Refill on that?

The Starbucks closing list is now public, and I’m pleased to see our local isn’t on it. I’m generally pleased with Starbucks, except when I am not. I won’t rehash all the standard bitching about the mermaid, because it doesn’t matter; Starbucks introduced dark roasts to much of America, and give them that at the very least. If it’s much more difficult to palm off a watery brown tincture as something worth your $1.25, then they’ve done the world a service.

Of course there’s a downside. I saw it last week in the Las Vegas airport, on a short layover when all I wanted was a great big cuppa strong black coffee, and got stuck in line behind the eight pickiest people in the world. When one opened with, “I’d like two tall skinny soy lattes, one just a tad cooler than the other,” I threw up my hands and sought out a fast-food place down the row.

Once upon a time America drank coffee. And America was strong. An America that drinks tall skinny soy lattes — one just a tad cooler than the other — is an America that is, dare I say, French.

Ah, well. I have bigger fish to fry today. Picked up the dog yesterday, and could feel his bones poking through his coat. He’d been off his feed most of the week, the vet said. OK, can’t blame him — abandonment in one’s dotage is probably grounds for a hunger strike. Since he’s gotten home, he’s done nothing but eat. And then sometime last night, he got up and pooped on the dining room floor. Which is either the beginning of the end, or just evidence of a senior citizen’s discombobulated constitution. I’m going with the latter. Poor old man. In seven weeks, he’ll be 17. Deaf, mostly blind, but still swingin’.

Speaking of dogs, let’s swing into some tasty bloggage today with one I’ve been carrying around a while. I don’t know how many of you read the NYT’s magazine cover story weekend before last, the one on psychotropic pharmaceuticals for pets, but it made me laugh so hard I nearly had my own dining-room accident:

Aggression is a feline problem too. A few weeks after visiting Dodman, I went to the home of a man in West Los Angeles whose pet was on Prozac. The owner, Doug, asked me not to use his last name because he didn’t want business associates to know about what he called his “cougar psycho little miniature stalker” — Booboo the cat.

Booboo was apparently poisoned by an unfortunate dried-flower-eating incident, which led to the onset of, I dunno, catzophrenia:

From then on Booboo was different. He would periodically ambush Doug. Over time, Doug noticed that attacks were more likely if he smelled at all abnormal — for instance, if he had been near a woman wearing perfume — so he would take a shower after coming home and then change into his designated cat-wrangling outfit.

…Doug led me up the stairs in his house to the second floor. He donned a pair of khakis that he had lined with heavy-gauge ballistic nylon and washed up because he had shaken hands with me. He crept toward the master bedroom, where Booboo was permanently quarantined behind a door that had been remounted to swing outward to facilitate quick escapes by Doug. “Just behind this door lurks the Tasmanian devil,” Doug said before slipping inside. I squatted at ground level and watched through a transparent doggy door. The 400-square-foot room had a walk-in closet, a four-poster bed and a floor-to-ceiling view of Beverly Hills mansions dotting a scenic canyon. The suite belonged entirely to Booboo, though Doug said he was now able to sleep over a few nights a week. Booboo slinked past the window and gave me a steady gaze. He had a tuxedo coat, mostly black but with patches of white on his feet, underbelly and forehead. Doug scooped him up and they nuzzled face to face. “He’s just warm, soft and fuzzy, and he purrs, and he’s cuddly,” he murmured.

The theme of the story: These critters wouldn’t need all these drugs if we, their owners, weren’t quite so crazy ourselves. Good reading.

Those who can get back to the land, do. Those who can’t, delegate. Another reason to hate California foodies:

Eating locally raised food is a growing trend. But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden? That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves. Call them the lazy locavores — city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner serving their needs.

Here’s a story that’s been getting some play here of late, about a Michigan woman who escaped from prison in 1976 (drug charges), went straight, assumed a new identity and was found 30 years later living the good life in the suburbs of San Diego. The question is, of course, how do you treat a self-rehabilitated soccer mom whose original crime was non-violent but whose escape from custody remains unpunished? As one, the howl goes up in Michigan: Send her back to prison, for a very very very long time!

