Monday, November 28, 2005

Rule #11

11. Drink coffee
Did you make the typical American mistake by giving up coffee sometime around 1998? You and millions of others were duped into thinking that coffee is bad for your heart, your relationships with family members, and sex. HA! American coffee consumption is down and as a result we have become a nation of cock-eyed boobs more self-absorbed than a good daily jolt of coffee would ever allow. We have let down our guard and in return we received George W. Bush, a war with no end in sight, most every country in the world planning or applauding our inevitable downfall, and what's with this Paris Hilton thing?

But what about Starbuck’s you ask? How could our national consumption of coffee be down given the Starbucks phenomenon? Starbucks, laddie, does not count as coffee. Starbucks is jazzy and fun. You go to Starbucks for a frothy sweet Frappaccino and to work on the crossword puzzle while listening to theraputic piano jazz, not to get a cup of coffee. Ask the chipper counter guy, pardon me, “barista” for a small coffee and you’ll be scolded. Starbucks coffee only comes in Tall, Grande, and, now, Rio Grande. Supersized coffee, sigh, how pathetic.

This all leads me to say that in Florence they do coffee right. Everyone drinks coffee, it is good coffee, and it is consumed not in insulting paper cups but in good solid ceramic. You do not scamper down the street chugging a bucket of coffee as you dodge traffic and talk to your plumber on your cell phone. You stand at the bar, you stop everything else, and you concentrate on getting that stuff into your system. No Grandes here, no sirree. Coffee is served by the thimbleful. This means that you can drink it all day long.

Is there really a link between coffee consumption and the body politic? Voter turn out was 3.7 trillion times higher in downtown Florence than in all of the state of Idaho. Sure, the Italians got Berlusconi, a guy who was being investigated for fraud and so he simply passed a law to exclude politicians from criminal prosecution while in office (this is true, by the way, and so please do not forward my blog to George W.). Did I mention that he owns most of the media outlets in Italy, as well as, I believe, the electrical outlets and several dozen emotional outlets. But nobody ever thought Berlusconi was a nice guy, or a sincere guy, or a guy who was anything less than self-serving in the first place. They would vote for him again in a heartbeat but everyone hates him. Berlusconi, unlike some other world leaders, is obviously a coffee drinker who knows that his actions are being tracked by a nation of coffee drinkers.

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