Friday, December 25, 2015

Overheard at Booth 4: What's Christmas?

So, OK, yesterday we're all off of work and my wife's kids spend the day lazing aroudn the house andnot helpingher make dinner, like the youngest is on Call of Duty or some damn shit and won't come out of the room just yells at his mom to bring him some water, and then the other son says that he wants to go out with his girlfriend's family and they're going rock climbing over the weekend and the wife is all like 'what about spending time with the family?' and he's like 'hey, she is going to be my family!' and then the daughter who by the way is flunking out of her first semester of college pipes up and tells her mom that she's going to quit college and move up to Norman to live with her friend and just do some waitressing or some shit and the wife is looking at me and telling me 'This is how they were brought up because YOU were never a good role model because YOU never prayed with them every day or told them about Jesus' and I'm like 'Hell woman I at least tried to get them to church every Sunday YOU were the one who always let them sleep in or skip it when they had a sleepover' and I'm thinking

is THIS what Christmas is all about?


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Overread at the Counter: Notes written while listening to Al Di Meola

Notes while listening to an Al Di Meola song ….

Macedonia Supermoon

In Sunion Greece, the evening will come upon the promenade in soft pad-paw footsteps, cat-like, a vague creature, unconcerned with time or pace.  The moon will rise full over the evening, emboldened by the sun that has removed its face from the waters of the Aegean.   The hunter-gold colour of the moon will shimmer strong yet smooth across the rain-slicked stone bridge where lovers stroll, taking pictures of themselves among the ancient stone Templars who guard these pathway stones.


The lamps will remain unlit, and unneeded.  The night will now have all the light that it needs to bathe these lovers in its simplicity.   The lovers along the bridge will draw their baths, will draw their breaths, will draw their imaginations and leave their passions embedded in the tiny cracks among the stones.





Monday, December 21, 2015

Overheard at Booth 2: Maybe Next Year

[A man talking to his friend]

I can’t really explain it.  I guess you could call it just this feeling of . . . nothing really.  Everything seems so dull.   Yesterday we were at church and the choir was singing and the music was playing and they had this Italian a-capella group – kinda like those Tenor guys, five of these guys, truly world class, then they also had some sort of alternative rock band for a few songs, and it’s all supposed to get us ready for Christmas, but all I could think of was the guy sitting next to me yawning because he was bored, and the teenagers all around me, checking out their phones.  All these kids squirming in their seats, even though they’ve all got iPads that are supposed to keep them busy, right?

Maybe it’s because Sara’s been sick with these pains for a few months, but she’s just been getting super bitchy, so that morning, she had just torn me a new one, saying I don’t care about the kids because I’m not the bio-dad, and me telling her hell I’ve been there for since before they were in kindergarten, doesn’t 14 years count for something? And of course it doesn’t, and our daughter refused to come to church today, no surprise, and then Sara’s all like, ‘You don’t respect me anymore, you’re cutting me off and being rude to me in front of the kids and Bobby’s picking up on it’ and she’s all like, ‘I don’t even want to be around you don’t even touch me’ …

And then I’m sitting there thinking about how I can’t get the kids any presents this year, because we just dropped two grand on my car and Nina’s car and we’re just tapped out.  Sara and I didn’t get the raises we were expecting, and her bonus was next to nothing . . .

So I know we’re supposed to be thinking about the birth of Christ and He is our savior and I get that, I really do, but it’s hard you know, it’s just hard.  Everybody’s just walking around like zombies, just wanting to get this Christmas over with and behind them, and I tried to have a little joy, you know, bring a little light, but it just hit me yesterday, sitting there in the middle of music, hearing it but feeling nothing, I realized that I’m just like everybody else, just wanted to get this thing over with, and maybe next year,


Maybe next year will be better.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Overheard at Table 4: Vampire Academy (2014)

This movie is pretty much what you would it expect it to be: a mashup of Twilight and Harry Potter.   It centers around two college girls, one who is a vampire princess and the other is in training to be her protector.  These vampires are magical.  They are trained at the academy.  You have a royal bloodline, you have "regular" vampires, you have a human class that is trained to be the protectors, and you have your super-bad psychotic bloodthirsty vampires who are always trying to break in and kill kill kill.

Being a teen flick, you throw in some teen angst:  "Why was I born like this?" "Why do I have these feelings?" "What do I have to be the princess?"

All of it would be pretty much drivel, but our main character makes it somewhat worthwhile.  She's feisty, sarcastic, and even though she is not very believable as a bodyguard (her limbs are about as sturdy as toothpicks), she does have some decent lines and pulls them off the the best of the actress's ability.

My wife and I saw a part of this movie during our trip to Maine.  It was cute enough to warrant our half-attention as we were getting ready that morning in the hotel room, and so we watched it in full when we returned home.  It's a pleasant hour and a half if you have ice cream and nothing better to do on a Saturday evening.





Saturday, December 19, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: Trapped (2002)

I had seen this one about ten twelve years ago and always wanted to show it to my wife, but I could never find it.  Finally found it on Netflix and had to make the wife watch it, but she was glad she did.  This movie is super-tense, like you can just feel the tension throughout the whole thing.

Courtney Love is actually pretty good in this one.  For a crazy woman she is one hell of an actress.  And Kevin Bacon can play bad guys like no one else.  His bad guys are like, scary evil one moment, and then almost like a drinking buddy the next moment.

Bacon and Love and his somewhat slow brother are kidnappers, they kidnap rich people's kids and hold them for ransom for 24 hours, then let them go.  Usually Bacon stays with the mom and Love stays with the Dad, and there's this expectation that they all get to sleep with each other, like some sort of bizarre swingers party.  Doesn't happen in this one, but you get the impression that it does.  Turns out that the kid they kidnap has asthma, which puts a twist in their plans, and then everything gets all twisted up.  Mainly the horror is all in the mind games that are being played here, but seriously, if you've Netflix you've got to check it out!





Jack Johnson and Friends - another for the wall

Well, fellow babies, it's been a long time since I showed you another of my album covers . . . in case you've forgotten, I like to decorate the walls of the café with the covers of albums which feature the acoustic guitar.   These are albums that either advance the capabilities of the acoustic guitar, or those in which the acoustic sound is an integral component to the songs.  Basically, music that can only expressed in its full emotional context using that instrument.  Also, it has to be just simply a damn good album, all the way through.

So, today I'm putting up Jack Johnson and Friends - Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film "Curious George"

Jack Johnson is a master of the laid-back, the cool, the blanket on the sand while you listen to the waves lull themselves into the shore.  And this album is no different.  But what makes it stand apart from his other albums is that these songs speak to the kid in all of us.  They are all about learning, people, worries, and friendship.

One of the best tracks is his cover of Jack White's "We're Going to Be Friends" - you hear this song and you say to yourself, "Yes, Jack, yes we certainly are!"


