Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ten Things That Come in Groups of Seven

"All seven and we'll watch them fall," Prince once said, "They stand in the way of love and we will smoke them all." But Prince was already well on his way to becoming a raving lunatic. A brilliant one, sure, but a raving lunatic all the same.

Still, there's a reason he named his song "7" and not, say, "11". Seven is a 'signifying' number, filled with all kinds of supernatural significance. But it's awkward and lopsided; it's the first prime number to really feel like one, defying all attempts to comfortably break it up into smaller pieces. Additionally, if you need proof that mathematicians are insane, seven is a 'happy number', it's the base of the 7-aliquot tree, and n = 7 is the first natural number for which the next statement does not hold: "Two nilpotent endomorphisms from Cn with the same minimal polynomial and the same rank are similar." Er, sure. Whatever.

More importantly, there are many things that come in groups of seven. Like these.

1.THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD: The patron saint of websites such as this one, Herodotus (484 - 425 BCE) would be amazed at how his best-of list, scrawled perhaps on a placemat over a pint or two with drinking buddy Callimachus of Cyrene, has survived 2500 years despite being a woefully adequate list of by-now-forgotten oddities located int he eastern Mediterranean region (and thus as representative of the 'world' as baseball's 'World Series'). The truth is it hasn't really survived, both in that no manuscripts of the era exist, meaning we know the list only through hearsay, and in that the average person, if asked to name them, will confidently spout off a completely random list of seven places that will probably share only the Pyramids of Giza with the actual list. Mind you, that list (perhaps containing the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, those big heads on Easter Island...) will be superior to Herodotus' (the Mausowhat?).Group of Seven Pyramids

2.THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS: We have Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey to thank for permanently turning this list into horror-show memories. But it's an odd list, really - the same religion that gives us 'all sins are equal in the eyes of the Lord' gives us a list of seven that are, well, superbad. Oh, there's also the Ten Commandments, which overlaps this particular list only slightly. I mean, it doesn't have sloth. Or gluttony.Group of Seven Deadly Sins

3.THE SEVEN DAYS OF THE WEEK: Where the day is based on the earth's rotation on its axis, the month is traditionally based on the moon's revolution around the earth, and the year is based on the earth's revolution around the sun, the week seems to be based on nothing more than superstitions about the number 'seven'. Not quite a quarter of a month, a week seems most closely connected to the Judeo-Christian creation myth. Yet seven-day weeks existed in other parts of the world too, in addition to all kinds of variants such as the ten-day week of the French Revolution, the five- and six-day weeks in the early years of the USSR, or the five-day week still used in Indonesia, where (get this) it is used overlapping with the Gregorian seven-day week in 35-day cycles. Also of note is the eight-day week used in Liverpool in the mid-1960s.Group of Seven Days of the Week

4.THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME: Here's a curiosity: The city of Rome attaches significance to the fact that it was built on seven hills. People talk about the 'seven hills of Rome', all east of the river Tiber, in the heart of Rome. Now, Rome is a city that likes its creation myths: recall it was founded by a pair of twins that were raised by a wolf. But what's stranger is there are fully fifty-one cities that claim to be situated on seven hills, from world cities such as Barcelona, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Mecca, Moscow and Tehran to humbler world-city aspirants such as Dunedin, New Zealand; Kampala, Uganda; Thiruvananthapuram, India; and Yonkers, USA. There doesn't seem to be anything much impressive about having eight hills in your city.Group of Seven Hills of Rome

5.THE PLEIADES: The Pleiades of Greek mythology are a group of seven nymphs also called 'the Seven Sisters', since they were all born to Atlas (who seems to have been quite prolific). In sculpture and art, they tend to dance a lot and tend to be naked a lot. Zeus had his way with three of them, and Poseidon with two. Clearly they got around. So Orion, the big bad guy of the story, decided to hunt them down after daddy Atlas got stuck holding the earth and Zeus decided to protect them by turning them in to stars, which is why a star cluster exists in the night sky called the 'Pleiades'. Orion's up there too, not all that much of a hunter after all, it would seem.Group of Seven Pleiades

6.THE SEVEN SAMURAI: Akira Kurosawa's three-and-a-half-hour 1954 samurai epic has to go down as one of history's most-praised films. A cornerstone of the Japanese film industry and of the action movie, it was a huge success domestically and, rare for the era, internationally. So well-received was it internationally that it was immediately nicked and rewritten in Hollywood as a western, The Magnificent Seven, which was still a huge success, both at the box office and in the critics' columns.Group of Seven Samurai

