A Little Skittle-butt – WIF I Candy

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Tasty Facts

About Skittles

Unless, like us, you always have a bag of them ready to rock in your freezer (seriously, try Skittles straight from the freezer, they taste amazing), you probably don’t spare much thought for the rainbow colored candy snack unless you’re eating them. Well, we do. So we compiled this list of stories and facts about the candy. Partly because it’s interesting, but mostly because we really want them to sponsor us so we can live our dream of Scrooge McDuck-ing our way into a giant pile of these delicious treats.

 10. They once drained all of the color from their packaging and product during Pride Week

One of the most visually distinctive aspects of Skittles is that each bag contains more colors than a blender full of Marvel comics. Mars (Skittles’ parent company) has played up to the smattering of color each bag of their product contains by coining the tagline “taste the rainbow” and it’s hard to imagine the company would ever abandon their distinctly fabulous design and color scheme.

In fact, the company has only ever dropped the rainbow colored profile of their brand once, in 2016, in celebration of London Pride Week.

As Skittles detailed in a PR letter, they wanted the only rainbow that week to be the Pride flag and to that end released an unsettlingly boring special edition bag of Skittles totally devoid of any color. In addition, the Skittles inside the bag were similarly Spartan, being entirely white (though they were still flavored). The company then handed out thousands of these nega-Skittles from a giant, colorless float in the Pride parade. Speaking of being pelted with Skittles…

9. There’s a band who love them so much they get showered with them every time they play

Relient K is a Christian rock band that has enjoyed moderate mainstream success and has toured extensively since the late ’90s. The author of this piece is actually a big fan of the band and highly recommends their cover of Africa, his favorite song. Moving on, the band, along with loving them some Jesus, adores Skittles, going so far as to release a hidden song on one of their albums (a thing people owned before MP3s became a thing) talking about how great they are. Prior to this the band would often eat entire bags of Skittles between songs while performing, and made sure to mention on their rider for each performance that they needed their green room to contain a near infinite amount of the candy.

This love of Skittles saw it become a tradition of sorts for fans to pelt the band with bags of Skittles while playing. Amusingly, years later, the lead singer of the band admitted that he wasn’t a big a fan of the candy as his bandmates and was getting kind of annoyed with being beaned on the head 3 times per show by a large bag of flavorful delights. Information that just encouraged fans to throw even more, because of course it did.

8. They have one of the few non-embarrassing corporate Facebook pages

Skittles are a brand noted as being one of the earliest to recognize the marketing potential of social media, and have been consistently praised for their genuine understanding of the platform strengths and limitations and humor while interacting with fans. In particular, the Skittles Facebook page has often been singled out as one of the best corporate fan pages out there because it’s actually kind of entertaining.

Along with doing boring corporate stuff like responding to complaints and sharing fan photos, the brand seemed to have hired whoever runs Ryan Reynolds’ social media accounts, sharing irreverent observations that have both bemused and entertained fans for years. Gems dropped by the Skittles Facebook page (which, remember, is an official arm of the brand) include:

“If chinchillas ever lost their cool they’d have to change their name.”

“Everytime you like this a turtle learns kung-fu”

“Marshmallows don’t dissolve, they just use hot cocoa to teleport to their homeworld”

All of which we think we can all agree are infinitely better to read than the sterile corporate doublespeak touted on other, lesser official Facebook pages. Then again, it’s not like Skittles didn’t have some early missteps while using social media. For example, consider the time they…

7. Brought down Twitter, with fisting

Early in 2009, when Twitter wasn’t yet the massive, globally recognized force it is today, Skittles tried to dip their toes into the world of tweeting by changing the front page of their official website to display the feeds from their various official social media platforms. In specific regard to the Twitter bit, the brand decided it would be a good idea to display any tweets people sent to the company. You can probably guess what happened next.

Fisting happened. Or rather, thousands of people tweeted the brand with a deluge of profanity that was then proudly displayed on their official website. So many thousands of people tried flooding Skittles’ homepage with profane content that, for a brief moment, they actually brought down Twitter. In other words, Skittles once actually broke (a small part of) the internet, by inviting people to have the most offensive things they could squeeze into a 140 character long tweet displayed for millions of people (and Mars’ shareholders) to see. Take that, Kim Kardashian. And while we’re on the subject of viral tweets…

6. Their response to a Donald Trump Jr. tweet is considered a textbook example of how to respond to controversy

In 2016, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an image comparing refugees fleeing ISIS with a bowl of poisoned Skittles. You probably heard about it. It was pretty big news and for a moment, everyone was looking kind of awkwardly at Skittles, wondering how in the hell they were supposed to respond to something like that. Think about it: not commenting on the statement would look like tacit endorsement of the sentiment of the comment, whereas addressing it could be misconstrued as trying to capitalize on the controversy. Skittles were, in most people’s eyes, kind of screwed no matter what they did.

With all eyes turned to them and a public waiting for the brand to slip up, a few hours after the tweet going viral, Skittles issued a frank statement through an official from Mars to a newspaper simply saying that Skittles are candy and refugees are people and that they didn’t wish to comment further. This astonishingly classy way of handling what could have been a minefield of controversy for the brand has been cited by experts on PR as a sterling example of how a company should operate online. In other words, the same company that talks online about chinchillas losing their cool also somehow managed to smoothly shut down controversy about their brand being used to dehumanize people fleeing an active warzone. Say what you want about the controversy, this just shows that Skittles has some amazing people working for its PR department.

5. A pack of Skittles somehow contains a decent percentage of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C

Moving away from politics and Donald Trump, which we’re sure has already got some people arguing in the comments, let’s discuss the fact that Skittles are one of the only a handful of candies that could technically be part of a balanced diet.

This is because unlike most every other kind of candy that have less health benefits than the wrapper they’re packaged in, a small bag of Skittles supposedly contains about 50% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C for an 8 year old (which is about 49% more than we assumed when we started researching this), and 25% for an adult. This means that unlike, well, any other candy, there’s a quantifiable benefit to eating Skittles rather than, say, M&M’S or Jolly Ranchers, which have no real nutritional value. While we’re not saying that you should shovel these things into your mouth by the handful, it’s quite nice to know that at the very least, you’re getting something from them to make you feel ever so slightly less guilty.

4. If you leave them in water the trademark S will mysteriously float off

One of the last things Mars does before they send off Skittles to be bought and consumed by the public is add the little S you can find on every candy. This little S is written using a non-water soluble ink that is attached using an apparently delicious kind of edible glue we’re annoyed you can’t buy in stores.