Overheard at the Counter: what is completed writing?

so essentially the question is what makes a completed writing?  What if you have a million words simply splayed across yellowed pages in old notebooks?  and stuffed into files on slipdrives?  what if you have half-scratched-out stories, slivers of poems, three lines of what might have been song lyrics?  if it is incomplete is it still writing?

the idea is there, hidden behind the words.  in fact, the idea might even be obscured by the words.  half-formed, inadequate, like some sort of miscarriage: it was only ever the hope of being something other than the slight knit of words that constitute the few bones, the empty sack of flesh.

that is what these ideas are, nothings that could have been something.   so therein lies the choice, because you, the writer, do have the choice . . . you can revisit them, put them back into the mind's womb and bring them to full term.  or else you can give them a name and then bury them, somewhere in a plot of the virtual corner of the back yard, and pretend you had at one time a child that was never able to be given the light, a voice, or a chance.  and it will be forever perfect in its lost potentiality.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: Bill Cosby Sues Attackers

Hey I just heard that Bill Cosby is suing some of his attackers because he says they are just bringing suit against him to make some money.   What's super disgusting about that is that he was this predator who used these women - I mean DRUGGED them - to feed his need to be a sexual predator, and now that they're coming forward, he's just showing again what little regard he has for them.

When these women came to him to be mentored, they wanted to be in the business, show business, and yeah they were wanting his help to set themselves up a career and yeah - THEN was the time that they were wanting to make money.  NOW they're just suing him to make sure that no other entertainer does the same kind of filthy predation that Cosby's gotten away with for over 50 years!

I tell ya, I used to love Bill Cosby - funniest guy ever, and CLEAN!  I'm not talking the Hugstable image but I'm talking his standup in the 60s.  When everyone else was doing the vulgar stuff - Lenny Bruce and other guys - but Cosby was good humor that everyone could enjoy and relate too.

Man, when your heroes fall from grace it's really sad.  And when they go down waving their fists wildly at the open air, that's just pathetic!





http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35098636



Monday, December 7, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: Cupcake Boobs



“So at work today we had a birthday lunch for this guy, Rick.  Works in Purchasing.  Turned 30.   The boss brought in pizza, and the other guy in purchasing – Luis - brought him some cupcakes.  

"So Luis brings in this box and says, ‘Think you’ll like these.  Some of these look like boobs.’   And as he hands Rick the box, Rick says, ‘Which ones look like boobs?’ and Luis says, ‘Dude if you don’t know what boobs look like by now I can’t really help you.’”





Thursday, December 3, 2015

Overheard at the Counter: Thanksgiving Driving

Lucky Moran sits at the counter, espresso in hand, telling Niall Carter, "Man I hated driving home after Thanksgiving, traffic was suchabitch.  Listen, I've been in Houston for several years now, but coming back down from Tulsa through Dallas, that sucked.   I mean, Houston drivers are total dicks but Dallas drivers are huge assholes."

Niall Carter replies, "Sounds like they're made for each other."

A pause.  Finally, Lucky says, "You are so gay."

Niall smiles and says, "Why thank you."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Overheard at Booth 1: Take Me Home (2011)

Billy: I liked it.

Joe: I thought it was kinda slow.

Jim: Slow in what way?

Bob:  You know, slow.  As in no explosions.

Billy: Why does a movie always have to have explosions these days?

Joe: I thought that's how it gets its ratings.

Jim: I say if you like Fandango you'll like this movie.

Bob: I don't think so.  Fandango had about 5 different characters, this one's only got two.

Billy: Yeah but in Fandango, one of the five was passed out the whole time, so there was really only four.

Joe: That's still twice the dialogue, twice the characterization . . .

Jim:  Twice the explosions.

Bob:  Were there any explosions in Fandango?

Billy: I think there was that rickety plane that looked like it was going to tear apart before it took off.

Joe: I thought we were supposed to be reviewing Take Me Home instead of Fandango.

Jim: Just shows you how much better Fandango was.

Bob: If you wanna compare movies, you should probably compare this to Elizabethtown.

Billy:  This was probably better than Elizabethtown.

Joe: Elizabethtown had a much better soundtrack.

Jim: As good as Fandango.

Bob:  Hm.  Hard to compare.

Billy: Film. Scenery. Dialogue.  Soundtrack,  Whatever.  Take Me Home was a pretty nice movie!  Sweet.  Kind.  And they didn't sleep with each other.

Joe: Well that just makes it unusual.

Jim: And pure fantasy!

Bob: Does that mean they'll play it on Lifetime?





Friday, November 20, 2015

Overheard at Booth 2: Sorry still calling you Drake

Y'know not that I really care or anything but I saw something about a flak that Drake Bell tweeted about the Vanity Fair cover of Caitlyn Jenner - he tweeted "Sorry - still calling you Bruce"

and what's weird is the total FREAKOUT response that he got.  People tweeting back that he should grow up, calling him an ignorant ass, saying that they'll never watch him again.

I mean, was his comment vulgar?  Did it have profanity?  Did it threaten Jenner's life?  Did he suggest that something BAD should happen to Jenner or that he hoped his career would fail?

NO!  He only said "I" - that is, Drake, was going to continue to call him by the name he had been using for 60 frikkin' years!

I kid you not, this Twitter thing turned human beings into reactionary spazoid freakout monsters!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Overheard at Table 1: #P4P #BlueLivesMatter

"today at church it was 'blue lives matter' day and we had all the top brass from the County Sherriff's office, the District Attorney, and all the top brass of the all the police departments in the area, and the pastor got them all up on stage and he prayed for them and he prayed for all the police officers and when he prayed for God to give them wisdom all I could think was 'yes, please God, give them the wisdom not to gun down 12 year old boys in public parks!'"


Friday, November 13, 2015

Overheard at Booth 4: Meetings

Man I hate meetings.  I hate them so much!  They just drive me frikkin' inSANE!  Nothing but talk-talk-talk and blah-blah-blah and everyone in there trying to show off for the big guys because one they they hope to BE big guys.

I tellya, the only thing worse than having to go to all these meetings is the day when suddenly they no longer make you go to all these meetings.  That ever happens, I know I just better pack my shit and go, 'cuz they're already sending me out the door!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: Perspective

"You know, I just think it's damn sad that this year is the year of Transgender Rights, when there are only about 70,000 transgender people in the US and about a hundred seventy MILLION  women.  Also about 4 BILLION women worldwide, and over 3/4s of ALL of them don't have equal pay, equal rights, or even basic protection over their own bodies.  I mean, let's put it into perspective, people!"


Overheard at Table 2: Ted Cruz Declares WAR on the "Liberal" Media



This is an email that I got from some mewing whiner who spews nothing but nonsensical filth who has the audacity to imagine that he has the qualifications to be President of the United States of America.





spotlightheader



BREAKING: Hannity on CNBC Debate: "This Is Going to Go Down in History as REALLY BAD NIGHT for the Media"
Cruz For President
Friend,

I am declaring war on the liberal media, and I need to ask a personal favor from you.

Will you chip in $35 or $50 to my Post-Debate $1 Million Dollar Money Bomb to show the media we're dead serious?

Here are the a few of the 'choice' questions they asked last night -- they illustrate why the American people don't trust the media and why we have to take back the debate if we want to win:

'Are you a comic-book villain?'

'Can you do math?'

'Will you insult two people over here?'

'Why don't you resign?'

'Why have your numbers fallen?'
Friend, join me in declaring war on the liberal media agenda and taking back our country to deal with the substantive issues the people care about.

The contrast is huge.

In the Democratic debate, every fawning question from the media was, 'Which of you is more handsome and why?'

Let me be clear.

We shouldn't be trying to get people to tear into each other. We should be getting to the heart of the issues.

Please, can I count on you to chip in using one of the buttons below to make sure I meet my $1 Million Dollar Money Bomb goal?

I know it's ambitious, but these next 24 hours are critical.

