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Thursday, March 19, 2009

$8 billion could help revive travel by train

By Marilyn Adams, USA TODAY

By Dmitry Lovetsky, AP
A Sapsan high-speed train in St. Petersburg, Russia. It will be part of a shuttle service between St. Petersburg and Moscow. The trip is expected to take less than four hours and cost less than flying.

Americans started falling out of love with trains 50 years ago, when thrilling silver airliners left locomotives far behind.

Now, President Obama and leaders in more than 30 states say it's time to embrace trains again — but newer, faster ones that can transport passengers past gridlocked airports and highways on electrified railroads at up to 200 mph.

They're betting billions of federal and state dollars that high-speed railroads can someday move travelers between major U.S. cities within two or three hours just as they do in Western Europe and Japan. And along the way, they argue, such systems can ease travel congestion, reduce the nation's dependence on oil, cut pollution and create jobs.

"For so long, Americans have viewed the automobile and the airplane as our transportation vehicles," says Anne Canby, a former transportation secretary for Delaware and train advocate. "Until now, rail hasn't been a major player in the discussion."

Driving the new-found interest in trains is $8 billion that was tucked into the president's economic stimulus legislation signed last month.

The Department of Transportation is to distribute the money to embryonic high-speed rail projects around the country and to Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, to develop high-speed technology.

The government isn't wasting time. By next month, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is required to issue a strategic plan detailing how DOT will use the $8 billion. By June, his department is required to tell states how to apply for grants.

Eleven proposed high-speed rail corridors on the West Coast, Texas, the Great Lakes states, the Southeast, Florida and the Northeast will be vying for a piece of the stimulus money.

Competition "is going to be pretty severe," Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle says.

Doyle just returned from Spain, where he rode that country's high-speed Talgo system linking its capital, Madrid, to other major Spanish cities.

Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio are pitching a high-speed rail network linking Chicago to big cities in those states, including Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Detroit — trips that could be made within a couple of hours.

"People in this country don't appreciate what modern rail travel is," says Doyle, referring to the 180 mph Talgo system. "It is as smooth as riding in an airplane without any turbulence."

He says the Midwestern states don't envision a true high-speed system immediately. The first priority is making upgrades that would allow trains between Chicago and Milwaukee, for example, to travel at least 80 mph.

Designing, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of new rail systems could create many U.S. jobs, rail advocates say.

"This would create a completely new industry here," says Rod Diridon, a member of California's High-Speed Rail Authority.

Diridon says his system is a leading candidate for funding because it would be a true high-speed train, and the state already has won environmental approvals. California voters approved issuing $10 billion in bonds to help pay for the system.

California's proposed express from San Francisco to Los Angeles would take about 2½ hours at 220 mph. "It would be faster downtown to downtown than flying," Diridon says.

As large as it sounds, $8 billion wouldn't begin to design and construct a true high-speed system in which rails are dedicated to high-speed trains. The California system alone would cost about $50 billion to complete.

"I see this as us making a down payment," says Mark Yachmetz, a top official at the Federal Railroad Administration. "It's the beginning of the renaissance of rail in this country."

Ultimately, so-called trip time — the travel time door-to-door vs. an auto or plane — will be the standard by which rail proposals will be judged.

Amtrak's recent track record gives hope to high-speed rail enthusiasts. The railroad carried a record 10.9 million passengers along the densely populated Northeast corridor last year. It has become a serious competitor of airlines there because the major cities — including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington — are relatively close together.

Last year, Amtrak data show it accounted for 63% of the combined air and rail passenger traffic between Washington, D.C., and New York City compared with 50% four years earlier. Between New York and Boston, Amtrak's share of the traffic was 49% last year vs. 39% in 2004.

Many riders in the Northeast chose Amtrak's electrified Acela — the closest thing to a high-speed train in the USA. It makes few stops and runs at speeds up to about 135 mph.

Acela has shown, "We can do high-speed rail and reduce the trip time enough to make rail competitive with air," Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman says.

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Strive for '100 steps per minute'

Walker
A pavement is just as good, but you need to put in 100 steps per minute

You should be taking 100 steps each minute for half an hour a day if you want to achieve "moderate" exercise by walking, a study shows.

A US team reached the figure after measuring the body's oxygen demand in some 100 people walking on a treadmill.

They wrote in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that a pedometer alone was not enough to gauge exercise as it gave no data on intensity.

US and UK guidelines urge half an hour of moderate exercise five days a week.

