The Agonies of the Damned

I know I’ve said this before, about something else (I don’t remember what). And I know it’s not news to parents.

But if I may be permitted to not only repeat myself, but state the obvious, because it never fails to surprise me:

I experience more pain when painful things happen to my kids than when they happen to me.

Now I know that’s a big dramatic buildup for a discussion of a topic that may seem trivial to many: the underattended birthday party.

Mack doesn’t even want to go into specifics, except to say it happened to someone in my vicinity of late, and I couldn’t take it. It was five solid hours of sheer torture.

This is why Mack doesn’t even HAVE birthday parties for myself anymore. Mack doesn’t want to know how many friends he has left. Mack doesn’t want the truth about who really gives a crap about Mack.

To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: “Mack can’t handle the truth!”

So I just go out for dinner with Mrs. Daddy, to a nice restaurant.

And I love this ritual, actually. Mrs. Daddy pays. It’s still much, much cheaper than having a dinner party, so the sky’s the limit.

And someone else does all the work, man. Throwing a party is a lot of work, I don’t know if you’ve noticed. It takes hours to get ready and hours to clean up the next day.

Go to a restaurant they do all the cooking and cleaning.

I’d talk more about this topic but even though I am talking about it I don’t want to talk about it.

If you’ve ever attended, or even worse thrown, a party to which almost no one shows up, you will understand the above cryptic statements.

It’s sheer torture. And you can’t leave. That would make the host feel even worse. You have to stand there, squirming.

It’s agony.

Milky White Vaginal Discharge Why Does This Happen And Is It Dangerous

Many women go through the problem of milky white-colored vaginal discharge at some time or another within their lives. The reasons for the discharge might be natural functions, however it could also be an indicator of some infectivity as well. Vaginal discharge due to infections can be identified by a colour change or its consistency that may be different from that from regular discharge. Even though the visual look associated with the discharge could help in finding out the cause of discharge, definitive analysis would need testing and microscopic examination.

Hormone imbalances – Alterations in the cervix brings about these kinds of discharge. Just before the fertility period of women, the color of discharge changes from creamy white to appear more consistent clear, similar to egg-whites. The cervix created it, responding to changes in hormone values. There can be several motives causing milky white vaginal discharge and you should go to your health care service provider to recognise the precise reason for discharge before starting any medicine.

Bacterial vaginosis infections:

Anaerobic bacteria, which are destructive, multiply and crowd away lactobacillus bacteria, which are beneficial. That leads to the secretion of milky white colored vaginal discharge that smells fishy. You should use antibiotic ointments / gels in order to clear an infection eliminating discharge caused by bacterial vaginosis. BV or bacterial vaginosis is very common and results because of imbalance inside vaginal acidity/ pH. The body’s hormones, period cycle, sexual activity and also douching all play a vital role in its growth. Natural cures for bacterial vaginosis are known to be very successful as a cure for bv infection.

Yeast Infection or Candida albicans

The discharge because of a yeast infection is actually white colored and lumpy with consistency like that of cottage type cheese. These bacterial infections take place due an to overgrowth of fungi – Candida albicans that’s commonly present in a minimal amount in the vaginal region. Yeast overgrowth may be because of quite a few reasons including changes in the body’s hormones, usage of anti-biotics or even diabetes. You can acquire medicine over counter or get it prescribed by a medical professional, natural cures have also proven very successful for curing yest infections.


Trichomoniasis is an std causing creamy green/ gray coloured vaginal discharge a result of protozoan that infects the vaginal area. It might come with itchiness as well as discomfort whilst urinating. Oral antibiotics should be consumed to halt abnormal discharge.


Gonorrhea is again a sexually transmitted infection creating cloudy / yellow colored vaginal discharge. You can see cloudy urine to get more information. Anti-biotics should be consumed to get rid of this.

Polyps and Cancers:

Polyps on cervix/ endometrium could boost the vaginal discharge and cervical cancer also brings cellular change in cervix resulting in discharge from vagina. The discharge appears to be ordinary discharge coming from the vagina yet in greater amounts.

Vaginal discharge arises from the uterus/ vagina/ cervix. A lot of women deal with this problem, some to minor magnitude whilst others to higher extent. You need to understand your body and understand if things are ordinary or problematic. It is not dangerous at all but treatment method must be started in initial stages. You can see your Gynecologist/ care provider and have yourself analyzed. Milky white-colored vaginal discharge is completely ordinary at beginning as well as end of the menstrual period. However, in case you are also encountering some itching with it, it may require your immediate consideration because it could be a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis needing medical attention.

