Thursday, August 30, 2012

Overread at Table 1: Ballad "Hiram Hibbard"

Interested I was in the version by Among the Oak and Ash, I wanted to know more about the ballad "Hiram Hibbard."  Can't really find much of anything online, except that it was also done by Bob Dylan in 1963, with some different verses.

The more detailed is a blog post (link!/2012/05/hiram-hubbard-hiram-hubbert.html)

That has some good historical narrative of the song.  Apparently it dates back to the Civil War, but I really still prefer the treatment by Among the Oak and Ash, who make the song sound like a lynching.  The way I interpret it, this is not so much a murder ballad as a treastise on post Civil WAr race relations in America, as well as the ability to administer immediate so-called "justice" which often amounted to community-endorsed murder based on fabricated evidence, if they even bothered with evidence at all.

I'll need to research further, to find out more.

I think the Americana duo S and M are planning to cover this one for a future album.

Overread at Booth 4: Those Who Close Doors



Those who close doors
never know the joy of
the wind in their hair,
never appreciate the
pleasure of the soft hand,
the fingers
weaving into the fingers
of another, the cool
warmth of the touch.
who close doors
are nothing more
than coat hooks
mounted awkwardly
on chipped-paint walls,
their only company a
memory of
muddy coats.

from 366.



Overheard at Table Three: No Redemption for Yesterday

H: looking around the news yesterday, came across this story about a 53 year old woman who just had her hands chopped off with a machete by her boyfriend in Las Vegas, now has cancer.

J: That's terrible.

H: Yeah, he also hacked her in the head.  Tried to slit his own throat with the same machete, but they've got him on charges now.

J: That's not half as sick as what I heard: some kid in upstate New York killed this little 5 year old girl with his bare hands and dumped her body in a trash can.

H: What the hell is going on with this place?

J: Weirdest part of the story is that the great-grandmother, who the girl lived with, said that she last saw her around 11:30 at night when she went to bed, and the little girl was still playing with this 16 year old boy.

H: What?!

J: Yeah, she said they did it all the time.

H: Playing with this teenage boy?

J: Yeah.

H: Well, there's a reason why you don't let your toddlers play with teenage boys until late at night.   They might wind up dead in a trash can.

J: What the hell is wrong with people these days?

H: If it weren't for God, there'd be no salvation for any of us.  

J: At least not these sickos.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

At the Counter: Salinghetti Chronicles Vol. 679

Verble slides a CD toward the Barista, saying, "Here, you need to listen to some good music."

The Barista looks at the names written on the CD.   "What?" she says, "No Nicki Minaj?"

"Don't make me hurt you," Verble says.

The Salinghetti Chronicles Vol. 679

A Pack of Ballads


Among the Oak and Ash – Hiram Hubbard

Among the Oak and Ash – Peggy-O

Bob Dylan – Jim Jones

John Wesley Harding – Little Musgrave

Dave Alvin – Blackjack Davy

The Tannahill Weavers – Harris and the Mare

Mumford and Sons – Awake my Soul

The Weepies – World Spins Madly On

Barenaked Ladies – Bank Job

Jason Fickel – Bells of Avingnon

Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart

John Mayer – Who Says

Barenaked Ladies – Easy

Barenaked Ladies – Peterborough and the Kawarthas

Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla

Death Cab for Cutie – Grapevine Fires

The Pogues – Love You Till the End

Israle Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World


Here's what we've got going down at the cafe

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Overheard at Booth One: Abstinence Programs

C: I heard on the radio earlier this year some guy talking about the old abstinence programs during the initial AIDS epidemic.  He said something that's stuck with me.   He said, "That was a good idea but not applicable to the real world."

M: "Real world"?

C: Yeah: "A good idea but not applicable to the real world."   So I started thinking about the so-called "real world"

M: Like abstinence is not "real."

C: It's only real if you practice it! 

M: Trouble is, nobody does, it seems.

C: Unfortunately not.   But when taken seriously, it IS the absolute best way to keep yourself from all the consequences of sex - the "unintended" consequences, shall we say.

M: But in a way, this is what we've been learning.   This is what people don't understand.   This is not the "real world" This, what we've got here.   This is the dream.

C: Sometimes it feels like a freakin' nightmare.

