Archive for the Odd Category

Coca-Cola … The Real Thing

Posted in Odd with tags , , on July 2, 2009 by macmystery


Dylan rode with me Saturday to take some trash to the dump, and after we were through, we stopped at a convenience store for a “special drink.”

That’s what Dylan calls it when he and I are out together and we stop somewhere and each get a Coke or a Sprite in the small glass bottle. What was the norm in my childhood is a novelty now.

(Side Note: For what it’s worth, Dylan is hooked on the glass bottles … he’s since kept the bottle and is drinking everything from milk to orange Kool-Aid out of it. I have a strange child.)

I had intentions this day of getting a NEHI grape soda, but Dylan said, “Daddy, there’s big Cokes up at the top for you.”

Sure enough, at the top of the cooler were the bigger 12 oz. Cokes. I almost dismissed them, my mind set on the NEHI, until I noticed something strange. On the bottle of the tall Cokes was the word “Refresca.” Huh?

So I pulled one down and noticed that aside from “Coke” and “Coca-Cola,” all the words on the bottle were in Spanish.

Why would they have Mexican Cokes, I thought? The bottles each had a small white sticker with the nutritional information and the ingredients printed in English (all this was omitted form the bottles of the Mexican Cokes).

It didn’t take much reading to see the difference and to decide I didn’t want a NEHI.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, SUGAR, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine


No corn syrup.

Real sugar.

Amazing. And sad. And disappointing.

I find it ironic that while the rest of the world gets “The Real Thing” in every sense of the phrase, American consumers get corn syrup because it’s cheaper than sugar.

Forget our jobs, they’re sending all our Cokes to Mexico.

UPDATE: I have since found several articles online about Costco selling Mexican Cokes out west for the past four years or so. And there was a Wall Street Journal front page story from a couple years ago about the high demand for Mexican Cokes.

More Bigfoot, by the book

Posted in Books, Humor, Odd with tags , , , on June 12, 2009 by macmystery
A Bigfoot book

A Bigfoot book

Looking around online, I came across a book review on a book about one of my favorite topics.


Last August, I posted “Another Bigfoot story bites the dust” about the latest Bigfoot saga, which easily sucked in (and suckered) Fox News.

Fair and balanced, … and apparently brain dead.

While I’m sure the book itself — Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend — is an scintillating read, it was the comments posted after Brian Switek’s book review on the blog that were pure entertainment.

After the appearance of author Joshua Blu Buhs to answer some of the reviewer’s questions about the book and an interesting post about how we should be willing to challenge what we know and what we believe, things digressed. At one point, one poster claims to out another as a government secret agent sent to discredit any eyewitness accounts of Bigfoot.

Eventually it deteriorates to the point where one frequent poster flat out questions the sexuality of the author.


Finally, Switek admonished the unruly poster and closed the thread.

But not before it made my day.

UPDATE: In case you miss his comment, my friend Chris also blogged about this book and the author commented on his post. I’ll presume they didn’t discuss anyone’s sexuality.

Beware the “Throwback”

Posted in Odd with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2009 by macmystery
Not all it's cracked up to be.

Not all it's cracked up to be.

UPDATE: Pepsi re-releases Throwback drinks, with a correct formula this time. See All hail the Throwback.

OK, it’s been quite a while since I posted anything, so to mark my return, I’ve decided to tackle a tough topic, but one I dearly love.

Mountain Dew.

You can see this is going to be a bear.

Growing up near Atlanta, when it comes to soft drinks, I’ve always been a Coca-Cola guy.

Hands down.

Pepsi sucks.

In fact, I once won a bet by proving to a less-soft drink educated fellow than I that I could discern between Coke and Pepsi simply from the smell alone. But that’s for another time …

But for quite some time, if I’m drinking a mass-produced, over-sweetened, caffeine-loaded soft drink that’s not a Coke, odds are highly favorable that it’s Mountain Dew.

In fact, I’m enjoying some as I type this post.

Well, back in March, PepsiCo introduced “Throwback” versions of both Pepsi and Mountain Dew. I’ve no idea what the Pepsi version tastes like and I likely never will. But from the moment I became aware of this new Mountain Dew product, it was only a matter of when, not if, I would partake.

According to PepsiCo’s propaganda, the primary difference between the current version of Mountain Dew and the retro “Throwback,” besides the use of the old logo on the packaging, is the fact that retro version is made with real sugar instead of corn syrup.

