It’s a new year. And with each new year come hopes of things to change for the better, as if the change of a digit on the calendar means that anything will be different from just a short time before. The world’s not going to get better unless you do something about it. I mean you, dear reader, because I’m not going to do anything. There’s beer to drink. If you were busy wearing black to an award show this week, odds are you missed it.
Norway deemed not a sh&$hole
This week, President Donald Trump made disparaging remarks about Haiti and African nations during a meeting with Congressional leaders on immigration issues. Trump asked why people from “sh&$hole countries” are being let in to the U.S., and why we can’t let in more people from Norway. Mr. President, the Norwegians had their chance. They came here 1,000 years ago and got kicked out. By your definition, they are a country of losers.
New year, new diet
Coca-Cola announced this week that it would be rolling out a new line of Diet Coke flavors later this month in a bid to boost its faltering sales. The flavors will be “twisted mango,” “zesty blood orange,” “feisty cherry,” and even “ginger lime,” which Coke says will be made with real redheads.
Heavy is the head
In a rare interview, Queen Elizabeth II remarked that one of her crowns weighs several pounds. She said it is so heavy that she can’t tilt her head down while wearing it because it would break her neck. So look for that exciting drama in season 28 of The Crown on Netflix.
Late last week, a blog post about drinking soda went viral. I don’t know how Facebook curates its tending news stories list, but for some reason, the site thought I’d be interested in reading about it. Normally, I avoid blog posts about nutrition, weight loss and stuff like that, because they’re all written by kooks with clear agendas. There’s no reason to believe unsupported health claims made by someone writing for something like Vegan Heroes Against GMO than if they were writing about how Obama is the devil for Libertarian Tea Party Bald Eagles United.
But typically stories like that are posted by the friends you avoid having conversations with for good reason. This one was in that Facebook news feed thing, which doesn’t mean it’s more credible, but it at least means a lot of people are reading it, so I decided to check it out.
America is the eating champion of the world, and we have been for 72-years straight. No one can eat like us. They don’t even come close. We compete against each other to eat the most hot dogs, pies and other healthy snacks. We have entire TV network dedicated to the cooking and enjoying of food.
We’re also adventurous eaters. As a country, we enjoy more variety of food than any generation before us. No one thinks twice if you say you’re having Vietnamese-Cuban infusion for lunch, and mouths water at “innovations” like waffle tacos or pizza with a Doritos crust. But with all this looking forward in food, we seem to find ourselves looking wistfully at the past.
About a month ago, I explored the outrageous idea of maybe not getting so outraged in 2014. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think I could handle another 2013. My blood pressure was so high that I was sporting a non-pleated permarection. All year.
And, for the most part, we were doing OK. But this week … oh lord, this week.
But when I took a closer look at this week’s key dividing moments online, I realized something: nobody’s actually arguing with anybody.
If you’re watching something on TV, there’s a strong chance that it doesn’t actually matter. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the masses won’t have strong opinions about it, anyway. One example is the Super Bowl. It’s a game that pretty much only happens in the U.S., and even less relevant are the commercials that play during it. A couple years ago, Clint Eastwood told America to get off its ass (he later went on to talk to imaginary people). Michael Jordan and Larry Bird once played an epic game of horse. This year, Coca-Cola made Pepsi the drink of racists.
Even though I get obsessed with commercials, I was hoping to avoid writing about Super Bowl ads. Everyone with a keyboard writes about the good and bad ones with their own subjective rating scales. No one is convinced by what they read, they’ve already made up their minds. But a lot of people aired out their phobias on the internet last night, so here we are.
California regulatory agencies declared compound 4-methylimidazole, also known as 4-MI or 4-MEI — one of the ingredients that gives cola beverages their distinctive caramel coloring — “a known carcinogen.” The classification would have forced brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi to place a cancer warning on containers or resort to colorless colas, reigniting the Crystal Pepsi and Clear Tab Debacle of the early ’90s.
However, crisis was averted when Coke announced a formula change that will maintain their cola’s coloring while reducing the levels of 4-MI. And this is despite the company’s insistence that “the body of science about 4-MEI in foods or beverages does not support the erroneous allegations that [the Center for Science in the Public Interest] would like the public to believe.”
Historians who specialize in the period ranging from 1992 – 1993 are thankful that Coke was able to resolve this without unleashing clear colas onto an unsuspecting public once again. Now, we just have to make sure grunge remains securely in its grave.
Accordingly, the 1979 article not only lists the obvious ingredients used in Coke, such as sugar, citric acid and caffeine, but also breaks down the mysterious “7X,” Coke’s most closely guarded secret. People have died for less, we assume.
So, what’s in 7X? Not cocaine, sadly fortunately. On the contrary, the reports are saying it’s a mixture of alcohol, oils from oranges, lemons and nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, and neroli. Good luck using the information to make your own version of Coke. It lacks high-fructose corn syrup, but that doesn’t make it any easier to make it in your mom’s basement.