The mercury is rising and while Baltimore’s infamous humidity may compel you to the free air conditioning for summer’s latest blockbuster, this year take a few nights to be nostalgically transported to the days of outdoor film-watching. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket and head down to one of these Baltimore neighborhoods for a romantic alternative to dinner and a movie.
Little Italy’s Cinema Al Fresco
Cinema Al Fresco has projected Italian-esque movies onto the outside wall of the Ciao Bella Restaurant for the past 15 years. Every Friday from July 5 to August 30, a private resident will continue projecting the flicks from the 3rd floor bedroom window of the row home across the street. Live music begins at 7 p.m. and includes free popcorn so plan to arrive early since only a limited number of folding chairs are available; the complimentary flicks start at 9 p.m.
July 5 – Moonstruck
July 12 – To Rome with Love
July 19 – Von Ryan’s Express
July 26 – Marriage Italian Style
Aug 2 – Casino Royale
Aug 9 – Eat Pray Love
Aug 16 – La Dolce Vita (Due to its length, this film will begin at 8:30 p.m.)
Aug 23 – The Godfather II (Due to its length, this film will begin at 8:30 p.m.)
Aug 30 – Cinema Paradiso
Federal Hill’s Flicks on the Hill
Starting July 11, the American Visionary Art Museum’s Flicks on the Hill will be resuming Travel + Leisure magazine’s “World’s Best Free Things”! Every Thursday through August 22, Federal hill will transform into a natural amphitheater to the 30 foot wide screen being held up by a giant golden hand. Accommodating to over a thousand spectators, this years’ film selections are inspired by the museum’s current exhibit, “THE ART OF STORYTELLING: Lies, Enchantment, Humor and Truth”. On movie nights, the museum also offers complimentary admission between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. before the movies starts at 9. Enjoy exquisite views of the city, admire the works of local artists and catch a free movie whilst relishing in a true community experience every Baltimorean can enjoy!
July 11: West Side Story
July 18: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
July 25: Rear Window
Aug 1: Raising Arizona
Aug 8: Cry-Baby
Aug 15: Finding Forrester
Aug 22: The Never-Ending Story
Middle River’s The Bengies Drive-In
Take a step back in time and reminisce of the days of drive-in cinemas. One of few left of its kind and the largest movie theatre screen on the East coast is right outside of Baltimore! Since 1956, the Bengies Drive-in movie theatre has delighted viewers with two feature films for less than the price of one. On Fridays and Saturdays, restless movie-goers can stay after the second picture for a third bonus feature. Check back every Wednesday to find out what’s playing.
Avoid the crowds and costly concessions and revel in watching the stars under the stars this summer. From emotional and inspiring to hilarious or off-the-beaten path, this season is sure to bring you excellent entertainment under a starry sky and be worth the sultry summer heat. So go ahead, turn off your cell phone and head to the movies, you’ll find comfort knowing all your calls are professionally handled by your ever-helpful Officense staff, day or night!
Posted in 2013, Administrative Assistant, Arts and Entertainment, Baltimore, Community, free, fun, Movies, Outdoors, summer, Theatre, Virtual Office
Tagged 2013, Baltimore, Business Services, Community, downtown, Event, Free, Fun, movies, Officense, Outdoor, Summer, Theatre, Virtual office
In all probability there is likely no human being left in the industrial world who has not at least heard of Steve Jobs, the late genius CEO of Apple computers; however, what has faded somewhat to the background is the crucial role of the other Steve, that is, Steve Wozniak A.K.A “The Woz”.
Unbeknownst to some, it was actually Steve Jobs’ colleague, Wozniak who invented the first Apple computer, and Jobs, recognizing the potential, partnered with Wozniak to manufacture and market it.
The Blue Box
However, the mind that produced the Apple PC produced some un-memorialized products as well. Prior to the dawn of the cell-phone age, in a time where the general populace largely depended upon pay phones for communication when away from work or home, the genius, but devious, minds of Wozniak and Jobs developed “The Blue Box”, their version of machine which would hack the payphone systems allowing free phone calls.
Gamers may thank Wozniak for influencing high graphic games today as he transformed “Pongo”, the first successful video game, with more advanced gaming concepts which may have helped pave the way for game mogul corporation Nintendo.
