Friday, September 30, 2005

Always look on the bright side of life....

I think I may have mentioned on occasion that I love coffee. I don't drink nearly as much of it as I did earlier in the year, what with being told I may have stomach cancer only to find out the enormous volume of coffee I was drinking was striping the lining off my gut. But that's another story. Anyway, there is still nothing like a hot cup of really fresh, really good coffee. Every morning I grind the beans to make the coffee, and the beans too come from a coffee bean monger at the market who roasts the beans daily. FRESH, that's the key to a good cup of coffee and It's well worth the effort.

This morning I remembered what I think was the best coffee I have ever had. I had it on a frozen lake in Northern Ontario in minus 40 degree weather during my first ice fishing trip with Retro Boy and Eddie. I have no idea what the wind chill was. Hell, it was minus 40 to begin with, how much colder can it get?

So after about a hour standing, back against the wind wondering what the hell I was doing, wishing I still had some Scotch in my flask, out of the ice fishing hut comes Eddie, cups of coffee in his hands. "I didn't know there was a coffee maker in the hut" I exclaim. "It's instant!" answered Eddie with a smile. Oh well, I thought. It's hot. And has non-dairy creamer in it. I drink my coffee black. Oh well, I thought again. It's hot.

I remember taking the first sip with more than a bit of trepidation. Was the fact that this milky-brown liquid was hot, enough to satisfy the coffee snob in me? Would its maker get mad at me if I used it to melt the ice forming over my hole...in the ice? I raised the twenty year old travel mug to my mouth and took an insignificant sip. As soon as the liquid hit my lips my taste buds began to explode. It was fantastic. I starting breathing in huge amounts of the milky brown liquid and before long the mug was empty. I looked over a Retro Boy, perhaps he was too proud to drink instant, unknowing of the ambrosia it was. Nope. Gone. I walked over to him and before I had a chance to say anything he said in as much amazement as I was feeling that it was the best coffee he had ever had.

This got me thinking. How could a cup of year old instant coffee with artificial whitener possibly taste better than a fresh cup of $22 a pound, Ethiopian Java Supremo? Perhaps it had something to do with the environment. That's the answer. It must be. Let's look at the facts:

  • Won over $200 a the casino the night before and blow all the money on a great meal and a lot of beers at a little pub in Huntsville.
  • Drank nearly two thirds of a bottle of 18 year old MacCallan.
  • Slept in till about 10:00 am and woke up without a hangover. See above.
  • Found a great little greasy spoon for breakfast (no signage on the place, must be word of mouth only): Three eggs, six sausages, home fries, and home made beans, two pieces of toast and a coffee - $4.25. I dropped a twenty and covered the meal for the three of us and a $7.25 tip for the waitress.
  • Dressed in about ten layers of cloths, clamored onto the back of a snow mobile a rode out across a frozen lake in minus 40 degree temperature.
Ah, this is where my theory kind of falls apart. Or does it?

Now if I had that coffee after the steak and lobster diner I had the night before, it likely would have ruined the entire meal, well, except for the garlic butter on the mashed potatoes! That was awesome. So I'm thinking that a little of a good thing when you're surrounded by discomfort makes that thing extraordinary.

To further make my point I refer to a commercial about donating your old eyeware to Lens Crafters so they can send them to third world children. It was a while ago, but I'll always remember it. They show this little boy, about 10 years old wearing glasses obviously donated by an old lady. Even though he's wearing big round lenses, tortoise shell frames, he's beaming with pride. He's smiling from ear to ear because for the first time he can see.

Proves my theory don't you think? So if your life's a piece of shit, when you look at it, to get some joy you don't need to go out and get something huge, because a little thing is all you need to make you life better. And it's a lot easier to find a little thing!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM

Have you ever had the desire to kill someone? Not actually pull the trigger and usher some dumb ass to a dirt nap, but have you ever really wanted to not see or hear from someone again, EVER!

I have. About twice a week. That's how often I get to hear the boom, boom, boom from this fucking moron who parks his car in front of my office while he uses the ATM. I can hear him coming minutes before he pulls into the parking lot and when he gets to the parking lot, he jumps out leaving the car running and the bass blasting. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an grumpy old man complaining about "those damn kids". I like my music loud and when I'm alone in the car, which is often, I try to have it loud enough so not to hear my own singing. If you have ever heard me sing, and I know you haven't, you would appreciate the gesture.

BUT this guy....

First of all the car is a complete piece of shit. It's green with rusty highlights. Granted he has pimped the ride a little with chrome hubs and custom tinted windows, but it's still a piece of shit rusty green domestic car with air bubbles in the window tint. Second, the subs he's using must have been home made and installed personally. I have never heard anything so bad. Why the hell draw that kind of attention to yourself in this car. And third, well there isn't a third of all, the first two say it all.

I think the next time I'm going to get Zaphod on his ass and steal his piece of shit stereo on wheels. But then I'd have to drive in it. Hmmm, apparently this is going to take some thought.

Monday, September 12, 2005

People helping people

I have to admit that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the human tragedy that has unfolding in New Orleans. It's not that I don't care because truly I do both from the political point of view and the social. But the one thing I did notice as I am sure everyone else has is how quickly ordinary people were to respond. Celebes like Harry Connick Jr. were knee deep filthy water carrying the sick and the old to what clearly most have seemed like salvation, school children collecting tens of thousands of dollars in the first few days to help people they will likely never know, people helping people.

Ordinary Americans took what I can only describe as ownership of the tragedy. They felt it, they came together and they owned it, just like I would expect them to do. Meanwhile, the government of those same people blamed each other for the failures and did almost nothing. The first emergency response team to reach New Orleans was reportedly from Vancouver British Colombia, 4863km away.

Please help me understand this. I don't understand the dichotomy. How can people that can come together so quickly, in the absence of public authority, allow a system of government that so obviously does not represent their values. How can people that so clearly hold community, compassion and such a deep sense of social responsibility allow their elected officials at all levels to deflect blame?

No level of government is responsible for the weather, but they are responsible for the human tragedy! Hold them accountable.