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Andy Average’s Oenophilia: Bumstock, or how I set the bar low...way low


Andy Average


As I enter my graying dotage, I like to look back nostalgically to my time as a young man and  explore my early days in the California suburbs. A time of education, musical & sexual exploration. And learning to tap shoulders at the local liquor store of anyone stupid enough to buy booze for a bunch of juvenile delinquents in training.


Our goals as junior alcoholics were simple. Gather up as much change as we could muster, usually $3.00 stolen from mom’s purse, and somehow find a sympathetic adult willing to buy us the hooch. And if Lady Luck were uncrossing her legs, we scored, and off we went to the nearest orchard or abandoned garage to down our swill.


A cornucopia, nay a plethora of cheap wine could be had back then in all shades of the rainbow. Ripple, Bali Hai, Zapple (apple with just a hint of cinnamon & tree stump) and of course, Boone’s Farm.


I pity the children of today, not knowing what joy it was walking in a Bali Hai daze. It had a lovely bouquet reminiscent of apple, banana & fruit punch with a trace of rubbing alcohol to give it that extra zing. Many was the evening stumbling home to the waiting arms of my upset parents who proceeded to lecture me on my morality, general behavior and other suggestions they felt necessary. One time I arrived home at 2 a.m. (I was 13) and my mother asked if I knew what a phone was? “Yeah, Alexander Graham Bell invented it.” Kaaa pow!


You really do see stars when smacked across the face, just like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, only without the gong sound. I had a hand print on my face for four days. But I digress. It has been many years since my lips have tasted cheap wine, and being that I currently work in a package/liquor store and was feeling nostalgic, I brought home an assortment of wino/skell/lush wines selections to sample. My lovely wife of 30 years declined to participate but did stand by with a bucket. God, I love her.


All came in pint bottles, although they do come in larger sizes that could feed a family of five. None came in plastic bottles, but only glass. It’s nice to know that the local bums are concerned with recycling. Hey, those nickels add up real fast.


9:00 p.m.  Thunderbird $2.10. What’s the word? Thunderbird! What’s the price? Forty twice! GOOD GOD SWEET JEEBUS THIS IS FOUL! The flavor of this little miztvah is a combination of radiator coolant and a jug of white grape juice that went terribly wrong. I made it to four hits off the bottle before I called it quits. I think my eyebrows fell out.


Musical & food pairings – Super Fly soundtrack - Potato peelings & Little Friskies (Chicken Flavor)


9:20 pm. Night Train $2.10. Eeeeeeeee ride da train. A delightful blend treminiscent of Robitussin and used motor oil that no amount of mouthwash will kill. True story. Years ago I was in an East Oakland, CA liquor store and on the wall was a Night Train poster of a lovely black girl. A train behind her head, a glowing light accentuated her Afro and a scream on her mouth. RIDE THE NIGHT TRAIN! I got excited and offered the owners 20 bucks for the poster, but they said I was a crazy white boy and get the hell out.

Musical & food pairings – 101 Strings Orchestra - Astro Sounds In the Year 2000 - Captain Crunch & apple cider vinegar


9:45 p.m. Richards Wild Irish Rose – $2.38. No, no, no, nope. Couldn’t get past the stench. Reminiscent of cherry Sucret throat lozenges, denatured  alcohol and dog farts.


Musical & food pairings – The Pogues – Greatest Hits - Aunt Jemima pancake mix and Soy sauce.


10:00 p.m. MD 20/20 Banana Red $2.60. Hokey dokey. This is a quote from the MD website: “Our grape wine is made with juicy, luscious fruit infused with tasty flavors to create a unique variety of MD 20/20 selections. Enjoy MD 20/20 cold any way you like. During dinner or on your veranda.” Or face down in the gutter. 

MD 20/20 is produced by Mogen David Wine Company, hence the MD. Yes, the same company that makes horrible sweet Passover wine makes this crap too. I wonder if it’s kosher. Maybe a rabbi blessed it. Probably pissed in it.


Yet another amusing anecdote: It’s Pesach (payysseecchh) in the Average household about 1968 and the ceremonial dinner starts with the passing of the wine and the reading of the haggadah.

Dad: “How is this night different from any other night?” 


Me: “Because it’s Thursday night...” [Snort


Mom: [Smack!


Me: “Oy!”


I have had a morbid curiosity regarding MD or Mad Dog 20/20. There is a plethora of “flavors and colors” from which to choose. None of them exists in nature. Orange Jubilee, Electric Melon (good name for a psychedelic revival band), Dragonfruit, and my favorite of all time: BANANA RED. Please roll these words in your mind…..banana red…..banana red….red banana…..redddddddbaaaannnannnaaa.


GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY AND HOLY SHITBALLS, BATMAN! This stuff is sweet and thick, which is a good thing, since it will keep your mind off what it’s doing to your liver. Tastes like a combination of Kaboom breakfast cereal, Kool Aid powder and your great Aunt Bessie’s shoes. I now can tell you what Red tastes like, but I’d really rather not. Ooo, by the way, if you can’t bear to drink this, it’s thick enough to paint on your walls. It’ll remind you of time spent having back alley sex against a garbage can.


You wanna know how to make Mogen David wine? Kick him in the balls.


Music & food parings – The Cramps – Stay Sick!- Fried pork rinds & Hershey’s syrup.




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