Monthly Archives: July 2017

In Sardinia, Even I Like the Vino.

I’m no fan of vino. Even good wine leaves me cold. I mean – even to the extent whereby if there’s good wine on offer and also plain old water – I’ll go for the plain old water every time. There are exceptions though. For example, sometime in the early 2000s I was bowled over by some Italian Chianti – in Italy itself, but since then, every attempt to recapture the experience outside Italy failed miserably. I don’t know why. Maybe it just doesn’t travel well, or maybe it needs to be super fresh? But what about the ‘older is better’ thing with wine? It’s all a mystery to me.

There was one other wine I recall I really liked – some port in Portugal. Oh my grape! Now you’re talking! A magical drink – again, if purchased locally where it’s produced, in this case in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. And again – if you get some outside the country, it’s some kinda plonk, no matter how expensive and fancy-looking the bottle.

I like my grapes in their original form, not fermented. A freshly-picked, freshly-washed grape – yum! Even grape juice I find a bit too sour – I always add water to it. I should maybe start adding water to my wine too if served it, but isn’t that frowned upon as a faux pas by some folks?

But I digest (grapes). But I digress…

The other day in Sardinia I had my third ever wonder-vino experience. And if you fancy yourself as a bit of a sommelier – or just like wine a lot, I recommend you get to where I had it (or maybe even move there:). For it’s here where I found myself actually asking for second helpings of the stuff.

All righty. I’m talking about the wine that’s produced in the ‘Saddura’ winery. Woah – just looked: no website and hardly any mention at all on the net. Underground! Exclusive! Unspoiled! The genuine item!…

Actually, there are a great many small wineries like Saddura in Sardinia, but that doesn’t make them all any less cool. There are also plenty of honey farms, but today we’re talking vino – Saddura vino:

In the very neat building here the locals tell us all about wine-making – its history and the details of the manufacturing process, including the growing of the grapes in the vineyards – how they’re tended and watered, etc., before being picked quickly all of a sudden once it’s deemed the right time (if picked too late they’ll be overripe). A mere 20+ workers (plus automation) manage to pick the lot – tons and tons – in a few days, and they’re all turned over to the fermentation-production facilities to eventually wind up in nice-looking bottles to be sold for a pretty penny.

Aha. Modern art too. Modern kunst and wine – what a pleasant combination :).

Oh no! Time to leave…

Sardinian vineyards and wineries – check. Next up: Sardinian archaeology…

Back tomorrow folks!…


How Bloomberg Just Edited an Agricultural Newspaper.

History tends to repeats itself, its lessons not having been learned.

Sometimes the new does start to resemble the dystopian visions of the future of old, which our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had nightmares about and/or read about in the caustic satirical works of the day. O tempora, o mores: nightmares, satire and dystopia – sure, they’re becoming reality, but guess where in particular – in journalism.

More than 85 percent of the company’s revenue comes from outside of Russia, so why would we ever put all of that at risk?

Since childhood there’s been a story I’ve never been able to forget – and wouldn’t want to. It’s Mark Twain’s short tale called How I Edited an Agricultural Paper (Once). Remember it? If you’ve read it’s a  silly question – it’s impossible to forget. Not read it? Spend five minutes doing so now. Why? Well… it’ll save me having to explain something of importance and… you’ll never forget it! Though written nearly 150 years ago, it will open your eyes to the levels of competency, the motivations and the methods applied by a handful of modern-day headline-chasing journalists. And after that prestigious intro to today’s topic, we’ll go through Bloomberg’s latest fictional tale and dissect some of its false accusations, much as we did with its earlier volley of banya journalism.

Inaccuracy One.

To get a turnip It is better to send a boy up and let him shake the tree.

Just as a fish rots from the head down, so too here – the rot set in with the article’s heading:

Here, folks, we have: lies, with a sprinkling of manipulated information based on misconstrued facts to serve an agenda. Yes, seriously!

Read on: When geopilitics kill common sense…

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Torrentismo in Sardegna.

I’d heard so many good things from different people about Sardinia, the magical Italian island in the Mediterranean, but never been there myself. The sun always shining, clear blue sea, the tastiest grapes, cool cliffs, incredible islands along the shore… I should have made it here long ago, but it was never to be – until last week. So after we were done with business we had did a spot of tourism…

The sun is hot here, but you get an occasional and very welcome respite therefrom in the form of white cotton-wool-ball fluffy clouds floating by overhead…

Read on: Picture-postcard villages and rocky outcrops dotting the hillsides…

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Meanwhile in St. Pete…

A bit like with Manchester or Scotland, folks will often tell you the weather in St. Petersburg is normally terrible. In Manchester and Scotland it normally is. But not in St. Pete!

I’ve visited Russia’s ‘second capital’ plenty of times – and the sun’s been out on every single trip! This visit was no exception.

In fact, the sun’s not just shining, it’s beaming it’s intense heat down on this corner of the globe without mercy. Sat in a traffic jam upon roasting asphalt wasn’t the nicest of experiences, I have to say.

Read on: The sun is out!…

In Azerbaijan, Yes You Can (Find the First Ever Oil Well and Oil Rig).

A bit like how English and Russian sources give differing data on carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, so too do English and Russian sources regarding who first thought of boring into the ground to extract oil. For example, the Russian Wikipedia page for ‘oil well’ states that the first oil well ever was drilled in the Russian Empire – in Bibiheibet, in what is now Azerbaijan, in 1846. Whereas sources in English on the net state it was Drake Well in Pennsylvania that was first – in 1859. But if you dig deeper, it turns out oil was drilled in the USA a little earlier – in 1857; and three years before that – in Poland. While in ancient China (several centuries BC) they used bamboo to extract oil. However, concerning the modern industrial method of oil extraction, it was in fact Russian engineers here in Bibiheibet who were ahead of the others.

And here’s that very oil well:

I don’t think every wooden or metal part that makes up the whole of the installation today is an original from back in the day – not all would have been preserved so well, surely – but apparently some of them are the original items. Others clearly were replaced several decades after the well was first commissioned in 1846, like this piece:

~’Mechanical Factory … Baku, year 1900′

Read on: ‘First ever’ standings when it comes to oil extraction…->