But there is often confusion as to what constitutes moderate exercise, and the amount of gardening, housework or walking needed to confer health benefits.

A useful starting point is to try to accumulate 1000 steps in 10 minutes, before building up to 3000 steps in 30 minutes
Simon Marshall
San Diego State University

Researchers at the San Diego State University based their conclusions on exercise tests given to 97 healthy adults who had an average age of 32.

In general, men needed to walk at a pace of 92 to 102 steps per minute to achieve a moderately intense workout for their hearts. The range for women was between 91 and 115 steps per minute.

"Because health benefits can be achieved with bouts of exercise lasting at least 10 minutes, a useful starting point is to try to accumulate 1000 steps in 10 minutes, before building up to 3000 steps in 30 minutes," said Simon Marshall, lead researcher.

A pedometer was not useless, but should be used in conjunction with a wristwatch to work out how many steps were being taken.

Gary O'Donovan, lecturer in sport and exercise medicine at the University of Exeter said: "Regular physical activity is important for health and well-being and brisk walking is a great way to start.

"Most pedometers don't provide a measure of intensity, but Dr Marshall's team has identified a simple and effective method to ensure that every step counts."

Ken Fox, professor of exercise and health science at Bristol University, warned however that while 100 steps per minute was a good target for healthy walkers, it would be "dangerous to make this an across the board recommendation.

"We should note that the study was conducted on healthy young adults. People who are overweight or obese - which is the majority of middle to older adults - are working harder in order to carry their weight for any walking speed. They will need to down grade their speeds accordingly."

Original here

Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Submitted by sanela

You are what you eat, because what you eat directly influences your body and your body functions. The food you consume can have a direct impact on your sex life, affecting your hormones, brain chemistry, and energy and stress levels. Some foods have psychoactive properties, others arouse because they are psychologically suggestive, and some can actually increase blood flow to the genitals. And if it does not have all that aphrodisiac affect, at least it’s healthy and it will do you good!

10 - ASPARAGUS

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods01 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

English herbalist from the 17th century, Nicholas Culpepper, wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman”. In the 19th century France, bridegrooms were served three courses of the sexy spears at their prenuptial dinner. Apparently for a good reason: asparagus is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin and folic acid. The latter is said to boost histamine production necessary for the ability to reach orgasm in both sexes.

9 - ALMONDS

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods02 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Through antiquity, almonds were regarded as fertility symbols. The aroma of almond supposedly arouses passion in females - or so thought the poets and scribes. The scientists say that almonds provide high doses of vitamin E, magnesium and even fiber. Therefore, there seems to be something in the almond myths after all.

8 – AVOCADO

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods03 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Just by looking at the shape of avocado, you will see the reason why it was associated with sexuality. The Aztecs called the avocado “Ahuacuatl”, or “testicle tree”. They thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled the male’s testicles. The Catholic priests in Spain found this fruit so obscenely sexual that they forbade it. On the other side, avocado is rich with folic acid, vitamin B6 and potassium. They are also said to boost immune system.

7 – BANANAS

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods04 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

By it shape its connection with sexuality is quite obvious, but you’ll also find that bananas are loaded with potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. It also contains chelating minerals and the bromeliad enzyme, said to enhance the male libido.

6 – BASIL

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods05 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Basil not only makes the meals smell and taste better, but it also has a lot of beneficial effects on human body. Basil has a fantastic aroma which is said to have an aphrodisiac effect; it is also very stimulating. Using sweet basil in a pasta sauce; will be sure to get your heart racing! Maybe this explains why Italians are so romantic!

5 – CHOCOLATE

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods06 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Pure chocolate, the king of natural aphrodisiacs, contains a host of compounds including anandamide, the psyochoactive feel-good chemical, and PEA (phenylethylamine), the ‘love chemical’ which releases dopamine in the pleasure-centres of the brain and peaks during orgasm. PEA is said to help induce feelings of excitement, attraction, and euphoria. Cacao also contains tryptophan, a key component of the neurotransmitter serotonin known to promote a sense of wellbeing and relaxation.

4 – FIGS

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods07 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

This sexy fruit has long been thought of as an arousing stimulant and an open fig is believed to emulate the female sex organs. Figs are steeped in history and are one of the oldest recorded fruits. They are mentioned in the bible (Adam and Eve wore fig leaves to cover their private parts), are reported to be Cleopatra’s favorite fruit and the ancient Greeks held them as sacred and associated them with love and fertility.

