mystical liberal loves long walks in the city in the rain

A LOT IS ASKED OF MYSTICAL LIBERALS! The latest is my cat now wakes me up at four o’clock. In the morning. She does this after failing to rouse Berni. El gato loco has finally realized that nothing rouses Princess Berni when she’s asleep (except the occasional pea that I place beneath her side of our double-thick futon).

Mystically liberal Virgo likes long walks in the city at night in the rain with a big umbrella and to turn, to tease, to hug and squeeze, and to dig right in and do the clam!

Gadji’s new routine is to sit on my side of the bed and purr loudly while nudging my head with her nose. 1

This means she wants breakfast.

At fourayem.

So up I get and breakfast I get—but first I start my day’s first cuppa joe. 2

I still favor the flavor of Trader Joe’s Dark French Roast, but will be taking a friend’s suggestion and trying Café Bustelo’s Espresso Molido next. 3

While the brew is brewing, I feed Gadji and then catch up on the day’s first emails, which consist of the usual political newsletters, requests to sign petitions, and various notifications about the state of my websites.


“Among the numerous luxuries of the table coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions is never followed by sadness, languor, or debility.” (Benjamin Franklin)

When the coffee is ready (I let it steep more than most folks), I step outside to have my first sips in the darkness.

As it is often raining this time of year, I stand under the carport and listen to the rhythm of the rain ping-panging on the tin roof while gazing about.

We live at the end of a cul de sac with a greenbelt less than a hundred feet away. At four in the morning, I am the only one out—the only thing usually, as even the nosy gossipy blackbirds are asleep.

I usually don’t spend more than a few minutes there—it is cold and it is damp and it is four in the morning—but I come back in with a sense of gratitude at and with and for Life.

My life in particular and who I ended up . . .

Loves long walks at nigh in the rain

WordPress encourages site administrators to include a Biographical Info entry on each site. Grommett only knows where the damn thing appears for readers to see, but I filled it in anyway. Since I believe that readers should get to know me via the essays and articles that I post on my sites, I intentionally made it brief and humorous:

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick

“Mystically liberal Virgo loves long walks in the city at night in the rain with a big umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig. Although now a senior citizen, I can still rockahula my baby and, on a good day, do the clam with the best of them!” 4

In the bio’s first sentence, I mentioned my renowned mystical liberalism, which I have discussed elsewhere. And I am one of the approximately 8% of the human race born under the sign of perfection and excellence in all things human, Virgo.

I do enjoy walking through the city by night, and that walk usually requires an umbrella here in the sunny funny Pacific Northwest.

And a sip from the flask of Laphroaig is like a sip from the water of life! My taste for the 10-year-old whiskey was acquired through my reading: it was the Scotch of choice of one of my faveravest authors, Philip K. Dick. I figured if it was good enough for the big Dick, it was good enough for little dicks like me!

Hey everybody gather ’round

The second sentence in my bio is an in-joke referencing the two singles most often associated for the deterioration in quality of Elvis Presley’s records in the ’60s. Rock-A-Hula Baby is a clumsy “Twist Special” from the movie Blue Hawaii (1961), and was Elvis’s first single side that could be dismissed as pure pap for then people. Alas, it actually topped the British pop charts!

Do The Clam was from the 1965 movie Girl Happy, one the many hapless Presley vehicles released in the mid-’60s. As a single, it may be the nadir of his career and really has to be experienced to be believed . . .

Yes, he actually sang, “Hey everybody gather ’round, listen to that bongo sound. Grab the first one in your reach, now we’re gonna shake the beach! Do the clam, do the clam. Grab your barefoot baby by the hand. Turn and tease, hug and squeeze. Dig right in and do the clam . . .” 5

At the same time that Elvis was clamming around, the Beatles were playing with guitar feedback on I Feel Fine, the Stones topped the UK charts with a straight blues Little Red Rooster, and the Byrds were experimenting with turning a rambling folk tune by Bob Dylan into the near perfect pop-rock production Mr. Tambourine Man.

But I sense (mystically, of course) that I have rambled on long enough . . .


FEATURED IMAGE: “Coffee was not a native plant to the archipelago. In the 17th century, when Indonesia was still under Dutch occupation, the VOC brought Arabica coffee plants to Indonesia. They were interested in growing the plants and sought to break the worldwide Arab monopoly on the coffee trade. Coffee plantations were later established in East Java, Central Java, West Java, and in parts of Sumatra and Sulawesi.

Large areas of forested land were cleared and cultivated specifically for the development of these plantations. [After World War II], the plantations throughout Indonesia either came under the control of the new government or were abandoned. Many colonial plantation owners fled the country to avoid being arrested. Today close to 92% of coffee production is in the hands of small farmers or cooperatives.” (Coffee in Indonesia)


1   I read this aloud to Princess Berni when she was still thirty minutes shy of her first Starbuck’s and she thought I was somehow discussing peeing on her side of the bed!

2   According to (the fact-checking site that is universally loathed by rightwingnuts, which means it must be doing something right) (get it?), the derivation of the term ‘joe’ for coffee remains a mystery:

“Over its history of popularity in Western culture, coffee has attracted affectionate nicknames such as java and joe, and it is the latter which concerns us, because unlike the origins of the term java, how the beverage came to bear the appellation of joe is still a bit of a mystery. (We colloquially term coffee “java” because at the time the beverage became popular in the 19th century,the primary source of the world’s coffee was the island of Java in Indonesia.)

There are two [reasonably strong] theories for how coffee came to be joe, but neither is verifiable. The first asserts that joe is a corruption of one of two other slang words for coffee: java and jamoke, the latter itself a compression of java and mocha. Under that theory, a cup of jamoke could easily have slip-slid its way into being a cup of joe.

The second postulates that since joe is argot for a ‘fellow, guy, chap’—and the earliest sighting of its being used that way dates to 1846—that a cup of joe thus means the common man’s drink.” **

Of these two, jamoke becoming joe may be the most likely explanation, as an early example appears in the 1931 Reserve Officer’s Manual which reads, “Jamoke, Java, Joe. Coffee. Derived from the words Java and Mocha, where originally the best coffee came from.”

3   Bill and Pam Burkard got turned on to Café Bustelo while surviving life in Key West. They recently recommended I give it a try, so I started my usual Internet research. The first review I found was by Jay Weston for The Huffington Post, where he exclaimed that Café Bustelo “was such a revelation taste-wise that I have never gone back to my old standby of French Roast from Trader Joe’s.” Coincidence? This mystical liberal knows there are no coincidences, so this will be my next coffee purchase!

4   Well, at least I think it’s humorous!

5   No, no one no where was dumb enough to make this #1 on no chart.


“It is commonly believed that the name Laphroaig is derived from the Norse breid-vik, meaning ‘broad bay.’ It seems that the name Laphroaig—’the beautiful hollow by the broad bay’—has Viking roots, although it could also be considered a Gaelic reference to an old place name.” (Lahproaig Collector)


Comments, suggestions, additions, and arguments welcome!