I’ve got an unexpected reprieve from the vineyards. The Cabernet was taking a little longer to hit the right Brix level and the varietals in primary fermentation went more quickly to secondary fermentation stage. That gave me what’s looking like a four day reprieve from the endless round of punchdowns and isolated country living. So I found myself back in the big City and ready to tune back into the news cycles and pop culture that I’ve been disconnected from living in a barn without radio, TV, telephones and only recently Internet connections. Unfortunately, I wrenched my back on the last day of Cabernet picking which is affording me a lot more TV time than I would have otherwise planned.

Which brings me to my discovery of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Conservatives, who embrace Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, are screaming that TRMS is “not news” and “just biased Liberal talking points.” I don’t think TRMS was ever intended to be “news” any more than The Daily Show is. It’s more like sitting down after a long news day and having the high and low points distilled for you by your sharpest, coolest girlfriend. Yeah, one who has a progressive viewpoint, but who isn’t afraid to tweak the Democrats when they do something stupid.

Maddow is a little bit smart-alecky, but mostly really, really smart. Smart as in Stanford University and Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. I love that Liberals have a Rhodes Scholar; lip-foaming arch-conservatives have high school graduate Sean Hannity and Southeast Missouri State University dropout, Rush Limbaugh. (Limbaugh’s own mother concedes that he was never one for “book larnin’. She’s quoted as saying: “He flunked everything, even a modern ballroom dancing class.”)

Yeah, I’m elitist — if elitist means embracing education, erudition and intellectual curiosity — and proud of it!

Back to my new TV BFF. My first thought on seeing her show — besides laughing through my tears as she skewered to the heart of the day’s political follies — was that this was almost the perfect commentary show. The only thing missing: Maddow’s dry wit would go perfectly with a dry Gin Martini. Then I find this self assessment on her official website: [Maddow] “shakes a mean cocktail, drives a bright red pickup, hates Coldplay, loves arguing with conservatives, spends a lot of money on AMTRAK tickets, and dresses like a first-grader.” Excellent!

While I love her commentary and applaud her eclectic line-up of guests, I’d love to see her bring more conservatives on the show a la Bill Maher. Instead of getting into shouting matches with her conservative guests like Chris Matthews, I imagine Rachel would politely sit back and let them hoist themselves on their own petards. Then maybe jab home the final coup de grace with the perfect put-down. You don’t want to play hardball with a gal who looks like she could be the captain of The World’s Most Kick-Ass Girls’ Softball Team.

Panic that I wouldn’t get my Maddow fix when I head back up to Sonoma at the end of this week was put to rest by the discovery that I can get her on a podcast. Now you know what I’ll be plugged into while I harvest and process the rest of the Cabernet. Maybe Two Terrier Vineyards should put out a limited edition Rachel Maddow Rhone Blend. I’m seriously considering it.

In the meantime, if my readership leans the way I think it does, check out The Rachel Maddow Show! You’ll love it. And follow her on Twitter at @Maddow.

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