Russians use insane squirrel as mascot for anti-alcohol campaign

Trying to get Russians to stop drinking is one of the few things more doomed to failure than trying to get The Cubs to win the The World Series. Still, in both cases, you have to try – right? The Russians have purposefully turned this job over to one of the least appealing mascots ever – an insane squirrel with a terrifying case of mange. This is not as bizarre as it sounds. According to The Telegraph:

In Russian slang, delirium tremens, the moment of inebriation when people start to get the shakes and to hallucinate, is known as “belochka” or “a little squirrel.” The squirrel in the video, who is red-eyed and bedraggled, is therefore shown ranting, singing, and delivering a nonsensical monologue.

That’s kind of how I imagine Glenn Beck is when he first gets out of bed.

He talks about “chasing spiders up the walls” and finishes up by offering to kill his neighbour’s wife because she is “the devil.” “Are you a boozer?” the deranged squirrel asks in the finale. “Then I am coming around to your place.”

Just replace “spiders” with “Nazis” and “his Neighbor’s wife” with “Democrats,” and it’s practically a transcript of Mr. Beck’s show.

Demon squirrel wants you!

To say Russia has a severe problem with alcoholism is to dangerously understate the case

Alcohol is to Russians what coals are to Newcastle. Russians drink more than 32 pints of pure alcohol per capita per year, more than double the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum. During the Cold War, the Soviet Army was constantly having to guard against its soldiers drinking the brake fluid from vehicles. In his great book Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of The Soviet Empire, David Remnick expressed his total amazement at a Soviet general being sacked for drunkenness this way: “I’m not sure it is possible to describe just how hard it is to acquire a reputation as a drunk in Russia.” At the start of World War I, Czar Nicholas threw a bone to the serfs and got rid of the government tax on vodka. This cut the government’s budget in half.

This ad campaign follows a decision to reduce the amount of alcohol permissible in motorists’ blood to 0 and the introduction of a minimum price for a half-litre bottle of vodka of 89 roubles ($2.80). To put the price issue into context consider that a Russian airline pilot has a net average monthly salary of $864 and a bus driver nets $242.

It also suggests the Russian economy is doing better. In November 2008 stockpiles of Russia’s national drink were six times higher at the start of the month than the same time a year ago because factories were producing vodka faster than they could sell it.

Tennessee legislature makes it legal to mix guns & bars

The politicians in Tennessee must think the state suffers from overcrowding. How else to explain the recently passed bill allowing handguns in bars and restaurants.

Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson, the main sponsor of the bill, said state Safety Department records show handgun permit holders in Tennessee are responsible.

guns-booze-296x300 Sans booze many people are considered responsible. Perhaps the good senator thinks the bill addresses the issue because while you can bring a gun into a bar – it is still illegal to consumer alcohol while carrying one. So only the designated driver can pack heat? Who gets to enforce this one? Because the only way you’re going to know that part of the law has been violated is when you find out you have a drunk armed guy to deal with.

Kind of redefines what it means to order a shot at the bar.

Supporters no doubt point to the fact that  the new law still allows owners to ban weapons from their establishments. But I have to wonder how many bar and restaurant owners are going to think people are going to want to go to a joint that has to post a sign reading, “No guns allowed.” Either you’re a namby pamby who thinks the place has a problem with guns or you’re cowboy-wannabee who doesn’t want to go anywhere his pistol isn’t welcome.

Hmmmn, how about “No shoes, no shirt, no Smith & Wesson, no service.”

I would love to know A) What problem this was supposed to address?; and B) What kind of condition Tennessee is in that the legislature would make passing this bill a priority?

OMG – here is a truly sobering fact: Tennessee is the 37th state to adopt such a law.

Question: Is it legal to bring guns to AA meetings?

I write this as someone who actually has no problems with people owning guns. While I do not own any myself, during a six-week summer vacation with the US Army I actually learned one the lesser acknowledged facts of life: Machine guns are fun. I can say with no false modesty that I have killed my fair share of skeets. My problem is not with guns it is with a basic fact of the human condition: People are stupid. If everyone were as diligent and responsible gun owners as either SFC Big Brother Collateral Damage or the population of Switzerland (there is literally a sub-machine gun in the home of nearly every adult male in the country) then I would have no problem with NRA’s guiding policy of “Guns for babies.” But until then …

(PS, thanks the Tennessean for the graphic.)

Alcohol-enforcement official faces career-ending irony

A member of the city commission responsible for enforcing liquor laws was arrested early Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Danny Kim, 33, was arrested shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday at Kilauea and Makapu’u avenues near Kapi’olani Community College. Kim, one of five members of the Honolulu Liquor Commission, was booked and released on $500 bail about two hours after his arrest.

Penguins Employee of the month

End times alert: Russians buying less vodka

Ruh-roh.

Ruh-roh.

As economic indicators go this is pretty much all four of the horsemen of the apocalypse and the opening of the Seventh Seal all in one:

The global financial crisis has grown so bad that Russians are cutting back on vodka. Stockpiles of Russia’s national drink were six times higher at the start of the month than the same time a year ago because factories are producing vodka faster than they can sell it.

Alcohol is to Russians what coals are to Newcastle. During the Cold War, the Soviet Army was constantly having to guard against its soldiers drinking the brake fluid from vehicles. As David Remnick puts it in the great Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of The Soviet Empire, ” I’m not sure it is possible to describe just how hard it is to acquire a reputation as a drunk in Russia.” The phrase “too much vodka in Russia” is like the phrase “Cubs win the World Series”: a linguistically logical construct with (until now) no chance of ever happening.

Marketers love putting booze into guns

Apparently the hot idea in niche alcohol sales is to put your product into a package that looks like a weapon of personal destruction.

The tequila company Hijos de Villa offers both a sidearm and a long-gun.

There’s also a choice vodka in two different iconic machine guns: The Tommy or the AK-47. Or it you want to better target your vodka, there’s also a Sniper version.

Sadly you have far fewer choices if you don’t drink the hard stuff. Wine drinkers are all liberals, right? So the best you can do is a bottle opener for your Beaujolais. And beer drinkers don’t even get that. Yep, despite its claims to be the Silver Bullet — there’s nothing from Coors (or any other brewer I could find) that had any trace of verisimilitude on the topic.

Of course you can put whatever substance you want in one of these flasks. You have a choice of one that looks like a pistol or looks like it saved you from a pistol. (If we ever become really good friends I’ll tell you the story of why I drove a bayonet through a silver flask.)

And fear not if your taste for mood altering substances run to something less potable:

Science proves what country music already knew: Booze makes you sad

Researchers at the University of Tokyo concluded that ethanol — an intoxicating agent in alcohol — does not cause memory to decrease, as widely believed, but instead locks it in place. The researchers, led by pharmacology professor Norio Matsuki, gave mild shocks to lab rats to condition them to fear. As a result, the rats would freeze in terror and curl up the moment they were put in their cages.

I hope the research paper cites “Haggard, Merle: Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down