The most expensive coffee in the world

Bunk Strutts has written up about kopi luwak, which is regarded as the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world. I thought I would comment on it, since I have read a fair bit about it.

Asian Palm Civet Facts, Habitat, Diet, Life Cycle, Baby ...
The asian palm civet.

First of all, when I first heard about asian palm civets, they were referred to as “civet cats”.  But “civet cats” have been used to refer to almost any odd-looking small furry animal, ranging from raccoons to actual cats. The asian palm civet is related to the mongoose.

The asian palm civet lives in the islands of Indonesia, and they eat the coffee berries, which passes through their digestive tract only partially digested. These partially digested coffee beans are what is used to make kopi luwak, the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee.

I first read about kopi luwak a few years ago from a science journal (a brief article by Dr. Massimo Marcone of Guelph U), and from then I was hooked on the idea. I just found the idea fascinating that the “dump” of a mongoose is so sought after as a high-class delicacy.

What could you do with kopi luwak beans with an off-flavour? If you covered them in chocolate, it would make the world’s most expensive chocolate.

I can understand the coffee being expensive. Just imagine: someone has to follow a small mammal through a thick rainforest, and pick coffee beans from their dump. Now these are small mammals, with small digestive systems, so how far and for how long do you need to follow these mongooses (this plural is from Wikipedia) around to get a pound of coffee? This is the reason that the entire Indonesian output of kopi luwak is under 500 kg per year, and that the price of a pound can actually be up to $600. (Wikipedia)

The origin of the phrase "silent majority"

This phrase was made popular by Richard Nixon around 1968 when he attempted to discredit Vietnam war protestors as a group of vocal fringe elements, while he was secretly escalating the war into Cambodia. “The silent majority”, it was supposed by Nixon, still supported the US involvement in Vietnam.

It must be admitted, that 40 years later, the phrase still resonates with us. But as clever and smart as Nixon was, he did not come up with it himself; the phrase actually had its origins in classical literature. It was used to describe dead people. So, surely that must mean that in Nixon’s democracy, we should always respect the opionions of the dead, since there will always be more of them than of us. This need to respect their opinions is made more urgent by the fact that dead people cannot speak for themselves, and thus have no voice of their own in our political discourse. In addition, most of them are hard-working dead people who have never committed crimes.

In recent elections, however, dead people have in fact lent their weight to various political parties by voting in several recent elections in several states in the US. Dead people have also run for political office, and one of them won an election in a race against John Ashcroft. In America, dead people are full participants in the democratic process, benefitting both Democrats and Republicans.

Surely, Nixon’s phrase has resonance, not in the apologetic, hawkish, warmongering sense, but in the originally intended sense, backed by over 1000 years of classical European literature.  I think Nixon really was referring to dead people, and he may have even been invoking the spirit world.

What is the true origin of that phrase? I was itching to find out.

At first, I thought “silent majority” must have originated from Dante’s Inferno, where would likely have used it to describe the dead. It turned out to be too juicy a fact to be true. He doesn’t use the phrase.

Phrases close to this have been pointed out a few years ago by the late classical scholar James B. Butrica, who quoted several writers, including the ancient Roman writer Petronius (AD 27-66): “Abiit ad plures” or, “S/He’s gone to the majority”, a fancy way of saying “S/He’s dead”. Butrica says that the same phrase was also used some 200 years earlier by Roman writer Plautus (circa 254–184 BCE).

At any rate, all I have to say is: one man, one death. It wouldn’t be terribly democratic if one man had two deaths. And also, I believe quite strongly that if you vote when you are alive, then if you die right after you leave the polling station, then you shouldn’t be allowed to come back and vote again as a dead person before the polls close.

In closing, I must say that the constant invocation of “the silent majority” over the years whenever most discourse opposes what a politician does, is a fallacy. We only have one way to read “silent majority” (I’m talking about the living this time), which is to say that if you don’t speak up, it is because it (whatever “it” is) doesn’t arouse your passions, and thus you don’t care. If the majority of voters decide not to vote, for example (as is too sadly the case most of the time), then their silence is not seen as a vote for anyone, and their non-votes are never counted. A politician cannot “listen” to the silent majority, because there is nothing for them to hear.

I wannabe Chris: A parody about Chris Crocker Parodies – Updates

Some updates to the story I wrote.

There are some minor changes to my story. (link above)

The Chris Crocker video in question.

His imitators (parody, of course, and not all male). Many of these stray far off the topic of Chris Crocker: 1 2 3 4 5 (Israel?) 6 7 8 9 10 (a hockey player?) 11
There are dozens more, but I haven’t got anywhere near that kind of time to collect them all.

I have a link to the original story about The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier.

Some related comments in an earlier article I wrote.

Bobbi Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, remembered

I was listening to a Pravda Records cover of a song from the late ’60s called “Ode to Billie Joe” (originally a Bobbi Gentry tune). It made me think about the original, the words, and musings about how hard it is to play on the guitar.

I recall there was also a mysticism regarding the words and what the story was really trying to say. It turns out upon buy tramadol online overnight shipping looking things up that it is a story about suicide and how callous people can be about the death of those not close to them. And sure, the pragmatic farmer’s mentality really comes out in the song. Rumor has it that the Tallahatchie Bridge (the one in real life) collapsed in 1972.

Wes Clark discusses this topic to its ultimate futility.

Models make bad computer geeks

Computer Gique Chic
Computer Gique Chic – Unknown who the model or photographer is, but the main attraction is, is that darned computer!
I saw some images, professionally shot, of these stylish models in front of this mostly glass computer monitor with a glass touch keyboard. There were two problems I had with this: 1) there is no such keyboard or monitor; and 2) if I was that good-looking and stylish I wouldn’t be spending so much time in front of computers. This is the trouble you run into where can i buy tramadol when you have too high a budget and hire high-priced models to fill the job of conveying some kind of realism in the cyber world.And, no there is no such computer. There exist various see-through LCD displays for some of the fancier clock radios, but this has not filtered into computer screens. The patent for glass keyboards have been around since 2003, but I am not aware of see-through ones except as artwork or as props.

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