Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: I Believe in Father Christmas

Lucky Moran is telling the Barista: Best Christmas song ever? "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Emerson Lake and Palmer. Wins it hands down - it's got the angst, the growing up, the wanting to believe in the Christmas spirit, the disappointment, the warm yet chilly Christmas imagery. I say it should be on every Christmas CD, right along with Silent Night and Jingle Bells!

They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin's birth

I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
'til I believed in the Israelite

And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
'til I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear

They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas you get you deserve

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Overheard at Table 1: Christmas Wrapping

While the Donnas did a fair remake of this classic, the Waitresses still take the cake, as it were, for the absolute coolest quasi-anti-Christmas song ever. What's so excellent about this song is that it has so much more soul than other bland, bland Christmas songs (like All I Want for Christmas is You, blech!) and it totally describes the feelings of somebody who just can't get into the Christmas spirit . . . and then ends with a chance meeting, of another person in the same dismal position of having no plans whatsoever, and BAM! total turnaround.

Basically, it turns a Bah Humbug into a "OK, that's cool" moment. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! This is one of the very few secular Christmas tunes that can actually be considered part of a Christmas Carol Canon.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Overheard at Booth 3

We are ugly, ugly people.

We pepper spray each other over $30 cellphones and trample each other for Nintendo Wii's.

Seeing a flood of people all wanting to spend their money, a giant ocean of thrashing bodies with wrapped packages, it just churns your stomach.

Whenever we see other people in the world in such conditions, it's generally because their rioting against military dictatorships, or trying to get food - or water.

We riot to buy crap.

We stomp on each other to buy crap.

We shoot each other, pepper spray each other, beat each other's heads into the stone floor - all just to buy CRAP!

We are ugly, ugly people. And I am thankful for Black Friday, because it reveals us for what we are. Now, I would be even more thankful if all of America would take a good long hard look in this mirror and CHANGE INTO SOMETHING BETTER!!!!!

Overheard at Table 4: Computer Snogs

I swear, I had my sister in law over this weekend and she's all torked that she can't connect using her iPad, because I'm not on wi-fi, I go through my cable/phone provider, and she wanted to share my work iPad network, and I'm like 'I can't let you on my work network - that's a proprietary thing," and she can use the laptop like whenever she wants, but she's all 'I only want to use MY iPad! I just can NOT USE a laptop! Especially if it's running Vista or Windows 7!"

And then my daughter was working on it, and she's suddenly like, "Like what version of Windows IS this, Dad?" and I tell her "It's 2003" and she's all "You need to get modern - at school we're using Word 2010." And she's not doing anything more than printing out a thank you letter for her aunt to take back to the other aunts - all she's doing is just two quick sentences and a print! Word 2003 works just fine for that! She doesn't NEED 07 or 10 or whatever! Heck, for what she's doing she could use Notepad, for goodness sake!

I tell ya, are some people addicted to their specifics or am I just out of touch? I say, if it works, it works, and if I need to upgrade, I'll upgrade, but I'm not going out to buy and $80 router for wi-fi when I don't need to and I'm sure not buying Office 2010 just to feed Microsoft's greed!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: Thankgiving

Steppenwolf: Listen, Thankgiving as we know it is a complete fantasy.

Niall Carter: No way, man. There is a long and rich history behind it.

Steppenwolf: Complete fabrication! Every word.

Niall Carter: How do you know? Were you there?

Steppenwolf: Oh that's nice. Stoop to logical fallacies when you can't prove your point.

Niall Carter: The complete lack of evidence to support a position does NOT preclude the opposite position.

Steppenwolf: Exactly. Which is why you can not say for certain that there is a long and rich history, when there isn't.

Niall Carter: And neither can YOU assume that every extant contemporary text was fabricated only recently in order to establish a fabricated position of a historical origination to support a current cultural tradition.

Lucky Moran: When you two stop this lover's quarrel, will you tell me exactly what it is that you're fighting about? Thankgiving itself? Or the white/Indians thing? What?

