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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Right Thing

I'm currently reading "Double Share, A Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper," the latest in Nathan Lowell's series. This started with "Quarter Share." You should be look it up, you're missing something very good indeed. HINT: There's a reason it's called the "Golden Age" of the Solar Clipper.

What I've always loved about Nathan Lowell's stories is, every story is about doing the right thing. And doing the right thing leads to the right results. Mostly. People forget, you remind them, and after you get the blood washed off and get a few stitches, all is much better.

Even just making good coffee. The three secrets to making good coffee, are a clean pot, clean, fresh water, and fresh, good quality coffee, in the right proportions. Great coffee takes only a bit more, once you start with making good coffee. And I learned that in the Air Force, by the way, as a cook. I flipped burgers in uniform.

Bottom line, getting anything done starts with getting something done. Might be something little, or seeming so. But you do that one thing, that's one thing that doesn't have to be done next. Simple idea, and when things go totally down the toilet, in retrospect, it's because that one first, little thing didn't get done, so neither did the rest of it.

And I mostly honor that in the breech rather than the observance. But even so.

Most science fiction, most fiction, is all about drama and gunfire and car chases -- or space battles, which are car chases with bigger guns. The best detectives make very good coffee. Especially private detectives who are former cops. (Movie ones anyway.)

My Dad was a cop, he told me, just after World War II. Cops know really bad coffee, and really good coffee, from experience. Cops don't go to donut shops for the donuts. It's the coffee. You should ask, sometime. Tell 'em I said hi.

Cab drivers, btw, are the same. Nothing worse than too-quickly-prepared coffee stored in a thermos till it's lukewarm, or in a cup till the wax from the paper melts into the coffee and becomes part of the flavor. Sitting down on a real chair for a real cup of fresh coffee is like having a real life again.

Doing the right thing, in small doses. Add up enough small doses, you have something really big. Try it some time, it works.

As the saying goes, "There's nothing like a good cup of coffee. And this is nothing like a good cup of coffee." ;-)

Nice job, Nathan.

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