  CHIP IN $35 MONEY BOMB >>  

  CHIP IN $50 MONEY BOMB >>  

  CHIP IN $150 MONEY BOMB >>  

  OTHER AMOUNT MONEY BOMB >>  
On stage last night, it was clear -- we need a conservative leader who will both stand up to the liberal media AND fight the Washington Cartel.

Are you with me? 

Heidi and I thank you for your support.

For liberty,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: Cambio de Ruta (2014)

Cambio de Ruta

It was a really sweet movie.  Love the location.

The wife and I were completely stoked that we finally saw a movie where we knew where the location was.

 I mean, we had just spent a week at the Riviera Maya a few months ago.  And we knew the lighthouse, we knew Tulum, we knew that hotel, we knew most of those sites.
It was so beautiful.  Everything was great,

In the movie, also, I loved how they made the Spaniards the ones who wanted to destroy the natural beauty of the Yucatan.   Sort of like how they did it 500 years ago right?

Could've done without her sleeping with the guy on the first night.  I mean, I thought the character had integrity, but one drink at a stand-up comedy club and they're deep-dishin' it on the beach.  I mean, really?

Just then, my teenage son asks, "So next year can I go to the Riviera Maya?"

Monday, October 26, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: Death Came a-Knockin’

“Most people still have this image of Death as being this big spectre with the skull head and the black robe, at least in kind of a metaphorical sense, anyways, they think Death is just gonna jump out from around the corner one day with a big ol’

“GOTCHA! . . . but me,

“I don’t think Death is like that at all.  I think Death is more like something that reminds of your third grade teacher, who calls you over to sit beside her on a park bench, and she says, ‘Hate to break this to you, sweetheart, but you’re gonna need to clear your calendar for, well . . . forever!’”


Friday, October 23, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: #Sanctuarycities driving people to think abt murder

"yesterday on the radio talk show - on that supposedly Christian AM channel but which's really a front for conservative talk - there was a caller talking about these so-called 'sanctuary cities' where they don't enforce the Federal immigration laws, and this guy suddenly launched into how he could understand if the dad of that woman who was killed in SanFran would be so pissed off that he would want to kill the councilman who voted to make it a sanctuary city!

"and yeah, even though the talk show host is, like, super-conservative, even he had to jump in and say, 'listen, sanctuary cities disgust me, too, but you can't be talking about supporting murder and vengeance like that' and he dropped the call and went on to a different topic,

"but here I am thinking, this is what we've come to.  This one talk show host might have dropped thiis call, but damn all this stuff going around does nothing but drive people insane, makes 'em mad enough to actually think about this kind of retribution.

"I gotta say that I'm really scared about where this all is leading to."


Overheard at Booth 1: Survivor, a 2015 Movie

Niall Carter: all I gotta say about this one is that this has got to be the umpteenth movie that I've seen where the "deadliest" assassin in the world, blows apart an apartment door with a bomb, and then comes in with a silencer on his gun.  I mean, seriously?  Why bother with the silencer when you've just blown open a door.  In an apartment building.  In MANHATTAN!

Now listen, I may not know any assassins personally (although I've got my suspicions about my pal Johnny over there) but I do know that they get paid for getting the job done without anyone knowing about it.   This trope in the movies just bugs me.

The only bright side about this flick was Milla Jovovich's eyes.  Man, those eyes kill me every time!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: Dreaming of You

Husband:  I had a dream about you last night.

Wife: Really?  What kind of dream.

Husband:  Erotic dream.  We were making love on the beach.

Wife: Was it me?

Husband:  Whaddaya mean?  Of course it was you.  Who else would it be?

Wife: Whenever I dream of you having sex you're always having sex with some other woman?

Husband:  Really?  Anyone in particular?

Wife:  Like I'd tell you!   No, you're just having sex with other women.

Husband:  Do you ever dream of me having sex with Salma Hayek?  Oh please!  Oh please!

Wife: See how you are?  See how you are!  I can't believe you - and here I am this morning having prayed for you to be a godly husband!

Husband:  Well, at least you know that I know how to spot an angel!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: Choices

"This whole new parenting style 'choices' thing just goes all through me.  The other day, there was this lady at the grocery store, and her little toddler was going for some can, and I hear this mom say, 'is that the best choice?' in that phony 'mom' voice and I'm thinking to myself, 'how the hell does this kid know if it's the best 'choice' or not - I mean give the kid a break!  He's 2 frikkin' years old!  All he knows is 'PRETTY COLORS"'

"I think the focus is to raise the children to think independently."

"But a two year old CAN'T think independently.  Look, being able to make a choice requires 2 things: information and reasoning.  You have to have enough information to be able to know there is a distinction between courses of action, and you have to have reasoning to know what might be the results of the action.  Look, if you and I go out to buy a house, we look can make a choice only when we know the price, the school system, the tax base, the commute, the inspectors reports."

"The mom wasn't asking the kid to buy a house.  She was asking him not to touch a can on a shelf."

"Then she should say 'don't touch that!'  Simple!  But don't give this BS that he has a 'choice'!  Look, that kid doesn't know what that can is.  He doesn't know if walking into the street is going to get him flattened by a car or if a pot of boiling water is going to burn his hand.  He can NOT make choices!"

"So glad our children are almost grown.  We don't have to deal with that."

"Until we get grandkids.  I can see Samantha buying into this.  I kid you not, honey, if Sam gives me this 'choices' crap I'm disowning her . . . but she can still bring the grandkids around."

"I'll let her know.  Sure she'll be right on board.  But be ready for her to text you saying that you're not making a very good choice."


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Overheard at Booth 2: Virtue and Vice

"In my class we're going over the works of Samuel Johnson, man there were a lot of quotes in those times about virtue and vice!  So I got to thinking, were they more virtuous then than we are today?"

"Aw hell no! They weren't no more virtuous or full of vice than we are today.  They just THOUGHT about it more.  With a lot more intensity, y'might say.  They knew when they were being virtuous or succumbing to their vices.  The only different of today is that we've gotten rid of this whole concept of shame, so we simply call virture and vice 'personal choices' so we don't have to think about them."


Monday, October 12, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: GOP Presidential Candidates

"There has GOT to be some sort of pool in Vegas about the GOP candidates.   There is absolutely no way that these guys could have all come out in force at one time.  I just wanna look at the GOP and say 'Really?   300 million people in this country, and this is the best you can give us?'"


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Overheard at Table 4: Sheep! You're ALL SHEEP!!

"One of the greatest days of my life, it was 1993, September I think, I'd been working at this cube farm for about 6 months or so.  Total mess, all day long, collecting credit card debt.  Call after call.  Huge floor, had about 30 of these circular pods, about 5 of us to a pod.  No one ever really talking to each other all that much, just little hushed whispers in between call after call, and at the end of one call, mid-afternoon, I just stood up and yelled

"SHEEP!   YOU ARE ALL SHEEP!

"Then, I got my shit and started walking calmly toward the door before they could call security to escort me out."


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Overheard at Booth Three: Grooming Your Husband

Wife: You do this all the time.

Husband: Do what all the time?

Wife: The same look.  Every time I tell you about something you need to do to better your health you look at me like I'm some screaming bitch.

Husband:  Bitch?  No.  Never.   ... you CAN get a bit screamy though.

Wife: I just think you need to take care of yourself better.  Using cleanser on your face will help take care of some of those wrinkles you're starting to get.

Husband: I thought you said you wanted me to look distinguished.

