Saturday, October 29, 2016

Friday/Saturday Face-Off: Wine Spectator Revisited for Dogs and Cats

Revisiting Friday Face-off in Wine Spectator
Sample Covers of Wine Spectator

 DogEvals did not want to leave Wine Spectator without giving them a second chance for a dog or a cat, so we took a quick look at another issue, November 15, 2016, the 40th Anniversary issue, with an added bonus of the very first issue (40 years ago) included.

It was a good thing we did!

We saw two dogs inside this very slick, oversized, jam-packed 288-page issue. A photo of the editor/publisher includes his granddog. Page 92 shows two swans and on page 117 we again see a vintner with her dog, perhaps a PBGV.

Bonterra organic vineyards’ ad has part of a beehive with bees, but that’s about it for a grand total of Dogs 2, Cats 0. Sorry, cats.

PS – did you know that Sting, Angelina and Brad, Greg Norman, Yao Ming, Sam Neill, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, Ernie Els, and teetotaler Donald Trump all had vineyards? I loved “Wineries of the Rich and Famous.”

I also enjoyed the Gallery of Covers and marveled at full-page photos of just one bottle of wine or just one wine glass.

And I do need to mention that many of my friends and clients are "winers": as a matter of fact, one couple names all their dogs after wines. They had a Beringer which I come across every once in a while, and then a Blackstone yellow lab, and a Meridian yellow lab, and . . . . 

For fun, check out Working Dog Winery in New Jersey,
and, on an island in Washington, Spoiled Dog Winery.

*PBGV – Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Face-off: Dogs vs Cats in Wine Spectator Magazine

Dogs vs Cats in Wine Spectator Magazine (November 2016)
Sample covers of Wine Spectator
Here at DogEvals we expected to see some dogs and cats in advertisements or articles about wine. Perhaps a lab or golden accompanying his people down the rows of grapes in a California vineyars, perhaps a white Persian cat lying by the fireplace in the lap of a woman in a long gown. . . .

Wine Spectator?

Did you even know there is a magazine called Wine Spectator? Or that it’s been around for 40 years? I didn’t. But then I don’t drink wine. But, for those of you who do, read on. You may even consider yourself a wine connoisseur*.

Wine and Dogs, Dogs and Wine (but not wine in dogs!)

A lot of my Facebook friends share wine “cartoons” so I know they will be interested in Wine Spectator, and, since all my friends are dog friends (some even have cats!), they will be knocking down doors to read this blog and see who wins – the dogs or the cats.

The Competition and the Final Score

DogEvals scrutinized the November 20, 2016 issue Wine Spectator (price: $6.99 and oversized with gorgeous full page photos of vineyards around the world, and glasses and bottles of wines, of course).

But alas and alack. We spied nary a dog, nary a cat. How could this be? Don’t advertisers know the power of a pet?

It appears not.

However, DogEvals did learn about two other magazines that might be promising: Whisky Advocate and Cigar Aficionado. (However, we may never run across these titles so we may have to depend on you, Dear Reader.)

And, yes, “There’s an app for that!”

Read more about it: click here! And, check out DogEvals tomorrow, too, for more on Dogs and Wine (or Cats and Wine!)

*Have you heard of the Wine Spectator School? Did you know you can take a class in wines? Did you know wine tasters don’t swallow? Did you know wines have ratings and there is a Top Ten? Did you know there are red wines, white wines, and sparkling wines? If you like wine, you may know all this but it was new to me!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In the news (OT): Book Review - City of Thorns (Africa, refugee camp)

The Jungle is gone.

The Jungle was a refugee camp in Calais, France. Inhabitants have mostly been moved to other locations in France.

I wonder if many of us can imagine what a refugee camp is. Perhaps you have seen photo clips on TV but can you imagine yourself living in one - for years?

I visited a couple of refugee camps in Thailand many years ago and they will stay in my mind forever so when I saw City of Thorns, I picked it up and read it.

City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp, by Ben Rawlence (Macmillan, 402 pages, 2016, $19.45)

Why were concentration camps called ‘camps’?

Why are refugee camps called ‘camps’?

City of Thorns relates the stories of 9 Somalis who left their country after years of famine and just ahead of Al-Shabaab (linked to Al Queda) in 1992. Some of them were born and have grown up in the refugee camp in neighboring Kenya.

Kenyan law prohibits them from working and also from constructing permanent structures – thus, their huts are composed of thorn bushes: their only means of support is a food ration from the UN and occasional part-time work (for which Kenyans are paid considerably more).

(This reviewer visited a Vietnamese refugee camp in the 1970s in Songkhla, Thailand, and later, in the Thai northeast, a Cambodian camp - but only briefly.  I can’t imagine them being anything like the camp in Kenya, stories of which are related in City of Thorns.)

Author Ben Rawlence traveled to the Dadaab camp several times over a period of several years. Some incidents he witnessed; others, he corroborated by interviewing several sources.

Dadaab Camp in Kenya is a life unto its own – can you imagine living so impermanently for up to 25 years in a country that obviously does not want you, along with 400,000 others?

Details of Life Within

Forced repatriation is against Kenyan law but it too happens and the percentage of people who agree to be repatriated back to Somalia does not come near to matching the birth rate in the camp.

Unlike most US police, police in many other countries do not have a trusted reputation. Beatings, rape, and bribes happen. Kidnapping happens (to MSF* employees).  

People leave the camp to make their way to Nairobi and points north: they leave their ration cards behind or sell them.

Rations were cut 50% when the World Food Program faced a global funding crisis.

Finally, the authorities switch to biometric identification rather than identity cards and ration cards – the census drops to 300,000 but 600,000 people were vaccinated against polio. Go figure.

“There was a crime here on an industrial scale: confining people to a camp, forbidding them to work, and then starving them; people who had come to Dadaab fleeing famine in the first place.”

Falling Through the Cracks

Monday and Muna were granted emergency asylum in Australia but two years later, they still had not left. Bureaucracy. . . .

One woman was selected for a 6-month solar panel installation course so she resigned her UN position. The morning the new students were to leave for the course, they all lined up to board the buses but not enough buses arrived. She did not make it aboard a bus and had to remain in the camp but now without a job and still with a mother and a family to support.

And on and on and on. . . . . the situation was even in national news the day this review was written, August 16, 2016. We should pay closer attention: perhaps if more people read City of Thorns. . . .

*Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)

Caveat: you can find this book at your local public library among other places