As you might have guessed from the title, today's topic is alcohol. Here are a couple of stories for you.
First, I read this online yesterday in The Scotsman: Grapes of wrath for French vineyards as millions of bottles are destroyed
The article notes that due to a huge glut of wine overproduction in France, 8 million liters of wine (that's around 2 million gallons to us) are being distilled into pure alcohol for other uses. Also noted is that fact that French consumption of wine has dropped dramatically over the past couple of generations, from 3.1 bottles per week per person in 1960 down to 1.4 bottles today. I wondered how much the growing Islamification of Europe might have to do with this number, since Muslims are forbidden to drink alcohol. One of the commenters at the bottom of the article (#22, Jericho, Anytown, USA) summed it up nicely.
Second, I was talking with a friend at work about the French wine glut story and the conversation moved to a show he'd recently seen on television about absinthe. We were both pretty sure that absinthe is still illegal to sell in the U.S., although I told him I'd seen ads for what claimed to be absinthe on some political web sites, and had seen a product called "Absente" at the liquor store, which it turns out is made from a different kind of wormwood than true absinthe, thus making it legal to sell in the U.S. I told him I'd look it up on Wikipedia when I got home, and those links are the fruits of my search labors. I'm not sure that I'd want to drink anything with that high an alcohol content anyway, although I might try it once if it was available, just to see what all the fuss was about.