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In rereading Anthony Powell’s A Dance To The Music Of Time, I had forgotten that Powell saves an absolute gem of a label for the very last pages of the very last book.

There, one of the characters refers to the main villain of the entire cycle, Ken Widmerpool, as a “chateau-bottled shite.”

I’m going to have to remember that one.  Perhaps I could have used it on the fellah in the gold Benz with the “4 Sport” license plates behind me this morning who kept his high-beams blazing in my mirrors.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As I stood in the checkout line at Total Bev last evening (ulcer be damned, I still want my coffee and my wine), my eye lit on a row of bottles labeled “How Now, Brown Cow – Chocolate Wine.”

Yes, it’s really chocolate wine.  Or rayther, according to the smaller print, chocolate syrup mixed with red wine.

What on earth?  What. On. Earth??

Let me ask the question once more:  WHAT.  ON.  EARTH????

Now, no doubt there are those to whom the novelty of this idea may seem amusing.  Quirky, perhaps.  Maybe worth forking over eight bucks just to say you’ve tried it, and to use the episode as the basis for a good laugh at your next party.

Allow ol’ Robbo to give you a little piece of advice:  DON’T!

Eighteen plus years ago, Mrs. Robbo and I spent our wedding night at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, VA.  Our honeymoon plan was to drive down to the Cloister at Sea Island, GA from there for a week or so.  Because it was a longish way and because we didn’t want to show up at the Cloister utterly bedraggled, we had decided we would make it a two day drive, taking it easy and fetching up for the night somewhere in northern South Carolina.

Well, as we tooled down I-95, we began to see the old familiar parade of South of the Border billboards pass by.  And it occurred to us:  Why not stop there for the night?  The novelty of this idea seemed amusing.  Quirky, perhaps.  Maybe worth forking over the bucks just to say we’d tried it, and to use the episode as the basis for a good laugh at parties for years to come.

Riding this wave of spontaneity, we pulled into the parking lot.  However, what had seemed humorously cheesy from the distance of the interstate proved on closer inspection to be…..simply disgusting.  Nasty.  Dirty.  Beyond-a-joke trashy.  Ickissimus.

With but with a single traded glance of mutual horror, we turned around and fled back to the highway.

I was reminded of this episode while contemplating the idea of drinking a mixture of wine and chocolate.  The sense of revulsion was almost identical.

Which is why I say again, DON’T.


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November 2011