Monday, February 16, 2009

Cow Talk

TURLOCK, Calif. – Hundreds of thousands of America’s dairy cows are being turned into hamburgers because milk prices have dropped so low that farmers can no longer afford to feed the animals.

You won’t find this AP story on the Real California Milk Web site amongst the Happy Cows merchandise, but if you are still in the mood after reading it, you can cast a vote in the contest to pick the next California Happy Cow, part of the California Milk Advisory Board’s (CMAB) integrated TV and Web campaign.

While People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued the CMAB over this ad campaign and lost, they haven’t given up on the issue as you can see if you visit

You bet the CMAB campaign plays on myth and fantasy. Cows don’t talk, and for the most part, they don’t frolic around in green pastures under a canopy of crystal blue skies with puffy white clouds. Nor do they parachute onto football fields like the American chicken fast-food chain Chick-fil-A Holstein hucksters. Not even in California.

However, dear gentle readers, I have digressed. When I saw the story this morning, I felt sad. You see I struggle with a love of animals and yet have chosen to continue as a non-vegetarian. I am rethinking this position, by the way, in case the more militant PETA folks decide to get after me for this inconsistency.

Still, we have another example of the trickle downturn in the economy. Mr. O, my hope needs a boost today as I pass shuttered stores and street corners with store-closing sign holders, and I think of the loss and the loss to come.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Coffee Talk

Yes, I would agree with Consumer Reports taste-testers who picked Eight O’Clock Coffee as America’s best-tasting coffee. Put those beans in your grinder, Starbucks, and grind them!

Seriously, though, on one level , I respect Starbucks’ successful marketing efforts, but I do not especially like the robust products found there. And I know many small coffee houses were run out of business by the giant. But, hey, isn’t that the American way? Please don’t take my random ramblings as anti-Starbucks. Did I show just a tad too much glee that the mega company got bested?

I have written about the corporation before when the Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Starbucks ran afoul of one customer and garnered some media attention. A couple of years ago they apparently kicked a 70 year-old woman out of the downtown Starbucks claiming employees mistook her for a homeless person. She wasn't.

But I have a couple of new Starbucks stories.

One of the former interns for the nonprofit I work at rallied a bunch of Starbucks customers at the location where she worked as a barista, and they put up a Christmas tree with the names of needy kids and bought a bunch of Christmas gifts for them. Now that’s nice and it really helped our organization when toy donations were down.

The second Starbucks story comes via my daughter-in-law whose car got hit by a sign while she was in the drive-through. Apparently, everything was handled to her satisfaction—the car damage will be taken care of and they gave her some free coffee coupons. Good thing she likes Starbucks.

Well, I did digress dear gentle readers. Chock it up to too much caffeine this morning. And in case you wondered, I was drinking Trader Joe’s French Roast.