When you submerge Skittles inside any kind of liquid, this S will magically float off and rise to the surface and sit there, waiting for you to either drink it or try to pull it out using your fingers, only to watch it do that annoying thing where it moves just out of the way every single time you pinch your digits together. There’s no real reason to do this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re ever at a party, have a few on hand, and want to make someone think their drink is being haunted by an angry snake. And you always know it’s going to work because…

3. They destroy any Skittle that doesn’t have an S on it

Like any brand, Skittles are subjected to strict quality control measures that see them being checked against perfect examples of the candy we assume are kept in a comically well guarded vault. Since so many millions of Skittles are produced every single day, people in charge of quality control simply check one Skittle out of every so many thousand produced, and if it doesn’t look right, all of them will be destroyed.  

Since there’s not exactly many things that can really go wrong with producing a small, spherical candy with an S on it, that’s really the only thing they check for. In other words, Mars will happily destroy thousands of perfectly edible Skittles just because they don’t have that thing on it nobody really cares about. For anyone curious about what happens to these imperfect Skittles, the company crushes them and sells them as animal feed, meaning somewhere out there is a cow that eats nothing but Skittles all day. And now, we’re jealous of that cow, even if it does have to eat those awful yellow ones. Speaking of which…

2. There are always more yellow Skittles in a bag, for some reason

Millions of Skittles are made every day in roughly equal amounts, which are then sorted into the bags you can buy in stores. However, if you’ve ever actually opened up a bag and counted how many of each color are in there, you may notice that there are way more yellow ones.

Nobody is really quite sure why this is the case and Skittles won’t answer our emails, but if you take a look at videos of the candy being made you’ll notice that for some reason, yellow Skittles seem to end up in the same vats as other colors. Exactly why this happens isn’t clear but a theory is that since yellow is the cheapest color to produce, it’s the one made in the highest quantities. The theory continues that the plentiful yellow Skittles are then accidentally sorted along with other colors, explaining why you always seem to find more of them. Again, we have no idea if this is true but it’s for sure a better explanation than Skittles just like messing with us.

1. There’s a terrible film where they tried to be the next Reese’s Pieces

There’s a scene in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial where the eponymous E.T. is lured out of a closet by a trail of Reese’s Pieces. This scene is noted as being one of the singular most successful cases of product placement ever, resulting in a sales increase of nearly 300% for Reese’s Pieces. As it turns out, Mars were originally offered that lucrative deal for M&M’S, but turned it down.

Not wanting to pass up this kind of chance twice, Mars jumped at the chance to have Skittles appear in an almost identical movie called Mac and Me. If you’ve never seen it, Mac and Me is often referred to as one of the worst movies ever made, mostly because it’s an unapologetic cash grab full of shameless product placement for Skittles, Coke, and McDonald’s. As an example of how utterly flagrant this film is in promoting the brands, it features: a break-dancing scene set entirely inside a McDonald’s; Coke as the only thing the aliens in the film will drink; and a character who wears a McDonald’s uniform in every scene they appear in. Unsurprisingly, Skittles didn’t suddenly notice a 300% boost in sales after the movie was released because nobody went and saw this movie. In fact, we’ll bet more people have seen that clip where a kid in a wheelchair falls off a cliff. Particularly since Paul Rudd shows it literally every time he ever appears on Conan O’Brien’s show.


A Little Skittle-butt

– WIF I Candy

Coca-Cola Confidential

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5 Dark Secrets

About Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by a pharmacist named Dr. John Stith Pemberton, who was also a Civil War vet and morphine addict. Coke is based on a drink called Vin Marine, which was brewed by Parisian chemist Angelo Mariani. Today, Coca-Cola is the most popular soft drink in the world. These are its five darkest secrets.

 5. Actively Worked To Make Sure Kids Drank Coca-Cola Instead of Healthy Choices

In the 1990s, many soft drink companies were trying to attract consumers in a very saturated market. Coca-Cola’s plan was to go after high school students and hopefully get them to choose their brand for life, which is pretty much the same way that tobacco companies used to lure customers.

In the mid-1990s, Coca-Cola started to sign “pouring contracts” with schools. In exchange for premiums that were paid to the schools, Coca-Cola wanted exclusive rights to sell their products in vending machines and in the cafeteria. The schools, who often worked with tight budgets, usually agreed to do it. In some cases, Coca-Cola gave many schools around $30,000 up front and then a commission for the exclusive rights to sell Coke products in their schools for 10 years. In one case, Coca-Cola gave $90,000 to a school in Syracuse, New York, to build a stadium that had a big Coca-Cola sign on it.

While that may not seem super sinister, where it gets into the shady territory is that schools were then encouraged to sell Coke and given bonuses if they sold more product. They were also told that they would make less money if they sold healthier options, like milk or fruit juices, instead of soft drinks. In some cases, healthier options weren’t available at all because Coca-Cola didn’t approve them to be sold in the schools.

Now, 20 years later, there is an obesity epidemic in America. Of course, Coca-Cola has contributed to this problem and they have even acknowledged this in their own reports. For the past 10 years, the single biggest threat to Coca’s Cola profit has been obesity.

4. Their Water Problems

While the recipe for Coca-Cola is a closely guarded secret, one main ingredient that they need to produce the sugary drink is water. It takes 0.71 gallons of water to make 0.26 gallons of Coca-Cola. This becomes a major headache when Coca-Cola decides to set up bottling factories in places that don’t have a lot of water to begin with. Examples of where this has happened are in several states in India, and several places in Latin America.

What happens is that Coca-Cola sets up a bottling plant, they use up too much ground water. That causes water shortages in the area, which means there isn’t enough water to drink or to irrigate crops, which then leads to food shortages. After a decade of protesting, one plant in India was shut down in 2015, but Coca-Cola plants using up too much local water is still a problem in India, Latin America, and in developing countries around the world.

3. Coca-Cola No Longer Contains Cocaine (For a Pretty Racist Reason)

One of the most famous rumors about Coca-Cola is that the original recipe used cocaine… and it’s totally true. They used coca leaves which contained the cocaine alkaloid, which is used to make powdered cocaine.

 It’s tough to say exactly how much cocaine the original drink contained, but there was a little bit in it. Also, the original Coca-Cola was alcoholic as well. However, in 1886, Atlanta (where Coke was bottled) enacted prohibition. So the alcohol was removed and more sugar was added, but the cocaine remained an ingredient in the drink for the next decade.

In 1899, Coca-Cola started selling their drinks in bottles. The bottles were popular among African-Americans because they didn’t have access to fountain pop due to segregation laws. However, this started a panic among some white middle and upper class people. Some very vocal members of those communities were terrified that black people who were empowered by a cocaine drink might start attacking them, and they wouldn’t be able to stop them. In response to the fears, Coca-Cola started to phase out cocaine from the recipe in 1903, and replaced it with caffeine and even more sugar.

