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Back Buzz - September 11, 1998

pumping heart Bean Collection Coffee, 1000 Madison Street, First Hill

This cafe and coffee retailer is located on the corner of Madison and Terry right at the western crest of First Hill. It's a short walk from Virginia Mason Medical Center and Swedish Hospital and directly kitty-corner from the Puget Sound Blood Center; it's also close to doctor's offices, sperm banks, and all your other medical needs. Needless to say this part of town is also called Pill Hill, which makes a little more sense than First Hill. I mean, why is it considered the first hill, anyway? There were originally seven hills in Seattle, and none of them have ever been called Second or Third or Fourth or Fifth Hill. As I recall West Seattle is the highest hill at 512 feet, followed closely by Magnolia Hill and then Queen Anne Hill, and Capitol Hill is where the Washington state capitol was going to be before they decided to build it in Olympia. And then there's Beacon Hill, and there used to be Denny Hill before they turned it into the Denny Regrade.

But enough about hills -- let's talk about coffee. My double short cappuccino was unfortunately served in a coffee mug; but the barista put a lot of effort into tamping my shots, and he used two pitchers to ensure the milk foam would be dry enough. It was a finely-made cappuccino regardless of the cup: creamy foam and strong but smooth shots. In fact, Bean Collection espresso is almost too smooth for my taste -- I'd go with a bit more robustness myself. Besides espresso drinks Bean also offers the usual baked goods, breakfast and brunch menus, and regular coffee made in a French Press. In fact, a cup of French Pressed Jamaica Blue Mountain sounded very tempting until I saw the price: $3.95. That's as much as their current breakfast special of two eggs, potatoes, and toast. Just goes to show what four bucks can get you these days.

Bean Collection also offers daily coffee specials: on Thursdays you can get macchiatos for $1.50, and on Fridays your second shot is free. They sell a variety of coffee beans as well.

In the front of the cafe there's a sunny window counter, a couple of couches, a bookshelf featuring travel books, and a nice chess set for the gamely inclined. I chose to sit by the window in the shadier coffeeshop area with a view of the Sorrento, a pretty little European boutique hotel, directly across the street. At each table under the glass are descriptions of various types of coffees (Sumatra, Guatemalan, etc.) along with a brief history of the particular variety -- good educational material for all the old folks who come in for coffee to rev up their blood pressure between doctors' appointments.

It's strange how most of the medical buildings and hospitals in Seattle are all clustered in the same area. In the eight years I've lived in Seattle it seems like every time I've needed the services of a doctor or hospital -- be it for general physicals, gynecological exams, infections, dermatology, pain management, surgery, lab tests, whatever -- I've always ended up within a stone's throw of every other doctor I've ever seen in this town. They're all right here: internists, psychiatrists, proctologists, gastroenterologists, gynecological oncologists, pediatricians, radiologists, neurologists, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, urologists, chiropractors, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, nephrologists, otolaryngologists, and, of course, lots and lots of plastic surgeons.

Speaking of plastic surgery -- and considering all the interesting-looking people in the world who decide they'd rather look like Barbie or Ken -- following is an e-mail exchange from last year with my Bay Area friend:

Did you read about how Mattel is planning to change Barbie? They're actually going to give her more realistic proportions, including a wider waist and smaller hips and bust. They're also going to change her face slightly, closing her mouth and giving her a finer nose. No mention as to any realistic genitals...

I did read about that. There was a teaser on the cover of the Chronicle and a lengthy article buried somewhere within Section 1. And, yeah, it is about time they give her labia and pubes, if not a full working vagina. Since Barbie currently has about a 44" bust, they ought to give Ken a 9-inch erectile penis. Has anyone made dolls that are capable of copulating? Little girls might learn something by watching their dolls engage in sex.

