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Posts by CatoRenasci

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  • Nearly 50 million Americans just had their credit card limits cut

    05/06/2020 7:40:48 AM PDT · 24 of 28
    CatoRenasci to JoeRender

    More likely it will reduce the available amount of credit. Credit card rates take into account not only the bank’s profit target, but its cost of money and the risk it won’t be paid back. I understand the impulse to punish credit card companies, but the net effect is rarely (never?) that the credit card company is happy to make a lower profit. The obvious move is to reduce credit lines and to eliminate credit altogether for those who become delinquent.

  • Joe Coulombe, Founder of Popular Trader Joeís Markets, Dies

    03/01/2020 6:24:56 AM PST · 36 of 42
    CatoRenasci to nickcarraway

    I discovered Trader Joe’s in the early ‘70s - it was a wonderful place for quality gourmet foods (back when you couldn’t get decent cheese in most stores, let alone all the things we take for granted now) and inexpensive wines that were good and fantastic values. Some of the values/quality were unbelievable. There as an astonishingly good 3 vintage blend of Napa Valley Cabernet from Spring Mountain that was about $4 a bottle in 1978 that drank well for close to ten years (I bought several cases). Made to do something with some vintages that were less than stellar (including the disastrous 1972) they couldn’t bulk out effectively, it turned out to be far more than the some of its parts.

    I don’t much care about Joe’s politics, but it really was the students’ friend back in the day. I don’t buy the wines their now (though my kids sometimes do), but we still find it worth a stop in our shopping.

  • Southern Guys will never say....

    02/25/2020 3:45:59 AM PST · 7 of 50
    CatoRenasci to sodpoodle

    Italian jokes are also acceptable.

  • Big Sur: Two killed when rental Camaro drives off cliff(Highway 1, dangerous, I drove it)

    02/20/2020 1:30:56 PM PST · 88 of 161
    CatoRenasci to vespa300

    LOL! I did a lot of things in the ‘60s I wouldn’t do today, and my run down Highway 1 in the Jag (with the car’s owner, who was egging me on....) is one of them. Glad I did it, it was a hell of a lot of fun, but I’ve been there and done that now....

  • Big Sur: Two killed when rental Camaro drives off cliff(Highway 1, dangerous, I drove it)

    02/20/2020 1:21:02 PM PST · 84 of 161
    CatoRenasci to Diana in Wisconsin

    I took a TR6 up the Pikes Peak road back in the mid-70s, that was exhilerating!

  • Big Sur: Two killed when rental Camaro drives off cliff(Highway 1, dangerous, I drove it)

    02/20/2020 1:18:22 PM PST · 81 of 161
    CatoRenasci to vespa300
    I’ve probably driven the stretch of Highway 1 between Monterey and San Luis Obispo 2-300 times. The scariest time was driving a motor home that a couple was delivering - they wanted to go up the coast and I was not about to let them drive it! I once did it in a Jaguar XK150 without ever dropping under 35 mph even on the tightest curves, but that takes a little luck (not stuck behind slow pokes), good tires, and knowing the road. I’ve always enjoyed that drive!
  • "I rather sleep with ISIS/MS13 than a Republican or a police officer"

    11/30/2019 5:14:01 AM PST · 155 of 160
    CatoRenasci to GuavaCheesePuff
    There’s really only one response: Why, bless your heart, Cousin xxxxx!
  • Is Francis our First Gay Pope?

    11/17/2019 2:02:54 PM PST · 24 of 66
    CatoRenasci to ebb tide

    Perhaps the first OPENLY gay pope, but certainly not the first ... at least since they stopped getting away with openly consorting with mistresses during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation....

    A friend’s Italian great-grandfather used to say all priests were buggerers.

  • Yes, a fair impeachment inquiry would question Hunter Biden

    11/12/2019 4:24:00 AM PST · 8 of 27
    CatoRenasci to Libloather
    Hiding so he won’t end up sleeping with the fishes?
  • Hunter Biden admits that Trump is 100% correct about Biden's corruption

    10/15/2019 12:51:47 PM PDT · 36 of 54
    CatoRenasci to Jim Robinson

    Being a party to this kind of influence peddling, while perhaps not technically a felony, is precisely the sort of odure of corruption that the term “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the Constitution was intended to cover.

    Were Biden in office, his acquiesence, even active participation and encouragement, of his ne’er-do-well, philandering, druggie son’s influence peddling would be grounds for impeachment.

