Soda Pop Stop: 500 Flavors in One Store

Galco's Soda Pop Stop is a specialty store in Los Angeles that sells almost exclusively soda pop -- though there's also some candy and a deli counter tucked away in the back. I visited the store a few years ago, and came away with a variety of odd, exciting soda pop items, all in glass bottles (though they do carry a few cans). Predictably, I was able to drink about two bottles before I got sugared-out for the evening. But still, Galco's is an amazing place: a small, family-owned store that sells basically one kind of thing, just in 500 varieties.

The one thing they don't have is Pepsi. Owner John Nese gave me a lecture about that when I asked, and that lecture is reproduced verbatim in the 13-minute documentary below about the store. (It boils down to: Pepsi didn't offer a reasonable price to Nese's small store. And then there's the issue of high-fructose corn syrup, which you really don't want to get him started on.)

If you're in the LA area, you should check out the store (even though it's in a slightly sketchy neighborhood) and buy some unusual soda pop. If you dare, try the coffee soda. My advice is to ask Nese what he thinks is best for you -- or pick up a bottle and ask him about it -- you're guaranteed to get a good story. If you're anywhere else, enjoy this documentary about it and get a little taste of soda pop heaven:

Also note that you can order online from Galco's. So if something in the video tickles your fancy, get clicking!


College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

North America: East or West Coast?


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