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  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:16 pm on August 8, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Moxie, , , Pepsi, , , ,   

    Glass or Plastic? 

    Why, glass, of course. I hate soda sold in plastic bottles. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

    Here in New York in many restaurants you can find Coke and rarely Pepsi in glass bottles.  Yes, Coke in the original bottle shaped like the cacao tree seed pod instead of the coca seed. They are made in Mexico, I think found out the reason why they taste much better than the plastic bottled ones:
    “She told me that they were bottled in Mexico and I nodded since I already knew that and said, “I think it is because they use real sugar.”
    She shook her head, “No, no, not the sugar. It’s the water.”
    She leaned in like she was telling me a secret, “Mexican water is the BEST water in the entire world.”
    Just then a smaller woman leaned in beside her grinning with a single eyebrow raised and whispered.
    “It’s MAGIC water!”

    Apparently it is not Montezuma’s revenge that assails unsuspecting tourists, but the magic waters that sour in the bellies of the unimaginative, somewhere South of the border.”

    Remember I mentioned Pepsy Crystal?  People called it second New Coke, but I actually liked it. Well, these days it’s a bit more expensive – single can sells for $20-25 on eBay. Overall “coca cola unopened” and “pepsi unopened” bring back very interesting results.

    Apparently they still make Moxie and Diet Moxie. Yep, the drink that gave us a word for “ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage“.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:39 am on August 8, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carbonated water, , , , , , , Pepsi, Soda syphon, , , , Tarhun,   

    Syphon Filter 

    One of the chores that I had to do weekly when I was little was refilling two large soda syphons in a little kiosk a few blocks away from where we lived in Odessa.  You can still buy a soda syphon today, but these are crummy tiny cartridge operated ones.  Mine were big metal units that were refilled by what was probably a hundred year old machine operated by a cantankerous old dude or his equally cantankerous wife. 

    In the kiosk they also sold soda by the glass, adding syrup from a very interesting dispenser that operated on the same principle as a titration buret. The choice of syrups was the same as in soda vending machines.

    Once, on a trip to Kiev, my father took me to an amazing giant shop that sold soda. They had a whole forest of those syrup dispensers, all different. The place was operated since before the revolution of 1917 (a huge rarity in the Soviet Union). I remember trying the most delicious tarragon flavored soda.

    Actually a very delicious bottled tarragon soda was also sold in the Soviet Union under the brand name “Tarhun”.

    Soviet soda was sold in glass bottles with crescent shaped labels. For some weird reason Pepsi was sometimes made available in different bottles with square labels. I’ve never seen a Soviet Coke bottle, but apparently they existed :

    I had my first taste of Coke in Moscow in the late eighties in a theater’s concession stand. 

    The label above and the ones below are from the site of some dude who has an amazing collection of Soviet soda labels. he sells them at $2.50 a pop. I think I’ll buy some. Oooh, these bring back a lot of memories.

    One of the neighborhood grocery stores here in Brooklyn once stocked very interesting plastic seltzer bottles from Brazil (I think) that operated as siphons. Iv’e never seen ones like that since.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:50 am on August 8, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Glass bottle, , Pepsi, proprietor, snack food machine, Snapple, , , , , Vending machines   

    Close To The Machine 

    While we are on the topic of vending machines, I gotta mention  hacking.

    I remember that a trick with a coin with a little hole attached to a string worked on Soviet payphones, but I don’t remember seeing it used on soda machines.  I never tried it. Mr Krabs in a Spongebob cartoon about the origin of Krusty Krab did that, sot it’s probably an international “hack”.

    At UGO one bright person tried to cheat the Coke machine out of a dollar by applying a long piece of scotch tape to the bill  and trying to pull it back out once the machine swallowed it. This broke our subsidized 25 cent machine resulting in an office full of pissed off people. That cost the company a few hundred dollars. 

    Then there was an interesting machine at iXL – one that dispenses glass bottles of Snapple. There are 5 shelves, and glass bottles fall down and somehow surviving. Somebody figured out that that particular machine checked if the bottle fell to the bottom before taking the money. If one stopped the bottle by holding a flap that swings to protect the dispensing box at the bottom, the machine was tricked into thinking that the bottle did not dispense and let the user make another selection. Everything was fine, but one not very bright individual caught one bottle with the flap and proceeded to drop a second bottle from the top shelf directly overhead. The dispensing bin was immediately filled by glass shards and Snapple.


    Some American soda machines have a hidden menu that can be activated by pressing drink buttons in the following order : 4 2 3 1. I activated it once by accident (the dang machine was out of everything) and only now found a reference to this online. Some snack food machine can be induced to show its internal temperature, but I don’t know the key combination.

    The company where I work now used to have two presidents at the same time. One liked Coca Cola and another liked Pepsi. Because of that we used to have two vending machines. Now they are both gone and we have only one machine.

    And last is but not least : a weird “hack” that some of my classmates used to trick a proprietor of a soda kiosk in Odessa. They cracked a  broken fluorescent lamp open and rubbed the white residue found inside on a copper 2 kopek coin. The coin became silvery and could be easily passed off as a 15 kopek coin. What’s that white residue? Deadly mercury.

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