The Barista: Cranberries.

Lucky: What?

Niall Carter: Steppenwolf here swears that there were no cranberries at the first Thankgiving.

Steppenwolf: And Niall here foolishly believes that there were.

Niall: There were. It's in John Smith's diary.

Steppenwolf: John Smith didn't even celebrate Thanksgiving. He preceded the first recorded instance by at least 60 years!

Niall: Let me just find . . .

Lucky (to the Barista): They do this all the time?

The Barista: Every year. Same argument, I hear. Verble says it only stops when he finally plays Alice's Restaurant on a loop.

Overhears at Booth 3:Aircraft Carriers

. . . Heard that the Chinese were building an aircraft serif and I thought oh crapnthey're building an aircraft carrier, you know they're just gonna use it to take over California, or at least just push us out of the Middle East so they can keep all the oil to themselves, I mean, why else would they be builds an aircraft carrier, and all my buddies at the shop were talking about it too,

And then I found out that we have FOURTEEN! Aircraft carriers! You know how many threat of the world has? ZERO!

We're the only ones with the ability to take planes around the rest the world to blow the ship outta anyone we want!

Well, I suppose until the Chinese get theirs built. But we still got the ratio on 'em!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

At the Counter: Word of the Day

The word of the day is Vile:

adj. vil·er, vil·est
1. Loathsome; disgusting: vile language.
2. Unpleasant or objectionable: vile weather. See Synonyms at offensive.
a. Contemptibly low in worth or account; second-rate.
b. Of mean or low condition.
4. Miserably poor and degrading; wretched: a vile existence.
5. Morally depraved; ignoble or wicked: a vile conspiracy.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vlis, cheap, worthless; see wes-3 in Indo-European roots.]
vilely adv.
vileness n.

In other words, a synonym of "vile" would be "conservative" in the context of the current conservative movement.

As we go forward into 2012, the year when the vile conservatives will undoubtedly make great strides in brainwashing the American public to vote against their own economic self-interests, it behooves me to state to you now, unequivocally, that whenever I make these definitions against "conservatives" I am not speaking of the human beings. I am commanded by GOD to love every human being, even the ones who want to kill me. I love you all. However, the conservative movement, and it's ideology (or should I say "Ide-olatry") is completely open for my loathing, my detestation, my hatred.

Yes, I can hate the conservative thought, because I know where it comes from: it comes from Satan. Now, before you weak-minded conservatives jump up and start throwing your not-well-read-enough Bibles in my direction, let me lead you down the logical path, and don't worry, I'll try to make it simple enough for you;

1) Jesus said "You cannot serve both God and Money"
2) The Conservative Ideology is based on money.
3) Therefore, the Conservative Ideology does not serve God.

Chew on that, masticate, ruminate, mull it over. Eventually, it'll sink in.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Overheard at Table 1: Venal

Here is the definition for the word of the day:


A third definition of the word "venal"

3) A member of the Republican party.

At the Counter: Announcement for 2012

Verble Gherulous says:

Here is my prediction, but I'll forewarn you, it's a sad one, and I pray to God in Heaven that I am proved wrong.

2012 is the year that the world ends. But not the physical earth, it's the year when America ends: the decent, kind America that historically has sent forth more financial and medical aid than countries in need, the America that made things better and faster, the America that entered wars in order to STOP wars, and not because it wanted to preserve its empire, and America that made sure that everybody had a decent livable wage.

That America, frankly, only existed for a short time, if it existed at all, but it was an image we had of ourselves, and next year is the year that it's gone for good, because next year is when America strips away this ideal that all who come here can have a better life just by working hard, next year America will finally reveal itself that if you ain't the CEO, you ain't squat under a bootheel, when America will finally show itself as venial, mean-spirited, and mediocre.

This is because next year the Republicans are going to win the election - by at least 60%. They will win the election because of two main factors: The investors will keep the stock market weak throughout 2012, and there will be no great gains in the economy. The economy will be kept weak by these serpents, because they want unemployment to remain high. This is so they can keep attacking the President and show him to be ineffective, which he is, but only because he tried to work across the aisle.

