Friends Of Australia Friday Thomas Farms Loin Chops

It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!

Tonight I put Thomas Farms Loin Chops (mini-T-Bone) in the cast iron skillet in the oven at 400 F for about 25? minutes. I’m not sure as it was a bit of “watch and pick the moment”.

Sides were rice from the rice cooker with soy sauce drizzle and a bag-O-salad American Salad with Ranch Dressing.

Wine? Well, I hate to admit it, but the Little Penguin at $5 / bottle at the local discount store got me once again. Shiraz / Cabernet blend. My downfall. I just love this stuff. I bought all but the last 2 bottles on the shelf at the local Bargain Market Discount something something store. Sadly, as they “remainder” things in excess, it is likely that by the time I return for more, the Little Penguin will be sold out and gone.

I’ll need to resort to higher priced wines or find it somewhere else. Oh Well.

Be prepared for a great deal of moaning and complaining on my part… I really really really like this wine and don’t look forward to paying $15 a bottle instead of $5 for it.

Oh Well.

In Other News

What, you expect me to know what’s going on in Australia when the entire fate of the Free World depends on the ChiCom attempt to steal the USA election? Get a grip! Please!

Yes, Australia has the same problem as the USA, Canada, and the UK with China agents of influence infiltrating and attempting to turn you to Socialism. Yes, we are all in this together. But really, I’m a Yank (of British Mum, yes… but still…). The simple fact is that if Beijing Biden captures the White House, we all go down the tubes to destruction fairly quickly together.

So, while I’m having Australian wine and lamb every single week for months (hopefully years – it’s really good stuff mate!) the reality is that Trump gets a 2nd term and Boris tells the EU to F-Off, or we’re all a bit screwed.

So ATM, I’m really locked on to BREXIT and Trump. I’d love to have a broader view, but this is “existential”. So best of luck to you down under, but really, if Biden gets POTUS, we’re all screwed.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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34 Responses to Friends Of Australia Friday Thomas Farms Loin Chops

  1. President Elect H.R. says:

    E.M.: “Be prepared for a great deal of moaning and complaining on my part… I really really really like this wine and don’t look forward to paying $15 a bottle instead of $5 for it.”

    That reminds me of the place I take my truck for a complete checkup and fixit before heading out with the trailer. It’s a 2005, so there’s always something to replace due to wear or just plain age. This time it was the driver’s side rear hub.

    So I always ask for the “Frequent Whiner Discount” and they knock a little extra off. They gave me 12% off on labor this time.

    You might try that when the $5 Little Penguin runs out

    P.S. Why in theeee world did you leave two bottles on the shelf?!? What… there was no way to fit two more in the shopping cart ?

  2. Simon Derricutt says:

    EM – for French wines, Corbières is made from Syrah (Shiraz) grapes and has that deep purple colour and rich taste, too. If you really can’t find the Oz vintage, but there are remnants available from Corbières, may be worth trying. Over here, it’s pretty cheap at maybe 3 euros/bottle, though that may not apply elsewhere.

  3. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    Nice to know about the French equivalent.

    I’m not at a loss for finding more Shiraz, and perhaps even the Shiraz / Cabernet blends. It’s just getting it dirt cheap that’s run out. The Bargain Market Grocery Outlet {whatever it is… 4 names is just tooo long…} takes things that are in overstocked quantities and remainders them out at low prices. They have some stuff that’s stocked “all the time” but many brands and items are “whatever they can get” and when it runs out, it’s gone. Wines especially.

    So for some reason they had dozens of cases of Little Penguin wines. 3 kinds that I found. Merlot, Shiraz, Shiraz-Cabernet blend IIRC. So I tried one. Then all three… then, well, you’ve seen that I’ve been sort of stuck on them in the Australia Friday postings…

    Well, slowly it went from a stack of cases to a couple of feet on the shelf to just one row of bottles last night, where I took 2 and left 2.


    Why did I leave 2?
    Well I can’t very well post after drinking 4 now can I?

    Really it’s just that I was buying lamb and butter and salad and other stuff and just didn’t want to spend another $10 at that moment. Nor did I want to explain to the spouse why I was packing so much wine ;-) If it is still there later today, I might clean out the shelf, or see if there’s something else interesting.