3 – GARLIC

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods08 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Now, wait a minute! I know it’s stinky, but more importantly it’s strong, which is exactly what it will happen to guys. Garlic is chalk full of allicin, an ingredient that will increase blood flow. So, whip up an extra garlicky dish and keep the Altoids handy.

2 – OYSTERS

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods09 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Oysters are probably the food most associated with being an aphrodisiac and most people are aware of their reputation for increasing sexual desire. Oysters may be thought as an aphrodisiac because of their high zinc content, which helps produce sperm and increases libido. Raw Oysters are best served with a glass of chilled Champagne for a truly romantic meal!

1 - HONEY

top-10-aphrodisiac-foods10 Top 10 Aphrodisiac Foods

Sweet sticky honey is a great source of boron, a trace mineral that helps the body use and metabolise estrogen, the female sex hormone. Studies have shown that this mineral may also enhance testosterone levels in the blood, the hormone responsible for promoting sex drive and orgasm in both men and women. In addition, honey contains B vitamins needed for testosterone as well as other nutrients, enzymes and phytochemicals.

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Is It Good for You? Debunking 10 Myths About Guinness Stout

By Michael B. Dougherty

In 1759 Arthur Guinness first began to brew his eponymous Irish stout, and probably sometime in 1760, people started making crap up about it.

Like shamrocks, freckles and bar fights, Guinness has become an icon of the Emerald Isle, known around the world for its impenetrable color, its complex pouring ritual, and its ability to balance well on a toucan's beak. It's also known for the wild rumors associated with it, from the common barfly's claim of better-tasting pints in the old country to conspiracy theories of macabre secret ingredients. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, Asylum goes MythBusters on your favorite draught. Boston, we're looking at you.

Myth Number 1: Guinness is heavy in calories ... False
Guinness weighs in at 125 calories per 12-oz. serving. But wait, who drinks a 12-oz. Guinness? Nobody, since a pint is 16 oz. (20 for the lucky stiffs in the motherland). Do the math and you get about 170 calories per 16-oz. serving. Guess how many are in a 16-oz. Strawberry Surf Rider smoothie from Jamba Juice? 330. Thank us later, ladies.

Myth Number 2: Guinness is supposed to be warm ... False
Guinness reports its draught is best stored at 42.8 degrees. Your average fridge is between 35 and 38, which is a bit on the chilly side. Unfortunately, most beer coolers in bars are even colder to accommodate our thirst for "ice cold" beer. Regardless, 43 degrees is neither warm nor room temperature. The obvious solution is to order two at a time, so one is always warming up!

Learn the truth about what's inside of it, who pours the best pint of Guinness and plenty more, all after the jump
.

Myth Number 3: 'Guinness for strength' ... Undetermined
The famous 'Guinness is good for you' and similar advertisements from the 1930s -- great marketing ploy, but just keep in mind it came about in the 1930s, when you could still claim your product did anything and not get in trouble with the law. We happen to think a pint of Guinness is the most important meal of the day, but we have no scientific evidence to back that up. Your mileage may vary. If Guinness does give you a boost, it's probably more in the "liquid courage" category.



Myth Number 4: The flavor of Guinness stems from nefarious sources ... False

The more outrageous stories about Guinness include the ones about how dead rats were found at the bottom of the vats in the St James's Gate brewery in Ireland, thus explaining the unique taste of stout. Other stories have circulated that Guinness is actually filtered through lamb's blood to get its taste. This one is classic barroom BS at its finest. Guinness has been the victim of more Snopes-worthy urban legends than any other libation, except maybe Corona. The basics of Guinness are barley, hops, yeast and water ... from the Skull and Bones Society. Guinness derives its toasted flavor, which tastes anywhere from coffee to chocolate, and bitter hint from the manner in which its malted barley is roasted and the amount of hops used. The creamy taste of the head is a result of nitrogen bubbles released during the pouring process.

Myth Number 5: The St. James's Gate brewery produces different kinds of Guinness for various markets ... Kinda
Guinness is available in 100 countries and is brewed in nearly 50 of them, using locally sourced ingredients like water. Therefore, one could argue (and we know you will) that any Guinness brewed outside Dublin is materially different. The top five selling markets? (In order) Great Britain, Ireland, Nigeria, the U.S. and Cameroon. We were surprised by those two, too.

Myth Number 6: Water from the River Liffey in Dublin goes into Guinness ... False
While the St. James's Gate brewery sits next to the river, the water used to make Guinness comes from the Wicklow mountains to the south.

