DEAR BOOZE

Drinking Matters

The 18 Rules of Drunken Golf 

The old man looked me square in the eye and said “you can’t play golf for shit, but you boys can sure count.” It was the result of several moments of pure hell for the man and his two friends.

They had been looking for a ball on the edge of another fairway at the same time that I pulled my head just as I tried to nail the 17th green with a seven iron. This resulted in my ball falling from the sky, well right of my target, but directly above the three guys. I yelled “FORE” as I watched them scramble for safety from 168 yards away.

Fuck, I was embarrassed.

And then Larry teed off and hit a line drive directly at the same three men.  “FORE!

”Fuck.

We were pretty drunk.

After the round, we headed to the clubhouse to count our strokes and continue drinking in the comfort of air conditioning. It was there that Khan, Larry and I decided to memorialize the Eighteen Rules of Drunken Golf on the back of a scorecard. Here they are:
  1. Choose the course carefully. When it comes to golf, most people have several course options available to them. Choose the one with the best bar. But wait. Slow down. Don’t jump to rule #2 quite yet. We’re still on an important step and there are many things that should be considered. Does the bar have liquor, or just beer and wine? What is the layout like? Can you see the golf course without ever leaving your barstool? Are the regulars pleasant? Is the bartender efficient and nice? This is important.
  2. Prepare.  Bring beer and liquor with you. Most courses do not allow this, but you will be glad you did. A wise man once said “a stolen watermelon tastes sweeter”.
  3. Drink on the Course. Does the course have a cart girl? You can always haul your own supplies in with you, but there’s something special about a motorized bar cart. When you can hear it coming from two fairways away and you know everything will be all right.
  4. Hit ‘em. You will probably hit a few errant shots. Be sure to yell “fore”. This will scare the shit out of the people you are trying to warn. After the dust settles, go to them and apologize profusely. Ask them if they’re okay and be sure to tell them how drunk you are. They will understand. Tell them you would like to make it up to them by buying their first round in the clubhouse. All will be forgiven.
  5. Play well. Blame everyone else for your bad golf. If you fuck up a drive, blame it on the assholes celebrating over at the next green, or the lady with the shrill voice, or birds making too much noise. Protest anything and demand a free mulligan.
  6. Bring a Zippo. I love the way they sound when they open and close. Your friends will love it too when you flick it open and closed in their back swing.
  7. Pee in the cup.
  8. Cheat. Drop balls wherever you want. If you can get away with it, drop it in the cup… “Hey look, it must have went in!”
  9. Find the Phone. Many golf courses have a phone located somewhere around the 8th tee box. It’s a direct line to the clubhouse and it’s there so you can order lunch. They’ll have it ready for you at the turn between holes nine and ten. It’s supposed to speed up your game by preventing you from having to stand around while they prepare your food. Another good use for the phone is to order drinks from the bar. They’ll be ready for you when you get there. If they don't have a phone installed at the tee box, use your cell phone.
  10. Rest. Even if you take advantage of Rule # 9, you should always take a break after the 9th hole. Sit in the bar and relax. You’ll need it. You’re only halfway through the game.
  11. Bet on Everything. “Two dollars says I can hit the green from here.” It’s a bet!” Five bucks says I can make it past the big tree on the left.” “It’s a bet!” A ten spot if I nail that squirrel.” “It’s a bet!”
  12. Drive Carefully. Drive your cart onto the green. I don’t feel the need to explain this, but it’s fucking awesome.
  13. Hit your ball. When you can no longer tell which ball you are swinging at, don’t aim at the one in the middle, use all three of your clubs and hit them all at the exact same time. If you start to see more than three balls, simply close one eye and follow this rule again.
  14. Mind the Marshal. If there is a marshal on the course, he will probably be keeping a close eye on you. Be nice to him. Chat him up. Order drinks from him. Offer him some of your drinks. Call him “Jeeves.” Ask him to critique your swing. Ask him to clarify USGA Rule 15-3b.
  15. Mark your balls. Most golfers will carry a Sharpie in their bag to make a signature mark on their balls. Perhaps it’s their initial, or a smiley face, or a little star. So, be sure to bring a Sharpie and mark the shit out of your ball. Since you will most likely be hitting into every other fairway but your own, you should consider writing a message to other players. I recommend writing something like “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT?” or “HEY DICKNOSE, THIS IS NOT YOUR BALL”, or a simple “FUCK OFF!”
  16. Tidy up. Don’t forget to get rid of the empty bottles that you didn’t purchase at the course before you get back to the club house. 
  17. Get Inside your Opponents’ Heads. Rule #6 works great on the tee box but you need something for the putting green too. I recommend using your shadow to distract them. I like to stand in such a way that my shadow makes it appear that my penis is shaped like the grip of my putter and I’m fucking the hole. If your opponent doesn’t notice this, simply say, “hey look at my shadow… I’m fucking the hole.”
  18. Tip big. Golf is a game of manners and decorum. Well, it was until you showed up. Let’s face it, you and your buddies are going to be drunk and in doing so will appear to be the biggest assholes on the course on that day. So, whether you are in the bar or buying drinks from the cart girl, tip big. And I mean bigger than usual… bigger than you’ve seen anyone tip before. This will confound them to a point of enjoying your company; they will hate you, yet love you at the same time.

