Archive for November, 2008

Coffee-licious

Posted in Food with tags , , , on November 28, 2008 by mccoolio

espresso

I am a bonafide coffee lover. I drink a couple of cups in the morning and an Americano or a double shot of espresso with a protein bar in the afternoon. Without really breaking the bank, I try to enjoy the best of all things coffee. A good friend of mine is like that. He talks about “getting that last drop of goodness” out of his cup. He loves good coffee so much he’ll be up on the mountains of Afghanistan ( he’s military) where he packs a little bag with his beans, grinder and French Press. Ask him about the time he dropped and broke his french press full of steaming hot goodness on a goat herder’s hard, dirt packed floor… Anyway,the following are my suggestions if you like coffee, espresso, lattes, fraps, etc., and you’re tired of making Starbucks richer. The initial outlay is a little pricey so maybe you can ask for some of these items for Christmas. or buy one thing at a time.

Beans You have to  have fairly fresh, quality  beans to make good coffee, ideally ground immediately before you drink it. You should try to get beans that have been roasted no more than a couple of weeks. There’s a million places to get them, usually starting about $7 per lb to $13-14 per lb . Since Raleigh and I go through a pound pretty rapidly, I try to find the best quality for the best value. These two are my current favorites: drewsbrewscoffee.com and Bongo Java. Drew’s  beans are awesome.( Here’s a real cool video of Drew Park roasting beans and Rachel at Crema:   http://wnpt.org/productions/crossroads/2008_oct.html.   Go to video 18 when you get to that site.)They are probably the most popular right now at all the fu-fu places around Nashville but incredibly he also has the best prices; $7.99 per lb the last time I ordered. He’s strictly Internet and he charges a flat $4.00 shipping fee, right to your door, no matter how much you order. I usually get 2-3 lbs at a time, take out what I’ll use in a week or two, keep them in a airtight container and freeze the rest. The other place is Bongo Java, where every Tuesday they have $2.00 off per lb , which makes them about $ 8.00 per lb. You get them there so there’s no shipping  fee. At Bongos you  fill your bags out of bins where you can get as much or as little as you want. So I like to get several little 1/4 lb bags of different stuff for variety.beans1

  • Grinder In order to get maximum benefit from those beans you need to grind them and then immediately use it. Getting it ground when you buy the beans is only a little better than ground coffee off the shelf. Option #1 This one is fine if all you’re drinking is coffee and not espresso and french press. Go to Target or Wal Mart or wherever and pick up a $15-20 blade grinder which has a button that you hold down about 15-20 seconds. Option #2 Get a Burr Grinder from $50-100. This kind has about 12 settings from extra coarse to extra fine. If you want to do espresso which requires a fine grind or French Press which needs a very coarse grind you need one of these babies. I bought a Capresso brand for around $100 from Davis Cutlery in Hillsboro Village. I could have gotten it about $10 cheaper on the Internet but I bought it from them because older Mr Davis is a good guy and he highly recommended the Capresso. I’ve been very happy with it.
  • French Press This is the ultimate regular coffee. You’ve seen one. It’s a solid glass jar with a top with a plunger that goes down in the jar. The reason it’s the ultimate is because the filter is basically a wire screen so therefore you have to grind really coarse so the grounds won’t go through the screen. A lot of taste-producing oils are filtered out with paper filters ( less with the gold-colored metal filters which is why all the good coffee machines have them) So basically no oils are filtered out with the French Press. So, if you break down and buy a good burr grinder, go ahead and throw down another $20 or so and pick up a French Press and thank me later. Try a French Press at a coffee shop and see what you think.
  • Espresso There’s 2 or 3 ways to get espresso: 1) Get a combo coffee maker/espresso machine.This way is probably the most popular. The only problem with this kind of machine is that they are usually steam-powered and can’t produce enough pressure to produce the crema ( see picture at the top of my post. Kind of like a head on a beer or coke) which is an indicator of real espresso. If you’re adding the espresso to a drink like a latte, mocha, etc, this is fine but probably not for straight espresso or an Americano ( a combination espresso-regular coffee. It’s a couple of shots of espresso and really hot water that’s like  a regular coffee with a Hemi. Ummmmm good ) 2) Get a stove-top espresso maker or a Moka . These produce just as good espresso as the above, maybe a little better, and you can get one for around $15-25.  3) The best: Find a machine that produces about 15 bars of pressure, usually with a piston not steam. This option is where you have to spend a little money. After a lot of research, the best quality machine at the best value I found was the one I bought: a Breeville Cafe Roma .It retails for $229 at Bed Bath and Beyond but with their 20% coupon they send out all the time, I got it for under $200. It’s stainless steel, heavy duty and beautiful: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=14013415l. Also check Amazon for reconditioned machines that are cheaper.  Before you say WHOA, that’s too much for a espresso machine, let me tell you it’s not if you want the real stuff. This price is considered the very cheapest, bottom of the range for good espresso machines. I’ve had mine now for a couple of years and am extremely happy with it. and it looks awesome sitting on my new tile counter top.
  • Frappes and Such If you’ve got a pretty good  ice crusher that will crush ice to a Icee-like consistency, pick up some whipped cream, some decent flavored coffee syrups, chocolate, etc. All this with your choice of espresso and  some Internet recipes and you can match anything  Starbucks can make. So, tell all the latte and Frap drinkers in your family that you’ll have that capability and they’ll be pitching in to help you buy all this stuff.coffee-house

