Sunday, December 21, 2008

All hail the Tiki!

Mike and Becky gave me these very cool tiki waterfall thingy last night. It was a Christmas present (thanks guys! I love it!). We all (Mike and Becky, Christine and Aaron, Kim and I) went to Riverbank Lounge after Becky's fun gig at Stumpjack. We had a great time and lots of laughs. Riverbank is the cat's that place!It's a desktop waterfall and he's got a candle atop his noggin'.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stumpjack art from Jesse

Here's a very cool set of linocut prints that my 13 year-old daughter Jesse made for me for my birthday last month. Click to enlarge. Yes, my kids are very talented artists.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Marty and Lori gave me a cool birthday card today. It has a rendering of Clint Eastwood from his spaghetti western days on the cover and when you open it it plays the opening bars of the theme song from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," one of the greatest westerns (and movie theme songs) of all time.

I found this very cool video on youtube tonight...The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain...this is awesome.

More mermaids

Here's an image of a small painting that my 16 year-old daughter, Cheyenne, made for me for my birthday yesterday. Dig the stumpjack fish swimming at the top.

Cheyenne also has a sculptural piece presently being shown at the JM Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two tasty treats

It's been a super-chaotic last week or so, but then this year that has been more often the case than not. Mix together a few music event reschedulings, a new tastings schedule (see Kim's Wine All You Want blog), updating our menu, the new Stumpjumpers Club developing, more online ventures than you can shake an empty coffee mugs at...toss in a couple of foolish individuals with more ego than common sense trying to rattle the Stump cage, even more uninvited equipment repairs, the downturn in the economy...measure in few handfuls of new, exciting projects, including a couple of significant writing projects besides my bi-monthly coffee column for the newspaper, and some preliminary work on a couple of very cool projects with our friend Dave from Lakeside Apparel.

That's an extremely long-winded and clunky intro for what is really just a post about a couple of good cigars.

Slow-Aged Lot 826 by Perdomo
There aren't going to be too many days left for sitting out by the campfire without being fully bundled in wool and Thinsulate, so I gotta take advantage of the evenings now while I still can. The first little beauty (pictured here) was a Perdomo Slow-Aged Lot 826. It's a moderately robust smoke, smooth and easy to draw from beginning to end. This one was a gift from my pal Bill Granger and I had it with a Leinies Fireside Nut Brown Ale. Excellenté!
No picture of the Angry Joe cigar, so I went with this image of a guy rolling a cigar. He looks kind of angry though.
Next up was a neat little number from our friend Joe Donati of Lakeshore Cigar in Manitowoc. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died before I could take a good picture of this cigar that he calls Angry Joe's (or In Angry Joe We Trust!...I'm not exactly sure which is the true name). This is an as-yet bandless smoke that Joe says he spent some time working on, until he found just the right combination of tobaccos to satisfy his discriminating palate. In my opinion, he did a great job, because this is a lovely cigar...smooth and hearty. I enjoyed Angry Joe's with a little glass of Apple Pie Liqueur, an apple cinnamon liqueur from the Missouri Tavern in Springfield, Wisconsin. The sweetness of the liqueur contrasted nicely with Angry Joe. You can, of course, get Angry Joes at Lakeshore Cigar in Manitowoc on Washington Street (and you should! This is a great shop and Joe always has something tasty in the humidor and plenty of warm's a place where no-one is a stranger, even if it's your first visit).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marina ROCKS!

Marina sent this awesome photo of herself drinking Stumpjack coffee underwater (try that sometime!) from an authentic Stumpjack mug.

