The New York Times started a new blog today called, "Proof," which discusses the uses and abuses of alcohol. Appropriately enough, the first post talks about prohibition which ended 75 years ago on December 5, 1933. When signing the law for the repeal, Roosevelt is supposed to have said, "What America needs now is a drink."
I find it fascinating that I'm reading a lot more about alcohol these days. I'm not sure if it's the holiday season (all those, "What wine to drink with turkey" columns) or the economic times which, sadly, almost mirror the 1930's.
On another note, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day in the Catholic Church. Many people, including Catholics, get the reason for the holy day wrong. It is the Feast of Mary being conceived without original sin. Most people think it's Jesus' conception. But think about that last one, the Immaculate Conception happens on December 8th and 3 weeks later Jesus is born? That's one fast pregnancy.
Anyway, in their infinite wisdom, Church theologians decided that Mary, in order to give birth to Jesus, could not have been born with original sin. See, she was born before baptism existed which washes away original sin. Fortunately, the Church does declare that it doesn't mean that her parents didn't get it on; lucky for them.
By the way, during prohibition an exemption was made for sacramental wine used during Mass. A 1925, study discovered that the demand for sacramental wine had increased by 800,000 gallons in a two year period. So I guess you could say that while there are no Atheists in foxholes, you won't find any during prohibition either.
OSCAR UPDATE: I've heard that Sean Penn's rival for the Best Actor Oscar may just be Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. It's a comeback role for Mr. Rourke and Mr. Penn has been nominated several times and has one once for Mystic River. Let the intrigues begin!