"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Monday, November 21, 2005

He Was Suddenly Joyful, and Sang Aloud 

It's been a slow posting day, and it will probably continue to be slim pickings until I leave for my holiday excursion to Utah, to see my father for the holiday - at that point, slim will likely become none.

Still, here's something worth looking at.

I have become quite a fan of various music blogs, particularly those which offer downloadable MP3's (not that I would actually download any of the songs, because that would be Wrong). One of the best, in terms of good and informative writing, is Locust Street. Today, the author of that site has written a wonderful piece - and provided an appropriate soundtrack - on one of my favorite subjects; to wit, beer. It is the first of what promises to be a series on "The 7 Drinks of Mankind." Here's a taste:
There is a farmer living somewhere in what we now call the Middle East, around 9,000 B.C. Let us, for convenience's sake, situate him and his family on the left bank of the Euphrates. Being a farmer is a relatively novel job at this time--it was only a hundred years ago, say, when his people stopped roaming, following the herds, and began cultivating the fields of wild grains that stretch for miles along the river banks.

It is a dry morning and the farmer leaves his home, a simple round hut a few yards in length, whose sagging roof is held up by planks and whose sunken floor is paved with broken stones. He surveys his storage pits and finds that, yet again, his eldest son did not secure the coverings, so the wind has scattered the piles of cereal grains. He, once again, is convinced his son is the product of his wife's copulation with an ass; a belief that grows more fervent when the farmer finds, by a neglected pit, a woven basket filled with half-eaten watery gruel, which his son has apparently left sitting outside for days.

The farmer returns to his hut in order to shove his son's face into the gruel basket, but finds the boy strangely has risen before dawn. So the farmer, his anger ebbing, goes to dump the basket outside but notices a strange, sweet smell coming from it. There is a finger's length of liquid in the basket, which, as he brings it outside to the sunlight, is bubbling slightly, like water from a hot spring. The farmer brings the basket up to his face--he still smells the stale tang of damp grain, but there is something new here.

Curious, he cups a hand and brings a trace of the liquid up to his lips. It is fizzy, it bites his tongue, and is sweeter even than honey. He takes another, larger sip. This makes his face warmer. He takes a third, which stings his nose. A fourth makes him laugh, something that happens so rarely his wife comes out to stare at him. At last, the farmer upturns the basket and drinks every last drop, even chewing the grains. Afterward, he reels around the hut until his wife convinces him to sit on the ground, where he begins to sing.

Unknown to history, he has become the first person ever to get drunk on beer.

Anyway, if you're like me and find that the news of the day has temporarily lost your interest, check it out.




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