She also said,
"This Mermaid LOVES her Stumpjack Mug!
Seriously- I use it every mornin' before my swim~
Your Coffee Lovin' Fire Eating Mermaid.
~Marina~ "

Check out her very cool MySpace site here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pat Dinizio appreciates the classics

Last month Pat Dinizio, leader of the still-awesome and hardest working band in America, The Smithereens, emailed this message and the image that follows it:

My old friend, the artist/painter Christine Peloquin, who painted the wall murals in my house, is working on this backdrop (a work-in-progress, not nearly finished!) for our Winter 2009 Tour, which is an exact replica of the backdrop/banner that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are seen performing in front of while entertaining WW II troops in the middle of a battle at the very beginning of the classic holiday musical "WHITE CHRISTMAS".
Best wishes and love,
Pat D.
I did a little online digging and found the following two images, one of the opening title credit to the show, "White Christmas," that Pat was referring to, and one with Bing actually standing in front of that original backdrop. This is the coolest...I love that Pat tips his hat to this classic broadcast, and in such a subtle manner.
In a follow-up email Pat indicates that other images will follow as the piece progresses. I'll post those images when he forwards them. Don't forget, Pat Dinizio is gonna rock Stumpjack sometime in early 2009 (Jan or Feb I believe...will let you know as soon as he forwards his itinerary). It's going to be the event of the year folks, guaranteed fantastic.
This is a great pic of Bing Crosby in front of the original backdrop painting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Limey Stumpjumpers!

I don't believe that "limeys" is a derogatory term, but is rather a kind of friendly nickname for the Brits that Americans used in WWII (I think, however, that it originated well before that, in the British navy when the English tall ships ruled the seas...those guys kicked major tail). Anyway, I'm using it as a term of endearment for our friends Paul Fox and Talane Miedaner, who are back home in England after spending some time with us this past summer here at Stumpjack in Two Rivers. Wanted to share this picture Paul emailed to me yesterday of himself and Talane aboard a rickshaw "in London's West End just before [we] saw the 'Lion King' on stage."
Paul & Talane in rickshaw...I love the look of the street and buildings behind them.

Paul also emailed me a link that shows an area of his hometwon of Exmouth live via a webcam atop some building in town...I was able to pan around the town looking at different locations, zoom in or out to get close-ups of people unaware of my spying...made me feel very much like a character in a Robert Ludlum novel. Paul mentioned a couple other things but his writing had such a heavy English accent I couldn't figure out what the hell he was talking about.

Maria, Keralee, Paul and Talane at Stumpjack this summer
(Keralee and Talane are sisters).

If we open a London branch, which ought to be called something like Stumpjack Royal Tea & Coffee Emporium, Paul will be in charge of drinks and entertainment. We'll also be publish our exploits with a newsletter titled "Stumpjack Bullocks."

Ok, time to bugger off...blimey...John and chips...crumpets and what-what...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stumpjack Survival Party

This past Sunday we held the 2-year anniversary party for Stumpjack Coffee Co. Anyone who's in business knows that the first two or three years are the most precarious, demanding and scary. Survival is the primary mission. Once you get over that 2-3 year hump then you can breathe a little, but just a little. It's been a rough and tumble time, with more than it's share of ups and downs, a lot of juggling and a good many smiles and laughs. Here are a few images from Sunday's shindig, and more can be found in the Flickr set and two or three videos on YouTube.

Jeremy working as the sommelier

Paul Braun and Julie Ruh

Joe calculating some math problem

Gettin' crowded

Larry and Peggy...probably our most dignified friends
(whut da hell are dey doin' in dis joint?)

The new, and still unfinished wine bar.

Nick laying it down

The evil Spock in the alternate universe episode.

Allie came down from Menomonee

Nic shows up just a little too fashionably late.

And a great time was had by all... Here's to next year, cheers!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

a few wasps I killed and collected in the past 3 days

My latest artwork...I call it "Exercise in Black & Yellow #3"
We had a wasp problem. There's a wall nest under the siding on the outside of the building. Our landlord doused it with poison and plugged it up, and now the little critters are looking for a way in and the ones that were in the nest are making their way into our bathroom and back hallway via inner wall routes. Here's a portion of the ones I've killed in the past 3 days (methods of death: numerous cans of spray, newspaper swatters, my boot, and my bug crushing fingers - had one in my shirt, amazingly didn't sting me). I have killed and collected...I kid you not...over 700 thus far. Here's a picture of one small part of the piles.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm writing a book and it's gonna be called...

