Don’t Drink That Coffee. It Can Kill You. (Maybe)

Most of us these days can tout the benefits of coffee, from a ward against cancer to a way to make yourself more productive. But we aren’t blind. We know that too much coffee, and caffeine, can make your stomach upset and and keep you up at night. Yet can this drink kill you? Advertisers a century ago would have people believe just that.

I could only find a photo of Instant Postum (from 1911)

I could only find a photo of Instant Postum (from 1911)

In 1895, Postum created Postum Coffee Food (yes, that was the name). It was roasted cereal with a molasses glaze. How the heck did this imitator kick coffee’s butt? Advertising. Mr. Post (yes the fella behind Grapenuts) knew how advertise. He culled together all the negative aspects of coffee and went hyperbole on them.

coffee-and-provocation-postum-food-coffeeThis add touts that coffee slowly destroys your stomach and nerves. Okay, this is reasonable. I don’t know if roasted cereal is any better.

coffee-provocation-postum-brain-fagCheck out the fine print: Coffee causes Heart-Failure, Dyspepsia (a fancy word for Indigestion), Brain-Fag (I think short of Brain Fatigue) and Nervous Prostration (total nervous exhaustion). Most are reasonable, but heart failure? Wow. That’s servere.

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Okay, this one wasn’t for Postum, but I thought is was great. If you choose the wrong coffee, you get a spanking. Bad, bad wife.

The Postum Food Coffee diminished after the government truth in advertising pointed out that roasted cereal wasn’t, and never will be, coffee. Finally,  in 1911, Coca Cola went to trial over its product being a “killer brain tonic”. The main focus was caffeine. When Coca Cola won this case, it brought coffee back into focus. It also helped  that coffee folks learned to advertise.

Tim Kane

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Six Second Reading List

I wondered what my reading list would look like if I compressed it all into one, six second burst. Now, there were some problems. Namely, I read mostly ebooks now and they didn’t show up so well on the video.

Here’s a list of the books I was able to cram in:

  1. Cattus Petasatus by Doctore Seuss (A Latin translation of The Cat in the Hat)
  2. Fantastic Four #112 “Hulk vs Thing” (I own more than 500 issues)
  3. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King (I own four versions of this: paper back, hard pack, audio, and a pop-up: shown here)
  4. Pandora in the Congo by Albert Sánchez Piñol (A fantastic book)
  5. Barlowe’s Guide to Fantasy by Wayne Douglas Barlowe (Had this book as a kid)
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry (Why this hasn’t become a movie yet is beyond me)
  7. The Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway (His shorts are his best work)
  8. Ulysses by James Joyce (I took a class in college where we simply read and analyzed this book. The only way to get through it.)
  9. Holes by Louis Sachar (A genius piece of fiction)
  10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Loved it as a kid. Sparked my interest in dimensions.)
  11. Howl by Allen Ginsberg (Saw this guy perform in person, not this poem though.)
  12. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (I’ve read this book several times)
  13. Dracula by Bram Stoker (Surprisingly action packed for its time)
  14. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein (The whole darn series needs to be in here)
  15. Hell House by Richard Matheson (A superb tale of terror)
  16. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Such a stunning example of voice)
  17. The Wave by Todd Strasser (I chanced upon this in a bookstore and then couldn’t stop reading)
  18. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (I have all these books either in my classroom or on audio. Therefore I had to pick up the graphic novel for the video)
  19. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Read this in middle school. Then it haunted me until I could find it and read it again in my thirties)
  20. Dune by Frank Herbert (Hits all the marks for great Science Fiction)
  21. Dr. Grordbort presents Victory by Greg Broadmore (A cunning work of steampunk satire)
  22. Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart (I also own Wicked Plants)
  23. The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges He pulls these creatures from mythology, but so great to read)
  24. After Man: A Zoology of the Future by Douglas Dixon (This one really sparks the imagination)
  25. You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski (I own and have read multiple Bukowski books. This one simply had the most Post It notes attached.)
  26. The Complete Poems of John Keats (My fav is Ode to a Nightingale)
  27. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (Yes, I love the dictionary)
  28. The Elements by Theodore Gray (This makes science addictive)
  29. The Changing Vampire of Film and Television (I had to slip my own book in there)
  30. Olympians: Zeus by George O’Connor (Not only mythology, but written as a kick-butt graphic novel)
  31. Wired Magazine (Okay, so not a book, but it’s the only magazine I read)
  32. Hellboy by Mike Mignola (One day he’s going to take that crown)
  33. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (The book is a work of philosophy mixed with horror)
  34. Bag of Bones by Stephen King (Yes, he made the list twice)
  35. The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H. G. Wells (My Granddad gave this to me when was a tween. Loved the way the stories expanded my imagination.)
  36. Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol (He also made the list twice. You should read his stuff.)

Happy Reading

Tim Kane

The Daily Life of Interplanetary Aliens

I was strolling around the internet, minding my own business, and then I chance upon Handymartian’s Illustrated Aliens. Amazed, to say the least. The video shorts are astoundingly funny. The name Handymartian is a mixed up version of Andy Martin. This is an ongoing illustration project of his.

Mr. Perry

Mr. Perry

Here’s his first Plant Video: Planet One. This entails an alien “jam” session.

Planet Five shows a bizarre evolutionary sequence that’s mesmerizing to watch.

Finally, here is one of his original two-dimensional illustrations for his videos.

Spiky amoeba.

Spiky amoeba.

 

Watch and enjoy.

Tim Kane

Use a Handy Flowchart to Choose Your Next Book

I read a lot of books, but choosing a new one is plenty hard. With traditional bookstores vanishing, I can’t simply stroll through the aisles and pluck titles up as I fancy. This flowchart details how to navigate book titles in the ebook world. Keep  in mind, these are catered to my quirky taste. However, maybe there are some elements that relate to you.

Book Read Flow Chard

Tim Kane

I Used To Think My Right Hand Was Uglier Than My Left (The art of Ken Nordine)

I discovered Ken Nordine I don’t know how long ago. But he’s addicting. You see, he’s not exactly a poet and much more than a musician. He’s a bard working in the realm of jazz. Yet even that doesn’t do him justice. Well here, take a listen.

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Yes, listen. His voice is so soothing, you forget that he’s taking you down a surreal path into the ridiculous and poignant. Most of these (can I really call them songs?) come from a series of albums titled Word Jazz that came out in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

This first song/story, titled “Magenta,” comes from an album I don’t have, yet I love the animation that has been attached to it.

This next listen, “My Baby,” is just plain silly. Many of his song/stories are structured in this way. A sort of confessional as he tells you his secret. He speaks to you as if you’re in the room with him. Look for the twist at the end.

This is one of my all time favorites. It’s called “I Used To Think My Right Hand Was Uglier Than My Left.” Now that’s a title for you. Who wouldn’t be drawn to that?

“Down the Drain” embodies a serene feeling I get when I take a bath. Maybe you get it too. Although I don’t know if my mind travels to all the places Ken’s does.

“The Sound Museum” is just what is sounds like, a museum of modern sound “paintings”. Bizarre, I know, but Ken Nordine pulls it off. Take a listen.

At this point you might be wondering why you recognize his voice. Ken Nordine has such a deep and captivating voice, that he’s done many voice overs and commercials. He was even the coach for Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

When you have a chance, pick up one of his albums, sit back, and let his voice carry you into new realms of thought.

Tim Kane