Sunday, December 30, 2007

Marble Falling on ourselves.

Container: Thin plastic cup as supplied by beer distributors when you buy a keg from them. Translucent plastic, ribbed for pleasurable holding.

Contained: Michelob Draught, which is a quite drinkable American lager (the true draught product from a keg, not any other form).

Note: As supplied at a wedding we attended in Marble Falls this past Saturday. The reception was at the LBJ Yacht Club, and the food (brisket, turkey sausage, beans and cole slaw) was from Inman's Ranch House Barbecue. Good stuff (except for the sauce, which was not needed). Thanks, John and Betsy! Blessings, Corby and Leigh! As John Calvin famously said, "Good luck!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Mug: Starbuck's Holiday Mug from 2005. Elaborately decorated in the spirit of the American Mid-Winter Festival. Nice shape, with a good tactile experience.

Coffee: The base (the rut?), Columbian Supremo. A just slightly lighter roast than usual.

Note: No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A mug of a different color.

Coffee: Not. Rogue Chipotle Ale, which is an Oregon version of a Rauschbier (German smoked beer) in a .75 lt. bottle.

Mug: A traditional 1 liter mug ceramic from the Hofbrau-Haus in Munich.

Note: A smoky, spicy, un-fltered ale. Yum-O!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Mug: Cafeteria mug and dish. I forgot to look on the bottom. Eight ounces?

Coffee: Cafe au Lait with beignets at Cafe Du Monde (CDM) at Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter. CDM coffee is a French Roast with Chicory. The steamed milk makes it palatable.

Note: My first trip to New Orleans. Not my last.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Feeling lucky? Good for you.

Coffee: A return home to Columbian Supremo full city roast from Central Market (after several weeks drinking their Guatemalan Antigua).

Mug: Another heavy "diner-style" mug from China, this one in a dark brown-khaki glaze. This mug is heavy enough to be used as a blunt instrument in an Agatha Christie murder mystery.

Notes: Found the mug in the clearance bin at Cabela's. It's imprinted with the slogan "Do what you like. Like what you do." on the right-handed drinker's side. On the opposite side is a graphic of a four-leaf clover, with the brand name "Life Is Good" printed beneath it.

I've had almost as difficult a time understanding what the "Life Is Good" merchandise line (apparel and some accessories) is about, as I have trying to figure out the "No Fear" stuff I've seen. I'm an old guy who's dense and set in his way.

The four-leaf clover is of interest primarily for the supposed "good luck" the finder will receive who discovers one. The four-leaf clover (with its Celtic cross connotations) is often confused with the Irish shamrock (with its Trinitarian connotations).

Oddly, I've never heard of a four-leaf shamrock. Perhaps one would refer to modern post-Christian
America's Quadratarian theology: Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and Mammon?

No thanks. Three's enough.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Him Bwana. Me not.

Coffee: Mexico FTO Chiapas (Special Lot). Home-roasted from green beans. Very nice stuff. It has a deep, velvety texture and taste. Full City Roast.

Mug: A school-bus yellow Waechtersbach mug that has been customized with a Dymo Labelmaker label featuring the single word "Bwana". If you don't know the pure delight of a German-made Waechstersbach coffee mug, I feel sorry for you.

The reference is to a Swahili word/form of address, and to Hollywood movies like "Tarzan", "Call me Bwana", and "Bwana Dik" (which was also a Frank Zappa song, and a 1960-70s "tropics themed" nightclub catering to servicemen in San Antonio).

It was also the name of an "art" magazine I published in the early 1980s. "Bwana Art" was a half-sheet tabloid that was distributed free of charge in bars, bookstores and laundromats. It featured no advertising or editorial content, and almost no oversite. Good taste was never a criteria, only lawsuits. The contributing artists paid $50 to buy a page. They were then free to show whatever they wanted, with the only provision being that it couldn't be material copyrighted by others, or material that land the publisher (me) in court or jail. It ranged from the brilliant to the obscene.

The inaugural issue featured an old line-cut of a charging Zulu warrior below the masthead "BWANA ART", with the identifying caption below the image saying "Suburban Attitudes".

My favorite issue was the individually numbered "all blank pages" issue.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Battling windmills.

Mug: Another Chinese-made promotional mug in a design imitative of my beloved German Waechtersbach mugs... only not as good. For what it is (a too shiny 11 ounce mug), it's fine.

Coffee: Panama Organic Los Lajones purchased as green beans from Sweet Maria's in Oakland. I roasted the beans this past Saturday while smoking a brisket. Has a "choclatey" undertone to it (boy howdy, that DOES sound pretentious, don't it?).