The Pongo-inspired game design so impressed Steve Jobs’ employer, Atari, Wozniak was offered a position on the spot. He opted to stay with HP, however, and co-developed a game called “Breakout” with Steve Jobs, as an exclusive for Atari. Jobs promised that he would give Wozniak half of the fee he received from Atari; however, Jobs turned over half of $750 to Wozniak and silently kept the decidedly larger “half”—$4, 625.
Jobs’, however, arguably made up for his earlier deception when, in 1976, he procured a $50,000 contract for 100 Apple computers at $500 a piece, propelling the partnership of the two Steves and the launch of Apple computers. The following year saw the launch of Wozniak’s next brainchild, Apple II, which revolutionized the computer industry as the first personal computer with color graphics and a floppy disk drive.
As successes mounted, Wozniak faced pressure to leave HP and devote all his energies to the fledgling Apple Company; however, Wozniak spurned corporate politics and only decided to fully join the company, on $24,000 per year salary, upon the suggestion of a friend that Wozniak could join as engineer.
As time progressed, Wozniak moved further and further to the background of Apple, preferring engineering to spotlight and the intricacies of the business world.
Today Wozniak devotes a large portion of his time to philanthropic pursuits such as teaching and placing advanced technology into the hands of students in struggling school districts.
Maybe you have a dream that you think might surpass that of the Steves’ and maybe you’re still working out of your best friend’s garage. Take a cue from the founders of Apple; it can’t stay there forever. So give Officense a call and we will help you develop a professional business image and make sense of all your business needs.
Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Business, Community, fun, History, Technology, Uncategorized, Virtual Office
Tagged Apple Computers, Baltimore Office Space, Baltimore Virtual Assistant, Baltimore Virtual Office, Instant Business Office, MD Office Space, MD Virtual Assistant, MD Virtual Office, Office Space Baltimore, Office Space Baltimore MD, Office Space in Baltimore, Office Space in MD, Office Space MD, Officense, officesense, Steve, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Virtual Assistant Baltimore, Virtual Assistant MD, Virtual Office Baltimore, Virtual Office in MD, Wozniak
Driving down Main St. in Westminster, MD this past weekend, a group of people wielding signs on a corner caught my eye. As I slowed to a stop at the red light, I was able to make out “Overturn Monsanto Protection Act”. I instantly had my passenger in the car searching on his smart phone for “Monsanto Act”. In seconds, we learned that the Monsanto Act was legislation limiting the ability of judges to stop the growing, harvesting, and sales of food coming from genetically modified seeds produced by Monsanto and companies like them even if negative effects on health or the environment are found. The legislation had been slipped into a spending plan signed by President Obama in March to prevent government shutdown.
After writing “Busy as a Bee—Probably Not” a few weeks ago, I knew that the agricultural industry had been stuck between a rock and a hard place. The pesticides that are killing bees by the thousands are also the ones that make crops yield more food and reduce the end consumer cost. In the short term, there does seem to be a dilemma. However, looking at the big picture, the long term effects of our “pay-less-get-more” ways, reveals a much more serious problem than spending a few extra cents on corn. Though the full story is still unclear, it is believed by some that the pesticides that these genetically modified plants are engineered to produce are causing Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. This is a honeybee’s version of the black plague. This bee plague is causing the death of record numbers of bees. The demand for bees to pollinate crops gets higher as the agricultural industry becomes bigger and more efficient, with more people to feed. The supply of bees however, is beginning to rapidly decline. Not only is this a huge problem in itself, but one article compares bees to “the canary in the coal mine”, implying that the deaths of the bees could be a bad sign for the health of humans too.
The mass bee die-offs could most certainly be caused by some natural phenomenon, so before we put bans on potentially the safest group of pesticides to date, we must take a look at the science. In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (ignoring the objections of its own scientists) approved clothianidin as a safe pesticide based on studies done by Bayer, a pesticide producer. In late 2012, the European equivalent of the EPA, the European Food Safety Administration, determined through its own studies that clothianidin is too dangerous for use on plants pollinated by bees, and that the original 2003 studies by Bayer were “too flawed to be useful” as evidence for the EPA’s approval of the pesticide as a safe one. This pesticide currently coats about 90% of the seeds used to produce corn in the United States. It is a nicotine-related chemical that when the seed germinates and grows into a corn stalk, can be found in its pollen and nectar. It is presumed that bees are being exposed to this chemical, becoming disoriented, and dying far from their hives. It is one in a new group of three nicotine-related chemicals that have recently been developed as a safer alternative to older pesticides that were found to be dangerous for human consumption as well as exposure to insects and other animals.
