Tag Archives: booze



I am a strong and virile man, with a gruff disposition no tolerance for all that namby-pamby shit. In fact, I am best known three things:

1) Chopping wood with the sides of my hands

2) Scaring off neighborhood ruffians with a glare and a low growl


3) Stirring boiling liquids with my fingers

Despite this overflow of machismo, even I find myself emotionally vulnerable at times. Like that time the lithe and lean Mrs. Pax Arcana and I went to the (awesome! kick ass!) Museum of Science to watch “Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure” on the IMAX screen.

It turns out I can watch movies of orphans being dismembered by roving bands of Nazi werewolves with zero emotional attachment, but the story of one man’s struggle to save his crew from icy death in Antarctica made me tear up like a fat kid who dropped his cupcake in the mud.

So you’ll forgive me for getting overly excited to hear that workers New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust are preparing to unearth several crates of scotch that Shackleton buried in the snow. The bottles of McKinlay whisky have been lodged under the floorboards of Shackleton’s makeshift hut for almost 100 years, though producers say the ice around it may have preserved it perfectly:

Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s master blender, said the Shackleton expedition’s whiskey could still be drinkable and taste exactly as it did 100 years ago.

If he can get a sample, he intends to replicate the old Scotch and put McKinlay whiskey back on sale.

“I really hope we can get some back here,” he was quoted as telling London’s Telegraph newspaper. “It’s been laying there lonely and neglected. It should come back to Scotland where it was born.”

I think I speak for all scotch enthusiasts when I say this is the single most touching story ever told.

*tears up, grabs bottle of Bruichladdich*

I mean, to think of what that man went through…



*now openly bawling*



I love you guys

Lost Scotch Whiskey Cache Buried in Antarctica [Discovery News]

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You are how you drink


Pax Arcana

A British psychiatrist recently studied 500 people in bars, and says he’s narrowed drinkers into eight categories based on how they hold their drinks. Categories include The Gossip — usually a woman who leans over her wine glass (held by the bowl) to tell secrets to her friends — and The Jack-The-Lad, who sits far from his glass and leans back on his chair to claim his own little fiefdom within the bar.

Dr. Wilson said: “The simple act of holding a drink displays a lot more about us than we realise – or might want to divulge.

“When you’re in a crowded bar, often all you have to go on is body language.

“To a large extent, it’s an unconscious thing and just reflects the person you are and the type of social relationships you have.”

Of course his findings are all based on British drinkers, so not all social clues translate exactly. If he had studied people in Boston, he would have included several other categories including: The Punch-Douche, Fisty McIrish, The Tribal Tat Army, Pushups the Challenger, and Date-Slap McGillicuddy.

‘Glass hold’ reveals personality [BBC]


Filed under booze

Drunk driving totally cool in campgrounds

Pax Arcana

cooler_scooterAccording to Universal Hub, the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently overturned someone’s drunk driving conviction on the grounds that he was on the grounds — of a campground. Full of coffee grounds. Behind the Ground Round.


Oh yeah — apparently they can’t give you a DUI anywhere other than a public road. And despite the fact that anyone can pay to camp at the campground, it’s still gated and not really public:

[T]he presence of a gate severely restricting general access to the campground is of great significance. The evidence established that no motorist approaching the entrance to the campground could suffer any illusion that he was welcome to enter the campground and drive on its roadways. The fact that the campground solicits business from the general public does not alter the equation; though members of the general public are invited to become licensees of the campground, they are not allowed into the campground unless or until they have acquired such a license. Even more than the fact of that limitation, the gate makes its reality abundantly clear to any putative visitor.

In other news, I’m almost finished constructing a gate blocking off the route from my house to the liquor store. Johnny Law says it’s one way the wrong direction and you’re not allowed to drive on the sidewalk. I say take it up with the courts, Jack. Also, back up. I think I’m gonna boot again.

Court rules it’s not drunk driving if you’re not on a public way [Universal Hub]

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I am having trouble with this headline

Pax Arcana

OK, so there was this story in the New York Times today, and it had to do with a very serious issue — namely, an increased risk of throat cancer among certain people.

Which people? Well, it’s hard to know exactly how to phrase it. Let’s say your parents or grandparents were from a foreign country — especially one of the ones that are wayyyy off to the right of the U.S. on most maps. The ones where they use tiny pictures instead of letters when they write.

Some people call those people Asians, but I’m not sure that’s the politically correct term. When I was a kid we called them Orientals, but that’s definitely not right.

Anyway, if you’re of Japanese, Korean, or Chinese descent and your face gets all red when you drink booze, the Times says watch your ass because you might be on the high speed magnet train to cancertown:

The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry — Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.


The deficiency results in problems in metabolizing alcohol, leading to an accumulation in the body of a toxin called acetaldehyde. People with two copies of the gene responsible have such unpleasant reactions that they are unable to consume large amounts of alcohol. This aversion actually protects them against the increased risk for cancer.

