f you quickly had to name one thing you couldn’t live without that was not your phone, what would it be? Without even knowing you, I’m going to guess it’s coffee. Coffee lovers out there all have their favorite coffee joint. It could be a small indie type place that specializes in only three drinks, or it can be a hugely marketed chain that promises to make your drink taste the same no matter what store you visit. It doesn’t matter because coffee is a way of life for so many. It’s the smell and the atmosphere and let’s not forget how that warm cup feels in your hands.
One man from Denver, Colorado has completely changed coffee shops. He has his version of the American Dream in his 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. He calls it On the Road Coffee and he is always on the go. Matthew Pendleton sells coffee from him Beetle. He offers an Americano to shots of espresso.
He started this idea in May 2016 and wakes up each day focused on being the best he can be and serving up hot and tasty coffee to the people of Denver. The 36 year old wakes up at 4:30 every morning to greet the Mile High City. He has a Rok Espresso Maker, coffee grinder, manual coffeemaker and of course, the coffee beans. He has everything he needs to help his customers wake up. He has a spot across from Union Station and you will find him there every morning.
He didn’t exactly come up with this idea on his own. He was inspired while on a trip to Thailand in 2015. While in Chiang Mai, Thailand, he saw someone doing a similar thing with a VW Bug and coffee. He decided to bring this unique idea back home with him. Matthew is an artist and he uses the earnings from On the Road to support his abstract art.
When he returned home, he found himself a beat up Beetle and before he knew it On the Road was literally on the road. He can’t take full credit for the catchy name. Jack Kerouac’s novel from 1957 On the Road helped Matthew name his business. Kerouac was known to talk about freedom, travel and finding oneself. He was an original, just like Matthew is.
On the Road has made a name for itself. He does well enough that he’s able to run the business full time, but he doesn’t have employees, not yet anyway. His customers seem to love it. They continue to come back for more. He gets an average of 15 to 20 people per day, which is just enough to keep him from losing money. Each year, he seems to do better than the one before. He expects the same of next year.
The next time you’re in Denver, support a local business and get some great coffee. Be sire to find Matthew and his Beetle. You will be glad you did.
The Most Amazing Cat Pictures
It is a common belief that cats do not get along with dogs and other creatures. Contrary to popular opinion, however, cats really can get along with anyone- even their so-called natural born enemies! These pictures are all about spreading the love. Maybe humans can learn a little something from this display of unconditional love? Maybe we can really can all learn to get along.
Both furry and cuddly, these two pals are going to burrow in the rug together and keep each other warm. Cold weather is always better with a pal.
North Carolina Teen Bitten by Shark, Unassailed
Paige Winter, 17, was swimming at Atlantic Beach in North Carolina with her sister when she was pulled under in waist-high water. It quickly became clear that it was a shark attack.
Paige initially gave in, perhaps initially not realizing that it was a shark. She’d thought it was a turtle. When she realized what was happening, she fought back hard. It is that tenacity and courage that has continued to aid her in her survival and recovery. She just would not give up.
Witnesses reported screaming and panic. Paige’s father, Charlie, is a paramedic, so he immediately jumped to her rescue. He dove underwater and punched at the shark until he was able to wrestle her free from the shark and carry her to the beach. A bystander offered a belt, which her father used as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding on the beach.
Paige was quickly transported via medical helicopter to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where her leg was amputated. She underwent additional surgeries for his leg, pelvis, and hand.
No parent ever would dream of seeing their child being dragged underwater by a shark, but her father’s quick actions saved Paige’s life. Then, bystanders and emergency medical personnel were a part of the rescue, as well as doctors and surgeons who worked to save Paige’s life.
What lies ahead for Paige is recovery and rehabilitation as she learns to walk again with a prosthetic limb. She must also re-learn how to function with more limited functionality in her hands.
Paige’s resilience is clear, though, despite the severe injuries she sustained, and the body altering surgeries. She remains positive and in good spirits. Her family says that she was groggy but already telling jokes when she first woke up after the shark attack in the hospital. Her continued road to recovery won’t be easy, but her will to live and overcome the odds has already gotten her this far.
Doctors and also her father mentioned the serendipitous collision of chance encounters and dumb luck that both brought her to the beach that day but also saved her life. When so much could have gone horribly, impossibly wrong, enough separate events went right that she will someday walk again.
Paige survived. It’s not all the “pieces of the puzzle.” Some are missing, as she told Washington Post, but “it’s okay.” She still advocates for marine life and doesn’t blame the shark for biting her and shaking her like that. Her message is about education, learning more about sharks and understanding.
Spunky as ever, Paige told the medic, “Don’t be mad. Sharks are good people.” That positive attitude and that willingness to forgive even in the face of a savage attack is part of what has made her story a viral sensation across media spheres.
Homeless Texas Man Returns to College 40 Years Later
David Carter, 68, was homeless until the efforts of a Univerity of Texas student turned his life upside down.
Carter frequented the UT campus as a panhandler until a Junior-level Journalism student, Ryan Chandler, decided to interview him as part of an assignment on homelessness for the Daily Texan. What Chandler learned was shocking and timely. Not only was Carter a student in the College of Fine Arts back in 1971, but he’d dropped out of school when an alcohol-related accident put a swift end to his dreams of becoming an artist and writer.
In the interview, Carter detailed how the subsequent years had been a roller coaster ride with mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness all playing a part. He’d hitchhiked cross-country, and then he’d returned to Austin to care for his parents.
David Carter’s Return to College
Perhaps the most poignant part of the story was the part where Carter admitted that he’d been hanging around campus as a panhandler for the last six years in the hopes that he might someday return to the campus as a student to finish his degree in the College of Fine Arts. His story is part of an American-Dream-gone-wrong. He stands as a very real representation of so many Americans who have fallen on bad luck, triggered perhaps by a series of circumstances beyond his control. He had just one semester left before graduating with his degree when he dropped out of school.