You’re welcome.

National Drinking Days 
Saving The Economy, One Drink at a Time



Saint Patrick's Day 2012 has come and gone.  Traditionally, it's the biggest single drinking day in the United States, and this year was no different.  Americans spent $4,500,000,000 to celebrate.  That's a lot of Guinness, Jameson, Irish Car Bombs and Cabbage!

With spending like that, every state, county and city government that allows the sell of alcohol sees a spike in their sales tax revenues.  It's a huge day.

To help understand the impact of the green holiday on the economy, one needs to look no farther than the Fourth of July.  Each year, Independence day shows that America's patriotic spirit cannot be slowed by economic woes.  Citizens spend $3,000,000,000 on beer, burgers and bottle rockets.  That's a lot of money too.

But, no matter how you look at it, St. Patrick's Day still leads the spending race by 1.5 billion dollars.

This isn't a statement which questions the patriotism of Americans.  It's simply a fact about how Americans spend their hard-earned cash.  Once broken down, it's clear that the two holidays are designed differently.  For example, Independence Day is celebrated by attending more large-scale, organized events.  Things like firework shows or church picnics.  On St. Patrick's day, Americans tend to head to a pub or restaurant to get their fill of Guinness and corned beef.  At the end of the day, it's simply more expensive to celebrate on March 17 than on July 4.  We are clearly ready, willing and able to celebrate a holiday which is primarily based on celebrating the Irish culture through booze and food.

America needs its own St. Patrick's day.  Well, maybe not its own St. Patrick's day, but something similar.  Clearly understanding that the four and a half billion dollars which is spent to celebrate all things Irish doesn't get send to Ireland, but stays on our shores and in our own banks, this seems to be a no brainer.  This type of holiday is good for the economy.

So, where to start?

First, we need a day...

People tend to spend more for a holiday when the holiday falls on a weekend, rather than on a particular date.  So, rather than assigning a date, a particular weekend should be chosen.

While looking at a list of holidays, August is a glowing standout as the month with no major holiday.

Restaurant owners recognize that their busiest days tend to fall on the first weekend of each month.  It's because people generally get paid on the first and tend to splurge a little while they have the cash to do so.

Based on this, the new holiday should always fall on the first full weekend of August.  It's a lot easier to figure out than when Easter is going to be!

Next, we need a theme...

If we were being completely honest, the theme would be "Drinking Booze and Eating Food," but this will never fly.  Ultra-conservatives and most religious organizations wouldn't get behind it.

For it to be successful, the holiday must force most people out of their house.  One of the reasons for the success of Saint Patrick's Day is that most Americans don't know how to prepare traditional Irish fare, so they have to find a place that specializes in Irish food and drink.

