Jimmy Kimmel Raced Kaley Cuoco on Those Idiotic Motorized Suitcases

Looks like somebody cashed in their Indie-Go-Go campaign funds to good use — late-night product placement.

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco took to the streets of tourist hell Hollywood Blvd. to race on the Modobag. Nobody was hurt.

Back in the July, I wrote about these contraptions in my You Don’t Need This series. Basically, for $1,495 you can save maybe 2 minutes from your time at the airport and probably injury a few people and knock shit over.

PC World gave it mostly positive reviews for fun, but also questioned why anybody would really need to throw down a lot of clams for this. As myself and other commentators wondered, it won’t take long before they will be banned like hooverboards.

In any event, here’s the fun:

Coffee Collective in Copenhagen Could Be the Best Coffee in Europe Outside of Italy

There are people in world who say they love coffee. They say, “Oh, I can’t function without it,” then they go to Starbucks. They don’t like coffee. They like convenience and being brainwashed by horrible corporate coffee.

For those of us who treat coffee as an almost an enlightened experience — a fetishistic pursuit — I give you the Coffee Collective. With three locations in Copenhagen, the Coffee Collective take a scientific and artful approach to drip coffee, espresso-based drinks and roasting. You can drop their name to even the most hipster of all baristas and sound like a boss. “Yeah, this is good, but it’s no Coffee Collective.” Then watch the tattooed beardo cry.

I visited all three in my visit in 2012, and it’s good to see that they’ve remained humble and kept it to three locations since. They have different designs, but keep the quality consistent.

The original location on Jægersborggade feels like your stepping into somebody’s apartment. There’s a handful of seats against the wall, a few tables in the backroom, no counter and the small roaster is in the tiny main room. It’s a personal experience where the barista talks to you in detail about your coffee.

The big, main location and roaster is on Godthåbsvej. This is where get the full experience with a space that exudes minimalist Danish/Nordic design. You’ll fine wood countertops, white walls, large windows that allows for plenty of natural lighting, raw floors and a touch of leather in the seatings.

Like the original Jægersborggade location, the open counter at the the main location allows for the barista to treat you like a guest without anything separating you from the brewing experience. If you get a drip coffee, it will brewed right in front of you. Then you can see your espresso being made in full view. The Kees Van Der Westen espresso machine probably costs more than my MINI Cooper.

At the main location, you can also see the high tech roasting experience where temperatures are closely monitored. The workers and baristas have a long list of awards in the World Barista Championships.

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The third location is the most accessible and thus busier at the Torvehallerne Food Hall. Also a great example of modern Nordic design, the food hall is a one stop shop for foodies and the like. The Coffee Collective counter is your more traditional set-up with a counter, to-go cups and pastries. It’s a good place to sample and grab a few bags of beans to go.

I got five bags when I visited the locations. When I was done with the beans, I even kept the bags. Coffee beans are great to buy when traveling because they are easy to pack and make your luggage smell nice.

So how’s the coffee? It’s like tasting your first cup of coffee. It is a religious experience where you’re tasting the flavor notes. Drinking coffee there is like experiencing the best that Mother Earth has to offer. Granted, Italy still has the best coffee and cafes, but damn if Coffee Collective isn’t the best coffee in Europe outside of Italy, then I don’t know what is.

How Do You Feel About Selfies at 9/11 Memorials?

People wonder why I hate on tourists.

For those of us who lived through 9/11, whether it be in New York, Washington or Western Pennsylvania, today is a day of reflection. For outsiders and visitors to the memorials, it can be a learning experience. For some of those people, it’s time to whip out the selfie stick, smile and upload to social media to show how much an asshole you are. I hope that is a small minority … a very small minority.

While I don’t speak for those who have vivid memories of that day, I would ask those who feel inclined to that they hide their narcissistic tendencies for once. It’s a loosing battle at a popular tourist attraction.

On the other hand, I understand.  You wanna show other people how cool you are that you’re in New York. Signs can be posted to be respectful of the memorial, but you’ll do it anyway. We can tell you stories of how horrible that day was, how the smoke lingered for weeks and the range of emotions that lingers today but you’ll do it anyway.

