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A Tall Order, Grammatically (Dave Barry) HA, Ha, HA!
Miami Herald ^ | Oct. 10, 2004 | Dave Barry

Posted on 10/10/2004 9:47:24 AM PDT by nuconvert

A Tall Order, Grammatically

BY DAVE BARRY

Oct. 10, 2004

Join us now for another rendition of ''Ask Mister Language Person,'' the only grammar column mentioned by name in the Bible, as well as the official grammar column of the American Association of English Teachers in the Staff Lounge Counting the Days Until Retirement.

We begin today with a disturbing escalation in the trend of coffee retailers giving stupid names to cup sizes. As you know, this trend began several years ago when Starbucks (motto: ''There's one opening right now in your basement'') decided to call its cup sizes ''Tall'' (meaning ''not tall,'' or ''small''), ``Grande'' (meaning ''medium'') and ''Venti'' (meaning, for all we know, ''weasel snot''). Unfortunately, we consumers, like moron sheep, started actually USING these names. Why? If Starbucks decided to call its toilets ``AquaSwooshies,'' would we go along with THAT? Yes! Baaa!

But it's getting worse. Recently, at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Death March, Mister Language Person noticed that a Starbuck's competitor, Seattle's Best Coffee (which also uses ''Tall'' for small and ''Grande'' for medium) is calling ITS large cup size -- get ready -- ''Grande Supremo.'' Yes. And as Mister Language Person watched in horror, many customers -- seemingly intelligent, briefcase-toting adults -- actually used this term, as in, ``I'll take a Grande Supremo.''

Listen, people: You should never, ever have to utter the words ''Grande Supremo'' unless you are addressing a tribal warlord who is holding you captive and threatening to burn you at the stake. JUST SAY YOU WANT A LARGE COFFEE, PEOPLE. Because if we let the coffee people get away with this, they're not going to stop, and some day, just to get a lousy cup of coffee, you'll hear yourself saying, ''I'll have a Mega Grandissimaximo Giganto de Humongo-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong decaf.'' And then you will ask for the key to the AquaSwooshie. And when THAT happens, people, the terrorists will have won.

OK! Let's move on to our first language question, submitted by a regular person just like you, except that you actually exist.

Q. What is the correct usage of the semicolon?

A. The semicolon is used to create a needed pause in a sentence.

WRONG: ``OK Bob let's move this piano downstairs no wait WAIT NOOOO OWWWW.''

RIGHT: ``OK Bob let's move this piano downstairs no wait QUICK STICK A SEMICOLON IN THERE; good catch Bob man that was close.''

Q. What is the difference between ''advice'' and ``advise?''

Grammatorically, ''advice'' is a platonic depredation used in exculpatory phrases, as in: ''My lawyer advices me that I don't know nothing about no grenade launcher.'' Whereas ''advise'' is used in all other cases, such as ``My advise is, stop taunting them constrictors.''

Q. How stupid is the GMC slogan, ``We are professional grade?''

A. Pretty stupid.

Q. What's the deal with people who tell the same stories over and over and you can't stop them? Like they'll go, ''One time, I was at this salad bar ... '' And you interrupt and say, ''There was a scorpion in the broccoli. You told me already.'' And they go, ''Right. So I was getting some broccoli ... '' And they keep right on going! It makes me CRAZY.

A. This is why Mister Language Person carries pepper spray.

Q. Do you have any suggestions for ''small talk'' to make to the bereaved at a funeral?

A. You can't go wrong with: ``What's that smell?''

Q. Is it time to coast to the end of the column with examples of effective language usage sent in by alert readers?

A. Yes:

• Sandy Frey sent in an Easton (Md.) Star Democrat story about residents of Oxford, Md., complaining about loud rock music, with one resident quoted as saying: ``They had no right to go boom, boom, boom in my ear in that honky-tonk fashion.''

• Melba Glock sent in a story from the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star headlined ``Volunteers needed to help torture survivors.''

