Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

July 14th, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • For a little over a year, I've been buying dry-roasted peanuts from Safeway that do not contain MSG. Recently we noticed that the packaging had changed, and checked the ingredients. MSG returns, gakkh. Dry-roasted peanuts are a much better snack than their rep would have it, but MSG makes me feel weird in the head, so the search for MSG-free dry-roasted peanuts resumes. Interestingly, I had a couple of Planter's dry-roasted peanuts the other day (knowing full-well that they have MSG in them; I had a few, not handfuls) and they do not taste any different. Not better. Not worse. Not a little bit. Not at all. So the companies that print “monosodium glutamate (flavor enhancer)” on their peanut labels are being ripped off. MSG does not enhance flavor. What it does do is mess some people over (like me, and countless others) and cost the vendors money. MSG is cheap, but not free. When will food packagers realize that they could save money and increase their market by just dumping it?
  • Pertinent to the above, Jay's Barbecue Potato Chips also lack MSG, and are the only barbeque potato chips I've ever seen that don't have it. They are a Chicago brand, and so far we haven't seen them in Colorado Springs. But when I'm here, I gorge.
  • I'm a big fan of lashup railcars, but I startled a little when Pete Albrecht sent me a link to a model of a pink Galloping Goose. The paint schemes are described as “authentic.” So was there ever a Rio Grande Goose in pink and white livery? I've not been able to determine that—but whoa, somehow I doubt it. That's a spit-and-baling-wire, real-man's tin-roof rough-and-tumble item that reminds me of Mad Max as much as it does of the Old West. Pink? Sheesh!
  • A tenured professor at the University of Minnesota has put out a call for Catholics to send him consecrated Eucharistic hosts…so that he can desecrate them. I had hoped this was an urban legend, but the Washington Times generally knows better. I wonder if he (and his clueless university) understand that this doesn't hurt the Church at all, but makes higher education in general and university professors in particular look mean-spirited and ridiculous. (Quick: Somebody test that guy for toxoplasmosis…)
  • From Michael Covington comes a link to a Modern Mechanix item from 1933 that may be the original “watt dog” cooker, which spawned a famous Carl & Jerry story cautioning young tinkerers about the hazards of messing with line current. A board with nails pounded through it, facing up…with 110V on the nails. Wow. (And while you're there, click on the cover image to get a closer look at what was prompting young geeks to buy magazines in 1933. Maybe the Flynn Effect really does exist.)
  • On second thought, probably not.
  • Thanks to Baron_Waste, I discovered that the United States' net carbon emissions declined by 3% between 2000 and 2006. Of the top 17 carbon emitters, only France reduced emissions more—and I'd wager that that's because France has had the good sense to stuff their antinuclear crackpots in the Bastille and forget about them.
  • Nertz. Wrong. France closed the Bastille in 1789. Well, hey: Today is the 158th birthday of the ice maker.