But those with only one copy can develop a tolerance to acetaldehyde and become heavy drinkers.

“What we’re trying to do here is raise awareness of this risk factor among doctors and their ALDH2-deficient patients,” said Dr. Philip J. Brooks, an investigator with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and an author of the report published on Monday in the journal PLoS Medicine. “It’s a pretty serious risk.”

So please, people of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean descent — please be careful when imbibing. Because you don’t want throat cancer. It’s worse than agent orange, I’ll bet.

OK I’m just going to shut up now.

Drinkers’ Red Face May Signal Cancer Risk [New York Times]


Filed under drink

Wisconsin is drunk

Pax Arcana

My brother moved to Wisconsin several years ago in order to infiltrate the Greater Sheboygan Grand Order of Caribou Club. I can’t tell you why, but I will lean toward you menacingly and tell you that revenge is serious business within the Scandinavian American community. We consider it a dish best served cold with a side of fermented cod paste.

drunk_pumpkinIn order to become a citizen of Wisconsin, my brother was forced to undergo a procedure in which 60% of his blood was replaced — via crude transfusion — with a heady mixture of melted cheddar and Brandy. It’s true — If his BAC (blood alcohol content) or BCC (blood cheese content) dips below .14 at any time he faces deportation to Minnesota.

Recently an outsider from the New York Times poked his nose into Wisconsin’s collective liquor pantry trying to sniff out why they’re all so drunk all the time.

It appears the problem is that Wisconsin lets its drunk people write the laws up there don’t ya know?

For one thing, it’s legal to serve minors in Wisconsin as long as they’re with their parents:

While it might raise some eyebrows in most of America, it is perfectly legal in Wisconsin. Minors can drink alcohol in a bar or restaurant in Wisconsin if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who gives consent. While there is no state law setting a minimum age, bartenders can use their discretion in deciding whom to serve.

I think this is a great idea. Is there a better way to get your nine year old’s allowance back than by getting her tipsy and beating her ass at foosball?

Oh, also, go ahead and drive drunk in Wisconsin. The cops are worried about more important things, like not nailing your drunk ass:

Drunken drivers in Wisconsin are not charged with a felony until they have been arrested a fifth time. Wisconsin law prohibits sobriety checks by the police, a common practice in other states.

But the drinkers have typically had plenty of advocates in the State Legislature. State Representative Marlin Schneider, for example, sees sobriety checkpoints as an intrusion on Constitutional rights of due process.

Actually, this is a rather loose interpretation of what Mr. Schneider said. His exact words were “Heyy. HEEEYYYYY!! Did I ebber tell you bout time I snat next to Brett Farvuruh on a flight to Arrrizona??? It was sooooo great an’ I tole him he was the best I ebber saw an’ then he said I was a good Snate Snenator — Sen – uh – ter — and then I passed out an when I woke up he was gone and there was throwup on my tie. I MISSSS YOU BRETT!!!!”

Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking [New York Times]


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A great loss for beer lovers everywhere

Pax Arcana

A few months ago, we reported on the groundbreaking work being done by the geniuses at the MillerCoors brewing company, which had just announced a new line of craft-style Miller Lite. The new beers were aimed at beer connoisseurs like me who demand craft beer-sounding names without all that annoying craft beer quality.

I have some bad news, fellow beer lovers. After testing poorly in its target demographics, the line of craft-style Miller Lites has been shelved, for now:

MillerCoors LLC is ending testing of its trio of craft styles of top-seller Miller Lite so it can rethink the brand, the company told distributors.

The so-called Miller Lite Brewing Collection didn’t perform as well as expected in test markets including Baltimore, Minneapolis and Charlotte, N.C., spokesman Julian Green said.

The good news is that the project hasn’t been permanently scuttled. After studying why consumers were forgoing the new beers in favor of small-batch varieties, MillerCoors thinks it has found an answer:

Green said testing showed the firm had to build consumer awareness to help people separate Miller Lite from the Brewing Collection.

So the trick is to get consumers to forget that the Miller Lite Brewing Collection has nothing at all to do with Miller Lite.


For a second there, I thought they were going to start monkeying around with the recipe.

Craft collection of Miller Lite shelved [Chicago Tribune]


Filed under culture

Danger lurks at every fun, delicious turn

Pax Arcana

One of the most annoying things about being a newspaper or wire service reporter is that you typically have no control over your own headlines.

I can only assume that’s what happened to one hapless AP reporter, who filed a sober, well-researched, and touching story on the dangers of binge drinking on college campuses. A common thread of the story is the utilitarian dependence on hard liquor to get drunk fast — either to obviate the problem of procuring alcohol while under the legal drinking age or to attempt a feat of utter stupidity (as with the too-common convention of trying to drink 21 shots on your 21st birthday).

The headline of the story?