The other reason is that the Health Care Reform comes up before the Supreme Court in June. They will unravel the entire thing, simply by ruling unconstitutional the power of Congress to force each citizen to purchase health care. When they do this, the whole thing is gone, and not only will your sick children now no longer be able to get their medicine, the Health Insurance companies will now jack your rates so high that the only medical care you will EVER receive is a gauze pad from a bored ER nurse when you arrive on the doorstep hemorraging from every pore.

When the Health Care law is repealed, the Republicans will tell America, "Told you so! We told you guys that you didn't want affordable health care, and now we will make sure you never get it!" And then, the ONLY accomplishment of any real value in this presidency will be gone.

Our president may as well not even run. This year is going to be an embarrassing slaughter of immeasurable proportions.

I'm sorry to have to give you this news, and again, I pray that I am wrong. The only consolation I can give you is that the coffee is on the house today.

So drink well, my friends, you will need to be fortified for the days ahead!

Overheard at Table 3: Recent Republican Debates

Steve: I swear, if Obama had been making the gaffs that these idiots have been making in these debates, the constituency would have ripped him apart and put him through the shredder.

Len: You mean, worse than they already do every day? Worse than they have been the last three years?

Steve: But dang, all you hear are excuses excuses excuses. I've heard the news saying "Give Perry a chance" and "Hey, we don't need an orator anyway. Orators make the worst presidents!"

Len: Then what do they think of the "Great Orator" ? Wasn't he supposedly the greatest President?

Steve: Shoot, it just goes to show that the conservatives will make any excuse for a conservative. They absolutely refuse to admit that they have a whole host of dribbling morons up there on that stage (except for Mr. Slickmitt Romney) and they can't stand the fact that Perry's a moron, Cain's a slimy serpent, and Bachmann is just a loose looney!

Len: Yeah, but they spout what the Republican base want to hear: We won't tax you, and we'll kill anybody who stands in our way.

Steve: What I can't understand is how they can make such flubs as not remembering what departments they want to cut, making outrageously false statements with completely inaccurate figures, getting their sources wrong, false allegations, false claims, and each and every time they are fact-checked and found out to be complete frauds, and yet the news and the people completely ignore them. What the hell is going on here?

Len: There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Steve: Then we all deserve who we vote for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Overheard at Booth 3: Ninth Gate

Johnny Depp and Roman Polanski

Dang can Roman make a movie, man I don't care if he was under house arrest for something he did in the 70's, which yeah I admit he probably should stand trial for, but dang, he can still make a movie, this one was all subtle and dark and slightly burned around the edges, but I have to admit his ONE downfall as a director is this insipid desire to cast his current girlfriend as the lead in every movie, because I have never seen a one of 'em what could act!

Seriously! I suppose one of the carrying forwards of this movie was Johnny Depp, but then that guy could recite the phone book and make it sound either hilarious, mysterious, creepy, or existential, all depending on whatever character a director wanted at the time. And I have to say that Lena Olin played a darn good femme fatale - with claws and everything!

Couldn't really understand the ending, though, did he open the 9th gate or what? Dang, he opened SOME gate, that's fer sure! Heh heh, but really, we're looking for the book for two hours, which I have to tell you, just for the shots of these massive personal libraries with these books that are hundreds of years old,

for a bibliphile, that will leave your mouth watering. Oh, to have bookcases like those! Makes your heart downright ACHE!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: Michael Berry and Hatin' conservatives

Michael Berry on the radio today made the statement that a lot of liberals claim to hate conservatives but when they are asked why they hate conservatives, they can't give any specific reasons why.

Well, Michael Berry has not, obviously, spoken to many liberals, at least not directly. His closest contact with a liberal has probably been in the pages of an Ann Coulter book. That notwithstanding, there are specific reasons why liberals hate conservatives.

