Every year, more than 400,000 crabs are bled for the miraculous medical substance that flows through their bodies—now pharmaceutical companies are finally committing to an alternative that doesn’t harm animals.
Downing up to three cups of coffee daily is associated with lower risks for stroke and death from cardiovascular disease, as well as death from all causes, suggests research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in France last week.
Naturally fermented foods are getting a lot of attention from health experts these days because they may help strengthen your gut microbiome—the 100 trillion or so bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. Researchers are beginning to link these tiny creatures to all sorts of health conditions from obesity to neurodegenerative diseases.
I have been going to businesses in that building on Greenville Avenue since… maybe 1979 or so. I remember the old Filling Station – mostly for having a hot, fresh, fried mushroom and onion ring platter called “Nuts and Bolts.” The article is a little old – it was a Schlotzsky’s (one of my favorite fast-food sandwich places – its round fare resembles a New Orleans Muffaletta) for a few years – now that is gone. I’ll waiting to see what’s next… hopefully not a wrecking ball.
I never realized it was a historical hangout of Bonnie & Clyde.
“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” ― Dave Barry
I did not set out to be a coffee snob – I really didn’t. But now, looking back, it was inevitable.
Like everyone else my age, my early years were marked by my parents boiling cheap ground stale Robusta coffee in a percolator, recirculating the grounds, through a layer of toilet paper (always out of filters) until it was so bitter it was undrinkable – then drinking it anyway. I remember being fascinated at watching the water bubbling against the little glass knob on the top – the sound of exuberant roiling water and the smell of burned beans. When I got to college my parents bought me a percolator which I modified with some rubber tubing into a crude still – nothing worse than a nascent chemist in a dorm room with something to heat liquids.
Then there was the Mr. Coffee – which made a little bit better brew – but still the coffee itself was terrible. Right after school I spent some time addicted to daily morning coffee from the machine at work along with a stale sugared bread-thing from the next. I gave that up and went through miserable withdrawal when I learned of the screaming high-pitched caffeine headache that stuff would cause. Then came Starbucks, which actually makes terrible coffee (I always think of Starbucks as an office rental place, rather than a coffee shop) but it at least put coffee culture on the map. And it became a decades-long rabbit hole for me, and many, many others.
After years of experimentation I finally settled on a French Press and was happy with it except for the difficulty cleaning it out.
For a while, I would grind a week’s worth of beans on the weekend. But then, as I fell farther, I realized that it really does make a better cup if you grind the beans fresh… and bought a simple hand grinder for my desk at work.
So now I’m exploring the (literally)world of coffee beans. I learned quickly that I like light roast (the taste of the coffee varietal and location comes through better – plus a bit more caffeine).
My favorite place for buying coffee beans is Central Market. Yes, there are some very good custom roasters in my area, and I will visit them, but each one is somewhat limited and it can be tough to find exactly what I want. Beside, most of the best Dallas roasters have product in Central Market anyway. They have a vast selection of bulk bins full of a wide variety of whole bean coffee and there is something about putting the brown bag under the chute, lifting the handle, and listening to the coffee slide down.
Ok, let’s back up almost fifty years. I was in high school and living in Managua. A good friend had an uncle that ran a coffee plantation in the mountains above Jinotega and three of us hitch-hiked up there over Semana Santa (Easter Break) and had a great time. We spent one night in Matagalpa (an amazing city) and one in the coffee warehouse in Jinotega (the odor was amazing) before making it all the way to the plantation. There we rode horses and explored the area. There was even a miles-long wooden aqueduct that provided water for washing the coffee beans and hydroelectric power for a few lights around the main house. Amazing memories.
And the coffee is fantastic. It’s exactly what I was looking for. As I begin to run low I need to get back to Central Market and buy some more. I’m a little worried that I’ll miss out on other good things if I keep buying this – but I can’t imagine anything I’d like better.
I did not set out to be a coffee snob – I really didn’t.
Cycling definitely helps keep you in great physical shape, but that’s not the only benefit your favorite activity has on your body. According to new research out of Durham, North Carolina, aerobic exercise has some serious perks for your brain, too-like helping to reverse its age by almost nine years.
