Friday, December 31, 2010

I New Year’s Feel Good Story

Did you honestly think we would get out of the NY without a “feel good” story such as this…..I think I would take a chance with the coffin nails vs the rock up side the head -

Report: Wife 'snaps,' beats husband with rock for smoking when he was sick

CALLAWAY — A woman was arrested Wednesday morning for beating her husband with a rock, claiming she didn’t want him to smoke a cigarette because of his poor health.

“A woman can only take so much,” she told a deputy.

According to a Bay County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the couple’s 18-year-old daughter called 9-1-1 about 11:31 a.m. Wednesday when she saw her mother beating her father with a rock.

A deputy said that, when they arrived at the scene off North Lakewood Drive, he saw the victim sitting “Indian fashion” on the ground in front of the residence; he was hunched over with his hands over his head, trying to protect himself. His wife was standing behind him. She kicked him in the hip and was using a rock to hit him in the head, the report said.

A deputy told the 41-year-old woman to get off her husband a few times, but she continued to strike him and scream at him, telling him “to give her the cigarettes,” the report said.

The man, age 51, had cuts and bruises, including a bleeding laceration on the top of his right wrist, the report said.

Both husband and wife told deputies they had been suffering with the flu recently and had not felt well. The night before, they got into an argument and the woman scratched her husband’s face, the report said. When he mentioned going outside to smoke a cigarette that morning, the wife became angry and told him “he did not need to be smoking since he is sick,” according to the report.

She followed him outside and began to argue with him, then jumped on him and began hitting him in the head with “a small ceramic bird,” the report said. She grabbed other items to hit him, finally picking up a rock.

The man refused treatment by EMS. He said “he knew how to take care of himself,” the report said.

The woman was charged with aggravated battery domestic violence. She said she had been dealing with “a lot of (expletive)” for some time and “a woman can only take so much,” the report said.

She said she was upset because he had the flu and she told him not to smoke, but he went outside and smoked anyway. She added, “A person can only take so much before they snap,” the report said.

Told what she was being charged with, she responded, “Yeah, I hit him with the rock,” according to the report.

The rock was submitted into evidence.

What it is all about….

A friend of S&B just posted this on FB-

DM-was in walmart getting liquor, had a gentlemen approach me and say I was drinking on him tonight, I was modest and said thank you but were set, he put $40 in the cart and said thank that gentlemen, thank you for the support sir. fight for my country and get money for booze and beer. cool.

I really doubt that that individual reads S&B, but if he does….well played sir, well played.

Every time I see a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine out and about, I go out of my way to say Thank You.  There have been several times I have bought a drink at an airport bar and told the waitress to put it on my tab without telling the recipient.  I hope all my readers do the same…..if you see a military member tonight (or any time)….tell them thanks.  A little recognition and appreciation goes a long way.

Cheers to all of you guys and Happy New Year.

……and in Texas

Well, this seems to be becoming a common trend.  Just as I earlier pointed out in Florida, they are also doing the “No Refusal” DUI stops in Texas.

What I find particularly amusing is that these only took place on Weekends.  So does that mean that weekday DUI stops are not as important?  I personally think it is so the Judge who has to be on-site (plus the cops) can then make more money on overtime.

What a waste.  IMO, DUI stops are unconstitutional (there is no probable cause to stop everyone….so illegal search) and the fact that MADD sponsors or “assists” in these shows that this is really fringe organizations taking over public service (nobody pays attention to this, yet if a group get together and form a militia…the media is all over it).  For an interesting read on MADD and how the operate/skew statistics….skip over to Modern Drunkard Magazine (and how could you not love a smoking and drinking monkey in a fez?).

Here is the article from Texas.  It should be retitled- You can’t kill our Cash Cow.

'No Refusal' Weekend Program To Exist Year-Round

SAN ANTONIO -- Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed announced plans this week to extend "No Refusal" weekends to every weekend in 2011 as opposed to certain holiday weekends, like New Year's and the Fourth of July.

The move to extend the program drew positive words from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"We're pretty excited about that," said Daniel Garza, youth program specialist with MADD. "It was a great pleasure to hear that this morning that law enforcement is going to get another good tool to be able to combat drunk driving here in San Antonio."