Herbal Remedies for Colic with Gentle, Safe Herbs Like Gripe Water

Does your infant experience crying spells many times a week-and at about the exact same time of day? Does he appear to take pain when he is weeping? Does he pull up his legs to his chest or kick at his feet? You will find things you may do to reduce your kid’s suffering while only your doctor can let you know if the symptoms your baby is showing are associated with the medical condition known as colic. If your baby is experiencing this condition, consult your doctor about including herbal and natural treatments into your kid’s day-to-day regimen.

Acidophilus & Colic

Although it did not focus on herbal treatments, a 2005 study linked colic and imbalances together. If the outcomes of the study are accurate, raising the “good” bacteria inside your baby’s digestive tract might help relieve some of his symptoms. Request your baby’s pediatrician to suggest a company specially invented for babies if you’d like additional information about using Lactobacillus acidophilus to your baby’s colic.

Herbal Colic & Teas

Despite centuries of good use by parents of colicky infants, herbal preparations have not been widely examined. Maybe the finest study to examine herbal teas for colic was a 1993 research. This study seemed a tea made from a blend of fennel, chamomile, vervain, licorice and balm-mint. In over half the babies examined, this tea, within the terms of the research’s writers, “dramatically improved” signs.

Now, it is possible to locate “colic teas” in almost any health food shop. If these herbs are secure for him if you would prefer to try an herbal tea all on your own child, request his pediatrician.

Gripe Water

It may not seem like an herbal treatment for colic but gripe water, which can be made out of essential oils of dill, caraway, clove, amongst others, is a classic English treatment that is growing in popularity in North America. The formula changes drastically from manufacturer to manufacturer, and though it has not been widely analyzed, some of the ingredients in water that is gripe have a long history useful for intestinal ailments like colic.

If you are interested in attempting this kind of product to your baby’s colic, request his pediatrician to recommend a particular brand that she or he trusts.

Are Herbal Remedies Safe For The Baby’s Colic?

If these treatments that are popular are suitable for the child only your doctor can let you know. If you’ve got any questions about the security of these or some other treatments, consult with an experienced healthcare professional for the advice that is right for your child and you.


Savino, F., Bailo, E., Oggero, R., Tulio, V., Roana, J., Carlone, N., et al. (2005). Bacterial counts of intestinal Lactobacillus species in infants with colic.

Weizman, Z., Alkinawi, S., Goldfarb, D., Bitran, C. (1993). Efficacy of herbal tea preparation in infantile colic.

Blumenthal, I. (2000). The Gripe Water Story. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Tea Additives for the Daring Drinker

Ahhhh, tea…the traditional British drink that early American settlers brought across the ocean. Who would have thought that this traditional tea drink would become such a daring and novel flavored treat on both sides of the Atlantic?

The tea drink, also known as as Boba, Bubble and Pearl Tea, originated in Taiwan where the staunchest of tea drinkers live. In the 1980s, Taiwanese workers would plan to drink a refreshing cup of tea after a hard day at work. Tea concessions were plentiful and each competed for business. To make their tea more refreshing, the tea sellers added fruit-flavored infusions into their teas. In 1983, Liu Han-Chieh added a distinctive twist to the fruit infused teas. He added juicy ‘papioca pearls’ (tapioca) to the bottom of the drink. Thus, creating the first Bubble Tea (Boba, Pearl Tea). The Bubble Tea name came from the froth at the top of the drink that occurs after shaking it. Boba means tapioca.

To try different tea flavors, here are a few recipes that make teas with unique additives, but without the preservatives that one gets in the specialty Boba Tea Shops. The recipes given are healthier and cheaper than

Make the tapioca ahead of time – remember that those small pearls double in size when cooked.

Milk Tea Boba

2 cups boiling water
1 teabag of strong English black tea, or Earl Grey tea
Sweetener of your choice or use sweetened condensed milk instead of
Milk or cream
Prepared tapioca pearls

Preparation: Prepare the tea as if making a cup of hot tea. Steep the tea until it is unusually strong. Place the sweetener of your choice and the milk or cream. Pour the hot tea over the sweetener and milk or cream mixture. The drink can be served hot or cold. To make the cold version, add ice or put the cold tea mixture in the freezer.

