what did we not order: caramel brulee latte

I was questioning the Starbucks menu at the Los Angeles Airport; either I couldn’t see it properly or what I was looking for just wasn’t there. My eyesight is poor and I have owned the same glasses for about 5 years now despite my continuously increasing stigmatism. My contact lenses are up to date, but I make a point of wearing my glasses on flights longer than two hours so I don’t wake up from a nap with my eyes glued shut. Waiting in line, the seasonal drinks were tempting, but I would have been content with my regular coffee. The Caramel Brulee Latte in particular both looked and sounded promising; the promotional image showed it with plenty of whipped cream and caramel drizzled generously on top. Squinting, I could just make out that a tall Caramel Brulee was $4.05. Anything at the airport costs almost double what it should. Not quite convinced I should make the purchase, I began hunting for the calorie count when the cashier asked for the next in line.
Now closer to the menu, I continued my search for the elusive number that would tell me how much that latte was going to contribute to my daily calorie intake. Not wanting to hold up the line, I had just opened my mouth to ask the cashier, who was waiting patiently for my order, what the drink’s calorie amount was when I remembered my location. I remembered something about a law that food and beverage stores in New York had to follow. A Starbucks on the West Coast was in every way just like the ones on the East Coast except minus some surplus information: how many calories you were consuming per Starbucks product purchased.
It was not my failing eyesight and inaccurate glasses that were hindering me from finding what I needed to know in order to make the decision on my order, it was the unavailability of the information. Without the knowledge of what my holiday drink might contain, I ended up saying, “Just a tall coffee, please.” 


what did we attend: mumford & sons

     “Shall we have a dance?” Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford and Sons asked before strumming the opening of their debut album’s first single “Little Lion Man.” The light bulbs strung above the audience flickered on and 3,000 voices roared in approval. On November 16, Mumford and Sons played the final sold-out gig of their US and Canada fall tour, “Gentlemen of the Road,” at Terminal 5 in New York. Accompanying them on this 20-date tour were King Charles, who is a Londoner with a full mane of dreads, and Cadillac Sky, a five man Texan band with a sound that is a unique blend of bluegrass, rock ‘n roll and country.
With the house lights dimmed and to the cheers of the audience, Mumford and Sons stepped into the spotlight and began their first song, “Sigh, No More.” The four members of the band were standing in a row across the stage, each with their respective instruments: keyboard, guitar, dobro and string bass. Their voices were sincere and by the end of the first song, they had the crowd entranced.
Before beginning the quietest song on their album and of the set that night, “Timshel”, Marcus bantered a bit with the concertgoers. He asked them quite politely whether they were enjoying themselves and then suggested, “Let’s go fucking mental.” To Mumford and Sons, going mental clearly meant closing their tour in North America with as much effort and passion as possible. By the end of the song, both Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett had tears streaming down their cheeks. The look on their faces as they gazed at the crowd was one of amazement and proud achievement. It was evident to them that they had made it and that tonight was proof of their success. Going “mental” also meant ending the night by inviting both of the opening bands back out to play a spirited rendition of King Charles’ song “Lady on the River.” In the middle of the encore, King Charles declared that he had something to say, and after the other 13 musicians had quieted down, announced that he was giving his song to Mumford and Sons. It was a well-received gift.
The people packed together on the ground floor and lining the two balconies contributed to the exuberant energy of the concert. Many songs were transformed into massive sing-a-longs. Accompanying the band’s earnest vocals were the voices of many fans in love with what they were hearing. At the end of “Dust Bowl Dance,” the final song of their set, Marcus sings, “You haven’t met me, I am the only—” and the audience finishes the line—"son."
This tour has been evidence of the band’s popularity globally and not just in their home country of England. It has also clearly been encouragement for them to press on and go even further: produce another album and tour the world again. Most of Mumford and Sons’s debut album “Sigh No More” was played that night at Terminal 5, but so were three new songs, two of which are entitled “Lover of the Light” and “Below My Feet” which are expected to be recorded sometime next year. Shortly before closing the night, Ben Lovett told the audience, “We would love to come back next year.” New York would love that too.