Category Archives: bourbon

Slurred Speech

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The Dark Side of Comedy

While laughing and coming up with a wide selection of old time shows

that were either variety and/or talk shows, we came upon a somber

moment. My coworkers and I had listed The Jackie Gleason Show, which

included a funny character named, “Crazy Guggenheim.” We had also talked

about how many of the talk show ‘hosts’ or ‘hostesses’ held cigarettes

in their fingers or had a amber colored beverage in their glasses.

Who doesn’t remember Dean Martin, for example, having a drink in

his hand?

By the way, Frank Fontaine portrayed Crazy Guggenheim on both the

Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny shows. He died of 58 years old, about

to donate a check for heart disease studies. His heart attack was

a shock to those who loved him. He knew how to sing well, having

filled a whole album of the songs he sang, while Jackie G. portrayed

his famous alter ego, “Joe the Bartender.” Frank F. was famous for

his slurred speeches, his drunken behavior and his bug-eyed look

and facial expressions.

We thought that it was interesting how times ‘had changed’ and

decided there were “pro’s” and “con’s” to the past.

Let me insert a famous line from the movie, “A Night at the Opera,”

(1935):

“Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and

necking in the parlor.”

This line was spoken by Groucho Marx, in his portrayal of the film’s

character, Otis B. Driftwood.

We know now that famous people are just like us, in many ways.

We also realize that, although there were “Time” and “Newsweek”

magazines trying to bring to the forefront of the population,

the downfalls of alcohol, drugs, gambling and smoking, there were

many disregarding the after effects, side effects and we did not

have such a stigma attached to these ‘bad’ habits. Two of us at my

lunch table on Thursday, became rather sad and quiet. They were

reflecting on recalled deaths of family members due to smoking and

cancer. One of us had experienced abusive, “mean drunks” for parents.

We decided that addictions, such as these, are still not considered

as ‘big of a deal.’ Society, in some ways, continues to ‘brush them

under the table.’

Even the subject of rehabilitation has had its lighter comedic film

moments. People either laugh, due to the antics and situations that

don’t seem real or out of being uncomfortable. It is hard to explain

why we laugh when someone runs into a wall, falls off a roof, or

trips and does a pratfall.

Treatment for the addictions, in the form of actually facing that

these ARE diseases, is important. Still, we felt a little sad

about the fun we had, when young and felt ‘invincible’ and our

lives, for the most part, had been impermeable to the aging

results of sometimes almost impossible challenges.

Slurred speech, in the ways a person sometimes cannot help it,

while in persons who have had a stroke, live with the challenge

of disabilities and speech delays are NOT FUNNY! We would not

laugh, hopefully, when someone has a speech ‘impediment!’

We still felt a little ambiguous, as we thought back upon the

variety of comedy skits that made us roar with uncontrollable

laughter. Melvin admitted to sometimes, while in the armed

forces, being drunk and thinking it was funny when his buddies

and he pulled pranks while drunk. It is considered a serious

offense, and if caught, these days, you could be court-martialed!

Melvin remarked, that in the ‘old war stories’ of the past, often

there would be stories of men ‘letting off steam.’ We also agreed

that the Viet Nam war movies, seemed to include a prevalent use

of drugs.

Who can forget Crazy Guggenheim’s humorous lines, his leaning

into a person, while breathing out his alcoholic breath? Who

cannot forget when there have been famous movies, with drunken

scenes, sometimes with innocent types of sloppy behaviors?

Who can forget the drunken orgies in “Animal House?”

Who has seen and enjoyed some teenaged or college-aged

movies (or personal memories) where it was very funny being

drunk or being around people who were high?

Who did not laugh (if they are above 40 years old) at Cheech

and Chong’s movie, “Up in Smoke?”

Adding, “Arthur,” with Dudley Moore and The Benny Hill Show,

to the mix, we had international connections of drinking in

movies and television shows.

