The irrepressible Tom Johnson reported recently on Louisville Juice that according to the CDC drunk driving in the U.S. continues its steep decline – to the tune of a 30% drop in self-reported annual drinking and driving episodes since 2006.
Tom goes on to say that “fatalities related to drinking and driving have dropped nearly 70% since 1982, from 26,000 to 11,000.”
Your first reaction to all of that good news (and it is very good news – because also according to the CDC, “car crashes are the leading cause of death for everyone ages 5-34 and that 1 in 3 crash deaths involves a drunk driver” – so any drop in drunk driving equates to a potentially significant reduction in preventable fatalities), like mine, was probably “holy crap, that’s awesome!”
But… it’s not quite time just yet to pop the bubbly in celebration (assuming of course that you’ve got a designated driver if not popping those corks in the safety of your own home!). As someone who often has to drive myself to and from functions where alcohol is involved (in the function, that is, not in the driving!), I’m the kind of guy who often pays particular attention to trying to do whatever I can to prevent tragic alcohol-related disasters. Rule the first at wine events: SPIT (and gently admonish organizers if they don’t provide spit cups or buckets)!
And while we’ve come a long way, baby, in terms of one of those tragic disasters (drunk driving), we’ve also got a long way to go, baby…
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[ Editor’s note: No, you’re not losing your mind (well, not that I can tell anyway) – the following was originally posted here yesterday, but I was mistakenly a day early in reporting it (and the authors of the press release politely requested that I take it down and re-post today to coincide with the official release, to which I of course agreed immediately). So some of you may, in fact, have read this before. This was just a dumb-ass mistake on my part, and one for which I’ve already apologized profusely to many people and promised copious rounds of beers to them as compensation. Sorry also to you for any confusion this might have caused. Anyway – get back to your drinking. ]
This week, a press release will be going out on the Global Interwebs (I got a sneak peek at it last week) announcing that Alder Yarrow, founder of Vinography.com (which by all accounts was the first English language wine blog ever published) will officially join Team Jancis as a columnist at (the excellent) JancisRobinson.com.
To the tape:
“The choice of Yarrow to help expand Robinson’s coverage of the American wine culture reflects the vibrancy of the wine blogging world, her appreciation of the growing universe of online wine voices and Yarrow’s impressive body of work and unique insights on American wine. Yarrow’s ‘Alder on America’ column will debut at JancisRobinson.com on Wednesday, October 19 when he explores the impact of Robert Parker’s retreat from reviewing California wine and the appointment of Antonio Galloni as the Wine Advocate’s new California correspondent.”
Aside from the fact that it looks like Alder’s first column is covering news that we in America would at this point officially consider “old” (sorry… couldn’t resist…), I’m ecstatic for Alder, who I consider a friend and with whom I confirmed that this is an actual, honest-to-goodness paying gig (I expect to pry more details out of him over several beers the next time I’m on the Left Coast). Given the focus and seriousness with which Alder plies his blogging craft, it’s a natural fit for Jancis’ team, and I see this as a bit of wine-blogging-spiritual-equivalent to another friend of mine, the keenly analytically-minded Jeff Lefevere, taking his talents to Forbes.com. And of course (you knew this was coming), it’s further validation of the future of quality wine writing coming from the best of the cast of characters in the wine blogosphere.
Best of luck on the new gig, Alder!
Last month, uber-hard-rock band RUSH participated in what has become a semi-regular event for them: a charity auction on eBay called “Grapes Under Pressure” (a pun on one of RUSH’s album titles) to benefit Grapes For Humanity Canada (RUSH front man Geddy Lee is on the board of directors). I know, I can’t get past the hard/prog rock / wine thing the last few days, right?
Anyway, according to Geddy Lee, the most recent auction raised over $50K (not sure if that’s Canadian or U.S. dollars…):
I would like to take a moment to thank all those fans and friends who participated in the GRAPES UNDER PRESSURE eBay auction to benefit GRAPES FOR HUMANITY CANADA. With your help we managed to raise over $50,000 dollars! When combined with monies raised in our other G.U.P. events we will be able to significantly improve the lives of disadvantaged and injured people around the globe and more immediately will aid THE HALO TRUST in establishing a pilot project in Savannakhet Province, Laos, to address the urgent problem of casualties caused by cluster bombs. Alex, Neil, myself and the entire G.U.P. Team, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Geddy’s wine-related endeavors have been covered on these virtual pages before, but this recent news got me thinking about how and why the world’s greatest beverage can – and often does – serve as a catalyst to bring out the best in us (well, there’s that, but it also got me listening to Distant Early Warning, like, a dozen times)…
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In the immortal words of William Shatner, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news.”
But… you should know that, according to research very recently published in the journal Nature, our old pal resveratrol (a compound found in red wine, among other things) might not be the key to everlasting youth.
OMG! Who would ever have guessed such a terrible thing?! Oh wait, haven’t we been cautioning against the resveratrol craze for something like four years here on 1WD?
Anywaaaaaay… long-story-made-short, a 2006 Harvard study once found that resveratrol might increase production of proteins called sirtuins, which were found at the time to possible prolong the lives of obese mice. Good news for you red-wine-drinking obese mice out there, or so it was thought at the time.
Turns out, according to the findings being published in Nature, the initial study might have been flawed, and all this stuff around red wine/resveratrol/sirtuins prolonging life might have been a bit overblown. Bad news for you red-wine-drinking obese mice out there. And maybe also for GlaxoSmithKline, who paid over $700 million for the company that the initial study’s author David Sinclair founded to make a drug from the substance.
NPR.org has a great detailed report on all of the above, embedded below for your listening pleasure. I suggest relaxing with a glass of red wine while you listen to it – not because the red wine will make you live longer, but because the relaxing might help you live longer (or if not, at least help you enjoy the moment a bit more than usual).