Inebriation and Intoxicants
In the mid-1980s, K-Mart stores in Gainesville, Florida introduced a K-Mart-branded wine, which they called Kmarto. It cost a mere $1.97, and was available in both a red and white variety.
Very little information remains about Kmarto. For instance, I don't know how long it was sold. Just a few years, I think. As far as I know, it was never sold outside of Gainesville.
I was only able to find one picture of a bottle of the stuff — on, of all places, The Horse Doctor (a veterinarian's blog)
If you happen to still own a bottle of this stuff, I'm sure you could easily sell it for a couple of hundred dollars, because it's definitely a collector's item. As Paul Kirchner has reported in his book Oops!
Gary Kirkland wrote about Kmarto for the Gainesville sun and received a number of calls from area residents who still treasure their vintage bottles of the stuff. Oddly, it didn't seem to have occurred to any of them to actually drink it—it was kept solely for its shock value. Many feel it broadens the scope of a well-stocked wine rack. One family uses it as the centerpiece for all important family photos—weddings, reunions, birthdays, etc.—to give events that special élan. In another family it has become traditional, whenever an expensive wine is served, to acknowledge that, of course, it cannot compare with the debonair-yet-somehow-impudent Kmarto.
Always Elvis wine was released in 1979, two years after Elvis's death. The front label had a picture of Elvis, while the back label featured a poem by Col. Tom Parker.
Parker reportedly said that Always Elvis was the kind of wine Elvis "would have drunk if he'd liked the stuff."
At the time it sold for $4 a bottle. Now an unopened bottle of it will cost you upwards of $150.
However, there are other, newer Elvis Presley wines on the market, such as 'The King' wine, available at ElvisPresleyWines.com
Chicago Tribune - Nov 4, 1979
Smirnoff ran this ad in the 70s but reportedly pulled it after a few months when its market researchers surveyed customers and discovered that "60 per cent of them thought that the Kama Sutra was indeed an Indian restaurant."
image source: codex
But according to Delia Chiaro in The Language of Jokes
, the ad lived on in popular memory, inspiring a genre of "Smirnoff jokes".
In the mid-1970s the Smirnoff vodka company began using the 'before and after' technique to sell its product. The advertising campaign consisted of escapist photographs accompanied by slogans such as I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant until I discovered Smirnoff. (The slogan originally had the additional rejoinder The effect is shattering which was eventually banned probably due to the allusion to 'getting smashed'.) The slogan turned out to be the inspiration of the graffitists of the nation as catchphrases such as the following began appearing on walls around the country:
I thought innuendo was an Italian suppository until I discovered Smirnoff.
I thought cirrhosis was a type of cloud until I discovered Smirnoff.
However it was not long before the graffitists began to abandon the formula, first by substituting the word Smirnoff with other items:
I thought Nausea was a novel by Jean-Paul Sartre until I discovered Scrumpy.
Soon, the caption began to move more radically away from the matrix, as more items were changed. In the next example there is no allusion to drink whatsoever:
I used to think I was an atheist until I discovered I was God.
Although Smirnoff jokes are now practically obsolete, the I thought A was B until I discovered C formula has now frozen into the English language as a semi-idiom. Today we can find graffiti (or indeed hear asides) such as:
I used to talk in cliches but now I avoid them like the plague
in which the original matrix is barely recognizable.
Below is another Smirnoff ad from the same series.
Published by the National Temperance League of London in 1897. It contained 113 portraits of teetotalers who were over the age of 80.
Unfortunately, there was no companion volume of Octogenarian Tipplers.
image source: Bizarre Books
In order to become a member of the Flagon and Trencher society
, one has to satisfy the following rule of eligibility:
Those persons, either male or female, who can prove direct descent from an individual who conducted a tavern, inn, ordinary, or other type of hostelry prior to 4 July 1776 (within any of the the American Colonies that existed at that time).
