Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Chapters of my life: PJ Wine - My New York Years


Chapters of my life

PJ Wine - My New York Years 

Part I (2002-2007)



PJ Wine Inwood Manhattan NYC - 
Photo courtesy of John Davis (2016) for Google Map


Memories of my New York years often resurface in my mind, I guess, even after 8 years living in Hong Kong, I have not forgotten my years spent in the Big Apple. 

The year was 2002 when I left London to come to Manhattan, after 5 crazy years living in the British Capitale. At that time, I was following the one that would eventually become my wife. 

After studying in "The Smoke" (a persistent nickname for London, where we met in 2000), she decided to move back to her home country, the US, and settled in "The City that never sleeps" in 2001. 

As for me, after being a Sommelier/Maitre D' and wine buyers for restaurants in various places in France for 6 years (1991-1997), then in  Britain for 5 years (1997-2002), I was about to rejoin my American girlfriend and, without knowing it yet, have a life-changing experience on the other side of the Atlantic. 

I was already seeing myself facing new challenges on the road to success, without really knowing anything about where I was going and what would I find there, or even where will I work. Yet, the lyrics of the eponymous song, "New York, New York", were already echoing in my head: "If I can make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere."....      




I drove all the way down from London to my birth town of Bordeaux.
Map courtesy of Google Map


So, I left London and went back to France, the south-west of France more exactly. I drove all the way down from London to my birth town of Bordeaux. I stayed there for about nearly 8 months, working as Sommelier/Maitre D' for a private caterer supervising the service at wine dinners and events in the many Chateaux of the Graves and Haut-Médoc areas while waiting for my US Visa. It was fun as it allowed me to get reacquainted with numerous Chateaux owners, winemakers and brand ambassadors, I had not seen for years, listening to them talking about their respective property and the quality of the vintages, and of course to taste their wines too (the most interesting part I must say).  

When my US visa came, I was ready to go. This brief interlude of about 8 months back home, in France, living once again at my parent's homes ("s" as they are divorced), after working 5 years in the UK, was somehow needed, but seemed very, very long, as, frankly, I could not wait any longer to see my girlfriend again and start a new chapter of my life in the Empire State.     

I went to New York once before, back in 1998, with a friend of mine, when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were still standing proudly. This city amazed me as much as it scared me. We spent around 10 days visiting pretty much everything and anything the city had to offer. I was fascinated and I knew it will not be my first and last visit. At the end of that trip, on the way back to London, my friend told me that his goal was to go to Asia and maybe settle in Hong Kong or Singapore, he had a thing for Asian women. 


Stunning view of the twin towers and Manhattan skyline at night (late 90s)
by and courtesy of  John Cardasis - Getty Images
extracted from a www.tripsavvy.com article (read it here)

For me, I wanted to experience the American dreams and go back to the US, something that I always wanted to do since my early teenage years. A huge fan of American comics, clothes, music and ways of living, surely due to growing up in the late 70s and 80s in a very Americanized France, I wanted to experience it for myself. And two years after that first trip to NYC, in 2000, while I was still in London, I met my American girl and fall in love with her. Fate? Maybe... Who knows? but definitely a first sign my wish could come true. 

When she moved back to the USA and settled in New York, our relationship took a toll. Distance relationships tend to test the veracity of your sentiments for the other person.  So, I told her that if we wanted our relationship to work, we could not stay any longer that far apart from each other. One of us had to make a move, either me coming to the US or her going back to Europe, for us to be together again. That was the only way. 

Moreover, she had just moved to "Gotham" (another nickname for New York), so if a decision had to be made, it was now or never. So, we decided that the first one who finds a good job for the other would decide on where we will be living. She found me a job first, and I must say, after 5 years in London and no real desire to go back to France (back then), it was not too difficult to convince me.  And I was realizing my wish to one day to live and experience the US for myself. So, moving across the Atlantic it was. My decision was made and there was no going back on it. (And it was easier for me logistically too, so it made more sense). 

Prior living France, during the 8 months waiting for my visa, we phoned and emailed each other very regularly on a weekly basis (even on a daily basis should I say). Each day that passed had its dose of both sweet romances at a distance and "I-cannot-wait-any-longer-anymore" type of moments. But the wait was over, as I was now sitting by a window, flying at 35,000 feet, my eyes looking into the far, staring at the ocean of clouds beneath going as far as the horizon. New York, here I come. 

Hours later, the plane landed at JFK. She was there waiting for me. My heart had both long-awaited and apprehended that moment for months, and here we were, my heart and I facing our destiny. After some "embrassades" and kisses and a few tender words, we took a taxi and aimed for the city. The highway 495 was congested and the traffic rather slow, which gave us the opportunity to talk, look at each other in the eyes, exchange a few kisses and talk some more. 

I was asking a lot of questions and was looking around too. And at some points on the road, within the 3 minutes prior to entering the "Queens Midtown Tunnel" that leads right to the center of the city (exiting just at 37th street, between 2nd and 3rd avenue), there are stunning panoramic views of Manhattan (which usually last less than a few seconds depending on how fast the taxi you're in drives), and once again I was in awe facing the "grandiose" scenery of these buildings piled up on each other, scraping the sky for some of them. New York, here I am.    

