Month: November 2018

Featured Post, History, History Column

The Earth is getting Hot….

by ©2018 Sarah Becker The Earth is getting Hot… …the politics even hotter. Do Americans adapt to climate change—as President Donald Trump’s environmental policies suggest—or do local, state and federal governments mitigate? Most U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are human roused—the result of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) for heat, electricity and transportation. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (84%), methane (10%), nitrous oxide (4%) and fluorinated gases (2%). The most abundant greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) is the product of burning fossil fuels. “We must look back at history to understand our energy problem, the transition from wood to coal to oil and natural gas,” President Jimmy Carter (Democrat, 1977-1981) said. Carter, the alleged father of alternative fuels, was the first U.S. President to openly criticize America’s dependence on foreign oil; to install solar panels in the White House. “One distinguishing characteristic of really civilized men is foresight; we have to, as a nation, exercise foresight for this nation in the future; and if we do not exercise that foresight, dark will be the future!” President and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt (Republican, 1901-1909) said in 1908. “Let us remember that the conservation of our natural resources, though the gravest problem of today, is yet but part of another and greater problem to which this Nation is not yet awake, but to which it will awake in time, and with which it must hereafter grapple if it is to live.” In October 2018 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that “greenhouse gases have been rising steadily and mean global temperatures along with it.” The scientists’ warnings are dire. From 1880 to 2012 the average global temperature increased by 0.850 C.    Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the greenhouse gas produced in the largest quantities and the United States is the…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Linda Tourje – Bah Humbug

By Ron Powers Linda Tourje – Bah Humbug I enjoy the holidays. There’s the nippy weather, or the snow depending on your location, hot cocoa and fireplaces, excited kids running around, Santa, charity, family and good food. There’s a lot to enjoy about the holidays and it’s considered one of the cheeriest times of the year. There’s also the holiday music. We all have that friend who hates holiday music or you yourself may tire of hearing “Jingle Bells” or “A Merry Little Christmas” ten times a day. Perhaps you have even worked in a company, store or office where holiday music is played every day from the Friday after Thanksgiving until Christmas – a month of listening to the same songs on repeat over and over. No matter how much you like the holidays, which I do, you are bound to get irritated after a while. There’s also another aspect of it. Every song about the holidays and the spreading of good wishes and cheer is not always accurate and doesn’t resonate with every listener. I know for certain that I am not smiling and full of cheer every minute of every day for the month of “the holidays”. With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or however you celebrate your winter holidays, there is also a downside. There are the extra costs, the stress of gift shopping, family drama, the added pounds, not having a significant other, loneliness and many other problems which the holidays magnify. I always have thought that the negative aspects of the holidays also need to be taken into consideration, at least somewhat, as it’s the dichotomies that life is defined by. It’s the lows that make the highs high, you know? That’s why I am always looking for a variety of music filled with…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Hand-crafted Wines for the Holidays

Hand-crafted Wines for the Holidays by Mary Ann Dancisin, Certified Specialist of Wine Giving a gift of fine wine for the holidays is a time-honored tradition. In fact, the months leading up to Christmas are always the heaviest selling season for wines and spirits. But: not at our local wineries. Visits to wineries in the beautiful Virginia countryside fall off once the leaves are off the trees. There’s no good reason for that. So many of them have roaring fireplaces, mulled wine, holiday gift bazaars, and more. Three Fox Vineyards in Delaplane has plans for an ornament making party and music throughout the month. Barrel Oak Winery features poinsettia cocktails every Sunday in December. And, to entice the thinning crowds, quite a few wineries offer special deals and discounts at this time of year. So why not give a local wine as a gift? Afraid you’ll make a mistake? How do you know your selection with make the proper impression? Here’s a great way to start. You are probably familiar with the Virginia Wine Festival. It’s the Commonwealth’s longest running fest, begun in 1975. The organization that puts the festival together, the Atlantic Seaboard Winery Association (ASWA), has roots that go deep in the Virginia wine scene. Founded in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, ASWA was renamed in 2008 to reflect an expanded regional focus and desire to explore a broader range of grape varieties. Today, wineries in the 17 east coast states, plus PA, WV, and VT, can be members. To help identify the best of the best, the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association holds an annual competition, the largest in the US focused exclusively on the east coast. Judges “blind taste” close to 500 wines, that is, they know the category of the wine (ie Chardonnay, Rose, Fortified), but…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Fishing for Holiday Gifts?