I am not among those howling. Of course she deserves punishment; the state has to do something. But jailing her again seems pointless, and what’s more, I know of a punishment that will a) hurt; b) hit her where she lives; and c) help the state of Michigan. Among many other things. And it is? Ahem. Fine her.

Fine her big. If her family wants her on the outside so bad, make them pay a hearty sum. Half a million, say. Or more. Why is this so hard? You’re welcome. Just call me Solomon.

Off to the gym, which I am dreading.

Posted at 9:39 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

62 responses to “Refill on that?”

  1. Julie Robinson said on July 22, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Count me among those who don’t get the whole Starbucks thing. Of course, I also don’t drink coffee, but $4 for a cuppa joe? Does anyone remember the quaint old days when people used a thermos?

    My chuckle of the day.

    Man growing pot plant outside his trailer readily admits that it’s his and there’s only one because he’s trying to cut back on his use. Insert appropriate stoner joke here.

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  2. coozledad said on July 22, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I always thought soy milk was a little too “green” flavored for coffee. Wouldn’t it be like shredding Napa cabbage into your breakfast cereal?
    I guess you could also sell a buttermilk cappuccino in some locales.

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  3. Dorothy said on July 22, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I am so glad I don’t drink coffee. I get snotty enough about the prices for popcorn and drinks at the movies. Which I never ever buy.

    Hey in case anyone is interested, I read at the Comic Curmudgeon’s site the other day that he’s going to be on Jeopardy tonight. His first name is Josh.

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  4. MichaelG said on July 22, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I was interested to see that the Starbuck’s at Shattuck and Cedar in Berkeley is closing. It’s a block and change from Peet’s — the very first Peet’s opened by Alfred Peet his own self back in the late ’60s. The mother church. I used to buy my coffee there back when I lived in the neighborhood. I’m not at all surprised that the Starbucks there is closing. I still drink Peet’s — there’s one not far from where I live and I pass at least two Starbuck’s to get there.

    Herb Caen once observed somebody ordering a non-fat latte with decaf coffee and named the drink a “why bother”.

    I’d let LeFevre go with a slap on the wrist. Maybe a $50 fine. I’ll think about putting her in jail the day after “Scooter” Libby goes to jail.

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  5. brian stouder said on July 22, 2008 at 10:39 am

    My lovely wife pointed this out to me:

    No sooner does The Dark Knight fall upon box office records accross the land, than Christian Bale has to try and make bail

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  6. moe99 said on July 22, 2008 at 10:41 am

    The second Starbucks ever constructed was in Seattle and across the street from the federal building where I worked. Now the federal building had recently put into effect an edict that you could not maintain a coffee pot at your worksite. All the better to promote the cafeteria in the basement, they thought.

    Well, you can imagine the stream of folks that moseyed over to this Starbucks daily from a 30 story building. And our office was there every day. We liked to credit ourselves with the push that lifted Starbucks up into the stratosphere. But, of course, being employed by the SEC meant you were barred from buying initial offering stock. So that kept me out of buying both Microsoft or Starbucks when it came out. And of course, I could not envision buying in the secondary market because, by that time the stock would be so over valued. >bangs head on desk< Ah well, I always wanted to work my whole life.

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  7. LAMary said on July 22, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Regarding the guy who will plant and tend organic gardens: at last, a career for my oldest son. He could so do that. I have to show him this story.
    Soy milk in coffee is revolting. Soy milk in decaf coffee is as a French friend once said, “like keessing tru a teessue.”
    Dorothy, if popcorn prices at the movies kill you, consider how much a movie ticket costs here in LA. $11.75 for an adult ticket, plus paying for parking in most places. We didn’t see Batman or Mama Mia last weekend, but if we had it would have cost us over fifty bucks just for tickets and parking. I stayed home and watched most of the Mad Men marathon instead.

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  8. brian stouder said on July 22, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Mary – two young folks plus me, plus snack combo # 1 – two large Diet Cokes (refillable!) and one large popcorn with no butter (also refillable!) – = $~40 total (I started with two $20 bills, and came home with 75 cents)

    but parking is free here, and it was the Rave – the only stadium theater hereabouts

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  9. Julie Robinson said on July 22, 2008 at 11:12 am

    We went to Mamma Mia, which is good fluffy fun. The price seemed very reasonable at $6.50, and then I saw they had given us senior citizen rates! The frugal part of me was happy, but the vain part of me was very, very disappointed. Our family always smuggles in our own snacks, and we usually go to matinees, but we also watch most of our movies from Netflix.

