Saturday, June 25, 2011

Volume 6, Number 10: Assorted Idle Thoughts

If adversity is the mother of invention, then desperation must be the father.

Has anyone asked a "where" question on Jeopardy!? By that, I mean, whenever I watch that show, I've noticed that every answer on that show is responded to by a "Who is..." or a "What is..." question. I've never heard anyone use a "Where..." question, like "The answer is: 'This state is bordered by Canada to the north and Idaho to the west'" and a contestant responds, "Where is Montana?"

Why in the heck do Iowa and New Hampshire dictate what happens in every U.S. Presidential campaign? At the very least, the states in the primary/caucus system should be shuffled (never mind that I would prefer to trash that whole system in favor of a national primary--the primary/caucus system dates back to the 19th century, when the fastest way to send and receive information was by telegraph, and railroad trains were the fastest way to travel).

The names of those Vietnam veterans who died from Agent Orange exposure should be on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It's the same thing as dying from friendly fire, isn't it?

You know how some designer eyeglasses come with optional "clip-on" sunglasses? Are any eyeglass designers doing something similar with 3-D, making 3-D clip-ons that match the frame so I wouldn't have to use these? (I'd rather have the former--if it exists--because I imagine that, if you were to see a 3-D movie with the latter, the clip would get in the way, diminishing my enjoyment of the 3-D movie.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Volume 6, Number 9: Diet Soda Reviews, Part VI

Before I go into my latest batch of reviews, a few quick notes:
  • A quick shout out to Scott Miller in Texas, who really likes Diet Mountain Dew and has been asking me to try it out. I will review it someday, but the thing is, I was never crazy about Mountain Dew or similar sodas (Mello Yello, Vault) even when I drank regular sodas. I do know that there is a Diet Mountain Dew Code Red (with cherry flavoring) and they recently came out with Diet Mountain Dew Supernova (strawberry/melon flavored) and Diet Mountain Dew Voltage (citrus-flavored). As soon as I get my hands on those, I'll share my opinions on them. It's a shame I don't see them in 2-liter bottles (which stinks because, frankly, when I want to try something that I don't know whether I'll like it or not, I'd rather get the smallest quantity available, so I'd rather buy the 2-liter bottle than the 12-pack of cans).
  • I didn't get any response from Faygo back in April when I posted on their Facebook wall asking them to consider switching their artificial sweetener from aspartame to the aspartame/acesulfame potassium blend most diet sodas use nowadays (and that includes all four of the diet sodas I review below). So I reposted that request, adding the note, "Wake up--it's not 1982 anymore!" I'd be so happy to have a Diet Faygo Rock & Rye or a Diet Faygo Redpop if it didn't have the dreaded aspartame aftertaste I got when I tried it last year. Their diet Creme Soda and their diet 60/40 (grapefruit/lime soda) were both OK but I'd bet they'd be even better with the aspartame/ace-K blend. In my estimation, Faygo is really missing the bus on a chance to make some gains in the diet soda market.
  • I find that diet sodas, when they go flat, actually taste worse than when regular sodas go flat. By that, I mean not only is the taste not as good, but the aftertaste is even worse. This means I may have to start buying diet sodas in cans instead of 2-liter bottles to minimize the chance of the soda going flat before I finish it. It sucks because 12-ounce soda cans usually have a higher per-ounce cost than 2-liter bottles. For example, most times I can get a 2-liter bottle for $1 (1.48 cents per ounce), but supposing a 12-pack of cans of the same soda was on sale for $3, the per-ounce cost for those cans would be 40% higher (2.08 cents per ounce).
On to a few more reviews:

Kroger Big K Diet Black Cherry Soda: A big thumbs up--a rare occasion where I actually liked the house brand better than the national brand (in this case, the "national brand" was Diet Rite Black Cherry). Even more rare, I liked this WAY better than the Diet Rite version. Big K Diet Black Cherry Soda actually has some significant cherry flavor to it, whereas the Diet Rite version tasted more like something made by the Original New York Seltzer Company back in the '80s. I like both the taste and the aftertaste of the Big K version.

Kroger Big K Diet Lime Cola: On the fence. I was hoping for a hit here given the surprise home run I got from Diet Coke with Lime. I like the lime flavoring in this Kroger offering but it almost overpowers the cola flavor and it's also more acidic than Diet Coke with Lime. (Incidentally, "on the fence" just means I neither give it thumbs up or thumbs down; I'd drink it if it was the only diet soda to be found at some party or barbecue, and I might buy it over my preferred brand if it was at a ridiculously low price, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again given that I do prefer a similar product.)

Bubba Zero Cola: On the fence. I recently bought a 2-liter bottle of Bubba Zero at Save-A-Lot because, well, I want to try just about every diet soda on the planet. It's part me being a mad scientist (I wanted to be one when I was seven years old) and part me embracing the spice of life that is variety (as a kid, I made my mother buy every peanut butter on the planet because I was bored with Jif, only to realize many years later that Jif really is the best). It goes down well, and the aftertaste gave me no problem whatsoever, but it still has the undistinctive "generic cola" flavor. I know I really enjoy a soda when I'm able to finish off a 2-liter bottle before any of it goes flat. That didn't quite happen with Bubba Zero. All things considered equal, I'd still rather have Diet Coke with Lime, Coke Vanilla Zero or Coke Cherry Zero.

Diet Sierra Mist: Thumbs up. I like it as much as Diet 7-Up, but I still think Sprite Zero is the most crisp and refreshing of the diet lemon-limes I've had.

Kroger Big K Cola Oh: On the fence. This is the Kroger imitation of Coke Zero, complete with a black label (because men apparently like black packaging, especially where diet sodas are concerned). I tried this back in December but never put in a formal review. I seem to recall the taste being a little on the acidic side (which I'd rather it wasn't; the acidity factor is why, when I drank regular colas, I preferred Coke over Pepsi). In the end, if it doesn't land among my favorite diet sodas, it lands in the group where I'd drink it, but would only buy it again under certain circumstances.