Feb 232015
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Français : Un Starbucks à Paris (France)

Français : Un Starbucks à Paris (France) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quelle Horreur

What I like about traveling is seeing new places, learning how people live in other countries and finding out a few things about myself along the way. At least that’s the way I tell the story. In truth what I like most is when I can visit an exotic place without adjusting at all. I prefer the comfortable over the new.

It’s that way most of the time. I remark about the abundance of McDonald’s, carefully avoiding any patronage. I have smeared at Starbucks. I laughed at how we never heard anything but American music in Belgium. But even the most opinionated of culture snobs is forced to confess that things can get too strange. And so, as we start our second week in France, I find myself asking, “Where are the Starbucks?” Continue reading »


Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Mar 252012
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Well, I did get one vote last week.

That’s one third of the votes cast in our survey. Maybe it’s not a mandate but it’s better than a kick in the teeth so here we are with another edition of the Coots News Service. Trying to find upbeat stories gets harder and harder. If there is good news going on anywhere, the reporters sure do a great job in covering it up.

Too old to drive?

It may not be good news but the environmental disaster that is Germany just keeps rolling on as this story tells.  It seems that senior drivers in Germany are causing more accidents and nobody wants to do anything about it.  It’s not that German seniors are bad drivers so much as the German driving laws don’t account for diminished driving skills with aging. The German philosophy is ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’. They don’t ask seniors to prove that they still have the chops to drive.  Once you have a drivers license, you never have to requalify.  The result is more accidents involving seniors. But the politicians, as usual, don’t want to antagonize a voting block even if it means putting everybody at risk.

 Unrestricted Seniors Endanger German Roads 

Germany still shies away from stricter rules, insisting that retirees’ right to drive should not be restricted. Anyone who has ever passed the driving test is allowed to get into the driver’s seat, even if he or she is 95, has been using a stair lift at home for years and no longer recognizes the neighbors. The only thing government officials, doctors or relatives can do is to encourage them to give up driving.

I spent some time trying to find stories that are upbeat or provide help in making life better and finally inspiration stick. It’s always been my thought that if people stopped spending $10 or more a day on fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks, the recession would be over. Saving that money would probable make up for the surge in gas prices and eliminate hunger as well. It isn’t that there is anything wrong with coffee. Coffee is good. Recently, scientists have actually proved it. But who needs all the extra calories and the extravagant costs of those fancy coffee drinks? Nobody, that’s who.

Be a Better Home Barista 

There are nearly 7 million tons of coffee beans consumed worldwide on a yearly basis. Coffee consumption is rivaled only by tap water in North America. If you’re a coffee drinker and you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you had coffee but no coffee maker, you know how frustrating it can be to figure out a way to brew a cup of morning coffee to start your day. Here’s a quick, easy method for brewing a pot of coffee when your resources are limited.


So today, the CNS serves you up information on how to get that healthy coffee working for you while saving money. Drop the barista at Starbucks and do it yourself at home., Everybody wins.

If anybody still has a suggestion for this CNS assignment, even though I won by a landslide, you can still cast your vote right here.


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Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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