7.THE GROUP OF SEVEN: I don't mean the "G7", which is what the G8 used to be before there were eight of them and can still be played on a guitar in the position 320001. I mean the 'Group of Seven', a group of Canadian artists who no Canadian can remember any of the names of. They painted landscapes of Canadian trees, grass, rver and leaves, and are famous in the government-endorsed way most 'famous Canadians' are famous. Tommy Thompson and Emily Carr, two Canadian landscape artists from the era people actually can name, weren't part of the Group of Seven.Group of Seven Group of Seven

8.THE HARRY POTTER SERIES: J.K. Rowling, currently unemployed, must now be banging her head against the wall regretting her early rash decision to limit her record-breakingly successful Harry Potter epic to only seven volumes. Warner Brothers might bang her head against the wall too, though at least they've managed to squeeze out an eighth movie. Seven volumes for seven years of Hogwarts, and there are several other sevens popping up in Rowling's magical world. Most obviously, it's the number of horcruxes Voldemort makes. Though I guess technically that's a spoiler.Group of Seven Harry Potter Books

9.THE SEVEN WORDS YOU CAN'T SAY ON TELEVISION: George Carlin has gone down in infamy largely for swearing a lot on stage. In his defence, the infamous routine, "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television", is not merely about the shock value of those very words: it's more a discussion about why those words are so shocking, and it's pretty intelligent entertainment. The list is imperfect - 'tits' and 'piss' are relatively tame, and certain worse words are absent from it. But I guess that's the point - language evolves, and our 'dirty words' evolve right along with it. Oh, and I should point out this really refers to broadcast television. If it's a cable-only channel, everything goes.Seven Words You Can't Say on Television

10.THE SEVEN CHAKRAS: In short, the chakras are seven areas of the body that, in Hinduism, are... well, energy..., um, places... and... Okay. I give up. I've read explanations of chakras over and over again, and I understand nothing. It's something connected with Hinduism, it's got all kinds of cool pseudo-psychedelic illustrations like the one here, and... well, that's is. I can list the seven chakras, if you want: the first is in the ovaries or prostate, the second in the last bone of the spinal cord, the third in the navel, the fourth in the heart, the fifth in the throat or neck, the sixth in the pineal gland (whatever that is) and the seventh on the top of the head. You know, it's no sillier than the seven deadly sins.Group of Seven Chakras

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ten Country Domain Names Rarely Used for Their Real Purposes

I bet, with the benefit of hindsight, if they could redesign the internet, there's a lot they'd probably do differently. We're so used to seeing urls now that we've forgotten how silly and clunky they are, with 'www' stuck on the head and 'com' stuck on the tail. I guess 'dot-com' is supposed to mean 'commercial', but that's silly too. Just as silly as 'country codes', wherein a German-based site, for example, could use '.com' if it wanted to, but if it wanted a bit of a nationalistic twinge, it could go for '.de' too.

They're going all sorts of places with these country codes. If you're based in Russia, you might have a website that dates from the Gorbachev era, and it might end with '.su' ('Soviet Union'). Or it might have come along later and been '.ru'. Or it could be newer than that and have a country code of '.рф', the brand-new Cyrillic country code for Russia. Or rather 'top-level domains', as people in the know call them.

