Monday, May 31, 2010

Hypocrites and Pharisees

the Barista is telling me, "Watch out, the boss is on a tear today."

"Why?" I ask.

"Don't worry, he'll be telling everybody - at nauseous!"

Steppenwolf chimes in, "I think you mean ad nauseum."

The Barista says, "If both of them mean telling you until you're sick of hearing it, what's the difference?"

"AND THAT's what's killing Christ all over again!" I hear Verble yelling from the back (even though I think he's preaching to the choir) "These liars! These hypocrites and Pharisees! God wouldn't give anybody a MISSION to unseat judges! God only cares about what we do with our souls!"

I hear Verble coming out toward the front now. I duck up to the small stage where there is a stool and a Taylor.

I pick it up and begin to play. Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" should do the trick. Calm the old man down.

Pray for me, folks! Or else it'll be a long day!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hello Dali

John Steppenwolf at the counter talking with Verble about Dali on a Saturday morning, over steaming cups of coffee . . . and kolaches (which Verble and his had just discovered on a trip to Houston. His wife learned how to make them upon return, and are now served most mornings):

John is saying, my favourites, generally speaking are his crucifictions. I always wondered why he painted the various angles, and yet we never see Christ's face. One in particular that I was viewing the other day is the one where He seems to be looking down, and there is a boat at the bottom, greatly out of proportion to the angle of the rest of the painting. I can't for the life of me figure out exactly what the boat's supposed to mean.

and Verble says, it's Dali, most likely it doesn't mean anything but a passing errant dream he had one night.

John, that he spent hours of time and energy in putting it deliberately off-kilter, just to juxtapose it irreverently against the other 75% of the painting?

Verble, that's our Dali!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Overheard at Booth One

Lucky Moran: All I know is that the one time our President actually reaches out and gives the Republican dogs a bone, one that they can gnaw on over and over, and the next week the very same offshore oil industry goes and pees black crude all through the entire Gulf of Mexico . . . dang! Our president just can't get a break. But it just goes to show you, whenever you follow a Republican agenda, bad things always ensue!

Overheard at Table Two

. . . don't ask don't tell I don't know really what that was all about

- it was about not getting homosexuals drummed out of the military just for being who they are!

- yeah, but what I don't understand is all this stuff going on about it, right now!

- they see it as a civil rights issue, why should they have to pretend to be something they're not?

- why do they have to pretend at all?

- because if they come out, no pun intended, they're "telling"and they get kicked out of the military.

- but that's not my point, my point is this, and it's what NOBODY is saying: Look, I want my military over there fighting for our freedom, I don't give a flying hootin'hell if they're straight, gay, bi, crossdress on Saturdays or like the soles of their feet tickled with blue feathers - I want my military on the job, well-trained, focused on eradicating the enemies of America, and rebuilding the infrastructure of other countries so that THOSE countries can build democratic governments so that they can make the same freedoms WE do. I don't want them arguing and arguing about living accomodations, sharing of bathrooms, partners vs. spouses on base, or any of that - I want them focused on the job. and this is NOT being focused on the job.

- man, I didn't know you were such an idealist. You really believe all that's possible? The rebuilding and the democracy and all that?

- of course it's possible! Twenty years ago a guy would get tossed out of the US military for being gay! Fifty years ago he would have been shot! Now we're all wrapped up in THIS! If we've come this far, then spreading democracy HAS to be within reach, right?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jars of Clay

