WHEN THE DRINKING (LEGALLY) STOPPED: If you think you drink a lot now, you should've seen yourself back in the days of Prohibition. Back then, you didn't have your bar-hopping or pub crawls. No carousing in loud bars with obnoxious drunks screaming political screeds or racial jokes in your ear.
You drank like a gentleman during Prohibition. You splashed a little loudmouth in your crystal rocks glass in a dark speakeasy with a flapper on your arm. Or you adjourned to the back room, all walnut-paneled, with a sliding bookcase that concealed your stash of Scotch boated in from Peking.
Of course, there were drawbacks. You had your sanctimonious watchdogs looking to drop a dime on you to some rare cop not on the take. You had your local variation of the axe-swinging Carrie Nation harshing your buzz.
Both sides of the issue have been collected in "Prohibition Madness: Life AND Death in and Around Long Beach, California, 1920-1933," yet another amazing amassment of yarns by our favorite historian Claudine Burnett.
It's our town's version of "Boardwalk Empire," with bootleggers (one was killed by his teetotalling wife), booze-swilling celebrities, Capone gangsters, straight-on murderers, meddling corruption-battlers, oil swindlers, good cops and bad cops.
Long Beach, you will learn, had been dry for most of its history prior to Prohibition's passage in 1920, so illicit liquor channels were already well-established in town, so it hit the
"Prohibition Madness" is available in print or electronic form at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AuthorHouse. For more on the book and Burnett's other offerings, go to www.claudineburnettbooks.com.
BALLOT CLARIFIED: Our yacht-broker friend and former 8th District Long Beach councilman Rob Webb called on Tuesday to congratulate us on having completed a certain number of years working at one place without getting fired, and then he called on Wednesday to harp about the fact that the Press-Telegram Readers Choice Best of 2013 ballot doesn't have an entry for Best Yacht Broker.
"You have best of everything else. Best butcher, best tile company. You have everything but yacht broker. How about showing some love for a yacht broker?"
Hey, how about giving us a yacht? We've received gifts of tile from various tile companies and a mess of flanks of various animals from various butchers, but nothing from the yacht people. We'd have thought that Cmdr. Webb would know what makes certain wheels turn in certain directions by now.
A better question comes from reader/voter Sally Innes, who noticed the P-T's ballot contained a stunning variety of dates regarding voting deadlines and the publication of the voting results. "Please," she implores us, "make a decision."
OK, first, we're sorry. We have trouble keeping March and May straight in our head. We've long argued that the two months should be separated by August and October. It would just be easier for us.
Here are the facts: The voting deadline is March 21; the winners and runners-up will be announced May 22. If you've already thrown out your Wednesday paper with its ballot, we're printing it again today and Sunday. You may also vote online at www.presstelegram.com.
Go ahead and write-in your favorite yacht broker, if you wish.
ANOTHER CHANCE: If you dragged your heels when it came time to buying tickets for Friday's Pink Floyd LaserSpectacular at Cal State Long Beach's Carpenter Center, you blew it. It sold out. It always sells out when the visual/aural performance of "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" comes to the Carpenter.
You get a reprieve, though we hate to reward your procrastination. A second show has been added Friday at 11 p.m. That's actually a better time, anyway.
Tickets are $28. Call now, for a change: 562-985-7000.