"Henk's" is one of my all time favorite restaurants. Family owned and operated. Henk Winnubst immigrated to the US after WW II with his wife and infant son. Now, his two sons and daughter run the place, with Henk and his charming wife overseeing Friday night's European ex-pat get together (Dutch, Germans, and Eastern Europeans).

Henk was originally a partner at Kuby's Delicatessen. Karl Kuby was the butcher, Henk was the baker. They had a falling out over Karl's conversion Mormonism (and his funding of Morman Missionaries to Europe). Henk is a faithful Roman Catholic. When the opportunity arose, Henk forced Kuby to buy him out, and Henk bought "The Black Forest Bakery".

Henk's son, Hubertus, is a unique talent and an all-around neat guy. You'll often find him behind the counter.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor intensive.

Mug: A repeat appearance by an English-made coffee mug (tea mug?), featuring a Hardy-esque scene of laborers during the hay harvest.

Coffee: Colombian Supremo, full city roast, brewed double-strength (by American standards).

Note: Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Swept away.

Coffee: I seem to be alternating between Colombian Supremo and Guatemalan Antigua at the moment. Today, it's the Colombian. Just a darn near perfect cup of coffee, but so is the Guatemalan.

Mug: Another Chinese made "diner" mug, although slightly smaller than my normal mugs. I haven't measured it, but I suspect it only holds 8 to 9 oz. of coffee. But it's a wonderful example of the style. Thick walls, with a flattened rim along the top, it has excellent tactile qualities to the hands and lips. It is very well balanced with superior ergonomics, and the two-fingered handle feels just right. It's a molded mug (you can faintly see the seam along the handle side), but it seems to have irregularities to it, which gives the mug a subtle "hand-crafted" look.

Note: This mug comes from the Cafe du Monde coffee stand in New Orleans. I've never paid too much attention to CDM (as my New Orleans-native friends call Cafe du Monde), as I've never been to New Orleans, and while I've been served their canned coffee (yellow can), I can't say it did anything for me. I got interested in CDM because my good friend and Christian sister Noreene Hurst loves the stuff. She was lamenting not being able to find "CDM Yellow" in Dallas. I knew where to look, and I've been getting some for her on occasion as a token of my appreciation.

Further note: Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans. Noreene was one of the evacuees. Over one thousand people died. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, and still haven't returned (many never will). Some (like Noreene) have found a better life, while some have found no life at all. The tourist spots are back, the sin merchants of the French Quarter are thriving, but 65% of the city still lies in ruins, abandoned to roving gangs and other vermin. George Bush will be in New Orleans to talk about what wonderful work that has been done along the Gulf Coast to help his constituency, while the poor remain neglected (and worse). Some suspect that the ultimate plan is to turn NOLA into a sort of Zuider Deesnyland... a place for wealthy tourist to come and dip their toes into the exciting lifestyle of open sin, and then return to Idaho or Des Moines or Highland Park to their self-righteous lives. Once the middle class and the poor have been eradicated from New Orleans, more New Urbanist condos can be built, with more shops, more Cafe du Mondes, more Brennans... and more topless clubs, more beads, more gay bars, more of every guilty pleasure America wants to enjoy away from the prying eyes of the very neighbors they themselves judge.

Good-bye, New Orleans. I hardly knew you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blue Monday

Coffee: The Alternate Choice: Guatemalan Antigua.

Mug: Cobalt blue glass with a fake (screen printed) etched logo. This was a premium from the local NPR station's pledge drive a few years ago. It's for "Morning Edition with Bob Edwards", who has since been "retired" and now hosts the "Bob Edward's Show" on XM satellite radio.

An attractive, if unpleasant to use, mug. The tactile qualities are awful, to the fingers (sharp mold seam inside the handle) and most importantly, to the lips.

Note: I miss Bob Edwards. He is one of the few reasons I have considered (but rejected) subscribing to XM. I have not given to my local PBS station since the 2004 elections, when their newsroom covered up an important story about the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", involving the work one of their guest on-air commentators did for them (and refused to do for them) as part of their smear campaign against Senator John Kerry. I vowed (to their station news director and manager) to never give them another dime of my money, but that I would continue to avail myself of their programming, guilt-free.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Coming full circle.

Coffee: A return to the base Colombian.

Mug: Chinese-made "diner" mug, made by M Ware. Even though it is larger than my 11 ounce Waechsterbach mugs, it only holds 10 ounces. Very heavy, with very thick walls (hence the smaller volume). A substantial mug.