Have a look at this short video of the last few minutes on the road 495 (going westbound toward Manhattan) prior to entering the Midtown tunnel, and you'll understand what I'm trying to say (especially if you have never been to New York) (video courtesy and property of "Roadwaywiz" YouTube Chanel). 

 



I did not know exactly where my girl settled down, I had a vague idea, but, apart from some memories from my first trip 4 years back, I did not really know the town. My eyes could not resist looking outside and realize (once again) how "grand" everything is in Manhattan: the buildings, but also the streets and avenues, the monuments, the signboards, but also the people too, tall and large, no wonder why the portions of food are so big here. 





🔺 Work in Progress - Post to be finished soon  🔺


       
LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noel 
       




Monday, April 8, 2019

The United States Natural Disasters Map


The United States Natural Disasters Map 


For those of you who know me well or who have read my posts for the past 10 years on this blog, you know that I'm very concerned by climate changes, global warming, pollution and natural disasters. 

I have explicitly and repeatedly expressed my opinions, fears and doubts on these subjects, countless times, as their ramifications are dangerous and disastrous for the health and safety of all beings, the environment and the whole planet overall. 

Like many of you, I have kids, and I'm worried, even scared, for their future, as these four types of events (climate changes, global warming, pollution and natural disasters) have increasingly occurred, more recurrently and more violently, over the last 15-20 years. 

Of course, sceptics and other anti-climate-change, as well as anti-global-warming people, will probably tell me that there is nothing to fear and that all of these are just a bunch of lies and nonsense. 

Well, whatever you believe, these four types of events are real and they are happening, even faster than what the scientists' computers and algorithms ever predicted. The situation has become quite critical and alarming. 

Yet, despite the distressful warning stated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (read it here), about the rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of our society, that would be required to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, these changes are not ready to be made (and probably won't be made) by the leaders, politicians, economists, financial institutions, leading companies and lobbyists of the major developed countries, as it is not and would not be profitable, and might prove financially, economically and demographically impossible. 


Basically, they are leaving the problems as they are, rather than finding solutions, hoping maybe that things will take care of themselves on their own, with time, and surely thinking alike that wars, genocides, famines, epidemics, drugs and poverty have always been good things that helped (and still do today) regulating the population growth and thus the demographic part of the problem. Scary to think like this, but it is a sad reality, unfortunately (anybody thinking about Thanos right now?)... 


Therefore, and consequently, and instead of making the changes for the greater good of mankind and all life on earth, they will continue to do nothing, to be in total denial and to procrastinate, even if (or maybe, because) they know it is already too late and that we have already reached the point of no return, when/where it is no longer reversible unless drastic changes are made now, today, not in 2030 or 2050. But maybe doing nothing will serve their ambitions, as it won't be the law of the fittest or the smartest, but the law of the richest, the ones with the privileges of power and money like it has been described in many books and movies. Yesterday and today's fiction will become tomorrow's reality. 


And today's reality is quite scary has it is. Wars, genocides, famines, epidemics, drugs and poverty are even more present now than they were 50 years ago. The world is even more divided than it used to be back then. People are rioting and striking in the streets for their rights and their desire for changes. There is an increasing interest for people to think alike and vote for the extremist and nationalist parties (both side, left and right). We are living an age of communication where people communicate less and less. We have never been better connected than with nowadays technologies, yet most people feel lonelier, more desperate and miserable, lost in their own virtual world, oblivious to a reality they are trying to escape. 


We are now close to 8 billion people on earth. That's twice more than 60 years ago (we were about 4 billion back in the 50s-60s after the baby boom) and four times more than 110 years ago (we were only about 2 billion in the early 1900s). We are living on a planet that is shrinking by the day (that's a figure of speech), the victim of our over-production and over-consumption, as we are now consuming our supply of annually renewable resources in soon-to-be only half a year (currently 8 months, in fact, annually renewable resources are currently used up by August), forcing us to tap into non-annually-renewable resources a bit more each year. (have a quick at http://www.worldometers.info/ for more factual numbers).


However, this reality is catching up fast, and faster than we thought. And something has to be done in order to make these changes to save our little planet and thus save ourselves.

  • Climate changes are occurring in most countries nowadays: seasons have changed and slightly shifted to earlier or later than they used to be, or even drastically decreased (and/or even disappeared in some parts of the globe) over the last 50 years, and even more rapidly over the last 15-20 years, more especially in the northern hemisphere. Winters are warmer at the poles but much colder and snowier than they used to be in other places, or are, now, insignificant in other places where they used to be more significant or longer. Spring seems to arrive earlier in some places, and later in others. Summers are hotter than they used to be, yet dryer in some parts of the globe with longer drought periods, while more humid and generating massive storms in other parts. These changes in global, national or regional climate patterns, have been even more apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and, beside being indirectly or directly related with global warming, they have largely been attributed to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels and energies (gas, oil and coal), resulting in an accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; in turn, generating and creating new weather patterns that are less stable, and less consistent, and thus less predictable. Basically, they could be resumed as a change in the statistical properties of the climate system, caused by sudden and drastic changes of the air pressure, of the temperatures and humidity levels in the air and other intricate factors in our atmosphere, leaving us less and less chance to predict or anticipate what could happen with the weather and climate conditions in the short and long term.  