    The one thing about good wine cheap is that there’s always more of it. Heck, just Trader Joe’s two buck Chuck is a decent wine cheap. $2/ bottle and always in stock? But not made in Australia so there’s that…

    The basic reason for not buying the last two is that I really need more variety in the wine showcased in the Australia Friday postings. Need to “spread the love around” and review wines that might be in other areas too. It’s nice for me to guzzle good stuff cheap that’s not widely shipped, but doesn’t serve the purpose of promoting Australia more broadly. I do generally have “novelty seeking behaviour” and that is happier when I’m trying something new… But I will miss Little Penguin at the discount price. (I’ll need to see who else carries it locally, even if not at the clearance prices).

    IF I really can’t find a Shiraz / Cabernet blend (don’t remember anyone having one of those before, but wasn’t looking for it either…) I can always just blend my own. Heck, it might be a fun project to buy 1 each bottles and try samples from 10%-90% to 90%-10% in 10% steps… see where the Magic Point is ;-) (Probably at the 8th glass whatever direction to start from ;-)

  4. President Elect H.R. says:

    E.M.: “Heck, it might be a fun project to buy 1 each bottles and try samples from 10%-90% to 90%-10% in 10% steps… see where the Magic Point is ;-) (Probably at the 8th glass whatever direction to start from ;-)”

    Willing to sacrifice anything for Science, eh? Someone’s gotta do it.
    😁 🤣 🤣 👍 😎

  5. philjourdan says:

    Re: Take last 2 – or maybe just a natural aversion to being greedy? One of the victims of the panicdemic is Shower spray. That one has me as most people showered at home before the panicdemic, so I do not understand it. But I accept it. I shopped half a dozen stores and finally found 2 bottles at the last one (of course, why keep shopping once you find it?). I only bought one. Why? I just cannot hoard the way others can. And since it is in short supply, I figured someone else was looking hard for it, so let them find a bottle.

  6. J says:


    Our go to cheap but tasty red is at Trader Joe’s.

    It is the Charles Shaw Organic Red blend, 4 bucks near Chicago, I think it is the 2017, maybe 2018.
    Very well blended, tasty, organic, and better than many bottles at three times the price !

  7. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    Well, there was some of that… British Mum taught me to not to be greedy and that giving others a fair chance was important. I did think “Well, someone else might be disappointed if I cleared it all out… and that’s not polite.”… Then I went on to “spousal issues” and how much money I wanted to drop at one go. Were the last 2 just rationalizations for the first instinct? I don’t know, maybe.

    But I figured I’d give it a day, then next time I’m in if they are not gone, well, into my cart with them then. (At that point, it is being helpful to the store in that they don’t lose an entire column of shelf space for 2 bottles that are not moving, and can re-purpose it to the next wine in the back…)

    I’ve never had a good handle on when “appropriate inventory” turns into “hoarding”. Seems to me that very few people every buy more stuff than they will use. Is it “hoarding” if I buy 6 months of rice? That’s one big bag. It’s a LOT cheaper in the big bag than in the 1 pound bags. What about 1 month of rice? That’s the small bag (about as small as they sell in some months of use for us…) I’ve got a 1 lb bag of Bean Soup Mix that I’ve not used in 6 months. Just didn’t get around to it. So if THAT isn’t “hoarding”, why is 3 weeks of TP or paper towels “hoarding”? Though by that logic buying several cases of wine would not be “hoarding” either ;-)

    Oh Well. Is what it is. I just stock enough inventory of “what we use” to get through “whatever is likely” in the foreseeable few months. Sometimes I buy the big Econo-Pak as that’s just a lot better use of my money.

    Though I have to admit that I arrived in Florida long long ago (years) without a razor or my shaving soap mug, so bought the Big-Bag-O-Bic razors for something like $3 or $5 or “whatever”… I’m still working on using it up… (Seems that I don’t shave every day {week?} during anti-social house arrest time…) So was that “hoarding” or just a “bit of dumb false economy”? Last week I finally finished the last of 3 cans of shaving cream I bought when I got to Florida last. I wanted to compare the “house brand” with my usual and one other. Little did I realize that it lasts a very long time per can. FWIW, I got my (now VERY dusty) shaving mug down off the shelf and I’m back to using shaving soap and brush again. Talk about something that lasts a long time… I have some home-made soap I made about 20 years ago, where I’m still dealing with “inventory”… Seems that turning a couple of gallons of oils into soap makes a lot of soap ;-)

  8. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    I’ll look for it! I usually just get the Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio or one of the ‘regular’ reds. I did see a “blended red” but didn’t notice if it was “Organic” or not. Out here, shipping is nearly nothing from winery to store so the “regular” Charles Shaw is still “Two Buck Chuck” at $2 / bottle. A year or three ago they bumped it up to $2.50 or maybe $3 and I bought a lot less (just to make a point…). It’s now back to $2, but maybe that’s just from the general economic malaise of Chinese Wuhan Covid…

    Hey, they have a wiki page!

    Charles Shaw is an American brand of bargain-priced wine. Largely made from California grapes, Charles Shaw wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Valdiguié in the style of Beaujolais nouveau, and limited quantities of Pinot Grigio.

    These wines were introduced at Trader Joe’s grocery stores in California in 2002 at a price of US$1.99 per bottle, earning the wines the nickname “Two Buck Chuck”, and eventually sold 800 million bottles between 2002 and 2013. In 2009, an international version of Chardonnay from Australia was introduced in limited stores. Prices in states other than California have increased to US$3.79 per bottle. The price was later raised. As of January 9, 2020, a bottle of Charles Shaw retailed for US$1.99 in California. The cost of the wine is about 30 to 40 percent of the price, with the glass, cork and distribution the larger part. The cost of shipping Two-Buck Chuck anywhere out of California becomes too high to justify the US$1.99 price.

    In April, 2018, the winery introduced a line of organic wines, at US$1 higher than their standard line.

    Hmmm…. They have an Australian Chardonnay… Guess what I need to find!

    Says limited stores… may take a while.

    Ceres (where the page says the wine is made) is about 80 miles from here. Just the other side of the hills in the central valley of California. So one big truck can do the rounds of the Bay Area and be home for dinner, and that’s your shipping cost. i.e. not much. Near Modesto. It is a bit hotter in summer than Napa / Sonoma, so you get a bit less tannin and more sugar. Makes for very drinkable early wines, but not Epic Keepers that you cellar for a decade or three. There’s several big wineries in that area.

    Thinking about it: Their reds are Cabernet, Merlot, and Shiraz. The blend ought to be some mix of them. That would be good stuff!

  9. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Further down that wiki:


    At the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition, Shaw’s 2002 Shiraz received the double gold medal, beating approximately 2,300 other wines in the competition.

    Shaw’s 2005 California Chardonnay was judged Best Chardonnay from California at the Commercial Wine Competition of the 2007 California Exposition and State Fair. The chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold, with accolades of “Best of California” and “Best of Class”.

    Gee… now that Y’all got me started on Shiraz… I see they have a good one(!) that I’ll need to try out sometime. Makes sense though. Both Australia and the Central Valley are more of the hotter and dryer sort. Same grapes ought to do better in both.

    I expect the Chuck Cabernet comes from their Napa winery. Lots of Cab up there. Ditto the Chardonnay. IIRC Chardonnay gets “thin” on flavor if grown in the hotter central valley. To make an award winning one likely had to be Napa or somewhere coastal.

  10. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Ah… no wonder I like the Shiraz-Cabernet blend… It has a long tradition of being “special”…

    Syrah (/ˈsiːrɑː/), also known as Shiraz, is a dark-skinned grape variety grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce red wine. In 1999, Syrah was found to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a cross of Syrah with Peloursin dating from 1880.
    The style and flavor profile of wines made from Syrah are influenced by the climate where the grapes are grown with moderate climates (such as the northern Rhone Valley and parts of the Walla Walla AVA in Washington State) tending to produce medium to full-bodied wines with medium-plus to high levels of tannins and notes of blackberry, mint and black pepper. In hot climates (such as Crete, and the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale regions of Australia), Syrah is more consistently full-bodied with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of licorice, anise and earthy leather. In many regions the acidity and tannin levels of Syrah allow the wines produced to have favorable aging potential.

