Monday, August 31, 2020

Overheard at Booth 4: The Twist in the Road

The twist in the road.
Tires over gravel.
The scrape of grass against the undercarriage.
We roll toward the cabin tucked
             into a pocket
             of the woods.


[from a weekend trip to a cabin just outside Brenham TX]

Overheard at Booth 2: Oxygen

Notes from a National Emergency
Day 562

He will die next Tuesday, when his daughter will tell them to take him off the machine that oxygenates his blood.

This man whose story started in Nicaragua, to Florida, to Dallas, to Houston.

To this death in the year of COVID.

Overheard at Table 4: The Caravan

Found the caravan that Trump wanted everyone to be so scared of!

Turns out it was already in America all along.

Nope.  It's not a thousand Latinos ... it's a hundred pick-up trucks filled with Trump supporters shooting people and spraying teargas.

Day 564
Notes from a National Emergency

Overheard at Table 3: No Work No Eat

Well, it's Biblical.  If you don't work, you don't eat.

It's one of those verses that's been misapplied.  It's in 2 Thessalonians.  Paul was telling them about the Second Coming.  He said, "Don't lose hope because it hasn't happened yet, and don't believe those who say it's already happened and you missed it."  Then he went on to address those who were so sure Christ was coming back literally the very next day that they stopped doing everything.  Just sat in their houses not doing a darn thing, because hey!  Christ is coming in the morning!


Yeah.  THAT'S what he meant.  He meant you still got work to do.

But what about John Smith.  He said it.  That's what this country was founded on.

Also misunderstood.  He said that to the rich who came over, the ones who paid for the passage of the others for the trip and thought that they could set up shop like they had in England: with other people working and they could sit on their butts all day long sipping tea.  John Smith said that everyone had to work.  The No Work, No Eat rule was never meant to be something about "If Johnny's dad doesn't get a job, Johnny doesn't get a school lunch."

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Overheard at the Counter: Two Ways to Stop Immigration

I always have said there were only two ways to curb illegal immigration to the US:  either make the source countries into great places to live with stable economies, peace and prosperity for all, and opportunities ... or destroy the US to the point where it is just as miserable as the source countries are now: with authoritarian rulers, a wealthy class that oppresses the poor openly, with rampant poverty and no opportunities for good paying jobs.

I just never imagined we in the US would go all in for option 2!!

Overheard at Booth 2: The Gentlemen (2019)

Matthew says,

"The Gentleman is a satisfying movie.   Several twists and turns, good dialogue, stylish sets, nice acting, good story, interesting plot, a couple of buckets of blood ... and marijuana.

While I lately have been getting quite bored with the whole "Drug Dealers Are Our Heroes!" movement in cinema and film, this movie really does do a good spin on the whole, "I'm getting out of the business - oh no you're not!" tale.

Without giving too much away, Matthew McConaughey is himself ... in the role of a marijuana grower in England who is looking to cash out.  Hugh Grant is a sleazy writer who has something on McConaughey's second in command, I forget the actor's name but I think he starred in Sons of Anarchy ... anyway, it's also got Michelle Dockery who is always elegant and Colin Ferrell who is always awesome in any role, but is especially good in this role of a guy who just want to teach street kids how to box so that he can keep them out of trouble. 

The best part of this movie is how the kids he helps try their best to help him .... but I shan't give away too much!  You have to see this film.

So basically, if you like films like Layer Cake and Snatch (which I think are also Guy Ritchie films but I could be wrong) then you will enjoy the hell out of this one.

My daughter doesn't like those films too much, but she loves watching Matthew McConaughey.

Which is pretty gross, because he's about my age.  She says, that doesn't matter, he can be her sugar daddy, and I am suddenly very uncomfortable and wondering why I wasn't a better father."

But dang!  This guy didn't like this film.... and what's wild is that I agree with him on all the others he mentions in his tirade:

Overheard at Booth 1: Cuties

So there is a petition to have Netflix drop the French film "Cuties" because it supposedly promotes pedophilia, but no one in America really knows why or how because no one has yet seen the film.

Netflix started the conflict by putting out a flyer with tween girls in sexually explicit costumes, which apparently is a scene from the movie during a dance number.  The original poster in France for the original title Mignonnes, shows the same girls laughing and shopping.

Looking only at the trailer, which is the only access I have to the film, I have made my snap judgement after a few seconds.

Yes, it is a coming of age film.  Europeans have ALWAYS had coming of age films, usually about 11 year old boys in love with 40 year old women just at the outset of World War II; this film appears to have the implication that this young Senegalese girl will become attracted to a French girl, but I would rather hope that they are only friends, simply because Lesbianism is part and parcel of every film genre these days and frankly is becoming a bit banal.

