London is waking up and smelling the roasted cocoa

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“London is waking up and smelling the roasted cocoa”

London is buzzing. But, this time, rather than wired from cup after cup of strong coffee, it’s chocolate that is helping us keep up with the city’s pace. Not bars of it, but mugs-full.

This week, specialist chocolate shop Hotel Chocolat officially launches London Roast & Conch (on the same street as one of London’s top coffee companies, Monmouth) and the new café’s top offering is a cup of pure hot chocolate, roasted and ground (just like coffee) on site, straight from the beans.

“People like coffee because it’s stimulating,” says Hotel Chocolat CEO and co-founder Angus Thirlwell, “but whereas coffee gives you a spike, which can be quickly followed by a low, chocolate is energising at a steadier pace, for longer.”

It’s a direct challenge to our coffee addictions.

Thirlwell’s new drinks menu, called Coffee vs Cocoa, is designed to encourage Londoners to re-think their flat whites and espressos and have them made with cocoa instead.

“Typically to make chocolate you would conch [grind] the chocolate for longer and it becomes mellow, but our roasted cocoa is not the calming, soothing, light drink you’re used to,” says Thirlwell. “It retains the colourful leather, tobacco, spices and red wine flavours of the bean.”

Adrian Smith, founder of the Mortimer Chocolate Company, is on the same wavelength. His idea was to package pure roasted chocolate powder in coffee bags and, like coffee, sell it according to the region of its origin and flavour characteristics.
“It’s more sophisticated,” says Smith. “It’s like making tea or coffee and you decide how much milk or sugar you want with it.”

Sales are up, and the Mortimer West African Pure Dark Chocolate Powder was recently voted Britain’s Best Drinking Chocolate.

That hot chocolate is currently hot, signals something of a renaissance – since chocolate was originally drunk rather than scoffed, and the first ever chocolate shop (frequented by Samuel Pepys when he needed to cure a hangover) opened in London on Bishopsgate in 1657.

The resurgence is a trend reflected in the agricultural commodity market, with New York and London cocoa performing second and third best of all agri-commodities since the start of this year.
Current dry and windy weather across the Ivory Coast (the world’s largest cocoa-producing country) is bad news for cocoa growers, so a potential shortage this year could continue to drive prices up.

And, if you fancy gambling on an investment, the long term outlook is that a growing demand from emerging markets such as China and crop shortages influenced by rising global temperatures could mean that cocoa will keep getting hotter.

No doubt, that’s why a London hedge fund bought up 240,100 tonnes of the stuff in 2010 – about seven per cent of the global annual production.

It could be time to put your money where your mug is.

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NYTimes: Albany Redistricting Plan Faulted as Unfair to Minorities

From The New York Times:

Albany Redistricting Plan Faulted as Unfair to Minorities
By THOMAS KAPLAN

Critics say many of the proposed districts in New York do not fairly represent blacks and Hispanics in an increasingly diverse state and seem to protect the interests of incumbents.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/nyregion/new-york-redistricting-faulted-for-unfair-representation-of-minorities.html

Obama’s Lays Out Many Initiatives in State Of The Union Address

President Obama’s State of the Union Speech tonight, was in a word, interesting. It was defiant, it was ideological, it was partisan, he introduced provocative ideas, and he certainly gave Republicans something to think about. One thing is clear Obama plans to take it to the republicans during this Presidential election season.

There’s not really one part of the speech that one can focus on, it touched on so many segments held dear to Democrats. Obama, more than anything set the agenda for the platform that he intends to run on in the fall. This is where Obama will fight and attack on multiple fronts. Jobs, tax breaks, all were part of his strategies. Obama’s goal tonight was to create the beginnings of a grassroots campaign.

President Obama hinted toward cutting toward cutting or reforming social security and medicare. In some respects Obama is still trying to compromise with Republicans. We will see where this all in ends up, but the one constant that gives all Democrats room for optimism is that Republican policies and strategies will always ultimately fail.

The Deal- Maybe It Is

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Like the course that charts our summer’s day we float through life from bad times to good.

Swaying and gliding as we go on our way, we pass between those opposite points that explain exactly where we have been.

Oh life, our life has drifted on and made a path at each check point, reviewed, approved and then passed on to points not seen, but close, oh so near.

Winter’s come and summer go, renewing the the spirits of fall and spring.

The turmoil is with us, turmoil is near us, but we say Glory, Glory be to the Father for the  journey.

CJ

Kodak has A Short Window of Of Opportunity After Filling Bankruptcy

The news that Kodak filed for bankruptcy on Thursday was not good. This is not a surprise, Kodak has been in deep trouble for many years. The attempts to reinvent itself  has been woefully unsuccessful. Not only that,  retirees have drained monetary resources from Kodak for years.  

As anyone knows this is been a pretty solid reason that Kodak has not been able to turn  the corner and introduce products that are in high demand. Kodak has introduced too many products that have failed to move the needle. One can speculate on why this happened but the reality is Kodak has to do a better job in defining the market And in going to market.

Republicans Must Offer Qualified Candidates

The Republican primaries are turning into what I consider a circus. Somehow it seems that the candidates are not legitimate enough to defeat President Barack Obama.The political process is definitely in shambles. We will need to really think long and hard about the candidates that we  support.

