Friday, January 07, 2005

Besides regular blogging, I made two other resolutions this New Years. The first is to lose weight. I hit the half-century mark this summer, so the project is "back to 160 by 50." The second is to rein in my caffeine habit. I am one of those rare people who actually like the taste of coffee. I drink it black by preference, and am not adverse to straight shots of espresso. I will finish a meal at Cafe Sofia with a tiny cup of turkish coffee, basically grounds moistened with a little hot water. I think it is just great that coffee houses are springing up around every corner, even in a town like Front Royal. Stashed in and around various cupboards and counters at home are a french press, an espresso machine, and an automatic drip coffeemaker. All have seen heavy use in their time. There is something about that first cup in the morning; the aroma opening your senses while that first jolt of caffeine opens the brain's blood flow and starts the heart pumping fast enough to bring you awake at last. So, why the change? It is all National Geographic's fault. The most recent issue has a cover story on caffeine, which includes some brain scan photographs showing, quite graphically, that a heavy user's brain literally doesn't function properly without it. Hence my grand ambition to reduce consumption to a level which doesn't turn one's brain chemistry into a home science experiment.

I do not plan to give it up altogether, but rather to enjoy at a more moderate level, for as the poet Joseph Brodsky put it, "no century from now on will ever manage without caffeine or jazz ." So, tomorrow morning I plan on brewing my small pot, mostly decaf, with a little of the real stuff thrown in, and listen to Stan Getz playing tunes from Antonio Carlos Jobim on the stereo. Maybe I'll even read a little Brodsky before heading down to the sheep barn. Life is good, even with a little less stimulation in the cup.
Apropros of the previous post, Al Kimel at the Pontifications weblog has provided links to each step of the Mere Comments discussion here. Pontifications is well worth a read in its own right. The Rev. Kimel, an Episcopal priest, is simultaneously exploring the depths of Christian tradition, surveying the current Episcopal trainwreck, and encouraging a wide ranging dialogue in his comments section. The discussions are usually courteous, often passionate and always interesting. (I realize that theological discussion as a spectator sport is right up there with watching paint dry for some folks, so I should say, always interesting to me, and to you too, if you like that sort of thing.)