Sticks and Stones (and Marketing Hyperbole and Such)

Did you know your coffee may have twigs, stones or even ground up ducklings? It’s true and it’s horrifying. This means that those dodgy, crafty coffee farmers are up to their old tricks again! Trying to cheat you, the hard-working consumer, out of your hard earned cash and get  you to drink extra filler swill at the same time – just like the kid wiping boogers on your burger at Hardees.

You may have seen some of the headlines over the weekend:

Besides the fact that this is probably one of the first times you’ll see Fox News and running the same angle on a story – the stories are depressingly misleading. What sounds like a major problem is just a sales pitch for the American Chemical Society who figured out a tricky way to determine what’s in your coffee besides coffee (other than milk, hazelnut flavors, bucket of sugar, etc.).

But rather than just pitch it to the coffee industry that would be interested in using this new tool, they decided to go full guns blazing and sound the alarm! Greedy coffee farmers are dumping whatever they can get their hands on into your morning cup so they can rake in the big bucks. Dear God in heaven, help us if we can’t get one by those conniving small-scale farmers! They even came up with a crappy info graphic (which shows absolutely no scope of the alleged problem).

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Mexico via Yugoslavia


Completely rad.

I’m used to being the dominant culture in the room. Well not me personally, but coming from the US, I’ve become accustomed to seeing our influence peddled everywhere. When I’m in a multi-culti group, the language usually swings to English. When I talk about where I’m from, people instantly ask, ‘Yeah, but which state?’ (while few ask any follow-up questions to my friends from Saskatchewan*).

Looking around me in Germany, I see things like the outdoor brand Jack Wolfskin**, which seems to pull a Jack London – White Fang mashup and then adds the word ‘skin’, which gives me the jeebies in a John Wayne Gacy kind of way. Or just look back to Karl May, who caused generations of German boys and girls to fantasize about the Wild West. You don’t have to spit far to see the US popping up on the radar – in good and not so good ways.

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This is just a test

So Getty Images (sorry the link goes to the German one – usability peeve – let me decide where I want to be, don’t do it for me, jerks) has done something pretty amazing. So if you go to their site, you can jump around through their photos and then, rather than having to license to use them on your blog or whatever, you can use it for free if you use their code. I’m just trying this out, but great to see a company realizing that people will likely get their hands on creative for free anyway, so why not take credit for it where you can? And then figure out where you value-add and charge for that. Although, curious to see how this works long-run.

Let’s see, this is what came up when I searched ‘walrus coffee’.

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Gaining Ground, A Book Report

This is a picture that came up when I searched 'dirty old Wells Lamont chore gloves'.

I don’t know why a picture of Mia Farrow comes up when I search ‘dirty old Wells Lamont chore gloves’, but it does.

Winter was  tough on the farm. Most mornings Mom would struggle to rustle us from sleep. It would begin gently enough with a song and a gentle carress. Then it would move to a ‘Let’s go’ shout up the stairs, which would lead to the blanket snatch leaving a spastic boy flopping into the fetal position to escape the cold air.

In the basement we would slip our hands awkwardly into two pairs of old Wells Lamont chore gloves. Zip up a sweater and jacket, pull on a stocking cap and cinch down the hood. Feet – clad in two pairs of heavy socks – were jammed into old rubber boots.

Gripping the doorknob, your hands would slip a bit before it would turn, a crunch of frost in the doorjamb, and with that you  plunged into the cold. And while chores were about the last thing I wanted to do nearly every single day, once outside, it all seemed to melt.

There’s a stillness once it gets in the range of -10˚where sound seems to slow down. The putt-putt of the milk pump as Dad slipped machines onto the cows barely even made it to the house just a 100 feet away.

My mind was flooded with similar memories while reading ‘Gaining Ground’ by Forrest Pritchard, the story of how the author saved his family farm through a combination of persistence and ignorance, optimism and good humor. The story tracks his lurch against the grain to make small, family farming work in a world dominated by industrial-scale ag.

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Honestea isn’t…

So there’s this thing called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. For all collective purposes, it looks like one of those NAFTA-styled free trade agreements that are supposed to support globalization and reduce barriers to trade. But in practice it’s more like a corporate/industrial-ag grab for continued growth on the backs of the poor. Plus all negotiations are taking place behind closed doors and then there are slimy folks who are trying to pass a bill that will allow them to fast track this bad boy.

You should all go here and sign this to oppose it and read more about it. I don’t have time to write it up or explain it completely, but you get my meaning. Sign this, then come back here. 

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Replacing Unpleasant Dementia with Sweet, Sweet Memories

Reader be wary: Andy Rooney-esque diatribe ahead.

I subscribe to the Confectionery News. It’s an industry rag that caters to the the folks who make your treats. It’s not actually a rag. It is a website. Each day my inbox receives a hearty helping  of news on the wonderful advances in the confectionery world, untold promises, and exposés of sweets research. Here is a sample of headlines:

Remember when you boiled down all that fruit into syrup and then pressed it back into fruit form?

One particular headline stood out recently:

Nostalgic candy wrappers help dementia sufferers bring back the memories: Nestlé

According to the article, “Nestlé UK has put together a collection of historical packaging and posters of its Rowntree brand designed to help patients diagnosed with dementia bring back happy memories.”

At first blush, this sounds really great. A unique way to help dementia patients flex their mind muscles. Just pull those old ads out and watch forgetful folks remember  when they used to buy delicious Rowntree Fruit Clear Gums for a nickel a box.

Then on second thought it sounds creepy as hell. Continue reading

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Filed under Light Crap, petpeeve

A bit o’ nut roll

This is a candy bar that makes your mouth happy.

This is a post started a long time ago, but this was a happy day:”St. Paul’s Pearson Candy Co. acquires Bit-O-Honey.”

Of course we all know this means the grand unification of two of the finest candy bars in the history of the world.

Some of you may remember the post where I wrote to Dudley P. Nut, the official mascot of Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll.  He wrote me a letter back. He even sent me a package of candy.

Looks like I better loosen up the old writing hand. It’s time to write another fine letter to the geniuses at Pearson’s extolling their virtuous climb up that ladder of sweet delight.


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