Category Archives: Starbucks

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that means apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.” — Stephen Jay Gould

COSTELLO’S WORLD

Soma Coffee may not be the next Starbuck’s but owner Bob Costello has opened up his second location in Bloomington this week.

Soma World Headquarters

Throwing the doors open Monday, the new Soma at 3rd and Jordan looks to draw students who’ll walk across the street from the IU campus. Just don’t try parking there.

Costello’s empire now includes the original Soma and the Laughing Planet Cafe at Kirkwood and Grant and the Village Deli just around the corner.

Speaking of Soma, some habitués have begun to play euchre there every Saturday morning. Steve Llewellyn has dubbed them the Euchre-ists.

THEY’LL BLIND US WITH SCIENCE

After a fit and a start or two, Bloomington’s Science Cafe returns to life Wednesday, September 12th.

Alex Straiker and his colleague at IU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Jim Wager-Miller, have at last got the ball rolling for the weekly series of lectures and discussions open to the public on any and all areas of science.

Our town’s original Science Cafe was started by Erika Biga Lee but she found herself too busy to run the show after a while. Straiker worked under her while the Cafe’s first incarnation was still up and running.

Rachael’s Cafe will be the home of the new version, every Wednesday evening at 6:30.

BTW: Straiker points out another big science event on campus this fall. The son of Henrietta Lacks will visit IU November 14th to talk about the part of his mother, who died more than 60 years ago, that’s still alive.

Henrietta Lacks

Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951. Cells from the growth were cultured to produce the HeLa Cell Line which has been used by scientists for research since then. In fact, Straiker says his gang over at the IU brain lab have used some of those cells in their own work. Lacks’ story got plenty of pub when the book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” became a New York Times best seller. The book was published two years ago but still ranks No. 2 on the NYT paperback nonfiction list.

Details are still being worked out for David Lacks’ appearance here. Stay tuned to the IUB Themester Facebook page for more info.

AILUROPHOBIA

My fave part of the Pussy Riot story?

Pussy Riot

Imagining the mental gymnastics previously staid radio and TV newscasters have to go through to say the words Pussy Riot without falling to pieces.

They redeem their decorum by stating the girl band has been found guilty of hooliganism. I bet they want to repeat the word hooliganism over and over again, just to wash the taste of Pussy Riot out of their mouths.

IN THE NOT-TOO DISTANT FUTURE…

The theme song from one of my fave TV shows of all time, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present & CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ivy Tech-BloomingtonCenterstone Breakfast Learning Series: Social worker Marsha Carr leads a workshop on Youth with Sexually Maladaptive Behaviors; 8am

Brown County Art Guild, Nashville — Author James Capshew remembers Herman B. Wells; 6-8pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsOpening reception: “The Art of the Horse” by Della Wood; 6pm

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterAni Choekye leads a workshop on Goals and How to Avoid Them; 6:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Well Digger’s Daughter”; 6:45pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; 7pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Solana”; 7:30pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Arkansas State; 7:30pm

Oliver WineryTunes on the Terrace: Tad Robinson; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Whiskey Mystic; 7-9pm

◗ IU Woodburn Hall Theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Pigeoneers”; 8pm

Bear’s PlaceColonel Angus; 8pm

Cafe DjangoNate Johnson & the Keepers CD release party; 8pm

The Comedy AtticNick Griffin; 8pm

Bryan ParkRyder Film Series, Movies in the Park: “The Wizard of Oz”; 8pm

Max’s PlaceThe Hot Karls; 8-10pm

◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Hunger Games”; 8pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series, “Polisse”; 8:45pm

The BluebirdCorey Smith; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Kade Puckett; 9:30-11:30pm

Max’s PlaceMoor and the Northmen; 10pm

The BishopGuardian Alien, You’re a Liar; 10pm

The Comedy AtticNick Griffin; 10:30pm

ONGOING:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution tomorrow morning.” — Henry Ford

THE REVOLUTION BEGINS: THE BATTLE OF STARBUCKS

Brain maven Alex Straiker was in a chatty mood this morning, for which I detested him. I hadn’t had my life giving dose of Sumatra yet and therefore was in no position to tolerate the very existence of Straiker or anybody else, much less hear anything he or they had to say.

But good old Alex persisted. And give me credit; I didn’t assault or batter him. I must like the fellow.

Lucky Guy

Anyway, he asked, “Did you see what happened at the Starbucks?”

I concealed my abhorrence of his presence enough to grunt in the negative. “Yeah,” he said, “someone smashed the window.”

Fortunately for him my caffeine fix arrived at that moment. I took a deep gulp. As if by magic, I felt I could bear the existence of certain humans, of which he is one.

“What happened?” I asked. “What was it all about?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “Anti-corporate radicals?” He smirked.

“Aha! May Day,” I concluded. “The revolution is starting.”

The Battle Has Been Joined

“Perhaps,” Alex said. “But it’s May 6th.”

“There is that,” I allowed. “When did it happen?”

“Last night, I assume.”