2. Coca-Cola and The Colombian Unions

On December 5, 1986, a right-wing paramilitary unit showed up at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Carepa, Colombia. One of the plant’s union executives, Isidro Segundo Gil, went to ask what the squad wanted and they opened fire on him, killing him. Later that night, the paramilitary group went to the union’s headquarters, where they destroyed their equipment and then burned the place to destroy all the records inside.

The next day, the paramilitary went into the bottling plant and gave the union workers a choice: quit, or die like Gil. Obviously, many of the employees, who were earning $380 to $400 a month, quit their jobs. After they quit, the paramilitary shacked up in the bottling plant for two months. When the plant reopened, the union workers were replaced with workers who were paid $130 a month.

While there is no conclusive evidence that anyone from Coca-Cola’s main office ordered any of the murders, critics point out that Coca-Cola did very little to investigate the murders. In fact, they didn’t complain to the Colombian government that the paramilitary killed their workers or that they were squatting in their facility for two months.

Also, at the time of the assassination, the union workers were trying to negotiate better working conditions with the bottling company Bebidas y Alimentos, which was contracted by Coca-Cola to bottle their product in South America. In the years after the murder, Bebidas has refused to negotiate anything with their workers.

Finally, this wasn’t the only Coca-Cola union to be targeted. At least five other union members working with Coca-Cola were killed in Colombia and the union members were told to quit or die themselves.

In 2001, the Sinaltrainal union brought a lawsuit against Bebidas and Coca-Cola, but the motion against Coca-Cola was dismissed in 2003.

1. Coca-Cola and Peruvian Farmers

As we’ve mentioned, the original Coca-Cola formula contained a small amount of cocaine. When they changed the formula, they had a company called Maywood Chemical Works, which is now the Stepan Company, import coca leaves into the United States from Peru.

Once in the United States, Stepan, who still imports the coca leaves for Coca-Cola, removes the alkaloid that is the key component in powdered cocaine and then they send Coca-Cola the decocainized coca leaf extract. As for what Stepan does with the cocaine alkaloid? Well, they sell it under government supervision for medical use.

For over a century, when drug laws were enacted like the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 and the Jones-Miller Act of 1922, they made special exemptions to allow Coca-Cola to keep importing coca plants; making them one of the few American companies that were allowed to import the coca plant. As time went on, Coca-Cola’s popularity increased and Stepan couldn’t sell all the cocaine alkaloid it extracted. This led to special legislation being passed so that Stepan could destroy the excess cocaine alkaloid under government supervision.

 The problem is that coca leaves can be used to make many other products besides Coca-Cola and cocaine like tea, candies, and flour, but the coca farmers in Peru, called cocaleros, can only access the American market through Coca-Cola because of the drug laws that were enacted to stop cocaine from getting into America. With only one purchaser of their product, the cocaleros can do little more than accept Coca-Cola’s terms. As a result, the farmers stay poor, while Coca-Cola made $41 billion in 2016.

Coca-Cola

Confidential

Video Games and You – WIF Pop Culture

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Video Games That Are

Part of Enormous

Pop Culture Franchises

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Though not all agree, video games can be considered as being a new art form. Moreover, video games are seen by many as a form of art with which one can actively interact. From the breathtaking landscapes, to the incredible soundtracks and general atmosphere, as well as the enticing plot, some video games can bring together much of what other mediums already have.

In fact, some video games out there were inspired by various bestselling novels, or in turn generated a whole book series with thousands of fans of their own. Some video games have even inspired movies. Be it a strategy game, a shooter, or a role-playing game, it doesn’t really matter as long as it has a good back story, a whole universe, and an extensive lore surrounding it. Here are 10 such video games, even though many others also deserve a spot in this list.

10. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Developed by Headfirst Productions and published by Bethesda Softworks, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was released in 2005. First came the Xbox version, and then a PC version one year later. The game is an action-adventure/survival/horror genre that perfectly combines a first-person perspective with many stealth elements. The story is set mostly in 1922 and follows a mentally unstable private detective hired to investigate the fictional town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. Unlike many other FPS games, Call of Cthulhu features no heads-up display, and everything from the player’s condition to his ammunition and other stats are represented as realistically as possible. A broken leg, for example, would be shown as the character limping, while a broken arm by a loss in accuracy. Each injury needs its own type of remedy and the player even needs to count the ammunition he’s got left.

All in all, the game received only positive reviews from critics and was considered by some to be among the best horror video games of all-time. However, the game itself was an economic failure, with the planned sequels being cancelled when Headfirst Productions went under. In recent years there has been a revival of the series, and in 2017 a new video game is expected to be released. Dark Corners of the Earth is inspired on H.P. Lovecraft‘s 1936 novella, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Lovecraft was also author of The Call of Cthulhu and several other related stories all within the Cthulhu Mythos.

 A recurring theme in Lovecraft’s works is the complete irrelevance of mankind in the face of the cosmic horrors that exist in the universe. Cthulhu himself and other cosmic deities exist, but have fallen into a deathlike sleep. After Lovecraft’s death in 1937, August Derleth took on the challenge to synthetize and expand the Cthulhu Mythos.

9. Mass Effect

Mass Effect is a sci-fi/action/role-playing/third person shooter first released in 2007. Two later installments came out in 2010 and 2012. A fourth game is expected to be released sometime in 2017. If you’re a fan of this style of video games, it’s almost an impossibility to have not already heard about or played Mass Effect. Developed by BioWare, the trilogy starts off in the year 2183 and revolves around Commander Shepard, who’s entrusted to save the entire Milky Way galaxy and all its inhabitants from a mysterious and overwhelmingly powerful race of machine beings known as the Reapers. And while the plot and story itself are quite complex and enticing, there is an extensive lore surrounding the game series.

To date there are four novels centered on various protagonists other than the ones in the video game. But the plots take place around the time of the games themselves. These not only better explain ambiguous facts from the game, but also expand the history of the Mass Effect universe. A fifth novel, Mass Effect: Andromeda Initiation is set to be published sometime in 2016. Two more books are scheduled for 2017 and 2018. There is also a fan written, interactive novel circulating out there called Mass Effect: Pick Your Path, from 2012, as well as numerous other comics. Also in 2012, an anime film version was released, and there are even talks of a Hollywood production in the works.

8. Mortal Kombat

 This fighting game has been around for a very long time. Originally developed by Midway Games, Mortal Kombat hit the arcades back in 1991. Its idea was thought up even earlier, in 1989, along with its storyline and game content. Mortal Kombat is a fantasy/horror themed fighting game, renowned for its high levels of gore and bloody violence. One of its most notorious parts, the finishing moves, also known as Fatalities, are in part responsible for the founding of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). Modeled after movies like Bloodsport and Enter the Dragon,Mortal Kombat aimed to be a bit more realistic and serious than its cartoon fantasy-style counterpart, Street Fighter.