Note: Picked up this mug at the Circle Grill on Buckner Boulevard at I-30. The Old Circle Grill (which burned down a few years ago) was located on the traffic circle at Buckner Boulevard/Loop 12 and Texas State Highway 80. My dad was a somewhat regular there in the late fifties and sixties. It is currently owned by the Vargos family (who also own the Market Grill on Harry Hines and whose family owns the old Record Grill next to the Dallas County Courthouse... an infamous greasy-spoon/burger joint frequented by jurors for at least half a century).

Vargos, the proprietor of the Circle Grill, used to run a delightful little restaurant downtown called Streetside Grill. Because it was next to City Hall, I got to know her and grew to love her restaurant. A combination of a misguided business plan, City neglect, and corporate indifference led to its decline and closure. I still miss it.

When you come to Dallas, you must go by the Circle Grill. Very good coffee-shop food, decent coffee (in the big, heavy mugs), and the friendliest waitstaff in Dallas.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Austintatious mug.

Coffee: I am not incapable of change. This week's bean is a Guatemala Antigua coffee. It's a nice change from the Colombian Supremo I usually drink. It has a slightly "spicier" flavor to it, and it has long been among my favorites.

Grown in the Antigua district at high altitudes in rich volcanic soil, this coffee is distinguishable by its heavy body, and a lively cup with subtle smoky spicy overtones. According to Sweet Maria's website, "Guatemalan coffee is revered as one of the most flavorful and nuanced cups in the world. Due to our proximity to Guatemala, some of the finest coffees from this origin come to the United States. Guatemalan growing regions vary in their potential cup quality: many have sufficient altitude, soil and climate conditions. Antiguas are well-known and highly rated."

Mug: This is a gift from my daughter Anna. It's one of the Starbucks "City Series" mugs. It's a latte/bistro sized mug with a pleasant, if oddly conservative, drawing of downtown Austin on the banks of Lake Lady Bird Johnson (renamed just this week... it has been known as Town Lake for the last eighty years or so).

Note: I also have the San Antonio mug, which features the Alamo (a stroll through the Mug Shots March 2007 archives will reveal it). The Big D mug has a similar drawing of downtown Dallas, looming above the banks of the Trinity River. Seems as though I recall the Fort Worth is similar, showing downtown atop the bluffs of the West Fork of the Trinity. Houston's mug, perhaps, shows downtown H-Town sinking into the Buffalo Bayou.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Coffee: The Colombian base. Why change?

Mug: 100% plastic, 52 oz (1.538 liters) Xtreme GULP from 7-Eleven. It comes with a snap-on travel lid (spill-less as opposed to spill-free). This sucker is so big, you can pack a beer can surrounded by ice in it. When you come out to the truck in the afternoon, the beer is a wonderul 36 degrees.

Note: In the summer-time, I can fill this beast with ice and then pour in about 14 oz of strong, hot coffee. The result is a perfect mug of iced-coffee that will last me almost all day.

Biggest Drawback: Haven't found a vehicle with a large enough cupholder. Infant seat seems to be the best option so far.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Flying Black Horse.

Mug: A gift from an engineering firm (Carter & Burgess) relating to a huge public works/freeway project they are the primary consultant on.

Coffee: Room temperature Columbian Supremo... left over from breakfast almost 8 hours ago.

Note: How bad of a junkie am I?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day! May Day!

Need help making great coffee? Feeling a little wobbly due to improper caffeine preparation?

info here, brother.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Plumber's Friend.

Coffee: Why change a good thang? Colombian Supremeo, Full City roast.

Mug: This is a double-walled, stainless-steel, French Press travel mug. Dump in the coffee, pour in the just off boiling water, wait a few minutes and depress the plunger. Damn good (and damn hot) coffee results.

Notes: The "mug" itself gets too hot to handle, so I have a variety of "koozies" to keep my fingerprints intact (should the FBI ever come looking for me again).

The mug itself came from Restoration Hardware a few years ago (as did a Scalectrix slot-car track and a box of rhythm instruments... cruelly labelled "Family Band") back in the days before Resto Hdwr became a prime habitat for "men without children".

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Coffee Mug Potty Humor

Mug: Early Starbucks travel mug.

Coffee: Empty.

Note: When you turn this mug upside down (and especially if you place a stack of 3X5 cards on top), this mug looks a lot like a toilet.

P.S. Don't try this with coffee in the mug. Your cup will runneth under.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!

