GRAY MONK LATITUDE 50 (2009)—Safe from meteors, at least for now

My Fellow Inebriates,

You may be thankful that my friend Scarybear’s End of Days prognostications petered out after December 21, but the safe passing of that date threw him into a funk that’s been intolerable for everyone at LBHQ. For months he’d thought of nothing else. Despite his avowals that our annihilation would be tragic, he enjoyed the notion of Earthlings’ hubris biting them in the ass, with fireworks to boot.

Mayan calendar jokeThankfully no one will ever give Scarybear weapons or a job at a nuclear power plant. And that’s fine with him, as long as he has television. But the children’s programming that invariably knocks his shows off the schedule has contributed to his depression. He hasn’t even been able to generate any excitement about his own upcoming birthday.

So, with apologies to an entire city of Russians enduring sub-zero weather with no windows in their houses because of the sonic boom generated by yesterday’s meteor strike, the incident has given Scary a new lease on life.

“Dude, you have to see this!”

Holy crap, my fellow inebriates! And it seems Russians really dig these in-car cameras, because that meteor was captured by countless drivers as it hurtled 10-13 mps through the atmosphere with the shock-wave force of 30 Hiroshimas, setting off a sonic boom that shattered windows for miles. Over a thousand inhabitants were injured—mostly due to flying glass shards—in the most thunderous such event since the 1908 Tunguska Event.

In the aftermath, the biggest emergency is lack of windows. Chelyabinsk is on roughly the same latitude as Edmonton, with weather to match. Glaziers are being flown in for urgent repairs.

“Dude, that could have been us,” said Scary. “Or at least it could have been our Uncle J.”

Uncle J doesn’t know we call him that, but he does indeed live in Edmonton, meaning a mere lucky spin of the globe put him out of harm’s way. Which is still a vapid observation on Scary’s part.

“And dude,” Scary continued, “have you noticed these things always happen in Russia?”

Chelyabinsk impact areaWell, it is the largest freaking country on Earth. Still, Scary pointed out, by far most of the planet’s surface is not-Russia. The odds of a meteor blasting through not-Russia were much higher than the odds of the strike happening where it happened.

“So what does it mean, Scary?”

“I’m still thinking about that,” he said. “But dude, did you notice the time stamp on the video?”

I hadn’t noticed. (I was drunk on GRAY MONK ESTATE LATITUDE 50.)

Russian meteor time stamp big


Russian meteor strike time stamp

“Whoa, Scary, either that guy’s camera clock is wrong or hundreds of Russian drivers are involved in a conspiracy to shock us with footage about a meteor strike that happened a month and a half ago instead of yesterday.”

“I know, right? Why would they do that? I have to think about it some more.” And Scary was happy for the first time since the Mayan calendar ended.

2009-gray-monk-estate-winery-latitude-50-white-20110606090751-285871Relieved that no loss of life had been reported, I continued drinking LATITUDE 50. This popular white wine blend is pleasantly off-dry with a pale lemon tint and richly layered tropical aromas. Yet another recommendation from our favorite liquor-store consultant, it coats the palate with substantial texture, letting loose mango, apricot, and sweet citrus notes. While delicious chilled, LATITUDE 50 really comes into its own once it rises a few degrees, and ends with a lingering finish. For fans of solid foods it would probably be an excellent accompaniment to light dishes such as poultry or even spicy cuisine, although those foods would of course soak up some of its 12.7% alcohol, leaving you less value for your $13.99.

“Dude!” said Scary.

“Leave me alone, I’m drinking.”

“Dude, if that wine were ‘Latitude 55’ you might not be enjoying it right now.”

“Scary, if I were enjoying a beverage from latitude 55, it would be vodka.”

Leaving aside Scary’s lack of empathy and even schadenfreude at yesterday’s meteor event, the impact is a grim reminder of the knife-edge on which our little planet exists. Just hours before, a small asteroid had squeaked by Earth with 17,000 miles to spare, and over 9,500 celestial bodies make regular near-Earth passes.

“The whole thing illustrates two things,” said Scary.


“I don’t know yet, but one of them has to do with the time stamp on that video.” Scary scratched his ass. “Oh wait, I know the other thing: When a really killer asteroid’s about to hit, the government will never tell us.”

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