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Calif. Vineyard Crisis; Free Speech in the South

NO GLOBAL WARMING IN THE VINEYARD

Farming can be a funny business -- not in a ha-ha way -- as so much depends on the whims of Mother Nature.

As I prepare to head to Iowa this week to talk to corn and soybean farmers getting ready to plant, here in California, some farmers who grow wine grapes fear 2008 may not be a good year.

Attached is an image from Faith Vineyard, owned by my husband's sister, Chris Jones, and her husband, John. Last weekend the temperature got down to 27 degrees, and, well, instead of toasting this vintage, this vintage may be toast.

The California Farm Bureau reports that the freeze "caused some damage in coastal vineyards." Napa appears OK. Some areas rarely see frost in April and don't have frost protection -- they may suffer. John Jones says the grapevines will be completely black in a few days, and then, he can only hope for new growth.

He tells me that vineyards which had overhead sprinklers to create frost protection were having problems with water pressure during the freeze because everyone was using their sprinklers at once. "Good thing there wasn't a mass flush at the same time," he says.

HOW LOW CAN BAGGY PANTS GO?

The Louisiana state legislature today rejected a bill that would ban droopy drawers. Those voting against the bill say it's too much like banning free speech. Yes, let's stand up for the plumber's smile!

The bill was introduced by Democratic Sen. Derrick Shepherd, who wanted to fine violators up to $175 and eight days of community service for wearing clothes that "intentionally exposes undergarments or intentionally exposes any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of the buttocks or genitals." Exceptions included thong swimsuits! OK! So... female buttocks are allowed, it's just the men who need to cover up.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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