Unfortunately, the science is confounded and hard to follow in the case of the bees. The money trail may be a clearer route, however. In 2003, the head author of a study linking a fungus and a virus to CCD signed up to testify as an expert witness on behalf of beekeepers who had brought a class-action lawsuit against Bayer. He decided not to testify, and shortly after, received grants from Bayer to continue research on bee pollination. Recently, Beelogics, a company dedicated to controlling Colony Collapse Disorder, was bought by Monsanto. Now any research that they may put out will surely be in the interest of their new owners.
While the plight of the bee is perilous, and rescue is a daunting mission, there is still hope. You can do something as simple as paying attention to the food you buy at the grocery store, or get as involved as putting together a demonstration, or writing letters to legislators. While you’re busy saving the bees, let us handle all of the administrative tasks for your bzz-iness. At OFFICENSE, we handle your front and back office work so you can focus on helping to overturn the Monsanto Act – and growing your business of course.
Posted in animals, Community, Disaster, Economy, Foliage, Food, Outdoors, Parks, Risk, Spring, summer, weather
Tagged agriculture, Bayer, bee, beekeeper, Colony Collapse Disorder, corruption, death, environment, legislation, money, Monsanto, nicotine, pesticides, research, virus, Westminster
At first thought, many would probably smile at the idea of a pet lying at their feet while on the job. Pet friendly work environments have become very common in our modern culture, and several studies have suggested that pets at work not only provide an increase in joy but can even be good for your health and business productivity. However, while having the privilege of your pet as an office guest may be comparable to a salary bonus, there are many factors to ponder if you are considering adding a fuzzy (or scaly) friend to your employment team.
If you are considering hiring a canine coworker, there are a few things to consider. Most people would love a warm muzzle to scratch or those sad puppy eyes to help make even a busy work environment more relaxing and feel as if you are a little closer to home. A few things that need to be kept in mind though are allergies, fear of dogs or even religious or cultural oppositions. Reports state that one out of every five companies have a pet friendly work policy in the United States according to The American Pets Products Manufacturers Association. June 21st, 2013 even marks the annual Take Your Dog to Work Day allowing a fair portion of the nearly 80 million pet dogs in the United States to get their opportunity to accompany their owner to work.
In addition to dogs in the workplace alleviating stress, decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, having a dog around also encourages more physical activity like taking a walk on your lunch break which leaves you feeling refreshed and energized when you return to work. Dogs and pets in general also increase socialization among both coworkers and clients. Pets are a common shared interest and an easy ice breaker to establish a connection and even a sense of community within your office or organization.
Although it is more common to see pets in small business environments or even private work locations where the owner can easily keep their pet with them, a new trend in the larger work places allows 20-30 pets to dwell among owners and/or other employees. One could call it a modern petting zoo for professionals. The most common places of work you are likely to see four legged friends wandering around would be traditional mom and pop shops like auto repair shops, retail boutiques, lodging/hospitality and even restaurants. You will also see man’s best friend or a feline fuzzy in social work environments like the stereotypical therapy dog that lies at your feet while you undergo a counseling session. Cats have become much more common residents in government offices as well.
If having a pet in the office sounds appealing to you but you don’t want to have to deal with dander, slobber, barking, cat boxes, doodie bags and the like, a simpler option would be a fish. Fish are not only lower maintenance; they will not interrupt the environment with their silence. Just make sure to keep a clean tank, give the fish enough room for their species/size requirements and feed them on the correct schedule. Otherwise, fish are sensitive and might starve to death or can even end up with burned gills from waste build up. Nice size (and inexpensive) fishes for offices would include Bettas, Multies and Guppies. Make sure to do your research before bringing a non-human companion to work and also check your company policy too.
Although we have an all human staff here at Officense, we, like an animal friend, can boost business productivity, have a calming effect on your work community, and help your business grow and prosper. Not having the professional help you need to maintain your business can be overwhelming and stressful; that’s where Officense can help. Our custom business services can alleviate stress so you can focus on what’s important.