Drinking games prove deadly to college students

So the story is about how Beirut and Beer Die cause people to drink to their own death? Because my experience was that consuming small quantities of beer (5% alcohol by volume) over long periods of time (average Beirut game = roughly 4.2 hours) was less likely to get you drunk than, well, just about every other activity on the typical college campus.

Turns out the headline is pegged to this graph, which is about the sad death of Winona State University student Jenna Foellmi:

According to police reports, she had three beers during the day, then played beer pong — a drinking game — in the evening, and downed some vodka, too.

The story goes on to report that alcohol-related deaths on college campuses have almost doubled from 1999 to 2005. Some cases were similar to that of Brad McCue, who died after drinking 24 shots in two hours in 1998.

Drinking games are not mentioned again in the story.

The best part? This little note appended to the end:

(This version CORRECTS Walters’ title.)

I don’t know what Walters’ title was, but it must have been something.

Drinking games prove deadly to college students [AP]

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I need Pedialyte

Pax Arcana

Posting may be slow today, on account of Pax Arcana and the silky and tremendous Mrs. Pax Arcana headed down to Central Square last night to see Frightened Rabbit — who absolutely crushed it.

Unfortunately they played well past my normal bed time (8:19 p.m.), and TT the Bear’s suffers from an infestation of hipster beers that I tried valiantly to exterminate myself.

It’s times like these that I thank the heavens for Dr. French Fry. In the most recent installment, she elucidates why Pedialyte (it’s like baby Gatorade) is a close-to-perfect hangover cure. The science behind this theory, if I remember correctly, is that Pedialyte works to connect your upper dorcimus and australopithecus with proteins and enzymes that grind beta carotene out of your synapses. Wait, that’s probably not right. You may have to read the whole thing.

your poor liver [Dr. French Fry]


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Friday Random 10: Keep Crappy Beer American Edition

Pax Arcana

A few months ago we discussed briefly the merger of Coors and Miller — and the absurd marketing gimmicks that are sure to follow such consolidation.

The good news, for lovers of beer-flavored water, is that Anheuser-Busch is fighting the good fight against a hostile takeover bid from Belgian beer behemoth InBev. This article in the Chicago Tribune sums it all up pretty neatly. The people of St. Louis, it seems, are prepared to go to war with Belgium if this thing happens:

“People do get lumps in their throats and tears in their eyes when the Clydesdales go by,” said Robert Archibald, president and CEO of the Missouri History Museum. “People think of the brewery and St. Louis in the same sentence. I don’t think there’s anything like this relationship anywhere.”

We think Budweiser is pretty crappy beer, having been diluted down to a pale imitator of the better German pilsners. But I’m pretty happy the company is putting up a fight on this. That is all. No snark.

The songs:

Lovely Rita — The Beatles
Tonight I have to Leave it — Shout Out Louds
I Can Change — John Legend
Make War — Bright Eyes
Lost in the Woods — Pete and the Pirates
Mama’s Trippin — Ben Harper
EMI — Sex Pistols
Our Life is Not a Movie Or Maybe — Okkervil River
Give up the Funk — Parliament
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours — Stevie Wonder

Bonus Video:

Desired Constellation (Bjork cover) — Paolo Angeli

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


Filed under music

Your beer isn’t full

Pax Arcana

It looks like John McCain’s dementia-fueled pledge to veto beer was just the opening salvo in the war on crisp, cool, alcoholic refreshment. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, rising beer prices (gas, hops, barley, blah blah blah) nationwide are resulting in a spike in short pours and deceptive glassware.

Check it out:

Two of the world’s biggest glassware makers, Libbey and Cardinal International, say orders of smaller beer glasses have risen over the past year. Restaurateurs “want more of a perceived value,” says Mike Schuster, Libbey’s marketing manager for glassware in the U.S. Glasses with a thicker bottom or a thicker shaft help create the perception. “You can increase the thickness of the bottom part but still retain the overall profile,” he says.

Here’s the helpful graphic:

Obviously it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between the two, especially when you’ve got a supermodel on each muscular thigh like I do whenever I find myself at the Cheesecake Factory.

At least we can take comfort in the fact that restaurants lower their prices accordingly when they’re using the smaller glasses. Right?



The Damon’s Grill restaurant chain switched to 14 ouncers from 16-ounce glasses two years ago and didn’t lower prices. “Someone who comes in and wants a beer doesn’t want a huge glass,” says Tanny Feerer, vice president for purchasing at Damon’s International. “Fourteen ounces is enough.” Since then, the chain has held draft beer prices steady.

Tanny Feerer has a point. There have been plenty of times when I’ve wandered into a Damon’s Grill, parched from a long hot day in my Formula One race car, desperate to consume no more than 14 ounces of beer. I never order a second one, though, because who the hell wants more than 14 ounces of beer?

A Pint-Size Problem [WSJ]


Filed under food