This is a virtual cafe where all ideas are entertained all facts discerned, all topics discussed. And just because the proprietor has a passion for Christ, books, and the Acoustic guitar, that doesn't mean you can't veer wildly off into different subjects. So, come in, have a coffee (imported especially from Verble's finca in El Salvador), and talk about whatever you want.
Friday, April 30, 2010
A Mighty Wind
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Stray Thought about the BP Gulf Spill
1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
Hmmm . . . not exactly what He had in mind.
Talking with the Barista about Poets
e.e. cummings, the best poet of the twentieth century, and perhaps the greatest poet in the English language . . . oh heck, he's just the best poet EVER! even if he does bear more than a passing resemblance to Pablo Picasso.
Emily Dickenson. Boy, I can't even begin to describe the loathing I have for her poetry, but then, just look at her! Think Tuesday Addams on major hallucinogens! This ain't no Cullen vampire, let me tellya! This woman would suck the lifeblood out of you as soon as look at you. And all this talk about her poems being avant garde, ahead of her time - BAH! Basically, she couldn't focus on working a coherent thought, she was so stoned! It wasn't a "new" rhythm, then pen just kept jumping out of her hand. Acid freak!
And his cohort, Ezra Pound, was almost as bad in his pomposity and complete use of esoteric allusions to ancient mythological dieties, and we're not talking the usual ones, we're talking the ones that only show up in the corners of the stories, and to top off the arrogance, he used to switch languages in the middle of a poem - I read one once where he switched languages FIVE TIMES in one poem - now listen, I can understand when there's a phrase or two in one languages that simply can't translate, and needs to be inserted in the poem, and I can even see when going back and forth between languages in one poem really gives the effect of being a part of both of those worlds, but FIVE languages! That's just showing off!
Overheard at the Counter: Campbell Brown is Frankie's Girl
but that's another story, what really got me and what made me think "why aren't the people screaming about this?" was his patronizing attitude toward Campbell Brown, I mean, he kept calling her "girl" - as in " girl, trust me, you don't wanna go there, they kill their kids," et cetera, and I'm wondering why didn't Campbell Brown finally say, "Call me Ms. Brown, or call me Campbell, but stop calling me 'girl'"
I mean, here is Franklin Graham, trying to describe a mysoginist culture, and here he is toeing the line of being right close to a male chauvanist himself.
anyway, that's what I took away from it, at least.
I think that's called "irony".
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Overheard at Booth 1
1: Personally I think there's nothing wrong with it - Arizona's just trying to crack down on human traficking.
1: No, really, I heard on the radio that there are "drop houses" in Phoenix, where these coyotes will put 30 illegals in a room, tied all up together, and won't let them out until someone pays for them.
1: Yeah, YOU look like Tiger Woods!
3: Right, and so they'll be stopping me anyway! I've always boycotted Arizona, don't see why that Mayor of San Francisco thinks he's got such a bright new idea!
1: Which is a euphamism for something entirely different!
3: Along with my confidence!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Overheard at Table 5: Vox Clamantis en Desertum
Monday, April 26, 2010
Poetry read at Table 3
I do not claim to be
anything like e.e.
(anyone lived in an
and I would
not want to be –
similar to Emily(be-
cause I wouldn’t
he kindly – pickled
And I don’t think it neat
to become like a Beat(chom
ping and swelling
on the blurbblurbblurb, hey now
get back there, whatchoo got on that
And I don’t have the rhythm or the
to be an Eliot or Pound
(Into the salon the whistleblowers come
Damping their limpid Stygian hums.
The wine flows, into open jowels,
the bath of Dionysis
/‘she draughted i’tall, that vial
from the apothecary’
‘the one on Gladstone St.?’ ‘the very’
‘oh, yes, and what will the minister see
when he arrives home for tea?’/
all upflows into the belly of Isis.)
is said and done,(
and all these others’
time has come and gone
)that the type of poetry I
is simply the words that breathe from
found on a postcard underneath Table 5
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Overheard in Booth 6
John: Why would they censor them for that? They make fun of Jesus all the time.
James: Yeah, but some radical Muslims threatened to kill the creators, so Comedy Central got scared.
John: A better word would be . . . "terrified" perhaps?
James: Like, you mean, terrorized by terrorists.
John: Well, that's what terrorism is, you know, scaring somebody so they'll do what you want them to do.
James: But you can't say that too loud, they might kill us too.
