Am I Blue!

Guinness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah yes, the Blue Laws, often forgotten, but still not gone.  Ontario is not the most morally repressive place on the planet.  There are places in the Muslim Middle East, matched by the American Bible Belt, where anything even smacking of enjoyment, is flatly forbidden, or fiercely frowned upon.  In Ontario, some killjoy politicians may pass legislation, but after that, it’s just the rule-following sheep who work to prevent the goats from having any fun.

Alcohol and tobacco are moving in opposite directions here.  A recent visit to a smoke shop in Detroit reminded me of what I haven’t seen around here in years – dozens of brands of cigarettes, and cigars, and loose tobacco, cigarette holders, pipes, ash trays, even bongs.

In Ontario, convenience stores are forced to hide all that behind plastic or cardboard covers.  See no sin – do no sin!  That worked so well during Prohibition.  When a pack of smokes is pulled out, the manufacturers are forced to use ¾ of the package to display pictures of diseased organs, rotted teeth, and a saggy cigarette, hanging down in a 90 degree arc, above a notice warning, “Caution!  Smoking may cause impotence.”  F**k you!…..if I could.

Ontario has come a long way towards normalizing alcohol enjoyment and use, but we still have a long way to go.  Up here in ‘civilization’, a “party store” will provide paper hats, candles, confetti, crepe paper, and Happy Birthday banners, whereas, down in the states…..

My childhood neighboring small town was “dry.”  No alcohol of any kind could be bought or sold.  It remained that way for years – as long as the voters could stagger to the polls.  Bootleggers were endemic.  Average alcohol consumption was estimated at twice what my town’s was.

Past, and present, rules often seem to make no sense.  No establishment which serves alcohol may have double-swinging “barroom doors,” whether external or inner access, although Ontario will let you have a beer while you watch naked strippers, something many American locations will not allow.

Bars, and licensed restaurants, have only existed for the last 30/40 years.  Prior to that, hotels provided “beverage rooms,” two per establishment, one for men, and another for “Ladies and Escorts.”  You could have 11 drunks around a table, as long as there was one token female.

Waiters/waitresses could only serve one drink per customer at a time, keeping them constantly moving, bringing out all those singles.  If you saw a friend over in the corner, you were not allowed to pick up your drink and go join him.  The law required the already overworked server to carry your drink over for you.

When bars and lounges started popping up, you still couldn’t order just booze, food had to accompany it.  A round of drinks would include a vending-machine cheese sandwich.  Often, the server would scoop it up with the empties, and re-deliver and charge for it with the next round.

Beer was bought at buildings labelled “Brewers Retail,” until enough confused American tourists forced the monopoly to rebrand clearly, as “The Beer Store.”  There, that wasn’t hard, was it??  😕

They’re starting to sell a bit of beer now, but for years, the government-owned Liquor Control Board monopoly stores sold only wine and distilled spirits.  No spectre of Big Brother there.   In my lifetime, we have come from:

Immediately after WW II, you had to go to the Liquor Store and provide identification and proof of age (21 years).  You were given a small notebook, and were allowed, once a week, to buy only as much as you could list on that week’s page.  If you missed so much as a 2-ounce bottle of bitters for whiskey sours, you were forced to wait until the next week.

In the ‘60s, we moved to a paper slip system.  Write the catalog number of the booze(s) you wanted, and a clerk disappeared into the nether-world of the back room, where, presumably, elves brewed the stuff up, out of the sight of the susceptible public.  Since people didn’t move around, you could be put on The List.  If you were caught drunk in public last Saturday night, the liquor store would refuse to serve you this Thursday, and perhaps for several weeks, until a manager unilaterally decided to annul the sentence.

Finally, we have reached the point where we can actually see the stuff on the shelf, put it in our own little shopping cart, and pay for it at the checkout.  Be careful though.  Some of those weird rules still exist.  “Only people 19+ can legally handle alcohol in LCBO stores.”

A local mother stopped into an LCBO store to pick up an eight-pack of Guinness for her husband.  While she dug her wallet out of her purse, her 17-year-old son helped out by placing the beer on the counter.  The clerk immediately asked him for ID.  He explained that the beer was not for him, but for his mother, who would pay for it, but the Can’t Touch It rule had already come into effect.

