Though born in 1955 – an era more tolerant of misogynistic behavior – this phrase has become part of our national parlance. Often shortened to the softer “To the moon, Alice!“, it was how a hapless Ralph Kramden (the inspiration for the animated Fred Flinstone) struggled to maintain an even keel with his smarter, wittier, wife. It was acceptable, even then, because underneath all his bluster ol’ Ralphie was a lovable, big-hearted guy.
But I’ve thought about Ralph Kramden’s famous phrase every tme I heard news about the anniversary of Apollo 11. Monday, July 20th, marked the 40th anniversary of NASA’s first lunar vacation. And this week, as President Obama hosted the Apollo 11 Astronauts at our nation’s Casa Blanca, they naturally pushed him to invest in future NASA-led trips to Lunar Land, or perhaps Mars, or even an asteroid.
I’m sympathetic to such expensive but romantic explorations, having grown up in the era of the space race. Kids on our block followed NASA’s rocket launches with a fervor and devotion now reserved for important national events such as American Idol. Walking down the street of most suburban neighborhood in the 60’s, one would find every TV tuned to the rocket launch, bedtimes negotiated to allow youngsters to stay up as late as necessary.
And in July of 1969 I was at Camp Big Timber with a particularly ill-prepared and rowdy group of Boy Scouts. We were gathered into the dining hall where several small black-and-white TVs had been brought in, their rabbit-ear antennae (their magical powers enhanced by strips of aluminum foil) providing a barely adequate window to the lunar surface. Our pre-pubescent faces, lit by the bluish glow of the TV tube, watched in nervous awe as the Eagle was piloted to a new landing site, the original one proving too rocky, then set down just as the fuel gauge registered little more than fumes.
Our hair was on end and we were ready to see the moon walk! But hopping out of the lunar lander took a bit longer than opening the door on the family car, so it seemed like hours before Neil Armstrong took his first step and uttered his famous quote. Even though my memory of that step is blurred by rabbit-ear static and the haze of time, it is a memory I’ll take to my grave.
Now I’m sounding like an old man. And that was not my intent. My intent was to tell you about a wine that will put you in orbit. I have just a couple of cases of Dan Tudor’s stellar 2005 Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands. The 2005 (and 2007) vintage is (are) the best for pinot noir since the famed 1986 vintage, and the Santa Lucia Highlands form Monterey County’s most renowned growing area.
Using space-age technology, this region has become known for its bigger pinots from the likes of Garys’ Vineyard and Pisoni. So if you like your pinots lunar-sized (and most peole do, it seems), you’ll love this wine. And the price is out of this world as well – reduced to $33.60 (which is 20% off the normal price of $42!) until I’m sold out! That’s the price club members normally receive on the purchase of two or more cases.
See? It pays to be a subscriber! Or to be more semantically correct – it saves to be a subscriber – but somehow that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
I don’t know if our nation will ever support the expense of continued lunar exploration. We have a number of pricey budget items that refuse to quiet down. But if we do go back, I propose this wine as the one the astronauts should celebrate with. And if we don’t go back, be sure to pop the cork before 2020 – this wine will be best from now through 2012.
Dave the Wine Merchnt
Quote of the Day
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this time period will be more impressive to Mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space. And none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” ~ President John F. Kennedy