M: But still a dream.  Heaven.   That's the Real World.   The Real World is the beauty of Heaven, and the peace that comes with the Kingdom of God - that peace, in our lives, right now, puts us IN THAT PLACE.   There is our "Real World."  

C: Where we don't have to worry about STDs.

M: And we won't have to force ourselves to be abstinent!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Strawbs: From the Witchwood

Verble says, "Ah yes, here is one of my prized possessions!   After all these years, I finally found it on vinyl again.   The Strawbs' From the Witchwood LP.   A brilliant piece of acoustic guitar work, flourished by Rick Wakeman's ebullient, if sometimes completely overDONE, keyboards - this was Wakemen just before he went off to hit it big with Yes.   But seriously, the acoustic guitars make this: they sound just like they would have sounded in the Middle Ages, IF the current acoustic guitar design had been available in the Middle Ages.

"I could go on forever about the difference in design between the instruments; frankly, I have always found it sad that while we can replicate the instruments of the time, they always seem to be merely replicas.  We will never be able to hear what an original guitar truly sounded like in the environs of the day.  The sounds of the guitar, at least in my opinion, is not just the instrument itself, and not just the player, and not even just the room or studio that it's being played in, but it's the AGE in which it's being played.

"Seriously, listen to the albums as they go across the decades: there are similar guitars with similar designs, but the sound it different, each decade.   You may think that it's the recording techniques, and that may be part of it, but it's also the time.

"But back to the Strawbs:  I hear this album, and it feels like what it would have sounded like then, in a think-planked pub, or dining hall, or out on some minor lord's lawn.
"And if you think that's all a bunch of crap, well then, just give it a listen because it's just 10 good late 60's psychadelic folksongs!"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Overheard at Booth 1: Arthur

Dad: So, what's you guys think of the Arthur movie?

Gabby: i thought it was pretty funny.

Bobby: hn hm.  i like chocolate

Gabby: he's asking you about the movie and you talk about chocolate!

Bobby: i like chocolate

Gabby: i hate it when you do that, we're talking about something and then you just come up with some random stuff. you're so stupid i hate you.

Dad: I wonder why I even try.

Dad's Interior Monologue:  I was hoping they would talk about how it started out seeming inappropriate, but then began to have some redeeming qualities, such as the obvious affection of Helen Mirren (Arthur's nanny - yes, he has his nanny at the age of 30!) and how we descover that his alcoholism really disguises his intense compassion - how he gives more money away than he throws away - how the love grows for the girl who gives guided tours of Grand Central Station - about the sadness when Helen Mirren dies (How she was the best part of the whole movie!) - and about the final redemption of Arthur - I was hoping the kids would all talk about that, but sadly all I get is :

Bobby: why dont you just shut your piehole?

Gabby: why dont you shut yours, dingus?  nobody wants to hear any stupid thing you have to say anyway.   god why do i have to live with this freak!

Overheard at Table 2: just before school

Lindsay:  I swear I was just trying to get my kid to get his schedule to go into seventh grade and then the school nurse nazi tells me he can't start on monday because THEY don't have his current shot records and im like, now when in the hell do i have time to go get that, i mean im working all the time and im trying to get two kids to here and there and everywhere else and then ive got to check in on my dying father, and what do you want me to do?  drop him off at some corner clinic where he can get this meningococo-cockle and dee-pac booster, i mean what do those words even mean?   is she SURE she's giving me the right information, i swear, raising kids on your own is the shits

Monday, August 20, 2012

Overheard at Table 5: The Dark Knight Rises

Yeah, I'll admit, when I took my kids to go see Dark Knight Rises I was looking around to see if any freaks in gas masks were coming in the door.   That kind of stuff just naturally makes you nervous, you know but yeah I know it's like what are the odds?  that happening twice.

Weird, yeah - but the movie.  The movie was OK, I mean, maybe it was because you know, people died just wanting to go watch it, but I just felt this movie wasn't as good as it should have been.  For example, we've got Alfred tearing up in almost every scene, I mean I've loved all of Michael Cain's movies, he's been a great actor for, like, forever, but this blubbery boo-hoo don't get yourself hurt, my son! was just a little over the top.

And Christian Bale?  Who told that guy he could act?  well, I dunno maybe he can act but he can't act Batman.  Less said about him the better.

