[via Steven Kates]

When purchasing a bicycle, make sure the color of the seat is taken into consideration!



My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake..

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries...

I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the "triangle of life".

The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the "triangles" you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.


1) Most everyone who simply "ducks and covers" WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake... It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on The back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different "moment of frequency" (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway... The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.


Using Sarah Palin's defense of Rush Limbaugh against her, last night Stephen Colbert proudly pronounced that "Sarah Palin is a f--king retard."

After mocking Palin's speech at the Tea Party Convention (taking the obligatory jabs at the notes on her hand) Colbert moved on to Palin's reaction to Rahm Emanuel's use of the word "retard." Palin not only called for his Emanuel's firing, but also defended Rush Limbaugh's use of the word, deeming it acceptable because it was satire.

After playing the clip of Limbaugh's "subtle" satire, Colbert jumped on the opportunity that his own satirical show presented. An opportunity to call Palin a "f--king retard." Colbert added that her reasoning also explained the note on her other hand: "Retard = sometimes funny."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sarah Palin Uses a Hand-O-Prompter
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations

Check out some of your old"haunts." [via Vicki Hake]

This is really amazing....

When you enter an address you will see a picture of that place. There's a little map with a little man on it - you can move the little man up and down the block if you need to. I just looked at my childhood home! Really nice website!

Be sure and view the other “Views”, i.e.. Satellite, Surface etc.



January 31 - April 28, 2010, at American Jewish University, Platt and Borstein Galleries, West Los Angeles by Kathy Zimmerer

Kathryn Jacobi’s finely wrought images sum up the passion of “Body and Soul,” an exhibition of three strong figurative painters that also includes Margaret Lazzari and Galya Pillin Tarmu. All the artists are classically trained in the figure but bring their own unique style and vision to the equation. It is fascinating to see how they approach the emotive and physical traits of their portraits and figurative narratives. Strong modeling, the rich use of color and a vibrant psychological core are on display in all of the work, for a small university gallery it is an inspiring choice of artists and a coup to exhibit these three together.

Jacobi's figures are beautifully modeled and reflect her own surreal view of eerie reflection and isolation, while her figures appear to be monumental and fill up the frame in both intensity and image. Her portraits convey the impression of immense personality and spirit. Set in a drab, monochromatic room, Jacobi’s male protagonist in the painting “Powell River Tim” offers up a volumetric loaf of bread that is a still life in itself, in such a completely symmetrical composition
that he becomes an icon radiating good will. The delicate coloration of his clothes and the background is a rich study in grey and tan. His face and the folds of his sweatshirt glow with light. The peace that is so implicit in the first portrait is shattered in the second. The same young man holds his hands over his eyes in grief. It is the same setting as the first portrait, and just as delicately rendered in shifting bands of bronze; the young man is frozen in a profile of despair. Jacobi’s skillful use of light and shadow adds to the drama. Her stylized figures contain a potent emotional catalyst that never ends; even her portraits of babies have a haunted look that is uncanny and unsettling to the viewer.

Lazzari's voluptuous Rubens-like nudes seem a long way from her more ethereal figures that appear to float in a dreamlike state, but still have have an underlying monumentality that characterizes much of her figurative work. “Above and Below” demonstrates the trance-like atmosphere; two girls float in a seemingly infinite space, perhaps as part of a dream. Their hair and arms drift along as part of the rhythmic movement and dance of the painting. They function as harbingers of a world in limbo. Her use of color is luminous and fits the ethereal scene; touches of blue are accented by a deep pink of the bathing suit and a shimmering pearl white. Lazzari’s sketchy but robust female figure looks up at a whirlwind of flowers and leaves that is either going to subsume her or surround her in the mixed media painting “Maelstrom.” The color is delicate and joyous, with magenta and green flowing together against a deep gold ground.

Katherine Jacobi, “Tim Covering Eyes,” 2009, oil on canvas.

Katherine Jacobi, “Tim Holding
Bread,” 2009, oil on canvas.


You've only got one brain, so the last thing you need is a buildup of beta-amyloid.

In Alzheimer's disease (AD), beta-amyloid protein creates plaque that weakens nerve cell function in the brain.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take that may reduce risk of amyloid buildup...

Exercise daily
Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake
Increase vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid intake (these vitamins reduce homocysteine, which has been linked to amyloid formation)
Use supplementary curcumin (antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties are believed to break up amyloid)
Increase intake of EGCG (a green tea flavonoid)
New studies offer two additional ways amyloid buildup might be avoided.

