John Nese, owner of Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Eagle Rock, is obsessive. That is to say, he's been included CHOW.com "Obsessives" video profile series, which explores the worlds and workings of those members of the national food community who have what they politely term "singularly focused" interests. In short documentary-like installments, the series has profiled a seaweed harvester, a menuologist, a guy who makes absinthe, and now, our local soda lover/philosopher/historian, John Nese.
As he walks around his store, down aisles that once carried bread and other groceries when his father owned the business, past shelves now stocked with over 500 different types of soda, Nese bubbles with excitement. He picks up a bottle. "This is Moxy, the original elixir," he says, displaying the soda's classic-look. Then with a tone of encyclopedic recall, "This one's been around since 1884. By the way, it's the only soda to ever make it into the dictionary. It came in a six and a half ounce bottle, and if you could drink two of them, you had a lot of Moxy." It's a tone that Nese seems to slip in and out of easily, comfortably, between the steps it takes to get from one soda to the next.
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But Nese never comes off as one of those impossibly myopic types, so aptly caricatured in the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. Sure he geeks out over cucumber and rose petal sodas, and weighs in on CRV laws and big soda monopolies with extreme earnest (for him), but in thirteen minutes of video, John Nese imparts more genuinely interesting soda knowledge than one would likely gain from a lifetime of casual consumption. Just watch.