Last year, at about this time in the morning, I took off, on my Kawasaki Concours motorcycle, to perform a Christmas mission which as long tradition that predates the Druid occupation of England and possibly before the birth of Christ himself. A mission that absolutely could not result in failure. The mission was to find an open coffee shop that had mocha. That is a rare bird around here. Not a non-existent one, just a rare one. Of course I'm not going to pay $$$$ for a shop to dismount my tires because the TPMS sensors have weak batteries. The display console, which shows every parameter useful to the biking world, and then some, like fuel level and gear position, is now dominated by an alternating flashing "TPMS Battery Low" indication that takes over the ENTIRE display, and it's annoying as hell. The only way to get it to stop is to use both hands to simultaneously push two buttons on the display (very dangerous when you are moving and not great even at a stop.) Why. Fast forward. It's f****g cold outside. I elect not to perform this mission on the motorcycle as roadway ice is not out of the question. So I fire up a rental Nissan Sentra. There is a little informative display thingie on the dash on the instrument cluster. It says "Low Temperature Alert." That's all it says. It says that if the temperature goes below 36 degrees. I does not go off until the temperature rises above 36 degrees. There is a good portion of the country (the world, actually, on both hemispheres) where the temperature will not rise above 36 degrees for several months at a time. I KNOW it's f*****g cold outside. It's not like the car must be operated in a different manner when the temperature falls below 36 degrees. I just don't get it. Why. By the way, the donut shop operated by the Mexican family that is normally open on Christmas day was closed. I fear they may have been deported. They have provided Christmas day donut and mocha service for years. I drove halfway around town and found a 'Power Mart' all lit up. This was around 5:45. The dude inside unlocked the door to bring in a stack of newspapers and informed me that it wouldn't be open until 6:30. I thanked the man for the information and my assessment of the place was that I couldn't get a proper mocha there anyway, save for a premix cold Starbucks blend, but that's cheating. Then I saw the 7-11. Those are always open. I went inside, swaggered up to the hot coffee section, and saw the machine. The Machine. Yeah, the same machine they used in the donut place, except it was designed to be used by people that don't know how to use these machines. Like me. The closest thing they had to a mocha was a caramel machado. I know it's macciado or some crap like that but I'm trying to keep this aviation related. And by the way I said carmel, not caramel. I wasn't sure i fully technically fulfilled my mission as I couldn't drink it on the premise (I guess I could have, I just didn't) so I drove back home in a big loop. Then I noticed the Starbucks. The Starbucks. Yes, all the Starbucks in my hood are closed today. But this was a new one. It was open. I was remiss. But was I? I was drinking my carmel Machado, which cost exactly $1.99, when I could have gotten a Super Venti Bento Caramelito Machadito Mocha of the same size, and the same taste, for about seven bucks. No, I prevailed. It pained me to see the poor saps inside the shop get tazed by the prices, but then again they could afford to feed their big SUV's and plus they are probably upside down on their home mortgage and plus they probably own a boat too.