I was all ready to start posting about the strange joys of celebrating Christmas on the west coast of Florida, including the epic head to head battle that went down at Christmas dinner between a pre-stuffed vegan Tofurkey and a Hawaiian-style, 1950s kitsch brown-sugar basted ham, complete with pineapple ringlets. Then the phone rang with the news that yesterday's flight, the homeward leg from Dulles to Newark, had been canceled.

On Christmas evening my family and I were blissfully walking on St. Petersberg beach, watching pelicans diving into the azure Gulf of Mexico; the next morning I battled my way back to Red Hook, flying via Chicago to Philly and then training, subwaying, and bussing my way back to the 'nabe. Just in time to wake up to this:


Priceless original art, found in my truck

After dinner tonight in Bay Ridge I walked back to the trusty Toyota pickup, parked on 67th St. As I was turning the key in the door lock, I spied two pale disks like sand dollars in the bed, apparently placed with care, one in each of the two forward corners. Once home, a moment's googling revealed them to be examples of the prolific oeuvre of Brooklyn artist Beriah Wall.

As revealed in this New York Times article, Wall works in a studio in his Red Hook basement, making me wonder if these delightful little coins hadn't been rattling about in the back of my truck for some time. He churns them out by the thousands and dots them about the urban landscape. But, again, they really seemed to me to have been placed with care in the back of my truck. The way they were sitting they sure didn't appear to have been driven over the bouncy BQE.

One says "Tweet" on one side, and "Twit," on the other. The other says "For" on one side, and "Ever," on the other. The Tweet / Twit one has Christmas colored glaze. Both have Wall's initials, "bW" on them; before googling I wondered if this wasn't short for "backed with," the old terminology for describing the flip side of a 45rpm record. As in Tweet, backed with Twit.

I was smiling all the way home. What makes this great art is its demonstration that a random act of unsolicited charity is irresistible. Less than a penny's worth of baked clay, mass-produced in a spirit of love and anarchy; a different kind of currency, something to cherish.


Swedish court case documents leaked to Guardian UPDATED

In a rather ironic public revelation of private information, all the sordid details in the official Swedish proceedings against Julian Assange have apparently been leaked to the Guardian newspaper, so you can be your own judge of whether or not the complaints against Assange, which include accusing him of "the worst sex ever," merit the involvement of Interpol, an international manhunt and nine days in a British prison arguing for bail.

What's interesting to me is the second sentence in the story:

The case against Assange, which has been the subject of intense speculation and dispute in mainstream media and on the internet, is laid out in police material held in Stockholm to which the Guardian received unauthorized access.

This certainly sounds like an admission that someone in Sweden leaked documents to the Guardian, yet another demonstration of the central and essential role of leaking in journalism....

UPDATE: I will say it shows poor judgment that Assange allowed himself be photographed wearing these sunglasses, given that they make him look like a two-bit pimp or an aspiring pornographer....



I'm hoping putting "wikileaks" in the title of my blog post will prevent anyone in the government from reading it. UPDATED

The current hoopla over the latest gigantic stock of documents made public by Wikileaks is remarkable for a number of reasons, but there are two I find especially interesting. One is that the current divulgation of more than a quarter of a million diplomatic cables has been met with an exponentially higher level of political outrage and media attention than resulted from their significant releases of US military documents over the last year. Even the devastating "Collateral Murder" video demonstrating an American helicopter crew's callous and casual disregard for Iraqi life made only a small ripple in the general consciousness in comparison to "cablegate." Are the diplomatic cables just the proverbial  straw breaking the camel's back? Or is there something fundamentally different about the diplomatic cables versus the military papers? The other interesting aspect of the current episode is the pseudo-Chinese attempt at censorship on the part of my government, unequivocally totalitarian in its effort, and entirely retrograde in its willful ignorance of the realities of the very digital information technology that makes Wikileaks possible.

Profiled in the New Yorker as recently as last June, Julian Assange, the public face and founder of Wikileaks, expressed his frustration that journalists had not done the necessary legwork to exploit previous leaks. Cablegate represents an evolution of Wikileaks' strategy; unsatisfied with the muckraking impact obtained by simply leaking the documents, the organization seems now actively to be assisting the media in finding the stories buried within these vast piles of digital paper. The Guardian, and the New York Times through them, as well as Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais (interesting that the chosen outlets are all in staunch western democracies, but that's probably a subject for another time) are described as Wikileaks' "media partners," and in this round of leaks they were given access to the documents well in advance of their release to the public via Wikileaks.org.

