One hundred twenty-five years ago today, in Atlanta, Ga, a momentous event took place. The after effects are still with us in ways that could never have been envisioned by James S Pemberton or the customers of Jacobs Pharmacy. For those untold millions whose thirst has been quenched by a ” Co-Cola” as my wife famously said after the birth of our first child, and Mello- Yello lovers everywhere, it should almost be a holiday. Yep, it was the day in which the first Coke was served.
I don’t really care much about the secret formula or if somebody has actually published it somewhere. I have very little interest in knowing that the beverage actually had cocaine for a time. I just know that there have been many times that nothing but a Coke would satisfy or quench my thirst as jingles have proclaimed. It has settled my stomach many times, has smoothed the way for many a hot dog and hamburger and still does. In the interest of disclosure I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Mello-Yello shares the top spot now. But it is a Coke product, of course.
It is interesting that an NC native, the home state of Pepsi, would be such a loyal Coke consumer, but there you have it. I well remember in my hometown of Leaksville, NC as it was known then, watching the Coke bottles go round and round at a bottler? or distributor and thinking how cool that was.
But in the interest of history as I remember it I recall that while living in Columbus, Ga in the late 70′s and early to mid 80′s that there was the John S Pemberton house located on a brick paved street near the Chattahoochee River where I often indulged my then affinity for running. There was a plaque on the grounds identifying that house as being that of one John S Pemberton who concocted the formula for Coke and then rushed off to the big city.
Actually he probably refined the formula after moving to Atlanta where the product was not well received until being bought by Asa Chandler with the rest being history. Ironically for me, Dr Pemberton, a pharmacist by trade, was actually born in North Carolina and buried in Columbus. Finally I have an NC connection for Coke. Have to go now, it is time for a Mello-Yello!
- Coca-Cola Company Illuminates Headquarters to Celebrate 125th Anniversary (shoppingblog.com)
- Coca Cola inventor, John Stith Pemberton was a Morphines (fmiyar.com)
One of my favorite, if not the favorite, tv programs of my childhood was Captain Kangaroo. One of his recurring characters was the Banana Man. He always fascinated me with the endless variety of items he pulled from his bottomless coat pockets , featuring of course the lowly banana.
Both the Captain and Banana Man are long gone but the banana has now become a bigger star than ever before. Thanks to Japanese ingenuity ( who else) it now has its own vending machine. A Japanese subsidiary of David Murdock’s Dole Corporation installed its first banana vending machine almost a month ago in Shibuya station on one of the country’s busiest subway lines. Kept cool by a refrigerator inside, bananas sell for $1.50 each or $4.50 a bunch. Thus far the machine has been a big success.
This is the perfect solution for those locales who are busily banning soft drinks, etc from city owned facilities. I wrote about that exact thing taking place in San Antonio under the direction of city manager Sheryl Sculley. She now has a healthy alternative to the evils of soft drinks. First bananas and then the sky or banana tree is the limit. Then the city can just wait and peel in, uh reel in the profits. Probably should not locate a machine anywhere near the zoo’s primate habitat though. It would be a shame to turn lawful chimps into criminals.
Although I don’t eat there often, I am a big fan of Outback Steakhouses. One of their featured menu items is the famous bloomin’ onion. But I believe that their bloom has been trumped. There is a small division of Food Lion (numbering about 65 stores) known as Bloom. The stores operated under that name are decidedly more upscale than the Food Lion stores. Considering that I am no great fan of Food Lion, I certainly hope that their customer service is much better, because it needs to be. But I digress.
The Bloom folks created an ingenious billboard on Highway 150 outside of Mooresville,NC that was in action for several days last week. I’m purposely not using a picture as I want you to create your own mental image. So, imagine a giant fork standing 10 feet or so in the air, prongs sticking into a huge, juicy looking bite of steak which itself is in the middle of a billboard. Gets your attention, huh? To top it off, there were fans at the bottom of the billboard wafting fragrances created by charcoal and pepper flavored oil. The fans ran for 3 hours in the am and 3 hours in the pm.
I’m guessing that there was a lot of attention generated by the first billboard to use the sense of smell. Wonder how much steak they sold ? If nothing else , the creative bar for billboards has been raised to a new and quite different level. Perhaps we will soon seee, if not already, a talking billboard. The possibilities,alas, are limitless.
Here in Elizabeth City, we have a nice , little farmers market that runs from mid April through the end of October. This is the second year for this open air market on our downtown waterfront. The primary focus is baked good and fresh veggies in season, at least as far as I am concerned. Mrs THT has brought home some of the best baked breads one can imagine. Other vendors display non food wares as well. You will even see the local animal shelter with a booth trying to find homes for some canines and that other 4 footed pet. They know who they are. It is a nice little event when the weather co-operates.
