Daily Update: Monday, December 5th, 2016

12-05 - Repeal of 18th Amendment

With no Saints to honor today, we turn back to 1933, when Prohibition in the United States ended when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to enact the amendment. (This overturned the 18th Amendment which had made the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcohol illegal in the United States.)

Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. It was promoted by the “dry” crusaders, a movement led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Prohibition, Democratic and Republican parties. It gained a national grass roots base through the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. After 1900 it was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League. Prohibition was mandated in state after state, then finally nationwide under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Supporters of the Amendment soon became confident that it would not be repealed. One of its creators, Senator Morris Sheppard, joked that “there is as much chance of repealing the Eighteenth Amendment as there is for a humming-bird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.” Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited; for example, religious uses of wine were allowed. Private ownership and consumption of alcohol were not made illegal under federal law; however, in many areas, local laws were stricter, with some states banning possession outright. In the 1920s the laws were widely disregarded, and tax revenues were lost, especially at the start of the Great Depression in 1929. Opposition mobilized and nationwide, Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, on December 5th, 1933. Some states continued statewide prohibition, and there are many dry counties even now in America. Although popular opinion believes that Prohibition failed, it succeeded in cutting overall alcohol consumption in half during the 1920s, and consumption remained below pre-Prohibition levels until the 1940s, suggesting that Prohibition did socialize a significant proportion of the population in temperate habits, at least temporarily. Some researchers contend that its political failure was attributable more to a changing historical context than to characteristics of the law itself. Criticism remains that Prohibition led to unintended consequences such as the growth of urban crime organizations and a century of Prohibition-influenced legislation. (Personally, I feel that prohibition does not work as well as regulation, no matter if you speaking of alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs.)

Yesterday Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb, and our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Oklahoma Thunder by the score of 92 to 101.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Novena to the Immaculate Conception. While checking our paycheck information before work (which I do every two weeks, on Payday, even though we get our checks via Direct Deposit on the Friday evening before Payday), I found that there was an error on my accrued PTO. When we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and a Blackjack table. On further investigation, I realized that I had not been credited with my accrued PTO for this pay period; I was told in the Scheduling Office that I was not the only person this had happened to, and that the situation would be corrected on the next paycheck. (I am hanging on to the Check Stub Statements I had printed out, that show that I was not credited with accrued PTO for this pay period, just in case.) On my breaks I continued reading March by Geraldine Brooks.

When we got home I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper; and I got an Email from Scheduling that I have been approved for PTO for Friday, December 23rd. (This means that I will go to work on Monday, December 19th, sign the Early Out list, and not have to be back at work until Saturday, December 24th.) I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update; and when I am finished I will take a hot bath, do some reading, light my Advent candles, and then go to bed for the duration. Our New Orleans Pelicans (7-14, 0-3) will play an away NBA game with the Memphis Grizzlies (12-9, 3-2) tonight; I will post the results of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Nicholas, Bishop (died 343). Tomorrow is also the birthday of my son’s friend Lazo, one of the erstwhile Assembled (1986). We might sign the Early Out list at the casino, and, if we sign it, we might get out early. In the afternoon I will straighten up the front rooms.

On this Monday afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from Chuck Williams, American author and entrepreneur. Born as Charles Williams in 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida, he learned to cook from his maternal grandmother, who had owned a restaurant in Lima, Ohio. When the Great Depression hit, his father’s auto repair business failed, and the family moved to southern California. His father fared no better there and soon abandoned his wife, son and daughter. Eventually, Williams found work on a date farm near Palm Springs, Sniff’s Date Gardens in Indio. The couple who owned it, Dana and Abagail Sniff, took him in and drove him to high school in the mornings while he spent the afternoons working at the date shop and grounds. Williams lived with the Sniffs for seven years until just after his graduation from high school. His sister died in 1933 from a brain injury, after being hit in the head with a baseball. His mother returned to Florida, and Williams finished school and moved to Los Angeles. During World War II he spent four years overseas as an airplane mechanic for Lockheed International, working on aircraft in India and East Africa. After the war, Williams returned to Los Angeles and one weekend, joined friends for golf in Sonoma. He fell in love with the town and moved there in 1947, starting a successful business as a building contractor. Williams bought the Ralph Morse Hardware Store in Sonoma, California in 1953. Over the next few years, he gradually converted its stock from hardware to French cookware, filling a niche in the market as European cookware was difficult to find for purchase in America at the time. The concept was successful, and he moved his operations to San Francisco in 1958. More than a decade later, in 1971, Williams-Sonoma introduced its first mail-order cookware catalog. Soon after, the business began expanding to more locations and now includes over 600 stores nationwide. Williams operated a test kitchen at Williams-Sonoma corporate headquarters in San Francisco, where recipes are tested for the company’s catalogs and cookbooks. He was an editor or contributor to nearly every cookbook that Williams-Sonoma released, including the large multi-volume Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library set, co-published by Time-Life Books. The series includes over 40 volumes and sold nearly 10 million copies. Williams was the sole author of another Time-Life / Williams Sonoma series, Simple Cooking, which comprised Simple American Cooking, Simple French Cooking and Simple Italian Cooking, as well as a “best of” collection with selections from all three. All told, Williams was involved with the production of more than 100 cookbooks that sold over 100 million copies worldwide. He also initiated scholarships for promising students in the field of culinary arts through several organizations, including the Culinary Institute of America. In addition to his involvement with The Culinary Institute of America, Williams served on the board of the American Institute of Food & Wine and had contributed to events offered by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).Williams sold Williams-Sonoma to Howard Lester and Jay McMahan in 1978 for $100,000. He served as chairman of the company until 1986, and he remained extensively involved with the company, overseeing merchandise selection, conducting public appearances and writing cookbooks, for the remainder of his life. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1983. He was named in the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage” in 1994 by the James Beard Foundation, and was given the Foundation’s highest recognition, the Lifetime Achievement Award, in 1995.  Williams was inducted into the Halls of Fame for the Culinary Institute of America and the Direct Marketing Association. After Williams’ death, his estate donated Williams’ nearly 4,000-piece collection of cookware to create the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum, operated by the Culinary Institute of America (died 2015): “I bought things I liked myself and built up a customer base that liked what I like. It has to be a working tool, never a gadget like a mold that makes square eggs. Now, that is a stupid gadget.”

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