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  10. Sue said on July 22, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Oh, yay! Crazy cat stories! Our youngest cat is nicknamed “Evil One” and has to be separated from the other two. We have actually bought a product called “Happy Cat” (hey, it was recommended by our vet) to try to calm him down. But, we have a legit excuse. He was found near death and had neurological issues from the start, so we can always blame it on that. He loves his humans, and is one of the most cheerful cats I have ever seen, but when he gets that look in his eyes, everyone backs off. He won’t go near my husband after he’s been up north for the weekend and bites me if he smells the other cats on me. But we love him, he’s such a sweetie…

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  11. Dorothy said on July 22, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Mary I watched the Mad Men marathon, too. I actually got through 10 straight hours and taped the last three – and watched them last night. And that’s the last time I am ever going to watch a marathon of anything. One good thing is that in our tiny apartment I could still make dinner, set the table and wash up a few things in the sink while still seeing everything on the t.v. The commercials were timed pretty evenly so I knew when I could use the bathroom.

    I hate to brag, but for $14 we saw “The Dark Knight”. We walked to the theater because it’s about 1/4 mile from our apartment.

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  12. brian stouder said on July 22, 2008 at 11:46 am

    we saw “The Dark Knight”.

    Dorothy – what did you think of it? Leaving aside the movie’s (frankly surprising, to me!) political miasma, wasn’t it almost literally like a thrill ride?

    The movie struck me as very like one of those ‘virtual rides’ wherein you sit there and feel the virtual ‘motion’. With the continuously turning, spinning, rotating pans, and with the point of view on the screen swirling so much of the time, it really did begin to make me dizzy!!

    (‘course, I START OUT a bit light headed, most times!)

    edit: and I noticed that the movie is heavily booked into IMAX theaters….hmmmm

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  13. LAMary said on July 22, 2008 at 11:48 am

    When I lived in NYC I had a roof garden that supplied the us with tomatoes, lettuce, basil, parsley and zucchini. Hauling the dirt up to the roof in a five story walk up was the worst part of the job.

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  14. Gasman said on July 22, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Hug your dog for me. Our dog “Pecos” escaped a very scary bout of some bacterial infection this weekend. He is already in remission from multiple myeloma, so he didn’t need any additional health problems. Makes you appreciate them all the more.

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  15. del said on July 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Julie’s “insert stoner joke” comment about the self-incriminating pot-grower reminded me of one of my wife’s relatives — one of the . . . slowest . . . talkers . . . I’ve . . . ever . . . known. Several years back he dropped by our house to tell me about a legal problem. (When he left another friend in the house wanted to know who “the dude was who sounded like Cheech & Chong?)” His legal problem? A cop had pulled him over and searched his car. Finding nothing he asked, “You got any marijuana in the vehicle?” And “Tommy Chong,” honest stoner, led him directly to his stash.
    As for Ms. LeFevre, I’d give her a slap on the wrist too, like MichaelG.

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  16. Dexter said on July 22, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I have to jump in off topic straight away.

    Today is George Clinton’s 68th birthday. Here’s a remembrance from last September:

    “# ashley says:
    September 17th, 2007 at 10:37 am

    When he plays in New Orleans, he usually doesn’t even go on until about 2:00, and plays til sunrise.

    I’m trying to find out what his current lineup is. Drummers Dennis Chambers and old-Skool Frankie Waddy are amazing
    # nancy says:
    September 17th, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Looks like you’re in luck, Ashley.
    October 5 is a Friday, too. Call a sitter now.”