With an estimated 6,000 drunken driving arrests in Bexar county for 2010, MADD feels the program will cut down on arrests in 2011.

"When they're announced and everyone knows that they're coming, they serve as a deterrent," Garza said. "It would be a great pleasure to see it become 365 days."

But criminal lawyers who handle DWI cases see it differently.

"I guess the message they're sending is, 'Get drunk during the week,'" said Jamie Balagia, a lawyer who goes by "DWI Dude".

"They're saying, 'You give us a breath specimen or you give us a blood specimen or we're going to take it anyway,'" George Scharmen, a criminal defense lawyer.

Scharmen said with the district attorney's refusal to take plea bargains in DWI cases, the new policy won't do anything but stretch out cases. He said he has some cases that have waited five years to get to court.

"You have motions to suppress breath and blood draws on the basis of a bad search warrant, on the basis of involuntariness," Scharmen said.

"If they don't have enough evidence against you to make a solid case, how is what little they have enough for a judge to sign a warrant?" added Balagia.

Reed's office released statistics from nine No Refusal weekends between May 2008 and the Fourth of July weekend in 2010. The stats showed that 312 blood tests were taken with an average blood alcohol level of 0.159, nearly twice the legal limit. Twenty-nine of the tests were below the legal limit.

"If you have a special program, there should be a goal and a goal that you can actually show statistically that there's benefit," Balagia said. "Susan Reed can't do that."

"The implication is that on the No Refusal weekend they have a tendency to get more convictions or they have a tendency to get better evidence," Scharmen said.

A New Year’s Poem

I read this this morning on the Freemasons for Dummies blog and thought it was somewhat fitting for this crowd as well.  Please check out Br. Chris Hodapp’s blog if you have a chance, as there are some really interesting things there…even for non-masons.
Happy New Year all- Cheers Smile


The Passing Of The Year

by Brother Robert William Service (1874 - 1958)

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter’s chime
Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
Let us all read, whate’er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope? O Optimist!
What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
Old weary year! it’s time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I—
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

(Brother Robert W. Service was a member of Yukon Lodge No. 45 in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. He is best remembered for his poem, The Shooting of Dan McGrew).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

As Mike said….I need one of these :)

And the Fascists show up in Florida

This story almost leaves me dumbfounded.  Usually if you refuse a breathalyzer, at least in every state I have lived in, your license is suspended….that’s it.  Now, they have a judge on site (how much does that cost?) and will FORCE you to take a bloodtest. 

"We don't want to violate people's civil rights. That's the last thing we want to do, but we're here to save lives”

When does someone use that same logic to say “"We don't want to violate people's constitutional rights. That's the last thing we want to do, but we're here to save lives” and ban guns as well?

Oh well….here you go.  Enjoy or shudder as you will-

"No refusal" DUI checkpoints could be coming to Tampa

Tampa, Florida-- With New Year's Eve only days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads.

But now a new weapon is being used in the fight against drunk driving.

It's a change that could make you more likely to be convicted.

"I think it's a great deterrent for people," said Linda Unfried, from Mother's Against Drunk Driving in Hillsborough County.

Florida is among several states now holding what are called "no refusal" checkpoints.

It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test.

It's already being done in several counties, and now Unfried is working to bring it to the Tampa Bay area.

"I think you'll see the difference because people will not drink and drive. I truly believe that," she said.

Not everyone is on board, though.

DUI defense attorney Kevin Hayslett sees the mandatory blood test as a violation of constitutional rights.

"It's a slippery slope and it's got to stop somewhere," Hayslett explained, "what other misdemeanor offense do we have in the United States where the government can forcefully put a needle into your arm?"

The federal government says Florida has among the highest rates of breathalyzer refusal.

"Now you've got attorneys telling their clients, don't blow, don't blow! Because we know from the results from these machines that they're not operating as the state or the government says they're supposed to operate," said Stephen Daniels, a DUI consultant and expert witness.

Supporters, though, say you could see the "no refusal" checkpoints in the Bay area by October.