One photographer captured visitors taking selfies and made a short video for the Soho Photo Gallery called Memorialized. While it doesn’t pass judgement, the exhibit speaks itself. The big question is why are people doing it. My simple answer: they weren’t there that day.

Then we have these douchebags from London, who were caught taking a selfie on Saturday with a blowup doll. Cops told them to leave. I’m not surprised. We as a society don’t call people out like this. I vote for public shaming of these tourists.

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Watch This Documentary Short, Long-Term Parking, About Airport Workers Living at LAX

Here’s an interesting eight-minute video from the New York Times about a group of airport workers, pilots, ground support and flight attendants who live at Los Angeles International. They’ve set up a trailer park at one of parking lots. That certainly cuts down on the commuting times.

One of the reminders when you watch the video is the toll working in the airline industry can take on pilots and flight attendants. They spend unheard of amount of time away from home and their family. Some of the residents are estranged from their families.

At this makeshift community, you’ll hear the residents stories, how they live simply and how they take pride their work. On the opposite side, it does seem a tad bit on the sad side the isolation they must feel. Judge for yourself.

https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004630021

Will the Headphone-less iPhone 7 Prevent Pickpockets?

I’ve been reading the news reports on my Samsung smartphone and my Lenovo laptop about the new iPhone 7. The big takeaway was the long-rumored removal of the headphone jack, so it will strictly be Bluetooth-like headphones. I hope your dog or cat doesn’t eat those new earbuds.

This got me thinking pros and cons of this while traveling. I use earbuds because they travel light and easy to pack. Big headphones are just obnoxious and bound to break when you pack them.

Both use the wire, which the biggest hassles are untangling them and having them get caught on something. On the plus side, since I’m so absent minded, I can follow the wire to know which jacket pocket my phone is in.

As we know, pickpockets are still a thing in Europe. I’ve never been a victim, but I did see an unsuccessful one in Lisbon as a dude tried to get into somebody’s backpack while it was on their back. This is why I recommend shoulder bags.

This got me wondering if the headphone wires prevent or deter pickpockets. Let’s say you have them on, your listening to your crappy music and all of sudden you feel a tug and it goes silent. Your quick reflexes can grab the guy before he runs away with your phone.

Same scenario, but now with wireless headphones. You’re walking, listening to your NPR podcast and then the sound starts getting spotty. Hmmm, where’d my phone go? By the time you notice, the guy with your phone could be 20-30 feet away depending on your range.

My vote is for the wires, just for the fact that you are less likely to loose them. In the end, I could care less because I haven’t bought an Apple product since the last gen iPod.

For those iPhone users, I just hope those earbuds don’t fall in the toilet like your phone does.

The Ying-Yang of Giving Tourists Directions in New York

This is how I describe Manhattan in 2016 — take 10 million people, give or take a million, and give half of them strollers, dogs and rolling suitcases.

I have a love/hate relationship with tourists and foreign travelers visiting New York. I love that people come far and wide to fulfill their lifelong dream of visiting. I hate the dopey tourist families from the Midwest who have no clue how a major city operates.

With that in mind, I had polar opposites interactions with tourists this past Saturday. One encounter made me feel good that I was able to help, the other I was said to myself, “What do you want from me?”

I was coming out of Stumptown Coffee in West Village because I love expensive coffee made by hipster baristas who secretly judge me getting a flat white. A young couple in broken English asked me where to find Bleaker Street. W.V. can get a little dopey in getting around since it doesn’t follow a grid pattern. I couldn’t tell where they were from, my guess was Poland, Romania or some other Easter European country.

I smiled and said, “Sure, where are looking to go on Bleeker?”

“Magnolia. We love Sex and the City.”

Awwwww. I wanted to adopt them. I gave them simple directions — left on Christopher, right on Bleecker, it will be on the right hand side. Then, I proceeded to walk them to Christopher Street to get them started. They were so happy and grateful. I didn’t want to ruin their good mood and tell them Magnolia’s cupcakes suck and it’s overrated, but hopefully I made their visit better.

