Holy Honey-infused Ale

Years of trying to export its Lindisfarne Mead to California just paid off for a couple on tiny Holy Island, off Britain’s northeast coast. Lindisfarne is the medieval name for Holy Island where St. Aidan’s Winery produces 75,000 bottles of the honey-infused ale, which sells for about $12, a drink that goes back thousands of years. Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, is said to have been a beekeeper.

‘Legislative Shakedown’

The battle between Indian reservations and states over gaming rights is likely to intensify now that Connecticut has extracted 25% of net profits ($220 million last year) from the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in return for granting a virtual gaming monopoly in the state. Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act states are supposed to be prohibited from assessing charges on Indian gaming revenues, but Connecticut claimed to have discovered a loophole by allowing video poker machines. According to CFO magazine, some critics called it “a legislative shakedown” while Mel Towle, legal adviser for another tribe, says: “We shouldn’t be blackmailed into revenue sharing.” Nevertheless, other states are anxious to apply similar tactics

“Science depends on openness; we expose our scientific findings, including details of how they were obtained, to the scrutiny of the scientific community. …(this) reinforces the idea that science is conditional – always subject to being replaced by better information. This can be frustrating to non-scientists, who ask why science can’t make up its mind, but the alternative is dogma.”

Bob Park in the New Scientist

Three Am-egos

Even though it’s still a couple of years away, the impending battle for the late-night television audience is causing speculation in network circles now that it’s known that David Letterman will be on CBS until 2010, at least a year after Conan O’Brien takes over Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” on NBC. Brian Lowry wrote in Variety that Leno might have felt “betrayed at being elbowed out however gently” and could be asked to stay longer or conceivably go to Fox or ABC setting up the possibility of a Leno-Letterman-O’Brien configuration – “three larger-than-life personalities eying two established seats.”

‘Urine Separation’

If you want to help the planet, please pee in the garden rather than the toilet, suggests New Scientist in a story about “urine separation toilets,” which it claims are being adopted by more and more European countries. Apparently, it’s easy to extract the useful phosphate and nitrogen from concentrated urine but takes much more time and energy when it’s mixed with water and solid wastes.

Sixties Sensation

Patti Boyd, a young groupie for Eric Clapton back in the Sixties, married George Harrison after meeting him a movie set. The marriage unraveled due to her husband’s infidelities and she went back to Clapton. Her autobiography – a story of “drama, struggle and ultimately affirmation, according to Headline Publishing’s Val Hudson – will be “the most exciting, talked-about and publishing sensation of 2007.”

The Wilcock Web

Invented by a Minnesota hunter, a lemon pepper-flavored shotgun shell dissolves on impact and flavors the meat…. God must really have hated us or he wouldn’t have given us religion, says John Whiting…. After testing 48 brands of water that came in plastic bottles, Heidelberg University’s Dr. William Shotyk claims that the longer the water stays in the bottles the more it absorbs the dangerous toxin, antimony, which, while not fatal, can make people fell ill and depressed…. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make thee mad as hell,” opined Aldous Huxley…. Multinational companies are buying credibility with the green crowd, says Stores magazine by buying companies “with business practices tied to social responsibility.” For example, Colgate’s $100-million acquisition of Tom’s of Maine (an all-natural personal care brand)…. A company called Coastal Pet Products is selling red, white and blue Patriotic Bells, to be attached to a dog’s collar for “a pleasant tone that rings with American spirit”…. ”If you can’t be kind,” the man said, “at least have the decency to be vague”…. For just over a quarter million dollars, Madame Tussauds’s will make a life-sized wax replica of you…. “Only a malicious person is always at his best,” said W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

John Wilcock’s column and weekly travel show can be accessed at www.ojaiorange.com.