Now that the weather is finally cooperating, I get to have my morning coffee at the outdoor office -- something that delight me to no end. I'm surrounded by plants that started in my grandmother's garden over 50 years ago mingled with flowers I've added over the years. In the middle of the city -- out in front, no less, with a view of the street and the neighborhood -- and the only sounds the chirp and call of the birds and the distant swoosh of traffic on the interstate half a mile away, I've got a pleasant backdrop for reading the morning news -- and there's a lot of "incidental" coffee news, the kind where coffee isn't the main event but plays an interesting part.
Probably my favorite feel-good coffee story of the day hit the news earlier this week. I saw it first on MSNBC because it really is quite a notable tech story. Cathy Hutchinson, a 59-year-old Massachusetts woman who has been a quadriplegic for the past 15 years, drank a cup of coffee. This is news because, for the first time in 15 years, the cup was not held to her lips by a human attendant, but lifted to her mouth by a robotic arm that she controlled simply by imagining herself picking up the cup of coffee and tipping it so she could take a sip. How very very cool is that? You know what else is cool? Somewhere along the line, a researcher asked this woman "What would you most like to be able to do for yourself again?" and she answered "Drink my coffee." Okay -- maybe it didn't go exactly like that, but I like the thought. And I know the research implications are HUGE -- she controlled a robot arm via a tiny implant in her brain that responded to electrical signals sent by her own neurons! -- but as someone who worked as a personal care attendant to quadriplegics and paraplegics for years, I'm thinking about the absolute wonder of being able to take a sip of your coffee without having to ask someone else to pick up the darn cup for you.
In less ground-breaking coffee news, a British newspaper reported on a thief who stole £64 worth of instant coffee tosettle up a drug debt. I mean, how many jars of instant coffee do you have to steal to come up with that much cash? And wouldn't it have been a little lighter to try to run off with a few bags of specialty beans?
Meanwhile, in news from my old stomping grounds down on the Massachusetts South Shore, a popular coffee chain is being sued for discrimination. Seems Marylou's Coffee has an awful lot of very pretty yound female employees and very few employees who fit other demographics. I've read the story at various news outlets, but loved the fact that it'sactually made it across the pond to hit the Daily Mail. What's fun isthat on nearly every site, someone asks/comments whether the company should hve to hire old,fat men to counterbalance the pretty girls. I've gotta admit, myfavorite baristas -- not that these girls are baristas, mind you - tend to be male, bearded and ponytailed and in their 30s -- but I suspect many of them would have trouble doing this:
My coffee cup is nearly empty and I've got a busy day ahead with more writing than I can think about, but I've missed sharing coffee with y'all here on ROASTe the past week or so, and I'm going to make time to read more about adventures with Trifecta, waiting on the dream machine, wives appreciating coffee and the latest beans everyone has been enjoying. For now tough -- the slave mines call (am I the only writer who takes a break from writing with...writing?)