What I'm Reading (Aug. 4)

The real value of coffee
The public square must be not only civil but open to grace
The hidden life of avocados
The Sound of Movies

Anyone who looks at our Facebook account knows that Thom Golab, our President, really, really loves coffee – how else to explain so many memes? Coffee is alternatively a good or bad food depending upon the study and the day of the week. But consider this,

“The study found that shoppers who drank a cup of complimentary caffeinated coffee prior to roaming the stores spent about 50 percent more money and bought nearly 30 percent more items than shoppers who drank decaf or water.”

Scientists may be unclear about the tradeoff in drinking coffee, but marketers are much more convinced. From Science Daily, their summary of EXPRESS: Caffeine's Effects on Consumer Spending in the Journal of Marketing.

“But we should forgive. We must forgive. Otherwise this nation of broken people will keep breaking each other. Pain can look a lot like anger, and when we know that to be true, we can take risks. We can give second chances, and when we do, we can sometimes see that an enemy isn’t an enemy at all, but another struggling person who needs healing and grace. There must be mercy in the public square.”

David French writing in the Atlantic, discusses an experience of his wife. It is a must-read if we are to begin not just to be civil but open our hearts and empathy to those we see as “others.”

A Moment of Grace in a Season of Pain

“Dampier described the black bark and smooth oval leaves of the tall “Avogato Pear-tree,” then paused at its unusual fruit — “as big as a large Lemon,” green until ripe and then “a little yellowish,” with green flesh “as soft as Butter” and no distinct flavor of its own, enveloping “a stone as big as a Horse-Plumb.” He described how the fruit are eaten — two or three days after picking, with the rind peeled — and their most common local preparation: with a pinch of salt and a roasted plantain, so that “a Man that’s hungry, may make a good meal of it”

While most of us think of avocados as toast or guacamole, they have their own fascinating life,

From Marginalia, Chance, Choice, and the Avocado: The Strange Evolutionary and Creative History of Earth’s Most Nutritious Fruit

“Foley takes its name from Jack Foley, a stuntman, prop handler, and assistant director at Universal Pictures in the late twenties. His breakout was “Show Boat,” which was initially intended to be a silent film; facing competition from Warner Bros., Universal added a soundtrack, which included dialogue, during postproduction. Jack Foley provided sound effects: handclaps, footsteps. He built a small crew, and their workspace became known as “Foley’s room”; other studios eventually developed their own “Foley stages.”

As a physician, I was acquainted with the foley - a urinary catheter, and Dr. Tom Foley, an inveterate inventor of both a catheter used to retrieve clots and, more importantly to the general public, the handbrake used on the majority of motorcycles in the world. But this foley refers to movie sound effects.

From The New Yorker, The Weird, Analog Delights of Foley Sound Effects