A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

Archive for October, 2012

Soaking Up A Little Culture

Last June, Steve and I joined the Tampa Bay History Center when we went to see a traveling exhibit about Spies In America. We were somewhat underwhelmed by the Spies exhibit, but we had time to see part of the permanent displays before closing time, and had a nice experience. 

Today, we returned to see their traveling exhibit about coffee:



As we entered the building, I started up the stairs ahead of Steve, and he noticed that I was exposing more than my thirst for culture and knowledge.


We made a hasty entrance into the gift shop and bought something to remedy my overexposure.


With the tail of this “Ladies 2X” (that my shoulders barely fit into), I was able to recover some of my dignity as I covered my flanks.

We proceeded to the Columbia Cafe that is inside the History Center building, just outside the exhibits entrance, and had a nice lunch while we watched the cruise ships move along Channelside. 

The Coffee exhibit was small, but interesting. I had always thought coffee was a new world crop, but it is actually native to Ethiopia and was imported to South America as part of the triangle trade. We also learned how very labor intensive it is to bring a coffee crop to market. Coffee plants don’t have a specific harvest period, with plants bearing flowers, green berries and ripened berries simultaneously, necessitating hand picking of ripened berries on a near-daily basis. The berries are then fermented to remove the fruit exterior, then dried, then shipped around the world to be roasted at destination. 

There’s probably more to it than that, but I was already distracted by the next display, which was some kind of electronic scent module in coffee bags. When you squeezed the coffee bags, the scent of that particular kind of coffee was emitted. There were only two bags, but one was for Ethiopian coffee and one for coffee from some other part of the world. It seems that the soil and growing conditions play a great part in the flavors of the different coffees. I am afraid that that distinction would be lost on me in my normal coffee consumption, however, as I add flavored syrups and a lot of half-and-half to my coffee cup each morning.

On our way out, we stopped in the gift shop again and I bought a small bag of dark chocolate- covered espresso beans, at which point I found out that our membership allowed a 10% discount on gift shop and cafe purchases.

It was too late to get the 10% off our lunch, but the young woman kindly offered to refund and re-ring my emergency t-shirt purchase in order for me to get my discount. As members, we also get parking validation 3x per year, which saved us an additional $5 in parking.

As we were leaving the History Center, we decided to have a look at all the little vendor booths set up along the river walk. It turns out that today was the Third Annual Tampa Bay Veg Fest sponsored by Florida Voices for Animals. Several animal rescue organizations and groups promoting vegetarianism and veganism. We spoke to no one of the bacon-wrapped filets from Surf and Turf Market we had waiting at home for dinner. 

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Dream Cogitation

As I was waking up Sunday morning, I found myself working on a comparison/contrast of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. I have no idea what I might have been dreaming, but it was enough to keep the thought process going even after I was fully awake.

Here’s what I came up with:

Psychology is the study of individuals and how they have been shaped through their internal chemistries, their thoughts, and their interactions with others, with the goal of helping each to optimum functioning.

Sociology is the study of people in aggregate, their society, and how the individual effects and is affected by the social system, also with the idea of improving both the aggregate and the individual functioning to an optimal level.

Anthropology is the study of other societies, remote in time, distance, or social strata. It does not seek to “improve” the society being studied (which could be construed as a type of contamination, and which it would be unable to do in historical societies, anyway), but rather to understand to the point that what worked and what didn’t work could be applied to optimize the observer’s society of origin.

Maybe the next part of this comparison/contrast would be the metaphysical, which attempts to understand the impact of forces that do not originate within the physical self or society. This might include what Jung referred to as the collective unconscious, what people of Western religion call saints, angels, God, or Holy Spirit (or Satan or demons, if that impact is negative), and what New Thought calls Spirit or Higher Self (with the belief that the negative is physically based and not external to humanity), among others.

I still have no idea why this was important enough to make the transition from sleep to wakefulness, but after thinking about it off and on all that day, I thought I’d share.

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