Friday, November 28, 2008

Blue Sky Jamaican Ginger Ale

Deer poop is natural too, and probably tastes better.

Blue Sky Jamaican Ginger Ale

Blue Sky used to make an orange drink that tasted like liquid baby aspirin. To be clear, this is a good thing. A friend of mine would sell it to me at a discount or give it to me for free, letting me guzzle it by the case. When I left the Midwest I went without Blue Sky for a long time, and when I found the orange flavor again it had changed into something else. That was very sad.

My feelings about the Blue Sky have darkened once again. My wife brings out a "research" can of Blue Sky Jamaican Ginger Ale from the kitchen and begins to drink it with dinner. This is a new ploy in our ongoing war over a refrigerator a quarter full of soft drinks, a new way to "disappear" a can of soda. Playing it cool, I ask her to save a few drinks for me at the end, then I take a swig to give it a try. It's awful. I wish I'd let her have it. Not only do I wish I'd never bought the crap, it makes me wish I'd never had a refrigerator.*

Yeah, awful. It has that awful burned tang of honey, though supposedly none is inside. It boasts "real sugar" on the ingredients list, and natural ginger flavor. The ginger taste is way off, I've drank enough ginger beer to start a distillery in my stomach and none of it tasted like this. It doesn't have the cardboard foulness, but it does have a bitter burn competing for my attention with the honey tang and some vague chemical flavor. The whole mess sits in the back of the throat like the "before" image in a Prilosec commercial.

This is pretty unpleasant stuff, real sugar or no. Not much to do with ginger ale, ginger beer, ginger soda, ginger any damn thing. Best just to walk by the Blue Sky aisle without making eye contact and not make a scene, there are healthier things in the health food store that won't make you as unhappy.

*I wrote this article up a while ago, when I reread it I found this asterisk where you see it now. I have NO idea why I put an asterisk there. Maybe I was going to say "No, I really am glad I have a refrigerator, it keeps my food fresh."**

**For the record, I've always been bothered by the word "refrigerator" and the abbreviated form "fridge". Why does a letter get added to the abbreviated form? I can think of no other informal condensation of a word where an entirely unrelated letter is thrown in. I mean, it's obvious why you need a "d" in "fridge" - otherwise you'd have "frige" which is a French word which means 'scaring young children with malicious intent'. What I really want is for that "d" to migrate backwards into the word "refridgerator". But my spellcheck says no.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


So I've been a little busy lately, so I'll just fake a review:

Ooh, yuck! It's a funny color. Lookit that label. It has corn syrup in it, I don't like that. My wife is yelling at me. And here's a picture with a funny caption (imagine a picture here, with a sort of funny caption).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Columbiana Kola Flavored Soda

Columbiana Kola Flavored Soda, Brooklyn Bottling, New York

My great uncle Reinhardt had
a bunch of medals like that from WWII.

Colombiana Kola Flavored Soda is a lie. There is nothing Kola flavored about this, it's that meringue flavor, that generic Hispanic mixture of bubble gum and raspberry or whatever it is. What does Kola mean in Spanish? Does it mean "blatant deception" or "meringue"?

Is that how you spell "meringue" flavor? Is that right? I think I've also seen this atrocious flavor called "champagne", but that is usually in the North American versions. An awful flavor you find in the discount soda section, made by a company you've never heard of. A company that hates New Year's Eve and tried to spoil it by selling liquid noxiousness disguised as champagne.

The lies don't stop with the flavor, the distributor, too, is full of misdirection. "Imported and Distributed by Brooklyn Bottling of Milton, NY". Yeah, shooting for that Brooklyn street cred, eh? Well Milton is a long way from NYC, my friends, and I ain't buying it. That they have a Brooklyn phone number only compounds the lie.

Now I have to admit, the stuff isn't as bad as it could be. Maybe if you liked this flavor of soda you could dig Columbiana. It's sweet and not too chemical tasting, a little watery. Really carbonated, and leaves a heartburn feeling in the back of my throat. A few quick, consecutive drinks leaves me with a waxy coating on my tongue which quickly dissolves away.