    Don’t know as I’d use the terms licorice, anise or “earthy leather”… but spice it’s got.

    Modern history

    Syrah continues to be the main grape of the northern Rhône and is associated with classic wines such as Hermitage, Cornas and Côte-Rôtie. In the southern Rhône, it is used as a blending grape in such wines as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône, where Grenache usually makes up the bulk of the blend. Although its best incarnations will age for decades, less-extracted styles may be enjoyed young for their lively red and blueberry characters and smooth tannin structure. Syrah has been widely used as a blending grape in the red wines of many countries due to its fleshy fruit mid-palate, balancing the weaknesses of other varieties and resulting in a “complete” wine.

    So it “kicks it up a notch” for a mid-range Cab and makes it “complete”. Got it.

    I foresee some experimentation with “modest” reds and adding Shiraz to them… Hey, it’s for the Science of it! (I did take Viticulture and Enology class at UCD after all…)


    From further down the page, an answer as to why I’m only now getting “into it”

    Syrah first appeared as a wine grape in California in the 1970s, where it was planted by a group of viticulturists who called themselves “Rhône rangers”.

    So those vines would not mature and make significant wine for a good long while. All during the time I was exploring wines on the shelf. That “discovery” phase would be filled with Merlot and Cabernet and all the other common California reds… and I’d have “moved on” (figuring I’d got a good handle on the available reds) before there was a significant stock of wine being made in California from that variety.

    It took Australian Imports to raise awareness. Thanks for that!

    (Then, also, the French do not note varieties on many of their wines, often due to rules / laws, so that the Syrah / Shiraz was a blending agent in the Name Names would go unnoticed by me…)

  11. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    Wines are usually brought to stores by a distributor. There may be a USA importer with regional distributors. You can search on-line and likely find who and where the local distributor is. They might tell you what stores they supply. Your favorite store may tell you, or it may be on the box.
    Although when I tried a web search, the Bronco Co. (a big operation) kept appearing. They could have the USA rights, but I don’t know.
    I’ve got an appointment, and can’t do more at the moment.

    RE: $2 Buck: began as an eponymous winery owned by Charles F. Shaw, producing Beaujolais-style wines in the Napa Valley AVA.[8] During bankruptcy proceedings in 1995, its trademark was acquired for $27,000 by Bronco Wine Company, owned by Fred Franzia, formerly of Franzia Brothers wines.

    [“Bronco” is, I think the word for cousins in Italian — and the reason for the name.]

  12. Tonyb says:

    The EU are threatening to block our ports and demanding we give them full access to our fish for ever whilst demanding we follow their rules in perpetuity and allow their judges to decide on any trade disputes.

    As brexit was largely about sovereignty unless something very unexpected happens it looks like a no deal.

    Hope boris withstands the extreme bullying. At least this time round the UK cabinet is behind him


  13. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    One hopes it works out well and Boris stands his ground. (One also hopes some of the other “side agreements” to stay bound to EU things are not “forever deals” but subject to review…)

    @N&J H:

    My google translate says “cousin” is “cugina / cugino” in Italian…
    Bronco in Italian goes to Bronchus in English.
    Bronco in Spanish goes to “rough” in English. Maybe he was going to make rough wine? ;-)

    I’d guess it was more about the Bucking Bronco that will not be tamed by the will of others…

  14. Graeme No.3 says:

    EMS “Good News”. China is putting punishing tariffs on australian wine for political reasons. Means that your supplies should improve.
    Shiraz was the dominant red wine grape in Australia for many years, along with Grenache and Mataro (which is now called Mourvedre when the wine price is higher), hence the popularity of GSM wines (blends).
    Cabernet was around but didn’t become popular** here until the 1970’s. Experience soon showed that a blend with shiraz tasted (and sold) better. Back in the nineteenth century the wine makers in Bordeaux (home of cabernet in France) found the same, indeed labelled those wines as “Hermitaged” after the source of shiraz for their blends.
    Petit Syrah was imported from California but known here as Durif. It is grown along the River Murray in hotter conditions.

