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Basic Needs May 25, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Blogs and Blogging, coffee, Dogs, memes, Other.

I was over at The Moon Topples this morning, checking up on Maht, and I found him doing this old meme that interested me (he got it from Good Thomas, but it has been bouncing around the intertubes for some time, apparently).  You take your first name and query Google with it thusly (including the quotation marks): “Firstname needs” and then hit “return.”  So I decided to do this thing.

My first name is Dane, which narrowed the scope of the answers somewhat.  Most of the sites used the word “Great” before my name, which is nice, flattering.  But I am modest.  The reason I got a Ph.D. was so that the word “Doctor” could be used before my name, thus keeping people from saying “great” all the time.  It was that or find a way to get knighted.  Anyway, there were still 2,500 or so hits.  What do I need?  What do all humans need?

First of all, I need shelter.  Something like half the answers had to do with shelter of some kind:

  • home
  • a New Home!
  • foster or forever home!
  • temp foster or perm home!
  • to Go Home
  • a home by this Friday

 Some were more specific than others, of course, with regard to location or type:

  • a large house with a big yard with a fence at least six feet high
  • home or transport in Missouri
  • home in SC
  • a good home
  • warm sleeping quarters
  • furnished room ASAP

And a few suggested that shelter was not as important an issue as location, which is one of the things that realtors say, too.  But I’m going to have to go with the overwhelming majority on this and disagree.  I may need “placing in Calif Bay Area,” or “to come to Indy,” but I assure you that it still gets cold there at night and during the winter.  And although I might need, after all, “to cum play in hammond, LA,” the playing would end at some point and it would be time to sleep.  The sites that claimed that I need “a place to stay while I am away” are absolutely correct.  At any rate, I have a house, and it is clear to me that I cannot do without it.  And I am thankful for the reminder to count my blessings. 

Next on my list of needs is food and exercise.  There is some disagreement about how much food, though, and how much exercise.

  • 3300 calories, not 6600
  • only a moderate amount of exercise
  • plenty of exercise, at the very least a long daily walk
  • more exercise

For some, the food and exercise weren’t enough, and they would have you believe that I need “a great deal of food and exercise,” plus “careful training when young.”  Well, it’s too late for that now, if so.  But some weren’t specific about exactly when the training had to be done but had something to say regarding how.

  • daily exercise and a persistent trainer
  • firm yet gentle training

Health care is important, too.  And many sites mentioned this need, some more specifically than others.

  • little coat care
  • a lot of preventive care
  • to be scared into going to doctors and the dentist
  • urgent hip surgery
  • special medical care
  • to be registered through OFA-Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

Everyone needs family, too, and some sites hit this theme, even suggesting particular requirements.

  • new family
  • to be treated as part of the family and introduced to as many normal daily occurrences as possible
  • a family who is willing to coach him in developing skills with his peers

Well, new family is always nice.  May I suggest a niece or nephew?  As to the other two, I think my family satisfies those requirements.  Finally, there were those needs that I found more difficult to classify:

  • ID tags and registration
  • to find a cheap car
  • a lift
  • a friend
  • time and patience with someone who already has experiences with dogs
  • to start his Dream
  • to jump-start his movie career
  • help
  • rescue
  • a Job
  • a Second Miracle
  • to break into Chuck’s lab and pee in his coffee
  • sites to photo odes
  • a wii
  • action
  • Your Help!
  • to do his time to pay for his crime
  • volunteers to help work at our information booth at the Juneteenth Festival this Saturday, June 17 in Penn Park
  • volunteers to help table and hand out literature for 1-hour or 2-hour shifts between noon and 5 p.m. on Sunday
  • to prove his innocence of a charge of sexual assault before he will propose a real marriage to his beloved

Some of these seem like needs and some seem like wants.  It is always hard for Americans to tell the difference, I suppose.  All I know is that Chuck better brew his own for a while.

A Matter of Taste Tests March 28, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in coffee, Other, statistical analysis.

Back a few weeks ago, just before the Academy Awards, I was listening to this interview on the radio about how sound effects are done for the movies.  This guy in the business explained to the interviewer that you couldn’t always use the sounds that people might actually hear-the actual, authentic sounds.  Sometimes you had to produce the sounds that people expected to hear.  I think that one of his examples was from Blood Diamond or perhaps Babel.  He was saying that part of the film was shot outside of the United States and some of the sounds of birds would not even have been recognized as birds by U.S. moviegoers, so he substituted them for more common sounds in the film–chickens, maybe.  I don’t know.

I bring this up because I have serious doubts about taste tests, particularly where coffee is concerned.  I saw the results of one such a few months ago and, if I remember correctly (and my memory is what experts call capricious, unpredictable, and merely adequate) Dunkin’ Donuts coffee was rated at the top, followed by Green Mountain, with Eight O’ Clock and then maybe Seattle’s Best all coming in ahead of Starbucks.

Now there is no accounting for taste, I know.  But the sound guy interview made me wonder a little.  Isn’t it possible that people doing taste tests for coffee are judging not which tastes best, but which tastes most like coffee?  And if their experience of coffee is growing up with Folgers or Maxwell House or institutional coffee from cafeteria urns, then the ones that remind them of that taste, but slightly less bitter, will rise to the top in a test?

I wonder about this because I didn’t really take my coffee drinking seriously at all until I moved to the Pacific Northwest.  There I went to a school where Starbucks was pretty much the only coffee served.  And it was relatively cheap.  For a small fee the vendor supplied people with a thermos mug (see below, click picture to enlarge).  Refills for the mug pictured below (20 oz, I think, which was the third largest size available–and this was long before people started getting iced coffee drinks) were 74 cents.


To me, that stuff was coffee.  You didn’t need to put cream or sugar or anything in it.  It was sweet and not bitter, and had a lot of flavor. 

A couple of years ago my Mom was out visiting and we decided to take the train into Boston.  There was a Dunk’s at the train station here in Lowell and we stopped to get some coffee and then rushed onto the train. The Dunk’s had a foul smell, but I didn’t think much about it at the time.  Mom took one sniff of her coffee and threw it in the trash before we even got on the train.  I kept mine, and tried several times to drink some, because I really needed the caffeine.  I just couldn’t do it.  When we got to the North Station I dumped it into the trash.  It smelled foul.  But the odd thing is, it smelled just like the kind of coffee I used to get at a cafeteria in San Francisco, which was made by an immigrant couple who drank only tea.