diddleyTwenty-fucking-eleven. I’m approaching my 13th anniversary in this stupid city. And speaking of which, I picked up a copy of Gary Benchley, Rock Star, while I was down in Florida for the holidays (it takes Florida an average of four years to receive books that aren’t bibles, written by Glenn Beck/Elmore Leonard, or from the Left Behind series) and it was very entertaining. I feel a bit guilty that I didn’t buy a copy when it first came out. The other book I brought with me (but didn’t make any headway into) is Boozehound. The former book, being a lightweight paperback, was a lot more comfortable to hold. And I am lazy.

And I’m going on (at least) six months with Go Down Together and am halfway through about two dozen other well-written and intriguing titles, which would mean that I only read one goddamned book in 2010, and I bought it in Florida five days before 2010 ended.

We got to Florida and spent a week furiously maintaining a food- and alcohol-induced torpor. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this in the past, but (perhaps unsurprisingly) the wine selection in central Florida blows. (I really hope Vine opens an outpost for us once we move down there.) It’s a sea of plummy, jammy, big New World reds with 14% alcohol and koalas or Model Ts on their labels. A popular brand is called Chocolate Cupcake or some shit like that — seriously, if you go into restaurants and ask for red wine recommendations, the servers will ALWAYS recommend the Chocolate Cupcake Merlot. All the French and Italian wines are super-expensive (though at ABC Liquors I did manage to grab the last three bottles of a $13 Chablis on sale, and a pretty decent bottle of Chapoutier something-or-other whose most memorable quality, 10 days later, is the Braille on the label). So we generally drink a lot of Spanish stuff. Mostly things with wood prints of dragons and cavalry on the labels. I don’t know why.

The worst wine I have ever — EVER — had was in Florida.* And it was made in St. Augustine, our home away from home. After years of turning up our noses at it (and laughing at the billboards advertising the FREE TASTINGS everywhere), we gave in one night after walking around the Winn Dixie wine section for ten minutes, grapelessly.**

How bad could it be, we thought. We brought home a “red.”

Me: “Does this taste like…Chocolate Now’N Laters to you?” I asked.

N: “It has hints of banana, with lingering notes of Robitussin.”

It was so bad it couldn’t even be salvaged with 7-Up.

Now we’re back home, drinking our cheap Italian wines with NOTHING BUT TYPE on the label. I’ve been told it snowed while we were away.

Fear – New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones

Bo Diddley – Bring It to Jerome [supercool image above stolen from Tom.]

*Also the worst Tom Ka soup, which I swear was made with Coco Lopez and squeezy-bottle lime juice (and very little else). Yes, serves us right for ordering Thai food from a place in a strip mall, but virtually everything in Florida is located in a strip mall. The only things not located in strip malls are megachurches and the malls that are too big to be strip malls. When the waiter asked us what was wrong with it, we said — using a phrase we learned from an Italian friend — “It is prepared in a manner to which I am unaccustomed.”

**NO we don’t just buy wine at supermarkets, it’s just that the Winn Dixie is right next to the Blockbuster and since we don’t have a car and rely on N’s parents’ goodwill to get around; we’re trying to be considerate. (Needless to say, the wine at ABC Liquors and Wine Warehouse is not all that much better.) We rented The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo this time around — the cashier behind the counter held it up and said, “Y’all know this isn’t in English, right?”

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