Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I'm just a philistine 

It was being mocked over at Design Observer, but personally, I think i'd quite enjoy the "Humble Masterpieces" exhibition over at MoMA. It'd be like going to Black Ink or the Museum of Useful Things but having more informative placards all over the place. Mmmmm....

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Friday, July 23, 2004


I keep forgetting to blink

pointed out by the esteemed SnideClown

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The theatre gods have thrown me a tasty bone 

As per usual, the 'rents and I will be meeting up in Williamstown this summer to take in a show at the WTF. We were denied our first choices (imagine - a LaChiusa musical with Audra McDonald selling out! the new Terence McNally play being equally popular! the shock!) so we settled for the production of The Cherry Orchard (figuring that you can't go too wrong with Chekov).

Well, Playbill announced the full cast and it contains one of my personal pantheon of favorite character actors: Lee Wilkoff. I've never seen him perform before; i've only enjoyed him via cast recordings (Assassins, the original Little Shop, the revival of Kiss Me Kate), so i'm very psyched!

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Krispy Kreme will be my downfall 

You know, it was ok when there was no Krispy Kreme in Boston -- we would get the occasional delivery of day-old donuts when someone came back from a business trip (nuke 'em for 8-11 seconds, depending on your microwave), and that was that.  Frequent enough to make life feel good, not so frequent as to worry about my clothes still fitting.

But not only have they opened THREE locations in the greater Metro Boston area --Medford, Dedham (??  since when?  i missed that opening!) & the Pru .  No, now they have to come up with the ultimate summer caffeinated drink - a drinkable glazed donut.

Curse them!  Curse them and their kind! Curse them and the evil that causes this unhappiness!  (or rather, this overindulgence.)

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Way to go Senators! 


Can we just take the legal rights & privileges you get from marriage and attach them to some other term and leave the word "marriage" for the religions? i think it would make everyone so much happier in the long run...

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Friday, July 09, 2004

I was thinking of going to NYC anyways... 

... and now i've found a non-theatre activity for myself: going to the Corvettes to Cuisinarts: Six Decades of Diversity in Industrial Design exhibition at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery. It'll be there til July 31, and then show up again at the Schafler Gallery on Pratt Institute's Brooklyn campus from Sept 21 to Oct 15.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

No Coke. Pepsi 

Per usual, this stems from a lunchtime conversation, this one starting from a comparison of Pepsi Edge & C2, the two new "low carb" sodas on the market.

What sweeteners are in which:

Pepsi Edge: high fructose corn syrup &/or sugar, sucralose [Splenda]
C2: high fructose corn syrup &/or sugar, aspartame [Nutrasweet/Equal], acesulfame [Sunette/Sweet One], sucralose [Splenda]

The deal with sucralose:
Sucralose is derived from sugar through a multi-step patented manufacturing process that selectively substitutes three atoms of chlorine for three hydroxyl groups on the sugar molecule. This change produces a sweetener that has no calories, yet is 600 times sweeter than sucrose.

So C2 is cutting the sweetness of the sucralose by including the aspartame & acesulfame, which makes sense since you figure they're trying to taste more like Coke compared to Pepsi which is so much sweeter.

What's up with the Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine warning on Diet Pepsi? The scoop from PepsiCo is that it's an amino acid found in aspartame that some people are allergic too, thus the warning label. 1 out of 15,000 people are born unable to metabolize this amino acid and thus will become ill if they eat it; the other 14,999 won't notice a thing.

As for that "high fructose corn syrup &/or sugar" entry, well it appears that regular Coke in the US just uses the high fructose corn syrup. The sugar-based variety can be found in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and, during Passover, in some select areas of the US.

Interesting fact: New Coke, now called "Coke II" can still be bought in the Midwest (at least as of 1998, when this article was published.)

