Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Brew Years Eve!

75th Anniversary Of The Repeal of Prohibition!

The News tells the story on December 6, 1933.

NY Daily News Dec 6, 1933

I can't eat, I can't talk
Been drinkin' mean jake, Lord, now can't
Ain't got nothin' now to lose
Cause I'm a jake walkin' papa with the
jake walk blues.
The Jake Walk Blues 
The Allen Brothers, recorded May 5, 1930,Memphis, Tennessee

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, the grueling ban on alcohol that lasted from 1920 to 1933, and one of the more tragic aspects of Prohibition was the "Jake Walk"- a peculiar, stiff-legged gait that afflicted people who had been drinking Jamaica Ginger, an alcohol-based patent medicine that turned out to have been contaminated with a neurotoxin as a result of the efforts made by the shady characters who were marketing it to come up with a formula that would get by the Dry authorities.  Another aspect of Prohibition was the unintended consequences of more than 30,000 speakeasies in New York City alone, all of which contributed to rising crime rates and made bootleggers rich (try $60 million a year for mobster Al Capone).

Looks like you'd need liquor to touch those lips

Whether you're sipping at the bar or at home, Repeal Day custom asks drinkers to heed a few gracious traditions. Be sure to make the first drink a nonalcoholic one, as to remember those years suffered by our reluctantly sober forebears.

And when you're enjoying that second drink of wine, beer, or Scotch, remember all those other freedom's that you may have enjoyed; being able to smoke in a bar; riding a bike without a helmet; eating good-tasting foods cooked with fats; taking a pen-knife and cologne with you on a plane; waiting in front of an airport exit to pick someone up; bringing a backpack, or bottled water to a baseball game or concert....I'm sure that each one of the restrictions that are now imposed upon us were well intentioned by the lawmakers for our welfare, but each restriction on our free will to decide how we will live our lives, is just another brick in the wall that imprisons paraphrase another well know statement by Sen. Everett Dirkson; a few restrictions here, a few restrictions there....and pretty soon it adds up to real freedom being taken away......


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