About the hypersexualization: young girls in dance and tight clothes will probably bring out the pedos, but then the pedos already get their stuff off the internet, so real pedos will probably find this movie a bit boring because they have so much worse videos in their personal possession.

That said, what I find interesting is that the Conservatives want to ban this movie and Liberals are relatively silent.  Should be the other way around.  Conservatives should love this movie and Libs should hate it. 


Glad you asked.

It's about a Muslim girl who is saved by white French girls.  Saved from a domineering mother, saved from her oppressive religion, liberated into being free.

In Modern America, this should play right into the worldview of each:  Conservatives should see it as the triumph of White European Colonial culture, and Liberals should see it as just another glory of imperialism using the old trope of the White Savior.

But then ... they haven't watched the movie yet.  Maybe they will all change their minds when it drops on September 9.

Overheard at Booth 1: Photographs on Resumes

Dyani: I sent them my resume.

Kris: Did you take off your picture at the top?

Dyani: No, I left it like it was.

Kris: We're not in Honduras anymore.  Up here, you don't need to have your picture on your resume.

Dyani: I know ... but it still helps.  No matter the country: men are men.

Overread at Table 1: Writing in the Fractured moments

So tired of having to write in the frantic moments in between wife at the house and kids at the house and the job and the pets and all the other stuff that has to be done.  Wish there was a time I could write without any interruptions.  Frankly, I am tired of writing in secret, in the moments I can peel away, when my wife is at the hair salon or at the gym.  Even those times are cut short, because I always know that I have to have the kitchen clean or the laundry done or the bedroom fixed by the time she gets home, or I'll catch holy Hell because she works just as hard and has to drive twice as far and has always had everything done and yeah yeah I know ...

Overheard at Table 3: Scenes from Strangefellani Lounge

Guy walks up to the piano player, says, "Hey do you know 'Witchy Woman'?"

Piano player says, "I'm FAMILIAR with it."


Overheard at Table 5: Haiku for Bird and Child

Haiku for Bird and Child

From the bough, bird chirps.
Child smashes through mudpuddle.
Laughter of the world.


Friday, August 28, 2020

Overheard at Table 2: We All Return to the Water

The old man sat back in his chair and pontificated about water.

"Everybody's got some relation to the water, you see.  Some dive into the sea and some just skim the waters of the lake.   Some just want to walk along the beach, and others want to see how deep are the cenotes.   But one way or another, everybody eventually returns to the water."

Overheard at Booth 3: Church Announcements

1: This weekend is your turn to give the announcements at church.

2: No way!

1: Yes. way.

2: I can't.  I can't speak in front of crowds.

1: Well, you better get ready.  Your wife signed you up.

2: She must still be mad at me.

1: Ah, don't worry.  It's COVID.  There's nothing really going on at church anyway.

Overheard at Booth 2: for Petra

for Petra

You said we were naught but ideas,
be are we good ideas or bad ideas?

Sometimes, ideas can seem good at the time.
Sometimes, we don't know until
        they have already
                arrived at their
                          completed fruition.


Overheard at Table 1: ... and George

I remember a short story that I read once.  A Christmas story.  It was written sometime between the 20s, to the 50s... probably 40s are the most likely.  I think it was in a collection of short stories that had been printed in the New Yorker. 

It was about 4 pages long, and it was about a guy, can't remember his name, but I think it was George.  He walked up the steps to a Christmas party, and when he walked inside, all the presents were sitting on the table, and while everybody else was congregated in the other room, he went through the tags and added his name to each one.  "... and George" 

Such as "Love from Charles and Sue ... and George!"

Or maybe the story was at a wedding reception ... that would make more sense.

I don't know.  That's all I can remember.   Kills me that I can't remember the story, or be able to find it.  I've looked through my books, the collections of short stories, the collections of Christmas stories, collections of New Yorker stories, but I can't find it.


Overheard at Table 1: Bible Study Notes

Psalm 5:3 - I pray in the morning and I look up

Marcos 1:35 - Levantandose muy de mañana, siendo aún muy oscuro, salió y se fue a un lugar desierto, y allí oraba.

Overheard at Table 2: Abraham

Wife: Dang, Abraham really did a number on his wife, didn't he?

Husband: What, you mean having a kid with her personal assistant?

Wife: No, I mean selling her out to every king in the neighborhood.

Husband: Must have missed that.

Wife: The whole thing about, "Yer hot.  Don't tell them I'm your husband or they'll kill me.  Say yer my sister and marry them and we'll get lots of loot!"

Husband: Oh, yeah, forgot about that.   Heh heh.

Wife: What's so funny?

Husband: The thought of renting out the wife for lots of stuff!

Wife: You better not be thinking what I think you're thinking.

Husband: Oh don't worry, baby, I'd never do that to you!

Wife: Because you have too much respect for me, right?   Right?