Sadly (for the sake of my long-held conspiracy theories), it looks like the idea that New Coke was introduced just to deflect attention from the sugar->corn syrup changeover doesn't have much to substantiate it. Most website just refer to it as a theory or rumor; a little more detail can be found at Snopes.com:

An interesting little claim sprang up in the wake of the introduction of Classic Coke, one having to do with its sweetener. People swore they detected a change in the flavor between Classic Coke and the original. This gave rise to the rumor that the product had been reformulated, dropping cane sugar in favor of high fructose corn syrup. Depending upon whom you listened to, either the demand for the return of original Coca-Cola afforded the company the opportunity to switch from cane sugar to corn syrup or the whole fiasco of taking original Coca-Cola off the shelves and reintroducing it three months later as Classic Coke was all a brilliant scheme to mask the change in sweetener. According to whispered wisdom, the company had hoped to slip the modification past consumers by having it take place during the original beverage's absence from the shelves. People would be so darned glad to have Classic Coke back that they wouldn't notice it didn't taste the same as original Coca-Cola. (Another twist to this rumor had it that New Coke had deliberately been formulated to taste awful in order to facilitate the switch — this supposedly gave Coca-Cola an excuse for pulling the original formula and then putting it back on the market after a brief absence, making it look all along as if they were simply responding to consumer demands.)

The change in sweetener wasn't anything that diabolical. Corn syrup was cheaper than cane sugar; that's what it came down to. In 1980, five years before the introduction of New Coke, half the cane sugar in Coca-Cola had been replaced with high fructose corn syrup. By six months prior to New Coke's knocking the original Coca-Cola off the shelves, there was no cane sugar in American Coca-Cola. Whether they knew it or not, what consumers were drinking then was 100% sweetened by high fructose corn syrup.

Tho things looked shaky back in the time of New Coke, Coca-Cola is currently winning the cola war all over the world with two exceptions: Scotland, where the locally produced Irn Bru reigns supreme, and Quebec, which has to be different and prefer Pepsi. Perhaps someday the pro-Palestinian competitor will pick up a few wins; if it were availabe in my barrio, i know i wouldn't be able to resist the slogan No more drinking stupid, drink with commitment!

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you can only survive with stark white walls for so long 

yeah, AMR got me to hang some pics up [finally!] but the walls are still very asylum-invoking. I'm verrrrry tempted to shell out some money for these oh-so-colorful removable wall decorations pointed out by MoCoLoco.

Tho, i have to admit, the kid in me is torn between this and this. not that i was terribly huge into video games or matchbox cars when i was little. but how can i resist them???

(reminds me of those magnets that you can put on the side of your car that Joie-de-Vivre sells and i've been debating buying for ages. if only they had something less girly than a big daisy or kittycat...)

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Getting from here to there in style 

This post is thanks to Discover magazine. Last year i switched my subscription to it from Scientific American (which is a cool mag, but takes more brain power than i have in the morning, which is generally when i read magazines). And the May issue has just the coolest comparison of bridges!

Of course there's our local pride & joy, The Leonard Zakim Bridge which does a great job of running with the Bunker Hill Monument style.

But that's tiny compared to the bridge they plan to build at Gibraltar -- the central span will be over SIX MILES! For comparison, the Zakim Bridge only has a central span of 0.15 miles, and the Brooklyn bridge is only twice that long.

However, in my opinion, the coolest bridge is the Alamillo bridge, built for the '92 World Expo in Seville (you can also take a look at it here if you drill down under "Projects"). The Barqueta bridge which is also in Seville and created for the same expo, is also pretty cool, but doesn't have the same shock value. I mean, you expect bridges to be vaguely symmetrical -- the Alamillo looks like something is missing. It also gives the impression that there's way more tension building up than can possibly be good, but they assure me it works. I never thought i would say i have a favorite bridge, but here we are. :)

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Friday, July 02, 2004

Didja know? 

The US national anthem 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is set to the tune of the English song 'To Anacreon in Heaven' which was the 'constitutional song' of the Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen's music club in London. That means a little more if you know that Anacreon was a Greek poet who was noted for his songs in praise of love and wine.

yup, the Banner is a drinking song. it boggles the mind -- most people can't sing it well when sober. I suppose in that way it puts everyone on an equal footing, but still. I'll choose I'm a Rover or The Old Black Rum any day.

Thanks to A.Word.A.Day for passing that tidbit along

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