Friday, March 28, 2008

Ocean Spray Light Controversy

cranberry light

Ocean Spray "Light" cranberry juice: according to the label it does contains "Artificial Sweetener"- SUCRALOSE (that explains why it tastes CRAP) but then go on to claim that the product contains "No artificial flavourings".

A paradox indeed! Are they claiming that pure 'sweetness' is not a flavour? Or are they claiming that Sucralose is not artificial but somehow REAL? Hmmm.

Further research (5 mins on wikipedia) reveals a history of legal bickering between the different manufacturers of 'sugar-substitutes'. The manufacturers of sucralose have claimed "Because it comes from sugar, sucralose tastes like sugar". Maybe it does actually taste like sugar (and actually it doesn't) but that doesn't diminish the fact that it is artificial.

Anyway- i thought- what the heck- i'll actually call the toll-free number. At 9pm at night. Just to be cranky. Because i am no longer a "citizen"- i am a "consumer". Guess what? A very nice woman answered the phone. She was somewhat surprised that the phone had actually rung. She said nobody usually calls after hours. I suggested she had a pretty good job- being paid not to answer the phone and she "hmmed" in the affirmative.

She listened patiently to my complaint. She "tsk tsked". She seemed sympathetic- and i imagined her to be a young mother- perhaps herself one day confronted by the Ocean Spray Light Paradox in her own Juice Aisle at her local supermarket.

She offered to get my details so somebody could call me back "first thing in the morning". As i don't like to be awoken by Ocean Spray company reps - i decided "no.".

I imagine my complaint being transcribed, emailed, printed, faxed etc all the way up the chain-of-command at Ocean Spray in Massachusetts until it arrives on the desk of the CEO. (A Montage is needed).

"My goodness! This label on our Ocean Spray Light is factually incorrect! Find the most junior person we can blame and sack them immediately.".

Monday, March 17, 2008

War on Terror vs Terror on Terror

Have been thinking about the "War on Terror".... and , yes, i know this is a marketing phrase but i think it demonstrates that we just don't get what the aim of terrorism is: simply- TERROR!!!

We really should have declared "Terror" on terror- not a War on Terror. We play by the rules, and they fly planes into buildings. (Kudos USA , by the way, for the waterboarding etc).

We need to have our own suicide bombers and send them in to terrorist strongholds to blow themselves up. Simple. Now, if only we could find a way to recruit.... we should start (as the enemy does) at the earlist stage of infancy with an indoctrination of hate, a strong belief in the afterlife etc.

Why not send the Mob in to clean up the mess (think Cuba in the 60's) ? This, i think would be a great plot for a movie: "Al Capone vs Al-Qaida" (working title).

Clearly, i have limited understanding of international politics but i thought i'd share my thoughts.


Afghan Poppy Trade vs The Opium Wars

If hearing about the bumper Afghan poppy crop being used to fund international terrorism - disturbs you- fear not. The British did a similar thing in China a few hundred years ago- now they're the very model of modern international righteousness.

In order to continue purchasing an enormous amount of tea - the 'East India Company' required enormous amounts of silver (as the Chinese weren't interested in anything else). The genius solution was to grow opium in India, and sell it through the black market into China in exchange for silver.

This silver was transported half way around the world back to the UK- before being shipped back to pay for the tea.

When the Chinese attempted to stop this trade, the British declared war!

I discovered all this in an excellent book : "A History of the World in Six Glasses"- that traces the history of beer (neolithic), wine (Greek & Roman), spirits, tea, coffee and cola. The author suggests drinking the appropriate beverage whilst reading each section.

5/5 Good Work Tom Standage.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Moth: Malcolm Gladwell

Just discovered "The Moth" podcast - part amateur "This American Life" , part stand-up storytelling. Hysterical 15mins from Malcolm Gladwell (of 'Tipping Point' and 'Blink' fame) - on his introduction to journalism. A MUST listen!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Soil & Pimp Sessions .. again

Once again i've been listening to these gurus of Japanese Punk-Jazz ... feel the ENERGY!
(If you don't 'get' jazz there is something wrong with you).

Friday, March 07, 2008


Optipessimism: (n) the sad reductionist belief that you can narrow your entire personality to a single point on a unidimensional scale.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bathsheba Grossman

I discovered Bathsheba Grossman's stuff about 5 years ago... amazing 'mathematical' sculptures. My favourites, though, are the accurate 3-d crystal models of the galaxy, large scale structure of the universe etc-. These are great for contemplating either your cosmological insignificance or the awe-inspiring majesty of the universe you find yourself breathing in-and-out in. (depending on your exact level of optipessimism). I think i'm going to buy a few.

David Palmer

Yes i know these are just swirls of blue paint- but you've got to admit they are pretty cool. ...
"David Palmer’s single brushstroke paintings transgress the classical caricature of brushstrokes by painters such as Roy Lichtenstein and James Nares. Palmer’s single brushstroke work takes action painting into a new territory where Pollock’s metaphor of the artist as nature meets the realm of artificial perfection. At the antipode of instant but timeless accumulation of painting drips, Palmer’s extreme abstractions are a single movement of energy . The fusion of paint and body “climaxes” in spins that turn paint into erotic feelings"

um.. yeah? that's what i was thinking too. Wasn't i just talking about Lichtenstein last week and how he was caricaturing classical brushstrokes and how that scene needed transgressing? and stuff? Cool. Erotic! Like that Anais Nin story about that party where everyone goes nude but painted in a single color- and one dude finds out his sexy wife is screwing around because she ends up getting a tell-tale blue smudge on her brown.