Green Tea Boba is made the same way as the Black Tea Boba. Use green tea instead.

Blender Fruit Bubble Tea – 5 -6 drinks

Brew green tea ahead of time, then add the sugar (or sweetener of choice) and prepared tapioca.

2 cups green tea and 1/3 cup sugar add prepared tapioca and refrigerate until needed.
4 cups of melons of choice: cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelon, cut into chunks.
4 cups ice cubes
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup coconut milk or milk or cream.

Using a blender or food processor, combine ice cubes, melons, orange juice and coconut milk (cream or milk, if preferred). Process until smooth. Add the green tea and tapioca mixture in a glass and serve with a straw.

Variations: Instead of melons, use pistachio ice cream (omit the sugar), with a black tea base.

Tea has changed over the years and with daring new additives a flavorful tea drink emerges.

Perfect pumpkin spice coffee

The cool crisp days of Autumn call for warm beverages that are flavored with the traditional flavors of fall. Among those flavors is the time honored flavor and aroma of pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin pie spice is typically a blend of “warm” spices.

This may include all or some of the following spices:

  • Allspice
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg

A recipe will generally consist of the following proportions:

1/4 cup cinnamon
2 tablespoons of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon of either ground allspice or ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of mace

Some recipes do away with the mace altogether. Many recipes use either cloves or allspice. Allspice tastes like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, but it is actually a berry from the evergreen myrtle plant known as Pimenta Dioica.

To make the perfect cup of coffee, whether flavored or not, you need the following:

Distilled water (distilled water is always best for making coffee. It lacks minerals that can build up in a coffee maker, causing the coffee to develop the unpleasant bitter taste.)

Unbleached coffee filters or a French press coffee maker

Freshly ground coffee beans (1 tablespoon of ground coffee per cup). You can choose your beans, but if you want a richly flavorful cup of coffee, ideally, you should choose either Espresso Roast or French Roast. Beans are roasted for the longest for those two roasts and that brings out all of the natural oils, enhancing the flavor of the coffee.

Pumpkin pie spice blend

Some type of drip coffee maker

Pumpkin pie spice French press coffee

If you are going to use a French press, you will want to boil the water first. Measure out the proper amount of coffee for each cup. You will probably want to use about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice blend per cup of coffee. Mix the spice blend in with the ground coffee.

For a French press, the coffee should be ground coarser than for a drip maker. Put the spiced coffee grounds into the bottom of the pot. When the water has come to a full boil, slowly pour it over the grounds. Then take the plunger and push it all the way down into the pot. You should use a timer and allow the coffee to steep for approximately 3 minutes before pouring it.

Pumpkin pie spice drip made coffee

If you are using an automatic coffee maker, simply add the water to the holding tank. Then put the filter in the filter basket and add 1 tablespoon (or 1/2 tablespoon if you don’t want it overly strong) of coffee for each cup to the basket.

If you are using a manual drip coffee maker, you will need to add boiling water to the measured coffee (the same specifications as above will apply,) adding the water a bit at a time, making sure that it all goes through the filtration process until the pot is filled.

Pumpkin pie spice espresso coffee

You can use a stove top espresso maker (or an automatic espresso maker) and add your custom flavored ground coffee to the basket of either type of maker. You will want to press the grounds down into the filter basket before making the coffee. In a stove top maker, it should take no more than five minutes to make the coffee. The water goes up through the grounds.

If you have an automatic espresso maker, you can froth milk to add to your coffee. If don’t have an automatic espresso maker, you could froth some milk with an immersion blender, or simply steam it and add that to your coffee to create the perfect latte.

No matter what method you choose to use to make your pumpkin pie spice flavored coffee, make sure that you use fresh beans, preferably beans that you grind yourself right before making your coffee, and that you make your own spice blend.

If you make a large quantity of it, you can store it in an air tight glass bottle or jar. If you have a spice grinder and/or a nutmeg grater, you can grind and grate your own spices to create your own perfect blend of pumpkin pie spices.

Pumpkin pie spice is not only used during the fall months; it is perfectly appropriate to use all the way through the Christmas holiday season.


Allspice explained
Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipes

Coffee history at length

Coffee is something many of us enjoy and some people feel they couldn’t live without it. The temptation is nearly always there with more and more Starbucks sites appearing all over the world. Many of us may not realise, but the story behind coffee is a very interesting one and in this article, I will explore just that, the history behind coffee.

