Friday, October 24, 2008

NOT a Pink Ribbon Product Review!

I first wrote about Carrageenan two years ago.  I was sitting on my back porch reading the newspaper and suddenly found myself reading about 'personal lubricants' in the business section. I was aghast.  And curious enough to keep reading.  Apparently a company here in Phoenix had just introduced the latest thing in personal lubricants.  Carrageenan.

As I read the article I was struck by the fact that personal lubricants were a $130 Million a year business.  (and this was two years ago)  The article said that personal lubrication is a subject many people feel uncomfortable discussing.  To which I wrote, "No kidding!"  (I was more concise back then)  The article was fascinating because I had never once in my life given any thought to the marketing or the ingredients of personal lubricants.  (No, I cannot bring myself to use the term 'lube') As to the ingredients I'll just quote the article (Thank you google cache!)

Carrageenan, which is named for its principal ingredient, a gel-like substance extracted from seaweed.

Carrageenan is used as a thickener in everything from ice cream to shampoo to shoe polish, but according to Kehoe its lubricating properties may be its biggest advantage. In addition to being naturally viscous and slippery, carrageenan is thixotropic. That means it thins under pressure and regains its viscosity when the pressure is released.

"It pumps easily and then stays where you put it," Kehoe said.

Interesting huh?  What struck me was that this substance sounded identical to a thickener one can use when making Tie Dye.  

And trust me - the Dharma Trading price is way cheaper than the Oceanus price!  

Not that I'm suggesting . . . .   I imagine there are differences. . . .  This was just an observation about ingredients and price. . . . .Um, we are not responsible for misuse of. . . . . You know - just forget that last part.  

So anyway - up until the very end of the article I was just reading along in bemusement.  Then the last sentence just smacked me right between the eyes:

He got the idea for it based on the experience of his wife, who after menopause found sex uncomfortable.

Let me tell you - If my husband ever shared a personal detail like that with anyone - much less a reporter I would have to cut his tongue out with a rusty steak knife!  

Why am I sharing all this with y'all two years after the initial article?  BTW the original article was headlined : New product is due to slide out of lab soon

Shudder.  Twitch.  Shudder.

Oh?  Yeah, that right - the point of all this.  And there is a point.

As I stated earlier, in my non-shudder inducing headline,  we are not doing a Pink Ribbon Product Review today!  But I did want to mention that During the month of October, 20% of the net online sales of Carrageenan will go to the Susan G. Komen folks.  

What I like about this promotion is that it is crystal clear how much they are giving, who is actually getting it, and what is required.   So even though we are NOT reviewing this product we did want to mention it! 


Thursday, October 23, 2008

The soup chronicles continue. . . .

So! We were discussing Campbell's soup. We had determined that their actual contribution to Breast Cancer research was apparently not public information.

We mentioned their special Earth Day soup labels and were in the middle of defending them (poor beleaguered multi-national that they are) when we realized we were running a wee bit long and some of y'all had actually begun to doze at your keyboards. (And rumor has it that a certain fan in Washington was actually asleep AND drooling on her keyboard) Not wanting anyone electrocuted on our watch we took a short recess until today.

So we are going to leave the Breast Cancer arena for a moment while we ponder the Earth Day thing. But don't worry - it's all connected!

So Campbell's 'dresses up' their soup cans in alternate colors but the purchases of the soups does not trigger a donation to any particular cause. However, according to their website, buying the soup does help the environment.

How? Glad you asked:

By letting you add the water at home, we can make the cans smaller, which saves a lot of metal, and lighter, which saves fuel when bringing it to your local store shelf.

How much fuel and metal are we saving? Glad you Asked:

2.6 million gallons of fuel saved every year = Taking about 5,000 cars off the road every year


130 million pounds of steel saved every year = The amount of steel needed to build about 12 new Gateway Arches in St. Louis every year.

Does St Louis really need 12 new Gateway arches?

Actually that wouldn't be a bad idea.


Look at this picture:

Isn't that pretty?

Why is the Arch pink? To celebrate Breast Cancer awareness month!

What prompted the National Park Service to jump on the pink band wagon?
They were forced to.


Apparently when reps from Estee Lauder and May department stores first approached the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Thats the given name of the arch) and asked to light it up pink, the officials said no.

Apparently they had concerns that if they allowed the pink,  they would be forced by fairness to allow other colors. They had been asked to light it in red for Gay Pride week and in rainbow colors for the National Heart Association. Or visa versa.

The point being that there are many good causes and the park service believed it couldn't or shouldn't say yes to all of them. One park service official was quoted as saying "If allowed to occur, the Arch in essence becomes a billboard to be used for purposes not consistent with the intent of the Memorial,"

So Estee Lauder called a senator and badda bang, badda boom - the arch was ordered lit. The legislation, Senate Bill 2895, passed the house and senate unanimously.

I don't know. Y'all know I am a loyal servant of the pink, but is this necessary or wise?  I mean the legislation - not the idea of making huge brightly lit spectacles - that's always a good idea! You have to admit, the arch in pink is breathtakingly beautiful.

It should be noted that once the bill passed, all the park service folks threw themselves into this enthusiastically. They were never in favor of breast cancer - they just had a different mission in their lives.

So what do you think? What if some less popular cause like Multiple Sclerosis requests that we light it up orange? (Aside of the fact that I would be on the first east-bound train to go see it!) 

And since Estee Lauder has lit up the Empire State Building and Niagra falls and LAX and some castle in Austria and the Leaning Tower of Pisa; what's to stop her from setting her sights on the White House?

Oh. Ok. That's mighty purty. Can't wait to see it orange during MS month. Oh wait - MS only gets a week in March.