I have seen Doris Day, Sandra Dee, Humphrey Bogard, Elizabeth

Taylor, Richard Burton and other classic actors and actresses

who have done scenes where they portrayed alcoholics. Some

were quite dramatic and serious roles with “mean” and “sloppy”

drunken roles as their focus. Yet, some were fun ‘romp’ movies

where the drunks were silly.

A lot of comedies include either drugs, alcohol or addictions,

going over the top in their portrayals.

There are also famous movies with the dark and angry side of

the picture:

“Days of Wine and Roses” and “Leaving Las Vegas” come to mind.

We have moved forward in some ways, then stepped back, too.

After all, we still have three “Hangover” movies…

I still will watch comedy sketches with the Saturday Night

Live crew, some who are great at making me laugh, acting

silly while stumbling around and falling down drunk.

Friday’s Fun Day

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Happy celebrating an Early St. Patrick’s Day!

Several of my coworkers were heading out of

work, since today is our ‘half’ day, to buy

some green beer. They said, “Come on, Robin!”

No, I just could not do it! Now, I would have

said, “Yes!” to green eggs and bacon, or green

pancakes!

Anyway, while we are on the subject of drinking,

I thought I would share one of those humorous

forwards that land in my emails! I am actually

going to type it in, since you never know what

may be attached to this! I changed a few words

so no plagiarism lawsuits will ensue! Ha Ha!

Also, this will help us all…

IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION:

Do you have feelings of inadequacy?

Do you suffer from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more

assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you

may wish to find a physician or pharmacist about…

Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet is the safe, natural way to feel better and

more confident about yourself and your actions. It

can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell

the world that you’re ready and willing to do just

about anything!

You will notice the benefits of Cab, as those who are

familiar with this beverage call it. Almost immediately,

with a regimen of regular does, you can overcome any

obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want

to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and

you will discover many talents you never knew you had.

Stop hiding and start living.

Cabernet Sauvignon may not be right for everyone. Women

who are pregnant or nursing should never use it.

However, women who wouldn’t mind nursing or becoming

pregnant are encouraged to try it.

SIDE EFFECTS:

Side effects may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting

incarceration, loss of motor control, loss of clothing,

loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur

and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all night rounds

of Strip Poker, Truth or Dare and Naked Twister.

WARNINGS:

The consumption of Cab or other wine or alcohol choices

may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

The consumption of Cab may cause you to tell your friends

over and over again that you love them.

The consumption of Cab may cause you to think you can

sing (or other talents you do not have in your ‘wheel

house.’)

The consumption of Cab may create the illusion you are

tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most

people.

Now, just imagine what you could achieve with a decent

Shiraz, Pinot Noir or Merlot!

No matter what- Enjoy your weekend!!

“Raise Your Glasses…”

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I am thinking that you may already know that this Thursday is the 80th

celebration of the repeal of the Prohibition Law, or the 18th Amendment.

On Dec. 5th, 1933, the law which banned alcohol sales in the U.S. was

repealed, or the 21st Amendment to the Constitution took effect.

Most of us don’t need an excuse to have a little party in this honor! I found

a few interesting places in Cleveland, Ohio, that are going to go “all out”

with their remembrances of the ‘speakeasies.’

I did not know that during Prohibition, since there was a lot of homemade

and “bad” alcohol being served, that the drinks were made with fruit juices

to cover up the flavor! We consider this sometimes a way to enjoy our drinks

without too much alcohol flavor coming through. But the origins of some of

the drinks, like Manhatten’s and Old Fashioned’s is attributed to this era.

Another reason why we may add soda or pop to our drinks may be due

to our having a ‘sweet tooth.’ Some people during this prohibition era,

would order a soda and the bartender would “slip in alcohol.”

Not to be confused with the expression, “slipping one a mickey.” This

predates the Prohibition, by thirty years. It is credited for being around

in 1903, when a man named Mickey Finn, a bar owner in Chicago, Illinois,

allegedly gave his customers drinks in his bar, laced with barbituates.

This  drugging patrons would allow the staff to rob them.  Also, not to be

confused or mixed up with “date rape” drugs, which came years later.