If all Americans are expected to embrace this new holiday, than it needs to be somewhat patriotic; it should be something that says "we're Americans and we're gonna eat and drink to celebrate" without actually saying it and without cutting into the Fourth of July's corner on the market.  Maybe "Celebrating the Cultures that Make America Great," or something like that.  People will be encouraged to experience other cultures through food and drinks.

Finally, we need a name...

Regrettably, "National Drinking Days" is probably out as a choice of names.  "Melting Pot Days," or "Great American Food and Drink Days" will probably be better. For the time being, however, we'll call it "National Drinking Days."

So, every year, starting on the first Saturday in August, we will all be expected to have a bottle of Lion Beer in an Indian restaurant, drink Caipirinhas at a Brazilian Steakhouse, sip sake, toast with Tequila, and have a few belts of Beefeater.  It is our duty.  Salut!

Five Things You Should Not Do When Drunk

With the holidays approaching, assuming the Mayans just got lazy, booze will beckon and many will answer its call into the land of inebriation. Perhaps we can mitigate the damage with some timely advice – things you never want to do while drunk.

  1. Mix “grape with grain”. If you’re drinking wine, stick with wine, if you’re drinking cocktails, stick with cocktails. Don’t switch up at any point of the evening. It’s not an absolute, sure-fire way to avoid getting sick, but it’s a very good rule to live by. Wine and brandy are made from grapes. Most other booze (including beer) is made from some sort of grain. Don’t mix the two. Trust me on this one.
  2. Significantly change an ongoing relationship. Don’t make the decision to make-up, break-up, or get married. Getting married is easy; putting up with each other for the rest of your life is not.
  3. Be profound. Do this and you’ll just be an asshole.
  4. Decide to get a tattoo. If you want a tattoo, it’s cool to have a few drinks before the artist starts in with the gun. But, don’t make the decision to get a tattoo when you’re drunk. If you are anything like me, you’ll end up getting something that you think is HILARIOUS while loaded, and then spend the rest of your life explaining the significance to everyone you meet.
  5. Get pregnant.

Five Things You Should Do When Drunk

Okay, the previous list is short for a reason. There are so many more things that you really need to experience while drunk. I’ve tried to keep the list short by only including a few must-have experiences. However, I expect most people to accomplish these and then start working at their own speed.

  1. Hook up with a stranger for a one-night-stand. Fuck yea! Being drunk is always a good excuse.  Give him or her a fake name and do not let them know where you live.
  2. Buy a round for the entire bar. It’s even better when you don’t have enough cash and your credit card is over the limit. This may be uncomfortable at the moment, but you’re going to be drunk, right? Embrace it. Have fun with it. Laugh out loud about it. It will make a great story for later. For what it’s worth, I recommend doing this in a bar where you don’t mind getting 86ed.
  3. Be profound. Do this and you’ll feel like the coolest person ever.
  4. Speak with a foreign accent all night. After about five cocktails, it will start feeling natural and start becoming really funny.
  5. Throw bottles, and/or anything else made of glass, into the street. Trust me on this one. You don't realize how fucking cool this is until you do it loaded.
More Things You Should and Should Not Do When Drunk

After the lists of 5 Things that you Should, and 5 Things You Should Not Do While Drunk was posted, readers started submitting their own dos and don'ts. Here are some of them:

  • Don't pull out your contacts list and decide to call that friend or relative you haven't spoken to in years. Not matter what you think,  this is not the perfect time to say "I love you man" or "we really need to hang out more."
  • Do decide to go ahead a rearrange the bottles behind the bar. You can organize them by size, color, or alphabetically. It's a little know fact that bartenders love and appreciate this.
  • Do take the opportunity to intrude on other peoples conversations followed by a big sloppy hug while telling them how much you love them.
  • Do feel free to critique everyone's choice of drink by telling them how popular said drink is in the "homosexual community."
  • Don't shave your pubes
  • If the bar you're in does not allow smoking, light up a cigarette and ask for an ashtray.