Arguments that schizophrenia is a distinct disease have been “fatally undermined”. Just as we now have the concept of autism spectrum disorder, psychosis (typically characterised by distressing hallucinations, delusions, and confused thoughts) is also argued to exist along a continuum and in degrees. Schizophrenia is the severe end of a spectrum or continuum of experiences.
And now, as a palate cleanser – this has become a viral meme, but in case you haven’t seen it…. Those darn kids!
First there was Marie Kondo, who asked us to only keep things that sparked joy. Then came The Home Edit’s Clea and Joanna, who made arranging our books by color and shopping our pantries officially a thing. So what’s next? Get ready to organize from the inside out.
Most traffic jams are unnecessary, and this deeply irks mathematicians who specialize in traffic flow. They reserve particular vitriol for local transport engineers. “They do not have competencies in the field of system-related increases in traffic performance,” says Alexander Krylatov, a mathematics professor at St. Petersburg University. “If engineers manage to achieve local improvements, after a while the flows rearrange and the same traffic jams appear in other places.” Burn!
The concept of a weighted blanket is pretty self-explanatory. They’re blankets stuffed with pellets—usually made of glass or a plastic like polyethylene—and can weigh as much as 25 pounds. You can readily find one online for around $150, though they’re simple enough to make that you can find plenty of DIY guides for making your own at a fraction of that price.
Classical music is under racial attack. Orchestras and opera companies are said to discriminate against black musicians and composers. The canonical repertoire—the product of a centuries-long tradition of musical expression—is allegedly a function of white supremacy.
Not one leader in the field has defended Western art music against these charges. Their silence is emblematic. Other supposed guardians of Western civilization, whether museum directors, humanities professors, or scientists, have gone AWOL in the face of similar claims, lest they themselves be denounced as racist.
The campaign against classical music is worth examining in some detail, for it reveals the logic that has been turned against nearly every aspect of Western culture over the last year.
I was thinking this morning about things that I miss from when I was younger – and swimming is one of them. When I lived in Panama I used to swim across open water (in Lake Gatun) – sometimes a mile a day. Now, it all seems like a dream.
I remember the early days of the internet – there was such excitement and feelings that the possibilities were endless – especially at work. Those slowly died (were murdered, actually) and the digital world became the oppressive monster we all know today. What a shame.
One bad (possibly the second worst) thing about being old is how difficult it is to make friends. Good friends you have had for a long, long time drift away and new ones are hard to come by. Is it impossible?
I recently caught up with Dr. Amy Bucher, the author of Engaged, a compelling guidebook on designing products and services that change people’s lives. She talks about behavioral design, the science of crafting products and services in such a way as to shape or influence human behavior. Here is our conversation.
A new Tarot deck, designed by graphic artist Todd Alcott, drawing inspiration from midcentury pulp illustrations
I use a Tarot deck to help generate fiction writing ideas. I just have an ordinary (cheap) Rider-Waite tarot deck – but I look at more artistic and interesting decks – it could be a rabbit hole – but if I had a little more money I know I’d buy a few.
You can probably count on your fingers the number of times you’ve completed 8 hours of work in an 8-hour workday. Whether it’s endless meetings, constant emails, or coworkers popping in for a “quick chat,” your productivity rarely makes it through the day.
The problem is that when you design your to-do list for an 8-hour workday but end up with just 1-2 hours of productive time, you’re going to be in trouble.
“Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup” ― Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings
As I (we) come out of the pandemic nightmare I (we) still grapple with purposelessness, boredom,and loneliness. I struggle for something to do, anything to do.
I have discovered one thing. I get up before dawn, make a thermos of coffee in my Aeropress, and then ride somewhere on my bicycle. I sip the coffee as the sun comes up, then I read a bit, then I ride home.
Unfortunately, I can only do this on the days when I don’t go into work, so it isn’t very often. If I could, I’d do this every day. I find myself looking at maps of my city and finding places to go… places that may look interesting at dawn, places with a place to sit, places just the right distance away.
I think this weekend I’m going to up my game a bit. I think I’ll ride to the DART station and ride the train somewhere, then ride my bike, then drink coffee. I might even take my grinder, Aeropress Go, and a few beans to make fresh coffee. There is a new park in downtown Dallas I’d like to visit.
Or maybe ride to the train station and get on the next train, no matter which direction it’s going in. Get off where I feel and then look for a place to sit.
It isn’t much… but it’s the best I can do for now.