Monday, November 7, 2011


But blogging will still be slow for a while. I just got back from a long weekend in the mountains with Kate at a bed and breakfast run out of Senator Harry Byrd's old house in Berryville, Virginia. "House" doesn't do it justice - it's called Rosemont Manor. We stayed in the Roosevelt Suite, so named because - you guessed it - Byrd used to entertain FDR there. We picked up almost two cases of wine from six different wineries that are all farther west than we usually visit. The changing foliage is at its height now - a great trip.

I have one pet peeve for all aspiring inn-keepers: sparsely populating your bookshelves with a few volumes of the Harvard Classics and a couple books on FDR looks really bad. If you have a bookshelf and you are putting books on it, fill it. Six books on a whole book shelf looks really tacky. It doesn't matter all that much what you fill it with, just fill it or leave it empty. That having been said, I did enjoy reading a few essays by Francis Bacon from the aforementioned Harvard Classics, including some very interesting thoughts he had on usury. I also used the weekend to revisit some Keynes - I reread The End of Laissez Faire, and got most of the way through Economic Consequences of the Peace (which is a really excellent book, and probably gets too much lip-service and less actual thought than it deserves).


  1. Bob, I was wondering the same thing. Haha. I am a pretty quick reader (between 20-40 pages an hour depending upon format and content); but gol-lee! (hillbilly jargon for holy smokes)

    In either case, welcome back Mr. Kuehn. I hope that your vacation was both relaxing and enjoyable. If Kate had a good time, then I can assume that you did, as well.

  2. Daniel, I almost forgot, what were the wines that you enjoyed? The reason that I ask is that a family-member of a friend of mine works at the 'Jeriko Winery', and although I am not much of a wine drinker, the case that he brought along a few years back was superb. They are a California-based family winery that specializes in reds.

    You said that the wines that you bought were from farther west than you usually buy, so this automatically made me think of Cali (my home away from home).

  3. No, actually I'm a pretty slow reader, but Kate wanted to sit out at the wineries and read - plus I wake up a lot earlier than her and there was nothing much to do there besides sit with a nice cup of coffee bundled up on the porch and read. The End of Laissez Faire is more of a pamphlet than a book. Economic Consequences of the Peace is shorter, and like I said I haven't finished it entirely yet.

    Joseph -
    I like Cabernet Francs and Sauvignons a lot. Cab Francs grow well in Virginia. Viogniers are one of my favorite whites, and they also grow well here. Also Chardonnay, but we actually didn't have much success with those this trip (I think they might not do as well at higher altitudes?). We're mostly familiar with the Virginia wine industry - haven't been to California yet, but we keep busy here. In case anyone has been to any in this area, we visited La Grange, Barrel Oak, Vintage Ridge, Three Fox, Bluemont, and Veramar. The nice thing was we had only been to two of them before.

  4. I'm glad to hear that you had some quality personal time with your wife at a lovely place. Will you return there sometime in the future?

    Out of curiosity, what edition of "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" do you have? I own a W.W. Norton copy of "Essays in Persuasion", but not any edition of Keynes's famous polemic.

    Also Daniel, when will you be answering e-mails again? I have one sitting in my inbox for you that I think you should save.

  5. I still answer emails :)
    I will definitely save one you send. I've found all the articles you've passed on interesting, and I've commented on several - I'm not going to be able to read a whole list of them, but I'll definitely see what looks interesting. You've certainly opened the door to a lot of the great work these guys have been doing! You know the reservations I have about them, but it's all still fascinating.

    I have the Prometheus Books copy that has both of the books in it - that's what I took with me and what I take notes in. I also have a 1920 edition of Consequences of the Peace published by Harcourt, Brace, and Howe (I think that was the first American printing).

  6. Daniel,

    I too like cabs, but I also prefer the dryer finish of merlots (cabs have a more sweet or soft finish in comparison). To be honest, most whites are far too sweet and tangy for my liking. 'Barrel Oak' and 'Vintage Ridge' are labels that I have tasted, sorry if my memory of such events is not present (after about 3 glasses, all the others are merely stoking the fire within).

    Most of the good California wines aren't available west of the Mississippi. When I lived in Cali there was a vine virus going around centered in Temecula, but the Napa Valley wines were able to avoid this. Jeriko also avoided this. It seems that the wineries that were closer to the CA 101 maintained their quality, those more inland didn't fare as well. This led to what people were calling the "101 wines". Interestingly, they were all fantastic!