Wife: Distinguished, yes.  Old, no.  But every time I tell you to clean them, you give me that look.  That look like you can't stand hearing about it.

Husband: Maybe it's your timing.  You spring this stuff on me either a) in the morning, when we're rushing to get ready for work, or b) right before bed, when we're both flat-out exhausted.

Wife: Well, then do it right when you get home from work then.  Cleanse your face.

Husband: Listen, that's just one more thing to put into my daily routine.  One more thing.  I've already got a million things I have to do every day.  Why do I gotta do this one more thing?

Wife: Do you wipe your ass every time you take a dump?

Husband: I would hope you know the answer to that.

Wife: Do you think that wiping your ass is just "one more thing"?

Husband: No.

Wife: Then think of putting cleanser on your face when you get home every day as wiping the entire day's shit - the shit of dust and grease and pollution and sweat - off your face.   There.   Now it's not just "one more thing"

Husband: Damn you sure have a way of putting things into perspective.




Friday, October 2, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: No Birth Certs for Illegal Children

So in Austin they're denying birth certificates for children born to illegals, becuase basically down here in Texas if your Hispanic, you're essentially screwed.  Seems like the whites who still control the legislature have this complex about the War for Independence and are still mad about it.  

Basically, it's about power, about control.  They don't want a rising Hispanic population that has any sort of legitimate voting capacity, because that will eventually affect the power currently held by the white population.   Denying birth certificates to people born on US soil is a way to achieve that goal.

Now, their arguments will be 1) that they want to control fraud.   This is a logical fallacy, possibly an appeal to ignorance or evidence of absence.  I'd even say it's a red herring.   There is no evidence of fraud in obtaining birth certificates for children.

People obtain birth certificates for their children so that their children can get Medicaid and go school.  So, they will argue point 2) that they don't want the illegals taking "OUR" social safety nets.
Well, according the 14th Amendment, the children ARE citizens, and therefore cannot be denied these social safety nets.

So here comes 3) - REINTERPRET the 14th Amendment to make damn sure that those children of "illegals" don't ever have a home.   Because they certainly weren't born in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala or anywhere else.  They were born right here.   And if they were born right here, where the hell else are they going to call their birthplace.

What this boils down to is this: the white establishment in Texas fears the growing Hispanic population, and this denial of birth certificates is a reaction to that fear.  What makes them successful is that they can couch it in the language of preventing fraud, but in reality it's a bully tactic.  Because the undocumented community is unprotected.   And a bully always beats up on the weakest, most vulnerable, unprotected - of any society.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Poem of the Day: Smudgeprint Moon

It was not
so far out of reach,
the moon.

The one moon.
The only moon.
The night sky

white thumbprint against a carbonblack sky,
& everytime she looked back the moon seemed
to shift sideways, as though to inch around behind her

to the other side.
She smiled.
Smudgeprint moon, you old trickster.

You devil, you can't fool me.
Then she went back to working
under the steering column of the car.

&when the car roared into life,
she slammed the door, gunned the engine, and
went screaming into the night

chasing after that moon.






MR
2015-0928



Since the Academy of American Poets always has their poets describe their poems, I will describe this one:

"This poem is about our dreams, those things we long for, that which seems out of reach but is always within reach, depending on our imagination.  It speaks to the depths of our souls, and how our longing can drive us to reach for the unreachable.

"Oh, who am I kidding!  It's a poem about a chick car thief!!"





Saturday, September 26, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: All Done with Bieber Fever

1: Saw a girl the other day, walking to the amusement park, had a t-shirt saying "I HEART JUSTIN BEIBER" - thought to myself, 'Man I didn't think anybody would still be listening to that guy."

2: Does seem weird.  Was she punking it out or was she just some sort of retro-nerd.

1: More like a retro-nerd, from the looks of it.

3: Personally I think it'd be cool to be Bieber.

2: Well, yeah, you get the money, the fame, the fans, until the fans all grow up.

3: That's what I think is so cool.  Fame only lasts about five years, right?

1: More or less.

3: Look at it.  The Stones still have to tour and those guys are pushing 90 it seems like, but they have to keep having these monster concerts to cover all their houses, ex-wives . . .

2: Keith's massive coke habit.

3: ... Keith's massive coke habit.   But if you're Bieber, you have a frikkin awful schedule for about five years, touring, interviews, whatever, then poof!  All done.  Over.  Nothing but some retro-nerd wearing your shirt.  And if you've put your money away right, live simply, don't buy yourself an island . . .

1: Or get a massive coke habit.

3: ... or get a massive coke habit, then you're set for life and you never have to work another day.  It's all surf and sun and playing frisbee with your golden retriever in the park.  The Sweet Life.

2: That would be great.

1: The only problem is that we're all pushing 30.

2: And we don't sing.

3: Did I say every plan was perfect?


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Overhead at Table 1: First Week of Tenth Grade


Father:  So how was your first week of school?

Son: OK, I guess.  Not much.  Teachers seem to like me, so I guess that’s cool, grade-wise.

Father: How do you know they like you?

Son: Simple stuff.  Raise my hand to ask questions.  Don’t talk while they’re talking.  I was the only one who turned in the first assignment.

Father: Sad when just doing the right thing make you extraordinary.


Son: No doubt.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: Latino Family

Husband: ... it's just that, taking her everywhere, it might be a little much, you know.

Wife: You knew we had to take care of her when we had her come live with us.

Husband: Right, but...

Wife: And she wanted to go with us to take Carlita to her first day of college.

Husband: I know, that was OK, but...

Wife: So what are you all bent out of shape about?  You don't like taking care of my aging mother?  The one who gave me birth?  The one who worked all her life to get me and all my brothers started in our lives?

Husband:  Honey, I'm just saying that, EVERY time?   I mean, we used to have date night.  Now date night is going to out to eat, all three of us.

Wife: Well maybe if I were a gringa wife you wouldn't have to worry about it.  It'd be just you and me and we'd put her in a home, but then I wouldn't be cooking and cleaning for you, or doing your ironing or folding, how would you like that?   You would understand better about taking care of the elderly relatives if you were a Latino husband.

Husband: Baby if I were a Latino husband I'd be telling you to fix me some carne asada before I went out and spent the night with my mistress.

Wife: [pause].   OK you got me on that one.   But don't PUSH me about my mother!

Husband: Got it.


Overheard at Table 2: 15 Bean Soup

Woman: ... but I thought you loved my 15 bean soup.

Man: Baby, I LOVE your 15 bean soup!  It's just that eight hours later I'm blowing fire out my butt.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Overheard at the Counter: Bono, Sinéad, and Van

Verble is meandering through his memories...

"I remember this documentary I saw in the mid-90s, about Irish music.  Both trad and rock, as I recall.  I forget most of it, but it was going through the whole history, and at certain points it would have these short interviews with big name stars at the time.  I remember they asked each the same question, 'What makes you make music?'  like, 'What is your driving inspiration?'

"They asked this of Bono, who replied something like 'I see myself in a long literary tradition, just as being a poet of the street.  The voice of the common man.  All my lyrics touch the heart of the working class, up through all classes, really.  I am more like a poet.'

"Then they asked the same question of Sinéad O'Connor, who said "I am like part of the ancient Celtic tradition.  The voice of the Earth goddesses who spoke to the prophets in song.  In some sense, I am probably a reincarnation of that mystical force so ingrained in Irish culture and history.'