John: Yeah, because all our troops are halfway across the world.
James: Leaving us to fend for ourselves.
John: You know, it's not that I ever really liked South Park anyway - buncha foulmouthed kids insulting everything that's decent, but dang, to be shut down by Islamic extremists . . . it just seems that they really are stronger than Christianity.
James: Hardly . . . I'd say they're weaker. Strength isn't in how hard you can punch somebody in the face, strength is in knowing that you can and holding yourself back. It's totally simpering weak to threaten to kill somebody just because they draw a picture or make a cartoon.
John: But they're religion says whoever does that should die.
James: Then their religion is weak.
John: Keep your voice down - do you want to get us killed?
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Overheard in Booth 3: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Dad: So, tell me, how much of that movie was in the books?
Son: Most of it.
Daughter: The books didn't have that girl with the streak in her hair . . . I want to get my hair dyed blue.
Dad: Sky blue or dark blue?
Daughter: Sky. Or whatever color that girl had in the movie had that we saw.
Son: Don't you remember?! We just saw it! - Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Daughter: No idiot, that other that we saw a long time ago - Aquamarine.
Father: Don't call your brother an idiot.
Daughter: Well, he shouldn't act like one!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Overheard in Booth 3
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Poem left in Booth 5
Just love me.
Love me as though this skin
had never been touched
by any lips
but yours, love
me as though
to let go my hand from
your hand, the
winds would sail me
from you, love
you leave me
Love me as though there were
no morning, no night, no tomorrow,
no yesterday, no
now, love me
as though you were the salt
spray of the sea and I were the wet
sand, and you rolled across me
not knowing who I was, but you
lingered, for a time, and said,
is where I will
lay my weary head."
Overheard at Table 1 (which by the way, is by the window)
"IF YOU DON'T WANT GOVERNMENT REGULATING THE SNOT OUTTA YOU,
THEN STOP SCREWING THE VERY PEOPLE THAT GOVERNMENT WAS CREATED TO PROTECT!
"and I don't see how I can put it much clearer than that!"
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Graffiti on the Men's Room Wall
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
At the Counter: Let Them Eat the Very Gold from your Teeth
Governor and Democrats on Budget Collision Course
New Jersey Star-Ledger
Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrats are on a collision course over this year’s budget that could lead to a shutdown in state government on July 1. At the heart of it is a classic ideological divide. The governor sees lower taxes on the rich as the key to economic recovery. And he promises to veto any attempt to extend last year’s income-tax surcharge on the state’s wealthiest families, those earning over $400,000. Democrats, at first shell-shocked, are now rallying against this. They would extend the surcharge, raising between $600 million and $900 million.
"It's incredible," Steppenwolf says, "this is the only country in the world where it's citizens actually believe that if you give the rich everything they want then everybody will just magically be happy, and the rich will just shower golden coins down upon everyone else!"
Payne replies, "They've got some great P.R. I'll give 'em that."
Steppenwolf shrugs, "Now the rest of the world, lemme tellya, the rest of the world just lives with the rich gouging the poor because the rich feed the military. It's only when they forget to give their jackals their fresh steaks twice daily do they find themselves at the butt end of the bloody violent revolution, but honestly! Nobody else anywhere on the globe so openly allows the rich to play with our collective money like it was their own private playground!"
Payne replies, "God bless the capitalist machine!"
Laptop open on the counter . . .
Salvadoran leader apologizes for bishop's killing
By MARCOS ALEMAN (AP) – Mar 24, 2010
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, a human rights proponent who spoke out against repression by the Salvadoran army, was gunned down March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel.
Shortly before, Romero challenged soldiers from the pulpit to stop their repression in a famous address, declaring that "no soldier is obligated to obey a law against the law of God."
President Mauricio Funes said Romero was killed by right-wing death squads "who unfortunately acted with the protection, collaboration or participation of state agents."
"These illegal armed groups terrorized the civilian population during those dark years, leaving behind thousands of victims," Funes said, unveiling a mural commemorating Romero at the international airport outside the capital,
Nobody has been convicted for Romero's killing.
In 1993, a U.N.-sponsored truth commission determined that the assassination was ordered by a former army major and Maj. Roberto D'Abuisson, founder of the Nationalist Republican Alliance party. D'Abuisson had died the year before. But an amnesty law was passed shortly before those findings were made public.
