Used Gum

the child sits on the curb
staring at the passing cars
the used gum on the road
dead worms drying up
– crunchy like a chinese noodle?
scraping the gum off the pavement
it’s moist underneath and
it leaves a fingerprint on the road
you’re guilty now
the pebbles are small like babies teeth
picking them out (and how it would bawl)
some stay in and some come out, amusingly
rubbing the gum between your palms
forming a nice, round ball – a marble
with lumps
it looks almost brand new
except it smells better – aged
you can taste the smell
and putting it in your mouth
you grin

– Montreal, October 23, 1989

Are Corks Necessary For Scotch Bottles?

Scotch corkFinally, someone addresses this burning issue. I posed the following question to The Scotch Blog (which EVERYONE should read):

How about an article behind the usefulness (or lack thereof) of corks? Do they serve any practical purpose? Are they only a marketing gimmick? I suspect it’s all about perception, but then you’d think why don’t the bottlers of blends adopt using corks, too? Is there a marketing agreement between single-malts and blend bottlers to permit only single-malts the use of corks? I look forward to reading any insight you can bring about the subject.

And not only did site’s author address the issue, he researched it thoroughly, consulting experts from distilleries like Morrison-Bowmore, Glenmorangie, and others, even consulting one of the largest cork manufacturers in the world, who said:

If you look at the whisky market as a whole, the premium whiskies are all in cork, and the standard blends are all in screw cap. It’s an image thing. I am sure the marketing experts from any large whisky company can give you precise reasons, they probably have market studies to prove this I am sure.

Ian Millar, Distillery Manager and Chief Ambassador for Glenfiddich, says:

Two products sitting on a shelf, one with a screw-top, one with a cork, that might push a consumer to buy one over the other. And that affects their perception of quality. The packaging is all about selling that first bottle. That taste is what sells the second, the third bottle. So you’ve got to get that first impression right. It’s all in the packaging.

There ya go. But go read the two excellent posts about it: Screw (Cap) This [Pt. 1] and Screw (Cap) This [Pt. 2]; don’t take my word for it.

I Don’t Do Drugs

drug and pill containersI had a persistent, hacking cough for three weeks, sometimes having coughing fits that made me gag. Last Wednesday my daughter and I went to the doctor, because her cough hasn’t been going away either. The doctor said she was fine; the cough would go away soon. He said I had bronchitis, prescribing me two drugs: Tussionex and Apo-Cefuroxime. The 2nd day after taking them, I got worse: vomiting, migraine, dizziness… I stayed home and slept all day, not eating anything. That night a headache kept waking me up. The next morning the headache was gone, but I was feeling lousy, partly because I was hungry and dehydrated, and sick; but I went to work, deciding not to take those drugs anymore, and by lunch I was feeling better, eating normally.

So, what the hell was in those drugs I took (and won’t be taking any longer)?

Tussionex was prescribed for my cough, to suppress it. It’s a narcotic. From the pamphlet the pharmacist gave me:

Possible side effects: drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, vomiting…

Lots of fun stuff. Then:

This treatment may be habit-forming. Do not use this medication for longer than necessary. If you have difficulty stopping the medication when the treatment is finished, talk to your doctor.

I quit after 1 teaspoon.

The other prescription, Apo-Cefuroxime, is for the bronchitis infection. Possible side effects:

…may cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and rarely, it may cause severe diarrhea that is greenish in colour.

Nice. I only had the nausea and vomiting.

So, I have nearly full prescriptions of two deadly drugs I’ll never take again, although my cough IS gone.

A Video Recorder For Windows

I recently discovered CamStudio, an impressive, free Windows program that…

is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using it’s built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)

Here’s a short video I created of me starting to create this post. Nice. This is an excellent tool to help people learn tasks on a computer.

They’re hosted on SourceForge, so the source code (C++) is available as well.

(An unrelated note: I’ll have to email them about the use of “it’s” in the blurb above.)