    I still make Starbucks from daily-ground beans at home. I drink a quart in the morning and make a quart thermos for a nip here and there during the day. Starbucks beans are about $9.50 a bag and I can make quite a few pots from one bag. Sometimes I buy Seattle’s best and I really love Trader Joe’s beans…as high quality as Starbucks. I still have never tried Peete’s, which all my fellow cafe-philes west of Kansas City rave on about. My thermos bottle is a Stanley, a holiday gift from decades ago, with my name engraved onto it for ID purposes because many co-workers had the same type bottle.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I had to skim over the cat stories, sorry…my cat Wolfie died of the poison Chinese/Wal*Mart envelopes of cat food. He was 15, healthy , and then he was so sick he could not walk or eat, and he died, and is buried deep beside an oak tree I planted 27 years ago. Wolfie died March 18, 2007. I keep his grave clean. Goddam, I miss that cat. Fuck.

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  17. Chris Steinbach said on July 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Time to stop lurking and join the fun. I really like this blog. Since I don’t have Nancy’s courage and common sense, I’m still a newspaper guy. Despite its flaws, it still beats really having to work for a living. Anyway, I’ve never understood paying $4 for a cup of coffee. After joining my current newspaper, where, believe it or not, there is no coffee maker or machine in the building — I started making my own and taking it to work in a red Starbucks Thermos. I grind the beans and brew really strong coffee in an old French press. Can’t start the day without it.

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  18. john c said on July 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    One of my favorite Onion headlines of all time is sort of ironic now.

    “Starbucks to Open in Men’s Room of Starbucks”

    Also, Coffee doesn’t cost four bucks at Starbucks. It’s usually about $1.50. It’s the fancy drinks that are way expensive.

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  19. Sue said on July 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Aww, Dexter. That’s one of the reasons I’m “boycotting” this year’s Olympics. Stupid but it makes me feel better. Remember that discussion we had last spring when I said my sick cat was at $700 and counting? After several days of ups and downs, he was finally improving until 2 o’clock one morning when he went downhill quickly. My vet now requires after-hours emergencies to go to a clinic half an hour away, and we knew we weren’t going to make it. So I watched him go, took about 25 minutes, first time ever in 30+ years of pet ownership that I haven’t had a vet to help a pet out of this world. Also the first time that I’ve ever cried for more than a day or so afterward – such ridiculous guilt. And I’m mad at my vet for not hauling his ass out of bed to help me, which I know isn’t fair either.

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  20. Danny said on July 22, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Time to stop lurking and join the fun. I really like this blog. Since I don’t have Nancy’s courage and common sense, I’m still a newspaper guy…

    Chris, why not just become a famous novelist like your relative, John Steinbach?

    Seriously, I grind my own and take a thermos every day too. It is much cheaper. Plus, I’m, hooked on Jose’s Vanilla Nut and not a big fan of very strong roasts.

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  21. Gasman said on July 22, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    We took a trip to Quebec back in 1993 and I got seriously addicted to espresso. So much so that I can’t stand normal coffee anymore. Espresso has much more flavor and is lower in caffeine. I can also make all the sissy Starbucks-type coffee drinks at a fraction of the cost, even after paying about 2/3 of a mortgage payment for a real espresso machine. Got a used grinder on e-bay from a café that was re-tooling and I am set.

    I may even try roasting my own beans. That is the only variable left that is not in my direct control. Life is too short for bad coffee, beer, or whiskey. I’ve got the coffee and beer making down. Now, if I can just put together a still….

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  22. Dorothy said on July 22, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    I liked the movie, Brian. And it was a dizzying experience in a way!

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  23. Danny said on July 22, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    ..Life is too short for bad coffee, beer, or whiskey. I’ve got the coffee and beer making down….

    So true.

    …Now, if I can just put together a still….

    Sounds like you need to talk to Coozle. He’s like the Fonz except slightly shorter and more southern. He’ll probably know.

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  24. moe99 said on July 22, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I have a friend who has instructions on how to make and run a still. He’s in China for the eclipse of the sun (not the Olympics) but here’s his website:

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  25. brian stouder said on July 22, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    He’s in China for the eclipse of the sun


    Does he know Carly Simon?

    (maybe his horse will win at Saratoga…)

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  26. Jen said on July 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I’ve sadly cut Starbucks out of my life because I just can’t afford it, but in college I gladly paid the high prices for a fancy coffee drink. I never drank straight coffee – just the stuff with lots of flavoring and stuff in it. I miss it – now I just drink cans of pop to get my caffeine fix.