    As I said, I am not much of a wine drinker, rather I am a beer "snob". I have a blood deficiency called G6PD (from my Sicilian-side) that renders me very sensitive to sulfites. So, beer and bourbon are my drinks of choice.

    You being the man of the house, I would imagine that you would have something to say about a few good beers, as well. Now, that is a subject that I can delve into with careless abandon. ;)

  7. I see, and thanks. I'm sending you a number of articles by Michael Emmett Brady, including one from the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. I recommend that you review that article by him. And just for the record, Michael Emmett Brady is not an econophysicist, but he is a decision theorist. However, yes, he *was* the one who told me that the econophysicists have the best hope of overthrowing the grasp of the New Classical orthodoxy, thanks to their incorporation of probability theory and uncertainty into their models.

    But I don't agree with everything the econophysicists are doing. I just find a lot of what the econophysicists are doing - and especially the models they make - impressive, and I still think that the economics profession ought to take a closer look at what they're cranking out at Physica A and other physics/finance/economics journals.

    Finally, you've said before that you still feel like you don't entirely grasp Michael Emmett Brady. What is it that you feel you don't understand?

  8. re: "You being the man of the house, I would imagine that you would have something to say about a few good beers, as well."

    Yes, I do not discriminate when it comes to alcohol. As I think a lot of people do, I patronize some good local breweries as well - mostly Dominion, but also Starr Hill from Charlottesville. I like floral hoppy beers, but not the crazy spicey stuff that they often make to make a statement. Not usually a fan of wheat beers or any kind of port, although in the winter that can be nice. I wouldn't call myself as much of a "beer snob" as a "wine snob" - I'm more likely to regularly buy particular Dominion or Sam Adams stuff than I am to try and compare, visit, and collect lots of different ones (like I do with wine). Granted, you can collect wines in a way that you obviously can't with beers. Another Maryland brewery that I like a lot is Clipper City. Of the more crafty/interesting/experimental breweries I really like Yards Brewing Company.

  9. Aha, the floral hoppy beers, yes. My old numero uno in this category is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Once again, this was introduced to me by a friend who lived in Chico (where it is produced). Sam Adams would be a second as far as that goes. Here in Cleveland we have the Great Lakes Brewing company which has quite a distinctive collection of Ales, Porters, Pilsners, Dortmunders, etc. In fact, I would imagine that GRB has distribution in the DC area (in fact, I know it does because my cousin currently lives in DC).

    However, there is one beer that I must tell you about, a Belgian Ale called 'Fat Tire'. Now, this beer cannot and will not be found east of the Mississippi, but it is a superb brew. It is probably a little darker than your liking, but if you ever go west you MUST try it (you cannot forget it, its label has an old broken down bicycle with a flat tire). Also, while I prefer most beers quite cold and crisp, this one is kind of like bourbon on ice; you let it set at room temp a while and the flavor really jumps out. It is quite tasty and I wish I could buy it in Cleveland. Every now and again I have a friend out west send me a few bottles (don't tell anyone).

    I have been to quite a few countries where the beer was less than cold and it tasted like crap. 'Fat Tire' on the other hand, tasted far better the less cold it got. This is not to say that it would taste good warm (what beer does?), but that it was excellent if allowed to lose some of its chill out of the cooler.

    I am also not a fan of most wheat beers, but Pyramid and/or Widmer Bros. Wheat bears are quite good with a squeeze of lemon. More of a summertime beer in my opinion, I prefer it from the tap. Widmer Bros. will always remind me of my times in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego. Playing billiards with friends, my girl at my side, and a bar with absolutely no roof overhead. Just sunshine.

    Yes, Dominion Ale and Lager is quite good. I am not too fond of their stout, but then again, I am quite fickle with darker beers (I am an old Guinness or Murphy's fan when it comes to stouts). Clipper City and Yards must be more regional brews I would imagine.

    I am happy that you got out and got some relaxation, it seems to have loosened you up a bit. We all like to be trim and proper at times, but when it really comes down to it, we all have many things in common. No matter what I may say in any debates in the future, I still think that you're alright. If I agreed with everything that you said, then I probably wouldn't find you interesting.

    As we used to say in the Navy, "fair winds and following seas", and of course, "drink to the foam". Haha.


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