Comparing Liberty Creek Pinot Noir to Yellowtail Pinot Noir is a bit like comparing a Ford Crown Victoria with a Lincoln Town Car. Essentially everything is the same except the details, which is not surprising given that Southeastern Australia and California are similar in climate so raising the same type of grape should result in similar wines.
So I purchased a bottle, as I’d never tried it before, and made braised beef short ribs. My opinion as a cooking wine? It works, does the job nicely. My opinion as a drinking wine? Seems perfectly acceptable, and obviously pairs well with beef. In fact it paired so well with beef that I made pot roast (from bottom round), with a half cup of the wine, quarter cup of marinara sauce, and quarter cup of water as the liquid to ensure it didn’t get all dried out in its three hour soak at 310 degrees F. The pot roast is now resting in cling wrap in my refrigerator for lunch tomorrow, and the potatoes cooked with the pot roast are in a ziplock bag. Unfortunately for me, microwave reheats are generally the rule, as I don’t have time to actually cook a full meal over my lunch break.
So…in this recent journey of cheap wines, what have I learned? Well I probably can’t taste the difference between a Winking Owl, Barefoot, or Liberty Creek branded wine of the same variety in a three way blind taste test. For all I know they are all the same wine put into different bottles and sold to different markets, as only Aldi carries Winking Owl, and I picked up the Liberty Creek and Barefoot at a convenience shopping location. It is possible that Gallo actually has different manufacturing facilities, but given the price point of these wines I think it is more likely they use a centralized high efficiency system for fermentation, filtration/clarification, and bottling in order to absolutely minimize the costs of production. And I’m totally fine with that, as the consumers benefit from an obviously quality product at low cost, hitting the “high value” mark nicely.
Now, what you won’t get with these “high volume/high value” wines is the unique vintage flavors of lower production vineyards with less efficient processing. If you want reviews of those wines, there are plenty out there, but probably not any coming from me any time soon.
This tweet by singer “SUCH” has been making the rounds:
I was intrigued, and so went looking for her biography. I found this on her official website:
Growing up the daughter of Haitian immigrants, her life was centered around faith and family.
Well, there’s your problem, second generation immigrant. Had her family stayed in Haiti she would definitely be doing worse than had they come to America. The fact that she BOUGHT HER HOUSE is pretty damn good for a second generation off the boat.
But, I have to ask, where does she live? Well, according to this press release, it’s Denver. You know, Denver, Colorado, the city founded in 1858, all of 162 years ago. Clearly white people had a 400 year head start in DENVER.
Now, what follows is guesswork, but it is like that….
Given SUCH’s celebrity status she wanted a home in a nice, safe, upscale neighborhood. In doing so she found a nice, safe, upscale, majority white neighborhood in or near Denver. The lender she chose to deal with was probably the preferred lender for the real estate agent who worked the neighborhood she wanted to move into. And it is likely that lender is used to dealing with rich folks, regardless of color, who ask the normal questions for the neighborhood she wanted to live in.
What is galling is that SUCH has the audacity to claim that white people have a “400 year head start” when many “white Americans” are still able to trace their family back to the boat as well, and maintain enough ethnic identity to say “Scandinavian American” to the census takers.
For those who aren’t in the know, the “400 year head start” is reference to the 1619 project, referencing the year 1619 marking the start of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Note, that less than 320,000 African slaves were brought to the 13 colonies, and that importation of slaves became illegal in 1808, and the Civil War ending slavery fought later that century. But the “400 year head start” makes good “bullshit” in that it takes more words to factually refute than say (see Brandolini’s Law).
In short, daughter of legal Immigrants makes it big in the US, claims oppression. If that isn’t cultural appropriation, I don’t know what is.
I’ve covered various US precision rounds before, for both 5.56 and 7.62 families, but today we will look at the Soviet and Russian 7.62x54r sniper ammunition. To make a long story short, over the course of the Russian/Soviet/Russian empire, there have been only two major fieldings of dedicated “sniper” rounds in 7.62x54r, the 7n1 and 7n14 which were specified for the SVD sniper rifle and successors.