There is a legend behind how coffee was first discovered. The legend claims that there was an Arabian named Kaldi who had discovered his goats dancing around a mysterious shrub with dark green leaves and red cherries.

It was soon discovered that it was the red cherries that was having the strange reaction in the goats. Kaldi tried these red cherries himself and soon learned of their powerful stimulating effect. Later monks used this stimulant to help them stay awake during long periods of prayer. According to the legend this is the story of how coffee was born. It’s a nice story, but on this occasion it’s merely a myth.

(Coffee History. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2008, from

The true story is that coffee was discovered sometime in the 9th century in the highlands of Ethiopia. It then spread across Egypt and Yemen. Then by the 15th century coffee found its way to Armenia, Persia, Turkey and also the northern parts of Africa. It was from the Muslim world that coffee found its way to Italy and then eventually to the rest of Europe, Indonesia and the Americas.

(Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2008, from

The word Coffee itself was first used in 1598 and it comes from the Italian word caffe. This originates from the Turkish word kahve and before that the Arabic word qahwa. The rough translation of the Arabic word is wine of the bean. The strict and traditional religion of Islam prohibits the use of alcohol as a beverage; therefore coffee is seen as an alternative to wine.

(History of coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2008, from

The Muslim world

In the works of Persian physician Razi, there is a reference about coffee in the 10th century. More detailed information on the preparation of this beverage from roasting coffee berries occurred several centuries later. Coffee was popular with Sufis due to its ability to drive away sleep.

Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia and then traveled to Yemen and the first coffee house appeared in Istanbul in 1471. Coffee was not always well received as in 1511, for a short time it was forbidden, due to its stimulating effects. The popularity of the beverage led to the bans being overturned in 1524.

The problems were not over as in there were further bans in Egypt and Ethiopia before coffee became the everyday drink it is today. Ethiopians slowly began to embrace the drink and consumption increased rapidly between 1880 and 1886.


Coffee first appeared in Italy, where it was first imported to. Coffee arrived in Italy, along with a range of African goods, due to the trade between Italy and Muslims in North Africa. Again there were appeals to ban coffee in 1600, but despite this, the drink was accepted. In 1645 the first European coffee house appeared in Italy.


Coffee became available in England in the 16th century, due to the efforts of the British East India Company and also the Dutch East India Company. Expansion then occurred and in 1675, there were over 3,000 coffee houses in England.


The major spread of coffee to Paris occurred in 1669, when Ambassador from Sultan Mehmed IV arrived bringing with him large quantities of coffee beans. They provided coffee for their French and European guests and also donated some to the royal court. From July 1669 to May 1670 the Ambassador was able to establish the custom of drinking coffee with the Parisians.


Austria discovered coffee after defeating the Turks in the Battle of Vienna. They then established the first coffee house in 1683. The typical Viennese coffee comes mixed with hot foamed milk and a glass of water and is known as the ‘Melange’.


The Dutch began production of coffee at their forts in Malabar, India. In 1699, the Dutch took some Batavia in Java, what is now known as Indonesia. Within only a few years the Dutch colonies mentioned became the main suppliers of coffee to Europe.


Chevalier Gabriel Mathiew de Clieu was the man responsible for bringing coffee to the Americas. He brought sprouts from the Noble Tree to Martinique in Haiti in 1720. In 50 years there were 18,680 coffee trees allowing distribution of coffee amongst the Caribbean.

(history of coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2008, from

Coffee timeline:

850, is when the legend of Kaldi occurred, which is mentioned at the beginning of this article.

1100, is the date of the first trees being cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula. This is also the date when coffee is first roasted.

1475, the world’s first coffee shop opens in Constantinople. This is closely followed by two more in 1554.

1600, is when coffee first enters Europe via the port of Venice, then the first European coffee house opens in Italy in 1654.

1607, in Jamestown, Virginia coffee finds its way to the New World thanks to Captain John Smith.

1652, this is when the first coffee house open in London, England. They are known as “penny universities” with a penny being charged for admission and the cup of coffee.

In 1688 Edward Lloyd’s coffee house opens, which later becomes Lloyd’s of London, which is now the world’s best known insurance company. Around this time in England the concept of “TIPS” is first introduced with those putting money in the jar getting prompt service and better seating. It’s interesting that in those days TIPS were used when arriving, whereas now TIPS are paid at the time of leaving.