Posted in Administrative Assistant, animals, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, cats, Community, dogs, Executive Assistant, fish, Funny, Office, pets, pets in the workplace, Small Business, Uncategorized, Virtual Office
Tagged Address Services, advanced business, animal, Aquarium, Baltimore, Baltimore Office Space, Baltimore Virtual Assistant, Baltimore Virtual Office, Business, Business and Economy, Business Services, cats, Company, Conference hall, Customer service, dogs, fish, Instant Business Office, Office, office pets, Office Services, Officense, pets, Virtual office
It officially feels like springtime in Baltimore and like May’s flowers, the city is prepared to blossom along with the florets promised by April’s showers. Mark your calendars for this month’s happenings in and around Baltimore:
Baltimoreans are counting down the days to the city’s rite of spring: Flower Mart. Coming this weekend to Mount Vernon’s Washington Monument Plaza, the 14th annual festival offers a wide-array of activities suitable for the whole family. Live entertainment, food, contests, local artisans, maypole dancers, and of course flowers and garden displays will be in abundance from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. On Saturday, a special Children’s Camp will take place at the West Park from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; kids can create Mother’s Day cards, learn to fold origami animals and listen to stories told by the Urban Pirates. Plan for a refreshment stop to experience the festival’s must-have signature treat, lemon peppermint sticks.
The Fell’s Point Farmer’s Market
Before heading to the Flower Mart Festival, food desert residents in Fells Point can breathe a sigh of relief as the Fell’s Point Farmer’s Market will be returning this Saturday. Since 2011, the Historic Fells Point community has nostalgically hosted the outdoor, waterfront shopping experience of locally grown and farm fresh items. Located where the original Farmer’s Market took place back in the 1700’s, fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other homemade treats will be available between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. every Saturday through November 23 at The Broadway Square. See you there!
The Towsontown Spring Festival
If you can’t make it downtown this weekend, stop by Towson for the town’s 46th annual Spring Festival. The largest outdoor festival in Maryland will have over 450 vendors, a beer garden, and four entertainment stages presenting 50 acts for the 250,000 visitors expected to attend the two-day event this weekend. This year’s spring festival has plenty of entertainment for the whole family including giveaways, dance teams, gymnastics, carnival games and carnival rides sure to please kids of all ages. The Flower Mart’s signature treat can also be found at Towson’s spring centenary.
The Maryland Film Festival
Come celebrate local, national and international film-making at the annual Maryland Film Festival. Starting May 8, over 50 films and 75 short films across various genres will be screened during the four-day event in Station North, Baltimore’s Arts and Entertainment district. Screenings will be held at the historic Charles Theatre, the Windup Space, and MICA’s Brown Center. Advance ticket purchase is recommended as any remaining available tickets will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
138th Annual Preakness Stakes and Infield Fest
Since 1870, America’s second oldest race track, Pimlico Race Course, has been hosting the biggest party of the region. The Running of the Preakness Stakes is a 9.5 furlong, thoroughbred horse race famously dubbed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans”. Lasting only a few seconds, the “Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown” is the shortest race of the three. This year, International superstars, Pit Bull, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, will be headlining the Infield Fest so wager your bets, sip on Preakness’s official drink, Black-eyed Susans, and enjoy the races, Saturday, May 18.
This May 19-24, in conjunction with the American Alliance of Museums conference, the city will be holding its first Museum Week. Come commemorate our city’s cultural institutions and museums with buy one get one free admission tickets, free walking tours, free outdoor events and behind the scenes educational programs. Take the guided tour of the iconic Bromo Seltzer Clock Tower to see the inner workings of this more than 100-year old clock or check out the unparalleled outdoor exhibition of 23 murals created by local artists in the Arts & Entertainment District. For all the area museums and their events for the week, visit www.baltimore.org/museumweek
Soft-Shell Crab Celebration
The perfect prelude to Memorial Day in Maryland: a week to honor and eat Maryland’s beloved soft shell crabs! Mere weeks after the crustacean earned its name as the official state sandwich of Maryland; the week-long celebration kicks off on May 23. Now in its 5th year, the Soft-Shell Crab celebration encourages area restaurants to creatively prepare and serve the shelled Baltimore staple throughout the week. Participating restaurants include The Charleston, Tio Pepe’s, Aldo’s, The Oceanaire, and McCormick and Schmick’s.
However you choose to spend your spring season, Baltimore has something for every member of the family. So go ahead, take the day and enjoy the warm weather; just remember to update your friendly Officense team where to direct your calls, forward your packages, and deposit your checks. Happy Spring!