Interestingly enough, the bottle is returnable in eleven states, usually it's only a couple. That's pretty neat.

I get up at the crack of dawn to drink soda for you fools.

That, my friends, is a Grade A flinch.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Perfect Water and imperfect ribs at the street fair

I don't see "snake oil" anywhere on the ingredients list.

The perfect Perfect Water stand, first stop on our day at the street fair.

I think the man is showing me where the water comes out.
Does that give it calcium?

My wife and I wandered by the local street fair and, lo and behold, a healthy new beverage was being offered. A high oxygen bottled water, scientifically designed to put pep back in your step and make your stiffy less whiffy. I've always been a fan of water, namely because my body is almost ten percent water - concentrated in the knees.

A kind gentleman offered to PROVE to me that his water could improve me physically with just one tiny cupful, in less than a minute. He also told me that a hospital was doing studies about how great Perfect water is because it helped CANCER patients by making their chemotherapy less bothersome. That's incredible! I plan to have cancer one day and asked for more information. Unfortunately, the gentleman couldn't remember which hospital was doing the study, I guess this magic water doesn't help the memory so much, eh? He told me that the manufacturer has used SCIENCE to insert extra oxygen into the water molecule. Exciting stuff, that science - kids love it.

My wife had made plans for us to meet some folks at a movie, so I wasn't allowed to linger long over this liquid marvel. However, I did take the three step test which PROVES that this magic water immediately improves your body.

Test 1, right when I get gut kicked by a karate little person.

Test 1: The guy moved me off to one side of his tent, undoubtedly afraid it could be toppled during the vigorous physical demonstrations to come. He asked me to touch my toes, which I did. If I may say so, for a doughy guy I'm pretty flexible. I did this once. I could've done it more, but he didn't ask me to.

Test 2, I'm sure my face is that way because
I was photographed in the middle of saying something witty.

Test 2: I am told to flex my waist. I got excited as I was confused by the homonym, but no, I am made to stick out my arms and pivot my waist to see how far I can reach one arm behind me.

Test 3: This is the big one, what he called the "tip" test. The guy cozies up next to me, makes a fist with his arm straight down and has me hook my hand underneath his. At first I thought we were about to do another homonym, but instead he "tips" me by pushing down on his arm. He pushes his arm down, pushing my hand down, which makes me rock over toward him a bit where he leans up against me so I won't fall. He sits me back up and they hand me a tiny cup of water.

As we will come to see, this man is a master of the dark art of illusion. Illllllusion (wave both hands in the air in front of listener). So let's stop and guess what he's going to try to prove from these tests. 1... 2... 3... No, don't answer out loud, just think it over. I knew what was coming when he asked me to touch my toes just once.

The water. The magic. "The Ultimate Fluid to Empower Your Body and Mind". Perfect Empowered Drinking Water. I am given some in a little blue cup, it has no smell. They all laugh when I smell it. I drink it, it tastes like distilled water. Because I am too ignorant to feel my new super powers flow through me, the man now will complete his test and prove I'm now a better person.

Test 1a: I am told to touch my toes again. Knowing full well the trick, I refuse to touch any further than where I touched before. Everybody in the world knows that you don't have your full flexibility till you limber up a bit. It stands to reason that I will be slightly more flexible on the second stretch than the first. When I stall out at the same place, the guy tells me to stretch further and see if I can touch the ground - he didn't do that the first time. During Test 1 he told me to touch the tips of my sneakers and stop there.

Test 2a, that woman behind me works for the
Perfect Water people.She's telling me that
I turned further this time than last,
if you look at the photo for Test 2 you'll see
that she's not even behind me.
For shame.

Test 2a: To test their scientific rigor, I twist to the right instead of the left this time. They don't correct me, thus invalidating their carefully constructed control situation. That, and see Test 1a. The woman standing behind me cheers that I twisted much further than before, even though I pointedly did not, and she hadn't been there the first time to see.