  • Global warming is a fact, and has been increasing slowly over the last 50 years, and more rapidly over the last 10-15 years, with each year ending up being hotter than the previous one, more especially in the Northern atmosphere, where it seems that each year breaks new highest temperatures records to date. Temperatures are now rising earlier in the year, as early as February in some places, creating the illusion that winters are shorter and bringing warmer days than usual earlier in the season, thus destabilizing the nature, which usually ends up starting its budding and bourgeoning cycle way too early, faced with increasing risks of frost due to sudden temperature drops, as, in fact, winter is not finished yet and cold is not over yet either. Summers are getting hotter and dryer in some parts and more humid in others, these unbalanced conditions create massive super storms and typhoons as well as hail storm (all of these with direct and/or indirect relation and/or even as a consequence of global warming AND climate changes of course). You can read some very interesting articles on the subject, from Insideclimatenews.org here and from Science Magazine here and also this one from climatecentral.org here (these are just a few among so many others that have been written on the subject)  

  • Pollution is a real disaster, a catastrophe for the environment, threatening our health and safety, and more importantly the future of the upcoming generations. As humans continue to pollute every day, and despite a minority fighting it, nothing is really done by most countries or governments to find concrete and efficient solutions for it. We have created and invented (and we still do today) without measuring or even anticipating the consequences and collateral damages of our creations and inventions in the long term. Although, nowadays, the trend is to go back to more natural methods and practices, to respect the environment and reverse the process to diminish the pollution of the air, ground and water, we continue to only develop alternatives to deal and handle the consequences, instead of tackling the problem at the source to eradicate it. Despite the fact that we are (and have been for decades) fully aware of the problem with plastics and other derivatives of fossil fuels and energies (gas, oil and coal), being none biodegradable, we still continue to produce it and in even greater quantities. And , although, we constantly see more and more campaigns and actions asking (begging I should say) us to refrain our use of plastics, to reduce the quantity and the use of single-use plastics and consequently diminish our production (or "beyond overproduction" should I say) of plastics; we continue to produce more and more plastics as they are cheaper to produce than to recycle. We are basically shooting a bullet in our own foot, while we know it hurts, but are trying to remain oblivious to the pain and suffering it causes us and ignore the loss of blood. That's crazy! Let's take fruit for example, like bananas, they are now available in supermarkets, individually wrapped up in plastic film in turn put into a plastic bag or box, isn't it insane? 

Producing more plastics and other none-biodegradable products is insane, more especially, when knowing that, (at the end of the day), we only have 3 solutions!!! Solutions that are harmful to our planet and far from being ideal as they generate health hazards and issues, but so far, they are the only solutions we have to get rid of our trash, rejects and other none-biodegradable stuff: 
 
    • Burn them, but incinerate them pollutes the air (consequently the atmosphere)
    • Bury them, but it pollutes the ground and the groundwater
    • Sink them, but it pollutes the ocean, deltas and rivers and other bodies of water      


If you don't believe me, then you should read attentively the United Nations official reports then, at  https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/reports.shtml 


And the problem is that the causes and consequences of our everyday actions, as well as our bad decisions and habits (due to differences of cultures, traditions, beliefs and educations), which result in over-production and over-consumption, as well as over-construction, land reclaiming and destruction of the environment (forests, mines, agriculture, etc...), having direct and indirect consequences and ramifications generating Climate Changes (change in the air and atmosphere), Global Warming (fall and rise of the temperatures) and the increasing Pollution (due to a constant demographic growth requiring more production and more consumption of water, food, goods and energies), seem to have a direct effect, or at the least, a certain influence on Natural Disasters. 


Although Natural Disasters have always existed and will continue to exist long after the disappearance of the humans (and probably most life on earth), it seems that climate changes, global warming and pollution have something to do (directly and/or indirectly) with the strength (not to say "violence") and the rather increasing number and occurrence of these natural events (around the globe) over the last 15-20 years. 


Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, mega-storms, typhoons, hail-storms, tornados, heavy rainstorms, electric storms, droughts, wildfires, volcanos, eruptions, and other geological processes, causing great damage and/or loss of life, have been occurring more often, more rapidly and more suddenly, and especially more dramatically, over the last 15-20 years, even happening in places where they previously very rarely happened or even where they never existed before. 


The climate changes and shifts of seasons, the rise of temperatures, the melting of the polar ice caps,  the rise of the water, the variation of salinity of the sea and oceans, the variations and slight deviations in the course of the warm and cold currents in the oceans, the natural and forced erosion due to human's reclaimed lands (land reclamation) and other constructions, the use of chemicals like silver iodide, potassium iodide and/or dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) or even liquid propane during cloud seeding, and many other factors induced by human's activities (actions and habits), seem to have had a direct impact on the Natural Disasters, their strength and their frequency.      


They are many websites and apps that you can check to get info and knowledge about Natural Disasters around the planet (globally, nationally and/or regionally). Yet to take a concrete example, I like to bring your attention to a particular website called www.ADT.com (a website specialized in security and safety accessories, systems and solutions for personal home, as well as commercial and businesses buildings).   


Phebe Opoku, Communications Specialist at www.ADT.com, contacted me via email (apparently) after reading one of my posts (from Jan 2011), where I was mentioning "natural disasters" and listing some websites and organisations links to take invite my readers to take some actions against climate change, global warming and encourage to converting agriculture especially viticulture to organic and biodynamic farming to help save our planets (read this post here), and thought I’d be interested in spreading awareness by including the following link to the main page or one of the posts on my blog:  


At first, I found it a bit strange, but then I understood what was her intention, when I read her explanation saying "Our team at ADT has analyzed sixty­-five years of FEMA data (see FEMA website here for more details) and released an interactive disaster risk map that calculates the risk natural threats pose, across the United States. One can simply input a ZIP code and view the area’s exposure to natural hazards." 

