Those Weenies at Coke

I mentioned the other day I was guzzling Coke Classic.

I’m not much of a soda drinker. Coffee is my beverage of choice and I drink copious amounts daily, year round. Theoretically, Alzheimer’s Disease will never affect me nor will I develop prostate cancer.

However, several times a year I have to have a Coke. Have to. Have to, have to, have to. Like The Borg, resistance is futile.

Except for the occasional Vernor’s Ginger Ale, no other carbonated beverage holds any charm for me. If for some reason there’s a soft drink emergency and I’m faced with Pepsi and no option for Coke, water, coffee or iced tea, I cut it with Sierra Mist. Otherwise it’s like drinking liquid sugar.

I think it’s the sweetness of soft drinks I dislike. So, yes, I was one of the folks upset when Coca Cola changed the formula to try and beat Pepsi out of 1st place in the soft drink wars.

Boy was I mad. Not infuriated, but aghast that bazillagillion dollars a year in profits weren’t enough, Coke was in a pissing war with Pepsi over 1st place and Coke purists like myself were thrown under the bus.

Now I didn’t set myself on fire or switch to Pepsi or even talk about it much, but I silently wondered what was going to happen when the shakes started and I needed a Coke.

Other folks, however, got all kinds of upset. Boycotts and public cries of displeasure and yada yada. I have a relative, a serious Coke junkie, who got so mad that to this day she still drinks Pepsi in boycott.  Coke relented and for awhile we had New Coke and we had Classic Coke. Pretty soon, New Coke died a quiet death and that was that.  My Aunt is still drinking Pepsi.  Vitriol can take a long time to shake off.

If I were going to get upset about Coca Cola, I would rant and rave about the high fructose corn syrup. In Spring, it’s possible to buy kosher Coke which is made without the HFCS.

And purportedly there’s a “Mexican Brown” – Coke sold in Mexico uses cane sugar – that I’ve been on the lookout for. I love the crispness of cane sugar, but I don’t fire off a letter to Coca Cola to complain. (Perhaps, I should. Apparently they respond to consumer whining.)

This year, to bring awareness to the plight of polar bears, Classic Coke was packaged in white cans for the holiday season. I think they’re quite festive.

But legions of Coke fans have their panties twisted into origami whiny vipers. Apparently, they’re confused by the white cans and find it hard to purchase Coke if it’s not in the familiar red can. And the Coca Cola Corporation cried uncle and is ceasing production of the white cans.

Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

Facebook changes the user-interface every 12 seconds. Apple releases a new must-have product every few months. Betty Crocker got a face lift. Car makers change body styles nearly every year. Yet the fragile little darlings addicted to Coke can’t cope with a different colored can? For a few weeks? And Coke gave in?

Now if Coke had changed it just because Marketing Departments are expected to innovate something now and again, I might be a little more sympathetic. But the powers-that-be did it to bring white light to the problem affecting the animals that Coke has more or less adopted as its mascot.  Note the similarities and differences of the two videos.

They could have pointed out that distinguishing a white can from a red one is a hell of a lot easier than getting stranded on an ice floe.  In the former, one merely needs to pay attention.  In the latter, one is likely to die.

So if I were to write a letter to Coke, it might read like this:

Dear Coke:

You weenies.  You could have handled this better. This was a teachable moment.  You blew it.



P.S.  Cane sugar.  Please?

Out of sheer perversity, I bought a case of white-canned Coke. Perhaps they’ll be a collectible someday.


What do you get when it’s you (and you alone) lip syncing and dancing in a public (non-dancing) venue?  A flash mob of one, lip syncing with an Ipod?  Let’s just call it I-Flash.

[I love this guy!]

Mmmmmm Co’Cola

There is nothing I like better than an icy Classic Coke when my throat’s as dry as unbuttered toast. So here it is after 10 p.m. and I’m sucking it down as fast as the straw will deliver.

Why am I so parched? Well. There’s a story.

It begins with bread baking.

Well, now. No. That wouldn’t be true.

It begins with the Boorish Ass (who has since gone out of business) that flimflammed me on flooring installation. It’s taken me several years to get around to undoing the travesty inflicted upon my floors.

Boorish Ass convinced me that I could indeed have sheet linoleum in places that several contractors have said no way. Foolish Me wanted to believe and plunked down the cash. Boorish Ass took the cash and then discovered he could not lay linoleum in the Barn due to the composition and construction of the subfloors. Now I had mentioned, indeed explained at length, what professionals had said about the state of the Barn’s subflooring to Boorish Ass.

Boorish Ass insisted it was doable. I insisted Boorish Ass come look at my floors. He did. He pontificated upon the improvements of flooring technology. Blah blah blah. I have witnesses.

Boorish Ass abandoned the installation with the attitude of “Listen, Lady, I told you this couldn’t be done.” [Truly, I don’t know how he got out of here alive.]

What Boorish Ass left in my house was badly installed underlayment which I have been trodding upon for way too long. Each time I look at it, I want to jump in my car, do bodily harm to him, and hang some of his body parts from my rear-view mirror. I imagine you can guess which body parts.

So, it’s pert near 2012 and this nonsense and I have co-existed way way past what any sane person would regard as too long.

Which brings us to bread. (Kind of.)

I’ve been a wee bit stressed lately. Upon the advice of myself and those in the “helping professions,” I decided to take up a hobby. There was a clear and present need for fun in my life.

