Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another cup of coffee, another piece of my mind

This morning I went to Starbucks (only because the good downtown coffee houses are two miles and a traffic jam away) and it hadn't changed. What was all that free publicity about? All those news reports about the three-hour re-education camp for their employees last night? All that corporate foam about regaining "the soul of the past"?

Just make a decent cup of joe, for chrissakes, and stop giving them fake Italian names. Charge a little less, no, a lot less. And give James Taylor a break.

It was just the same in there. The same commuters, fueling up on burnt-tasting brew. The same unappealing brown pastries in the plastic box. The same soundtrack telling you to get out before you start yearning for elevators.

Of course, the only reason Starbucks closed down simultaneously all across the nation, like some kind of coffee brown-out, was for the publicity. (Florida was blacked out from Daytona to the Keys, and that got less publicity.) The fact is, Starbucks had to do something, what with their stock dropping, stores going belly up and the failure of their plan to put four green Dilbert-traps at every intersection and addict the nation to caffeinated hot, sweet milk priced at $5,000 a barrel.

That's what they're selling, not their coffee, which tastes like eau de ashtray.

If you want the soul of the past, go to Caffe Trieste in North Beach (or even its Sausalito branch). Or go to any coffeehouse where the only uniforms worn by baristas is inked skin and a studded nose. Hell, I even went to a Dunkin' Donuts when I was back in Massachusetts and (talk about the soul of the past) the coffee reminded me of my youth working night shifts, recovering from concerts and pulling all-nighters for exams.

Alas, I hear Dunkin' Donuts is introducing caffe lattes, or as they call them in venti-doppio land, "lattes." It just means "milk," people. It also means trouble. I want my cops drinking coffee regular. Make that "cawrfee regulah."

Monday, February 25, 2008

A mighty windy meme

There's no "I" in "meme," but there are two "me's." In fact, since I've been tagged by Chilebrown to play this game of "Things You Don't Know About Me," here are five facts about me. Rated PG for pretty gross.

1. The first live concert I attended starred the Kingston Trio.
2. The second starred Peter, Paul and Mary.
3. The third starred Bob Dylan. Most of the Brown University audience was gone by intermission because he couldn't sing.
4. That was in February, 1963, and about three years later I started claiming that Dylan was my first concert.
5. I only stayed because he'd written a couple of Peter, Paul and Mary songs.

I'm supposed to tag five more people, but I'm too much of a geezer to know how to do it. So feel free to do your own "Five Facts" meme or forward your embarrassing musical revelations to, well, me.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Raising McCain with the GOP

Everybody around here wants to know: Who're you voting for, Barack or Hillary? Everybody around here being a Democrat.

Well, I don't know. If only I were in Chicago and could vote twice. Or, here's another wish: If only I could vote for John McCain again.

That's right, I voted for him in the 2000 primary. I changed my registration to Republican so my vote would count, not for him so much, but against George W. Bush. Even then I knew the Busher was a snake in the brush and, besides, I'd met McCain and like many left-leaning media people, I leaned a little to the right and liked him. "Another media pinko for McCain," as his California campaign manager put it. At the time, in front of San Franciscans, McCain seemed so apologetic about the GOP positions on gays and abortion, almost as if this old Navy fighter jock was embarrassed by the religious nuts who dominated his party.

Anyway, however conservative McCain is - and he is plenty conservative - he would have been better than Bush turned out to be. He wasn't an alcoholic former prep-school cheerleader, a failure at everything, who had to overcompensate for his dad's success by adopting a cracker accent and invading Iraq, failing at that, too.

In the last few years McCain has put the "ick" in "maverick" by throwing his support to Bush's plutocratic (no relation to this blog) tax policies and threatening to keep us in Iraq for 100 years if necessary. Actuarily speaking, that's 90 years more than we can expect McCain to live and 105 years more than is good for the United States. So what's the appeal of this old goat?

Simply, Rush Limbaugh has warned that McCain's nomination would mean the destruction of the Republican Party and Ann Coulter has claimed that she would campaign for Hillary Clinton before she would endorse John McCain. All of this I want to see.

The Republican Party, as currently constituted, and as defined by a radio-enhanced drug addicts and Jimmy Choo-wearing bigots, deserves to be destroyed.

The only problem would be keeping McCain from winning the presidency. That I leave to the history-making Democratic ticket.