Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Overheard at the Counter: A Poem about the Death of the Colorado River

Verble comes out of the office where he should have been working on the bills, but actually was arguing with gunrunners about fast and furious, but along the way one of his Twitter friends had urged him to write his own poem about a news article he'd heard on the radio the other day.

So, Verble slaps the piece of paper down on the counter and here is what he was furious scribbled out.

from 366.


The River Banks are Full of Ghosts

I heard on the news today that you were dying, some

sort of slow, ridiculous death, the type

of death in which you slowly wither away, like cancer,

but the outline that you leave shows where you

once were, when you were strong,


and there are marshlands still, maybe some 10,000 acres

left, when once there was a million or more,

all along the delta that was created when you

laughingly collapsed into the sea.

You leave behind the canyon, that you carved with

your patient hands, working slowly, slowly cleaving

through the millennia upon millennia of multicolored

strata, burrowing yourself deep deep into the earth,

where you could lie coolly in the basin, never

touched by the sun except at midday.

The scientist on the radio today who was

talking about your death, she said that she had

to borrow allergy medicine from her guides while

hiking along your canyon banks, because there is different flora

growing there now, shrubs that never grew before,

because the great floods that you depended on each year

to rip away the callouses of unneeded dirt, those

annual purges don’t come any more, thanks to the

dam, somewhere upriver, somewhere out of sight,

that churns daily to light up Vegas

and parts of southern California.

The other man who was talking about your death, he

read a book about you when he was a child, written only

100 years ago, a book that talked about your

virility, your strength, your verdant hair and your golden sinews and the

clear blue, blue blood that gave life, life to birds, life to plants,

life to animals, and this man, he tried to follow the path of that

book in a canoe, and he turned a corner and you stopped.  

Just stopped.

You are now nothing more than the foam at the top of a frappucino.

Overheard at Booth 3: Taking Tea with the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat

Where do you find this cool stuff?

It just comes to me.

I mean, this is wild.  BOTH Cat Stevens albums that were ever any darn good?   All done by these artists?   This is freaking wild.    This is a soundtrack for ANY cafe, anywhere.

Of Monsters and Men - The Wind
Among the Oak and Ash - Rubylove
Rosie Thomas - If I Laugh
Polyphonic Spree - Changes IV
Magnetic Fields - How Can I Tell Youi
Iron and Wine - Tuesday's Dead
The New Amsterdams - Morning Has Broken
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes - Bitterblue
Kings of Convenience - Moonshadow
Angus and Julia Stone - Peace Train
Walk Off the Earth - Where do the Children Play?
Mumford and Sons - Hard Headed Woman
The New Pornographers - Wild World
Gregory and the Hawk - Sad Lisa
Andrew Bird - Miles from Nowhere
Okkervil River - But I Might Die Tonight
Noah and the Whale - Longer Boats
The Decembrists - Into White
Sufjan Stevens - On the Road to Findout
Tegan and Sara - Father and Son
Jolie Holland - Tea for the Tillerman

Overheard at Table 1: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

The idea generated by the title is what really sustains this movie all the way through, that, and that super-cool ax.   Taking the Lincoln legend of the little hatchet that is attributed to his persona and making that a symbol of a powerful vampire-killin' machine, well, that's nothing short of brilliant.

Unfortunately, though, the rest of the movie is not.   Abe is your standard Clark Kent/Superman persona, in the guise of nerdy schopclerk by day/vampire killer by night.    Mary Todd shows the only bit of acting potential, as she played coy, demure, but also exploded as a grieving mother (in only one scene, though, then the kid's forgotten)

That, and we also have a token "negro best friend" and your standard washed-up drunk friend (he's not a drunk, per se, but you see the type) and then there's the arch-enemy named Adam (Rufus Sewell) who really is trying to take over the world (although he SAYS he just wants a little place for his kind!)

But hey, we're not here for the acting, or even the plot, we're here for some vampire-killin'   Well, there's plenty of buckets of black blood in this monster.    Hacking and slashing everywhere you go, and some nice CG choreography.  You know, there's so much CG these days you wonder if we really even need to have actors any more?    I see this movie as a giant video game.   I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't already out there.   You are Abe Lincoln, you can throw the axe and have it boomering back to you like Captain America's shield or Batman's batarang, or you can turn it over and use it as a machine gun.   You hunt vampires through narrow alleys, or in train cars, or on tops of train cars, or on top of train cars on bridges that are on fire (At one point in the movie, there's a little engine that is going "i think i can i think i can i think i can!")