One of them...well, let's call it a long shot. A long shot at best. But the other is more realistic, so we'll start there.

In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Framingham Heart Study researchers report on leptin – a hormone that's believed to remove amyloid and help keep synapses flexible.

Blood levels of leptin were measured in 785 Framingham subjects with an average age of 79. Eight years later, higher leptin levels were clearly linked to lower risk of dementia and AD. MRI images also linked low leptin levels to reduced brain volume – a typical Alzheimer's trait.

As I've mentioned before, leptin levels tend to be higher in people who regularly get enough sleep. High fructose corn syrup intake has also been linked to lower leptin.

Now for the long shot...

Here's the Reuters Health headline that caught my eye: "Could a Cell Phone Protect You from Alzheimer's?"

Sound loopy? Maybe just loopy enough to work.

First step: Genetically alter mice to develop AD. Step two: Conduct tests to confirm memory loss in the AD mice. Step three: Expose the mice to electromagnetic waves equal to the amount you and I would be exposed to if we used a cell phone two hours each day for seven to nine months. Step three: Retest memory.

University of South Florida researchers actually expected AD to become more pronounced in the exposed mice. Instead, the AD mice exposed to electromagnetic waves scored just as well on memory tests as older mice without AD.

In fact, according to a press release from the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, when exposure was started in some of the AD mice when they were young (before memory impairment was evident), cognitive function appeared to be PROTECTED as they aged.

And even more impressive: Exposure to electromagnetic waves actually erased brain deposits of beta-amyloid.

The South Florida researchers plan to test the technique in humans. And while it's too early to encourage AD patients to chat like teens on cell phones, the prospect of an inexpensive, non-drug treatment for AD is pretty intriguing.


"Association of Plasma Leptin Levels With Incident Alzheimer Disease and MRI Measures of Brain Aging" Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 301, No. 23, 12/16/09, jama.ama-assn.org
"Could a Cell Phone Protect You from Alzheimer's?" JoAnne Allen, Reuters Health, 1/7/10, reutershealth.com
"Cell Phone Exposure May Protect Against and Reverse Alzheimer's Disease" Journal of Alzheimer's Disease press release, 1/6/10, j-alz.com

2010 Neologism Contest Winners [via David Angsten]

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n..), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.


Great Crevase painted by Edgar Mueller.

Hard work: Together with up to five assistants,
Mueller painted all day long from sunrise to sunset. The picture appeared on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire,Ireland, as part of the town's Festival of World Cultures

He spent five days, working 12 hours a day, to create the 250 square metre image of the crevasse,

which, viewed from the correct angle, appears to be 3D. He then persuaded passers-by to complete

the illusion by pretending the gaping hole was real.'I wanted to play with positives and negatives to encourage people to think twice about everything they see,' he said. 'It was a very scary scene, but when people saw it they had great fun playing on it and pretending to fall into the earth. 'I like to think that later, when they returned home, they might reflect more on what a frightening scenario it was and say, "Wow, that was actually pretty scary"..'

Mueller, who has previously painted a giant waterfall in Canada, said he was inspired by the British 'Pavement Picasso' Julian Beever, whose dramatic but more gentle 3D street images have featured in the Daily Mail.

JUBILANT NEW ORLEANS [via Dana Holyfield]

Where floodwaters once stood, a tide of emotion rises in New Orleans

By Sally Jenkins

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, January 25, 2010


It was a contact drunk. You didn't have to swallow a drop for this NFC championship game to make you feel totally inebriated, like you'd been swilling the cheap well whiskey of Bourbon Street all night. When the action finally ceased, after nearly four hours, the wrenching swings and lead changes, dramatic spirals and swoons left you staggering amid the great geysers of horn music and confetti. The New Orleans Saints, dragging a whole metropolis on their backs, had advanced to the Super Bowl, but only in overtime after one man, Brett Favre, tried to take down the entire city.

The Superdome crowd of 71,276 was incoherent with madness; it was the loudest noise ever, a hurricane in your head. But when you thought it couldn't get any louder, it went up another notch, into a great shrill stratosphere as Garrett Hartley stepped up to a 40-yard field goal with 10 minutes 15 seconds left in overtime. Behind the uprights was a

large fleur-de-lis emblazoned on an upper deck of the Superdome, that storm-ravaged facility. Saints Coach Sean Payton told Hartley, "Why don't you just hit that fleur-de-lis dead center?" Hartley did exactly that, sailed the ball through the uprights toward that ornate emblem of a team and a city, to give them the 31-28 victory over the Minnesota Vikings and the greatest moment in franchise history.