Primer: Russian milspec
Powder: 47.5 grains ( close to IMR-4895 in burn rate)
Bullet: 151.2gr Boat Tail FMJ spitzer type ( 0.498 G1 BC)
Velocity: aprox 2,750 fps
Primer: Russian milspec
Bullet: 151.2 gr Steel Penetrator BT FMJ Spitzer ( 0.498 G1 BC)
Velocity: 830 m/s (2,723 fps, close enough to the 2,750 fps most people get when testing)
It should be noted that the PU and PE Sniper rifles built on the M91/30 platform were intended to use “Light Ball” of which 7n1 and 7n14 rather nicely duplicate, although light ball usually had a flat base rather than boat tail.
The Finns, also having purpose built sniper rifles in 7.62x53r (generally with a .309 nominal bore rather than .311 of the Russian/Soviet/Russian rifles and ammunition), have chosen the excellent Lapua D166 as their precision load for the TKIV 85 sniper rifle.
As far as I know, these are the only three “sniper loads” for 7.62x54r or 7.62x53r ever adopted by a national military force. All of them really putter out at 800 meters or so, even if the Soviet sniper scopes have hold over stadia on the reticle which goes beyond that.
What this can tell us is that the Soviets/Russians view the 7.62x54r sniper weapon systems as a “maneuver support sniper capability” and reserve “dedicated sniper mission” to the more capable 338 Lapua sniper rifles. The Finns essentially have the same doctrine, but with much more accurate ammunition from their TKIV-85, sometimes referred to as TAK-85s. To be quite fair the original M24 sniper system also had an 800 meter limit for planning, and was also a “maneuver support” capability in doctrine, even if it was handled quite differently in practice.
Three years ago, in 2017 one of the cadre at the US Army War College wrote that meritocracy in the Army is a myth, at best an aspiration or ideal to work towards. The author, a white male US Army Colonel and white female now Ph.D., listed several very good reasons why the officer evaluation system is subjective, rather than objective. No disagreement from me. They also listed several references to bias, group identity, and cultural expectations. It is actually a well written piece of persuasive argument, and probably worth the time to read it.
Unfortunately the authors screw up royally in the logic department. If the US Army is not a meritocracy, because minorities have a hard time competing against a white majority, then the National Basketball Association is not a meritocracy involving skill at playing the game of basketball to entertain paying customers. The product of the US Army is death, destruction followed by stabilization and rebuilding. In fact, in the Command and General Staff Officer’s Course there is an entire module dedicated to “The Western Way of War” by which historically they mean Russian, Prussian, French, English, and Swedish. The “western model” of warfare was adopted wholesale by the Empire of Japan, and even the modern military of the Communist Chinese is based on the “Western Model” for training, equipping, and operating.
So the question then naturally becomes, are the “bloodthirsty Europeans” who created the entire field of modern mechanized warfare going to be inherently over represented in the military of a western power? It seems that such would be a logical conclusion.
Secondly, a meritocracy is not without culture or context. The authors continually hammer home “The hyper-masculine, White male dominated Army presents an environment where marginalized group members experience challenges that others do not.” Yes, that is the culture of the US Army. The broad category of “White” make up a majority of the population, and the narrow category of “male” makes up the largest portion of those volunteering to serve. This, for better or worse, make the prevailing culture of the US Army one that values decisiveness, physical fitness, and personal charisma over intelligence, wisdom, and conflict resolution. If you want to be a diplomat, join the State Department.
Lastly the authors fail to make the argument for any actual benefits to do things their way, essentially “begging the answer” of the assumption that increased diversity is by some measure “good” while at the same time claiming that the current subjective system is subjective. There are no benefits to increasing diversity that directly deal with making the US Army more capable to fight Russia or China, the current threat pacing nations.
The US Army has promoted minorities to the highest ranks in the past, and they have been exceptional people. General Officers are by nature, exceptional people. Ironically, data indicates that at the Field Grade officer ranks, white females are promoted above white males by a few percentage points. However, women will continue to be under represented at the senior ranks simply because the ones who thrive in the culture are always going to be a distinct minority of the larger US population.
