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Ghost Blog Nominated For Award, And Other Stray Thoughts

2012 April 26
by Mike

Yes, I’m still alive, and my apologies for the long silence. Thanks to those of you who inquired about my whereabouts and well-being, and thanks, too, for the very entertaining comments in the MIA post, which raised an obvious question: Does this site even really need me? (feel free to vote me off my own island).

Contrary to what some of you may have thought, I was not house sitting for Rudy Kurniawan, nor was I taken into protective custody by the FBI (the Secret Service didn’t offer me protection, either, but I certainly hope they used some).  I’ve just been extremely busy since mid-March on account of several assignments and travel. Last you heard from me, I was in Strasbourg, where I took part in a debate about the state of French cuisine. I was the sacrificial American on a panel that included two eminent French chefs, Emile Jung (whom I had last seen when he absconded with my wife) and Jean-Georges Klein; the French food writer Gilles Pudlowski; and the French historian Pascal Ory. It was a good discussion, and I was treated very nicely despite being the author of the blasphemous text—call me Salmon Rushdie—that prompted the debate.

I was in France for a week. It was a hectic trip, with not a lot of sleep; mostly, that was on account of work, but one night it was on account of my inability to find my car. Some French villages can be deceptively labyrinthine: walk up the wrong rue, and you can be wandering for hours looking for your car. A certain winemaker, who pops in here occasionally, has promised to ridicule me mercilessly over my march of folly. He did say, however, that had he found me curled up on the steps of the village church the next morning, he would have tossed a euro my way. Fortunately, I was reunited with my car before I was forced to sleep al fresco and accept his charity.

After France, I went to meet my wife and children at Disney World. Waking up in Paris and going to sleep in the Magic Kingdom was a bit harsh, but I quickly adjusted. Disney was fine, although I do regret that I didn’t spend part of a day experiencing it in an altered state. One of the funniest magazine articles of recent vintage was a story John Jeremiah Sullivan wrote about his own trip to Disney and all the marijuana that he smoked there. I re-read the piece while in Florida, and it made me laugh just as hard the second time.

Speaking of marijuana: I did an article a few weeks ago for The Daily Beast about pot wine. It was a fun story to report, and talk about herbal, weedy wines!

Lastly, even as Wine Diarist was silent, it received a nice honor: it was one of six sites nominated for Saveur Magazine’s Best Wine or Beer Blog of 2012. Saveur readers will pick the winner; voting ends today (I wanted to give you as much notice as possible). Would you vote for a blog that was not updated for six weeks? Neither would I, but I am pleased just to have been nominated. As it happens, some of the first wine writing I did was for Saveur. It was purely a function of nepotism: at the time, my wife was a senior editor there. I got to do some fun stories for the magazine, and I’m flattered that Saveur thinks so highly of Wine Diarist.

I will try to resume regularly scheduled programming in the next few days, and thanks for your patience.

17 Responses leave one →
  1. Jeremy Seysses permalink
    May 2, 2012

    I think “Lost in Nuits St Georges” would be a great title for a future book, Mike.

    Seriously, lost on foot in the center of Nuits… If it’s not a grid system, it gets pretty challenging for some people…

    Welcome back!

  2. Bill Klapp permalink
    May 2, 2012

    But if the ghost blog wins the award, who will accept the award on behalf of the ghost blogger? I see that Sacheen Littlefeather, who gained notoriety for accepting Marlon Brando’s Oscar for The Godfather in 1973, is still around…

  3. April 29, 2012

    Yes, Bill, it did refer to me as “that blogger.”

    Larry, glad to be back. Yes, Medieval city planning leaves much to be desired. That sounds like a very frustrating four days in Avignon.

    Thanks, Eric and Jay.

  4. April 29, 2012

    Thanks, Matt, and thanks, too, for the vote. And I’m delighted to hear that I’ve won the Summarize Proust contest–the Wimbledon of literary contests.

    Thanks, Frank, and I’m delighted you read Au Revoir and enjoyed it. The book got a very polite reception when it came out in France last year–much more polite than I anticipated. I think people recognized that it was written out of affection for France, not hostility, and among many commentators, there was a willingness to acknowledge that my critique had some merit. The discussion in Strasbourg was also very polite, but my fellow panelists were less willing to concede ground. Pudlowski did most of the talking (filibustering, really), and he essentially said that for French cuisine, it was nothing but blue skies behind, blue skies above, and blue skies ahead.

