Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder, In Orbit (2014)
Shelley and Schweder are living for ten days on opposite sides of a wheel, to talk about symbiosis, architecture, and balance.
A short review of Jamaican candies.
I recently was taken on a lovely Caribbean vacation, that happened to partially take place on a giant boat. On Day Three, I got off said boat in Jamaica, where I had just intended to buy some candy and hop back on the boat. But the catch is that cruise ships stop in the same place every time, so the port area has been built up for all of the tourists, with a plasticky Margaritaville restaurant and several places to buy tie-dyed stuff with “I <3 Jamaica, Mon” written on it. But I wanted candy, and I wanted to buy it from someone who occasionally sells it to Jamaican people. When I travel normally, I like to pretend that I live in a new place for the time that I am there. I like going to a quiet place to sit and read, and I really like visiting a grocery store and seeing the kinds of foods and brands that people prefer—especially packaging differences, eg. plastic bags of milk in Israel and boxes of stewed tomatoes in the Czech Republic.
So it was important to me to leave port. After wandering around for a bit and ignoring offers from people who wanted to braid my hair, I found a place, bought some chocolate, and bounced around to a few more grocery stores. Now, “grocery store” is a strong term. Each of these places that I found sat somewhere between gas station convenience store and an Aldi: everything was packed close together, and crates of food were just stacked right on the tiled floor. Most of the places were packed and dirty, with a lot of yelling across the store and pulling people’s arms to get them to queue up. I found what I was looking for by asking a shelf-stocker who was sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle, arranging shampoo.
Most of the candy shelves were fruit flavored gummy things, along with the occasional mint thing. I predicted any chocolate would be melty, and I was right. The Coco Crïsp is a cross between an Almond Joy and a Crunch bar: A fantastic concept, the coconut cross-section in a half-moon at the base, coated in chocolate and then crisped rice pieces, and then chocolate again. It was purchased exclusively because I thought it was appropriate to, at some point during a trip to the Caribbean, eat something containing coconut. It delivered the (dry, disappointingly cakey) coconut, but the chocolate was “powdery” at best, clearly from being heated and resolidified several times in the tropical weather.
I bought these with no picture of what to expect when I opened the box, and I was surprised to find 24 individually wrapped orange taffy bars, similar to American AirHeads. Of course, these Creepy Sour Chews promised me they’d be EXTRA SOUR, and they did this in the traditional sense: sweet candy, paired with a mysteriously mouth-puckering white powder. Normally, you see this stuff on the outside of dumb hard candies to make them marginally more interesting (and then the sour stuff disappears and you’re left with a boring chunk of sugar). American candy companies take note: the sour powder of the Creepy Bar is wrapped on the inside of the sweet, chewy taffy. This by no means diminishes the shock that the citric acid brings, on the contrary it enhances the surprise, creating a delightful balance between the sweet orange and the sour.
Bon Bon Bum (Passion Fruit):
This was the clear winner. I’ve learned to stick with fruit flavors below 23.5 degrees latitude. A bright, fruity flavor, with predictably crappy gum in the center. The black “seeds” embedded in the bright yellow lollipop tricked me into thinking that real fruit was harmed in the production of my candy (no need to worry, it wasn’t—I checked the package).
Purchased 100 % for the name. The chocolate bar was pretty ok too.
Cirrus Falcon - Superman
When I was a little kid, these guys used to play outdoor concerts in the summertime in my hometown. And this song was the best.
As a researcher at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino, Anatoli Bugorski used to work with the largest Soviet particle accelerator, the U-70 synchrotron. On 13 July 1978, Bugorski was checking a malfunctioning piece of equipment when an accident occurred due to failed safety mechanisms. Bugorski was leaning over the piece of equipment when he stuck his head in the path of the proton beam. Reportedly, he saw a flash “brighter than a thousand suns,” but did not feel any pain.
The left half of Bugorski’s face swelled up beyond recognition, and over the next several days, started peeling off, revealing the path that the proton beam (moving near the speed of light) had burned through parts of his face, his bone, and the brain tissue underneath. As it was believed that he had received far in excess of the radiation dose that would normally kill a person, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow where the doctors could observe his expected demise. However, Bugorski survived and even completed his Ph.D. There was virtually no damage to his intellectual capacity, but the fatigue of mental work increased markedly. Bugorski completely lost hearing in the left ear and only a constant, unpleasant internal noise remained. The left half of his face was paralyzed, due to the destruction of nerves. He was able to function well, except for the fact that he had occasional complex partial seizures and rare tonic-clonic seizures.
Bugorski continued to work in science, and held the post of coordinator of physics experiments. Because of the Soviet Union’s policy of maintaining secrecy onnuclear power-related issues, Bugorski did not speak about the accident for over a decade. He continued going to the Moscow radiation clinic twice a year, for examination, and to meet with other nuclear-accident victims. He “remained a poster boy for Soviet and Russian radiation medicine”. In 1996 he applied unsuccessfully for disabled status to receive his free epilepsy medication. Bugorski showed interest in making himself available for study to Western researchers, but could not afford to leave Protvino.
A few representative snapshots to set the scene of JoCo Crazy Cruise VI:
Here is a video of a pelican learning how to fly, from an unusual perspective.