Author Archives: Curtis Retherford

Caffeine: This Worries Me

From Wikipedia.

The effect of caffeine  on spiderweb construction. Noever, R., J. Cronise, and R. A. Relwani. 1995. Using spider-web patterns to determine toxicity. NASA Tech Briefs 19(4):82. Published in New Scientist magazine, 27 April 1995

I’m also a little worried about this, also from wikipedia:

It’s not the labeled side effects that worry me too much, however. I’m much more worried about caffeine’s apparent ability to turn you semi-translucent.


Two Crappy Natural Sodas

I don’t eat corn. I do, however, eat processed food, which means that 95% of my calories come from corn in one form or another. Generally high-fructose corn syrup, but occasionally from plain ol’ corn syrup, just like grandma used to use to artificially sweeten her mass-produced food with!

Maine Root Beer's aftertaste is about as bad as the aftertaste of this visual pun. Get it? Maine Root? Ah yeah!

So I generally try to drink non-HFCS soft drinks when possible. I do it partly out of a pathetic attempt to maintain something approaching a healthy lifestyle (“I’d like the bucket of chicken-flavored lard flakes covered in ranch dressing, please. Wait. Better make that thousand island dressing. Watching the weight.”), but also because sodas sweetened with cane sugar do tend to taste better. Jones makes great cane sugar sodas, and Boylan’s Cane Cola may be my all-time favorite cola, which I’d link to, if Boylan’s didn’t have a crappy flash-intensive website. Hey Boylan’s? 2002 called. They want their website design aesthetic back! Burn! Oh, and me? David Spade called. He wants this joke back. Because, you know, he’s David Spade. He doesn’t have a whole lot left.

There are two non-HFCS soft drinks I’d avoid, however: Maine Root and Deerfield Park Premium Sodas. Continue reading

Soda, As Described By Those Who Make It (Part 1: Pepsi)

Every corporation must, at some point, describe the product or products that it sells. For some companies, this is easy. “We sell guns that shoot bullets!” “We make representations of people, animals, and objects out of papier-mâché, then fill the objects with candy!” “Need to sign something? Use one of our pens. They’re very nice pens.” You know what you’re getting, and you know why you need it.

Is the flavor of this soda bigger than a breadbox? What do you mean, you don't understand me? Look at this breadbox. Is the flavor bigger than that? ANSWER THE QUESTION.

Some companies, however, sell products that are not so easily described. Let’s say you knew someone who, for whatever reason, had never tried Coca-Cola. (Amish, pehaps? Although I think the Amish drink Coke as well, probably during Rumspringa. Let’s just say this guy had no tongue for a while, then, through the miracles of science, he received a tongue implant and was now tasting many things for the first time. Wait. No. Let’s just say he’s Amish.) You want this guy to try a Coke, but he’s never tried it, and he’s looking askance at this brown bubbly liquid that you’re offering him.

“Drink it!” you yell at him a little more loudly than you initially intended. Others turn to see what’s going on, so you force an easy demeanor, and tell him “Go on, it’s great, it’s like…well…” How would you describe the taste? “Acidic, sweet, and carbonated” would be my description. A recent piece about flavor science in the New Yorker mentioned that Coke actually has citrus-y flavors, which we ignore for various reasons, such as the dark, un-citrus caramel color. Berke Breathed once described Coke and Pepsi both as tasting like “malted battery acid,” which I think is as good a description as any.

But, of course, corporations want pleasant, appetizing descriptions of their products. Continue reading

Medium Cup Leads

I don’t know what this means. Spotted at Popeye’s on 14th and 7th Ave, NYC.

Is there a race of cups? And the Medium Cup is in the front? If so, good for you, Medium Cup.

Curtis Retherford

Phosphoric Acid and Plastic Utensils: An Experiment

Coke + Forks = ?

The No Free Refills Science Division has been working on some experiments you can do with simple, everyday objects and soda. You’ll be surprised at the results. To try this experiment, which shows the effects of phosphoric acid on plastic utensils, watch the youtube video below.

Sprite Green

This is not even what the bottle looked like. The actual bottle was 12 oz and had dimples on top.

This is not even what the bottle looked like. The actual bottle was 12 oz and had dimples on top. The lies continue.

Sprite Green is not a bad soft drink, considering it seems to be sweetened solely by lies.

Sprite Green is Sprite’s new no-High Fructose Corn Syrup drink. Rather than HFCS, it contains sugar and stevia, which is a natural sugar substitute.

Let’s look at the lies, shall we? Go ahead, boys, bring ’em in! (Bags and bags filled with children’s letters to Santa Claus are brought into the court room. Each letter represents a lie. Because Santa does not exist, and neither do children.)

Lie #1: Sprite Green is Green (the color). It is not green. The bottle is green, but the drink itself, like all Sprite, is clear. Why call a clear drink “green?” Because this drink is made by liars. The men who created this drink live in a world in which the very sky itself hums with the pulsating mendacity of the damned. Glowing tendrils of lies arc from brain to brain, connecting all of the employees into one giant mass of lies. The ingredients even list “Ascorbic acid (to protect color)” Yes, it says on the label that ascorbic acid is there to protect color. What color? It’s clear, you lying bastards! Continue reading

Soda Pops

Let’s be honest. Pop is great. Popsicles are great. The two items are so close in name, and yet so far in many other ways. Ever tried to freeze a can of Coke? Sure you have. Admit it. Well, there’s a problem.


Continue reading