After Midway’s bankruptcy, Mortal Kombat was bought by Warner Bros. and rebooted in 2011. The game became highly popular among young people and is now one of the few successful fighting franchises in the history of video games. Since its inception it has spun off into a series of comic books, card games, a theatrical live tour, countless game sequels, two TV series, and two movies. These two major motion pictures, Mortal Kombat (1995), and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation(1997) grossed in $122 and $51 million, respectively. While not particularly good, the movies gathered a cult following; especially the first one. The second installment, however, was poorly received by both critics and fans alike, resulting in it bombing at the box-office. Though entirely unofficial, an 8-minute short film was released back in 2010, revealing that a new Mortal Kombat movie is being planned in Hollywood.

7. Warhammer 40K

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Without a doubt, the Warhammer 40K franchise has among the richest lore and backstory in video game history. That’s because the whole idea of this fictional universe first came into being way back in 1983. Back then, the game was known simply as Warhammer, and was created by Games Workshop as a tabletop war game. That game still exists, and continues to expand even to this day. Then in 1987, a futuristic version was developed, sharing many of the game mechanics. This is the 40K, which stands for the year in which the fictional action now takes place. We won’t bother going into detail with the original Warhammer games, since they deserve a top 10 list of their own, and instead try to focus on what’s at hand; namely their video game versions of the 40K universe.

The story takes place during the 41st millennium in a fictional, gothic-looking dystopian universe. The Imperium of Man, as it is called, is a galaxy-spanning human interstellar empire, dominating most of the Milky Way, though it’s not the only power out there. The most iconic and finest warriors of the Imperium are theSpace Marines, a combination between sci-fi super-soldiers and fantasy knights, who are sworn to defend their empire from all the other alien races in the galaxy. The Warhammer 40K universe has a total of 31 different style video games. The most notable of these are eight real-time strategy games and expansions, part of the Dawn of War series.

Four novels have been published alongside this series, somewhat following and better explaining the actions taking place in the games. But the entire list of novels, novellas and other short stories surrounding the 40K universe is humongous, enough to completely fill up a big personal library. And that’s without mentioning itscomic book series. In 2010 the CGI Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie was released to DVD. Terence Stamp, John Hurt, and Donald Sumpter, among others, voice some of the Space Marines.

6. Resident Evil

Making its debut in 1996, the Resident Evil series first appeared for the PlayStation. Initially called Biohazard in Japan, its country of origin, Capcom’s director decided to change its name since it was impossible to trademark it in the US. An internal contest was held within the company regarding the game’s name, finally settling on Resident Evil. Even though the director believed it to be “super-cheesy,” it makes reference to the original game, which took place in a mansion filled with evil monsters.

In its 20 years of existence the franchise has expanded into 11 main games and 22 other spin-offs. As of 2015, Resident Evil has sold over 61 million units worldwide. Originally, the game series was more of a survival horror genre, based mostly on horror film plotlines, exploration and puzzle solving. Since Resident Evil 4, however, the series took on a more third-person shooter approach, focusing on gunplay and weapon upgrades.

The plot revolves around the sinister Umbrella Corporation, a worldwide company with ties to every major industry, and which secretly makes extensive research into bio-engineering. More exactly, they are aiming to create an extremely potent virus that can transform any individual into a super-powerful, yet perfectly obedient being. However, most of these experiments were wildly unsuccessful and have backfired with some truly gruesome results. In their several attempts to create the perfect weapon, the Umbrella Corporation initiated a series of viral outbreaks and mass infection of the civilian population, transforming humans and animals into mindlessly aggressive zombies. Players take on the role of various characters trying to survive and unravel the Corporation’s many secrets.

 The Resident Evil movie series loosely follows the same plot, even though much of the original content is missing or has been changed. The main protagonist, Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, was a security operative working for Umbrella. But with the start of the first movie, she becomes an enemy of the Corporation. Though the movie received poor reviews from critics and fans alike, mostly because of the inconsistencies between it and the game series, the Resident Evil film tripled its budget, and got four more sequels over a span of 10 years. A last installment,Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, is set to premiere in 2017. A more faithful CGI animated movie series also exists, and another film, Resident Evil: Vendetta, will also be released next year. Moreover, the franchise also has its own seven book series.

5. Halo

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Halo is a sci-fi/first person shooter franchise set in the 26th century, in which humanity has achieved faster-than-light travel speed and colonized numerous other planets across the Milky Way. The series centers itself on an interstellar war between humans and an alliance of aliens known as the Covenant, also inhabiting the galaxy. The player takes on the role of Master Chief John-117, a member of a group of super-soldiers known as the Spartans.

Since its first release in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved, the franchise has been praised by many and is considered to be among the best FPS video games played on a console. Managed and developed by Microsoft Studios under one of its subsidiaries, 343 Industries, Halo benefited from a tremendous marketing campaign and four more original sequels and their respective DLCs. In total the franchise sold over 65 million copies and earned a record breaking $3.4 billion from the games alone.

These incredible sales and its increasing fandom have allowed Halo to expand into other media as well. Besides the various spin-offs of the game, including a real-time strategy installment entitled Halo Wars, the franchise boasts its own five-part TV mini-series, called Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, released in 2012. Another miniseries was released in 2014, called Halo: Nightfall. A full length movie adaptation was set in motion back in 2005 by 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios, but due to financial reasons, the project was dropped two years later. However, a future TV show on Showtime is said to be in development, though the exact details of the production are still largely unknown. In any case, up until that moment arises, fans of the video game series can also expand their knowledge of the Halo universe by taking a look at its 13 novel canon.

4. The Witcher

The Witcher started off as a series of fantasy short stories written by Andrzej Sapkowski, which are now collected into two books. The first of these stories, entitled simply The Witcher, was written in 1986 as part of a contest held by a magazine, winning third place. The subsequent five novels, which became known asthe Witcher Saga were written and published throughout the 1990s in Poland, and later translated into English and other languages. Before gaining international notoriety with the release of the first video game in 2007, the saga was adapted into a movie and television series in 2001 and 2002, respectively, with both being called The Hexer. In fact, this was the preferred translation of the first story’s title by the author. But with the release of the first video game, however, the publishing company CD Projekt RED decided on the name Witcher instead.

With two more video games in the series, the story follows the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, (a sort of travelling monster-hunter for hire) as he struggles to regain his memories and prevent the destruction of the world. Set in a medieval fantasy universe, The Witcher is an action/role-playing hack and slash video game. The use of Geralt’s amnesia in the game allows the player to make decisions that the character from the books would not have necessarily made. It also permitted the developers to introduce those who weren’t familiar with the backstory with certain aspects of the Witcher canon.

