A look inside a self-serve cappuccino machine

You know those self-serve “cappuccino” machines that vend all different kinds of flavored coffees? The ones that look like this…


I saw one that was left open yesterday. While I wasn’t expecting a barista on duty, I wasn’t expecting to see this either…


It’s all powdered mix.

The powdered mix is apparently measured out and sprinkled over a hot water tube and, at least at this location, dispensed through never-cleaned spigots.


Oh, and that spinning whirring noise when you press the button before the “coffee” flows? It’s not a coffee bean grinder revving up – it is just a special effect to sell the product.

I don’t know why I had assumed there were actual coffee beans somewhere in those devices. From now on, I’m sticking to the real stuff.

How to import a .CSV address export file into Network Solutions webmail

To import a .CSV file successfully into Network Solution’s webmail client, you need to key in some very particular field names on the top row of the .CSV file before importing.

The field names are…

  • Given name : First Name
  • Sur name : Last Name
  • Street home : Address
  • Email 1 : Email
  • Telephone home 1 : Phone

The words don’t have to be in bold or larger than the regular .CSV text, but they do have to be spelled and spaced in the exact same manner as the examples above. From there, you can go to the CONFIGURATION icon in Network Solutions webmail, and then choose the IMPORT .CSV option to pull your exported addresses into the Network Solutions webmail client.

Leave it to Network Solutions to mandate some archaic field names to import a .CSV file and not have a basic import-field-mapper in place to make life easier.

A sneak peek at the new Health Insurance Benefits and Coverage forms

The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services is giving a sneak peek today on how the new Health Insurance Benefits and Coverage forms are going to look.

As part of the new healthcare ruling, all paperwork pertaining to insurance plans were re-designed with a new format. According to the new law, “private insurers are now required to provide you with a Summary of Benefits and Coverage — a simple explanation of what a policy covers, written in plain language.”

Here’s the link to a pre-filled out form of the Summary and Benefits Coverage that everyone will be seeing fairly soon, regardless of what insurance company you are with. [NOTE : PDF download link]

If you’re in the healthcare field, there’s even a blank template available for you to preview to roll into your company’s forms database. [NOTE : PDF download link]

A standard form is going to go a loooong way in comparing insurance policy benefits on a direct paper-next-to-paper basis. After looking at the 6-8 page form, why something like this “nutrition label” format wasn’t mandated earlier is beyond me.

News stories the mainstream media missed : 09/22/12

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* Did you hear a giant collective “AAAAAAAAAAA!” from the Haaaaaarvard crowd this last week? It might have been because of a front page story in Bloomberg that said Haaaaaarvard graduates are now “earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology”! The starting pay for a graduate of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is $56,700, but the starting graduation-job pay for Haaaaaarvard graduates was $54,100. Considering Haaaaaarvard is four times more expensive than the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, I think this is a pretty big win (and a great sign) for blue collar workers! Story at [BLOOMBERG]

* Crack open the AH-DERRRR file. Those itty bitty economy cars, despite their super dooper cuteness, don’t take a hit too well! A recent insurance industry study shows that itty bitty cars cause serious “personal injury” to their occupants “28.5 times for every 1,000”. That’s one serious personal injury for every 35 accidents! To add insult to injury, the safest car to drive (out of all cars) is a Porche 911, with just “4.5 injury claims for every 1,000“. Somebody better switch those dancing hamsters for crash test dummies! Story at the [DAILY MAIL]

* Did anybody else notice that one of the Muslim protesters who took over a US foreign embassy last week was wearing a “Let It Be” t-shirt? (Dude with the yellow shirt on the left in the photo below.) Let it be? Seriously?! The Beatles “Let It Be”? After torching a foreign embassy, burning the flag, and taking over the roof to fly your own flag? I’m not sure if that t-shirt is intended as biting sarcasm or if it’s just 24-karat solid gold irony in progress. Photo below…

Let it be, you say?

Let it be, you say?


* Billa, a major european supermarket chain with stores “in nine European countries”, are now selling pre-peeled bananas in plastic trays covered in plastic wrap. Apparently, they’re trying to get Captain Planet to just flat out have a heart attack, because I really can’t think of another reason for this. Did someone in Europe complain to Billa upper management that bananas were just too hard to peel? I mean, once you know which end of the banana is “up”, the rest is pretty straightforward, right? Story at [HUFFINGTON POST]

* This next story has my spider sense going all sorts of bonkers. The CDC issued a press release about “Rabies Immune Globulin”, saying “Sanofi Pasteur is currently directing requests for human rabies immune globulin to Grifols/Talecris Biotherapeutics, supplier of HyperRAB” and that “Sanofi Pasteur will be able to fulfill orders for Imogam (human rabies immune globulin) when additional lots are expected to be released by late November”. Sooooo the “usual” provider of human anti-rabies med is OUT of their flagship product and they’re referring everyone to their competition until November until they can catch up and “additional lots” are made available. Right. Soooo my question is WHAT HAPPENED THAT THEY RAN OUT OF HUMAN ANTI-RABIES MEDS?  WHY IS THE CDC MAKING THIS PRESS RELEASE IF IT’S NO BIG DEAL? WHERE IS MY CAPS LOCK… ah, there it is. Maybe it’s nothing, but I got a baaaaad feeling about this. Story at [CDC]