Make no mistake: They won for love of their city. They won for all the neighborhoods where the benighted old mansions now peel and sag, like old ladies who have misapplied their makeup. For all the buskers and panhandlers and street dancers, working under shabby, old oaks and palms. They won for the poor, flooded districts where the horns lament on street corners, Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans, I miss it both night and day.

Had a town ever craved a victory more than New Orleans? All across the city, people who had lost everything needed so desperately to win something. Even the cops on street corners chanted, "WHO DAT?" The local paper, the Times-Picayune, threw away all dispassion and ran a banner headline Sunday morning: "Our Team. Our Town. Our Time." One Saints fan outside the Superdome even stamped a fleur-de-lis on the side of his great Dane. Party wagons with Klaxons barreled down the boulevards, imbibers hanging from the windows.

"Four years ago there were holes in this roof," Payton said. "The fans in this region and this city deserve this."

This time, the wreckage on the field and in the streets was sweet, beads and feathers and streamers, as opposed to the flotsam and detritus of the flood. The references were inescapable, and the Saints didn't shy from them. All season, they had announced they were playing for something much larger than themselves. "It's a calling," quarterback Drew Brees said. After all, their home stadium had been the last refuge in the city for 30,000 residents during Hurricane Katrina, and an earthly version of hell during the storm-flood afterwards, strewn with debris and with breaches in the roof. The damage was so heavy, and so emblematic of New Orleans's sense of trauma and abandonment, that city officials nearly decided to tear it down.

Instead it underwent a $200 million renovation, and when the Saints returned to it in 2006, they did so with a new head coach in Payton, and a quarterback the rest of the league had given up on in the sore-shouldered Brees. The renovated dome was a charmless edifice, all gray cinder block, but it was filled with the ghosts of Katrina, and

the men who played inside the building never once flinched from the responsibility of that. On the contrary, they took specific, enormous pride in it. "Ninety percent of people who come up to me on the street don't say, 'Great game,' " Brees said back in 2006, when he first got to town. "They say, 'Thank you for being part of the city.' "

Brees and Payton became the guys who came to New Orleans when no one else would. They arrived when the city was still destroyed and there was still junk in the streets. When Payton moved to the city, it was nearly empty, and the franchise was so lacking in facilities it had to hold training camp in Jackson, Miss. "There was a lot of traffic going the other direction, not much going in," Payton recalled. Businesses were so shuttered that at one point, he had to stand in line for two hours at a Walgreen's drug store to get an antibiotic for his daughter, and could only get half the prescription filled. "In other words, it was different," he said. "It was hard to explain if you weren't here."

Brees was looking for a new team after the San Diego Chargers had no use for him. He committed to a city still partly underwater. "There were still boats in living rooms and trucks flipped upside down on top of houses," he said earlier this week. "Some houses just off the foundation and totally gone. You just say, 'Man, what happened here? It looks like a nuclear bomb went off.' For me, I looked at that as an opportunity. An opportunity to be part of the rebuilding process. How many people get that opportunity in their life to be a part of something like that?"

One of these days, football will just be football again in New Orleans, but on this night, it was much more. Everything seemed to have outsize meaning, from the stakes to the noise. Then, as if the game needed anything more, the 40-year-old Favre delivered a living-legend performance. Time and again, Favre choked off the crowd and the momentum as he directed scoring drives downfield. He struck at the Saints repeatedly,

like a rattlesnake, as he threw for 310 yards with an assortment of lasers and fades while enduring a succession of shuddering blows.

Gimpy and grizzled, he just kept slinging it downfield. In the final minute of regulation he threatened to bring the entire building down as he drove the Vikings once more, this time to the Saints 38. Finally, with 19 seconds left in regulation, Favre made a fatal mistake. Facing third down and 15 yards to go, he rolled right, then whirled and threw back to his left toward Sidney Rice -- but right into the hands of cornerback Tracy Porter. That effectively sent the game into overtime.

After all that, it came down to a coin toss. That was the break the Saints needed to close the deal. Favre would never return to the field; overtime belonged to the Saints, who won the toss, then got a blazing 40-yard kick return from Pierre Thomas. From there, the Saints inched their way into field goal position. Hartley took aim at that fleur-de-lis and sent the ball up, and the sound came down from the upper reaches of the Superdome like a landslide.