“Maybe they were late.”

Good scientist that he is, Alex eyed me skeptically. “Well, I suppose that’s possible,” he said, which is code for “That’s stupid.”

Riot!

Not having my digital camera with me, I borrowed his iPhone and trundled off to Indiana Avenue where the Starbuck’s in question faces the Sample Gates. I clicked away at the devastation for publication in this up-to-the-nano-second media colossus. No one scoops the Electron Pencil.

While waddling back to Soma Coffee I mused about what I would say upon receiving my Pulitzer Prize for recording the opening shot in the Great War Against the Corporations.

“I’d Like To Thank….”

Back at Soma, Alex and The Loved One sat waiting for me. “So,” T-LO asked, “What do you think?”

By this time, perspective had elbowed its way back into my thinking processes. Maybe, I thought, just maybe, it could have been just another incident of vandalism. I felt let down.

Alex said, “Did you notice the smell in there?”

No, I told him, I hadn’t gone in.

“There was a horrible smell. They said there was a problem with the ovens, as well. It smelled like burned plastic.”

A lightbulb went off over T-LO’s head. “I’ve got it,” she announced. “They were stoners. They smashed their way into the place and put some food in the oven. But being stupid and stoned, they didn’t realize that you shouldn’t put plastic in a hot oven.”

“Dude, I Got The Munchies.”

Alex nodded. Her theory seemed distinctly more reasonable than my revolution story. Still, I persisted. “Hey, there’s a long history of revolutionary action (read: rationalized vandalism) in this town,” I said. I reminded them of the rough welcome both Starbucks and McDonald’s got when they opened up shop in downtown Bloomington some 12 years ago. Windows were routinely smashed and radical graffiti was spray painted on their walls.

It was clear, though, that neither T-Lo nor Alex was willing to grant another iota of credence to the idea anymore.

By and by, T-LO and I said our goodbyes to the Soma gang. I suggested we walk past the Starbuck’s. Early Sunday morning coffee sippers sat calmly in its outdoor cafe seats. Birds tweeted, the sun shone, joggers huffed past. Revolution was not in the air. Nobody seemed to notice the board-up job on the Starbuck’s storefront.

I shrugged and said, “Well, it wasn’t crazy to think it was a revolution, was it?”

“I Mean, It Could Happen, Couldn’t It?”

T-LO had the good grace not to respond. George Bull, a long-time IU staffer, now retired, coasted up on his snazzy new bike. I pointed out the boarded-up window. “Oh,” he said, “I hadn’t even noticed.”

“I thought it might have been radicals,” I said.

“Hmm,” he said. “Looks more like childish overexuberance on graduation day.”

Sheesh. These people sure know how to throw cold water on a good scoop.

PRETTY PICTURES — HARD SCIENCE

Speaking of Straiker (which sounds like a good name for a blog — I’d better copyright it), he tells us plans have been finalized for an innovative art exhibit at the SOFA Grunwald Gallery. Set to open in August, 2013, the show will be a collaboration between scientists and artists.

Straiker says with the new developments in microscopic imaging for scientific researchers, the potential for compelling art is ripe to be explored. Straiker and a couple of colleagues, Jim Miller, also of the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department, and the botanist Jessica Lucas, have their own exhibit of images on display at Finch’s Brasserie.

Photo Microscopy Image Of Plant Root Hairs By Jessica Lucas

“But we’re just dabblers,” Straiker says. “We’ll partner with real artists for this show. It should be interesting.”

Jim Powers, manager of the IU Light Microscopy Imaging Center, and Lucas, as well as some geologists and a few other scientific researchers, all are slated to participate in the show.

SCIENCE CAFE UPDATE

BTW: Straiker also revealed this morning that the Science Cafe, originally scheduled to resume sessions last month, has been tabled until September. “Everybody wanted to do it in the fall,” Straiker explained. “It’s not easy getting these scientists together on anything. It’s like herding cats.”

The Science Cafe will be held monthly at Rachael’s Cafe. Each session will feature a researcher speaking about a specific topic. The idea is to bring science to the public. I can’t wait.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

Angela Hendrix-Petry With Chloe & Jasper

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsExhibit, Daniel Lager; through May 17th

The Solution LabConference, Bloomington Startup Weekend, for developers, designers, entrepreneurs, etc.; through Sunday

Cafe DjangoBrunch guitar, Peter Kienie; 11am-1pm

Sembower FieldIUBaseball vs. Nebraska; 1pm

TC Steele State Historic SiteSunday Hiking Series: The Birds and the Trees for Nature Lovers, led by IU’s Jules Erwin; 1-3pm

Monroe County History CenterReception, Historic Preservation Month, keynote address by Duncan Campbell of Ball State University’s Center for Historic Preservation; exhibit, Bloomington Fading photos; 3pm

Bloomington Fading

IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterListening & dancing to Ritmos Unidos; 4pm

Emeriti HouseJuried art show, works by retired IU faculty and staff; 5:30-7:30pm

The Player’s PubRichard Dugger Band; 6pm

Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series, “444 The Last day on Earth”; 7pm

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all the questions for the time being.” — Franz Kafka

FOOD, DANGEROUS FOOD

I was just wondering how long our food fetishist mania will last.

