Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Burgermeister Meisterburger is an Environmentalist Wacko!

There's been a lot of news lately for those of us wondering what we can do to save the planet from global warming.

According to Climate chief Lord Stern, “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.” He assures us that eventually it'll be quite normal for us to inquire about the carbon content of our food. Perhaps they can put that information on the nutrition panel.

And Robert Vale of New Zealand tells us in his book "Time to Eat the Dog" that pets are not eco friendly, and that we apparently need to swap Fido out for something a little more palatable. Apparently, a fish causes the same amount of carnage to our planet as two mobile phones. I had two mobile phones, and I have three fish. I wonder whether I should flush the phones or the fish.

So we need to give up meat, and pets. Got it.

I've been thinking about the impact toys have on the environment. Think about it: all the carbon emitted to produce them, the plastic, the batteries they consume, the lead in their paint--really, they are basically boiling cauldrons of toxic carcinogenic polluting choke hazards. We really ought to ban them. Really.

Which got me thinking about the Burgermeister Meisterburger, the grouchy villain of the children's classic "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town." He fell and hurt himself, blamed the toy over which he tripped, and banned them all. He was not going to be happy until everybody was miserable. Much like Vale, Stern, and others. The Burgermeister must be an Environmentalist!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Enjoying a Starbucks Via

I really enjoy coffee. I don't however consider myself a coffee snob: I'm not one who'll say "oh, I never drink so-and-so, it's total garbage." But times have to be pretty tough for me to opt for the instant coffee. I'll take one of those "coffee single" dunk-the-bag-in-boiling-water contraptions if I'm going to be without easy access to my favorite caffeinated beverage: camping, company travel, the end of the world, etc. But powdered instant coffee? Blech. Only if I'm really desperate.

A few weeks ago Starbucks introduced their Via instant coffee. They said I would not be able to tell the difference. Yeah sure, I thought, and at a buck a cup, I'm not going to bother to find out.

I found myself at my neighborhood Starbucks, and was buying a drink on a gift card someone had given me, and because I had some room left over on the card, I decided to buy the three-pack.

At the house, I decided to give it a try. I dumped the packet out into my mug, and the first two things I noted were that it is ground almost as fine as flour, and that it smelled really good. I then heated up some water and poured it in, and gave it a good stir. I tasted it, and really was surprised at how good it is, and that I really would not have guessed it was instant. So, if you like Starbucks coffee in general, you're probably going to like Via.

I still have a touch of sticker shock, though. At a dollar a cup, it's wildly more expensive than most any kind of homebrew, let alone powdered instant. You get to make the cost/benefit decision. For me, I envision myself with a couple of packs the next time I go camping, or perhaps find myself going somewhere where good coffee isn't nearby.