Soft drink companies began moving to corn syrup in the 1980s, beginning with Coca-Cola’s marketing-ploy-disguised-as-PR-nightmare move from Coca-Cola to “New Coke” to Coca-Cola Classic, which is what we now know as Coke. For those too young to remember that fiasco, it’s all explained here. But the basic theme is that Coke used the ultimate cola shell game to move from sugar to the much cheaper corn syrup.

Now virtually all soft drinks are made with corn syrup, excluding some smaller independent brands and a few instances of bottling companies with grandfathered bottling agreements with the big companies that allow them to continue making their products with sugar.

If you’ve ever visited a Mast General Store in North Carolina or the Upstate of  South Carolina, you’ll find all of their glass-bottled drinks (excluding Coke) are bottled using real sugar instead of corn syrup.

Some people have speculated that our nation’s shift to corn syrup over sugar over the past 20-plus years is partially responsible for some common health problems (obesity, childhood diabetes, etc.)  I don’t think this has been proven, but it doesn’t sound entirely ridiculous to me.

Sorry, I’ve rambled. The point, besides a little background, is that these drinks like the ones at the Mast stores that are made with sugar DO taste different. Maybe even better. So I wanted to try the Mountain Dew.

So a couple of weeks ago, while on vacation in the mountains of Tennessee, I bought some Mountain Dew Throwback.

What a complete and utter disappointment. The difference between sugar and corn syrup is actually pretty easy to detect. The sugar has a different kind of sweet that’s hard to describe. I believe it’s sweeter. But it was obvious from the start that the Throwback edition of Dew was quite punchless. I noticed it, but thought  maybe it was me.

But eventually, I determined there was a legitimate weakness there, and I began to peruse the ingredients on the side of the can.

A-Ha! It was right there in green and white.

Most people never look at the ingredients on the side of their soft-drink cans. In fact, I usually wish I didn’t know what was in there. But I only had to get down to the third-most plentiful ingredient in the two versions of Mountain Dew to see what the problem was.

Aside from carbonated water and high fructose corn syrup, the next most plentiful ingredient in Mountain Dew is … orange juice. Most people don’t know that. After that is citric acid.

Imagine … a citrus soft drink with real citrus in it. That’s preposterous.

But if you look at the Throwback label, it goes from carbonated water and sugar (instead of corn syrup) straight to the citric acid.

No orange juice.

At all.


A first, I had simply been disappointed that a version of one of my favorite beverages with real sugar instead of corn syrup was so crappy.

But now I wonder if this isn’t the beginning of  a New Coke-like marketing ploy, instead. Maybe Pepsi is trying to play a shell game and eliminate expensive orange juice from Dew’s formula without the average  customer knowing.

So I guess I kinda had two points I wanted to establish …

1. Mountain Dew Throwback sucks. An indisputable fact.

2. When a major American corporation promotes a product that is supposed to give you something that you could only get in years gone by, it’s probably valid to ask what else they’re taking away from you while you aren’t looking.

By the way … Midnight Oil has given way to Joni Mitchell. Both respectable musically, but Joni’s easier on the eyes. But not too much.

Stuff this!

Posted in Odd with tags , , , , on January 28, 2009 by macmystery
Insert your own joke about a fox here, but here's Becca with a fox she's worked on.

Insert your own joke about a fox here, but here's Becca with an animal she's worked on.

My beautiful friend Becca, who’s a senior at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, is studying taxidermy at the Missouri Taxidermy Institute for the winter session.

Becca is interested in puppetry and wants to include animal parts in her puppets. She’s been there a while and she has started a really cool blog, with viceos and all, of her experiences and her work at MTI.

Check it out …

Random stuff: Someone liked my gas

Posted in History, Humor, Music, Odd, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by macmystery

Yesterday, New Year’s Eve, before Brooke went to work in the morning, she told me there were four pork chops in the refrigerator thawing.

“Cook them anyway you want to,” she said, “and eat one for lunch. You can take another to work for dinner and leave two for us.”

So, after feeding Ella lunch, I took my pork chops, which I had lovingly marinated in Italian dressing, outside to toss them on the grill.

I reached down to crank on the gas … and there was none. I mean none as in someone had stolen the entire tank right off my grill that sits right next to my house.

I think I was a little too shocked to even be angry. I was just flabergasted.

Brooke was more surprised than me when I told her about it. I grilled on Christlas Eve, so someone took the tank in the last week.

I’d like to think someone needed it really badly. For heat. Or money. Or because they had no electricity and needed to cook. But I doubt it. Likely some no good loser (like maybe my neighbor’s adult slacker son … can I say that?) who wants to save the money of buying his or her own tank.