Sapkowski uses a tone that is slightly ironic and with subtle links to modern culture in the books, which are also apparent in the games. Unlike most other similar fantasy stories, The Witcher also emphasizes the duality of human nature, with nobody being 100% good or bad. These aspects have helped both the novels and the video games to be widely claimed by fans as the best of Polish fantasy. Back in 2011, President Obama received a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings video game from the Polish prime minister in one of his visits to the country. Obama later confessed that he didn’t actually play it.

3. Assassin’s Creed

 Another video game series that’s made frequent headlines in recent years is theAssassin’s Creed franchise. With a movie set to be released in December, the series made its debut in 2007, and has since released another eight sequels, 17 spin-offs, several short films, as well as a number of other supporting materials. Developed predominantly by Ubisoft, the various games can be played on almost every platform conceivable, and its gameplay, varying only slightly from game to game, is set in the historic action-adventure genre, with a particular emphasis on combat, acrobatics, free-running, and stealth. The protagonist of each sequel changes, as the action takes place in different moments and locations throughout history: from the time of the Third Crusade, to the Renaissance period, the Colonial Era, the French Revolution, and the Victorian Era among others.

The overall plot of the series revolves around the centuries-old, fictional struggle between the historically-accurate Order of Assassins and the Knights Templar, who each desire world peace but through different means and ideologies. On the one hand, the Assassins believe in peace through free will, while the Templars consider it achievable only through world domination. Inspiration for the games came from a Slovenian novel, Alamut, written by Vladimir Bartol, as well as from concepts borrowed from the Prince of Persia series. In all, the Assassin’s Creed series has been very well received by critics and fans alike, and as of April 2014 over 73 million copies have been sold, making it Ubisoft’s bestselling franchise. Aside from the comics, Assassin’s Creed also has a book series. Each of the eight novels are tie-ins to their respective video games, following the various assassins throughout the centuries, in their ongoing war with the Templars.

2. Warcraft

No list like this is complete without mentioning the Warcraft universe. Developed byBlizzard Entertainment, the franchise is made up of five core games, the most notable of which are Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, a real-time strategy game, and its expansion pack The Frozen Throne, as well as the infamous World of Warcraft (WOW), a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and bestselling title here. At its peak in 2010, WOW had 12 million simultaneous subscribers worldwide, becoming the world’s largest subscription-based MMORPG.

The latest title in the series, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, is a digital collectible card game. Another notable game in the franchise, though only a mod for Warcraft III, is Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a multiplayer online battle arena. In this game, two teams of players are pitted against each other in an attempt to destroy the enemy’s heavily guarded structures at opposing corners of the map.

All of the games in the series are set in or around the high fantasy world of Azeroth. The story begins by focusing on the human nations that make up the Eastern Kingdoms and the Orcish Horde that arrived to Azeroth through a dark portal, igniting the great wars between the two. Over the years, and with the subsequent game releases, the developers have expanded the planet by creating new continents. With them, there’s been the emergence of other new playable races.

 Unsurprisingly, the series has since spawned its own sizable collection of novels, covering a broad range of characters in various timelines, vastly expanding the lore and backstory of the Warcraft universe. Many comics have also been published alongside these books, delving even further into the canon. In June 2016, its first Hollywood movie was released by Universal Pictures. With only 5.5 million subscribers to WOW as of 2015, the film arrived a little too late, and bombed in the US. However, it did manage to gross over $422 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing game adaptation of all time.

1. Neverwinter Nights

neverwinternights

Neverwinter Nights is a third-person role-playing video game developed by BioWare, and was released in 2002. In the following years the game got several expansions and premium packs, and due to its growing popularity, a sequel was released in 2006. It, too, had its own series of expansions. The story follows the player’s character as he tries to stop a plague from sweeping over the city of Neverwinter. The city is located along the Sword Coast of Faerûn, in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons. As it is in the original tabletop D&D games, players of Neverwinter Nights are able to create their own character from scratch at the very beginning of the game. Everything from gender, race, character class, alignment, abilities, and name can be customized to suit the preferences of each individual player. Overall, the video game was met with positive reviews and universal acclaim.

GameSpot referred to it as “one of those exceedingly rare games that has a lot to offer virtually everyone, even if they aren’t already into RPGs,” while PC Gamer called it “a total package—a PC gaming classic for the ages,” and said that its “storyline [is] as persuasive as any I’ve encountered in a fantasy roleplaying game.”  It has its own collection of books entitled the Neverwinter Saga, written by R.A. Salvatore, which is made up of four novels. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of literature surrounding the Forgotten Realms universe, since the saga itself is just part of an even larger, Legend of Drizzt series. And for those who really want to immerse themselves into the canon of “The Realms” and probably never emerge out again, the entire book series is a whopping 302 novels.

 


Video Games and You

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– WIF Pop Culture

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 88

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 88

…So what does shy and conservative Roy Crippen do next? He utilizes an isolated corner of Colony Mission Control to plant a very intentional kiss on Francine’s unsuspecting lips!…

“T-minus Related image00:05.00 and counting all systems go in the launch of the deep-space New Mayflower. The sky I high and we have two important people waiting for us,”

Braden next-to-last call illustrates the emotional nature of the coming mission and the dedication of the space program as a whole.

“What do you say we find ourselves a front row seat,” he puts an arm around her, “I know the guys in the box office.”

She rests her head against his cozy clavicle and together they walk away from the smoky mess back on the tarmac, like two teenagers fresh from a movie midnight double feature.

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The several hundred yards, indulgingly used to unwind, has eaten most of the time left in the fast-ly fleeting midnight launch of the New Mayflower. As they and their military entourage re-enter Colony Mission Control there is a trifling two minutes remaining until liftoff.

So what does shy and conservative Roy Crippen do next? He utilizes an isolated corner of CMC to plant a very intentional kiss on Francine’s unsuspecting lips!

No inhibition, no resistance, and no time left to speak. Actions always speak louder than words.t-minus-to-launch-001

“T-minus 00:00:30 seconds, gantry is clear,” green and go….”we have liftoff of the New Mayflower rescue mission to Mars with Commander Rick Stanley at the helm.”

A distinct sense of pride washes over Roy as he and Francine watch the deep-space shuttle knife its way into the night sky. To pull this together is such a short period of time is a feather in everyone’s cap. Amid the exhilaration of a successful gantry getaway, each and every person has stowed their prayers in its cargo hold, a petition that includes keeping the McKinneys alive long enough to benefit from NASA’s hasty rescue mission.


