Cover photo by Alex, used under Creative Commons license

For-profit weather

One of the most shocking things about Michael Lewis‘ last book, The Fifth Risk, was about the weather. While the whole book is a collection of jaw-dropping reasons to be terrified of the Trump regime that aren’t all that visible, the weather portion made me do something other than shake my head: it made me uninstall an app.

From an article by Jeremy Olshan in MarketWatch:

NOAA and the National Weather Service, which fall under the U.S. Department of Commerce, may employ 11,000 people and a fleet of satellites, but the agency operates in obscurity — in fact, it’s forbidden by law from promoting itself or the accuracy of its forecasts.

Instead, and this is the crux of Lewis’s argument, private companies like AccuWeather take the government’s data and repackage it and sell it to corporations and hedge funds.

Donald Trump’s nominee to take over NOAA? AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers. This may seem to be a logical choice, until you hear that Myers has little background in meteorology, and his company has a long history of lobbying to make the government data less available to the general public, and even helped block a plan by the National Weather Service to release an app.

So, yeah. Trust me: if you read the book, you’ll uninstall AccuWeather too. You can buy the book here, by the way.

Also, that article had the best summary of Michael Lewis’ books I’ve ever read:

Lewis, as always, assembles a cast of iconoclastic characters determined to paddle upstream on a river of stupidity, blindness and conventional wisdom.


Cover photo by Alex, used under Creative Commons license

Both axes

This past weekend we invited Laura from Chez Nous Wine Bar to come by and try some Ontario wine I’d been holding on to. She did, and she brought Descendent Pizza, as if we didn’t already like her enough.

But first! In an Eastward feint, we started with a 2013 Blanc De Blanc Extra Brut Late Disgorged from Lightfoot & Wolfville. It was as lovely as always, and I continue to enjoy watching NS sparkling shock people who don’t know such a thing even exists.

Next up was a…I don’t know what this is technically called, but a horizontal (?) of 2013 Thomas Bachelder Chardonnay, all from vineyards in Niagara: one from the Saunders Vineyard, one from the Wingfield block of the Wismer Vineard, and the Foxcroft block of the Wismer Vineyard. Despite my love of Wismer, the Saunders was the consensus favourite. Beautiful stuff, nicely integrated. The Wismer bottles were good too, but the Saunders won the day.

The final arrangement of the night was a vertical of Thirty Bench Cabernet Franc: the 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015 vintages. For the sake of our livers we decided to pull the 2013 and focus on the 2010 and 2012 (generally regarded as among the best Niagara red vintages) and the 2015, which has won some fanfare.

Alas, the 2010 — at least, the bottle I opened — has not held up. The fruit and depth is all gone, just leaving behind a vegetal and slightly sour wine.

The 2012 was an enigma…it had much more to it than the 2010, almost bombastic-ly so, and it’s nearly 15% ABV seemed to drown out any complexity. However, leaving the remainder in a mostly-covered decanter overnight seemed to help it, as it seemed eminently more drinkable the next day — hungover though we may have been.

The 2015, on the other hand, might deserve all the hype. With maybe two hours’ decanting it had already opened up beautifully, and powerfully. I have a few more bottles laying down right now and I can’t wait to sample them in the coming years.

I still have a bottle of the 2010, and two of the 2012 put away, so it might be time to dig them out and see how they fare. I don’t hold out much hope for the 2010, but would like to see if I can extract wins from the 2012s. And I’m that much more intrigued by the 2013 now as well.


After hearing the buzz for quite a while, we finally checked out Wynona last night for a late dinner. I didn’t realize how close it is. I also didn’t realize that it’s a 2-minute walk from CBGB’s old Toronto house. Definitely wasn’t anything that good nearby when they lived there!

It’s a small room with an open kitchen, but felt so cozy and comfortable. The staff was lovely and so much fun, and so enthusiastic about their food and wine. We sampled widely:

  • grilled house focaccia
  • cured albacore tuna, mixed citrus, compressed melon, pine nuts
  • burrata, fig, ham, honey, almond, fennel pollen
  • charred cauliflower, harrisa, monforte goat yogurt, puffed kasha
  • carrot agnolotti, maple butter, smoked chestnuts
  • grilled branzino, brown butter, capers, olives
  • cheese

We had glasses of sparkling from the Loire to start, glasses of Roussanne/Marsanne and Albarino with the first three courses, a wonderful bottle of Gamay with the mains & cheese, and Sauternes to finish.

It’s only a 20-minute walk from our place, so once winter breaks we’ll be able to walk there (and eventually enjoy their patio). I don’t think we’ll wait that long for visit #2 though.

Ted, Just Admit It.

We’ve consumed a lot of Netflix documentaries lately. Some good, some freaky.

Shirkers (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a true art piece, a small story told in such a compelling and honest way.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was mostly pulp, but a bit fascinating because I don’t remember reading much about the case before. Like, how many times did the guy escape?

Meanwhile, Abducted In Plain Sight (imdb | rotten tomatoes) beggared belief. We watched it last night and we’re still bewildered by it today. Not that it was hard to understand; just that…the parents. Watch it. You’ll understand.

er photo by Tom Magliery, used under Creative Commons license


Last weekend we watched a movie and finished a season of TV. Don’t let the similar names fool you.

We finished season three of The Good Place (imdb | rotten tomatoes) which continues to be one of the funner, funnier, smarter shows on TV. Later on we watched A Quiet Place (imdb | rotten tomatoes) which was juuuuuuuuuuust a little intense. Admittedly it was a little difficult to become fully immersed into a movie steeped in silence when the people next door were blasting Anchorman, but still: excellent.


Cover photo by Tom Magliery, used under Creative Commons license