    **An exception was cabernet malbec blends from Clare (north of but cooler than the Barossa).

  15. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    Okay, found the problem.

    When the decision was made to sell the last of the family stock, Joseph S. Franzia and Fred T. Franzia [sons of Joseph J. Franzia] and their first cousin, John Franzia, Jr., decided to start a winery of their own.
    Bronco is a contraction of Brothers and Cousin, after the three founders. = Bro ‘n’ Co

  16. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    Well, I can attest to the merit of the blend!

    Sorry about the Chinese Tariffs, but I’ll do my best to sop it all up for you! ;-)

    Currently running between 1 and 2 bottles a week from “Down Under”. Call it 50 to 100 a year. Now if we get 100 people to do it, just think… and then 1000, and then …

    @N&J H:

    Ah, nice one! “Bro ‘n Co” sounds more plausible than my silly idea about horses ;-)

  17. philjourdan says:

    @Nancy&John – Gotta love that name just for the ingenuity, and the pun!

  18. u.k.(us) says:

    Funny story…
    Amazon sent me an email saying my purchase was delivered.
    Went out to the front porch to retrieve it…nothing…circled the whole house…nothing.
    Proceeded to do a (not to obvious) hard target search of the nearest neighbors porches.
    No joy (while staying out of shotgun range).
    Called Amazon, the recording said “sometimes deliveries are indicated before the actual event”.
    So, I stewed on that for a minute, and hit the “track my package” link in the email one more time, and there was a photo of my package sitting on (what happened to be) my next door neighbors front porch.
    Rang the doorbell, figured I better explain to him what I was doing on his front porch picking up a package (what with all the security cameras and shotguns nowadays), all went well :)

  19. philjourdan says:

    @u.k.(us) – I have not had to do that with Amazon, but will look for it should it happen to me. I did not realize they took pictures!

    But I did have an episode with Dell. Ordered a 2n1 for my church. They said it was delivered. I searched all around, and found nothing. Checked further and some guy south of me (different state) had signed for it! WHOA! So I called them. They said that UPS (or FedEx) was re-using tracking numbers and that mine had not been delivered. But then I met a stone wall. They had my $1100, and I had bupkiss! The first 2 techs I talked to just did a shuck and jive. Finally I got one that bumped me up the line. I told them that from where I was sitting, their website said I had it, I did not. Their website had my money, I did not. And their website said some clown in North Carolina had signed for it, when I have never lived in NC nor care to start (they teach the 3 Rs down there, readin, ritin, and the road to Richmond).

    Finally, the supervisor said he would resolve it immediately. And the next day, I got my 2n1, and a credit for the heartache.

    As for Amazon, I got prime so everything is 2 day. One time, they failed on that, and when I called to find out what was going on (3rd party shipper), they bent over backwards apologizing, and then refunded the shipping (what it normally would have been).. As it was a 55″ flat panel TV, that was not chump change! The TV was delivered the next day (it was sent to my BIL for the fund raiser). I do not like Bezo’s politics, but his company puts the customer first.

  20. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Well, today’s shopping run…

    Found out Trader Joe’s was no longer selling the only canned dog food that did not make our dogs occasionally puke. (We tried dozens – all that changed was “daily or weekly”… They are “changing suppliers” and food will return in January.

    Um, dogs get really hungry after a month of no food…

    Bought a 20# sack of the dry stuff they sell (dogs will eat it, after a while…)

    I’ve made my own dog food before. It isn’t hard. Turkey or chicken at about $1 / pound is not far off from canned cost. Add some rice to it to soak up the juices and can it. Or just cook a pot and feed fresh. (Vegetable bits optional).

