Thursday, August 31, 2006

Paperboy, Version 1.0

I never had a paper route as a kid. I also never played Little League baseball. Somehow, I managed to grow up without becoming a communist.
As a adult, however, I have twice attempted to make ends meet while living on a reporter's salary by taking up a paper route. Both times, I survived, but I did send one overpriced 1996 Hyundai Elantra to an early junkyard grave.
Of the two paper routes, the first one wasn't all that bad of a deal. I'd pick up a bunch of stacks of papers at the office of the newspaper where I was a reporter and deliver them to about 20 convenience stores and gas stations around town, collecting the returns and money. Other than having to get up to pick up the papers at 6 a.m., it was a pretty low-stress way to earn a little extra money for about three hours of work. Except for the manager of the Extra Mart, the people at the stories were friendly enough.
But yeah, the manager of the Extra Mart. I've worked as a reporter for about a dozen years, and the only screaming match I've ever gotten into was with a red-faced little tyrant who was mad that I dropped off his stack of newspapers too early in the morning. I think what really set him off was that one week, he told me he didn't want me to deliver the papers until after 7 a.m., so the next week, I showed up at about two minutes past seven. I think he thought I was being a wise-ass, but really, this time, I wasn't.
Red-faced guy starts screaming at me that my paper is the only one he's ever had problems with, that I don't listen, I yell back that he told me to show up after seven and it was after seven, his face gets even redder as he yells that I know that's not what I meant and to just take the damn papers out of the store, he doesn't want them, I yell back, fine, I'll take the damn papers, scoop them all off the floor and slam the door behind me, inserts spilling out onto the floor of the Extra Mart behind me. I bet friggin' Woodward and Bernstein never got yelled at by the owner of the Extra Mart.
But, you know, other than that, delivering stacks of papers to stores wasn't all that bad. Of course, it was either near the tail end of being delivery man or shortly after that the transmission in my Hyundai gave out. At the time, I did not realize that one was related to the other. That revelation would hit me during my days as Paperboy, Version 2.0.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Remaining willfully misinformed about the news of the day

I subscribe to the Boston Globe, and most mornings I manage to fish it out of the shrubs in front of the house and at least scan the headlines while I drink my coffee. Typically, scanning the headlines gives me at least some idea of what's going on in the world. The Israel-Hezbollah war? Terrible, terrible thing. That guy who confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsay? Terrible,terrible thing.

But there are times when scanning the headlines only leads me to confusion. Two weeks ago, I was scanning the front page of the Globe where there was a top of the fold story, complete with colorful graphics, proclaiming that not only did scientists consider Pluto to be an official planet in our solar system, but they were also adding three other outer space locations to the official roll of planets, bringing our solar system's total to 12. This was quite a bit of news to digest, although I didn't really bother to read much beyond the first few paragraphs of the story and check out the colorful graphic that showed the three new planets floating like proud new balls of hardened ice out around Jupiter and Neptune.

This just all goes to show how utterly confused I was only days later when newscasts everywhere started proclaiming that scientists no longer considered Pluto a planet, but rather some kind of auxiliary near-planet. What the hell had happened? Only days before, not only was Pluto a planet, but there were also three other new planets that I had never heard of. Had the Globe lied to me? Or are there competing factions of scientists who battle daily over the number of planets in the solar system?

Not seeing any brightly colored graphics on the front of today's Globe, I may be doomed to a life of never knowing what the real story is with Pluto. Honestly, I'm not all that put out by the issue, since I have never been nor I am I likely to ever go to Pluto. Of course, the same thing could be said for Russia, or Kalamazoo, Michigan. Is it possible that these places could disappear from the map, too, if I've never been there? It's a terrible, terrible thing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The worst thing that has ever happened ever

It is the saddest day in the entire history of historiness, the Red Sox have just been swept in a five-game series by the hated Yankees and now thousands of New Englanders are desperately searching for the closest, highest bridge from which to fling themselves.
I could not believe my eyes this weekend as I watched ... well, okay, I didn't watch one single inning of it. Please forgive me if I'm not all broken up because the local nine looked like the Bad News Bears. It's not like I'm not a sports fan, not a Red Sox fan, because I am. I went to my first game at Fenway when with my dad in 1977, I was ecstatic when they came back to beat the Yankees and then won the World Series in 2004. If anything, this weekend was probably pretty unusual in that I went five straight games without watching a single inning.

