Robin is going on vacation. Originally, her plan was to take a week off in Rio with a gang of similarly desperate females. Slowly this morphed in spending a week with her aunt and uncle in the Renaissance Estates Retirement Community near exotic Ocala, Florida, the "Horse Capital of the World," I'm told.
When asked how she planned to spend her vacation, she mentioned watching the HBO series "Band of Brothers." Her uncle, she says, is a huge fan of "Band of Brothers."
Pete tried to encourage her to cut loose. "You need to get some coke, and go to the beach, and do body shots off of naked teenagers, and then pass out in the sun. And then when you wake up, you need to get some more coke, and do body shots off of naked teenagers, and then pass out in the sun. Repeat as needed."
"Right," she said. "The last thing I need to do is get drunk and streak past a bunch of old men while I sing the America song."
"What's the American song?"
"It's, you know, the song. The big American song."
"The national anthem?"
"Yeah, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, or whatever."
"The Star-Spangled Banner?"
Picked up a bottle of Double Bean Elixir, the soda from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, purveyors of Fair Trade beans to the wholesale and retail markets. The local lunch counter offers Double Bean Elixir (DBE) four flavors: vanilla, mocha, almond, and hazelnut. I went for the vanilla.
It comes in a standard colorless glass bottle. The label is green and brown, featuring the Green Mountain logo, the fair trade seal, and the certified organic seal on the front. I'm not blown away by the label. It is off-putting, but it doesn't exactly capture the consumer. If I wasn't digging around for the new product, I might have skipped right over it. I'm also a little confused by the "double bean" name. That works for the vanilla and mocha, but are almond and hazelnut considered beans for the purposes of this drink?
Before we get into the taste of the drink, I feel that coffee sodas, like tongue sandwiches, auto-erotic asphyxiation, or the music of King Crimson, are of that class of things that one either digs or thinks is utter crap, and no amount of argument, experimentation, or hand-holding will make one change camps. I dig a nice coffee soda, but if you think coffee soda sounds like the cola idea since the Dr. Pepper Jello-mold with olives, then don't let the kind review sway you.
The vanilla DBE is a sweet, crisp vanilla soda flavored with enough actual coffee that it leaves a sediment in the bottle. The carbonation is lightly done and the use of evaporated cane juice rather than corn syrup makes avoids any thick, sludgy feel. All the vanilla flavor is up front, with the coffee forming a lingering, pleasant aftertaste.
Using my new "Famous Metaphysical Poets" rating scale, Green Mountain's DBE is two and one-half Henry Vaughan's. I would happily purchase it again and feel through all this fleshly dress, the DBE is a bright shoot of everlastingness.
I bought a used copy of B. S. Johnson's House Mother Normal last weekend. I finished it last night.
Folded into the slim book was a newspaper article about a "teacher" out in the far reaches of Brooklyn, near Coney, that was teaching students to develop their mental powers to the point were they could perceive visual data – color, shape, even read to a limited extent – despite being blindfolded. The clip included a photo of one of his students: a young girl, t-shirt with a pattern of small ducks in rain gear, hair pulled into two pony tails, wearing a sleep mask. She was smiling.
The voice of skepticism was provided by professional debunker James Randi. He dismissed the whole thing as an "old trick that's well known in Russia," where apparently pretending to read with a sleep mask on is considered the height of entertainment. Randi gave no further explanation of the trick, but extended his standard challenge to put this man and his students to the screws of scientific evaluation.
Weirdly, somebody, possibly the person who clipped the article and stashed it in this old paperback, had underlined the entire article in pink ink. It is as if they started trying to underline the important parts of the article but decided every single word was well worth noting.
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