Posted in 2013, Arts and Entertainment, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, Community, Concerts, Conference/Events, Executive Assistant, Festivals, Foliage, Food, fun, Outdoors, Parks, Sight Seeing, Small Business, Spring, Theatre, Uncategorized
Tagged 2013, Arts and Entertainment, Baltimore, Events, Family, Fell's Point Farmer's Market, Festivals, Flower Mart, Food, Maryland Film Festival, Museum Week, Preakness, Spring, Towsontown Spring Festival
As I think of my trip to Washington, D.C. this past weekend for my very first cherry blossom viewing, I’m reminded of some childhood trauma revolving around those gorgeous fruit trees. As a child in rural Western Pennsylvania, I have fond memories of playing outside under our two cherry trees in the front yard. I also have some not-so-fond memories of uninvited playmates. I’m talking about the bees. After seeing the first bee of the spring, I tended to favor the back yard for the rest of summer. As an adult, I am no longer fearful of these winged “pests”; in fact, they have become by far my favorite insect.
Honey bees, specifically, have been around for millions of years. Their closest relatives are wasps and ants. Their tiny exoskeletons are adorned with six legs, one nectar pouch, two pairs of wings, one stinger (only on the females) and five eyes (one on either side of their heads made up of thousands of miniscule lenses, and three simple eyes on top of the head). Their wings beat at about 200 beats per second, producing their famous “Bzzz”. They can fly up to six miles and at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. There are rumors that the government is using them to sniff out bombs because of their great sense of smell. Bees can distinguish hundreds of floral varieties and are able to tell whether a flower produces pollen or nectar from meters away.
Speaking of flowers, the symbiotic relationship between bees and flowers is one of the greatest illustrations of the interdependence of earth’s creatures. Bees are responsible for the pollination of flowering plants and trees. If there are no bees and no pollination, there will be nothing produced by the plants. Say goodbye to fruits and vegetables, and good luck raising livestock for consumption without the plants on which they feed. Albert Einstein once said “If the bee were to disappear from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” On a typical pollination run, a bee will visit 50-100 flowers. Let’s keep in mind that the bees out there doing all the work are the females. The males are only good for one thing and that takes place back at the hive. Unfortunately, they die after mating, or are kicked out of the hive in autumn to spare the colony the extra food costs, because they do no work.
The ladies of the colony are assigned jobs according to age, much like humans. Younger bees perform maintenance tasks in the hive such as cleaning and undertaker duties. As bees get older, they are assigned higher risk and responsibility positions such as guarding the entrance to the hive. Bees run a tight ship, guaranteeing that tasks are completed and members held accountable. A bee’s brain resembles a sesame seed in size and shape, however, bees are capable of learning, remembering, and performing complex calculations in regards to distance and direction flown. Not only do the bees learn and remember this information, they have a complex system of communication so they can share useful information with the others. Bees dance in order to give instructions. Humans have carefully watched these rituals (which resemble modern-day “dance-offs”) in which the bees get in a circle around one “speaker” and pay attention to what she “says” through dance. There is actually an intelligent code involved where each movement means something specific.
Like our tiny buzzing buddies, human interaction is very dependent upon effective communication. The precarious nature of relationships is highlighted especially in the business world where the wrong signals, words or a lack of professionalism can cost you that important investment deal or a high profile client. Let us, the worker bees of Officense, handle your calls, manage your calendar, and take care of all of your business needs while you’re busy growing your hive!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged american, Baltimore, bees, Business, Business Services, cherry blossoms, D.C., hive, honey, maryland, Office Services, Officense, queens, Spring, Virtual office, Washington, workers
There is an undefinable something that makes the essence of a Baltimore. Like coffee, cream and sugar blending together in an ineffable concert of texture and taste, history, oral and written, lays the foundation of the whys and wherefores of the dichotomy of this region.
Some might say geography dictates the Baltimore vibe, as people from neighboring regions mesh together in Charm City.
Located in the “Old Line State”, the lines were certainly drawn in the sand as neighbors of northern heritage and neighbors of southern roots battled against each other in the streets of this city during the Civil War. However, the same regions which gave us fight and struggle also bring us the distinct piquancy which makes Baltimore so charming.
Although this city is not considered one of the major immigration stops, Baltimore served over 200 years as a port city for immigrants seeking to add themselves to the American melting pot. In 1706, Locust Point was designated as the city’s official point of entry. Nearly ninety years later, in 1703, that port served as a harbor of hope for 1500 refugees from the Santo Domingo Revolution, illuminating open hearts in the city of Baltimore as families took in complete strangers and raised $12,000 for their benefit.