Actually, though, let's rephrase: because HATE is something forbidden by God. We are commanded to love our enemies. And yes, conservatives are the enemies of all decent human beings everywhere. Period.

So, let's say that while we must LOVE our conservative brothers, we certainly can LOATHE conservatism, at least as how conservatism is currently in the American culture. There was a time, not just two or three generations ago, when conservatism was not so wholly descpicable as it is now, so there is hope that one day in the future that it will take on an entirely new meaning, hopefully something more positive.

But let's get back to the point: Conservatism is wrong, and we "hate" it (using Michael Berry's term) because of these points:

1) They worship the dollar.

2) They allow corporations to kill the environment, and to kill people.

3) They are intolerant of any ideas other than their own.

4) They are mean-spirited and cruel.

5) They are hypocritical.

6) They can't abide honest discussion. They resort only to ad hominem attacks and false alternatives when presenting their arguments.

7) They spawn vicious hatemongers like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

and, since you dweebs like specifics, let's have some specifics:

8) Warrantless wire taps

9) Halliburton

10) Enron

11) Iraq war (both of them, but especially the second.)

12) Waterboarding.

13) Holding US Citizen Padilla without charge for over a year in direct violation of the Constitutional right he was born with.

13) Killing US Citizens on foreign soil without due process (OK, I'll admit, that was under a Democratic President . . . but you know you liked it!)

14) Slavish devotion to the death penalty.

15) Your stance against Pro-Choice, especially when the woman's life and health is in danger.

16) Your cartoonish approach to welfare, and describing every single welfare recipient as a fat black woman addicted to crack cocaine and spitting out babies just so she can increase her monthly government payout.

17) Your description of Social Security as an "entitlement"

18) Your endless parade of presidential candidates who spew your "marriage is sacred between man and a woman" when almost every one of them has had numerous affairs, and one who even served divorce papers on his wife while she was dying in the hospital from cancer.

19) This farcical notion of "American Exceptionalism."

20) Your sullen, childish, petulant stance against HEALTH CARE. (That one really grinds me!)

Should I go on, Mr. Berry? Or do you at least get that there are many reasons why Liberals would hate Conservatives. I would, and I did, before I reminded myself I was not put on this earth to hate.

So, instead, I would like to educate instead of hate. Sadly, though, the worst students are conservatives, because they are either too ignorant, too obstinate, or simply too stupid to learn anything that isn't spewed out of the propaganda machine called the Conservative controlled Mainstream Media.

Also, that's a good one too: conservatives have done a real good job of taking over the media by selling the idea that the liberals control the media. Fox News is now mainstream media. All the other outlets are alternative media. Good job, guys. The fascist propaganda machine bought and paid for by the oligarchy is really doing well.

And that's another reason to despise conservatism.

Man, I could go on all day. But like most Americans, I have to go out and work now.

See you at the Occupy movement!

(Just kidding! But I made you cringe just then, didn't I?)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: A Passion Play

I watched that movie just because it had Mickey Rourke and Bill Murray in it, never mind Megan Fox, who frankly is nothing but a semi-pretty face - which by the way, reminds me of the only good line in the movie, from the only decent character: This washed-up stripper friend of Mickey Rourke at one point, when he's on the phone telling her he's bringing back this girl to show to Bill Murray the gangster, she says, "You says she's beautiful. Gotta be something more to her. This town's full of beautiful women."

The "something more" is a pair of wings, and Rourke has saved her from a carnival freakshow. But dang, the plot is all over the place, and also not there at all. The dialogue is stiffed. Murray seems like he's not even there, and Rourke puts out what he can. I read somewhere that some director said Rourke has more talent in his little finger than most actors have in their whole bodies, and that must be true, because if it is the job a director to bring out an actor's best performance, this director had no idea what his job was. Rourke at least put up a fair play with the crud he was dealt.

It was almost as if this movie were made by actors who were past thier prime, and are trying to get back in the game. But I thought that couldn't be true for Murray. I was thinking maybe this was Megan Fox's first movie, before she made her big break in Transformers. Then I looked the movie up today and it was made only LAST YEAR!