Husband: Yeah ... sure.

Wife: You're such an ass.

Overheard at Table 3: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Bill and Ted Face the Music is coming out.

So the wife and I had to revisit the original.

You know, get caught up.


The movie ... was most excellent.

It was just the right amount of cheese.
You don't have to overthink it.  You don't have to look for any deep meaning.  All you have to do is just let yourself smile blandly at the absurdity.

It's that kind of movie that simply is what it is.

Overread at Booth 4: Haiku for TD-14

Haiku for TD-14

Short walk to the beach.
Port Aransas hotel room.
Purple clouds gather.


Monday, August 24, 2020

Overheard at Table 3: Everyone Writes Songs about New York City

Everyone writes songs about New York City
Saying New York is just the place to be.
And if they're not writing songs about Manhattan
Then they're talking about LA falling into the sea.

Everyone writes song about LA
The city of lost angels and the freedom to be
Whatever you dream of being you can be
Everyone writes songs about NYC

But no one writes songs about Houston
Except as a passing mention in a tragedy
I've heard more songs about Tulsa
Than I've ever heard about H-Town's history

Everyone wants to make it in New York City
Everyone says they love LA
Everyone wants to hang out with Nashville Cats
Everyone wants to see the San Francisco Bay

But no one writes songs about Houston
Except as a passing mention in a tragedy
I've heard more songs about living on Tulsa time
Than I've ever heard about H-town being for lovers like you and me.

'Cuz Houston is for lovers like you and me
Except perhaps in August - when it's too miserable to believe.


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Overheard at Table 2: SC 270 - Notes from Churmangura House - Disc 1 Track 14

SC 270

D1 T14 Rickie Lee Jones - Tigers

Go out to where the stars are wild and cold.  Follow me, riptide, follow me awhile.   Let’s dance under moonlight and the insects buzzing sweetwillow, playing in the past parts of our unusual character.

Playing with fire, the frozen fire that crackles from the desert floor in the obsidian underbelly of the night.   Laying on the blanket, the old woven blanket that you got from your grandmother who stole it from the Navajo.

Our feathers will fall like the shooting stars across the timeless ocean of obsidian sky. 

Laying in tatters.

Sleeping all shredded like that.

Dreaming of white tygers, tygers, burning bright.

Memories of that far off city, watching Julio climb up the firescape and in through your open window, to drag you out and make our great escape. 

Tomorrow we will head into town and try to catch that train.  There is always another train.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Overheard at Table 4: The Earth Does Not Know Borders

Day 544

The earth does not know borders.
The earth only knows the human feet
that have crossed its dusty deserts, its
high plains, its dense forest.

The earth does not distinguish languages
The earth only sings the cries of those
buried inside it.

A singular cry from infinite voices.


The earth does not know borders.
The earth only knows human feet
that have crossed its deserts.

The earth does not know languages.
The earth only sings the cries of those
buried inside it.

A singular cry from infinite voices.


Overheard at Table 2: A Tale of Two Invaders

Day 543

OK, Let’s say there are two invaders to the USA.

Allrighty, let's say that.

And One wants to cook your food, and the other wants to destroy your lungs.

I see where you think you're going with this, but OK.

You want to put one in prison, but the other, you will send your children to.

What does that make you?

An American .... what's your point?

I think I just proved it.

Overheard at Booth 3: Project Power (2020)

OK, apart from the cheesy title, this is a decent little movie.

Sure, there are going to be haters ... people who will think that it's lame or re-hashed or thinking that every time there is something about New Orleans or black kids then it has to be about drug dealing.

There will be "why does it have to show everyone as poor" blah blah blah.

But the one thing they won't be able to say is that constant rattling on about the "White Savior" because the only white guy in this movie who is heroic is Jason Gordon Levitt, and even though he wants to be the savior of New Orleans, he is not.   

That is up to Dominique Fishback, who plays Robin (note the "Batman and Robin" reference about midway through - nice touch!) who can rap.   I mean, she's really good.  And even though Jamie Foxx calls that her "superpower" it remains just as a wonderful part of her personality and which shows her intelligence and strength of character, and nothing more than that ... which is refreshing.

Worth watching.  Action buffs will like the exploding chests and the buckets of blood, and others might find it a little cheesy, but it's definitely a good use of your time on a quiet Saturday afternoon during an excruciatingly hot August during a horrible Plague Year.

Overheard at Table 4: Deacon in Training - A Husband of One Wife

Deacon in Training

Husband of one wife

In current American/Latino culture, can mean a guy who is faithful to his wife.
As in ... a man who is not seeking sexual conquests.

Morally pure.

But the "husband of one wife" can mean more.

In ancient cultures, men were able to take on extra wives for several reasons, including if a woman's husband died, the brother could take her as wife, even if he was already married.

