It is just July and already we have had many days of 90 degree weather. What should we expect in August? This time of year is good for catching up all my loose ends with no classes to teach or trips to write about, but plenty of work preparing for my 75th birthday on July 12th. It is this time of year I start thinking about my parents and how much I miss them. I have a lot to be grateful for especially the fact that I am still around and relatively healthy (I will forget 2009 which was not a good year health wise). The number of my friends who are close to my age and are battling various forms of cancer makes me want to live another 20 years. I have great doctors and don’t ask me to knock Medicare, which works for me. I always tell people it is your health, your family and your friends that are important. Money is good but it will not buy the other three.
GO TO THE PHOTO ALBUMS SECTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE UNDER RON'S 75TH BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR SOME PICTURES OF MY PARTY.
Renoir is a joy. My black rescue cat (from Sally Jesse Raphael) is now almost 3 and is sitting on my lap while I type this. He keeps me company in the daytime and sleeps in my bed or with Mark Owen across the apartment. Mark's father Reverend Jan Owen will be giving the invocation at my birthday party. My oldest nephew John is still the number one wine auction person in the world and recently did $20 million at his Hong Kong auction. My middle nephew Jesse is studying to be a nurse and the youngest nephew James runs a liquor store on the east side. For the women in my life thank you Adrienne, Pat, Sam (yes she is a Ms) and Michelle for all the joy you have brought me. I cannot forget my sister-in-law Leslie who should be called Saint Leslie for her unselfishness and kindness and especially for putting up with my brother Michael.
I have taught the wine classes Fairleigh Dickinson for the past 15 years and am closer to the International School of Hospitality management than to my Alma Mater Columbia University. I am hoping to interview President Obama (or his chef/wine consultant) about their preferences for wine in the White House. The President has a large wine cellar in his home in Chicago.
I never write about a product without testing it first. A few weeks ago I was at the Pennsylvania Wine & Food Festival at Split Rock Resort and spent some time at the booth for the Cooper Cooler Rapid Beverage Chiller and Vin Podium Rapid Wine Chiller. The Cooper Cooler can chill an aluminum beer or soda can in 1-minute, a glass or plastic bottle in 3 1/2 and a wine bottle in 6 minutes. For larger necked bottles (like a standard 750ML wine bottle) the front comes off so they can lay flat. There is a spin cycle which should not be used for delicate wines (instead use the no spin option to prevent agitation of the wine). I was also concerned that the can or bottle of soda I tested would foam out when opened. It never happened as I tested soda, beer and wine. My biggest problem with both units was figuring out how much water and ice to add. The instruction booklet was not very helpful but a call to the company offices brought me the correct answers. I chilled a bottle of champagne using the Vim Podium. It also can be used with 1.5 ML bottles but I did not have one available to test. I thought the water might splash outside the Vin Podium but all there was were small droplets of water, more like perspiration. I would use either product in a heartbeat. The suggested retail price is $60-$80 for the Cooper Cooler, depending on the model. There is even a Tailgater model for $80-$90 that comes with a 12V DC vehicle plug. The Vin Podium retails for $80-$90.
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Just a suggestion to those public relation firms and convention and visitors bureaus out there that I have not worked with in the past. I understand the need for an assignment letter but why not consider past performances when deciding who goes on press trips. Magazines are folding all over the map and editors seem to change daily. There are writers (myself included) who have worked with magazines and on-line outlets for years and are personal friends with the owner/publisher/editor. I write about 30-40 articles a year for 6-8 outlets, including one that gets 10 million unique visitors a month and another where everything I write appears on the first page of Yahoo and Google. Still, I see writers for local newspapers with a circulation in the ten thousands and broadcasters for local radio stations that claim 1/2 million listeners yet no one outside their small towns can hear the broadcast being invited on trips. Why not have a line on your forms that asks for references from firms and cities that have hosted the writer. I send copies of my articles to everyone who has hosted me on a trip. Just a suggestion.....