THE RETURN TRIP

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First Kiss by Jeffrey Koss

Episode 88


page 108

 

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Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 63

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 63

“Today’s episode of THE RETURN TRIP is brought to you by 5-hour ENERGY

WINK

…The outside hatch slides open, allowing Martian air in for a mission first, the clarity of which comes as a surprise to two earthlings…

Just Another Martian Sunrise

The EVA suits are not as bulky as they were on the International Space Station. New technologies have been integrated for the thin atmosphere hereabout, yet the task of protecting the frail human body is never taken lightly. Extra Vehicular Activities can be rough and tumble, so if one of the McKinneys should trip over a sharp rock, there will not be a deadly CO2 breach.

Like closeted doppelgängers, two Portable Life Systems appear from out their covey, ready to be stepped into. But before the helmets go on, Sampson hands a 5-hour ENERGY  to Celeste, “I snuck my personal stash of this stuff aboard {he bought out all remaining stock from 15 years ago}, we’re going to need it out there.”

Beside the caffeinated liquid boosters, they barely have enough max-nutrition bars to last them until the New Mayflower shows up. Then there are the vegetable seeds, to be used for greenhouse experiments. exploring-marsThey leafy greens and tubers are for the last supper. The word “ration” will be the most unspoken and unnecessary word here on Mars.

weather-on-mars“Just as they advertised in the travel brochures, it is 30 degrees Fahrenheit with a bullet. I’ll be down to my shorts before you know it,” Sampson quips.

“Don’t forget your SPF 300, you’ll need it.” She knows he would go from Caucasian to Aborigine in ten seconds.

Elbow room in the Tycho air-lock is nonexistent, so Celeste comes out on the losing end of an unintended elbow from her fellow EVA partner, ah he turned to seal the inside of the two-hatch system.

“Sorry Cel, I need to allow for a larger turning radius.”

Apology accepted, but the pain she is experiencing is not commensurate with the force of the blow. She soldiers on, “I’ll be fine Sam, let’s have a look at our neighbor’s digs.”

“I want to try my jetpack, how about you?”

“I think I will pass, still a wee bit queasy,” the thought of flying like a rocket making her nauseous at the moment.

The outside hatch slides open, allowing Martian air in for a mission first, the clarity of which comes as a surprise to two earthlings who are accustomed to a smoggy haze. And no birds, no madding crowds, no annoying personal transports or aircraft either.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 63


page 77

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Contents TRT

Soda Pop Backstory – WIF Consumer Corner

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Origin Stories of

Famous Soft Drinks

 Whether you call it soda, pop, or soda pop, carbonated water with lots of sugar in it has been a staple of the beverage world since about 1867. That’s when it was first sold at druggists and pharmacists across America. At first, it was thought to have remedial effects. But of course, in the new millennium, they are actually having a really negative effect on the health of millions of people.

Nevertheless, soft drinks are still some of the most consumed liquids in the world. This is how 10 of the biggest soft drinks got their start.

10. Mountain Dew

mountaindew

We thought we’d start off this list with one of the most unhealthy soft drinks on the market, and that is the one and only Mountain Dew. Often associated with EXTREME sports like the X-Games, it’s the third most popular soft drink in the world. In 2014, the bright neon yellow drink that is chock full of sugar and caffeine was responsible for a hefty chunk of the $125 billion non-alcoholic beverage market. One interesting thing that we want to add is that you may not like Mountain Dew yourself, but you probably know someone who drinks gallons of it a week. Well, it turns out that about 20% of drinkers are responsible for 70% of their sales.

 Mountain Dew has rather humble beginnings. It was invented by some hillbillies living in the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee who were looking for something to chase down their homemade whiskey. In 1948, brothers Barney and Ally Hartman, who ran a bottling company in Knoxville, Tennessee, started bottling the recipe, calling it Mountain Dew. That was slang for moonshine, and they sold it in a green bottle. The drink didn’t sell well while the brothers were owners, so they sold it to another bottling company, who in turn were acquired by PepsiCo in 1964. Since then, it has grown to the international brand we know today and a favorite of teenage boys throughout the world.

9. Red Bull

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Many people will be quick to point out that Red Bull is an energy drink, which it is. But, it’s still carbonated sugar water, so that makes it a soft drink. So welcome to the list, Red Bull!

The company was co-founded by an Austrian man named Dietrich Mateschitz. Mateschitz, who earned a degree in marketing, worked for Unilever, Jacob’s Coffee, and Blendax as a marketer. Due to his work, he travelled around a lot and one of his trips led him to Thailand. While there, he drank what was being hailed as a cure for jetlag. And thanks to the amount of caffeine and taurine in it, the syrupy tonic drink did cure his jetlag.

The drink was already popular across Asia and Mateschitz saw the potential. He met with the brewer, Chaleo Yoovidhya, and they made a deal where they would each receive 48% of the company for $500,000 (Yoovidhya’s son owned the other 2%). Over the next severeal years, Mateschitz tinkered with the project. He changed the recipe to appeal more to people in the West, and he carbonated it. He also designed the now recognizable blue and silver can, and a friend gave him their famous slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings.”

 With the drink ready for production in 1987, Mateschitz used his years of marketing experience to push the energy drink, the first of its kind. Of course, Red Bull has grown since those early days and both owners became multi-billionaires. According to Forbes, Red Bull is worth $7.7 billion.

8. Hires Root Beer

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Drinks made from roots have been around for centuries, so it wasn’t a new invention when Charles Hires tried root tea while on his honeymoon in New Jersey in the second half of the 19th century. He loved the root tea and when he returned home, the young pharmacy owner set to work making his own. His first concoction was called Hires Root Tea. At first, he sold it as packets of dry extracts of Sarsaparilla, Ginger, Sassafras, and Hops, and it was blended with roots, barks, and berries. People would then take it home, add sugar and yeast and let it ferment, then they bottle it themselves.

At first, it didn’t sell well. To boost sales, Hires changed the name to Hires Root Beer for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. He thought the beer label would appeal to men. The name change worked and Hires Root Beer grew in popularity. It was during this time that Hires tried to trademark the name “root beer,” but was denied because it was too generic.

In 1880, Hires made the root beer into a liquid extract. By 1892, they were selling three million bottles of extract a year. The liquid extract was available all the way into the 1920s before it was discontinued. A bottle with a finished product was introduced in 1893 and it has been on sale ever since. However the recipe has changed. It is now carbonated, and has more sugar.

 At 140 years old, Hires is the oldest soft drink brand that is still sold today.