How did that happen? These people were still using pay phones! Was it set in the nineties? Eighties? Who made this monster? Why wasn't he stopped? Instead, we have this dull, turgid, insipid drudgery - the ONLY THING ALIVE IN THIS MOVIE IS HER WINGS!

This is definitely one of those films that could have been made better if you took the basic idea, re-wrote the entire script, changed directors, maybe keep the cinematographer and the actors (except for Fox - anybody can look that dense), and definitely a new editing team.

Pretty much - make it different right from the start.

Overheard at Booth 4: Immortals

Wife: So, what'd you think of the movie?

Husband: It was all right.

Wife: Just all right?

Husband: Yeah, it was a little gory.

Wife: If it wasn't for that one sex scene, we could let the kids see it.

Husband: Let the kids see it? The thing was a gore fest, there were at least three throats slit with blood pouring out, there were massive decapitations, blood and guts smashed all over the walls, people split completely in half, eyes couged out with thumbs, and total carnage throughout the whole two hours!

Wife: Yeah, but the sex scene will just give them ideas about doing stuff we don't want them to do.

[a few sips of coffee. a relaxed silence. relaxed silences which are uncomfortable for daters and newleyweds, but which are a welcome comfort for those who have been married for a relative while]

Wife: Besides, that Theseus guy was hot.

Husband: So was Phaedra.

Wife: That was a body double.

Husband: When?

Wife: When she was naked. I read it on my phone when I was looking up the movie. That wasn't her naked. That was a body double.

Husband: Then they were both hot.

Friday, November 11, 2011

from the Counter

Verble raises a mug of coffee in toast.

"To our veterans! Thank you sincerely for your service to this country. I pray to God that this country will honor you by calling upon your service and the services of others in the future ONLY in times when the conflict waged is to save lives - and not generate profits.

Thank you, and God bless you all!"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Overheard at Booth 4: Puss in Boots

And yes the animation was splendid, and Antonio Banderas' voice is pitch-perfect for this role, but still there seemed to be something lacking, and I can't put my paw on it. Maybe it was just because this was the fifth installment of a franchise that frankly should have ended with Shrek 2.

The first two movies were brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The third was just to cash in on the first two and the fourth was an attempt at redemption.

This one seems much like a combination of Shrek 3 and 4: both an attempt to keep the money flowing in, by highlighting the most popular character, and trying to see if spin-offs can stand on their own.

I think what fails for me is when the movie is carried by the funny jokes from the movies before. Mainly the big eyes that look soooooooo cute. It's OK, done that, doesn't affect me any more. And the catnip/marijuana joke - come on, that was the only funny joke of Shrek 3.

Still, when I was there all the grade schoolers were giggling like mad over the helium voices induced by the thin air of the upper atmosphere. So you know there's something for the kids.

And I haven't really said anything about the other main characters of this movie: Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws, but that's because there's really nothing to be said about them. They are thinly drawn (metaphorically speaking) - so I don't think there's much of a chance of a spinoff movie about either of them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Overheard at Table 3: Cars 2 Review

I think my 12 year old said it best, he said, "Man was this movie violent! The first Cars was all nicey-nicey talking cars and this one they're killing each other all over the place!"

That bad, huh?

Well, I liked the James Bond-spy theme, especially with Michael Caine as the voice of the spy car. But yeah, this was definitely filled with oil and tires, splattered all over the screen.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

On an iPad screen, left on at Table 3: "Psalm 27 from Warren Peace"

The Story: Warren Peace finds this poem on a blog:

Looking for America

I’ve come to look for America
but I can’t find her anywhere.

I looked on her front porch,
but the boards were rotted through,
I looked in her back yards
but the grass was overgrown,
I drove past her wheat fields,
but they’d all been left unplowed,
just wooden signs that stretched to the sky
standing by the roadside, saying
Zoned for Commercial or Residential
Please Call.