  • Itís ĎAn Honor if the Americans Attack Me,í Pope Francis Says of Critics

    09/04/2019 4:25:55 PM PDT · 29 of 93
    CatoRenasci to BenLurkin

    It’s this sort of gross anti-Americanism and arrogance, and claim to be able to command the faithful, that led to both British and American hostility to Rome. The fundamental basis for both British and American suspicion of Catholics in the body politic was based on fear that they took their loyalty to the Church (not necessarily to God) more seriously than their loyalty of the the non-Catholic state.

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/22/2019 8:14:51 AM PDT · 67 of 78
    CatoRenasci to FalloutShelterGirl; SES1066

    I still have a bottle or two of the 1978 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon in my cellar. Reminding me of the film reminds me I should really drink them up - the wine peaked a few years ago at a little over 35 and I do want to have them before it falls apart.

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/22/2019 8:09:56 AM PDT · 66 of 78
    CatoRenasci to SES1066

    It was a fun movie - I knew (or have met at least) most of the real people involved in that exercise. I’ve been a fan of Chateau Montelena since its revival. I remember when they had the problem with the cloudiness in the Chardonnay...

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/22/2019 8:07:39 AM PDT · 65 of 78
    CatoRenasci to Romulus
    Understood. I like some Rhone wines very much, but if you held a tastevin to my head and said you must choose, red Rhones would be a ways down the list. At the top would be Burgundy (though it has become absolutely prohibitively expensive even at village level AOCs) at ages 8+, then equally classified Bordeaux and equivalent California Cabernet/Cabernet blends at ages 15+, then Barolo at age 20+, and then the Rhones - Hermitage at at least 15 and Cote Rotie at 10+.

    I recognize mine is not a typical modern palate, but I'm an old fart and was trained by guys who were old when I was young. Most of the were graduates of Conegliano around the beginning of the 20th century, and all were active as winemakers in California before Prohibition.

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/21/2019 6:52:29 PM PDT · 58 of 78
    CatoRenasci to SamAdams76

    Restaurants typically pay wholesale, often less if they buy on discounts (post off). In most states the ‘suggested retail’ price is 150% of wholesale. In some states, there are still legal minimums at retail (usually 10% under suggested retail), but it varies among the 50 states....

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/21/2019 6:37:23 PM PDT · 57 of 78
    CatoRenasci to Romulus; SamAdams76
    Well, I suppose that depends on what you mean by making peace with plonk, and what you're looking for in an everyday glass of wine with dinner.

    Sensitivity to differences in wines differs widely. Partly, I think it's a matter of genetics, partly a matter of training and experience. If you have no reference points it's hard to make comparisons. I'm perfectly prepared to accept that he can't tell a $40 wine from a $6 wine, just as I accept that some people have perfect pitch and others can't tell one tune from another. General Grant was (in)famous for having said (listening to a band) the tunes all sounded like Yankee Doodle to him. I do think that most people, who want to, can improve their palates and can learn to differentiate among wines on a quality basis, if not a price basis - I'd be the first to agree that while price is a general guide to quality, it's not a reliable guide, and there is a whole lot of wine sold for premium prices that is probably worse than many sound commercial wines (like your Gallo Cabernet - a poor replacement for the blend that was Hearty Burgundy back in the day) costing a half as much or less.

    I have an eight word theory of wine tasting:

    Pull Lots of Corks

    Remember What You Taste

    The last four words are important to figuring out what you like and being able to replicate it other than by looking at the label. Everyone has some sort of taste memory, but few people make a point of training it. (just as few people train their memories much at all, these days). Your taste memory includes '70 La Mission, which is a good wine in a very fine year - an excellent benchmark. My benchmarks are different for Cabernet, though several 1970 Bordeaux and California Cabs are among them. And, I'm lucky enough to have tasted many of these wines through their life cycles.

    It has become harder to find daily drinkers - my base point is around $15 minimum these days, though I can sometimes get a case of something I like for ~$10-12. For special occasions, for dinner parties, and even for a 'special' dinner at home, I go to my cellar, where I have wines I bought young, and have kept until maturity (or I lose my patience). I rarely drink Cabernet under the age of 10, prefer my Zin between 8-15, and other wines at varying ages. YMMV.

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/21/2019 6:13:43 PM PDT · 56 of 78
    CatoRenasci to Romulus
    Well, it's usually calculated off of wholesale rather than retail: typically it's three times wholesale, which usually works out to about three times retail, since the standard mark-up is 50% on wholesale (i.e., retail is 150% of wholesale).

    Some places which are trying to be 'consumer friendly' mark up at twice wholesale, which looks like a 33.33% mark up over retail.

    In New York, you sometimes see three times retail, which is really gouging!

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/21/2019 12:06:56 PM PDT · 36 of 78
    CatoRenasci to The Great RJ
    I agree that most places that sell wine, including many wine shops, do not have knowledgeable staff. And that some often push products that provide the store with the highest profit and that large producers are often in a position to provide the wholesaler with the ability to give greater discounts (usually known as post-offs in the trade).

