April 24, 2019

  • Beware Drunk Moose–and Other Blue Law Irregularities

                                One of the lasting legacies of prohibition is a mishmash of laws by the Federal Government and the states in regulating alcohol. It gets even more complicated when localities get involved and add another layer of regulation. Our elected officials, in their infinite lack of wisdom, do manage to come up with some ridiculous offerings when regulating one of their favorite targets for social control. This month, just for amusement, I wanted to look at some of the various alcohol blue law favorites from around the…

  • Sulfate, Sulfite, Sulfide

    One of the positive trends in the agriculture industry is the push toward natural farming and food production methods that are environmentally friendly. They promote healthy soils, and limit the potential for exposure to toxic chemicals in the food chain. The wine industry has been on the leading edge with organic farming methods, as well as low impact wine making in the cellar. One substance that leads to mass confusion is sulfur. I see this frequently in dealing with consumers, so this month I will address the role of sulfur in wine making, and why in limited amounts it’s considered…

  • Hand Selected, With Predicate

    Do you know the difference between spätlesen and auslesen? How about QmP versus QbA? German wines have been on the rise recently, thanks in large part to the renewed popularity of Riesling. Let’s break down German wine labeling to help you understand. Germany uses a meticulous labeling system that designates the factors used in producing the wine, some of which include region, if sugar was added, and how ripe the grapes are when picked. Wine is broken down into four major categories: table wine (tafelwine), country wine (landwein), quality wine (qualitätswein), and top quality wine (prädikatswein). Tafelwein and Landwein Tafelwein and…

  • Holiday Treats

    It’s “that time of the year” again. The time of the year when every writer who writes anything in any kind of newspaper or magazine has to remind you that it’s that time of the year again. So what is that time of the year? The Holiday Season, of course! On page 15 of the Official Rules of Writing, it states that, “No writer shall ignore ‘that time of the year’ under penalty of banishment from the Writer’s Community.” Therefore, I have no choice but to write a festive and fun-filled column about the holiday season.  This year I’ve chosen…

  • The Politics of Drinking

    Bourbon is required to contain at least 50% corn and must be aged in a new, charred, American oak barrel. In 1516, Bavaria passed a law called the Reinheitsgebot allowing only 3 ingredients in the production of beer. One of my favorites: to this day, the Vatican has given its blessing to consume as much bock or doublebock beer as you wish. There are basically three major influences on the development of beverages in history: the local raw materials used in production; natural barriers between regions that isolate people and plant species; and the never ending influence of those in…

FEATURED WORLD EDITION

Getting Older

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “In the old days, it was not called ‘the Holiday Season’; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukka’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukka!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’”…

Alternatives

May 12, 2016

BUSINESS NEWS: The value of Taser Company stock has been lost because of increasingly negative news coverage of the Taser gun, which uses 50,000 volts to stun its victims. There has been a heavy focus on incidents where suspects died after the gun was used on them. Taser contracted pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht, to review the cases and issue an independent opinion that other factors, such as drugs, caused the 40 so-called in-custody Taser-caused deaths. ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES NEWS: A new Excentric survey of adult Americans found that 36% of us use some kind of alternative or complementary therapy. The number…

Marriage

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “The world has suffered more from the ravages of ill-advised marriages than from virginity.” — Ambrose Bierce “Insurance is like marriage. You pay, pay, pay, and you never get anything back.” — Al Bundy “I hate work. That’s why I got married.” — Peg Bundy “If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of leftover…

Imprisoning

May 12, 2016

CRIME NEWS: One year ago, officials from Mexico City launched an ambitious crime-busting project crafted by Rudolph Giuliani. The former New York City mayor earned a $4.3 million dollar consulting fee. After implementing his strict law enforcement changes, Mexico City has seen a 28% reduction in squeegee windshield washing, a whopping 36% reduction in jay-walking and the prostitutes have relocated to a better section of the city. PRISON NEWS: The nation’s first faith-based women’s prison opened a couple of months ago near Tampa, Florida. The program combines vocational classes with worship, and creates an environment that allows and encourages self-reflection,…

