Care And Feeding Of Your New Pet Peeve—Today’s Lesson: Booze

So, you woke up Christmas morning so excited that you soiled your jammies!  You ran out to check beneath the tree and found that Santa had left you a brand-new, snuggly-huggly, squeezable-pleasable Pet Peeve!  Good on ya, Junior!  But don’t assume that this cute li’l peeve will just take care of itself…  You’ll need to love and nurture it with all your heart, just like mommy and Uncle Dad do you when they aren’t snorting meth.  You’ll need to keep it warm so that it festers and swells, and you’ll have to choose a food specially formulated for baby peeves—I recommend Purina Kibbled Bile or Natural Balance Hi-Protein Venom with Extra Huff.

That way your tiny little peeve can grow strong and healthy to become genuine adult, blustery-flustery, compulsive-repulsive anger.

I received my very first Pet Peeve when I was sixteen years old and tried to buy a six-pack at Bill’s Party Store on Orchard Lake and Northwestern, only to be told by Bill—a semi-literate yokel who looked like a gene-splicing experiment gone horribly wrong—that I wasn’t ‘of age’.  Come again, sir?!  Hell, if I’m old enough to die in a head-on collision while driving my big-block V8 ’71 Olds without the lights on, shouldn’t I be old enough to slam a few beers?

Since then, I have become an AKC-Certified® breeder of purebred peeves, and I run the Detroit Peeve Kennel where I will board, train, walk and groom all your annoyances and vexations for a nominal fee.

Here are some of my ‘success stories’:


Pet Peeve # 1;  Drinking Age = 21:  The Chinese allow teenagers to drink and are rocketing ahead of us in every important aspect of international commerce, like direct investment, GDP surpluses, population control via baby formula, chopstick exporting and leaded plastic Barney toy manufacture—so why should we let them increase the trade gap by allowing them five extra years to market alcohol to children?

Top: Ponzi. Bottom: Drool.

Pet Peeve # 2;  ‘Meritage’:  Just as I despise songs with verses like ‘Don we now our gay apparel’ and ‘It’s summer and the darkies are gay,’ which take a perfectly good GLBT community word and attempt to change its meaning, likewise do I despise ‘Meritage’ and everything its near-fanatical cult of myrmidons stands for.  Not only is the word meaningless and unpronounceable, in order to label your wine thus you need to join the wine world’s answer to Heaven’s Gate and perform the ritual of sending them a dollar for every case of ‘Meritage’ you sell.

This is a scam that would doubtless have Mr. Ponzi drooling considering that you can call your wine ‘Claret’ or ‘Bordeaux Blend’ for free.

Pet Peeve # 3:  ‘Claret’ and ‘Bordeaux Blend’:  They may be interchangeable and free, but they’re still meaningless.

Ostensibly meant to label red wines made from some unspecified mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cab franc, malbec and petite verdot, ‘Bordeaux Blend’ fails to account for the fact that virtually every one of Bordeaux’s 8000 producers use different proportions of different grapes in nearly every vintage—and that the AOC also produces white wine blends.  ‘Claret’, on the other hand, is a timeworn British term for dark red Bordeaux, but has origins in the wine called ‘Clairette’—a light rosé with its own appellation and a style that couldn’t be farther from The Médoc’s.

Settle down, Scalia

Pet Peeve # 4: No Liquor Sales on Christmas:  I know, I know; seven kids, parochial school, Mass every Sunday and an uncle in the priesthood—I may be a Catholic, but I’m still an atheist.  And an alcoholic.  Denying me liquor on Christmas will cause life-threatening detoxification tremens, and besides, it must violate some unalienable First Amendment right.  Word: If you’re a bored ACLU lawyer looking for a cause, give me a holler—I’d really like to discuss this with Antonin Scalia over a bottle of Brunello.

Pet Peeve # 5:  States With ‘Dry’ Counties.  Ditto on the church and state separation argument.  Last time I was in dry Fleming County, Kentucky, unable to legally buy homebred cheer, I saw a Budweiser truck and actually followed it for twenty miles until it came to its drop stop in ‘wet’ Mason County.  This is silly—extra mileage is bad for the atmosphere, bad for my car and bad for my general state of blissful slightly-buzzed equilibrium.

And here’s a question: If an airplane flies over a dry county, do the passengers have to put down their cocktails?

Clef du Palate

Pet Peeve # 6: Wine ‘Accessories’: I don’t advocate drinking and driving, but neither do I hypocrite much—I’ve done it, and you probably have too.  The most egregious experience I’ve had in this department was also the most creative: Stuck in a white-out blizzard on Woodward, I found myself with a bottle of wine and no corkscrew.  There was, however, a pencil in the glove box, and damn if I didn’t manage to get that sucker opened with a Ticonderoga #2.  Since then, wine keys have existed in my world only as a vague and ultimately superfluous convenience.  A different story is The Corksicle ($23)—a plastic tube filled with freeze gel that chills wine when you insert it obscenely through the bottle’s mouth; Clef du Vin, Pocket Model ($90) said to replicate the ‘wine aging process’ at a rate of one year for every second you submerge this dopey, icky thing in your glass;  Air Au Vin Wine Aerator ($58) which ‘bubbles air through wine’ to help it ‘breath’, which it probably doesn’t need to do anyway; and worst of all, the Pulltex Wine Aroma Kit ($159) which contains 24 vials filled with ‘essences’ that duplicate aromas you might find in your wine and not recognize.  Presumably, you are supposed to sniff through the lot until you can identify precisely what you just smelled in the wine, thus ruining the drinking experience for your date and causing great mirth among the restaurant staff.

Group hug time, schvuntzes??

Pet Peeve # 7: Wine Writers:  No kidding, I hate us.  All this silly esoteric nonsense about terroir and acescence and carbonic maceration; I swear to God, if I have to review one more cab and say it tastes like black fruit, leather, pipe tobacco and mocha I’m going to start taking hostages.  And what’s more, we all hate each other, too.  No?  Google Robert Parker, Jr., the world’s most influential wine critic and the man who single-handedly revolutionized the way the world thinks about wine, and nearly every post will be negative, calling him unethical, biased, one-dimensional and funny-looking.  Know-it-all wine journalist Elin Mccoy wrote a whole book on how much she hates him; Wine Library TV’s smart-ass host Gary Vaynerchuk made a video called ‘Is Robert Parker Jr. Bad For Wine?’ and filmmaker Ed Burley produced a self-described ‘epic’ called ‘Escaping Robert Parker’.

And, I have not the slightest doubt that Parker Jr. hates all four of these self-important schtikdreks.


Well, that’s about all for today’s lesson, kids.  It’s time for me to take my Pet Peeves in for their shots.  I’m going with my Star Trek usual—Beam, straight up—but the peeves are all opting for Jaegermeister slammers.

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