Coffee: Juan Valdez's

Mug: The last in the series of four Texas History Movies Sesquicentennial mugs. Chinese promo-mug of a non-offensive design. Two-finger handle design. This is the final mug in my Texas History Month series of coffee mugs.

Note: The Battle of San Jacinto was one of history's (and especially American history's) most decisive battles. The entire political shape of the North American continent was changed in less than an hour by this conflict between roughly 2,000 armed men. It was a battle with mythic elements that are true nonetheless:

Extreme bravery and courage (Texian general Sam Houston was shot off his horse while leading the attack, one of only 30 Texians hit by enemy fire),

Brutality (as Mexican soldier's pleaded for their lives by pleading "Me no Alamo! Me no Goliad", they were ruthlessly slaughtered by men who were drunk with vengeance... over 600 Mexican soldiers died in the battle),

Cowardice (General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna put on a private's tunic and hid in the weeds until captured), and...

Chivalry (Houston received the captured the General and spared his life from those who would have shown Santa Anna the same mercy he showed to Col. Fannin and his men at La Bahia... execution).

These are the things of myth, but being mythical does not always mean it is untrue.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tube o' joe.

Coffee: The Colombian Base (a little too strong this morning... I'm still struggling with the settings on the burr grinder).

Mug: A pleasing Chinese promo-mug from Antique Electronic Supply in Tempe, Arizona. Of the generic promo-mug (gimmie-mug?) shape, this style is my favorite Nice handle that's large enough for my fat fingers, with a pleasing bow to the handle shape. The mug cyclinder itself is of a nice thickness (neither too thin nor too thick), the white glaze is WHITE (not the yellow white I see too often on Chinese coffee mugs). When I place the mug in the microwave to heat water (a ritual I do to preheat a mug for my wife's coffee, and to provide hot water for my travel mug's pre-heating), the handle stays comfortable to the touch.

Notes: Antique Electronic Supply sells parts for old tube radios and tube P.A. amplifiers. They have various grill cloths for different radios and amps, knobs, fabric amp coverings, switches, potentiometers, and tubes. I got this mug to signify my tentative exploration of the world of Hi-Fidelity tube amplification. I found an old H.H. Scott Stereomaster 299-D amp from 1964. I've cleaned it up, refinished the wood cabinet, and replaced a tube and two knobs (from Antique Electronic Supply... the knobs are virtually identical, and are sold as replacement knobs for old Marshall amps). A new adventure.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

We interrupt this regulary scheduled blogcast...

Glass: Chinese made, styled after the typical "pint" glass (which is really only 3/4 pint for us Murikins).

Beer: Pearl Lager.

Note: Pabst (who now owns Pearl) has a whole slew of new marketing items for Pearl, all featuring a return to the traditional logo. Could Pabst be on the verge of actually promoting Pearl beer? Hope springs eternal from the Country of 1100 Springs.

...and now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Coffee: "It's the Colombian, stupid."

Mug: Handmade pottery mug from Italy. Many "imperfections and irregularities" in it's shape, it is "rustic", I suppose. Black outer glaze with a blood-red inner glaze.

Note: Matthew 27:4-8, NIV

"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."
"What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

It all comes back around.

Coffee: Colombian, too strong, ground Thursday night as two packets to get Linden through the weekend in my planned absence. Plans change, and mine did.

Mug: Giant Starbucks' latte mug from their location on the River Walk in San Antonio. I think this thing holds about 48 ounces of coffee. It's huge.

Note: Today is the last day of Texas History Month. No matter how you spin it, Texas history revolves around San Antonio, the Mother City of Texas. San Antonio SHOULD have been the capitol of Texas, but was too vulnerable to capture by Mexican forces during the fragile years of the Republic. The home of the Alamo and Pearl Beer (the latter now gone). I love all of the major cities in Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin (for other reasons than most might think), Houston, El Paso, Galveston, Lubbock, and Amarillo. But my love for San Antonio runs deeper than my love for the others, deeper perhaps than even my love for my home city of Dallas.

Austin is a connecting joint between Dallas and San Antonio, Houston is an extremity.

Post Script: There will be one more Texas History Coffee Mug post, but not during Texas History Month. Come back in a few weeks.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My favorite restaurant in San Antonio.

Coffee: Juan Valdez's preference.