"Then, toward the end of the whole documentary, they asked the same question of Van Morrison, and he just said, 'I dunno.  I write songs.  That's what I do.'

"And I remember shouting out, 'Now THAT guy's the REAL DEAL!'"


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Overheard at Table 1: Anchor Babies

Arman: Are we REALLY having this discussion about anchor babies?   Heard on the radio the other day this lady was really going on about how "illegals" come here to have babies so they can get social services.   And what really made this different is that she didn't sound like a freaking wingnut.  She was making a rational argument.

Juli: A lot of people are making that argument.  They're all nucking futs.

Arman: But when you've got a rational one, that's even more dangerous.   For me I just wanted to call up that radio station and tell them, 'Listen you morons.  People fuck.  People fuck a LOT.  People are getting it on all the time.  And women from Latin countries are coming from countries where the men demand it constantly.  Hell, a quinceañera is just a celebration that a girl has reached her 15th birthday withOUT getting pregnant. THAT's how much they do it.   So LAY OFF the rhetoric.

Juli: Arman, women let themselves get pregnant for all kinds of reasons.  Usually women get pregnant just to keep their man around.  I think anybody talking about illegals wanting anchor babies also needs to talk about good old Americans - white, black, brown, whatever - who have babies just to try to keep their men from leaving them.  

Arman: So we're all anchor babies, then?

Juli: In a way, yes.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Overread at the Counter: The Day After Taking Our Daughter to College

The Day After Taking Our Daughter to College

We had taken our daughter to college,
driven in two cars, three and a half hours each way.

Like a good Latino family, we took Abuelita.

We unloaded the pillow pets and the yearbooks in our daughter’s room.
We drove to the nearest Wal-Mart to purchase a laptop.

We stopped for dinner - PF Changs - all three were crying.

On the drive back, around 11pm, still a half-hour from home,
Our daughter calls: she doesn’t know how to work the laptop.

This morning, at breakfast, we eat our beans and eggs.

Abuelita is crying, she says our daughter has nothing to eat.
We try to convince Abuelita that the cafeteria is included in the payment.

Abuelita remains steadfastly unconvinced.

Like a good White Male, I avoid the situation
By going outside to get the ladder and the limb pruners.

I start to trim the tree whose branches have been overgrown for two months.

The limbs begin to fall around my face, around my arms.
In a thick elbow of one branch, there is a cluster of twigs: an abandoned nest.

All the little birds have flown.




MR
2015-0823



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: News Stations at your local Credit Union

You just can't make everyone happy.  Case in point: when I was still going to school in College Station at my local credit union they had a tv screen playing, something just to lull your brain while waiting in line.  One day I went in and noticed the tv was turned off.  That was weird, so I just said to the teller, you know, making small talk, "weird, this is the first time I've seen the tv turned off."

and she said to me, "Yeah, we finally decided to turn it off.  We used to play CNN and people complained that we were being too Liberal so we switched it to Fox News and people complained that we were being too Conservative."


Monday, August 17, 2015

Overread at Booth 2: After Market in the City of Melting Snow

After Market in the City of Melting Snow

At least once a week,
Walk into the city of melting snow;
Wet weaves through the bricks, cracked
Like melancholy/
A drain of tears,
Through which step the citizens, like
Shadows creep through
Well-worn memories.

There is a weak light
That gathers at dusk.
Shop windows close their tired eyes.
Cart wheels creak
Over the paving stones, their loads
Lighter now than at the early hours
Of the dawn:

So begins the trek
To the country side/
Full of night shadows and banshees.




MR

2015-0817

Friday, August 14, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: Kids These Days

Sandra: You won't believe this, but Bryan just said his first words!

Bree: Omigawd you must be so excited!   Was it "mama"?

Sandra: You'll - never - believe it.   He looked right into my eyes and said, "I'm a girl!"

Bree: Shut the front door!

Sandra: I knOW!  Isn't it wonderful!   She knows WHAT she is!

Bree:  Kids these days, they are SOOO self-aware!

Sandra:  We're so excited, we're going to have gender reconstruction surgery next month, just before her first birthday.

Bree: That will be SUCH a party.

Sandra: Mike is such a kidder, though.  He says he knows a Moyel who'll do what he calls a "super-bris" ...

Bree:  Do you think you can name her Bree-anne?






Monday, August 10, 2015

Overheard at Booth 5: New Movie about 1969

John Steppenwolf: Heard last week that there's a new movie coming out about the Stonewall Riots.

Niall Carter: Explain that to someone who was a suckling babe at the time.

Steppenwolf: New York. Gay residents of Greenwich Village.  Police brutality.  Finally had enough and reacted.   

Niall Carter: Riots in New York?   How is that newsworthy?

Steppenwolf: Pretty pivotal point in the gay rights movement.   Paved the way for casting it in the light of civil rights instead of just lifestyle choice.

Lucky Moran: I heard that the movie already is getting protests.

Niall: Why?  Anti-gay and the churchies?

Lucky: Actually no.  A bunch of LGBT activists are totally POd because the main character is a white guy.   They say that it ignores the contribution of people of color and transgender.

Niall: God some people are never happy.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Overseen at Booth 5: Smith and Company Building



At one time this building actually housed offices that made something.  Nobody quite remembers what that something was, or who were in those offices.  Faded letters on the bricks on the side of the building say "Smith and Company" but that lends no clues to what sort of work might actually have gone on inside those walls.

In recent times it was a storehouse that shipped out large bulk supplies of building materials.  Now they have moved.   Nobody knows where.

Most likely a developer will soon buy the building.  They will either renovate it for luxury apartments, or tear it to the ground to build yet another dull row of condominium houses.

One more faded memory of Chelsea Heights.

6th and Waverly Place.



Overheard at Booth 4: Kids These Days, Season 5

Writer 1: OK, so we've got the twins who've already transitioned into each other's gender.  What should we do to open Season Five?

Writer 2: Open it up with their wedding.

Writer 1: To each other?

Writer 2: And Ben.

Writer 3: The family dog?

Writer 2: Yeah.  We'll call the episode "Three Way in Vegas."

Writer 1: But they're still only 14.   I don't think you can marry that young even in Vegas.

Writer 2: Fine, we'll send 'em to Alabama, then.




Thursday, August 6, 2015

Overheard at Table 5: The Mortal Instruments - City of Bones

There is a device in the movie that it a portal, a gateway.  It looks somewhat like a gelatinous pool of water.  The hero tells the main character (the heroine) that you have to focus where you want to go, or you will end up in limbo, with no way of returning, lost forever.

I believe that into this pool is where the director threw the plot of the film.

Other than that, this film is basically like many other films, some of those others were good, some not so good - all of them better than this film.

Let's see, we have the Twilight connection (werewolves vs. vampires), we have the Star Wars Empire Strikes Back ("Luke, I am your Father!") we even have the Star Wars, "ooh I kissed my brother!" aspect.  Only in this one they actually ARE sexually attracted to each other, even AFTER they find out that they are brother and sister (which is frankly, a little gross).  We have demon hunters and demons, which reminded me of Max Payne.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Except for one last point: as these characters roamed around all these ENORMOUS abandoned hotels and churches in Brooklyn, I was awestruck by the amount of unused space there still remains in New York City.

Amazing.

One last argument, though.  My wife insists that Lily Collins looks just like her father (Phil Collins).  I don't see it at all.   She's a lovely young lady and maybe some day she will have a movie in which she can have an actual role to play.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Overheard at Booth 4: The Don's a Con ...

