Starbucks and season-jumping blues

TRAVERSE CITY — 3D-printed guns? Yeah, that’s what we need as a society. I’ll tell you what: When 3D printing becomes cheaper (a plastic gun now costs between $5,000 and $600,000), this country is in for a world of hurt. We rely on metal detectors to protect our courts, stadiums, airplanes, you name it. It’ll be open season for the loons and terrorists when there’s no metal to detect. Thank you, NRA.

– As long as I live, I will never understand – nor abide by – Starbucks’ use of tall, grande and venti for small, medium and large. I refuse to use their terms on grounds that calling a small a tall is stupid. (I’m a deep thinker.) And I’m against the use of fancy-schmancy or made-up words (venti, for instance, doesn’t make Merriam-Webster) when simple words would do. I wonder what percentage of their customer base is like me. Probably a lot. I suspect they have a company policy against correcting customers on this point because I’ve tried to goad drive-thru clerks into a debate and they never bite.

– I’m not a huge beer fan, but I will say Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is the best I’ve ever tasted, although I’m willing to accept challengers. Your submissions welcomed.

– Don’t you think, though, that there are too many micro-breweries for the market to support? Seems like a lot of them are bound to die off. Same goes for coffee shops offering specialty blends. How many of those do we need?

– We’re coming up on Michigan corn time. There’s none better. Butter and sea salt are my favorite toppings, although Cuban corn (mayo, lime, cayenne and Parmesan) is a close second.

– I’m starting to hear people talk about football. Please stop it. Football is a fall activity. Summer doesn’t end until Sept. 21. Stop jumping the season.

– Oh, hell, I might as well join in: My fearless Detroit Lions prediction is they’ll sort of but not quite completely stink, as always. Death. Taxes. Lions.

– UM coach Jim Harbaugh seems like a weird (in an amusing way) dude. Did you see the report this week about his belief that he doesn’t eat chicken (or didn’t when he was playing at UM, anyway) because it’s a nervous bird? How do you even respond to that if someone says that to you?

– Speaking of season-jumping, I see the stores are already filling up with fall and winter gear. I refuse to shop at stores that do this. I don’t want to buy fall and winter gear in the summer. I want to buy fall and winter gear in the winter, by which time all that will be available is spring and summer stuff. Life is dumb.

– The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a warning recently that salads and wraps from Trader Joe’s, Kroger and Walgreen’s may be contaminated with an intestinal parasite. OK, that’s bad. But if you’re like me you’re much more focused on thinking, “Wait, Walgreen’s has salads?” At least if you get sick on one, you’re in the right place. “I’ll take the salad and this Imodium, please.”

– There have been so many food illness outbreaks lately I’m tempted to stop eating altogether. Is there such a thing as an airotarian? (I’ll try it and let you know how it works out.) The political part of me wonders whether a lack of health inspections has anything to do with the outbreaks. I don’t know about you but food safety should be one area where we stand as one. The more inspections the better.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius.

— — —

Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him via email at