Wednesday, July 13, 2005

They call me Spruce?

The 19 Minutes staff has been scrambling the last couple of days to get a piece ready for the airwaves. Those of you with access to NPR's midday show, Day to Day, can catch a report about the doctor shortage in the southwest on tomorrow's show. Or so they tell me. Of course, William Rehnquist will probably resign from the Supreme Court tomorrow, which will put "Doctor Shortage" on the "Stories that Might Conceivably Air Someday" shelf.

Meanwhile, it's ridiculously hot in 19 Minutesland. And lest you think I'm just whining again about my unairconditioned car, my unairconditioned house, and my unairconditioned office (yeah, you're probably right, I am whining), consider that the temperature hit 92 yesterday, which in Phoenix terms is a pleasant March afternoon, but is only 5 degrees cooler than the all-time Flagstaff record for any day.

The key member of the 19 Minutes staff, though, decided to be proactive. For the first time in roughly 5 years, I bought a Squirt soda. Refreshing and grapefruit-like.

I was pleased with this purchase until I read the ingredient label, which of course features "Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin". I'm not normally frightened of odd additives in soda. It's not like Dr Pepper (which at times forms a majority of the liquid coursing through my veins) is an organic food.

But "Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin" seemed dangerously close to the scariest soda I've ever tried -- a concoction called "Spruce Beer" purchased at a drug store in Salaberry de Valleyfield, Quebec, on an equally hot afternoon. The label looked similar to Sprite. The color of the soda looked like Sprite. It was in the soda case next to 7-UP. I thought, "Maybe the name just doesn't translate well from French."

It smelled like a forest. It tasted like a forest. I set it down. I came back to it 20 minutes later. I let my wife try it. Still, spruce-y.

It's just a darn good thing the same doesn't hold true for Birch Beer. The verdict is still out on whetherBald Cypress Beer is good stuff.

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