Two hours later, I’m on Avenue C in Alphabet City when an older Asian couple in their 50s walk towards me with a map. “We want to go to No. 14” Not, “Hello”, not “Excuse me, kind sir.” Gotcha, I will help them.

No. 14 on the map is Canal and Lafayette near Chinatown. Gotcha. Now, it’s going to be a walk from Alphabet City. “Okay, all you have to do head south, make right on East Broadway and that turns into Canal,” I say as I point south. The man then points north. I continue to point south, but he insists on pointing north.

I take a pen out and draw on the map where we are on the map. Still, it took a few laps around idiot island to tell them where to start. At this point, I’ve offered as much help as I can. The only other thing I could do is carjack a taxi, shove them in the car and drive them to No. 14.

I leave them to start their journey, and see them go the wrong way. I should have sent them to Magnolia Bakery, but I felt I let them down. Then, I saw them go up to another complete stranger to show them the map. I guess my directions to go south can’t be trusted.

The lesson to be learned here — wear your headphones and pretend not to hear anybody.

Beer Voyage: Yuengling Brewery — Pottsville, PA

Centuries before the craft beer renaissance that we’re experiencing now in the United States, there were German immigrants bringing with them the brewing traditions and techniques that laid the foundation for the beer industry. We’re back to the number of breweries in the U.S. we had before prohibition. In other words, it’s a good time to say “Cheers!”

Not only is the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, PA the oldest brewery in the country, it’s the largest craft brewery with Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) and Sierra Nevada behind it. While the category only amounts for 13% of the market, it’s steadily on the rise.

It only seemed appropriate that I visit the one that started the independent beer movement, which is located about a two-hour drive from the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia. Pottsville is a battleground town with the upcoming U.S. presidential election. It’s a solid working class town that has been home to Yuengling since it’s founding by German immigrant David Yuengling in 1829. It’s now on its fifth generation of staying in the Yuengling family, with Dick Yuengling still overseeing the company.

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The free brewery tour runs from the gift shop every half-hour from 9-1:30pm, so plan accordingly. The pro tip is to go during the work week to catch the canning in action and the smell of wort, hops and excess beer.

I’ve been on my share of brewery tours so much that I can give them myself. The guide usually starts with the same questions, “Where did everyone come from?”, “Do we have any home brewers?” and “What are the four ingredients that make beer?” You look at big tanks, a complicated series of tubes and wait until the end to drink some beer.

With the Yuengling tour, you start by visiting the caves that housed the barrels back in the 1800s and stored the beer during prohibition. It’s not the first time I went through caves that housed a brewery. In Nuremberg, Germany, there’s a brewery in a cave where I got a slight concussion from hitting my head.

Here, you have plenty of headspace.

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The original brew space is still used today just for Yuengling lager cans. Obviously, it’s not the main operation, but kept in operation out of tradition. The much larger main facility is across town where they brew their 11 varieties. There’s another production facility in Florida.

While the rest of the craft beer industry is constantly coming up with new styles and experimental brews, Yuengling keeps it traditional by staying with those 11 standard: Lager, Light Lager, Black & Tan, Oktoberfest, Summer Wheat, IPL, Lord Chesterfield Ale, Porter, Bock, Premium Pilsner and Light Premium.

On the tour, you see some of the original equipment, the tool shop, ol’ timey photographs and the canning line where see cans wiz by at high speeds.

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After the hour tour, you might think what I thought, “Hey, I could use a beer!” You get two samples only, but you can buy a full pint for $3. Even better, you can eat their beer ice cream. That’s two of my favorite things right there.

What I learned is that Yuengling is a regional beer and only distributed to 16 states and not outside of America. Thus, all foreign visitors to the east coast should try it while visiting. For out of state folks, the Premium beer is only distributed in Pennsylvania, so grab a case of that in the gift shop.

Speaking of gift shops, if you are in the mood for something above beer flavored food stuff, branded merch and all shorts of Yuengling goodness, try these $100 golf pants. I asked if anyone has actually bought them, the lady said, “All the time. We’ve gotten pictures of people wearing them at their wedding.” I’m going to end this post here.

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