The Saturday Miscellany: How to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew; quarterbacking; Daniel Alarcon's bookshelf


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How to: Open a wine bottle

By Katherine Landergan

We've all been there; you've got wine but no corkscrew. It may seem desperate, but you can open a bottle using your shoe. Stephen Cronk, owner of Mirabeau Wine in Provence, explains all.

"Remove the foil from the top of the bottle and make sure the cork is not plastic as they are much trickier to get out."

"Place the bottle snugly inside a shoe, preferably footwear with a rubber sole to absorb the shock of the ensuing slam."

"Be careful to hold the bottle horizontally – if you hold it at a slight angle the bottle can shatter – and bang the bottle and the shoe against a wall (or tree trunk), firmly but not aggressively. I would suggest the wall be a solid wall or door frame, not a plasterboard, cavity wall. After a while, the cork will slowly begin to ease out of the bottle: a process known as 'cavitation'. When the cork is halfway out, just twist and pull by hand. Et Voila!"

Rotating column: Quarterbacking

By John Rentoul

I take American football so seriously that I decided which team to support in tomorrow's Super Bowl by liberal guilt trip. I have loved the game since Channel 4 was launched in 1982 and bought the rights. Blokes in space outfits duffing each other up and no idea where the ball is or what the rules are? Yes, please. But which team to support? When I was a young lefty, there was only one black quarterback: Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles it was, then. Most of the players are black, but even now the team leaders tend to be white. The Eagles were knocked out early on, so tomorrow I'll be cheering the Seattle Seahawks and their black quarterback, Russell Wilson. On that basis I should have voted Tory as they had a woman leader, but this is American football: it doesn't have to make sense.

After a 16-year NFL career, Randall Cunningham was ordained a protestant minister in 2004

Instant ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Q. Can I tell my friend off for taking food pictures when we go out for dinner, or is this just standard practice now?

A. Just throw his/her phone in the fondue already. If, however, you are not at an Alpine-themed restaurant and no fondue is available, patiently explain the concept of 'living in the moment'.


Micro extract: One foot in front of the other

"A trail of footprints would suggest a particular person, a body with direction and purpose, the path of a hunter perhaps. But a single footprint in the sand raises the question of how it got there."

From ‘Anatomies’ by Hugh Aldersey-Williams (Penguin, £8.99)

Four play: Pneumonia deaths

1. Piet Mondrian*

2. René Descartes

3. Leo tolstoy

4. Fred Astaire

*died this day, 1944