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random – 1,000

Well, I’ve finally gone and done it. I’ve managed to throw up 1,000 postings of random drivel for your personal amusement.

From WordPress:
1,000 Posts!

post-milestone-1000-1x

Congratulations on writing 1,000 total posts on wineismylife.

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2013 in review

Every year WordPress puts together a quick summary of statistics for your blog. I thought I’d share them with the viewing audience.

Joe

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I logged into my blog this morning and got this message from WordPress:

Happy Third Anniversary

Happy Third Anniversary

Wow. How time flies when you’re having fun, huh? I’ve been doing this now for three years. So far I’ve made 857 posts to this blog including this one which isn’t quite one per day but it’s close enough to seem like it is. There have been 306 comments posted to date so a little over a third of the time I post something one of my readers is kind enough to let me know I’m not simply talking to the ether every day. So I’d like to extend my thanks to each of my readers for visiting with me on a regular basis. I am truly blessed by your interest in my random musings.

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Coke Machine at Church

Coke Machine at Church

When I was growing up in Oak Cliff, Texas during the 1960s it was very common for just about everybody you knew to attend church on Sunday morning.  Time has slowly but surely passed since those idyllic and less complicated times and it seems as though you have to look hard these days to find somebody you know that does attend church every Sunday morning.

One of the fond memories I had growing up as a child was of all things the coke machine at the church.  Naturally it was a bit of a chore for my parents to corral three boys into their Sunday finest as we called it back then and shuffle off to church first thing on a Sunday morning.  There were more important things to do than attending church such as play in the creek behind the house.  However there was one sure fire way to gain a five year olds cooperation.  Bribery.  You may think it seems odd that you would use such a devious technique such as bribery to get a child to attend church and worship his lord but let’s not kid each other.  When it comes to getting a five year olds cooperation anything is permissible short of murder.  In my case it was the promise of an ice cold “coke” once we arrived at the church.

I can remember like it was yesterday the 10 cent coke machine at the Presbyterian church.  Soda machines back then were much more interesting than those new fangled ones that are crammed into every nook and cranny you travel by today.  First off you had to lift open the top of the machine so that you could gaze wantonly inside at the galvanized grey racks that held the 6 oz bottles of liquid treasure suspended underneath.  Once you found your desired soda you then slid it down the length of the rails to the end of the machine and placed it under the coin exchange.  After sliding your dime into the coin exchange the jaws of life would magically release allowing you to effortlessly lift your new found treasure from the machine.  Still not quite done the last step after replacing the lid to the machine was to open the bottle using the side mounted bottle opener.

It doesn’t get any more exciting than this for a five year old.  Trust me people.  We’re talking not only soda here but also machinery and moving parts.  Booyah!

So there I’d sit drinking my soda while the minister spoke of God, Jesus and all manner of religious matters that didn’t really matter to a five year old.  If my parents were lucky enough that soda would last just long enough to keep me seated and quiet before the inevitable fidgeting would start.  After all, you can’t tie a five year old up in six layers of clothes and not expect some sort of rebellion.

Besides, you had to finish the coke before you left the church.  You had to place the bottle in the wooden bottle crate so the church could return it to get their deposit back but that’s another story.

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Fireworks Courtesy of Western Journalism

Fireworks Courtesy of Western Journalism

I started my journey in this life in Oak Cliff, Texas. Oak Cliff was then a neighborly little community that was located just outside of the much larger Dallas, Texas. I spent my early years in life there; birth through graduation from elementary school. We called it elementary school; others may know it as primary school in other parts of the world.  Our home was located at the end of the street on the right side of the circle. That’s what we called it back then. It was “the circle”. Nowadays people call it a Cul de Sac because…well…it sounds a lot nicer and as a result it costs a lot more.  Growing up at the end of the circle was a blast and I have many fond memories from those innocent and safe times.

One collection of memories centered on July the 4th. As a child I obviously had lots of free time growing up. There were formal holidays, midyear vacations and an entire summer each year to do as I pleased. One of my favorite holidays was July the 4th. Next to Christmas it is one of the best holidays for a child growing up in America. Back then shortly after you learned to walk under your own power you were handed a “sparkler” and told to go running around the circle waving it in the air. Wow. That was pure excitement. Then as I grew a little bit older I was given a “Roman Candle”. My buddies and I would stand there in the middle of the circle holding those things and shooting them into the clear night skies. Naturally being boys it didn’t take long before we started shooting them at each other, much to the amusement of everybody around us which included our fathers. Understandably mothers didn’t care much for that sort of thing.