So we end up in a situation where we could implement every solution proposed by Hosie and Griswald, and still have no real difference in the outcomes of promotion boards by race and sex. Unequal outcome is not proof that the system is or is not a meritocracy either way. There are very well documented difference in IQ breakdown by “race” or “ethnicity” and whether or not you believe IQ has any relevance to actual intelligence, IQ numbers do correlate very well to potential for success in the US Army. Don’t worry, at least one academic has already started the dialogue about “cognitive privilege” (ironically also in 2017) https://dailyiowan.com/2017/07/25/williams-what-is-privilege-and-what-do-we-do-with-it/ .
So where does that leave us? Well, if there are no differences between ethnic groups and genders, then we may expect any difference in outcomes to be problematic. However since there ARE measurable differences between ethnic groups and genders (which is why the NBA under represents non people of color, and Jews are over represented for Nobel prizes in science) then finding disparate outcomes in the data shouldn’t be alarming at all. It is very unpopular to say that measurable differences exist, but it doesn’t deny the reality that they do. The argument whether those differences are environmental or genetic is well beyond the scope of this article, and also well beyond the scope of the US Army that seriously interacts with potential Soldiers and Officers in their teenage years at the earliest. If the US Army can’t change the culture that creates its feed stock, it is unlikely to change the disparate outcomes that result from that feed stock at the other end of the processing pipeline.
There are some interesting developments in the CPU and software world right now, and they are all linked to a power/efficiency problem. The first is CPU thread handling, more threads generally equals more performance. The second is power consumption, the trend has been that consumers have to choose whether to prioritize power of performance over electrical consumption and heat dissipation.
For years now we’ve had “CPU boosting” where at idle the processor dials down electrical consumption and runs cooler and slower, and when demand goes up the performance, along with electrical consumption goes up. This is a standard feature for Intel and AMD processors you find in servers, workstations, and laptops. This is a very good thing because it requires very little in the way of software changes to take advantage of the hardware.
Next up is the “big LITTLE” asymmetric processors. The idea here is that you don’t always need high performing cores sitting idle, when cheaper lower performance cores will do just fine. Having one or two high performance cores and two to four low performance cores in a “1 + 4” or “2 + 4” configuration can give you the power punch you need for a smooth user experience, but the long battery life necessary for a smart phone, tablet, or ultrabook. My experience with this configuration is limited to a “1 + 4” configuration for an Android smarthpone. When the high performance core is controlling the application, it’s obvious, but it is also obvious when the scheduler throws the workload through a low performance core. It is possible that a “1 + 4” configuration is just a bad choice, but I think it is more likely that Android hasn’t been optimized to prioritize threads by core performance in a way that takes advantage of asymmetric processor designs. Also, the additional overhead of having to be processor core aware has to come with its own performance hit. Honestly an older octa-core snapdragon ARM processor in my old Samsung gave me much better performance than the penta-core ARM in my “new” Nokia phone, but the Nokia has better battery life even with a smaller battery.
Last up, Microsoft’s new Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) is a technology that offloads what was a CPU workload to the GPU. This is kind of like when we first saw “lavel 3 cache” show up on processors, no one really knew what sort of performance boost it would have and initially it didn’t have any because none of the software available could really take advantage of it. So people who have been turning on GPU scheduling haven’t really benefited from that feature, but it is quite possible to benefit from it in the future. Industry folks are talking about how in the future this may benefit mid to low end CPUs more than high end, getting back to that “power/efficiency” equation where offloading a demanding workload to a GPU specifically built for that workload eventually gives a boost in performance and lowers electrical consumption and heat generation.
Who knows, it is possible that ten years from now we see “logarithmic processors” where additional processing power is brought online by orders of magnitude needed for particular workloads rather than in a linear fashion.
So here goes another Winking Owl two buck chuck review….
The Cabernet Sauvignon is generally the least rated of all the Winking Owl offerings, at least based on the reviews I could find. This is weird to me as I found nothing inherently wrong with the wine. Good fruit and floral notes, a trace of tannins and sour on the finish, pretty well balanced for a table wine. That being said, there was nothing mind blowing about it either, so it fits in the realm of “properly cooked french fries” that could literally be from any restaurant, or your own kitchen. You don’t really care about where the potatoes were grown when it comes to french fries, so as long as they are cooked properly they are going to be pretty good, but definitely not a meal on their own.