This strategy may have something to do with the extraordinary level of attention being paid to Cablegate, but equally important is the way that people choose their news. The internet lets people decide exactly what they want to read, and the fascination with the cables is not unrelated to our celebrity obsession. Depending on your perspective, war in Iraq and Afghanistan is either a horrifying misuse of American power or a necessary but unpleasant part of the global struggle against Islamic terror. Either way, there's nothing remotely sexy about its inner workings. We don't know the people involved, and we are apparently numb to the spectacle. Not so #cablegate, in which the personality quirks of famous world leaders are revealed and analyzed. Sarkozy, we learn, really is a shallow egomaniac, vulnerable to flattery. Putin and Berlusconi are not only gangsters, in case you didn't know, but they're close buddies, gangsters bro'. René Preval really is aloof and introverted and probably drinks too much. (Okay, he's not exactly Brad Pitt on the celebritometer, but he is the president of Haiti). We love imagining what the iron-jawed and un-cuddly Hillary Clinton is saying in all those apologetic telephone calls she's been making to offended world leaders.

Rather more interesting and much more disheartening is the US government's response, which seems to me to be a sort of China-lite, #fail, attempt at closing the barn door after the cattle have long since left for the pasture. Pressure on Assange and Wikileaks has come in every imaginable form, from leaning on the private sector in an attempt to cut off funding by getting them booted off of Paypal and inspiring Amazon to stop hosting the website to personal attacks in the form of an extraordinarily coordinated international smear campaign which has in recent months made Assange's name virtually synonymous with the word "rape." (Assange might make for an icky bedroom playmate, but in the rare story that actually presents some of the details of the Swedish "case," it hardly sounds like he's a rapist. And even this story has a misleading headline).

The flacks so deftly coordinating the smear campaign must be not be the same ones handling PR for the government, which has issued directives that federal agencies should prevent employees from accessing Wikileaks. Apparently if you are at the Library of Congress, preserver of the word and the freedom of it, you'll find that their computers no longer offer access to Wikileaks. The fatuous justification for this authoritarian Cuba-style nonsense is essentially the government saying "the documents are still classified until we say they aren't, (and we're going to take our basketball home with us and so nanny boo-boo, there will be no game)." And this regardless of whether or not they have been published or discussed in the New York Times or already exist as torrent files on hundreds of hacktivist hard drives. This is embarrassment mitigation? How embarrassing. The USA certainly must know that there is no putting this cat back in the bag; Assange just asserted that he has already sent out 100,000 encrypted copies of the entire archive, just in case anything foul should befall him. He does that with the press of a button. Welcome to digital distribution.

The frontal assault on the First Amendment just makes us look like floundering incompetents who don't practice what we preach. The whole situation is reminiscent of our new-millenium lack of credibility when it comes to condemning torture; it's a challenge to present your nation as the guiding moral light in a dark and savage world while at the same time preventing librarians from reading the same documents that are on the front page of the world's leading papers. I don't often find myself standing on the same soapbox as Ron Paul, but as he wrote yesterday in a rather poorly articulated tweet, "In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble."

Welcome to the globalization of information. We'd love to grab Assange for treason, except he isn't American. Also there's another major problem, which is that he doesn't appear to have done anything illegal. The US Attorney has dredged up the constitutionally questionable  "Espionage Act" of 1917, which was most successfully used to prosecute unsavory socialists ninety years ago, and which makes it a crime to pass along information with intent to damage the United States. I'm not a lawyer, but anything Assange and Wikileaks have done, the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais and so on have also done. (As recently as last April he was here, and on the Colbert report. If you want a litmus test of how successfully he has been rebranded as a criminal and a pariah, consider how long it is likely to be before Assange is able to sit for another relaxed chat in a major American television studio). The key to the ongoing persecution (not prosecution) of Assange lies in the multi-pronged attack. As long as the "rape" flag can be held flapping in the breeze at the top of the flagpole, nobody needs to engage with whether the leaks themselves are in any way criminal. Despite ongoing attempts to conflate the crime represented by the original theft of the documents with Wikileaks' subsequent dissemination of them, it seems pretty clear that no laws have been violated.