The story went viral, and it really took on a life of its own. Then Chandler helped Carter navigate the complexities of reapplying for entrance into UT, and an anonymous donor helped out too. So Carter is returning to college to complete his degree, and this may just be the beginning of what could literally be a whole new chapter for him. He plans to research and write, which would seem to offer his own perspective on what it is to be homeless. He puts a unique face to the issues of homelessness and mental illness, with the intervening influences and tie-ins with substance abuse, family struggles and beyond.
The Rest of the Story
Now, since more than 40 years have intervened since Carter dropped out of school, his one-semester requirement until completion has expanded to at least four semesters at UT. The first tentative forays into college classes, U.S. History and Black Political Thought, are already underway this month. Summer session is just the first step toward immersion in a course load, as he works to realize the dream he’s had for so many years.
The College of Fine Arts at UT announced that they would help Carter in any way that they could. Carter’s persistent pursuit of higher education has been admired, applauded and supported by former Longhorns and community members. The story does inspire and it stands as a real-life reminder that it’s never too late to go back to school and finish a degree, even when decades have intervened.
“Homeless Hero” Saves Multiple People from Fiery Highway Crash
Just two short days ago a man named Darin Barton, who the people and news are calling the “Homeless Hero,” saved multiple people from a fiery car crash on Colorado’s Interstate 70.
Reports say the late April crash was caused by a truck driver that had lost control of his vehicle and collided with oncoming traffic. The same company has a bad history of problems with their vehicles. There are multiple reports letting trucks in need of repair on the road—including vehicles with break problems.
Luckily for the survivors of the crash, Darin Barton just happened to be passing by. Barton, a local homeless man, saw the crash happen and immediately sprang into action. He was able to pull several victims from the wreckage before emergency services arrived on the scene. The survivors of the crash are all lucky to have had the “Homeless Hero” passing by in their time of need.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Barton has been a hero to the victims of a traffic accident. Two years ago, Barton saved a woman named Valerie Blease from a flaming car wreck. Blease describes how the collision left her confused and unable to escape her burning car when the “Homeless Hero” arrived and pulled her from the fire. She recalls that in the moment, she didn’t know what was happening, only that someone was telling her there was a fire and she needed to get out.
Barton has become something of a local celebrity in Colorado despite his homelessness. He has appeared several times on the local news. Each of these appearances have been stories covering his heroics and even interviews with the “Homeless Hero” and the people he has saved. One of the victims of April’s pileup said she “wasn’t surprised” to learn that Barton had saved people from these kinds of wrecks before.
Not to leave this selfless hero unrewarded, the local community has banded together and raised thousands of dollars to help Barton in his time of need. Just like he has helped save people from car crashes on multiple occasions, the people of Colorado have come together to help Barton. Local news agencies have started a fundraising effort that has, so far, raised thousands of dollars to help cover Barton’s costs as he finds work and a place to live. There have been some concerns that Barton may be the target of robbery given his insecure living situation and sudden rush to local fame, but a few local news agencies said they are working with local authorities to help ensure Barton’s safety.
Darin Barton, the “Homeless Hero,” is an inspiration reminder that even those of us with the least to give can still help people in the time of need. When interviewed, Barton said he was just helping people in need and hopes that others will be inspired to do the same.
A Natural Wonder: The Incredible Termite Mounds of Brazil
Visible from space, the eastern section of Brazil holds a dramatic count of 200 million massive mounds of earth, all created by creatures that barely measure ½ of an inch long. Created solely by termites, these mysterious cones of earth measure 30 feet wide at the base and stand 6-13 feet tall.
When contemplating the size of these mounds, it becomes staggeringly hard to grasp that an insect is capable of creating something this large. Known as the murundus, these mounds are fashioned in a honeycomb pattern, separated by about 60 feet from each other.
No one has studied the structure of these mounds more carefully than environmentalist Roy Funch, who has researched the murundus of Brazil for the past 30 years. Funch has no doubt that these mounds are created by termites. He explains, “I’ve seen termites building the mounds with my own eyes.”
Through his extensive research with colleagues, Funch has provided us with a glimpse into how termites create these vast mounds of earth, which cover an area as large as Great Britain.
He explains that as the termite workers are foraging leaves, they excavate their nest by building a vertical tube rising upward. He notes that this tube doesn’t have an opening at the top like a chimney does. Instead it has a few small side-holes around its rim. By simply excavating their nest, they throw soil out of these holes, which leads to a cone shape being created.
With such a vast amount of these massive mounds, one might assume that each mound houses its own large termite colony. However, Funch’s research has shown differently.
He collected soldiers from beneath different mounds to see if they would fight with each other. What he found was that a single colony can make their home beneath many different mounds.
In their search for fallen foliage, these termites need to expand their territory to cover a large amount of forested land. To accomplish this, they build a network of tunnels, with the intention of traveling from one mound to the next.
Paul Hanson, a colleague of Funch performed an experiment to determine the age of the murundus. He analyzed grains of sand from the center of 11 different mounds. The method he used was able to determine when the grains were last exposed to sunlight. This allowed him to determine when the first grains were buried, to identify when construction on the mound began.
Here is what his research found. The youngest mound was 690 years old, and the oldest was 3,820 years old! Obviously, termites don’t have this long of a lifespan. Researchers have yet to determine whether succeeding generations of termites take over these mounds, or if the mounds lay unused for hundreds of years.
Need another comparison to grasp the sheer size of these termite colonies? Through satellite imagery, the murundus of eastern Brazil have been proven to occupy 4,000 times the amount of space as the Great Pyramid of Giza. Who would have known that such a little creature could pack such a punch?
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