"Living with Drama Queens: The Rational Man's Survival Guide"

Chapter 1: The "You were a jackass...six weeks ago" Housewife Drama Queen

Chapter 2: The 20-something "He's so hot...I'm moving to Hawaii!" Drama Queen

Chapter 3:
The High School "I need to go to that concert or I'll die!" Drama Queen
Chapter 4: The Junior High "I can't stand her anymore!" Drama Queen
Chapter 5: The dog's a male but he's around female humans all day so he has become an irritating drama queen now too
Chapter 6: Dealing with the frequent detours through crazy town
Chapter 7:
How to remain a rational man in a household full of irrational women

Chapter 8: Sanity in a Bottle: The properly stocked liquor cabinet for the man living in a drama queen household

Chapter 9: Creative ways to escape without actually having to kill anyone, including yourself

Chapter 10: How to write a journal for your descendants so that they know what hell you went through "back in great, great grampa's day"

This way to my house...

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Spill the Beans" newspaper column from 8/27/08

My "Spill the Beans" newspaper column is normally published both in the Herald Times Reporter and online on their website. For whatever reason, while it was printed in the newspaper it wasn't published online this week (8/27/08), and someone asked on the paper's online forum that I place it here on Stumptoons. So here it is...and you get the added benefit of some cool images that you don't get in the regular newspaper version.

Bully Coffee from Puerto Rico

Given that this is an election year I’m going combine a little political trivia with the discussion of coffee. I’m also going to get more openly political than I normally do. I’m going to come out and just tell you who my favorite presidential politician is.


My favorite politician is…Teddy Roosevelt!

Teddy looking determined...and he was.

Yup, he of the old Bull Moose party and Rough Riders fame, who advised “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” and whose popularity inspired the creation of the Teddy Bear. That was a little disingenuous of me to name a past president, but it’s the truth, Theodore Roosevelt truly is my favorite president and as luck, for me, would have it, he was also a passionate coffee connoisseur. His place in the coffee world was secured with two things: one, when he requested that premium coffee from Puerto Rico, which he described as “grand!” be served at official state dinners and functions.

Roosevelt and the boys ready to kick some tail if'n they don't get some Puerto Rican coffee NOW!

Roosevelt chose wisely in requesting Puerto Rican coffee. It has been deemed one of the super premium coffees in the world for over a hundred years, and justifiably so. Puerto Rico shares much the same growing conditions as other coffee growing island countries of the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands. All have the high mountains (1,000 to over 3,500 feet), rich soil and equatorial weather that produce superior coffees. These coffees exhibit what is known as an “island profile,” a cup that is, generally speaking, incredibly smooth, very low in acid (described and tasted as brightness or bitterness) and well balanced with an almost buttery mouthfeel.

"You there! Get me a cup of Stumpjack Coffee now, dadburnit!"

Freshly roasted Puerto Rican, at an upper medium, full city roast, produces a distinct and delightful cocoa aroma for the first few days following the roast. It is not a coffee that rocks you with overpowering flavors or boldness. It’s soft, creamy and oh-so-smooth; a wonderful brew for people who either can’t drink a lot of coffee because of things like acid reflux or who just aren’t into bolder coffees. You may detect a gentle sweetness in the cup, and its mildness makes it the one that I enjoy best in the evening.

After drinking Stumpjack Coffee Roosevelt is in joyful mood and waves to crowd.

Puerto Rican coffee is, in fact, very similar to the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain (JBM). JMB has been marketed more effectively than Puerto Rican, but both compare very favorably in terms of taste, aroma and texture. At one time, however, Puerto Rican coffee was the premier coffee in the world. During the mid to late 19th century Puerto Rican was the most expensive coffee on the planet, and set a standard of quality that other premium coffee growers aspired to achieve. At our shop we only partially joke that “Puerto Rican is the coffee that the pope drinks.” At one time that was in fact the case, as it was indeed the coffee consumed at the Vatican, as well as by royalty and heads of state throughout Europe and the U.S.

