Pepsi Throwback... nice try.

So, Pepsi decided to bank on my generation's new found obsession with the "retro" movement and try to snatch our hard earned disposable income with the introduction of their "Throwback" series of sodas.

For the two of you that don't know, the Pepsi Throwback campaign replaced with current packaging of Pepsi and Mountain Dew with those of bygone days. The first series featured a Pepsi can design right out of the 70's, and Mountain Dew's design was something out of the 70's-80's.

The current series features different designs. Pepsi sees a return to the 80's, while Mountain Dew returns for it's first incarnation. I actually like these designs better.

While the identity remix is nice, what really sells this promotion is the little fine print on the label.

"Made with real sugar"

That's right, the formula for this batch does away with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Those that follow my rants know my feelings towards HFCS.

The first batch I bought (featuring the 70's Pepsi and 80's Dew) tasted fantastic! I mean, that is what soda is supposed to taste like. It's the second go-round I'm having issues with.

Mediciney aftertaste.  If I wanted Mediciney aftertaste, I'd drink that abortion Dr. Pepper.

Something is fishy.

Why doesn't it taste the same as the first batch released only a few months before?

Nice try Pepsi... but you lost me, again.


Economic collapse, Webster style.

It seems there is no area that is safe from the current economic turmoil. Why, the other day I realized the words my $10 used to buy 15 years ago are much more expensive to purchase today. Heck, $10 barely buys you a 3 letter word nowadays.

Surely I can excuse my shrinking vocabulary by claiming mental deterioration due to age. Why not? It's plausible.

But considering how easily everything that goes wrong in this current climate is explained away by the ever present specter of "Economic instability", why couldn't my lack of terminology come from a recession of the English language?

"Excuse me, could you please direct me to the lavatory" is now replaced with "Yo, where's the toilet?" Rudeness? Lack of couth? Nope. Blame it on inflation.

How bad is this economic language crisis?

Some people can't even afford COMPLETE words!

4 xmpl, omg f u cn undRst& dis, u alrdy knw hw bad dis cn gt 4t fucha of d en lang.

Thank you, Twitter.

I have nothing more to say. I'm out of money and out of words.


Wake me up before you go-go.

I'm an addict.

I don't psychologically NEED my substance.  It's not a habit I am tied to. I sometimes forget and not consume. I have found that I can go several days, weeks, even months without it. I once went a year and a half. However, if I go ONE day without, my body rebels. I suffer headaches, fatigue and all around general crankiness. Turns out, I physically need it.

I'm sure most addicts say that. They physically NEED it.  They justify its existence one way or anything. That's why I'm not saying it's anything but an addiction.

I'm addicted to caffeine.

I hate coffee, though. I hate the bitter taste. I hate it hot, I hate it cold, I hate it black,  I hate it with milk, with sugar, without… I dislike it quite a bit.

So where do I get my caffeine fix? Well, not so long ago it was only to be found in cola. It could be Coke, Pepsi, RC,Chek… it didn't quite matter. As long as it was some sort of cola. Mountain Dew worked too.

Now though, I tend to stick to those so-called "energy" drinks. I called them "liquid crack".

I must have tried countless brands over the years, and here my friends are the best and worst:

Redbull: 9.64mg of caffeine per oz

The first taste was an eye opener. It was sour. But, after the first initial shock, it went down smooth.  It's an acquired taste, but it doesn't take long to acquire it. The most important thing though, it contains 80mg of my beloved caffeine in one can. Good enough to wake me up and keep me going at work, without keeping me up afterward when I want to sleep.

For comparison, regular coffee contains about 7.13mg per oz.
(Cuban coffee/expresso contains about 51.33 mg/oz…which is why it's served in a shotglass!)

Coke: 2.88mg/oz
Pepsi: 3.17mg/oz
RC: 3.77 mg/oz
Mountain Dew: 4.58mg/oz

The first energy drink I ever tried was:

KMX: 8.83mg/oz

This has been discontinued. Shame, really. Both flavors tasted great. Tasted much better than Redbull. Never got a chance to test it was a wake-up drink. It's got a little less of the caf than Redbull, but I'm sure it would have worked out. I miss this one.

