Archive for August, 2006

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links for 2006-08-26

August 26, 2006
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Did you know that Ketchup was originally made from cucumbers?

August 24, 2006

I bet you didn’t, and you know why?  Because it’s a total lie, albeit one that I believed was true and repeated as fact for like ten to twelve years before someone called me on it.  I can’t really figure out where I got this stupid idea from, but I think it was from reading an article in the Straight Dope about Heinz & their 57 varieties, and how they have a dill pickle on their label.  I think in my head I got it confused, and made up a story to myself about how one of their original “varieties” back in the day was a cucumber based ketchup, and that it wasn’t until sometime in the 20th century that they realized the tomato based ketchup variety was starting to outsell the cucumber one, so they switched to selling that one, mainly, and that eventually the cucumber one just went away. 

A key detail in this Clavenesque fantasy was the continued presence of a cucumber on the label, which, when combined with my acute case of Male Answer Syndrome really made for a convincing argument whenever someone doubted my nonsense.  I’m not sure how many people I bored at parties with this blatant mistake, but I can only hope that they, themselves, filed the information away, and like a bad mistake on the wikipedia, repeated my lies as gospel every time the subject of Ketchup came up from there on out.

Apologies for two straight ketchup posts, by the way, but that last post made me remember this ridiculous mis-wiring of my brain.

P.S. – Speaking of Male Answer Syndrome, this comprehensive list of Calvin’s dad’s explanations of scientific phenomena made my day.

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links for 2006-08-24

August 24, 2006
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Ketchup of the People

August 23, 2006

Man, my love of ordering personalized printed crap online just may be the single dorkiest thing about me, and I can tell you why leaving the Scouring of the Shire chapter out of the Peter Jackson version of the Return of the King totally undermined Tolkien’s original message of the Ring trilogy, so believe me when I tell you that calling something “the dorkiest thing about me” is a bold statement. 

So it was with mixed feelings that I found out that the good folks @ Heinz will allow me to custom order my own ketchup labels.  On the one hand, I do love ordering custom printed crap.  So much so, that there is at this moment in my garage a five year old crate of Jones Soda (root beer, to be precise) with a photo of my pug Oscar wearing my wife’s bridal veil on the label of each bottle.  But on the other hand, for me the whole point of custom printed crap is the sharing of that crap with others. 

I believe in my heart that when my co-workers see a post-it from me on their monitors that has, pre-printed on it, “Jonathan Rouse is probably smarter than you“, they are simultaneously annoyed by my sticky yellow hubris and ashamed that they have no post-it based comeback of their own to disprove the statement. 

What’s the point of having something unique & special if no one’s gonna see it but people who live in this house?  I mean, of those people, the baby & the pugs can’t read, and the missus is thoroughly unimpressed with my custom printed awesomeness, so it would really just be for my own benefit every time I grabbed the ketchup and saw my tiny bon mot, my tomato themed haiku.  And I already know how clever I am.  Of all the people in the world who need to know how clever I am, I’m about six billionth on that list, believe me.

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links for 2006-08-22

August 22, 2006
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The square egg machine

August 21, 2006

Growing up in the 1970’s, I knew that my parents didn’t take lightly to the idea of foolishly spending money.  Unlike my peers, my parents never had: separate cars, cable TV, answering machines, a VCR, multiple phone lines, a maid or a gardener.  Of course, by the mid eighties, when my brothers had moved out of the house, they started adding in some of these things, and by today, the only one that still eludes them is the answering machine (“if it’s important, I’m sure they’ll call back”). 

But it’s that Carter-era frugality that makes me doubt my own childhood memories when I think back upon my parents buying a Square Egg Machine. Of all the needless crap invented in the Seventies (pet rocks, have a nice day bumper stickers, the Pinto) few things seem more non-essential than a device for squeezing your hardboiled egg from traditional oval (or “egg”) shape into a cube.  But for some reason, purchase it they did, and I can still remember the one time it got used. 

We all stared breathlessly as my father ratcheted down the clear pyrex lid, crushing the egg into conformity with its new dimensions… would it retain this cubist form once it was free’d from captivity?  The wait was palpable, and if I remember correctly, really, really long.  Possibly months.  But at the end of it all, we took out the hard-boiled egg, which was indeed square, and marvelled at its absolute lack of ovality.  And then, I believe, someone ate it.  I’m not sure who, except that I’m damn sure it wasn’t me, because I don’t really enjoy hard boiled eggs.  We were, to a man, underwhelmed, and never again did we use the machine.  No idea what happened to it, although if I had to guess, I’d say we threw it out, costing ourselves a cool $7.99 decades later in potential eBay profits.

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links for 2006-08-21

August 21, 2006