Favorite Place to drink Coffee

Crema’s They are at 15 Hermitage Ave. http://crema-coffee.com/ They’ve been there a year or so. Rachel Lehman and her husband are the owners.They are super-nice and have very, very good fare. Rachel knows her stuff, having earned her coffee-chops in Italy. She really duplicates the European experience with authentic drinks, coffee knowledge, and a  $5000 espresso machine, but  with true Nashville hospitality.She also supports local artists (I’m telling you, she’s got it going on).I got a drink awhile ago there that had about a half gallon of pure chocolate, a double shot of espresso, and some Cayenne pepper. Wow.Too good. She also frequently offers free classes like making espresso which I participated in and really learned a lot and enjoyed. Like I said, Rachel and her husband are great.So stop in and give them a shot( pun intended).

Tell me what you think; what’s your favorite coffee drinks, where do you get your beans, what’s your setup as far as coffee? Where’s your favorite place to drink coffee?

Thanksgiving

Posted in Seasonal with tags , on November 24, 2008 by mccoolio

happythanksgivingI’m thankful for:

  • People who have sacrificed EVERYTHING: time with their families, their bodies, and their very lives for our freedom.
  • My family. Kellye, Raleigh and Jordy, who put up with me, love me and make me feel important and loved.
  • My mom, Vickie and Leighanne and their awesome families, Marie, James, Gaye, and Taraleigh, and Larry and Carol’s family.
  • Leroy and Larry, my Dad and brother.They are waiting in heaven for us.
  • My Christian family: Bethel members, all true believers and those everywhere who love the Lord, and Christian writers and musicians who dedicate their work to the Lord. The Shepherds at Bethel and every leader worldwide who work selflessly, often without acclaim, in the name of the Lord. Your reward will indeed be great!
  • People way better than me who live their lives trying to help, heal, rescue, protect and rehabilitate others.
  • My Friends. All who have over the years helped me to grow, fix my cars and fix my houses. Who I’ve had TOO MUCH fun with, worked out with, ate with, maybe even fought and argued with, laughed HARD with, watched games and movies with, and played games with. Who’ve given me wonderful, and priceless ( in my reckoning) gifts. Who’ve let me borrow stuff. Those who’ve I’ve sang with, cried with, and worshiped with. Those who had the guts to tell me what I needed to hear. Those who’ve pushed me, and gave me good advice and those who simply tried. Those I’ve shared incredible moments with. Those who look into my eyes with love whenever they greet me. Who greet me with a big ole hug (except those who are way taller than me and smoosh my face in their armpit-like I do half the smaller people that I hug) Those who’ve fed me for years at their houses and who I owe big-time. Those who love me in spite of me.
  • Sushi Bars, Squat Racks. Pullup Bars.Protein Bars. Strip bars (haha-just kidding) All gyms and fitness centers. Hard, Reggae, Praise, and all good music. GOD’S WORD. Good Books. Espresso, french presses, and good coffee. All coffee shops. Football. Basketball. X Games. The Tour De France.(YEAH) THE USA. Cool tile. Cracker Barrel breakfast. RuSans lunch buffet. Some kind of coffee product and some kind of protein bar (or in a pinch,just something sweet) for afternoon snack. Carrabbas dinner. 1/2 Lb of Turkey & Raisin Bran snack before bed. SNL reruns. Great singing at Madison Cof C. Fall in Tennessee. Sunrises and sunsets: The Lord’s daily painting. Good people. Kind people. People who don’t complain, gripe, or think they’re owed anything. People who like to try new stuff. People who aren’t scared. Those who dedicate their lives to teaching and helping the children of the world. Little chocolate doughnuts.

Culture

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 20, 2008 by mccoolio

As someone I know said about learning to like reggae,”I want some musical culture” (my son Raleigh at a young age), and as another young friend Rosshoss stuck his head up over the top of the back seat and sleepily said as we were barreling down I-10 at midnight after a FSU game, I having turned up my reggae-mix as loud as the Nissan Quest factory CD system would go in order to stay awake,”Mr Donnie,could you please turn that POLKA down!!”

Well ,it’s not Polka but it does have culture. I’ve been in love with reggae since I was 17 years old, when  my brother in law Elton and I were jammin on Bob Marley and Burning Spear while everybody else was saying ” turn that awful stuff off and put some Grand Funk Railroad on!!”

Reggae isn’t refined. It’s usually made by totally uneducated people living in the ghettos of Jamaica under the influence of about 2 daily lbs of ganja. But it’s real, it’s got a sick bass bottom, a killer off-beat drum rhythm ( try beating the time on your dashboard- you gotta hit on the UP Beat, not the down, like our music) and most of the time it’s got a great message about love and peace, and God.

