Areas of Unrest
18 November 1999 - A Word From Our Sponsors
QOTD: "Pat Buchanan will run for president. He's what you call a fringe
politician. He doesn't see the glass as half empty. He sees the glass as
a plot by the liberal media to control what we drink." - Alan Ray
Reading: Rory Nugent, The Search For the Pink-Headed Duck
Listening to: Pierre Bensusan, 2
I can't write about jury duty yet. I'm hoping to be able to talk about it
in another day, though I am not confident of that. At any rate, it
means that I've had a chance to catch up on reading and needlework and the
like. It also means that you get to read
another entirely random entry.
First, some brief news items. I finally found a source of methyl
in West Los Angeles. There's an art supply store on Santa Monica Blvd.
that carries it. This means that I can experiment with using some paste
paper techniques on greeting cards without having to worry about the paste
going bad, as it doesn't spoil the way that wallpaper paste does.
Secondly, today's geography quiz on The World was about St. Helena. They
the R.M.S. St. Helena is broken right now and the island is running
low on supplies. The story was also slightly deceptive, though, as it
implied the R.M.S. only calls in twice a year. Admittedly, it only sails
from Cardiff twice a year, but that's just because they've added more
trips to and from Cape Town, which is closer. And they underestimated how
many British colonies there still are. Besides St. Helena, Ascension
Island and Tristan Da Cunha (which count as one dependency), there are
still Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Falklands, Gibraltar,
Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the British
Virgin Islands. And that's not only counting the ones with a permanent
population. While not as much pink as there used to be on the map, that
isn't entirely insignificant.
Finally, Suzanne left me voicemail telling me that our pictures are in the
latest issue of the company newsletter. One picture, actually, that we
had someone take in Malibu at the end of the three day walk. If I don't
finish jury duty tomorrow, I'm going to call someone and ask them to grab
a couple of copies for me. The newsletter only comes out every two weeks,
but they don't bring a lot of copies over to my building and I don't want
to miss out on seeing my name in print.
As for the real subject of this entry,
there was a brief discussion a week or two ago on journals-l about the
idea of sponsorship of on-line journals. While I wasn't particularly
interested in the whole idea of advertising on this page (or others), it
led me to thinking about the idea of companies sponsoring my life. I'm
not a person of tremendous brand loyalties for the most part, but I can
come up with a few ideas.
- The Indonesian Coffee Industry
If you're a coffee snob as I am, you've certainly noticed that almost
all coffee comes from Third World countries. There's a reason for that.
Simply, coffee production requires certain climactic conditions combined
with cheap labor. The only exception I could easily think of is Kona,
which is grown on the big island of Hawaii, which does have minimum wage
The problem is that Kona coffee is fairly light bodied, best used blended
with heartier varieties. So, unless you are terminally politically
correct, your morning hit of caffeine is exploiting workers somewhere.
It's not like it's really any better to exploit Indonesians than it is to
exploit Central Americans. But Indonesian coffee is extremely good.
Java is, of course, a word for coffee itself. Celebes is the true snob's
coffee island. I tend to buy Sumatran beans myself because there are two
types of them and both have names that I think are fun to say. Mandheling
is, admittedly, not a lot more fun to say than Celebes, but the coffee is
not quite as expensive. But Boenge
(pronounced "boingy") is the kinesthetic equivalent of onomatopoeia, a
word that sounds the way it makes you feel.
Take that, Juan Valdez! And your donkey too!
- The Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable
Go to your best source of travel books. Ignore all the guidebooks on all
the shelves and pick up this thin blue volume, published at least twice a
year. "Overseas" means everything outside Europe, which gets its own
timetable book (with a red cover). The red book is okay for practical
purposes and the Balkan timetables are certainly touching these days with
all the "service suspended indefinitely" remarks. But the blue book is the
fantasy book, the one that can get you into all sorts of interesting
If you're not going anywhere, you don't even need the latest edition. My
most recent copy is the May-June 1995 one, purchased when I was planning
my trip to India.
The editorial page alone makes it worth the $25 price, with its
discussions of the fly-ridden steamers of the African coast hoping to
attract passengers away from the airlines, with its comments on competing
government bus services in Ghana, with its hopeful suggestions of improved
bus service in Bolivia. Then flip through the maps and timetables and
learn about trains from Karachi to Rawalpindi (connecting to Peshawar) or
decide if you really think that the bus from Belize to Dangriga really
3 hours or consider the monthly sailings from Paramaribo to Belem in the
International Shipping section in the back. Then you can read the general
information section in the front and read that police
officers in the U.S. wear black uniforms and that tap water is safe to
drink in Malawi and wonder whether bilharzia causes black-blue color
Go out and find a copy - you will be vastly entertained. And if you're
like me, before long your friends will be asking, "you're going
where? Why do you want to go there?"
Major League Baseball
I know I said that I'd shut up about it since my beloved Red Sox broke my
heart again (Robert is still rubbing it in) but Major League Baseball
sponsors a lot of things. So why not sponsor my life?
What fun it would be to say "Miriam's Life is the official Life of Major
League Baseball." Or simply "this life is brought to you by Major League
It's time to turn off the commercials and get back to the show.
Otherwise, I fear at least a few readers would end up suggesting my life
should be sponsored by the Massachusetts State Home for the Bewildered.
(And two trivia points to anyone who gets that reference. Hmmm, maybe my
life should be sponsored by Trivial Pursuit....)
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Copyright 1999 Miriam H. Nadel
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