Looking for the spittoon

            In a recent segment on Fox News’ “The Five,” co-host Dana Perino (featured in Out & About on page 28) popped the cork on an issue of federal regulation that’s leaving a stain here in the Holy City. Although an ancient art, winemaking still rewards innovation. As we have reported, vintner Jim “Bear” Dyke and Mira Winery are developing a process they call “aquaoir,” wherein bottled wine is submerged in Charleston Harbor to accelerate its maturation. However, it looks like their reward is a Melchizedek-sized bottle of government interference. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has recently announced that, according to the FDA, aquaoir wines may be deemed “adulterated” because of uncontrolled and unsanitary conditions in Charleston Harbor, making it sound like New York’s Love Canal. So if bottled, corked and sealed wine isn’t protected from vile effluvium in our fair harbor, why should we feel safe living next to, playing in and consuming seafood from it? In the meantime, the Rambler recommends closing your eyes and holding your breath if misted by salt spray while walking The Battery. On second thought … perhaps the feds should just stick a cork in it.

Guiding gracious architecture

            Your Rambler was in attendance at a recent meeting between a group of concerned citizens and some of the Holy City’s finest classical architects. As you might imagine, the proposed “Jasper Disaster” inspired the event — and none of the attendees intend to let whatever new proposals for the site be held to anything less than the strictest of standards. One phrase we heard — with examples provided — is “almost everything passes [the BAR] if it’s submitted three times.” Another issue was the failure of the Civic Design Center to ever become a clearinghouse of information on, and center for discussion about, building projects in the Holy City. With so many new proposed projects on the table — and with the change in leadership coming to City Hall — there has never been a more important time for citizens to ensure a steady hand on the Holy City’s architectural tiller.

Kiss my grits and other joys

            As Charleston looks ahead to Spoleto, it’s worth remembering that spring is festival time all across the Palmetto State. This month, don’t miss the World Grits Festival in St. George and the Colleton County Rice Festival in Walterboro. Of course, one of our personal favorites won’t take place until early May: The inimitable Hell Hole Swamp Festival. Visitors may enjoy the event’s “famous Beauty Pageants and children’s tobacco spitting contest.” Other highlights include the festival mascot (a formerly-seized still) and the Gator Trot or “Redneck Run” — a moniker that may provoke envy among some Ravenel Bridge Run officials.

 

Mercury newspaper racks are located at the following locations:

The Meeting Street Inn

Clair's Service Station at 334 Folly Rd.

Harris Teeter on Houston-Northcutt Blvd.

The Square Onion in I'On

Mt. Pleasant Library on Mathis Ferry Rd.