Intrigued by her request, I clicked on the link she sent me (https://www.adt.com/natural-disasters) to better understand what this natural disaster map was, and once I browsed around this map for a little while, I found it so interesting that I obliged her request and it led me to write this post. 



United States Natural Disasters Map courtesy of www.adt.com 




Click on the link, then click anywhere on the map (the area in red being the ones with the most disasters) and you will quickly understand that this is an interactive map of the United States of America, allowing you to click on specific areas (understand that each state has been divided into numerous areas) to show the FEMA total count of natural disasters which occurred in each specific area since 1964.  

I personally found this map really interesting and eye-opening in terms of the data recorded and for the info, it provides for each area. It might not be of interest for people outside the US (which is understandable), but it seems to be particularly helpful for the people living in the US, more specifically the areas in red, which have been the most badly touched by natural disasters as per FEMA data recorded since 1964. 

Click on the link above and have a look, you'll see, it might give info about the disasters you had no clue happened in the area you're living in. 


That's all folks for today! Stay tuned for more post coming soon. 

And remember, do something every day to save the planet, even the most little gesture is significant. 

Step into the Green! Drink more Biodynamic, Biologique and Organic wines and spirits (and food) from sustainable culture and respect the environment! Support the right causes for the Planet and all the people suffering all around the globe! 

Also follow projects and products from the Fair Trade, an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. 

Also support 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that donate at least 1% of their annual revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. "Commerce Equitable" or "Fair Trade" is evidently and more than ever a needed movement connecting producers and customers, to be aware of others and their cultural and traditional products based on high quality, natural components and craftsmanship. 

Cheers! Santé!

LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noel)




Top 100 Wine Blogs List


Top 100 Wine Blogs List



"Awarded Top 100 Wine Blog" badge courtesy of https://blog.feedspot.com




To all my wine blogger friends out there, did you ever wonder if a "Top 100 Wine Blogs" list ever existed somewhere online? Well, stop searching, as I found an interesting one. 

Fairly recently, I was searching for such a "Top Wine Blogs" list and stumbled across the one from https://blog.feedspot.com  (via an email sent to me by Anuj Agarwal, the founder of Feedspot (*)), and I was pretty pleased to see in the list some of the wine blogs I have been following for years and others I have been regularly reading their articles, like Wine Folly, Wine Wankers, Vinography, and a few more.     

Click on or cut and paste the following link to get to Feedspot.com "Top 100 Wine Blogs" list


If you scroll down the list you may happen to see your humble servant at the position # 92 (**), so a huge

 THANK YOU

to all of you for your continuing support and help and feedbacks since my first post back in August 2008 (read it here). 

Cheers! Santé!

LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noel) 



(*) Anuj Agarwal, the founder of Feedspot, emailed me to ask me if I had any interest to subscribe to Feedspot and register for the Top 100 Wine Blogs list and put a link on my blog to advertise the list. I hesitated at first because subscribing is not free, but then I thought it wouldn't hurt my blog to get more recognition, traffic and views via another platform such as Feedspot. 

(**) The position (of www.ledomduvin.com in the list) might change as the list is updated once a week with data collected/transferred from their index using search and social metrics on thousands of wine blog. They also have a Top 200 Wine Blogs List, so, if my position goes lower, I may still make this one 😊. Thanks again for your continuing support. 




Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Poem in crescendo to an unknown love


Poem in crescendo to an unknown love




Poem in crescendo to an unknown love by ©LeDomduVin 2019



I have been writing stories and poems (and scenarios, comics and even books), since my very early childhood, even taking the pictures or drawing the illustrations for them for as long as I can remember. I was writing and drawing everywhere I could and whenever I could (even whenever I couldn't, meaning during classes that had no interest to me, while faking listening to the teacher). 

It was bad... I was bad.... always lost in my world... always pushing the limit of my imagination and my creativity... and barely able to concentrate on the more serious and concrete things life is made of.     

I only write on inspiration, I never force myself to write. If it comes, it comes and I can fill up tones pages and spend hours without stopping as long as the inspiration comes. If it doesn't, then I don't, and won't even try. 

But this morning was one of these mornings where inspiration stroke me. I woke up formulating in my mind the 2nd verse of the poem below... for some reasons, the metaphor in the verse would not leave my mind... Did I wake up horny?... maybe, but I don't think so.... the image in my mind was more subtle and refined than a sudden body need... it was gentle and tender... like something I haven't done for a long time and wanted to do... slowly, quietly, patiently, affectionately... taking all the time in the world to do it...          

And as I wrote the second verse down, it inspired the first one, then the rest of the poem flowed effortlessly, transcribing the images "au fur et à mesure" (gradually) appearing in my mind. 

I would like to dedicate this poem to my brother Matthieu (who somehow inspired part of this poem) and all the lonely souls in this world (male and female, as this poem, can be applied to both), for them to believe in themselves a bit more, gain some self-confidence and find the strength to be stronger inside to fight their fears and doubts, to have more confidence and to face their personal challenges to one day finally find their soulmate . 