Myth Number 7: Guinness in a can is different from draught Guinness ... Confusing
Guinness is available in draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra. Draught comes in cans, bottles and, well, draught. Extra Stout comes only in bottles and Foreign Extra comes in bottles, cans and an Extra Smooth variety. Got all that? Good.

Myth Number 8: Strict vegetarians can't drink Guinness ... True
The production of the stout involves the use of isinglass, a byproduct of the fishing industry derived from dead fish. Isinglass is used as a fining agent for settling out suspended matter in the beer vat, and while it's kept at the bottom of the tank, some isinglass may end up in the final product. So if you're the type who avoids gelatin and whey in your diet, you're out of luck. We can only imagine the histrionics this revelation might spark from PETA.

Myth Number 9: Guinness is black ... False
Look closer and you'll see that Guinness actually has a ruby red color, due to how the malted barley is roasted. Hint: This one is an easy way to win $5 from your friends.

Myth Number 10: The Guinness in Ireland is much better than the Guinness served in the United States ... Up to you
While we would never judge a fellow tippler for his esteemed critique of the palate (especially after 2-for-1 atomic-wing night), this granddaddy of Guinness myths is usually spouted from the condescending lips of a recently returned study-abroad student, suddenly eminently more cultured than we are for spending three months puking outside the American-themed bar in some foreign city. Whether a pint is better in the Old Sod than it is here really has to do with a lot of factors -- mainly, how many you've had.

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5 Mixed Drinks Manly Men Can Drink (And Remain Manly)

If you’re reading this and are a man, you probably have a penis. Since you have a penis, you primarily drink beer and whiskey. Good man. Manly man. When you go to a bar, however, beer all the time can get a bit boring, and you may be looking for something like a strong mixed drink. However, being the manly man you are, you’ve never ordered a mixed drink before, and don’t actually know what drinks are safe to order without risking penile deflation. Worry not, my friend. Read on, follow our guidelines, and we’ll show you what you can order to drink, and still be a manly man.

Irish Car Bomb

irish-car-bomb

Hell even the name sounds manly. This drink is a shot glass filled with Irish Whiskey (preferably Jameson) with Baileys Irish Cream floated on top. The shot is then dropped into a glass of Guinness and downed. All Irish, contains both whiskey and stout beer. Definitely a man’s drink.

Jägerbomb

jager_bomb_thumb

Another bomb? Could be a trend… A Jägerbomb is a drink in which the only liquor is Jägermeister. Basically you fill a glass with Red Bull energy drink, a very masculine bull-like energy drink, then drop in a shot full of Jägermeister and chug it. On a side note, Jägermeister is in my copy-paste clipboard because you can’t fucking type ä on a normal keyboard. Damn Germans.

Martini

martini

Ok, so no trend. The primary reason a martini is on this list is because James Bond drinks them. Shaken, not stirred. Otherwise, this would be a pretty hoity-toity drink. But, because James Bond is so manly and cool, what with all the explosions and all (ok, maybe a trend), anything he drinks voluntarily has a degree of awesome to it. A martini is gin and vermouth, garnished with an olive. Though on occasion, its masculinity is insulted with a sliver of lemon peel.

Cosmopolitan

untitled

… Just kidding.

Hurricane

hurricane

In the words of Alan Jackson, “Pour me something tall and strong, make it a Hurricane, before I go insane.” The man needs a damn stiff one. A Hurricane is a great answer. Jack Sparrow would appreciate this one, as it’s made with light rum, dark rum, passionfruit syrup, and lime juice. Since rum is the primary ingredient, and the drink was originally given away in New Orleans to sailors, this one has earned a spot on the list. Plus, it’s the manliest tropical drink you can get in Margaritaville.

Lynchburg Lemonade

lynchburg_lemonade_lg

Look at it, doesn’t it look refreshing? This tastey alternative to a boring old lemonade is made with Jack Daniels, Triple Sec, lime soda, and sour mix. It looks like lemonade, tastes like lemonade, contains whiskey, was (and is) sold as a cocktail by Jack Daniels, and is sold at Texas Roadhouse cowboy restaurants around the U.S. A cowboy’s lemonade, this is safe to drink anywhere, anytime. Even at 9:00am on a Sunday.

