Grape expectations

Business Insider has put together a map ranking wine consumption by state. Here are the results:

imageOK. That looks like New Hampshire is the winner, but it’s not.

image-1

The winner is Washington, D.C. So this chart tells me that the District of Columbia gets so drunk, it thinks it’s a state.

Meanwhile, let’s look at the biggest wine consumers in the world:

image-2All right, wild guess. That looks like France leads the way. Of course, I’m wrong again:

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Vatican City? Well, OK, yeah, that’s a country, and a not very sober one, but in a place with only 800 people, I’m sure the wine industry isn’t running special ads to get more Vaticaners (is that what you call a resident of The Vatican?) to buy more wine before it’s time.

And Andorra? Isn’t that like a suburb of France and Spain?

Hungry like ‘the Wolf’

I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoyed it:

It was truly a celebration of rich people behaving badly, and Leonardo DiCaprio was excellent in it.

Technically, it’s not supposed to be an inspirational movie. You know, bad people doing bad things and all that. Apparently, some stock brokers don’t see it that way (from the London Evening Standard):

Cinemas across London are preparing to welcome thousands of bankers, brokers and traders to bespoke private screenings, the Standard has learned, and a cinema booking company says there is more corporate demand for this film than any they can remember.

With one company planning to dress up Nineties Wall Street-style for the occasion, the City’s buzz about [Jordan] Belfort has the ring of an enthronement. It is tempting to think that DiCaprio’s character might be a new cult hero for a new generation of bankers, as Gordon Gekko (protagonist of 1987’s Wall Street) was to their bosses. You can imagine the Square Mile’s new generation quoting Belfort’s corny phrases about money, drugs and women like their pre-crash predecessors did Gekko’s.

A comedy email flying around between bankers in London and New York this week makes the link, plotting a market index since the Eighties with arrows showing major price falls on the release dates of Wall Street and its 2010 sequel Money Never Sleeps, and a Wolf of Wall Street arrow pointing at today’s high price. Will the Wolf consign so many bankers and traders to therapy and rehab that the markets will plummet on its release, the jokes goes. At least I think it’s a joke.

For those of you not familiar with international financial markets, “the City” referred to here isn’t London. The City is what the Brits call their version of Wall Street. They’re treating this movie like it’s a blueprint for success. Maybe they’re thinking all they have to avoid will be the drugs, the prostitutes and the money laundering. That way, they can steal people’s money legally, I guess.

Oh, by the way. The Wolf lives. Jordan Belfort is now a motivational speaker in California. Here’s an interview with him:

Got to admit. The guy is smooth.

The beer bust

When you read about this incident, your reaction will be the same as mine. It absolutely makes no sense.

When a half-dozen men and a woman in street clothes closed in on University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly, 20, she and two roommates panicked.

That led to Daly spending a night and an afternoon in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Her initial offense? Walking to her car with bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream just purchased from the Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center for a sorority benefit fundraiser.

A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot.

Prosecutors say she apologized profusely when she realized who the agents were. But that wasn’t good enough for ABC agents, who charged her with three felonies. Prosecutors withdrew those charges Thursday in Charlottesville General District Court, but Daly still can’t understand why she sat in jail.

Agents charged Daly with two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police, all Class 6 felonies carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $2,500 in fines per offense.

This is what the cops saw her buying.7336070341 Even I know, from a distance that this is sparkling water. I used to buy it all the time. You’d think one of the requirements for being a Virginia ABC agent would be the ability to tell a case of beer from a case of water.

But let’s put that aside.

When did buying beer become an excuse for calling out a SWAT team? Maybe I’m just old, but wasn’t there a time where a cop would just walk up to a kid and say, “What are you doing with that beer?” Why do you need six people to stop a girl with a 12-pack? (Other than splitting up two beers a piece.)

Why are cops pulling guns over a 12-pack?

I know I’m missing some kind of nuances of modern police procedure, but c’mon! This is insane.

 

Another handy tip for gun owners

I think bolt cutters (on the ring, of course) would have been more effective:

A federal prison guard has been charged with shooting his own finger in a drunken attempt to remove his wedding ring during an argument with his wife at their northwestern Pennsylvania home, police said.

A criminal complaint said Bradford police were called just before 9 p.m. March 2 and were met by Alfredo Malespini III, 31, who told officers he was “trying to get rid of his wedding ring” and decided to “shoot it off.” The Bradford Era first reported the shooting on Friday.

The gunshot badly mangled Malespini’s finger, but didn’t remove the ring, police said.

 

I’ll drink to that

I find this a surprise, but I’m now living in the state with the second-lowest incidents of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in America.

Kentucky has fewer drunk-driving fatalities than every state except Utah. Why is this a surprise?

Well, when you hear the word Kentucky, one of the first things you think of is bourbon, the corn-based whiskey that got its name from Bourbon County in this state. Bourbon can be made anywhere in America, but 95 percent of it comes from Kentucky. Kentucky even has a Bourbon Trail, a string of distilleries, as a tourist attraction.

A 2008 study of drunk-driving statistics shows that since 1982, although the number of Kentucky traffic fatalities has increased, the number of fatalities related to drunk-driving has dropped by more than a half.

I don’t know why this is, but Atrios over at Eschaton gives an excellent observation on why drunk driving happens:

A big reason people drink and drive is we put bars in the middle of giant parking lots far away from any human habitation. I’m not sure what they expect will happen, but I think the consequences are pretty predictable.