The Politics of Drinking: Old enough to vote but too young to drink…WTF?

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At the age of 18, any U.S. citizen can cast their vote to elect a candidate of their choice to State or Federal government offices of power and influence and yet they are prohibited from having a cold beer or refreshing mixed drink. In addition, men and women as young as 17, can serve in any branch of the U.S. Military with the possibility of dying in the defense our freedoms, and yet they cannot have a beer until they are 21. Many of these young men and women in the military become NCO’s (non-commissioned officers or petty officers) as young as 19, with the responsibility of assuming leadership roles, and yet they cannot have a beer. The absurdity is absolute!

Do any of you remember a time when there were two drinking ages? At age 18, you could drink beer or wine, but you had to be 21 to drink liquor (19 or 20 in some states). In 1984 our Federal government passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act raising the drinking age to 21.  The premise was that raising the drinking age would reduce drunk driving. Although there is statistical data that would suggest that raising the drinking age has reduced drunk driving incidents among persons under 21, there is mounting evidence that underage drinking continues to be a problem in the United States as young men and women under 21 are easily influenced by their peers to participate in activities that involve drinking. Just think of all the high school age parties, college frat parties, and numerous underage hangouts where alcohol plays a role in generating a party like atmosphere. No law will change this behavior and unfortunately, learning to drink in such environments does nothing to promote responsible drinking. I know this because I lived it and I was by no means a responsible drinker.

Ok, so at 18 you have reached the age of majority, you can sign a contract and be tried as an adult, yet you are too young and irresponsible to drink alcohol however, politicians believe you are responsible enough to vote. Really? What life experiences does any 18 year old have that would give them the insight or foresight to determine who the best candidate for an elected position is? With the exception of a few intellectually gifted students, most 18 year old teenagers cannot decide what to do with their lives let alone choose a qualified candidate for office. Hell, many 21 year old adults do not know what to do with their lives and based on past elections, I believe a large majority of voters over 21 might have had one drink too many when they cast their vote.

Do you agree with the current drinking age of 21?

Visit Clubops.com to find bars and clubs in South Florida. #Clubops #FindYourHotSpot

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Rum & Whiskey: From Sweet and Nasty to Neat and Clean

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My first experience drinking rum resulted in a nasty hangover. It was at the ripe old age of 12 when I was playing penny poker with a couple of mischievous siblings who kept spiking my cola with rum. Not a proud moment for me, but the experience taught me that there is a price to pay when consuming mixed drinks. Unbelievably, I did not get sick or throw-up; I just hung on to any available solid object as the world wobbled and pounded on my skull all day; thus began my experience with hangovers. At age 17, I joined the military and I took a liking to Long Island Iced Teas, whew, that was sweet and boy did it come with the nasty…hangover that is, blackouts, muddy boots and a throbbing headaches. I relied on my more experienced drinking friends to fill in the blanks.  Muddy boots you ask, well that’s what happens when you walk in the rain and have to piss behind a 7-Eleven in Millington, Tennessee. Let’s just say that I learned to drink beer to avoid many hangovers but, as many of you know, that does not always turn out so well. Does anyone remember Ice Beer? Read my recent blog post “Beer: I’m Gonna Get Me Some Barley & Hops!”.

Ok, so I am 18 and standing in a local “American bar” in Rota, Spain and order the only mixed drink I know, “Rum con cola, por favor”, and out comes a tall glass; the bartender fills it ¾ full of Bacardi Silver and finishes with a dash of Coca-cola. Hey, for $3, I was not about to complain. I ordered a beer chaser (Cruzcampo) and off I went to play foosball, a game I played well and easily spent half the night winning rounds of beer. I know, enough about beer, get to the whiskey and rum.

Disco techs were all the rage in Spain at the time and believe it or not, I had some moves back in my day. Any who, I happened to hook up with a Spanish girl who turned me on to whiskey and 7up. It was different, odd at first, but it eventually became my mixed drink of choice.  I often switched between Seagram’s Seven and Canadian Club whiskey. The hangovers continued.