Got more suggestions? Send them to stories@dearbooze.com

 A Toast to Prohibition

Since the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, alcohol has been an important part of American life. But in the mid-1800s evangelical Protestant churches, especially the Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians started sponsoring the Temperance Movement.  By using pressure politics on legislators, the anti-booze folks achieved the goal of nationwide prohibition in 1919, emphasizing the need to destroy the political corruption of the saloons, the political power of the German-based brewing industry, and the need to reduce domestic violence in the home.

All of this was, of course, a bunch of bullshit.

Without liquor, there was no reduction in domestic violence and political corruption actually grew. Prohibition also opened the door for bootleggers and mobsters to become very rich.

But the most disturbing thing was that the Temperance Movement was actually started by a bunch of women who nagged long enough and loud enough until they finally got their way. They decided that, in the name of religion, they would eradicate liquor. It didn't matter that booze was part of what made America free.

It's a fact that the Puritans loaded more beer than water onto the Mayflower before they cast off for the New World and there wasn't any cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie at the first Thanksgiving, but there was beer, brandy, gin, and wine.  It's also a fact that the very first construction project at Harvard was a brewery so that a steady supply of beer could be served in the student dining halls. And it's another fact that the first Kentucky whiskey was made in 1789 by a Baptist minister. Even Abraham Lincoln held a liquor license and operated several taverns.

These bitchy women wanted their way and eventually achieved their goal of making the majority of Americans believe that to let booze pass their lips is to sin.

In the end, Prohibition didn't work. It was a fucking failure of giant proportions and was repealed via the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution seventy-nine years ago today, on December 5, 1933.

The worst thing about it was that even after Prohibition, the moral stigma attached to liquor consumption stuck. Even to this day, most conventional Protestant groups are against drinking. But there were two very cool things that happened because of Prohibition:

Generally, before Prohibition, saloons were reserved for men, where they drank beer and whisky.  During Prohibition, it became very hip to drink. It was a badge of honor to actually know how to gain access to a speakeasies. So, more and more women actually began to drink.

Moonshine, Bathtub Gin and other compact spirits were so terrible that bartenders started inventing ways to make it tolerable. They began to used fruit juices, soda pop and a variety of other mixers. Thus, the modern cocktail was born.

So here we are. Seventy-nine years after the death of the worst, and best, thing to happen to American drinkers.  Raise your glasses and drink to Prohibition. Drink because it ended; drink because it happened; and, mostly, drink because you can.

Cheers!


 Dive Bars and You
A guide to getting the most out of your drinking experience


Since the late 1970s and early 80s, theme bars with catchy gimmicks started showing up all over the US and Canada.  Discos trying to emulate New York’s Studio 54 or 2001 Odyssey, the dance club from Saturday Night Fever, seemed to show up in every major metropolitan area of North America.  Then, there were the cowboy bars modeled after Gilley’s from the film Urban Cowboy, the “fern bars,” complete with over-stuffed sofas, live plants and real paintings hanging on the walls, and even bars built as knock-offs of the bar from the television show Cheers.  A few years ago, Retro-themed bars became the hot ticket.  After a fifty-year hiatus from being cool, Tiki lounges and bowling alley bars fell back into favor with the drinking public.  Today, we can find nightclubs with bars made of ice, rooftop nightclubs, and bars inspired by NASCAR, log cabins, ships, and the NBA.

Recently, the lowbrow trend of young urban hipsters drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and Lucky Lager has given way to the Dive Bar-themed bar.  Yep.  It's like a dentist who buys a Harley and dresses up in leathers and rides around on the weekends.  It’s fun to pretend, but it’s not the real thing   Apparently, the young Pabst-swilling posers think that drinking shitty beer is cool, but they’re not quite adventurous enough to spend time in a real dive bar.  So they spend time in a fake one.  You know, to look cool.