Politics and the Status Quo

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “There is no Energy Shortage. There is no Energy Crisis. There is a Crisis of Ignorance.” — R Buckminster Fuller “To be a great politician you need the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.” — Winston Churchill…

Extreme Weight Loss

May 12, 2016

EXTREME DIET NEWS: A man who once weighed more than half a ton has lost 321 pounds under the care of doctors and hopes to lose 450 pounds more. Patrick Duel, 42, of Valentine, Neb., weighed 1,072 pounds when he was admitted to Sioux Falls, Avera McKennan Hospital eight weeks ago. Subway sandwich shops is looking for a new sponsor and hopes to use Duel whenever he is able to actually fit into one of their shops. GENETICS NEWS: Procrastinating monkeys were turned into workaholics using a gene treatment to block a key brain compound, researchers report. Blocking cells from…

Relaxing

May 12, 2016

There are so many kids here, all looking hale and hearty, And in a moment of weakness, I thought I’d throw them a party. Okay, got to think of the problems. Would the fuzz come cruising by, maybe, to complain about the noise? Would all the girls be holding hands, or worse, with all the boys? I rather hope so, because a certain amount of Gallic frivolity Always adds a little something to the evening’s jollity. Rolling around in the hay is a pleasure that comes to mind – Boys and girls having the fun that’s so very easy to…

The Joy of Gingerbread

May 12, 2016

Kath works in New York City in The Carnegie’s sweet dell. She plays a little music for A maestro named Maazel. But, each December moment she Can steal from bed and bow, She fiddles with molasses over Bowls of ginger-dough! She kneads it with her fingers, and She throws it on the floor! She rolls it out on hands and knees From kitchen sink to door! She cuts out walls and windows, and Bakes gables, doors and roofs, Then sticks them all together with The glue of reindeer hooves! This year she’ll craft a Gothic church With Handel in a…

Success

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.” — Earl Wilson “If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.” — Dan Quayle “Success is the child of audacity.” — Benjamin Disraeli “Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.” — Albert Einstein “The Lord gave…

Leash-free

May 12, 2016

POOCH CORRECT NEWS: The town of Hillsboro, Oregon has built a leash-free dog park named for Hondo, a police dog killed ten years ago chasing a suspect. A fire hydrant was painted as an American flag, as a further tribute to him. The hydrant had to be removed after a number of people complained that dogs did not respect the flag, refusing to salute and by doing what they normally do on fire hydrants. HAUTE CUISINE NEWS: Tim Janus, of New York City, has won the world burrito-eating championship by eating 10-3/4 eighteen-ounce burritos in 12 minutes. Other competitors included…

Ruined for Good

May 12, 2016

There’s something to be said, I think, For living in a place That’s been completely ruined by The lofty human race. Take trees. Yes, trees! Please take them all! Their worth is under par! Once gone there’d be no leaves to rake Or sap upon my car. And birds. Yes, birds! Just beaky nerds! They’re dirty, loud, and mean! I’d love to walk in silence on A sidewalk that stays clean. And, flowers! What a crock they are! Without their lurid blooms, No allergies, or killer bees, Or sweet and cloying fumes. I’ve had enough of all this stuff. And,…

Government Solutions

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” — Otto von Bismark “When George Washington threw the dollar across the Rappahannock River, he didn’t realize he was establishing a precedent for government spending.” — Harold Coffin “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.” — Milton Friedman “Now more…

Inside The News

May 12, 2016

BIRD FLEW NEWS: A spokesman for the NJ Transit said train officials reported a dozen or so wild turkeys waiting on a station platform in Ramsey, about 20 miles northwest of New York City. A spokesman for NJ Transit said, “Clearly, they’re trying to catch a train and escape their fate.” The only question was why the birds would want to head for Suffern, NY. FONDER FODDER NEWS: Thailand has come up with yet another, seemingly unlikely way to capitalize on this globally loved, bamboo-munching animal: panda poop, turning it all into notebooks, fans, bookmarks and key chains. Now when people read stories…

