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by | May 23, 2018

His hand felt like an oven mitt — filled with stone. “My god,” I thought as I removed my paw, “those are hands that have worked the vines.” Which is true. Raimund Prüm is a mountain of a man, and…

by | Apr 24, 2018

Sacramento Discovering interesting new music in my college days was an entertaining yet costly experience. This was long before the invention of music apps and before the days that most record stores had listening booths to sample music. So I…

by | Mar 22, 2018

This past weekend, our glorious nation was awash in green beer. I meanwhile found myself tasting a pink ale. Before you judge — hear me out. I was making my way through the grocery store, cart overflowing with jugs of…

by | Feb 20, 2018

This year, the District of Columbia’s weather is nearly as screwy as its politics. A few days ago I was basking on a dock in the warm sun, yanking one catfish after another from the Anacostia River’s depths. A gentle,…

by | Jan 25, 2018

I grew up in Ohio, just south of the snow belt. My favorite home was a wood frame on a street without sidewalks. Drafts made their way in, and the single pane window near my bed got frost on the…

by | Dec 8, 2017

No to rock-hard fruitcakes. No to hideous neckties that match nothing in one’s wardrobe. No to useless contraptions like the Ronco inside-the-egg scrambler. And no to more electronic gadgets that pester and scatter the mind with pings, bleeps, and jangles….

by | Nov 27, 2017

My increasingly deep collection of spirits has long had a weak spot. No matter how interested I’ve become in everything from artisanal mezcals to Islay Scotches, I’ve nevertheless avoided experimenting with rum. It’s no small oversight given that rum is…

by | Nov 8, 2017

After a recent party at a friend’s house, our host opened the small Stolichnaya bottle and the smell was overwhelming. The nose was a cross between a tire fire and burning leather. It tasted like something made from diesel fuel,…

by | Oct 20, 2017

Sour beer, white lightning from South America, smoked rum, and liqueur made from the sap of a tree in Greece — those were featured in my first installment of “Unusual Drinks.” But there is more weirdness to come. Oh so…

by | Sep 13, 2017

Oh, Pennsylvania. You are wonderful in so many ways. Philadelphia has architectural marvels. Pittsburgh has the endlessly victorious Steelers and Penguins. The Allegheny and Poconos offer gorgeous vistas, and parks like Nockamixon are beatific places to hike and fish. And…

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