Mug: Got this at Schilo's Deli in San Antonio (right above the RiverWalk, and relatively tourist-free). The Alamo, the Menger Hotel, and Schilo's are the reasons I still go to San Antonio. I used to go for the Pearl Brewery, but General Brewing Corporation (ne: Pabst) put a stop to that. Schilo's is a great place for breakfast and lunch, but dinner is only served on Friday and Saturday nights. Used to see Henry Cisneros there for breakfast (it was one of his getaway offices), maybe he still goes there, I don't know. Rustic.

My only real complaint about the mug (a Chinese product) is that the glaze is too shiny, almost like a clearcoat (which it probably is: a clear glaze over ceramic base).

BTW: 1917 was a brave time to open a German deli. But, German was San Antonio's third (or FIRST) language back then.

Across the alley from the Alamo.

Mug: Another souvenir mug from San Antonio. Chinese made, generic mug. No complaints, but no raves either. Basic, functional design with the preferred 3-finger handle shape.

What makes this mug special (to me) is its source: The Menger Hotel. The Menger is on Alamo Square in San Antonio, and was opened in the 1850's. It has quite a colorful history.
  • One of Texas' first commercial breweries operated there.
  • General Robert E. Lee lived there when he commanded the U.S. Army garrison in San Antonio. He was there when Texas seceded from the Union, and a mob almost lynched him as they demanded the Union Army leave San Antonio. He left Texas, later to join the Confederacy and lead the Army of Northern Virginia (he was far more commited to Virginia than the Confederancy... had Virginia stayed in the Union, Lee would have led the Federals against the Rebels).
  • Teddy Roosevelt lived there while he recruited his "Rough Riders" in the lobby bar, and trained them nearby at what later became Brackenridge Park.
  • The Battle of the Alamo was fought on this site. The wall that Santa Anna's forces overwhelmed on their four-point assault was the picket wall that would have been next to the Menger's eventual location.

I love to stay there, usually in the old wing that dates back to the late 19th century, but also in the "modern motor court" wing that was built in the booming 1950's-60's. All true Texans love the Menger.

Coffee: Still with the Colombian. Made it too strong this morning. Too strong, but still good. Full bodied? Full body slam!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sodom on the Colorado.

Mug: Chinese made restaurant mug. So average as to be unpleasant, this mug has nothing to recommend it, save for where it came from.

Coffee: The Colombian.

Note: Texas' major cities all have (or had) signature hotels from the "golden age of hotels" – institutions that embody the spirit of their host communities. Dallas has the Adolphus, San Antonio the Menger (and the St. Anthony), Houston had the Rice (and the Grand), Fort Worth the Worthington, and El Paso the Plaza.

Austin's signature hotel was the Driskill on 6th Street at Congress. It was established in the mid-late 19th century. It was host to formal balls, high society teas, and lobbyists in town shopping for politicians at the Texas Capitol, conveniently located just a few blocks away. As such, it was also the get-away place for state elected officials to carry on their extra-marital adventures, whether lobbyist provided or naturally procured. The list of names of famous Texas politicians who took comfort in the Driskill is a long one.

Texas politicians: Law by day, Grace by night (or possibly Susan, or even Jonathan).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Texas redux.

Mug: The companion mug to the "Remember the Alamo/Victory or Death" mug. The white star on the blue field mimicks the first Texas official flag. The Crockett quote is everyone's favorite.

Coffee: Revelation 7:14

Note: The company that makes this mug (and other Texanaista items) is based in College Station. Aggies get a little nervous talking about "Texas" all the time, for fear it will be confused with The University of Texas at Austin. By way of protest (and niche marketing), this company also makes a maroon version of this mug, with the Crockett saying slightly modified; "You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas A&M."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sore loser.

Mug: Thick ceramic mug made in China. VERY thick. It's a latte sized mug that might make a good soup mug. Its design inspiration is the enameled steel camp mug that was guaranteed to blister your lips if the coffee was hot. NO such problems with this design.

The Colombian of comfortable habit, fresh ground this dark-morning in the burr grinder, drip brewed. Good stuff.

Note: This mug features Congressman David Crockett's parting words to the citizens of Tennessee after his defeat for re-election to the U.S. Congress. His opponent had a wooden leg, and Crockett's quote more fully reads, "Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas." I purchased this mug at the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History in Austin during their special Davy Crockett Exhibition. I highly recommend going to the Bullock Museum when you are in Austin, if for no other reason than to see the neon marquee from the old Texas Theater in Sherman, Texas hanging inside the atrium. I worked at the Texas as a projectionist when I was just starting college in 1969, and I know that marquee quite well.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Evangelism simplified.