Test 3a, I'm ashamed to even look.

Test 3a: This is where, we slip across that tricky line from silly to fraud. I strike the fist in hand pose and the guy pushes down again, tilting me slightly toward him, but THIS TIME I DON'T TIP! It's absolutely the most unnatural thing I've ever encountered, positively eerie. I mean I DIDN'T TIP OVER, but of course that wasn't the eerie part. I didn't tip over because the man was standing much closer this time and leaned against me with his shoulder so I wouldn't move any further than he wanted me to. What was so unnatural was this grey haired old fellow being so deceitful, perpetrating a fraudulent scientific test worthy of a snake oil salesman. Oh wait, I've been having grey haired old men tell me lies my entire life. Maybe that's why I didn't react with surprise and anger.

It was kind of neat to be there first hand for something so sneaky, to be told a bald-faced lie in person instead of through the television. To personally witness a "scam". I was wondering what would follow, but all they said they wanted was my email address which no one proceeded to take. Did they detect the savvy look in my eye, or were the two old ladies behind me better targets? Do they try to sell oil shares to the more gullible? I've been wanting to pick up a bridge.

Because the folks working this booth were so shady, I am going to pointedly say that everything I'm writing and have written is MY OPINION. I'm not going to assert as a fact that these people actually lie, cheat, or seek to defraud by misleading trickery but that is merely my interpretation of their actions. I'm not going to say that anyone so sleazy as to pull stunts like this would probably try to sue for supposed defamation, provided they were willing to show their snakey heads in a courtroom.

Houdini style, I will invite them to present these tests again, under controlled circumstances. I will bring a few people in rented lab coats to make up facts to oppose their made-up tests. I would love to see FACTS which can be drawn out from that wonderful "tip" test.

Folks, water is good for you. It's true. I'd suggest you drink it in almost any form or flavor outside of "sea". The Perfect water test is a poorly thought out deception, and if it wasn't old people administering it I'd've told them so loudly. Of course, if they were strapping young men I wouldn't have told them off, either. The water doesn't instill courage.

Fortunately, I was wearing my disguise that day - dopey fake beard, false glasses with novelty nose attached, and a derbie masquerading as a cap. Next time I see a street fair I'll find them and take the test again, then ask the sort of quick-cutting questions one expects of a blog like this. The most important being: What is test 3 actually trying to prove? Wha? It's so odd as to refute any sort of logical sequence that could lead one to wondering anything about it.

So this is a fair and there are many folks wanting to separate you from your money here, I won't focus in one just this one shyster but skip along to the important bit. More food. After wending our way through obnoxiously loud DJ booths and bad cover bands, past carpet sales booths and so, so many sausage stands, I bought a portion of ribs and a sweet tea.

I put the little black bar on there
to protect the identity of that awful sweet tea.

I asserted earlier that great sweet tea was had from bbq restaurants. I'll stick to that by insisting that a stand is not a restaurant. The tea I bought was watery powder mix, with a lemon in it. Not great sweet tea. Not at all. In fact, it was barely drinkable.

The ribs, however, were very good for what was there. Not very meaty for their size or price, the bulk of the piece I was given was that nightmare of bones that all the ribs attach to. That mess that looks like half an alien face hugger after you pick that meat off. Not enough meat, but the glazing and the bits were good. Really good. NOT as good as my home-made over ribs, which is saying a lot as these actually came out of a real smoker.

There were only about four bites this big in the whole cut.

I will assure you that after eating these ribs, no old fellow selling snake oil could tip me over easily. My center of gravity had found a new low, not to mention I was still full of ribs from the time before. Does Perfect Water have fiber in it? I could sure use some of that.

When I mentioned Olde Cape Cod BBQ sauce before,
I lefte the "e" offe of Olde. Howe thoughtlesse.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bahamas VIII: Mrs French's AK-100 Vanilla Corn Drink

Who the Hell Goes to the Bahamas? Eighth and Final Installment

Before the Ring of Comprehend Languages...