So I guess we’ll refrain from grilling for a while, untile we get a new tank.

By the way, the pork chops were excellent baked.

Thank you, Mr. Pell

Former Democratic Rhode Island senator Claiborne Pell died New Year’s Day at the age of 90 after a long bout with Parkinson’s Disease.

Among Pell’s accomplishments was the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant program, which passed in 1972 and provided direct aid to college students … better known to you and I as Pell Grants.

Millions of low- and middle-income Americans (including this one) were assisted in attending college because of Pell’s grants.

I, for one, would like to say thanks to Mr. Pell and say a prayer for him and his family.

Sharing gas (and other bodily functions) with the ones you love

I came across this story today about how different couples/families are open … or not so open … with each other when it comes to normally private bodily functions.


“You and me, babe, how about it?”

The radio station I got hooked on this past summer in Reno, Nev., — KTHX 100.1 FM, The X — just played the Indigo Girls’ version of Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet.”

That never happens.


First time I’ve ever heard it on the radio anywhere.

Remember they said it has put together a wrap-up of the five dumbest things said about the economy in the past two years by political and financial leaders.


Beware wooden toilet seats

Posted in Humor, Odd with tags , , on December 29, 2008 by macmystery
Unbeknownst to many young boys, a silent killer lurks in many homes.

Unbeknownst to many young boys, a silent killer lurks in many homes.

Read this.

 It’s pretty funny.

 Then again, it’s really not.

Sunday night election smorgasbord

Posted in Odd, Politics, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by macmystery
Sensing the campaign is sinking with 10 days before the election, the Republicans have replaced John McCain with what they hope is a superior candidate, a cardboard cutout of McCain.

Sensing the campaign is sinking with 10 days before the election, the Republicans have replaced John McCain with what they hope is a superior candidate, a cardboard cutout of McCain. When asked, the RNC responded, "Hey, it's worked with Keanu Reeves' acting career."

Since I don’t want to make 100 different posts, I figured I could bunch all of this in one big one.

First, if you buy the rhetoric from the right, it’s only natural that virtually every newspaper in the country would endorse Barack Obama and Joe Biden. That crafty, slimy, liberal mainstream media! (If there was a sarcasm font, I’d use it here)

Back to reality, it might interest most that far more papers in this country endorsed Bush than Al Gore. Oops. There goes that theory/right-wing talking point/pile of horse shit. In addition, I work at a paper that would endorse Mussolini over Jesus Christ if the Italian were a Republican and the messiah a Democrat.

But you’d think McCain and Palin might get a break from the biggest paper in Palin’s state, a Republican stronghold.


The Anchorage Daily News endorsed Obama/Biden. Just for kicks, here’s a link to the Fox News blog reporting the endorsement. As if the story isn’t interesting enough, try reading the Fox News readers comments at the end of the blog post. If the comments seem remotely rational to you, please get help as soon as possible, for your safety and others.

Next, speaking of endorsements, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, a President Bush ally-turned-enemy, endorsed Obama on D.L. Hughley’s new CNN show on Sunday night.

And sticking with endorsements, here’s one you don’t want: Al-Qaeda. More bad news for McCain. Here’s a news item and here’s a New York Times piece on why it makes sense. Take it with a grain of salt.

So Sarah Palin’s hairstylist is the highest paid person on the McCain campaign team, making twice as much as his foreign policy adviser? Haven’t they learned you get what you pay for?

Rush Limbaugh … what a piece of work … he first says that Obama really wasn’t in Hawaii visiting his ailing grandmother, but instead was on some secret mission to cover up birth certificate fraud, or something almost as absurd.

Then, in nearly the same breath, he criticizes Obama for not going to visit granny sooner. Well, Rush, if she wasn’t ill, why would he have needed to leave earlier? I wonder if Rush wears his brownshirt to bed at night, or only under his white sheet at Saturday night get togethers.

And last but not least, something fun.

Sarah Palin dropped the puck at another NHL game this week. This time in St. Louis. There were some boos, but nothing like in Philly, the armpit of classiness in America. (Not that, admittedly, I wouldn’t have booed.) For the most part, St. Louis fans were like they always are, polite and enthusiastic.

But maybe she ought to not go back to St. Louis for a while. Goalie Manny Legace caught his skate on the carpet laid on the ice for Palin and injured his ankle. He departed Friday’s game after surrendering two goals in the first period and didn’t return. The Blues fell to the L.A. Kings, 4-0.

Legrace didn’t play in Saturday’s game. The team doesn’t know how long he’ll be out.