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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Back when Billy brewed controversy

Editor’s Notebook: Back when Billy brewed controversy

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For those not old enough to remember the extended family of Jimmy Carter, trust me that they were a wacky bunch. Miss Lillian, the mother of the brood, once remarked that if she’d known in advance how much trouble her brood sometimes would get in, she’d probably have stayed a virgin. (Zing!)

Back this week in 1977, according to the archives of the Northern Virginia Sun, the Old Dominion’s liquor authorities announced a ban on the sale of “Billy Beer” — named for and promoted by presidential sibling Billy Carter — because of state prohibitions on the endorsement of alcohol by celebrities. (Billy Carter a “celebrity”? That’s stretching things a bit, but close enough.)

As a 10-year-old back then, albeit in Pennsylvania not Virginia, I remember that beer-can collecting was quite the rage among pre-teens, and Billy Beer was one of the most collectible cans out there. So I guess for the collectors in Virginia, having been banned made them even more desirable.

The novelty of Jimmy’s family, as with the novelty of Jimmy himself, began to wear off within about a year of his inauguration, and while I could take the time to look it up, I’m going to be lazy and merely guess that Billy Beer didn’t last much longer than that. Still, it gives an indication of a simpler, albeit even weirder, time in history.

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DOES THIS MEAN THE PANDEMIC IS OFFICIALLY OVER? Our president some weeks back famously declared off the cuff that the COVID pandemic was over, only to see his White House staff rush out in another cleanup-on-aisle-Biden rescue operation to inform Americans that what he said wasn’t exactly, completely, 100% accurate.

But I’m now getting the feeling that the pandemic really is over, and here’s why:

For what I think is the first time since the Wuhan Unpleasantness began, all five Arlington School Board members were not only on the dais (rather than some being at home) for the Nov. 10 meeting, but all five were mask-free, too.

Mary Kadera, who has been masked-up during her appearances on the dais (no crime in that), went free-range for the most recent meeting. I think that is a new development, although someone surely will correct me if now.

And unlike their County Board counterparts who remain spaced out (well, that didn’t come out right …), School Board members are basically in the same seating positions they were pre-pandemic.

I guess this is welcome news. We’re all moving on and learning to live in the new world. Wish we’d done it about a year ago here in the dee-emm-veeeeeeeeee, but better late than never.

— Scott McCaffrey

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