In light of recent events, does it matter that Starbucks has views on how to treat customers?

Starbucks is a big company. They Lead their industry. I care that they care about their employees, their stores, their customers, and suppliers (Fair trade coffee). I buy their products, and I invest in their company 

We see the egregious behavior of many “successful” companies and the way they treat their employees, and promote views based on their religion or feelings on women’s rights, sexual orientation, labor costs, unionization, the environment, etc.
As examples:
This is why you should care too. I want my friends and their families to work in environments where companies value their employees, their customers, and the communities where they earn their money. Enron ended with bankruptcies, divorces, suicides, and financial losses for investors.  (To see books from Amazon on the Enron scandal, click here.  There is a movie too, “The Smartest Guys in the Room).
I think it is time for all of us to “grow a pair”, and educate ourselves on the real cost of these corporate behaviors that hurt individuals, promote unhealthy living, and denigrate segments of society without cause or compassion, and pollute with impunity. I am an American and believe in what the founders sought – Freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. SO – I care! And I believe you should too.
It’s not all bad – Here are a few companies worth noting:

5 Big Brands Making the World a Better Place – Wise Bread

To see books on Corporate Ethics from Amazon, click here.

You may not care, and that is your choice, but I do. Putting my money where my mouth is, and hoping the world will be a better place for it.

Disclaimer: I own starbucks stock and usually have a tall Pikes with 2%milk.

Click here for Books on Starbucks corporation and Howard Schultz, the CEO, from Amazon.

I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  

How to keep your car’s finish clean between waxings

Keeping a car clean between waxings is a battle I personally wage with Mother nature, birds, certain trees (they know who they are), acid rain, and the relentless sun that burns through the shrinking ozone layer.

Waxing your car keeps a protective coating on the surface that smooths it out and helps it repel all the nasty things (see my first paragraph) that can harm your paint. A second coat of wax, about 2 weeks to a month after your “base” coat, will give your car extra help in keeping clean and build up some extra protection. All decent auto supply shops (Pep Boys, Auto Zone, Advance Auto Parts, Walmart, Sears, etc.) carry a good choice of waxes, and detailing products for your black or chrome trim, tires, and rims. They also have car wash products with wax in them, although they may not be a substitute for a good hand wax on your car. An orbital buffer makes quick work of rubbing the wax off of the hood, roof, and body panels,  leaving a nice shine.

In between waxes, you really should keep the car clean. Use only car wash solution, in a bucket with water. I use a long handled dip brush (for my 14 year old minivan), and the action of the brush combined with the car wash loosen and lift dirt and grime off the finish. I sometimes go over the hard spots where bird droppings and tree sap have hardened on the surface – these chemically react with your paint if left on, so the extra work is worth while. This method is also FAST. you cover more ground with a soapy brush than with a rag or sponge. you also have a longer reach. Ask anyone that cleans their boat, it is quick. The mineral content in your water makes it spot, so be prepared to wipe it dry with a soft chamois or super-absorbent cloth. We can’t just drive fast as hell and let the water slide off the car, like in the old days. There is also no shame in going to a local car wash, especially if you have a discount coupon.

If you want extra protection, or put a nice show car shine on the car, there are products for this that are “spray and wipe”. They need a good wax base to work – they are not a substitute for waxing. My Cousin Steve, a “dyed in the wool car guy”, used lemon pledge on his Corvette(s). They always smelled great, and they shine was outstanding! Keep in mind that these show-car top coats do not last a long time, but the do look really good. In my opinion, waxing can be just as quick, and most times more wax does not hurt. Also consider that Pledge is an indoor polish (a form of light oil) that puts a lemon-fresh shine on almost anything. Your results may vary, especially if you don’t pledge your ride like my cousin.

If you can garage your car, the shine will last long because it is protected from the sun and rain. Car covers are useful – but they can become a chore, need to be folded up (not good if you are wearing a suit), and need to be stored (which takes up trunk space. Not to mention they rip and get dirty over time. They work well if you keep your car outside, and are worth the effort if it keeps your car protected.

To recap:Wash the car!
Pay attention to nasty bits from birds or treesWaxWax again in a few weeksUse showtime polish or Lemon PledgeCover, garage, or carport your car (if possible)

 

And remember to Enjoy your ride!