Having multiple wives was also a way for the wealthy to increase their wealth, consolidate their wealth, and grow their wealth.

So, in the primitive church, a husband of one wife may have had the meaning that, to be a deacon in service to Jesus Christ, you ONLY had one wife, meaning that you were: 1) of humble means (not having too much wealth), and 2) you had the time and energy to focus on ministry (let's be honest: maintaining multiple households takes a lot of time and energy!)

So, yes, while in our age, this is definitely an admonition against machismo and adultery and fornication, it also speaks of having a stable, maintainable household, in which your marital needs are met, but is not too much that it keeps you away from ministry.

On a last tactic: I would also propose (although this is just my opinion), that it is important to for a deacon to HAVE a wife.  Why?  For two reasons

1) A man who has a wife knows what it is to have marital responsibilities, which should make him better equipped to understand the needs of people to whom he is ministering.

2) A man who has no wife and falls in love, well, that takes a lot of time.  When two people fall in love, several studies have shown that there are approximately two full years of a "bliss" in which the two people can only think of each other, that their entire waking moment is only for each other.  This is the "everything is perfect" stage of the relationship.  Such a courtship makes a person almost incapable of taking on the responsibilities of a deacon.  It is best for a person to be past this stage and in a stable, loving, supportive marriage, which should equip the person best to take on the responsibilities of such a ministry.

Overheard at Booth 2: Daughter's New Job

Wife: ... and don't go telling people that she works for the owner of the company.

Husband: Why not?  That's cool.

Wife: It makes it seem like it's not that important.  You are making the job seem less than what it is.   By saying the lady owns her own company, it makes it sound like it's a small firm.

Husband: Well it is.  They only have ten employees.  But it's cool.  Our daughter is the executive assistant to the president of an interior design firm before she has even finished her degree.

Wife: And that's all you have to say.  Just stop there.  You always give too many details and people won't imagine that it's all that important.

Husband: I know you're wrong on this one, but I just don't know how to say it.

Wife: Then say nothing.  It's better if you just stop talking.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Overheard at Booth 1: (Don't) Take Me Back to Tulsa

Once, I overheard my wife singing, "Don't take me back to Tulsa" in a stereotypical country twang ... like an old Hank Thompson style.

So, I tried to write these lyrics:

(Don't) Take Me Back to Tulsa

Don't take me back to Tulsa,
'Cuz I don't wanna go.
I left T-town so far behind
Such a long long time ago.

There's nothing for me in Tulsa,
That place is a godless pit,
The only good thing in Tulsa
I took with me when I split.

Yeah my kids were born in Tulsa,
That's the best that I can say,
The sun shines brightest in Tulsa,
The day you make your getaway,

Yeah, the day you get away!

2014-0629, updated and edited 2020-0814

Overheard at Table 3: My Dad's Wedding

When my dad got divorced and said that he had started dating again, at first I was afraid that he would bring over some woman who was my age ...

was even a bit weirder than that!  He started dating a guy who was two years younger than me.

The wedding was strange too... all these guys who were really FIT, all glancing over in my direction.

My wife finally put her arm around my waist and said, "Don't worry, baby, I'll protect you from all these queens!"

Then one of the groomsmen, who heard her, said to me, "THAT lady is a keeper, you just remember that, honey!"

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Overheard at Booth 1: Faith Hope and Charity

Wife: We named our daughters Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Husband: Biblical, you know.

Wife: Yeah, Biblical.  But now they're in high school and Charity is still in Junior High but she makes her sisters mad all the time by quoting 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Husband: The greatest of the three is Charity.

Wife: Yeah, all the time she's saying, "The greatest is Charity!  The greatest is Charity."

Husband: We should have named her Grace.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Overheard at Table 4: Emotionally Available

Last week, my wife told me I needed to be more emotionally available to the kids.
So I was more emotionally available... I asked them about their hopes and dreams, and told them that I was there for them.  They looked at me like I was weird and went back to their phones.

Then, when I was feeding the dogs, the dogs were wanting to lick me, so I asked the dogs if the dogs needed me to be more emotionally available.  They seemed to say that yes, they did, but they would love me either or.

Then, I asked the cats if the cats needed me to me more emotionally available.  The cats flat out told me that they just need me to be more food available, and after I feed them I am free to bugger off.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Overheard at Table 2: Divorce Diet

Lindsey: Oh my gawd i havent seen you in forever you look GREAT!

Amy: Aw thanks ive been on a divorce diet.

Lindsey: Instantly dropped 200 pounds of dead weight?

Amy: Thats the one!

Lindsey: Well it looks GREAT on you!

Amy: You should try it too.

Lindsey: Im filling out the paperwork on Monday.

Amy: Awesome!  you GO girl!