Saturday, 21 April 2012

An Alcohol Story or Two

A guy from Bama....if you grill them over the topic....will admit that we do have a problem with alcohol in the state.  To be honest.....we have a number of dry counties, and there is a huge influence over the whole state with this dry-attitude of ours.

This week, we had an unusual episode occur with the state board that allows booze into the state to be sold.  You have to present your product, and it's given the stamp of approval to be sold.  Well....this company from Michigan showed up with their ale....named....Dirty Bastard Beer.  The state board looked at the title....felt horrified, and declined to allow it to be sold in Alabama.

If you wanted a bottle or six-pack, or case of Dirty Bastard....you'd have to cross the state line into Tennessee or Georgia or Florida or Mississippi.

You see, we have a strong ethical position in Bama.  You just can't be sure that some young child would be in the beer department of the Rinky-Dinky Suds Shop and see the label of "Dirty Bastard" and get the idea to run up with a six-pack and hope to confuse the 19-year old dimwit gal at the cash register....buy the Dirty Bastard beer, and then guzzle it down in the parking lot.  This is the kind of thing that Satan would do....tempt the young innocent....over Dirty Bastard Beer.

So this brings us to story number two.  There's this Olive Garden resturant up in Indianapolis.  A family walks in and there's some confusion in the back when the gal starts to bring out the drinks.  The ten-year old kid wanted a non-alcoholic wild-berry frullato daiquiri.  What the waitress ends up giving the kid.....is a real daiquiri.

Now, most of us would just sip the daiquiri....with one lousy shot of rum in it, and it'd barely give us any kind of loose feeling.  The kid could have sat there....sipped it....likely been a bit more chatty and maybe grinning alot, but nothing much else would have happened.

This waitress begins to realize her mistake....runs back....and the kid has consumed half the daiquiri by this point.  I can only guess that he was feeling pretty good....without much of a reaction.  To be honest....the Olvie Garden folks probably water-down their drinks anyway.  But the parents ended up getting concerned about Junior.  So they ran off to an emergency room to have him checked out.  Ten-year old Junior by this point.....is a bit shaken up (by press accounts) but I'm thinking it's more over having to go to an emergency room.

You can imagine this kid in the back of the SUV.....Mom is all worried and likely on the cellphone.  Dad is racing the vehicle as fast as possible.  Meanwhile....sitting in the backseat....you start to feel you might die from half a daiquiri.  Your head is spinning now.....death might be coming.....your minutes are numbered.  You will never get a chance to gaze intently at Wanda....that other ten-year old gal across from you in school.  You feel ill now.....likely dying.  Minute by minute....your life is ticking away.

You get to the emergency room and the parents are yanking you around.  The lady at the reception is just looking toward your parents....then you.  She wished that she had three or four daiquiris....preferably something in the Strawberry taste.  She asks about your gut feeling.  You just feel that nausea feeling and not much else.

Some doctor comes out....shines a light in Junior's eyes.....pokes a stick down his mouth, and eventually proclaims Junior 'safe'.  Naturally, there's a $90 charge somewhere in this mess for the hospital visit, which dad's health insurance will cover.

Junior goes back home, and the next day....openly discusses his event at the Olive Garden.  By that evening thirty kids from the school are begging their parents to take them over to Olive Garden....in hopes that they might get a real daiquiri.

This is why folks in Bama act the way they do.  If you can prevent booze in every county....there's no chance of Junior ever being introduced to the evils of alcohol.

As for the daiquiri business?  If you had to pick a real wussy drink to consume....that's a five-star drink.  Unless you could liven it up with double-shots....I just don't think it's much to worry about....even with a ten-year old kid.

Years from now, Junior will remember this day.  And every time he goes to Olive Garden....even fifty years from now....he'll order a daiquiri.

The Silver Spoon Moment

This week, the President came up in a political moment....and said in a very simple statement.....he "wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth."

The reference?  Well....most folks think he referred to Mitt Romney's millionaire status.   To the small-town guy who isn't leaning any direction....it's a pretty good statement.  It's good up until the point where you realize that Mitt's dad was born into the bottom of the working class, and worked himself to a successful point in life.  Mitt may have had a few advantages along the way, but no more than most average folks.

But there is another side to this story.  What do you pay for two years of tuition at Occidental College in California (a private college no less)?  Roughly $72k just for tuition, and figure around a total of $100k for the tuition, room, and board.  All in 2010-dollars, of course.

What do you pay for two years of tuition at Columbia University in New York (another private college)?  Well....it's in the $72k region, for two years.  Toss in another $50k for living expenses, books, and food.  So the kid spends $122k for that period.

The kid finishes and gets a regular job, but then a couple of years go by and he ends up going to Harvard Law School for two years.  Figure around $75k for tuition for the period, and for living expenses....maybe $50k.  Total for that period.....$125k.

All total?  $360k as a minimum.  What kid in Boaz, Bama could afford that?  What kid in Ripley, Mississippi could afford that?  What kid in Waco, Texas could afford that?  But the President himself....could apparently afford that.

There's some silver spooning here, but you need to pay attention to which guy has which silver spoon in his mouth.  Course, maybe he might admit that he didn't have to pay for tuition for some odd reason.  The truth is.....there just aren't that many kids who could whip up $360k for tuition and expenses to go off to college.  Unless you had a mighty fine silver spoon.  And if you want to use 1988-dollars....we can do that....but at the end of the 1988-period.....compared to other kids living in 1988.....you'd still have some kind of nifty silver spoon.

My Neighborhood

There's a fifty-one year old guy, from this week in DC....traveling on the Metro train.  He's left DC and proceeding toward the Pentagon Station.  I'm guessing he's sweating a little.  His blood pressure is up.  And in this short 90-second ride....he has a heart attack.  The train pulls into Pentagon Station and there's a few folks trying to revive the guy.

The Metro folks have defibrillators in a number of stations (no, not all), but there's one in the Pentagon Station.  The folks grab this and prepare it for use on the guy.  The truth about the defibrillator game.....you could run ten folks through it and all would live, and then run the next ten folks through it.....and all would die.  It's a statistical game which you can't be sure about.  The emphasis though.....it's better than nothing.

So they start to prepare to use the defibrillator on the guy, and then discover there's no battery power left in it.

Yep.....no juice.  It's a dead defibrillator.

The ambulance crew arrives within a few minutes and start to revive him....using their own equipment.  The guy is declared dead at the hospital.  They made every single effort to save the guy.  It just wasn't enough.  The lack of a defibrillator?  You just don't know.  It may not have helped at all.

The Metro reaction?  They announced that they were going to ensure a defibrillator in every single station, and that they would be checked at least once a day or more.

The dead guy's reaction?  He can't say much.  He probably would have preferred that some idiot working for Metro would have walked around their own station once a week and just look at the green light on the defibrillator to ensure it works.....but it's a bit too late for him to complain.