* Since Bill Gates, the former head of Microsoft, has been devoting his time and stupid-amounts of money to charity, not a single citizen in India has contracted polio. Gates also dropped a $750 million dollar bomb of a donation to “fight Aids, malaria and TB” in Africa, and he’s stated that his goal in life is “to see unnecessary deaths drop to zero”. This dude has done more for charity and humanity than anyone else has in this century, but what does this article headline with? How Bill Gates wrote a letter to Steve Jobs. Can I get a “sad trombone” sound, here? Wah-wah-waaaahhhhhh. Story at [TELEGRAPH.CO.UK]

* While everybody is all paranoid out about a computerized military killer like SKYNET coming online, a new “immortal chemist” computer network called “Chematica” has been created, and it is already online and thinking of how to synthesize “drug molecules and other important compounds, combine long (and expensive) syntheses of compounds into shorter and more economical routes and identify suspicious chemical recipes that could lead to chemical weapons” and ways to prevent a “potential terrorist” from making “a nerve gas, an explosive or another toxic agent”. All that, plus its’ main objective to tie all this knowledge into providing “building blocks for nanotechnology”. SKYNET? Pfffft! Five bucks says Chematica takes SKYNET down by the 2nd round. Story at [FORESIGHT]

* Finally, a brilliant video that uses mixing paint colors to explain how computer cryptography works. Highly educational and entertaining at the same time!


That’s all I got this week. Off to find a cigar to light up!


The big difference between cigar.com and cigarsinternational.com [PHOTO]

Saying I have a “thing” for cigars is like saying Cookie Monster has a “slight predisposition” to cookies. I love cigars. Loooove cigars. To paraphrase Will Rogers, I never met a cigar I didn’t like.

Unfortunately, the local specialty “cigar shop” is full of overpriced, mold covered, dried out, busted drek. Literally. Check out these photos…


Local Cigar Shop 01

Local Cigar Shop 01


Local Cigar Shop 02

Local Cigar Shop 02


Blasphemy! Sacrilege! It should be illegal to beat down cigars like this, I tell you.

Since I have no local shop to rely on, I’ve been buying everything online at either at cigar.com or cigarsinternational.com.

I haven’t had any kind of problem whatsoever with either website. Both have outstanding customer service, both have great everyday and sale prices, and both deliver their shipments a day or two earlier than promised. Both have great weekly deals, and between the two of them, I can get just about any cigar I’m craving.

I will always go with cigar.com first, though. No contest.

With absolutely everything else being identical, here’s why cigar.com is the king…


Cigar.Com Shipping

Cigar.Com Shipping


Every shipment from cigar.com, regardless of the cigar’s retail price, has a HumiCare pillow in every thick-walled heavy-duty ziploc.

A HumiCare pillow is like a mini-humidifier. It has hundreds of little beads inside that absorb distilled water and regulate the humidity in small enclosures for a brief time. You can reuse those little pouches as many times as you want by just opening the HumiCare pouch, dipping the inner “pillow” in distilled water for a few seconds, letting any extra water drip off, and putting it back inside the HumiCare pouch again and again and again.

A little portable pouch is no replacement for a real humidor, but when I open that outer ziploc from a new cigar.com shipment, the cigars smell fresh with a capital F. The temptation to not smoke one right there and then? Almost impossible to deny.

All because of that little well saturated HumiCare pillow.

Cigarsinternational.com shipping?


CigarsInternational.Com Shipping

CigarsInternational.Com Shipping


A wafer thin plastic baggie with no HumiCare or humidification packet at all.

If UPS or FedEx delivers a cigarsinternational.com shipment at the end of a typical south Texas summer day, I usually smell cardboard packaging looooong before I smell the cigars. Sometimes the ziplocs pop open inside the UPS box, too, and I find loose cigars all over the shipping box.

Don’t get me wrong. The quality of the cigars from both companies are outstanding. Give a Liga, Ave Maria or a Cohiba from either company after a weeklong dip in my humidor, and I couldn’t tell you which one came from where.

Can cigar.com save some time and money by not including a “prepped” HumiCare packet with every shipment? Definitely. But knowing my cigars, regardless of price range, will always arrive fresh and in good condition? That’s worth the “first view” when I go shopping every single time.

Suddenly I have a craving for a cigar…

Monday Morning Music : 09/17/12 **

Every Monday I like to post some music to start the week off on the right foot. (**Unless it’s one of those kind of Mondays that jumps you from behind, flings everything it can find from the local zoo’s dumpster at you, and leaves you stranded at 4 PM wondering what the heck happened to the whole day.)

This week…

The Gaslight Anthem – “45”

Alabama Shakes – Hold On

… and finally

Delta Rae – Morning Comes