1672, is the opening of the first Parisian cafe, which is dedicated to serving coffee.

In 1713, King Louis XIV is presented with a coffee true. It’s also widely assumed that sugar was first used as an additive in his court.

In 1683 the first coffee house open in Vienna.

Austria 1690, the Dutch were the first country to cultivate coffee commercially.

In 1721 the first coffee house opens in Berlin, Germany.

By 1723 coffee has reached the Americas and by 1777, 1,920 million coffee plants are cultivated on the island of Martinique.

1727, the world’s biggest coffee producer gets its start after seedlings are smuggled out of Paris.

In 1750, Cafe Greco opens in Rome, Italy and by 1763 coffee shops in Venice are up to 2,000.

1822, marks the first sight of an Espresso machine as a prototype is created in France.

1900, in Germany afternoon coffee has become popular.

1905, the first Espresso machine is finally manufactured in Italy In 1908 the World’s first drip coffeemaker is invented 1933, the very first automatic Espresso machine is developed

1938, the Nestle company comes up with the idea of instant coffee.

1945, the Espresso machine is perfected with a piston to create high pressure extraction, which results in the production of a thick layer of crema.

1991, marks the forming of a Canadian network of Espresso service providers. In the end it becomes the fastest growing network of private and independent super automatic machines providers across all of Canada.

In 1995, coffee has become the most popular beverage, with over 400 billion cups consumed every year, as a world commodity it’s ranked second only to oil.

(Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2008, from

Coffee is an important export commodity for a lot of countries. In fact in 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries. Coffee was the world’s seventh largest legal agricultural export by value in 2005. Coffee has a little controversy around it regarding the impact on the environment. There is also major disputes over coffee and its impact on several medical conditions and it is debatable whether coffee has a positive or negative effect.

(Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2008, from

According to data from 1999, the top five coffee producing countries are Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico and Guatemala.

Brazil has a coffee harvesting time from March to October, harvesting just over 27 million 60 KG bags. They also exported just over 23 million 60 KG bags of coffee.

Colombia has an initial coffee harvesting time from October to February and then from April to June. They harvest a little above 9 million 60 KG bags and export nearly 10 million 60 KG bags of coffee.

Indonesia is next harvesting nearly 8 million 60 KG bags and exporting about 5 million 60 KG bags. Their harvesting time is unknown.

Mexico harvests coffee at both high and low altitudes. November to January is the time for harvesting at the high altitudes and August to November at low altitudes. They harvest just over 6 million 60 KG bags of coffee and export 4.3 million of those 60 KG bags.

In Guatemala the harvesting period if from October to January and they harvest 4.5 million 60 KG bags, while exporting a similar amount. The data listed is for one year. The latest information states that the biggest producers of coffee are Brazil and Vietnam.

(Coffee Origins. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2008, from

There are two main types of coffee beans these are Arabica and Robusta and both these types or species thrive in equatorial regions. Robusta usually is grown in Western and Central Africa, Malaysia, Brazil and India.

Arabica is seen as stronger despite having a lower yield and less caffeine and it grows at higher altitudes somewhere between 1000 and 2000 metres. In total Arabica accounts for about 70% of world production. In flavour Arabica is delicately acidic has a refined aroma and a caramel aftertaste. Commonly Arabica is grown in Central and South America, India, Eastern Africa and Papua New Guinea.

Many of the cheaper blends of coffee contain a higher amount of Robusta in comparison with Arabica. While the high quality espresso blends use a small quality of the very best Robusta beans providing body and character.

(Types of coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2008, from

Coffee production

In 1727, the first coffee plantation in Brazil arrived as a result of seeds being smuggled from French Guiana. Throughout the majority of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the biggest producer of coffee was Brazil and was virtually monopolising the industry.

Things began to change with a policy of maintaining high prices, which created opportunities for Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia and Vietnam. As previously mentioned the origins of coffee started in Ethiopia, however the country only produced a small amount of coffee for export until the Twentieth Century. Much of the coffee came from north east and not from the south.

It wasn’t until 1907, that commercial production began in Ethiopia after the founding of the inland port of Gambela. From Gambela 100,000 kilograms of coffee was exported in 1908, while the period in 1927-8, there was over 4 million kilograms passing through the port. Coffee exports rapidly increased via Addis Ababa Djibouti Railway. By 1936, 9 million kilograms were exported in this way.