Coca Cola Blak: 5.75mg/oz

Imagine if someone had a half a cup of stale coke and half a cup of 12 hr old coffee and said, "hey, let me pour one into the other to save room!" That's what this horrible concoction tastes like. And the worst part?  It's got less caf than a 12oz can of Mountain Dew, and costs twice as much.  This is garbage.

Speaking of Mountain Dew….

AMP Overdrive 8.88mg/oz

One word: Crackalicious! This is like drinking a cherry popcicle. It keeps me up much longer than Redbull, due in large because it is served in a 16oz can, thereby giving me a full 142mg of caf at a time, compared to Redbull's 8.5oz can of 80mg. But beyond that, it's the flavor that keeps me coming back for more. I don't drink it often, mostly due to the fantastic taste… I'd weigh like 400lbs and never sleep if I drank it more than I do.

Now for three that have forgettable tastes:

Full Throttle 9.00mg/oz

Monster 10.00mg/oz

SoBe No Fear 10.38mg/oz

Each has a forgettable flavor and each work about as well as Amp Overdrive. If I have a choice, between these three, I go for the cheapest, cause it really doesn't matter.

Rockstar 10.00mg/oz

Tastes like sugar water. Eh taste. I'd drink it if there wasn't any other choice, and I needed more than the kick I'd get from Mountain Dew.

Bawls 6.67mg/oz

Not much of an energy drink. Low caf count compared to some of the others. Flavor, like Rockstar is of the Eh variety. Neat bottle though. In fact the bottle is the only reason I tried it originally. I mean, look at it… it's blue and it's called BAWLS. It made for a nice vase for my desk when I was done. Other than that… eh.

Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt

Ok, so I bought this cause it had a picture of Steven Seagal on the can, looking like "Drink my drink or I'll club you like a baby seal!" And it tastes like someone poured grapefruit juice into seltzer. I drank, like half of it on a lark before deciding I couldn't stomach it much longer. Joke's on me, though. It worked-well. Kept me up on my day off of work…and prevented me from sleeping.  I don't know how much caf it has, but it kicked my butt like a baby seal alright. I don't know if I'd buy more or if I can… it looks like it may be discontinued. I mean I did buy it at Walmart, for $1.00 (16oz can). I don't know if I can do the taste though. It was harsh. Not as harsh as CC Blak, though. That's just pure evil.

So back to my novelty buys…

Hogan Energy 10.00mg/oz

Much like the Steven Seagal incident, I bought a pack cause it has Hulk Hogan on it. It's green and tastes like green pixie stick. I like it; enough caf to keep me up, but not enough to prevent me from sleeping. It has just a little more kick than Redbull, with what I consider a slightly better flavor.

Next time I do a review of food-like substances, I may tackle hot sauces. I like hot sauces… more than any human should.


Twinkies and Coke

So the other day I'm sitting there eating a Twinkie.

It had been a long time since I ate a Twinkie and now I remember why. It didn't taste like anything. It was essentially, tasteless.

Now, I remember as a kid these things tasting so good you might as well label them as "Kiddie crack."  But now, holding one in my hands I see it's a pale imitation of the Hostess treat that used to have me begging my mom for fifty cents. And in truth it is pale. The darn thing is pale yellow, not the good golden yellow it used to be. It's also slightly greasy.

So I decided to investigate why the Twinkies I had in my kitchen today do not match those in my memory, and I came up with only one explanation: High-fructose corn syrup.

The FDA approved the use of HFCS back in 1983... my Twinkie munching heyday. Soon there after, I assume they phased out using cane sugar as the sweetener and switched to the cheaper, less satisfying HFCS.
You may ask, can corn syrup REALLY make that much of a difference in the taste? I mean, the soda companies started replacing cane sugar with corn syrup around that time too and no one really noticed a difference. Or did they?

Anyone remember New Coke?

For 79 days in 1985, Coke stopped producing , well Coke, and introduced New Coke which was sweeter and some claimed tasted like Pepsi. Then when it failed miserably Coke Classic (or Classic Coke if you will) was rolled off the assembly line.