"We don't want to violate people's civil rights. That's the last thing we want to do, but we're here to save lives," Unfried said.

She adds that this type of checkpoint would be heavily advertised, with the goal of deterring any drunk driving.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has recently said he wants to see more states hold similar programs.

My favorite quote of the year

From my man…..Mike Tyson.

My life is like a tornado, a f---ing hurricane. It's like I'm a naked tornado that comes through a city and there's just so much wreckage. There's so much destruction, and when it's finally over, it's like the morning after and you're sober and ... what the f--- happened here

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Alabama PSA


Illegal to possess too much beer

An excess of "holiday spirits" landed an Albertville man in jail on Christmas Eve.

Albertville Police Chief Benny Womack said 35-year-old Ramiro Santos, of the Kilpatrick Mobile Home Park, was stopped at 10 p.m. Friday at the intersection of U.S. 431 and Mathis Mill Road in Albertville on suspicion of driving under the influence.

During a subsequent search of Santos' vehicle, officers discovered a large quantity of beer, leading to charges of illegal transportation of alcoholic beverages being filed against Santos.

Womack said the list of beer was lengthy and included 14 cases of Bud Light, and a variety of other brands, including Modelo and Corona.

"We don't see a lot of these types of cases," Womack said. "It's not often someone has that much beer in their car."

With many people planning New Year's parties, officials caution drivers to be aware of alcoholic beverage restrictions and laws.

Alabama Criminal Codes state transporting more than five gallons of alcohol is a felony offense punishable by no less than one year but no more than five years in prison.

Drivers are allowed to possess three quarts of liquor or three quarts of wine along with one case of brewed or malt beverages. However, no beverages may be kept in the passenger compartment of a vehicle or within sight of the passenger.

Since many parts of Marshall County are considered wet, or allow sales of alcohol, drivers are subject to an open container law. Under the law, drivers can possess alcoholic beverages for transport, but containers cannot be open and bottles cannot have broken seals.

In dry portions of the area, such as Boaz and Mountainboro, drivers are subject similar laws, according to Boaz Deputy Chief Todd Adams.

"The main thing people need to know is they cannot have alcoholic beverages of any type within reach of the driver or passengers at all," Adams said. "That doesn't matter if you live in the dry or wet areas."

Could this be the end of an empire?

Woman dies at Busch home

Autopsy report to take weeks

HUNTLEIGH (AP) — Police found the body of a 27-year-old woman in the upscale suburban St. Louis home of ex-Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV, though it could take at least a month before authorities know how she died.

The woman was identified as Adrienne N. Martin of St. Charles. Police were called Sunday afternoon to the St. Louis suburb of Huntleigh and found her body in Busch’s gated home. St. Louis County forensic administrator Suzanne McCune said yesterday there were no signs of illness or trauma. An autopsy was conducted, but results could take four to six weeks.

Art Margulis, an attorney for Busch, said Martin was a friend of Busch who was visiting the home and there was “absolutely nothing suspicious” about her death.

“It was a tragic death of a young woman,” he said. Margulis told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Martin and Busch had been dating for at least a year.

Frontenac police, whose area of coverage includes Huntleigh, provided information in a news release that did not say if the death was considered suspicious. Phone messages seeking an interview were not returned. The release did not say why news of the death was not announced until four days later.

The statement from police said the department received a 911 call at 1:15 p.m. Sunday about an “unresponsive person” at the home. Martin was deceased when paramedics and officers arrived, the release said.

McCune declined to speculate on the investigation or the cause of death.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted an unnamed law enforcement source as saying the case was being investigated as a possible overdose. McCune would only say that an overdose was among the possible causes.

Citing a divorce file, the Post-Dispatch reported that Martin was married in 2002 to a 45-year-old man but they separated in February 2009. The couple had joint custody of an 8-year-old son, the paper reported.

A woman identified as Adrienne Nicole Martin, from the St. Louis area and the same age as the victim, posted on the website that she was studying to be an art therapist and was hoping to become a model. “I really would like to do beer advertising,” the woman wrote in the posting.