    In other news…

    Also scored a bottle each of Two Buck Chuck (bottled in NAPA) Carbernet Sauvignon and Shiraz ( I figure they ferment in Ceres and haul the stuff to Napa to bottle so the label gets a +plus_Up on the locale ;-)

    So soon to begin the “Blending Experiment”. I’ve decided to do 1 oz each (so as not to get toasted prior to needing a decision ;-) starting at 100% each, then both 90% / 10% variations, then both 80% / 20% etc. That way I ought to be getting darned close to 50/50 before I’ve got sozzled taste buds…

    In other other news…

    At the local Bargain What’zit Outa Groceries (4 names really are too many ;-) I cleared the shelf of all Little Penguin I could find. Total of 4 bottles. Likely the end of it.

    So I’ll be setting a couple aside for a while. Maybe.

    Don’t know where the other 2 came from. Maybe they had one more box in the back or something. In any case, I’ve opened some shelf space for them.

    “Drink ’em if you got em!”


  21. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – you got Cat-dogs? Since when are dogs choosy? My dog would eat a napkin if my daughter fed it to him from the table (and she did and he did). Now cats. They are worse than the royal family when it comes to what they like. And like women, they change on a dime, so you never know!

    Apologies to all the ladies herein. I understand we are not supposed to figure you out, so feel free to change tactics since this old geezer established a pattern.

    And with that, the wrath of the woke is upon me!!! I love the smell of burning woke in the morning. It smells like………………Victory

  22. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    I’ve got two. The “Malty-Poo” is a bit picky, but eventually will eat “other stuff”. BUT, give him a taste of, say, fried chicken scraps, he will not eat his dinner. The next day, hungry enough, he will. (OTOH, I understand his strategy. Small stomach, fills up fast, if more Great-God Food! is maybe on the way, don’t want to be too full to eat it. Yes, that has happened around Thanksgiving ;-)

    The other is a Dachshund. She will positively devour anything until she is at risk of rupturing her entire belly from stem to stern. Then mouth whatever can’t quite be swallowed.

    But it isn’t getting them to eat it that is the problem. It is me needing to clean up doggy upchuck on the carpet anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or a day later.

    Both dogs are “senior”. They are also “rescue dogs” so one we estimate based on known history is about 12 or 13 (Malty Poo), the other is known 14 years old (and has many breast lumps and is greying).

    I’m not sure if it is just “developed food allergies after decades” or if it is “early indication that GMO Bt Toxin gets into shit and makes you subtly sick, showing up mostly in the elderly.” Bt Toxin is known to ‘tear up the guts’ of pigs and cattle that get too much of it, and it does end up circulating in the blood… A Very Bad Idea…

    FWIW, I’m suspicious that a couple of my “unexplained food reactions” may be tied to that, not the least of which is some foods that cause auto-immune flare ups / allergy responses when they never did before and “Organic” doesn’t…

    But I digress.

    Essentially you have two Geriatric Dogs with some “issues” already, and a long history of exposure to all sorts of crap that might have caused unusual immune responses (at least one, Malty-Poo, a “street dog” for several years eating “whatever” so now very much enjoying the upgrade, but able to go a day without eating as he’s done that before…)

    Oh, BTW, neither dog has ANY tendency to upchuck on human food or my home made dog food. We did a rather thorough search of the canned dog food space and it was very much a dismay moment to find that even Fru-Fru upscale $4/can stuff was full of some kind of crap that they had issues keeping down long term. They’d love it, and eat it, and sometimes it took a week, but eventually there would be the dry hacking gorrff gorrff and a blob of mostly mucus on the carpet. Usually the Dachshund would start first, then a day or two later the MaltyPoo would have issues.

    At first we thought maybe they were sick / dying / whatever, but the way it would all stop on “People Food” was pretty dramatic. (WHY I made my own dog food for a while…) It 100% correlated with getting canned commercial food. Then we tried Trader Joe’s and zero problems. Great! I’m out of the home made dog food business!!

    But now, back into it. At least until we test whatever their new stuff will be in a month.

  23. President Elect H.R. says:

    @V.P.Elect Smith – Our two dogs had settled into canned Alpo… and they quit marketing Alpo. Purina bought Alpo (I don’t know how long ago) and just let it run.

