In which our Guide to the Spirit World notes almost-credible news items especially annotated for the short-attention span reader.


Get A Horse, or Not

It just so happens that Jake Williams, a fellow resident of the Bayou State, was driving his pick-up truck with Sugar, his horse, in the trailer along Highway 16 near Watson when he decided to stop into a favored watering hole and have a few daiquiris, his preferred adult beverage.

He had more than a few and then made the intelligent decision not to drive the pick-up truck home but to unload the horse from the trailer and ride him home. Jake and Sugar were soon pulled over by the local police department. Jake was indeed far “into his cups,” but being detained by The Law while on a horse, well, what’s the charge? He was not operating a motor vehicle under the influence, nor was he operating the horse in an unsafe manner.

The cops gave him a ticket for Public Intoxication and required him to call a family member to pick him and his horse up and get them off the highway. The cowboy took the whole thing in good humor.

“I knew I was in no condition to drive. Sugar was, I thought, an ideal way to get home. Besides, she knows the way so all I had to do was ride and not fall off.”


While We Appreciate the Road Repairs, Maybe Next Time….

Latori Barman, 45, a resident of the Katni District in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, had a great time at a nearby village fair. Maybe too great. Walking home he fell into a hole in a road, evidently a pretty big hole. One that was about to be repaired.

But Latori, after falling into the hole, passed out. When the road crew came along with hot tar and then rolled over it with a heavy roller, they failed to notice the man at the bottom of the pothole. In fact, no one would have noticed that Latori was even missing except for an arm sticking out of the newly repaired roadway. Finally, someone noticed the situation that was simply not right.

Two of the construction workers have been charged with negligence leading to death, and Latori’s family has been given by the state the equivalent of $761 as compensation for the incident.


Snip a Cluster, Avoid a Land Mine, Duck the Bullets

Winemaking has always been a little hazardous – noxious gases, the potential to lose balance and end up in a huge vat, lightning storms, scalding with steam and even bees. Lots of bees.

But in Lebanon they work in an even more dangerous environment: combat. The winery owner for Massaya Wines is committed to being in Lebanon, and he is even more committed to making wine in that place at that vineyard site.

Understand that there are people who come to New Orleans and make the comment, “Nice place to visit, but I would not want to live there.” Well, plug in land mines and the constant presence of bodyguards. Add to those conditions the fact that the winery owner will not take his children to the vineyards. Then there’s the issue of being near the Syrian border and border guards will not allow workers to cross over to assist with maintenance and harvest.

When westerners downplay wines’ importance with the phrase, “Calm down. It’s only wine,” they are not understanding the real world challenges of Sami Ghosen.


Waking Up with Less

Philippe Guigal, general manager of the revered French wine estate, E. Guigal, located in the northern Rhone region, had it all planned out.

One afternoon, he inspected a vineyard full of Viognier grapes, informed the pickers of the time to arrive to begin harvesting a particular plot, arranged for equipment to be on the scene early in the morning, went home, had a nice dinner and got a good night’s rest.

He awoke very early, 4 a.m., dressed, ate a good breakfast, and then drove to the vineyard to begin the morning’s work.

Only problem was there were no grapes. They were gone. What was there the afternoon before was there no more. Vanished. Lots of pickers on-site with nothing to pick. At some point during the night, a mysterious group came in and robbed the Guigal’s of their grapes, right off the vines in the vineyard plot.  

Guigal was surprised but composed. “Whoever stole the grapes actually did a very good job in harvesting, very clean, obviously the work of professionals.

“My father was disappointed. He said he had not seen a result like this vintage in many years. He was looking forward to the wines that these grapes would become. I feel bad for him.”