The above drinks are hereby ordained and established as fit for manly-man consumption by Regretful Morning. Well gentlemen, that’s it so far. Stay tuned, though. I’m going to be doing more “research” soon enough. I’ll add to the list, and perhaps even a story or two will come of this research.

I’m John Scrovak and I write funny - You can read my last Cracked.com article here or add me on Facebook.

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Dollars from dirt: Economy spurs home garden boom


By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

LONG BEACH, Calif. – With the recession in full swing, many Americans are returning to their roots — literally — cultivating vegetables in their backyards to squeeze every penny out of their food budget.

Industry surveys show double-digit growth in the number of home gardeners this year and mail-order companies report such a tremendous demand that some have run out of seeds for basic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peppers.

"People's home grocery budget got absolutely shredded and now we've seen just this dramatic increase in the demand for our vegetable seeds. We're selling out," said George Ball, CEO of Burpee Seeds, the largest mail-order seed company in the U.S. "I've never seen anything like it."

Gardening advocates, who have long struggled to get America grubby, have dubbed the newly planted tracts "recession gardens" and hope to shape the interest into a movement similar to the victory gardens of World War II.

Those gardens, modeled after a White House patch planted by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943, were intended to inspire self-sufficiency, and at their peak supplied 40 percent of the nation's fresh produce, said Roger Doiron, founding director of Kitchen Gardeners International.

Doiron and several colleagues are petitioning President Obama to plant a similar garden at the White House as part of his call for a responsible, eco-friendly economic turnaround. Proponents have collected 75,000 signatures on an online petition.

"It's really part of our history and it's part of the White House's history," Doiron said. "When I found out why it had been done over the course of history and I looked at where we are now, it makes sense again."

But for many Americans, the appeal of backyard gardening isn't in its history — it's in the savings.

The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per year. A study by Burpee Seeds claims that $50 spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually.

Doiron spent nine months weighing and recording each vegetable he pulled from his 1,600-square-foot garden outside Portland, Maine. After counting the final winter leaves of Belgian endive, he found he had saved about $2,150 by growing produce for his family of five instead of buying it.

Adriana Martinez, an accountant who reduced her grocery bill to $40 a week by gardening, said there's peace of mind in knowing where her food comes from. And she said the effort has fostered a sense of community through a neighborhood veggie co-op.

"We're helping to feed each other and what better time than now?" Martinez said.

A new report by the National Gardening Association predicts a 19 percent increase in home gardening in 2009, based on spring seed sales data and a telephone survey. One-fifth of respondents said they planned to start a food garden this year and more than half said they already were gardening to save on groceries.

Community gardens nationwide are also seeing a surge of interest. The waiting list at the 312-plot Long Beach Community Garden has nearly quadrupled — and no one is leaving, said Lonnie Brundage, who runs the garden's membership list.

"They're growing for themselves, but you figure if they can use our community garden year-round they can save $2,000 or $3,000 or $4,000 a year," she said. "It doesn't take a lot for it to add up."

Seed companies say this renaissance has rescued their vegetable business after years of drooping sales. Orders for vegetable seeds have skyrocketed, while orders for ornamental flowers are flat or down, said Richard Chamberlin, president of Harris Seeds in Rochester, N.Y.

Business there has increased 40 percent in the last year, with the most growth among vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and kitchen herbs that can thrive in small urban plots or patio containers, he said. Harris Seeds recently had to reorder pepper and tomato seeds.

"I think if things were fine, you wouldn't see people doing this. They're just too busy," Chamberlin said. "Gardening for most Americans was a dirty word because it meant work and nobody wanted more work — but that's changed."

Harris Seed's Web site now gets 40,000 hits a day.

Among larger companies, Burpee saw a 20 percent spike in sales in the last year and started marketing a kit for first-time gardeners called "The Money Garden." It has sold 15,000 in about two months, said Ball.

A Web-based retailer called MasterGardening.com is selling similar packages, and Park Seed of Greenwood, S.C., is marketing a "Garden for Victory Seed Collection." Slogan: "Win the war in your own backyard against high supermarket prices and nonlocal produce!"

Cultivators with years of experience worry that home gardeners lured by promises of big savings will burn out when they see the amount of labor required to get dollars from their dirt. The average gardener spends nearly five hours a week grubbing in the dirt and often contends with failure early on, said Bruce Butterfield, a spokesman for The National Gardening Association.

"The one thing you don't factor into it is the cost of your time and your labor," he said.

"But even if it's just a couple of tomato plants in a pot, that's worth the price of admission."