Busch, 46, was chief executive at Anheuser-Busch from 2006 until the maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers was purchased by InBev in 2008. The $52 billion merger created the world’s largest brewery.

Busch remains a member of the board of directors for InBev.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Busch and his wife of 2½ years divorced in 2009.

In 1983, Busch, then a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, left a bar with a 22-year-old woman. His black Corvette crashed, and the woman, Michele Frederick, was killed. Busch was found hours later at his home. He suffered a fractured skull and claimed he had amnesia.

After a seven-month investigation, authorities declined to press criminal charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Monday, December 27, 2010

DUI in DC since 2000? You may be in luck

As if Traffic Stops were not intrusive enough, no small wonder that stories like this happen.  Great job DC… continue to show your incompetence.

Bogus Breathalyzer Results may go back a DecadeWhistleblower contends Washington, DC breath testing machines have not been accuracy checked since 2000.
Motorists in Washington, DC may have been falsely accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) for more than a decade as a result of faulty "Intoxilyzer" breath testing equipment. Whistleblower Ilmar Paegle, a veteran police officer now working as a contract employee for the District Department of Transportation, argued in a memorandum to the city's attorney general that the breath testing machines have not been properly calibrated since 2000, as first reported by WTTG-TV.
To date, the District has only admitted to bogus breathalyzer results taken between September 2008 and February 4, 2010. Of 1100 cases prosecuted in that period, 300 were convicted based on evidence provided by faulty machines.
"As a result of the miscalibration the instruments apparently produced results that were outside the acceptable margin of error to be considered accurate," Deputy DC Attorney General Robert J. Hildum wrote in a June 4 letter to DC trial lawyers. "OAG [office of the attorney general] is in the process of notifying the defendants and their counsel in those cases."
Paegle's discovery that the breathalyzers producing bogus results forced the Metropolitan Police Department to stop using the machines on February 4 and switch to Intoximeters. Hildum blamed the problems on Officer Kelvin King who began replacing motors in the breathalyzers in September 2008 as part of routine maintenance. Under DC law, the machines must be tested for accuracy every three months, but the District failed to codify procedures or standards for this testing. Paegle was concerned that the District has never performed these accuracy tests, raising concern among legal experts.
"You too could have been pulled over on the basis of a minor traffic violation and put through a series of difficult and humiliating field sobriety tests," DC-based defense attorney Jamison Koehler wrote on his law firm's blog. "After blowing into the breath test machine, you could have spent the night in a jail cell with other people who were drunk, angry, disorderly, mentally ill or whose sweating, panting and retching signaled to you that they going through drug withdrawal. You could have had to shell out thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer and missed work on so many occasions to attend court hearings that your employer warned you might be fired.... On the basis of the faulty breath test results, you too have been convicted of driving while intoxicated even with blood alcohol levels far below the legal limit."
A copy of the OAG memo is available in a 220k PDF at the source link below.
Source: PDF File Letter to DC Superior Court Trial Lawyers Assoc. (DC Office of the Attorney General, 6/4/2010)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Small Batch #1 - Baker’s

It’s Christmas time, and with that comes some of the great gifts that come my way.


This first one is the “Original Small Batch Bourbon Collection”, a boxed set highlighting four fine bourbons.  This one is kinda funny, because my wife got it for me…while at the same time, I had picked up one for Mike for his stocking (after learning he would be joining us Christmas Morning).

The first one I wanted to try was Baker’s, a 170 proof 7 seven year old bourbon named after Baker Beam, grand nephew of Jim Beam.


Color- Pale Gold

  • Nose- Nutty with Honey and Caramel.
  • Taste- Strong, sweet honey and vanilla with a syrupy mouth feel.  Reminded me of a rye with with a bit of a backbite.  Splashed with water smoothed this out somewhat and brought out a little leather, while at the same time enhancing the vanilla.
  • Finish- Long lasting and very warm.  Hints of spice and orange gave this one a well rounded finish.

Overall, Baker’s was (for some unknown reason) the first bottle I gravitated to in the set.  While not great, very well rounded and drinkable.  If the remaining three are as good (I’ve had Knob Creek before and it comes recommended by Morton Ahput), then this set will exceed expectations.

