Eager to toast Washington's peach brandy
George Washington is best known as a general and statesman, but a group of experts is more interested in another one of the first president's talents: making peach brandy. In a reconstructed distillery at Washington's Mount Vernon estate, experts from California, Indiana, New York and Vermont spent Tuesday trying to recreate the drink. They used the same process that would have been used two centuries ago: keeping fires going to heat the liquid and transferring it by buckets instead of modern pumps. "We didn't get into this to get in the liquor business. It's all educational," said Dennis Pogue, who oversees historic research at Mount Vernon and supervised the rebuilding of the distillery in 2007. Washington was better known for producing rye whiskey. The Mount Vernon staff knows his recipe and a limited edition of 470 bottles sold out in two hours this summer at $85 each. Unlike the rye whiskey, however, historians don't know the formula for the brandy.
Sanity, fear to feel strain at rallies
As the largest race in the world that does not offer prize money, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington expects a field of 30,000 runners on Oct. 31. Runners in the marathon and tens of thousands of participants in rallies organized by Jon Stewart ("Rally to Restore Sanity") and Stephen Colbert ("March to Keep Fear Alive") will share the National Mall on Halloween weekend. But Rick Nealis, director for the marathon, said that on Oct. 30 he will put metal padlocks on about 100 portable toilets he was setting up around the Mall for race day, when the marathoners will be joined by an additional 10,000 runners in a 6.2-mile race. Organizers for the rallies, which end at 3 p.m. on Oct. 30, asked Nealis to share the toilets, promising to contribute to the cost and have them cleaned before the marathon's start at 8 a.m. the next day. But "I just didn't want to share," Nealis said. The National Park Service said it is used to handling multiple events at the Mall and does not expect toilet emergencies.
Criticism of yoga is criticized
A Southern Baptist leader who called for Christians to avoid yoga is getting pushback from enthusiasts who defend the practice. The stretching and meditative discipline is "just not Christianity," Southern Baptist Seminary president Albert Mohler told the Associated Press. E-mails and comments he received have been an eye-opener: "I'm really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians," he said. A 2008 study by the Yoga Journal estimated 15.8 million Americans — nearly 7 percent of adults — practice yoga. About 6.7 percent of American adults are Southern Baptists, according to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center.
Compiled from Times wires and other sources.