July 22 Links (no decaf here)

July 22, 2011 Links

One more week done, one more weekend arrived. Must be time for links. But first, on Sunday, I’ll be publishing a feature on Jim Roberts and the story of Coffee People. Coffee People was a Portland coffee company who tried to go national in the 1990s, but didn’t succeed like its owners had hoped. Be sure to check back Sunday evening for the story.

The filmmaker who directed and produced “Hot Coffee,” Susan Saladoff (from Ashland, Oregon) did an interview with the Connecticut Law Tribune. If you care about the civil justice system or about tort reform, it sounds like you should watch the film. link

UK-based Costa Coffee is not letting Starbucks go unchallenged in the Chinese market, recently announcing it plans to open more than 100 new stores in the world’s most populous country. link

Truth in coffee advertising? Australians make me laugh. link

Speaking of Australia, some of its cafés are soon going to have milk on tap, at least for the baristas. In an effort to reduce the need for plastic milk jugs, a Sydney coffee company has come up with a new way to transport and supply milk to where the cafés need it. link

If you have questions about cold coffee and/or iced tea, The New York Times’ Harold McGee probably has an answer. link

Barista Magazine’s Sarah Allen just got back from a trip to Brazil, where she was traveling with a group of super-skilled baristas, including Portland’s (and Coava’s) Sam Purvis. link

Two researchers from the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative are using mapping systems to help develop the Rwandan coffee industry. link

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has made it back into the ranks of the billionaire club with the recent increases in Starbucks’ stock price. Now maybe he can afford to bring the Sonics back to Seattle. link

Take to the Road

I finished reading a book today called The Songlines. Written by Bruce Chatwin, it describes his trip to Australia to learn about the Aboriginal cultures of the continent. The work, a mixture of travel memoir, fiction and philosophy, is based on an actual trip he took a couple years before his death in 1989. It details Chatwin's travels on the continent as he tries to understand the “songlines.”

The songlines are the fundamental element of the Aboriginal creation stories. At the beginning of time, the “Dreamtime”, the Ancestors created themselves out of clay and began to wander across the earth, singing out the names of everything they saw—animals, plants, rocks and streams—thus defining their existence.

The paths that the Ancestors traveled on as they sang are known as songlines (or dream-tracks), and the songs are passed down from generation to generation. When an aboriginal goes ‘walkabout’, he follows the original songline that his ancestors did. The songs are always sung in exactly the same way, as a way of maintaining the creation. If a wanderer remembers his song and does not deviate from its path, he can never get lost. The melodies along each line are constant from one end of the continent to the other. They are transferred across boundaries where one clan’s territory ends and another’s begins. The melody stays the same, even as the words would change. In addition to maintaining the creation, the songlines also act as trading routes among the clans.

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