Thursday, August 31, 2006

Desk Top mug.


Mug: Another variation of the American Diner mug. Functional. Heavy. Not very appealing for some unknown reason. I only have it because it came from the White Castle. It has a goofy charm, and it touches the hearts of Yankees (yes, Yankees have hearts).

Coffee: I brought my coffee in this morning in a thermos bottle (rather than a travel mug). Still drinking that Columbian blend I don't like. I'm making eight-cup pots every morning (as opposed to my usual six-cup pots) in hopes of using it up faster.

Special Note: Today is Linden's birthday. It's a good day.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Drink from this cup.




Mug: These cups were a birthday gift to Linden and I from our dear friend and sister in Christ, Noreene Hurst. Noreene moved to Dallas last year, fleeing her native New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, along with her three grandsons (who are with her while her daughter Kimtreece serves in Iraq...keep her and all our troops in your prayers). In her trials, Noreene has managed to be a blessing to others. Thank you, Noreene.

The shape of this mug is actually quite satisfactory. It's a "China" mug (made in and of), but the handle and lip are both pleasing to the touch, and the base isn't too narrow to effect stability.

Coffee: I'm still drinking the "blend". I'm ready to move past my error, but I have about half a pound of error yet to consume. The "Love" cup is shown as prepared for Linden's consumption (con leche).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

R. Mutt



Mug: Spanish Waestersbach (less desirable than the German ones...lighter weight) from the Art Institute of Chicago. This mug has the signatures of artists from the Institute's museum collection. My Man's name is in the lower left corner.
Coffee: I blended the Columbian and the dark roast Columbian. Better than the dark roast alone, but not as enjoyable as the norm. I'll be drinking this blend for two to three weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Diner soar.



Mug: A birthday present from Catherine and Riley. They picked it up in Schulenberg, Texas at a cafe/gift shop. An excellent example of the "American Diner" coffee mug styling. While most mugs of this design are an off-white color, this variety uses a dark brown glaze. Easier to wash. If the coffee stains don't come out, no one will notice. I believe The Kettle and Terry's restaurant chains both used this type of mug. It's a "keeper".

Please notice the nice halo-effect in the photo. "The heavenly blend!" was Chock Full O'Nuts' motto, as I recall. We won't be saying that about this cup of coffee (see comments below).

Coffee: While in Houston, Riley and I went to the Spec's Liquor Sore and Deli Warehouse near downtown. Fascinating place. They even had their own coffee roaster, and roasted coffee on the premises (or so they said).

I bought a pound of dark roast Columbian Supremo because I like mine roasted a little darker than the "light" roast most coffee roasters use. I began having my concerns about the coffee when I put it in the car and the car didn't begin to smell like coffee. Not very aromatic, and that's not a good sign for coffee beans.

Made a pot this morning, and wasn't too impressed. It's a true "dark roast", which means it's too burnt tasting for me, although Linden prefers dark roast. I'll blend it with the pound of light roast Columbian we have in the house and see if it strike a happy balance.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Redux in Styrofoam.



Coffee: The Brazos Restaurant coffee for takeout Sunday morning. No charge, $5 tip.

Mug: Styrofoam at its best (if this is indeed styrofoam...it's some kind of foam material that I might have heard to be made of cellulose). It was against the rules to put it in my travel mug. On the road fully caffinated.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Break Fast.



Coffee: No clue. Downtown Houston Crowne Plaza Hotel breakfast buffet coffee in the Brazos Restaurant. Pretty good stuff (probably Columbian), not as strong as I like, but stronger than diner coffee. Better tasting than the Starbucks I had earlier in the morning (bad water). Great cilantro salsa on my eggs, and Hero Bitter Orange Marmalade for my biscuit. Yum.

Mug: A black Chinese made mug in the Waechtersbach mold. OK.

Over used.



Mug: I've over used the word "ubiquitous" in this series. But this thing, this cardboard and plastic parasite of our culture, meets the definition. I see them everywhere, attached to the hands of all kinds of people. The shot was taken in the Starbucks at Clay and Smith streets in Houston, Texas. I even saw ceramic and insulated plastic versions of the Vente cup ($12.99 each), so you can have that throw-away chic look in a permanent cup.

Coffee: Starbucks Breakfast Blend. I can not report anything good about the coffee, or the Verona I had my travel mug filled with. Linden and I both think it's the water (a negative spin on the old Olympia Brewing Company motto).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cat dish.



Coffee: The usual...fresh ground Columbian.

Mug: Although perfectly acceptable, I usually don't prefer these ubiquitous Chinese "novelty mugs". While this one
fairly well imitates the design of the Waechstersbach mugs I love so much (see below), the walls are thinner and don't have the tactile pleasure (and insulation qualities) of the German brand. Picky, I know, but thick lips seem to prefer thick rims. On it's own merits as a plain mug, this would fall well above average, but there would be nothing "special" about it.