Fresh from the bottle this is very drinkable. A good airing out, or decanting, will not likely improve this wine to a great wine, and if left too long would likely dull some of the floral notes. So this would be a good wine to pair serve with appetizers, starters, or finger foods at a mixer, or with any sort of beef or pork dish as a main course. Honestly it seems to be such a good match for cheese that even some pasta dishes would make a nice companion, although I’m sure some food snob would shudder at the thought of pairing any decent fettuccine alfredo with a cheap cabernet sauvignon, but the Winking Owl is light enough that I think you could get away with it.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are among the most widely grown wine grapes with a huge regional variation. From Canada to the middle east, South America to South Africa. There really isn’t a temperate to tropical region where these grapes won’t grow well, so I personally think that the skill of the grower knowing when to harvest combined with the skill of the winemaker in processing the fruit to beverage is the real hallmark excellence with this grape. That you can get a bottle at Aldi for 2.98 that tastes rather good in balance and flavor is a testament to the Gallo brand. Gallo may not be the brand you reach for when you want to impress guests, but they’ve definitely set the bar for value as defined by quality at a price point.
Every once in a while you need to read the enemy propaganda to find out what they want to accomplish. Well, this time they want to implement Zimbabwe’s disastrous land redistribution policy, but in America, for “social justice” or something.
The headline reads: “White People Own 98 Percent of Rural Land. Young Black Farmers Want to Reclaim Their Share.” but the URL reads “Black Farmers Soul Fire Farm Reparations African Legacy Agriculture”
If you actually do read that communist drivel, only racism can explain why so many small black farmers were forced out of farming. Only racism.
Except that doesn’t match the actual history of farming. Just like small black farmers were getting pushed out of the market, so were small white farmers, and small asian farmers. Racism doesn’t explain that, the economy of scale of industrial farming does.
In short, small farms cannot benefit from the labor saving of automation to the extent that large corporate farms can. A farm that owns 200 acres of land has 100 times the potential market penetration as a 2 acre farm. You know what we call anything less than 20 acres in out in rural country? A “hobby farm.” Which is to say that it gives you something to do all day, but you’ll never make any money at it.
Here’s why. The most efficient way to grow and harvest a crop is with specialized machinery. The more land you have to run that machinery over, the more profit you can make and pay off that expensive specialized machinery. A 2,000 acre farm can use the same machinery as a 200 acre farm, but gets 100 times the benefit, as a 250k bit of John Deere costs more than a thousand per acre for the 200 acre farm, and less than 200 dollars an acre for the 2,000 dollar farm. For commodity crops like corn, soy, wheat, etc, there is no way a small family farm can create product that provides the same profit margin.
Family farms instead have started to branch out into the “premium” and “organic” (but I repeat myself) luxury food markets to stay afloat. There is no benefit nutrition wise from consuming small farm food, but like wearing a Rolex over a Seiko, it has a certain status associated with it that commands a market premium.
So there you have it, ask a leftist why small black farms diminished, and it’s racism racism racism. Ask anyone else, they’ll point out all small farms have diminished, and explain how natural market forces made it happen at the same time lowering food costs for millions. Is capitalism racist? Ask a leftist and they’ll say “yest” despite people of all color working very hard to immigrate to the United States because capitalism is the least racist of all economic models.
Perusing through the wine stacks, I saw a 1.5 liter bottle of Yellowtail Pinot Noir for less than eleven bucks, so I bought it. Generally even a cheap Pinot Noir is going to be expensive, so this is officially the cheapest bottle of Pinot Noir I’ve ever purchased.
This is an incredibly drinkable wine. Very light touch on the tannins and sour acid notes, hint of sweet and nice fruit flavor with some floral notes. Is it mind blowingly good? Probably not to a wine snob. Is it objectively good? Well, by any metric that wine people would use, yes it is well balanced and not offensive with a pleasant taste.
Currently I have some “blade steaks” marinating in this, which will be seared then slow braised after their 24 hour soak. “Blade Steak” is a shoulder cut with lots of connective tissue, so a long slow braise will bring out that wonderful gelatin texture. But, having once opened a bottle of wine, it’s a crime to not drink a glass or two.
