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Dopamine flooded my brain and I immediately wanted gin to fill my veins: An email announced a new issue of Modern Drunkard Magazine had dropped.

My immediate reaction, "It's not dead!" "Will I get a hard copy in the mail?" "How many of the pieces are available online now?"

"And why, oh why, am I fasting from alcohol this Advent?!?!"

The answer to that last one is simple: Advent is only three weeks long this year and, even though I consider alcohol a sacramental (JPII recognized it in Rosarium Virginis Mariae, so I tell myself as I reach for another bottle of tonic), I've always thought it might be good to abstain for a spell, preferably for religious (repentance) and not gnostic (the evil of creation) or egotistical (weight loss) reasons.

Anywaaaaaay, the new issue of MDM does not disappoint. I've only digitally flipped through its pages and have already laughed out loud a few times, like this piece about day drinking that contains a biographical slice of "the notorious drunken [Spectator] columnist Jeffrey Bernard" [TDE reader: Read this passage; I'm flattered if you skip the quotes, preferring my prose over all else, but you're missing out]:

Bernard’s life is often seen as chaotic, a maelstrom of broken marriages, debt, vomit and vodka. In fact, there was a simplicity and order to his existence, largely because of a regular routine and the fact that this routine was carried out during the day, not in the evening.
He would wake early, generally around 6am, fret about what to write for his “Low Life” column in The Spectator, which was, as Johnathan Meades once described it, “a suicide note in weekly installments.” He would then eat an egg before sitting at the desk in his tiny Soho flat typing, drinking to lubricate the imagination, and getting the piece done and filed by 1045am.
Jeffrey Bernard always had his day’s manual labor, the typewriter bit of it, done by 11am. Because 11am is when the pubs opened, and that’s when his real graft began.
His office was the Coach and Horses, a pub on Greek Street. It contained a telephone and a television that would show the horse racing. Tom Baker, drunkard and Doctor Who actor, remarked that if Bernard arrived at the Coach at 12 and not 11 he was “an hour late for work.”
This is because Bernard’s job was to watch, and to listen, and to talk. Around him was the material he would need to survive as a columnist. And that material, the juicy stuff, only presented itself during the day, never at night.

There's a lot more. Prose Heisman candidate Frank Kelly Rich's recount of MDM's drinking predictions from 2003 should become part of the Western digital canon. Among other terrible predictions, MDM thought we'd have alcohol cabled directly into our homes, like, well, cable TV. It didn't happen and Rich is okay with that:

The piped-in booze would naturally evolve into a form of utility and, like all utilities, would be regulated by the government. And you know how they are. Get a public intoxication ding on your social credit account and suddenly your whiskey faucet stops working. During periods of unrest, the whole network would shut down. It’s the kind of power we definitely don’t want in the state’s hands.

There's also a delightful piece of micro-history. It's about Pabst Blue Ribbon (one of my favorites in the 1980s). It recounts PBR's rise, fall, and revival:

The epicenter of Pabst’s revival, according to a 2004 Washington Post article, was the Lutz Tavern in the hipster hotbed of Portland, OR. The owner started carrying it to replace a discontinued local brew and sold it for $1 a can. To everyone’s surprise, it turned into a hot seller. Pabst was adopted by an eclectic crowd of “punk rockers, bluegrass lovers, kayakers and mountain bikers,” as the Post described them, and claimed these new fans gave it a punchy new nickname—PBR. The abbreviated title lent it a little street cred and served as a codeword of sorts. Calling for “PBR” at the bar signaled that you were an insider already hip to the trend. (The Post was reaching a bit here—Pabst drinkers had been calling it PBR since its inception.)

PBR’s popularity spread from Portland to Seattle and San Francisco, then hopped to the East Coast. The PBR folks—those who were left—were as baffled by Pabst’s sudden resurgence as anyone and sent the divisional sales manager to Portland to figure out why. What he discovered was that PBR had morphed into a “protest brand.” Completely unadvertised, drinking PBR was a middle finger to the massive public relations machines of the Buds and Millers of the world. It was the beer you discovered on your own or through friends, not because it was constantly pushed in your face.

I've noticed an annoying Internet prose trick recently: Sites making podcast episodes into news stories. The gimmick: A flashy "news-like" headline, which is followed by a story about the podcast's content, sprinkled with quotes, which gives it the feel of a journalist who conducted an actual interview.

I can't decide whether I loathe or admire the trick, but I like the potential: Let readers absorb in two minutes of reading what it would've taken 30 minutes to absorb through their headphones.

Podcasts are, perhaps, a minor art form, but they aren't major ones that need to be taken in appreciatively like The Brothers Karamazov. Podcasts have soared because podcasts are efficient. They allow intelligent and effective multitasking in an age filled with stupid and ineffective multitasking (if you're checking your phone at a stop sign, may a swarm of hornets invade your loins).

And besides, TDE has been doing a similar thing for years: linking to a lengthy essay, providing a summary of sorts and a slice of opinion, and then providing a passage or two.

Indeed, it's what I have done here, but trust me: This post doesn't do justice to the current issue of MDM. I hope readers can access those links (I don't know if my browser stored a subscriber password or whether the stories are available to the public). But I noticed the print copy costs only $2.40. That's a steal (but maybe they getcha with the shipping and handling).

Regardless: Welcome back, MDM. This dry spell lasted too long.

Issue #64 – Drunkard Gear
Featuring: The Future of Boozing, The Strange Case of PBR, Beware the Nano State, United Altered States, All in with 10 High, Day Drink Your Way to Success, The Courage of Oliver Reed, The Tipping Point, Drinking with AI Hemingway, Why I Joined the Drunkard Board, In Praise of the Spritzer and much more. 64 pages, gloss, full color.