    About 4 or 5 months ago, Purina decided to kill the Alpo brand and went to Purina Dog Chow High Protein. It’s the same stuff! It made sense to me from a marketing standpoint. They have more shelf frontage with Purina products and only one product to advertise instead of two.

    In Florida last year, I grabbed a can of Walmart’s Ol’ Roy by mistake. Big mistake. Runs and runs and upset tummies and runs. I feel your pain, bro.

    Their dry dog food has always been Purina One Beef and Rice small bites. They are little doggies and the big chunks of dry dog food just is too much for them to chew through. That’s the only small dry dog food I’ve found. It seems others with small dogs have the same problem. It is hard to find those small bits in stock. You’d think other maker would have a smaller dry food to, but nope.

    Anyhow, they aren’t affected much by the dry food. If I have to get the larger dry food, I introduce it slowly; 25% new, then 50% new, then 100% new. I’ve never had a problem with the dry dog food.

    But the wet food…. oh, my! I really have to watch that stuff, too.

  24. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Flash Preview (subject to change as the series completes, likely tomorrow…)

    A blend of about 60-70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30-40% Shiraz really lights up the old taste buds more than the two pure or the 10% mixes…

    Now, in all honesty, my nose is faded so I can’t report on nose, and the taste is starting to shift, so I’ve got to postpone the rest of the series until tomorrow and a recovered palate. I could well be a bit “dampened” right now. But I don’t think so.

    I do know that 2 “so so” $2 wines at the start are now quite sufficient to have me “watching my intake” in the blend. Not Quite “Little Penguin” richness and depth, but way better than the first impressions.

  25. philjourdan says:

    @VP Elect EM – AH!!! Ok, that I understand. As for ralphing, consider yourself lucky. My vets (practice of 4) always ask me “inside or out” for the Cats. For the past 10 years, they have been inside, with only supervised outside. Their next comment is – “they go out, eat grass and throw up”.

    Yup!!! We try to keep them on the deck until they have “ralphed”, but they are cats. So we have a case of floor clearer. We long ago got rid of carpets.

    I married a cat lady and do love them. But I am a dog person. We dog sat a pit bull that was a sweetie! But they moved to OK and I miss him, He was content to stay n a room from the time we left in the am until I got back at night. And walked him. There is a reason that Dog and God are so closely related.

    Humor them. There is no greater gift to man than his dog.

  26. V.P. Elect Smith says:


    They LOVE to get up on the couch with me and make a “Dog Pile” under a dedicated blanket. (Prior homes they were not allowed on the couch…). So much pure love in one package is hard to explain.

    I’m OK with being “Doggy Doorman” and now “Chef pour Chen” ;-) I can make very nice “food for dogs” that they will love at about the same price of commercial that makes them sick (25 ¢ / meal for small dogs) using human turkey, chicken and “all beef no adulterants” hot dogs. (What they had tonight, 3.5 oz. of all beef without the crap BallPark Hot Dogs, and they loved it. Way more than canned crap.)

    I like the convenience and lack of “time sink” of commercial canned, but I’m quite fine with “cook a bird and portions into the fridge” if it comes to that.

    Heck, my background is a restaurant making 60 meals / seating, all different, and 3 seatings / meal period. All with one cook. Making a batch of 10 or 20 meals, all one thing and all the same, is as close to zero work as I can imagine. Doing it for someone who loves you unequivocally and lets you know it? “Priceless”…

    My only “worry” is how to make sure they love every single meal and never get bored with it… It’s a reputation thing… ;-)

  27. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Oh, and I’m having a very hard time walking away from the 60%/40% Cabernet / Shiraz blend…. I’m supposed to be cleansing the palate and prepping for a finish testing tomorrow, refreshed and all, but for some unknown reason I keep finding 60/40 refilling my glass…. Must be gremlins, or space aliens or something ;-)

  28. President Elect H.R. says:

    Hey, E.M…. Just how carefully are you measuring that 60/40? Seriously… Are you using tablespoons? An eyedropper? Graduated cylinder?

    It can’t be too much volume or you’ll run out of mixing stock. How many ounces or ml or walnut shells-full in a trial?

