In 2000, shortly after the death of his first wife (anthropologist Yvonne Presswerk), Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz set up a series of cafés mortels, or death cafes--informal gatherings where ordinary people could talk openly about death and dying. Crettaz inspired Jon Underwood and his mother, Sue Barsky Reid, to begin hosting death cafes in the UK ; eventually they put together a guide [pdf] for those wanting to host their own. Death cafes have now been held in 35 countries. They are not meant to be grief or bereavement support groups; instead, Underwood says, their purpose is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives." [more inside]
In London, the coffeehouse offered the threat not of male homosexuality but rather of a different kind of dangerous male-on-male behavior, namely "wasting time." Coffee itself was often thought to be disgusting — a few of the names used by detractors were "syrup of soot," "a foreign fart," "a sister of the common sewer," "resembling the river Styx," "Pluto's diet-drink," "horsepond liquor" — but even for those who thought coffee led to medical problems, especially impotence, it was not as threatening as the spaces where it was drunk. Some perceived the coffeehouse as pure waste, a corrupting influence on London society, while others celebrated it with a strange enthusiasm.– Writing in Cafés: A Personal History by food historian Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft.
Visiting Tokyo Snake Center: A 'Snake Cafe' in Jingumae, Shibuya Ward [YouTube]
Who needs a cafe full of cute kittens or fluffy owls when you can unwind and enjoy a refreshing beverage in the company of …SNAKES! A new snake-themed cafe has just opened up in Tokyo that makes such beautiful dreams possible. For a mere 1000 yen, patrons can enjoy a spot of orange juice and a sit-down with a non-venomous viper. [via: Crunchyroll]Official Site: Tokyo Snake Center
Starbucks Is Testing a Drink That Tastes Like Guinness (Without the Alcohol) by Samantha Grossman (@sam_grossman), Time magazine:
The new drink, called the Dark Barrel Latte, is being tested at select locations across Ohio and Florida, Grubstreet reports. It doesn't contain any alcohol, but it supposedly contains the dark, toasty, malty flavors of Guinness. A BuzzFeed writer who got his hands on one in Columbus confirmed that it really does taste like stout. Several customers who've tweeted about the drink agree that it tastes like Guinness — but the jury's still out on whether or not that’s actually a good thing.[more inside]
When I asked a colleague who was born and raised in Dublin (Guinness's birthplace) how he felt about all this, he responded first with this GIF. Then, as he mulled it over a bit more, he added, "Holy hell. Worst." Then he posed a question: "American Guinness already doesn't taste like Guinness. So what will this taste like?" Then he barfed all over me and my stupid American ignorance.
Turin is the latest city to claim a cat cafe, which opened today. Originally a phenomena only in Japan, other cat cafes are already open in Paris, London, Vienna, St Petersburg, Budapest, Munich, Berlin, Madrid and Devon. Coming soon: San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Los Angeles, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, and Lithuania.
London's first pay-per-minute café, Ziferblat (photos) costs 3 pence (5 cents) per minute to be there. Part of a chain from Russia. A Moscow cafe for example.
The Booth At The End is a drama about a man who makes deals. 62 parts, each lasting just two pretty fantastic minutes. [more inside]
The University of Washington's Vienna: 1900 collects a number of pieces from the height of Austrian café society. [more inside]
"There's no set menu, you pay what you can and a national chain is even testing out the business model. Eight years ago, One World Café opened up at 41 S. 300 East with a simple goal: feed hungry people in the community with good organic food. There was no cash register, and diners paid whatever they thought was fair."
The Gare de Lyon in Paris has Le Train Bleu. Grand Central Staion in New York has a superb Oyster Bar; Washington Union Station has this neo-classical wonder; while Prague this prime example of art nouveau; Helsinki, meanwhile, offers something suitably democratic. With cafes as good as this, railway stations become destinations in themselves.
First it was hostess bars, then host bars, then maid/anime cafes, and now this. Where will the madness end? [more inside]
The little coffee plant that almost died. A fascinating and inspiring radio piece detailing the story of the wild coffee plant, "cafe marron," that almost disappeared from the one island where it grew, Rodrigues, in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Cafe Con Pelvis Wow. Coffee
hookers hostesses give you that ‘extra’ attention.
Seattle's Speakeasy cafe gutted by fire. A sad day for the city. The Speakeasy cafe is great, and I just switched to them for my DSL account. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
October Coffee Crisis. Montreal Gazette: "In its communiques, the BAF warned that Second Cup franchises were to be 'in the line of fire' and warned of an escalation of violent acts if Second Cup and other chains insist on keeping their trademark English names." More Trudeau nostalgia?