"It's surreal," Brees said. "Coming here four years ago, post-Katrina. .. . It's unbelievable, it's unbelievable. You can draw so many parallels between our team and our city. In reality we've had to lean on each other in order to survive. The city is on its way to recovery. We've used the strength and resilience of our fans to go out and play with confidence on Sundays. It's been one step at a time, and we've had to play through plenty of adversity. Just like this town has."

Five (5) lessons about the way we treat people

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor

Gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student

And had breezed through the questions until I read

The last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the

Cleaning woman several times. She was tall,

Dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question

Blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if

The last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely, " said the professor. "In your careers,

You will meet many people. All are significant. They

Deserve your attention and care, even if all you do

Is smile and say "hello.."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her

Name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American

Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway

Trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had

Broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally

Unheard of in those conflict-filled 19 60's.. The man

Took her to safety, helped her get assistance and

Put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his

Address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a

Knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a

Giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A

Special note was attached.

It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway

The other night. The rain drenched not only my

Clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.

Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying

Husband's' bedside just before he passed away... God

Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving



Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those

Who serve..

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,

A 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and

Sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in

Front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and

Studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the

Waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put t he bill on

The table and walked away The boy finished the ice

Cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress

Came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the

Table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,

Were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had

To have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a

Roadway.. Then he hid himself and watched to see if

Anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the

King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by

And simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the

King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did

Anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of

Vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the

peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the

stone to the side of the road. After much pushing

and straining, he finally succeeded. After the

peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed

a purse lying in the road where the boulder had

been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note

from the King indicating that the gold was for the

person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The

peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve

our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a

hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who

was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only

chance of recovery appeared to be a blood

transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had

miraculously survived the same disease and had

developed the antibodies needed to combat the

illness. The doctor explained the situation to her

little brother, and asked the little boy if he would

be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a

deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save

her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed

next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing

the color returning to her cheek. Then his face

grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a

trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the

doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his

sister all of his blood in order to save her.


Another inductee to the American Chocolate Hall of Fame!

Amano - Grinding, lead photo

Truth be told: I moved to Napa Valley to be a Napa-centric writer, to comment on America’s best food and wines and to make wine here, too.

But as Chocolate is another passion, I make time to hunt down America’s best chocolate-makers to celebrate their talents.

I have highlighted on this site, for example, the talents – and chocolates – of Shawn Askinosie, from Springfield, MO, who was my first-ever, draft-pick inductee to my virtual American Chocolate Hall of Fame. Boy, can this guy make chocolate!

Last week, while attending the annual San Francisco Fancy Food Show, which attracts hundreds of gourmet food, beverage, snack, and chocolate manufacturers, I found my inductee for 2010.

The chocolate, which took me by surprise, is a brand of which I’ve never heard – Amano. It is produced in Orem, Utah, by Art Pollard, a highly motivated, passionate, chocolate geek who founded the chocolate works in 1996.

Amano - collection at 1500 DPI

I came away from my trade show exposure to Art’s line of premium, single-origin, artisanal chocolates with my heart pounding, convinced that Amano ranks among the best chocolates made in America.

There is a striking similarity in packaging, design and even in the Amano name to one of Italy’s very best chocolates – Amadei. But from my brief tasting at the trade show, and a subsequent follow-up tasting, I’d have to say that Art Pollard has surpassed what may have been his Italian inspiration.

Amano is made from single-origin cacao beans, which come from many different sources and which are kept segregated from other regional beans. Sort of like what we often do in wine-country—keep the grapes from a single vineyard separate from those grown in other vineyards.

Tasting through the Amano’s different “tablets,” my palate was in paradise. (I refuse to call Amano’s gourmet chocolate “bars,” because this suggests that they are in the league of a Hershey Bar, in terms of price and quality. By contrast, Amano chocolate “bars” are more like the chocolate “tablets,” which is what sophisticated gourmets call them in Europe.)

Amano - Clark Goble & Art Pollard

Amano business partners Clark Goble & company founder, Art Pollard

Industry scuttlebutt

Among artisanal chocolate makers, there has been a minor controversy about Pollard's occasional use of the term "bean-to-bar," to describe his process. The term, created by Scharffen Berger, implies that the chocolate-maker conducts seven essential chocolate-making steps in-house.

“We buy single-origin cacao beans and bring them to Orem, where we sort, roast, winnow, grind, refine and conch the chocolate,” explains Pollard.