Ultimately with more age we graduated to bottle rockets. Back then your soda came in a full sized glass bottle which you eventually returned to the store to get a refund on your bottle deposit. So we’d use the soda bottles stored in the garage to fire off our bottle rockets into the waiting night sky.

Eventually we graduated from bottle rockets to fire crackers. That’s when we finally hit the pinnacle of our understanding of fireworks. We discovered that you don’t have to light a firecracker or a bottle rocket and run away before it exploded. You could actually light ALL of them at once and stand there while they all fired off back to back.  Boys being boys we were always pushing the envelope! Of course we eventually all learned our limits such as the time one of my friends dared me (when you’re a 7 year old boy you never refuse a dare) to HOLD a lit firecracker. I quickly figure out one of my limits in life when that firecracker went off. Thank goodness I didn’t lose any digits in the process.

Thursday America celebrated her birthday and this week it is time once again to shoot off fireworks.  That really means it is time for the professionals to shoot off the fireworks where it is still politically correct, controlled, monitored, safe and not outlawed by local ordinance. I’m blessed that I lived during a time when I could injure my buddies with a bottle rocket and both of us lived and laughed to tell others about it. Just about every country I’ve visited during my brief visit to this planet marvels at the brief and wondrous respite in the shooting of fireworks. I pray my brethren from afar never lose the ability and innocence of fireworks.

Happy Birthday America.

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random – down time

Sometimes you need a little down time. That includes your blog. In my case I’ve been offline for roughly a week at this point. The reason is simple: I injured my knee. Last Thursday I was squatting down to pick up something (bend at the knees they train you which is exactly what I was doing) and when I tried to stand I heard a “POP” and went down to the ground like a ton of bricks. So I spent a good portion of that evening in the local emergency room as evidenced below.

Emergency Room Visit

Emergency Room Visit

So now I’ve been in a wheelchair and on crutches for almost a week while my doctor argues with my health insurance company that yes indeed I really could use an MRI. The funny thing is my deductible is so high to keep my premiums just outrageous instead of out of reach financially that odds are about 100 to 1 that I’ll end up paying for the MRI even if the insurance company authorizes it. Have I written before about how much I “love” the entire health insurance industry in America? That is multi-part blog entry for a later date.

So here I sit with my leg propped up once again but now I finally feel lucent enough to actually make a blog entry. So starting tomorrow we’ll be back in the saddle and posting some tasting notes. Stay tuned.

P.S. This is post number 800 on this blog.

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The Bacon Wagon

The Bacon Wagon

So my wife and I are out and about on a Saturday morning running errands. We visit the local Farmers Market which we like to do at least once or twice a month to load up on locally grown fresh vegetables and fruits. Being a small business owner myself I love to patronize fellow small business owners whether they be local farmers, restaurant owners or the quickly vanishing local retailer.

One of our favorite local coffee purveyors is Avoca Coffee. They will regularly attend the Cowtown Farmers Market where we’ll pick up a pound or two of freshly roasted coffee beans. Unfortunately on this particular Saturday they were nowhere to be found so we decided to make the fairly short drive downtown into the medical arts district and purchase some much needed coffee directly from their storefront. Imagine my surprise when I pulled into their lot and found The Bacon Wagon pictured above.

Bacon and Coffee together. Perfection.

So naturally I had to snap off a shot and make a blog post about The Bacon Wagon. Just about every friend I have could live on bacon and coffee three times a day. Does it get any better than bacon and coffee? So next time you’re in the Fort Worth medical arts district drive around the 6th avenue area in search of The Bacon Wagon. Don’t forget to stop into Avoca for a fresh cup of coffee as well. They’re a small, locally owned business operator as well and could use your support.

Now I’m off for another cup of Guatemalan I bought this weekend from Avoca. I wonder if I should fry up some bacon as well? Of course I should. Duh!

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