The Nationalist Republican Alliance, or Arena, governed
Funes, elected last year, said his government accepts that the investigation uncovered "the truth in the case of the assassination of Monsignor Romero."
Funes' leftist party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, is an outgrowth of the rebel movement that fought U.S.-backed right-wing governments for 12 years before laying down arms in 1992 and becoming a political party. The civil war caused more than 75,000 deaths.
Thousands of Salvadorans gathered Wednesday to remember and honor Romero at the church were he was killed.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
- Birmingham celebrates Oscar Romero
Independent Catholic News - Mar 26, 2010
Uprising - Mar 24, 2010
- 30 Years After Archbishop Romero's Murder, It is Time for Truth
PR Newswire (press release) - Mar 23, 2010
- More coverage (1) »
Add News to your Google Homepage
People carry posters with the image of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero while participating in a rally to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero's death ,
However, the HTML tag is apparently broken, and so the photos haven't come through. John Steppenwolf comes back from the restroom to check his laptop and he promises he'll try to download the real story so that everyone can see them.
Monday, April 19, 2010
An Acoustic for Every Room, a Book for Every Corner
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Michael Hedges - Taproot
Friday, April 16, 2010
Man on his cellphone at the counter
because it's just wrong . . .
It's a remake of a movie that just came out three years ago - just because it was British and this is American doesn't make any difference, there should be a statute of limitations on how many years between movies you can actually remake a movie . . .
yeah, I'm thinking about 30 years is right, maybe even twenty, but definitely no less than ten . . .
Overheard at Booth 5
Don Thomas: I'm a constitutionalist, yes.
Charles: Well, I'm kind of upset about something that happened recently and I want to ask your opinion, but I don't want you to get all peeved and try to strangle me or anything, OK?
Don: I'm not gonna promise anything! But you can ask me whatever you want.
Charles: OK, so you heard about the governor of Virginia naming this month as Confederate Soldier month . . .
Don: Go on.
Charles: Well, everyone's upset and lambasted him for talking about the Civil War without mentioning slavery, and I was upset on a completely different point. You see, slavery wasn't the main point of the war, although we've all been taught that it was, and if you take that the main point of the war was the preservation of the Union, I am against anything that promotes the disunification of the United States, and since the Confederacy wanted to destroy the Union, I don't think any state should be allowed to celebrate that.
Don: Well, you see, that's where you're wrong, because the Confederacy WAS defending the Constitution, they were defending their rights of sovereignty under the Constitution, but that's another point that I'll have to explain to you some other time when I've got more time, but let me just remind you about the main point that a soldier honors a soldier, no matter what side they're on . . .
Verble [approaching the table with the coffee carafe]: . . . and regardless of whatever you may think of their reasons, they WERE still American soldiers, whether they wanted to secede or not, they were all Americans.
Charles: Yeah, I suppose I can see it on that face, when you put it like that. But still, in this climate, this year, I think it's really important to defend the UNITED states.
Don: That's only if it's worth defending.
Charles: Uh oh, now you're getting into your militia stance. Didn't you say you had to get somewhere?
Don: Ah, now you're just trying to duck and cover. [gets up] Don't worry, we'll continue THIS discussion real soon!
Charles [lifting mug to lips - mutters]: Can't wait.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Overheard at Table 4
Belen: So what were you gonna do instead?
Carlene: I dunno, maybe he'll just have them draw or something, but I swear, I saw the letter, and it never said anything that these little third grade boys were gonna be forced to dress up in a corset and petticoats - I mean, it's just for women's history, and they were just going to SEE what women had to put up with, and still do!
Belen: but you say it was one mother who stirred up the papers?
Carlene: no, she just blasted it to her Facebook friends, and you know everyone has ten THOUSAND friends and stink minds stink alike so finally it got to some hate monger with a media outlet and next thing you know they're skewering the entire school saying we're trying to "feminize" the boys to promote some sort of gay agenda!
Belen: That just sucks.
Carlene: I tell you, some people just don't deserve Internet access. All this instant technology just makes my stomach hurt!
Belen: Actually, y'know what's really funny is how all this mess shows how the world has both changed and has stayed the same . . . forty years ago if a teacher sent home a note about a project that talked about how women's clothes had changed over time, the same people would be throwing their torches and pitchforks against the school for promoting a "feminist" agenda . . . and now, the same thing happens and the ignorant villagers are fighting the ghosts of a "gay" agenda.
