The Rant 

It seems a bit strange to write about a law, considering that our esteemed commander in chief doesn't abide by them. But, all wiretapping and illegal spying aside, there's something much more important at hand: the sale of hard liquor at liquor stores on Sundays. I don't know who brought this idea up as a way to gain more revenue for the public schools, but whoever you are, RUN FOR MAYOR. You have my vote. And please let the liquor stores sell beer, since it is liquor, for Bud's sake, and cigarettes! (Yeah, yeah, yeah, my smoking cessation was not such a huge success.) Does it really make sense that all that separates the beer and cigarettes from the brandy and wine is a thin wall? I refer, of course, to that most magical of magical street-corner operations, Peter Pan's Pantry and Joe's Wines & Liquor at Poplar and Belvedere. But no. You cannot enter Joe's Wine & Liquor on a Sunday to purchase a bottle of wine to share with friends over dinner, but you can walk three or four more steps and buy all the beer you want. On Sunday in Memphis, you cannot purchase a bottle of champagne to toast the birth of a newborn child or a marriage proposal or winning the lottery. But you can go to any number of bars -- even sleazy strip clubs, where nearly naked women dance on the laps of married men -- and drink to your heart's content. Why, you can even go into an evil gay bar on Sunday and drink. You can't get married like Elton John in England, but having a drink is no problem. If someone out there can explain why it makes sense to maintain these antiquated laws, please tell me. Take it from one of my favorite speech writers of all time, Mississippi judge Noah S. Sweat. Here's what he had to say about the loss of tax revenue during Prohibition in his state: "My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey. If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation and despair and shame and helplessness and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it. But, if when you say whiskey, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crisp morning; if you mean the drink that enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it. This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise." There. I can't think of any way to put it better. Now go and have yourselves a Happy New Year!

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