Half-cafe or Half-and-Half?

As noted in a previous post, my coffee of choice is “half-cafe,” meaning equal amounts of regular and decaffinated coffee. “Half-cafe” is pronounced “Half Caff.” [1]

Last week, I was another cafe and placed my usual order, but I made the mistake of ordering a “half and half.”

I expect you can guess what I got — the lightest cup of coffee I have ever seen, for it was all “half and half” with not a drop of coffee.

This is a reminder that you should always be precise when you ask someone for something.

One of the clearest writers I have ever read was Ulysses S. Grant. His orders to his commanders were models of exquisite precision. Precision was essential at a time when orders could only be relayed by voice or writing. No situation demanded more precision than in the midst of battle, when all involved all waging war in a chaotic situation under great stress.

For example, here is an order given during the Chattanooga Campaign:

CHATTANOOGA, November 24, 1863.

General Sherman carried Missionary Ridge as far as the tunnel with only slight skirmishing. His right now rests at the tunnel and on top of the hill, his left at Chickamauga Creek. I have instructed General Sherman to advance as soon as it is light in the morning, and your attack, which will be simultaneous, will be in cooperation. Your command will either carry the rifle-pits and ridge directly in front of them, or move to the left, as the presence of the enemy may require. If Hooker’s position on the mountain [cannot be maintained] with a small force, and it is found impracticable to carry the top from where he is, it would be advisable for him to move up the valley with all the force he can spare, and ascend by the first practicable road.


1. Unsure of the correct spelling, I did a search on “half-caff” and “half-cafe” on Google to find the most commonly used name.

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