The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the java and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

As a former sailor, I learned to truly love coffee, black and strong. Before I enlisted, I drank it blond and sweet... that would be cream and two sugars, please. I bring this up because of Pearl posting a piece on coffee made by her friend Maryna. It was called "Seet. I Make You Coffee." and it struck a chord for me, as many of her posts do (a great talent, that Pearl).


I was reminded of how coffee affected my life. The waitress at the Mr. Donut on 19th Avenue and 163rd street who chewed coffee beans, the first time I had Cuban Coffee, how I changed from the "blond and sweet" to the "black and bitter" style.

I have always loved the smell of coffee. In my house, as a child, it was always instant coffee. The first time I recall tasting it, however, was at the golf course in Bethpage, NY. That set the "blond and sweet" type for me. I was maybe seven years old. It would be 13 more years before I switched to "black and bitter."

Let's go back to that Cuban Coffee... I had a friend in junior high named Ernesto. He and his family got out of Cuba before Castro took over. They had been coming up for years for Ernesto to attend school in America. Once Castro took over, they realized their life in Cuba was over. Ernie introduced me to Cuban Coffee when I was in high school. Cuban Coffee is served demitasse, in very small cups, and is about half cream and sugar. It is, as I recall it, pretty much the strongest coffee I have ever tasted. You needed the cream and sugar! The waitress at that Mr. Donut was Cuban and was used to the strongest coffee imaginable. She was not a pretty woman and, I suspect, did not have the freshest breath. And she made the coffee there quite strong on her shift. But I still loaded it up with cream and sugar.

It was in the Navy, that I switched from "blond and sweet" to "black and bitter." You see, the first thing you run out of at sea is fresh milk. There is no cream. Well, maybe in in the officer's mess (the wardroom) but not for the enlisted men. After being at sea, the fresh milk was replaced by powdered milk. And I hated that... probably from the days my mother gave us Starlac. Coffee, for a sailor, is mandatory. At sea, we stood at least three watches a day. Four hours long, they started at midnight, four AM, 8 AM, Noon, four PM, and eight PM. We stood 3 a day except when we were on "port and starboard" watches in a combat zone. At those times, we stood six hour watches and got very little sleep.

Without coffee, we were zombies. With coffee, we were somehat alert. For 3 and a half years, I went nowhere without a cup seemingly grafted to my hand. It did not matter how rough the seas, I could keep coffee from spilling out of that cup.

After my discharge, I had a cheap tin coffee pot (maybe it was aluminum) in which I would brew the strongest coffee I could stand. I never timed the brew, I could tell by the smell when it was ready.

It was many years later that I learned about caffeine addiction. I had been on the midnight to 8 AM shift for several years when I began to realize that the massive headaches I got on Saturday mornings were due to the lack of java. So I cut back to two cups (granted those cups are 12 ouncers) a day. The headaches on my days off disappeared and, surprisingly, I found I was still reasonably alert.

But I still love the smell of coffee brewing.


NotesFromAbroad said...

I totally agree with you about Pearl ... why I oughta :)
Also .. I too learned to like coffee .. when my Uncle was in the Navy ... my Grandfather was a Marine .. my step dad was in the Navy .. well, you get it :)

Then I used to live in Buenos Aires where the coffee came from Brazil, French Roasted - heavenly.

I am very thankful I never had to drink coffee with powdered milk .. blech !
And I do get the jitters but I also used to get migraines and coffee made them better.
Go figure ~

Douglas said...

Yeah... go figure. Faye hates the powdered non-dairy whitener that is all too often offered at restaurants and other places. She still drinks coffee "blond and sweet."