• Katrina Wing Clark sent in a correction published by the Rutland (Vt.) Herald stating: 'A story in Friday's Herald incorrectly quoted a biologist as saying salmon were among Vermont's roadkill. The quote should have been `salamanders.' ''

• Art and Bill Hall sent in an Indianapolis Star item headlined ''How to handle the cold weather.'' It begins: ``Stay warm.''

• Frank Florio sent an obituary-page announcement from the Watertown (N.Y.) Times that states: ``To Everyone and Anyone who was in any way involved in my husbands passing, a Heart Felt Thank You.''

• Gerald Harvey sent a story from the Sarasota (Fl.) Herald-Tribune headlined ``Midwest storm blamed for Wisconsin.''

• Susan Anderson sent an item from the Fort Myers (Fl.) News-Press headlined ``Homeless man improves after car runs into him.''

GOT A QUESTION FOR MISTER LANGUAGE PERSON?

Just boom it in our ear in a honky-tonk fashion.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: barry; coffee; davebarry; grammar; humor; language; mrlanguageperson; starbucks
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ROFLOL!
1 posted on 10/10/2004 9:47:24 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert

I love Mr. Language Person -- thanks for posting!


2 posted on 10/10/2004 9:51:29 AM PDT by maryz
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To: nuconvert

*grinning*


3 posted on 10/10/2004 9:53:57 AM PDT by King Prout (yo! sKerry: "Live by the flip, die by the flop." - Frank_Discussion)
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To: nuconvert

lol I've a friend who works for Starbucks I'll be showing this to. Thanks.


4 posted on 10/10/2004 9:58:00 AM PDT by Buggman (Your failure to be informed does not make me a kook.)
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To: nuconvert
"Mauling by Bear Leaves Woman Grateful for Life."

Police blotter: "A teenage babysitter reported that a man exposed himself to her through the window. Police were able to get a partial description of the suspect."

"Milk Drinkers Turn to Powder"

"Lucky Pals see Man Die."

"Senator ____ with his new Bribe" (caption to a photo)

"Johnny Cash with his wife" (photo of Cash holding a horse's rein)

"Man Finds God at the End of His Rope"

===================

All from my rusty memory of the wonderful book Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim, a compendium of flubs from the press.

--Boris

5 posted on 10/10/2004 10:21:49 AM PDT by boris (The deadliest weapon of mass destruction in history is a Leftist with a word processor)
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To: boris

Oh yeah: "Speech by Urologist Gets Him in Trouble With His Peers."


6 posted on 10/10/2004 10:22:43 AM PDT by boris (The deadliest weapon of mass destruction in history is a Leftist with a word processor)
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To: nuconvert
Dave Barry hasn't made me laugh in years. Is he broken?

So, how do you say "large black coffee" in Charbucks-speak?

7 posted on 10/10/2004 10:33:52 AM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: boris

"Police blotter: "A teenage babysitter reported that a man exposed himself to her through the window. Police were able to get a partial description of the suspect."

LOL!!!


8 posted on 10/10/2004 10:55:19 AM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: Hank Rearden

"Dave Barry hasn't made me laugh in years. Is he broken?"

He makes me laugh out loud almost every week.

Are you broken?


9 posted on 10/10/2004 10:57:02 AM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: nuconvert

The one this is driving me nuts is the new Coors Beer commercials.

"The Coldest Tasting Beer in the World"

What is that supposed to mean?


10 posted on 10/10/2004 11:00:18 AM PDT by Fzob (Why does this tag line keep showing up?)
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To: Fzob

LoL. Haven't heard that one yet. Makes no sense.
But Coors commercials are notoriously bad.


11 posted on 10/10/2004 11:01:49 AM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: Hank Rearden

"So, how do you say "large black coffee" in Charbucks-speak?"

I rarely go to Starbucks, but if I do, I ask for large or point to a cup.
Maybe someone else can give you the lingo?


12 posted on 10/10/2004 11:04:22 AM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: nuconvert
But, could they make it stand up in court?
13 posted on 10/10/2004 11:17:16 AM PDT by 75thOVI ('I need a sheep to keep me warm through the night")
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To: Badray
This is funny.

