Thursday, April 23, 2009

- I took a cruise to Mexico a few months ago. Had a great time. During one of our stops, I drank a Mexican coca-cola. I couldnt believe how good the soda tasted! In Mexico (and many other countries) they still use sugar in the soda instead of the high-fructose corn syrup we use in the states. Mexican coke has a cleaner taste and with absolutely no after-taste.

So, being a rather curious kind of fellow, when I got back to the states, not only did I find some mexican coke at my local Sams Club (costs about twice as much as regular coke), but I did some research on why the American soda companies (mainly Coca-Cola) no longer use sugar in their soda. Remember the New Coke product introduced by Coca-Cola in the early 1980s? Everyone hated it, and Coca-Cola reverted back to their old Coke...kind of. Well, it turns out that the failure of New Coke was actually a boon to Coca-Cola. New Coke was one of the first soda products to use high-fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup tastes similar to sugar, but it is easier to produce, easier to transport, and doesnt fill you up like sugar does. Coca-Cola pulled New Coke off the shelves after the uproar, but put Old Coke back on the shelves with corn-syrup in it, instead of sugar! Anyways, if you cant find some of the mexican coke at your local grocery store, here is a website that sells it:

- I was watching some clips on youtube of Bill Cosby's standup (his rift on boozing is positively brilliant) and some of the voices he uses reminded me that Cosby was the person who created The Fat Albert Show. Not only did he create it, he hosted each show, and did the voices for many of the characters. Remember Russell and lil Bill from the Fat Albert Show? Lil Bill is of course based on Bill Cosby, and Russell is based on Cosby's real-life brother Russell. However, lets not give Cosby too much credit for Fat Albert. He didnt write the shows, and he was only available to record the character dialog a few times each year.

Cosby intentionally did not let the writers harp about race-problems in America. He wanted the show to be more universal and appeal to all children. When I watched the show, I didnt see a bunch of black kids from the inner city having problems. I saw kids just like me. In fact, when I first started watching Fat Albert, I thought it was set in Detroit! (It was actually set in Philadelphia, where Cosby grew-up.) I wanted to hang-out with the Fat Albert gang. They seemed like fun. I think the Fat Albert show is further proof that race-relations in America were at their best during the 1970s and 1980s. Here is a wonderful website all about the history of the Fat Albert show:

- It's amazing how timely the TV show South Park can be. Last night's show made a reference to Susan Boyle (the English American Idol celebrity), and she only hit the mainstream news a few days ago. An episode of South Park back in November 2008 parodied Obama's presidential victory, and the episode was released the day after Obama won. That particular episode used part of Obama's victory speech! That means they put Obama's speech into the South park episode only hours after Obama gave the speech. Most cartoon shows take months to create. How does South Park create their shows so quickly? Follow the link to find out:

- Are lefties better at sports?

-Top ten modern mysteries:

- Eight brilliant scientific mess-ups:

- Religious trends in the U.S, as reported by the Architect, Karl Rove:
Religious trends

- Seven ways to fool your senses:

- Have you ever looked a map that uses different colors for countries, states, counties etc, and noticed that you could color every territory on the map, without any territory of a particular color touching another territory with the same color, by only using four colors? This is called the four-color paradox. It's fun puzzle problem for computer scientists:
Four color problem

-The following statistical evidence blew my mind! Did you know that in an average NCAA men's basketball game, at half-time if one of the teams is down by a single point, that team has a slightly better chance of winning the game than the team with the lead? How can this be!?!? Dont you always want the lead at half-time? Logic dictates that having the lead at any point in a game naturally increases your chances of winning. Read this link for proof otherwise:

- Ten literary one-hit wonders:
One hit wonders

- Do you know who Lance Henriksen is? I am sure you have seen him in a movie or TV show. He is a small-time actor who somehow wiggled his way into many of the greatest movies ever made, often without even having a speaking part. Here is a partial list of the movies Lance had a part in:
1. Dog Day Afternoon
2. Network
3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
4. The Right Stuff
5. The Terminator
6. Aliens

John Ratzenberger (the mailman from Cheers) is cut from the same cloth. He also has made small appearances in some amazing movies:
1. The Empire Strikes Back (yep, he was a rebel on Hoth.)
2. Superman
3. A Bridge Too Far
4. Superman II
5. Gandhi
6. Reds

Why am I mentioning these two small-time actors? Well, Ratzenberger is openly Republican, making it hard to believe he could have scored a role in all these movies. Henriksen is one of the few actors I have found so far who could play Greymarch in a movie. A circa 1976 Lance Henriksen would make a decent Greymarch. He certainly has the voice for it. Follow these links to learn more about the careers of Lance Henriksen and John Ratzenberger: