Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the category “Coffee”

I’m Putting My Foot Down!

 

SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE! This is just getting out of hand! I’m putting my foot down! Both of them even…otherwise I might fall over and doing that in public makes it hard for me to be taken seriously.

Grrrrr.

What has me worked up into such a lather? It is The Usual Suspects.

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Throwback Thursday – from August 2016 – “Ooh, I Can Hear Myself Thinking”

Throwback Thursday 3

Ooh, I Can Hear Myself Thinking

tree aloneTHIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE TIMES of the year at the Chapel of St. Arbucks here in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Why did I buy more onion dip?”).

At this time every year we have a Scholastic Solstice of a sort. For about ten days this place is quiet. The Public Schools have resumed classes while the colleges and universities don’t kick into gear for another week or so. As a result, the usually busy St. Arbucks is an oasis of relative quiet. The decibel level drops from “Karakatoa on the Wabash” loud down to “My headache has disappeared” manageable. The difference is both thrilling and humbling.

During the summertime when the schools are out, St Arbucks becomes a favorite haunt of the pubescent masses who come in, order a “Strawberry and Cream Frappuccino,” and think they’re drinking coffee – Oh, so grown-up. All they are really doing is getting a fortified sugar rush and turning into nonstop chatterboxes. The giggling alone from a table with 10 high school girls is enough to make my Curmudgeon Lobe work overtime.

It is different with the obligatory teenage boys who are also here, following the girls and trying to look macho. At least they are much quieter as they practice looking both sullen and somewhat dangerous or James Dean emotionally lost and in need of a cuddle.

These two factions are in St. Arbucks all summer, minus the two weeks when their parents drag them to visit the Grandparents in some version of Iowa. When they return though, they have two weeks of giggling and posing to catch up on. It is during those two weeks that we try to get out of town.

When the colleges and universities shovel their students into town they show up by the study-group load, monopolizing tables and power outlets for their computers and cell phone chargers.

As a rule the college age crowd isn’t as noisy as the younger chair-fillers. They just fill the sonic landscape with keyboard clicks, textbook page turning and low frequency murmuring about the validity of the scientific method and the real meaning of “The Fight Club.”

Whatever happened to the days when college freshmen argued philosophy in on-campus student lounges and not out in public where the rest of us can hear them and are thrown into fits of despair for the future?

It is during this all too short respite when the younger students are back learning how to cheat on tests from their underpaid teachers and the older students are still trying to figure out how to smuggle microwave ovens into their dorm rooms that the Chapel of St. Arbucks becomes a place for contemplation, reasonable discussions about unreasonable things and, on occasion, a venue for impromptu middle-aged performance art. Things that could never happen if the students were here sounding like a billion hormone driven cicadas.

At this moment I am one of four customers/worshippers here at St. Arbucks. Two of them are women in their thirties who are chatting and sipping quietly. The fourth person is seated at the table behind me and I haven’t heard a sound out of her. Perhaps someone should check to make sure that she is still alive. If she isn’t, let her be for a while – it’s nice in here right now.

There Is No Time For This

A FEW DAYS AGO I SAW a small news item in the local newspaper about an old building that was being renovated. As they were working on the foundation the workers uncovered a Time Capsule. For those of you with no sense of history let me explain about time capsules.

It used to be the practice when public buildings such as Libraries, Government Buildings, and other large structures were built to place a box into the foundation corner stone. In the box they’d put things about the town, their lives, and times. The box would stay hidden until the building was torn down sometime in the future.

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200…Maybe More

 

I HAVE REALIZED, FINALLY, AT MY ADVANCED AGE that the basis for all life on this planet is not carbon or water or even chocolate. It is coffee. Everything else is window dressing.

I’m sure that the entire universe is put together that way. Not necessarily with coffee as the base, but with the structure of everything resting precariously on a base made of something simple and barely noticeable – until it disappears.

When the Scientists on this planet began to figure out the basic structure of everything they came up with a short list of Electrons, Protons, and Neutrons. As time moved on they started adding things to that short stack of atomic particles. Neutrinos, Quarks, Photons, Bosons, Mesons and Masons…OK that last one isn’t true. I just stuck it in there to see who was paying attention.

So far they have identified over 200 subatomic particles. I think that means that everything – you, me, that raccoon living under your porch – everything is composed of more than 200 different tiny bits stacked up. We are all pieces in a giant game of Jenga. Pull out just one piece and it can all collapse into a pile of junk mail.

The two hundred itty-bitty particles making up your milkshake are the same bits making up that boy or girl you were making time with in high school. Your first car and McDonald’s Special Sauce are the same stuff…except for maybe that secret dye that Mickey D’s uses to make those green milkshakes on St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know what that stuff is. No one does. Even Albert Einstein would have shaken his head and muttered “Verdammt, wenn ich es verstehe.”

Well, there you are. That’s pretty much the extent of my take on the composition of the universe. I’m not comparing myself to Albert Einstein, but even he knew when it was time to just shrug his shoulders and toss in the 200 plus particles that made up his towel.

As far as earth is concerned I am sticking with my Coffee Theory. I will not delve further into it because I don’t have the Education, Time, or even the Interest to go looking for the Cosmic Glue Stick that holds everything together.

I’m going to go get a refill on my coffee and maybe pick up a bagel – 2 major particles…3 if I get cream cheese.

Throwback Thursday From August 2016 – “Hairs Looking At You, Babe”

Throwback Thursday From August 2016 – “Hairs Looking At You, Babe”

6I’VE BEEN NOTICING SOMETHING RECENTLY – Something that the rest of the world may have been aware of for some time. I can be slow on the pick-up at time.

There seems to be a fad, fashion trend, or style, for men that is news to me. I’m seeing a lot of younger men sporting really long beards. I’m not talking Abraham Lincoln beard, but something closer to the ZZ Top band or the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Under 50 years of age break out your Google).

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There was a fellow, whom I guess to have been about 30, who came into St. Arbucks for the early services/brewing with a neatly trimmed beard (red, no less) that reached to his belly button. The hair on the top of his head was cut short, but his beard was the size of a fuzzy red placemat. He had the moustache to go with it. When he sipped at his coffee he had to use one hand to lift the ‘stache so he could access his mouth.

I would not want to watch him eat a slice of pizza.

A few days ago he came in with a friend. He also had a most prodigious beard (blonde). I don’t think it’s a cult thing – they both looked sane and neatly dressed in a rather Preppie manner. Aside from the beards they could have been part of the “Up With People” cast (Look ‘em up again.).

1When I mentioned this to the collected Usual Suspects (possibly a mistake) they said that it was a style that was considered “Hot” by the current crop of young ladies. There is no way I can personally verify this without risking getting myself slapped, kneed, or called a variety of names. So, I’ll have to take them at their word.

There has been a beard, in one form or another, on my face for close to 50 years. I first grew on for a part I was doing in a play and I kept it. Right now it’s just a short moustache and small lawn on my chin – all gray.

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I’ve never had a long beard like is fashionable now. That would be too much work. Taking care of a beard like that is similar to having a small dog that needs constant grooming. Imagine a Chihuahua that, left unattended, grows up to be an Irish Wolf Hound.

While I get some coffee and go on a short fact-finding mission to learn more about these beards take a look at the slides of my trip to Yellowstone.

Slide One: A picture of a bear. I took the picture.

Slide Two: A picture of me. The bear took the picture.

Slide Three: A picture of me and the bear. I don’t know who took the picture.

{Courtesy of the late Jackie Vernon. Thank you, Funseekers}

During my minimal research on this phenomenon I read an article that called these long beards “Hipster Beards.” Do tell? Hipster?4

I have been seeing these guys carrying around their Shetland Ponies for a good year now. That’s a long time for anything carrying the label of “Hipster.” The 1960s style Carnaby Street Skinny Suits came and went. The “Soul Patch” mini-facial hair stayed around longer because it required no effort or cost, but these Ground Cover Beards might call for the hiring of a Professional Landscape Artist to maintain it.

Hmmmm? I’m wondering…could these guys with the Astro-Turf facial hair be wearing fake beards???

Hipster, indeed – more likely made in North Korea by slave labor!

An intriguing possibility, but, on second thought, unlikely.

These two jokers I see at St. Arbucks look more like runaways from a West Virginia Jug Band than some “Hipsters” from Terre Haute (That’s French for, “There’s something moving in your beard.”).

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Digging My Way Out Of Kolaches

 

I’M GETTING INTO A RUT. SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, “KRAFTY, YOU ARE GETTING TO BE AS DULL AS DIRT.”

They’re probably right.

It was just yesterday (if you actually read yesterday’s blog) that I highlighted (highlit?) my day with safari into deepest, darkest Dollar General in search of the Wild Parmesan Cheese. How could anything be less exciting than that?

Quite easily if you are me.

This morning, after dream-filled night fraught with images of me walking in circles and the more I walked the farther away I got from everything, At a couple of minutes after 6 AM I popped into semi-consciousness. With only one lobe plugged in and operating I dressed myself, staggered down the stairs and made a pot of tea…all without any injury or embarrassing fashion faux pas. That gave me hope that things might be on the upswing.

I should have known better.

As I sat there slumped over my mug of tea like an early-morning barstool cowboy my wandering (read: unfocusing) eyes lit upon a shopping list note propped up within my field of vision.

Small Bottle of Bleach

Pepto Bismol

I don’t care what fad diet you may be following in your pursuit of skinny jeans, there is no way in Rochester, Minnesota that mixing Bleach and Pepto Bismol can be a good thing. Just seeing that list at that hour made my tummy-tum-tum do a triple back flip. I tried to ignore it as I submerged myself into my tea. It didn’t work

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The Last Straw

A BROKEN STRAW –A METAPHOR FOR MY LIFE.

Even though I am more or less retired I still find Monday to be a toxic spot on my calendar. This past Monday morning was no exception.

For some unknown reason I woke up at about 4:30 AM and could not get back to sleep. So I grabbed a pair of sox and started from there to get dressed and go get some coffee. All I can figure is that I must have either nodded off or I was kidnapped by Space Aliens and returned to my bed 90 minutes later. I felt no evidence of “probing.”All of the proverbial sudden it was 6 AM and I had one sock dangling from my right foot.

I finished dressing and completed my morning obligations (Making a pot of tea and gathering my morning meds) and steering the Toyota down the street to St. Arbucks. I was on the verge of Psychic Collapse.

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The Latest Joy Killers

 

THE LATEST ATTACK UPON HAPPINESS AND JOY IS UPON US. Two “Food Scientists” as they call themselves, (Actually two Dweebs from Seattle) have announced to the world that they have created a “Beanless Coffee” that tastes, they say, “…the way coffee should taste.” In other words these two morons have reinvented “Postum.” (Look it up)

          An article from NPR comes close to orgasm lauding this bit of nonsense.

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Oh, What a Tangled Dark Web We Weave

EVERY TURN I TAKE RECENTLY I AM READING OR HEARING ABOUT THE PERILS AND DANGERS OF “THE DARK WEB.”

Oooooh, it sounds so scary, doesn’t it?

To be truthful the first time I heard mention of a “Dark Web” I thought it was talking about that sticky mess I walked into when I went into the garage. Some poor spider saw me and had hopes for a good meal.

All sorts of products that I see on TV are now are touting their powers to protect you and I from the scourge of the Dark Web.

What is it anyway?

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Where Are My People And What Have You Done With Them?

SOME DAYS NOTHING MAKES SENSE.

Why is that? This morning has been one of those days. Everything has been a series of nonsequiters come to life. Imagine letting a six year old edit the film of a motion picture. There would be some serious and confusing jump cuts. That is what today has been so far.

This morning I slept in a bit – causing me to get to the Chapel at St. Arbucks a few minutes later than usual. That must have been when the crazy body doubles were sneaked in.

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Not A Way To Start The Day

 

WHO SAYS THAT NOTHING EVER HAPPENS AT ST. ARBUCKS?

Not me.

Just the other morning as I was trying hard to be a calm, sober, and mature adult, but not having much luck. I was at St. Arbucks slurping my coffee when a young man lurched through the door. He looked to be in his twenties but had a baby face that made him look about fourteen. But there was something “off” about him.

After he came through the door he stopped and took his time looking about the room. He made no move toward the cashier’s station. My first thought was, honestly, that he was considering who he should approach to try to get some “spare change.”

I could not have been more wrong.

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Throwback Thursday from June 2016 – “What Did You Just Say To Me?”

What Did You Just Say To Me?

pills1 I REALLY CAN’T HELP IT. I’m a bit of a Smart Aleck, Wiseacre, and (Fill in the euphemism of your choice). I know it.

Most days I have it under tight control. Other days – not so tight.

A lifetime of experience and a number of years when I got paid to be a (Fill in the blank) has taught me that if I’m not fully awake, not feeling well, or someone goes “Boo!” and surprises me, my brain and mouth tend to go off on their own to play. When that happens all bets are off and I’m as upset as anybody else at what happens next.

This morning is a perfect example. I apologize in advance and in retrospect.

It was early, I was still a bit groggy, and my back hurt. This is a dangerous combination. It is pills2comparable to taking part in a Pogo Stick Race while carrying a Thermos filled with Nitroglycerine. Cover your ears and keep your head low.

I had just stumbled into St. Arbucks in desperate need of coffee. I was seated in the corner, minding my own business. I had my Morning Blood Pressure Meds spread out on a Kleenex. My iced coffee was at the ready. It was an idyllic scene at 7:30 AM.

A sip of coffee and my Fish Oil was down my gullet. Another sip – another pill.

While I’m focusing on the task at hand an imperfect adult stranger walks up to my table and pills4says, “That’s a lot of pills. Cancer?”

I ask you – is that any way to start a conversation? With me? At 7:30 in the morning? Before I’ve had all of my coffee?

 

Without missing a beat the few brain cells that were awake kicked into Defensive/Offensive Mode. I looked up at her. I smiled. I spoke.

“No, they’re not for cancer. They’re to try to control my unpredictable and violent outbursts that happen when strangers walk up to me in public and ask questions. Do I know you?”

Even her spray-on tan faded.pills5

She backed up and exited the store.

I consider my reply to fall into the category of a “Public Service Announcement.” I hope she heard it clearly and will think twice in the future before acting like such a dummy.

What if I had been taking a buffet of meds for cancer? Is that her business – or anybody’s business for that matter?

What a yutz.

Most people who know me find me to be a gentle, even kittycat-like, with my playful and loving demeanor. I may jump around and make noise on occasion, but I don’t claw at the sofa and I am housebroken. All I ask is – please don’t sneak up on me with dumb questions at 7:30 in the morning. Later in the day I can deal with stuff like that in a more civil manner, but anyone who does it before I’ve had my coffee is pushing their luck.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program – in progress.

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Let’s Dig Up Some Worms

LET ME PREFACE THIS BY SAYING that I am not a Grandfather and unless something of positively biblical proportions happens I never will be.

I’m cool with that.

For many people being a Grandparent is a lifetime goal – even more so than being your plain everyday Parent without the Grand part. I think that, if they could, many of these people would rather skip the Parent part altogether. It doesn’t work that way as far as I can tell.

This morning one of the “Semi-Regular Suspects” was in for coffee earlier than his usual routine would allow. He informed me that he was going out to play golf with some friends and had a 7 AM tee time. To me going out to play golf at 7 AM is a sign of mental illness. But who am I to argue? He’s a grown man…and a Grandfather.

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Throwback Thursday – “100 Years Of Turning Left”

Throwback Thursday – “100 Years Of Turning Left”

Indy 1946

Indy 500 – 1946

AUTO RACING IS BIG, VERY BIG IN INDIANA. This year it is even bigger.

“Why, Oh, why?” I hear someone ask.

The reason is that this year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 race. This year, as in every other year, 33 cars will tear around the 2.5 mile track for 500 miles – turning left the entire time.

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Searching For The Saint

ON THE MORNING OF THE THIRD DAY – in Adrian, Michigan a small open window of opportunity presented itself. From about 9:30 until Noon I was free to pursue my main personal goal for this trip. I was determined to get myself a decent cup of coffee…and maybe do a little writing on a story I’ve been wrestling with for a month. From 9:30 until Noon, two and a half hours, 150 minutes. Not much time, but better than a kick in the chronograph.

How was I going to achieve this lofty goal?

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I Will Swat Flies And So Would Gandhi

 

WHAT CAME FIRST?

I’ve heard feverish arguments for both The Chicken and for The Egg. I’ve also heard that The Chicken was busy crossing the road and forgot where it left The Egg.

I don’t know. It is 6:18 in the morning. It is still dark outside – much too early for any Philosophical Questions. Even The Chicken and The Egg thing is too demanding. At this hour my brain can barely handle basic body functions: Heartbeat, Vision, Bladder. After that it is Hit and Miss until my coffee kicks in and that could be anytime between 7 AM and 7 PM. Before or after that I am not a responsible human being. Some people have argued that 7 to 7 isn’t all that great for me either.

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Frankly, My Dear…

THAT SOUND YOU HEAR ECHOING ACROSS THE MAP IS MY BRAIN EXPLODING. It takes a lot to detonate my brain. The last time it happened was when someone told me that Pauley Shore was still making movies…or was it Ben Stiller… or was it Adam Sandler? I get them all mixed up. They are all…Oh, I don’t want to think about it.

What caused my brain to go Karakatoa on me this morning was the continued renovation of the center of my world aka St. Arbucks. The midnight raiders from the Seattle headquarters were in again last night and I consider their activity as Vandalism.

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Who Is That I See?

OH, MY GOD! WILL THIS NEVER END?

Every night they sneak in after closing and put new…new…new stuff in place. The Elves from the Great Northwest tippy-toe in and while we are sleeping in our Snuggies they install a collection of items like this large picture of a jungle scene. It is reminiscent of an apartment I had once which also had a variety of wildlife. Personally, it’s not my taste in artwork. I’ve never been a fan of Finger Painting.

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There May Be More To This

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…

The rumor is that tomorrow the nabobs in Seattle will be shipping in a truckload of individual trampolines to help people get out of the congestion during busy times at St. Arbucks.

Either that or they might install those little metal spikes that you see on buildings to keep pigeons from roosting.

Coo…Coo.

I trundled into the Chapel of St. Arbucks this morning and I could tell that the little elves from Washington State had been in overnight and they were busy. Gone was the row of chairs along the front of the store and in their place was a long bench unit. The seat was technically padded, but the padding was more “suggested” than real. Just think of your favorite Hollywood Starlet – looking soft and comfortable, but you know that it’s not real but “enhanced.”

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Change Things To Be The Same

OH, NO! IT HAS STARTED!

The prophesied remodeling of the St. Arbucks Chapel has begun. I pulled the Toyota into my favorite gimp spot and through the window I could see…nothing. Something was drastically wrong. All of the Art was gone from the walls. The furniture I had come to know and tolerate was gone – replaced with what looked like leftovers from a combination nursery school/maximum security prison. The comfortable easy chairs that nurtured the butts of the early morning geezers are gone! In their place are two low slung chairs that look like they came from the waiting room of a Psychiatrist who only treated midgets.

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