Shameless self promotion: I have a pinterest section on cars. Feel free to take a look if you like my point of view.

Has Starbucks Pike Place Roast gone Downhill?

To my knowledge, Pikes Place has not changed. Here is the story of Pikes Place roast, which is celebrating it’s tenth year in production! Celebrating 10 years of Starbucks Pike Place Roast – Starbucks website  Pikes Roast was Introduced in 2008.
Not everybody liked it, note this scathing article in the NY Post: NO PLACE FOR PIKE AT STARBUCKS
While I found Pikes Place Roast to be an acquired taste, it is now one of my preferred brews. I believe this is because I started drinking it regularly, and became accustomed to it’s flavor.
They good news is that if you don’t like the Starbucks experience, most servers will gladly substitute another coffee rather than see you suffer through a bad coffee experience.
May your life be bolder than your brew.

 

Shameless self promotion: I have a Pinterest section on coffee and food, if you like my point of view.
Got Coffee? Starbucks Pikes Place Roast on Amazon

Tesla stock price is down, Is it a good buy?

My opinion is this:

400,000 people put down deposits to get on the list for a model 3. (no one does this for Ford, GM, or Fiat-Chrysler).

Tesla builds a car that is one of the best in the world, that happens to be electric.

Tesla is making their own batteries, charging stations, and more, forcing a massive change in personal transportation in the WORLD.  They also have a 10 year head start, having developed their concept in 2008.

All the other car companies lust enviously for this loyal customer base, and are abandoning their “beloved” diesel and internal combustion engines to “go electric”, despite their cultural contempt for something that they think should be, well, a big golf cart. None of them have built a better electric car or have the chops Elon Musk has. With a multi-year head start, and “big picture” vision, I would put my cash on Tesla, rather than GM (who required a big cash bailout from the government), Ford (a stock stuck in the low teens and is stopping certain car production, like GM in the ‘90’s – and I own that stock at a loss), Fiat-Chrysler (what else can they sell to raise more cash? -nuff said), and VW (who can forget the Diesel emissions scandal). BMW built a performance electric, $75k more expensive than a model S, that does not offer much more than a BMW medallion on a mediocre (and expensive) electric car, rushed to market lest a BMW customer buy a -heavens no- Tesla!

I am not putting my life savings into Tesla, but I am an investor. Tesla has a head start on all the other car makers, who are rapidly building battery plants and their own plug-in adapters (Tesla offers their patented charging technology royalty free – other car makers won’t take it) and struggling with a learning curve years behind Tesla. They have a lot of Internal combustion baggage to lose, and legendary contempt for regulation, massive recalls, crooked dealers, and notoriously bad cars foisted on a trusting consumer.

It may not go to $1,000 a share, but I can feel better about Tesla than the money I put into Ford.

My apologies if you are seeking a technical analysis of PE ratios and moving averages; I am working with my gut and published information – my belief that this company, in particular, is more than just a pile of averages and graphs.  Many analysts, notably Jim Cramer of Mad Money fame, frquently get caught up in speculation as to “what Tesla is”.  Is Tesla a Car manufacturer? Tech Company? Cult company (Elon Musk cult of fame bringing blind investment dollars? Tesla is not always quantifiable based on industry or peer analysis.  Here is Cramer commenting on Tesla’s May Conference call.

This is my opinion, not investment advice, and I suggest you do form your own opinion before plunking down any money on Tesla.

Tesla Model 3 delays don’t appear to dent depositor confidence – Autoweek
Tesla Model 3: Elon Musk’s mass-market car is a magic carpet ride – SCMP
How Tesla changed the auto industry forever – The Verge
7 Ways Tesla Is Changing Everything – Futurism
Tesla To Make Supercharger Network Available To All Automakers inside EV’s
Tesla points to opening up its Supercharger network to other carmakers -AutoVista group
BMW Has Been Building Mediocre Electric Cars Since 1972 – Business insider
What’s Really Stopping Big Automakers from Catching Up to TeslaInverse

Sorry if that been a bit of a rant, but I feel it’s time for personal transportation, if not the whole auto/truck industry, to go through a major shift in ideology.

Shameless self promotion: I have a Pinterest section on Cars, if you like my point of view.

Coffee Madness. It is upon us….

