Jewish World Review Sept. 3, 2003 / 6 Elul, 5763

Jeff Elder

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Consumer Reports


What kinda wine goes best with heartache?; What did people do before alarm clocks were invented?; which has more caffeine: coffee or tea?


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Q: Why are there so many references to wine in country music when almost no one drinks wine in country bars and most hard-core country folk, at least historically, aren't wine drinkers at all? - R.W., Rock Hill, S.C.

A: R.W., all kinds of people like country music. Plenty of folks enjoy fine wine AND George Jones. Some say George Jones is like fine wine.

And beer is by far the beverage of choice in Nashville. Who could forget "Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer" by Johnny Russell?

But as far as vino in traditional country lyrics, it ain't that kinda wine. It's not "this has a fruity nose and a whif of oak and a tang of lobster butt" 1980 Chardonnay.

When good ol' country lyrics talk about wine, it's blackberry or elderberry wine made by your great-aunt Euvalene and swigged from the jug or a metal cup. Or it's cheap wine somebody's knockin' back to forget their runaway sugarbaby.

And besides, "wine" rhymes with good country music words like "coal mine" and "dandelion" and "pork rind" and "train tracks." OK, train LINE.

Speakin' of which, I wrote myself a country song that goes:

"I'm eatin' a Moon Pie,

drinkin' Grape Nehi,

an' I got my one good eye

on you."

R.W., you need to stop sniffin' around lobster-butt Chardonnay and get ya some homemade blackberry wine.

Then listen to Delbert McClinton's "Two More Bottles of Wine" sung by Emmy Lou Harris, the most wonderful woman in the world next to my wife.

Or put on "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" by Jerry Lee Lewis. In that one he sings:

"Well I got a nickel you got a dime

Lets get together and buy some wine"

Fifteen-cent wine, R.W. That's what you find in country music. What's the matter with you, son?

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Q: What did people do before alarm clocks were invented? - Reader's name withheld by request

A: Sleep. And life was better.

During the early part of the Industrial Revolution, "knocker-ups" walked the streets of England's mill towns, banging on doors to awaken workers in time for their shifts. They were common until the advent of cheap alarm clocks in the latter half of the 19th century. Knocker-ups were usually retired workers or younger men unfit to work in the mills who stayed up all night until they began their rounds.

Another way people woke up was from church bells rung on the hour. In the country, many farm houses were built with the front facing east so the early morning sun would stream into front bedrooms, waking the occupants. And who could ignore the attendant early morning rooster?

One early alarm clock awakened sleepers by yanking a string that you tied to your little toe. That's almost cute, in an annoying way. SOURCES: Westclox, "Early English Clocks" by Dawson, Drover and Parkes

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AFTER ALARM CLOCKS COMES

Q: In general, which has more caffeine: coffee or tea? - Leah Davis, Huntersville, N.C.

A: I'll tell ya what pick-me-up I want in the morning, Leah. I want whatever God and Nature gives my kids. It's barely 7 when they start tearin' through the house like Tom and Jerry. They're yellin' and knockin' over lamps while the dog and I stand there, bleary-eyed and scratchin'.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains from 80 to 175 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the type. A cup of black tea contains 40 to 60 milligrams of caffeine.

An eight-ounce can of Red Bull energy drink contains 80 milligrams, while most 12-ounce colas contain about 40 milligrams.

Decaffeinated coffee usually contains around 5 milligrams of caffeine per cup.

And the kids? I don't know what they run on. Rocket fuel mixed with mac `n' cheese, I guess.

___

QUICK QUIZ

1. What's weird about Dilbert's tie?

2. What's the name of the dog in Beetle Bailey?

3. What now-defunct comic often looked at natural science, featuring cows, insects or bears?

4. What's the name of Hagar the Horrible's pet duck?

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ANSWERS

1. It turns up at the end in a hook.

2. Otto

3. The Far Side

4. Kvack

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Jeff Elder is a columnist for The Charlotte Observer. Comment or try to stump him by clicking here.

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