Original here

The 6 Drinkiest Politicians in U.S. History

BY: Gladstone

President Ulysses S. Grant

Some say that reports of President Grant's public drunkenness were vicious rumors started by his political enemies, but then again those people were probably never tasked with writing a piece about drunk U.S. Politicians. So shut up and let me do my job. And besides, no one can deny that there are some people who don't say that stories of Grant's public drunkeness were vicious rumors started by political enemies.

Indeed, some claim Grant left the army in 1854 rather then face court martial after his commanding officer, Robert C. Buchanan, found him drunk on duty as a pay officer. Another story claims that the term "lobbying" actually originated from the practice of political wheelers and dealers who frequented The Williard Hotel's lobby where Grant would often enjoy cigars and brandy.

And perhaps, the most damning evidence of Grant's drunkeness… his beard.

.

joemccarthySen. Joseph McCarthy

The Senator from Wisconsin who led the fight on Communism (thereby cultivating a culture of panic and needlessly destroying many innocent lives while desecrating the freedoms that make America great) was many things. But he was not a quitter.

He did not cease in his unsubstantiated accusations of Communist infiltration of the State department. He never tired in his vilifying of opponents as pinkos and Commies. And he would not quit drinking.

A full-blown alcoholic, he died from cirrhosis of the liver in 1957.

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President Richard Nixon

They called Richard Nixon "Tricky Dick," but maybe they should have called him Drinky McDrinksalot. (Well, sure it doesn't have the same ring to it. And it doesn't really convey his penchant for dirty politics which was the point of the nickname. Also, his heavy drinking wasn't common knowledge so probably only those closest to him would have really been in a position to call him that and, frankly, I just can't picture Henry Kissinger saying that. But still, it seems Nixon did like to get his drink on, so, y'know, as far as nicknames go, I guess you could do worse.)

Previously released phone transcripts indicate that five days into the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Nixon was too drunk to discuss the crisis with the British prime minister. Of course, in Nixon's defense, Dark Side of the Moon had just come out so there is every reason to believe that what his advisors mistook for drunkeness was really just our Commander in Chief being baked out of his mind.

.

Sen. John Tower

In the history of our Nation, only nine cabinet appointees have failed to be sworn in, but Senator John Tower — George H.W. Bush's choice for Secretary of Defense was one of them.

Why? Well, during his nomination hearings, conservative activist Paul Weyrick testified that Tower was "morally unfit" to serve as Pentagon Chief because of excessive drinking and womanizing. Weyrick even claimed to have witnessed this behavior on several occasions. As an aside, I'd like you to just think of times when you've been drunk and womanizing. Can you picture anyone ever observing you soberly and silent in a corner, taking notes for a future day? Boy those conservative activists are fun.

In any event, Tower publicly pledged to abstain from alcohol if he were confirmed as defense secretary. And yet, he was not. That's pretty damn drinky.

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Sen. Bob Packwood

Sometimes people gladly confess to alcoholic indulgences rather than taking full responsibility for behavior society finds more offensive. For example, when Oregon Senator Bob Packwood was confronted with multiple claims of sexual harassment by several women, he claimed the indiscretions were the result of his drinking problem.

He subsequently underwent counseling while being reviewed by the Senate Ethics Committee. After a prolonged investigation in which more women came forward, Packwood eventually resigned in 1995.

So does he belong on this list? I mean, maybe he was just a sex addict. I don't know. Perhaps, history will never know, but if a man who inappropriately makes sexual advantages on multiple women wants to be called an alcoholic and I'm writing a column on political alcoholics then I'm not going to let things like details and the truth stand in the way.

.

Sen. Ted Kennedy

Oh, it's easy to make fun of Ted Kennedy.

Well, not really that easy considering how close to death he is, but still easy in the sense that most people believe his drunk driving led to the death of a woman.

Wait I guess that's not funny either. And in 1991 he was partying down in Palm Beach, Florida — festivities that led to the rape trial of his nephew, William Kennedy Smith.

Damn, that's not at all humorous. Maybe alcohol abuse and the things that come from it aren't actually that appropriate for a comedy web site?

Could that be?

.

Honorable Mention

You might be wondering why this article fails to mention Dick Cheney who had two DUIs or George Bush who had one. Well, maybe it's because that after eight years it's nice not to have to cover them. Congrats, boys. You didn't make the list. Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day. Drink up.