Another country with a rich coffee history is Australia. Today they are only a minor producer, but their history goes back to 1880, when 500 acres of land was developed between New South Wales and Cooktown. Nowadays there are several producers of Arabica coffee that use a mechanical harvesting system that was invented in 1981.

(history of coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2008, from

Modern coffee:

Our coffee now comes in many forms and we all have a particular type of coffee that we especially enjoy. When in a hurry we love to grab an espresso, this is a short black or to be more precise, a 30 ml shot of full bodied dark coffee. Of course the espresso comes in many forms and two more are Espresso Lungo and Espresso Americano. The Lungo is the same as a regular Espresso, but with the addition of adding 30 or 60 ml of hot water. This makes for a longer drink. The Americano is often referred to as a Long Black and is a standard Espresso on top of hot water.

Latte’s have become a very popular drink and consists of a standard Espresso with hot milk and is usually served in a glass.

Another popular way to have coffee is in the form of a Cappuccino, which consists of a standard Espresso with foamed milk poured into it and lightly dusted with chocolate or coco powder.

A Macchiato is a standard Espresso with just a dash of milk.

A Ristretto is half a shot of Espresso, which is about 15 ml.

Doppio is a double Espresso.

Espresso Corretto is a standard Espresso, with a little spirit added such as brandy.

Espresso Romano is a standard Espresso, but a slice of lemon peel is served on the side of the cup.

Espresso con Panna is a regular Espresso, which is topped with whipped cream and the option of chocolate powder.

A Flat White coffee is a regular Espresso served with hot milk, but no foam.

Mocha is a shot of Espresso combined with hot chocolate and hot milk, usually this drink is served in a glass.

Finally Cafe Freddo is the same as a regular Espresso, but it’s served chilled.

(Coffee drink types. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2008, from


Starbucks opened its first location in 1971 in Seattle, Washington. Originally the concept was to sell high quality coffee beans and equipment. Initially the store opened at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971-76, but the store then moved to Pike Place. This first historic Starbucks store remains open to this day.

The Starbucks name comes from the classic novel Moby Dick. The idea to sell coffee and Espresso drink was first considered in 1983, when entrepreneur Howard Schultz joined the company. Schultz wanted the company to sell the drinks alongside the beans, but at the time it was rejected by the owners because they thought it would distract from the primary business of selling coffee beans. The owners also thought coffee was something to be enjoyed in the home.

Determined not to be outdone, Schultz opened chain of coffee bars known as II Giornale in 1985. In 1987 Starbucks was sold to II Giornale and Schultz re-branded the outlets as Starbucks. Also in 1987, Starbucks quickly began to expand with locations opening in Vancouver and Chicago.

The first Starbucks outside of North America was in Tokyo, Japan in 1996. In 1998, Starbucks entered the UK market.

In 1992, Starbucks was floated on the stock exchange and at that time there were 165 Starbucks outlets.

In 1999, Starbucks had a failed restaurant concept. They opened a range of restaurants called Circadia in the San Francisco Bay area, but it wasn’t successful and they were all converted to Starbucks cafes.

Starbucks expanded further in April 2003 with the purchase of Seattle’s Best Coffee and Torrefazione Italia. These acquisitions bring Starbucks locations worldwide to over 6,400.

It’s worth noting that as of November 2005, there are more Starbucks locations in London than in Manhattan; Making Starbucks a truly global brand.

Starbucks continued their expansion in 2006, with the acquisition of Diedrich Coffee and this purchase includes the Coffee People chain.

By the summer of 2007, these had all been converted to Starbucks locations. The chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schulz is making sure that the growth of the company doesn’t move away from the company’s goal of acting like a small company.

In early 2008, Starbucks are keen to stay away from some potential new products to keep the company fully focused on all things coffee.

In Seattle, Starbucks started selling an 8 oz of brewed coffee for $1 and offering free refills on all brewed coffee. This offer was limited to the Seattle area and the scheme was cancelled in March, 2008.

As of May 2008, Starbucks launched a rewards system. There are perks and rewards offered for registered users, such as 2 hours of free WIFI and free coffee refills. This is a fresh and innovative approach by Starbucks, which plans to create and strengthen customer loyalty.

