Tag Archives: Starbucks

I Just Don’t Give a Care!

Photo from a Foxnews.com story

Believe it or not, the drama has already returned. 

Starbucks didn’t put “Christmas” on their coffee cups.

Folks, I’m going to make this short and sweet (even though I like my coffee tall and black), I couldn’t care less what Starbucks does with their coffee cups.

There are a ton of other coffee shops (I went to 14 in Charleston, remember), and most of those had NOTHING on their cups. If anything, their cups were either ceramic or paper with their own logo on the side.

Heck, I’d rather go to McDonald’s for coffee! Their coffee is better than Starbucks’, and I can get 2 cups for the price of one! And McDonald’s cups keep coffee warmer longer, too.

Look, Starbucks is not a Christian company. It’s not even a Christian-friendly company. If anything, it’s blatantly liberal and apologetically so. Why would anyone expect them to promote Christmas?

This is one hill I don’t want to die on.

For that matter, you can have that hill; I’m going to the double arches. 


Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Food

“I Love You, Mr. Baker”

Cold Mornings

I don’t care how long I live, I’ll never enjoy getting up and going outside in the dark on a cold, damp winter morning to crank up a cold, diesel-powered school bus. There is literally nothing pleasant about it, from the pre-trip inspections in the dark to the unwelcome loud noises and alarms that accompany starting up the engine; it’s like a Monday morning every morning.

Furthermore, cold mornings are worse when you have a cold – like when everything aches, your head hurts, you have no energy, and a box of Kleenex is your friend. This morning was one of those mornings, but at least I only used two tissues.

Coffee helps.

Back Story

My morning started off cold, dark and depressing, but it did get better. However, before I get to the happy part, I have to give you the back story.

This year a little girl named Helen started riding my bus. From the very first day I noticed that she was very shy, very quiet, and non-emotional. I would say, “Good morning,” but she would never respond, only look at me and pass by.

Little Helen, just a first-grader, I believe, always wore the same clothes, at least for the first few weeks. At one point I began to wonder if the little blue uniform dress she always wore was all the clothes she had. Then one day she walked out of her house and stepped onto the bus wearing a bright, covered in flowers, happy yellow dress. I had to comment.

“Wow! That’s a beautiful dress you have on today!” I exclaimed. Then the little girl stopped, looked me in the eye, smiled, and went on to her seat. She didn’t say “thank you,” or anything, but she smiled, so that was progress. But now, guess who always says “Good morning, Mr. Baker” “Have a great day, Mr. Baker,” and “Bye-bye, Mr. Baker”?

Guess who drew me a picture of a flower?

The Morning Got Warmer

Well, this morning, still feeling sick and a little bit discouraged (did you read yesterday’s post?), I came to little Helen’s house. Like normal, she ran out her door as if she knew in advance I was coming down the street, even though I’ve never figured out how she can tell, since there are no windows facing the direction from which I arrive. On one arm she carried her book bag, while in the other hand she carried a plastic bag a fourth her size.

Even Bobble-head Phil was shocked!

Even Bobble-head Phil was shocked!

Helen climbed the stairs into the bus, handed me the bag, then said, “Merry Christmas, Mr. Baker…This is for you. It’s all for you.” Shocked, I said, “Well thank you! I appreciate that!” Then she reached across and put her arm around me and said, “I love you, Mr. Baker.”

“I love you, too.”

Sometimes when we feel discouraged, God let’s us know that we really are making a difference. It’s not such a cold day, anymore.


Filed under Uncategorized

Anthony’s Appetite Gone Berzerk

All at Once

I have so much to do this week, it isn’t even funny. I am SOOO far behind in my seminary work, it will be a seminary miracle if I get it all done in time (and get a decent grade). Therefore, this will be the last post I publish this week.

So, instead of making a “Monday Monkey,” I am switching things up a bit and doing an expanded “Anthony’s Appetite.” Yep, in this post I am going to tell you about a bunch of stuff I have consumed. Then I can delete the pictures off my phone.

But Wait!

I don’t have to do it all in one, long post, do I? I could spread the culinary joy out over several posts and schedule them to post without me being here! Cool!

Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

Start With Coffee

Let’s start with a great place to have coffee and the coffee that they serve.

The Stone Cup Roasting Company is a great coffee bar in the North Shore Art district of Chattanooga (i.e., tree hugger land).

Believe it or not, folks, there are better places to have coffee than Starbucks. As a matter of fact, I would rather have a cup of instant coffee than a cup of Starbucks’ regular blend.

The Stone Cup is one of several good coffee places in Chattanooga. And like all the really good places, they roast their own beans, so Stone Cup’s coffee tastes different from other places (especially Starbucks).

French Press

I don’t know if you have ever had coffee made in a French press, but you need to. Here you can see that when I ordered a French press, they actually gave me my own press to watch as the timer crept toward 4 minutes.

Unlike filtered coffee, pressed coffee retains all the oils that otherwise get trapped in the filter. The result is a rich, flavorful beverage that is smooth and intense, but not any “stronger” than regular coffee. It just tastes better.


Now, I have had several espressos at Starbucks and other places. This espresso was just plain wonderful. It was not bitter, but creamy and intoxicating.

And what’s more, the little cups that they serve their espresso in sure beats the little paper cups.

Let’s Visit

If you are ever in Chattanooga and have a few minutes to just sit and sip, call me up. We could go get a cup of joe at the Stone Cup. We could sit inside and look at original art, or go outside on the balcony and talk theology, legalism, or grace.

You can buy, of course.


Filed under Food, Monday Monkey, places

Big Picture. Big Lie.


Just the other day I went shopping with my lovely wife, Valerie. She was in the market for some new makeup, but didn’t want to spend a whole lot. So, instead of purchasing Estée Lauder from the mall, we went to Target to find something less expensive.