Yes, Breast Cancer Awareness and research is vitally important. Vital as in life and death. And yes, I love huge shiny pink things. Yet I can't help but think that we should never ask for something for ourselves that we would not like to see other organizations ask for. There are enough privately owned buildings and public structures that aren't iconic that would be almost as impressive without opening floodgates.

I said
almost as impressive. Take a gander at these:

So that's enough about soup for one day.

Don't forget that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  Think Pink!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A review, a recipe, a rhyme

All righty then.  We had the most fabulous time at our Sneakers Sports Grill Ladies Night.  As soon as I get the pics from our photog I will tell you more about it!  One of the ladies who attended was carrying the cutest Warhol handbag.  As in the picture immediately above this paragraph!

Normally when we use pictures to illustrate certain points or concepts here we like to place them with the relevant text.  Today you will notice all the pictures are up top.  Why?  I'm glad you asked.  

Because everything is connected.  Not just everything in this blog (and not just everything in my head)  but everything in the universe.  Which is why the WWW works so well.   And also why folks who are still into that whole linear thought process don't read our blog as often as the rest of you!

So if you were paying attention to the pictures (or if you have walked into a grocery store this month) you can't help but notice the pink label Campbell's tomato soup.  

Not going to review the soup because it supposedly is the same soup that is in the regular red labeled cans.  And I couldn't bring myself to actually purchase a can because just looking at it made me a bit queasy.  

Not because I am suddenly one of those pink-ribbon-backlash folks who go insane when I see a simple pink tic-tac.  No, the reason I can't stomach this soup is because of my mom. 

When my mom and her siblings were young and impressionable my grandmother would make them a special soup whenever they were feeling sick.  Being sensible Midwestern people they did not have a fancy name for this soup - they simply called it Pink Soup.  

Naturally when they became mothers they made it for their children.  Only we weren't so impressed.  My cousins and I agree that pink soup is what causes  tummy aches, not what cures them.  You don't even have to eat it to get a stomach ache - just watch it being made.  

But out of respect for my grandmother I will stop with the soup bashing.  My mom and aunt equate Pink Soup with love and nurturing - which we can all use more of.  Aside of the loving properties of this soup some folks may enjoy the pseudo bisque ness of it all.  And it's cheap and easy - you can't ask for much more than that!

Pink Soup 
Margaret Johnson Sundin

1 Can Diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Heat can of tomatoes until piping hot
Add baking soda and stir till the fizzing has stopped
Quickly add cup or so of milk, stirring rapidly
Bring back to piping hotness
Add dash of pepper and a pat of butter

Serve in large mug

Now some of y'all are thinking that sounds good and that you may make a bowl of it for your own grandma; but  you still have a pink labeled can of Campbell's tomato soup that you don't know what to do with.  Here is my favorite thing to do with tomato soup:

Tomato Soup Cake


·                         3/4 cup shortening

·                         11/2 cups white sugar

·                         1 (10.75 ounce) can tomato soup

·                         3/4  cup water

·                         1 teaspoon baking soda

·                         3 cups all-purpose flour

·                         1/4 teaspoon salt

·                         3 teaspoons baking powder

·                         11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

·                         1 teaspoon ground cloves

·                         11/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

·                         1 to 11/2 cups raisins optional

·                         1 to 11/2 cups chopped walnuts


Ø      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Ø      Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt or tube pan

Ø      In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.

Ø      In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. Set aside.

Ø      In a separate bowl, combine tomato soup, water and baking soda.




Ø      Add creamed mixture alternately with the flour mixture to the soup mixture.

Ø      Stir in the raisins and nuts.

Ø      Pour batter into pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 - 60 minutes and do the toothpick thing.

Ø      Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack

Ø      Frost with cream cheese frosting or just sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Mmmmm, mmmm good!

Okay - now we can get down to the charitable aspect of this all.  

Much like the Speciak K search, this information was not easy to come by.   Part of the problem, initially, is that my shiny Chrome browser (which if you remember correctly is NOT chome or shiny) displays the Campbells site poorly.  The links all overlap and it's impossible to read the left part of the page or search the site.  So I tried to acess it using good old Internet Explorer.  Well apparently Chrome and IE do not play well together and they had a little skirmish inside my CPU and eventually I gave up.  But not before finding these two quotes on the Campbells site:

Each October, we support breast cancer awareness by dressing some of our most popular brands in pink packaging, including Campbell's condensed soups and Pepperidge Farm cookies in the U.S., and Tim Tam biscuits in Australia.

 Our icon brands don pink labels to raise breast cancer awareness. We also donate funds to support the cause.

Wow.  I don't know about you but this vague 'support' is starting to get old.  I'm glad that they donate funds; would it kill them to tell us how much?  I read this on another site, not the official Campbell’s site:


The company's donation is not linked to purchase price, soup unit sales, or retailer order and display levels.

So I guess if you like Campbell’s soup you should buy it.  If not there is no particular reason to.   If you do buy Campbell’s soup please save the labels and donate them to your local elementary school!  Thanks!


Now please do not think I'm bashing Campbell’s here.  I appreciate people and corporations doing what they can to help.  They are in the soup business - not the curing cancer business.  Besides - there is another group of folks doing enough Campbell’s bashing for all of us.  

Apparently Campbell’s came out with special green label soup to celebrate/promote Earth Day.   This apparently offends some of the more strident of the self proclaimed protectors of the planet. Especially the chicken (gasp!  non-vegan!)  noodle version, which not only has meat but isn't even organic!  I wouldn't worry about it too much - have you ever seen how much chicken is in the regular chicken noodle soup?  In fact I'm not even convinced it is chicken.   

Meanwhile the VP of  cause marketing over at Campbell’s is thinking, "Please stop defending us!"      


Ha!  I've only yet begun to defend!  I just realized this post is turning into a tome.  I think we will have to continue tomorrow. . . . . .