And the R rating is the biggest joke.    I think I've finally figured out the rating system.   It's based solely on the F-bomb.   You drop the F-word once in a movie, automatic R rating.   They say it was the pervasive violence, but truly, there's no more hacking and slashing in this one than in any other movie of this type.    Gotta be the F-bomb.

Especially considering that we also say Rock of Ages (PG-13) same day, which had so much skin it looked like a Victoria's Secret commercial.    Tom Cruise tongueing a woman's bottom singing he wants to know what love is.    I'm not a prude, and it was a very nice bottom, but the difference in ratings shows we as a society do not have our priorities straight.    That's not part of this review - this last paragraph is a freebie!

Oh yeah, there was this really tasty fight scene with the blond vampiress trapping Abe to the floor with a chair and her boots, in a position of which Mrs. Lincoln would definitely have not approved, let me say!  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Overheard at Table 4: Journey 2 The Mysterious Island

Definitely not as great as the first movie, but then the wife always has the steamies for Branden Fraser.    However, the Rock does what he always does, which is a lovable dad-figure, which was pretty fair.   Michael Caine did what we always does, which is slightly-odd sarcastic old guy.    The kid at least was trying, but I have to admit a bit of consternation as to why they chose two actors of Aztec descent to play a father and daughter from Palau.

But I realize now that my son has entered puberty.   He never once took his eyes off of Venessa Hudgens

Actually, for me, the only interesting part was the attempt to tie Verne's Mysterious Island to Swift's Gulliver's Travels to Stevenson's Treasure Island.   Basically, making them writing about the same mysterious island.   But then, that only took up five minutes of film time.    Still, it was the most intriguing five minutes of the movie.

Overseen at Booth 4: What You Can't Fix, but . . .

Overheard at Booth 1: Man on a Ledge

And then after we had seen Chronicle, we popped in Man on a Ledge, which perked everybody up, because it was your standard bank robbery/action/intrigue/revenge of unjust incarceration-type of movie.

Ah.   In other words, a film that breaks even.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Overheard at the Counter: Three Passionate Persons to their Loves

Verble says:  It's a triptych, a triad, a trinity, a triune!    Sometimes you just have to sit down and contrast and compare.  Today on the menu we've got Christopher Marlowe's "A Passionate Shepherd to his Love"   then, Sir Walter Raleigh's sarcastic response, "The Nymph's Reply"   and then we top it all off with Dorothy Parker's ability to rip off BOTH guys and make them look just plain silly, with her sardonic take on not only the poem and poetical structure, but also to use it to shred the conceit of mid-twentieth century psychoanalysis.

You know, the only thing that would make it all perfect would be if Marlowe's original were read as some sort of torrid inside joke.   But then,, he wasn't Lewis Carroll, now, was he?

Christopher Marlowe

(Before 1593.)
C OME live with me, and be my love;
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies;
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps and amber-studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Sir Walter Raleigh

(Before 1599.)

I F all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields:
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

The gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,—
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Dorothy Parker

The Passionate Freudian to His Love

Only name the day, and we'll fly away
 In the face of old traditions,
To a sheltered spot, by the world forgot,
 Where we'll park our inhibitions.
Come and gaze in eyes where the lovelight lies
 As it psychoanalyzes,
And when once you glean what your fantasies mean
 Life will hold no more surprises.
When you've told your love what you're thinking of
 Things will be much more informal;
Through a sunlit land we'll go hand-in-hand,
 Drifting gently back to normal.

While the pale moon gleams, we will dream sweet dreams,
 And I'll win your admiration,
For it's only fair to admit I'm there
 With a mean interpretation.
In the sunrise glow we will whisper low
 Of the scenes our dreams have painted,
And when you're advised what they symbolized
 We'll begin to feel acquainted.
So we'll gaily float in a slumber boat
 Where subconscious waves dash wildly;
In the stars' soft light, we will say good-night—
 And “good-night!” will put it mildly.

Our desires shall be from repressions free—
 As it's only right to treat them.
To your ego's whims I will sing sweet hymns,
 And ad libido repeat them.
With your hand in mine, idly we'll recline
 Amid bowers of neuroses,
While the sun seeks rest in the great red west
 We will sit and match psychoses.
So come dwell a while on that distant isle
 In the brilliant tropic weather;
Where a Freud in need is a Freud indeed,
 We'll always be Jung together.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Overheard at Table 4: Chronicle

The family hated it.   I thought it was pretty darn good.   It showed what young men would do in that situation.

So, it is like Cloverfield, I heard it was like Cloverfield.

