Every Mug has a Message

imageCoffee – I don’t remember the last day that started without a cup of coffee. I’m sure that I was sick, and that I substituted a cup of tea, but I really don’t remember. I can be pretty sick and still want a sip a cup of coffee. At the very least, I want to smell the aroma. I take my coffee in many containers but almost never in an actual cup. I seem to be a mug kind of guy.

The mug at the right is my current work mug. That’s Little Guard Duck, a character from one of my favorite comics, Pearls before Swine. I like having him on my desk to let people know that this might just be the mood I’m in. I say it’s my ‘current’ mug because I had several work mugs before this one and I might replace Guard Duck at some point. I sent a friend a different Little Guard Duck mug many years ago to remind her of a funny incident.

Our company was in the middle of its annual financial audit. One of the auditors (I know that I’ve been picking on auditors lately but this is a true story). As I was saying, one of the auditors spied a can of holiday cookies from CDW. They were a gift from our account manager. At the time, I was still buying the stuff we bought from CDW, and I had the best account manager CDW ever had. Seriously, she was the best, none better! Anyway, the auditor (who apparently had never heard of CDW) knew that we do business in China and she asked me if the cookies were from our Chinese business associates. She thought that the ‘DW’ might have stood for ‘Duck Warriors’ – CDW – Chinese Duck Warriors, yeah, I had to send my account rep one of those mugs.

At home, we have so many mugs that we had to put some of the less significant ones in a box and store them away. Significant mugs are those that were purchased by (or for) special people. There are also a few mugs that represent special things. Some of these mugs are used on a regular basis and some get used on special occasions. I remember we poured my wife’s tea in the image“Mother” mug last year on Mother’s Day. I bought her that mug right after our daughter was born.

The Rockwell mug belonged to my father. He got that after he retired from the Post Office and was working part time for an industrial tool supplier. Rockwell owned Delta for a while and I actually have a few woodworking tools that bear the Rockwell name. I think my brother’s table saw might be the hybrid Delta-Rockwell brand. You don’t pack away stuff like that. I use that mug sometimes when I’m thinking about my dad.

My wife will sometimes bring me hot tea when I’m sick, in the Star Trek mug. There’s a Klingon starship on there too, but it’s normally cloaked. The Klingon ship uncloaks (video shake thanks to our puppy) when the tea is hot. They have to uncloak in order to fire their weapons.

If you’re wondering why the Enterprise isn’t cloaked, it’s because The Federation imageagreed to not pursue cloaking technology, when they signed the Treaty of Algeron with the Romulans. If you’re wondering why I remember that bit of history-that-hasn’t-happened and not things like the Seabed Arms Control Treaty, I blame it on poor marketing. The US Government has never had a successful TV show or a good movie, let alone a series of action figures. By the way, if you’re speaking about the Jean-Luc Picard figure shown here, you want to be sure to pronounce that ‘fig·er’ instead of ‘fig·ure’. While you’re at it, make sure his mug is filled with “Tea, Earl Gray, hot!”

I got started down this memory lane of mugs when I stimageopped at Maddie’s for breakfast last week. I mentioned a few months ago that Maddie’s is one of those great home style restaurants where you can get any menu item at any point during the day. I usually grab a breakfast sandwich to go, but this time I ate at the counter. Maddie’s serves their coffee in random mugs from a donated collection. There’s a restaurant in Ames, Iowa called the Grove Café that has a similar collection of mugs, and they serve one of the best breakfasts in the country. Seriously, click the link and see for yourself.

If you’re having breakfast in a place that serves coffee in a company-branded logo mug, you’re probably going to have a pretty good meal. If you’re eating in a place that serves coffee in a random mug, you’re going to have a great meal. If your coffee is being poured into a china cup, sitting in a saucer, you’re paying too much for your eggs.


If you read the comments, you will see one where Bob Zagami explains his favorite mug. He was kind enough to share this picture. – Thanks Bob



  1. I agree, the government never has had a successful tv show except West Wing and I found that to have highly unlikely scenarios – then again – they WERE going for ratings. Nope – you won’t find me without at least 3 cups of coffee every morning!


  2. Ah yes! The history of our lives in a mug :) I do like a cup and saucer at home sometimes. Does that mean I am still paying too much for my eggs ;) ? Or just for my china?


  3. Doesn’t everyone have a mug collection? My favorite is a 35 year old brown Tupperware plastic mug that we purchased to match the interior of my first motorhome, a 1978 Rockwood Class C. We have many fond memories of camping with our girls in that motorhome. Every time I drink from it, I pause and remember the role it has played in our family through the years.


    • The Rockwell mug is plastic and about the same age Bob. I think of my dad (who has been gone over 30 years now) every time I look at it in the cabinet. It’s amazing how memories work.


  4. This made me smile, as I recently discovered made a mug-discovery of my own. I’m generally the “whatever-vessel-will-hold-it” morning coffee drinker. Seventy-five cent Target clearance, one of many accumulated travel mugs, a bowl…whatever will hold it. While cleaning out boxes in my parents shop, I came across a mug depicting a hand-painted roadrunner and the name Louise in flowery script. After inquiring of who this mysterious woman may have been, my father told me that the mug was from ’60 or ’61, handmade by a friend of the family, a gift store owner and pottery artist in Moab, UT, where his family had lived for a few years. She made custom mugs and it appeared that absent-minded Louise had never returned to collect her cup.

    The entire randomness of a discarded mug with an unfamiliar name and a cartoon-ish roadrunner (not THAT cartoon) that had travelled many moves and 50 years, made me need to have it. It’s smaller than my other mugs and I’m now terrified of dropping it, but it’s become my go-to.


    • Ok. I guess I may need to revise my position slightly. If you’re making the coffee/tea/cocoa, you can have it in anything you like. I’ll stick with the notion that you’re getting a better breakfast at a place like Maddie’s. I did enjoy the breakfast you served very much!


  5. I discovered mugs when I moved to the US. They were HUGE compared to my French tasses (cups). Of course now that I’m used to my good American mugs the French have decided to sell mugs as well. They even call them MUGS. What kind of world is that?
    I collect mugs from coffee shops and diners from all over the country. They are a great reminder of the places I’ve visited for breakfast or lunch. And the French aren’t doing that yet.


    • So you’re doing Maddie’s and the Grove Cafe in reverse. That’s pretty cool. One of my friends on Facebook pointed out that mugs have increased in capacity over time here. In fact, the Rockwell mug in the picture is a good example of what a mug was like here in the 70’s. When I wrote this, I thought about explaining the origin of the word ‘mug’ but it seems to be a bit fuzzy.


    • That’s cool. I’ve continued to add mugs to the collection since writing this. I think it’s fun to make a statement with your morning beverage. Thanks for stopping by.


  6. I love mugs but unfortunately my husband doesn’t share the same enthusiasm. He loves the mugs I give him and god help those who dare to use them but besides that… Just a thought: your incoming president might pick up on that mug idea. Him being so unpredictable and business savy ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

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