For the record, I totally support women wearing makeup, just as long as they are not trying to look like Tammy Faye or Lady Gaga (gag gag). Makeup is meant to enhance the natural beauty of a woman. Anything more is false advertising.

But, as I write this, the thought comes to mind, “Anthony, some people out there don’t believe in women wearing makeup.” For those people all I have to say is, “Homely is in the eye of the beholder.”

Big Picture

Once we entered Target and I purchased my usual cup of coffee from Starbucks (they have those in some stores), we turned to walk toward the health and beauty section. A few seconds later I looked up to see a very large, beautiful woman smiling at my wife and me.

I must have looked a little strange standing there…looking up…staring. But, for some reason the clarity of the photo, the flawless teeth, and the sheer size momentarily captivated me. This wasn’t like the time I was seen 10 inches away from a swimsuit calender hanging in men’s locker room. Then, I was staring at the picture of a girl in a bikini because I was convinced she looked like my sister-in-law (it was her). This time I was just amazed at the craft.

Standing next to my wife, I looked up at the giant female face and said, “You know, there are two truths that are evident with this picture: 1) that must have been an awesome camera, and 2) somebody knew how to use Photoshop.”

Big Lie

Too many men, when they look at such airbrushed perfection, fall prey to the lie that woman actually look like that. Some desire to transform their wives into what they see, or seek a new model. They trade the “fountain of their youth” for a mirage.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Too bad most men never see past the surface. Real beauty comes from within. Perfection only comes from above.

When I looked past the picture of the super-sized super model, there in the isle was a woman who far exceeds anything created in a studio. With or without makeup, her value exceeds that of rubies (Prov. 31:10) and she is worthy to be praised (Prov. 31:30). My wife is a real beauty – the woman in the picture is just cardboard.


Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons, Relationships and Family, self-worth, Uncategorized

Anthony’s Appetite

OK, so here’s something different…..food…..the kind I eat.

Well, I won’t say that it is all that I eat.  What I will say is that over the last week or so I have had a few culinary delights that I would like to share – not literally, of course.

If I had a seperate blog, I might just become a food critic.  That would be fun.  The only problem is that my weight would get completely out of hand, my cholesterol would go through the roof, and my bank account would be depleted.  Being Andrew Zimmer must be fun.

I love coffee. I love coffee.  Did I say I love coffee?  If I had the choice to just sit down and have a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze for a while, it would NOT be at Starbucks.  Why?  Too dang expensive and the only black coffee they ever sell (usually) is Pike’s Peak.  I hate that stuff.  It’s just too bold – and they say it’s medium.  No, for just a good cup of coffee in a relaxed friendly atmostphere, just go to Cracker Barrel.  That’s right, that over-priced, country-style tourist trap that sells pretty good home-cooked-like food.  I love Cracker Barrel.  Their coffee is not intense, but smooth and always predictable.  Besides, you get FREE REFILLS!

Coffee at Cracker Barrel

Now, when it comes to dessert, I have a favorite to which nothing can compare.  I have even driven all the way from Kentucky just to have a slice.  What is it?  It is the closest thing to pie perfection that could ever be created.  It is LEMON ICE BOX PIE from The Country Place Restaurant.  Folks, don’t let anyone fool you, there is no substitute for this to-die-for dessert of the gods.  As a matter of fact, the last pastor’s breakfast for Hamilton County Baptists was held at The Country Place Restaurant.  I did not order bacon and eggs, nor biscuits and gravy, I ordered a cup of coffee (free refills) and LEMON ICE BOX PIE!  I love the creamy, heavy texture, and the graham cracker crumb crust.  The topping is substantial and a perfect complement to the filling which is, I think, loaded with Eagle Brand milk.  Sweet, creamy, and lemony.  You HAVE to have coffee with it.

Lemon Ice Box Pie at The Country Place

If you want to go to some place a little out of the way, but different, why don’t you try Flavors of Italy.  This is a neat little place in Soddy Daisy, Tn.  It is family-owned and the husband, which is the main chef, is literally from Italy (they even go back there every year).  Eating at this little restaurant (www.flavorsofitaly.org) is like eating at their house.  They have menu, but the real menu us the one they bring and place on a stand next to your table – written on a dry-erase board.  Everything is prepared fresh daily.  There are things that are on the menu that you won’t get at Olive Garden or Provino’s.  Valerie and I went there for lunch the other day, and man, what a dessert we had!

Italian Cream Cake at Flavors of Italy

Flavors of Italy has a wonderful Italian Cream cake that literally “takes the cake.”  Drizzled with raspberry sauce and garnished with raspberries and a little sprig of some kind of of flower, the presentation was lovely.  This cake was tall, generous, home-made, well presented and very, very good.  What’s even better, it was only about $5.  Well worth it.  And oh, I would seriously recommend the Italian espresso.  I could have drunk several of those – no bite, smooth, rich, and wonderful without sugar.  It all looked so good I couldn’t wait to eat before I took the picture.

What a Dilly

Of course, you may be thinking that all I eat is desserts.  Well, both of the ones I have just mentioned are better than the “real” food that I had at the Piccadilly.   I was forced by my wife to buy a “dilly meal.”  Let me tell you something, the food wouldn’t have been so bad if the coffee cups had been clean (which is why I ended up getting a foam cup); if the coffee had been worth drinking; if the booth backs had not been dirty; and if the percentage of elderly to youth had been less than 95-5.  I did not get a dessert, because that would have cost too much.  I did get to try one of the kid’s chocolate pudding, the kind that is supposed to look like mud under the gummy worms.  Fruity chocolate – yum.

I think that nothing is better than home-made cornbread.

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Filed under Christian Living, Food, General Observations