In other parts of the world, Neil’s chatty friend runs off at the mouth about cell phones, reality show dance contests, and the always lovely Sophia's ability to speak Russian and Hebrew in the dark, and then the crack young staff of The Hatemonger’s Quarterly (sorry, but the link is broken here) offers the usual politically correct examination of the legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. that one usually sees about this time of year. And Fake, of Fake but Accurate, offers some words of wisdom from Mr. Rumsfeld about known unknowns in the media and its coverage of defense and foreign affairs.
In a purely unrelated train of thought, and when doing this sort of thing one's transitions ought to be as jarring as possible, so you can stun the reader into insensibility and then make off with their wallet while they are still lying on the floor suffering from psychic whiplash, brand name loyalty must be a wonderful thing, especially when you consider how much money is spent on advertising every year trying to cultivate this quality in the American consumer, but as in all things some people will raise brand name loyalty to an unhealthy extreme. I must admit here that I am a neutral in the nation’s longest running civil war, the conflict between the partisans of Coca-Cola and Pepsi; I drink both on a regular basis, primarily because I like my daily caffeine to have bubbles in it, and I am not particularly choosy about the taste differences between these two, or even between these two and Dr. Pepper.
We used to get RC Cola and Jolt Cola here in our happy little burg, but I must admit that’s it’s been a few years since I’ve seen either product here in our little corner of the turnip patch. Someone probably sells Jolt up in the county seat; there's a couple of colleges up there and with five times the sugar and ten times the caffeine (or was it the other way around?) Jolt was ideal for getting me through the crash cramming required to pass my midterms and finals, and it did wonders for getting me through those long weekends before I had to turn in a paper on Monday morning. There’s nothing as good as Jolt—nothing legal, anyway—for keeping you up into the wee hours as you try to discuss the ramifications of Alexander the Great’s political and military strategy for the conquest of Bactria in twenty-five pages complete with footnotes and bibliography after not having slept for the past thirty-six hours, and you’ve still got another thirty page paper due on the political and social history of early nineteenth left-handed lesbian shipping magnates and their effect on Andrew Jackson’s handling of the South Carolina nullification crisis of 1833.
So, I am more or less agnostic when it comes to the cola wars; they are brown, they are sweet, they have carbonation and caffeine, and I ask very little of a cola than that they meet these criteria, which is why I don’t understand why my cousin K.—a man you should not in any way confuse with my other cousin K., who came to my father’s funeral in Bermuda shorts and combat boots, or with K., the protagonist of Kafka’s Das Schloss, a very silly man who tried to see the floor supervisor of his local Department of Motor Vehicles without an appointment; I mean, come on, did we really need to read the whole book to know where that was going, or not going, as the case may be—feels the occasional need to blast holes in Pepsi machines with a .12 gauge shotgun. The police have not caught him indulging his prejudices yet, but it’s only a matter of time before they do; some Pepsi partisan is sure to turn him in sooner or later. The Pepsi people are certainly not happy about the adverse publicity, in addition to all the money they’ve had to spend fixing the machines. In one case they had to junk the machine entirely; some of the buckshot blew open a can of Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry Cola and shorted out the machine, causing a fire that destroyed a strip mall delicatessen and half of a local insurance office, and don't think for a second I didn't enjoy the irony of that. I don’t why K. dislikes Pepsi so much; sugar water is sugar water, after all; I just know that he does hate the stuff with a passion, and this is the kind of customer every company wants. You can’t buy loyalty like this anymore, you know, and they just don’t make customers like K. today in our postmodern, postindustrial information society, unless you’re a crack addict, and therefore know from personal experience of whereof I speak.