The problem, perhaps, is the unprecedented scale of these leaks, a biproduct of our digital age. In the traditional model, the budding investigative journalist prays for the day when an anonymous disgruntled insider will hand over to them that one single piece of paper that is proof of nefarious government or corporate activity. Nobody goes after them, except perhaps the evildoer. This is the stuff Pulitzer prizes are made of, and it is in exactly this fashion that wrongs from Watergate to Abu Ghraib have historically been exposed. This is why transparency is to be prized. Someone sent Wikileaks 250,000 potential revelations, instead of just one, and they published them. If you're upset about it, go get the leaker. To assault Assange because he created Wikileaks is like refusing to build a bridge because someone might jump off of it.

UPDATE: Assange turned himself in to British authorities today, December 7th to face the Swedish allegations. Here is the hilarious 20th paragraph of the New York Times story:

The charges involve sexual encounters that two women say began as consensual but became nonconsensual after Mr. Assange was no longer using a condom. Mr. Assange has denied any wrongdoing and suggested that the charges were trumped up in retaliation for his WikiLeaks work, though there is no public evidence to suggest a connection.

Assange is being arrested based on morning-after remorse, what we might call "retroactively nonconsensual sex," or "uncomfortable breakfast syndrome." But what's really amusing about this 'graph is the second sentence. Even the most poker-faced of press secretaries would be incapable of denying "that the charges were trumped up in retaliation for his WikiLeaks work" without bursting into giggles. Isn't demanding "public evidence" of the connection a potent argument for the very work of leaking that Assange is dedicated to?

In their editorial about the leaks, El Pais seems to agree with me that the significant difference between these and prior leaks is just a matter of scale. "There is no historical precedent for this in term of scope," they write. And: "We are, in a sense, freer now than we were before, which is as much as journalism can hope to achieve."


Nothing exceeds like excess: Eataly versus Caputo's

The latest culinary shangri-la in Manhattan is Eataly, a 42,500 square foot (as advertised on their facebook page) megamall, cattycorner from the flatiron building at 23rd St. and 5th Ave. People love this place, and even if people are sometimes trying, I love food, so I made it a priority to go for a visit as soon as possible after my return from France. The feeling has something of a collision between a supermarket and a food court. There are seven restaurants dotted throughout a vast retail space filled with piles of every imaginable Italian delicacy. It's a bit like an airport in the way that the eateries are simultaneously inside but apparently doorless and open to the wide world. Picture all the seating in one of the lozenge-shaped terminals at LaGuardia removed and replaced with gleaming shelves of pasta.

 The strangely Sbarro's-looking brick-oven pizza joint at Eataly. I quite like the disco-ball ovens, perhaps the legacy of Mario Batali's Lower-east side club-crawling days.

 A few of the olive oils on offer at Eataly.

I haven't sat myself down and eaten in the place yet, and especially in New York one imagines that this is the principal point; Eataly isn't a food store with dining options, it's really seven restaurants using the shopping possibilities as the justificatory glue holding them together in one location. But from the shopper's perspective, there is fabulous stuff in Eataly: fresh figs, enough olive oil to make an artificial lake, dangling legs of prosciutto, an entire cookbook shop, and a bakery where you can watch bakers behind glass plumping and cossetting their loaves in preparation for loading them into the oven.

 The bakery-behind-glass at Eataly, my favorite feature.

Eataly is, all in all, spectacular, teeming with happy customers and goggle-eyed tourists whose minds seem to be blown by the amazing offerings. With all that abundant goodness, I've been wondering what it is about the place that rubs me the wrong way. The other day I stopped into Caputo's, at 460 Court St. in Brooklyn, for some of my favorite grilled and marinated artichoke hearts, and it hit me.

 Caputo's Fine Foods

Caputo's, for those who haven't been there, is a tiny Brooklyn food shop run by two Italian brothers. Over the last few years they have gradually taken over daily operations from their parents, a transition that accelerated after the passing of their mother, who I believe to be the originator of the artichoke hearts. If I can trust my palate, the brothers have not changed anything about the artichoke hearts, nor so much as one square inch of formica countertop, making Caputo's a sort of old-world throwback to a time when the Lower-east side was dotted with "Appetizing" stores and dozens of family salumerias thrived in the Italian immigrant neighborhoods of South Brooklyn.

 The cheese counter at Caputo's, which dominates the front of the store, forcing customers to snuggle past one another sideways on their way to the olive bar.

The store is roughly the size and shape of the railroad apartment I lived in for fifteen years on Essex St. Long, narrow, and claustrophobic, it is perhaps ten feet wide, although for much of its length most of the space is consumed by a glass fronted display counter full of cheeses, peppers stuffed with provolone, marinated mushrooms and, yes, the grilled artichoke hearts, so that customers coming in and out must edge carefully past one another. I'll estimate that Caputo's offerings are crammed into approximately 500 square feet. Therefore the entire store would fit into Eataly 85 times over.

Curatorial minimalism characterizes the window display at Caputo's.

The entirety of Caputo's.

Although the Manhattan Eataly is modeled after the debut Eataly in Torino (yes, obviously, Eataly is a chain, with more planned), this is nonetheless a contrast between American excess and an old-world sense of proportion. And while I'm certain the army of buffed and perky employees at Eataly were obliged to sit through classes on the differences between Coppa piacentina and Capocollo di Calabria, with a quiz on just which pastas are made with doppio zero flour, my preference for Caputo's is also about trusting the curatorial instincts of the family. There isn't room in the shop for five hundred olive oils, but I have a high degree of confidence that whatever they have will be excellent. The other day I bought a bottle of Chilean oil there, something I would never do at Fairway (and would be surprised to find at Eataly). It is delicious. I'm certain I could wait in the vast olive oil aisle at Eataly for the resident oil expert to come and regale me with tasting notes and biographical data on the producers of dozens of bottles, but at a certain point, please, just pick your ten best and let's move on. It's the creeping cancer of choice.

 Some of the pasta at Eataly

A bit more of the pasta selection at Eataly

In case you need some dried pasta, Eataly has some.

By now I'm paralyzed. Eataly has more square footage devoted to selling rafts of dried pasta than the entirety of Caputo's.

This is not a joke. It's Andreas Gursky does pasta, except it's real, not photoshopped.

The pasta corner at Caputo's. All made in the USA, because they make it themselves. You don't like it? What's wrong with you? It's not imported from Italy? So therefore you don't like it? What are you thinking? Go somewhere else, then. This pasta is delicious, so delicious that I only cook it only special occasions. Otherwise it would be dangerous.


Shaolin Sourdough

Amongst those participating in the grape harvest last month in the Loire were three residents of the local zen monastery who took time away from their practice to help out during the vendange. Agricultural work is congruous with Buddhist monastic life, just as it is with the lives of Belgian Trappistes and Dominican grappa distillers. Many of the pre-phylloxera vines in the eastern Loire may first have been planted by religious communities.

The zen monastery, they told me, is self-sufficient in wheat. They grow it, harvest it, mill it, and bake bread with it throughout the year. My friend Magali invited me to come and have a hands on lesson on her next baking day, but to my great regret I let the wine life take over, and failed to fit in a visit. I'm now using this as my excuse to justify my earliest possible return to the Loire.

However (if I say so myself), my ongoing bread experiments back home in Brooklyn continue to yield excellent results. Like winemaking, and perhaps any fermentation-based enterprise in which one attempts to harness the anarchic wild yeasts of the outside world, every episode, whether failure or unqualified success, brings with it knowledge. Baking is a constant process of learning, and therefore a metaphor for life.

Breakfast of Champions
In which I combine my interest in zen calligraphy with my current addiction to baking bread.

(Technical data in the comments)


Preparations 503 and 506

At risk of offending the fine folks who invited me to their shit-shoveling festival a few weeks back in the Loire valley, as recounted a couple of posts ago, I want to revisit the subject of biodynamic farming, because I'm now feeling I let those promoting the agricultural theories of Rudolph Steiner off a little too easily. It's easy to do so, and I think I know why. Because the goals of biodynamic farmers are so closely aligned with the natural wine, organic, fresh and local, and slow food movements, the more kooky elements that go into biodynamics have never emerged as a favored target of secular humanists. With all the evil in the world, why bother going after the possibly self-deluding biodynamic farmer? Furthermore, there seems to me to be little doubt that Steiner was prescient in comprehending the ravages of what would become industrial agriculture, and biodynamics is broadly concerned with soil health and sustainability, more than sixty years before that term became the overused mantra of the green movement. Why risk the perception that you are opposed to a thriving ecosystem, healthy eating, and happy animals by attacking biodynamics?