Dever Dodd:  How could anyone possibly want to vote for Donald Trump?  The guy's filed bankruptcy a billion times!

Clare O'Casey:  Only four times.  And it was corporate bankruptcy.  Never personal bankruptcy.  He uses Chapter 11 as a business tool.

Dever Dodd: That just means he knows how to cover his own ass.   Frankly, that ain't someone you want responsible for the lives of 310 million people!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: On Gentrification

... you know what I don't get about all this buying up the houses in the Heights and putting up new ones?  They tear out all the old shit and just replace it with new shit that LOOKS like old shit ...

I call that BULLshit!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Poem of the Day: Summer 1957

Summer, 1957

She was summer, all summer,
In plaid skirt and cat’s-eye glasses,
She had a smile as bright as the sun
And eyes the color of a cloudless sky.

Her hair dark, black like the smooth
Shadows of that first weekend in July,
Ink-black, shattered by the fireworks
Of her laughter and she could spin,
Boy, could she spin,

Around and around to the music
That came blaring from the radio
Propped on the shelf
Just above the sink
In her mother’s kitchen;

Window open, music pouring
Out of the house into the yard,

Where she danced, and I danced, and
We danced,
Darting in between the pillowcases and
Sheets dancing on the clothesline.

She whisperlaughed, “You and me, we
Are dancing between the sheets!”

She stole a kiss from my innocent lips.
And then she danced away,
As the warmth of her sunlight

Poured from every pore of my skin.




MR
2015-0727

Monday, July 27, 2015

Overheard at Booth 2: A Way Out

... man I'll never understand girls sometimes it seems.  this one girl.  I was dating her, oh I don't know about six months I guess, and we were in a cafe kinda like this one, and just outta nowhere she says, "I've been looking for a way out ever since I got here."

... and man I have to say that at that moment and the way she said it, I didn't know if she was talking about the place we were at, our relationship, or life itself!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Overheard at the Counter: American Sniper

First of all, let me start out by saying that when reading an autobiography, you can still never believe you know a person whom you have not met.  All the words on the page, no matter how true, are filtered through the minds of the writer, the ghost writers, the editors.  And the reader.

The reader brings to the book the preconceived notions of the person.

That said, I can now tell you about the man I encountered in American Sniper.

I started out with a little loathing for a man who so overtly and unashamedly loved his job, which was simply to kill Iraqis.   Any and all Iraquis.  Now, he did not, because he always followed the Rules of Engagement (or so he says - methinks he doth protest too much) but he makes no bones about loathing them, made clear with passages like, "I never once fought for the Iraqis.   I could give a flying fuck about them" (Kyle, 2012, p.194).

Now I'm neither stupid nor ignorant.  I know war is pure hell and that if you hesitate you die.  I also know that to fight war properly you have to make sure you never see your enemy as a human being.   Still though, it is the lack of empathy even for the Iraqi women and children (although he does refrain from shooting a child) that is truly disturbing, especially since he wrote this book after being back from his last tour for several years.  The United States of America did a fine job on Chris Kyle by making him wholly incapable of viewing Iraqis (and Arabs in general) as anything more than "savages" which is his word that he used more times than I could count in the book.   Certainly, he could say that he meant it only for the insurgents, and possibly he did, but one can not help that found contempt for every resident of the country that was their home, not his.

The book also describes how killing became a game, how the men tried different weapons to see different effects.  His spotter even said his shot looked "like a scene from Dumb and Dumber" (p. 295) when Kyle shoots two men on a moped with one shot.   He writes, "The taxpayer got good band for his buck with that one" (Ibid).

There are some interesting insights in the book, such as "Let's face it - if you're using your pistol in combat, the shit has already hit the fan" (p.126) and "The best way to stop a vehicle is to shoot the driver" (p. 103).

What truly makes this book interesting, however, is not the stories of his adventures in Iraq, but rather the unabashed exposure of how multiple military deployments can threaten to destroy a marriage.  In fact, the interjection of thoughts from his wife, Tyra, are some of the most compelling in the book.  These passages nakedly describe the hardship on human relationships back home, and we see from her thoughts how the spouses of deployed military are themselves true heroes and heroines.  These spouses have to raise kids on their own, worry about their spouses not coming home or coming home broken, walk thought their days with a sense of loneliness and isolation, even when surrounded by people who try to help but who simply can not understand.

As a Christian, I must say a few words about his professed Christianity.   Chris Kyle, unfortunately, had obviously been raised on the perverted Nationalism that America tries to pass off as Christianity. He felt that he had the right to judge the worth of a person's soul.  "My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that twisted woman's soul.  I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job" (p.4).   He also concludes his book with these words:

"But in that backroom or wherever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe that any of the kills I had during the war will be among them.  Everyone I shot was evil.  I had good cause in every shot.  They all deserved to die"  (p.377).

Perhaps yes, he did have justification according to the earthly laws of the US government for every kill.   However, Christians have been ordered by the Almighty and Incarnate God not to kill.  A Christian strives to live peaceably with all men.  And even when faced with war and the conflict that brings, to state clearly that one can stand and look God in the eye and say that we had decided that one of your children deserves to die, well, my dear fellow Christians, that is putting ourselves in place of God.  And that is heresy.

Even with that, though, I am truly sorry that this man is now gone.  He was shot by another vet with PTSD as Kyle and a friend were trying to help him through his problem in the only way they knew how: by taking him to a shooting range and allowing him access to loaded firearms.   He leaves behind a loving with and two children who will grow up without their natural father, who so obviously loved them.  Again, one of the best parts of this book is the Kyle's description about how he so badly wanted to connect with his children, and did at some points and not at others.   He described the difficulty in establishing a gentle control in his home.   Like Tyra's parts, it is these passages that should let people know how even though we Americans think war is always in some distant country to keep us safe here at home, the war is always in our homes.  Our homes are destroyed by war, because it destroys the human beings that we send over there to fight it.

One last point.  I fully agree with Chris Kyle on one thing: there should be no ROEs.  No telling them what is or is not a target.  He stands firm on the belief that if you want the military to win a war then you can't tie their hands behind their backs.  I agree.   I believe that war is the basest of all human activity, that's it makes us all no better than animals, but IF we are going to be a militaristic people and IF we are going to go to war, then let the military go all out, use everything, even nuclear weapons, to absolutely decimate everybody and get it over with.  It's a lot more honest.   In the long run it will make wars shorter, because it will force everyone either to capitulate to us or band together and destroy us.  Either way, it will not cause this 14 years of bloody conflict that does nothing but make Dick Cheney insanely wealthy.

So, rest in peace, Mr. Kyle.  I do pray that in your final moments you did accept Jesus as your personal saviour.  I only wish that all Iraqis who were killed in the conflict, both innocent civilians and insurgents, would have had the same opportunity to hear about the love, compassion, kindness, and salvation that comes through  a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Whoever reads this book will take away with it what they wish.  Some will see him as a killer, some will see him as a bad-ass.  I see him as a human being, full of strengths and weaknesses.   Like everyone else in the world.



Reference:

Kyle, Chris, with DeFelice, Jim and McEwen, Scott.  (2014 paperback movie tie-in edition).  American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. History.  HarperCollins, New York.




.

Overread at Table 2: Even the Bard loves @Chewstroke!

From a recently discovered manuscript by William Shakespeare, entitled Love's Labour Regain'd


Lady! No truer words were ever spoke:
That thou hast put thy Chew into my Stroke.

