In-Flight Booze Record Holds
CAPE TOWN— England center Mike Tindall came agonizingly close to former Australian cricketer David Boon’s record of 54 cans of lager on a flight between Australia and England.
The UK tabloid The Mirror reported that the Bath center consumed “close to fifty” cans on the rugby world champions’ flight back from Australia.
Said the Mirror:
“The mustachioed opener (Boon) was respected as much for his capacity to consume the amber nectar as for his prowess with the bat and walked straight as a die across the Heathrow tarmac after his record session.
“Out of respect for their teammate, official figures were not made available by the other England players who joined in the fun but an insider revealed that Tindall was close to 50 when the curtain fell.
“You can rest assured David Boon’s record is still standing,” said Tindall’s center partner Will Greenwood. “Tinds had a real go at it but we wanted to leave the Aussies with at least one title to hang on to.”
The Mirror also said Tindall returned with the best anecdote after the tournament.
“When asked what was going through his mind when he swept Aussie captain George Gregan off his feet, he said: ‘I just thought, he’s not very heavy. Where should I put him?’”
Abstainers Less Healthy
BOSTON—Lifelong teetotalers and former drinkers are consistently less healthy than light to moderate drinkers (those who consume up to 60 drinks per month) according to a study of 3,803 individuals aged 18 to 102 conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. The health superiority of light and moderate drinkers extends to both physical and mental health.
It is sometimes suggested that former drinkers may have quit drinking because of poor health. However, lifelong abstainers also had worse physical and mental health than drinkers.
The study, consistent with numerous others, appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
More Bad News for Teetotalers
AUSTRALIA—A major Australian study has found that abstainers were twice as likely to enter a nursing home as people who were moderate drinkers. The 14-year study on the elderly tracked the hospital and nursing admissions of nearly 3,000 residents of Dubbo, New South Wales.
The protective effect of moderate drinking applied equally to both men and women and regardless of the type of alcohol beverage consumed.
The study also found that fewer of the drinkers than abstainers died during the study and that they spent less time in hospitals.
MADD Rakes It In
POTSDAM, NY—Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) banked $2,657,293 in a single year from its Victim Impact Panel business. MADD reported on its non-profit tax form that “This revenue is earned from DWI offenders who must pay a donation to MADD” to attend a meeting in which they learn the impact that impaired driving accidents have on those who suffer as a result.
MADD has a clear economic incentive to increase the number of DWI/DUI convictions since that increases its income from the required “donations.” MADD decides exactly how much must be donated to itself by the convicted drivers forced to sit through the court-mandated meetings.
Though there is little evidence the panels are effective in reducing the incidence of drinking and driving, there is a large body of evidence showing that MADD is making one hell of a profit.
Alcohol Reduces Diabetes Risk
CHICAGO (AP)—Moderate drinking can reduce the risk of diabetes in women, according to a study that echoes findings in men.
The Harvard University findings involved 109,690 women ages 25 to 42 years who took part in a continuing study of nurses’ health.
During 10 years of follow-up, women who had about half a drink to two drinks a day were 58 percent less likely than nondrinkers to develop type 2 diabetes, also called adult-onset diabetes.
The findings are not surprising, given similar results found previously in older women and men. In type 2 diabetes, the body produces inadequate amounts of insulin, a hormone that regulates how the body converts sugar into energy. Small amounts of alcohol are believed to help the body make better use of insulin.
Norway Kind to Partying Students
OSLO—Students at a Norwegian school are to be given an extra two hours in bed each morning during the month of May—to help them cope with their hangovers.
A school in the city of Rogaland says students can skip their first two lessons during their celebrations preceding their final exams. Final year students traditionally spend much of the three weeks before their exams at a series of drunken parties.
Known as the RUSS celebrations, the 18-year-olds party in special buses outfitted with beds, bars and music systems. But the parties take their toll. Last year there were reports of students falling asleep while their exam papers were being handed out.
Torolv Hellemo, the school’s principal, told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten: “If some of the students do not feel well enough to have lessons, it is better for them to arrive at 9:30am. It might sound silly, but we have experience in this. It does not mean that we legalize drunkenness, but we are being realistic.”
The students usually have two hours of free periods in the middle of the day. During the May celebrations, the school has decided to move those two hours to the start of the day to give them time to sleep it off.
Baghdad Brewers Back in Business
BAGHDAD—Mohammed Majed’s makeshift bar is a trash-strewn parking lot beneath a highway overpass somewhere in the Baghdad sprawl.
It’s got half a dozen plastic tables and chairs, a barbecue grill, a cooler filled with cans of beer and a boombox pumping out Arab pop tunes. It has plenty of cheap whiskey and gin. It has the open air.
It isn’t much but, with the teetotaling Saddam Hussein and his regime no longer in charge, Mr. Majed’s establishment is hopping by mid-evening, packed with tipsy customers stopping off for a nightcap.
“Everyone expresses themselves their own way,” said Mr. Majed, a skinny 25-year-old with an easy laugh. “Some write graffiti. Some start a newspaper. We like to drink.”
Up until the 1980s many Iraqis loved to drink. At parties, Baghdad’s middle-class professionals placed whole bottles of whiskey in front of each guest.
But after Saddam’s defeat in the first Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi leader got religion, trying to reinvent himself as a devout Muslim. He launched a faith campaign, and in 1996 he banned drinking in all public places.
“If you were out here drinking or set up an unlicensed liquor store, you’d be arrested and jailed for at least six months,” Mr. Majed said.
With Saddam gone, the drinking business is booming. Because the U.S.-led occupation force won’t let Iraq impose customs on imports, liquor is cheap. Sales are way up. Behnam Ishar, who runs a liquor store in the fancy Karada section of town, said sales have grown tenfold in the post-Saddam era.
“I have no doubt it will soon be like the 1980s,” said Mr. Ishar, a Christian Iraqi. Not everyone is delighted that Iraqis have rediscovered their love for spirits. In Iraq’s postwar disorder, Islamic vigilantes have targeted liquor stores, firing shots through store windows at night. Mr. Ishar, the store owner, said in the first days after the war, shops were burned down. But, otherwise unemployed and without any job prospects, he said running the bar is now his main livelihood.
“Sure, someday, mullahs or Saddam II might take over Iraq and punish us again,” said a customer sitting on a blanket in the parking lot enjoying a can of beer. “For now, we’re enjoying the simple joy of getting drunk.”
Brewery Recreates Revolutionary Beer
PHILADELPHIA—Ever wonder what the Founding Fathers drank? Using recipes favored by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Yards, a Philadelphia-based brewer, is recreating their beers of choice and offering them for sale in six-packs. Want to take a crack at George’s 11% power brew? Here’s the original recipe, word for word:
George Washington’s Beer Recipe
Take a large siffer full of bran hops to your taste—boil these 3 hours. Then strain our 30 gall[o]n into a cooler put in 3 gall[o]n molasses while the beer is scalding hot or rather draw the molasses into the cooler. Strain the beer on it while boiling hot, let this stand till it is little more than blood warm. Then put in a quart of ye[a]st if the weather is very cold cover it over with a blank[et] let it work in the cask. Leave the bung open till it is almost done working. Bottle it that day week it was brewed.