Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Overheard at Table 2: Beefheart vs Zappa

1: yeah, but what about Captain Beefheart?
2: what about Captain Beefheart?
1: he was as brilliant as Zappa
3: whoa there, I think that's going overboard.
4: really, nobody was as brilliant as Zappa.
1: Beefheart was . . .
2: you know, that's what i always hate: i'm talking Zappa, and every time somebody throws
Beefheart in my face. never fails! every single time!
1: well, he just never got the same airplay as Zappa, so he never got the exposure.
2: he never got the exposure because he was never that good.
4: well, I like him, I think he was good, I mean, Trout Mask Replica is one of my favorite albums.
3: still no Zappa, though.
4: right, right.
2: enough already! Let me put it to you like this: there is a difference between experimental and genius. Experimental is saying, "Oh let's throw the guitar on the floor and record the sound that it makes!" That's experimental. Genius is having a sound in your head and eventually realizing that the only way to produce that sound is by throwing your guitar on the floor and recording it. THAT's the difference between Beefheart and Zappa.
3: approach? That's the difference?
2: right - stumbling onto something vs. craft.
4: yeah, but if the same sound is eventually acheived, what's it really matter?
1: yeah, like what i was saying!
2: forget it - let's talk about soccer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Booth 2

is where five people were talking in whispered tones about the deaths in Mexico, all the deaths, over 30,000 since Calderon sent the troops to the border in 2006.

30,000. Most of them civilians, and by civilians we mean people not even really connected with the narcotraficantes. Or the army. Or the police.

72 laborers killed last month.

After 30 fusillado'ed just yesterday.

Two days ago, another mayor killed. His six year old daughter, sitting beside him in the car.

We can't even bring ourselves to talk about the women of Juarez. The disappeared. The women whose blood cries out from the desert.

The desert holds so many voices now. So many voices, haunting the valley. Voices like the slow motion of the dead water of the dead river, slugging through the border between two worlds, one full of hate and the other full of death, take your pick.

The voices of the dead . . . someday, that will truly be all that's left.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Left on Table 5

This postcard:

On the back is written:

Come live with me and be my love

and we will to the nations prove,

that when the foundations are laid bare,

the love of Christ settles there.

And with that love, my love, we can build it together! come with me!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Overheard at Booth 2

Don: Hey did you hear about some guy in Honolulu is suing a South Korean computer game maker? He says he's been addicted for six years!

Leo: Sounds like a personal responsibility issue to me!

Raph: Yeah, can you spell LAZY, anybody?

Don: Really, though, the guy's an ex-vet, and he says that he can't get out of bed or even take a bath because he's stuck 24-7 playing some on-line game . . . he's even been in re-hab for it.

Mike: If he's a vet, do you think it's combat stress?

Leo: I know it's not fair to say, but I still hold with the repsonsibility - I mean, even if you've been all freaked out by war or whatever, you still have to take the responsibility for your problems. You just can't always say it's a computer game maker or whatever.

Raph: Yeah, man I feel sorry if he's got PTSD or whatever, but what's he expecting to get out of this?

Don: Personally, me - it kinda makes me scared to check out the game. And at the same time, kinda intrigued!

Mike: Got my laptop right here - wanna check it out?


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

"A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine-guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the foetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose." -- Jarrell's note.

The poem was published in 1945.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Overheard at Table 1: Grannies and Kittens

I had an idea for a new type of news station - you know, I get so tired of hearing all the negative news out there, this new one will show nothing but positive news!

Positive news - who wants to hear that?

That's what I thought at first, but then I was sitting there, watching all the rapes, death, slaughter, murder and mayhem, natural disasters, that I finally just thought, man! we gotta get us some positive spin out here before we ALL crack up.

Yeah, but who wants to hear about rescuing kittens in trees and helping grannies cross the street?

It's not gonna be like that - it's gonna show the same stuff buyt only it'll focus on the positive side of the disaster.

The POSITIVE side of a disaster?

Yeah yeah, listen - I heard an interview with Sean Penn last month, who talked about his helping out in Haiti, and he talked about how the US military was the ONLY aid relief organization that had it's ship together - you needed anything, medicine, food, anything, you went to the US army. I mean, look - all we ever get about the military is how they're either getting blown apart by roadside bombs or how they're holding dog leashes around the necks of naked Iraqis - it's about time we had something POSITIVE about the good work they do that no one ever hears about.

Maybe you got a point, but still . . .

And then, take a few weeks ago, the pastor was talking about these two little girls in India, in a village where the whole place was enslaved by this corporation, and the government official came in to check on them and all the grownups were too scared to say ship, and they were all going, "we're good, we're good - all good here" and these girls stepped up and said, "Heck with that - we're being treated like animals here!" It's stuff like that, we're not turning away from the bad stuff, but we're going to show the human heroism, the dignity, the bravery, the innate good that comes out of this mess.

