Reality Shifting (Manual or Automatic)

I never turn down a good pun. I imagine most reality travelers wish shifting were this easy. There’s been a lot of talk about reality shifting going around these days. For me, it’s hard to seperate from lucid dreaming, but maybe it’s just my lack of expertise.

In terms of the locations for this comic, I tried to pick the ones that popped up the most on search engines (listing the place rather than the “world”). Hogwarts of course represents Harry Potter. Hawkins is for Hawkins, Indiana (home of the Stranger Things crew). Wonderland, I think, needs no introduction and I’m happy to see such a classic is still a fav amongst the modern crowd. Finally, the Pink Place Apartments refers to Coraline, the world created by Neil Gaiman.

Tim Kane

Anatomy of a Latte

So how many tears, exactly, do into a latte? All I know is this, Starbucks isn’t really in the coffee business. For on, their java is terrible. Dark and burned. What they really sell is caffeine, sugar and image. You get a Starbucks because everyone has one. Maybe there’s some convenience thrown in. They have dominated the planet. Personally, I prefer to churn up my own java creations.

Though I have been known to indulge.

Tim Kane

Tower of Jargon

Not only am I an ancient history fan, I’m also obsessed with words. Particularly idioms and puns. I can’t say that I’m an expert at any of the millennial or Gen Z jargon, but I love running across it.

Words are like cars. Each one has a different feel. And although I may never been a race driver, I do enjoy stepping into the seat of a new phrase and seeing how it handles. Sort of like a Top Gear for vocabulary.

Tim Kane

Inside Your Cup of Coffee

I can’t live without my cup of Joe, but as I read through the book Uncommon Grounds, I find out more and more about this mysterious beverage.

Coffee

Like how a goat herder in Ethiopia discovered it when his goats went missing. He found them jumping around, buzzed off the red coffee berries. Fast forward a few centuries, and we have coffee in every store on the planet. But what exactly is in a cup?

coffee-berry

It all starts with a coffee berry. Too bad what we really want is nestled deep inside. Two seeds surrounded by a silver skin that’s hard to remove.

Acording to Al Rayan, there are many grades of roasting you can get from a bean. (Side note, when Americans first got hold of these beans, we liked them green. Then we’d roast them right before making a cup.)

roasts

The bitterness associated with coffee comes from the roasting. Think about licking a singed hunk of wood. Yeah, not so great.

The bitterness comes from O-caffeoylquinic acids, present in raw coffee beans. A light or medium roast dehydrates the acids to create various lactones and a pleasant bitterness that most coffee lovers adore. Keep roasting, and the lactones break apart to from 4-vinylcatechol, which goes through some more chemical steps to create compounds that give a harsh bitter that lingers on the tongue.

Once roasted, coffee beans can stay fresh for months. Once ground, however, and you have only about two weeks to make your coffee (key here, grind your own). But even after being brewed, the chemistry of coffee changes. Lactones become free acids, dropping the pH from between 5 and 5.2 down to a 4.6. This shifts the acidity from a green bean level to that of a tomato.

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The longer you keep your coffee hot, the more sour and bitter it will taste.

Although many studies have found antioxidant qualities in coffee, you could be canceling these out by adding cream or sugar. A study by a fella named Crozier showed that adding cream to strawberries slowed the absorption of antioxidants. So if you want the best health benefits from java, drink it black.

This fun video shows you some of the more interesting compounds in the aroma of coffee. Check it out.

Happy drinking, and check out my Pinterest collection of all things coffee.

Tim Kane

Don’t Drink That Coffee. It Can Kill You. (Maybe)

Most of us these days can tout the benefits of coffee, from a ward against cancer to a way to make yourself more productive. But we aren’t blind. We know that too much coffee, and caffeine, can make your stomach upset and and keep you up at night. Yet can this drink kill you? Advertisers a century ago would have people believe just that.

I could only find a photo of Instant Postum (from 1911)

I could only find a photo of Instant Postum (from 1911)

In 1895, Postum created Postum Coffee Food (yes, that was the name). It was roasted cereal with a molasses glaze. How the heck did this imitator kick coffee’s butt? Advertising. Mr. Post (yes the fella behind Grapenuts) knew how advertise. He culled together all the negative aspects of coffee and went hyperbole on them.

coffee-and-provocation-postum-food-coffeeThis add touts that coffee slowly destroys your stomach and nerves. Okay, this is reasonable. I don’t know if roasted cereal is any better.

coffee-provocation-postum-brain-fagCheck out the fine print: Coffee causes Heart-Failure, Dyspepsia (a fancy word for Indigestion), Brain-Fag (I think short of Brain Fatigue) and Nervous Prostration (total nervous exhaustion). Most are reasonable, but heart failure? Wow. That’s servere.

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Okay, this one wasn’t for Postum, but I thought is was great. If you choose the wrong coffee, you get a spanking. Bad, bad wife.

The Postum Food Coffee diminished after the government truth in advertising pointed out that roasted cereal wasn’t, and never will be, coffee. Finally,  in 1911, Coca Cola went to trial over its product being a “killer brain tonic”. The main focus was caffeine. When Coca Cola won this case, it brought coffee back into focus. It also helped  that coffee folks learned to advertise.

Tim Kane