The Salted Carmel Gabfest

Anne’s Maple Leaf and Purple Jellyfish

It has become impossible not to notice that Mother Nature has switched off her summer furnace. After weeks and weeks of unbearable heat, things have cooled to the point that there is almost a certain crispness in the air. To put things in the ‘Starkest’ way, “winter is coming”. I mention this as preamble, before I pivot to my larger story.

I am a fan of the multitude of Slate podcasts. The only problem is that I am not a good fan. I don’t use iTunes to download their episodes. Me bad, let’s move on. These talk shows all follow the same basic format that I’ll call Slate’s rule of three. Each podcast involves three participants, covers three topics, has only two commercial breaks (but this is inching up to three) and is finished with each participant making an endorsement, cocktail chatter, what have you. It is a couple of these recommendations that I want to share here. I would like to share an endorsement from Slate’s Cultural Gabfest, another very recent cocktail chatter from Slate’s Political Gabfest and a recommendation of my own. The Slate rule of three is preserved.

The first endorsement comes from Cultural Gabfest’s Dana Stevens. Her pick was Jessica Oreck’s Mysteries of Vernacular, a project of animated shorts, each one exploring the etymology of one word for each letter of the alphabet. So far, only eight letters have been produced using Oreck’s stop motion animation technique. This leaves plenty of room for growth. Check out ‘P’ for Pants.

The second cocktail chatter harkens back to this post’s preamble. This week’s Political Gabfest’s David Plotz chattered about the Weather Channel’s plan to start naming winter storms. We’re all use to the National Weather Service naming hurricanes. Who could forget Katrina? In past winters we had Snowmageddon, Snowzilla, Snowpocalypse, all names that we can now retire. Instead of NWS first name picks like Andrew, Camille and more recently Isaac, the Weather Channel plans on selecting names from mythology, ancient history, and yoga. Examples for this winter include the following:

  • Athena: The Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, inspirations, justice and mathematics.
  • Brutus: Roman Senator and assassin of Julius Caesar.
  • Gandolf: An 1896 fantasy character in a medieval country (not to be confused with Tolkien’s Gandalf).
  • Iago: Enemy of Othello in Shakespeare’s play, Othello.
  • Q: The Broadway Express subway line in NYC.
  • Rocky: A single mountain in the Rockies (Not to be confused with the movie by the same name).
  • Yogi: People who do yoga (Bear or Berra?).

My recommendation is for Starbuck’s new Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate. I’m so glad that this little blog operates at such a low-level that it will slip beneath the radar of Slate’s intelligentsia. This is not because I am recommending a Starbuck’s product, but because I’ve only tasted it in their sample size. In Grande sizing it could end up tasting like their pumpkin spiced latté, tasting too much of pumpkin spice by the end. Maybe I should do more research? Nah, I think that I’ll just crowd source this one.

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