Yes we (beer) can: US abuzz with State of the Union drinking game

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The Independent Online

Around the United States, Americans are shaking furiously ahead of President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address Wednesday.

But they're not trembling in fear, anger or anticipation: they're using cocktail shakers to get ready for the State of the Union drinking game.

Invented in 2002 by Marc Mezler and Howard Deutsch when they were students at Princeton University, the basic rules of the game require players to down a shot or chug a beer when the president says certain words or phrases, or speaks the names of people or countries during the key speech.

This year, "hope" and "change" both require a swig of something, as do mentions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan.

"Let me be clear" and "make no mistake" get a shot each, and if Obama references problems that his administration inherited, players drink a shot of something aged.

Drinks are also required if the camera zooms in on someone.

A camera shot of First Lady Michelle Obama earns a jigger, and if the camera shows the first lady's well-cut arms, players take another step towards getting well-cut themselves, in both meanings of the word, because that shot of hooch has to be delivered using a bicep curl.

If Obama mentions the word "stimulus", you drink an espresso - which might be welcome relief after the shot downed for "reform", the shot taken without moving any facial muscles if the camera zooms in on House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi, or the shot if Obama introduces a special guest.

Initially inspired by former president George W. Bush's unique use of the English language, the cue words are revised every year and posted on the web at www.drinkinggame.us.

Two years ago - the last time the State of the Union drinking game was held - Americans bade farewell to the word 'nukular', the Bushism for nuclear, downing a shot when Bush said it - that way - in the speech.

Nukular didn't make it onto this year's list, because Obama doesn't say it. Gone, too, this year are mentions of "God" or any euphemism for God, which would have earned you two drinks under Bush, "water-boarding", "Guantanamo", and any mention of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In are mentions of either Bill or Hillary Clinton, the Copenhagen climate summit and the expression "through no fault of their own" if Obama is talking about unemployment.

The latter only earns a shot for any of the millions of Americans who are out of a job and happen to be playing.

Hopefully, someone else will pay for that round.

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