There's nothing as depressing as internal congratulation, except maybe for an NFL Network think piece, but I've simply got to stop and take note of the truly superior brand of e-mails this week. So let's have a real Morris Plains round of applause for our man in the control booth, Paulie Forrests! OK, Doctor, let's hear from the first stiff ... uh, first e-mailer.
Oh oh, not a smiling face do I see.
Of course I read all his freelance stuff when I was just starting out in the business, and I remember being very surprised when he became a full-time Steelers radio man in 1970. I asked him about it.
"I'm doing what I like to do," he said in that whiny twang of his. "I'm having fun."
Nothing wrong with that.
Here comes the draft. Well, almost. First, we have about 75 mock drafts to wade through.
Here's one that's straight from the shoulder serious, and there will be no smart aleck remark or cheap one-liner from my end of the table.
"As someone who has been in a war, I can tell you that there is nothing phony about the current fiasco in Iraq. Our troops and Iraqi citizens are facing real threats daily. The reasons for going over there may have been made up, but for actual war ... it can be referred to in many ways, but not phony."
It's a heavy matter. I'll never go along with our being there, but no, you're right ... there's nothing phony about the sacrifices young people are called upon to make.
Man, this thing just won't go away. OK, bring on the next executioner.
OK, I'll take one more and that's it.
First thing to do is get yourselves a map and get up to Mendocino. North from San Francisco and off of US 101 at Cloverdale, due west on US 128, through the curvy road and the old Moonie outpost of Booneville, pushing westward, still west, through the Anderson Valley wine country and the 12-mile redwood swamp, finally emerging full blown, high above the blue Pacific, where you will catch your breath and marvel at some of the most spectacular ocean scenery you've ever seen. And now you need a place to stay. Unfortunately you forgot to mention how much coin of the realm you expect to change hands.
There's the town of Elk and the Elk Cove Inn, also the Harbor House, both about six miles south along Coast Highway No. 1. Nice places, medium-priced. Farther north there's the Heritage House, fancy and high end. You pass Albion and Little River and cheaper places abound, and then you're into Mendocino itself and its rather antiquated hotel. A 10-mile stretch northward runs you up to Fort Bragg, and you can find plenty of cheap lodgings on the way up, not all of it on the ocean side. BUT, and here's the ultimate snapper, if you can afford $150 to $300 a night, check out Mendocino Coast Reservations on the Internet and get a house for the week or part of it. Rates vary, but you'll get a pretty good picture of what's available. It's what we do, and it's really not that hugely much more than individual lodgings.
RESTAURANTS: Booneville Hotel, when you go back to the Anderson Valley to check out the wineries. Odd, funky, interesting, creative. Libby's in Philo. Good solid Mexican food. A lot of wine growers hang out there. Get the carnitas. Queenie's in Elk on the Coast Highway. Terrific breakfasts. Ask for Queenie, whose real name is
WINERIES: Pacific Star north of Fort Bragg on the coast. Nice drive, wines are a bit heavy but solid. In the Valley, and I'll just do my real highlights, Navarro -- wonderful for the ultra sweet late harvest numbers, and you can taste everything they make in the place. Greenwood Ridge -- only if they're letting you taste the late harvest Riesling. Husch -- OK for late harvest sweet ones. Claudia Springs -- rich, high alcoholic. Try to develop the habit of spitting, rather than swallowing everything. Not kidding. You don't want to have a DUI hung on you. Scharffenberg -- pretty good sparkling wines. Roederer -- ditto, especially the Ermitage, which is really special. Breggo -- good Pinot Noir. More,too, but I'm running out of steam. Oh yes, avoid at all costs, Goldeneye. Expensive and awful.
If you're out there in mid-March and you decide to hook up with Mendocino Coast Reservations, get the number for Sea Arch and give the Redhead and us a call. We'll raise a few dead ones.
Patience, football fans, we'll get through all this wine and stuff pretty soon. Luke of Bloomfield, N.J., needs some low-budget wine. Check out Gary's wine stores around Bernardsville. They're always running good specials on stuff. Try to get hold of Gary himself. If you can go just a trifle higher than the tenner you mentioned, try the Pinot Noir or Syrah from Hahn Vineyards, any of three different Castle Rock Pinot Noirs, anything from Cline or the Cellar No. 8 Zinfandel.
NEWS FLASH: This just came in. Christy Wilson has left the Harbor House and is now cooking at the Elk Cove Inn. This is for you, Joshua, and Mrs. Joshua.
It wouldn't be Mailbag Day if there weren't a Hall of Fame question, and this week's vintage comes from
Wouldn't you know that our E-mailer of the Week failed to include his last name? To
They understand their business -- unless they just inherited it. Sometimes they get conned by coaches or personnel directors or GMs. Other times they fool themselves into thinking they've actually picked up knowledge it took others a lifetime to learn. Some inherited their money. Some made it quickly. Others feel that the way to turn things around is to pound a shoe on the table and holler, "I want to win and I want to win now!" If they get lucky they find a good coach or GM to run their team, then they have to be dragged away from him, so he can be allowed to run things.
From Jeff of NYC: "You skipped your best spy story, when
From Charles of Atlanta -- "Why is
Finally this sneaky one from