Creationism Proved

May 12, 2016

  I know it sounds ridiculous, But stay with me a while, And see the vast potential that Arises with a smile. They’re tossing out the science books In grades from one through nine, Replacing Evolution with ‘Intelligent Design.’ They say the science was a scam? A vast conspiracy? To hide Divine Perfection from The likes of you and me. But their behavior proves they’re right!? Their straits are not so dire! No need to run around and throw Those textbooks in the fire!     Had we evolved from chimps and apes With our opposing thumb, There is no…

Government

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” — P.J. O’Rourke “The taxpayers are sending congressmen on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it except they keep coming back.” — Will Rogers “Folk who don’t know why America is the Land of Promise should be here during an election campaign.”…

Weight Loss Helper

May 12, 2016

WEIGHT LOSS NEWS: A man from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, noticed he lost a considerable amount of weight. Wanting to help his fellow man, he started offering neighbors the opportunity to freely mow his lawn to better their health. In the near future, he plans to offer a host of household chores to all of his neighbors and friends. SPACE NEWS: Discovery spotted some whitish splotches on its black right wing edge that NASA officials said appeared to be bird droppings that withstood Florida thunderstorms, a mighty launch and a burst upward through Earth’s atmosphere. Perhaps NASA engineers could use the…

The Petting Zoo Diet

May 12, 2016

                                                 The girl sat down across from me And gave her mane a swish. She opened up her menu as She crowed, “I can’t eat fish!” “You can’t?” I asked. She mooed, and said, “Nor cheesecake anymore, Or anything like brownies or The things that I adore. No sugar, lard, or olive oil, No beef or bird or pork, No albatross or crocodile will Ever grace my fork. Now, rutabagas I can eat, But I don’t see…

Cynicism

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.” — David T. Wolf “A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.” — H. L. Mencken “My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of the pessimists.” — Jean Rostand “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to…

Little Sentence for Little Man

May 12, 2016

LITTLE LEGAL NEWS: A Nebraska judge said a 5-foot-1 man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead. A drastic rise in serious crimes committed by “little people” in the state of Nebraska is expected. HIGH FASHION NEWS: An Indiana high school student, a male student who has worn women’s clothes to school all year, was turned away from his high school prom because he was wearing a dress. Kevin Logan, 18, went to the West Side High School prom on Friday in a slinky fuchsia gown…

Please Forward

May 12, 2016

                                                  I know that your intentions are No less than heaven sent; I know your altruistic goal Is pure enlightenment. I know you think my slate is clean, My mind an empty jug, And that the stuff you forward is All welcomed with a hug. This email is to let you know The opposite is true: You’ve got it wrong, you’ve missed the bus; You haven’t got a clue! In fact, when I see “FORWARD TO:” I feel the…

Computers

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” — Rich Cook “Computer dating is fine, if you’re a computer.” — Rita Mae Brown “All sorts of computer errors are now turning up. You’d be…

Illegal Immigration Protests

May 12, 2016

ILLEGAL ALIEN NEWS: Widespread demonstrations broke out across America recently protesting the huge number of illegal immigrants from Canada entering this country illegally and taking high-paying jobs like radio announcers, actors and television anchors away from nearly qualified Americans. MORE PROTEST NEWS: Homeless people from major cities in the United States have moved from the sidewalks and allies to the streets to complain about the poor treatment being given to packages by uncaring delivery personnel. More and more cardboard collected has been found damaged and unusable as a decent shelter. ABSTINENCE NEWS: According to a Harvard University study, 52 percent…

The Garden of Edam

May 12, 2016

                                      I’ve always been a person who Could conjure up the bucks; At eight years-old I biked the park And raffled off the ducks! My latest scam requires a move To Nazareth, P.A. To launch my Christian cheese shop and To profit from the fray. “The Garden of Edam” is its name, With sculpted cheese on-line: There’s “Adam and Eve in Provolone” And “Noah’s Curds in Brine.” There’s “Matthew in Sharp Cheddar” and There’s “Mark in Tasty Brie,” There’s “Luke in Mozzarella”…

Love and Marriage

May 12, 2016

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.” — Erich Segal “Love is a grave mental disease.” — Plato “Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.” — Grouch Marx “If we take matrimony at it’s lowest, we regard it as a sort of friendship recognised…

