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.

TGIF! Toes Go In First!

TGIF!  Toes Go In First!  Or something like that.  That is what I keep telling myself.  At the end of a long work-week, this alternative interpretation of TGIF can have much more personal significance, especially on a Friday morning.  As a blogger, I have found that coming up with a post at the end of the work-week is a lot tougher than at the beginning of it.  I guess that this comes from too much living for the weekend.  So this post is a potpourri, a bit of this, a bit of that.  The bird pictures are from one of our recent trips to the Riverlands.

Earlier this month I described my Starbucks Index.  This economic index seems to be able to predict economic trends.  [At least, I have been able to convince myself of this.]  By way of a SBUX redux my bro Chris, sent me this link to a CNBC article on the Starbucks Java Job Indicator that seems to show that the jobs situation will be perking up.  Goldman Sachs has found that there is an 84 percent correlation between sales at Starbucks and employment trends.

This is one reason why the firm added Starbucks to their ‘Conviction Buy List’ on Thursday.  [With all of the recent Wall Street indictments, maybe this should be the Convict’s Buy List?]  Goldman’s economists see a 6 percent increase in payrolls in 2011 so they are also predicting a five percent jump in coffee traffic.

I have been cautioned against going to the Wiki-Leaks website.  I’m not allowed to do so at work, the site is blocked.  At least I am told that it is.  It is suggested that I also avoid doing so using my company provided laptop.  I’m fine with this too.  I don’t have a company laptop.  I do take exception to a further suggestion by one of my co-workers that I block access to Wiki-Leaks at home.  His suggestion involved blocking the website using our home router, “to prevent other family members from attempting to access the Wiki-Leaks website.”  I don’t expect that my spovely louse has any interest in going there and both the boyz have moved out, so what’s the point?

My fundamental complaint with this co-worker’s suggestion is the idea of me going into my router and actually setting this up.  I’m speaking of the mechanics of the operation.  I set up our DSL router, when we first got it, but since then my router and I have enjoyed a live and let live relationship that has lasted for many years.  I’m not about to mess with that now. 

I can read the New York Times and get the highlights anyway:  The French president is a pompous ass.  Afghanistan’s president is a thief and the president of Libya has a tall and beautiful Scandinavian “assistant”.  Except for the last item, there is nothing there that I did not know already.  So what’s the point?