“Until now, we have moved the liquid mass to a friend’s facility where we pour it into molds and package it. We are purchasing the molding line so the term 'bean-to-bar' can legitimately be applied to our operation," says Pollard.

Then, he adds: "I've never been a big fan of catch-phrases, though, especially marketing ones. We don't use catch-phrases to describe Amano, even when they can legitimately be applied. I want our chocolate to stand on its own -- for its flavor, rather than some industry catch-phrase."

Speaking of the industry

On the Amano web site, Art Pollard comments about chocolatier Michel Cluizel, whose tablets are available in many premium gourmet retail stores.

“I have always enjoyed Michel Cluizel [chocolate],” Pollard says. “They have always produced a very exceptional chocolate…”

“Cluizel for me represents a company that has been able to grow and yet remain true to its roots.”

While this may be true, I have just tasted a sampler of every single, single-origin chocolate made by Amano and can report to napaman readers that Amano is equal, or superior, to, any chocolate, which Michel Cluizel makes.

Amano - Art Pollard

Amano founder Art Pollard stands beside his “melangeur,” built in Germany about 80 years ago.

Pollard continues: “We have used organic beans for some of our chocolate, but our primary focus is on flavor, so to some degree, we consider [organic] a side issue. It is not that sustainable farming practices are not important— they are. It must be understood [however] that the term ‘organic‘ has been, to some degree, hijacked by the US Government, and it now means what the government wants it to mean.”

“For example, if a farm has a sustainability program in place and fulfills all the requirements of being “organic” but has not paid to have a government-approved inspector give the US Government’s stamp of approval, it is not considered “organic,” even though, for all practical purposes, it is.”

Pollard goes on: “It is our experience that most cocoa that has been certified ‘organic’ simply does not have the quality we demand, and while sustainability is important to us, labels are not.”

Right on, Art! And the proof is in the tasting. I tried eight different single-origin tablets, which I requested from Clark Goble (that’s Goble, not Gable!), Art’s business partner. Here are my tasting notes:

Amano - Ocumare

Ocumare 70% Dark, made from handpicked, criollo cacao beans, harvested in a remote valley in Venezuela. Definitely my favorite Amano chocolate.

Ocumare is more complex than a Dan Brown novel, which may not be such a high hurdle to jump, when you think about it, but each bite lingers infinitely longer in your mind than anything Brown has written.

Occumare has a smoky scent on the nose and a complex flavor release, suggestive of oak barrels, Asian spices and forest floor.

This is to chocolate in richness of depth and color what Guinness is to beer. In a league of its own. 96 points.

Amano - Montanya

Montanya 70% Dark comes from a high plateau in the mountains of Venezuela. The altitude and lower nighttime temperatures create a chocolate with unique flavors. I love the aroma, which is released when you peel back the gold foil; the flavor and texture of this tablet are no less memorable.

On the initial melt on the tongue, there are hints of vanilla and exotic woods like mahogany and ebony; the flavors are accompanied by a voluptuous mouthfeel. This is Chocolate Nirvana. 94 points.

Amano - Jembrana

Jembrana 70% Dark, whose cacao beans come from the Indonesian island of Bali, is different from other Amano chocolates. This chocolate starts without the smoke, earth, or grit, of the other Amano offerings. Instead, this tablet has a lovely, lyrical chocolate-y-ness that ends with light acidity. It’s almost a refreshing chocolate. Think of it as a chocolate-pick-me-up when your palate is fatigued from eating too much chocolate!

92 points.

Amano - Guayas

Guayas 70% Dark is another of my favorite Amano chocolates, made from nacional cacao beans from the fertile Guayas River floodplain in Ecuador. Lots of smoke, green banana and a hint of berry at the finish. This is what I would eat in a darkened cinema, if I were watching any of the four Indiana Jones flicks because this chocolate has the same kind of foreign intrigue, hints of daredevil effort and – better yet! – daredevil achievement! 91 points.

Amano - Dos Rios

Dos Rios 70% Dark is made from cacao beans harvested in the Dominican Republic. On the initial melt, there is a hit of grit texturally, followed by the slow release of smoky, almost BBQ-like, flavors, which mature in the middle palate.

One of the most individual, almost bohemian, flavor profiles of all the chocolates in the Amano line. 92 points.