Carlene: Yeah, but back then we WERE promoting a feminist agenda . . . and to be honest, this project was supposed to just be a continuation of that. Honest to God there was nothing gay about it.
Belen: Never said the ignorant villagers were smart. Just that they find every reason to promote an "anti-gay" agenda.
Carlene: Striking out against ghosts . . . I like that. Shadows of their own hate.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Conversing with the Barista about Books
Plume: . . . .trying to catch up on my reading, couldn't get a handle on it, so I've got a new idea - I'm putting all the books in bags
Barista: Plastic or cloth?
Plume: Cloth, thankyouverymuch, my little earth-conscious neo-hippie, but anyway, I'm putting in about five at a time, and then just trying to plow through all five, in a month.
Steppenwolf: Consecutively, or all at the same time?
Plume: Turns out a little of both. Started out one at a time, but then I couldn't find one one night and started it. That one was What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going by Damion Searls.
Steppenwolf: How was it?
Plume: Ah, really, only when you're in your twenties is stories about the bohemian lifestyle any interesting. First story starts out about a guy who wants to be a writer but's really just a London slacker. Smooth text, but the idea doesn't catch me, now the one I started first, The Return of the Soldier, Rebecca West, now that one started out promising: 1918, wife of a British soldier, he comes home with shell-shock.
Steppenwolf: What they used to call PTSD . . .
Plume: Right, same thing, different terms for different times. My favourite phrase for it always was "Soldier's Heart"
Barista: Oh, my daughter's reading that book for her sixth grade class. She made me read it too, wonderful book, really strong, especially for a kid's book.
Plume: Yeah, read that one too - it's tough, but solid, and I think it's fairly historically accurate. Granted, the author admits that one guy couldn't have been in all those conflicts, but all the stories were from real experiences . . . but the Rebecca West, eh . . . let's just say it seems to be a great story, but something about the writing is just leaving me off.
Steppenwolf: So you like the writing of one but not the story, and the story of the other but not the writing.
Plume: Something like that, yeah.
Barista: Maybe one should have written the other and the other just gets left alone.
Steppenwolf: A literary mash-up?
Plume: Actually I was thinking that, especially about The Return of the Soldier. I would have like to have seen Virginia Woolf write that one.
Steppenwolf: Woolf! Ach!
Plume: I know, I know.
Barista: Who's Virginia Woolf?
Steppenwolf: Someone you should never be afraid of.
Plume: Someone you should never be forced to read - terrible, stream of consciousness crap . . .
Steppenwolf: Wrote To the Outhouse . . .
Plume: To the Lighthouse.
Steppenwolf: I know what she called it. I'm telling you what we called it when we were forced to read it sophomore year.
Plume: - but I was thinking, if she had actually had a story like West's, then maybe her style would have been able to do something with the story. Look: this story we've got the soldier himself who's mind is stuck fifteen years in the past, he thinks he still in love with this other girl, she's written to the wife saying I'm here trying to take care of him, the wife seems a bit stuck up, wants to love him, but is caught all up in what will the neighbors think? and then there's his cousin, who just loves him pure familial love, I mean, it's fantastic! One guy out of his mind, three women from different vantage points . . . Woolf's slipping inandout of thoughts would have been perfect for this, much better than To the Outhouse . . .
Steppenwolf: Ah! See? Catchy, isn't it?
Plume: I meant To the LIGHThouse!
Barista: Looks like a Freudian slip into the Stream of Consciousness.
Steppenwolf: I KNEW there was a reason why I liked you!
Barista: But maybe you should try it.
Plume: Try what?
Barista: Go ahead, re-write it. Rewrite West's novel in Woolf's style.
Plume: Wouldn't that be plagiarism? Of a sort?
Barista: Every hit song these days samples some other song.
Steppenwolf: Even art. Every exhibit is just found object collage or paint splattered over renditions of previous art. I say let's take it into the field of literature.
Plume: Some might say literature beat them to the punch . . .. only like five basic plots, everything's variations on a theme . . . .
Steppenwolf: You're thinking like an English major, start thinking like a writer.
Barista: Just start, and see what happens.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Overheard at Table 2: May 16, 2008
[please note that Verble overheard this comment, and had seen the slip of paper slid from one side of the table to the other, and although he tried to ascertain at least the title of article on the printout, he could not. Now, all he has left in memory is the date, and perhaps the date is important. Perhaps, one day, in the far distant future, Verble will be able to search the archives of all articles published (in either solid or virtual form) and determine what exactly was contained in the article that was so important so as to be printed and slid across a table at a diner to the woman in the man's employ. Until that time, however, he will continue not knowing.]
