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Nicol Valentin

Romancing the Joe, How Coffee Got It’s Nickname

It’s a lazy summer day and your on a tropical beach with the man of your dreams. “I love you,” he says as a warm breeze sweeps down from the sand dunes and tumbles through his sun bleached hair. “Marry me.” You start to say yes, but your voice comes out sounding like a fog horn. Lover-boy pops like a pin-pricked balloon, the sand dunes turn into…

Borgia 101: Welcome to Borgialand

Part 2 Last week on Borgia 101: Rodrigo Borgia became Pope, Della Rovere was seething, and the Borgia kids were so excited they were doing the chicken dance. When in Rome . . . Now as we said before nepotism was a common thing among the Roman clergy at the time. There was a two-fold benefit to this. If you were able to stuff the college of Cardinals with friends and family, your position was much safer…

Borgia 101: A New Pope . . .The Saga Begins

PART ONE Nothing says happy home life like a little blackmail, sexual depravity, and gratuitous killing. Well, if your last name is Borgia that is. The list of bad behaviors for the Borgias includes incest, orgies, poisoning—heck, if it’s possible, there’s probably a rumor they did it.  What, however, in the tangled web of speculation and innuendo is true and what’s not? Let’s take a closer…

What You Don’t Know About Rocking Chairs

What’s your feeling on rocking chairs?  It’s a strange question, but think about it. More than likely if you search through the cobwebs in your mind there’s a memory waiting to be dusted off.  Maybe your mama rocked you to sleep on one when you were small. Maybe your grandmother had one on her porch that you would climb into when you went to visit. Either way, chances are…

How the English Fell in Love with Tea

The recent Fourth of July celebrations have me thinking about tea. It had a part, after all, in getting this whole independence thing started. What is it that makes tea oh-so-British? In the Beginning, God Made Tea Well, as British as it seems, tea wasn’t born in England, and it didn’t even appear there until the mid-17th century. Its origins are in  China, and for a large chunk…