A cafe in London intent on living up to a name that otherwise makes little sense for a coffee shop — Nin Com Soup — drew some attention last month when it introduced a new flavor of smoothie, decorated it with a swastika, and called it “Nutzy”.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh was too scared to place the traditional Super Bowl bet against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, but — have no fear! — New England managed to turn up a stand-in: Providence, R.I., Mayor Jorge Elorza.
If the Patriots win, Murray will send Elorza “a package of Northwest alder-smoked salmon from Pure Food Fish Market, coffee beans from the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market and a giant bag of Marshawn Lynch’s favorite snack, Skittles.” Even if certain items are of somewhat dubious quality *cough* Starbucks *cough*, at the very least, this basket is pretty authentically Seattle.
But when the Seahawks win, here’s the dreck Murray earns in return:
I have passing familiarity with Mondoweiss: The War of Ideas in the Middle East, a blog that once described mine as “angry.” I’m not sure that’s the term I would have used, but that’s his opinion and this here’s the internet so that’s that. You get your own opinion on the internet.
But what you do not get is your own facts — and that’s precisely the hat trick Mondoweiss tried to pull while explaining why he, as an American, does not support Team USA.
Now, I have no problem with the author’s lack of support for the boys in red, white, and blue — even active dislike is a step up from the indifference with which the team is greeted by the overwhelming majority of Americans. But I do have a problem with a few of the “facts” he cites to justify his position. To wit, reason #1:
When Google revamped its google results to include a sample of Google images whenever users conduct a routine web google, I pointed out* that the new format opened new and creative possibilities for Google-bombing.
*Specifically, I noted that it was now possible to Google-bomb someone’s face, ensuring that when someone googled a particular name, the first image result would depict someone else.
A year and a half later, like an out-of-control zoonotic disease, the phenomenon has escaped the confines of intra-human interaction, and has gotten loose in the animal kingdom.
Behold, the result of a simple google for the word “Civet”, an animal you might recognize from the fact that coffee beans that have passed through its digestive tract are considered a delicacy:
Flash back to 1847. The Donner party set out along the Oregon Trail to reach California, but was trapped in the Wasatch range of Utah. Its members resorted to cannibalism in order to survive the harsh winter.
Just four years later, and perhaps wary of meating [sic] the Donner party’s fate, the Denny party arrived at the future site of Seattle — sensibly, by boat. They named their landing site “New York alki” — alki being the native word for “by the by” or “someday.” And so, precisely coincident with the founding of the City of Seattle, a good-natured (and perhaps one-sided) rivalry was born.
After a century and a half, Seattle has yet to live up to its aspirational name, and in no place is the discrepancy more apparent than on the field of play. New York is home to eleven* major league sports franchises, while the Emerald City boasts only three.
*I’m counting soccer only because it gives New York a bigger lead. Go Sounders!
Seattle would be home to four, but the Sonics absconded to Oklahoma City, taking with them “the city’s first and only major men’s sports championship.”
Or so the narrative goes — a narrative that is totally wrong.
In fact, Seattle once hosted a major league hockey team, which just so happened to become the first American team to ever win the Stanley Cup in 1917. Despite its early success, that team ceased to exist after 1924, but no worries: its name lives on courtesy of — read: it was adopted by — the New York Mets.*
*OK, technically there were also New York Metropolitans in the 1800s, well before there were Seattle Metropolitans, but I’m not going to let facts get in the way of my history.
Today, Seattle still dreams of landing a team in the NHL — but if the city is successful, we’d be happy to call it the Thunderbirds. You can have “Mets.” Let’s keep this a civil, good-natured rivalry: We pretend to steal your city’s name. You steal our hockey team’s name in retribution. We’ll all bury the hatchet and drink some coffee.
And so, despite occasional outbreaks of violence in the MLB playoffs, on former industrial sites, and on Seinfeld — in case you don’t recall: Seattle, George says, is “the pesto of cities” — the peace has largely held for years.
But it’s all starting to come apart. Witness what Jimmy Fallon coaxed Mets RHP Matt Harvey into doing before he started the All-Star Game:
Congress took some heat earlier this month when it afflicted the country with huge budget cuts in the form of the sequester — but left Congressional salaries alone. And now comes a report out of the Washington Guardian that House Republicans may have gone on an eating binge using taxpayer money:
As the country hurtled toward the fiscal cliff and sequestration, House Republican leaders apparently couldn’t live without their catering, coffee and cars.