There’s an entirely different purpose to that drug being added to alcohol,

as you know, unfortunately from actual news reports and incidents.

We had bottled Canadian whiskey smuggled into Ohio, one article recalled.

I learned some of my facts from the column, “After Dark,” in the

Cleveland Plain Dealer mentioned. Canadian whiskey was easier to get a

hold of if you had the money to pay for the importation of it. It was also

considered more reliable than “moonshine” or the other homemade

liquors circulated during this period when factories were not allowed to

produce liquor legally.

The Society Lounge is ‘turning back the clock to the classic cocktail era.’

They already started tonight with their special drinks list that boasts of 48

exciting mixes, including names of drinks ranging from Moscow Mule,

Mai Tai, Dark and Stormy to Singapore Sling. I remember working in the

seventies at a place in Westlake, Ohio called Lord Nelson’s serving drinks

that had those wild names attached. On Thursday, this lounge is having a

“private soiree.” All week, excluding Thursday, they will have complimentary

appetizers. Too bad, I worked in Delaware, Ohio today and am now 2 and 1/2

hours away from “Happy Hour” at the Society Lounge! Both Thursday and

Friday, including the “private party” will have live bands to entertain the

special guests.

A place that has been around since 1893, opened by an Otto F. Moser, is

called the Wonder Bar. It is especially appropriate to have a “Repeal Day”

celebration there. It stayed open during the Prohibition time, with the ‘back

door’ policy going on, I imagine. (Or ‘under the table pay-offs’ to the cops!)

There is a long, 40 foot beautiful and classy wooden bar with great vintage

design and woodwork shown. All those classic cocktails will be featured at

this ‘gin joint’ that has been around the block a few times (or over a hundred!)

Now I know why they came up with those strange concoctions! I always

wondered about the creative names, too.

The 21st Amendment was the one that “fixed” up and got the party started

so traveling over to the Prosperity Social Club would be a good direction to

go since it opened only five years after the repeal, in 1938. The “Prohibition

Repeal Party,” as this place is calling their Thursday night occasion, is going

to feature The Hollywood Slim Band. It will include performances of songs

during the 30’s through the 40’s. They will be serving up plenty of those

fancy, flavored drinks along with the era’s food dishes, too.

Speakeasy, is a destination spot to find the owner, Sam McNulty with his

staff and the bartender wearing period clothes along with pre-Prohibition

customers recommended attending in appropriate attire. This place will

have a jazz band playing tunes, ‘to boot.’

Not too far from my Mom’s apartment in Westlake, Ohio, the bootleggers

had a heyday with delivering booze behind the White Oaks, in the woods.

This is a place that has been around since 1928. We used to consider this

a special occasion to eat out there, with the white tablecloths, napkins

and fresh flowers on the tables. White Oaks was ‘too expensive’ for our

family, except once annually.

We may have made an exception, going out for a drink would have been

something nice to do this Thursday. Going somewhere that holds a few

memories of the dining room ambiance and the delicious, melt in your

mouth yeast rolls, too. The photograph of Elliot Ness over the bar would be

a great sight to see, since I had never known about him, in the “olden” days

while eating with my parents. I would not have recognized him then.

I am not even sure my parents knew about the woods and the illicit

activities associated with Prohibition at the White Oaks.

I will have to ask, next time I am up there, in that “neck of the woods!”

I cannot write a post about alcohol without giving these two warnings.

Don’t drink and drive. (Call a taxi, please!)

Drink responsibly.

The song, “Raise Your Glass” is not one of the thirties or forties, but a

current song, sung by the woman named “Pink.” If you get to partying,

after you have listened to some “oldies,” I suggest you check this song out!