Learning to make scrumptious, earthy (ahem) “artisan” bread sounded like a peachy idea. I like bread. HMO’Keefe likes bread. Everybody likes bread. It’s inexpensive (hah!) and I could do it in the comfort of my own home (whichever of the two I happened to be in).

I’m no bread-making virgin. I’ve been a competent baker for a good 30 years. However, I’ve come across one-too-many website and way-too-many cookbooks that detail recipes that take days and sometimes weeks to produce a finished loaf. In short, I took up the kind of bread baking that makes what I used to do akin to the difference between tomato plants bought at a discount store and tomato plants grown from heirloom seeds in a painstakingly built home greenhouse with strict climate control features.

[There was an interlude with “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” which will someday be a blog post of its own.]

The bread-making thing GOT TO BE OUTRAGEOUS quickly and after out-growing every pair of pants I own, I reconsidered this hobby. It was a peachy for stress relief, but I’m mightily stressed and three or four loaves of bread every other day or so for months, well, you can see the problem.

This led me to join the gym. Everybody says exercise is a wonderful stress reliever.

Well. It is. Sort of. But I can make bread (1) at home, (2) at any hour of the day, (3) even if I’m tired and (4) I don’t have to make polite chit-chat to dough.

Flippin’ everybody I know goes to the gym. It’s hard to smile and say, “Well! Hi! And how are you?” when you’re trying to inflict all the indignities of the day on an innocent treadmill. Or worse, while hiding unshaven legs behind a meager towel while waiting for a swimming lane.

So, while still going to the gym but less frequently, I returned to bread which led me to a new super-discount store (Ollie’s) in search of affordable bread pans. (Contrary to the above, bread-making is not cheap if you’re a personality type that tends to over-do.)

[BTW, Ollie’s started the whole bread-making thing in the first place when they sold me The Culinary Institute of America’s At Home Series bread making cookbook – which is riddled with errors and not much good for anything other than some nice photos.]

I’m wandering around too-narrow aisles just browsing after discovering a dearth of bread pans when I happen upon peel’n’stick floor tile that would look great in the Cow Bathroom. I pondered. I looked at the price, looked again, and hollered, “What the hell!” after ciphering it would cost $20 to cover the hideous underlayment left by Boorish Ass.

I blew another $20 at Lowe’s for various accoutrements. After a couple of hours of very easy work, I had a splendid floor in the half-bath. It’s cheap tile. It won’t last but a few years, but it makes me happy. That $40 floor did more for stress reduction than bread and squats did. I am woman, hear me roar.

After the pie-making, bread-making extravaganza that was Thanksgiving, I found myself in the flooring aisle of Lowe’s. There was this nifty peel-and-stick tile in 6” x 48” planks that offer a textured wood finish to mimic hardwood floors. I pondered and ciphered. To do the kitchen, hallway and laundry room to cover the underlayment Boorish Ass left behind was a Big Number. While it was a much better grade of flooring than the $20 Ollie’s marvel, I can’t afford it right now and I wouldn’t afford it even I could without a test run.

The floor in the master bath is an utter travesty that harkens back to the Ex’s and my days of do-it-yourselfing. This old-time era did not include professional advice, the reading of instructions, or proper tools.

I hauled out of the Lowe’s enough faux-wood plastic planks for the master bath floor. According to the instructions, I could clean that old floor, peel’n’stick and enjoy the view from my bathtub in a matter of hours. Since that jibed with the Ollie’s/Cow experience, I drank the Kool-Aid.

[I’ve been doing stuff to this Barn for 25 years. You’d think I would have learned by now. Ancient Burial Ground.]

The first thing that went wrong was the cleaning of the floor. Between paint spatters, scuffs, this and that, a heavy-duty cleaning was required to ensure maximum adhesion.

One heavy-duty cleaning was more than that old floor could take. It gave up the ghost, shriveled, unstuck itself from the subfloor (in parts) and crumbled (in other parts).  After a stream of profanity and the lobbing of a coffee cup, I resigned myself to pulling up the old flooring. Of course, only parts of it would pull up. The remainder was stuck to the floor like bread calories on my hips.  Fused.  Welded.  Married.  Not-to-be-divorced.

Out came the scraper. No good. More profanity. Out came the steam cleaner. Nope. Out came the sander. Some progress. If I peeled the thin plastic layer off the top and then scraped and sanded, the subfloor would appear.

This was very slow. And I couldn’t really get into the Zen of peel, scrape, sand, repeat, because what I really wanted was a long bubble bath with a glass of wine and the glorious vista of faux-wood planks.

I went to the Lowe’s and returned with super-duper, silly-expensive sandpaper. (And a cute, tiny shop vac.)

[I’ve left out the part about removing molding, the sides of the whirlpool, the toilet and the sink pedestal. My boudoir is one tremendous mess as well as a study in contrasts.]

At 9:55 p.m., the floor was finally removed and the sub-floor ready for the primer I bought to ensure those peel’n’sticks stick. (I do, sometimes, do the prudent thing.)

I started at noon yesterday and worked until 8 p.m. I started again at noon today and worked until 9:55 p.m. The last 7 hours of today’s adventure included me, a mouse sander, sandpaper so expensive we must import it from Kuwait, and heaps, myriads, plethoras, mountains, stacks and whirlwinds of dust.

There is dust in my hair, my ears, my eyes, my wrinkles, and wedged into the dimples of my cellulite (dimples greatly increased by bread to the point of craters.) There is also dust between my teeth, coating my tongue and wall-papering my throat.

Mmmmmm. Co’Cola.

(Provided I can stand upright, I plan on peel’n’sticking tomorrow evening.)