I came to the Lord through the influence of reggae. I started liking it,bought a couple of albums and started reading the  scriptures (old testament) on their album covers ( not cds,they weren’t created yet) and in their liner notes.Because of that I started reading the bible and the rest is history.Never doubt the power of the Word, even when it’s used wrongly it can do great things.

After listening to the same stuff for several years I figured there had to be a lot more out there. So for the last year or two, I’ve been scouring the best of Reggae lists on the Internet, sampling them on ITunes, and downloading them. Well, for sure there is a lot more good stuff out there.

So, if you’ve ever thought of buying a reggae cd but wasn’t sure what to get, or if you kind of like it already, this is a nice start. It’s a little Bob Marley and the Wailers heavy but hey, they were (and are) the best.

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Bob Marley and the Wailers

Could You be loved (prob my favorite,check out his son’s version on YouTube)

Slave Driver

Rastaman Chant

Bend Down Low

African Herbsman

Natural Mystic

Trenchtown Rock

Concrete Jungle(good story on the killer guitar solo)

Positive Vibration

Them Belly Full but We Hungry

Bad Card

Roots Rock Reggae

Zion Train

Redemption Song

Damiam Jr Gong Marley

Kingston 12

Me name Jr Gong

Welcome  to Jamrock

Beautiful

And You be Loved

Ziggy Marley

Conscious Party

Look Who’s Dancing

Stephen Marley

Lonely Avenue

Toots and the Maytals

Redemption Song ( awesome song about loving the Lord)

Take me home Country Road ( yep,that’s right, old John Denver remake)

Burning Spear

Marcus Garvey

The Ethiopians

Promises

Augusto Pablo

East of the River Nile

The Gladiators

Solas

Johnny Clarke None shall escape the judgement

The Melodians

Rivers of Babylon (Right out of Isaiah)

Peter Tosh

Downpressor Man

Burial

Balance

Posted in The LORD with tags , , on November 18, 2008 by mccoolio

God is balanced: He is Love. He loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him won’t die but have everlasting life.

Here though is the balance:

Romans 1:18  For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men…..

Does this mean (it certainly strongly implies) that faithlessness, ungodliness, & unrighteousness makes Him VERY ANGRY?

The God who can easily hear 6 billion prayers at once, who created this magnificent, boundless, awesome universe, who created so many things that we may never understand, can and does balance an amazing, limitless love that never ends, with wrath, anger, hatred for sin, and separation from anything that isn’t righteous (not right) and good.

The good News? There’s an answer to this divine dilemma.     Jesusbalance-scales

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

So, team up with THAT guy.

Favorite movies & Baddest Movie Cars

Posted in movies with tags , , on November 14, 2008 by mccoolio

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This is my list from RossHoss’s blog. Just something to break the ice….

Minority Report and Collateral Cruise is a nut-case in real life but a great actor. Like the Bourne movies, I can watch either of these over and over and always be happy doing it. Collateral also features Jamie Foxx and Jada Pinket Smith.

Blade I’m definitely not a horror-movie fan but I love this one. Features good-guy, vampire-himself. vampire killer, muscled up, ripped Wesley Snipes in sweet, cool shades driving a bare-bones sweet, also muscled-up 1968 Dodge Charger (shown above, but shiny black not flat like Blade’s).

From Dusk till Dawn Cult classic, classic Tarintino movie that morphs into something else entirely. Crazy, crazy. Lots of laughs too. A definite hit for the Sunday night, after church, Deacons movie night. Warning on the language though.

Mongol Brand new, just out on DVD, story of the life of Genghis Khan. Beautifully shot, acted, and scripted. Great story of loyalty, and love of clan and family. War scenes are very brutal, can be slow at times and in sub-titles, but I still recommend highly.

The first two Bourne ’s. Skip the 3rd one: Bourne Ultimatum which is just a re-run of all the coolest stuff in the first two. But those are awesome.Identity is prob my favorite all time movie ever.

The first two Matrix movies. Again, if you haven’t seen the last and 3rd one, skip it. It’s beyond horrible. The first two though, are beyond awesome.

Mask, Ace Ventura Pet Detective and When Nature Calls. My George of the Jungles. Jim Carrey can get on your nerves after a while but I can watch these anytime.

Talledega Nights I pretty much hate Will Ferrell movies but this one is just so dad-gummed FUNNY. Witness the ” saying grace scene” :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuAUI_0knfk

Frequency A good, macho, thriller, great story, tear-jerker. Something for everybody.

Troy Almost as good as Gladiator. Not quite, but not far.

My Cousin Vinny One of those few movies that I probably know just about every line by heart (only other two-Oh Brother Where Art Thou, and Tombstone) Get the Wal Mart version or a similarly edited version though, the language is surprisingly rough.

Howdy

Posted in Uncategorized on November 14, 2008 by mccoolio

img_0118This is my first blog. This is going to be fun. I had been commenting at length on his blog so much that Josh Moffitt was about to rename his blog with my name too so I figured I better go for it. I’m going to alert a lot of my smart, witty, thoughtful friends so maybe there can be a lot of good back and forth here, and a lot of good (and probably bad!) ideas tossed around.