However, this same port served as a harbor for slave ships full of Africans to be sold locally or shipped to other areas. Yet, hope still burgeoned on these ships and the culture of the people chained to them crossed the infamous Middle Passage and added into the mix of this middle ground town.
The Locust Point port closed in 1914; however, many from different parts of the world have continued to come to Baltimore in hopes of starting their dream. Immigrants in Baltimore include those from Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America and many have created space which brings these cultures here.
From these cultures and their various histories has come the birth of numerous types of cultural acquisitions and one of the most central is of the culinary variety. It seems that the table is a place of communality and sharing. Baltimore has birthed some foods and assisted the continuation of others.
Chesapeake Bay Crabs and Crab Cakes
An ode to the Baltimorean love for crabs was heard in the song, “Crabs for Christmas”; however, not everyone knows the deep pride also associated with this summer tradition. “The queen gets her crabs from Baltimore,” I once heard a fellow Baltimoreans boast to someone who erroneously thought Boston snow crabs could compete with the Chesapeake Bay crustaceans (although this is unverifiable). From upscale restaurants such as Phillips and McCormick and Schmick’s to your grandmother’s kitchen, crab cakes are a traditional favorite everywhere in Baltimore. A delicate blend of fresh crab meat, eggs, seasoning and light breading combine together to make an irresistible flavor and a substitute for those who love the crabs but can’t persevere through opening shells in the traditional fashion.
Chicken Box and Half ‘N’ Half
A dish originated in West Africa, fried chicken is a staple favorite of all across America; yet no other place does it like Baltimore (or so it is boasted). As Jambalaya is to creole New Orleans so are chicken boxes to urban Baltimore. It’s four chicken wings, fries (western or regular), smothered in a “salt, pepper, ketchup” concoction (or the more adventurous opt for hot sauce. Anyway you like it, the chicken box is beloved favorite in Baltimore and is oft paired with “Half ‘N’ Half”, an iced tea and lemonade concoction which is sweetened beyond imagining.
As stated in the New York Times, “Lake trout — which is neither trout nor from a lake — is the dish that working-class Baltimore craves.” Fried with crisp batter, served with fries and doused with salt and pepper (or some choose a host of other toppings as well), this fish which is more commonly known as whiting is served up a carryout restaurants all around Baltimore.
This origin of this fish and its official title is hotly debated amongst Baltimore natives. Some claim that it is actually a hake fish native to Northern Atlantic waters, while others proclaim that it really began as shark meat, but was name steak fish so as not to be off-putting for those who had no desire to eat shark flesh. However, any who have tasted soon forget the whys or wherefores and enjoy the fresh, meaty, deep-fried taste of this incredible fish.
For offshore culinary delights which have made a splash in Baltimore check out http://www.baltimoreeats.com/!
An amalgamation of culture, Baltimore is an inspiring city which is full of surprises and delights. The diversity of the area makes it an excellent location for your office and the versatility of Officense services make us a wonderful choice for your business services. Call Officense today!
Which bean holds the top spot in your day-to-day diet? Limas? Green beans? Soy beans? There is one you may not immediately think of that has had a huge impact on the development of society and (if you’re like me) your daily life. Since its humble beginnings as early as the 9th century, coffee has been roasted, brewed, and consumed by millions of people. It has captured the heart (and constricted the blood vessels) of many cultures. As beans go, the coffee bean definitely takes the cake for the most interesting and influential to date.
The English word coffee first came into use in 1598. It was adapted from the Dutch word koffie, which they borrowed from the Turkish kahve. The Turks likely got kahve from the Arabic qahwa. Qahwa in turn, is a shortened form of qahhwat al-bun, literally “wine of the bean”. The origin of this phrase most likely comes from the Ethiopian Kingdom of Kaffa, where the word for the coffee bean is bunn.
Coffee is said to have originated in Ethiopia. There are multiple stories of its discovery as an energizing plant. The most popular one, though it is likely just a fable, is about a goat-herder in the 9th Century, who noticed that his goats would not sleep at night after consuming the bright red beans of a certain plant. He tried some beans himself and noted the same energizing effects. When he took the beans to a monastery and told the monks about his discovery, one of them threw the beans into the fire, calling them evil. When the other monks smelled the beans roasting, they came to investigate. The beans were raked from the coals, ground, and dissolved in water. Thus, the world’s first cup of coffee was born. The story did not appear in writing until the 17th century, so the earliest credible account of coffee drinking appears in the 15th Century.
