Friday, July 22, 2011

Bottoms Up for Justice

   Have you ever seen the adminstrative rules of the United States Food and Drug Administration?  It is un-be-fucking-lieveable.  They are thick like a set of encyclopedias.  Part of the reason that they are so think is that we have this idea that we have to define everything - and when it comes down to food, drugs, and drinks there is an awful lot to define.  And they define things in the most boring and mundane ways: diet cola must have less than .02 parts per million blah, blah, blah.  In light of all this paper buraucracy, it is sometimes nice to see that in some places they do things the old fashioned way.  Like Switzerland, where recently some judges and some of their cohorts got together and had some drinks as a way to solve their court case.
    That is right.  They were judging a dispute about whether the drinks made by a particular company should be classified as alcopops, which sounds vaguely like Lithuania's entry into the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest (Editor's Note: The real 2008 Eurovision Song Contest Entrant was someone named Jeronimas Milius and he was eliminated in the second night semi-final) but is really what they call sweetened alcoholic beverages in Europe. Alcopops.  Okay.  Alcoholic pops I suppose.  Anyway, there was apparently a lawsuit regarding this important economic issue, and a couple of months ago two judges from the Fedral Administrative Court got together in Bern to settle it by drinking the alcoholic beverages.
     All five of them.  That's right, there were five different beverages that they decided they needed to sample in order to decide if the drinks were alcopops.  So that is automatically five glasses of booze.  Sweet, girly booze.  Oh but wait, that's no enough.  No sir.  They - for whatever reason - decided that they needed to sample them both with and without ice, which I suppose could alter the sweetness of the drinks.  So now they are up to ten drinks each, which unless you are a true heavyweight or maybe unless they are some sort of wine cooler, is usually enough to at least get you feeling a little happy.
    And who wants to be happy without friends?  Drinking alone is such a drag, isn't it?  So the judges - in their infinite judicial wisdom (jugdes are just lawyers in robes, remember) - decided to invite a few frieds and co-workers.  Like the court clerk.  Well why not, it is usually fun to toss a few back with the people you spend eight hours of the day with.  And you don't want a pissed off court clerk who is sitting around and watching the judges have all the fun, and who will probably have to go out and get them all Taco Bell at 3 am and drive them all home.  That just wouldn't be good.  So no big deal, invite 'em along!  They also invited some members of the Swiss Alcohol Board along too - because they would regulate it and also because they are pretty fun guys to party with - but they don't specify the number.  I am sure every member of the board plus the alternates and an attractive secretary or two were there.  And of course some representatives of Zurich drinks importer Bevis were there, because they have the hookup to get the booze.  Like having an older brother who is 21.  That is what the Bevis guys were there for.  No word yet on whether or not the Butt-head representatives were there as well.
     So all these guys got together and the drinking began, but since it was done in robes in a room with the walls lined with books it was okay.  The tasting took place on April 14th, and the court affirmed on July 20 that the drinks were indeed aclopops.  Wow.  Four months.  That must have been one hell of a hangover - to be keeled over in the corner booth of the local Big Boy sucking down burgers and fountain Coke for four months until you could remember what happened and make a decision.  And it is good that the beverages were found to be alcopops because now they can freeze them and eat them like popsicles, and they will be cool and refreshing and a little bit of hair of the dog to help calm down that raging hangover.  And they are going to need it, because just recently a forklift in Australia dropped a bunch of cases of high-dollar insured red wine, and I am sure the insurance company isn't going to pay out without a lawsuit of some kind.  Time for a little wine tasting.  What a party that case is going to be.

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