Now I'm not saying that this is when the switch took place, but it makes sense both in terms of timeline and taste.

HFCS is much sweeter than natural sugar. This means less is needed to produce a desired outcome. A company having a patented formula much like the Coca Cola Company might initially use the same amount of HFCS as it used natural sugar thereby producing a drink that would taste MUCH sweeter to the public.

Of course I have no proof, but luckily none is needed when you're complaining as I am.

People were so happy to get rid of the sickly sweet New Coke that no one noticed a slight difference in taste in the regular Coke.That is, except for us few that happen to travel out of the country.

See, every other country on this planet still uses cane sugar to this day! In their Twinkies, Coke, Snicker bars, all junk food! Go to Canada or Mexico and get yourself a Coke. You will never drink American Coke again.

Now... in doing research into HFCS and why my Twinkie tasted like a napkin soaked in Crisco, I did discover a bit of information I was unaware of: during Passover, Kosher foods do not contain HFCS! So if you cannot make it to Canada or Mexico, or even a little Mexican bodega where they import Coke made in their bottling plants, you can always hit stores that carry Kosher foods during Passover.

Just look for Coke or anything else you are looking for, marked "KOSHER".

That information was my only saving grace. See, HFCS is here to stay. The Corn farmers and their advocates would claim loss of revenue. My solution? Grow your corn and make me some alcohol to run my car! Leave my snack foods to the Cane Sugar growers. Hawaii and Florida farmers need revenue too.

So, I hereby declare CORN is to blame for all of my woes.


Not with a bang, but a whimper.

And just like that, a legend quickly fades from memory.

I speak of course, of the House that Ruth built, THE Cathedral of Baseball, Yankee Stadium.

The first team the Yankees played when they opened Yankee Stadium was the Boston Red Sox. The score was 4-1. Yankees won. That season, they didn't stop winning, and went straight through to the World Series and won that too. That's how it started.

This is how it ends:

The final game has been played. Now all that remains is the waiting for the demolition crew and proverbial wrecking ball to arrive. You see, after 85 years of hosting 37 World Series, 4 All Star Games, countless boxing matches (including the famous Joe Louis vs Schmeling bout), multi Papal visits, and concerts, this monument to more than baseball is going to be torn down... to make room for a parking lot.

Before Yankee Stadium, most baseball teams played in fields, or parks. Yankee Stadium was one of the FIRST ballparks to be given the title of Stadium. This obviously means nothing.

Now you too can park your SUV where Lou Gehrig gave his famous "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech. I can picture it now... fresh grease stains on the spot Mickey Mantle hit the big 5-0-0, a few more where Mr. October hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches in game 6, a tailgate party where Adolf Hitler's Aryan Superman was knocked out by the Brown Bomber, and handicap parking logo spray painted over the spot where legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne gave his "win one for the Gipper" speech. Living history.

Perhaps I am making too much of this. I mean, it's only a building right? Not in New York. No structure with that many memories attached to it, especially in town like New York can ever be considered "JUST a building." It's an icon. It's a historical landmark. It's yesterday's news.

And what better testament to Yankee Stadium's new found worth, than to end it's use, not on the grandest stage possible, the World Series, but in a lowly regular season game, against of all teams, the Baltimore Orioles. At least the Yankees won right? Not much consolation.

I wonder what they'll call the new home of the New York Yankees? The Wachovia-American Airlines-Hertz Rent-a-Car Center? Ya, I'm sure we'll be building memories worthy of inclusion in history books there.

Meanwhile, the ghosts of Yankee Stadium will be standing vigil from across the street, next to a Honda Accord.


I’m Mr Green Christmas, I’m Mr 101!

They call me Heat Miser...

It's that time of the year again. Christmas specials litter the airwaves, and like a good little consumer of mediocrity, I'm glued to the tube.

Rankin/Bass is responsible for most of my preconceived notions of the holiday season. Rudolph, The Year without Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, etc... these were my Christmas tutors.

Now, even as a child I wasn't too fond of the animated style of Frosty. It seemed lifeless, soulless. It wasn't as nice as a Disney animated piece. But it was on during the week on prime time, and it was special... that was good enough for me.

