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Friday, April 8, 2011

TGI Friday Grab Bag

  The final resting place for the random tidbits bouncing about my cranium.

  In the late 90s, The far-right Reform Party of Canada was looking to make it big on the national stage but saw the Progressive Conservative Party as far too open minded for their leanings. And there were some members of the PCs who needed a party that supported their often bigoted ideals. Thusly, they decided to unite the far right to try to win a national election. The Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party was born, ushering in a new era of CRAP in Canadian politics. Three years later, the party finally realized that they were being laughed at all over the western world and the party was merged into the federal Conservatives for good.

  There is a huge market for kosher and halal-certified products, but very few of the consumers are Orthodox Jews or Strict Muslims. While there are others who buy them for religious reasons, one of the biggest reasons for looking for a symbol on a can is the perception of cleanliness. But is it true? Well, if you consider insects and other life in your food dirty, it is true. The FDA and other food inspection agencies permit certain things in food products. According to FDA standards, 1 cup of orange juice is allowed to contain 10 fruit fly eggs and one maggot before raising an alarm . Frozen Broccoli can contain 59 aphids per 100 grams, Asparagus can have beetle eggs present on 10% of stalks, and certain fish are allowed to be sold with parasites. But Muslims and Jews aren't allowed to eat bugs, so in order to garner the holy-enough-to-eat seal, extensive steps must be taken to ensure that there are no crawlies in the food. Such restaurants also have each item of produce carefully checked before the chef is even allowed to touch it.

On the subject of eating bugs, all species of Beetles are suitable for consumption by hungry humans. But when it comes to scary critters, scorpions can often inspire terror because of their prehistoric appearance. (which makes sense because they've been around for about half a billion years) However, only 25 of the 1700 or so species of scorpion are venomous enough to kill a human. Interestingly though, scorpions are not immune to their own venom and have been known to pacify one another with it during their oddly romantic day-long mating ritual.
Occasionally toxic varieties of these crawlies and humans will meet in the wild and seeing one of these little dudes near your 3-year-old might be a freaky thing indeed. If you absolutely must kill a scorpion, make it kill itself. How? Pour it a drink. Scorpions are allergic to alcohol and as little as a single drop of Stoli will make the arthropod go crazy and sting itself to death.

British post-punk outfit Chumbawamba has spent almost 30 years producing songs in a variety of genres that can most easily be summed up as protest tunes. Some cover racism and other forms of discrimination, others are staunchly anti-government. So it came as a surprise when the decidedly anti-elite quintet found fame in the late-90's with anti-establishment tracks like Tubthumping.
 Corporate advertising departments, not getting the band's message, wanted licensing rights to songs for commercials. Nike offered 1.5 million dollars to use Tubthumping in a World Cup spot and were loudly turned down. But later on Pontiac offered $100, 000 to use Pass It Along in an advert for their Vibe compact car. Chumba diehards were confused and other bands thought they were finally selling out to the man. Alas, it was part of a plan. Chumbawamba donated the money to an anti-corporate action group to be used in an advertising campaign against General Motors, the company that owns the Pontiac brand.

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