December 17th, 2014


Mexican Coke Dealers

No, wait.

It's not what you think.

Except for people who know me, in which case it may very well be what you think.

When I was a kid, there was Coca-Cola. Well, Coke and Pepsi. Also Tab. And RC and Diet-Rite. Stop confusing the issue!

Then came the New Coke debacle, the less said about this the better, except it showcased a giant successful company either being very shrewd or deciding to give their valued customer base the finger. Because something always appeals to somebody, New Coke soldiers on as Coke II. I last saw some cans in a gas station in Northern Indiana a couple of years ago. Real Coke came back to life in the form of Original Recipe Coke Classic, in which they changed the recipe from cane sugar to corn syrup.

Except not everywhere. Hence the Mexican Coke reference. There are several grocery stores here in West Michigan which carry it.

There's also Caffeine Free Coke and Diet Coke. Cherry Coke and Diet Cherry Coke. Also Coke With Lime. And I bought some Coke With Lemon in a little grocery market down the street from the hotel we stayed at in Helsinki in 2003.

It's all part of the market explosions on the shelf space. Where once there were one or two products -- Coke bottles, Coke cans, Lays potato chips -- we have an insane array of variety, including some options we not only never knew we wanted, we STILL don't want.

I blame it all on middle-management executives desperate to justify their existence.

So, besides a look back at the big bad world of dark caffeinated beverages, why this blog post? Well, over the weekend, John Scalzi apparently ran into Coke life -- apparently the capital part of the "L" is silent. Not "lite" but "life". Oh save us.

Seems to be yet another crossover diet/non-diet product. 160 Calories in 20 ounces, from a mix of raw sugar and stevia. Some people complain about a bitter taste from stevia, so I'm sure the real sugar is made to counteract that.

Scalzi is so identified with Coke Zero the last few years that he has a unit named after him -- 1 Scalzi is the amount of Coke Zero equal to the mass of John Scalzi. In February of 2011 this was 8½ 24-can cases of 12 ounce Coke Zeroes. And in case you're keeping score, the mass and therefore the mass-to-volume ratio (what people not in Dr. Phil's Physics classes call density) of different types of Coke cans are not the same.

As far as taste goes, the new Coke life never had a chance.

But who exactly is this product targeted at? John referred to it as the anti-Coke, since Coke comes in red cans and Coke life comes in green. Coke Zero's black can was invested partly to get away from the pink Tab and white candy-striped Diet Coke cans and make a product targeted at manly men. Remember kids, if you want to market to guys use Dr. Phil's Three Rules of Marketing to Guys, to wit: (1) make it of titanium, (2) paint it black and (3) put the word TURBO in gold letters on it. Instant millions. Coke Zero only gets two out of three, which is why is hasn't quite taken over the universe.

Sure, Coke life has fewer calories than Coke Classic. It also has a whopping lot more than Diet Coke and Coke Zero. They've also tried this before, with something called C2, which I vaguely remembering mocking to someone as being derivative of Coke II, which itself was the failed New Coke. Sort of like Ford coming out with an E2, in reference to an Edsel II.

My take? I don't care about Coke life and I think it will fail spectacularly.

And I don't drink Coke much anymore.

Just before I got sick in May 2013, we looked at my weight and said This Is Not Good, so when I first had to visit the doctor, I started to switch to one of the diet Coke products. Nasty stuff. And when I was in the hospital for 5½ months, I stopped drinking Coke and ginger ale, which they were serving all the time. Oh sure, I get a drink at the movie theatres and when out for dinner, but shit, most of them serve Pepsi, not Coca-Cola products. Mostly not even one a week. I'm not sure when I had a real Coke last.

If they just hadn't messed with these things in the first place, and let us enjoy our Coca-Cola without corn syrup and in small containers and not Mega Big Gulps, we wouldn't be here.

Coming Real Soon Now, Dr. Phil's take on What The Hell Is Wrong With McDonald's?

Dr. Phil

A Kingdom Divided Into Threes

Well, with grades done, I sat down late tonight to do something I have been meaning to do for a while. Make a stab at locating the breaks between the three books in my YA trilogy project.

It actually went far better than I expected. The divisions may actually even stay there, though nothing is carved in stone. And there's still the one big trilogy file, so I can work across the stories all at once.

Anyway, I've set the goals for each volume at 80,000 words, so I also reset the big trilogy counter from 200,000 words to 240,000 words.

And I am STILL having fun.

The new, new shiny counters:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.06

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

The Lost Kingdom Fourth Novel Version 1.03

*** Note: the numbers for Books 1-3 don’t add up, because there is text which is in a section which hasn’t been assigned to a Book and Chapter yet.

I had been lamenting that I didn't really have many words for Book 3 -- and it turns out to be an almost identical count for Book 4. Also Books 1 and 2 are close in size so far. I am nothing, if not consistent.

And yes, you'll be getting a tiny taste of my princesses for Christmas, when I publish my annual Christmas story on my LJ/DW blogs. (grin)

Dr. Phil