The stop-motion specials were different. I had nothing to compare them to, so that automatically made them awesome. But there has always been something about them that bothered me, and I've never been able to put my finger on it... till now.

Rewatching these specials (back to back on cable) I believe I have finally found what's been nagging me all these years.

One word: Continuity.

I understand the logistics. These specials were produced at different times, and I'm sure the puppets and sets were not saved for future productions, etc... but still.

Santa, Mrs Claus, and the elves are redesigned several times. I'm talking COMPLETE make-over... but everything else stays pretty much the same. That's ok, but the real issue is that we're led to believe all these stories take place within the same universe with the same characters, yet parts of each special contradict themselves.

You've got Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, where he grows up at the end and saves Christmas. Then in Rudolph's Shiny New Year, he's a young reindeer again. Last I check, New Year's comes after Christmas.

In Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, we get Kris Kringle's origin where he faces off against the evil  Burgermeister Meisterburger. But fast forward to The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, and we find out Santa was some kind of magical baby found and raised by a freaky elf girl and this freaky Gandalf-looking deer horn wearing magic giant.

What about The Year Without a Santa Claus and Jack Frost? Where are the Heat Miser and Snow Miser when Jack Frost is going through his adventures?

Yes, I know these are minor gripes, considering these were created for little kids hopped up on candy and soda, who couldn't possibly remember their own names much less little details like these... but I don't care.

Noticing these little contradictions kind of ruins it for me. It's like looking behind the curtain and seeing that the great and powerful OZ is wrinkly old con man.

However, that doesn't mean I won't watch them when they come on. When the Heat Miser hits the stage, all is forgiven, if not forgotten.


The Plight of the Strong Black Woman

Anyone that knows me knows I have a great dislike for political correctness.

I mean, what happened? One day a switch was flipped and everything I knew was now offensive to one person or another. But the day before, it was fine?

So anyway, being that I much prefer the political UNcorrectness of yesteryear, I thought I'd talk about one of my favorite comicbooks of all time...

"Superman's Girlfriend, LOIS LANE"  (Mar/Apr 1958 - Sep/Oct 1974)
The title says it all.
It's not "Lois Lane". It's not "Girl Reporter, Lois Lane" It's not even "The Amazing Sexpot, Lois Lane." 
No, it's "Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane".
It seems Lois Lane only exists as the chick that dates Superman... no other reason to exist, yet she received her own comic series.

Granted the typical issues revolved around either Lois trying to get Superman to marry her, or Lois marrying either Satan, Bruce Wayne or some convict on death row... Yep, try publishing THAT today, my friends.

My favorite all time issue of this series is, of course :

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane 106
Why is this my favorite? Just look at that cover!


Actually, that's not entirely true. It's more like the the comic book equivalent of going black-face. 

Lois Lane wants to cover a story in the ghetto, but the African American folks will not talk to her because, and I quote "SHE'S WHITEY!"

So what's a reporter to do? Why, go to Superman and make him turn you black of course!

Because obviously, that's one of Superman's powers, you know. (He actually uses a Kryptonian machine he keeps in the Fortress, you know, just in case someone he knows ever wants to turn black.)

So a lot of social commentary stuff happens and at the end, just when you think you've been reading an issue of ANOTHER comic book, the real Lois Lane, the one I love, shows up and asks Superman to marry her.

Of course he says, "No." (As always.)

And Lois, being the investigative reporter she is, assumes that it's because she's black now.

Superman then gives her a verbal pimpslap and pretty much tells her to stop being stupid, and gives her the old tired "I can't marry you because my enemies would use you against me, blah, blah, blah..." excuse.

Like you'd expect, her blackness wears off at the end of the day, and she's back to being plain old whitey again.

But don't let the ending stop you from enjoying such gems as Lois's regular cabbie refusing to pick her up cause she's black, forcing Lois to -OH NO- ride the subway! That's worth the price of admission alone, my friends. So is her fascination with her brand spanking new "AFRO WEAR!"

You just can't make this stuff up.

So, for a taste of yesteryear with the stupidity of today, pick up this issue. I promise you, it won't disappoint.