The town that Blawgletter grew up in included people who would ask you to stand or sit someplace else so they could watch the Andy Griffith Show by saying "you've been drinking muddy water". The gentleness of the nudge made moving easy. And it still makes us smile.
Today, a ruling out of the Seventh Circuit reminded us that colorful words — not to mention conduct — come from all over this Great Nation of ours, including the upper Middle West.
For some years, the folks in a Wisconsin college town kept a rowdy bar, the Nasty Habit, in the business of pouring whiskey shots for blind-drunk patrons, getting in fist-fights with semi-sober ones, and hiding young women in the basement so police wouldn't check their under-age IDs.
We know about the Nasty Habit because it sued the City of Eau Claire — whose name means something like "clear water" — for trying to take away the bar's liquor license. The offense? Running a "disorderly or riotous, indecent or improper house".
The bar claimed that the City broke its constitutional right to sell booze. The law struck the saloon as vague. What, the gin joint asked, does "riotous" mean? Does it include smashing customers' faces with your barkeep's bony knuckles? Does "improper" cover "over-serving" someone to the point the has to go to the ER for "detoxification"? Really, how can you expect us to get through Happy Hour with such uncertainty?
The Seventh Circuit had no trouble saying that the district court did right by tossing the Nasty Habit out on its ear. Hegwood v. City of Eau Claire, No. 11-1999 (7th Cir. Apr. 9, 2012).
We'll drink to that.