Friday the thirteenth! Checking the appropriate entry in my favorite resource, wikipedia, I note with interest that the superstitions about Friday the 13th date no further back than 1869. However, Fridays have been considered unlucky since the 14th century - which clearly suggests that society back then didn't have the weekdays-work, weekends-play system we have now.
Also, this: "One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th." Hmmmm.
One last nugget: "The fear of Friday the 13th has been called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom 'Friday' is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen)."
A headlight in my VW went out yesterday; I think I'll invite my Bug-owning neighbor (the one who I helped change out a battery some weeks ago) to watch me replace it. It's a somewhat tricky process. Those cars are constructed like puzzles. You will observe that there are lots of New Beetles on the road with only one headlight - I know why.
I posted some stuff to Burbankia today.
Last night my wife and I watched the first half of a two and a half hour Coca Cola documentary. It's interesting, but hardly an unbiased work. I wonder if the company didn't fund it; Coca-Cola archivists are quoted at length and it seems to hold to the corporate line. It asserts that the product never had any cocaine in it in a sly way, by quoting Asa Chandler's remark about there not being "one atom of cocaine in an ocean full of Coca-Cola." That may have been true when he said it, but it is true that early formulations had cocaine in it. From one source: "It has been estimated that John Pemberton's original 'Coke,' as it was nicknamed, contained almost 9 milligrams of cocaine per glass. But caffeine increases the effect of cocaine and most customers usually drank more than one glass of Coke; sometimes several throughout the day. Three Cokes would provide roughly 30 milligrams of cocaine, which compares with the 20 to 30 milligrams normally 'snorted' in a day by a contemporary cocaine user. So it shouldn't be a surprise that Atlanta's soda fountains soon became almost as popular as its saloons."
I used to drink Coke in the famous and beloved 6 1/2 ounce glass bottles when I was a twelve year old - mainly because I liked the fact that the bottlers stamped their city names on the base of the bottle. I collected them for a time. But, mostly, I was a Seven-Up drinker. (I had a pop art Seven-Up trash bin in my room.) I didn't become a Coke drinker until I started summer Civil War reenacting in the East Coast. I know what helped G.I.s win World War II in part: the availability of nickel Coca-Coca on the front lines. Many is the time that, sweating and exhausted from the heat, I have dumped a Coke and some ice in my tin cup, found some shade, and felt 100% restored. Wonderful stuff! (And yes, I'm aware that nutritionists claim that cold water in those circumstances is better because caffeine has a dehydrating effect - but they are wrong.)
Much is made of Coca-Cola's iconic status in America in this documentary, and this is hard to dispute. Truly, while there may be many who do not drink Coca-Cola, how many Americans actively dislike it? Or fret whenever they see the old calendars and ads with the wholesome women or the Huckleberry Finn-looking kid clutching a Coke bottle while fishing? No, we smile and wish hometown America was really like that. As for me, while watching this documentary I yearned to be able to visit the Main Street section of Disneyland and have a Coke at that old-fashioned Coke parlor. Such is the result of masterful advertising.
The Coke documentary is part of a wider viewing arc: I'm checking out those various summertime themed documentaries by Rick Sebak. What is more emblematic of summertime than Coke? (Well, okay - a lot of things.)
One last Coke opinion: I think that it is a national disgrace that while we can get a Pepsi made with real sugar - the "throwback" line, packaged in neat retro labels - we cannot obtain a real sugar Coke save finding the Mexican variety in tall glass bottles. Coke is American! Why is this American company forcing me to buy Mexican products for the taste I prefer?!? Outrage!! Yes, I have sent a comment to this effect to Coke via their website. I mean, it was bad enough when the Belgians bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008; I haven't looked at a Clydesdale the same way since. This is simply unacceptable!! (And, Gentle Reader, you will note that I rarely use multiple exclamation marks.)
Drat!! I only lost .4 pounds last week. I don't understand it... I was good. Is this the leading edge of the dreaded dieter's plateau? What next? Exercise more? Vomit after meals? Get a haircut? (No, no... there's not enough hair. That won't help.) Actually... changing the battery on the scale might not be a bad idea as when I double checked I weighed 1 1/2 pounds more after my shower than I did before. Something is weird.
It's supposed to be a warm and sunny weekend here in the D.C. 'burbs. We shall see what treasures people have pulled out of storage for me to sift through tomorrow morning.
Have a great weekend and a (Mexican) Coke!
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