The best parts of the movie were that one kid who used to be on Third Rock from the Sun, and then came back again in Inception - yeah,now he was pretty good, and you were thinking he's either going to become Robin or become the new Batman, since this Batman's walking around with permanent bone damage, and Catwoman, now that was a saving grace.   That lady can act!   I mean I just saw her in One Day and my little girls know her from the Princess Diaries, that Anne Hathaway takes the Catwoman of the sixties and just runs with it.  It's like she embodies the classic sexiness and mixes it withe the truly independent woman, who only follows a man who can truly earn her respect.   She's just great, and NOT just because she looks slinky in a black leather bodysuit.

Bane, I just wanted him to rip out the shoulder cuffs and grow huge, but he never did!   So that's not Bane, that's just some run-of-the-mill psycho killer.

Anyway, a few twists and turns.   A few big explosions, some good scenes, but mainly it was a snoozer about Batman having been a hermit for eight years because Maggie Gyllenhal got killed in the previous movie.   Oh, yeah, and Alfred weeping throughout.

You can wait for the DVD.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Overheard at Table 2: Top Ten Rock Songs

That's so subjective!

Yesh, I know, but here's mine:

10. The Smithereens - The World We Know
9. The Ramones - We're a Happy Family
8. The Pursuit of Happiness - I'm an Adult Now
7. Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
6. The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night
5. Van Halen - Pretty Woman
4. Guns n Roses - Sweet Child o Mine
3. Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life
2. Black Sabbath - Paranoid
1. AC/DC - You Shook Me (All Night Long)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Overheard at Table 2: 226

Joy is knowing
that you and I, we
are still rumpled bedsheets
in a foreign hotel overlooking
some purple somnambulent


from 366.

Overheard at Table 4: Framing the Debate

Republicans are very very good - at framing the debate.

Some examples, on a radio show (Morning Joe I think it was) there was a soundclip of two men discussing the attack ads of this year, and one man was talking about Romney's negative ads, and had asked the other man about this false accusations, and the other responded by the question, "Well, what about your ads - they did the same thing.  Are you comfortable with that?"

And the first man tried to bring the question back to the original point, but the other guy just kept hammering the question, "Are you comfortable with that?" Meaning, are you morally accepting of your camp presenting the same type of ad.   All the while, Joe is interjecting, "Answer the question."

This is so typical of the conservative style of debate: they are able to avoid answering questions by using fallacies of logic, such as this play on the "Tu Quoque" (You Too!) fallacy.   And then, spotting the hesitancy in the first man's response, the other man was able to continue the belabor the point, thereby making his opponent more confused and seem more evasive.

And those who can't reason coherently (about 90% of all Americans and a full 100% of Morning Joe listeners) will have only the impression that the liberal is weak while the conservative is strong.

Overheard at Booth 4: Criminalizing Dissent

Criminalizing Dissent
The very name of the law itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian credo of endless war waged against enemies within “the homeland” as well as those abroad.
 Copyright © 2012 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Overspoken at Table 4: He Still Dreams of Mercury

from 366.


He stank of the black bowl
at his bedside,
but only ever spoke
of his 57 Mercury Cruiser
and the redhead
he thought was still riding shotgun.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Overread at the Counter: from 366.

from 366.


I can not photograph this
only try
to memorise
through the lens of my eyes

the dark, subtle beauty
of your silhouette,
as the sun
tiptoes away
down into the lost line of the ocean
somewhere far behind you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Overheard at Table 2: Hallelujah

The song "Hallelujah" - beautiful song.  For my money it's the only decent song Leonard Cohen ever wrote.  God I hate Leonard Cohen.  What a putz.  Never had an inkling of the talent of any of his contemporaries.  But I digress:  "Hallelujah" is simply a beautiful song.

Most people like Jeff Buckley's version, but that kind of throws me, too.   Jeff Buckley is one of those artists who died too young, meaning he died before his star faded - actually before it completely rose.  So, when you're in that rising star phase, and you die, then you're left with a small but hard core pack of devoted fans who think you are the absolute most perfect artist ever and nobody will ever come close.   So there are people who believe his version of "Hallelujah" is the final word.

Me, I heard the song first on the Shrek soundtrack.  Yes, that's right, the Shrek soundtrack, it was Rufus Wainwright's version, and mind you I'm not much for Rufus' total flame-y Liberace approach to songs, but this one he nailed the total emotion of the song, this complete biblical soul-tearing angst about what we can do to each other in relationships, how we can just tear the other person's heart out, and drive a nail through it, wow!  Wainwright's version is the absolute tops for this song.  Voice perfect, piano perfect, mood perfect.

