National Coffee Day 2018: Where to get free java

Though true java lovers know that the dreamy drink is worthy of celebration 365 days a year, National Coffee Day is nearly upon us once again. On September 29, coffee shops across the country will mark the occasion by giving out free (or discounted) cups of joe. Various chains are brewing up tons of deals and steals at participating stores – so get ‘em while they’re hot. Click here to see our list:


Missouri Six Flags holds ‘Coffin Challenge’ requiring guests to stay in coffin for 30 hours

Six Flags amusement park in Eureka, Mo., is holding a morbid contest for the brave – and not claustrophobic. The theme park has announced a competition inviting guests to stay in a tight coffin for nearly 30 hours straight. The Fright Fest 30-Hour Coffin Challenge will take place on Saturday, October 13 and reward those who make it through the night with more than just bragging rights. The prizes include two 2019 Gold Season Passes, a Fright Fest prize package, two VIP Haunted House passes and a ticket for two to ride the Freak Train for Freak Unleashed. The winner will also be entered in a drawing for a $300 prize. Six Flags will provide “six, deluxe, 2’ x 7’, slight used coffins,” as well as “meals, snacks and drinks in bed,” as well as a six-minute bathroom break every hour. The coffin is also available to take home if the winner desires. The competitors are allowed to bring a friend during the operating hours, but once the park closes, coffin dwellers must go it alone. However, Six Flags assures its guests they won’t be completely alone. “Well, not exactly alone, some of our Fright Fest Freaks will be lurking about in the darkness.”

As a kid growing up in St. Louis, I used to have season passes to this particular Six Flags just west of St. Louis.    🙂

Army Veteran’s Apparel Line Counters Nike-Kaepernick Campaign with ‘Just Stand’ Shirt

An Army veteran called out Nike Saturday on Fox & Friends for featuring Colin Kaepernick at the center of the company’s “Just Do It” campaign. Tyler Merritt’s company, Nine Line Apparel, has countered Nike by releasing a shirt of its own that reads “Just Stand.” Merritt, a former Army captain and Nine Line’s CEO, said Saturday, “They decided to take a stance. This is our stand.” Nike recently announced a multiyear agreement with Kaepernick, including for his own apparel line, video ads and billboards featuring his image, and a contribution to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s Know Your Rights charity. The company drew immediate backlash after releasing a print ad that stated, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Merritt said Saturday that it’s hard to make a parallel between an athlete’s sacrifice and a soldier’s. “The word ‘sacrifice’ in the military members, it’s something severe,” he said. He said that Nike’s move to feature a controversial figure like Kaepernick was done with a lack of concern about those who may find the former quarterback’s actions offensive. “I agree that police brutality is bad, but you know, wearing socks that say pigs…” he said, in reference to when Kaepernick wore socks depicting police officers as pigs. “Actions speak louder than words,” Merritt said. “If you want to say that you’re promoting social injustice, then actually do something.”

Fair enough…

Frozen dinners make a comeback

Frozen dinners are on a hot streak. Sales of microwavable meals are rising at the fastest pace in a decade, drawing attention from food-company executives otherwise struggling with falling sales for well known but outdated brands. “We believe this is not a blip,” said Sean Connolly, chief executive of Conagra Brands Inc., maker of Healthy Choice, Banquet and Marie Callender’s frozen meals. “For the first time in a generation, this space is starting to be modernized again.” Sales of frozen entrees rose 5.7% over the year ended July 15, according to market-research firm Spins, after annual growth of 0.6% and 1.5% the previous two years. The latest bump outpaces the 2% rise in overall packaged-food sales and marks a change from several years of diminishing sales in frozen meals earlier this decade. Conagra, Nestlé SA and Kraft Heinz Co. are spending millions of dollars to freshen up frozen brands, introduce new ones and expand manufacturing capacity. Karrin Childs, a 37-year-old accountant in Akron, Ohio, got past her aversion to bland frozen meals after trying Nestlé’s new Lean Cuisine dishes, such as butternut squash ravioli, in distinctive black packaging. “It’s always good to have one in your freezer in case of an emergency,” she said. Efforts to cut salt, sugar and other less healthful ingredients from ready-made meals appear to be resonating with customers who like their convenience. Sales of other frozen foods such as vegetables and pizza have also improved recently. Overall frozen-food sales rose 3% in the year ended July 15, according to Spins. The pickup in sales of frozen meals comes as companies have shaken up both the ingredients and the packaging used. Last year Nestlé introduced Wildscape, a brand of frozen foods made with ingredients like honey-bourbon brisket and cauliflower in gochujang sauce. Wildscape meals — like chimichurri chicken with roasted peppers, red potatoes, farro, aji amarillo purée and almonds — are packaged in semitransparent plastic jars inspired by ice-cream containers. “Historically it’s been about comfort food; now it’s about modern American cuisine,” said Jeff Hamilton, head of Nestlé’s U.S. foods division, which sells a dozen frozen-meal brands including Stouffer’s, Hot Pockets and DiGiorno. Conagra put its new Healthy Choice Power Bowls in plant-based, compostable packaging to appeal to consumers who said they didn’t like microwaving plastic. Healthy Choice sales rose about 20% in the fiscal fourth quarter ended in May, bringing the brand to $400 million in retail sales for the fiscal year. Mr. Connolly said that success encouraged Conagra to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc. this year for about $8.2 billion, adding Birds Eye, Evol Foods and other frozen brands to its product line. The deal is expected to close by year-end. Modern frozen food dates to Clarence Birdseye, who in the 1920s invented a way to flash-freeze fish, building on an Inuit technique he learned in Canada. That kept food from spoiling without losing as much flavor or nutritional value as slow freezing or canning. In the 1950s, Swanson’s TV dinners and Totino’s frozen pizzas changed the family dinner ritual. In the 1980s, food makers introduced low-fat and low-sodium brands to match diet trends. Most brands hadn’t changed much since then until recently, executives say.

