . . .
BUT . . .
What in the world is it about hotel continental breakfast that they just can't seem to get real eggs? Why do they always used powdered eggs? Or worse, powdered-egg-substitute! I don't get it!
They have real yogurt, real oatmeal, real sausage, real bagels, real coffee, real etcetera. But the eggs aren't? Why? Are they expensive? No. Are they difficult to prepare? No (at least, probably not more so than the powdered ones). Powdered eggs are an abomination to jentation! They have about as much nutrition as they have taste: none. It's as if the only deciding factor in choosing to go with powdered eggs is that they're yellow. I mean come on! I don't think a starving dog would eat them.
I wish I had every hotel's attention when I say: get some real eggs! Quit being cheap. Continental breakfast should be a perk, not a universal disappointment.
(I'm done ranting, now. I'm gonna go eat some universal disappointments.)
I arrived in Spokane on Sunday just after noon, so there was actually a little bit of time to do a little sight-seeing before crashing at the hotel. Luckily, one of the people who works for the company we're visiting offered to take us around to a few touristy places. We parked and as we started walking around downtown, our co-worker-tour-guide started rattling off things we might like to see. It went a little something like this:
Coworker: "So did you want to see the falls?" (The Spokane waterfall)
Me: "Sure. Sounds fun."
Coworker: "How about downtown?"
Coworker: "The riverfront park?"
Coworker: "The world's largest Radio Flyer?"
Me: "Great . . . wait, the world's largest what?"
Coworker: "Yep. You heard me."
Lo and behold, we walk around the next block and there it was: the world's largest Radio Flyer.
Talk about random, bizarre tourist attractions. Not only is the big wagon itself obscure, the idea is, too. Radio Flyers originated in Chicago, Illinois. Why in the world is there a gigantic, wagon mecca playground in Spokane, Washington? This giant wagon is actually also a slide. You climb up the stairs in the back, you see there, and the wagon's handle is a slide. It's really meant for kids, but you better believe I went up there and took the slide down! Who wouldn't?
I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but I'm out of town this week on business. (Don't worry, I'll still be posting. As a matter of fact, I have plenty to post about.) Anyway, I am in Eastern Washington state, which is a far cry from Dallas/Fort Worth. Literally, it took two, two-and-a-half hour flights to get here. As we all know, flying is hardly ever without incident. I have a story for you from yesterday.
I was sitting in my seat, waiting for the last people to board and for the flight attendant to close the door. I had an open aisle seat next to me that I was getting excited about the prospect of moving to. Well, just before the door was going to shut, an older, larger man lumbered onto the plane. He looked confused as to where to sit. (Understandable, given the way the rows were so badly labeled.) A man in the row behind me muttered some choice words because he had an open middle seat next to him which could belong to the old man. We were all obviously hoping that the old man's seat wasn't the open one next to us.
It turns out that his seat was the middle one in the row behind me with the choice-words-guy. I was relieved. Then, the guy behind me suggests, not so nicely, that the old man take an aisle seat instead of the middle next to him. He pointed to the one next to me. So, the older man, who obviously spoke English as a second language, obliged and squeezed into the seat next to me. As the situation unfolded, I shot the dirtiest look to the guy behind me.
If I wasn't representing my employer, I might have said what I was thinking:
-You've got a real heart-of-gold, huh pal?
-Oh, real funny, *$% *&@#$ -How chivalrous . . .
I sat there, wishing with all my might that the old man would lean his seat aaaaaaaaaaaalllllll the way back. I wished he would fall asleep and drool all over the guy behind me. I mean, what a jerk, trying to act all in-the-best-interest-of-the-elderly-but-clearly-acting-out-of-pure-self-interest. Sheesh!
On the bright side, Spokane is pretty nice! :) It's weird that there's only one real highway through town. I'm used to DFW, which has seven high-ways to Sunday to get wherever you're going, lol.