Somehow this situation will make us stronger as Americans. Our voices will still be heard and we will ultimately select the right candidate. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich,  Rick Santorum, Ron Paul are all candidates that in my opinion bring little or nothing to the table. This makes the political process a charade. This is actually the first time in American history when we have candidates on the Republican side that are less than qualified to lead the country. Where we go from here no one really knows. What we do know is that this is a desperate situation.

Republicans need to think long and hard about who they put up to face President Barack Obama. This is a legitimate question and is one that should not be taken lightly. Republicans have an obligation to the American people to put someone up with a legitimate chance to defeat President Barack Obama. Not put up a sacrificial lamb. And if anything this political primary process will be one to remember for many years to come. We’ll sit back and enjoy the ride.

This Weeks Basketball Update

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio is a solid player out of the Euro basketball league. The Spanish player is making an impact with the Timberwolves. The best way I can describe him is  he is a throwback to “Pistol” Pete Maravich, particularly the trick passes  through the defenses leg, behind the back passes, you name it Rubio can do it.  Maravich was more skilled at doing the same thing and Maravich was also a lot better outside shooter. But most of Maravich was a great scorer.   Rubio is good, but he is definitely not a Derrick Rose or a Chris Paul, or a Pete Maravich.

Kentucky-Auburn

Auburn gave Kentucky all it could handle on Wednesday night, Kentucky prevailed. I wrote this recap while watching the game.  As I look at this game, it follows the pattern in the SEC where Kentucky makes a habit of delivering a more than a decent record in the pre-season, but always subject to upsets in the SEC.  That’s the nature of SEC Basketball. The score is inconsequential as Kentucky will grind out a victory at Auburn.

Louisville- Providence

The big story here is the meltdown by the Cardinal who lost by a significant margin to Providence, a team that was 1-4 in the Big East Going into the game at Providence.  Louisville is in big trouble this season. The season was supposed to be a breakout season with a stellar recruiting Class headed by Chane  Behanan and Wayne Blackshear. A not so funny thing happen though, they are coached by Rick Pitino. This in itself may be a recipe for another dismal season.

Why Voter Turnout is Lacking

Perhaps another way to increase voter turnout is to put forth engaged and exciting candidates. In most elections this rarely happens. Lets face it people must be really excited to feel the absolute necessity to show  up at the polls to vote.

Look, most of us feel voting is our civic duty.  It is something that is our right to do as Americans. If we don’t vote, we are not only throwing away one of our most cherished rights, but we are unappreciative of many people who gave their lives so we could have this privilege. Many Americans respect that right and thank the men and women who made it possible.

If you are one of those who regularly vote, you respect our civic duties and you are to  be commended.  But there are so many who could care less about their civic duty.  The challenge is how do  we reach these people, who fall in the category of “could care less”?   You know if they are in this category they are probably not registered. Which is an entirely  different issue and fuel for another blog post.

These are more of the issues facing our American electorial system.  The debate  must continue to improve the situation.

Murray State Continues It’s Surprising Unbeaten Streak

I have been meaning to write a post on the unbeaten run of the Murray  State Racers. I have four relatives who graduated from Murray State and I have a special attachment to the school, having visited there many times.  My two sisters graduated from Murray.

Another in law is my fraternity brother in Omega Phi Phi Fraternity and he pledged at Murray State, so I  have a special attachment to the school. 

The basketball lineage at Murray State includes some very good players paticularly during the Cal  Luther era,  like Claude Virdin and Les Taylor during the early seventies.

Now Murray State is accomphlishing the  astounding by  actually going undefeated and ranked  14th or 15th depending on which basketball Poll you believe.  All we can say at the point is  “Go Racers”.

Te-ee-bow, Woe, OH (Phrase Coined by NFL Network)! Tim Tebow brings Home the Playoff Win over the Steelers!

This playoff game was another miracle for Tim Tebow.  Unbelievable performance for the Denver Broncos, as Coach John Fox, takes the reins off of Tim Tebow and he proceeds to throw for more than 300 yards against the #1 defense in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  This was one of the most improvable victories in the history of the NFL.  The Broncos take the victory over the Steelers 29-23. Absolutely an unbelievable game.

Tim Tebow one throw in OT wins the game and takes advantage of the NFL new overtime rules that says the first team that scores a TD wins the game. Guess what Tim Tebow throws a pass on the first possession of overtime and it’s a touchdown!  Unbelievable. This is one of the greatest NFL Moments in quite some time; the last one that I can remember was the improvable fumble recovery by Franco Harris, ironically of the Steelers in the seventies.   This overtime lasted less than on minute.

Tim Tebow won this game with his arm 10-21 passing and throwing for 300 plus yards, 2 TD, and rush for one TD.  Thus is a quarterback that they said could not play in the NFL. One week ago we did not know that the Denver Broncos would even make the playoffs. Tim Tebow helped this team come back to win five times this year.  The Broncos were buried in oblivion. Without him the Broncos would not be in the playoffs.   It pays to be a man of faith who follows  the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.