For more, click on the text above.

What really happens when you flush with the toilet seat up

I think it’s safe to say that this is about to be the grossest thing you’ll read all day. However, it’s probably one of the most important reads as well. Why? Because if you don’t close that toilet lid when you flush, a lot of unfriendly bacteria is going to spray all over your bathroom. And no, this is not a joke. According to a 2013 review of studies published by the American Journal of Infection Control, it’s clear that flushing your toilet with the lid wide open can pose potential risks. The specific act is called “toilet plume aerosols,” which occurs during flushing. When the toilet contains feces or vomit, the flush can produce potentially infectious aerosols that will live in your bathroom for hours. Now, keeping your bathroom clean isn’t a new idea, especially since bacteria can easily contaminate toilet seats, lids, surrounding floors or any nearby surfaces. But flushing your toilet probably isn’t in your immediate list of disease-ridden activities. If anything, flushing the toilet feels like a clean activity. Here are the specifics: When you flush the toilet, some fraction of the aerosol droplets produced while flushing could contain microbes. Microbes come from infectious diseases from whatever is in that toilet bowl. Vomit and feces can contain high pathogen concentrations such as Shigella, Salmonella, and even norovirus. These pathogens can actually survive on surfaces for weeks or even months. “Research suggests that this toilet plume could play an important role in the transmission of infectious diseases for which the pathogen is shed in feces or vomit,” the study says. “The possible role of toilet plume in airborne transmission of norovirus, SARS and pandemic influenza is of particular interest.” So for future reference, you may want to start closing the lid when you flush. Especially if that toilet is anywhere close to your toothbrush.

You’re welcome..     🙂

Not sleeping? That may make your social life a snooze

Sleep loss is linked to everything from car accidents to weight gain. But a new study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley has added another possible consequence of not getting enough sleep: loneliness. The study, published earlier this month in the journal Nature Communications, found that sleep-deprived people felt more lonely and less social around other people. Researchers also found that well-rested people observing the sleep-deprived individuals rated them as more lonely and less socially desirable. And, after the observers saw a brief clip of a lonely person, they themselves felt lonelier. The study involved 18 healthy young adults, and more than 1,000 observers recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace for the online portion of the study. “I think this is an interesting study,” said Dr. Chris Winter, neurologist at Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and author of “The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It.”

Interesting..  Thanks to Jessica Peralta over at for this piece.  For more, click on the text above

Missouri becomes first state to issue law protecting citizens from accidentally buying fake meat

Missouri has passed a law that will protect consumers from the dangers of unwittingly purchasing fake or lab-grown meat. On Tuesday, the state passed the first law in the nation prohibiting companies from “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry,” the law reads. The law was lobbied by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, USA Today reports. The group was concerned about the shoppers being confused by plant-based or lab-grown meat, synthetic meat that is grown from cultured animal cells, posing as meat from an animal. “The big issue was marketing with integrity and … consumers knowing what they’re getting,” Missouri Cattlemen’s Association spokesman Mike Deering said to USA Today. “There’s so much unknown about this.” The law states, “Currently, no person advertising, offering for sale, or selling a carcass shall engage in any misleading or deceptive practice including misrepresenting the cut, grade, brand or trade name, or weight or measure of any product.” Manufacturers that fail to comply with the new law will face a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is lobbying for a similar law at the federal level – prohibiting lab-grown and fake meat from using the words “beef” and “meat” in their marketing. Tofurkey, along with Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Good Food Institute (GFI) filed a lawsuit against the Missouri law. “All of these products that are currently on the market use descriptors that say what the source of the ingredients [is] … you’re going to find something that says soy-based vegan beef crumbles,” the GFI’s director of policy, Jessica Almy told NPR. “These compound names, like plant-based chicken, communicate to consumers what the source of the food is.”