However, this mug is indeed "something special". It comes from Patrick McDonnell's Mutts comic site, and features Earl the dog and Mooch the cat. Mooch has something of a speech impediment. He charmingly expresses his approval of things and events by saying "Yesh!".

The Mutts comic strip is one of the most intelligent strips in the newspapers. The Sunday Morning versions always contain a reference to Art History in it's name block panel (often sadly dropped by newspapers in the ongoing comic pages "space-wars"). I've seen homages to Classical Japanese Block Prints, the Mona Lisa, Katzenjammer Kids, Van Gogh, Duchamp, and Captain Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica" all presented as part of the strip. I hope somebody is using these for an Introduction to Art History course somewhere.

Another great thing about this mug, and why it is today's feature, is the fact that it was a Father's Day gift from my daughter Catherine. Today is Catherine's 27th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Catherine! Yesh!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Needless markings.



Mug: Another variation of the "American Diner Mug", this one was done as a commemorative mug for Neiman Marcus' 90th anniversary in 1997. Bigger than the traditional diner mug, probably 12 ounces, this version isn't as successful a design as the Cabelas mug below, but I got this mainly due to my emotional attachment to Neiman Marcus.

The contrasting exterior and interior glaze colors is a nice designer touch (after all, we are talking about Neiman's!). I have a companion mug to this in a beige exterior and a darker green interior. I usually serve these mugs on Sunday morning while Linden and I read the paper before church.

Coffee: 100% Columbian Supremo yet again.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Spare a Quarter for a cup of coffee, Buda?



Mug: This mug is a good one. Thick rim naturally shaped to wrap your lips around. Thick handle to get a good grip. Nuclear powerplant cooling tower concave-cylinder shape makes for a stable base. Thick ceramic maintains heat. Great cup.

The graphics tell the story: I picked it up at the grand-opening of the Cabela's store in Buda, Texas (near my daughter's home in Kyle).

Coffee: Columbian Supremo, freshly ground this morning (as usual).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Remember the coffee.



Mug: This is a big mug, just below one of those magnum latte mugs. This baby holds 16 ounces of coffee. My normal mug holds 12 ounces, and a standard "coffee cup" holds about 8 ounces. Not for amateurs. This particular mug has a pretty trendy look juxtaposed with the graphic. A satin cobalt exterior glaze with a gloss off-white interior. Very attractive. Nicely shaped handle, but I don't really like these conical shaped mugs because of a slight wobblliness when I set the cup down.

Background:
The text on the mug comes from the last official words of Congressman David Crockett as he left Tennessee (following his electoral defeat) to meet his destiny in Texas. 50+ years in Tennessee and 50 days (+/-) in Texas made him a Texan for all eternity. Following
the Episcopal Church General Convention's confirmation of Eugene Robinson as the denomination's first openly gay "bishop", the Rev'd David Roseberry resigned from the Diocese of Dallas' Convention Deputation and returned to Texas. I sent him a coffee mug with this same inscription (although a mug of a more "manly" rustic style than this slightly "metro-sexual" mug) as a thank-you gift.

Coffee:
The standard Columbian Supremo brew, with 2 tablespoons (7 grams) of coffee beans per 8 ounces of water. Strong, but not too strong.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Shy of perfection.



Mug:
Yet another Waechtersbach mug (I have several different ones). It's only flaw is that it is too pretty. Deep red glaze, almost a salt-glaze finish with a clear overglaze.


Coffee: Columbian Supremo, my base coffee. The most reliable coffee I have found, if fresh. We now get ours from Central Market's bulk bin. It moves quick enough that it stays fresh.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Movin' and a shakin'.



Mug:
The ubiquitous Starbucks Travel Mug (made in Korea).

Coffee: Continuing the Guatemalan. 16 more ounces to make the morning complete.

Bwana Cup of coffee?



Coffee: Guatemalan Free-Trade coffee. Medium roast. Good stuff.

Cup: Another Waechtersbach mug, with a Dymo label on it. Dates back to when I was the Creative Director/Principal of an advertising agency. "Me Bwana...you Jane."

The agency floundered, but the cup lives on.

Perfection




Mug: As near to perfection as anything man-made I have ever owned or seen.


This is a coffee mug made by Waechtersbach in Germany. I've had a set of these since about 1978 (as you should be able to tell from the W-Germany imprint on the bottom). The size, shape, color, heft, and texture are all perfect. The glaze has developed a beautiful Raku-like crazing on the inside from years of having piping hot coffee poured into them in the cool of the morning. The color (an almost natural clay slip glaze) is reminiscent of the Bavarian beer mugs this company has undoubtedly made at some point. They have held coffee, tea, hot cocoa, bourbon, cognac, scotch whiskey, and even beer. They have been my companions in prayer and conversation, in solitude and in marriage.

But, they are no longer available.

The mug is still made in some very attractive colors and some very tacky designs, but this simple, natural color that compliments a strong, rich, black serving of Columbian coffee is history. I had eight of them in 1978, but twenty-eight years later I am down to four.

All attempts at human perfection are fleeting.