    I hear you all with the movie snack prices, though. My husband always complains when I want popcorn & a pop at the movies because it’s SO expensive. Our tickets to The Dark Knight were $8 each (for the first showing at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning), so not too bad. But the pop I bought to stay awake (not that I probably would have needed it) was $4! I get reimbursed for ticket price because I write a review every week for the paper, but I still have to pay for popcorn. Now I only buy it when he refuses to go to the movie with me. If I’m sitting alone in a movie, I am at least going to eat some popcorn!

    I read part of the pet pills story, and plan to read the rest. My parents paid lots of money for medicines for their epileptic golden retriever with a thyroid problem, but drew the line at amputating another dog’s leg and giving him doggy chemotherapy because he had cancer. I could say that I wouldn’t spend so much on an animal, but if we needed to for our adorable, sweet little kitty, we probably would without thinking twice.

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  27. brian stouder said on July 22, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I get reimbursed for ticket price because I write a review every week for the paper

    Is your Dark Knight review online somewhere? Did it strike you as containing a fairly pronounced bit of political topspin?

    Or, am I all wet? (as my lovely wife regularly reminds me)

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 22, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Nancy Nall for Supreme Court! (Or municipal court, domestic relations magistrate — they all need more common sense up on the bench.)

    I’d fine her a wee bit more than $50, guys, but c’mon, when we’re giving early release to all kinds of hairballs due to facility overcrowding, why would we put her into corrections? Route her over to reparations and rehabilitation, write up a plan, hand her a bill, set up a payment plan, and let’s lock up the third armed robberies and fifth DUIs long enough to get them bored enough to complete the twelve steps.

    Or something.

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  29. Gasman said on July 22, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Fifth DUI! We’ve got folks down here in New Mexico that are on their 22nd DUI! It’s only recently that lawmakers started actually paying attention. There is still a long way to go, however. We had a municipal judge who released a friend who’d been arrested for DUI. Though the local sheriff refused to do so on the judge’s orders over the phone, he drove an hour and ordered the release in person. The idiot left a whole bunch of evidence to his arrogant and illegal deed. The judge was sacked and the Supreme Court here stripped him of his robe for life.

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  30. Mindy said on July 22, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    My awful luck with doggy well-being continues this month with my Lab Eli ingesting bits of charred greasy aluminum foil near a grill on the weekend of the Fourth. My husband thought he’d pulled Eli off this delicacy just in time, but we found out otherwise later in the day when Eli strained to pass stool that never appeared. That night we found out that the most chaotic night of the year in the veterinary ER is the Fourth of July with the second worst night being the Fifth of July. So there we were at 2:15 a.m. on July 6 signing papers to save our dog’s life after spending four hours in an exam room waiting our turn to see the vet. The bits of foil had lodged in Eli’s small intestine but were coaxed toward the exit with only one incision. The whole experience was a nightmare and then we got the bill. So much for the vacation to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary. In other sad news, when I took Eli to our regular vet to have his stitches removed, she told me that she’s getting married and moving to Texas this fall. I’m delighted for her, but sick for me. At least I got the chance to give her a hug and say goodbye.

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  31. moe99 said on July 22, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Here’s another Indiana pastor named Jeff who has an interesting sermon style:

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  32. Dexter said on July 22, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Mindy, the vet my wife loved to take the animals to got married and moved to Michigan, and the old vet who owned the business , who was a damn good vet (he was an Iditarod vet many years) retired June 30. Now we have to decide if we like the vet that bought the business. My, my…I don’t like to change vets or doctors. My family doc is an internist who has kept me alive for 31 years now. He so damn good…it’s amazing.
    When I had swelling of the knees 22 years ago I was sent to a merry-go-round of specialists , and then it was my doc who figured it all out and cured me. Last Friday I had a spell of spiked blood pressure and he gave me two pills and today my B/P was 120/60, the lowest for me in my life. I suppose if Doc retires I will croak soon after.
    And thanks Sue, for your compassion about Wolfie, our Tabby Cat. We still have Princess Lab-Dog and Noellie-JRTerrier , and I love them , ’til death do us part!