How about if they just make anatomically correct Sex-Ed Sammy and Sandi dolls? They could both have mouths that open, moving tongues (equipped with moisture reservoirs), nipples, navels, and spreadable buttocks and anuses (or would that be ani?). And Sammy could have an expandable penis (with reservoir) and Sandi could have spreading labia (also equipped with a moisture reservoir) with an expandable clitoris and a urethra (with reservoir). The basic dolls could come dressed in dating clothes, and the basic set would include a package of condoms, Sandi's own diaphragm, and perhaps a little playtime AIDS test kit. And then you could buy different wardrobe sets, like the Bad Boy, Sammy! Bondage/Discipline Ensemble, which would include a rubber corset with wrist and ankle straps, cock binder, bondage mask, gag harness, ceiling hooks and chains, and dog bowl for Sammy, and a leather Merry Widow, fishnet stockings, crotchless panties, spike heels, and bullwhip for Sandi. Then there would be the Bath and Golden Shower Time Ensemble, which comes with bathrobes and towels for Sammy and Sandi along with a bathtub, removable adjustable massage shower nozzle, and a little bottle of Golden Urine.

And then you could mix and match your Sammy and Sandi dolls. You could buy the Sammy 'N' Sammy Drag Queen Ensemble, the Sandi 'N' Sandi Bull Dyke Ensemble, the Dirty Old Samuel 'N' Underaged Sammy Public Restroom Ensemble, and the Mrs. Sandra and Little Sammy Cradle-Robbing Ensemble. And then, of course, you could have Sammy and Sandi's African American friends Samson and S'anna and their Asian friends Sam Yee and San Tran, and you could have all kinds of mix 'n' match ensembles like Chocolate Sandwich (for two bisexual Sandi's and one Samson, with apologies to O! Lucky Man). And then, of course, don't forget the gang's trusty German Shepherd pal, "Felcher" (equipped with large tongue reservoir with built-in vibrator and, of course, the expandable dog penis.)

I like all of your ideas for anatomically correct Sex-Ed Sammy and Sandi dolls.

Your ideas of moving tongues, an expandable penis, spreading labia with an expandable clitoris and a urethra reminded me of something. Oh yes, it was Supermasochist Bob Flanagan's Visible Man fully plumbed with mucus, semen, and diarrhea tubes and pumps.

Hey, it's the end of the '90s -- I think it's time to roll out the Mo-Fo Do-Boy! He's One Badass Mo-Fo! None o' these cute li'l bulges of pasty flesh -- this one's covered from head to toe in badass baggy clothes, with $300 pro sneakers and a stocking cap and ski glasses. He's One Chill Dude, Mo-Fo! You poke him with your finger, he gonna blow your whole arm off! You hear what I'm sayin'? Don't be dissin' him, man! 'Cause he's the Pillsbury MO-FO DO-BOY!

As far as pudgy female role models, what about Miss Piggy? Isn't she a bit, er, porcine? But yes, I agree. What about a fashion doll based on all the aging baby boomers? Not only could she have little rolls of cellulite flesh forming around her middle and thighs, but she could have a few wrinkles, too, crow's feet and laugh lines -- nothing too overt. And a touch of gray hair, too. I think "Susan" would be a good name for her. Susan could come with various ensembles such as Third Marriage, which features a smart pantsuit for the courthouse, and Eating Out, featuring appropriate outfits for overpriced dining. To round out Susan's family we could have "Darryl", the first husband doll (with a bushy head of gray hair and an irritating mustache); "Ted", the second husband (with an expanded waistline and bald spot); "Dillon", the college-aged son and "Amber", the 16-year-old daughter; and, of course, "Daniel", Susan's attorney who handles all her divorces. For the dolls one could buy the Yuppie Dreamhouse, a 5-bedroom architect-designed home complete with hot tub, wine cellar, and home office, with every room equipped with its own phone, TV, VCR, PC, and modem connection, and with a garage big enough to park Susan's BMW, Darryl's or Ted's sports utility vehicle, and Amber's pink Miata convertible. And if your little darling gets tired of playing with yuppie dolls, you could simply have Susan divorce her current husband, tell the boss to lay her off, and set her up in her very own Downsized Condo. The possibilities are endless...