Badray....furthering your education on coffee and more...;)
For your mom.

Giant game is blacked out, dang it!

14 posted on 10/10/2004 11:24:35 AM PDT by Boxsford ("We make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." Yeats)
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To: Hank Rearden
Hank, you have a sense of humor.....you don't think Dave is funny?!!

Do you not drink coffee?

This is the best line.....
"JUST SAY YOU WANT A LARGE COFFEE, PEOPLE. Because if we let the coffee people get away with this, they're not going to stop, and some day, just to get a lousy cup of coffee, you'll hear yourself saying, ''I'll have a Mega Grandissimaximo Giganto de Humongo-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong decaf.'' "

15 posted on 10/10/2004 11:31:17 AM PDT by Boxsford ("We make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." Yeats)
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To: nuconvert
But Coors commercials are notoriously bad.

They ought to hire the PR firm that did the old Rainier Beer commercials. There were a bunch of really good ones -- remember the "running of the rainiers"?

The one I remember best just shows a long shot of a motorcycle cruising along a rural road, and the sound of the engine sounds like a long, drawn out, version of Rrrraaaaaaaiiiiinnn eeeeeerrrrrrr beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrr.

16 posted on 10/10/2004 11:40:53 AM PDT by Siegfried (Volunteers needed to help torture survivors!)
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To: 75thOVI

LoL


17 posted on 10/10/2004 11:44:57 AM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: nuconvert

Boortz was talking about the pretentiousness of the Starbucks terminology Friday. Great minds, and all...


18 posted on 10/10/2004 11:58:19 AM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Junior

I remember one last year of Dave encountering the Dean campaign on the road in Iowa. He has GOT to do politics more often.


19 posted on 10/10/2004 12:18:15 PM PDT by sinanju
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To: boris

These have been around a long time, but they still make me laugh......

+ Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on Oct. 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in school days.

+ Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.

+ A bean supper will be held Saturday evening in the church basement. Music will follow.

+ On Sunday, a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wanting to do something on the new carpet, come forward and get a piece of paper.

+ The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement on Friday afternooon.

+ Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

+ At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.


20 posted on 10/10/2004 12:19:26 PM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: Boxsford
Do you not drink coffee?

I buy raw, green coffee beans and roast them myself. So yes, you could say I drink coffee. Kinda picky about it, actually.

But I only drink regular, strong black coffee or straight espresso. I use Melitta-type filter cones (the Costco ones are just fine, and very inexpensive) for the former, with a carefully-calibrated instant-hot water dispenser and a good-quality machine for the latter. No milk (steamed or otherwise), cream, powder, flavors or sweeteners - that's a dessert, not coffee.

With all that crap added to mask the actual coffee, you can use any old, cheap, overroasted crappy beans - hence the name Charbucks.

But I still don't find Barry funny anymore. Sorry.

21 posted on 10/10/2004 3:14:46 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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"You should never, ever have to utter the words ''Grande Supremo'' unless you are addressing a tribal warlord who is holding you captive and threatening to burn you at the stake"

LoL.


22 posted on 10/10/2004 3:15:27 PM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: Boxsford; HankReardon
Thanks for the education. LOL

I agree with Hank, I rarely find Barry that funny anymore. He used to be a lot better.

23 posted on 10/10/2004 4:04:02 PM PDT by Badray (Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown. RIP harpseal.)
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To: nuconvert

The funniest thing at Starbucks are the ever-dieting yuppies who order the Mocha Frappacino with whipped cream and extra syrup and then pour a pack or two of sugar into it for good measure. That's got to be a kajillion calories.


24 posted on 10/10/2004 5:05:19 PM PDT by Sabatier
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To: nuconvert
• Melba Glock sent in a story from the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star headlined ``Volunteers needed to help torture survivors.''

Mmmmmm, Glockgirl.

25 posted on 10/10/2004 5:30:36 PM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Hank Rearden
But I still don't find Barry funny anymore. Sorry.
ah, you don't have to be sorry.