So, without further due, here it is..... 



Poem in crescendo to an unknown love



One day I would love to tell you
What I really think about you
Tell you in a whisper: “I love you!”
That I would love to make love to you

That I’d love to sense your body
Shivering under the caress of my hand
Undulating along your curves slowly
Feeling the emotion through your skin

That I’d love to run my hand in your hair
For a while let my fingers linger there
Before gradually descending on your neck  
Then gently draw the contour of your face

That I’d love to lose myself in your regard
Taking the time to look at you and pose there
Redefining the lines of your face with my timid stare
Exchanging eyes in eyes our sentiments for each other

That I’d love to share and laugh with you
And I’d hate arguing and fighting with you
And how the view of your smile and sparks in your eyes
Can magickly brighten any of my darkening skies

That I’d love endless conversations
without moving the lips, not saying a word
or on the contrary with thousand words
to always share our interests and passions

That I’d love to sit down on the beach
Watching your beautiful silhouette in the sunlight
Imagining things already while you walk toward me
Returning your smile embellishing your visage

That I’d love to indefinitely keep in mind
The picture of you in these beige sepia tones under the bright sun
Droplets of the ocean still streaming on your skin
While we lay down, our bodies and lips reuniting

That I’d love to watch the seasons pass by at your side
Watching Nature awaken in Spring then swimming the waves in the warmth of summer
Dancing with the leaves in autumn while strolling in the wild
Cuddling in bed, then skiing the slopes and playing in the snow in winter

That I’d love to lay down beside you, both looking at the sky
Your head next to mine guessing the shapes in the clouds
Admiring the immensity of the universe by a bright summer night
Gazing at the stars, our imagination and dreams knowing no bounds  

And there are so many other things that I would love to say to you…
But as I remain speechless, distant, too shy and insecure to approach you
Glancing at you furtively from afar despite my inner desire to let you know
While noticing the expression in my eyes, I’ll doubt you’ll do the first step to say hello…  



Poem by Dominique Noël

April 3rd, 2019

©DominqueNoël 2019 ©LeDomduVin 2019


Hope you liked this sentimental poem... let me know in the comments if you want.. 

I had a lot of pleasure writing it, and if I knew how to play an instrument I think I will even make it as a song, as I was almost singing it while writing it somehow..... 

That's all folks for today, 

Stay tuned for more posts about wine, and life in general, coming soon. 

LeDomduVin 2019

#poem #song #lespoemesadom #leschansonsadom #lescreationsadom #leshistoiresadom #ledomduvin #dominiquenoel #life #love #poeme #amour #vie

Friday, March 29, 2019

Raconte-moi..... a great little song


"Raconte-Moi..."

A great little song


Tracey Kent - Raconte-moi... Album Cover


"Raconte-moi" is a great little song that I love, sang by Jazz singer Tracey Kent. Her smooth, soft, low-key voice sets the romantic and lazy Sunday morning mood of this song. 

One of my Hongkongese colleagues who also love that song asked me to translate it for him to have a better idea of what the song is talking about. 

So, I obliged him by translating to the best I could the metaphorical lyrics of that song written by Bernie Beaupere, Jean-Karl Lucas, Emilie Satt. 

At first, I told myself that I will use "Google Translation" to see what the literal translation could be, however, I immediately realized that Google had no clue about the metaphors used in this song and the translation was stupid at best and awkward at worst and didn't make much sense overall.   

So, I decided to translate it myself, with my understanding and interpretation of the lyrics' words and metaphors. I love doing this exercise of translating, whether it is a text, a book, a song, a poem or whatever else, I found it fun to translate either from French to English, or English to French. I have always loved doing it.




French understanding and singing along
of English and American Songs on the Radio back in the 80s
by ©LeDomduVin 2019


More especially when I was young listening to the English and American songs on the radio, singing along incomprehensible and incorrect words, in some sort of English with my strong French accent, which in fact sounded more like Franglish, believing I was really singing correctly the lyrics of the songs...  but I only realized my "partial" (should I say "quasi-inexistent") understanding of the songs  when I was looking at the lyrics on the back of the vinyl's cover (33 Tours) or reading them in the booklet coming with the "cassette" (music tape).

To better understand the lyrics, I looked up the words in my English-French dictionary first, then write them down and tried to translate the set of words of the songs, more in a literal way then in a comprehensible way I must say.....  It was fun and usually gave me a different perspective on the meaning of the song... some songs were really cool, others were really lame and cheesy ... but I still like them...

So, without further due, here is the translation of this great little song called "Raconte-moi" or  "Tell me" in English by Tracey Kent. 