Stay tuned for more……

Friday, December 24, 2010

Remembering the Battle of the Bulge- On Christmas

- Christmas 1944 – 66 years ago -- was a difficult time for U.S. troops holding Bastogne, Belgium.

It came in the midst of the famous Battle of the Bulge, the last-ditch major German offensive in which the German High Command threw thousands of tanks and troops into what was perceived to be the weak point in the Allied lines, deep in the Ardennes region of northeastern France.

It turned out to be one of our finest moments.

Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, in an attempt to hold the critical road intersection at Bastogne, Belgium, had rushed in the famous "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne Division to reinforce previously ploaced armored units.

The tanks and soldiers of the German Army, however, completely surrounded the U.S. forces in Bastogne and laid siege to the town. It was one of the coldest winters on record.

On Dec. 22, three days before Christmas, the Germans sent a party of four -- a major, a captain and two enlisted men -- up the road to Bastogne carrying a large white flag, bringing a demand from the Nazi commander for the Allied troops to surrender. They were met on the road by U.S. troops, were blindfolded, and taken to one of the U.S. command posts.

The acting U.S. commander, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, replied to the demand with just one word: “Nuts.” 

Two days later, on Christmas Eve, McAuliffe issued this message to his men:

“Headquarters 101st Airborne Division

“Office of the Division Commander

“24 December 1944

“What’s merry about all this, you ask? We’re fighting, it’s cold, we aren’t home. All true, but what has the proud Eagle Division accomplished with its worthy comrades of the 10th Armored Division, the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion and all the rest? Just this: We have stopped cold everything that has been thrown at us from the North, East, South and West. We have identifications from four German Panzer Divisions, two German Infantry Divisions and one German Parachute Division. These units, spearheading the last desperate German lunge, were headed straight west for key points when the Eagle Division was hurriedly ordered to stem the advance. How effectively this was done will be written in history; not alone in our Division’s glorious history but in World history. The Germans actually did surround us. Their radios blared our doom. Their Commander demanded our surrender in the following impudent arrogance:

‘December 22nd 1944
To the U.S. A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

‘The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Ourthe near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hombres Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

‘If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A.A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. Troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

‘All the serious civilian losses caused by this Artillery fire would not correspond with the well known American humanity.

(signed) ‘The German Commander’

“The German Commander received the following reply:

‘22 December 1944
’To the German Commander:


(signed) ‘The American Commander’

McAuliffe continued:

“Allied Troops are counterattacking in force. We continue to hold Bastogne. By holding Bastogne we assure the success of the Allied Armies. We know that our Division Commander, General Taylor, will say: Well Done!

“We are giving our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present and being privileged to take part in this gallant feat of arms are truly making for ourselves a Merry Christmas. A.C. McAuliffe”

*  *  *

“The United States Army in World War II,” the official history published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History on the U.S. Army Heritage Web site, reports what happened at Bastogne on Dec. 22 this way: 

“Major Alvin Jones took the terms to General McAuliffe and Lieutenant Colonel Ned D. Moore, who was acting Chief of Staff. The paper called for the surrender of the Bastogne garrison and threatened its complete destruction otherwise.

“It appealed to the ‘Well known American humanity’ to save the people of Bastogne from further suffering. The Americans were to have two hours in which to consider. The two enemy officers would have to be released by 1400 but another hour would pass before the Germans would resume their attack.

“Colonel Harper, commanding the 327th, went with Jones to Division Headquarters. The two German officers were left with Captain Adams. Members of the staff were grouped around General McAuliffe when Harper and Jones arrived. McAuliffe asked someone what the paper contained and was told that it requested a surrender.

“He laughed and said, ‘Aw, nuts!’ It really seemed funny to him at the time. He figured he was giving the Germans ‘one hell of a beating’ and that all of his men knew it. The demand was all out of line with the existing situation.

