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).
Gadji’s new routine is to sit on my side of the bed and purr loudly while nudging my head with her nose.
This means she wants breakfast.
So up I get and breakfast I get—but first I start my day’s first cuppa joe. 1
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. 2
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)
First sip in darkness
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!
Long walks at night 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:
“Mystically liberal Virgo loves long walks in the city at night in the rain with a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig.”
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 blessed to be 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 fave authors, Philip K. Dick.
I figured if it was good enough for the big Dick, it was good enough for little dicks like me!
FEATURED IMAGE: This photo was the original image that appeared at the top of this page, but it doesn’t leave much of an impact on casual viewers perusing my blog looking for something interesting to read. Hence I replaced it with the more inviting cuppa joe that you see above. Still, this is an interesting photo and it helps illustrate the paragraphs below:
“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 According to Snopes.com (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.”
2 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!
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)