7. Barq’s Root Beer

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The convoluted history of Barq’s Root Beer started in 1890, when chemist Edward Charles Edmond Barq Sr. opened Barq Brothers Bottling Co. in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In 1897, he moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, and opened the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works in 1899. Two years later, he started selling a drink he called Barq’s, which was a sarsaparilla-based libation.

Where the story gets a little bit more complicated is that Barq had an affair, which resulted in a child named Jasper “Jesse” Louis Robinson. Robinson lived with the Barqs, which we’re sure wasn’t awkward at all, and as an adult, at his father’s urging, Robinson opened his own bottling plant in New Orleans where he sold Barq’s. The father and son had a deal where Robinson could sell anywhere in Louisiana, except Washington Parish, and Barq would have Mississippi.

Throughout the years, the two companies ran completely separate from each other and each used their own processes for making root beer. By 1937, Barq had passed away and there were 62 franchises bottling root beer from Robinson’s leg of the business. At the time of Robinson’s death in 1949, there were close to 200 bottling franchises spread throughout the country. Robinson left half the company to his wife, and then the other half was split between his three children. His wife then named their son Jesse Robinson Jr. as the president of the Company.

In 1971, Jesse was ousted as president, and upon leaving that position, he sold his inheritance he would get when his mother died to his two sisters. After Jesse left, the two Barq’s bottling companies merged and in 1991 they were purchased by the Coca-Cola company for $91 million.

However, that wasn’t the end of it for the second Jesse Robinson. In 2010, his childrensued Coca-Cola for one-third of Barq’s profits contending that, in Louisiana, you cannot sell your inheritance. Coca-Cola said the suit had no merit and the result of the suit could not be found.

6. Canada Dry

canadadry

The creator of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, John James McLaughlin, was born in Enniskillen, Ontario, on March 2, 1865. He studied pharmacy at school and in 1885, set up a small carbonating bottling plant in Toronto. There, he developed mixes and carbonated water. One mixture that he made, called McLaughlin’s Belfast Style Ginger Ale, found popularity in the United Kingdom. He decided to develop a similar drink that was dry and sparkling, like champagne. He spent 10 years working on it and in 1904, he had perfected the recipe. A patent was filed on it in 1905 and two years later, he trademarked the name Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale.

McLaughlin died in 1914, just as the company was starting to get off the ground, and his brother took over. Canada Dry was able to set themselves apart because they focused on selling it in ready to drink bottles, which was unusual for soft drinks at the time.

A few things helped make Canada Dry so popular. The first was that since it was ready to drink, it was sold at places like the beach and baseball games. The second was prohibition. When Canada Dry was introduced in the 1920s in the United States, the 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol was being enforced. Canada Dry became popular in speakeasies because it made illegal Canadian whiskey much smoother and easier to drink.

From there, the company grew and changed hands multiple times. In 1953, they were the first soft drink to come in a can. The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. owns the company today, and it’s the third most produced soft drink in the world.

5. 7-Up

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Originally called Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime (we can’t fathom why they’d ever change that gem of a name), 7-Up was introduced just two weeks before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The owner of the drink, Charles L. Grigg, worked as a soft drinks advertiser and changed the name to 7-Up shortly after its release. As for why the name change, no one is really sure why Grigg chose the name or what it means. Grigg ultimately took the secret to his grave, so there is a good chance we will never know. But one belief, probably the most logical, is that 7-Up has seven ingredients. Another theory is related to the original 7-Up’s special ingredient, the mood altering drug lithium, which has an atomic mass close to seven. Lithium is a salt that is found in groundwater. It’s used to treat bipolar disorder and depression.

7-Up continued to use lithium in its recipe until 1948, when it was banned by the US Food and Drug Administration. In 1950, the new formula, without the special side effects, was released. The soda maintained its popularity. It was purchased in 1978 by cigarette giant Phillip Morris, and then the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group bought it in 1986 for $240 million.

4. Fanta

fanta

One story you made of heard about Fanta was that it was invented by the Nazis. The good news for those of you who love Fanta, but feel guilty about the Nazi connection, is that the myth isn’t true. That being said, Hitler and the Nazis did influence its creation.

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Coca-Cola was having amazing success in Germany. They had record sales there, and by 1939, the country was home to 43 bottling plants and more than 600 distributors. The problem was that the atmosphere in Europe was changing. That meant that German Coca-Cola plants were having a hard time getting all the ingredients needed to produce Coca-Cola.

In 1938, Ray Powers, the American-born overseer of Coke’s operations in Germany, died in a car accident. The German government chose Max Keith, Powers’ German-born right hand man, to be his replacement. Keith, who was not associated with the Nazis, got a message to Coca-Cola distributors in Switzerland and told them he would try to keep operations going.

Since Keith couldn’t get all the ingredients, he had to stop selling Coca-Cola because he simply had no way to make it. Instead, he used the Coca-Cola plants to produce Fanta, which was a pale drink made from whatever was available at the time. This included whey, and apple fiber from cider presses. As for where the name came from, Keith told his salesman to use their “Fantasie” (imagination in German) to come up with a name and a veteran salesman blurted out “Fanta.” The drink sold well during the war. In 1943, three million cases were sold.

During the war, Coca-Cola’s head office in Atlanta had no idea if Keith was working for them or the Nazis. When the war came to an end, they found out Keith had kept operations going and protected Coca-Cola’s interests. As a result, Coca-Cola were one of the first companies to restart operations in post-war Germany. They also looked into Keith’s involvement with the Nazis and it turned out that although he was pressured to join, he never became a member of the Nazi party.

Coca-Cola discontinued Fanta after the war, but in the 1950s, Pepsi-Cola started to release more flavors. To compete, Fanta was reintroduced in 1955. The first flavor was orange, and now there are more than 100 flavors. Every day, 130 million people consume one of those flavors.

3. Dr. Pepper

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Dr. Pepper is famous for combining 23 different flavors. It even says it on the label. Perhaps that’s why it’s so surprising that it’s actually the oldest carbonated flavored drink that is still sold today. Of course, Hires was priorly created, but it was more of a tea drink that wasn’t carbonated.

In 1885, Waco, Texas was a frontier town that held the ominous nickname, “six-shooter junction.” In Waco, there was a pharmacy called The Old Corner Drug Store and it was owned by Wade Morrison. At the pharmacy, people would buy drinks from the soda fountain. That’s when pharmacy employee Charles Alderton noticed that people liked the smell of the mixed fruits from different flavored drinks. Customers were also getting bored with the usual flavors. So that is when Alderton started to mix the syrups until he came up with a recipe he liked.

After serving it to a few customers, he got feedback and perfected the famous soft drink. Soon Morrison started selling it, and it became popular enough that other stores purchased the syrup, which didn’t have a name. Instead, people just called it “a Waco.”

