Monday, December 20, 2010

Hello Coffee...


"Hello coffee. Meet Mr. Coffee-Bong"
Both of you: Prepare...to pleasure me.
O.K., O.K., I should back up a bit, before you all think I'm too strange. It may be too late for that, but, oh well. It is what it is. My Christmas gift to myself arrived today.
A few years ago - and I don't remember the exact order of events - but a few years ago -Mr. Randall and I exchanged mischevious little gifts. He sent me the best coffee on earth, Kenya AA from zbeanz in Portland, Oregon and I sent him an Aeropress, espresso maker, affectionately-named the "coffee bong." If you have never tried the "Aeropress" to make your coffee, you are missing the whole point of coffee. I mean, once you've tried it, you will never want to make coffee any other way. Period.
So, because zbeanz Kenya AA is so delicious, I can never repay Randall for sending it to me. And likewise, because the product the "bong" produces is so utterly addictive, Randall still blurts out an involuntary curse under his breath whenever he hears its name...
All kidding aside, this is damn fine coffee in a damn fine preparation. The combination of the best beans on earth, roasted to prefection, with the best (and simplest) coffee "machine" on earth is an absolutely wonderful treat. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In Praise of Reading and Fiction


"Let those who doubt that literature not only submerges us in the dream of beauty and happiness but alerts us to every kind of oppression, ask themselves why all regimes determined to control the behavior of citizens from cradle to grave fear it so much they establish systems of censorship to repress it and keep so wary an eye on independent writers. They do this because they know the risk of allowing the imagination to wander free in books, know how seditious fictions become when the reader compares the freedom that makes them possible and is exercised in them with the obscurantism and fear lying in wait in the real world. Whether they want it or not, know it or not, when they invent stories the writers of tales propagate dissatisfaction, demonstrating that the world is badly made and the life of fantasy richer than the life of our daily routine. This fact, if it takes root in their sensibility and consciousness, makes citizens more difficult to manipulate, less willing to accept the lies of the interrogators and jailers who would like to make them believe that behind bars they lead more secure and better lives."

Mario Vargas Llosa
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010

Wow.