Amano - Madagascar

Madagascar 70% Dark, made from cacao beans from – duh – Madagascar. This chocolate has a very noticeable reddish tint; upon melting, the flavors released include those of volcanic, red, iron-y soils, there’s a hint of slightly under-ripe red berries and a few waves of youthful wine tannin. The chocolate ends with a plum-like finish.

89 points.

Amano - Jembrana Milk

Jembrana Milk 30% Milk Chocolate is produced from cacao beans, which grow in the shadows of ancient volcanoes on the island of Bali. These are the same beans used to produce the 70% dark chocolate Jembrana tablet, but here, milk and sugar are added to bring the tablet down to the LCCD– the Least Common Chocolate Denominator, AKA milk chocolate. 91 points.

Amano - Ocumare Milk

Ocumare 30% Milk Chocolate is made from the same beans used to produce dark Ocumare chocolate, but they’re lightened with milk and sugar. I personally find this milk chocolate offering too sweet for my taste, but in a world of mediocre milk chocolates, this one stands out as pretty good. 90 points.

The proof that Amano has “finally made it to Prime Time” is the fact that two different Amano “tablets” have just been introduced in Starbucks – Madagascar Dark and Ocumare Milk. You’ll find these in nearly half the Starbucks locations in the country, some 5,000 outlets.

You can read about Amano’s artisan chocolates, the corporate philosophy, and regale yourself with information about the whole line of single-origin cacao beans on the Amano website; you can even buy Amano chocolate at www.amanochocolate.com.

So now that we have Askinosie and Amano in my American Chocolate Hall of Fame… anyone else you’d like to nominate, or bring to napaman’s attention?

An Old Farmer's Advice

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong. *

*Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.*

*Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.*

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.*

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.*

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.*

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.*

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.*

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.*

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.*

* Every path has a few puddles.*

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.*

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.*

* Don 't judge folks by their relatives.*

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.*

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.*

* Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.*

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.*

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.*

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.*

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.*

* Always drink upstream from the herd.*

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.*

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.*

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.*

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.*

*Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.*

Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.


"Top Publishing and Marketing Experts Reveal Tools and Techniques to Get Your Book Published and Double or Triple Your Income as an Author or Publisher."

Author101 University
March 5-6 in Los Angeles

Don't miss the special Bonus session with Tom Antion on Thursday night at 7:00 pm. The Insiders special early bird session is FREE to all attendees!

Space is limited and this event will sell out. Register early to insure your attendance! We've reserved a block of rooms at the hotel for attendees at only $109 per night.

Mark Victor Hansen
Mega-Best Selling Author
Rick Frishman
Public Relations Expert and Best Selling Author
Ken Atchity
Literary Agent
Tom Antion
Internet Marketing Expert
Craig Duswalt
RockStar Speaker and Author
Barbara DeAngelis
Best Selling Author,Award Winning Speaker
David Hancock
Morgan James Publishing
Author and Speaker
Armand Morin
Internet Marketing Industry Expert
Brendon Burchard
Best Selling Author, Speaker and Coach
Loral Langemeier
Best Selling Author and a Leading Motivational Speaker
Steve Harrison
Publicity Expert
Kristen Moeller
Coach, Author, Speaker and Radio Show Host
Jill Lublin
Best-selling Author
Influence Marketing Expert
Bruce Barbour
Literary Agent & Publishing Consultant
Alex Caroll
Best Selling Author, Radio Interview Expert
Ann Evanston
Social Media Expert
Gary Spirer
Business Building Expert
Jeremy Katz
Best Selling Author,Coach, Agent and Editor

Are you curious about what publishers like Harper Collins, Morgan James, Adams Media, Wiley, Random House, and Simon & Schuster are looking for? What is the best way to get your manuscript read when you're an unpublished author? Want to know the biggest mistakes to avoid when writing book proposals? You'll be engaged as these top pros share their expertise, reveal the inner workings of the publishing industry, and discuss various approaches to common marketing and publishing challenges.

Additional bonus after hours cocktail party where you'll have the opportunity to network with speakers from the day, industry experts and other attendees.



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Some of the key topics that will be covered include:

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How to create "hooks" for yourself and your business that will make you virtually irresistible to every media outlet and make coverage for yourself a virtual certainty.

How to get rich and become famous by being a guest on radio show without spending a dime on advertising.

How to create promotional materials (media kits, etc.) that will have the media running to you for your opinion every time a story in your area pops up

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How to make any book you write or publish an Amazon best-seller with a system that has been PROVEN to work.

If you'd like to learn the secrets of getting your book published or how to turn your book or publishing business into a money machine, this course is for you.