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In This Issue

Weekly Column

      Come join the editor Jennifer Barnick as she searches for the Champagne Life....

click for daily column

Sparkling Wine

Feature Speaking with Fred Frank about his father Willy Frank

Sparkling Wine Review Real champagnes with real terroir by John Euclid

Arts & Sciences What's the deal with sulfites in wine and why the warning? byTimothy Smith, PhD

Industry News ...a brief survey of sparkling wine news

First Person

HelloGoodbye Cassandra H. Katsiaficas says hello and Wayne Scheer says goodbye

Passion ForumSuzie Sims-Fletcher shares the joy blue fake fur and PB&Js

Under the Goldlight—True Tales of Drinking ChampagneDave Brown sets out to see if lightning can strike twice

Life Before Ten The sneaky mean bully exposed by Rose Tolstoy

Art & Literature

The Marcia Reed Virtual Gallery The paintings of Marcia Reed

Drinker's Poetry Deborah M. Priestly and Robert Slattery

Fiction "The Woman" by La Vonne Schoneman

Film in ReviewAnna Luciano reviews a current release; Fritz Voigt ponders a current DVD rental, and David Sirois gives us a great movie that won't be checked out

Other Goodies

Founder's Page Greeting from Dr. Timothy Smith

Letters to the Editor click for full list

Photo Gallery Click for Pics














“Find a penny, pick it up,

all day long you’ll have good luck!”

I mean, is there anything better than finding a penny? Just laying there glinting up at you, waiting to be taken home? FREE MONEY!! Always makes me happy. Always gets me excited.

But, to be honest, a lot of stuff gets me excited.

I can make just about anything exciting. Oh, boy, can I! Take last weekend for example.

Last weekend I was at a little neighborhood kite-flying festival at a park. Kids, families, blankets, picnics. Very cute. Very America. And you could buy your childhood dream: vendors were on hand to supply you with whatever you forgot: pinwheels, kites, juice boxes, cotton candy AND…. PB and J! Really! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - in the fold-over-top sandwich bags, slightly squished, on white bread. From heaven! The perfect touch. The exact detail. I was thrilled!!

No one else, however, seemed to be as excited about this as I was…initially, that is. They sort of went along with my enthusiasm, poking fun, until, I, unmovable in my euphoria, affected them. Who was smiling wide at the Wonder bread then? Oh yeah. I can be infectious.

And here we hit on a common situation. I get passionate about little stuff. I am moved by the bizarre and embrace the unusual. I am effervescent about the mundane. And yes, this sometimes gets me labeled freak, weirdo, crazy. But, give me time…and I can often get the most stoic to crack a smile. And that is what it is all about.

Let me try to explain.

I have a full size sea-foam green bear suit. I heard about some people who dressed in bear costumes and I begged to find out what I had to do to be a bear. The answer? Simple:

Stitch up some fur and get a name.

And thus, the Bear O’Ness was born. To be absolutely accurate she’s a mer-bear: half mermaid/half bear. Vestigial tail and lovely teal sequined claws.

So, when Ringling Brothers marched the elephants into town, light snow storm, around midnight, on a Tuesday, the Bear O’Ness sauntered down to greet them, and of course, attempted to join the circus. Why? Because she could. Because she made people look - TWICE. Because bears like to hump cops and it shakes them up on an otherwise rather boring security shift. Because people laughed.

Sure, sure, I have mermaid finery, snow queen regalia, and Mrs. Santa gear.

But it’s not just about costumes. I need and want attention. Acknowledgement. Kudos. Oh, and PRIZES!! From Any where. Any time. Any size. From a $3.12 win at the dog races in Daytona to being named an Extraordinary Bostonian. Add glitter and sparkles and I couldn’t be happier.

I recognize that this may be some deep-rooted, psychological mess “related to a father” thing, or an “abnormally tall redhed” thing…Not getting enough attention / getting too much attention thing. Trying to prove that I am good enough balanced with “if they are going to look anyway, give them something to look at” thing. Maybe its…

…maybe it’s just a personality thing: I like to do things. I figure you gotta try lots of things, once. So, you try it – you don’t have to like it. You can quit. Leave. Say no more. But experience the challenge.

Sushi – Yes!

Crickets – no.

Desert camping – Yes.

Abseiling/repelling – NO!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not into the physical exertion thing too much. Athletics = sweat. Yuck! (And, by the way, girls don’t sweat, they glisten.) Sports = Tedious. But, I’ll try them, even if it only means watching - WITH enthusiasm. With all the applaud and support expected of a hometown son, er… daughter. I’ve cheered curling in Canada, baseball in Boston, cycling in Pennsylvania, caber toss in Scotland, not to mention at least one

Lumberjack meet

Hot air balloon race

Shopping cart marathon

Pie eating competition

Roller dance-off.

And there is there is sooo much more out there! To do. To see. To try. So many people to convert – or at least witness to. To sprinkle with glitter.

To stimulate. To Inspire! Heck, to JAZZ-UP!! At one end of the spectrum I am the rhinestone wearing bench entertainment, on the other I become the sparkling ringmaster of born-again fans (in the true fanatic sense of the word).

Here’s the deal.

What if….

…what if







In spite of any reincarnation theories…

what if…

this is it?

What if this is EVERYTHING -


So that’s it. I don’t want the scary stuff I can avoid. I want all the effervescent treasures I can find. All the shiny glitter, cotton candy, bunny fur, exotic cultures.

And I want to take folks with me. Revitalize their rat race. Animate their adventure. I want to show people that they can live an ordinary life - extraordinarily.

Laughing with little children waiting for pale yellow cotton candy in an alley in a small town in China; holding paws with a tiger and an orange robed monk in a wildlife preserve in Thailand; proclaiming the beauty of a freshly coiffured silver haired lady on a subway in Cambridge.

I’m not good on a rollercoaster, at a scary movie, or heck, even sliding down a fireman’s pole….but strolling on a sidewalk, sporting a tiara, and spotting a penny on the sidewalk…well, THAT!


Is a day

well spent.





         Suzie is a consumate communicator, writer, and teacher, and much to many's dismay, speaker!  Her enthusiasm for new experiences has taken her to (among other places) China, Belize, and Iceland.  Currently living in Astoria, Queens (where EVERYONE gets to wear a tiara), Suzie is a professor, voiceover artist and private consulatant in all things oral. Her clients include actors, asians, and the Air Force. Learn more about her and her work by contacting her at: www.redhed.info







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