Nay, sir, I pray thee find these words be true:
That thou hast put thy Stroke into my Chew!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: No Hero(ine)

So you heard about Bruce Jenner at the award ceremony last night?  Hell I don't even know what award ceremony it was but he - or she - now we gotta call he a she! - was apparently breaking down crying talking about how transgenders need respect, well he's right - or she's right - about that.  They do need respect, but Jenner is no damn hero, let me tell you that.

Jenner's just some rich fuck out there to make a buck and he was probably tired of being on a reality show and being cast in the background like an old suitcase and seeing how everyone walked over him and now he's in the spotlight in the way he hasn't been since 1979, and he always enjoyed the spotlight and that's what he's going for.  He's no hero for transgender rights.

You wanna know who the TRUE transgender heroes - and heroines - are?  They're the kids, the high school kids, the junior high kids, who are trying to figure out who they are in this world and where their place is, and they're trying to figure it out, and they go to school every day.  Every. Single. Day.  KNOWING they're going to get smack, to get shit, to get bullied.

And yet they GO.  They face it every single day, just trying to get through because they know that this is what they gotta do to grow up and get the hell out of there.

They are the true heroes.  Not this rich guy who has all his meals handed to him on a silver platter, who's got more money than you or I or most of these TG kids will ever see in our lifetime.

Hero?  Heroine?  HELL!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Overheard at Table 4: Cosby

Wife:  Deposition came out today.  Cosby admitted in 2005 drugging women for sex.

Husband: No way.

Wife: Way.  Believe it.  s'truth.

Husband: Drugging women for sex...

Wife:  Yup.  About 40 women have brought charges against him.

Husband:  Well, all I know is that I never had to give YOU drugs to get you to have sex with me.

Wife: Nah . . . you just always lulled me to sleep with your tediously boring stories.



Sunday, July 5, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: Tired of Hearing about the Founding Fathers

yknow what? I am so sick of hearing about the Founding Fathers - all the time it's Founding Fathers this and Founding Fathers that and what would they think and they would have thought ....

lemme tellya.  They don't give a crap!  They're DEAD!  All of them!  Dead mucho long time.  Sorry Charlie don't surf, they are out of here!  This is our country now and we have to do with it what we think is best for the people living here now.

Worrying about what the Founding Fathers think is like worrying if great-great-great granddad is gonna like the renovations you make to the family home!

None of us know what the Founding Fathers thought.  What we know is OUR impression of what they thought.  So any time we get all puffed up and say Founding Fathers meant this...what we're really saying is that "This is what I want to do and I'm going to use this GREAT AUTHORITY to support whatever dipshit 2-bit opinion I have!"


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: Now we get married

Lucky Moran: So even though a guy's gay, he's still a guy, right?

Otis Redwing: [cautiously] yeah ...

Lucky:  I mean I know the stereotype is WhatNotToWear guy in the really cool suit, but at the heart of it, guys are still guys.   So, after the Supreme Court decision on Same Sex Marriage last Friday, I know that somewhere in Houston, there is one guy, at least ONE guy, who is saying to himself, "SHIT!  Now my partner is gonna wanna get MARRIED!"

Otis: [chuckles]  Yeah, I suppose you're right.

Lucky: I mean, if I were a gay guy that's probably what I would be thinking.

Otis: What, you mean I'm not good enough to marry.

Lucky:  What?

Otis: I've sacrificed years of my life for you, and this is the thanks I get?

Lucky: Haha you're hilarious.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Overheard at Booth 4: Gently and Good Night

So I had this friend, and his name was Eric Gently, and he started seeing this girl, called Holly Goodnight.  And I just couldn't help myself, but I would tell him "Do not go, Gently, into that Goodnight."

Oh my God.

What?

You actually said that?

Well, yeah!

Are you . . . are you . . . an ENGLISH major?

Well, yeah I am . . . is that a problem.

Well, yeah, if I ever want my kids to have a hot meal.   Yes, it's a BIG problem!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Overheard at the Counter: Marriage, Both of Them

Verble, still blathering away, says,

"Now, the reason why Christians, or those who claim to be Christians (yes, it's true not everyone who claims to be a Christian is truly saved.  Now I am not to judge people individually so I can't say 'You are not a Christian because that would be my pride and judgement talking, but just read 'Sheep and Goats' from Matthew and you know it's true, but anyway...) those who claim to be Christians think that Social Marriage and God's Marriage are the same.  They think that if they are married by a pastor that makes God bless the marriage.

"Completely false.  We have conflated the two so that in our minds they are indistinguishable.  This confounds the ignorant and the intelligentsia alike, but this is what it is.

"The human race is separated into two genders.  From those genders offspring is made, and by this the human race continues.  We all agree on that.   Yes, we all know that our science can produce offspring, so sexual reproduction may be rendered unnecessary, but we can't doubt that this is how we all got here.  OK, then...

"A careful reading of scripture reveals to us that God's intent is for monogamy.  God has many aspects of His personality - call them emotions, call them character traits - but what Christians, among others, believe is that He infused humanity with those traits, separated them between the genders, and that by coming together as one, we could, in our marriage, replicate the completeness that is God.

"Period.   One Man and One Woman, giving their marriage over to God to demonstrate to the world their worship of God.  If you do not believe in God you do not have a God Marriage.  You have a Social Marriage.  

"Yes, there are millions, billions, gazillions of people throughout history who have been married in churches in front of 'God and everybody' who have always had a Social Marriage and not a God Marriage.  I would say that God Marriage is in terribly short supply.

"Christians are supposed to promote their marriage as a worship of God in the same way that missionaries feed the sick and build homes for the poor as a way of worshiping God.  Marriage is intended to be sort of a constant prayer, a vigil, putting up your ebenezer, that type of thing,

"However, Social Marriage is what we have.  As humans we have the freedom to create and recreate our culture to what we want it to be.   In this culture of equality, I say fair play to yesterday's Supreme Court decision, because they have is bestowed dignity upon couples who have spent years fighting their families over such rights as who gets the stuff when the partner passes away, fighting school systems over who gets to pick up the child from elementary school, fighting companies over who gets to be put on disability benefits, and fighting the culture over who gets the social status of demonstrating to the world 'This is the person I LOVE!' . . .  and for that I say, 'Fair play!'

"But sadly, it is not and can never be the concept of Holy Matrimony as an act of devotion, constant prayer, and glorification of God.   See?  God Marriage.

"But that's OK.  Don't worry about it.  Most people no longer believe in God anyway, so who cares, right?

"Regardless, any sort of movement by supposed Christians to make any Amendment to the Constitution will only be serving to send a signal that they think they are somehow better and more deserving than others to this idea of marriage, and ultimately that will negate our mission as Christians to show His love to the world through our acts of service to the world.

"We must live together.  As much as it is within our power, we must live peaceably among all humans.   Personally, I think all this confusion is because we humans always pretended to have something that we did not, and it was our prideful nature to elevate our desires over our worship for Him.  We always thought that our Social Marriage was a God Marriage, and it has always only been a social contract.

"But oh, well, frailty is humanity.

"God bless, and have a wonderful day!"


Overheard at the Counter: A Brief History of Marriage

Verble, recapping the events of the week, goes off on a history lesson:

"Marriage has always been a social contract.  Always.  It's always been about who gets your stuff.
When Og and Grog were fighting for who was gonna lead the tribe down the river to the next cave, whoever won would need to ensure that if they got eaten by a mountain lion, that their kid would be the next in line to keep the tribe moving.  Marriage solves that problem.

