Saturday, March 26, 2011

Overheard at Table 1

Ava Guday: While waiting for the 220 today I saw this van passing by, and the name on the side was DH Lawrence Carpet Installers.

Ana Phalaxis: D.H. Lawrence Carpet Installers?

Connie Undrum: They probably specialize in SHAG!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Overheard at Booth 3

did you hear we finally started bombing Libya?

it's about time! everyone in the world was asking us to - save the people from Quadaffi.

yeah, but soon's we did now everyone's mad at us - the Russians, the Arab League, the African Union, even the Republicans!

that's freakin'weird! I never thought I'd see the day when the Republicans didn't want to send bombs into a Muslim country.

yeah, but you know, if Obama does it, then they're against it.

yeah, I know, Obama could erase the taxes for every oil corporation and drug company and insurance agency in America, he could kill the EPA and OSHA and the minimum wage, and they'd STILL find something wrong with him.

sometimes it just seems like the guy can't catch a break. I mean, he's really TRYING to do everything the conservatives want, I mean, he's kept the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, he's letting the oil companies gut the Gulf . . .

. . . he's getting us into another war with no end . . .

right, another war with no end, that's right! I mean, what in the world do these guys WANT?

I dunno. Seems like they're not gonna be satisfied until . . . honestly, I don't KNOW when they'll ever be satisfied.

The Rapture, maybe?

Nah! They'll probably be peeved at God for taking so long. Not working to THEIR schedule.

Yeah, they'll probably call God a liberal.

Wasn't He?

Shhhhhhhh, don't say that too loud! Somebody will hear and will eviscerate us!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Left at the Counter: from 360s

Scribbled on a stream of napkins:

from 360s
364: 226.


Because, men, she yearns still to
be desired,
she requires your flame, your
torrent of dizzying poetry –
those words that you
lavished on her
snowdrops in bloom.

Try to remember, gentlemen,
the tone of your voice
on that first date – how you
at moments,
lost your breath
rushing to speak to her –

a slight hesitation, trying to form
the perfect compliment for the

way she held her glass,

remember how she blushed, slightly,
at the sincerity of what you said, how her

turned away the moment you mentioned
the earth-hewn beauty of their color,

remember how she used to smile, eversosoftly,
when you noticed a

new pair of earrings,
a haircut,
a new perfume.

Now, men,
now she is just your wife,

and the only men who
need her without ceasing

are your sons.
and your daughters sneer at her behind their
own eyeshadowed smirks for the

sensuality that she left at the hospital
after the firstborn,

and she meanders her days with other people’s schedules,
managing the times of other people’s lives, balancing
the baseball practices, the Algebra tutoring, your drycleaning,
and the thumblessness of her own alleged career,

and inbetween gymnastic meets she follows
the perfect shapes of jumba CDs, dancing away that soft
middleaged riff that you no longer hold gently from behind

with a soft kiss on her neck, and

she does this because
that girl is still there.

That girl is not gone, buried under layers of
Oil of Olay and antioxidents and teeth whitening strips, that

girl who blushed is only dormant, wrapped
inside a bud made of
motherhood and wifehood and househood,

but she is there,

awaiting the spring of your words
to rain sweetly down upon her,

so that she may
bloom again.

