There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries. – William Shakespeare, English dramatic poet (1564-1616).
Ever since we started News Karnataka, we are marching away from shallows and are never in miseries. But, we always look forward to exploit opportunities and break new ground. In this quest, we are launching today a new column, Cocktail Plaza, which, we hope, will develop into a popular interactive platform for readers and viewers to get involved and carry it forward on its self-sustained growth path.
Our Cocktail Plaza is conceived as a meeting ground or platform or arena for projecting and exchanging ideas.
We have persuaded John B. Monteiro (JBM), veteran journalist and author (his latest book is featured alongside), to pump-prime this column by supporting it with his own contributions and anchor the column by regulating its intellectual traffic – in the form of responses to what is published (limited to 2000 characters – under the instant response format given at the end of this column) and guarding the door for what is submitted for publication (limited to 600 words) in this column. (No reasons will be offered for unused submissions – not necessarily because they are not good; but because they are not suitable for this slot). The column is conceived as a mixture of what is generated internally (for instance, by JBM) and what is submitted by readers/viewers. So, come to Cocktail Plaza, claim its ownership and carry it forward and turn it into the most dynamic and self-propelled column of this website. You have nothing to lose but your inertia and everything to gain in terms of intellectual stimulation and the use this platform to showcase your creative talents.
Today’s offering – naturally alcohol-related!
Now A Peg In Pill!
Alcohol lovers have for long longed for the liquid to be turned into solid to ensure its better portability for discrete possession and consumption. We have now arrived at the Eureka moment. Good news for vodka lovers as they can consume their favourite drink just like any other solid food without the hassle of carrying any heavy glass bottles. According to a PTI report from Moscow, Russian professor Evgeni Moskalev of Saint Petersburg Technological University has evolved a technique that allows turning alcohol into powder and packing it in pills.
The new technique can solidify any kind of alcohol, including whiskey, cognac, wine and beer. “Dry vodka can be wrapped in paper and carried around in a pocket or a bag. Vodka in form of a pill would come handy at parties when consumers would be able to calculate their exact required dosage. A web portal quoted the scientist as saying: “One company wanted to capsulate water and spirit based extract for an animal medication. Animals do not like the smell of spirit but in capsule form it could be added to their food. As a result, we developed a technology that allowed us to turn any liquid solution into powder”. The technology was tested on spirit of 95% purity and the know-how was patented.
Moskalev further explained: “Unfortunately, spirit can be only retained in capsules made of stearic acid: so powdered vodka tastes like candle. Generally the unpleasant taste could be easily removed with flavouring agents – as we in India did in the Prohibition era when gutter-produced, evil-smelling hooch was gulped down with the help of colas.
Don’t badmouth your country!
The Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy convicted a pensioner of “contempt of nation” and fined him Euros 1000 after the man called Italy a “shit country” – agencies reported from Rome on July 6,2013. The ruling came after Italy’s police took the 71-year-old man to court for saying “What a shit country Italy is. Why are you wasting time with such crap”, to officers who fined him for driving on a single headlamp.
The court rejected the man’s claim that his words were a rightful expression of free thought. “Freedom of expression cannot translate into course and brutal insults that do not correspond to objective criticism”, it said in its sentence. Interpreting the crime, the court said: “To vilify the nation, it is not necessary to commit hostile or violent acts or display hatred. Insulting the prestige or honour of the Italian people is sufficient”.
Roots of Success
In the 1920s Josephine Dickson, an accident-prone American housewife, inspired the invention of the Band-Aid bandage. Her husband, Earle, who tended her various burns and wounds, hit upon the idea of sticking small squares of sterile gauze into the adhesive tape, covering it with a layer of crinoline, and then rolling it up so that Josephine could cut off and apply the ready-made bandage herself.
Earle’s employer, Johnson & Johnson, soon began producing the first Band-Aids. By the time Earle died in 1961 – he was by then a member of the company’s board of directors – Band-Aid sales had exceeded $ 30 million a year.
JBM’s question: Was Earle fed up of being called frequently by his wife and wanted a way out? In the result, his aversion to tend to his wife personally resulted in a bonanza for him. Sometimes bad intentions can also deliver good results .
About the Author
John B. Monteiro, author and journalist, is editor of his website www.welcometoreason.com (Interactive Cerebral Challenger) offering a platform to discuss issues of current and abiding interest. His latest book, Corruption – India’s Painful Crawl to Lokpal, published in USA, can be ordered online from Amazon, Flipkart, etc. – and, in Mangalore, from Biblios and Gerosa.
We present the inaugural offering from JBM (for more details about him key in “John B. Monteiro” on Google search).