A warning label I can get behind

The Prohibition Era destroyed the burgeoning American wine industry, but home winemaking actually increased thanks to an obscure provision of the Volstead Act that allowed people to make 200 gallons of “nonintoxicating” cider and fruit juices each year. Unable to sell wine directly, many growers shipped grapes, grape concentrate, and compressed grape bricks directly to consumers. The bricks came with this helpful warning label:

Warning: Do not place this brick in a one gallon crock, add sugar and water, cover, and let stand for seven days or else an illegal alcoholic beverage will result.

Heaven forfend!

That’s from Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible, which I finally finished this weekend. Though 900 pages long, the writing is lively and interesting throughout and it’s a great resource for wine history and as a guide to the major regions. Highly recommended.


Eternal Recurrence 2.0

And we are back, with a new look, new features, and the long-awaited demise of the yellow masthead. Whaddaya think?

After more than two years of using it, I decided to switch from MoveableType to WordPress. WP is easy to use, requires none of the rebuilding MT does, and is supported by a fantastic community of developers who are doing great things for online publishing.

The only problems with the new site I am aware of are that trackbacks from MT blogs are being ignored, some images still need to be imported, and the RSS feed is shut down very temporarily until one minor text issue is resolved. If you find any other problems, please let me know.

A few new features worth pointing out:

Del.icio.us links — I come across lots of sites each day that I’d like to link to but don’t want to devote an entire entry to. The links at the top of the right sidebar solve this problem by displaying my most recent posts to del.icio.us, a social bookmarking/tagging website. Keep an eye on that section for frequent updates or subscribe to the separate RSS feed. [Plugin by Tom Gilbert.]

Post to del.icio.us — If you’re a del.icio.us user, every entry on this site now includes a link to post to your account. Share the ones you find interesting. [Plugin by Tim Yang.]

Upcoming events — Though I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been busy. Watch this space for some upcoming announcements about magic and wine events. [Plugin by Firetree.net.]

Rotating masthead — The photos in the masthead are rotated randomly; refresh and they will change. A slightly hacked version of the same plugin that does that displays the alternating endorsements at left. [Plugin by Matt Mullenweg.]

Finally, biggest of thanks to webhost extraordinaire Adam Gintis for putting up with my stupid tech questions and fixing all the things I break. It’s a full-time job.

Note to RSS subscribers: This site now publishes a full feed. The new address is here, though the old address should function for the time being (switch anyway just to make me happy). If you don’t already use an RSS reader, I recommend Bloglines.