The name was chosen by the owner of the pharmacy. It’s not exactly clear why Morrison chose it, but it’s believed to be in honor of his friend Dr. Charles Pepper, whom Morrison knew when he lived in Virginia. Supposedly, Morrison was in love with Pepper’s daughter. However, when Morrison left Virginia to move to Waco, Pepper’s daughter would have been eight-years-old and he wouldn’t have seen her since his move. Yet, that is the official story from Dr. Pepper.

Soon the drink became so popular that they had problems making syrup. That’s when they met Sam Houston, a man who owned a bottling plant in Dublin, Texas. From there, the business grew to be one of the bestselling soft drinks in the world. And some of its bottling is still done in Dublin, Texas, where you can buy the original Dr. Pepper formula.

2. Pepsi

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 Much like Burger King to McDonald’s, Pepsi was developed as an imitator with the hopes of replicating the success of a company in the same space. It was first brewed in 1898 by pharmacist Caleb D. Bradham of New Bern, North Carolina. It was a sweet carbonated drink made with kola nut extract, and its name came from another of its main ingredients, pepsin. That’s an enzyme that helps with digestion. It was patented in 1903, and in 1905, they were selling franchises.

Pepsi-Cola sold well at first, but during the first World War, they ran into some financial trouble and filed for bankruptcy. In 1931, it was purchased by Charles G. Guth, who was the owner of Loft, a candy and fountain pop distributor. This started the modern era of the Pepsi-Cola Company. The first thing they did was get a chemist to develop a better drink. They set up bottling operations, and then began selling 12-ounce bottles for a nickel, which proved to be immensely popular.

Guth lost controlling interest in Pepsi in 1941. Nine years later, a former vice president of Coca-Cola company became CEO of Pepsi. He focused on massive advertising campaigns and sales promotions, which increased Pepsi’s earnings 11-fold during the 1950s. That’s when Pepsi officially became the rival to the biggest soft drink company of all-time.

In 1966, Pepsi-Cola, now called PepsiCo, merged with Frito Lay. Then in 1976, they purchased Pizza Hut. In 1978, they bought Taco Bell, and finally they acquired KFC and 7-Up in 1986. Pepsi also owns Tropicana, Dole, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade, making them the second largest producer of food and beverages, just behind…

1. Coca-Cola

coke

One thing most people have probably heard about the creation of Coca-Cola is that the original recipe had cocaine in it. Well, that is 100 percent accurate. In fact, it was cocaine and alcohol mixed together.

The story of Coca-Cola can be traced back to Parisian chemist Angelo Mariani. He made a drink called Vin Marine, that mixed wine and cocaine. It was incredibly popular, because mixing cocaine and alcohol actually creates a third drug called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene acts like cocaine, except that it is more euphoric.

Seeing the popularity of the drink and hoping to siphon off some for himself, Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a pharmacist living in Atlanta, worked on developing his own Cocoa French Wine. Pemberton, who had a morphine addiction stemming from an injury he received during the Civil War, made a concoction he called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, which was marketed as a cure all that would help “invigorate sexual organs.”

The drink sold well, as one would expect from a drink that mixed cocaine and alcohol. But then in 1886, Pemberton ran into a problem because one of his wine’s main components became illegal in Atlanta. And no, it wasn’t the cocaine. 34 years before the rest of the country, Atlanta enacted a prohibition law that meant alcoholic drinks could no longer be sold.

To get around the law, Pemberton replaced the alcohol with sugar syrup and called the drink “Coca-Cola: The temperance drink.” Without much else to drink, Coca-Cola became incredibly popular. However, Pemberton didn’t live long enough to see the fruits of his labor. In 1888, the maker of America’s bestselling cocaine-wine died of stomach cancer. We’re sure his product (or that pesky morphine addiction) had nothing to do with his illness.

 After Pemberton’s death, Coca-Cola continued to grow in popularity. In 1899, they introduced Coke in bottles, and it became very popular with African Americans, who didn’t have access to fountain pop because of segregation laws. This led to fear among middle class white people that cocaine drinking black people might start attacking white people, and the police would be powerless to stop them. So in 1903, cocaine was removed from the recipe and it was replaced with more sugar and caffeine.

Since then, Coca-Cola has had a long and storied history with many ups and downs. In May 2016, the company (built from an alcoholic drink made with cocaine that was developed by a morphine addicted Civil War vet who ripped off a French chemist) celebrated its 130th anniversary.

Currently, Coca-Cola is the third most valuable brand, just behind Apple and Microsoft. It’s the biggest food and beverage company in the history of civilization.


Soda Pop Backstory

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– WIF Consumer Corner

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #294

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #294

…I have become a big Constance Caraway fan… and that Ace Bannion, he cracks me up; reminds me of Bob Ford, in a rugged sort of way…

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Miami International Airport 36th Street Terminal

Within hours, Lyn Hanes is walking down the corridors of Miami International Airport. Although Coppertoneshe was a Floridian, she had never been this far south. She is amazed how different it is from the Panhandle, both in climate and population. It is very warm and very military, the latter left over from WWII, and it is currently holding Robert Ford in a bunker below ground.

          As it turns out, they were looking for her to show up, not because Ford told them she would be coming, just because they had been digging for dirt on their detainee. “Please come this way, Miss Hanes.”

          She does not resist and ends up in a room by herself. It reminds her of their experience in New Mexico. It should. Old friend, Sgt. Vincent Smith comes in, flanked by new recruits.

Meet again “We meet again, Miss Hanes.”

“So nice to see you Sergeant.”

“You know I had a feeling we would be seeing more of each other. And imagine Image result for good old timesRobert Ford being here too. Just like old times, wouldn’t you say?”

“Good old times?”

“Good, only if you aren’t looking for the truth. In the meantime, I have become a big Constance Caraway fan. And that Ace Bannion, he cracks me up; reminds me of Bob Ford, in a rugged sort of way.” He is slightly sarcastic in his undertones. “Tell me, Miss Hanes, how did you ever dream up that whole space ship thing? That’s pretty far fetched stuff for Constance to get involved in.”

“I was listening to a rebroadcast of “War of the Worlds” on the radio and it gave me this idea for Constance to investigate a spaceship crash.”

“Something inspired you, but I believe it is what you didn’t tell me then and what you aren’t going to tell me now, that gave you the idea. And good old Newt Swakhammer, you know you can’t make up a name like that.”

          “There is no Newt Swakhammer in my book.”

          “Oh, you’re correct, I keep getting the real and the made up, mixed up. Old Newt seems to have a fuzzy recollection of a man and a woman, an airplane and missing government property. Constance Caraway had a strangely similar episode. It’s funny how art imitates life.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #294


page 277

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