Lyrics in French Translation in English
Raconte-moi Tell me
La lumière ruisselle The light is streaming
Derrière le rideau Behind the curtain
Une voix de cresselle A rattle voice
Dit qu'il va faire beau Says the weather will be nice
Mais je m'en fou pas mal des choses de la rue But I do not care much about things in the street
Y'a des caresses, des croissants tout chauds There are some caresses, hot croissants
Du thé à l'amour et des fruits confus Tea with love and confused fruits
Serve-moi encore un petit verre d'eau Poor me a little glass of water
Raconte-moi des rêves Tell me about dreams
Au gout du cajou With taste of cashew
Sur un bout de grève On the tip of a shore
Le long de ton cou Along your neck
Sens là c'est des soleils Feel there, these are suns
Sur ta peau saline On your salty skin
Dessine-moi une abeille Draw me a bee
Que je te butine So I can lick you
Midi qui klaxonne Midday is honking 
Sur le macadame On the macadam
Les bistros bourdonnent The Bistros are buzzing
L'assenceur qui brumme The elevator is growling 
Mais je m'en fou pas mal des choses de la rue But I do not care much about things in the street
Donne moi plutôt un savon qui mousse Rather give me a soap that foam
Je ferais l'animal pris au dépourvu I will do the animal caught off guard
Si tu me fais des chose si douces If you do to me such sweet things
Racontes-moi des rêves Tell me about dreams
Des histoires de fou Crazy stories
Sur le bout des lèvres On the tip of your lips
Racontes-moi tout Tell me everything
Sens là c'est des soleils Feel there, these are suns
Sur ta peau saline On your salty skin
Dessine-moi une abeille Draw me a bee
Que je te butinne So I can lick you
Le jour qui grisonne The day is turning grey
Les heures qui se fanent The hours are fading
Faut que tu telephones You should give a phone call
A tes états d'âmes to your moods
Mais je m'en fou pas mal des choses de ta vie But I do not care much about things in your life
De tes rendez-vous que tu n'as pas pris Of your appointments that you did not take
De tes mecredis qui sont bien remplies Of your Wednesdays which are well filled
Et de ton mobile qui n'a plus de batterie And your mobile phone that has no battery
Racontes-moi des rêves Tell me about dreams
Des histoires de fou Crazy stories
Si le jour se lève If the day comes up
Dis lui qu'on s'en fou Tell him we do not care
Sens là c'est des soleils Feel there, these are suns
Sur ta peau saline On your salty skin
Dessine-moi une abeille Draw me a bee
Que je te butine That I can lick you



I love this song because of the story it tells us. The story of a couple, still in bed, probably on a lazy Sunday morning. The woman is looking at the sun rising behind the curtain, forming patches of light that she calls "suns" on the skin of her partner. And she briefly looked in the street by the window, but she obviously does not care about what is happening outside, as she feels comfy and nice, cuddling and kissing in the bed, and obviously has something in mind.....

That's all folks for today,

Just a little song I love and that you can watch on YouTube






Stay tuned for more posts coming soon 

LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noel





Friday, February 8, 2019

My take on Biodynamic


My take on Biodynamic



"The Last Supper" (a Wine Discussion) revisited by ©LeDomduVin 2019
Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" (Wine Discussion) revisited by ©LeDomduVin 2019
Original Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


What better way to visually introduce the subject of Biodynamic Farming and Viticulture than being depicted as a wine discussion between Jesus and his Apostles in Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting of "The Last Supper"...

(a painting revisited by your humble servant exclusively for this post... I must say I'm really proud of myself on this one 😊 ... my apologies to those who might be offended and no offense to the religion ... to read this "last Supper" wine discussion, you can either go from the left to the right of the table or start with Jesus speech balloon (in the middle) and continue to the right-hand side of the table first, then read the left-hand side of the table ... your left and right, not Jesus' left and right...)...


So, let's talk about Biodynamic, shall we?


1. Are "Humans coming to their sense"? 


Since its creation, back in 1924, Biodynamic has been the subject of endless discussions, mingling criticism and scepticism, dividing people and forcing them to either stand between the lines or firmly camp on their position and stand with their opinions; hence my illustration above, as Biodynamic is like an endless and recurring subject of conversation.... (sigh) 

I can already hear you say: "Here we go again, another article about Biodynamic...", putting back on the table (once again) this controversial subject (and its practices) that has been debated for now more than 90 years... And I will say: Yes! You are right, it is another article on "Biodynamic", but with a slightly different approach somehow...

And why not after all?  Biodynamic has experienced a resurgence over the last 20-25 years, during which its recognition increasingly expanded. More especially, it gained countless adepts over the last 10-15 years (roughly....), as prior to that, only a minority had ever heard about it, and an even smaller number of people believed in it, and even fewer practised it.... nowadays it is on everyone's lips... it is almost a trend somehow...

Biodynamic is nearly unavoidable, (and it is a good thing), as humans are finally coming to their senses, realizing that Earth needs to be saved and that they need to be more disciplined, stop overproduction and overconsumption, and, more particularly, that they must stop destroying the planet by polluting the ground, the water and the air with chemicals and plastics and other fossil energies derivated products, to go back to more natural and environmentally friendly methods and cultures.

"Humans are finally coming to their senses..." well, let's not be too hasty on this one... only some humans, not all humans... only a very small minority of them in fact..... which is a little hope... like a silver lining in the gloomy future awaiting us tomorrow... (some used to say 100 years, scientists used to say maybe in 50 years, nowadays, realizing changes have been occurring and coming much faster than their computers and algorithms predicted them, scientists revised their prediction to 15-20 years.... talking about 2030 at the earliest....)... but would that be enough to save us? Surely not, unless we all decide to make that change.....