First, this wine tasted great without any decanting ritual to add oxygen to boost the flavor profile. I would not hesitate to crack the seal and pour for guests, serving the wine un-chilled at room temperature. For a robust red, that’s saying a lot, especially from me who has an aversion to traditional burgundy/claret wines.
So, is it the absolute best wine I’ve ever had? No. But is it a good wine? yes. Is it an affordable wine? yes. Will I likely reach for this in the future whenever I need to restock my red wine supply? Most definitely.
The cost difference between a ten dollar bottle of whiskey and a forty dollar bottle of whiskey can be quite astounding even to people who may not have a highly refined palette. I do not have a particularly refined palette to tell you what makes one wine ever so much more enjoyable than another, but I can tell you that for many purposes cheap wines are the much better option.
If you are doing anything to change the flavor of the wine, such as mulling or making a German “gluewein” then reaching for the lower end of the price range makes quite a bit of sense to me. If you are going to host a large crowd, then ten bottles of two buck chuck is probably the better option than two bottles of premium wine, as using alcohol as “social lubricant” is less about the taste of an individual sip as it is an aid to spur conversation and human to human interaction. If you are cooking, cheap wines are great because their strong notes mellow nicely.
I lamented that getting three pounds of beef cheeks for 9 dollars was a good bargain in today’s market for my area, but needing to buy a 7 dollar bottle of red wine to cook them in destroyed the economy of the cut of meat. A friend recommended I try some of Aldi’s cheap wines, and so the next time I drove by an Aldi, I stopped inside to purchase some cheap hooch. For background purposes, Winking Owl is a Gallo brand, and Gallo has been putting out cheap supermarket wines for as long as I can remember.
Now with that in mind, the $2.89 bottle of “Winking Owl Shiraz” is definitely a cheap wine. Shiraz is a pretty bold red, and when done it cooks like Pinot Noir for braising beef or chicken (and honestly it would take someone with an incredibly refined palette to be able to tell the difference in the end product). Why? Because wine is traditionally used as a braising liquid for tough cuts of meat, like mature rooster in Coque a Vin, or with beef short ribs or cheek meat. The cheapest I can find Pinot Noir is about eleven dollars for a 1.5 liter bottle (of Yellowtail, also a budget friendly brand), which would work out to about $5.50 for a standard 750 ml serving. Bon Apetit magazine simply gives a list of “dry red wines” to use for when a recipe calls for red wine.
So, I’ve now used Winking Owl Shiraz for both cooking and drinking. For cooking, it’s an absolute bargain, and I will be buying it again for beef cheeks.
For drinking, it is an acceptable red wine that you can make better by decanting the bottle into another container the day prior, and then refilling the bottle and replacing the cork. Let it chill overnight in the refrigerator. What this will do is allow the atmospheric oxygen to “pep up” the flavor of the pleasant fruity notes and minimize some of the sour notes. It still won’t taste like an expensive or exquisite wine, but it will taste better than straight from the bottle two buck chuck. Even doing this a few hours before serving will greatly improve the taste for most people. But, if you are going to do this for ten bottles for a large gathering, you are well into the “labor of love for economy” at this point, but you’ll have spent less tan 28 dollars and 90 cents for 42 servings of wine, at a cost of 68 cents per 6 oz serving. That’s a pretty good deal compared to a restaurant like Red Robin where a glass of wine starts at $4 per serving and goes up from there.
Now, for those quiet moments when you want to really enjoy a good glass of wine with a book or some calming music? You should probably treat yourself to something better than Winking Owl. But for a glass of red win with dinner with friends? I’d have no problem serving Winking Owl, especially if I were making anything Italian, Mexican, or “rustic French.” Anything heavy on tomato and herbs would be appropriate.
So in the end, it’s a cheap wine which is simultaneously an amazing value as a cooking wine and great value as a wine to pair with dinner, and yet also not a wine I would recommend for a nightcap or for someone to relax with without food unless they were particularly fond of unpretentious dry red wines .
In that way, white privilege is not just the power to find what you need in a convenience store or to move through the world without your race defining your interactions. It’s not just the subconscious comfort of seeing a world that serves you as normal. It’s also the power to remain silent in the face of racial inequity. It’s the power to weigh the need for protest or confrontation against the discomfort or inconvenience of speaking up. It’s getting to choose when and where you want to take a stand. It’s knowing that you and your humanity are safe.