First of all, I want to confess to being a coffee bigot.  I know what kind of coffee I like, and will venture into unexplored (by me) coffee territory,  but I mostly like a dark roast, usually Kona, Starbucks Pike Place roast, or similar coffees.

Two cups a day is my typical limit.  A three cup day is a hard day, and bad coffee is not in my program.  Not to say that instant coffee or starbucks Via has not crossed my lips, but hey – let’s brew, OK?

today I got an email promoting – get this – “Mushroom Coffee”.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee, USDA Organic Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga mushrooms, Productivity, Vegan, Paleo, 10 Count, Packaging May Vary
Touting the benefits of my favorite fungi in my favorite refreshment.
They even sell it on EBay and Amazon.
I am not a purist or a prude, but these marketing guys will do anything to increase sales and mix more stuff into the grinds, to increase yield. (that means make more money buy cutting the  coffee with other ingrdients).  If this takes off, like caramel macchiato or frappuccino, or even Kopi Luwak (the legendary coffee in the movie, “The Bucket List“.  see it).
Let us spend a few moments talking about grinding beans, and brewing a decent cup of coffee.  anyone can make a good, drinkable cup of coffee, and own the process and technique, without undo stress or aggravation.  Your guests, coworkers, and family members will be appreciative of your efforts – or they can google their butts over to a nearby Starbucks.
Coffee can be bought Ground, or instant, or in K-cups.  I like fresh ground coffee, the “just released” flavor is exquisite, although it can be messy.  I highly recommend a “burr” type grinder, but a propeller type will; do well too.
Antique Wooden Coffee Mill Grinder Pair - 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" & 6" x 6" x 7"
These are wooden coffee grinders, usually antiques or reproductions, available on Ebay.
Henry Charles Manual Coffee Grinder, Adjustable Conical Ceramic Burr, Brushed Stainless SteelKRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, 3-Ounce, BlackCuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
Here are three grinders, manual, propeller, and Burrs style.

Brewing is the next step.  While some like a french press, I am a fan of the pour-through and the Keurig.  Each has its pluses and minuses.
French Press Coffee Maker (8 cup, 34 oz) With 4 Level Filtration System, 304 Grade Stainless Steel, Heat Resistant Borosilicate Glass by Cafe Du ChateauWicked Java Joe 2 Cup Pour Over Coffee Dripper Makes Amazing Barista Quality Brew. Paperless, Reusable High Grade Stainless Steel Coffee Filter w/ Bonus Coffee Scoop & Bag Clip - Red HandleCuisinart DCC-3200AMZ PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, Stainless SteelKeurig K575 Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker with 12oz Brew Size, Strength Control, and Hot Water on Demand, Programmable, Platinum
Here are some of your brewer choices.  How many cups will you be brewing at a time? that may determine your best machine for the job.  Single cup pour-throughs and the Keurig are good for individual cups, although the keurig will cycle faster when you have more than one person needing a caffeine fix.  Keurig cups also come in many varieties, which means your co-caffeinators can have lots of K cup choices for flavored or specialty coffee.
This is an old-fashioned wooden pour-through:
Chorreador,Costa Rican Handmade Portable Foldable Wooden Stand Coffee Mak... NewPremium Stand Drip Pour Over Coffee Maker, Traditional Wooden Chorreador Handmade in Costa Rica, 1 Reusable Cloth Filter (Colador,Bolsita) Included
Image result for costa rican wooden coffee maker
These kind of wooden coffee makers are popular in Costa Rica.  Notice the bold colors.  They take their coffee seriously there!
So much for my primer on coffee and brewing.  There are even more ways to prepare coffee (don’t get me started on espresso makers) and making coffee for crowds.  your choice of coffee (or coffee beans) is your next step.  I am putting some links to my favorites here, Kona beans and Community coffee from New Orleans.
Cafe Au Lait from Cafe Du Monde, Costa Rican Dark Roast, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Starbucks Pike Place Roast, All good.  Not to mention all the “boutique” brands that are available. All of these can be bought as beans, k cups, ground, and in some cases – instant.
However you enjoy your coffee, don’t be intimidated; find one you like and go with it.  If you want to impress a date, get an espresso machine (don’t forget the steamed milk and pastries).
If you like the New Orleans roasts, learn to make beignets – fried donuts sprinkled with powdered sugar – absolute heaven!
Cafe du Monde Mix Beignet Mix, 28 oz, Pack of 2Image result for cafe au lait and beignets
Beignet mix from Amazon, Cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans
I want to thank you for indulging my brief coffee blog, descending into brewing, grinding, and coffee that I personally enjoy – and you can as well!  Share with your coffee challenged friends, or coffee snobs who will educate you on what they know!  Most of all, no matter how you make it, enjoy that wonderful, warm brew that gets your motor running in the morning and humming at every coffee break!
Happy Caffeination!
Shameless self promotion: I have a Pinterest section on coffee and food, if you like my point of view.
Consider sharing it and take a peek at my other works:


All rights reserved by Alan Chenkin & Primrose Path LLC.  Remember to give credit to the author and any cited works. Some links are promoted so the author can maintain his Starbucks coffee habit. If you enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share .This Blog was Human-generated by the author, and not produced by a Russian blog Engine.

The Last Word:

Bonbons. A food fit for the Gods! (perfect for us mere mortals)!

When I was little, a Hershey’s Kiss was a treat.  now that I am a wee bit older, my tastes have matured, and I have discovered the wonderful excess of exciting Bonbons!  It is my delight to introduce you to Arden Temptations (This is the link to their Facebook page).  They are a new company and have a unique skill at producing exceptional Bonbons.  This is the Founder, Marissa:
Marissa, the BonBon artist!
While her website is under construction, you can order her products via email at [email protected]
The only regret you may have is getting the small box!
Best wishes to Marissa and her team of confectioners, and you, dear reader, sending Bonbons to your most cherished friends!
 
I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  

Lookout Kids and Millennials – Seniors are kicking Butt in Pokemon!

When I was invited to a Community Bulbasaur hunt by my son and Grandson, I was honored and put-off;  I was never much of a game player.  I am, however, a good sport, and went along with the team, stopping at Pokestops (thank you Starbucks) and capturing Pokemon while traipsing across Queens (the Borough in NYC, not any royals).

I was very curious about the Pokemon GO game, and how it grew into a map based adventure.  Unlike Pirates’ buried treasure maps of my youth, you can actually catch Pokemon overlaid on a moving map of the local terrain!  And catch them we did, moving up levels and feeling like the great Pokemon hunters we had become!  The Pokemon were successfully captured, and we rejoiced afterwards while feasting on sandwiches after the hunt.

It was weeks afterward, when I was googling around the internet, that I came across some fascinating articles:

These seniors are kicking ass in Pokemon Go – cnet

What can Pokémon Go do for the elderly ? – Silver Economy

‘This is what 73 looks like’: Seniors embracing Pokémon GO – Vancouver TV News

I learned that “Pokemon seduces people of all ages”; and  “In the US, Pokémon Go invades retirement homes”.  Interim Healthcare posted this article, “Pokemon Go offers health benefits to seniors” – specifically noting the ways Pokemon can help seniors get more exercise and fight depression with Pokemon.  Perhaps the youngsters have gotten on to something.  And now the experienced and mature seniors just might need to show those upstarts “how it is done”.

For me, a young resident of Leisure World (an over 55 community), I had to do some research, and discovered Pokestops at the clubhouses, a golf course park bench, and scattered around the community.  Clearly the Pokemon creators have not neglected my neighborhood, and this explains all the seniors wandering through the neighborhood – disguised as old ladies and men in sweats – walking in search of Pokemon and reloading at all the stops.
Next time you see a senior walking with a smartphone, don’t assume they are just out walking or shopping.  They are craftily honing their “Poke skills”.  So watch out, kids, we are catching on – and kicking some butt!
I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Consider sharing it and take a peek at my other works

Senior tools for catching Pokemon:
As Seen on TV Big Vision Glasses, 0.2 PoundMORPHEUS LABS M4s iPhone 8/iPhone 7 (Not Plus) Bike Kit, Bike Mount & iPhone 8/iPhone 7 Case, Cell Phone Holder for Apple iPhone 7/iPhone 8, Safe Bicycle Phone Mount, Bicycle Holder [Slate Grey]Pokemon Purse
Big Vision Magnifying glasses (for viewing small phone screens) – on Amazon

Big enough to hold all your Pokemon swag, and the leftovers from the early bird dinner!

