Monthly Archives: September 2011

Ethical Consumerism

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Checkout at the Whole Foods Market, eager to find out how much damage I have done to my credit card; my typical grocery shopping days are usually like this. I have always believed in this phrase, “You are what you eat”, meaning of notion that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food. This may sound like simple aspect encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables rather than going with fast food options. Well, it would be absolutely wonderful if that same idea still remains with me, but sadly it had become more complicated over the last few years trying to follow ‘ethical consumerism’ when it comes to food.

Organic, Fair-trade, local and environmentally friendly; these words may indicate positive thoughts in your head.  But they are also a contributing factor causing confusions and complications. “Organic does not necessarily mean environmentally friendly, at least if food miles are any gauge. Around 30% of all organic food sold in this country is imported…, food miles also mean that those who want to help developing countries’ producers, by going Fair-trade, will typically find they can not at the same time salve their green conscience. Then again, buying strawberries from hot countries could be better for the planet than growing them under glass in Kent.”[1] (The Guardian, 2007)  Although situation relies on Britain, it is relevant for Canadian considering increase in sale of organic foods are similar after 2006.[2]

The ‘Ethical consumerism’, is becoming more difficult to follow for consumers because we don’t know where to draw the line in making ethical chooses. This tangle of issues will make a trip to the market harder for the shoppers. At this point, instead of having serious debate on making ethical choose, consumers have no options other than leaving the market with stickers of commitment: Fair-trade, organic and so on.

Anna Kui Yeon Hong


[1] Shortchanged at the checkout. (2007, June 16). The Guardian, Organic food.

Miscommunications in Coffee

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Entering a cafe for the first time after been exposed to simple terms such as: decaf, mild, and some South American or African blend-suddenly there’s a whole menu with different variations of the breakfast staple! Where does one start when looking at the drink menu, wishing they knew French-or is ‘Americano’ Italian? Imagine a coffee connoisseur casually asking for ‘The Usual’ and in turn receive their daily ‘Extra Hot Double Shot Soy Caffe Latte’. Personal customizing aside, what defines a latte? According to Merriam-Webster, a “Caffe-Latte” is “espresso mixed with hot or steamed milk”[1]. While it seems reasonable enough, the coffee connoisseur’s friend orders a cappuccino which appears to be made exactly the same way as the latte. Again, we refer to Merriam-Webster: “espresso coffee mixed with frothed hot milk or cream and often flavored with cinnamon'[2]. Further insight from this webpage [3] shows us that a caffe latte and a cappuccino are the closest matching in terms of their ingredients, and that the preparation and ratio of milk is the main difference between the two drinks. Now taking customizing into consideration, if we were to ask for an extra foamy latte, what are we technically ordering? The same question goes for a cappuccino with little foam.

Slightly switching bases, there are trademark names that big franchise coffeehouses have placed on their beloved products. One example is Starbucks Corporation’s Frappuccino Blended Beverage. This is essentially a frozen blended coffee or cream based drink flavored with one or more of their many syrups. Of course, many coffee retail chains offer their own variation of this kind of drink, but Starbucks has taken advantage of their popularity to put an official name to their most popular item. The Frappuccino has also ventured into bottled beverages [4] and ice creams [5] that are sold in supermarkets and convenience stores.

So the argument is what really defines a certain coffee drink. There is an exact science to making a proper drink, but in the end there are different coffee distributors that target their own consumers, and it’s also up to each individual to search for the coffees after their own hearts.

-Olivia

 

Merriam-Webster

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caffe%20latte

[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cappuccino?show=0&t=1317103081

Gourmet Coffee Zone

[3] http://www.gourmet-coffee-zone.com/coffee-drinks.html

Frappuccino

[4] http://frappuccino.com/products/bottled-frappuccino

[5] http://frappuccino.com/products/ice-cream-frappuccino

’69? (Sonia)

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Songs represent different emotions. There are songs about love, disappointment, hate, happiness, and many others. But what are songs? Words, with some music. Lyricists write songs with an intention. Usually, they have a meaning in their minds, a message they want to share. Some other writers like to have some fun with their songs so they use techniques like double entendre and words with different denotative and connotative meanings. That is why some songs seem very innocent and harmless but then they put different images in your head at the same time.

Who remembers the Summer of ’69? (Not me. I wasn’t even born then!) Yes, that was a trick question. Summer of ’69 is a famous song sung by Bryan Adams. And you’re right! The lyrics of the song talk about a singing band, summer love, and just a happy summer altogether. The song was an instant hit when it came out in 1985. What is funny is the disagreement about the song’s meaning among fans. The common interpretation is that it’s about memories and how Adams misses the time he spent with his friends and summer love. Fact: Bryan Adams was only 9 years old in 1969! Now what do you think the song is about?

The first meaning seems pretty obvious: It’s about nostalgia! But the number 69 is the reason for all confusion. “Me and my baby in 69“. What is 69? Is it Bryan and his girlfriend being together in the year 1969? Or is it Bryan and his girlfriend being together in a car built-in the year 1969? Or is 69 referring to something sexual?[1]. In a 2004 concert, and in an interview, Adams revealed that this song has “nothing to do with the year 1969”[2]. For Adams, the song was about making love in the summer. The song’s co-writer Jim Vallance, on the other hand, says it has no sexual reference whatsoever[3]. In fact, you can find a detailed meaning of the song (Vallance’s version of course) and the lyrics of this song on his website.

Clearly, the song’s true meaning cannot be decided upon since the writers of the song themselves don’t agree to what it is. This proves that meaning can only be created in the mind of the individual. What do YOU think 69 means in this song?

– Sonia


[3] Jim Vallance.com

                                                                                                       

Regardless the meaning, enjoy the song here!