Mug: Cobalt blue "bistro" mug from a purveyor of Texana collectibles. Nice satin finish to the exterior glaze, nice stain-resistant gloss white inside. A very handsome, but slightly awkward handling mug. Too big? Handle shape? Narrow base? Regardless of its mechanical imperfection, this is one of my favorites. It's beautifully designed, with a great concept: the two sides bookcase the slogans of the beginning and the end of the Texas Revolution.

Coffee: Colombian beans from Central Market. No adventure this morning, just comfort.

Notes: Notice the little imperfection dimple underneath "Remember the Alamo!". I bought this on the clearance/damaged goods shelf at Waterloo Records in Austin. It's a cosmetic (but real) divot in the mug (air bubble in the ceramic). Looks like a little bullet hole.

"Victory or Death!" sums up quite nicely why I am an Evangelical. We can either share in the victory of Jesus Christ, or we can suffer death. It's not our victory, but it is our death. And Jesus won his victory "so that all who believe in him will not die, but live for eternity." Evangelism simplified.

Finally, a little dig. I bought this mug at Waterloo Records in Austin. Waterloo was the name of the city that became Austin a few years after the War of Independence. It was the idea of land developers who were trying to get the capitol of Texas moved to their city by renaming it after Stephen F. Austin (it should be noted that folks in the city of Harrisburg did the same thing by renaming their city after Sam Houston). The City of Austin (Waterloo) had no more connection to the Texas Revolution than did the city of Dallas (Bryan's Trading Post). Neither existed at the time of the Revolution, either by the name we know them by today, or by their earlier names. Both cities came into being during the years of the Republic.

Austinites dislike being reminded of this.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Mug: Another Chinese generic, ad-specialties mug. Good basic design, but lacking in some key tactile areas (body thickness and weight).

This mug was part of the promotional campaign for the original "- God" billboards that were placed around the country several years ago. They were a wonderful series, and the person behind the project never revealed his/her identity. This particular mug was a gift to a Dallas City Councilmember. At a meeting, I saw it on her shelf and mentioned my approval. She gave it to me.

Coffee: The Colombian base from Central Market.

Notes: "Wait a minute," you perhaps say. "Isn't this Texas History Coffee Mug Month? What does this have to do with Texas History?" I'll tell you.

The Texas Revolution was the last Western, and only American, Religious War. It's overlooked by the text books on all sides, which nowadays prefer to make the the Texas Revolution a war about slavery (it has that element, but not quite the way it's being spun).

From the time of the Spanish Colonial Period up through Mexico's Independence, immigrants to Mexico had to convert to Roman Catholicism. All of Austin's "Old 300" did that. But with the advent of more immigrants coming from the Scottish midlands (the Great Celtic Wave that swept North America in the early 18th Century), came Presbyterians and Methodists and Baptists unwilling to renounce Jesus for the Pope. These were the same peoples who pushed the United States off the Atlantic Seaboard out past the Appalacians and onto the Great Plains. These were the first people who were able to stand against the Apache and the Commanche. Fighting was in their blood, and fighting for God and Land (not "country") was a job they were eager for.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A broken cistern, a crucible.

Mug: The third in the series of four Texas Sesquicentennial Mugs based upon Texas History Movies. The date listed on the mug for the Alamo's Fall is incorrect. March 6th is the day. See comments on the mugs in previous posts below.

Coffee: Sumatra Classic Mandheling, home roasted. "Low-toned, caramel-chocolate roast taste, fruity-earthy hints, bittersweet finish, heavy body." That's what the merchant's description says. Who am I to argue?

Notes: This morning one hundred and seventy one years ago, as I type this, the final assault on the Alamo was underway. 186 Texians vs. upwards of 5,000 Mexican troops. All of the defenders of the Alamo died, save Susanna Dickinson, her daughter, and their house servant (slave). Between 1,000 and 1,500 Mexican troops were casualties as well.

Current revisionist history has the number of Mexican troops considerably smaller (both in total numbers and in casualties), and has David Crockett and some of his fellow Tennesseans surrendering and begging for their lives (totally out of character). This is all based on a single document, a diary of a Mexican officer that is of disputed authenticity. It is accepted because it tells a story the revisionists like. At the rate revisionist history is progressing, in a few more years we'll be echoing what the Mexican schools teach about the Alamo; that the Mexican Army was outnumbered by the defenders of the Alamo, who were an invasion force from the United States. That account is totally unsubstantiated by anything except General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's own memoirs. Shame on those who would propagate such lies.

Remember the Alamo. Remember Goliad.