Great Debate: Coke vs. Pepsi

By September 29, 2011 Food

This has got to be the oldest debate at the vending machine.

Coke versus Pepsi. Or, in my universe, Diet Coke versus Diet Pepsi.

And let me tell you, there’s a difference.

The cola wars between the two soft drink giants started back in the ’80s with taste tests at shopping malls and grocery stores.

These days it’s hardly a competition. Coca-Cola reigns supreme, with Pepsi falling behind both Coke and Diet Coke in total annual sales.

But the debate lives on.

My preference?

Easy.

Coke. Actually, Diet Coke. And I’m addicted.

Now, it’s nothing like the addict in CNN’s Eatocracy, who, before kicking the habit, drank two liters a day at the very minimum, sometimes four. (I’m actually too worried about the later-effects of aspartame.)

But Coke products are just superior, to me, than Pepsi. Not as sweet, much more fizzier. It’s just better.

Sure, I’ll drink Pepsi — if I’m desperate for caffeine, which is just about every morning at work, where only Pepsi products are sold. But if I had a choice, it would be Coke all the way.

You got a preference?

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Finally! A Facebook page!

By September 28, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

After pressure from people who know and do better than me, I finally — finally — set up a Facebook page for my blog.

I’ll be posting updates — particularly in the realm of food and travel — regularly, so check it out!

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Parents have favorites, too

By September 28, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

You don’t always want to admit it, but we all play favorites.

We have a favorite dental hygienist, a favorite bank teller, a favorite boss, a favorite cashier at Foodland. It almost ruins your day to deal with anyone else.

But what about a favorite child?

A recent survey published in Time Magazine shows that parents do have a preference.

About 70 percent of fathers and 65 percent of mothers exhibit a preference for one child over another. For father, it’s often the youngest girl. And for mothers, it’s typically the oldest boy.

Remember: it’s exhibiting a preference. Most parents are pretty good at concealing their bias.

But, according to Jeffrey Kluger, author of the new book, “The Sibling Effect,” deep down you have a favorite.

“It is my belief that 95 percent of the parents in the world have a favorite child, and the other percent are lying,” said Kluger, the father of two daughters, 10 and 8, to TODAYMoms.

And guess who’s left out? The middle child. Research suggests middle-born children — hey, that’s me! — are less likely to be the favorite than oldest or youngest kids.

I know, as kids, we feel like our parents prefer one over the other. My brother got to stay out later than me. My sister had her own room. But I don’t know if it’s that clear cut.

I might have been the annoying youngest daughter — until my sister came along — but now I’m the one who’ll pick up my parents when their Pontiac craps out in Kaneohe.

Certainly I must be the favorite now, right?

Thoughts on this?

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Postcards: Wake me up!

By September 27, 2011 Postcards

Most college towns have great little coffee shops — and Madison, Wisc. is no exception. Here was Derek’s morning wake-up in a cup — a blackforest mocha — from a certified coffee growers cafe.

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Why I (now) hate flying

By September 27, 2011 #CatTravels, Musings, The Daily Dish

Flying has never bothered me.

I don’t get claustrophobic on airplanes. I don’t mind waiting in airport gates. And I actually like the food they serve — that you now pay for — on board.

But after this weekend in Las Vegas, I officially loathe flying.

Here’s what went wrong:

1. The flight from Honolulu to Las Vegas via Los Angeles was booked. So airlines agents were checking check-in bags at the gate and deciding whether they were too big to fit on board. (This should have been done earlier, say, at check-in.)

2. I was asked to switch seats twice. I wound up getting a worse seat than I already had. Good thing the women on both sides of me were pleasant company.

3. The flight crew on our flight on Continental Airlines were completely hateful. They didn’t smile, they snapped at passengers, one rolled the cart into people’s feet and yelled at them. I thought I was getting punk’d.

4. Our plane had to turn around due to mechanical problems involving something the word “auxiliary.” We spent three hours in the air — and returned back to Honolulu. Our flight didn’t leave for another hour. In all, it took us 11 hours to get to Los Angeles.

5. When we got to LAX, the Continental crew didn’t have any information for us regarding the connecting flights we missed. They directed us to the airlines of our connecting flights to figure it out. (I felt badly for a couple heading home to Europe after their honeymoon in Hawaii.) We waited another hour to find out what flight we had been rebooked on — only to find out all four of us had been rebooked on different flights, including one departing the next day.

6. Amazingly, even though the booking agent said ALL OF THE FLIGHTS WERE FULL — repeatedly — we got seats on the 4:10 p.m. flight out of LA to Vegas. All in a row. All in the bulkhead aisle. And when we were on board, the flight attendant said there were 12 more open seats. Full, huh?

7. Though the airlines inconvenienced us and, in most cases, made us wait at the airport for hours, we were not compensated at all. In fact, the airlines kept saying, “It’s not our responsibility.” It was driving me crazy. We didn’t even get food vouchers for airport grub.

8. While checking in online for my return flight on United Airlines, I found that I was now rebooked — without my knowledge — on a later flight to LA. I would miss my connecting flight, too, which would bring me home more than four hours after my scheduled arrival. I spent another hour or so yelling at United Airlines customer service reps — including a supervisor — about getting on the plane, on the flight, and in the seat I had booked (and paid for) on July 1. How was I kicked off the plane and rebooked on a later flight? I had reserved a seat two months ago. It was ludicrous.

9. After being told for 45 minutes that there was ABSOLUTELY NO SPACE ON THE FLIGHT, it had been oversold, there was NO WAY I would get on it — I miraculously got back on the supposedly sold-out flight, though in a different seat, and was able to get home on time.

10. Our other friend wasn’t so lucky. I dropped her off at the airport at 4:45 a.m. for her 6 a.m. flight to Honolulu via San Francisco, which got postponed to almost noon. She didn’t get home until later Sunday night when she was supposed to arrive in Honolulu before lunchtime.

It’s hard to believe all this happened during one vacation — but it did.

The sad part is that I’ve lost faith in airlines. Not only are their planes unsafe — both times, the delays were caused by mechanical problems — but the customer service reps flat-out lie to you. How could a flight be completely sold out — but then I get a seat? It just doesn’t make sense.

How can you trust a company that’s 1) unsafe and 2) lies? You can’t.

Anyone got a travel horror story to share?

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