Every country gets one - and many places that aren't really technically countries. Many barely use their TDLs at all, and a handful of them have been lucky enough to have a country name that could be shortened to a commercially-viable two-letter combination, with the result that a domain name designed to represent a country winds up being used for any of a variety of reasons - few having to do with the country in question. You might be surprised to learn that Viacom-owned, Mark Knopfler-coveted one-time music channel MTV is based in the USA, not the tiny island nation of Tuvalu (population 10,500, area 26 square kilometres). How, then, do they have the url Well, Tuvalu really launched the genius idea of selling a country's top-level domain to a world hungry for unusual web addresses. The dot-tv country code has been a runaway success due entirely to the country of Tuvalu and the medium of television sharing two letters. The domain name is now one of Tuvalu's main sources of revenue, and the sadness of this sentence from Wikipedia is so complete that I have to quote it directly: "Domain name income paid most of the cost of paving the streets of Funafuti and installing street lighting in mid-2002."Top-level Domain .tv (Tuvalu) The Federated States of Micronesia have been able to follow Tuvalu's lead, selling domains with its country code to radio and streaming-based music sites, most notably the UK-based Wikipedia observe that the TLD gets "much use related to FM radio; little related to (Micronesia)".Top-level Domain .fm (Micronesia) Poor Armenia, of course a much bigger country than the others on this list, is stuck with a radio format way less cool that Micronesia's. Since the AM dial is mostly limited to religious programming and Rush Limbaugh by now, Armenia has had little success hawking the .am domain to radio stations. The Black Eyed Peas' is perhaps relieved to note that his name doesn't seem to be a valid url.Top-level domain .am (Armenia) Opportunistic Montenegro decided, unpon independence, against a TLD based around its local name "Crna Gora", going instead for one that uses the first and, illogically, fifth letter of its Italian and English name. This must, of course, have nothing to do with a desire to sell its spanking-new domain to 'Web 2.0' sites hoping to launch sites with names like, say, '' or ''. Apparently 71% of registrations have been to Americans.Top-level domain .me (Montenegro) Does anyone else remember the days when a url like "" was the very height of coolness? Does anyone actually remember Tonga, an island nation of 104,000 people whose main claim to fame is the Gloria Estefan song (oh wait, that was 'Conga'). You don't see that kind of url around much anymore, but there must have been a stretch of a few years there where it made Tongans feel pretty damn cutting-edge.Top-level domain .to (Tonga) I'm sure everyone at one point or another has typed in a .cm url, even if we couldn't find Cameroon on a map (hint: it's in Africa). The TLD is popular for people hoping to capitalise on typographical errors as people attempt to type the much more common .com. McAfee says .cm is the most virus-riddled TLD on the internet.Top-level doman .cm (Cameroon) Since the only time people ever discuss Niue, population 1400, is to take a stab at pronouncing its 75%-vowel name, they probably don't associate the TLD .nu with it. They probably don't associate .nu with the English word 'new' either, though that's what Niueans were hoping for. Scandinavians use it for news channels, since 'nu' means 'now' in their languages. And the French, though the government of Niue tries to stop them, use it for porn, since 'nu' means 'nude' to them.Top-level domain .nu (Niue) It's tough to see much 'proper' use for this country code, belonging to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, a British territory near Antarctica whose population of 30 people includes museum staff. What creeps me out more than a group of islands in the middle of nowhere having a population of only thirty people is that same island group having an active and manned museum. Anyway, since they probably spend more time typing sentences over and over again on typewriters and putting holes in doors with axes, the locals get less use from the TLD than, a blog-related site with little going for it except a cute url.Top-level domain .gs (South Georgia) Based on the title of this article, I'm not sure about this one, because like Americans themselves, I'm not sure quite what the 'intended use' of the .us domain name is actually meant to be. Americans do just fine without a country code, and I bet a fair percentage of Americans are completely unaware that the .us TLD even exists. The only place I've ever really seen it is for, the bookmarking website that seems to have gotten bored of its random dots and become ''. So now it has no reason whatsoever to exist.Top-level domain .us (United States) The practically-unknown Australian possession Christmas Island uses .cx, whose main reason for existing is not in fact to display pictures of men stretching their anuses as wide as possible.Top-level domain .cx (Christmas Island)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ten Unusually Short Albums

Since the advent of the CD, we've grown accustomed to seeing the CD's 75-minute running time as a typical 'upper limit' for an album length. A rough average might be an hour, though in the post-CD era, an album could be any length the artist desired, really.

Historically, of course, an album was a slab of vinyl twelve inches in diameter. A vinyl album is actually capable of holding almost as much as a CD (there are records clocking in at just shy of 70 minutes), length on an album comes at the expense of sonic fidelity, and resistance to getting scratched. The majority of albums released during the vinyl era clocked in at about 40 minutes.

There are exceptions, though. Some albums are really terribly short, perhaps because the songs on them are short, or perhaps because the artist felt the work was complete as it stood, or perhaps because the artist simply ran out of creative inspiration - or studio time. Whatever the reasons behind them, the following albums are all incredibly short - shorter than some EPs or even some singles, in fact.

1.WHO KILLED THE JAMS BY THE JUSTIFIED ANCIENTS OF MU MU (29:54): The earliest form of the duo who would become the KLF, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu released a seven-song début in 1987 that still managed, through various forms of trickery and nonsense, to be 41 minutes long. Its little-known follow-up, however, kept the number of songs and dispensed with the additions, coming in eleven minutes shorter. Less than two years later, half of this group would team with DJ Alex Patterson as the Orb and release a single that was 19 minutes long. Two years after that the Orb would release "Blue Room", a single that was ten minutes longer than this whole album.The Justified Anceints of Mu Mu's Who Killed the JAMS

2.BOOKENDS BY SIMON AND GARFUNKEL (29:51): In fact, Simon and Garfunkel's two previous albums were even shorter. But Bookends is not only brief, it's even padded: that less-than-thirty-minute running time includes two versions of the same song, devotes most of its side two to rounding up previously-released singles, and includes two and a half minutes of old people talking, with no music at all. With the reaminder also including The Graduate rejects, what remains would barely have qualified as an ep, and it's remarkable how well the album holds up.Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends

3.RAMONES BY RAMONES (29:04): At 29 minutes, this is actually longer than the other albums on this list. Yet it actually crams fourteen complete songs, ranging from 90 seconds to 155, into that timeframe. The Ramones are considered by most to be the first punk band, and this the first punk album, defined largely by a fat-free to-the-basics aesthetic. Compare it to Never Mind the Bollocks, which has only three songs shorter than three minutes and two longer than four.Ramones' Ramones

4.REIGN IN BLOOD BY SLAYER (28:56): This, Slayer's major label début, was considered one of the first and most seminal 'thrash metal' albums, where 'thrash metal' mostly means metal played really fast and really short. At 4:51, the first song on this album "Angel of Death" is positively prog-like (and highly controversial, being about Josef Mengele), but after that the songs fly by, with none of the next seven breaking three minutes. In the 1960s, it was commonplace for songs to stay below three minutes, but it was largely the heavy metal genre (where songs would drag) that broke that barrier, so it was tough in 1986 to accept that a song could even be called 'heavy metal' if it was less than, oh, five minutes.Slayer's Reign in Blood

5.PINK MOON BY NICK DRAKE (28:22): Pink Moon, Drake's third and final album, is short. But it seems in this particular case like its very brevity is largely the point of the album: the whole thing is the simplest of whispers, sparse and demo-like, with songs that don't go on longer than they need to. Oddly enough (considering its 'classic' status), its producer John Wood has said of it, 'you really wouldn't want it to be any longer'. Drake himself is said to have commented on the length by saying, 'that's it.. that's all I have', a sadly prophetic statement given that it would be his last album released before his death at 26 by overdose.Nick Drake's Pink Moon

6.WEEZER BY WEEZER (28:20): Weezer has so far released three colour-coded albums with the same name. While the first and the third, referred to by fans as "The Blue Album" and "The Red Album" repectively, were each 41 minutes plus, this 2001 'return' (after five years without an album release) had a green cover and a 28:20 running time. Weezer seems to like the short album, with each of their most recent three releases (all within the last 14 months) runnin little more than half an hour, but it's not the result of a lack of inspiration: Weezer is one of those groups that litter songs across limited-edition releases and single releases. It just so happens that only half or so of all the songs Weezer records make it on the album.Weezer's Green Album

7.HISTOIRE DE MELODY NELSON BY SERGE GAINSBOURG (27:57): Seeing as how it clocks in at less than 28 minutes, it's odd that Serge Gainsbourg's 1971 masterpiece has only seven songs on it (three of them two minutes or less, and the epics that open and close the album being largely the same song). After all, it's not like there was no room left on the twelve inches of vinyl. Looking at the album as a collection of seven pieces diminishes its value, though. It's more like a single piece of music split into seven parts (one doesn't really notice one track changing to another while listening). With that being the case, wouldn't anything else be superfluous?Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson

8.NASHVILLE SKYLINE BY BOB DYLAN (27:14): What's weird about Nashville Skyline isn't merely its brief ten-track and 27-minute running time (with a remake of a previous Dylan song and an instrumental too); what's weird is that it comes from Dylan, who on other occassions had released albums of epic length: his second album, 1963's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was 50:04, his first full electric album, Highway 61 Revisited was 51:26. Subsequently, in 1976, he would release Desire, whose nine songs were 56:13 and whose four-song side two was longer than this whole project. Dylan escaped criticism for this album's length by allowing criticism to focus instead on the fact that it consisted entirely of country make-weights with banal lyrics crooned in a 'smooth' voice completely atypical of Dylan. It's since been critically re-evaluated, though it remains shorter than a TV sit-com.Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline

9.EVERYBODY'S ROCKIN' BY NEIL YOUNG AND THE SHOCKING PINKS (24:55): The wildly erratic Neil Young had released brief albums and lengthy ones before this one (and a few years after this would release a five-song ep that still managed to exceed this album in length). Yet this deserves special note for being short and chintzy as well, a Sha-Na-Na style 'rockabilly' throwback whose ten songs feature four 1950s covers. The legend goes that Young had presented his new record label with a country album, which they rejected, asking for a 'rock and roll album'. With the willfulness that defines him, he gave them exactly what they asked for. He also claims, though, to have had two longer and more substantial songs ready for inclusion but that his label wouldn't pay for another session to record them. So who knows for sure?Neil Young's Everybody's Rockin'

