Captain’s Log 4,349
So……yesterday was interesting. I took my car in for service. I knew the brakes were getting wonky and a quick check confirmed it. Okay. I authorized fixing the brakes and a few other things. The nice shuttle guy drove me to work (and talked about Easter and Jesus and HAM – but I just smiled and nodded). After the debacle over HAM two days ago, I didn’t want to risk it. I didnt want him to dump me on the side of the road or unfriend me on Facebook. Well, we aren’t friends on Facebook. I don’t even know his name, but you get the idea.
They called me a few hours later and told me the car was ready. I snagged a ride and entered the business office to pay. The clerk smiled and told me the computers were down so I couldn’t pay the bill. They wanted to call me later when the computers were up and running and do it over the phone. I had the invoice, so I said, “Why don’t I just write you a check?”
And that’s when it got good. They were not ALLOWED to accept my check because the cash register drawer wouldn’t open. Apparently, it’s very important to put the check in the drawer even when the system goes down. WTF????? I said, “Why don’t you just clip my check to the invoice and put it in the drawer later?”
That apparently made too much sense because the answer was still no. WTF???? I offered to pay cash. Same answer. “We have no place to put the money.”
So, they took my card information and told me they would call me once they ran the charge. About an hour later they called and told me they charged exactly the same amount of the check I was not allowed to write. I understand business controls, but isn’t that going a bit far? I would think it would have been important for them to get the money any way possible.
And then…..whilst reading the Huffington Post this morning, I was shocked to learn about……castoreum. To many, it means nothing. It meant nothing to me until this morning when I read the article “Things You Don’t Want in Your Food.” Read on…
When the phrase “natural flavors” appears on a package, the best move is to call the company and find out what the flavors are actually made from. You might be horrified to find out that are about to ingest fluid from the sex glands of beavers. Yup. Beavers. Especially if you like raspberry flavoring in candy, tea, or cookies. Keep reading.
Castoreum is a bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers. The discharge of the castor sac is combined with the beaver’s urine and is used to scent mark territory. Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail.
Castoreum is a product of the trapping industry because beavers don’t give up their castoreum freely. When beavers are skinned for their fur, these glands are taken out and are sold after being smoked or sun-dried. Nice! Castoreum is used in perfumes for “refined leathery nuances.” It is also reportedly used in some incense, and to contribute to the flavor and odor of cigarettes. In food, castoreum is used to flavor candies, drinks, and desserts such as puddings with that nice, raspberry taste.
Now…after all of that gross mess, my question is…..
Who in the hell decided to taste these sex gland secretions in the first place? Can you imagine? Someone had to be first! I’m guessing it was a guy. No offense, but women tend to NOT want to try tasting shit like that. Hmmmm…..tastes like….raspberries! Let’s make some pudding! Who in the hell even thinks like that?
And what is up with all that “tastes like…” business anyway? Why don’t you just eat raspberries instead of beaver sex glands? If a rattlesnake tastes like chicken, why don’t you just eat chicken? Gaaaaa!
I also learned that castoreum is also used to flavor cheap vanilla. That’s it! No more beaver sex glands in my cinnamon roll icing! I will only use natural rum-infused vanilla that I make at home from now on. Next thing you know, I will live in a cabin in the woods, whittle flutes out of willow branches, and allow elk to live in my kitchen. Might was well throw in some wild hickory nuts while I’m at it. I will do ANYTHING to avoid castoreum!
Careful there, Bucky!
Many thanks to you who left comments of support yesterday. It was comforting to know you don’t perceive me as some rampant athetistic carnivore-hating fanatic who writes things in this journal just to scare people. Then again, if the very idea of ingesting beaver sex glands doesn’t frighten you….well….. Enough said. BOO!