"So, in a way, marriage has always been about social status and economic distribution.  We see this throughout history.  Do you really have this false notion that monogamy was ever really practiced?  We've got loads of evidence, even Biblically, about concubines and prostitutes and little boys and all sorts of fornication that is the hallmark of humanity.  But of all the pre-Legal Trust societies, marriage made sure that your cash and your credit got passed down.

"This is because a society could always tell what baby came out of what woman.  That kid popped out of her womb.  But the daddy?  You can never really tell.  Does this kid have a claim to Locutus's sword?  Or to Zoltar's 100 head of oxen?   Without marriage, it would have been one bloody mess trying to figure that out.

"The only historical blip on marriage was Jesus Christ, who came along and introduced strict monogamy.  You were supposed to have only your wife.  'What the hell?!' the people said.  'I can't have my wife and have my fun with that loose Samaritan chick that sometimes goes to the well?' 'No,' Jesus said, 'because if you do, you've broken your vow not just on this social compact, but also before God, and therefore you lose your right to your stuff, because God gave you the stuff.'

"That was one of the reasons why they so wanted Him dead.  'We gotta get rid of this guy!  It's OK if he heals the sick but now he's talking about our STUFF!'

"Am I starting to sound like a George Carlin routine?  That's OK.  Carlin was a spot-on guy.  Although it is funny to mention Jesus and George in the same breath.

"But I digress:  this is really why St Valentine was marrying people in secret around 300AD.  The Emperor didn't like people marrying because then someone would have secret claim to whatever stuff the people would have after they died in far-off countries trying to expand the empire.

"The idea of monogamy (which is God's marriage, which is different that this social idea of marriage, but that's a different rant) is what became solemnized with social marriage with the rise of European countries as a world influence.  Still, though, throughout the Dark Ages and even the Renaissance, the idea of marriage was basically that this is the woman who you say to the world this is who I'm doing it with, and your other lovers you just keep in the dark.  Any kids from the lovers never got a cent - imagine that!  No child support - nothing! - they had to go out and make it on their own.  Why do you think William the Bastard was able to change his name to William the Conqueror in 1066?

"Christian pastors today think that the beginning of the end of Traditional Marriage (which, by the way, is this confusion between God's marriage and Human Marriage) began with the Enlightenment.  Man, do pastors HATE the Enlightenment.  Still, though, that's yet ANOTHER rant.

"Me, I think the true end for Trad Marriage is the Romantic Poets.  Why?  You may ask, How can these proto-hippies be so bad for marriage.   Well, it's because they introduced the idea that you were actually supposed to LOVE the person you're married to.

"The whole idea behind marriage up until right before the 20th Century is that you marry someone, have kids, the kids get your stuff, and maybe you will find love with that person, or at the very least find a way to tolerate them for the rest of your life.  Either way, the women get economic security, the man gets regular meals and social status and the kids aren't sent away to live in the woods with the mountain lions.  Period.

"Then all this ROMANCE comes along, and marriage is infused with this 'you MUST fall in love'  Now, that's OK by me.  Took me three tries but I finally did it.  What I'm saying is that this breaks down the SOCIAL contract of marriage and makes it a romantic contract.  While this was probably intended to be closer to God's Marriage (which again, is separate and distinct), it actually paved the way for divorce.   Because a contract can not change hearts or help you through the bad times.

"Fast forward to the 20th century, where the incidence of family abandonment got too great for societies to bear, so divorce became easier.  The social stigma of kids coming from broken homes was removed, and suddenly the Social Marriage is left as nothing but a hollow symbol of this-is-the- person-who-makes-me-happy-at-the-present-moment.

"And that, my friends, is a Brief History of the Social Contract of Marriage.

"God's idea of marriage is so different that the two are unrecognizable.  The only reason why we think they are the same is that we have the same word for them.  But that's because our words confuse us."




Overheard at the Counter: Roof and Pinckney

Verble, at the counter, on this Saturday morning, saying,

"When the President at the eulogy yesterday said that the Lord works in mysterious ways, it got the natural callback response from the congregation.  To me, it sounded disingenuous, somewhat hollow, like he knew his audience and he knew how to speak to them, what terms to use - but then, he's a politician.  Knowing what to say to what people currently in his vicinity, that's his job.  And he does it well.

"Still though, he is right.  The Lord does work in mysterious ways, and while we try to wrap our heads around why a 21 year old white boy with no obvious direction in life would want to slaughter old black men and women, in a church, during a Bible study, we have to remember that while the Lord works in mysterious ways, evil works in obvious ways.

"Clementa Pinckney had a calling to serve the Lord from the age of 13.  He pastored his own small church at the age of 17.  He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives at 23 and the State Senate at 27.  (Now don't correct me if I'm off a year or two on the relative ages, OK?)  But it just surprises me how Dylann Roof will never, I repeat NEVER, have the opportunity to work in that level of government and possibly do real good for the people of the state of South Carolina.

"All Dylann Roof has assigned his life to is a picture of a mangy-dog, feral white boy, holding a gun and a Confederate battle flag.  Clementa Pinckney leaves behind a wealth of accomplishments, a series of sermons, and contemporaries in public service who can say they were better off for having known this man.

"For me, I wish, fiercely wish, that while Dylann Roof had been sitting there for that hour on that Thursday in June, listening to Bible study, that the words he heard would have entered his heart, softened his resolve, and yes, I don't imagine he would have rushed into the arms of the people saying 'I'm saved I'm saved' because that's just fairy stories, but instead, he would have realized that these were holy people serving a holy God, and that he had no cause to take their lives, and that he would have just walked right out that door.  

"But God allowed him to murder and slaughter people in prayer, and we have to ask why.  We as a culture don't even ask that question any more.  We instead fight about guns and flags, which is like fighting over the color of the band-aid instead of staunching the flow of blood from the hand that's been severed from the wrist.

"But where was I?  Oh yeah!  The only reason why God would have allowed that is because He has something even greater in mind.  The choices we make are our own, and we have full responsibility, but I think there are things we will never know. Mysterious ways.

"Dylann Roof is not saved, I think we are all safe to say that.  But what if, just what if, when he's spending the rest of his life in prison - and by the way, wouldn't it be just delicious justice if he gets an all Black jury? Man, that though just makes me chuckle! - but imagine if, while he's spending his life, he starts to listen to Pinckney's sermons?  What if he starts learning about the history of the AME church?  What if he does get saved?  What if he then writes a biography of Pinckney?  What if, in that way, he immortalizes the man whom he killed?

"I know, that sounds like fantasy, and maybe won't happen.  But maybe it will.  Only God knows and only time will tell.

"I like to think more that this is plausible:  the church reopened and I hear tell that thousands filled the park across the street for the eulogies and services.  The people in those crowds were motivated to go to Charleston out of a sense of solidarity and compassion for fallen, decent people.  I truly believe that, somewhere in that crowd, is one person, just one person, who needed to have that spark to realize the truth about salvation through Jesus Christ, and will commit their lives to God, and then, when they shuffle off this mortal coil, will be with Reverend Pinckney and the other victims, dancing with our Father in Heaven.

"But then, you will ask, 'God let nine people be slaughtered to save one?' and I will tell you, 'Remember, that's ten saved souls.'

"Mysterious ways."