December 2nd, 2010


Bah! Humbug! Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.

'The Urge to Splurge' from Newsweek starts off with a bang:

"No interest until 2014," read the massive red sign outside Big’s Furniture in Henderson, Nev. It beckoned Diane Lewis to the store’s year-end liquidation sale. “I had to pull in,” she said as her sons frolicked on mattresses nearby. “We really need to get us a new bedroom set; their old one is kinda beat up. If we can get that financing deal, we can make it work.” As with most in this hard-hit region, the economy hasn’t been good to Lewis, whose husband just got a new job after being laid off for eight months.

They’re two months behind on their mortgage, “but we’re gonna catch up,” and she figures the family probably owes about $20,000 on various credit cards. “I know I probably ought to wait a little longer,” said Lewis, a hairdresser, “but this is a pretty good sale, so I think we might buy something if they’ll approve us. I mean, 2014 is a long way off, you know?”

Say, friend - you got any more of that good sarsaparilla?

The current Skeptical Inquirer has a nice Joe Nickell article on the origins of soda. Not a strong link to skepticism other than the origins of most sodas as quack cures. But some interesting things, like the early origin of the term 'pop':

[Ginger ale is] "a nectar, between soda water and ginger beer, and called pop because 'pop goes the cork' when it is drawn."
--Robert Southey, 18-fucking-12.

Or that the original name of 7 Up was for people who were not into the whole brevity thing: Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda

And yes, that means it had lithium in it, to keep you happy. Fortunately or unfortunately, medicinally relevant levels of lithium are similar to toxic levels, and thus there's no longer any lithium in 7 Up.