I wrote in that previous post that biodynamics "typically goes well beyond the basic prescriptions for organic farming." This is essentially true, but only if we are talking about the kind of co-opted organic farming decried by Michael Pollan, in which giant, industrial farms produce "organic" products on vast monocrop farms in order to exploit the marketing value of the term. And that wasn't what I meant: "organic" used to mean, to me, small, thoughtful pesticide-free farming of diverse plantings in a varied and complete ecosystem. Compared with this sort of agriculture, the ways in which biodynamics "goes well beyond...organic" seem upon further reflection to be limited to the mystical and the magical, namely the bizarre Steinerian preparations 500 through 508. The question then becomes: are the results of the biodynamic method superior to the results from any other less dogmatic approach to artisanal, pesticide and chemical-fertilizer-free farming? Are biodynamic farms superior in any way to other farms farmed by farmers deeply invested in soil health, the environment, and tasty eating?

 Preparation 506, in which Dandelion flowers are blanched and then packed into the peritoneum of a cow. This tiny bundle is then buried over the winter before being used as a sort of homeopathic additive to compost.

There are plenty of believers eager to point out that scientific evidence exists for the superiority of biodynamics. Some basic googling will bring up a host of such claims, but nothing I waded through went one simple step further and told you what that evidence is, or, heaven forfend, actually linked to a study demonstrating the point. If you want to enter deeper in this debate, take a look at Biodynamics is a Hoax, in which Napa vintner Stuart Smith pulls absolutely no punches under the subheading "Someone has to speak up."

 Chamomile flowers awaiting deployment in Preparation 503.

The moistened flowers are pushed through a funnel, stuffing for a length of cow intestine. 

 The finished product, a chamomile sausage. It's very attractive, but the problem is that I can't find anyone who can explain why adding this to your spring compost will "reactivate" the soil...

There is, sadly, a more cynical perspective from which to consider the success of biodynamics, at least in the wine world. Thierry Puzelat, with whom I spent most of October learning how to make wine, is a very good example of the kind of conscientious farmer who cares deeply about his land and vines and produces excellent plonk without subscribing to the strange prescriptions of Mr. Steiner. He has no quarrel with biodynamic farming, and buys plenty of grapes from friends like Bruno Allion who follow the Steiner line, but his own attitude is "show me the evidence." He told me that it is remarkable how often groups come in to the Puzelat cellars for a tasting and ask him "are these grapes produced in biodynamie?" This before so much as taking a sniff of the first glass. In other words, biodynamics has become so trendy that for some the Demeter stamp of approval is more important to their drinking experience, or their self-perception of what sort of wine drinkers they are, than what the wine actually tastes like. While I have yet to meet a biodynamic farmer who I felt was insincere or concerned with anything more than creating the best possible farm environment, in the face of fetishizing like this I'd be very surprised if there aren't some vintners out there who are burying horns full of manure just because they think they will turn to gold.

After the preparation of the magical packets, we dug a hole in the ground and lined it with old slate roofing tiles, in order to avoid cutting open the parcels with a shovel in the spring dig. I have a similar attraction/skepticism for the rituals of Haitian vodoun, which also often involve the meticulous preparation and burial of small parcels, known as wanga

 The burial.


Desire Line

The shortest distance between two points; a spontaneous mapping of our use of public space; evidence of an ongoing crime, committed by the masses; a pure expression of democratic will, the people manifestly having voted with their feet: a desire line is all of these.

Most simply put, a desire line is a shortcut. It is an unofficial rogue trail carved into the ground by the passage of numerous pedestrians dissatisfied with the sanctioned routes on offer. A lone walker flaunting the conventions of civilization and the restrictions of garden design cannot on his own create a desire line. Such a path is visible only because the grass that once grew there could not survive the busy traffic. The earth is compacted, the exposed rock polished. This takes time, repetition, and the participation of the multitudes.

Sometimes, where it meets the sidewalk, a desire line spreads wide like the bell of a trumpet, indicating that here short-cutters have converged from various directions to follow it. In this way it becomes a cartographic representation of its own use, in much the way that Ed Ruscha's Sunday-morning aerial photographs of empty Los Angeles parking lots serve as graphs of the preferences of the drivers who park in them, legible in the density of the oil-stains dripped onto the pavement from the pans of innumerable automobiles.

Depending on your perspective, a desire line is either a scar marring the symmetry and tidiness of a park, plaza or lawn, or it is the organic biproduct of maximized efficiency. I'm grateful to Laura for introducing me to this basic concept from the field of landscape architecture, for the desire line has almost unlimited metaphoric potential. Is it the result of taking the easy way out, or of standing up to convention? Are desire-liners lazy and lawless, or are they visionaries who think outside (or inside, or across the corners of) the box? Should society value individualism, or conformity?