Oh, I’m not talking about the move toward more natural and locally-produced foods and homemade meals. We all agree it’s better to eat a nice bowl of stir-fried vegetables and brown rice than it is to scarf a Whopper, Coke, and fries.

A Double Whopper With Cheese

I make a banana bread that’s twice as tasty as a Sara Lee cake. My oatmeal cookies and Italian butter cookies make Oreos taste like so many plastic lids.

Sure, it’s a big investment of time and labor to eat well and right but we have to be creative about the whole deal. For instance, I try to cook two or three dishes every Sunday afternoon, making enough to last the rest of the week. Once a month I make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce, freezing it in four separate containers and then using one a week for my rigatoni fix.

My Heroin

A frozen pizza takes 25 minutes or so before you can dig in. My homemade pizza takes about three hours, including the time it takes to make the dough and let it rise. But man, when I eat it I know I’m doing better than Tombstone (which, by the way isn’t at all bad tasting.)

When I make my own pizza, I control the amount of cheese I put on it. I throw on good green things like spinach. I cut down on the salt and add more garlic powder to the sauce to make up for it. I use whole wheat flour. It’s a flat out better food than something I grab from the freezer.

Nobody can argue that making your own meals, using wholesome ingredients, and minimizing the use of white sugars and white flours isn’t smarter than the alternative.

Brown Is Better

But I can find a lot to argue about with the people who are obsessed with food. The Starbucks switch from using cochineal as a food coloring is a case in point.

The coffee chain has been using cochineal to make its some of its drinks and food look red for years. Cochineal is South American and Mexican bug whose shell weight is nearly 25 percent carminic acid. People have been using carminic acid extract mixed with elemental salts to produce a red dye for 500 years.

Carminic Acid-Covered Cactus

In fact, the sainted Mayas and Aztecs revered the insect and its dye so much they often used them as currency and tribute. I call the two peoples sainted because so many folks today speak in reverent terms about them, as if anything and everything they did was superior to our venal, corrupt, tyrannical society.

Some of those folks, no doubt, jumped on the viral bandwagon that made Starbucks stop using cochineal.

It’s ironic because cochineal is a natural food product. And I was under the impression that we were trying to get more natural in our grub. (This despite the fact that things like arsenic are as natural as, oh, quinoa, a South American grain popular with the Bloomingfoods and Whole Foods Market crowds.)

Mango-Quinoa Salad

So thousands of people got online and shrieked at Starbucks to stop using cochineal. Why, I don’t know. One theory has it that vegans are repulsed by the use of the once-living critter product.

Now that’s ironic because I can’t picture many vegans having a jones for Starbucks’ Strawberries & Cream Frappucino, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Raspberry Swirl Birthday Cake Pop (what the hell ever that is), Mini-Donut with pink icing, and the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie. These are the only products Starbucks dumps cochineal into. My understanding is that vegans want only the purest, non-animal foods in their bodies, not products whose names sound like sex toys or Cracker Jack prizes.

The Red Velvet Whoopie Pie?

Snopes.com figures the whole thing is the result of the “Ugh, gross!” reaction.

“Our distaste at the thought of ingesting bugs is based on cultural factors rather than the properties or flavors of the insects themselves,” Barbara Mikkelson writes on the urban legend-busting website. “Western society eschews (rather than chews) bugs, hence the widespread ‘Ewww!’ reaction to the news that some of our favorite foods contain insect extract.”

Here’s the funny thing: Starbucks now will begin replacing cochineal with lycopene extract from tomatoes. The tomato was long thought to be a poisonous fruit, especially after a 16th Century British barber named John Gerard wrote that tomatoes contain deadly toxins. Brits and American colonists refused to eat tomatoes for the next 200 years based on Gerard’s single statement, which was probably based more on the fact that the dark and uncivilized Spaniards and Italians ate them as much as on the presence in tomatoes of trace amounts of the glycoalkaloid tomatine.

A Plateful Of Poison!

Tomatoes really didn’t become popular for use in America until the late 1800s, so strong was the mistaken notion that they were noxious.

If you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, you might conclude we haven’t learned a thing in half a millennium.

THAT’S AMORE

The only song I can think of that mentions pizza is this ditty by Dean Martin.

You may know this already, but Martin was never much of a drinker, despite putting on a lush-y facade in his eponymous 1960s television variety show.

Dean Martin, Buddy Love (With Stella Stevens), and Jerry Lewis

And another thing, he wasn’t the inspiration for the Buddy Love character in the Jerry Lewis movie, “The Nutty Professor.” Buddy Love was an oily, arrogant, perfectly tailored ladies man who’d take over a piano bar and sing love songs at the drop of a hat. Truth was, Buddy Love was Lewis’s own doppelganger.

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