 

Secrets of Winning at the Casino Slot machines!

Slot machines are like an ATM for the Casinos.
They often outnumber the customers and will take back your winnings over time.

 

Does that mean you should not play?
-No, it means that planning on winning or using a “system” to win will usually result in disappointment.
Here is my approach – Play the slots for FUN. Find one you like, observe the paytable (note the payouts, bet accordingly), and gamble for a preset amount of time or dollar value.  (Google “how to become a session gambler”).
If you happen to win, be disciplined enough to pull out the winnings, and put them aside so you can gamble more next time.
While there are many books and systems on how to win at gambling, Slot machines are notorious for sucking you into a game where you may invest considerable money with a poor return, especially if you don’t observe the machines pay table – many slots do not deliver a jackpot unless you have placed the maximum bet (like progressive slots). If you play the smallest bets you are comfortable with (presumably to extend your playing time), be aware of this fact, and check the payouts. You will be very upset if you got a winning payline but it only pays if you are maxing out your bets. You will feel that your jackpot was denied, and that would make for a bitter trip to the casino, feeling you have been cheated – when you actually were not following the payouts.
The penny slot paylines are complex, with 20 to 30 (or more) paylines.
If you are going to the Casino to win at the slots, you can increase your chances of a win (no guarantee here) by predetermining your stake (how much money you bring), learning the paytables, and betting within your means at machines that look fun. (My opinion of a fun machine is one that has Elvis singing, superman, Haywire jackpots, stampeding, and the like, even if your win is small).
Check out this article in Freakonomics:
Once you abandon the idea of a guaranteed winning streak, you will have more fun at the casino. Enjoy your playing and relish the occasional jackpot!
There are new “skill-based” slot machines coming to the casinos, mostly to attract younger gamblers.  They may not replace traditional slots, but it is exciting to see new technology on the casino floor.  We may not even recognize some of the new games of chance as slot machines!
Skill-based “slots”
Have fun at the casinos and mind your gambling, so you pay less and enjoy more.

What are some of the most impressive table decorations you have seen?

Alan Chenkin, I cook for fun – Breakfast is my thing….
While on a cruise ship, (Royal Caribbean Cruise lines), the midnight buffet was among the most outstanding I have ever seen, including ice sculptures and food arrangements that made us pause and take pictures.
Almost too pretty to eat!  After a photo session with the buffet, they opened it up to the famished cruise passengers.  I will spare you any “post-midnight feast” pictures.
Check out these coffee-table books:
I sincerely doubt that these buffets will continue in the post-Covid world.  The opulence and theater of the artwork is like food overload.  My Kudos to the artisans and ice carvers of the Royal Caribbean fleet, especially on the Radiance of the Seas!
I hope to cruise again when it is safe, and loved the experiences – not all of which were food centric.
And – Just for fun:
My second choice for great table decorations are my breakfasts – Great to look at, and great tasting. —-But I have a personal bias. If anyone wants a copy of my basic pancake recipe, I will share on receipt of an email asking nicely!
Here is my morning fried egg breakfast – “looking back at ya”.
Thank you for letting me shamelessly self-promote; The cruise ship chefs clearly are better at their presentation!  The food they present is, in my humble opinion, the most impressive table decoration(s) I have ever seen.
Thanks for reading my blog – Feel free to share!
(Disclaimer: I am a member of the RCL Crown and Anchor Society, and have been on several RCL Cruises)
Footnotes
If you need a Bitcoin wallet, try Coinbase.

 

What kind of tape/adhesive can I use on walls?

Command Strips are the best. in my opinion.
They have adhesive strips, hooks, and velcro. Just make sure you use the right ones for what you are hanging, to ensure they can support the weight. I usually clean the wall first, so there is no grease or anything that will cause the command strip to fail. I buy them on Amazon, but you can get them at Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Ace, and other stores.
Because the command strips are not permanent, you can pull the adhesive off the wall when you move – with no damage.
If the wall is very smooth, you can use suction cup hooks.
Double sided tapeshould be used with care, as it may permanently adhere and cause problems when you try to remove the item (like pulling paint of the wall).
Enjoy decorating, it makes your house a home!