Monthly Archives: February 2011

Just a feeling….

You come home from work, school, play or wherever and as soon as you open the door you can sense trouble.  You walk into a room and instantly you have a feeling of the situation there.  You don’t know what it is but you can tell it ain’t good and your just hoping it’s not you at the center.  Ofcourse the feeling can go the other way as well, sensing a feeling of harmony in the air.  That feeling, that sense, is called vibe.  The person or people there send it, airwaves actually carry it, and you recieve it.  Just like a radio.  I am a firm believer in vibe!  A major believer!  Meeting someone new usually gets a feeling of goodwill or uneasyness.  I guarantee you know people now who you have known for years and you still get an uneasy feeling around them.  I do.  Why is that?  I consider them friends and they have never wronged me but at the same time there is still that nervous tension.  A study was done years ago in the Iowa area on transcendental meditation where 3000 volunteers meditated positive thoughts over a three month period to see if there were any noticable social differences during the meditation period.  Statistics were gathered beforehand on the crime rates of murder, robberies, rapes, assualts etc.  Every statistic to a tee decreased during the mediatation time and returned shortly after the mediatation period was over.  Holy crap!  Coincidence, I think not.  Church is a good place where vibe plays a big role.  Going to church often is very good for your soul, but the vibe received there does a vast amount of good for your well being, and at the same time the vibe you send does the others a world of good.  How many times have you heard older folks say “keep a good thought”?  What great advice.  Start paying attention to the vibe around you and it will surprise you of how much a role it will play in your life once it becomes a part of your awareness.

Red Letter Day For Pepsi….

“The Real Thing”

 Has the Coca Cola soft-drink recipe mystery finally been solved?  On the public radio show “This American Life” this past weekend it was announced that it had uncovered the Coca Cola’s top-secret ingredient, the secret “Merchandise 7X.”  Merchandise 7X may not sound terribly appealing, but many think it’s the secret ingredient.  What is it?  In 1979 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article on the history of Coca-Cola and appearently included a photograph.  The photo allegedly showed a handwritten copy of the Coca-Cola recipe invented by John Pemberton which included the exact contents of Merchandise 7X.  The recipe was apparently written down in a Pemberton friend’s journal.  Close examination of the photo revealed enough to disect the recipe.  The show was terribly entertaining even stating that at any one time only two Coca Cola employees are known to know the recipe, that is until now.

According to the program it is:
Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz.
Caffeine: 1 oz.
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity)
Water: 2.5 gallons
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart
Vanilla: 1 oz.
Caramel: 1.5 oz. or more for color

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz. of flavor to 5 gallons syrup):
Alcohol: 8 oz.
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops
Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops

This American Life put together the recipe.  The first batch had a “medicinal” taste.  The second go around with weakened ingredients, got closer, even fooling one expert in a blind taste test.  But a Coca-Cola company historian says he “doesn’t think it’s the right formulation”.  I can’t give it a try as I don’t think I could even find the ingredients.  Besides I like Diet Coke so I wouldn’t know what ingredient to leave out!

Let Me Give You a Tip Part II….

I forgot something from a previous post about tipping and couldn’t find just the right spot to squeeze it in doing an edit.  It kind of needs it’s own blurb anyway.  It involves an object I call the “c’mon give me a break jar”.  I find it curious a person could put one up and keep a straight face with it in plain view and with a customer standing in front of them.  Have you guessed?  The tip jar.  You know the jar we’re supposed to put money in for the people who process our orders AT THE COUNTER!  We come to them.  They didn’t wait on us or come to our table and yet they still want a tip.  How about the convenience store tip jar?  How about the tip jar for the eager young going off to college student.  I write this only because a few nights ago when picking up an order I saw it.  It was right in front of me, with it’s mouth wide open wanting my change.  But as curiousity goes I looked inside and there laying amongst the littered bills and change was a $10 bill.  A ten spot!  Holy crap could someone really have dropped a ten in a counter tip jar?  It must have been a employee set up trying to make me feel cheap.  Anyway needless to say my change did not fall on top of it.

Don’t condemn yourself….

Most everyday I pass by these two houses in particular.  One is a two story fairly large home and right next door is a duplex with two apartments.  Everyday I see the deterioration of these homes more and more.  They are physically falling apart in front of me and I only see them for a few seconds at a time.  Well it finally happened.  The large two story home now has a condemned sign on it and the front door is boarded shut.  A short time later one of the apartments in the duplex ended up with the same fate.  Signed and boarded.  Now ordinarily that would not surprise anyone, however these homes were occupied right up until the time they were signed and boarded.  These places were not inhabited by the handicapped or elderly, there were active adults about.  I saw them.  Hanging out appearently doing nothing.  For God’s sakes vacant homes last longer.  How in the hell can you live in a place and it gets physically worse each day and you not do anything about it?  Not do anything about it to the point where it gets condemned!  I contend that the folks living there did not do anything to keep it up, and certainly not better it, because they would get the feeling that the other folks living there were getting over on them.  You see where I’m going?  They would sooner it fall down around them than have the feeling they were being played as a sucker by their co-inhabitors because they tidied up a bit.  If your living with them they are either family or close friends and it’s unbelievable, certainly to me, that neither will lift a finger for their own benefit fearing someone else may benefit as well.  Or am I nuts?  I’d give a dollar to tour these homes the day they get condemned and see how some people don’t mind living.