10.IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD'S FAIR BY ELVIS PRESLEY (21:58): How short is this album? Well, it's a mere ten songs, six of which are less than two minutes. They're all knock-offs recorded for the soundtrack to another in an endless series of mid-sixties Elvis movies. Each side averages less than eleven minutes, and the whole collection could comfortably fit on one side of vinyl. You could fit it three and a half times on a single CD. But the best sign of how chintzy this record was is this single striking fact: Even Colonel Parker thought it was a rip-off. That's right: the ex-carny who managed Elvis, the man who released an album of Elvis's onstage between-song banter, the man who kept him in Hollywood in the 60s and in Las Vegas in the 70s, the man who milked Elvis product to the tune of fourteen albums and twelves singles in the years 1970 and 1971 alone... the man whose very name is associated with exploitation of artist and fan... even he thought fans were cheated by the length of this album. A stronger condemnation you will not see anywhere.Elvis Presley's It Happened at the World's Fair

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ten International Coca-Cola Products

Coca-Cola at one point wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. And if 'harmony' means 'uniform', well when it comes to their flagship product, they're almost there. Coca-Cola's own website will tell you that the good ol' red-and-white brown sugar water is available in... (deep breath)...
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau (Macao), Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mariana Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of Congo, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Korea, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarteen, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome & Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia & Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks & Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Bank-Gaza, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Whew. Harmonious, sure. But there's disharmony too, as Coca-Cola sells all kinds of stuff in one market but not another, or in certain handfuls of markets. They claim to have over 3,300 products. I'm not sure how they arrive at that number, but it certainly is an impressively large number. Here are ten.

1.SPARLETTA: Sparletta has been made in South Africa since 1955, and is available through much of southern Africa. It has an unusual range of flavours, including Cherry Plum, Coconut Pineapple, and Raspberry Strawberry Vanilla Cream.Coca-Cola Sparletta

2.LOVE BODY: A bottled tea from Japan, made from oolong tea and with added fibre. Perhaps not all that weird, at least not as weird as its name: "Love Body".Coca-Cola Love Body

3.KINLEY: Kinley is a series of carbonated drinks that include tonic water and club soda but also fruit flavours such as Bitter Grapefruit, Bitter Herbal, Bitter Water and Raspberry. Primarily it's available in central Europe, though additionally you can get it in India and Zambia, for some reason.Coca-Cola Kinley

4.KUAT: This is a guarana-flavoured soft drink made only in Brazil, where presumably they have some clue what 'guarana' is.Coca-Cola Kuat

5.FANTA LACTIC: The Fanta line is one of Coca-Cola's most successful worldwide. But it's only in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan that you can get Fanta Lactic, available in the mouth-watering Fermented Milk and Grape Yogourt flavours.Coca-Cola Fanta Lactic

6.DELAWARE PUNCH: Coca-Cola's website calls Delaware Punch "a noncarbonated fruit drink with intense fruit combinations enjoyed by pre-teens who lead active, fun-filled lifestyles", which is a bit creepy. It apparently exists not in Delaware but in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Guatemala and Mexico.Coca-Cola Delaware Punch

7.THE WELLNESS FROM COCA-COLA: Sold in Japan, this must be one of the strangest things out there. Let me just quote from Coca-Cola's website: "Beauty drinks designed for women who want to look their best at all times." Whatever that might mean.The Wellness from Coca-Cola

8.COCA-COLA BLāK: Though it's mostly French in origin, Coca-Cola Blāk has found its way to a handful of different countries, including Canada and the USA. It is coffee-flavoured cola, with a pretty bottle and a stupid spelling (I should pronounce that 'Blake', then?), and apparently not that great a taste.Coca-Cola Blak

9.BISTRONE: Bistrone is a corn soup, packaged in a tin can, sold in Japan. There's also a tomato soup, but that's slightly less bizarre.Coca-Cola Bistrone

10.QOO: The picture shows you all you need to know about Qoo - originally Japanese (like almost half of this list) but now found throughout Asia, wherever Hello Kitty is popular (Coca-Cola's website describes the mascot as 'a whimsical cartoon character that looks vaguely like a cat'). It's available in a variety of flavours, including Honey Quince, Peach Plum, Mango Milk, and Acerola Lemon, whatever that is.Coca-Cola Qoo