Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Otter Fodder

On a hot summer day, there is nothing like an ice cold Otter Pop to cool things down. Otter Pops--frozen fruit juice in plastic tubes--were originally created in 1970 to compete with a similar product called Fla-Vor-Ice. Not having cute otters with funny names on their packaging, the good people at Fla-Vor-Ice knew they were fighting a losing battle. They bought out the Otter Pop brand and discontinued Fla-Vor-Ice in 1996.

Otter Pops come in six colors, each color assigned a “personality”:

Blue-- Louie-Bloo Raspberry (blue raspberry)
Red-- Poncho Punch (Tropical Punch) (originally Rip Van Lemon until the mid-1970s)
Green-- Sir Isaac Lime (Lemon Lime)
Light Red-- Strawberry Short Kook (Strawberry)
Purple-- Alexander the Grape (Grape)
Orange-- Little Orphan Orange (Orange)

One major event in Otter Pop history is the Sir Isaac Lime protest of 1996. The parent company had made plans to replace Sir Isaac Lime with Scarlett O’Cherry. However, a group of fourth-graders from California mounted a signature-gathering campaign and picketed the company’s headquarters. An email campaign was also put into effect (one Stanford University professor accused the company of “otter-cide”). Company executives relented after meeting with the children; they wisely decided to retain the Sir Isaac Lime flavor.

Per the Otter Pop website, each otter personality is also a member of a band called the Otter PopStars. Each otter has his or her own fan site complete with photos and bios. For example, here is the skinny on Louie-Bloo Raspberry:

Instrument: Upright Bass

Louie is a Jazz poet whose book of verse The Sweet Raspberry of Yesterday and Other Poems has been translated into twelve languages including Beaver and Cockatiel. Originally from New Otterleans, Louie met the Otter PopStars when they were just a band of street musicians playing for clams and rocks outside "Café Le Bloo" - the spot where Louie does his best writing. Their music touched him so deeply that he put down his pen, grabbed his upright bass and immediately joined in the fun. A friend to nature and all its creatures, Louie can often be found cultivating his window box garden of purple snap dragons and bandaging up the bite marks on his fingers.

Favorite things:
-Watching the waves crashing upon the shore
-A warm café ole in the morning

Pet Peeves
-Oil spills
-People who don’t know what an estuary is

Info on the rest of the Otter PopStars can be found here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Going Dutch

The phrase “going Dutch” is a slang expression that means each person on an outing will pay for his or her own food, drinks, and entertainment. This is in contrast to a date scenario where one person is likely to pick up the full tab or a group scenario where the total cost of an evening is evenly split amongst all participants.

The phrase may have originated based on the idea of a Dutch Door, which is one of those cool doors that is split horizontally so the top half or bottom half of the door can each be opened separately. However, “Going Dutch” has often been considered cheap and tasteless, so more likely is the possibility that the phrase originated as a derogatory jibe against the Dutch (which is stupid, of course).

Several other languages have similar phrases, however:
In some parts of Italy the phrase pagare alla romana (to pay like people of Rome) holds the same meaning as going Dutch.

In Turkish, hesabı Alman usulü ödemek means “to pay the bill the German way.”

In Egypt it is called Englizy, meaning “English-style.”

And, ironically, the Dutch phrase Amerikaans feest means American Party and holds the same meaning as going Dutch.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Green Drinkery

I've been involved in GreenDrinks for over a year now, first as a volunteer organizer and now as a board member; not sure why I haven't written about it yet. Time to rectify!

First of all, GreenDrinks is totally awesome. Here is the deal: GreenDrinks is held once a month and is a forum for networking and socializing within the local green community. GreenDrinks clubs are active in over 600 cities and towns worldwide. All GreenDrinks clubs have their own local flair, but also follow the official GreenDrinks Code. The guidelines in the code shape the way that our events are run.

The code, in short:
1. GreenDrinks is open--all people and ideas are welcome
2. GreenDrinks is agenda-free (you will not be preached at)
3. GreenDrinks is not for profit. Though some cities charge a small fee to attend, most are free and drinkers purchase their own food and drinks.
4. GreenDrinks is local and decentralized--Though we all follow 'the code', each city also has the power to do things their own way.

In Spokane, we meet on the second Tuesday of every month at roving locations. Most months our event is held at a local bar or pub, although sometimes a local business or organization will sponsor us. For example, we have had a GreenDrinks in a Laundromat, a print shop, a building supply store, and an advertising agency. We always partner with a local business or non-profit, so each meeting has a focus. The organization is then allowed 2 minutes to talk to the group about what they are all about. The rest of the night is taken up with chatting, meeting new people, exchanging ideas, drinking, and laughing.

For more info about GreenDrinks International, click here.
For info on starting a GreenDrinks in your own city, click here.
For info about GreenDrinks Spokane, click here or here.