Me, and my shadow….

Image: Groundhog handler Ben Hughes

Groundhog handlers watch Punxsutawney Phil, who did not see his shadow predicting an early spring.  Now how do they know he didn’t?  Did they ask him?  Did he comment on the sighting?  Did he even look down in search of it?  Damn if I know!  In reality, rodent Phil doesn’t see much of anything.  The result is actually decided in advance by 14 members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, who don tuxedos and top hats for the event.  Inner circle eh.  That figures.  How does one go about getting into that inner circle?  Resume that includes time at the Weather Channel?

Including Wednesday’s forecast, Phil has seen his shadow 98 times and hasn’t seen it just 16 times since 1887, according to this Inner Circle, which runs the event.  The Groundhog Day celebration is rooted in superstition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 winter will last another six weeks and why they chose a groundhog is beyond me.  If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.  Ofcourse of all those sightings the club boasts no accuracy of each.  See ya next year Phillip.

How the mighty have fallen….

Young "Iron" Mike and Cus D'Amato

 Back in the mid 80’s I loved boxing.  I don’t mean getting in the ring and slugging it out with someone, I mean as a spectator.  I knew the welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions as well as anyone could, to a point.  I mean I loved it.  I knew the players the contenders, the washed up, and the up and coming.  I remember going to the Cumberland County Collesium in Fayetteville NC and watching the fights on the big screen being broadcast live from Vegas.  Man it was like being there.  The crowd and hollaring, damn that was fun!  I remember watching Mke Tyson’s first few fights and starting to think that he was the most dominating fighter pound for pound that I have ever seen.  He was built and trained for destruction, and that is exactly what he did!  Mike came off the mean streets of New York and in no time found himself in a boys home in upstate New York.  Read the first Sport’s Illustrated article about Mike, it reads like a bomb about to go off.  The problem with Mike was he never had a parental figure in his life and went astray early.  At the boys home he started to get into boxing and word soon got around that we was the real deal.  Old time boxing trainer Cus D’Amato went to see the boy and quickly got him out of the home and into his custody.  Cus treated him like a son and Mike grew to love him for what he had done and giving him a second chance.  Cus saw greatness and would mold Mike with the help of trainer/handler Kevin Rooney and financial advisor Mark Cayton.  These were the only three people that Mike needed to make it to the top, and stay there.  Mike came into the pro’s at age 19 and like a bull in a china shop demolished anything that got in his way, and did it quickly.  Some of his opponents were halfway to the canvas at the sound of the bell.  He was scary good.  He was never even really challenged.  And as I say went to the top without so much as even a brief pause.  In 1985 shortly after getting there Cus passed away.  The man who treated him as a son was gone.  Boxing promoter Don King was ready to pounce and as championship fight night was upon us, as soon as Mike had his hands on the title belt Don was by his side.  I remember thinking this was the start of the fall of Mike Tyson.  Don was all about money and getting Tyson’s was his goal, no matter how.  Next was Mark Cayton being stricken with cancer and after a brief fight was gone as well.  The only person left was Kevin Rooney and he would be no match for King and in a short period of time he was also out of the picture.  The rest is history.  With the only three people who ever really cared about him now gone, Tyson quickly went downhill as a fighter, and is now broke.  Lifetime earnings of $350 million gone, probably into Kings bank account.  Mike Tyson would have been the most devastating fighter in the history of boxing had the three men who cared most for him never left his side.  Without their support Mike was a child once again and easily conned.   

This past weekend’s golf tournament at Torre Pines in San Diego CA was Tiger Woods tournament.  He owned that tournament, finishing in 1st place the last six times he played there.  That course was built for him and his game and he took full advantage every time he played.  Tiger finished as an also ran 10 strokes off the lead causing some to think he mailed it in.  I don’t think Tiger will ever be the player he once was, where he had no equal, or even second.  When the Tiger Wood’s scandal broke I never saw the comparison to Mike Tyson until recently.  Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, molded Tiger into the greatest player at anything on the planet.  Earl kept him grounded, kept him hungry, but most importantly kept him on the straight and narrow.  Early died almost two years ago and while it took a bit to catch up with Tiger, it still did.  The man who kept him focused was gone and Tiger spread his wings and now he is paying dearly.  Tiger then parted ways with Butch Harmon his golf coach.  Butch was with him from the beginning of his pro career and now all of a sudden he is out of the picture.  The only thing left is Steve Williams his caddie and he will be no match for Tiger’s wants or needs.  We all know the story of the initial downfall so there’s no need to rehash it.  I don’t think Tiger will ever be revalent again because what brought him down is what will keep him down.  If you have gotten in the mess he has and fresh out of a divorce and you buy a $50 million dollar apartment in New York City your days on the golf circuit are numbered.  If your addicted to gambling you don’t move to Vegas to get over it.  Earl Woods was Tiger’s Cus D’Amato, women, for a lack of a better term, is Tiger’s Don King.  I’m not saying Tiger will never be great again, he once was and does have to tools to be great again, but his chosen surroundings will be his greatest nemisis.   

I find the tale of these two sports stars, however far apart on the spectrum of sports they come from to be mirrors images of one another. Tiger’s tale here on out will prove me right or wrong.