After years of hangovers I finally learned the cause, besides over indulging in liqueur, it was the sugars in the soda that made hangovers worse. Thank you Google! I switched to doing shots of whiskey with a beer chaser. I even went through a short lived “Jägermeister” phase, eeew. Collected some nice shot glasses though. With all my years of drinking I never became a cigarette smoker but I eventually got into smoking fine cigars, that’s when my appreciation for the taste of rum and whiskey began. Finally, I was ready for the Neat and Clean.

Yes, I tried the obligatory Scotch whiskey at first because that’s what you drink with cigars, or that’s what I learned from watching television. Scotch definitely has a distinct flavor which I initially disliked. Now during the early stages of my cigar smoking journey, I drank rum; Flor de Cana 4 year with an occasional 12 year and this time around, I did not mix with any soda or ice. It was at this time when I learned the term “Neat”, taking liquor without ice. All of the rums I drink are golden or amber in color. Clear rum is not for me. I have tried Jamaican rums, Cuban rums, Dominican rums, but I finally settled on Bacardi 8 year, yes I know, it was originally a Cuban rum, but now it’s made in Puerto Rico. I really like it because it has an oaky flavor with a caramel finish, and it’s not sweet like other rums…ahhhh, smooth and delicious.

Finally, I returned to the age old Scotch whiskey. My original experience was with Ballantine’s, but I have also tried Johnny Walker Red, Green, Black and Blue; a nice range of flavors but I could never settle on one. Chivas Regal is a nice blended Scotch Whiskey, but the Scotch aficionados at the cigar bars frown on such bastardly blends. Ahem…I say, have you ever?  So, I was standing in the isle feeling overwhelmed by all the choices and there they were, two classics sitting side-by-side; Glenfiddich 12 year and Glenlivet 12 year. Price played a role in my choice that day, the Glenlvet was on sale, $2 cheaper than Glenfiddich. Today, I still struggle with deciding which brand I like more. The Glenfiddich is smoother, maybe even too smooth, it just does not have much flavor. Glenlivet has a bite with a mild oak finish. Regardless of which brand I choose, I enjoy both, and they are always served neat and clean.

Find your favorite Cigar Bar and enjoy your favorite Scotch at www.clubops.com.

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Beer: I’m Gonna Get Me Some Barley & Hops!

 

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Back in the early 80’s it was Hamms or Old Milwaukee, whichever was cheaper sealed the deal. Ah, to be young again. Wild abandon and wicked hangovers from bargain bin beer. Honestly, what did I know about beer as a 15 years old? Hell, any beer at that age was great, especially when it was free. Anyone remember “beer runs”? It was not until I was in my late twenties that I began to experiment with imported beers and micro-brewed beers which opened my eyes to a whole new world of beer that far exceeded my domestic beer experience.

Since the introduction of micro-brewed beers, domestic beer makers have been scrambling to introduce beers that are bolder and have more flavor such as dark beers or flavored beers; Zimas all around…lol! In an attempt to consolidate losses and gain a larger market share in beer sales, companies like Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors and SAB Miller have bought out smaller breweries. So when you think you are drinking a micro-brewed beer, remember that beers like Landshark Lager, Goose Island, 10 Barrel, Blue Point, all from Anheuser-Busch, or Killian’s Irish Red, Magnum, Mickey’s, Grolsch, Foster’s, Molson, or Redd’s Apple Ale, all from Molson Coors and SAB Miller, remember that you are still drinking domestic beer. In my humble opinion, Samual Adams has the best tasting “domestic” beer and are a genuine micro-brewery. Yuengling is my go-to-beer when no better options are available.