Scar Stories

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While at the wine bar last night, the group of eight were all getting to

know each other. I was meeting someone my youngest daughter just

started dating. My family members (my 2 daughters and daughter in

law) were meeting my ‘new guy’ Lenny. A dear couple, friends of youngest

daughter were there also to meet my youngest daughter’s man in her life,

Jeff. While shooting the breeze, an unexpected question brought up an

interesting subject matter. We may not have treaded on it had the question

not been brought up…

My oldest daughter (“matchmaker”) asked Jeff how he got a scar on his

face that looked to her like the heel of a beer bottle. It was two half circles

on the brow line. She then, to give him a feeling of ease, said,

“I’ll tell you my scar story, if you will tell me yours?”

My “group of four” (oldest daughter and daughter in law, Lenny and myself)

had consumed our bottle of Shiraz imported from Spain. Daughter and DIL

had ordered a chilled bottle of Moscata. The other group of four, youngest

daughter, Jeff, and her couple friends were drinking a beer, and 3 had had

bourbons from the bourbon bar downstairs. We all had removed ourselves

from inside and were sitting outside at black rod iron cafe tables. People

were streaming by, festive, several men and women wearing Santa hats

and Christmas necklaces. Downtown Delaware had done a great time of

advertising “Christmas in July.”

Once repeat drink orders were placed and I had ordered a hot artichoke

cheese dip to share on pita triangles and iced water, we were settled in

to hear the two stories, plus one added at the end.

Jeff said as a UPS delivery man, he ran into a wide variety of clientele.

He had been 22, eight years ago, and a blonde, pretty and young, 18 year

old, asked him to come back after his shift to “party with her and her

friends.” He came back being a red blooded male and thinking he would

not mind being an escort to these women.

While at a party he became in charge of a group or party of 4 women.

He made us laugh when he said, “You know they were like a gaggle of

geese, trying to herd them when we were going to take off to go to

another house to party.” I would get 3 by the door and one would

wander off seeing a friend to talk to, losing her in the crowd.”

Jeff said they finally moved to a less desirable neighborhood in Dayton,

and was concerned by the dark alleys. Probably had a premonition or

something because by the end of the night, he heard one girl being

molested and accosted by a bigger man. He approached, throwing

caution in the wind, totally weaponless, never carrying a thing when

he did go out, EVER, he said.

The buddies of the accoster/molester rounded their group up and

proceeded to drag him outside, beating, kicking and he was almost

passed out. He was finally discovered by the blonde pretty girl  who

emitted a shriek. She had seen his face bleeding and the gang of angry

men circled round him like a pack of wolves.

The young woman gathered her “gaggle of geese” and since the molested

girl was not among their group, hoped for the best in that situation. They

left the party, one of the girls apologizing for the beating Jeff had endured

and one dialing “911.”

We pondered the repercussions of staying, maybe pressing charges. We

all felt Jeff and his group could have done this, safely, but he kept shaking

his head. He wanted to tell us these men, did not use weapons, had kicked

so hard one side of his face that a rock had impressed the curves of the scar

into his face. It looked like hamburger or mush, he dropped his “charges”

safely at their homes, since they were only minors of 18, that was another

angle to fear him having to face consequences too.  He also felt the men

who were the perpetrators were “preppy UD college types, whereas I

was a working stiff.” (University of Dayton.)

The next day, Sunday, he showed up with his face being still red, bruised

and two moon shaped scars on his browline. “You wanna bet my Dad and

Mom were ‘hot!'” They were totally wanting to take him to the police station,

get his face photographed, and file charges against the young men. They also

felt it was not funny, when he was eating Sunday dinner, to keep pulling little

pebbles out of his face! Jeff never got stitches and that is the end of his “scar

story.”

My oldest daughter, matchmaker, said, “Well mine is not as exciting as all

that but I will tell you my brother’s story after I tell you mine!” (Brother,

my son, was at home watching his brood of four children so DIL could have

a rare night out.)

“I was four years old, Mom was working at the battered women’s shelter,

The Lighthouse in Lancaster, Ohio. We had a very nice, elderly babysitter

who lived out in the country. She had a lot of animals and a friendly collie

dog. We rode that poor dog, along with the goats and other animals. One

day, my babysitter whose grandkids were over also, gave the dog a big

meaty bone. I made the mistake of trying to take it to throw it, like we

did with other things, ropes, balls, and sticks. The dog turned and bit

a big chunk of my browline skin off, you could see the bone!”

