Thinking West: Campfire Coffee Recipe

El Portal has decided to publish its own recipe of a western favorite: campfire coffee. Campfire coffee is an art and a science, despite what many city folks might believe. Moreover, coffee is just as important to the cowpokes of the range as it is to the business folks of the city. Unlike those city slickers who visit Starbucks or some upscale coffee joint, inhabitants of the West prefer to make their own coffee, using only a few ingredients, a crude coffee pot, and hot coals. Western coffee recipes vary from one family to the next. Regional recipes are known to circulate the West. Agua Dulce, the name for a coffee made in the northern mountains and valleys of Nueva México, is one such example. Agua Dulce is known for its sweeter side and is often served with dessert or after hearing good news. Campfire coffee recipes are often handed down from one generation to the next, with few modifications made to these family recipes. It is also rumored that some campfire coffee recipes have spurred range feuds between competitive families. In some well-known cases, campfire coffee recipes have even served as dowries for many a range wedding.

What you’ll need:

  • (x1) Metal coffee pot
  • Coffee grounds (rough grounds; finer grounds won’t work)
  • (x1) Metal spoon
  • Hot coals
  • Water (enough to fill your coffee pot)

Optional ingredients (after coffee is brewed):

  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cilantro
  1. First you’ll need to make your fire. You will not be using the flames to brew your coffee. You only need to use the hot coals.
  2. Put water in your coffee pot. Place your coffee pot on the hot coals. Allow for the water to boil inside the pot.
  3. Once the water has boiled inside the pot, remove the pot from the coals and remove the pot’s lid. With the lid removed, add between 6 and 12 tablespoons of coffee grounds to your boiling water. (The more coffee grounds you add to the boiling water, the stronger the coffee will be.) Stir in the coffee grounds. As you stir, the coffee grounds will start sinking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Place lid back on pot. Allow the coffee to sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow for the coffee to brew and the remainder of the coffee grounds will sink to the bottom of the coffee pot.
  5. Pour yourself a steaming hot cup of campfire coffee. Add sugar and whatever else you might like in your coffee. However, unsweetened and untouched campfire coffee is the best, according to many inhabitants of the West. As one cowpoke put it, “It tastes like burnt motor oil, goes down like drain cleaner, warms you like a fire would, and wakes you up like a cold shower might.”

When Superintelligent AI Arrives, Will Religions Try to Convert It? (Gizmodo)

Zoltan Istvan (Gizmodo) examines how the world’s religions might handle the creation of superintelligent artificial intelligences. It appears that, much like American corporations in a recent Supreme Court case, superintelligent AIs may find God, too, with a little help, of course….

Like it or not, we are nearing the age of humans creating autonomous, self-aware super intelligences. Those intelligences will be part of our culture, and we will inevitably try to control AI and teach it our ways, for better or worse.

AI with intelligence equal to or beyond human beings is often referred to as “strong AI” or Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Experts disagree as to when such an intelligence will arrive into the world, but many are betting it will happen sometime in the next two decades. The idea of a thinking machine being able to rival our own intellect—in fact, one that could quickly become far smarter than us—is both a reason for serious concern and a reason to cheer about what scientific advances it might teach us. Those worries and benefits have not escaped religious.

Some faith-bound Americans want to make sure any superintelligence we create knows about God. And if you think the idea of preaching God to autonomous machines sounds crazy, you may be overlooking key statistics of U.S. demographics: roughly 75 percent of adult Americans identify themselves as some denomination of Christianity. In the U.S. Congress, 92 percent of our highest politicians belong to a Christian faith.

As artificial intelligence advances, religious questions and concerns globally are bound to come up, and they’re starting too: Some theologians and futurists are already considering whether AI can also know God.

“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Reverend Dr. Christopher J. Benek told me in a recent interview. Benek is an Associate Pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church in Florida and holds masters degrees in divinity and theology from Princeton University.

“It’s redemption to all of creation, even AI,” he said. “If AI is autonomous, then we have should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.”

Read the remainder of this article over at Gizmodo.


According to the CIA World Factbook, Portugal is slightly smaller in size than Indiana. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized drug possession, which precipitated in fewer drug crimes and even fewer drug abuse cases amongst Portugal’s youth. Portugal was one of the world’s leading maritime powers during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. During the early years of the Common Era, Romans bought Portuguese urine as a mouthwash for their dental hygiene. No one knows why the Romans preferred Portuguese urine for their mouthwash, though. The population of Portugal hovers around 10.8 million (2014), making Portugal’s population larger than Georgia but smaller than Ohio. Portuguese has around 230-240 million native speakers worldwide.

What else can we say about Portugal? Hmmmm… That’s right! How could we forget? Portugal also happens to be the location of this year’s Writers’ Retreat. More specifically, ENMU will be going to Lisbon (Lisboa), Portugal this summer from 28 June to 10 July. Check out our official webpage for the Writers’ Retreat. Be sure to swing by Disquiet International’s website as well.

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More from Jim O’Donnell

Danube River at Night – My Shot of the Day – October 16, 2014.

More Pictures of Beautiful Bratislava by Night.

We be will hosting two major events while Jim O’Donnell is in Portales:

Reading on Friday, the 23rd at 2pm in JWLA 112

Lecture on Thursday the 29th at 2pm in JWLA 112

Exploring the Rackova Valley – Tatras National Park – Slovakia (Jim O’Donnell)

We be will hosting two major events while Jim O’Donnell is in Portales:

Reading on Friday, the 23rd at 2pm in JWLA 112 (our nice, new lecture hall)

Lecture on Thursday the 29th at 2pm in JWLA 112

What are we now? Modernist? Postmodernist? How about metamodernist?

The Metamodernist Manifesto by Luke Turner BY_NC_SA

1. We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.
2. We must liberate ourselves from the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child.
3. Movement shall henceforth be enabled by way of an oscillation between positions, with diametrically opposed ideas operating like the pulsating polarities of a colossal electric machine, propelling the world into action.
4. We acknowledge the limitations inherent to all movement and experience, and the futility of any attempt to transcend the boundaries set forth therein. The essential incompleteness of a system should necessitate an adherence, not in order to achieve a given end or be slaves to its course, but rather perchance to glimpse by proxy some hidden exteriority. Existence is enriched if we set about our task as if those limits might be exceeded, for such action unfolds the world.
5. All things are caught within the irrevocable slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance. Artistic creation is contingent upon the origination or revelation of difference therein. Affect at its zenith is the unmediated experience of difference in itself. It must be art’s role to explore the promise of its own paradoxical ambition by coaxing excess towards presence.
6. The present is a symptom of the twin birth of immediacy and obsolescence. Today, we are nostalgists as much as we are futurists. The new technology enables the simultaneous experience and enactment of events from a multiplicity of positions. Far from signalling its demise, these emergent networks facilitate the democratisation of history, illuminating the forking paths along which its grand narratives may navigate the here and now.
7. Just as science strives for poetic elegance, artists might assume a quest for truth. All information is grounds for knowledge, whether empirical or aphoristic, no matter its truth-value. We should embrace the scientific-poetic synthesis and informed naivety of a magical realism. Error breeds sense.
8. We propose a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage. Thus, metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons. We must go forth and oscillate!