Well, if Fox News could take an underrepresented niche and make it into mainstream, maybe you got a chance.

That's what I'm thinkin.

But still, I'm concerned you might degenerate into kitten rescue and granny walkin'

. . . maybe. If it's a slow news day, I might give 'em grannies and kittens.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Overheard at Table Five

Nathan: At work today I was processing the insurances, and I came across an account of a guy who bought a Ferrari, super-rare model, cost $500,000.

Nick: That's a house! - That's TWO houses!

Nathan: His payments on the thing are about $8000/month. He rents it back to the dealership for about four grand a month - they take care of it, keep it clean, maintained, they get to display it in the showroom, and he just goes and picks it up whenever he wants to take it out.

Nick: So he basically pays $4 grand a month for a rental car.

Nathan: Some people just have too much money.

Nick: Wish I could get me some of THAT problem!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Overheard at Booth One

Man: What's the big deal?

Woman: You embarassed me, right in front of my mom.

Man: Sorry, I'm not going to let our daughter talk to you like that. Especially in the middle of the restaurant.

Woman: She's MY daughter, not yours. And my mom was trying to act like she wasn't hearing you. I was so embarassed that you could act like that in public.

Man: Come on, you act like you're the only woman who's ever been embarassed by her husband before.

Woman: No. But I'm THIS woman. And I'm telling you right now, if you don't cut it out, and change RIGHT NOW, you're out. Gone. I will drop you so fast you won't know what hit you.

Man: . . . Hm. Since you put it that way . . .

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

At the Counter

Niall Carter, the book he just read:

Instant Karma - and no, it's not a biography of Lennon. It's a book told from the point-of-view of a guy who's going to blow up the Chicago Public Library - it's his journal. Which is a pretty effective method, except at the end it gets a little dicey.

How so? Because you can tell the writer's interjecting action where there wouldn't be any action in a journal - the journal would just end, but like I said, it's a weakness, but this still comes in as one of my top three books that I've read this summer.

I really like how it starts off as just some science nut who likes to hang out at the library, and it's only as you go through do you start realizing there's something not quite right with this guy.

A movie? Why does everyone want to know if it's been made into a movie?

OK, then, fine ! Why does everyone want to know if a book could be MADE into a movie? Can't we just read books just to read them as a book any more!

Dang! No wonder this guy blew up the CPL! He turned a dying institution into the ultimate ephemeral art!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Overheard at Table Four

if you don't think that you'll be able to find a job in this environment then just stop looking.

yeah but then how am I gonna eat?

we're here, right now, in this cafe, right? We're eating sandwiches and drinking coffee, right?


and do you worry about how we're gonna pay for that?

actually, yes I do.

well . . . that blows my theory. I was gonna go into the "toil not neither do they spin" speech from Spock.

actually, it's from the Bible.

yeah. right. Spock was quoting the Bible. He's just that kind of Vulcan. But back to my main point - we're eating! We're having coffee. We're going to do this tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after. All you have to do is just keep an eye out, but don't kill yourself doing it - keep looking, but not acting like you have to carry the burden - the pressure itself will cause your failure. Faith that everything will work out all right will clear your mind enough to see those opportunities and say the right things at what interview you do get.

you sound almost zen-like.

I call it Jesus-Zen. Or just JEE-zen, for short.

you are definitely the strangest person I know.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sign on the Bathroom Door

Follow up

Now, as I sit here mellowing out with an iced latté and listening to Sufjan Stevens playing in the corner of the room, I want to make a follow-up to my expulsition of yesterday:

My tirade against the conservatives is not to let you liberals off the hook now.

Even though the liberals are actually living the message of love as espoused by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that does NOT mean that they are following Him.

So, you liberals - STOP shrugging off Jesus just because you're doing good for the world. Just because He has been preached badly doesn't mean that His message is invalid.

And that seems to be the crux, doesn't it?

Someone should write a book: America - One big dichotomy

Where those who say they believe in Christ don't act like it.
Where those who spread love and peace and hope don't believe in the GOD who started it.
Where people who hate being attacked will take their attack to others.
Where those who claim to love freedom will gladly give it up if the government says it'll keep them safe.
Where those who claim to hate government interference at home sure as heck don't mind our government interfering in every other country in the world.
Where we are all children of immigrants . . . who want to deport the children of immigrants.

Wow. I need another latté.

Uno más, por favor!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My New Mission

This is my new earthly mission in America:

To the Republican Party:


I am tired of hearing your blathering attempts to invoke your so-called take on "Christian Morality" on the American public. Republican values are no more Christian than a rabid rottweiler's values can be a Christian.

But at least the rabid Rottweiler doesn't try to mask the fact that he wants to chew out your liver.

OK, you supposed Republican Christians, let's look at some words of Christ, shall we?

(NOTE: being lazy, I went and searched "Jesus Liberal" through Google and found the www.jesusisaliberal.com webpage, and I have pasted their text here . . . without asking permission, so I hope they forgive me!)