Micro-breweries have taken a foothold in the U.S. and the selection, variety and quality has been a resounding success. My favorite micro-brewery was “Hops”, where I learned about how barley and hops have a profound effect on the taste and quality of beer. Unfortunately, “Hops” has since closed and to my surprise there have been many successful micro-breweries stepping in to fill the void. My new favorite is the “Funky Buddha Brewery” located in Oakland Park, Florida.

Today, when I am craving a cold brew, I look for local beers made by micro-breweries located in my home state or when traveling, the state I am visiting. I am often surprised at how different the flavors are, but I always appreciate the quality and taste the micro-breweries achieve. So step away from the clutches of Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors, and SAB Miller, and enjoy a beer that fulfills your craving for barley & hops or re-live your youth with Hamms or Old Milwaukee. Cheers!

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Dance Clubs: Techno & Trance is Not for Me!

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Yes I know. I have been slacking on my blog posts but believe me, my mind is still twisting and turning the madness we call life. Let’s delve into that madness now shall we.

Personally, I do not like techno or trance because it reminds me of a soundtrack for prodding mindless drones to march in unison without a soul. Sounds harsh I now, but to me the constant and repetitious beat is mind numbing. Don’t get me wrong, I like all kinds of music and there was a time when I liked to dance, but when the music basically never changes not only do I get bored, I lose all my inspiration to dance. Maybe the problem is that people don’t want to think or be inspired while dancing. Maybe the attraction is to lose yourself in emotionless rhythms that empty your mind and crush your free will. I don’t know the answer, but that is how I see, hear and feel when I experience techno and trance.

Let me give you an example of my real-life experience and my reaction to techno and trance music. While serving in the U.S. Navy, we had a port call in Corfu, Greece. Some shipmates and I met some lovey ladies who were visiting from Italy. After having a casual and laid back dinner at a local café, we went to a dance club that was a local hot spot. The place was packed inside and had a huge outside area where we decided to hang out. I was in a great mood on the way there as I was thinking I would dance and have a great time. Unfortunately, the music was techno and trance and loud as hell. I quickly became annoyed and even though the ladies were dancing around me and having a great time, all I could think about was getting the hell out of the club. If the music had been hip-hop, funk, or even pop-music I would have let loose and brought on my crude but effective dance moves. Needless to say, the ladies realized I was not having a good time and were gracious enough to suggest we leave.

Many of you are probably thinking that I was being an asshole. Honestly, I wish I could have relaxed and enjoyed the mindless, empty, and repetitious music, I at least would have gotten laid. We all know that women in general love to dance regardless of the music, if it has a beat they start moving. It’s cute, sometimes sexy, but when they try to get you to dance to music you can’t stand, then it gets annoying.

Finally, let me say that I respect other people’s choices and I do not criticize people who enjoy techno and trance, it’s just not for me.

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Bars & Clubs: What Defines A Great Night Out?

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Although I am married now and my idea of a great night out is seeing my wife smile and enjoying herself, while stuffing her face with French fries and babbling on about god knows what, as I wonder if I remembered to set the DVR; then paying less than $100 for the meal and getting home safely for a night-cap, my show, and a good night’s sleep. Yes I know, boring stuff, but to be quite honest, I would not have it any other way. My wife is my life. But I digress, this blog post is based on my experience as a single man looking in all the wrong places for all the wrong women and the madness that can sometimes lead to a great night out…or not.

For me, it’s all about perspective and expectations. Some of the best nights I have had were unplanned and completely unexpected. Your personality plays a huge role in how your night goes. I have a great sense of humor, especially for sarcasm, and an easy going personality, so I can adapt to any situation until some douche-bag shows up. You know what I mean, some “Rico-suave” wanna-be who thinks he is god’s gift to women. Trust me, I have dealt with these types and they are usually looking for trouble. Most women worth pursuing will know the type and send them on their way but occasionally, if the douche is not too wasted, she will pawn over the intruder, that is when I 86 the situation to avoid the testosterone induced macho bullshit and I move on to pinker pastures.