In the last quarter of 2012, they spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to bring in food and drink from upscale restaurants, trendy coffee shops and grocery stores — even though Congress was only in session about a third of the time.
Coverage of the spending has focused on the GOP’s professed interest in decreased government spending and attempted to highlight this seeming hypocrisy. The original report from the Guardian was headlined “GOP leaders spent tens of thousands on coffee, doughnuts and catering” and continued, “The country may be headed toward leaner times with the sequester budget cuts, but you couldn’t tell from the way members of Congress spent on themselves.” But I’m not sure that narrative is altogether correct — or fair.
For one thing, the amount in question is peanuts compared to the overall budget. For another, Democrats behave in exactly the same way — it just doesn’t make headlines because we already know they’re big spenders.
But most importantly, let’s take a look at where all that money went:
In the weeks and months leading up to November’s Presidential election, I was quite vocal about the electoral outcome I preferred.* But since the election ended, I’ve given in to the temptation to gloat only once — and even then, only sort of, and in passing.
*I would have linked to more articles but I ran out of words. OK, here’s one more.
The point of this post is not to gloat. The election is now last year’s news and Barack Obama has been sworn in as the 44 and 1/2th President of the United States of America, so I’m hoping people are not sensitive about the election anymore. Which is good, because that means I’m cleared to write about how Mitt Romney actually did worse against Obama than you thought: he won exactly four states.
Immediately after the election, there was a brief flurry of map-making. People compared the electoral map to other state-by-state breakdowns. Some of those parallels may have had something to them —
It was late August, and I was literally on my way out the door, when a friend forwarded me a New York Times article, along with the following message:
You should write a post about this. This is honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
And so I was introduced to Cecilia Giménez’s restoration of a fresco depicting Jesus somewhere in small-town Spain. I opened the article, fell in love – how could I not? – and immediately shared it with everyone in my family. In case you somehow have yet to see it, I share it with you now:
At the time, I didn’t have much to add – how do you enhance something that’s basically perfect? – so while I gleefully shared the article with people I thought might appreciate it, I did not seriously consider writing anything about it. You may have noticed that I write a lot, but even I have to draw the line somewhere.
But now, about a month after I first locked eyes with the restored “Ecce Homo”, I’m finally fulfilling my friend’s request-in-jest to weigh in. The impetus for this post was the publication of an article that linked the above fresco to my future profession, Spanish woman who disfigured painting of Christ lawyers up, wants money:
A Spanish woman who made headlines worldwide for her botched attempt to restore a 20th-century painting of Jesus Christ says she has hired lawyers and wants royalties from the fees church owners are charging visitors, according to the daily Spanish-language newspaper El Correo.
Of course, at the heart of Cecilia’s decision is the realization that her ‘work’ could be monetized:
I’ve only lived in New Haven for a few weeks, and I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve already managed to note the existence of one local institution, Blue State Coffee:
For one, the shop is located right next to Slifka, where I have dinner a few times a week. For two, it boasts one or two other branches in New Haven (in addition to two more in Providence and another in Boston). And for three, locals seem to feel comfortable dropping the name like it’s Starbucks.
But, while the company is indisputably located in a blue state, and its values strive to reflect that fact, Connecticut clearly also has a significant and powerful red state contingent: “after Utah, Connecticut ranks as the top state for large donor individual contributions to GOP presidential candidates.”
So, if Blue State Coffee ever decides it would prefer to avoid alienating potential customers, I have a suggestion – as a native of Seattle, I’m basically an expert on coffee shops – that also might just make a little more sense:
After yesterday’s detour, I thought there was a decent chance today would be the day I finally wrote about The Hunger Games. I am, after all, creeping up on two months too late, and there should probably be some statute of limitations on these things.*
*Just kidding, there is no statute of limitations on what I choose to write about.
But then I came across too many objectionable things on the internet that deserved my attention first. There are so many objectionable things on the internet! Have you noticed how many objectionable things there are on the internet? Because I have, and frankly, it far overwhelms my capacity to respond to all of them. But that won’t stop me from trying.
My first response concerns the recent articles – if you’ve been online over the past couple of days, you’ve seen at least one – with headlines like ‘Coffee buzz: Study finds java drinkers live longer‘. In fact, I sent that exact AP article to a… friend I know to enjoy the occasional cup. In case the headline needs any elaboration, here’s the lede: