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Sunday, July 02, 2006

All right, about Stew's Frappuccino problem

Our friend Stew has an addiction. No, it's not to Carne Asada, to which I am similarly hooked, as anyone can tell by the tracks of cilantro juice down my arms; nor is it to the peculiar unnamed concoction he was sipping as our families watched Gone with the Wind last night, after a fine meal prepare by the Millers at their palatial home (my only regret was that we didn't dine in the Batcave).

(As an aside, the most interesting lines last night were as we watched the scene where Scarlett tries to cover her covert drinking by gargling with "Eau de Cologne"-Earl and Stew alternately doing Clark Gable voice:

"Scarlett, why your breath smells like Old Spice!"
"Well, I'm not after you for your breath!"
"Sounds like breath, though!"

I suppose you had to be there.)

No, Stew is completely and hopelessly addicted to the dreaded Frappuccino, as prepared by that lovingly capitalistic neighbourhood enterprise known as Starbucks.

Stew has been known to start, end, and fill his day with Frappuccinos. If the local Mexican eateries serves them, his carne asada would be sizzled with Frappuccino. If the local BBQ joints served mixed coffee drinks, he would have his baby back ribs rubbed, coated, glased, and served with a side of Frappucino. The man has an "addict-cion de cafe con creme a la Frapp." As a result, he is frequently a twitching mass of nerves. I used to chalk that up to his having two boys undere the age of five, but as his eldest has reached half a decade, now I know for sure it is the Frappuccinos, the cursed, posionous, temptress, silky smooth, luscious (whoops, almost feel for them myself!) devil's weed Frappuccinos! It is by now well known that the Starbucks closest to Stew's home has a permanent IV set up for him that he can hook himself up to 4 hours a day, whilst avoiding posting to this blog.

Yes, my best mate is a Frappuccino-fiend.

Now, a word about Starbucks, just by way of full disclosure. I have nothing against coffee-houses, which are great places to grab a drink and a nice biscuit, and to listen to some classic songs as freely adapted by local musicians, some of whom actually know how to play their instruments, and know all the words to the songs. I don't even have anything against large international restuarant chains, having a healthy respect for a fairly applied captialism and reliable standards in food production.

However, a Starbucks coffee house gives me the same kind of feeling that one of their fully caffienated products might give a small, sickly child who had never so much as ingested a molecule of caffiene. Which is to say they make me shudder convulsively and twitch like Chief Inspector Dreyfus in Revenge of the Pink Panther.

I stopped at a Starbucks for the first time in Central London during a 2002 visit, and was immediately overcome at how un-London like it was inside. If not for the accents behind the counter, the drizzle outside, and the copious amounts of tweed on the clientele, I'd have sworn I was in New York or L.A. or even Cedar Rapids.

Now, they are building a Starbucks here in town, right next to the golf shop where I procured my discount Footjoys. It sits there in the middle of our little metropolis like a pimple on Cameron Diaz's bum (Note to self: DOUI hit count automatically shoots up 200% - a joke that never gets old, because it's true). It quietly entices thousands of people, young and old, to enter into the grasping, snaring tendrils of this corporate octopus, with a snarling beak of caffiene lying at the center.

I myself, avoid caffiene whereever possible, as it makes me bounce off the walls like the football in the new Nike commerical featuring the Brasilian team in their locker room, putting on their shoes (thank heavens it's not the HBO version). I do succumb myself, usually to the delightful and intoxicating flavour of American Southern Sweet Tea, which is the local name for the only drink that can truly be called ambrosia on this planet, which I am happily sipping now.

As for Frappuccino's, with all due respect to Stew, my own feelings can be summed up by the littlest Fando, who upon driving by the local Starbicks and hearing me refer to the dreaded drink in a discussion with her mother (my wonderful wife), quizzically responded, "Crappuccinos?"



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