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You Can’t Fake Cool!

Hola once again, mistresses and masters of the java-verse!  Jivin’ Django’s back with another delicious riff to compliment your cups and set your brains to boogie.

Last Sunday was “Super Sunday,” the grand-(go) daddy of American sport and consumerism, so naturally Mr. Furtherbean felt obligated to hitch a ride to the Garden State and file a firsthand report.  The host-city, East Rutherford, promised a unique combination of exotic adventure and authentic, American experience.

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Proper Super Bowling requires a certain stylistic impulse for outrageous excess, and Jivin’ Django has always been strangely fascinated by the lurid, mass-hysteria that surrounds this patriotic celebration of football and beer.  To gain insight, I decided old Django would need to join in the revelry.

I pressed a few cups of cousin Stringbean’s Burundi Special Reserve, which has more kick than an elephant gun, and I planned my strategy hastily, with very little sleep.

Once I hit Jersey, I scored a deluxe, stretch-limo with a phat, flat-screen LCD.  Then I circled the city in style, tattooed to the telecast because the Super Bowl simply is “Must See T.V.”  Nothing could get Django any closer to the pounding and the pageantry than eye-popping HD, and very few outdoor stadiums match the luxurious comfort of a limousine.  Yep, Furtherbean figured he found what amounted to a front-row seat.

Django’s instincts couldn’t have been tighter because the football was over in about five minutes, but that’s when the weird, Brain Salad Surgery began.  Did you catch the commercials?  They were the entertainment, the intrigue, and the trending topic of tweets.  If you paid upwards of two-grand to sit in the cold and watch that stinker, you missed Bob Dylan selling cars.

Now Django’s been known to stretch truth on occasion, but this unsettling occurrence sure felt like a strange disturbance in The Force.  I know rock’s royalty has been selling-out for decades, but we’re talking about Bob Dylan here—counter-culture icon, spiritual son of Woody Guthrie, poet for a generation—hawking cars for Chrysler (and yogurt too)!  What does it all mean?  I guess Robert Zimmerman will work on “Maggie’s Farm” again.

How about the “Puppy Love” campaign that diabolically combined two irresistible attractions, cute dogs and ponies, to perplexingly promote the heart-warming qualities of beer?

Axe “Peace” deodorant dusted-off the hippie slogan, “Make love, not war,” and depicted beautiful native girls falling into the arms of invading soldiers and lovesick dictators presumably because they smelled so good.

All of this psychological mumbo-jumbo had poor Django’s head spinning and longing for a simple “Tastes Great/Less Filling” pitch I could understand.  My brain was suffering a corporate takeover!

Long after the broadcast (and limo ride) ended, I found a microwave near the vending machines at the bus station.  I nuked some water and pressed the last of my Burundi stash into a slightly sweet, aromatic cup as I contemplated the lyrical message of Dylan’s ad-copy.  “Is there anything more American than America?” he suggestively asked.  Django’s no CNBC correspondent, but even I know Chrysler is owned by Italian auto-giant, Fiat and employs only slightly more Americans than Japanese-owned Toyota.  Flag-waving, hero-welcoming, puppy-loving, parade-giving Anheuser-Busch is controlled by the Belgium-based In-Bev Corp.  Faceless European companies selling Americans on our own romanticized idea of America suddenly struck Django in the gut and I had to laugh.

These corporations give good people from our neighborho

ods jobs and there’s nothing wrong with cashing a European check, but we don’t have to turn right around and return that money again.  The decision-makers and profiteers from these global conglomerates don’t live in our communities, and they don’t (necessarily) share our love of dogs, or homecoming parades.   “Don’t Believe the Hype!”

Before you spend those hard-earned greenbacks, make sure you know what you’re getting in return.  Superior craftsmanship, friendly customer service and values-driven ideals are what locally-owned/operated businesses deliver.  It’s also where the true spirit of American entrepreneurism continues to thrive.  Independent artisans, craftsmen, local farmers, and other small businesses are increasingly offering improved quality and less B/S.   They are driven by a rediscovered impulse to build a better mousetrap, and to do so thoughtfully—the proper way.

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Stringbean Coffee Company has plenty of funkified, soul-fried attitude, but Stringbean Pete is a real dude.  He lives in St. Louis.  He roasts coffee because he loves it.  He listens to music while he roasts because he loves that too.  He believes there’s an art to roasting great coffee, and he takes pride in producing an amazing cup.  He treats his customers and co-workers like friends because they actually are.  He wears flannel work-shirts, plays bass and even owns a cute dog.  He’s your friendly neighborhood coffee guy.  What could be cooler than that?

Django’s Super Bowl takeaway is simply this, Dylan was right about one thing, “You can’t fake cool.”