According to their website, the society was founded in 1962 by Walter Lee Shepard and the late Kenneth Stryker-Rodda. As of 2002, they had more than 1000 members.
There's a $200 fee to apply to join. But if you apply and can't satisfactorily prove descent from a colonial barkeep, you'll only get a portion of that fee back.
As reported in the April 17, 2002 issue of The Lancet:
A 44-year-old man presented in May, 2001, with muscle cramps. He had no medical history of note, but volunteered the fact that he had been drinking up to 4 L of black tea per day over the past 25 years. His preferred brand was GoldTeefix (Tekanne, Salzburg, Austria). Since this type of tea had given him occasional gastric pain, he changed to Earl Grey (Twinings & Company, London, UK), which he thought would be less harmful to his stomach. 1 week after the change, he noticed repeated muscle cramps for some seconds in his right foot. The longer he drank Earl Grey tea, the more intense the muscle cramps became.
After 3 weeks, they also occurred in the left foot. After 5 weeks, muscle cramps had spread towards the hands and the right calf. Occasionally, he observed fasciculations of the right adductor pollicis and gastrocnemius. Additionally, he noted distal paraesthesias in all limbs, and a feeling of pressure in his eyes, associated with blurred vision, particularly in darkness...
The patient assumed that there was a relation between his symptoms and his tea consumption, and stopped drinking Earl Grey after 5 months, reverting to pure black tea again. Within 1 week, his symptoms had completely disappeared. Symptoms also remained absent if he completely withdrew from tea, which he did in the nature of experiment, for about a week. He found that his symptoms did not recur as long as he consumed no more than 1 L of Earl Grey daily.
When last seen in November, 2001, neurological examination, nerve conduction studies, and electromyography were normal. He was still drinking 2 L of plain black tea daily (his entire fluid intake), and had no complaints.
The moral of his story is that 2 liters of tea a day is apparently fine. But 4 liters is asking for trouble.
Mason's wine essence was non-alcoholic. But even so, it seems a bit odd that it was marketed as a children's drink.
I can't find a description of what, specifically, it was. Although, by the name, I'm assuming it was wine that had been reduced by slow boiling to a syrup. By then adding water to the syrup, one could make a non-alcoholic wine.
Circa 1900 - via Advertising Archives
T.P.'s Weekly - Dec 22, 1905
Fans of mile-high drinking can now get a taste of the same experience at home thanks to the new American Airlines Wine Club
. For $99 a month, members get three bottles of some of the wines served inflight shipped to them each month.
I'm sure it's good wine. For $33 a bottle, it better be. But it seems to me like a weird extension of the American Airlines' brand. Although as an economy flyer I associate air travel with misery and discomfort. Perhaps if I flew first-class I'd feel differently.
via Retail Therapy
I spotted this beer while visiting an international food market in my neighborhood and was intrigued both by the name and by the image of a woman with a giant lobster on her back.
Further research reveals that it's a Lithuanian beer, and it receives pretty bad reviews on beeradvocate.com
, such as the following:
The taste is of sweet grain. The 9.5% abv shows. It tastes like a mediocre cheap malt liquor (at best).
Somewhat creamy despite noticeable alcohol and rather unpleasant character,
I don't see any connection to lobster. Whatever.,,,
Back in 1971, Melvin Baker offered a novel defense for why he shouldn't have been charged with drunk driving. He was, he said, too drunk to have made an intelligent decision about whether to submit to the breathalyzer test — the results of which led to him being charged. He apparently argued this case all the way up to the New York Supreme Court.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat - July 7, 1971
Details about this case are hard to come by, but this other brief article offers an explanation for why Baker persisted with his seemingly hopeless argument. Because if he had refused to take the test, he would only have had his license suspended. But having taken the test, and failed it, he also faced criminal prosecution. So it was all an elaborate, legalistic ploy to get the lighter penalty.
Long Beach Independent - Sep 7, 1971