I’ve got a cold. Last night, no cold. This morning, a cold.
Who knows where these things come from? I wasn’t near anyone who was sniffling or sneezing. Everything was fine. And then, at 3:26 a.m., I had the start of a cold.
I wonder, in Nancy Kerrigan’s immortal words - “Why? Why?”
I have a theory. Read the rest of this entry »
The second half of a tale I started telling…here.
Picking tea was a path to the good life for generations of monkeys. And then innovation lifted the tea industry while it drove monkeys to the poor house.
The poor house is something I don’t know much about. I’m sure it exists because when I was a kid my father used to say “you’re going to drive me to the poor house”. The poor house didn’t seem like somewhere I wanted to send dad, so I changed my ways.
The Monkeys Find Themselves In Hot Water
The change that hit the tea industry hit the monkeys so fast that they had no chance to change their ways.
When tea was grown on trees, monkeys pulled down some serious cabbage harvesting the most savory tea leaves. Then a human realized that the trees could be trimmed to the size of bushes. Tea bushes meant that the crop could be harvested without the expense of paying a skilled simian labor pool. Hard times befell those tea harvesting monks. A lot of them probably saw the poor house.
The worst part was that even though monkeys were not picking tea anymore, the phrase “Monkey Picked Tea” was (and still is) used to market the product. But instead of meaning that monkeys were at work, the phrase now meant that a product contained higher quality tea leaves.
No trickle of the tea industry’s new profitability made it down to the monkeys who lost their jobs. Communities that had thrived were now steeped in misery. Without sufficient income, trouble brewed. Unsavory elements infused the once proud neighborhoods where the unemployed monkeys lived.
A new hope began to rise from this blight. Inspired by some old-timer’s tales of the way things were, a group of younger monkeys wondered why it couldn’t be that way again. Why couldn’t the trees grow tall? Why couldn’t their kind harvest again? Did they dare to dream of self-reliance?
As it turns out, yes, they dared. But it is one thing to dare to dream of pulling yourself up by your boot straps. It is another to realize that you don’t have any boots. So, with the help of a government grant, the monkeys went to work. They formed a corporation and bought a tea plantation. Some of the money went toward sending young monkeys to good agricultural colleges.
When the young ones returned, they had new ways to grow the trees taller and fuller. As the tea trees reached for more sun, more monkeys went back to work at picking tea. The corporation kept their eye on the goal of self-reliance even as they reinvested and grew their market share. Communities that once grew cold were now infused with income and the energy of the working man…or in this case, working monkey.
So today, when you shop for tea, remember that “monkey picked tea” doesn’t always mean that monkeys plucked your leaves. Be a responsible tea drinker. Read the label before you buy. If the package is designated as monkey picked, ask your retailer to confirm that product in the box was indeed harvested by simians.
If your shop keeper can’t say for certain that real monkeys picked their tea, simply refuse to purchase it. Because seriously, throwing feces doesn’t represent anyone very well.
*Todd Snider – Sideshow Blues
The other day I spotted an online ad for “Monkey Harvested Tea”. The idea of industrious monkeys on a tea plantation interested me.
The truth is, I don’t drink tea. I’ve just never liked it. But I like the idea of monkeys at work. Besides, if you have a lot of monkeys at work, they might sometimes want to liven things up a bit. What could be more lively than if a dog came by and a monkey rode it? Remember, a monkey riding a dog is always funny.
The Early Days
I looked into the idea of monkey harvested tea. Because I am a visual guy, I wanted a picture. The first thing I found was a very old drawing of a man who may or may not be George Washington with two other men at a monkey tea harvest. Because I know that Northern Virginia doesn’t have the climate that tea needs to thrive, I believe this picture was drawn on Washington’s diplomatic visit to China. Read the rest of this entry »
In my Mentos Lessons series, I’ve tried to show that the power, spunk and minty freshness one gets from popping a Mentos candy can be used for good or evil. In today’s lesson, The Freshmaker helps good triumph over evil creepiness.
Like an earlier edition, today’s
commercial cinematic event features a woman handling a wardrobe malfunction. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Broken Shoe”.
Roll The Film Please, Larry
Let’s watch… Read the rest of this entry »
One of the wonderful things about art is how it touches you when you least expect it. Today’s art critique is an example of that.
Last night, I stopped for a bite at a favorite restaurant. You might expect me to say that I found this painting in the restaurant. If you do, you’re wrong. This painting touched me when you didn’t expect it to. One of the unexpected ways that art can touch a person is from the window of a clothing consignment shop when all that person really wants is some gnocchi. Read the rest of this entry »
When my administration takes control of the world, one of the things that you’ll surely notice is that I won’t take control of everything.
This revelation will concern those of you who know that the world will thrive under my leadership. And while you’re right to think that my policies will usher in a vastly improved society, I think that it will be important to leave certain things to you all to handle…with my guidance, of course.
The idea of leaving certain things to you to handle, with my guidance, is part of today’s policy announcement.
Even I have to hit the grocery store now and again. When I do, it is often for just a few items. Those are the occasions that, like you, I take advantage of the express check-out lanes to get out of the store a little faster.
Now, those express lanes are usually marked with signs that say something like “12 items or less”. Right thinking people like you and I follow those rules because that’s just the right thing to do. We’re all aware that there is no legal sanction for exceeding the twelve item limit; common courtesy is enough to move us to the proper lane when we hit thirteen items. Read the rest of this entry »
Back when I was about to go to junior high school, I had a concern. I’d been taught to take a shower behind a curtain that was behind a door. I’d grown up changing clothes by myself, then emerging fully dressed into the world where others could see me. But now I’d be taking a phys-ed class that required showering and changing clothes with others nearby.
My father, who understands all things, explained to me that in a locker room the etiquette was that people busy themselves with showering and dressing. As long as they did that, the system worked without the shower curtain and door. Of course, dad explained this in his own inimitable and unprintable style. He was right, that’s how it worked.
And the gym teacher reinforced what my dad passed on with phrases like “wash it down and cover it back up, no one want to smell or see that stuff”. Read the rest of this entry »
I spotted a truck the other day that had two bumper stickers on it. One sticker said “I’m not tailgating, I’m drafting” a reference to the practice of race drivers following inches behind an opponent to gain an advantage. The other sticker said “if you tailgate me I will brake you”.
So on one truck we find two messages announcing the driver’s intent to commit acts that are in direct opposition to each other and equally unsafe. He plans to drive entirely too close to cars in front of him, making a collision more likely, but justifies it by saying he fancies himself a race car driver. He also intends to mete out justice to those he feels are driving too close to him by hitting his brakes to force a collision.
What a jerk. Being both pro and anti-tailgating is impossible. Do you know what’s wrong with people like him? He will not commit to a particular style of being a jerk.
Even Those People Have Style
Everyone has a style. I read the work of favorite authors because of their styles. When I see certain musicians have new albums I buy them, because I enjoy their styles. My friends expect that I will do certain things in certain ways; they know my style. Read the rest of this entry »