“But McAuliffe realized that some kind of reply had to be made and he sat down to think it over. Pencil in hand, he sat there pondering for a few minutes and then he remarked, ‘Well, I don't know what to tell them.’ He asked the staff what they thought and Colonel Kinnard, his G-3 [third in command] replied, "That first remark of yours would be hard to beat."

“General McAuliffe didn't understand immediately what Kinnard was referring to. Kinnard reminded him, ‘You said 'Nuts!’ That drew applause all around. All members of the staff agreed with much enthusiasm and because of their approval McAuliffe decided to send that message back to the Germans.

“Then he called Colonel Harper in and asked him how he would reply to the message. Harper thought for a minute but before he could compose anything General McAuliffe gave him the paper on which he had written his one-word reply and asked, ‘Will you see that it's delivered?’ ‘I will deliver it myself,’ answered Harper. ‘It will be a lot of fun.’ McAuliffe told him not to go into the German lines.

“Colonel Harper returned to the command post of Company F. The two Germans were standing in the wood blindfolded and under guard. Harper said, ‘I have the American commander's reply.’

“The German captain asked, ‘Is it written or verbal?’

“‘It is written,’ said Harper. And then he said to the German major, ‘I will stick it in your hand.’

“The German captain translated the message. The major then asked, ‘Is the reply negative or affirmative? If it is the latter I will negotiate further.’

“All of this time the Germans were acting in an upstage and patronizing manner. Colonel Harper was beginning to lose his temper. He said, ‘The reply is decidedly not affirmative.’ Then he added, "If you continue this foolish attack your losses will be tremendous." The major nodded his head.

“Harper put the two officers in the jeep and took them back to the main road where the German privates were waiting with the white flag.

“He then removed the blindfold and said to them, speaking through the German captain, ‘If you don't understand what “Nuts” means, in plain English it is the same as “Go to hell.” And I will tell you something else -- if you continue to attack we will kill every goddam German that tries to break into this city.’

“The German major and captain saluted very stiffly. The captain said, ‘We will kill many Americans. This is war.’ It was then 1350.10

“‘On your way, Bud,’ said Colonel Harper, ‘and good luck to you.’

“The four Germans walked on down the road. Harper returned to the house, regretting that his tongue had slipped and that he had wished them good luck.”

The Greatest Christmas Song Ever

The other day (HERE) I mentioned the greatest Christmas Song ever…and if you know me or follow the blog, it should not surprise you in the least that it is by the Pogues (blogged about HERE, HERE and HERE).

Fairytale of New York is without a doubt on of the greatest Christmas Ballads, if not one of the best songs ever.  Don’t take my word for it, try this on-

First lets look at the Peak Positions in the charts by year-

  • 1987- Number 1 in Ireland and Number 2 in the UK
  • 1991- Number 10 in Ireland and Number 36 in the UK
  • 2005- Number 3 in Ireland and Number 3 in the UK
  • 2006- Number 6 in the UK
  • 2007- Number 3 in Ireland and Number 4 in the UK
  • 2008- Number 8 in Ireland and Number 12 in the UK
  • 2009- Number 13 in Ireland and Number 12 in the UK
  • 2010- Number 11 in Ireland and Number 19 in the UK

23 years later and it is still in the Top 20s.

On top of that, look how it has been rated on various UK based polls-

  • Number 1 the VH1 greatest Christmas song chart three years running, 2004,  2005 and 2006
  • Number 11 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Christmas Moments
  • Number 27 on VH1's Greatest Songs Never to Make Number One
  • Number 23 on VH1's greatest lyrics
  • Number 83 in Q Magazine's 100 Greatest Ever Songs
  • Number 84 on BBC Radio 2's top 100 greatest songs of all time poll
  • The Hits music channel rated "Fairytale of New York" number one in 'The Nation's Favorite Christmas Song' countdown
  • In December 2008 The Music Factory UK did a poll which found that the song was the favorite Christmas song.
  • Number 1 song of the 80s by voters of The Radcliffe & Maconie show on BBC Radio 2 & BBC Four's Pop On Trial season in January 2008.

This is not a one hit wonder but a a song that really has some legs.