So, "coming to their senses", maybe, but a bit late, in my opinion... too late maybe, probably, and unfortunately, as nothing has been done to this day to radically change our bad habits and ways of living. We have the know-how, the manpower and the technologies to do it, but we aren't doing anything about it. It is almost like to the point that humans have seen the wall they are going to crash into, for more than half a century now, but they haven't changed course and are still driving right ahead, straight into it...  worst, they are building this wall they will crash into, so not only they have seen it, but, furthermore, they have been elaborating its construction for decades knowing that they will crash into it, but that did not stop them.... (sigh)

Let take "Plastic" for example. Plastic and basically all of the derivated products made from hydrocarbons in fossil energies like natural gas, oil (petroleum) and coal. Plastic is a scourge, a curse, a plague, a flail for humanity... yet it simplified and tremendously helped certain things and aspects of our daily lives since its creation in the 1800s... yet, it became our nemesis, as we still don't know how to recycle it properly, and as it is cheaper to produce than to recycle... 

As per the statistics, only 10-15% of all the plastics produced in the world are recycled, and this recycling is incredibly onerous, expensive and consumes a lot of energy....   and, as per certain websites, like https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/: "We are now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year." Therefore, the rest is either incinerated (which pollute the air) or buried in landfills (which pollute the soil). 

As we do not have any other solutions for our rejects: they can only either be burned, buried or sank, then, we are basically doomed... Even more so, as money, power and politic are stronger than common sense and saving the planet...  And it is a fact! Frankly, I don't  think humans will ever come to their senses.... it will be a miracle if it happens.... (sigh) 


2. So why writing, yet, again, another article on Biodynamic? 


It occurred to me that I wanted (or needed) to voice out my opinion and write an article about Biodynamic, when, sometimes ago, I read an interesting little article on Biodynamic (here) where the person was roughly saying that (in his opinion (*)):
  • Biodynamic is better than Organic, Natural, Lutte Raisonnée, Integrated Farming, Sustainable agriculture or conventional agricultural methods (in short, better than any other wines produced by other methods)
  • He has never been disappointed by a Biodynamic wine compared to other wines produced with the other methods (cited above)    
In his article, he explains the reasons why he prefers Biodynamic wines over any other wines, and I must say that, for the most part, I cannot necessarily disagree with him. Yet, (and like with many of the other articles that have been written on the subject over the past 2 decades) certain things in his article made me wonder and made me ask myself a few questions. 

The reason why such articles about biodynamic viticulture (biodynamic farming in general) and biodynamic wines always make me wonder, is because, every time I just finished reading an article on the subject, it annoyingly makes me feel that the person who wrote it would rather have all vineyards converted and all wines produced under biodynamic methods, disregarding, or even worst, discarding all the other methods.

And, every time, I feel that way, it really irritates me somewhat... (...you know that feeling that if the guy (or gal) was right in front of you, you would probably tell him/her a few words...)... and always makes me wonder why they don't (or can't) understand that biodynamic methods and processes cannot necessarily be applied everywhere (meaning not in certain regions and/or under certain climate/micro-climate), and thus not every vineyards can be converted to and not every wines can be Biodynamic. 

Of course, it will be great and so much better (to a certain extent), if all the vineyards and wines of the world could be respectively converted to and produced via the biodynamic methods: better for the environment, better for the soil and subsoil, for the plant, for the life surrounding the vines and the vineyards (fauna and flora), etc..etc..

But, and I'm sorry to say, it might prove impossible (for now) depending on the region of production and location (geography, topography, geology, climate, sub-climate, etc..) and with this post, I will try to explain to you why...

You might agree or strongly disagree... however, here is my take on biodynamic and what I have to say about it (which comes as a complement to an old post I wrote back in 2009 - read it here)







Simplified Rudolf Steiner's Biodynamic Farming Theory for Newbies by ©LeDomduVin 2019


1. First, let's go back to basic... what is biodynamic?


So, first of all, do you know what is Biodynamic? My illustration above, somewhat, illustrates, (in a simplified way), Mr. Rudolf Steiner Biodynamic Farming Theory. Yet, it is so much more complex than that...  However, it is a start, more especially for all of you, newbies of the millennial generation, who have grown up hearing that word everywhere and for everything, but don't have a clue about what it is or what it refers to really.... (Am-I wrong?)    

So let's google it, shall we? Like everybody else, when searching for a word online (on the internet), one of the first links that come up is "Wikipedia" and Wikipedia says the following:

"Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.Wikipedia

So, there you are! You now know what Biodynamic Agriculture (and thus Viticulture) is... or do you, really?

Of course, you do not know, as no one can fully understand what biodynamic viticulture is without having read and experienced plenty on the subject, and more especially studied and applied the work of Rudolf Steiner.... or without having lived as a farmer in the countryside prior 1850s, or practicing the methods for a few years in a vineyard converted to biodynamic....

So, to learn on the subject, you can always start by reading the Wikipedia article and other articles on the subject (like some of my previous posts here and/or here too), after which you might start to feel that you might have somewhat understood something about it (or at least more than before), which is a good thing....  

Yet, and even if some of you may already consider themselves as experts on the subject and surely do not need any lecture or guidance from a Sommelier like me (which I could definitely understand),  please allow me to try to resume the big lines quickly for you.


💥 Work in progress 💥






Rudolf (Joseph Lorenz) Steiner (1861-1925)
Austrian philosopher, scientist, social reformer, architect, scholar, lecturer, and esotericist, etc...

2. Rudolf Steiner and the concept of Biodynamic Farming (Agriculture and Viticulture)


The Biodynamic Farming Theory (or concept if you prefer) was elaborated/created (or founded if you prefer) by Rudolf Steiner back in 1924, based on the lectures of ideas, concepts, researches and studies on agriculture he started at an earlier stage, back in 1910, in response to questions asked by farmers and growers facing the depletion of soils and a general deterioration of crops and livestock (in Austria and Germany). 