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Booth 3: Izalco
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Laptop at Table 1
"AP - The crash of an aging Russian airliner ravaged the top levels of Poland's military, political and church elite Saturday, killing the Polish president and dozens of other dignitaries as they traveled to a ceremony commemorating a slaughter that has divided the two nations for seven decades.
"The Polish . . . they never catch a freakin' break, now do they?"
Friday, April 9, 2010
Piece of Paper tacked on the inside of a stall in the Ladies Room
Carolyn Kizer – 1984
Now, when he and I meet, after all these years,
I say to the bitch inside me, don't start growling.
He isn't a trespasser anymore,
Just an old acquaintance tipping his hat.
My voice says, "Nice to see you,"
As the bitch starts to bark hysterically.
He isn't my enemy now,
Where are your manners, I say, as I say,
"How are the children? They must be growing up."
At a kind word from him, a look like the old days,
The bitch changes her tone: she begins to whimper.
She wants to snuggle up to him, to cringe.
Down, girl! Keep your distance
Or I'll give you a taste of the choke-chain.
"Fine, I'm just fine," I tell him.
She slobbers and grovels.
After all, I am her mistress. She is basically loyal.
It's just that she remembers how she came running
Each evening, when she heard his step;
How she lay at his feet and looked up adoringly
Though he was absorbed in his paper;
Or, bored with her devotion, ordered her to the kitchen
Until he was ready to play.
But the small careless kindnesses
When he'd had a good day, or a couple of drinks,
Come back to her now, seem more important
Than the casual cruelties, the ultimate dismissal.
"It's nice to know you are doing so well," I say.
He couldn't have taken you with him;
You were too demonstrative, too clumsy,
Not like the well-groomed pets of his new friends.
"Give my regards to your wife," I say. You gag
As I drag you off by the scruff,
Saying, "Goodbye! Goodbye! Nice to have seen you again."
The Barista brings this sheet of paper containing this poem to Verble and tells him where she found it, and as he finishes reading it, she asks him, "Why would someone put that up in the women's stall?"
"To remind them of what men can do to them," he says, "What they can do to their hearts."
Verble pauses for a second, "But she did it wrong . . . she should have put it in the men's room. Women already know this."
With that, Verble opens a drawer under the counter, searching for a roll of Scotch tape, and then walks off toward the men's room.
Overheard in Booth 5
Thursday, April 8, 2010
King Strut and Other Stories
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
John on Acoustic
Seems strange that the general consensus always ascribes McCartney as the acoustic one and Lennon as the rocker, (I know, I know, you'll pull out "Blackbird" "Yesterday" etc - but remember 'twas Paul who wrote "Back in the USSR'' and "Helter Skelter")
Still, back to John - he had a subtle presence and his acoustic tunes were intricate without being overly flashy, each note flowed into the other - I think of his acoustic songs like a stream, a brook, whereas Paul's were more like leaves on treelimbs
and yes, I just realized how overly saccharine that just sounded.
I'll just leave you with a picture of Mr. Lennon, on his Gibson acoustic. Is that a J500? Somebody let me know.
At the Counter: The Difference (Then and Now)
THIS IS A MINUTEMAN
He fought to kick out an oppressive government who wanted us to work for THEM.
This is a RACIST
He's fighting to kick out foreign people who want to come and work for US.
THIS IS A TEA PARTY
They were NOT fighting against taxes - they were angry about a tax being imposed by the taxOR without the taxEE having a voice in the government.
THESE PEOPLE ARE RABBLE ROUSERS
They have representation. It's just that their representation has told them to go out and scream at the top of their lungs rather than lobby (and vote) for positive change.
Let's go over that again . . . the original Tea Party was not against taxes - it was against the people not having a say in the taxes.
We have a say in the taxes. Again, what did I just say? WE HAVE A SAY - WE HAVE REPRESENTATION
We just need to vote better, become a more informed electorate, and READ READ READ READ READ READ READ everything that we can get our hands on, instead of just mindlessly following the vitriol of hate radio and Fox News.
Now, finally, if anybody wants to have a have a REAL Tea Party, one that honors our tradition instead of stomping on it, then I say let's have a Tea Party like:
Ah! Now that's Verble's idea of a Tea Party!