I went looking in the factories,
but the factories were all closed down,
just workers stripping windows and
cleaning the bricks,
and putting in the studs to
build condominium walls.
I went looking in the train stations,
but America was not there,
just some ragged Army jackets
that she’d left behind as blankets
of the veterans who sleep there.

I went looking on the coasts
out on the Gulf seas,
but all the shrimp boats were pulled in
and the nets were hanging empty.
I went looking in the forests
but all the trees were burning,
from casually tossed off cigarettes
that touched the tinder into flames.

I went driving down the highways,
across the mid and coast to coast,
thought I’d find her in a diner
over scrambled eggs and toast,
but the coffee there was bitter
and the pancakes were too dry,
and America hadn’t even left a tip
for the waitress with the swollen eye.

I went looking for America
but America had left town,
she’d pulled the blinds on the shop windows
after the Main Street had all closed down.

I stood on the flat mountain top
that had been stripped off for coal,
and looked across the painted desert
at the city in the sooty fold,
I knew I’d never find America
in the shadows of the scrapers of the sky,
because she’d sold off every lease
to any foreigner who’d buy,
and those left to die in the alleyways
from drugs smuggled in cracks
across borders from lands of distant suns,
America had long since romanticized
her Tin Pan Alley Slums.

But all that’s left of America now,
are just a handful of American tunes,
some scattered fragments of melodies
of songs no longer sung.

I went looking for America
But couldn’t find her anywhere,
just a ragged tri-colored blanket

she’d left draped across an
old wooden rocking chair
that stands upon that front porch
with the boards all rotted through.

Warren thinks of his grandmother, living all alone in a house built against an old historic lighthouse on the coast of Maine. She’s lived there alone for the last fifteen years, with only her last surviving son, his uncle, looking in on her intermittently.

She is old now: decrepit, and blind. Every phone call ends with her rage against a God who took away two of her three sons. "A mother is supposed to go before her children. How can I love a God who did this to me?"

Warren would like to think that it is out of respect for his grandmother that he doesn't try to reassure her, but he knows that it really is because he doesn't have anything that he could say that would make her feel any differently, or any better.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Overheard at Table 4

"So my kid was wanting to buy a new little app, probably zombes killin or wahtrever and he tells me hey dad the itunes icon is gone from the descktop and im like what? and i go check and its gone, so i spend the whole morning looking for it and it's nowhere i mean there is a the program that comes up under search but it tells me i can't access it, so i go online and there are all these sites with the same problem but they don't tell me jack squat about what the problem is, but finally it tells me to reinstall it, so im spending another hour trying to download and reinstall and this program is telling me everything about my own computer, and

"so im thinking that Apple now knows everything about my life because they know everything on my computer and im thinking first wow that means they can take over my life, because they've got all my info and then im thinking what can the government do to spy on me because they can probably get all that info from Apple if they wanted and then i thought, wow man that's really paranoid, because they don't have just my info, they've got info from millions and billions of computers all over the world, and they would have to just crawl through all that data, and why would they want MY info anyway, i would have to have something that would really stick out that anybody would be interested in, and really, i'm really not all that interesting,

"and then i thought to myself 'that's the secret to being happy!' - just make yourself so uninteresting that no one will ever want to do anything to you.

"pretty cool, huh?"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dali, Cannibal

Sometimes you just need to kickstart a Friday with a good dose of Dali.

Here's just a taste. You must seek out large doses on your own.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Overheard at Table 2: Kids these days are so eloquent

Son: Dad, I want to see this new movie coming out.

Dad: Sure. What's it called?

Son: I dunno.

Dad: What's it about?

Son: I dunno.

Dad: Well, where'd you hear about it?

Son: I saw a commercial on TV.

Dad: And what was the commercial like?

Son: Uh, I can't really explain it. But it's by the same guys who did Grown Ups. Can't you just look it up on YouTube?

Dad: Sure, son - I'll just search under "new movie by same guys who did Grown Ups"

Son: That should work.