Friday, April 30, 2010

A Mighty Wind

Verble points to this album cover and says, "The highest pinnacle of satire is that which gently spoofs, or, maybe it'd be better to describe it like this - something that actually loves and honors the very thing that it's satirizing. Good examples, Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, which obviously loved the Western and the Gothic Horror that it was spoofing. The best example, movie-wise, is Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, which I call the best movie that no one's ever seen. Martial arts movie, perfectly satirizes the genre, especially down to the bad English overdubbed translations.

"But back to the album - this is a soundtrack to the movie, and the movie spoofed all the folk singers of the sixties. The same guys are the ones who did This is Spinal Tap, which gets my vote for one of the greatest movies of all time - it spoofed hard rock of the seventies, but it can't go up on the wall because it's not an acoustic album, see?

"And, yeah, I know - my criteria for going up on the wall is an album that actually has at its main focus - the acoustic guitar. This one does that - in fact, every song spoofed on that album highlights the acoustic guitar - and even though all the bands and the songs are take-offs of the uber-cheesy sixties folk scene, you can listen to this album and actually know exactly what those years were like, without ever having actually to go back to bands like Ian and Sylvia or the Kingston Trio or Harper's Bizarre or any of those others.

"I made a mix of it with audio clips from the movie interspersed between the songs, I'll play it in the cafe sometime - it's hilarious! And not in the movie, but they do a cover of the Rolling Stones' 'Start Me Up' that makes me split my guts laughing each and every time!

". . . aw what the heck - hold down the fort, wouldya? I'm going home to get my CD. Be right back."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stray Thought about the BP Gulf Spill

from Genesis:

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

Verble: OK, so you were asking me about the poets that were told in that poem that he recited at table 3 the other day, well, I downloaded some photos and I thought I'd give you a quick rundown, here we go:

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!

The Beat Generation, hm. They wrote poetry off the cuff to the rhythm of free form American jazz - they were hippies who still took baths and haircuts. They dressed like itinerant Mexican farmworkers but still looked like a Mississippi lynch mob!

Good ol' Thomas Stearns, the man who wrote the absolute worst three lines in the history of poetry, "Let us go then, you and I/when evening is spread against the sky/like a patient etherized upon a table!" Agh! Gives me conniption fits every time I think about it! and what's the worst thing is I can't get it out of my head!

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!
And I never understood what happened to Pound physically anyway, as you can see, when he was young he looked like Courbet or any of those other French Bohemian painters, and when he got old he just looked like Charles Bukowski. Ouch!

Overheard at the Counter: Campbell Brown is Frankie's Girl

John Steppenwolf: . . . finally got tired of hearing about how Franklin Graham was disinvited to the Prayer Day because of whaddatheysay "hurtful" comments about Islam, like it being "evil" or something, so I decided to check it out for myself, what exactly he did say, and so I found the interview on YouTube, the interview he did with Campbell Brown, where yeah, he did say that Islam was evil, and he did say that in Islam they beat their wives, kill their kids, et cetera . . . but you know, regardless of what you believe of the truthfulness or the earnestness of what he was saying, and personally I think most of what he was saying about it was already in the culture, not in the religion, they just use the religion to reinforce the culture . . .

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.

2: Hardly! they just want a reason for any cop to stop any car driven by any person who remotely looks Hispanic.

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.

3: What I heard is that if they don't have the $1400 going rate for the trip, then they have to carry the coyotes drugs on them.
2: Well, that one was something Rush said, and he's about as sane as the March Hare in that Alice in Wonderland that just came out with Johnny Depp, and while I'd have to say I need more info on that drop house issue, I still say that this is simply a way for the Arizona police force to harass Hispanics. I mean, the law is so broad, they can stop you for any reason.

3: What's the big deal, they can stop us too, and we don't look Hispanic!

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!

2: Yeah, but then, you of anyone here at this table should be on the side of people getting stopped just because of the way they look.

3: But there's a difference, these guys are ILLEGAL. That's the operative word here, and things are getting hot in Arizona . . .

1: Isn't that the point of being in a desert?

3: You know what I mean! Listen, they've got crime going on down there, major human traficking, major drug traficking, they've got break-ins, carjackings, and now some rancher gets shot to death by one of these drug dealers, it's a mess.

1: That's why I'm saying, they've got to get tough, just for their own security.

2: Yeah, so why don't they just start stopping everybody?

1: Why don't they?