I buy raw, green coffee beans and roast them myself....Kinda picky about it... ..... I use Melitta-type filter cones ....with a carefully-calibrated instant-hot water dispenser and a good-quality machine for the latter.....
I thought I was picky. I'm impressed Hank. You do know coffee.

One reason I like Barry is because he was Warren Zevon's friend. Sometimes, you just like people because of who liked them.

26 posted on 10/10/2004 5:31:41 PM PDT by Boxsford ("We make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." Yeats)
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To: Boxsford
Ding! Any friend of Zevon's is a friend of mine. Guess I'll have to go give Barry another chance.

I try not to be a dilettante about it, but good coffee is good coffee. If you're willing to learn it (not hard), it's half-price to roast your own, too. Use properly-roasted quality beans, pour 195-degree water over the grounds in a Melitta filter cone and you've got nirvana in a cup.

No Mr. Coffee to clean up, everyone gets a cup made to the strength they like it (I own about 8 filter cones, for a whopping $2 each or so), and it's fast. Including grinding the beans, I can go from zero-to-coffee in less than 2 minutes. Made possible by the instant-hot water heater at the sink.

You can go here if you want to learn more. They're good people; I've been buying from them for almost five years.

27 posted on 10/10/2004 5:40:26 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: Hank Rearden
But I still don't find Barry funny anymore. Sorry.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in person last year at a small venue in (the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, PA). He was hilarious. Dave was part of a lecture series being presented by Seton Hill University...my tickets placed me in a row with some visiting nuns from Korea. They laughed so hard they were dabbing their eyes...when the lights came up after the show and as we were walking out, one of the sisters, grinning broadly, said, and I quote..."life in America is great!"

28 posted on 10/10/2004 5:41:13 PM PDT by PennsylvaniaMom (FreeMartha)
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To: nuconvert
How about words that don't seem to exist WITHOUT a prefix? Disgruntled........ have you ever been gruntled?

Discombobulated ...........

29 posted on 10/10/2004 5:47:21 PM PDT by beyond the sea (ab9usa4uandme)
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To: Hank Rearden

Ah sweetmaria's, my heathware roaster died and I am awaiting the new model now.


30 posted on 10/10/2004 6:04:38 PM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: Hank Rearden
Ding! Any friend of Zevon's is a friend of mine. Guess I'll have to go give Barry another chance.

lol! Did you happen to catch the special on Zevon a few months before he died that included a lot of his friends? One part had Barry and Zevon sitting, I believe, in a Memphis bar-or hotel- talking;laughing. The special was unbelieveably good. I only got to know his music just months before he died. What a talent!

Thanks for the info. on making good coffee and for the link. I'll check it out.

31 posted on 10/10/2004 6:08:54 PM PDT by Boxsford ("We make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." Yeats)
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To: razorback-bert
My Hearthware Precision roaster died in July too, after 4.5 hard years of constant use. Paid for itself after 6 months.

Bought the new iRoast, and like it a lot. Takes getting used to, though; the controls are totally different. Now that I know how to program it, I have it set to make my espresso roast just right.

Unfortunately, they cheaped out and used volatile memory, so if the machine is unplugged your custom program goes away. Sigh.

Does a good job, though.

32 posted on 10/10/2004 6:12:26 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: Boxsford
No, didn't even know about the special; last time I saw Zevon was his last appearance on Letterman. Thanks to FR I had a heads-up he'd be on; I never watch Letterman normally.

I started listening to Zevon in the mid-80s as I recall; need to catch up on his last couple of albums.

33 posted on 10/10/2004 6:13:41 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: Hank Rearden

They are out untill November, I am making do with my old Fresh Roaster and gasp Sam's Club French Roast (which isn't too bad).


34 posted on 10/10/2004 6:17:59 PM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: nuconvert
Haven't read Barry in years, our local paper doesn't carry his column. Miss reading it. The most hysterical column was the blowing up of a dead whale beached on the Oregon coast. "I swear I'm not making this up folks.." I laughed till I cried over that one.