She turned to me, saying, “Finish the story, Mom!”

I told our gathering that it was sickening when I got to the hospital to

meet the babysitter, daughter, son, and the two visiting grandchildren.

I picked up the big ice pack and saw her brow bone exposed. There was

very little flesh remaining there. When the ER surgeon came in, I took

one look at his youth and requested him to please call a plastic surgeon

and they sent for one in Columbus.

I turned to Vermeal, the babysitter, saying, “No offense and don’t worry,

things like this happen, I am not mad. I would like to know how good is

your house insurance?”

She agreed, the plastic surgeon and the repair work would have to be

covered. She was very apologetic, saying, “I should have put Chrissy

outdoors with the bone and had the kids sit at the table for lunch. Giving

the dog a bone while she was hungry and the little ones around was a big

mistake. I am so sorry.”

I sued and got a second amount of money ($11,000) that was an award

given to my oldest daughter in a trust fund to be used for further plastic

surgery, smoothing out her then, arrowhead shaped scar that is pointing

towards her eyebrow about 3 inches with two sides. She chose to buy a

car and did not get it fixed. The family did not hold it against me, nor I

against them. We continued to be friends and exchanged Christmas cards

for years.

The story about Jeff and the attack, reminded both my daughters and my

son’s wife of his efforts to handle a “damsel in distress.” My son was going

from one bar, Clancey’s to a bar three doors down, the Backstretch while

accompanying a girlfriend, the one before he married my DIL.

In between the two bars there is a Subway, all on South Sandusky Street.

In front of Subway, a man with a wild and threatening pose was facing

my son and then girlfriend. He shouted from a few paces away moving

quickly toward my son, “That’s my girlfriend! Give her to me!” No matter

what, in three other circumstances in my son’s childhood where people

hurt or hit him, I taught him repeatedly never to go full force and act

tough back. He had to have stitches while in elementary school when a

big boy who was in special education classes hit him over the head with

a backpack full of large books. While getting stitches and filing a police

report at the hospital, the police officer reaffirmed my request not to

defend himself while in dangerous situations where he knew he was

not big enough to end up safe and sound.

In this case, it was night, not an alley, lots of people around, but still

my son put his hands down, palm side down pushed backwards to

look as in supplication. His girlfriend, Danielle, stood behind him and

the wild man drew a large knife, looking crazed and swinging it, still

repeating his earlier shout. My son used a calming voice, saying,

“Hey, Man, I know how it is, women are always breaking up with me,

this is a small town, you run into them with a new guy and you want to

get even.”

The man screamed at him, “You don’t know how I feel at all!” while

lunging forward and slashing his chin, drawing blood that poured out.

People standing in the window of Subway had called the police, they

arrived to approach just as the knife was wielded. Man was put into

custody, either drunk or needing some kind of psychiatric care. I was

called, since he was still on my medical plan, met him at the hospital.

The cop there taking down the notes, turned to me, saying in a very

respectful way,

“Your son did the right thing, M’am. He did not lift a finger or use any

aggressive moves at all. I have six eyewitnesses to this scene. First of

all, you raised him well. Second, it is useless when someone is using

physical and verbal abusive language to try and fight back. Thirdly,

he protected not only the girl but a knife would have done serious damage

to his hands.”

I smiled and my son laughed. He said, “I took Tae Kwan Do and all I could

think of, on this hot, sticky summer night, was ‘Why in the world did I have

to wear my flip flops?!”

The police man, son, and I (proud Mom of a pacifist) all laughed! The image

of him kicking his foot up and pivoting, with a flip flop flying through the air

gave us a funny picture. No protection there in those ‘fighting feet  of steel!’

This closes the three scar stories told at Vito’s Wine Bar. All parties walked

home safely and no one was harmed in the writing of this tale.