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  33. Kirk said on July 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    The vet who has kept our 14 1/2-year-old Yorkie full of piss and vinegar decided to retire and sell her practice. The new folks (a husband and wife and another woman; they have another office not far away, too) seem quite competent, though the prices seem to be going up. We do now have the added option of a vet who practices some Eastern vet techniques, including acupuncture. We haven’t tried that yet.

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  34. LAMary said on July 22, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    My vet cried with me when I had to put down Edith the cat at 22 years. That got him high ratings in my book.

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  35. coozledad said on July 22, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Danny: My wife is the one to ask about distillation. She majored in chemistry.
    I quit drinking hard liquor after the blizzard of 2000. My wife and I shared (somewhat unevenly) a fifth of Bushmill’s as it became apparent we would not be traveling anywhere for the next several days. I enjoyed it, and didn’t have a hangover, but something told me that was it for me and whiskey.
    I’m kooky enough on wine.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 22, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Moe99 — Yeah, i think we’ve all been there.

    Shall we assume that was the object lesson for the children’s moment? “Kids, the Word of God is like the hand brake that keeps our fiery, roaring passions in check, so that we . . .aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeBAM.


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  37. Dexter said on July 22, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    coozledad, I had a epiphany about whiskey too, in January of 1992. I was stoked as the Lions were playing the Cowboys in a huge playoff game. Lions fans seldom breathe such rarefied air.
    I was partying so hard come halftime I was passed out in my LazyBoy, and I awoke as the guests were leaving my house; the game was over, the Lions had won, and I missed it! Nary a drop since, and later that year I quit wine and beer too, for good. No brag, just fact.
    The first time I saw the practice of “set-ups” was in North Carolina. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I was an 18 year old baseball player , playing out of Winston-Salem at Ernie Shore Field, out by Wake Forest University.
    We went into a restaurant and all the people had brown bags with them. They ordered soda and water-backs and poured booze out of the paper bags. Crazy, I thought, just another day to a Tar Heel. Later I found out this is common in The South.

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  38. Sue said on July 22, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Huh – rum for me. I can’t handle my liquor anyway but I usually fall asleep before anything untoward happens. However, one night we bought a bottle of some premixed thing called “bahama mama”. Oh my goodness. I didn’t stop drinking rum after that little episode, but I know I have to stop at one serving.

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  39. Dexter said on July 22, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    haha, Sue! Where I come from a Bahama Mama is a very spicy type of sausage, kinda like a Polish sausage.
    I liked all booze, and after I tired of rum & coke, I got on a kick of rum, tonic water and lime juice with a lime twist.

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  40. Dexter said on July 22, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Bushmills…coozledad, what fine memories just the name conjures! A fine Irish drink, indeed!

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  41. Catherine said on July 22, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Tequila, here. No mas, por favor.

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  42. alex said on July 22, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    I love whiskey. I love cigarettes. I keep telling myself oh just one more summer of fun. Okay, Christmas. Okay summer.

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  43. Danny said on July 22, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Though I’ve never officially sworn off spirits, its probably been 15 years since I’ve had any. I just do not enjoy them like wine and ale. The last time it was this aged, single-malt scotch called Laphroaig. Very good if you like drinking from a incinerated peat bog.

    But there was an incident when I was 16 or 17 with Slow Gin and Southern Comfort. It makes me shudder to even type those words.

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  44. Danny said on July 22, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Alex. That. Was. Funny.

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  45. coozledad said on July 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    There was a while there where we used to accumulate bottles of liquor people had brought to various parties at our house. I think I mentioned to some of our friends that I had a fondness for a Polish black pepper flavored vodka ( it was the family drink of a restaurateur in Chapel Hill). So we had bottles of virtually every undrinkable flavored vodka on the market- chili pepper, the particularly noxious vodka limonaya, licorice…hell, there was probably a cheese nacho flavored one in there somewhere.
    They stayed in the liquor cabinet accumulating dust until a friend of ours brought a guest over from the then Yugoslavia. It must have been right before all hell broke loose over there. His name was Lucca, and he was from Slovenia. He’d been in the military, where he told us he’d acquired a reputation for drunkeness. Now when someone from the former eastern bloc tells you that people there think they drink too much, you know you have a splendid opportunity to clear those undesirable bottles from your bar. That’s precisely what we did. Unfortunately, we assisted him. I gave him the Stoli Limonya first. “I can’t believe you don’t drink this! ” He said. “S’good !”
    We stayed up with him till three or so, when our comas began to set in. He stayed up and did housecleaning.
    I had to wear sunglasses the rest of the following day to keep the sun from eating what was left of my brains, while Lucca insisted we go fishing at a pond not too far from the house. He was absolutely unfazed.