However, a couple of hurricanes in the late 1800s crushed Puerto Rico’s coffee industry. The slow recovery following that devastation, along with certain political influences and the increasing profitability of the island’s sugar cane industry, were too much to overcome and the country never reclaimed its former dominance in the coffee world. That’s actually good news for us today. The coffee is as outstanding as ever and yet does not generally command the same prices as other similarly excellent island coffees. To be sure, it is not cheap, at anywhere from $20 to $28 or so per pound. But compared to JBM or Hawaiian Kona that both go upwards of $50 per pound it is quite a deal.

The other thing that Roosevelt is famous for in the coffee world? After finishing a cup served him from the Maxwell House Hotel in Tennessee he uttered the phrase “It’s good to the last drop,” which became the popular slogan for Maxwell House Coffee.

click to enlarge this vintage ad

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grampa's Musky

My Grampa, Fred Smith, caught a nice musky from a Trout Lake near Minocqua in 1974. Grampa is 94 now and he's still kicking the crap out of fish wherever he chooses to wet a line (he still makes at least one or two trips to Canada each year just to put the fear into them and let 'em know he's got their number). This musky now hangs in the Stumpjack here in Two Rivers.

Friday, August 15, 2008

SputnikGirl, Door County, Stumpjack Peru

We have a few signed and numbered limited edition prints of this poster by illustrator extraordinaire Tina Kugler. Tina's art opening is tonight at Persimmons in Manitowoc.

A few pics from a recent day trip to Door County.

This will be my chair from which I'll deal with salespeople who pop into the shop unannounced (they will be forced to sit on the floor before me as I humiliate them for their presumptuous behavior).

Jesse will hold court in my absence.

They will then be dropped into the snake pit with all of the various deadly vipers that the girls have collected.

Laurie Svatek, mountaintop in Peru (I'm pretty sure she said Peru).

Stumpjack Peru Café at the top of the hill.

Detail...with people in line waiting for a spiced coffee.
That's another one of Marty's cool neon signs in front.

Friday, August 1, 2008

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Lower the bridge ye varlets!

Mike Zimmer and Kim before the big walk-over.

This past Wednesday (July 23rd) Two Rivers had a little street party to celebrate the opening of the new Madison Street bridge. Maybe 500 or more in attendance with a few hundred at the ribbon cutting and ceremonial walk over the bridge (and it is a fine looking bridge). It was also the first night of our new hours change at Stumpjack (we closed at 4:00, which meant that Kim and I, and Jesse and her friend Bree) could actually attend the event! Yeehaa! How cool is it that this town puts together a celebration with music, food and drink and a ribbon cutting for a bridge opening...and gets a great turnout to boot (but can you believe that a few folks grumbled, before the celebration, about the serving of beer at this thing...good grief! Philistines!). Click here to go to the Flickr page of pics. Jeff Dawson took some for the Lester Library Flickr site too (Jeff has lots of great pictures of stuff going on in the area...well worth viewing his camera work).

Greg Buckley thanking everyone who had a hand in the new bridge.

The tail end of the walk-over.

Kayak flotilla under the bridge.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hangin' with our amigos in Door County

Last Monday (July 14) Kim and I drove up for an overnight at the cottage of our friends Marty & Lori Suettinger. Actually, it is Marty's aunt's cottage, and it's outside of Sturgeon Bay right on the water. The place is cute, the weather was fantastic, Marty and Lori were great hosts and great cooks, and we had a totally wonderful and relaxing evening. Lori's son Thomas and a couple of his pals were there lighting fireworks in the evening, and Lori's cousin Jessica (I think she was a cousin) and her boyfriend Kyle came over from Sturgeon Bay to hang out for a while too. Great time...thanks Marty and Lori!

Here's a few pics from a disc Marty just dropped off. He takes tons of pics of anything and everything, and here's his own Flickr site: