Category Archive 'Alcohol'

27 Sep 2016

“As Faulkner Lay Drinking”

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williamfaulkner
Philip Greene memorializes the great man’s treasured relationship with the bottle.

“There is no such thing as bad whiskey,” Faulkner once reasoned. “Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others. But a man shouldn’t fool with booze until he’s fifty; then he’s a damn fool if he doesn’t.”

Indeed, the man loved his whiskey. Too much. It became a muse and a constant writing companion. In 1937, he explained his method to his French translator Maurice Edgar Coindreau: “You see, I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach; so many ideas that I can’t remember in the morning pop into my head.”

To some of his critics (not to mention his rivals), this method was a double-edged sword. During an interview with Hemingway during the mid-1950s, when he was asked if he made himself a pitcher of Martinis before each writing session, Hemingway snorted, “Jeezus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes—and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one.”

Faulkner did say that “civilization begins with distillation;” perhaps his writing sessions did, too. He was known to go on long drinking binges where he would lock himself into, say, a hotel room and drink for days straight. While booze may have been Faulkner’s inspiration, it surely took a toll on his health and years off his life. During a 1937 visit to the Algonquin Hotel in New York, after a days-long bender, he passed out against a steam radiator and severely burned his back. He took the unfortunate incident with his typical sense of humor. His friend Bennett Cerf, one of the founders of book publisher Random House, chastised him: “Bill, aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You come up here for your first vacation in five years and you spend the whole time in the hospital.” Faulkner quietly replied, “Bennett, it was my vacation.”

Read the whole thing.

21 Jan 2016

“Just a Couple of Beers at the Firehouse”

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McAdoo
I grew up in Shenandoah, so I know McAdoo.

I came across a classic Coal Region survival story yesterday, out of McAdoo, just south of Hazleton.

WNEP:

Justin Smith, 26, of McAdoo is what doctors are calling a medical miracle.

He was found nearly frozen to death on the side of the road about one year ago.

On Monday, he got the opportunity to thank everyone who helped him survive after spending nearly 12 hours out in the cold.

“I got done with work that day and we were going to the fire hall to hang out, having a couple drinks with some people, and I wanted to go home around 10 o’clock,” said Smith.

On that cold night last February, Justin Smith walked out of the Treskow fire hall, but never made it home.

His father Don found him the next day on the side of Treskow Road.

“I looked over and there was Justin laying there and he was laying face up there like this,” said Don Smith. ” He was blue. His face he was lifeless. I checked for a pulse. I checked for a heartbeat. There was nothing.”

“The coroner was on scene. The state police were on scene. They were doing essentially a death investigation,” said Dr. Gerald Coleman.

But Dr. Coleman, an emergency department physician at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Hazleton, refused to pronounce Justin dead when his body was that cold.

“Our mind is supposed to run the show, not our hearts because if your heart runs the show, you can run into some problems. I just kind of threw that to the wind and said, ‘No, not today,’” said Dr. Coleman.

A team in Hazleton performed CPR on Justin for two hours.

He was then transferred to Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest near Allentown where doctors used what’s called an ECMO machine to warm up Justin’s blood.

Doctors say flying Justin to Lehigh Valley’s Hospital near Allentown was a miracle in itself. They had to beat a snowstorm and do compressions on him the entire way.

“We knew we needed a big, big miracle,” Justin’s mom Sissy Smith said.

“When you have very low temperature, it can preserve the brain and other organ functions,” said Dr. James Wu of the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Doctors said as Justin warmed up, his heart started beating.

Weeks went by before he actually woke up and realized where he was.

“It’s like I woke up from a dream, but it wasn’t a dream,” Justin said.

“When you look at the science of what happened to Justin, it was really hard to imagine that anyone on Earth could survive this,” said Dr. John Castaldo of the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Now he’s back to his family he loves, golf, and school.

Justin lost his pinkies and all of his toes, but doctors call him a medical miracle.