2: Then they've got something called . . . oh yeah - a POLICE STATE!

3: Hey, if it saves lives, and anyway, the Feds sure aren't helping out. I mean, I sure love my President and all, but he can call the law "misguided" all he wants, but it doesn't stop the fact that we needed to do something like this for years, and they haven't done squat.

1: Seriously, he should have tackled this long before he tried to go all the way on health care. Now they won't ever agree on nothin'!

2: I'll give you that. The Feds should have done something about it, but you know, just a few days ago, I heard the minority leader saying something about this latest crap they're arguing over, and he said something that really stuck with me, he said something about not being able to agree with "our friends on the other side." and you know, while at least he used the word "friends" . . .

1: Which is a euphamism for something entirely different!

2: . . . I found myself yelling at the radio "You guys aren't on different sides! You're on the same side! You're working for us!"

3: No they're not.

2: But they should be! And they won't ever be unless they get over this "my side/your side" crap.

1: and THAT's why the borders are leaking like a sieve.

3: Along with my confidence!

2: Oh, man, I just had a sick idea! . . . some channel's gonna come out with another reality show, like COPS, and it's gonna be called Arizona ICE !!

1: Actually, that might not be a bad idea. We should pitch it to Rob.

3: I think I've had that before - doesn't taste too bad, you know, for tea in a can.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Overheard at Table 5: Vox Clamantis en Desertum

"I don't normally do this but yesterday I posted a comment to an article about the recent furor over Islamist extremists threatening . . ."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Poetry read at Table 3

This is one from my new collection, it was kind of an interesting little play on words - I'd just sent my wife e.e.cummings' "somewhere I've never travelled" and then the night later I needed to look up some Emily Dickenson to verify where one of my third-years had lifted a line, and this just popped into my head:


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
at Death,
he kindly – pickled
- Me!)

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.)

I sup-
after all
is said and done,(
and all these others’
time has come and gone
)that the type of poetry I
need to
be –

is simply the words that breathe from


found on a postcard underneath Table 5

Which I promptly framed and hung up behind the bar, because it's such a wonderful statement, and explains it all:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Overheard in Booth 6

James: Heard they censored South Park because they made fun of Mohammad.

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?

James: Why? D'you think there're some Muslims in the next booth?, waiting to jump out and blow us all to shredded bits just because we're expressing our freedom of speech?

John: You never know, buddy, you - never - know!

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

I love 3-D movies, just love 'em. Can't get enough of 'em - you know, there's people out there saying that we might be suffering a glut of 3-D movies, because the industry's getting hammered with more quick to DVD/BluRay releases and Internet uploads and what not, so what I've read is that they're investing more in 3-D because they can get more of a head for ticket. Personally, I think it's because more people will pay for the 3-D experience because right now you can only get that experience in the theatre.

And it's true, look - for my money (what I shell out for the family for a movie, and then the ensuing concessions, is generally the amount at any fine restaurant) the movie theatre needs to show me something spectacular, something grandiose, an experience I can only get on the big screen. I'm talking explosions, I'm talking things flying out of the screen at your head, I'm talking space battles and flights through mountain ranges. Things like Iron Man and Avatar . . . stuff like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and any sort of chick flick, those can wait for family or date night at the house.

That's why I didn't mind seeing Alice in Wonderland twice. Actually I was suckered into it, because the wife and I went to see it one weekend when the kids were out of town, and now the wife's gone on business for two weeks and so the kids suckered me into seeing it again. I was going to go straight for the non-3D but that wasn't showing for another hour so I shelled out the bucks yet again (but made them pay for the popcorn!) and I have to tell you it was just as good second time around. Plot's a little thin in places, but the idea's wonderful . .. especially merging the Jabberwocky with the Alice's Adventures (both of which should be required reading in middle school, by the way!) and Depp and Bonham Carter, magnificent as always! I'm telling you, it's definitely a must-see in 3-D, simply because of the scenery, the sets. Sure, it'll still be spectacular on family movie nights, but in 3-D at the theatre - man, there's nothing better.

And the Cheshire Cat . . . well, let's just say he steals the show!

Tim Burton, again I take my hat off to you . . . and I am so rather fond of that hat!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Beautiful sentiment, sensibly said:

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.

Son: Oh.

Daughter: Duh!

Father: Don't call your brother an idiot.

Daughter: Well, he shouldn't act like one!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Poem left in Booth 5

Just Love Me

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

me until
you leave me
without breath,
without sense,
without direction,
without time.

