Cool Beans

By Jack Sparacino
Back at work, we sometimes used the term “cool beans” to express our admiration for a job particularly well done, a really creative new idea, or something that just made us very appreciative.  I’ve come across some fun facts and events lately, some of which seemed to warrant a “cool beans” designation, and wanted to share just a few of them.
1. Let’s start with beans.  They’re inexpensive, tasty, colorful, and full of fiber and protein.  Plus they come in dozens of varieties.  If you add a little vinegar and keep them refrigerated, they’ll last for weeks.  Cool.
2. Now let’s jump in the old time machine.  If you ordered a beer at Yankee Stadium during the 1949 World Series, it sold for 35 cents.  They kept it cold with gigantic hunks of ice.  Pretty nice price, by 2012 standards at least.
3. I had some time on my hands one afternoon recently while waiting between medical procedures.  I drove to a nearby store with a large parking lot, took out my notebook, and did some quiet thinking, daydreaming and scribbling.  You can’t do that kind of thing everywhere, but it’s easy here in the Lowcountry.
4. Online banking and bill paying would have seemed almost inconceivable in the not too distant past.  Today, millions of people do it regularly in the U.S.  Saving $1.45 while paying a $100 electric bill, for example (45 cents for a stamp plus a dollar cash back from your credit card company), may not sound like much but across many of your bills it can certainly add up over the course of a year.
5.  The Beaufort International Film Festival just keeps getting better.  Wonderful movies are shown in a very comfortable setting, often with the opportunity to interact with the people who made the pictures.  I even thoroughly enjoyed a movie with subtitles this year, something not normally my cup of tea.
6. Savannah’s airport is just the right size, clean and bright and easy to get to.  Convenient passenger drop off and pickup, ample parking, plenty of restrooms and places to check the status of your flight.  The clocks are even accurate, unlike the ones in Philadelphia, for example, where I once noticed three of them at the same gate, all showing different local times.
7.  Having lunch outdoors in Beaufort reminds me of some lovely meals that Jane and I enjoyed al fresco in France and Italy.  The views here are certainly just as good in many places.
8. Tired of old-fashioned cookbooks?  One can now avoid clunky if not all cookbooks by going on-line to Epicurious.com among many other excellent sites.
9. Howdy Holmes is President of Chelsea Milling Company, makers of Jiffy cornbread mix.  He’s a former race car driver who competed in the Indianapolis 500 and with a name like “Howdy,” how can you lose at making great muffins in a “jiffy”?
10. Motorized shopping carts are a real boon for shoppers who need some assistance in getting around the store.  They’re remarkably maneuverable and pretty fast, too.  Recently, I learned that these carts made their debut way back in 1985 when Sage Industries in Arkansas introduced them in Klein’s Supermarket in Tomball, Texas.
11. Speaking of specialty vehicles, Mercedes (model SLS AMG) gull wing doors are about the coolest looking car doors on the planet. The rest of the car isn’t bad either and I hear they’re fast, at least if you consider top speeds approaching 200 mph as fast.
12.  The February barbecue event in Port Royal was for a great cause, Friends of Caroline Hospice, and really nicely organized.  What really got me, though, were the great names over the various booths, if memory serves. Green Eggs and Spam. Can’t Quit Smoking. Big Hairy Grillers. There were a lot more, but I got so full from all the delicious rib samples that my brain nearly crashed and I forgot them!
Well, that’s my list for now, and I’m sure there’s plenty more out there.  Now THAT’s cool beans.

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