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  46. Dorothy said on July 22, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Doesn’t everyone drink sloe gin very early in their drinking career?

    We had a wonderful vet at our second home. When we had our 14 year old Cocker Spaniel put down (cancer), we wanted to bury her in the yard. We had about 2 acres and it was the country and we could do it. But Mike’s back was out very badly and he could not dig (plus it was winter time and the ground was frozen.) Dr Rubis offered to keep Peanut chilled until the time came when Mike could dig the grave. So over July 4th weekend we had a little ceremony to bury her. I will never forget what my son said at the gravesite (he was 10). We had our new dog there for the ceremony, and Josh said “Mum, this is the first time the whole family is together!” Still chokes me up after 13 years.

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  47. Danny said on July 22, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    So true about the sloe gin, Dorothy. I think Boone’s Farm is the gateway drug to it.

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  48. beb said on July 22, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I don’t drink coffee so I feel way left out on this duscussion. There was a short piece in the Freep a while back that listed amount of caffine in various products. I was astonished to see that regulat coffee contains three times as much caffine as Coca Cola. I find it tales a couple of cans of pop in the morning to get started, with so much more caffeine in it, no wonder people are addicted to coffee as their morning wake up.

    While coffee upsets my stomach I have developed a liking for DQ’s mocha moolait’s. I’ve noticed that after drinking one I’m pretty energized despite having just ingested 12 ounces of ice cream. That caffiene ready does jazz one up.

    The idea of someone going into your backyard to plant, tend and harvest a garden for you does sound awfully indulgent. But at least they are doing you a real service, because gardening is hard work. What’s really indulgent and or lazy, are people who have postage-stamp size lawns hiring a service to mow their lawns.

    Glad to have you back, Nancy. Considering the length of these comments since you’ve returned, a lot of people feel the same way. Keep on blogging.

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  49. basset said on July 22, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    and now, we combine the topic of the day with one of our perennial favorites – the decline of journalistic standards:…-opener-pitch/

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  50. nancy said on July 22, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Basset, you missed a beauty quote in the NYT story:

    “There was a healthy dose of skepticism, and I’m pleased there was — it means they’re being journalists,” said Adam P. Bradshaw, news director of KVVU.

    Because there was some real doubt there, I expect.

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  51. del said on July 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Danny, the specific Boone’s Farm gateway beverage: Tickle Pink wine.

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  52. Catherine said on July 23, 2008 at 12:40 am

    No, no, Andre’s Cold Duck. Ah, the late 70’s. Pardon me while I go hurl.

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  53. Dexter said on July 23, 2008 at 2:26 am

    sloe gin fizz—cherry vodka. kid’s drinks they were. then came Boone’s Farm. I drank it for the first time in 1970. The label said “The Righteous Apple”. Back in Cal we drank Mateus. That was Portuguese wine in a cool bottle. It was immortalized on Elton’s album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
    Social Disease

    “My bulldog is barking in the backyard
    Enough to raise a dead man from his grave
    And I can’t concentrate on what I’m doing
    Disturbance going to crucify my days

    And the days they get longer and longer
    And the nighttime is a time of little use
    For I just get ugly and older
    I get juiced on Mateus and just hang loose

    And I get bombed for breakfast in the morning
    I get bombed for dinner time and tea
    I dress in rags, smell a lot, and have a real good time
    I’m a genuine example of a social disease

    My landlady lives in a caravan
    Well that is when she isn’t in my arms
    And it seems I pay the rent in human kindness
    But my liquor also helps to grease her palms

    And the ladies are all getting wrinkles
    And they’re falling apart at the seams
    Well I just get high on tequila
    And see visions of vineyards in my dreams”

    See, my daughter just called from her Las Vegas home. Ironically, since I had recently posted here about my cat dying, she told me that just Tuesday, yesterday, her beautiful cat Patches expired. She said he was 14. They lived with us after her divorce and I fed and groomed that cat and another late cat of hers. My granddaughter is very sad.