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,

here. This
is where I will
lay my weary head."

Overheard at Table 1 (which by the way, is by the window)

" . . . so here's a message for Big Business, and that includes banking, oil, insurance, all the biggies:


"and I don't see how I can put it much clearer than that!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

At the Counter: Let Them Eat the Very Gold from your Teeth

John Steppenwolf, reading the latest issue of Governing on his iPhone, scoffs out loud. Henry Clayton Payne, enjoying a mocha latte directly to his right, leans over to see what's so funny.

New Jersey
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 . . .

linked to this AP news posting:

Salvadoran leader apologizes for bishop's killing

SAN SALVADOR, El SalvadorEl Salvador's first leftist president publicly apologized on behalf of the state Wednesday for the assassination of a Roman Catholic archbishop 30 years ago at the outset of the country's civil war.

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, San Salvador.

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 El Salvador from 1989 to 2009 and never accepted the results of the commission's investigation.

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.

Related articles

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The Associated Press

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 , San Salvador Wednesday March 24, 2010. Archbishop Romero was shot to death in 1980 by a sniper as he celebrated Mass in San Salvador after he had urged the Salvadoran military to halt death squads that had killed thousands of suspected guerrillas and leftist opponents of the government.(AP Photo/Luis Romero)


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

That's Verble Gherulous's mantra for living, and he means it. In the Zen and Tao Acoustic Café Verble keeps several acoustic guitars, tuned and on stands in the back corner near the small stage, for whomever wishes to play when they wish to play. And even if you don't play, you are certainly more than welcome to come and just pluck the strings and listen to the warm tones of this most wonderful instrument.

And books! My goodness, does he keep books scattered around the café . . . there are floor to ceiling bookcases on either side of the front doors, so that every person upon leaving has the opportunity to take a book with them when they go. (Verble not only believes that people should read more, he also read once that by giving someone something free to take, they won't be tempted to steal - his theory: if they have the gift of taking off with a seven dollar trade paperback book, they won't run off with the $800 Martin DX1 acoustic guitar!)

But there are two texts featured most prominantly, usually on the counters: the Holy Bible and the Constitution of the United States. Verble once told me, "While I would never anyone to think that I actually am placing these two texts on equal footing, since one is written by God through humanity and the other is written by highly intelligent rich white guys, I do think that in this American culture, both of these documents need to be given away more freely and more read than what they are; The Bible and the Constitution are the two texts that everyone quotes but no one really reads. I mean come on! The average American citizen only knows that the Constitution lets people say whatever they want, lets them carry guns, and has something about freeing slaves. Some even think it guarantees them the rights to Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

"And don't even get me started on the American lack of understanding of the Bible! Most Americans can name more American Idol winners than Apostles of Jesus Christ! Some hide behind it, rather than reading it, because they're afraid of the mirror . . . and some ignore it without realizing that it denounces the same hypocrisy that they despise . . . .

"Either way, both must be read more than they are, and I'll do whatever I can to get them into people's hands.

"Now, you prefer the King James, the American Standard, or the New International Version?"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Michael Hedges - Taproot

Verble: Most people who know Michael Hedges are going to say "Breakfast in the Field" because that was his first album and it truly blew away most other acoustic guitar players. Came out in the 80's, more than just a fingerpicking style, more than just using alternate tunings, he was perhaps the first to use all that and also incorporated tapping fingers against the strings, smacking the fretboard, popping flat-handed against the body, I mean, really used the acoustic guitar as a percussion instrument rather than just a melodic or rhythm instrument - I mean, he kind of took the guitar to a whole new level . . .

But then, while for many years I had a love/hate relationship with his first vocal album Watching my Life Go By and really appreciating Oracle, I have to say that my absolute alltime favourite has to be Taproot.

Taproot apparently is a story in song-cycle, but since there are no words I've really no idea what the story is - I think it's hidden in the song titles themselves, and the only vocal composition is the last one, in which he sets an e.e. cummings poem to music, one of his best poems, actually, "i carry your heart with me" (which, by the way, I once tried to translate into Spanish in order to woo the woman who would one day be my wife, but that's another story)

Actually, though, now that I think about it, we took that CD with us on our honeymoon. Didn't play anything else but that . . . hm . . . that might be why I love that album so much.

Well, you sit here and think it over.

I'm gonna run home for awhile.

Hope she's back from the mall . . .

