An Illusory Intertwingling of Reason and Response

Miscellany: I just like the sound of the word. Don’t you? “Mis cel lan e ous.” I could say it a thousand times a day. The miscellany is where anything in life worth having usually spends most of its time: would you like to hunt for something worthwhile among my miscellany?

Tafel :: miscellany

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Guatemala Antigua, La Flor del Cafe

A light flavour for a dark roast, but “La Flor del Café,” grown by private farmers (not corporate sycophants) in Guatemala’s “valle de Antigua” still has a prominent character of its own. With only a dash of skimmed milk, the brew is remarkably creamy, having an inherent sweetness not unlike raw chocolate.

The cup I have before me is somewhat watery, but like as not that’s due more to the venue than to the bean itself. Panera Bread Company, while a nice place, is still stuck in the unenviable and untenable position of catering to the mindless masses, who can’t have their coffee too strong or their conversation too subtle, lest they be driven off on the one side and bored on the other by the invitation to think. Still, “La Flor del Café is a beautiful coffee for everyday consumption for those who feel, as I do, an innate shrinking from anything with the term “breakfast blend” in the name.

“La Flor del Café” is especially suited to drinking black with a swirl of honey. (Make it in a French press and it’d probably move up several notches to “good coffee to sit and savour” or something like that.)


Friday, June 24, 2005

PCC Sports Center Expansion

This just in, from Pensacola:

Construction will begin this fall on a 60,000 sq. ft. Sports Center expansion with an expected completion date of late spring 2007. The ground level will include two indoor water slides, eight racquetball courts, two twelve-foot climbing boulders for “bouldering” (horizontal climbing), and a 16,000 sq. ft. climbing wall with a fifty-five foot top height. The mezzanine level will include a roller skating track and fitness rooms with top-of-the-line cardio and weight training equipment. The upper deck will be a sun deck for our ladies. We anticipate this will be a much-used expansion to the 137,000 sq. ft. Sports Center which opened in 1993.

Pensacola Christian College (PCC) just amazes me. If Dr. Horton (founder/president) isn’t adding a new building (three in the past four years), he’s improving one. From the Crowne Centre, the new A Beka Book building, and the Rand House (housing for official visitors), PCC has been putting in one major improvement after another.

And well it may. With a student body of around 4,700 last year, steadily and rapidly growing, new residence halls are on the horizon as well (or so rumour has it).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Classical Guitar Artists

Christopher Parkening
Robby Longly

Do you like classical music? Guitar music? Better yet, classical guitar? Jazz? You should check out the music of Christopher Parkening and Robby Longley. Of the two, Parkening has a bent more towards Spanish (Flamenco) and classical; and Longley, towards jazz and ethnic music.

I’ll give you a quick rundown on Parkening, since he is my favorite of the two. Parkening is a born-again Christian, besides being one of the premier classical guitarists in the world. His metor, the great Andrés Segovia, said that Parkening is “a great artist—he is one of the most brilliant guitarists in the world.”

He is an artist, in the true sense of the word. For example, he only records any song once. He will practice until he’s good enough to perform it impeccably, even live; and then records a one-shot staging of it. Any mistakes are not edited out, as he feels this is dishonest: it goes against his artistic integrity. Still, his one-shot recordings are better than most other guitarists’ heavily-edited final cuts. At last, a musician who is also an artist!

The last group I’d like to mention is the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. You like classical? Ethnic? Jazz? Anything unclassifiable? LAGQ is for you. They play classical guitar, restring their guitars with everything from piano strings to giant rubber bands with paper clips attached, and then play ethnic music which sounds like it was played with traditional instruments. Definitely worth your eartime.

Scraps, July 28th, 2004.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Embrangle: \Em*bran''gle\, v. t. [Mid-17th Cent.: em- (L. “in”) + brangle (obs. “to shake, squabble” > Fr. branler “to shake”]

past em bran gled
p. part. em bran gled
pres. part. em bran gling
pres. sing. em bran gles
noun em bran gle ment

v. t. 1 arch. make more complicated or confused through entanglements; confuse or entangle

v. t. 2 arch. confuse, perplex, or entangle somebody or something

Webster's Second New International Dictionary (1913) cites:

I am lost and embrangled in inextricable difficulties. —Berkeley.
(That is quite an artistic way to use the word. Even as a word heretofore unfamiliar to me, it doesn't sound in the least out of place . . .)

I hate MSN, I hate Encarta, I hate Microsoft, but for some odd reason, I found this list of 10 Words You Simply Must Know on Google. Tenth on the list, after the leader, “defenestrate”, and following “cullet”, “pellucid”, and others, lay a beautiful archaic word: “embrangle”. Needless to say, I quickly looked up the etymology (I refuse to use “Google” as a verb) online, and made a long-pondered decision in a moment's time to expose this word from one more (albeit small) venue to the minds of the world.
Public, educate thyself.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Gryphon Tea Room

The first things to note upon entering are the high ceilings, classic dark wood decorations, and shelves displaying antique plates and glasses. Housed in an adapted turn-of-the-century pharmacy, this tearoom is an ideal size: large enough for a crowd, yet small enough to offer privacy.


The Gryphon Tea Room is one of the better, and more useful, tea establishments. Though, as the cited review goes on to state, the “high art of a classic tea service etiquette” is not there, the Gryphon is not attempting to be classic. It is through and through an art establishment, but the art in their service is of a different kind than the classic. It is an art of facilitation: an atmosphere in which a writer may sit, undisturbed, and think. The Gryphon is a place to live and breathe art, rather than to experience art.

As an artist (a writer in particular) I appreciate the way The Gryphon is conducted. No, it is not a place for the uninitiated in British high tea to become educated; but it is a place for those who know what they want — who know their own art — to find a convenient location to mull and ponder.

Scraps, July 29th, 2004

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