From Ethiopia, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen. From there, the rest of the Middle East along with Turkey and Persia had begun coffee consumption. The bean reached Europe through Italy and was considered the drink of the wealthy. From Europe, coffee traveled to Central and South America. The French had a profitable coffee trade coming out of French Guiana, and the Portuguese wanted to start their own exporting from Brazil. When the King of Portugal sent Francisco de Mella Palheta to obtain some starter seeds from the French, the mission was almost a failure. However, the French Governor’s wife was so charmed by Francisco’s good looks, that she hid enough seeds in his going away gift (a bouquet of flowers) to start the entire Brazilian coffee trade. Coffee from Brazil was introduced to Kenya and Tanzania, completing its spread around the world, in 1893.
Coffee has had its ups and downs through the years. It has been banned in several countries for various reasons. In the 16th Century, clergy in Italy declared coffee satanic and demanded it be banned. But the Pope took one taste and said it should be baptized! Around the same time in Mecca, the governor claimed that it stimulated radical thinking and feared that it encouraged his opposition to collaborate, thus, it was banned. In the 17th century in the Ottoman Empire, anyone caught with coffee or “paraphernalia” was beaten. A second offense caused the offender to be sewn into a leather bag and tossed into the Istanbul Straight. As a research endeavor, King Gustav III from Sweden ordered convicted criminals to drink as many cups of coffee as it took to kill them. As I’m sure avid coffee drinkers will tell you, that’s fairly impossible.
Here at Officense, no one will sew you into a bag for drinking coffee, or any of our other complimentary beverages. Our services keep your overhead low and protect your bottom line. Whether you are a coffee drinker or not, we are confident that your business will thrive with Officense.
Posted in Business, Coffee, fun, Uncategorized
Tagged Ban, Business, Business Services, Caffeine, Coffee, Customer service, Ethiopia, History, Yemen
Anyone from Maryland will tell you that nothing terribly exciting is to be expected from winter time in this East Coast State. While mild winter weather is the norm for Maryland, you will hear of the rare, spontaneous and exciting appearances of… substantial snow! While winters here often bring warm days (even in the 60 to 70 degree range) Maryland can surprise you on occasion with a big hit of snow. Well…big for Maryland at least.
Back in 2009, Maryland was hit with what was named “Snowmageddon.” This North American blizzard was a nor’easter that blanketed the entire upper east coast. Many states declaring a state of emergency, Snowmageddon caused power outages, flight and train cancelations and even took 7 human lives. Besides landing record breaking snows in December for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, fast snow accumulation causing snow plows to fall behind caused highways and interstates to shut down leaving drivers stuck in their vehicles for up to 18 hours.
From what some would call “summer” weather in winter, Maryland is known to flip flop between warm, green winter days to the occasional and even treasured bursts of snow (a few inches on average) that melt within 24 hours. Some love the snow, some hate it, but many Baltimoreans say, “If you don’t like the weather in Baltimore, just wait 5 minutes…” What’s great about Maryland and it’s neighboring states is that any undesirable weather never lasts for too long as opposed to the more extreme and long term weather patterns known to the warmer climates further south and the harsher, colder climates further north.
For 2013, the OFA almanac predicted colder than normal temperatures and average snowfall for Maryland. So far, it has been accurately predicted that snowy conditions would occur right before Christmas, and it is also predicted that we will see the heaviest snowfall during the second half of February. February is also expected to be the coldest month, but there is little expectation of any Snowmageddon this year. Maryland’s indecisive winter weather patterns may be due to the nature of 2 air masses competing for center stage. So, it could be said that warm vs. cold battle it out on a regular basis, and the current winner becomes our current weather!
Whether you prefer the ice and snow or the warm, sunny winter days, one thing is for certain: if you want to take the plunge in this year’s Polar Bear Plunge, better hope it’s on the warm, sunny day… Sponsored by the Maryland State Police and to bring support to the Special Olympics, polar bears of all ages can dive into the icy water at Sandy Point State Park. Special guests in the past like Governor Martin O’Malley, WBAL-TV’s Sandra Shaw, Jennifer Franciotti, Rob Roblin and Deb Weiner, Ravens players Adam Terry, and Haloti Ngata, former Baltimore Ravens Assistant Head Coach Rex Ryan, former Raven Edwin Mulitalo, Orioles Hall of Famer BJ Surhoff have all taken the plunge. Despite the Friday plunge option for brave corporate teams, the Officense staff will be missing the pleasure of turning icy blue this year, but if you are looking for customized business services like fully furnished office space and meeting rooms, reception courtesies, a prestigious mailing address or any other need that a business could request, give us a call or come in for a tour of the facility, and Officense can help your business grow.