30 Sep 2015

14 Most Inebriated Pennsylvania Counties

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ArmstrongCounty
Kittaning, county seat of Armstrong County

Only in Our State

Clinton County (County Seat, Lock Haven) comes in first. (Applause!)

Lackawanna (Scranton), Luzerne (Hazleton), Monroe (Stroudsburg), and Huntingdon (Huntingdon) all get in there. Sadly, my native county, Schuylkill, does not even make this list. It would have in the old days. My hometown in its prime had more barrooms than Philadelphia, typically six per block: each corner building and one in the middle of the block on either side of the street.

04 Sep 2015

Kubler-Ross Glasses

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StagesofGriefGlasses

01 Sep 2015

Hunter Thompson’s Daily Routine

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Hunter-S-theedge

HunterThompsonRoutine

03 Aug 2015

The 50 States If They Were Actually People In A Bar

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Martini2
Connecticut

Tickld:

Colorado is a beautiful, perfectly athletic couple wearing all Patagonia, drinking craft beer talking about their last mountaineering trip, with an air of aloofness.

Connecticut is a rich white woman sipping a martini and silently judging all the other states.

Delaware is that guy who hangs around the outside of the New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey friend-circle, taking occasional sips from his Yuengling and mostly being ignored, except when New York has to go past him to get to the bar.

04 Aug 2013

Carson McCullers Used to Drink

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Modern Drunkard admires the late Carson McCullers’ reputation for possessing a wooden leg.

Weened on beer as a child, this gangly southern belle graduated to drinking straight gin from water glasses before she left high school.

The stellar success of her first novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter convinced Carson to move to the literary capitol of New York. Attending a ferocious flurry of cocktail parties thrown in her honor, she took no small amount of pleasure in shocking the gathered intelligentsia — not with boorish behavior (she was generally quite shy), but by showing them how much booze a young lady from the South could put away. Carson possessed a prodigious capacity for liquor and reveled in sending large proud Yankees staggering home while she drank deeper into the night.

Carson liked sherry with her tea, brandy with her coffee and her purse with a large flask of whiskey. Between books, when she was neither famous nor monied, she claimed she existed almost exclusively on gin, cigarettes and desperation for weeks at a time. During her most productive years she employed a round-the-clock drinking system: she’d start the day at her typewriter with a ritual glass of beer, a way of saying it was time to work, then steadily sip sherry as she typed. If it was cold and there was no wood for the stove, she’d turn up the heat with double shots of whiskey. She concluded her workday before dinner, which she primed with a martini. Then it was off to the parties, which meant more martinis, cognac and oftentimes corn whiskey. Finally, she ended the day as it began, with a bedtime beer.

Her recuperative abilities are the stuff of legend — she would rise the following morning, shake off her hangover like so much dust, down her morning beer and get back to work.

Via the Dish.

11 Jun 2012

The Liquor Talking

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One should never listen to the advice provided by large quantities of booze. More.

08 Dec 2010

Squirrel Karamazov

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A disheveled, hallucinating squirrel featured in a Russian Government campaign against alcohol has become an Internet hit attracting more than a million viewers.

Telegraph

Hat tip to Tristyn Bloom.

06 Feb 2010

Cartography as Destiny

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Strange Maps:

This map shows Europe dominated by three so-called ‘alcohol belts’, the northernmost one for distilled spirits, a middle one for beer and the southernmost one for wine. Each one’s existence and extension is determined by a mix of culture and agriculture.

It seems oversimplified to me, aquavit and vodka are hardly identical, and surely Scotland is misplaced.

I think a more detailed New World alcohol map would be interesting. You’d have grain alcohol in Canadian Indian Reservation woods, followed by a long Maritime Rum belt. Flavored gins in French-speaking Quebec. Scotch in the BosWash coastal corridor. A swatch of Rye from Pennsylvania down through Maryland. Bourbon in the South. Canadian Whiskey where? Michigan and Upper Canada, possibly. Beer in the Heartland. White Wine in the suburbs.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.


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