...and after.

If I could strike that hand from my body, I would.

My eyes tell it all.

I don't know if this photo is of me trying to not vomit
right after the first drink,
or nerving myself up for a second drink. Either way I look hilariously unhappy.

Mrs French's AK-100 Vanilla Corn Drink
Acassan de la Senora French AK-100 de Mme French
by French's Drinks

If I was being generous, I would say that Mrs. French's AK-100 Vanilla Corn Drink tasted like burned chocolate. That's what I would say to get you assholes to drink it, so I could see your faces and then laugh. Instead, I'm going to tell you the truth. It tastes like sucking the cock off a rotten corpse, and I mean OFF, not on. Like you suck on it till the whole skin casing breaks loose and slides into your throat, bringing most of the insides with it. It dissolves into a mess of rancid fat and decaying veins leavened in congealed blood, smearing through your mouth like Vaseline.

You spit it out but it's too late, your tongue has had a stroke and you've defecated in your pants. You can never forget the horror of it and the taste will live with you for the rest of your days.

I thought about writing this up like a Lovecraft "found narrative" parody, but Lovecraft deals in cosmic horror, this is visceral. This is like sucking puss out of the drainage tubes where your dog got stitches.

This drink is very, very bad and I do not know why it exists in this world. It truly makes me wonder if we do, indeed, live in Hell and this is a drink devised for the exceptionally bad sinners out there. It is made in France, so does that make them angels or devils? Either way, I am now officially shifting over to the Freedom Fries "bomb the French back to the Stone Age" brigade. Truthfully, I think Stone Age is a little extreme, I'll settle for Pre-Corn Drink Age.

But wait, that was trying to be funny and there is nothing funny about this. I'm writing about utter and complete wrongness, and will try to be truthful and specific not matter how hard it is. I will begin at the beginning.

We were in the Bahamian air port waiting area, waiting to fly home. Having gone through several layers of security, I felt safe. I saw the can of Corn Drink sitting in a refrigerator and bought it. Hurrah!, I think, a new drink to try. What an idiot.

We sit down with our steam tray breakfast and I eat a bit, give the can a good shake up and pop it open. I take a swig, spazz out in some sort of primitive urge to defend myself, then spit the Corn Drink out on my tray. Struggling not to vomit, I snatch up an orange juice container and try to kill the taste. Sadly, the only thing that could kill the taste was a knife and mine was in the check-in baggage.

After a bit of eating, I try it again and force myself to choke it down. It was as bad as the first time and I regretted my sense of fairness.

The plane ride home was spent trying not to think of the stuff, or else I'd've vomited.

The taste is hard to describe. Like I said earlier, a charitable soul would say burned chocolate. A soul that charitable would also forgive my spit roasting their child. The taste is almost forgotten, and I am not going to try to bring that back - instead I'll leave it at that.

The texture though, the consistency... That was what nearly killed me on the first go round, it's thick thick thick and slimy, more like drinking liquid fat than anything wholesome. You know what, as for the taste, go back to paragraph one. There's no truth or goodness left in the world, and no words that can explain what the fuck this is supposed to be.

Once, long ago, I drank out of a container of Gatorade that had sat too long in the refrigerator. It was full of these beautiful colonies of mold, floating globes at least an inch and a half across. I sucked one or two down before I knew what was happening, it was pretty awful in consistency, but not a tenth as bad as this.

I'm getting sick at the memory of it. While writing up my Bahamas notes I've been eating a delicious banana pudding from Sugar Sweet Sunshine, an incredible NYC bakery. The best cupcakes I've ever eaten, puts Magnolias in the dirt. But I can't eat any more of their corn pudding... Look, I just wrote "corn" when I meant "banana." I can't eat any more of the banana pudding now or I will, I swear to God, barf.

You win, Vanilla Corn Drink. You are utterly and completely vile, and you win.

I wish I could fake faces like that, I'd never
pay for another restaurant meal again