Peacemaking, not War Making: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [Matthew 5:9] Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [Matthew 5:39] I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you; [Matthew 5:44]

The Death Penalty: Thou shalt not kill [Matthew 5:21]

Crime and Punishment: If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her. [John 8:7] Do not judge, lest you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. [Matthew 7:1 & 2.]

Justice: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. [Matthew 5:6] Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy [Matthew 5:7] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [Matthew 6:15]

Corporate Greed and the Religion of Wealth: In the temple courts [Jesus] found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and other sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. [John 2:14 & 15.] Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. [Luke 12.15.] Truly, I say unto you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 19:23] You cannot serve both God and Money. [Matthew 6:24.]

Paying Taxes & Separation of Church & State: Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. [Matthew 22:21]

Community: Love your neighbor as yourself. .[Matthew 22:39] So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.[Matthew 7:12.] If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. [Matthew 19:21]

Equality & Social Programs: But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. [Luke 14:13 &14.]

Public Prayer & Displays of Faith: And when thou pray, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou pray, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret… [Matthew 6:6 & 7]
Strict Enforcement of Religious Laws: If any of you has a son or a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? [Matthew 12:11] The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. [Mark 2:27.]

Individuality & Personal Spiritual Experience: Ye are the light of the world. [Matthew 5:14]

Take that, Republo-dweebs! Jesus RULES! And you cannot stop Him, you hatemongers!

But, after all MY invective, please know that HE loves you, and that He has commanded me to love you, so as soon as I calm down here, go into the back room and pray a little bit, come out and have another cup of coffee - Verble tells me he's restricting me to decaffienated - then I will be able to dust myself off and say, without saracasm . . .

that I do love you, my Republo/hatemongers, and I wish you all the best in love and peace in the name of Jesus Christ.

So please, go now and read your Bibles, and study His word.

Thank you, and good night!

Moscow or SoCal?

Man: did you hear the other day that the wildfires are so out of control around Moscow?

Woman: I think I heard something about that on the news, it's really sad. People are dying.

Man: Yeah, I mean, these people don't even have air conditioners - never needed them. And they're stuck inside their homes and they can't open the window because the air's so stiff.

Woman: That is so sad.

Man: What's really sad, now, get this - the news said that the officials stated that they're losing about 780 people a week,

but get this:

they said it was unusual, because they usually only lose about 400 this time of year.

Woman: What?

Man: That's right. They usually only lose about 400 - to the smog. Now, doesn't there seem to be something wrong with this picture?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Overheard at Table Three

I heard a great saying today, it goes something like:

When a person is young, they think they can change the world.

When a person is middle aged, they know they can only change themselves.

When a person is old, they no longer care!

Friday, August 6, 2010

At the Counter

John Steppenwolf showing Niall Carter the lastest joke he found on treehugger.com
"Look!" he says, "Music piracy helps stop global warming!"
"Reminds me of all the jokes whenever we got those cold ice snaps last winter, all the dinks saying 'Thought it was s'posed to be global WARMING' huh huh huh!" Niall says morosely.
The Barista says, "Well, they're not laughing now - not with this heat wave blasting across 18 states!"
Steppenwolf says, "That's for sure."
Niall pulls up on his Blackberry one that he found the other day - "Look," he says, "this one is a swimming pool, but look at what's at the bottom of the swimming pool.

MM! Progress!!!

"I swear," Niall says, "Someday in the future when we've totally [EXPLETIVE DELETED] this planet, some aliens are going to sift through the scaps and realize, 'Hey! These dumb [EXPLETIVE DELETED] sat around and made jokes while the world
After a few moments, John Steppenwolf says,
"We are Nero."

Overheard at Table 5

Ezekiel Mueller telling his fiance, Nicole Rathsmussin, over a double latte and a honeyberry scone,

"Listen, I think everybody is just whacked out of their mind if they don't look at pictures of the repairs on the space station and just realize that THAT is just the coolest job in the world!"

"Actually," his future wife corrects him gently, patting his hand, "it's really OUT of this world!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Overheard at Booth One

- I heard today that the House tried to pass a bill to pay out a billion dollars to cover the health care costs of the police and firefighters who got sick after working ground zero on 911.

- Did it pass?

- Nope. Republicans killed it. Said it was a waste of money. Said these guys were freeloaders wanting to sponge off the system from cradle to grave.

- Uh, isn't that a little hypocritical? I mean, these the same guys who've been living off the memory of 911 for the last ten years? Using it to subsidize their wars and bank profiteering?

- Same guys.

- Hm. And we keep reelecting them?

- Somebody does, apparently.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Overheard at Table Four

heard someone say on the radio that their mother put it this way:

The time to deport someone is BEFORE they've spent twenty years cleaning your house, preparing your food, replacing your roof, and raising your kids, not AFTER.