I will let everyone interpret the lyrics themselves, but here is some trivia for you:

  • Watch for cameos by Matt Dillon and Morgan Freeman
  • Jack Daniels was the whiskey of choice on the piano during the video.
  • There is no NYBD Choir, so the NYPD Pipe and Drum Corp fills in.  They also didn’t know “Galway Bay” so they sung the Mickey Mouseclub Theme and it was slowed to the songs tempo.
  • Although the song finished 1987 as the 48th best seller of the year despite only a single month's sales, it was denied the Christmas #1 spot by the Pet Shop Boys' cover of "Always on My Mind". MacGowan commented on this in his typically forthright manner: "We were beaten by two queens and a drum machine". MacColl later said that she did not feel they were really in competition with the Pet Shop Boys as they were doing a completely different kind of music.
  • Censored on Dec 18, 2007 for it’s use of Faggot and Slut by BBC Radio 1, the station later backed down the same day due to public backlash. 
  • This is the ONLY song that I have ever done at Karaoke….as a duet with my beautiful wife Debi Smile
  • Kirsty MacColl sadly died in a tragic boating accident in 2000.

As you can see…..I 100% back this song, and I can never hear it without smiling and thinking of Debi….if we had “A Song” this would be it.

Merry Christmas everyone…be safe and have a Happy Holiday.

Cheers from Smokes and Booze.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Smokers need not apply

Well, here we go. 

I post below (in it’s entirety) an article from CBS Boston entitle “Smokers Need not Apply”.  In it, we learn of Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport Mass…where they are now imposing the draconian tactic of screening new hires for Nicotine.  For the record, I wish to point out that Nicotine is a legal substance and available to any adult over 18 (or 95% of the children in Columbia Mo if the kids outside of Rockbridge is any gauge).  It’s based on a possible flawed test that can give false positives even from second hand smoke.  If you test positive, you can retest after 30 days, but you will have to alter your lifestyle and allow your employer to impose their morality on your life. 

I’m sure the hospital doesn’t have any questions about the potential employees sexual habits (risk of Aids), their entertainment choice (high risk entertainment like Scuba or Skydiving) or their choice of transportation (motorcycles are more dangerous than cars)….instead they go after the smoker.  In fact, while they may have incentives for their employees to quit smoking, I bet they do not target current smokers who work for the hospital.

In the end, this is pure discrimination.  As an employer, I cannot descriminate against Race, Sex or Orientation….so how is it legal to do so against a lifestyle choice.  What is next, their opinion on obesity (probably if Michelle Obama gets her way). 

NEWBURYPORT (CBS) — If you smoke, don’t bother applying for a job at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.

The hospital is requiring job applicants to take nicotine tests. If they test positive, they’ll be rejected. If they quit smoking, they can try again six months later.

“How far do we want our private employers to intrude in our private lives?” asks employee rights attorney Philip Gordon. “What happens if, during that blood test, they find out something else about me?”

Hospital spokesperson Deb Chiaravalloti says, “We believe as a health care organization we need to make sure we have a healthy environment for our employees and our patients. Smokers are not a protected class.”

Last year, the hospital prohibited employees from smoking in the designated fenced-off area outside the building.

Next year, the hospital plans to ban smoking on the campus all together, even for patients and visitors.

While Anna Jaques is the first hospital in Massachusetts to require nicotine testing, it is not the first employer. Last month, the Massachusetts Hospital Association announced it is no longer hiring smokers.

London Pride–A beer review

Fullers London Pride

On my recent trip London, I was given the opportunity to try a beer that would not normally be on my radar – Fuller’s London Pride.

I won’t get into details as to why I got this chance (let’s just say an airline stewardess wanted to placate me for all their mess-ups on my flight).

The presentation sucked, as it was from a dented can (can’t have glass on an airplane) and was served with a plastic cup….so no real good way to determine color or clarity.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

Color- Looked to be a dark amber through the plastic cup

Head- A nice dense head, that held all the way through the beer.

Nose- Highly malty, with hints of caramel and fruit.

Taste- Lighter and Hoppier than I expected and a little bitter. This complimented the sweet malty taste and really made this feel like a well rounded beer.  While fruity, I really picked out the taste of honey and raisins more than anything.