(Starbucks. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2008, from

I wouldn’t other with it again

My husband and I had bought Carte Noir in the past and had really enjoyed it. So when we saw a 250 g jar of the coffee on offer in Tesco a couple of weeks ago for £4 we thought that we’d buy a jar. The coffee is usually quite expensive for a small jar, and my husband is a strong coffee lover, and we needed coffee so I thought why not pop it in the trolley. When we got home, we made a cup of coffee expecting the strong rich flavours from the coffee which we had the last time we had bought it- but we were sorely mistaken.

So what IS Carte Noire? Carte Noire is an instant coffee range made by the company, Kraft. The coffee I am reviewing is the original instant coffee, but there is quite a large range available- Cappuccino, Filter, Decaffeinated etc; incidentally it is actually the leading brand of coffee in France.

The packaging of Carte Noire is very appealing, the jar is black and elegant looking, it looks like a premium brand of coffee on the shelf of the supermarkets and makes you think it will be an’ expensive but worth it ‘coffee.

My husband and I both love coffee, but have completely different tastes in it; I am a more smooth roast-person, and I don’t like my coffee too strong, whilst my husband likes his rich and dark, the stronger the better!

He has always raved about Carte Noire saying it is the nicest coffee he has ever had, when we got a small jar a couple of years ago, I am afraid I couldn’t agree, it was far too strong for me, I had to put half a cup of milk in there just to dull the taste! But he loved it. So when he saw it on offer a couple of weeks ago, he jumped at the chance to have a larger jar. It was the exact same as the first lot we had a couple of years previous so we expected the coffee inside to be the same.

We made a cup just as we would make a normal cup of instant coffee, we put a spoonful of the granules into the mug, and poured in the hot boiled water. Our cups are normal sized, not HUGE and not tiny. But when we started drinking our coffee it was just like tap water! There was no taste to it, it certainly wasn’t as strong as it had been the first time we had bought the coffee! It was even too weak for me, the queen of weak coffee!

We tried with two spoons of coffee the next time…still not much difference. We actually ended up having to buy espresso cups and have the TINIEST coffee in the world, just to get a decent taste from it! The quality of the Carte Noire has DEFINITELY gone downhill since a couple of years ago. It just has no taste, and definitely doesn’t warrant spending £5 on a 100 g jar of the stuff. In my own experience, Kenco and Nescafe have been much better with much stronger tastes- even the smooth roast!

Would I buy it again?

After the first time I bought it, my answer would have been yes, it wasn’t to my own personal taste as it was far too strong for me. But now, I most definitely wouldn’t waste my money on it again! It was like dishwater, it had no taste to it at all until there was only about 50 ml of water in it! If it had been advertised as Espresso, then okay, this wouldn’t be a problem, in fact we have a jar of espresso in the cupboard and even that tastes better than this did when mixed into a “full” mug of coffee!

So in a word, no I wouldn’t bother with it again!

Abstract Landscape Haunting Beauty

Wheat Field with Cypresses (1889)Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

In most people, abstract landscape artwork can inspire these kinds of feelings and more. Abstract landscapes can be about any subject ranging from weather, seascapes, natural scenes, mountains, trees or anything else the artist fancies. But how do these abstract landscapes differ from other regular sceneries? In landscape paintings, the artist simply translates what he sees in the physical world on to his canvas. However, in abstract landscape paintings, the image that finally appears on the canvas is the artist’s representation of the scene or the view. The artists can also use skillful brush strokes to create chimeras of depths and heights. Besides the landscapes, you can get paintings depicting cityscapes, hardscapes, skyscapes and moonscapes.

To become an abstract artist you need to have an innate understanding of colors and art. You also need to have the mind of a poet to interpret what you see in the world in your own unique way.

Do You Know Your Colors?

Your abstract landscape painting should have a balanced composition, the right kind of texture and tone. Besides, you should also know how to take care of aspects like tension, contrast and harmony. There have been several painters who have made a name for themselves in the field, Barnett Newman and Sean S is quite famous in this genre.

These kinds of paintings are all about evoking the emotions of your viewers through the right blend of colors, lines and strokes. Regardless of whether you create your own abstract painting or buy a masterpiece, a landscape painting helps enhance the interior of your home and work place. Although there are many masterpieces available in this genre, most of them are quite expensive, thankfully, these days, you can get a number of reproductions that can equally enhance your home or office on a budget.

