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Some people find their favorite flavor of ice cream early in life and stick with it. Me, I go through phases. For years my favorite was strawberry, then it was praline, then pistachio, and then, for a while, vanilla bean. (Not regular vanilla, or French vanilla, or cherry vanilla or vanilla fudge, but vanilla bean. I wanted to see dark specks of what looked like dirt throughout the white cloud of cream.)
Now my flavor of choice is coffee. I’ve sampled coffee ice cream from a variety of manufacturers, including Ben & Jerry’s (mediocre at best), Häagen Dazs (passable but too subtle for my taste), Double Rainbow (sadly, Coffee Blast is more eh than a blast), and Starbucks (which, since it’s in the business of selling masstigecoffee, should really produce more piquant coffee ice cream than it does). Sadly, none of these brands truly satisfies the discerning coffee ice cream palate. What disappointment.
Mitchell’s Ice Cream does produce a delectably smooth Kahlúa Mocha Cream — (Kahlúa being a well-known Mexican brand of coffee-flavored liqueur) — but unfortunately Mitchell’s is only available in the San Francisco Bay Area. (This is a great loss to everyone outside this region, and we hope that one day Mitchell’s expands its local empire without sacrificing the superlative quality of its many unusual flavors.)
Thankfully, I eventually discovered Mashti Malone’s, a little-known brand that produces an impressive, pungently flavored Turkish Coffee ice cream. It tastes like real Turkish coffee with ice cream added to it, rather than a diluted shot of weak coffee added to vanilla ice cream. Each bite packs a bittersweet punch that simultaneously wakes you up and leaves you feeling happily mellow.
The brand description on the Mashti Malone’s carton reads "exotic ice creams and sorbets" and manufactures other unusual flavors such as Creamy Rosewater, Lavender, and Orange Blossom with Pistachios. Be prepared for its hefty price tag, though: each pint retails for over $5.
Sometimes animal lovers are in the mood to see kittens — lots and lots of kittens. Still photos of kittens may offer only partial satisfaction for your desire for cuteness. Fortunately, there’s plenty of video footage available, showing all the wobbling, bouncing, chasing, batting, squealing, head-tilting, cat-napping silliness you can stand.
With visual access to so many kittens, is it possible to rank them in order of cuteness? kittenwar seeks to do just that, by encouraging users to click the cuter baby feline subject of two photos. One selection leads to another, and another, and another, and pretty soon you’ve found a new way to procrastinate with this addictive activity. After selecting the cuter of two kittens, kittenwar informs you of the percentage of how many users agreed with your assessment of the previous pair.
kittenwar compiles the stats of photos that garnered the most clicks (or "Winningest" kittens) and the least clicks ("Losingest" kittens). The collection of Winningest photos showcases those kittens — (often seen looking directly at the camera with wide-eyed expressions of innocence, sleeping in a pile of siblings and playmates, or curled up in a household object) — that have been statistically deemed cutest by kittenwar users. By contrast, the Losingest kittens tend to possess features that most people judge as unattractive in felines: hairlessness, bulging eyes, long snouts, long ears. Many of them are at least part Siamese, and some almost look like Chihuahua dogs.
Complicating matters is the battle of photo quality perception. Many of the Winningest kitten photos are of a high enough quality to be made into posters (the kind found in offices and dorm rooms with cliched captions like "Hang in there" or "Easy does it"); whereas the quality of the Losingest kitten photos are often low (over- or underexposed, "red eye" reflections, unappealing backgrounds, poor composition). So I wonder if, given a choice between two equally cute (or non-cute) kittens, Kittenwar users subconsciously choose the one in the higher quality photo? In any case, proud kitten guardians may want to upload images with only the best photographic quality.