justin's blog

Good News on the Beer Front

Pop the Cap has been lobbying since at least last summer's World Beer Festival in Durham (which I highly recommend) to remove the 6% alcohol cap on all malt beverages produced in or imported to the state of North Carolina.

Currently only 5 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina) have this limitation, and removing it, as the argument goes, shouldn't contribute to underage or binge drinking due to the expense and rarified taste of these beers. Several establishments in Orange County stand to benefit, including Tyler's Taproom, Carolina Brewery, and Top of the Hill as well other "progressive" bars, breweries and restaurants with a hankering for Scottish Ales, German Bocks, Russian Imperial Stouts, and Barleywines.

The Grocery Shopping Project: Whole Foods or Whole Paycheck?

In January I wrote about my first experience shopping at Weaver Street Market for my major grocery needs. I've been an owner for several years, but primarily limited my purchases to single meals at the cafe, doing the majority of my shopping at the neighboring Harris Teeter.

I thought I'd follow that up by shopping at the Whole Foods in Chapel Hill. Not as convenient to me in Carrboro as the Harris Teeter or Weaver Street, but after having a friend laughingly call it "Whole Paycheck," I decided to put my paycheck on the line and see how it compares.

This experiment was never intended to be rigorously scientific, but I did bring my standard grocery list of cold cuts, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, granola bars, mixed nuts, crackers, chips, bread, milk, juice, eggs, morningstar products, and room for anything else that might catch my eye. Since I go out to eat (and drink) fairly frequently, I tend to avoid purchasing some pricer individual items like beer, wine, and meat.

West Rosemary Developments

Every morning I ride my bike through downtown Carrboro along Main Street and West Rosemary until I get to work just before the intersection at Church Street. This particular stretch of road contains some strange juxtapositions of land use (and value, I assume) as well as a number of significant construction projects.

As previously posted in Too much coffee?, Carrboro is getting a coffee shop on the corner of Rosemary and Main which is currently undergoing renovation and sidewalk repair. The Herald reported in January that it will be called "Padgett Station Coffee, Tea, Treats" owned and operated by a couple from California. With the wonderful Carrburritos next door, as well as a tattoo parlor and art gallery nearby, this "lower east side" of Carrboro may soon rival Weaver Street Market in hipness.

Local Third Places Win Awards

Two local coffee shops in Carrboro and Chapel Hill have won national TOPS awards from the Specialty Coffee Association of America, based "not only serv[ing] excellent coffee, but also distinguish[ing] themselves as outstanding businesses." Both the Open Eye Café and Caffé Driade are co-owned by Carrboro resident Scott Conary and have been a part of the community for 6 and 9 years respectively.

“For us, quality comes first whether it is the product, the environment or the service,” Conary said. “We are passionate about what we do.”

Although both cafes focus on providing the same quality to customers, each has its own distinct environment.

A laid-back and comfortable space that has been a part of the town for six years, Open Eye Café is sometimes referred to by locals as “the living room of Carrboro.”

Conary, a Carrboro resident, said the cafe reflects his desire to create a coffee shop that reflects the quaintness of the town and the community's closeness.

Paul Jones in the N&O

Paul Jones, a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, a guest poster and frequent commentor on OrangePolitics, and also a "polymath" (who knew?) is interviewed by John Murawski of the News & Observer on the implications of IBM's recent decision to release 500 software patents to the public.

Q:IBM this week gave open-source users access to 500 software patents. Why is this significant?

A:It removes the fear of ever being sued for violating those over-broad patents.

If nothing else, they remove barriers that keep individuals and groups from being more creative and productive.

In the larger scheme, it signals that some things are wrong with the copyright-and-patent system. Recent developments in the past, say, 25 years have gone in the direction that is counter to creativity and production.

One of the open things about open source and sharing communities is that they are greater than local. They allow people to be creative across time, space and culture.



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