Here are the lyrics, but they really don't do it justice.  This is a song that's got some great lines, a little syrupy on the poetic angle, but it's the performance that really brings it all together.

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Then for you chordies out there, I've found someone's transcription:

Standard Tuning

Intro: C Am C Am

  C                 Am
I heard there was a secret chord
     C                   Am
That David played and it pleased the lord
    F                G               C        G
But you don't really care for music, do you?
        C                  F           G
Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
    Am                 F
The minor fall and the major lift
    G            Em             Am
The baffled king composing hallelujah


     F           Am          F           C    G   C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelu-u-u-u-jah ....

          C                        Am
Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
    C               Am
You saw her bathing on the roof
    F              G             C            G
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
C                   F       G
She tied you to her kitchen chair
    Am                        F
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
    G                  Em            Am
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah

     F           Am          F           C    G   C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelu-u-u-u-jah ....

C              Am
Baby I've been here before
     C                       Am
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
  F             G             C          G
I used to live alone before I knew you
C                          F      G
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
    Am                    F
But love is not a victory march
       G               Em          Am
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

     F           Am          F           C    G   C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelu-u-u-u-jah ....

     C                         Am
Well there was a time when you let me know
       C            Am
What's really going on below
    F             G               C        G
But now you never show that to me do you
      C             F        G
But remember when I moved in you
        Am            F
And the holy dove was moving too
    G               Em            Am
And every breath we drew was hallelujah

      C               Am
Well, maybe there's a god above
    C             Am
But all I've ever learned from love
    F                G           C          G
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
     C                  F       G
It's not a cry that you hear at night
     Am                 F
It's not somebody who's seen the light
       G               Em          Am
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
     F           Am          F           C    G   C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelu-u-u-u-jah ....

And some links to vids:   Buckley's version

And here is Wainwright's version

and finally, Cohen's version

Overheard at Booth 1: Love over Coffee

Let my hands have
the pleasure to
worship you,
just as my eyes
have had the joy
of adoring you.


from 366.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Overheard at Table 1: Atheist Missionaries

. . . saw this post the other day somewhere, showed a icture of starving kids and said, "Yep, God sure loves the little children!"

Sounds a bit harsh.

. . . I understand it, though.  It's the old argument: how can a loving God let children suffer?   But man, for a moment there it just made me mad, because I'm thinking, yeah, for all the suffering, I don't see any atheists out there pooling their money so they can send missionaries to dig wells and give medicine?   I don't see any Muslim organizations trying to build homes in third world countries?   I don't see Buddhists trying to stop malaria or educate people on basic personal health.

You might be taking it a bit too hard.

. . . well, I suppose because the same poster had put up a picture that showed three "extremists."  First panel, "Muslim Militant Extremist" had a guy with a gun and explosvies strapped to his torso.   Second, "Christian Militant Extremist" showed a guy outside an abortion clinic with a gun, and the last one "Atheist Militant Extremist" showed some hippie-lookin' dude with a beer.   It just seemed so patently silly.

Then why does it bug you?

. . . because the only thing anybody knows about Christianity these days is those gay hating freaks from Kansas, or all the send-you-to-hell money grubbing evangelicals!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Overheard at the Counter

When it gets right down to it, I mean at the base core, and this is gonna sound harsh, and you ain't gonna like it, but brother, man it's the truth - if you really need an answer as to why God allowed Aurora to happen, or why He allowed Columbine to happen, or why He allowed all the misery and murders and child molestation to happen, is because He allows it to happen the same way He allows people to fall in love, how He allows you to hold up your newborn baby and realize you love that child more than your own life, the way He allows you to paint a beautiful sunset, or sing a beautiful song, or realize that every day is something you gotta hold on to, the way He allows you to remember the sweet smells of some Thanksgiving dinner your Grandma made when you were a kid.

He allows all these things to happen, the good and the bad, to let you know that this is a whole great big world you live in, and that it's complicated, and that it's beautiful as well as ugly, and that you are a part of it, and you can impact it in a bad way, or you can bust your ass to make it better.

Other people are making their choices all the time.   What are your choices going to be?