The Discriminating Coffee (Snob) Consumer

Yes, I am one of those.  I love coffee, but only the fancy stuff.  I don’t care if it’s mountain grown or good to the last drop or an instant road to romance.  The only time I will drink Folgers or Maxwell House or any of that ilk, especially if it has been brewed in a percolator, is (1) if I am having such a bad case of caffeine withdrawal that I am ready to commit murder, or (2) if there is no other coffee available and there won’t be an opportunity to sneak over to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s for the next several hours.
You are not hallucinating.  I did include McDonald’s.  Their coffee is pretty good.  I guess they figured they had better get in on the good coffee trend before all the other fast-food restaurants beat them to it.
Brewing coffee in a percolator is a sin against one of God’s great gifts to humanity, the coffee plant.  Coffee beans that have been roasted and ground deserve a better fate than having most of their flavor boiled out of them.  I used to use a p…

The Litter Tree

The diversity of life forms on this planet is beyond awe-inspiring.  Life forms include trees.  I believe I have discovered a new species of tree, right outside my apartment window.
Horticulturists don’t believe my reports.  The nicest response I received from one of them was the one that stated, “We pass your report around the office every April Fools’ Day and laugh until we wet ourselves.”
Therefore, like everyone else who has seen something unusual, I am thumbing my nose at the scientists and telling my story to the public.
Some trees grow sweet, fragranced cherry blossoms, then sweet, delicious cherries.  Some trees grow apple blossoms, then nice, round, delicious apples.  Other trees grow oranges, apricots, acorns and other nice things.
The tree outside my window is a litter tree.It grows plastic supermarket bags, two at a time.I don’t know how this happened.Maybe somebody back in the 70s or 80s buried a supermarket bag in the yard/garden outside our building and it somehow took root…

Mr. Anderson's Birthday Party (A Halloween Short-Short Story)

Dear Sister Hilda:
I am submitting this for the English assignment you gave us, to write a story about something true.  You are going to think I am making all this up, but I’m not.  It really happened.  My Mom will back me up, if necessary.  Even my brother Patrick will back me up, because he won’t tell a lie to a nun.
Theresa McMahon
My parents love old houses.
When I was nine years old, Mom and Dad bought a corner lot in our little town “for a song.”  The lot had a peeling, two-story wood frame house with one of those big verandas that had a swing.  It took them almost a year to bring that old house up to where it could be inhabited again.  It cost them more to renovate that old fossil than they had paid to buy it. When they were finished, though, it was really lit.  Mom planted a flower garden, and Dad re-seeded the lawn.  We moved in right after my tenth birthday.
People would drive or walk by our house, stop and take pictures.  “You should see what the McMahons have done to the old Wi…

Sloppy Shopping

My shopping lists are useless.  I can never go to any supermarket, dollar store, bookstore or any other place that sells stuff and come out with only the thing(s) I intended to buy.
When I say never, I mean never, as in at no time whatsoever in anyone’s dreams.
I have the same problem with online shopping.  It’s my way of giving happiness to the many employees and shareholders of and other favored shopping sites, who depend on people like me to keep the business going and the stock values up.  I love to spread such joy.  It makes my life complete, along with the latest Stephen King novel, a 5-pound bag of M&Ms and that Capri set that I couldn’t resist because it had a picture of a cute puppy on one leg.
To illustrate the problem, let’s say that I am planning to do a small supermarket shopping.  I have searched my cupboards and my fridge to see what’s missing and have come up with the following list, or something like it:
1 quart of milk 1 quart of half & half (because I …

Confessions of a YouTube Junkie

Some people snort cocaine.  Others shoot up on heroin.  I watch YouTube videos.
As far as I know, there is no support group for people like me, and there are many of us.  If there were a support group, I suspect that the church basements where the meetings took place would be so tightly jam packed they would have to hire Japanese subway pushers to make room for new arrivals.
It has become almost a requirement, around the world, for anyone who has made a video of anything to post it on YouTube.
Did your crazy uncle say something stupid when you had the video camera going?  Put it on YouTube.
Did your neighbor’s security camera catch your cat in the act of stealing their Fruit of the Looms off their clothesline?  Put it on YouTube.
Do you have the world’s dumbest dog?  Put him on YouTube, so that the world can laugh at the unsuspecting animal with you.
Did your daughter, a soprano who you swear can sing better than Sarah Brightman, win an honorable mention in her school’s talent contest with …

What We Talk About When We Talk About Jobs

I extend my apologies to Raymond Carver and Gordon Lish for stealing eight out of nine words from the title of that famous short story.  It started out as a story called “Beginners” by Raymond Carver, but, by the time Gordon Lish got through with the editing job, he almost completely re-wrote the story and changed the title.  It was published his way, since he was a powerful editor and nobody wanted to get on his bad side.  End of American Literature minute.
In my last little article, to be found here, I gave useful tips about how to deal with the availability of workplace restrooms.  In this piece, I would like to cover the availability, restrictions and rules governing free food and free coffee.

Free Goodies
No employee is ever paid enough.  This fact is so well known it must be scientific.  I would appreciate it if anyone would steer me toward some genuine research.  In the meantime, I am assuming this statement is true.  I know it’s true for me.  I can always come up with a better co…

MORE Family History

Very few people know this, but there were Norwegians on my mother’s side of the family tree.  This included one of the most famous Vikings of the early Middle Ages, Thor Knudsen.
If you don’t recognize that name, it’s because once the Viking Era was over everyone forgot about Thor Knudsen.  If you happen to know someone named Thor Knudsen, he wasn’t named after my ancestor.
As a young boy on his family’s part of the fjord, Thor was bullied by other kids, who thought his name was funny.  Thor was the name of one of the gods.  Nobody ever dared to name a kid after a god because they thought the god would be insulted and get even.  Thor’s father, Knut the Hairy, who liked to be different, thought Thor would be flattered.  Everyone was wrong, of course, because the god Thor never existed and could, therefore, not feel anything.
The other kids used to gang up on Thor, corner him and tease him.  “Hey, Thor, where’s your hammer?” one kid would say.  “Hey, make it thunder for us,” another one wo…