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  54. whitebeard said on July 23, 2008 at 5:51 am

    I can relate to Starbucks because the bottled Vanilla Frappacino caffeine really hits the spot, unusual because I cannot drink real coffee, even though I would always volunteer to grind the coffee beans (love the aroma) for the lunch room in the first newspaper for me.
    Being a young man, I would occasionally go out drinking with the gang and then have a coffee to “sober up” and get violently sick. It wasn’t until I had coffee with a friend at the laundromat in the daytime that I discovered that it was the coffee that was making me sick and not the booze.
    From then on, I never got sick and never got a hangover, although after I had five bottles of white wine for lunch one time, my restaurant friend said he had never seen a happier drunk. Could be, I guess, because I bought my wife a sewing machine desk, or whatever they call it, carried it home on my back with some ropes, carefully hid it in our third-floor aspartment and couldn’t find it for about three months.
    It was OK to drink in The Soo or Montreal because I could always get a cab or even walk home when we lived downtown, but after one party with mucho free wine after moving to Connecticut, I decided it was not safe to drink and then drive 46 miles home. So I stopped party drinking, but didn’t stop partying. I think I have had about half a dozen glasses of liquor (usually rum, I avoid white wine because it tends to flow too easily) in the past quarter century on occasions when I did not have to drive anywhere.
    And guess what, I am just as wildly happy, outrageously flirtatious and hilariously critical of Republicans when I don’t drink.

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  55. del said on July 23, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Anybody who gets on such a happy buzz that he buys his wife a desk has got it goin’ on. As Bill Murray would say, “I wanna party with you.”

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  56. Danny said on July 23, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Dexter, that one stanza in that Elton John song reminds me of this one from Sublime:

    I smoke two joints in the morning.
    I smoke two joints at night.
    I smoke two joints in the afternoon, it makes me feel alright
    I smoke two joints in time of peace, and two in time of war
    I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints,
    And then I smoke two more

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  57. LAMary said on July 23, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I have a headache now from remembering Mateus, Boone’s Farm Apple and worst of all, Andre Cold Duck.
    I haven’t drunk anything alcoholic since 1983 having watched the decline of a few family members into alcoholic hell and/or death by booze. I decided I didn’t need to hit rock bottom but I think I could have easily slid down to that spot. I went cold turkey on cigarettes two years later. All I have left is my coffee.

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  58. brian stouder said on July 23, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Alcohol never held many charms for me; I have a glass jaw when it comes to that stuff, and it always made me sick as a dog.

    Similarly, cigarettes never pulled me in, since the protracted demise of my 4-pack-a-day dad was a sort of IMAX Public Service Announcement.

    But Wiccan ceremonies in cemetaries involving hot chicks with swords….I’m THERE!!

    an excerpt:

    A woman accidentally stabbed herself in the foot with a 3-foot-long sword while performing a Wiccan good luck ritual at a central Indiana cemetery. Katherine Gunther, 36, of Lebanon, pierced her left foot with the sword while performing the rite at Oak Hill Cemetery, police said. Gunther said she was performing the ceremony to give thanks for a recent run of good luck. The ceremony involves the use of candles, incense and driving swords into the ground during the full moon.

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  59. LAMary said on July 23, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I gave up wiccan ceremonies in 1989. Cold turkey.

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  60. MichaelG said on July 23, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    My once wife used to maintain that the time to plant the garden was at midnight when the moon was full. To my knowledge that never happened. But then who knows? I’m a pretty heavy sleeper.

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  61. brian stouder said on July 23, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    If she has a 36″ long sword, and looks hot in black…..

    it might have been a Wiccan gardening trick

    (a Wizard of Oz-type joke would be….”and if she has a green thumb…”)

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  62. poochlover said on July 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Nance, How happy I was when I checked in on your site today and read that Spriggy is still alive and kicking! Someone once said that “growing old ain’t for sissies.” That probably goes for our furry friends as well, bless his heart. Best wishes.

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