Is there such a thing as clean coal

The abundance of coal makes it the most logical choice for energy independence, however the impact of coal on greenhouse gas emissions makes it a troublesome choice. The United States has more coal than the rest of the world has oil, with enough coal underground to provide energy for 200 to 300 years, compared with roughly 100 years of oil. We’re not going to break away quickly and easily from our coal habit, with more than 600 coal powered plants in the United States, and roughly half of our energy coming from this source.

Coal is becoming an increasingly contentious issue among environmental and energy factions, but with this abundance, it’s going to be frankly impossible to put a close on this energy source. Coal is troublesome because of the sulfur and nitrogen that are released as it burns – combining with water in the atmosphere to form acid rain. Microscopic coal particulates are also released into the air, which is an issue for human health because it can lead to asthma and other respiratory diseases. And, there’s the issue of carbon emissions, so called greenhouse gases, that are contributing to the warming of our planet. All three of these issues must be addressed if we’re going to make coal a more sustainable energy source.

Stripping Chemicals

Coal found in the eastern United States can contain as much as 10 percent of sulfur, while western coal is cleaner with less than 1 percent. In order to rid coal of this acid-making matter, it needs to be cleaned. One step is pre-processing plants that crush coal and put it through a water bath where the coal floats and the sulfur particles sink. It also takes scrubbers in the smoke stacks of power plants to bind to the remaining and combusted sulfur and eliminate it before it can escape into the air.

The issue of nitrogen in coal, which combines with oxygen to for nitrogen oxide (NOx), causes visible brown clouds around our cities. To combat NOx, scientists have devised a two-stage combustion where smaller amounts of oxygen are introduced in relation to the amount of fuel, which makes it tough for the nitrogen to combine with oxygen to form NOx. This method has proven to reduce NOx by 50%.

Both of these steps have been improvements over how we burn coal to make energy, but they’re not good enough to call coal clean.


A more efficient means of stripping coal of contaminants is to turn it into gas. Blasting hot, but not burning, coal with steam turns it back to a mixture of component parts – carbon monoxide and hydrogen – both gases. These gases are then burned in turn to spin turbines at the first pass, and then the hot gas exhaust from this process can be channeled for second-stage energy generation by turning water into steam that turns another turbine.

One of the best outcomes of gasification is that scientists have come up with ways to strip more than 90 percent of the sulfur and dirt particles from coal through this process. The detailed diagram of the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant process below gives you a sense of the complexities of this process.

Cutting Carbon

While gasification solves a few of the problems, there’s still the issue of carbon. Coal is the second leading source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, a key contributor to global warming. The prevailing answer to dealing with carbon dioxide emissions is called carbon sequestration, the process of pumping the carbon dioxide gas underground for long term storage. Carbon sequestration projects are now underway all around the world.

Our ability to store carbon underground with out any harmful side effects is still untested. Some scientists fear leakage through sils, the contamination of aquifers that might harm drinking water, and the potential for geological instability. The technical feasibility will take time and testing to fully understand.

What is Clean?

Even with all of these scientific advancements, coal is inherently a dirty energy source that needs to be mined, hauled and handled with biproducts such as ash and mercury to be dealt with after energy is extracted. When compared with harnessing the power of sun, wind or water, coal is definitely at a clean energy disadvantage.

Coal has thrived for decades because it is plentiful and cheap to burn. Efficiency hasn’t really factored into the process until recently, because we can no longer tolerate harmful practices that jeopardize the longevity of humankind’s existence on our planet. Now that all the costs of this energy source are becoming  apparent, we’re going to need to break out all of our scientific and engineering skills to make coal cleaner even if it can’t be considered clean.

Credit File Ask for Offs

On the subject of credit rating fee offs, there will be loads of dilemma amongst individuals. ‘Charge-off‘ is simply phrase loan merchants use to sort out no-performing investments for levy requirements. Having said that, that will not dismiss or reduce the buyer from the credit card debt. Financial institutions record fee-on to the credit reporting agencies to mirror your check historical past. With regards to the company’s plan, their next step will be to market the money into a collection firm.

If the collection firm makes a decision to record the gathering account to the reporting agencies, they will generally do, you might have two unfavorable markings on your credit report in one account. These records can be claimed for several years through the date of last pastime. These kinds of records can eliminate your credit and stop you from having almost any variety botox wroclaw bank loan. They even can stop you from acquiring a employment or perhaps an condominium.

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