Postum, Fauxstum, Faux Fauxstum, and Nearstum

Postum

While we’re on the subject of beverages

Years ago, I developed a fondness for Postum, a caffeine-free grain beverage that made a pretty good faux coffee for late-night drinking, especially while writing on cold winter nights. I didn’t buy huge amounts, maybe a few jars a year. Apparently that wasn’t enough to satisfy Kraft Foods, because they discontinued it—to my great discontent.

Fauxstum

Rather grumpily, I set about looking for alternatives. At Whole Foods, you can buy something called Kaffree Roma, which doesn’t exactly taste like Postum, and sure doesn’t taste like coffee. But Roma isn’t bad, and it grew on me. In time I decided it was a pretty good faux Postum, and so I renamed it Fauxstum (foh-stum).

One day I went to Whole Foods to buy another jar of Fauxstum. They didn’t have any. All they had was a theoretically similar grain beverage called Cafix. To my taste, it wasn’t as good as Fauxstum, but it was good enough to get by with on a cold night. So there I sat, on a cold December night, burning the midnight oil and drinking Faux Fauxstum.

Faux Fauxstum

Well, in due course it turned out that Postum had become available again through a small company that had acquired the rights to the name, the label, and the recipe. Unfortunately, they only sold it through online stores like Vermont Country Store, where it costs an arm and a leg, with shipping. I guess I didn’t want it as badly as I wanted Vernors ginger ale, so I held off on paying $20 for a jar of the stuff. However, in the fullness of time, I received a couple of jars as a gift from my loving wife, who doesn’t wince as I do at paying $20 for a jar of something. I rejoiced. Postum is back!

Nearstum

Except… honestly, it’s not, exactly. The new makers clearly tried really hard, and I give them lots of credit. But it seems to me that they haven’t gotten the recipe quite right (maybe the secret of the original died with its maker?), and the new Postum has a taste highly reminiscent of the old Postum. But although it comes close, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. And thus is born… Nearstum.

Well, I have a cupboard full of the various ‘stums now, and when winter circles round again, I’ll get back to it. But meanwhile? It’s Vernors time, baby!

Vernors in Massachusetts!

posted in: beverages, quirky | 0

There is a God, and he loves us. If you doubt that, consider this: It’s now possible to buy Vernors Ginger Ale in the Boston area!

Vernors is my favorite summer beverage, if you don’t count craft beer. Aged in oak, it tastes like no other ginger ale. It’s got a great gingery fizz that smacks you in the nose, with undercurrents of vanilla. I grew up with it in Ohio, and didn’t realize how good I had it until I lived where you couldn’t buy it. For years now, I have either dragged a supply back with me from Ohio if we were out there visiting family, or I have paid an exorbitant amount to buy a summer supply online.*

But thanks to the opening of the first Wegmans supermarket in not-too-far-away Newton, I no longer have to do that. Because Wegmans, bless them, has brought Vernors to Boston. What a great supermarket!

God is good. Truly.

*If you live where Vernors is unavailable, check out the Vernors Store.

It’s not five cents a bottle anymore!

Snow! On April 16!

posted in: quirky | 0

Yeesh, wasn’t it just yesterday I was driving in the truck, a little overly warm what with the Spring weather we’ve been having? Well, I was up later last night than I should have been, worrying over some stuff that should be simple in this chapter. And when I finally stumbled downstairs at 4 a.m.to take Captain Jack out for his last visit to the tree before bed, what do I find but snow on the ground, and still coming down!

This had got to be the weirdest weather year I can remember.

Which Is More Interesting: Space Elevators or Kate Upton in Zero Gee?

posted in: quirky, space, sports | 0

Too much snow, and other tiring distractions! Let’s think about something else for a change. Which is the more compelling of two stories that came across my radar the other day, both from space.com:

The coming reality of space elevators?

http://www.space.com/24739-space-elevator-tether-technology.html

Or the effect on supermodels of being photographed in skimpy swimsuits in zero gravity?
http://space.com/24726-kate-upton-zero-g-sports-illustrated.html*

You decide! (For what it’s worth, I like both of them.)

*You can see more photos in the series at http://swimsuit.si.com/swimsuit/models/kate-upton/zero-g-photos/1. Watch Kate get launched through the airplane by the photo crew!

Why Is Craig Shaw Gardner Writing Dinosaur Porn?

posted in: ebooks, quirky | 0

Or is he? I didn’t even know dinosaur porn—excuse me, erotica—existed, until Craig told his tale. It seems his innocent fantasy ebook, Temporary Monsters, was temporarily removed from the shelves of the Amazon Kindle store because—apparently—someone at Amazon thought it might be dinosaur erotica. Craig says no. To quote from his blog: “I therefore state, for the record, that my book contains ABSOLUTELY NO HUMAN/DINOSAUR EXTRA-MARITAL INTERACTIONS OF ANY KIND!” Can we trust him? I dunno, he seems to leave in the possibility of human/dino relations within marriage. What does that say?

But as Craig says elsewhere in his blog, go to Amazon and do a search on “dinosaur erotica.” Then read some of the reviews of the books that come up. I don’t know about the books, but the reviews are hilarious.

Then forget that and give Temporary Monsters a try.

Another World Milestone!

My wife Allysen texted me this afternoon to alert me to the arrival of:

11/12/13 14:15

Did I marry the right woman, or what? 

Okay, it only works in parts of the world where dates are expressed as Mo/Da/Yr, but still.

It was kind of a strange day, meteorologically. We had snow flurries in the morning, or so I hear (I was asleep). What’s strange about that is, just a few days ago I was walking around in a short-sleeve shirt. Then, this afternoon, I noticed that the sky was mostly a thick overcast, with a band of clear sky just above the northwest horizon. The demarcation between the overcast and the blue was a ruler-straight line, with no visible movement. I had a great, big-sky view of it as I drove north out of Boston on the elevated freeway.

Several hours later, it looked exactly the same. I took this picture, using the Panorama app on my phone.

Click image to biggify

The line looks curved from the fisheye effect, but in reality it was straight as an arrow shot by the Arrow. Here’s a regular shot.

It was still that way at sunset, when the edge of the overcast was lit with a beautiful pink glow. Wish I’d caught that.

Go, Buckeye Band!

Back in my high school days in the Buckeye State, I played in my school’s marching band—first on clarinet, then bass drum, then snare drum. I vividly remember how difficult it was to keep our marching lines straight, stepping eight to five*, even when the band was just marching down the field. (*Eight to five means eight measured strides to every five yards.) With that in mind, prepare to be impressed when you watch the Ohio State University Marching Band perform a routine they called the Hollywood Blockbuster Show—especially the T-Rex from Jurassic Park!

You can skip the first minute or so, which is the other band getting off the field. Watch in full screen!

  

Space Beer!

posted in: beer, quirky | 0

The indomitable Dogfish Head Brewing Company has done something I’m pretty sure no other brewer has yet attempted: cooked up a special brewsky with real, pulverized moondust in it—Celest-jewel-ale! How’s that for rocket juice, Tom Corbett? I’m sure it has special medicinal qualities! Unfortunately, you can only get it at one location, Dogfish Head’s Rehoboth Beach brewpub. Well, blast my rocket wash!

Here’s my very own Dogfish Head keg tap handle, which I won at a raffle at my favorite beer and wine store

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