And what a privilege that is.
Of course the author sums everything up as “unearned benefits” in the follow on section of the article.
Risk your unearned benefits to benefit others.
What benefit do you have that you didn’t earn? I guarantee that a white homeless person will be treated very different than a white person with good grooming, no facial tattoos, and a smart, conservative fashion sense. In fact a black American with good grooming, no facial tattoos, and smart, conservative fashion sense will likely be treated better than the white guy with face tats and smells like a dumpster fire.
Of course other commenters on “white privilege” have different takes on the matter.
Instead of hurling the term “white privilege” around as an imprecise catch-all to describe everything from police brutality to Pepsi commercials, perhaps its use as a definable phrase will make people less resistant. Maybe if they saw the numbers, they could acknowledge its existence. It is neither an insult nor an accusation; it is simply a measurable gap with real-world implications. It is the fiscal and economic disparity of black vs. white.
I actually appreciate this definition, because it is so easy to address with actual data. Nigerian Americans earn about double the median household income compared to natural born black American citizens. Why? Is there some “white privilege” that Nigerians enjoy? Is it the same “white privilege” that Guyanese and British West Indian immigrants in America enjoy? Or is it that culturally Nigerians, Guyanese, and British West Indians are willing to culturally assimilate to the economic conditions of the United States?
Even more ridiculous:
In America’s four-and-a-half-centuries-old relay race, the phrase “white privilege” does not mean that Caucasians can’t run fast; it is just a matter-of-fact acknowledgment that they got a head start.
So how about the Chinese? I remember something called the “Chinese Exclusion Act” and a bunch of racist crap happening to them. And they are doing well. Obviously not because of any sort of “whiteness” or advantage in this four and a half centuries old relay race.
The Merriam Dictionary provides a simple, yet equally nebulous definition.
inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.
The problem with this definition is that “racial inequality” shows up for people of African descent in Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Venezuela, France, and every other nation that I’ve been able to gather hard economic data. For the record “white” isn’t the majority society in Brazil or Venezuela, take away from that what you will.
Even more problematic is that this dictionary definition is defined by “characterization” rather than “facts.” America is attracting hundreds of thousands of applicant black immigrants from Africa because America offers better chances for individual economic success than their home country. This creates an illogical situation where the worlds most fair systems to minorities can be “characterized by racial inequality” at the same time where various minority races are clamoring to join the nation, in essence voting with their feet, to get to fairness in economic opportunity.
It’s easy to look at an Indian or Nigerian with a Master’s degree and admire them for achieving success. It is much harder to realize that the white guy or girl who came from a rural area where marijuana and meth were the two job choices overcame an equally unlikely set of stacked odds to be in the middle class.
In the most recent data from 2015, one in four blacks and Native Americans, and one in five Hispanics, are poor. This contrasts with one in ten whites and Asians. Although the poverty rate for whites is low, whites make up the majority of the nation’s poor because there are more whites in the total population.
“But Roland! Clearly it is EASIER for that poor white guy or gal to be successful once they get an education!” says someone randomly giving me a nice straw argument to slay.
No, most financial success in the United States does not come through talent, but through a concept called “networking.” The Tech industry is very conscious in understanding how much talent they are leaving on the table by not recruiting talent from “flyover country” to work for their companies. The skills that Nigerian, Guyanese, and British West Indian’s have that make them earn almost double natural born American blacks is almost purely cultural. Yes, this makes it sound like someone’s ability to not be offensive to others, to be “likable” is really important, and it absolutely is. Poor, rural whites have to overcome their culture to become successful, and that is the exact same struggle that natural born American black citizens have to a large degree. People want likeable people to work for them, who dress conservative and are a good ambassador for the brand.
To the point that “white privilege” has any merit it is that some generic “white anglo saxon” level of societal norms for behavior dictates what is respectable behavior and what is not. However if you don’t think that very smart girl from Appalachia attending an Ivy League school doesn’t have to deal with the exact same problems of how she talks, how she reacts, and how she thinks differently from the legacies and trust fund babies around her, you have reduced her from someone overcoming poverty to some generic white girl.