Original here

Saint Patrick’s Day Drinks

irish-drinks
By Zach

Irish PubA wise man once said that anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick’s Day consists of the night of the 17th of March flavored strongly with the morning of the 18th. So yeah, one can infer there’s definitely some drinking going on. But the real question is, what do you drink? One option is the typical green beer. Or maybe a pint of Guinness will do. But you can be a bit more adventurous and try one of these cocktails or shooters to toast to the Irish:

Emerald Isle
emerald-isleGo green withyour martini, just hold the vermouth and replace it with some crème de menthe. You’ll have the Irish spirit in no time. While aromatic bitters are customary, mint bitters are an equally nice compliment.

Ingredients:
1 oz gin
1 tsp green crème de menthe
2 quick dashes of bitters
1 mint leave

Everybody’s Irish
everybodys-irishEverybody *is* Irish, at least on St. Patrick’s Day. Pour the irish whiskey, crème de menthe, and Chartreuse with ice cubes and blend to get this very green cocktail. If an olive isn’t your thing, use a fresh sprig of mint instead.

Ingredients:
2 oz Irish whiskey
1 oz green crème de menthe
1 oz green Chartreuse
cocktail olive for garnish

Irish Car Bomb
irish_car_bomb-2A true classic, this list is incomplete without the infamous drink. Even though it’s not exactly one of the few cocktails enjoyed back in the homeland. Fill a shot glass with Irish creme and Jameson, drop it into the Guinness, and slam the drink down.

Ingredients:
3/4 pint Guinness Stout
1/2 shot Irish Creme
1/2 shot Jameson Irish whiskey

The Dancing Leprechaun
On St. Patrick’s Day anything Irish goes, especially Irish Whiskey mixtures. To make the leprechaun dance, combine all the listed ingredients in a shaker with ice, then strain into a highball glass with ice cubes. Finally, add garnish with a twist of lemon.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
3/4 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz lemon juice
Ginger Ale
Twist of Lemon peel

The Midori June Bug
midori-june-bugThis delicious concoction is made by blending all ingredients in a shaker and pouring over ice. It may be a bit girly for some, but at least its green and it’s a bit different than the norm.

Ingredients:
1 oz Midori® melon liqueur
3/4 oz coconut rum
3/4 oz banana liqueur
1 oz sweet and sour mix
1 oz pineapple juice

Dublin Handshake
St. Patrick’s Day is about fun and drunken friendship, so why not give peace a chance? Trade in that Irish Car Bomb for a Dublin Handshake, another Irish favorite. Just combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain in to a rocks glass with ice.

Ingredients:
1/2 oz Baileys Irish cream
1/2 oz Irish whiskey
3/4 oz Sloe gin

Nutty Irishman
nutty-irishmanWhile a true Irishman rarely forgoes the comforts of whiskey and beer, an exception can be made for Baileys. In shooter form, mix half shots of Baileys Irish Cream and Frangelico. Or instead mix one ounce of each of the liqueurs and enjoy it on the rocks. Either is perfect for any day of the year. A St. Patrick’s Day variation adds a shot of green Crème de Menthe for green color and a minty taste.

Ingredients:
1/2 shot Baileys Irish Cream
1/2 shot Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur

Irish Dream
irishdreamMay you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. Blend all the listed ingredients with ice until smooth, and serve in a frosted pilsner glass. Optional topping of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Ingredients:
1/2 oz Irish Cream
1/2 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
3/4 oz Brown Creme de Cacao
1 scoop Vanilla Ice Cream

Irish Cactus
Love St. Patrick’s Day but still want a touch of tequila? The Irish Cactus brings a taste from south of the border by mixing tequila and Irish cream liqueur. It is simple to make and is served on the rocks.

Ingredients:
2 oz Irish cream liqueur
1 oz tequila

Irish Trashcan Punch
irish-trashcan-punchIt’s not really Irish, but it is green and it will kick your you know what. Simply mix all the ingredients together in a big punch bowl (or trash can if you so choose) and serve.

Ingredients:
2 big jugs of green Hawaiian Punch
1L vodka
1L Everclear

Irish Trash Can
irish-trash-canThe above drink is not to be confused with this one. Fill a Collins glass full of ice, then add all liquors and stir. Finally, add a full can of Red Bull on top (as pictured to the right). The Red Bull will float at first, then slowly go down. Watch as your drink slowly turns green.