Dancing until dawn? Well, when I used to dance it was more about meeting women than dancing. Ok, assuming you are at a dance club, what better way is there to meet a women than to ask for a dance? Chances are you have already made eye contact and if she says yes, then there is a good chance you can get to know each other after dancing. How the night progresses after the dance depends on both yours and her expectations. After all, why are you there? Why is she there? To meet someone, right? Not always. The expectation is that if you meet someone dancing, and you have chemistry, whether it’s from dancing or from conversation, chances are you will at the very least get a phone number. Now, if the stars align and you have your own place, a really roomy car, or lots of cash, maybe you will even get laid. It’s a prophylactic ticker-tape parade! Like I said, it’s about perspective and expectations.

Do you have a great night out story? Share your experience in comments for this blog post.

Remember to get home safe and don’t drink and drive.

My diluted ramblings continue weekly…I think. Like and Share my madness today!

Drinking: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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The Good.

Speaking from my own experience, I find that drinking can be the perfect “ice-breaker” at any social gathering as it can spark a conversation with someone who drinks your favorite brand of beer, wine or liquor. Drinking can also provide the primer for reducing social anxiety for those of us who are initially intimidated by such activities. Hell, without liquid courage, I would never have found the courage to ask a woman to dance. I think most would agree that unless you grew up under a rock, chances are you have had an alcoholic beverage at one time in your life. Granted, not everyone likes the taste of alcohol, and for many, there is a preference for one type over another, I will save that topic for a future blog. To put it simply, alcohol, regardless of your brand or category, and when taken in moderation, can help you to relax and have a good time.

The Bad.

Ok, so what happens when you have an affinity to abuse alcohol? I don’t mean that in terms of having a dependency, commonly defined as “alcoholism”, but more like, having a tendency to drink one too many and making bad choices. The Bad would include times when you are either out at a night club or bar with friends, attending a business dinner, or chilling at a friend’s house and the time to leave arrives. You might think you are fine to drive, and many of you reading this have been there and yet you drive home anyway. Have you ever heard someone say “I drive better after drinking”? We tend to forget, especially after drinking, that although we are having fun “in the moment”, The Bad decisions we make when under the influence of alcohol, especially when over-indulging, can lead to ugly consequences.

The Ugly.

Let’s be real for a minute. When I was in high school, scoring some alcohol from the family liquor cabinet was like winning the lottery, although getting an ass-whipping with a hangover was not a prize. Most people I know started drinking in high school, college or in the military and it was always about getting a “buzz” and having a fun time. Yes, many of you have had some crazy nights drinking at house parties, bar hopping, or clubbing, myself included, but ultimately your luck runs out and you are hit with The Ugly. Although finding yourself waking up next to a “f-ugly” person after a night of partying can be quite ugly. I know people who have reached the darker phases of The Ugly side of drinking which ranges from getting a DUI to becoming an alcoholic, or in some cases, losing their lives in a car accident.

Ouch! Buzz kill I know. But like it or not, we are all searching for some fun in our lives and for many of us socializing involves some degree of drinking. I have found that it is easy to get caught up in “the moment” and forget about how my actions can not only negatively affect my life or future, but also affect the people I love. Drinking and socializing with friends and family can be fun, but drink responsibly, have a designated driver, and get home safely.

Have you experienced The Good, The Bad, or The Ugly side of drinking? Leave a reply and comment about your own experience.

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Getting Lucky One Percent of the time

Without going into elicit details I will now elaborate on the 1% of the time that I have been lucky enough to make a move at closing time and actually hooked up, although I have learned that persistence and frequent visits to the same bar or club paired with low expectations, will greatly improve the odds of success.