She went back and brought a pack up by herself, but now the manager came over, and accused her of buying the beer for a minor.  He claimed that staff is highly trained to prevent “second buying.”  All very noble, but this staff could never be accused of second thinking.

Bureaucracy exists to assure its own continued existence – and some strange restrictions and regulations.

 

Believe What You Want

A man in southern Tennessee saw his male dog “humping” another male dog, and took it to the humane society and turned it in, “Cuz I don’t want no gay dog!”  Dog humping has nothing to do with sex, sexual orientation, or morals, and everything to do with establishing superiority.  I’d have thought that he’d know about guns and dogs and stuff, but I guess all he knows about is that Westboro Baptist salvation superiority.

I don’t think even they preach about gay dogs.  The Bible does not say that “A male dog shall not lie down (or stand up) with another male dog, as he does with a bitch.”  There are Good Christians who claim that homosexuality and lesbianism are not “natural”, and don’t occur among animals, and it is only those among humans who “sin”.  And yet here, we apparently have a Bible-thumper with a gay dog.  The ironic humor is knee-slapping.

I don’t want to paint any particular group with a wide brush, but all three of the stories in this post occurred well south of the Mason/Dixon Line, which, by the way, is a hell of a lot further north than I thought it was, as a kid.  AFrankAngle can almost see it from his back door in Cincinnati.

A long-time worker at an auto-parts plant in Alabama marched into his supervisor’s office and quit.  He was a good worker, produced great quality and quantity, had a good attendance record, got along with other workers, all in all a perfect employee.  They didn’t want to lose him.  Why was he quitting?

It seems that his company was doing away with their payroll department, and had farmed it out to an outside firm.  The new cheque-writers had assigned each worker an employee number….and his was 666.  Obviously he couldn’t work under the Sign Of The Beast.  His foreman assured him that the problem would be taken care of.  Sure enough, next week’s cheque was made out to employee number 668.

Two years later, he marched into the supervisor’s office and quit again.  What’s the problem this time??!  Seems his employer had switched payroll suppliers, and the new company listed him as number 666 again.  That says to me that he was number 666 all along, but the last payroll company had been directed to make an exception for him, and the new provider just hadn’t got the memo yet.  Again, the problem was fixed by the next paycheque.  As far as I know, he’s still happily working there, blissfully unaware of the total lack of significance his employee number really had, anywhere except inside his empty widdle head.

The last winner I want to poke fun at, is a televangelist I met on TV during my recent Detroit trip.  Joel Osteen has dragged his wife along with him to partake of the Biblical Diet.  He has declared that they will eat only grains, legumes and meat mentioned in the Bible.  He says he loves bacon, but bacon is forbidden in Biblical texts.  He tells that, since giving up bacon and eating only this blessed food, he feels much better.  His digestion has improved, and he has more energy.  I could only watch a few minutes of his show before I got dizzy.  This “Fisher Of Men” needs all the energy he can get, to reel in the faithful, and their wallets.

He told us that he had replaced the standard, but now forbidden, pork bacon with turkey bacon.  Perhaps someone needs to slowly read the Good Book to Mr. Osteen.  The turkey is a New World creature, and is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, but that doesn’t stop another “infallible” soul-saver from saying one thing, and doing another.

A computer-savvy man in Wisconsin set up a website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and YouTube videos, all purporting to be Osteen’s.  On them he said that Osteen had given up the Christian faith, because he had found no proof that the Bible was true, or even that God existed.

Describing himself as a “good Christian”, he said that he did it because he found Osteen’s hour-long TV show to be full of nothing but feel-good platitudes – all sizzle, no real steak.  He claimed that Osteen was insulated from the real world, and his prank was to get Osteen’s attention, to tell him “to tone down the clichés, and get real!”  How high do you have to Fly Like An Ego, to have even the faithful tell you to take a chill pill??

You can believe what you want, but I believe that Bubba will never learn about dogs, Mr. Numerology will never render unto Caesar, and no successful evangelist will ever willingly turn down the volume and risk losing income, adulation and power.