Ingredients:
1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz peach schnapps
1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
1/2 oz triple sec
1 can Red Bull® energy drink

Irish Eyes
If you’ve developed a crème de menthe habit from all the green-tinted pomp of this holiday, just add Irish whiskey, heavy cream, and ice to it for this creamy lowball that is similar to a White Russian. Great for the song “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Ingredients:
1 oz Irish whiskey
1/4 oz green crème de menthe
2 oz cream
maraschino cherry

Irish Flag
irish-flagNothing says St. Patty’s day than actually drinking the Irish Flag. First, pour the crème de menthe into a glass. Next, slowly pour the Bailey’s Irish cream over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top of the Creme de Menthe. Finally, slowly pour the Grand Marnier over the back of the spoon so that it floats on top of the Bailey’s Irish creme and voilà!

Ingredients:
1/3 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream (Bailey’s)
1/3 oz green crème de menthe
1/3 oz Grand Marnier orange liqueur (some use Butterscotch Schnapps)

Irish Coffee
irish-coffeeAnother traditional sipper, complete with a crown of whipped cream if desired. It is a perfect drink for casual St. Patrick’s Day parties or as an after dinner beverage following Irish Stew or Shepherd’s Pie.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 oz strong, hot coffee
1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
1 tsp brown sugar
1 oz whipping cream (optional)

Irish Martini
irish-martini-2If your mama always told you not to drink on Sunday, she probably wasn’t Irish. Uisce beatha, the Gaelic term for whiskey, literally translates to “water of life,” a common euphemism for “holy water.” Take that special ingredient of whiskey and add it to a typical martini, making it an Irish version of an old favorite. You coat the chilled cocktail glass with the Irish whiskey, then add in the typical vodka martini.

Ingredients:
2 oz vodka
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Irish whiskey
lemon twist for garnish

Shamrock Shaker
shamrock-shakerLooking for something more? This alcoholic beverage combines Kahlua and Amaretto liqueurs with milk. Shake the mixture vigorously and strain it into a chilled cocktail glass. The green and gold powder is for decoration.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz of Kahlua liqueur
2 1/2 oz of milk
1/2 oz of Amaretto liqueur
edible green and gold powder

Irish Kiss
irish-kissOf course, it doesn’t have to be all about beer. Korbel California Champagne created its own cocktail, the Irish Kiss. To start, add two drops of green food coloring to 1/2 cup of sugar and mix well. Rub a champagne flute rim with lime and dip it in your green sugar mixture. Fill with champagne and liqueur. You can use the lime for garnish as well.

Ingredients:
4 oz Korbel California Brut Champagne
1 oz Midori Melon Liqueur
Green food coloring
1/2 cup of sugar

Irish Gold
irish_goldOften when we think of St. Patrick’s Day we want all things to be green, but let’s not forget the importance of gold at the end of the rainbow. Combine the the whiskey, schnapps, and juice in a Collins glass filled with ice and top with ginger ale. Add a lime for garnish.

Ingredients:
2 oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
2 oz ginger ale
1 oz peach schnapps
splash of orange juice
lime wheel

Absinthe B-55
b55That’s right I’m bringing Absinthe into the mix. Did you know the United States unbanned at least some Green Fairy products? And it’s the right color for St. Patty’s Day. Layer these shots in a whiskey glass. Caution, sip slowly or you may end up licking the floor!

Ingredients:
1 shot Absinthe
1 shot coffee liqueur
1 shot Bailey’s Irish Cream

Irish Black Russian
The Black Russian is the White Russian’s dangerous older brother. While the latter drink was made forever hip by its prominent role in the Coen brothers’ slacker odyssey The Big Lebowski, the Black Russian carries no such hipster culture baggage. The Irish takes that older brother and adds a twist. To equal parts Kahlua and vodka, add cola and a float top with Guinness to add a head to the drink.

Ingredients:
1 shot vodka
1 shot Kahlua coffee liqueur
1 squirt Coca-Cola
fill with Guinness stout

Irish Depth Charge
black-and-tanMay you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you’re dead. For one more killer drink, try the depth charge, Irish style. Pour a double shot of vodka into a shot glass and press firmly to the bottom of a pint glass. Fill the bottom with Bass Ale, and careful fill the top with Guinness, creating a Black and Tan. Remove the double shot glass from the drink and have at it.

Ingredients:
2 oz vodka
6 oz Guinness stout
6 oz Bass pale ale

And remember, no matter what you drink to say the old Irish toast:

“Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland, here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings, lest you lose yourself and then,
Forget the good Saint Patrick, and see all those snakes again.”

Original here