Monthly Archives: April 2017


The Wocka Walker


Midlife Crisis

McDonald’s Just Axed…

It’s official: Starting May 1st, you will no longer be able to order this popular McDonald’s menu item. 

The fan-favorite drink that’s getting the axe is… Hi-C Orange Lavaburst! That’s right, the same refreshing beverage that cooled you off after a romp around the PlayPlace and tasted especially good with McNuggets dipped in honey. It may be an old wives’ tale, but some adults swear by the vibrant orange drink as a hangover cure. Sadly, customers only have a few more days to get their hands on it.

Franchises nationwide will start phasing out the popular beverage starting on May 1 through July. After July, all locations will stop carrying Hi-C Orange Lavaburst, according to a McDonald’s representative we spoke to. Instead, the fast food chain will start distributing a new proprietary Sprite TropicBerry beverage that will only be served at McDonald’s restaurants in partnership with the chain’s deal with Coke.

Although the drink will start being discontinued in May, locations are encouraged to keep selling it until their inventory is depleted, according to a McDonald’s memo


In Remembrance – Nuclear Disaster at Chernobyl


On April 26, 1986, the world’s worst nuclear power plant accident occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Soviet Union. Thirty-two people died and dozens more suffered radiation burns in the opening days of the crisis, but only after Swedish authorities reported the fallout did Soviet authorities reluctantly admit that an accident had occurred.

The Chernobyl station was situated at the settlement of Pripyat, about 65 miles north of Kiev in the Ukraine. Built in the late 1970s on the banks of the Pripyat River, Chernobyl had four reactors, each capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of electric power. On the evening of April 25, 1986, a group of engineers began an electrical-engineering experiment on the Number 4 reactor. The engineers, who had little knowledge of reactor physics, wanted to see if the reactor’s turbine could run emergency water pumps on inertial power.

As part of their poorly designed experiment, the engineers disconnected the reactor’s emergency safety systems and its power-regulating system. Next, they compounded this recklessness with a series of mistakes: They ran the reactor at a power level so low that the reaction became unstable, and then removed too many of the reactor’s control rods in an attempt to power it up again. The reactor’s output rose to more than 200 megawatts but was proving increasingly difficult to control. Nevertheless, at 1:23 a.m. on April 26, the engineers continued with their experiment and shut down the turbine engine to see if its inertial spinning would power the reactor’s water pumps. In fact, it did not adequately power the water pumps, and without cooling water the power level in the reactor surged.

To prevent meltdown, the operators reinserted all the 200-some control rods into the reactor at once. The control rods were meant to reduce the reaction but had a design flaw: graphite tips. So, before the control rod’s five meters of absorbent material could penetrate the core, 200 graphite tips simultaneously entered, thus facilitating the reaction and causing an explosion that blew off the heavy steel and concrete lid of the reactor. It was not a nuclear explosion, as nuclear power plants are incapable of producing such a reaction, but was chemical, driven by the ignition of gases and steam that were generated by the runaway reaction. In the explosion and ensuing fire, more than 50 tons of radioactive material were released into the atmosphere, where it was carried by air currents.

On April 27, Soviet authorities began an evacuation of the 30,000 inhabitants of Pripyat. A cover-up was attempted, but on April 28 Swedish radiation monitoring stations, more than 800 miles to the northwest of Chernobyl, reported radiation levels 40 percent higher than normal. Later that day, the Soviet news agency acknowledged that a major nuclear accident had occurred at Chernobyl.

In the opening days of the crisis, 32 people died at Chernobyl and dozens more suffered radiation burns. The radiation that escaped into the atmosphere, which was several times that produced by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was spread by the wind over Northern and Eastern Europe, contaminating millions of acres of forest and farmland. An estimated 5,000 Soviet citizens eventually died from cancer and other radiation-induced illnesses caused by their exposure to the Chernobyl radiation, and millions more had their health adversely affected. In 2000, the last working reactors at Chernobyl were shut down and the plant was officially closed.


Founding of the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was established on April 24, 1800, when President John Adams signed an Act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 “for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress …, and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them….” Books were ordered from London and the collection, consisting of 740 books and 30 maps, was housed in the new Capitol. Although the collection covered a variety of topics, the bulk of the materials were legal in nature, reflecting Congress’ role as a maker of laws.

