Go ahead. Turn on the lights, throw a margarita in the blender or dance around while an industrial-sized sound system plays ‘80s music. So say the sages at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is once again celebrating the “Human Achievement Hour,” an annual celebration of human progress and advancements in technology, medicine, energy and much, much more.
The organization developed the designated hour to counter the World Wide Fund for Nature’s “Earth Hour.” Yes, everyone is instructed to turn off their lights and renounce the environmental impacts of modern technology, for 60 minutes, anyway.
“Observing Human Achievement Hour is about paying tribute to the human innovations that have allowed people around the globe to live better, fuller lives, while also defending the basic human right to use energy to improve the quality of life of all people,” says William Yeatman, a senior fellow with the group.
The big moment is Saturday, from 8:30-9:30 p.m., in whatever time zone one happens to be in. Shower, shop, have a cold beer, or simply keep the lights blazing — and of course tweet away about it at @ceidotorg, using the hashtag #HAH2014.
HANDY WITH THE BRANDY
Imagine this: Using 18th-century techniques, seven master distillers have produced George Washington Peach Brandy, and at the original George Washington Distillery on the very banks of the Potomac River. Yes, there were copper pots, wood fires and oak barrels involved, and the distillers, hailed from such spots as Huber’s Starlight Distillery in Indiana and WhistlePig Whiskey in Vermont.
Now this fine stuff is ready for sale. It is limited: only 400 handsome bottles. It is, uh, expensive: $150 for each. But it has a pedigree. According to George Washington’s personal records, peach brandy was distilled in at Mount Vernon back in the day, and it was often the hit of the party. Indeed, a 1799 ledger entry shows 60 gallons of peach brandy was sent to the “Mount Vernon house” for entertaining.
“There’s no better place to learn about George Washington’s entrepreneurial genius than at his whiskey distillery,” observes Curt Viebranz, president of what is officially known as George Washington’s Mount Vernon, some 15 miles south of the nation’s capital.
The brandy itself recently made a rollicking debut among aficionados at a tony New York City hotel, in an event organized by the Distilled Spirits Council and primed with a colonial-era punch and some huzzahs for George himself.
“The reconstruction of George Washington’s Distillery has shone a bright light on America’s fascinating distilling heritage,” declares Peter Cressy, president of the aforementioned council. “It has captivated the public and helped energize the American whiskey renaissance. Further, Washington continues to be a role model for the entire industry with his lifelong personal commitment to moderation and responsibility.”
Mount Vernon, meanwhile, advises that the peach brandy is available for buyers “in person” at the on-site Gristmill Shop, beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Details here: Mountvernon.org.
POLL DU JOUR
• 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Obama is dealing with the federal budget.
• 61 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Mr. Obama is handling immigration.
• 59 percent disapprove of the overall job Mr. Obama is doing as president.