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Squid #514
(published November 25, 2010)
Notes from the Giant Squid: My Thoughts on Wine
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Readers,

In honor of the festival of the Thanks-to-Giving, I have given my staff the week off, with unpaid holiday days. Sad to say this has left our question and query database locked behind nimble passwalls and gerrymandered partitions. In stead of answering a dire question from a holiday petitioner I shall present you with one of my finest works.

As I have previously mentioned, I spent the larger part of this past summer traveling these As of Yet United States in my finest velocitating suit, dispensing advice and putting right what might otherwise have gone wrong.

During this summer sabbatical I found myself in the quaint yet posh hamlet of Rifle, Colorado. Rifle is—I have been assured—the Napa Valley of Western Colorado. While wandering twixt the gift shoppes and sidewalk stalls of indigenous peoples selling turquoise rocks, I stumbled quite literally over a dead body.

Reader, I was shocked; these were, after all, not the gritty streets of Laredo, where one scarcely expects to walk a long block without tripping upon a corpse or Congolese immigrant selling ersatz Rolex wrist chronometers from a folding table.

This dead human was an older gent, white of mien and white of suit. The man was outlined in chalk and uniformed policianados stood near, scribbling notes in palm-sized pads of paper. "A MYSTERY IS AFOOT!" I proclaimed. But the policia only laughed at me. "What mystery?" They pronounced the English like a horse chewing taffyballs. "Thank God there's no mystery; the state cut both the trooper post's investigators at the end of the last fiscal quarter. This," he pointed at the corpse, such a grave man, "Is Carter Swansea. He wrote the local wine column and did the announcing at the dog track in Carbondale." Another police-person added: "Everyone knew he had cancer in his lungs, but tripping on a curb, blind drunk in the middle of the morning? I mean, you don't expect that from a wine columnist." He paused. "Well, you do, but then you don't, because it just seems so . . . obvious."

Clearly the community was still reeling from the loss, even with the mystery solved. But, as the chipper Christian aphorism clearly states, "God does not take a life without creating a job opening in the immediate community!"

After weeks of travel I was short on the petty cash (itself far from petty when your propane tanks are low and Wal-Mart has declined your credit), and so informed the local "fishwrap" I should be taking over Mr. Swansea's column on the wines. The managing editor—a stout, pale, and quivering boy of 33—was awed and delighted by the prospect of featuring my ample skills in his "news paper," and cautiously requested a sample column via electronic mail and that I please stop screaming. Upon receipt of said column they swiftly replied, doting upon me with heaps of ample praise and a bank transfer for $250, then sadly and emphatically noting that they could not afford to employ a columnist of my great talent and honed skills, and thus requested that I not return to their offices or to the downtown thoroughfares of Rifle, where impressionable and easily injured children were known to gambol and play.

It has troubled me ever since that this column never saw the light of days, and so I now gift it upon you, my Dear and Devoted Readers, and with it an exceedingly jolly Turkey's Day.

by the Giant Squid
Editor-in-Chief-at-Large, Poor Mojo's Almanac(k)
and wine columnist,
Citizen Telegram newspaper of Rifle, Colorado

Citizens of Rifle, Colorado, I offer for your elucidation my brief thoughts on these several vintages. Clip and save it for your future reference, or simply gather as a united and be-pitchforkéd mob, and demand your local vintner, tavernman, or wine-monger enlarge, laminate, and post it prominently in his or her wine-vending establishment.

2006 Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine Proprietor's Reserve: This uninspired red wine is a fluid; it's viscosity is slightly higher than water, as is its specific gravity. I believe it may have fair-to-middling lubricating qualities, and could conceivably pair well with sharp cheeses, dark breads, and slain kin.

2007 Der Seelen Kranke: This sparkling gewürztraminer has notes of loss, of times once grand and now reduced to scraping by with tomato soup made from the ketchups. The opening flavor reminds one of tires on fire outside a bakery and is followed by hints of raw brine. It finishes with a taste reminiscent of cleaning up after a party and realizing someone has stolen your phone.

2014 Apple Valley Centro shiraz (atemporal stock): Like most shiraz wines, this will have had been suitable for the cleaning of engine parts and for handing out to middle-schoolers on Halloween, Easter, and Eid.

July 2010 Four Buck Snuck: This is the wine that hobos would consume if they cared more about flavors and taste notes than they did about raw, voluminous drunkenness.

1869 Châteaux Lafite-Rothschild: This naive vintage is as pithy, vain, and leggy as a first-round draft pick National Basketballeros Associate. It is also likely to ride the bench through its first season, maintain a dismal shooting percentage, and show poorly with the long ball.

2007 Dashe Cellars "Florence Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley: This sweet zinfandel is likewise a fluid at room temperature. It has a pH of 2.5 at a residual sugar level of 21 percent. I would not serve this to a dog or felon, unless I later intended to braise him.

(Editor's note: I only later learned that this method of execution is only legal in Colorado provided the zinfandel is served via injection, and that such injection proves lethal prior to any further preparation of the penitent's meats; such an awkward journalistic gaffe on my part!—GS)
(vintage unknown) Four Loko: This fortified malt wine is a delight upon the palate, smoothly pairing with red meat, aged red meat, cured red meat, poultry, ultrapoultry, crustacea, pork, long-pork, bitter greens, winter greens, soylent greens, lentils of all sorts, and any other wine. Highly recommended.

Please take these notes to heart, drink responsibly, and take care when stumbling along the street to avoid overburdening the reduced-capacity of the local constabulary.

So, then, my Dear Readers, as you prepare and then enjoy your Thanks-to-Give feast, my hopes are bipartite: In the first, may these brief sommelierey notes help you to make a good pairing with your meal. In the second, may we each bow our heads for a moment's silent prayer for the inebriated, earthbound soul of dearly departed Carter Swansea.

In a Holy Day Spirit I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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