Mia - Click 2 ReduceEmily - Click 2 ReduceAnnette - Click 2 Reduce

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Jazz For Kids

it don't mean a thing {if it ain't got that swing} Glen miller
The Music Goes 'Round and Around Louis Prima
A-Tisket A-Tasket Ella Fitzgerald
Pennies from Heaven Louis Prima
Reet Petite Jackie Wilson
Rag Mop Lionel Hampton
A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird Louis Jordan
Sing, Sing, Sing - Louis Prima
Chattanooga Choo Choo Andrew Sisters
The Muffin Man Ella Fitzgerald
The Woody Woodpecker Song Danny Kaye & the Andrews Sisters
Choo Choo Ch'Boogie Louis Jordan
Mambo Italiano Rosemary Clooney
Louis Armstrong - Hello Dolly Louis Armstrong
Anything You Can Do Irving Berlin
Shadrack Louis Prima
Jeepers creepers Louis Armstrong
In The Mood Glen Miller
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Andrew Sisters
Sway with Me Rosemary Clooney
Caravan Eddie Torres
Minnie The Moocher Cab Calloway
Somewhere Over the Rainbow Ella Fitzgerald
If I only had a Brain Harry Connick Jr.
Honeysuckle Rose Reinhardt/ Grapelli

This is my list of Jazz for kids- compiled after hours of extensive research and lime-wiring. Why can't little kids listen to Jazz? In India they feed infants curry. This is my argument. They LOVE it! Actually who knows really- they might say to each other when they are 15 "What was that crazy s%^t Dad made us listen to in the car?", and "I hate spicy food".

As you can see :

a) name your kid "Louis" if you want to give him a chance to be a Jazz star. Being African-American also helps. Jewish "Louis"es are just as liable to end up as accountants so be careful.

b) can ANY OTHER MUSIC match the energy and 'joie de vivre' of Louis Prima's "Sing Sing Sing"? No. It has a certain "i don't know what". Tragic that he ended up in a coma for the last year of his life.

c) can ANY OTHER MUSIC match the profundity Louis Jordan's lyrics:

Some folks call it a fowl,
That's the story I heard,
But let 'em call it this and let 'em call it that,
A chicken ain't nothin' but a bird.

You can boil it, roast it, broil it,
Cook it in a pan or a pot, (brown it!)
Eat it with potatoes, rice or tomatoes,
Chicken is still what you got, boy!

It was a dish for old Caesar,
Also King Henry the Third,
But Columbus was hip, he said "Take this tip-
A chicken ain't nothin' but a bird."

d) not on this list - but winging it's way through the night from Amazon to me right now is a new kids jazz CD from Medeski Martin & Wood (no they're not a law firm). Click here- to play "Where's the music"...

MMW 300

File Under FICTION

This is a great design - the primary texts of the 'great' religions of the world embedded in a solid chunk of wood (recycled of course). Note that the tops of the books are in a neat line- indicating their moral equivalence.

As the "Dire Straits" song goes: "If two men say they're Jesus- at least one of them must be wrong." (my italics).

Anyway- it could be yours for only $2500! (You could pay somebody to read it all to you for that price). Makes you want to dust off those power tools and make your own. Here for more info.

Product Image

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Neuroscience and the Law

Image:Carl Zimmer, October 16, 2007.jpg

Once again, a really great "blogging heads" video at* from New York Times science journalist and author Carl Zimmer- this time in dicussion with Prof. Michael Gazzaniga on the topic : "Brains and Gavels".

When you touch your nose with your finger, you perceive the events to occur simultaneously- even though the impulse from your nose hits your brain a lot earlier (the neuron is a lot shorter).

In any case, by the time your conscious self has registered it, the event has already happened- in fact it is long gone. What if that bad decision you made to shoot somebody happened before you were actually conscious of the decision? Can you still be guilty?

Will MRI scans one day replace lie detector tests? Will juries be selected after exhaustive analysis to remove the unconsciously biased? All this and more jam packed into less than an hour.

Even better- click on the "1.4" button and speed it up- thankfully the tone is unchipmunked.

* ever wondered how to get a .tv web address? Sign up at the beautiful Pacific Island of Tuvalu- the 4th smallest country in the world. It's getting smaller every day thanks to global warming and rising sea levels!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

See Line Woman vs Sealion Woman

Feist does (and did when i saw her last week) a great version of the Nina Simone classic "See Line Woman"... although she did rename it "Sealion" on her Reminder album. It's about a high class hooker- rather than a pinniped mammal.

On a similar note, "History According to Bob" has a great podcast about the complex French prostitution classification- from the lowly streetwalkers to the "Demi-Monde"... although i can't seem to find it on his archive list anymore! Nevermind- great podcast anyway.