Sunday, December 11, 2005

Scoville rating

Who uses it: Connoisseurs of hot peppers
What it means: The level of spiciness of a chili pepper. The Scoville rating is the degree of dilution with sugar water required to neutralize a pepper's heat. An ordinary bell pepper has a Scoville rating of zero, because it's not hot; certain types of habanero peppers may have Scoville ratings of 300,000.
How you can use it: To assess hotness in anything.

I don't eat a lot of hot sauce, but I highly recommend the stuff bottled and sold by my friend Randy White. You probably still have time to order some for Christmas.

I got home last night and booted up the computer to see the news of two very different celebrity deaths, Richard Pryor's and Eugene McCarthy's. My thought was the same in each case, though for very different reasons: "Wow, he was still alive?"

Both men made Americans pay attention to unpleasant truths they'd been ignoring for too long. And it's foolish to make predictions like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Richard Pryor's impact on our society turns out to be a lot more profound, and longer-lasting, than Eugene McCarthy's. People remember what made them laugh much longer than they remember what made them frustrated.

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