Coffee and Opinions

My two cents on stuff

Stuffed Grape Leaves letdown

Several items from my local Korean grocery store shopping spree were awesome, but the stuffed grape leaves were gross. Vinegar-y, onion-y, mushy. Just a bad idea all around. What a letdown. Was hoping for something more like the ones from the refrigerated section at Costco, but those are a lot more expensive. Read more →

There is nothing wrong with country music

So, I read Sturgill Simpson’s rant. It’s a complaint that’s been raised millions of times before: how Nashville supports mainly ‘country pop’ while legends like Merle Haggard fall by the wayside, etc.

Here are my thoughts about this… hang on tight, this might be a bit unpopular…

Of course country radio supports mostly catchy mainstream country pop. And that’s okay. I see the same phenomenon happens in all kinds of genres, and you always have outrage on the “artiste” side and silence on the “mainstream” side. Because no one really likes to defend that they prefer watching “Jurassic World” over “Moonrise Kingdom,” or want to hear “Honey Bee” when they turn on country radio, not “Kern River Blues” (the Haggard single mentioned by Simpson).

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Thoughts on an NPR show about happiness.

I really enjoyed this NPR show on happiness. It is full of important reminders about what makes people happy, and what doesn’t.

While I was already aware of most of what was said, one section did contain an eye opener. When you experience misfortune, it helps to stay aware that “this, too, shall pass”… (I already knew that part)… but why is it so darn hard to remember this? In spite of experiencing the healing power of time all the time, it seems we can’t seem to get it into our heads. We continue to sweat the small stuff in the present, until it fades into the past.

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A lifestyle of distractions

This comment puts so succinctly what is a clear problem for many: The problem with the modern lifestyle is you probably go from morning radio to podcast in car to Facebook, to work and Reddit during breaks and then back home to the TV. There are few opportunities for quiet reflection so is there any surprise that the first moment there are no distractions (once your head hits the pillow on your bed) you would start having your inner dialogue? Read more →

The best manual coffeemaker

Aeropress Coffeemaker - brew coffee with hot water and a manual device

Okay the packaging contains all kinds of hyperbole - but this is actually a really useful device. It makes good coffee. Not as good as the one I typically make (one cup at a time, with freshly ground beans, using several paper filters, and strongly boiling water from my HotShot dumped onto the coffee grinds), but close.

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Outside Kitty, not enjoying the rain

… but she still won’t come in. I do put a fresh hand towel on the windowsill every now and then, which she really seems to appreciate. (Note: the cut-off left ear indicates that she’s a stray feral. I didn’t know that this was the common way to mark cats that went through the \“Spay/Neuter/Release\” program until I met her.) Read more →

Re-reading Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves To Death”

Recently I started re-reading Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves To Death.” (In German: “Wir amüsieren uns zu Tode.”) This is a book that deeply influenced me as a teen. In young adulthood I lived without TV out of principle, mostly because of this book. (I do remember looking longingly at the small portable TVs while shopping at an electronics store, though.)

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Binge-watch-worthy shows for cord cutters - “Outlander”

I gave “Showtime” on Amazon Instant a try, and as part of this got to watch the first season of “Outlander”, a show with an intriguing concept. (“While on her honeymoon, WWII combat nurse Claire Randall is mysteriously transported back to 1743 Scotland, where she is kidnapped by a group of Highlanders - and meets an injured young man named Jamie.”)

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Cutting the cord - plus, my “Nurse Jackie” review

So in March Verizon FIOS stuck me with a mega-bill after all my free goodies and discounts of my contract suddenly expired. I called them immediately. (Sadly, that’s what you have to do if you are an existing customer… if you want discounts, you have to pick up the phone, wait in line, then haggle.)

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