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Read this article from CNN (well, Mental Floss) yesterday. If you thought you’re party was banging, check this story out:

Admiral Edward Russell’s 17th-Century throwdownThink you can drink like a sailor? Maybe you should take a moment to reflect on what that truly means.

The record for history’s largest cocktail belongs to British Lord Admiral Edward Russell. In 1694, he threw an officer’s party that employed a garden’s fountain as the punch bowl.

The concoction? A mixture that included 250 gallons of brandy, 125 gallons of Malaga wine, 1,400 pounds of sugar, 2,500 lemons, 20 gallons of lime juice, and 5 pounds of nutmeg.

A series of bartenders actually paddled around in a small wooden canoe, filling up guests’ cups. Not only that, but they had to work in 15-minute shifts to avoid being overcome by the fumes and falling overboard.

The party continued nonstop for a full week, pausing only briefly during rainstorms to erect a silk canopy over the punch to keep it from getting watered down. In fact, the festivities didn’t end until the fountain had been drunk completely dry.

Jeez. Speaking of parties, though, I have to give it up to the Gift Foundation for putting on a ridiculous fundraiser event last night. It’s a beautiful (scary?) thing when you see all the men who are usually don the same aloha print/khaki pant ensemble dressed in tights and makeup. By the way, it was a costume party. While this party had nothing on Admiral Russell, I have to say that it was the best fundraiser I’ve ever been to.

Now, back to the topic at hand…drinking. One of the recurring discussions this week with one of my coworkers revolves around the connection of alcohol and the history of man. For example, in the middle ages it was actually safer to drink beer than water. Why? Because beer is boiled of course! So guess who was more likely to get sick, someone who drinks more beer or more water? Well, so too much of the foamy stuff will make you sick…but nothing keeps the plague at bay like a pint!


Read Paulo Coehlo’s “Eleven Minutes” yesterday. Not a bad book, not the best, but it did have it’s moments:

You experienced pain yesterday and you discovered that it led to pleasure. You experienced it today and found peace. That’s why I’m telling you: don’t get used to it, because it’s very easy to become habituated; it’s a very powerful drug. It’s in our daily lives, in our hidden suffering, in the sacrifices we make; blaming love for the destruction of our dreams. Pain is frightening when it shows its real face, but it’s seductive when it comes disguised as sacrifice or self-denial. Or cowardice. However much we may reject it, we human beings always find a way of being with pain, of flirting with it and making it a part of our lives.

We suffer in order to survive. And eventually it does lead to pleasure We sacrifice in order to live. And many do find peace. Or so we tell ourselves. We put those who suffer and sacrifice up on a pedestal. Martyrs are honored and revered. It’s the only sure-fire way to ensure that people pay attention to you.

They say misery loves company. I say, darn skippy! We look highly upon these people because we see a little of ourselves in their story. People burned at the stake, we burn out at work.What people tend to forget, though, is that at some point or another we made a choice that put us into many of those painful situations. Even instances that were truly a matter of chance, the emotions we feel are still a choice.

If you think you can live without suffering, that’s a great step forward, but don’t imagine that other people will understand you. True, no one wants to suffer, and yet nearly everyone seeks out pain and sacrifice, and then they feel justified, pure, deserving of the respect of their children, husbands, neighbors, God.

While these few passages hit home for me, it’s still hard to comprehend that pain may just be something we create in our heads in order to help justify decisions, especially the crappy ones, we make. That pitiful feeling has become an addiction for many of us. It’s unfortunate when happiness in no longer a standalone emotion, but rather something we feel while we wait for the pain to return.