Resistance to the desire line is futile. The disgruntled groundskeeper should not argue with the commuters hurrying home, ignoring his admonition not to walk on the grass; his quarrel is with the designer, who failed to do necessary research and tried to erase tradition with the rigid geometry of his ego. What hope is there that a fence and a handful of grass-seed can counteract the imperatives of desire?

A desire line serves as its own demonstrative proof of its benefit to the commons; its utility is rendered undeniable by its very existence.


Poop Horn (Suspension of Disbelief)

One of the more exotic episodes in my recent visit to the Loire valley was a day spent assisting in the creation of some of the semi-mystical preparations used in Biodynamic farming. Practitioners of the Biodynamic method view earth, cosmos, farm, crop and land from a holistic perspective. The health of each, and therefore our own, such farmers argue, are indissolubly linked. A field that is endlessly fertilized with powerful nitrates and sprayed with pesticides in order to maximize annual yields across a monocrop topography is a field that is ailing and poisoned. In this world view, the way most farmers use their land, and the way most of our food is produced, is deeply wrong; the equivalent for a human would be something like an endless repetition of Morgan Spurlock's experiment in Super Size Me, when he eats nothing but McDonald's products for an entire month.

Biodynamics, based on the teachings of Austrian philosopher-shaman Rudolph Steiner, typically goes well beyond the basic prescriptions for organic farming, and it embodies many similar ideas about environmental and soil health. As a general practice, I find it deeply appealing. Bruno Allion's farm and vineyard near Thesee, in the Loire valley, which I visited last week, looks the way a farm ought to look. There is dirt and mud, weeds and trees and grass. There are flowers and bees and ladybugs, and a happy pig in a comfortably big pen. It looks nothing like the vast and sterile monocrop lots on which America's corn and beef is produced.

 Looking over the horns

But what to do when the general appeal of a philosophy promoting a loving stewardship of the land seems diminished by peculiar prescriptions that seem odd, irrational and altogether divorced from the scientific method? This, for me, is the conundrum of Biodynamics. Take, for example, the "cornerstone of the Biodynamic method," Steiner's preparation 500, or cow's horn manure. The basic recipe is simple, if creative. In the fall, fill empty cow's horns with cow shit, bury them underground for the winter, and then dig them up in the spring. Although I'm certain cow dung is a high quality all-natural fertilizer, and cow's horns make perfectly good vessels in which to mature or compost the manure, it now starts to get weird.

 That's the, uh, substance, with which we will shortly begin to fill the horns.

One horn's worth of the fermented dung, generally about 80 grams of the stuff, is mixed into a suspension with 20 liters of rainwater by stirring it in a whirlpool vortex for a full hour. It is then whisked or sprayed over the fields. One horn is used to treat about one hectare of land (roughly 2.5 acres).  Not to bore you, but I did the math, and that comes out to 0.00074 grams of poop per square foot. If you've ever done cocaine, you'll understand this to be a minuscule quantity unworthy of your attention, a speck of fallen dust so small as to be all but invisible. You may also recognize from your long nights crouched over the mirror the way in which the ritual of preparation dominates the event; the horns must be buried in a specific way, and the stirring activity should alternate from clockwise to counterclockwise, perhaps "attracting cosmic influences into the liquid." The spritzing of the fields appears in photographs to be not unlike the splashing of holy water from a Catholic font. Biodynamicists describe the use of Steiner's preparations as a kind of soil homeopathy, and there doesn't seem to be any more scientific proof of its efficacy than there is for most homeopathic medicine. Just like homeopathy, I'd love to believe it works, but it sure does stretch the imagination.

What are we doing? We're making pâté de poop a la corne, you dipshit. I promise I filled some horns up myself, between photographs. (That's my main man Amane Hagiwara on the left. Within a few years I expect that you'll be seeing his name on a wine label or two. If you do, I suggest you buy the bottles).

 Locked and loaded, and ready for burial.

Bruno Allion has a beautiful farm, and he grows some serious grapes. I know, because I spent my first three days in the Loire valley harvesting them.

Looking wistfully into the pit. You gotta believe...

Next week join us for Biodynamic Preparation #503, cow intestine stuffed with macerated chamomile flowers. No, I'm not kidding.