Friday, April 16, 2010

Man on his cellphone at the counter

. . . No, I don't want to go see Death at a Funeral . . .

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

Charles: So, remind me, you're a revolutionary, as in like one of the original revolutionaries, right?

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

Carlene Zickafoose: and then the principal comes on and tells us that because the parents were now so outraged that the whole thing was going to be called off.

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

Henry Plume and John Steppenwolf at the counter, Barista keeping coffee mugs full and listening to them talking 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

found this article from 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.]

photo 442

If we knew each other's secrets, what purpose then would those secrets serve? - Giuseppe Salinghetti

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Booth 3: Izalco

I thought it funny,

the foto,

I said there were tears shed,

she told me that she hadn't

cried since she day

her father left for a pack of cigarettes

and never returned.

Sent a postcard ten years later,

the front of it a picture of lighting

across the Tulsa skyline,

but the postal stamp was from St Louis MO.

Said he missed her.

Said he wanted to catch up.

Said he wanted to see how she was doing.

But didn't leave a return address.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Laptop at Table 1

John Steppenwolf, laptop open on the table in front of him, espresso to his lips, pulls down the latest AP wire, reads aloud:

"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

Man: and don't go down to any of the Texas border towns, they're killing everybody down there.

Woman: I heard that Juarez was bad . . .

Man: Laredo, Juarez, all of them, just don't go there. They're even killing whites now, too. Ain't no reason to go. If you ever wanna go anywhere in Mexico just get a plane out of Dallas going to Cancun, but other than that, just forget it.

Woman: I hadn't ever really wanted to go to Mexico anyway.

Man: Well, Cancun's nice, but nowhere else, especially in Texas.

Woman: Belize, I might like to go to Belize.

Man: Belize is great, that's only an hour and a half from Bush Intercontinental in Houston . . .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

King Strut and Other Stories

I pointed to one framed picture on the wall, and Verble told me,

"Yeah, definitely not the most inspired album cover of all time, although the guy could pass for one of my nephews, the bohemian who's now forty-five and never really had a job, but you really gotta hear the album itself, it's a fantastic little fantasy collection of great songs, from the title track, which I suppose isn't really acoustic, but then you launch into 'Gold' a stark little song where the guitar chords themselves reflect these people dying in the cold while following a pipe dream - and 'Northern Lights' - great song, quick rhythm which simply displays the anxious desire to see something of such incredible beauty, and knowing you'll never quite make it. Should be the anthem for the Aurora Borealis - captures the elusiveness perfectly.
"Great album. Up on the wall it stays."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

John on Acoustic

John Lennon should have written more acoustic songs than he did - still, he left us with a great cauldron of 'em, the most popular (and rightly so) being "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)'' "Dear Prudence" and "Across the Universe"

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)

One of the neat things about Then and Now is the compare/contrast, and Verble thinks it's good for the emotional health of the culture at large to be apprised of when certain odious segments of society appropriate time-honored traditions to further their personal, yet unethical, aims.

Let's review:


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.

Part Two:

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.


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!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Overheard at Table 3

Clayton is telling Dean, "Coburn from Oklahoma did what Bunning tried to do last month, but chickened out."

Dean: "What was that? Denying the poor their benefits?"

Earl: Hey, if you don't have the money to pay it, you can't pay it.

Dean: We're talking about the unemployed here - we're talking about their medical insurance.

Clayton: I'm with Earl - we've got to have more fiscal responsibility - we can't just let these Dems keep spending all the money that we don't have.

Dean: But you guys are missing the point: We don't have the money because the Republicans let the banks piss away our money. So the money's gone and people are out of work and now the Republicans, who caused this to happen, aren't taking care of the people who got hurt because of it?

Clayton: You know, I think it's time to shut your mouth, you LIBERAL!

Earl: Freakin scumsucking socialist Chavez-lovin' traitor!

Hands out/grab shirt/and

Verble is standing by the table: calm, imposing, ancient.

Verble: I'm sorry, sons, but you realize that there is really to be no fighting in the Zen and Tao Acoustic Café, don't you?

Clayton: Oh, don't worry, we're not gonna beat him up in here.

Earl: We're gonna drag him down to the VFW and let some octogenarians whup on him with some pool cues for awhile.

Clayton: 'Till he comes to his senses, you know!

Overheard at Booth 2

James: What would you name a cat with two tails?

J0hn: Canterbury, of course!