But the bottom line is that the Red Sox, and every other professional sports team, is played by a bunch of really rich people you and I don't know. Seems to me that the reasonable, healthy thing to do is enjoy the game, feel a little up when the home team wins, and change the channel, shut the TV off, or just basically move on with your life when the home team loses. Yeah, I know, that's not the way it ends up working most the time.

Professional (and college) sports is a great form of entertainment, and at its best, it can rise to be something more. But in the end, whether or not the ball goes through Buckner's leg in the sixth game of the World Series, whether or not Ali knocks out Foreman in the eighth round in the jungle, whether or not Flutie hits Phelan in the end zone of the Orange Bowl, our lives go on pretty much unchanged.

Then again, if the Red Sox just had a %$*&^(*& bullpen...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A new old computer

Very exciting news, I bought a new old computer today to replace my old old computer. For the past year, Endangered Coffee has been created, for the most part, on a previous 3400 that had virtually no memory. When I say for the most part, I mean that about all I could do on the Powerbook was write my entries in Appleworks and then cut and paste them into blogger. That's right, my Powerbook was too slow to handle the actual typing on Blogger itself.
As for downloading photos, well, that was a total lost cause. All the corny graphics you've seen over the past year actually had to be downloaded through Carrie's computer.
On the plus side, I did get the powerbook for under $50 on Craigslist, I eventually found a compatible wireless card, and it did get me through the past year. Of course, between the old operating system, use of nonOffice software, and lack of any USB ports, it was basically incompatible with the rest of the world.
So what kind of shiny new computer did I get? A flashy new MacBook Pro or a one of those fancy new Dell alien looking laptops?
Once again, my computer comes courtesy of Craigslist, this time spending in the stratospheric $60 range for a Toshiba Satellite 2100CDS. There's no CD burner or DVDRom and only one USB (1.0) port, but it did come with a fresh copy of Office 2000, I've got the wireless hooked up, and it runs at a very respectable and unembarrassing speed. I can now download goofy artwork for my blog, listen to the Sirius radio stations and even check out the weather videos on
It's almost like I'm on the cutting edge.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Happy birthday to me

Strike up the band, bake a cake, and light a candle; Endangered Coffee turns one-year-old today. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I offer a new post hewing closing to my philosophy of giving my close to dozen readers more of the same - mainly embarrassing stories about my recent and not so recent past and random thoughts about things that tick me off.

Over the past year, Endangered Coffee has met all my expectations of success, mainly because I have always kept my expectations low. Most importantly, I have updated the site on a fairly regular basis, pretty much guaranteeing that Endangered Coffee is much more successful than my attempts at learning karate or how to play guitar many years ago or more my more recent attempt to write a novel during National Novel Writing Month (although I reserve the right to attempt to scale that mountain once again when November rolls around). Almost importantly, I’ve been pretty happy with the overall doofus quality of what I’ve posted, and most of the handful of friends, family, and random strangers who’ve stumbled across these posts seem to agree. Now, if I could only get them to give me money for writing about stupid stuff I’ve done.

If I had to pick my favorite post, I’d have to go with Stickboy and Mustache Guy. Least favorite, well, the whole Like A Rolling Pin deal hasn’t been updated in months, so I’ll just leave it at that.

So, anyway, I promised, embarrassing story. I’ll keep it short. I was off from work for a week. Coming back on Monday, apparently I was out of practice on some of the finer points of my job, such as drinking for the water cooler. I poured myself some water into one of those little Dixie cups, went to toss it down my gullet, and missed badly. Somehow, the contents of the Dixie cup ended up on my shirt and tie. Man, work can be tough.

I also promised a random thought on something that ticks me off, but honestly, tain’t much bothering me right now, not even the heat. Really, people, it’s summer. I wonder if the people who complain about the heat are also the ones who are shocked when we get a foot of snow in the winter.