Red

35 posted on 10/10/2004 6:35:08 PM PDT by Conservative4Ever (Vote for Bush..or we will be buying our prayer rugs at Home Depot and burkas at Saks.)
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To: Badray
I think that he's like anybody who is compelled to churn out product on a schedule: it's going to occasionally sound like assembly-line material.

On his better days he's a scream. I think that his "Floriduh" column about their new electronic voting system (last year, was it?) was about the best ever: Priceless! But come to think of it, that was quite some time ago.

36 posted on 10/10/2004 6:37:02 PM PDT by Nevermore (Mad as Zell)
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To: nuconvert

It's like Domino's Pizza. Two sizes, medium and large. So, I order a small, and they tell me they "don't have small, only medium and large." I ask which one is smallest, and they tell me the medium one. So I say, that's what I want, the small one. Sheesh!

At Taco Bell, they have mild, hot and "fire" sauce. I refuse to call it "fire" sauce, so I say give me "extra hot" sauce. When I open the bag, I have one taco and 30 packages of regular hot sauce. Grrr!


37 posted on 10/10/2004 6:38:10 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido

I know, I know. Lay off the fast food.


38 posted on 10/10/2004 6:38:31 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Hank Rearden

Your coffee lesson and the web site have been very interesting. I might give that a try.
Thanx


39 posted on 10/10/2004 6:43:22 PM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: Larry Lucido

Next time instead of "fire" sauce, try ''Grande Supremo''
LoL.


40 posted on 10/10/2004 6:45:57 PM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: nuconvert

Excellent!

I'm such a stickler about these things that I even refuse to call the fries at Wendy's "Biggie".

Please.


41 posted on 10/10/2004 6:45:59 PM PDT by Constitution Day (Burger-Eating War Monkey)
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To: Conservative4Ever

"blowing up of a dead whale"

I must have missed that one. (I don't miss many)


42 posted on 10/10/2004 6:47:29 PM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: nuconvert; HankReardon
Next time instead of "fire" sauce, try ''Grande Supremo'' LoL.

This is where Hank Reardon is supposed to comment that he makes his own sauce from fresh habanero peppers, and grinds his own corn for his taco shells, and slaughters his own Angus steers for his ground beef. :-)

43 posted on 10/10/2004 6:48:32 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Hank Rearden

Oops. Pinged the wrong Hank to my last post.


44 posted on 10/10/2004 6:50:27 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido

Can't afford Angus; I just whack whatever walks by on the head.


45 posted on 10/10/2004 6:53:49 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: Hank Rearden

LOL! That why your family and neighbors wear football helmets when you're around?


46 posted on 10/10/2004 6:55:39 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Hank Rearden

Ahh, a coffee fanatic.

I don't buy green, but usually get the Millstone or Seattle's Best.

I have: a regular full size drip machine, two smaller 4 cup drip machines, two single cup espresso machines, two eledtric and one antique hand powered grinders, a couple of old basket style perkers, and thousands of filters, which I rarely use anymore because I got one of the gold-covered basket filters.

Living in the PNW, it amazes me that anybody would ever drink the miserable excuse for coffee sold at the stands.
I always drink regular drip, or straight espresso, and an espresso at the stands will make you retch, the beans are so bad, the only way it's even remotely drinkable is to add all the flavor bs.

Once in a while a bit of hazlenut or Baileys, rarely I will get some heavy cream from the supermarket (YUM), but usually black and hot and fragrant.


47 posted on 10/10/2004 6:56:36 PM PDT by djf
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To: Larry Lucido

Yes. It looks like a halfway-house for the retarded around here.


48 posted on 10/10/2004 6:56:38 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: nuconvert
Well..

If you want the Venti (which is about a 20 oz), then it is a Venti Coffee of the Day.

Now, sometimes they have three different coffees of the day...a mild blend, a stronger blend, and a decaf. ;o)

49 posted on 10/10/2004 6:59:45 PM PDT by Mrs.Liberty (All your TH are belong to us.)
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To: Hank Rearden

LOL!


50 posted on 10/10/2004 7:03:55 PM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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