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

Jeff Elder

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

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? | 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?

Donate to JWR

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



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.



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?



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

2. Otto

3. The Far Side

4. Kvack

Appreciate this column? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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


08/26/03: These inventors were just toying with us
08/12/03: Why do wheels appear to turn backward on film?; showdown over high noon
08/07/03: Wood'n you know it? Money doesn't grow on trees; all we are is dust in the wind
08/05/03: Where have you gone, Calvin, Opus and Cow?; fine feathered friend pecking on itself
07/31/03: How a dashing hero became a notorious traitor
07/29/03: Little red caboose rolling outta sight; From my 'I'll be a monkey's uncle' file
07/24/03: Road scholar: A lesson on asphalt; when identical twins marry
07/23/03: The sweet science of Life Savers' sparks; how do Pop Rocks work? ripping newspaper

© , The Charlotte Observer Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.