My son and his wife live in the great city of Atlanta which has a huge farmers market that sells things that I would probably would not even recognize. That’s alright. A big city must have a big approach.
Apparently, the First Lady has heard of one or both of these markets. For, lo and behold, she wants one near the White House. Not on the grounds, mind you, as the President was quick to point out. What, no big crowds on the grounds? I thought Andrew Jackson tried that way back when. Anyway, back to the First Lady’s idea. There is an organization called Freshfarm Markets that is asking that Vermont Avenue be closed from 1-8 pm on Thursday (weekday, mind you, rush hour etc)
DDOT spokesman John Leslie says the traffic people are studying the request. It was just last month that the President put his support behind te idea of a farmers market.His comments made reference to the garden that the First Lady had set up at the White House.
Well, there you go. The market has its first vendor and the proceeds could go to any one of a myriad of things. Hint, hint, healthcare.
Seems that the sponsor for the market has already invited Ms Obama to its grand opening. Must know the approval s forthcoming. The Freshfarm folks are apparently the umbrella organization for farmers markets in the D.C. area. That would be helpful for outdoor markets, I guess. Oh, since the White House is just a few blocks from the proposed market, it would be easy to get a selection from the White House garden for display and sale.
I must admit my lack of knowledge on farmers markets in the nation’s capital. But, then again, it probably should not be surprising. Is there not a lot of manure in that part of the country that would be good fertilizer? Just asking.
Health issues can be quite complex and hard to decipher. I present 3 examples that illustrate how that is true. About 2 weeks ago the President nominated Dr Regina Benjamin to be the next Surgeon General, our nation’s top doc and #1 health care advocate. Dr Benjamin practices on the Gulf Coast of Alabama and has had very noteworthy medical career. She has focused her practice on those who number among the under served. Her clinic has had to overcome the wrath of Katrina as well as a devastating fire. She has received a number of honors, all seemingly well deserved.
In her personal life, she has lost a number of family members to disease, such as diabetes, lung cancer(due to smoking) and HIV related illness. She says that she would want to focus and wellness and prevention plans to keep people from dying of preventable diseases.
Ok, now for the mixture angle. Dr Thomas Frieden is head of the CDC. He apparently considers obesity as a preventable disease, but not by individuals themselves. He alluded to the 26% obesity rate in our country and has this quote”Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort,” it will be done successfully as a society( translation -government). CDC researchers also said that spending on obesity-related diaeases takes up 10% of health care spending.
Number 3 comes from the left coast, courtesy of the LATimes. The article is titles Tough Love for Fat people, Tax Their Food to pay for healthcare.Don’t laugh just yet. The Urban Institute has a report that suggests using strategies that were employed in the tobacco wars against fatty foods. Simplified, tax those chips, cookies , sodas, candies etc. What a government gold mine , all to be used for healthcare of course. They say that a 10% tax on theses evil foods along with new labeling identifying the healthier foods would work wonders. Now whose work do they site? The Surgeon General who reported on the dangers of smoking way back in 1964 (this report was key in getting my dad to quit smoking) and continued to raise the bar .
Ok, do we have any connections? Our Dr Benjamin is herself an overweight person. Some have already raised this issue, both as a factor in her favor-different perspective, knows the issues etc- and as a negative- how can she advocate against weight related issues if she is struggling with them. A conundrum, we have, as Yoda might say.
Personally, I have always had a bit of difficulty with physicians who seemed of the mindset- take my advice, but I don’t . Could our Dr Benjamin fall in that category, perhaps. Would she be wont to push aggressive measures that target what one eats and seeks actually to influence or control ones behaviour in that area? It will be interesting to watch. Too bad, one can only stock up so much Mello Yello ahead of time.
At long last the time has come for an ode to coffee , a paen to that morning or afternoon or evening cup or multiple cups of good ole Joe . Those who know are aware that it is the crucial element for getting one’s day off to a ( great ) start of any kind . Without it, how unfortunate we would be indeed . Those of you who are not blessed with the taste bud to enjoy coffee have my undying sympathy . Thankfully, my adult children and my beloved wife all share in enjoying this delightful beverage . We do not all drink the same flavorings or quantities but that is not the main factor, we all comsume the brew. We indeed owe a debt to those who lived in 9th century Ethiopia where the lowly bean was first cultivated . And hats off to Juan Valdez and his burro for their modern day efforts . Whether you enjoy it by dunking a doughnut which is how I started before I learned better or with pie or cake or whatever , I raise my mug and salute ( health benefits or lack of same yet to be determined for certain so until the next study or two or three , drink on ) Hear ! Hear !
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