In re: Cafes

I love coffee, I have a cup almost every day in the morning and likely another cup or two depending on the days events. That said I also love cafes, I mean the European style, Parisian sidewalk cafe, but also anything that closely approximates this here on the left bank of the Atlantic. I am for one used to paying the expensive price of coffee that Starbucks has made most Americans accustomed too. I’ve discussed these prices with others before, justifying the cost as it pays for the space for out of work authors, students and others to lounge about all day. So when I read an article on Slate which I enjoyed called “Bitter Brew – I opened a charming neighborhood coffee shop. Then it destroyed my life.” on Slate, which went over the failure of opening a cozy neighborhood cafe, and the impossibility of profit (Makes it sound like you need lots of take out coffee orders to succeed, ah the brilliance of the Starbucks drive thru) But the price break down on coffee, i.e. that it is pure profit seems pretty dead on.

Coffee was a different story —thanks to the trail blazed by Starbucks, the world of coffee retail is now a rogue’s playground of jaw-dropping markups. An espresso that required about 18 cents worth of beans (and we used very good beans) was sold for $2.50 with nary an eyebrow raised on either side of the counter. A dab of milk froth or a splash of hot water transformed the drink into a macchiato or an Americano, respectively, and raised the price to $3. The house brew too cold to be sold for $1 a cup was chilled further and reborn at $2.50 a cup as iced coffee, a drink whose appeal I do not even pretend to grasp. – Bitter Brew

However, I am not deterred, it is a sort of retirement hobby that I’d like to take on, however the big difference in my dream is that I want to have a cafe/bistro, and while I only hope to break even, I plan to serve bistro food and drinks and it is there, inalcoholl where I feel that places can pull in the extra money, who orders multiple coffees, but a few extra Kronenberg 1664s and hopefully I’ll be in business.

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In re: Blog Slacking

So one would think that being on winter break from school would leave one with lots of time to keep up w/ the posts on here, but not having as busy a schedule, although i’ve still found myself running around, makes it harder, not easier to post.
But while on the subject of blogging, which I admit is kinda a dumb word i think, but non the less in general I get two different responses, one is why would you write on this thing, which I think is a pretty understandable question as people would wonder why waste your time putting up something no one, or hardly anyone reads or would want to read. I think that possibly the answer is that a large percentage of the blog is really for me, its an excuse to keep up on articles and ideas i am interested, and to try and form opinions, and to take the place of the emails i sometimes send out on the subjects when i find articles i like. The other comment i get is to post more often and to this i am of course flattered and will hopefully oblige. So I’ll put some posts up, but about to head to dinner so i’ll pause here.

In re: Merry Christmas

So it has been a fairly relaxing Christmas for me, actually a real live Christmakuah for those of you who watch the OC, as today was the first day of Hanukah, so actually for dinner tonight we had some Latkahs (w/ some honey baked ham, so not exactly the best at being kosher) but I guess you could say only in America.
Speaking of America, well not really, but I was changing the subject, to HDTV, which my folks now have, and it is pretty amazing looking, right now watching Grey’s Anatomy which is looking pretty good, but yesterday I caught some football in HD and today a basketball game and I am pretty much blown away by it.
I see folgers has pulled out old commercials to use as new ones, again changing the subj, actually it seems like a savy move, kinda like the coke nostalga, plus you save the money of creating new ones.
speaking of coke, I had wanted to mention an interesting article I saw in the economist on how Pepsi had just surpased Coke for the first time in sales (i think sales, but it may have been some other measure) but the point of the article was actually about how good it is to be number two. I had long noticed this and they pointed out Target, who doesn’t get the negative press that Wal-Mart does (it points to the recent movie and countless boycotts), Burger King, which has actually targeted ‘frequent fast food users’ while McDonalds feeling the pressure from Supersize Me has needed to change themselves. So who knows, maybe Coke will be in a better place, thats what the article seems to think, its easier to be chasing after someone.

So I guess thats about it for today, it wasn’t exactly a white Christmas with the rain coming down a bit, and the snow we had melting, but still a nice day with family, hope you all had a nice one as well.

In re: Year end tid bits

So its been a bit since I’ve been able to put up a post, so i’ll appologize to few who have complained (and I stress few), but I have been extremely busy, with exams, take home exams and a trip to New York. So I’ll just briefly mention that I am now officially, half way done w/ law school, pretty unbelievable as it has been flying by. Aside from the occasional stress its been a really good time, some would say I am crazy for saying that, but I’d only say its from being around smart professors and students and studying interesting things. Anyway, enough about that, I am back in Cleveland for the holidays – hopefully it will be a nice time seeing friends and family, I’ll put up some posts, including the monthly book club book – Freakonomics. So stay tuned for that.

In re:Britannica or Wikipedia?

Heard an interesting interview on NPR today while driving back from my wonderful international law exam, the interview which I only caught a part of and hopefully can find the rest of later, concerned a study that I think was published in Nature (story here, I haven’t yet read it), concerning the accuracy of Wikipedia (which recently was hit with a scandal) compared to the Encyclopedia Britannica, apparently, they both have a decent number of small errors, but are pretty comparable in terms of accuracy. They asked if this was good news for Wikipedia or bad news for the Prestigious encyclopedia, and he responded it was good news, essentially that this type of collective creation did have value. I’ve been using Wikipedia from time to time and I agree its useful, but sometimes annoying to wade through the different revisions, to make sure your seeing an accurate version. Anyway, it was interesting.

In re: Media Ownership – ‘What did I just buy?’

Interesting article I read about media ownership, concerning what one buys when they buy a CD, DVD or back in the day the LP. Some folks have bought the same movie on VHS, DVD and the upcoming HDVD or Blueray, (depending on which wins) Anyway, the article is interesting, at least in probing the idea of content ownership, especially with his business model on CD swapping.

The idea was that consumers would ship their used CDs to us and we would give them credits towards other CDs in our collection. When customers would redeem these credits we would shift “ownership” of the requested CD to them while continuing to store the actual CD in our warehouses. You might be thinking “What good is it to own a CD that sits in a warehouse?” Well, instead of shipping “your” CD to you we would instead rip the CD and allow you to download “your” MP3s.

The idea of leaving the CD in the warehouse isn’t ‘that’ different then stock certificates where when one buys a share of stock, it still sits in your brokerage house’s warehouse, with their name as the street name, and your name only as a beneficial owner (in the middle of studying for Business Associations if you couldn’t tell) So why not CDs? See the article on Engadget blog here

In re: Update – “This Season’s War Cry”

Just wanted to mention a great op-ed from the NY Times that I only just read (thanks to my Dad for pointing it out) it ran on Dec 4, so if you still have a copy around I recommend reading it. The op-ed by Adam Cohen (on NYTimes subscription req’d) criticizes the current ‘war on Christmas’ and pointing out what a sham it is, going over the history of Christmas in America, and expousing that they are trying to claim we have always had this commericalized Christmas.

What is less obvious, though, is that Christmas’s self-proclaimed defenders are rewriting the holiday’s history. They claim that the ”traditional” American Christmas is under attack by what John Gibson, another Fox anchor, calls ”professional atheists” and ”Christian haters.” But America has a complicated history with Christmas, going back to the Puritans, who despised it. What the boycotters are doing is not defending America’s Christmas traditions, but creating a new version of the holiday that fits a political agenda.

And adding to the whole story, is the funny bit about how Fox itself used holiday “Fox News’s online store was promoting its ”Holiday Collection” for shoppers. Among the items offered to put under a ”holiday tree” was ”The O’Reilly Factor Holiday Ornament.” After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the ”holidays” to ”Christmases.” ”