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First let me say that experience in failure will eventually lead to success, as long as you have learned from those failures. You must know what types of women are more receptive to you, your look, and your personality. If every smoking hot “chick” you approached in the past has brushed you off, chances are those women are out of your league, or lesbian…relax ladies, men have feelings too and rejection is handled differently by everyone, take it with a grain of salt; do you really care what a guy thinks after you have told him to go away?  Ok guys, back to the subject, remember that beauty is relative to your personal preferences, your 10 may be a 6 to other guys, tell yourself she was a 6 (or lesbian) and move on.

Now let’s skip to closing time. Order a shot of peppermint schnapps, my favorite is “Rumple Mintz”, carry it with you as you look for the stragglers. Why peppermint schnapps, for fresh breath of course. You have two options, one is to look for a woman who you have never seen at the bar before, or two, look for the one you see every time you have been there. Approach the one who is a regular only if you have made eye contact with her on previous nights. She will likely be more receptive to you. She might have been a 6 the last couple of times you saw her, but tonight she looks like a 10 or maybe you just don’t care at closing time. I have had better luck with option two but my story for this blog demonstrates the possibilities for option one.

Ok, so finally, here is my story. I have moved to a seat next to her. She is sitting with a girlfriend and rambling on about how terrible men are. She has a British accent, so likely on vacation with friends or family…perfect…no commitment issues. I take a sip of schnapps and wait for a pause, then I politely interrupt:

Me: “Common now, not all men are that bad” I said with a smile.

She was actually receptive and responded with curiosity.

British girl: “And why should I believe you?”

Me: “You just have not met the right guy.”

I introduced myself and we continued to have a flirty conversation about why guys do what they do. Having a sense of humor was key to the conversation. She definitely had some strong opinions, probably because of bad experiences. Needless to say, I eventually won her over and before you know, lips were locked and the deal was sealed. Cheerio, pip-pip and all that jazz.

Your results may vary. Please consult the “Man Code” for more guidance.

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Staying until closing time.

Why do we do it? Why do men and some women stay to the bitter last minutes of a night out? Speaking from experience, lets dabble into the madness that has been my life shall we.

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It’s last call for alcohol and your drunk ass stubbornly refuses to leave the bar or club because, in your  delusional stupor, you cling to a fantasy that by some miracle you are going to hook up with someone. Let me tell you something…pause for the homage to Fire Marshal Bill… 99% of the time that shit ain’t gonna happen, especially if you are a man. Sorry guys.

First of all, you are probably already fighting to stay awake, hell it’s 2 maybe even 4 in the morning.  Your judgment is dramatically impaired, and chances are your standards have reached an all time low. Yes, I admit, I have been there too many times, however, there were times when I somehow managed to snag that 1% of possibility, I will elaborate in a future blog. Lets get back to the 99% of you who have failed miserably.

It’s closing time, most of the bar has cleared out. You are alone at the bar and scanning around looking for that one straggler who might also be looking to hook-up. Your mind convinces you that the woman at the other end of the bar gave you a look. Liquid courage compels you to wander over and give your best pick-up line. You start to speak but the woman speaks first:

Woman: “Hello, how are you?”

You think: “Wow, I got a shot with this chick.”

Here is what you think you say:

You: “I am doing great now that I have met you.”

Here is what you actually say:

You: “I was doing great until I met you”

The woman calls you an asshole and storms out of the bar leaving you baffled, confused, and laughing. You convince yourself she was a bitch and you stagger out to find your car and drive home.

Lesson learned, if you do not hook-up within the first 2 hours of being at a bar or club or before you have had one too many drinks, you are going home alone. Cut your losses before you have another drink or if you are really desperate, call an old girlfriend and have her pick you up. For the women reading this, you know you have done the same thing so lets all laugh and enjoy the humor that was a crazy night out.

We are all looking for a good time, but every night will not be a home-run. Have fun, be smart, and get home safe. Please do not drink and drive. Youthful inhibitions and poor judgement can not only ruin your night, but can ruin your life.

For those of you who can relate, or have seen a friend strike out in similar fashion, please share this story.