Overall this beer was very good and made more appealing as it was free. Smile  I would prefer to get this in a bottle, as there was a little bit of the aluminum aftertaste associated with cans (not a good pairing here) and I would really like to try it in a pub on tap (didn’t have time to pubcrawl this trip).  I really enjoyed this beer and would give it a straight 4 stars.  Well done.

An interesting side note….if you take a cab from Heathrow to the Thistle in Euston, you go right by the brewery.  I never noticed this before, so of course I see it this time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A few gift ideas from Smokes and Booze

Here at Smokes and Booze we try to be a public service vs a public nuisance (emphasis on the word TRY).  So, here are a few things I saw on the net that you might still be able to get for under the tree this year.  I get NO kickbacks from any of these, so feel free to ridicule them as much as you want.


The Gift Guide For Sinners


First we have the Christmas Drinking gloves.  I’m not overly fond of the fingerless look…but they are festive.

At $5.99 each, not a BAD stocking stuffer…but you could get mini-bottles and enjoy it more



The Gift Guide For SinnersNext on our Christmas S&B List this year, we have the Book Flask.  While cumbersome and not very tote friendly, they definitely make up for it by having the inscription of “Cogito Sumere Potum Alterum” (Latin for “I think I’ll have another drink”) on the spine.  $19.95 seems a little steep (especially since there is no booze included), so I think there are better products on the market.

I personally prefer the hidden bottle of Pyrat Rum in the book promo that was done a few years ago.  We got one and I still laugh at the look….it actually has the “Feel” of a book and would probably fool 25% of views as opposed to the 2% on the Book Flask.

The Gift Guide For SinnersNow I really like this one, not because it has a great name (The WineRack ) or involves boobs (Who Like Boobies?  Charlie Waffles) …but it really is ingenious.  Capable of holding a bottle of wine or a 5th of liquor, not only can you smuggle in booze….but you can have a fuller figure.  Win Win.  Although a little pricey at $29.95 (and currently out of stock), I still think this is a great idea….unless you are trying to get through TSA, who’s gonna pat you there when going through Security?

Honestly though…if you are looking for that something special for the boozer in your life, you can’t go wrong with anything from the Guinness Store.  I’ve bought from them in the past (Including during mine and Debi’s first Christmas) and customer service was excellent.

Smokes and Booze Christmas


Ok everyone….I know it’s been awhile since I posted.  After my Amsterdam trip, I was back into London for a Corp. Strategy Meeting.  Talk about making me want to drink.  But at least I got to drink some Cobra again (Review HERE) and I have a new review coming out (London Pride).

Anyway, I should be back in the saddle again until my Berlin trip in January, to be followed by KC in Feb and LA in March.  None of these trips will be as demanding, so I should be able to continue to post.

So to kick off the few days left before Christmas, I’ve found some videos for everyone to enjoy……Starting with Bob and Doug.

Bob and Doug McKenzie singing the 12 Days of Christmas will always be a staple of my childhood memories.  Who can forget riding Bus 21 with Jeanie Larkey and or Bus 9 with Jim Barnes and this song coming on.  It was Pure 80’s…..and is (IMO) the 2nd greatest Christmas song ever.  What’s number 1?  You’ll just have to tune in later to find out….but until then, enjoy these two drunk Canadians (I’ve posted about them before) and the other videos below.


How about some vintage smoking commercials for Christmas while we are at it?  I love the blatant commercialism of the first two (Camel and Lucky Strike), where they even leverage that the boxes have Christmas decorations.  Awesome.  The Dutch masters is just classic.


Meanwhile, Jack Daniels goes a more tasteful route….bringing Christmas to Lynchburg.

How about a Japanese Gin (Suntory) Commercial?  That’s what I thought too….and the tune is catchy….in a satanic, load a gun and start greasing people sort of way.  Leave it to them.

Finally, leave it to the true artists at St. James Gate….where only Guinness can create something so subtle.  You can almost imagine everyone going home and pouring a pint of the black, sitting in front of a fire and relaxing.  Merry Christmas.

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