  29. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    I have 2 “measuring shotglasses”. One about an ounce, the other up to 4 ounces. Depending on the mix I use one, the other, or both. Mostly I used the tsp graduations for the first, smaller mixes. Then, later, shifted to the ml scale.

    Unfortunately, 100 ml is rather more than 10 tsp. So I’ve gotten a bit more sozzled after the shift to metric. Sorry…

    Only about 500 ml out of 1.5 L left ATM…. I’m a bit, er, 3 sheets?…

    So there you have it. Mix of tsp and ml.

    First trials were 10 tsp (about 50 ml) then shifted to 100 ml each and now it is more of “Hey, buddy…. can I’sh get a tumblersh…. or a buchketssh to go?”

  30. President Elect H.R. says:

    Thanks, E.M.

    First thing I thought of was a shot glass, but then I figured you’d be out of wine – and out of it 😜 – before you found the right ratio. So I figured you were using something smaller and I was just curious what it was.

    I have a small glass graduated cylinder I got at work. The kit maker would put one in each test kit we bought to titrate the concentration of one of the cleaners we were using. We would run out of the test reagents long before one of the cylinders got broken, so there was an excess of graduated cylinders. We’d pitch them. I saved one and could have had a few more except I’d wind up with a bunch of them on my shelf instead of a bunch of them on the shelves at work.

    I haven’t used the one I’ve saved… yet. But someday I’ll need a bit of something measured with fair accuracy, maybe the perfect martini, and I’ll have just the thing to do it.

  31. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    I’ve got a couple of graduated cylinders “somewhere” (at least 2 in my packed up photo chemicals & gear box) along with some lab beakers from my time experimenting with various fuel mixes (alcohols, diesel, gasoline, etc.)

    But when I’d see a little “shot glass” or small glass with oodles of scales on it, I could not resist, so I’ve got 3 or 4 of them. All sorts of measures on them. Tsp, Tbls, ml, oz, etc. etc. Intended for cooking, and used for that mostly. (Now also a bit of drinking ;-) I have used the 1 oz one as a regular shot glass with Scotch, but this was the first time the 4 oz was used for other than food. The 2 oz wasn’t as convenient for the ml scale and was too big for the tsp. (I just wanted ‘anything small in multiples of 10’)

    BTW, the “ideal mix ratio” will vary with the specific wines. This Shiraz is a bit thin and not nearly as robust / spicy as the Australian I’ve had. A nice wine, for sure, but if blending with a strong Australian Shiraz, the ratio would be different…

    So, and you will hate this I’m sure, YOU will need to do your own experiments with each of the wines you intend to blend. So buck up and gird your gizzard!

    I’ve got notes (mostly readable) and will post my results later, after coffee and breakfast are settled…

  32. President Elect H.R. says:

    V.P. Elect Smith: “But when I’d see a little “shot glass” or small glass with oodles of scales on it, I could not resist, so I’ve got 3 or 4 of them. All sorts of measures on them. Tsp, Tbls, ml, oz, etc. etc. Intended for cooking, and used for that mostly.”

    Ohhhh, I’ve seen those from time to time. Never picked one up, but I can see where they would come in handy from time to time.

    And you can use them for dry measures if mixing up a complex batch of seasonings. A tsp. of this, 2 tbsp. of that, 1/2 tsp. of something else, and so on, all without grabbing a different measuring spoon when the measure changes.

    I’m going to snag one the next time I run across one of those multi-graduated shot glasses.

  33. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    BINGO! And when it says “2 tsp” this and “3 TBS” that, you don’t need to make 2 or 3 dips with the spoon, just fill to that level…

  34. Compu Gator says:

    My favorite measuring device for self-prescribed medicinal alcohol is a 4-oz. pressed-glass beaker with a pouring spout. Its markings are all embossed, so there’s no paint to be rubbed off over years of use. Including the warning on the bottom: “PHOTOGRAPHIC USE ONLY KODAK”. Despite my years of serious photography and photoprocessing starting in my teens at home, I’d never noticed that beaker on the shelves in my dad’s garage workshop.

    My beaker seems to be an example of this piece from (what a coïnkidink for the Chiefio blog) Australia:

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