    That said, I have mixed feelings about shops that primarily push wines from small producers and relatively obscure regional European wines. IF the shop owner and the staff are really knowledgeable and if they don't use exclusivity as an excuse to jack prices up -- both big ifs and not common -- it can be rewarding for the consumer.

    However, too often, small producers do not make better wines, just more expensive one (because their costs of production are greater, if for no other reason).

    Many reputable large producers are very careful about the quality of their wines and will almost always provide fair value for the price. Their wines will rarely be fabulous (but it does happen....), but they will almost always be sound and well made, enjoyable for what they are.

    For the average person whose interest in wine is limited, my advice is almost always to find a few reasonably large producers whose products you like year in and year out, rather than trying many boutique wineries without solid guidance.

  • Paul Mabray: wineís biggest problem? Consumers donít care about wine

    08/21/2019 11:10:24 AM PDT · 31 of 78
    CatoRenasci to goodnesswins
    Two Buck Chuck? Charles Shaw - a label owned by Bronco, which is headed by one of the Franzia brothers. When first introduced almost 20 years ago at Trader Joe's it sold for $2 a bottle. Hence the name. Pretty mediocre plonk, but popular. I grew up in and around the wine industry in California and have seen it grow from its generally sleepy post-Prohibition roots in the '50s through its various stages of growth and popular expansion and a new generation discovers some new sort or style of wine every decade or so. I've been drinking (or at least tasting under the supervision of winemaker/oenologist relatives) fine wines from California and Europe since I was around 10. I've tasted semi-professionally since the '60s. I'm of two minds: on one hand, the expansion of the industry has made many things available and encouraged much useful innovation, but on the other hand, the increased popularity of wine as status symbol has priced the very best wines out of reach for all but the very rich, or those in the trade who get to taste and even drink, top wines as part of their work. I certainly was able to drink more prestigious wines in the '50s, '60s, and even '70s than I am today - and I'm thinking only of relative pricing, not about the effects of inflation. The article is interesting. Many more producers have some sort of pretension to making 'fine wine' than was once the case. Still, I think it probably remains true that 90% of wine sold is meant to be, and usually is, consumed within a year or so of release. (People used to say within a year of being made, but there is a lag of up to a year (for whites) or two (for reds) between harvest and and you finding a bottle in your local market or wine shop). This is the sort of wine that used to be called 'ordinary' (vin ordinaire)or everyday wine. The overall quality of everyday wine has undoubtedly vastly improved over the past 75 years. Starting with the much (and justly) reviled Gallos and their 1970s creation of "Hearty Burgundy" (which sold for around a dollar a bottle in the late '70s) the quality of inexpensive table wine from California and later Australia and New Zealand, as well as from traditional wine-growing regions in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria has been improved by scientific winemaking and by improvements in viticulture (grape-growing), introducing far more grape varieties to the average drinker who knew them only generically. This is not really the case for the best 'fine' wines - the quality of a top 1928 or 1929 Bordeaux is hardly less (if ant all) than that of a 1945, 1959, 1966, 1982 or .... Bordeaux. Similarly in California: though there were far fewer Cabernets made in the 40s, 50s, 60s, or even 70s than today, the best of the 1941, 1968, 1970 and other outstanding vintages are still drinking well today (though fully mature) and are as good as anything made in the past 10 years. I could go on for hours on the topic of wine, but I'll stop here by observing that as a result of the changes, most of the wine you can buy today, with a little care in selection, is what used to be called 'sound commercial wine' - that is the grapes were ripe (often a problem in France, not so much here), of reasonable quality varietals, reasonably well made and assembled, without significant flaws, and a taste within the range of what is expected for the grapes used.
  • Blackstone's Commentaries on Laws of England & Charles Finney's Revivals

    08/19/2019 3:46:33 AM PDT · 8 of 8
    CatoRenasci to Equine1952
    I read Blackstone’s Commentaries back in the late ‘70s when I was in law school. I found them fascinating and helpful, but I think one really needs a solid background in English history to understand Blackstone, and to understand how the Common Law evolved. There are some good books on the development of the Common Law, but other than Holmes’ fairly good little book, they’re pretty much for specialists and/or are hard to come by. Previously trained as an European historian (with an minor field in modern US history), I read several of them the Summer before I started law school. Helps also to have read Locke, Hume, and Montesquieu. Justice Storey’s edition of Blackstone in the 1820s is also useful in understanding how Common Law evolved in the US after the Revolution. ... sigh. It’s been far too long since I looked at this stuff.....