Thomas Jefferson played an important role in the Library’s early formation, signing into law on January 26, 1802 the first law establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. The law established the presidentially appointed post of Librarian of Congress and a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee the Library, as well as giving the president and vice president the ability to borrow books. The Library of Congress was destroyed in August 1814, when invading British troops set fire to the Capitol building and the small library of 3,000 volumes within.

Within a month, former President Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books, including ones in foreign languages and volumes of philosophy, science, literature, and other topics not normally viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks, writing that, “I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.” In January 1815, Congress accepted Jefferson’s offer, appropriating $23,950 to purchase his 6,487 books.

Wikipedia Article




AC is running, time to start thinking about mowing the yard again…

World Peas

Cereal Killer

The Taxman Cometh

The Taxman Cometh

7 of 9

Houston, We’ve Had A Problem…

April 17th, 1970 the capsule from the Apollo 13 mission splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, and the whole world breathed a sigh of relief.


Apollo 13 launched from Cape Canaveral on April 11, intended to be the third manned lunar landing. The crew — James A. Lovell Jr., John L. Swigert Jr. and Fred W. Haise Jr. — experienced a slight vibration shortly after launch, but things were going normally until 55 hours, 55 minutes into the flight.

Oxygen tank No. 2 exploded, causing No. 1 to fail and start leaking rapidly. Warning lights started blinking. The astronaut’s supplies of air, water, light and electricity were imperiled … 200,000 miles from Earth.


Birth of the Mustang (and the Pony Car)

April 17, 1964: Ford Mustang Starts Galloping

1964: Ford introduces the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair. It becomes an instant hit and an icon that alters the automotive landscape, giving rise to one of the most successful — and most uniquely American — automobile genres: the pony car.

The Ford Mustang was born of the simple idea that putting a back seat in a sports car would be a great idea.

The idea came to Lee Iacocca and Donald Frey in the early 1960s as the country was being overrun by European sports cars. Everywhere you looked you saw Alfa Romeos and MGs and Triumphs that dripped oil. Even French cars that would draw peals of laughter today were popular back then.

The two Ford execs saw a vast market literally rolling before their eyes, and, according to legend, the notion of a sports car with a back seat was one of those “ah-hah” moments. If Ford could dilute the European ethos just a bit by making the cars a bit more practical and a lot more affordable, Iacocca figured, the company would sell a few thousand.

He was right, but boy was he wrong. Ford didn’t sell thousands of them. It sold millions of them.

They sold 22,000 on the first day.

The Mustang was more than a success. It was a phenomenon. Ford sold 1 million in the first 18 months, making the Mustang its most successful launch since the Model A.

The pony car is easy to define. It was small by Detroit standards, with sporty styling. It had a back seat for your kids and a usable trunk for your stuff. And the rear wheels were driven by an engine — ideally a big V-8 — mounted up front where God and Henry Ford intended.

Pony cars may not have had the finesse of a European sports car, but they made up for it with brute force. A small-block V-8 can make up for a multitude of handling deficiencies.

The Mustang was successful like the Beatles were popular. Ford figured it would sell around 100,000 in the first 12 months of production. It sold 10 times that number in the first 18.

That success was not lost on the rest of Detroit, and everyone was cranking out pony cars by 1967. General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Camaro and its kissing cousin, the Pontiac Firebird. Ford offered the more upscale Mercury Cougar. Chrysler released the Challenger. Even AMC — google it, we’ll wait — got into the act with the Javelin.

Everyone had a favorite, and even now loyalists occasionally come to blows over which one was best. Countless bets have been made and races staged in displays of testosterone and bravado that would make Dr. Freud sit down for a cigar and a good long think.

And that was just in the parking lots and streets. Things really got wild when the automakers got in on the act, bringing in drivers like Dan Gurney and George Follmer and Mark Donohue to show who built the best car. The contest grew so heated it gave rise to a pony-car–specific racing series called Trans Am. (The car was named after the series, not the other way around.)

We’re inclined to give the award to the Mustang, if only because Steve McQueen drove a ’68 fastback in the most famous chase scene in cinematic history, that amazing dash through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt.

The Mustang also gets the nod for sheer longevity. Oh sure, you can get a new Camaro that looks like a vintage Camaro, or a new Dodge Challenger that looks like a vintage Dodge Challenger.

But the Mustang is the only pony car to remain in continuous production since its introduction 45 years ago.

Ford has sold more than 9 million worldwide.

Happy Keester!

Happy Keester