Overheard at Booth 4: Angels Make Funny Faces

Showed the kids 2012 last night.
What'd they think?
Awesome. They liked it. I mean, for terrible complete human destruction, it's actually visually very entertaining, I mean, they were like gripping the edges of the couch when that plane was flying through the buildings of LA and that subway car was flying overhead.
That was pretty awesome, I liked it when Yellowstone exploded and it's raining balls of fire down on the tarmac as they're taking off there.
Yeah, where Woody Harrelson, the crazy guy, stands there, facing the volcano.
You know Yellowstone is a supervolcano, right?
Yeah, I think I heard that somewhere.
Could go at any time, you know.
Yeah, well, you know, we all could go at any time. Just - like - God says, 'OK, boys, time to shut 'er down!' and it's lights out.'
So you think 2012's gonna get us? Think that's the lights out?
Dude, we've been talking about the end of time since the beginning of time. I think the moment we as humans realized, oh crap! Bill died - I mean, died! You know, that moment when we evolved to the point that we understood that there was an end? I think that was when we started fixating on the end of everything.
So you think this is all some sort of collective obsession? Armageddon? End of Days? Revelation, all that?
I mean, hey - like, sure - I know the world's gonna end. I'm not stupid. Everything ends. I'm just not living every single moment wondering, 'Oooh, is God gonna take us now?' and all this stuff in the Middle East, what's got everybody all in a wad, 'It's God coming back!' and you know that a lot of people are scared and there are some Christians who are actually happy about the thought of it all going to spit, because they're thinking they're gonna be saved while everybody else stays for years of Helen Earth.
Yeah, I hate that, you know - kind of runs totally against the whole 'tell the world about the love of Jesus' - right?
Right, so I take a page right out of the Bible, you know, where Jesus has said, "Listen - the main thing is DON'T WORRY about it." He said take care of what you need to take care of, what will be will be, Yeah, it'll all blow up in the end, but I've gotcha!
So you're saying the ultimate cosmic message from the creator of the universe is Que Sera Sera and Don't Worry Be Happy?
Yeah, that pretty much boils down to it, yeah.
That's like opening up a window to Heaven and seeing angels looking down on us with their fingers in their mouths and making all sorts of funny faces.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Overheard at Booth 2: A Century of Progress, Erased

Billy: When you put it that way, it almost seems downright farsical.

Joe: But it's true, when you think about it, I mean, the minimum wage, the 40 hour work week, health benefits, heck! even fire escapes! none of that was part and parcel of the work place a hunnert years ago!

Jim: Exactly a hundred years ago. Back then, my eight year old would be skinning cows in the slaughterhouses, coming home head to foot drenched in blood and grime . . .

Bob: Foot-in-mouth disease!

Billy: Ah, don't be so makin'fun of the boy, now!

Joe: Seriously, we ain't foolin' around - this is serious, I tellya. A hundred years ago, labor was fighting for the working man, now who's fighting for the working man! Nobody! Not the unions, because they done lost sight.

Jim: Became part of the problem.

Bob: Right!

Billy: But now, we gotta start it over again, for ourselves, for what was already fought for us, which was given to us, we have to keep.

Joe: And we got the bosses against us, but this time, it ain't just a few rich guys, it's entire international corporations.

Jim: Yeah, this ain't like yellin' at a Rockefeller or a Ford. This is redressing our grievances against heartless, godless ExxonMobil, SmithKline, Bank of America, Chase, NYSE . . .

Bob: . . . and don't forget the whole dang Republican party!

Billy: Yeah - and they's some mean sumbiches, lemme tellya.

Joe: Sneaky, too.

Jim: Steal a lollipop out of a baby's mouth and then make him buy it back from the corporate lobbyists at twice the price.

Bob: Pocket the extra penny and send the mercenaries to a foreign country to blow up their little chilluns for their slice of the candy!

Billy: Dang, this is gettin' bleak. No more espressos for you guys - it's time to switch to decaf!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Overread at Booth 2: from 365

Good night in the morning! i say, this is
crossing the border between
ludicrosity and
were we all to cast off our titles,
ripping them off like our fake plastic faces
and scatter the limpid skin to the wind,
we would be left with the underscored
raw tendon, muscle, blood, and bone,
there would be
no more tint
hue, and

we wouldn't even be
or you,

we would be
what was left of a human

taking root,
in a new philosophy,
that all
are howling
their equality.

only then, can we
take the ragged strips
of colors of that grand-old
once-high flying flag,
and sew back together
a new


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Overheard at Booth 2: Charlie St. Cloud

Mother: He was SO good looking, if I were seventeen I'd date him.

Daughter: MOM!

