Alentejo Staples: Wine, Olives, Bread, Cheese, Porco Preto and Eggs

Food in rural Alentejo revolves around these six ingredients: wine, olives, bread, cheese, porco preto and eggs. Almost every household will dine on a combination of these for at least one meal a day if not both.  Wine drives the Alentejo economy and the stomachs of its workers, from simple house wines to celebrated international award winners.  This is my Christmas present to myself — a presentation box of five reds from the renowned Cortes De Cima.

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Pennsylvania and Wine Vending Machines

Have we Americans become so parched for our sugar fix that we now need to get our “alcohol on” in supermarkets and on street corners?  That appears to be the case in Pennsylvania where they are now selling you wine from vending machines.

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Deepak Chopra, the Third Jesus and the Iraqi Wonder Woman

Deepak Chopra is one of those rare gifts to the rest of us: A true SuperGenius who inspires us with the inborn rhythms of storytelling while revealing the myth-making ability to heal humanity. Deepak’s latest treading into immortality is his latest book — “The Third Jesus” — where he argues we need to celebrate a third “Cosmic Christ” as a part of our ongoing religious enlightenment:

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Courting the Ripple Crowd: Wal-Mart Wins the Wino

Wal-Mart recently announced they were going to start selling wine under their own branded name.

Now that may not seem like big news, but when you consider Wal-Mart plans to sell their wine for $2.00 USD a bottle, you quickly begin to see Wal-Mart senses a fault in human nature and a hole in core community values ripe for exploitation: Let’s Make it Affordable to Become a Wino!

Now those of us who know wine well know full-well Wal-Mart isn’t going after the upscale connoisseur wine market with the $2 bottle — and they aren’t going after the Trader Joe’s college crowd that buy the private label Trader Joe’s rotgut wine at $4.00 USD a bottle — no, Wal-Mart has its keen business eye set lower… lower down into the gutter… where Wal-Mart wants to win the Ripple crowd who buy wine in jugs.

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Brown Paper Bag Experiences

We have all been subject to “Brown Paper Bag Experiences” when others evaluate us not by our inner selves — but by our outward appearances — and many times they wrongly judge us by jumping to incorrect conclusions. In my article, Coercing Faith, Gordon Davidescu posted this Brown Bag comment:

I think the best analogy (or at least the one I just came up with now) is this: Say you see a person walking down the street with a brown paper bag in his hand. Given New York’s liquor laws you know that he has some sort of alcoholic beverage inside. However, you don’t know if that alcoholic beverage is a beer or wine, or even a wine cooler – unless it is taken out of the bag. Converting is sort of like removing the bottle from the bag. Being Jewish means you have a Jewish Soul – but not everyone with a Jewish Soul hidden in their paper bag realizes that they are Jewish until they take it out of the bag – converting, that is.

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Mixing Medication and Booze

95% of the people I know who drink alcohol, Pillsand who are on medication, are not supposed to be drinking alcohol. Is there a medication out there you can take where it is acceptable to drink while on meds?

I understand that since alcohol is a depressant, it can really mess up the good effects of some anti-depressant medicines and such, but do ALL medications require one not to drink? If so, that seems like an untenable medical position positioned to protect the medical and drug industries from any sort of legal action against them.

It must also be a difficult mixed message to comprehend when your doctor tells you not to drink while on meds, but all the recent scientific research points to the great advantages for your heart if you drink two glasses of red wine a day! People are then forced to make an impossible Gordian Knot decision: Do I prefer my sanity over a good heart? 

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Every Time I Talk to You, I Hear Sirens

When we lived in the Alphabet City part of the East Village in New York City our apartment building was located one block away from a fire station and two blocks from a hospital. Having on-duty firemen and working doctors and nurses as your neighbors was a great comfort in a dangerous city, but one of the requirements of having such close proximity to first responders was dealing with the continuous caw of sirens 24 hours a day. 

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