Generally, real dive bars meet the same criteria.  They aren’t part of a corporate chain or franchise, they primarily serve domestic beer, drinks are cheep, there's no dress code, there's a TV with the volume set on mute, and the employees don't wear uniforms.  They’re dark, have no windows, and most of the furniture is pretty beat up.  It’s also rare to find one which accepts credit cards, but common to find one with an ATM machine located somewhere inside.

Americandivebars.com, a website which tracks and rates dive bars has an additional, and lengthy list of criteria which also includes “some sort of jukebox or device to pay for music, video games located somewhere in or on bar, at least one employee with a mullet, cheap local beer specific to region ( i.e. Lone Star, Iron City, PBR), a pool table, at least one female (or male) undergarment hanging behind the bar or from the ceiling; and some form of taxidermy mounted proudly on the walls.”


So, if you are ready to experience a real dive bar, here are some guidelines which will enhance your experience:

  1. Take a friend.  Not a date, but a friend.
  2. Eat something first.  The drinks at a dive bar tend to be stronger than your run-of-the-mill nightclub.  So, if you are planning on a full night (or afternoon, as the case may be) of drinking, you will want to start with a full stomach.  Most true dive bars do not have food, unless you consider bags of peanuts or bowls of pretzels real food.  If they do have a kitchen, there's a good chance that you may get questionable meat or weird fish.  And then again, they may have some delicious fried chicken strips or some tacos available.  Either way, don't chance it.  Eat something before you head out.
  3. Choose the bar carefully.  You want to find an authentic dive bar, so don't pick one with "Dive Bar" in the name.  It will not be the real thing.  A line of people waiting to get in is another sure sign that you're in the wrong place.  If you stick to blue collar neighborhoods, you're looking in the right place.
  4. Sit at the bar.  It's where the action is.  Most dive bars don't have regular cocktail waitresses on duty, so even if you're sitting at a table or booth, you'll find yourself stepping up to the bar to order each new round.  Save yourself the trouble and just find a good barstool and stay there.
  5. Be respectful.  If it's your first time in the place, you're not a regular.  So don't try to act like one.  The bottom line is, you don't know these people and they don't know you.  The regular patrons might not take kindly to a stranger coming into their favorite watering hole and acting like an asshole.  It’s a real place with real people who may decide to kick your ass if you deserve it.   Try not to deserve it.
  6. Don’t start with shots.  Stick to beer and cocktails or you will find the night will not last long.  Besides that, downing too many shots too soon will make you more likely to become an asshole.  (See number 5)
  7. Play a game.  A dive bar will usually have a pool table, dart board, or a shuffleboard table.  Even if all of these options are available to you, and you are very proficient at one of these games, it is recommended that you start with dice.  They will, most likely, have dice cups available for use. Ask the bartender.  If you don't know how to play dice games, go online and search for the rules of two or three games.  Boss Dice and Liars Dice are two of the most popular games.  Learn them.  There are two reasons for this recommendation.  First, playing dice doesn't require you to leave your seat at the bar.  Second, if you decide to play pool, for example, chances are that you will have to play the winner of the last game.  That can be a tough situation.  Without knowing your opponent, you have no idea if he'll be a sore loser.  Get to know the general temperament of the bar before you decide to put yourself in a situation where you may end up with a kicked ass.
  8. Generally, you should bet money on everything, because everything is more interesting when you have some sort of wager on the line.  But, until you get to know your new bar-mates, it's not a good idea.  If you do decide to bet on a game of, say shuffleboard, keep the wager small.  No more than a dollar per person playing.  But, don't hustle anyone that you don't know and never bet on a trivial matter.  In other words, if someone says "The Rockford Files first aired in 1972," and you're sure it started in 1974, don't bet them that you are right - even if you are positive that you are right.  It only makes you a dickhead.
  9. Don't forget to tip the bartender as you go.
  10. If the bar has a band, never request a song.  If the bar has karaoke, don't sing.
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