By Steve Chaconas Fishing for Holiday Gifts? Shopping for anglers is frustrating; but for the person on the receiving end, there’s a guaranteed stint in the return line! Choose gifts for on and off the water! Football players wear gloves for better grip. Fishing gloves must enable finger use for knot tying and sensitivity. Fish Monkey Pro 365 Guide Gloves enhance fishing performance and provide protection from outdoor elements. The newest patterns are Fish Monkey virtual hand graffiti. Comfort, grip and support and a quick-drying spandex back provide total UPF 50+ sun protection with a non-slip silicone palm print. Getting on or off is easy with “pullers”.  Several angling gloves are available. Slipping into something more comfortable, sport sandal maker TEVA created Ember Moc.  Part sneaker, part sleeping bag, Ember Moc is a shoe in for traveling airport feet, slipping feet around the house, stepping out to get the paper, or even at the campground.  The easy-on shoe features a collapsible back allowing feet to slide in while heels rebound for slipper like comfort in an outdoor leisure shoe. The polyurethane sockline/footbed delivers comfort. Outdoors people will love the toughness. Others will appreciate the style and comfort of the windproof and water resistant Grundens Midway Hooded Softshell Fishing Jacket. Comfortable 4-way stretch softshell fabric allows movement and protection against cold, wind and damp air. Fit features like a three-piece adjustable hood, cinch-cord waist adjustment and adjustable wrist cuffs seal out bitter wind and cold air. Pockets for gear and personal item storage including an MP-3 friendly interior chest pocket. Giving foul weather the boot, Grundens new Deck-Boss Fishing Boots are essential for wet land or boat decks. Deck-Boss Boots provide all-day comfort. A flexible and protective toe cap and injection molded upper eliminate delamination and cracking. The…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

The Art is The Thing!

The Art is The Thing! By F. Lennox Campello In the last issue, I offered my thoughts and predictions on the Superfine! DC art fair which by now has come and gone to the District’s historical Union Market. I visited the fair, and spent a few hours enjoying the “artmosphere” (new word that I invented decades ago) that any major art fair brings to any city, and I have some new thoughts and facts to share. Bottom line: Superfine! art fair management announced that they’ll return next year – that by itself is a major success in view of the DMV’s past attempts to entertain and host a major fine arts fair such as the ones that routinely take place in many other world capitals as well as in Miami each December for the art world’s big dance. This is excellent news for the capital region’s art scene! Upon entering the fair spaces, and as a veteran of nearly 100 art fairs all over the nation and overseas, I immediately noticed two things: (a) Zenith Gallery – which had my work at this fair – had the primo spot by the entrance, and (b) this fair’s display booths were superbly well designed and spaced, and unlike any other art fair that I’ve ever seen! That’s a good thing. Why do I say that? Because every other fair on this planet has one mission in mind when designing their floor plan: maximize the number of booths, because the more booths that you can squeeze into a floor, the bigger the profit that the fair organizer stands to make. Kudos to Superfine! DC management for their booth arrangement. Another important thing separates this fair from your typical New York or Miami art fairs: Artists can have individual booths. This is both a…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

The Executive Diner – A New Twist On An Old Concept

By the Gastronomes   The Executive Diner – A New Twist On An Old Concept   Just like the website says, “This is not your typical diner.” The Executive Diner is a combination of the old school diner of our youth – well, many of us – and the new concept of the interior of the sleek Silver Diner remakes that started popping up about 10 years or so ago.   Local business owners Jerry and Susan Pnevmatikatos of Brentwood Academy fame decided they wanted to take on something different than the day care/pre-school business and opened the Executive Diner and Café on lower Duke Street in Alexandria earlier this year. In fact, it’s not too far from one of Old Towns’ icon diners – Table Talk.   We had driven by the nondescript brick building hundreds of times – literally – over the last 6 months or so and couldn’t quite figure out what the new “Executive” concept was so decided to bite the bullet and stop in. This venture has two parts – a “diner” and a “café”. We understand that the café is more of a “grab and go” kind of place while the diner is just that. We were too late to check out the Café on our stop and were on deadline so couldn’t go back and give it the once over before this issue went to press but we did have a nice dinner in the Diner.   We usually start off our meals with a cocktail and then drink some wine with dinner, however, the Executive doesn’t serve alcohol yet. We were told that they have applied for the necessary licenses and permits and hope to have the issue squared away in the next month or so. To be honest, neither of us…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road- November 2018

Cathy with a “C” and her husband Brad Bradford, longtime friends and clients (they are the proprietors of the popular King’s Jewelry in the heart of Old Town Alexandria) of the OTC took a few minutes out of their fabulous trip to Athens, Greece to snap this picture of them with the October issue. This is the view from their balcony that they woke up to each morning – the Parthenon on the Acropolis hill. Kathy with a “K” and her husband Bob Condon, also longtime friends of the OTC and occasional partners in crime, stayed on USA soil and took the October issue to Park City, Utah where they have family. Looks like they snuck away to get their “bearings” before heading to Fletchers for some of Park City’s popular cuisine.

Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and Lightning by Miriam R. Kramer Winter is coming, or at least the midterms and Thanksgiving soon after. No wonder everyone is stressed, angry, and barking furiously at the TV like Buzz, my pug. (Thank God he can’t see the news alerts on my phone.) In the immortal words of Rupert Hines in “The Piña Colada” song, “we’ll plan our escape.” One recent book, Stormy Daniels’ Full Disclosure, is an enjoyable and unexpected vacation destination. We don’t know yet if Stormy Daniels’ life has a happy ending, but we have recently gotten to know her and her non-publicity-shy lawyer Michael Avenatti through multiple appearances on venues ranging from 60 Minutes to The View. Her new tell-all book is both a serious and playful romp through a life we pre-judge and probably shouldn’t. Daniels’ book details much more than her relatively tiny, limp affair with the 45th President. It begins with the city of West Hollywood giving her the key to the city as she gathers with the two gay dads she adopted and her bodyguards, to whom she has given the task of picking out a bandage dress for her in a size small with a top that will accommodate a 36DDD chest. This detail sets the tone for her memoir-so-far. Daniels takes us from her hardscrabble upbringings to the surreal level of international scrutiny she has received in the past two years, after President Donald Trump, along with his federally indicted personal attorney, Michael Cohen, tried to get her to lie about her sexual encounter with him. Stephanie Clifford renamed herself Stormy Daniels as a young adult, disliking the original name that was a legacy from her parents. Her well-kept working class neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana soon devolved into a nest of crack dens. When her parents…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Loudoun County Wine Awards 2018 – Fabbioli Cellars Gets Top Honors

By Nancy Bauer Loudoun County Wine Awards 2018 – Fabbioli Cellars Gets Top Honors   I stopped going to the mega summer wine festivals many years ago. Back then, I loved the energy, the crowds, and the novelty. Now, they just make me grumpy. The sweaty scrum pushing for tiny pours, the blasting sun and the often unimpressive wine (wineries rarely bring their best to those things, for good reason). And maybe worst of all are the faces of the volunteer pourers as the weekend wears on – flat and harried, as they repeat their line over and over: “This is our Traminette. It goes great with spicy dishes and Thai food.” Compare that to the Loudoun Wine Awards, which I attended at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg in October. For $89, guests were treated to a ninety-minute reception that featured the gold medal-winning wines of the evening. Winery tables were staffed by happy and knowledgeable pourers, winemakers and owners. There was cheese. And live jazz. And a lively, three-course dinner where cheers erupted periodically as each new winner was introduced. And then, dancing. It was all so adult. The off season is a great time to seek out these more intimate events, such as the Fauquier Wine Competition at Airlie, held late February/early March, and the week-long Monticello Wine Trail Festival in Charlottesville in late April/ early May, which includes a variety of small brunches and dinners in addition to the Monticello Cup Awards event. Also in March is the Virginia Wine Expo (February 26 through March 3) in Richmond, which revamped itself last year to limit attendance and amp up the ambience by switching venues to Main Street Station. It’s a full week of smaller wine dinners and educational events throughout Richmond. Wine appreciation is a pretty predictable…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

A Vinter’s Job is Neverending!

A Vinter’s Job is Neverending! By Doug Fabbioli There always seems to be a sense of relief once the first hard frost comes that knocks our grape leaves to the ground. The high priority of tending to those vines over the past seven months drops like the leaves themselves. The fruit has long been in the cellar and our priorities shift to the neglected areas from earlier in the season. I guess it would be like a fishing boat coming into port once the season has ended. The focus of the captain shifts to repairs, maintenance and recharging for the next season. And every great captain knows how important it is that his or her team understands the change in priorities. The work does not stop. In some ways it’s harder than the middle of the season as there is more planning involved so your team has the knowledge, direction and tools to get these other projects done – this will make a big difference later on. It’s nice when guests compliment me on how good the property looks. I always have an eye on the dozens of undone projects, cleanups and fixes that I have not had time to address. We have about a month or so to focus on grass repairs, painting, deep outside cleaning and other projects that we want to get off the list. We try to address the most important ones based on weather timing, impact to the business, safety and sometimes cost. I always have a list of things to do that is much larger than the day. Going back to the team and their skill sets, we have always worked to employ our vineyard team through the year by teaching them skills that will be productive in the off season. Jim Law of…

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