Key Lime Pie Battle

May 12, 2016

LEGAL NEWS: A Florida state legislator who was locked in a fierce battle over making key lime pie Florida’s official pie has given up. Rep. Dwight Stansel, a pecan farmer, lobbied for pecan pie to be chosen. He later gave in to public sentiment and key lime pie is now the official pie of Florida. Arizona legislators are rumored to be considering lemons as the state fruit, but are still arguing over who should pick them. MODERN MORALITY NEWS: At two Rolling Hills Consolidated Library branches in Savannah and St. Joseph, Missouri, a children’s book about two male penguins that…

Astrology for the Weak

Horoscopes for December 7-13, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) Holidays are coming and relatives are on their way to invade your home. This time, you’ll be prepared. Gift certificates to restaurants and hotels are great ideas. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) A small piece of dust will land on one of your eyes, leaving trails and triggering flashbacks from the 60s. You’ll recover with a love for tie-dye and paisley. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will be questioned this month in the disappearance of your senile uncle-in-law. You’ll stick to your story that you dropped him off to shop at Super…

Horoscopes for November 30-December 6, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) Two new moons have been found around Pluto, the planet astrologers want demoted to a star. Pisces will support Pluto by mooning everyone Dec 23rd. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) You’ll learn of Festivus, dash out to find an undecorated aluminum pole and spaghetti, practice wrestling and airing your grievances. You’ve never been so happy. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) December is traditionally a month for celebrating friends and family members home. Your family, resembling the Grizwalds, will hit the casinos for days. CANCER (June 21 – July 22) You’ll start wearing a…

Horoscopes for November 16-22, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) Once again, things will take a turn for the worse in November. And, once again, you will blame everything on a co-worker, a neighbor, a relative or a pet. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) Your Halloween costume was such a big hit at the office party, you will think it fun to wear it once a month. Others will think cross-dressing is more disturbing. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will find that the older you get, the more you want to take a nap in the late afternoon. For most government workers,…

Horoscopes for November 9-15, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) You’ll learn of Festivus, dash out to find an undecorated aluminum pole and spaghetti, practice wrestling and airing your grievances. You’ve never been so happy. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) December is traditionally a month for celebrating friends and family members home. Your family, resembling the Grizwalds, will hit the casinos for days. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You’ll start wearing a large silver cross around your neck after Christmas. Everyone will think you found religion. Little will they know, you just found the cross. CANCER (June 21 – July 22) Chanukah, Christmas,…

Horoscopes for November 2-8, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) Your Halloween costume was such a big hit at the office party, you will think it fun to wear it once a month. Others will think cross-dressing is more disturbing. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) You will find that the older you get, the more you want to take a nap in the late afternoon. For most government workers, this is fine, but not for taxi drivers. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will recall your parents saying “Your day will come.” Well, it’s coming this month. If not this month, soon. But mark my words,…

Horoscopes for October 26-November 1, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) In October, you may be of two minds about something. This will come as a great relief. Until this October, you were of three or more minds about most things. AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) You going to fall in love with yourself all over again this October. Like before, you will get along well for a while, then fight, leading to a painful breakup. PISCES (March 20 – April 18) Some forecasts show that your fashion choices, your musical taste and your overall style have everyone buzzing with admiration. Other forecasts say…

Horoscopes for October 12-18, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) You will find happiness in October. Unfortunately, this will happen right before you lose your keys, your mate, your job and finally your sense of self respect. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) People say they can tell a lot about a person from their handshake. While you may want to strengthen yours, you will definitely want to get rid of the curtsy. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will describe yourself as a take charge kind of person. You will be more successful when you are also a take cash and checks kind…

Horoscopes for October 5-11, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) You going to fall in love with yourself all over again this October. Like before, you will get along well for a while, then fight, leading to a painful breakup. AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) Some forecasts show that your fashion choices, your musical taste and your overall style have everyone buzzing with admiration. Other forecasts say “nah.” PISCES (March 20 – April 18) This month, you could have a flash of inspiration that illuminates the potential future in a profound way. Not to worry – like a kidney stone, this too shall…