    Robin, it is easy to get lost in some of these villages. This is the first time, however, that I got seriously lost, and I have to say that as the clock struck midnight and it began to dawn on me that I might not find the car, my amusement turned to serious frustration.

  5. Jay H. permalink
    April 29, 2012

    Glad you’re back.

  6. April 28, 2012

    Welcome back Mike!

  7. Larry Kantrowitz permalink
    April 28, 2012

    Hi Mike,
    Glad your back, I was getting bored. I once found an amazing mom & pop restaurant in Avignon wandering the streets and spent four nights trying to find it again. Medieval city planning sucks

  8. Bill Klapp permalink
    April 28, 2012

    Mike, a bit of good news, perhaps: if you were not named in the eviction notice, but instead were referred to repeatedly as “that blogger”, the notice may not be legally effective against you. Unfortunately, a judge has held that it will not keep poor Jim Budd from being booted from his site!

  9. RobinC permalink
    April 27, 2012

    I was so glad to hear that you got lost in France, because when my friend and I were in France a year ago, we got lost every single day of the week, most notably in Trouville when we were wandering around at 10 PM looking for our hotel and seriously contemplating renting a room in another hotel because we couldn’t just sleep on the steps of the cathedral. We have no sense of direction so this happens to us all the time, but I feel reassured that maybe it isn’t always our fault since it once happened to you too.

  10. Frank permalink
    April 27, 2012

    Glad to hear you are bloggingly alive and not trying to find your car, still.

    I just finished Au Revoir to All That and enjoyed it a great deal. What were their replies? Do they agree that French wine and food are destined for the museum? The tale would no merit an award-worthy blog entry.

  11. Matt In Chicago permalink
    April 27, 2012

    Glad the blog is back. I voted for it, even if you were away for a while; any blog the tries to add some sense about the natural wine movement goes to the top.

    Oddly, it has been announced that you also won the All-England Summarize Proust contest.

  12. April 27, 2012

    Hi Bob, thanks for stopping by. The Strasbourg discussion was good; it took place at a big culinary fair that they hold every two years. The village was Nuits-Saint-Georges. I hope your trip was a good one; where were you in France?

    No, Bill, it really is me. However, Parker did send me an eviction notice, along with an email saying that he was replacing me with Alan Chan; I’ll keep you posted on how that gets resolved.

    Dan, good to see you (in a manner of speaking), and thanks for the kind words. No, I’m not planning to run away again, and apologies for the prolonged absence.

  13. Dan McCallum permalink
    April 27, 2012

    ’twas not I Bill. Clearly this piece contains enough of Mike’s hallmarks to be authenticated. Mike’s writing is unmistakeably rich, smooth and elevated; a sip of 1982 Cheval Blanc. By comparison, my pen flows Sagrantino. Perhaps your inclination to not fully accept that he has returned is a manifest of separation anxiety. I had some of that. Are you also worried that he will run away again?

  14. Bill Klapp permalink
    April 27, 2012

    Dan, did you write this? I thought that you were going to notify me before you posted anything. As you well know, Parker is buying up as many inactive and intermittently active blogsites as he can, in order to take some of the heat off over at the Wine Advocate. Since it appeared that Mike was never coming back, I sold this one to him. (And for a man paying “beaucoups bucks” for private dicks and lawyers, I did not get all that much, I must say.) If it is really you, Mike, I guess that I am in some pretty deep kimchee, huh?

  15. Bob Rossi permalink
    April 27, 2012

    Glad to see you’re back. I just returned from a month in France, started checking my long list of unread blog entry feeds, and wondered why there was nothing from you. Now I see. And that forum in Strasbourg sounds fascinating.
    And what was the village?

  16. April 27, 2012

    Thanks, Karl; I appreciate the kind words.

  17. Karl permalink
    April 26, 2012

    Welcome back, Mike. I hope you win the “best blog” contest-you certainly deserve it. Keep up the good work.

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