Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Stockman 01-28-09

We had an arctic blast early in the week causing icy roads, school and business closings.  As it moved off to the east Tuesday night, skies cleared of clouds and allowed the temperature to plummet even lower nearing the 0 mark.  Only the die-hards made it to the Stockman for morning coffee.
Since the Stockman officially closed several months ago as an "eatery", the only heat is provided by two small electric heaters (on the face of one is a thermometer).  And in weather like we have been having, drinking morning coffee at the Stockman is akin to being a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club  ....  with the exception that we wear insulated coveralls, Elmer Fudd hats and flaps and drink our coffee with gloved hands.
The conversations are in general, the same topics as summer, except for the weather conditions.  This time of year calving is just beginning and there are multiple stories of saving a calf in sub freezing temperatures as the "old rip of a cow" (other expletives are sometimes used) try's to run you over. 
Politics are also often discussed, as they were yesterday morning.  Chester, who had been rather quiet when he first came in, suddenly slapped the table with a gloved hand and said, "I'm not giving up without a fight!"
Clyde gave a sideward glance at him with a raised eyebrow, "What in the world are you talking about?"
"They can tax me, make me wear seat belts and prevent me from spitting tobacco juice on the sidewalk.  But I'll be hanged before they take my morning coffee away at the Stockman!" replied Chester.
Now with both eyebrows raised Clyde simply said "Huh?"
"Al Gore is trying to shut us down!" was Chester's matter-of-fact reply.
"What?" asked Clyde with a befuddled look on his face.
"Well Al Gore is speaking before some Senate committee today about global warming and the need to offset some carbon emissions.  And you KNOW that every time he speaks it gets colder.  Look at that room temperature in here this morning!" Chester said pointing at the thermometer.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Saga of the Coffeehouse (Cafe')

I did a little research on the origin of the "coffeehouse" and found it to be very interesting.  The first known coffeehouses were found in the middle east during the Ottoman Empire.  It spread west into Europe through war, conquest and the expanding trade routes. 
According to www.squidoo.com  ....
"Coffeehouses have been social centers of cultures from Istanbul to London, from Paris to Rome, and most of these were havens for intellectuals, entertainers, writers, and political observers who sat for hours in either very plain (London) or very ornate (Paris) buildings where the coffee was strong, hot and the best conduit for the greatest conversationalists of every era from the 15th century to the 21st."
From http://coffeetea.about.com  I learned such tidbits as ....
"It was in an English coffee house that the word "tips" was first used for gratuities. A jar with a sign reading, "To Insure Prompt Service" sat on the counter. You put a coin in the jar to be served quickly.
The British called their coffee houses, "penny universities" because that was the price for the coffee and the social upper-class of business-men were found there. In fact, a small coffee shop run by Edward Lloyd in 1668 was such a business hub, it eventually became the still-operating Lloyd's of London insurance company.

When America was colonized, the coffee house was quick to follow. The role of the American coffee house was the same as those in England: the hotspots for the business community. The Tontine Coffee House (1792) in New York was the original location for the New York Stock Exchange, because so much business was conducted there." 

And at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/coffeehouse I learned (as they quoted Macaulay) ... "The coffeehouse must not be dismissed with a cursory mention. It might indeed, at that time, have been not improperly called a most important political institution. . . . The coffeehouses were the chief organs through which the public opinion of the metropolis vented itself. . . . Every man of the upper or middle class went daily to his coffeehouse to learn the news and discuss it. Every coffeehouse had one or more orators, to whose eloquence the crowd listened with admiration, and who soon became what the journalists of our own time have been called -- a fourth estate of the realm" 

I also found there what I felt was a good definition of the Stockman ... "A house of entertainment, where guests are supplied with coffee and other refreshments, and where men meet for conversation." 

But I feel the best definition of the Stockman was from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffeehouse ... "From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of 2 or 3."

All my research this morning proves the importance of the coffeehouse (or cafe') in forming our total culture, the shaping of our nation, it's influence on our business, the exchange of ideas and our political savvy.  These gathering of intellectuals continue to discuss the problems we as a nation face.

The part that bothers me is: can we trust the intelligence of a group of guys who would go sit in a room huddled around a stove where the room temperature is 42 degrees!  (picture taken INSIDE the Stockman Jan. 16, 2009 at 6:30 AM)


Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day

Well 2009 started at the Stockman cafe much the same way 2008 ended, the locals and area ranchers meeting for their morning coffee and conversation.  The conversations were the same: the weather forecast, grumblings about this global warming cold, political shenanigans, high taxes, low profits and wall street bailouts.
Clyde began commenting about the Madoff Ponzi scheme.  "I just don't see how a guy can scheme billions of dollars out of people for 25 years and no one catch on!  And if the stock market hadn't got so screwy, he'd still be doing it."
Chester, who had been listening intently asked, "What is a Ponzi scheme anyway?"
Clyde begin explaining, "That's where you take money from a second guy and give to another calling it profits on the first guys investment."
Chester looked a little puzzled, "I call that ranching!  I've been doing that for years!"
Clyde laughed and said, "I reckon they'll throw you in jail if they catch ya!"
"Well, I sure hope they hurry" continued Chester, "the feed bill is almost due!"