Posts Tagged ‘the writer’s almanac’

Quote of the day: HANGOVER

January 2, 2015


If you were suffering from a hangover on New Year’s Day, you weren’t alone. The chief culprit is dehydration caused by the diuretic effect of ethanol, which can lead to shrinkage of brain tissue, and that causes headache. Alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach, causing queasiness. Other symptoms are caused by the toxic by-products of the liver’s detoxification process. For something so common, hangover is poorly understood by the medical community, and quack remedies abound.

Hangover remedies probably evolved hand in hand with alcohol consumption. Pliny the Elder counseled Romans to eat fried canaries or raw owl’s eggs. Ancient Assyrians tried to assuage their anguish by consuming a concoction of ground bird beaks and myrrh. Medieval Europeans consumed raw eels with bitter almonds. The Chinese drank green tea, which seems benign enough, but their neighbors the Mongolians ate pickled sheep’s eyes. The Japanese ate pickled plums. Then there’s the Prairie Oyster, introduced at the 1878 Paris World Expo: it’s a raw egg (with the yolk intact), mixed with Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Puerto Ricans took a preventative tack: they rubbed sliced lemons in their armpits before drinking; In India, they drank coconut water, and there’s some merit to that, because coconut water is rich in electrolytes and it helps with the dehydration.

Then there’s the “hair of the dog” approach. In the 19th century, an Italian named Bernardino Branca developed a potion called Fernet: rhubarb, aloe, peppermint oil, and opiates. As a bonus, Fernet also cured cholera, or so Branca claimed. It’s still available today, minus the opiates. Some people swear by the Bloody Mary: tomato juice mixed with vodka and a variety of spices; Hemingway’s variant was tomato juice and beer.

A literature review in the British Medical Journal concludes that there is no reliable way to treat or prevent hangover after over-imbibing. The Algonquin Round Table writer Robert Benchley came to a similar conclusion: “A real hangover is nothing to try out family remedies on. The only cure for a real hangover is death.”

–The Writer’s Almanac


Quote of the day: JUKEBOX

November 23, 2010


It was on November 23, 1889, that the Jukebox made its debut at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It consisted of an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph inside an oak cabinet with tubes sticking out, and by depositing a coin you could listen to the recording through the tube. In its first six months of service, the Nickel-in-the-Slot earned more than $1,000. But for a long time, the coin-operated player pianos were more popular, because they had better sound and no static. It wasn’t until 1927 that the Automatic Musical Instruments Company introduced the first jukebox that sounded good enough to entertain an entire room.

The word “jukebox” comes from the word “jook” — meaning disorderly or wicked — which probably came to this country from West Africa. In the years after slavery, African-Americans used the phrase “juke house” or “juke joint” to refer to dancehalls, and when these dancehalls installed coin-operated phonographs, they were called jukeboxes. At a time when many early radio programs refused to play country, blues, or jazz, it was jukeboxes that made that music available in taverns, restaurants, diners, and on Army bases. And music companies realized there was a big audience for different genres of music.

Willie Nelson said, “Ninety-nine percent of the world’s lovers are not with their first choice. That’s what makes the jukebox play.”
The Writer’s Almanac

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