Moreover, back then between 1910 - 1918, the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), also the end of and after WWI, between 1918-1924, the market value of Austrian agricultural products and services decreased by nearly 48% (**), which did not help to reassure the worried farmers and growers.  

The depletion of the soils and deterioration of the crops and livestock were, (directly and/or indirectly), the consequences of the "Second Industrial Revolution" (1870-1914), World War I (1914-1918), as well as the end of the Austria-Hungary Dual Monarchy (1867-1918), leaving Austria and Germany in bad shape... A solution needed to be found.  

A man of many hats and controversial public figure, Rudolf (Joseph Lorenz) Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher, skilled scientist, social reformer, architect, scholar, lecturer and an esotericist, who initially gained some recognition at the end of the 19th century as a literary critic and published philosophical works; then founded, at the beginning of the 20th century, the esoteric spiritual movement called "Anthroposophy" (a blend of philosophy and theosophy), and published books on philosophy, theosophy, life, education as well as on esoteric and occult sciences, while attempting to synthesise science and spirituality.  

Around 1910, Steiner, who was everything but a farmer (actively involved into art and architecture at the time), embarked on a personal study and research on farming and agriculture, and thus the science of the soils and the plants and their environments. In fact, he mostly gathered and applied the old know-how and practices of the old days farming and agriculture, to which he applied esoteric concepts and processes with a cosmological-spiritual-ethical-ecological approach.   

Rudolf Steiner gave eight lectures on “the spiritual foundations for a renewal of agriculture.” 

Based on his suggestions and spiritual science, generations of farmers, gardeners, viticulturist, and researchers developed biodynamics as a healing, nurturing, holistic, ecological, organic, and spiritual approach to a sustainable care of the Earth. Biodynamic methods consider the farm or garden to be a self-contained organism, embedded in the living landscape of the Earth, which is in turn part of a living, dynamic cosmos of vital, spiritual energies. The aim is to increase the health and vitality of the whole, including the farmer or gardener. The biodynamic practitioner follows an alchemical, transformative path of working with the Earth through the nine “homeopathic” preparations created by Steiner.


💥 Work in progress 💥








Bio (Organic), Biodynamic, Natural, Lutte Raisonnée, etc... by ©LeDomduVin 2019




3. How we had to invent new words to redefine what used to be simply know as "farming".... and the use of chemicals....


As I said in my illustration above, people often confuse organic, biodynamic and natural wines... But in fact, it is essential to make the difference between Bio (Organic), Biodynamic, Natural, Lutte Raisonnée, sustainable viticulture, conventional viticulture, etc... 

Anciently simply known as "Farming", "Organic" and "Biodynamic" culture and agriculture have in fact both always existed under the sole and unique name of "Farming"until let's say the apparition and use of the chemicals.

Farming was the way of the past, and when I say "past", I mean the good old days of our great-great-great-grandparents. More precisely, the old days prior chemicals first appearance during the "Industrial Revolution" within the second half of the 18th century.

Rooted in the alchemy of the medieval times, chemistry led to the creation of chemicals roughly around 1750s, then first classified around the late 1780s by Lavaoisier in his "Methods of Chemical Nomenclature" (1787), where he invented a system of naming and classification still largely in use today, including names such as sulfuric acid, sulfates, and sulfites (***).


, Chemicals were further developed around the end of the 19th century, and their use gradually intensified up to the point when they were heavily manufactured and commercialized in the early 20th century, first around "World War I" and then more especially after and since "World War II".

In fact, Farming was the way our great-great-great grandfather use to do it. At the time, treatment of the vines was more natural and respectful of the soils, subsoil and overall environment (obviously as chemicals did not exist and therefore were not around to be used, duh....). Therefore, the knowledge, skills, experiences, and wisdom of the old and wise were passed on from father to son, mother to daughter (and/or vice versa), and work in the field and vineyards was done according to the seasons and the lunar calendar.

The old and wise were men and women of earth. Peasants, or farmers if you prefer, who knew what to do by experiences, experiments, as well as from what they learned from their elders and by observing and following the life circles of nature. All these allowed them to know that certain things needed to be done at a certain time of the year or at a certain period of the vegetative life cycle stages. They knew how to recognize the signs of Mother Nature by living in perfect symbiosis and respect with their environment and the land they were working on and feeding on a daily basis.



💥 Work in progress 💥



(*) Funny enough, when I started to write this post I wrote at first "she said this" (e.g. in her opinion) and refer to that person as a "she" (not a "He") not having realized that it was a man (not a woman) who wrote the article I just read.... even if his picture and a short bio end the article..... Oooops...  I changed it after reading the article a second time... feminine style of writing maybe, eh? ... 😉 I then later on corrected my post by replacing the "She" by "He", but I swear, at first, I really thought "he" (i.e. the writer) was actually a "she".... go figure... 

(**) Info sourced from Encyclopedia.1914-1918 (read the full article here)

(***) Info courtesy of Wikipedia, read the full article here





Unless specified or indicated otherwise, all writings, texts, photo, pictures, illustrations, collages and all other mediums used in LeDomduVin are made by and for © LeDomduVin (2019)