Mother: Seriously, those eyes! Wow, what a hottie.

Father: Good lord.

Daughter: Yeah, Mom - I mean, Dad's sitting right here!

Mother: He understands, don't you, honey?

Father: Yeah, sure, right.

Daughter: Besides, Zac Efron's my age!

Son: Hardly, he's like ten years older than you!

Daughter: Yeah, that's what I mean, the age of someone I could date.

Father: I don't think so!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Overread at Table 3: Manifesto for a Christian America

This is my manifesto:
To follow Jesus Christ all the days of my life,
and to humble myself before God, to place Him above myself,
to place service to the creator and to love my enemy
in the same way I love my friend, and to love my
neighbor in the same way that I love myself, and that means
that I need to help this country
bring the soldiers back home,
to expand social security,
to beg Medicare to cover all citizens,
to thwart the encroachment of the soulless corporations
whose very existence is antithetical to the the Will of God,
to prove this love in all my actions
and all my deeds,
to humbly serve my country,
to pay my taxes on time when due,
to work within the system to show that it
can be just, be fair, that it can work for the people,
to show that it can represent every person living within the borders
of this country, regardles
of race creed color sex or sexual orientation,
to work to make certain that there are no starving
people in the streets or the underpasses or
under bridges, to
pray for a time when we finally work together
to provide for the common good
of the people and not for the corporations,
to continually petition the government to redress
these grievances, to remind it that it was designed
to serve the people, and with this
rememberance it can
strip away the shock collar that has been tightened around
its neck by Big Business, the Banks, and the Security-Industrial Complex,
and yes, yes, yes,
to proclaim that Jesus Christ
has mandated that we should not fight, that we should not
raise physical weapons against another human being,
but to lift our spiritual weapons against spiritual enemies,
and that we are to walk toward our earthly with open arms and
words of love on our lips,
as did Stephen, as did
as did Paul,

as did Jesus the Christ, the Son of God,
who could have called all the angels of Heaven with a breath
to raze this world to a charred shell,
but who humbly submitted to the will of the Father, and
told us that those who live by

weapons of mass destruction


die by weapons of mass destruction.

The only way to stop our destruction,
is to stop our destroying.

This is my manifesto for a Christian America.
I open my arms to you now, brothers, if there be any of

these words that
are against the word of God, please
feel free to let me know,

correct me and temper me in love with
the teachings of our Savior.

Blessings be upon you all, my brethren,
Your humble servant,

Verble Loquacious Gherulous

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Overheard at Booth 4: Eisenhower's final speech as President

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years – I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

So – in this my last good night to you as your President – I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I – my fellow citizens – need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations’ great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to it.

Thank you, and good night.

Overheard at Table 2

1: If I tell you something, you promise you won't think I'm crazy?

2: I already think you're crazy, so you might as well just tell me.

1: Well, this is something I've been thinking for about half my life, and I never really thought I could ask anybody, but have you ever noticed bathroom walls?

2: How really am I supposed to answer that?

1: Honestly. Answer it honestly.

2: Well, of course. Every guy's noticed bathroom walls. I mean, when European, that's what you're looking at.

1: Yeah! Right! And you know every wall's got it's own texture and stuff, right?

2: Pretty much, yeah.

1: Well . . . do you ever see . . . shapes?

2: Like, what do you mean?

1: I mean, like shapes in the texture?

2: What kind of shapes?

1: Just different things. I see different shapes in different textures. Always different things, like lion's heads, trees, flying pterodactyls, sometimes I see what looks like Samurai in those old Japanese watercolors. Just different stuff.

2: Yeah, I suppose I can imagine that.

1: I've never really known if that's just the sign of creativity, or if I'm just nuts.

2: I suppose that could be a sign of creativity.

1: Yeah, I was hoping so.

2: Now, when those shapes ever start TALKING to you, well, that's would be a sign of a serious freakin' problem, lemmetellya!

1: . . .

. . . uh, I gotta go.