Yeah, it had that "Blair Witch" feel about it. 

So even the kids didn't like it?   They usually like stuff like that.

My daughter said it had no point honestly, just some teenagers with emotional problems, get powers, one of them goes nuts because his dad's an abusive drunk.

Pretty good synopsis, really.

My son just said it was boring.

A regular Siskel and Ebert.

Or those two old guys from the Muppets.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Overheard at Table One: Not Ranked Acoustic Guitar Songs

These are not any order ranked, so no silly "Top Five" or anything like that - just good old Acoustic Guitar Songs:

Goo Goo Dolls - Name
Led Zeppelin - Bron-Yr-Aur
Jefferson Airplane - Embryonic Journey
Blind Faith - Can't Find My Way Home
Violent Femmes - Nightmares

Check 'em out.   You'll be glad you did.

Overread at the Counter: The Twa Corbies

As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies makin' a mane.
The tane intae the tither did say, O,
"Whaur sall we gang and dine the day, O,
whaur sall we gang and dine the day?"

"It's in ahint you auld fail dyke,
I wot there lies a new slain knight,
an naebody kens that he lies there, O,
but his hawk and his hound and his lady fair, O,
but his hawk and his hound and his lady fair".

"His hound is to the haunting gane,
his hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
his lady's ta'en anither mate, O,
so we may mak our dinner swate".

"Ye'll sit on his white hause-bane,
and I'll pike oot his bonny blue e'en,
we'll theek oor nest when it grows bare, O,
we'll theek oor nest when it grows bare".

There's mony a ane for him maks mane,
but nane sall ken whaur he is gane,
o'er his white banes when they are bare, O,
the wind sall blaw for evenmair, O,
the wind sall blaw for evenmair.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Overheard at Booth 3: We Can't Make It Here

Overheard at Table 2: Running out of steam

What's really sad is that I am already so worn out by this election year that I can't even muster enough steam to be angry at all the hateful lies that are flying around our heads.

And the RNC hasn't even officially met yet!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

At the Counter: Beautiful World

I must constantly remind myself that Christ taught us not to worry, and to think on that which is magnificent and beautiful.   So, to assuage my rage I searched "Beautiful World" on Google images and found this picture from a site called

We must think upon the beauty, else the ugliness will consume us.

Overheard at Table 4: Singleminded

As the year heats up, the RNC has only one focus in mind: to take back the White House.   What will they do with it when they get it again?   Same thing that they've always done:   throw big giant parties for their rich frat-boy friends and party like the champagne ain't never gonna run out.

Oh yeah, and while they're at it - they'll allow businesses to take a major toxic dump into the last remaining clean rivers, plow under the national forests looking for oil, and pump your children so full of grease that their arteries will explode.

All that while killing untold numbers of Middle Asians so that you good'ol redbludded Americans can imagine yourselves going to sleep at night to awake to a new morning of sweet bluebirds singing "God Bless America"!

But since this is what you want, this is what you will vote for.

If this is not what you want, get out there and make your voice heard.   You're not talking loud enough!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Overheard at Table 3: Today's Top Ten

Today's top ten Rock and Roll Songs of all Time:

10) The Guess Who - No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
9) The Beatles - Helter Skelter
8) The Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar
7) The Smithereens - The World We Know
6) The Who - Baba O'Reilley
5) Black Sabbath - Paranoid
4) The Beatles - Get Back
3) Heart - Barracuda
2) Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
1) The Ramones - Teenage Lobotomy

Yes, "Teenage Lobotomy"  - what a great great great great song!   If that sucker don't leave you singing at the end, then you have no heartbeat.   Plus, everyone smiles at how they rhyme "tell 'em" with "cerebellum"

Pure brilliance!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Overheard at Booth 4: Summer sucks

High school sister:  Man, I failed the state test so I gotta get the test again next month.

Jr high brother:  I passed the state test but failed the class.   So I gotta take summer school.

Both brother and sister:   Summer's gonna suck!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Overread at Table 4: "Essay on Adam" by Robert Bringhurst

Essay on Adam
by Robert Bringhurst

There are five possibilities. One: Adam fell.
Two: he was pushed. Three: he jumped. Four:
he only looked over the edge, and one look silenced him.
Five: nothing worth mentioning happened to Adam.

The first, that he fell, is too simple. The fourth,
fear, we have tried and found useless. The fifth,
nothing happened, is dull. The choice is between:
he jumped or was pushed. And the difference between these

is only an issue of whether the demons
work from the inside out or from the outside
in: the one
theological question.