Keep Warm (or stay cool) this winter.
Posted in Administrative Assistant, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, DC, Executive Assistant, penguin plunge, polar bear plunge, Receptionist, Small Business, snow, Uncategorized, Virtual Office, weather, winter
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They say opportunity only knocks once, but this week it will knock twice. If you aren’t able to take advantage of Howard and Baltimore County’s final days of Restaurant Week this weekend, downtown’s starts today! Now through February 3, the city’s twice annual culinary tradition will entice visitors and residents to experience over 80 of Baltimore’s premier restaurants. Whether you’re seeking the perfect meal to impress a potential client or an intimate atmosphere for that romantic rendezvous you’ve been promising, Baltimore has you covered! Restaurants participating in this unique dining event will present diners with their specially crafted two course lunch, and three course dinner options at reduced rates. Favorites include:
The Prime Rib
Reminiscent of the elegant Manhattan supper clubs of the 1940’s, The Prime Rib, has been dishing out thick cuts of prime meats and fresh seafood to Baltimoreans since 1965. Seemingly designed to ensure every occasion feels like a special one; diners find the tuxedoed wait staff, high-quality cuisine and nightly live piano an ideal choice for business or pleasure. The first of its kind, this Zagat-rated upscale steakhouse now serves Philadelphia and Washington D.C. For reservations, please visit opentable.com or www.theprimerib.com/
The 13th Floor
Built on and named after the site of late 18th century Maryland governor, John Howard’s “Belvidere” estate, the acclaimed Belvedere hotel has accommodated famous guests including President, John F. Kennedy, Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, and film actor, Clark Gable. The posh 13th Floor of the historic Belvedere hotel, originally designed in the early 20th century, was renovated and reopened to the public in the fall of 2012. The long due transformation gives the distinctively elegant space a lavish and sophisticated ambiance. The 13th Floor’s unrivaled views overlook downtown Baltimore and seem to pacify the chaos and commotion of the city. The serene vista, live jazz, delectable small plates, and inventive cocktails keep this Baltimore landmark busy and reservations are recommended. Learn more at www.13floorbelvedere.com/.
Wit and Wisdom
A cross between a fine-dining restaurant and a tavern, former Bon Appetit Chef of the Year, Michael Mina’s Wit and Wisdom offers comfort food with a distinctly east coast flair. The premiere waterfront location of this Four Seasons hotel restaurant provides guests a panoramic view of the harbor. Also available to diners is the impressive view of the kitchen’s live fire grill and rotisserie. A fresh seasonal menu can be expected thanks to the tavern’s emphasis on serving locally sourced, sustainable ingredients including its poultry, steaks, and seafood. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, Wit and Wisdom offers daily happy hour specials and a weekend brunch buffet. For more information, please visit www.michaelmina.net or www.witandwisdombaltimore.com.
For more than a decade, Kali’s Court has been regarded as one of the most romantic restaurants in Baltimore. This Fells Point staple serves Mediterranean inspired cuisine and features fresh seafood from all across the globe. Set in a beautiful garden veranda, the restaurant’s entrance, which also serves as an outdoor dining area, provides an intimate ambiance for sweethearts; Complimentary limousine service from area hotels and valet parking incites a perfect evening. Inside, dark velvet and wood throughout the candlelit dining rooms make Kali’s a charming pick for Baltimore professionals to network and conduct business meetings. Reservations are strongly recommended and available at http://www.kaliscourt.com/.
Regardless of where you choose to go, join Baltimore as we celebrate our city’s diversity in dining. Dine your way through downtown and while you’re indulging, you can “feast-assured” your calls are being answered, packages received, and clients welcomed by your ever-helpful Officense team. Savor the flavors January 25-February 3 and visit www.BaltimoreRestaurantWeek.com for the complete list of participating restaurants, their menus, maps and parking information.
Posted in Baltimore, Business, Community, Office, Restaurants, Virtual Office
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