Ah - says Verble - I sees ya admiring the Jars of Clay album hanging on the wall:not only is it a nice photo, love the colour, and not only is it a great Christian album, of the type that I wish they would make more of, that is, with lyrics that are truly intense, striking to the very core of both sincerity and doubt, rather than being simply zealous outpourings, not that I mind that mind you, but it is refreshing to have somewhat more depth in the lyrics of CCM,
but back to the main point - it is a great ACOUSTIC album. The sound of the guitars is like a breeze, like a wave, like the lull of gently rolling hillsides . . . is that enough nature imagery fer ya? Do you understand? This is a great album on many different levels - those are alway my favorites.
Now that I'm on about it, I'll admit that this album contains their one single crossover pop hit in the mid-90's "Flood" but every other song is just as good, some even better, I'd say.
One thing I'll never forget about these guys is from an interview I read with them about the time that "Flood" was peaking, the lead singer mentioned that they never wanted to stray from their message of Christ - His love, His mission, His role in our lives - and he said that if it were God's will that they would never have another hit, they would be fine: all they wanted to do was to keep making music for Him, for the rest of their lives. I mean, it's decades later now, and they still are - they keep coming out with albums, all of them very nice - great sound, great harmonies, great guitar work. But no, they've never had another hit like "Flood" - but God has allowed them to keep on doing what they love.
Prove positive once again that when you praise the Lord, you will be satisfied. He promised to take care of your needs - sometimes all it takes is bringing your desires down to the level to meet your needs.
Yah, I see yer eyes glazing over at that one. Tell you what, here's a copy of the CD - you give it a listen, and you tell me if you don't feel just a little bit more content, peaceful, after hearing it. Tell me it doesn't make you feel just the tiniest bit better about sending praise straight up to Heaven.
Give me your honest opinion - and I'll give you one free mocha swirl.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Verble serves a lone woman at booth one

He notices that she sits in the booth closest to the door, but with her back to the window, she continually glances toward the framed picture on the wall, and she always shirks from the gaze of passing people, who can't help but look at her,

because she looks familiar, like

maybe someone from a movie.

nah, that can't be it. She just has one of those faces. Looks like someone who is the not-her.

Can't be her.

"Hey," says Verble, "didn't I see you in . . . ?"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More at Booth 2

here, you need to go here - take a load off, relax

- you are so right, that would be totally onehundredpercent perfect . . . but you see, that's the whole point, you and I can't afford it. We would have to have already sold our souls when we were still in college just to have fasttracked a job in order to make the kind of scratch needed even to afford a decent PICTURE of a place like that, much less go there on our own dime - reminds me of something i read the other day when I took the kid to get a haircut - get this, one of those slutty uberrich girls - famous only because they're rich, right? the Kardashians, right, one of those - well, I picked up one of those rags, like Star or Us or something like that, and she was in Mexico with her on-again off-again husband, and the article was talking about how they needed to "reconnect" - at a resort that costs $4,700.00 PER NIGHT. And I'm thinking 'do you know how many poor villages could send their kids to school and buy them decent meals for a year with what these rich pricks blew on EACH night just to "work" on their emotional issues? i mean, it just made me sick! there's another ulcer in my gut, right there, right below the small intestine.

- you're right.

- i know i'm right.

- it's insane.

- yer dang right it's insane.

- you gotta get yourself to tahiti. 'cuz if you don't i'm gonna throw you through that plate glass window right there in front of this here coffee shop.

Overheard at Booth 2

and then there was this commercial on the big screen in the break room the other day it was from some organization still pissed about the health care and the bailout and it started off with the phrase from benjamin franklin, those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither, and i just thought that was a bit much, you know, just for some sort of grievance,

- well you're right, and the fact is, the real phrase is "those who would trade essential liberty for temporary security soon have none and deserve neither" and plus no one knows if Franklin actually came up with the phrase or not, but it was published in his magazine - still, the way I see it: that phrase was most important and should have been flying from every car bumper during those dark ages called 2002 to 2007 - the Patriot Act.

- yeah, that was a crappy deal. They could listen in on our phone calls, find out every book we check out of the library.

- librarians, teachers, professors, your employers, they could all be forced to turn over everything they know about you - yeah, and we here in America just handed over the security that protects us from our own government - we just GAVE IT AWAY in the name of the patriot act. That was the most devilish piece of legislation, and what makes me sick is that the same people who like to beat us over the head with quotes from our founding fathers are the very same people that our founding fathers FOUGHT AGAINST.

- dude, I think you've had one too many espressos.

- one always IS too many.

Overheard at Table Three

I heard that the Republicans blocked raising the cap for oil companies to pay for the damage to the environment that they themselves cause. Are we as the people of the US of A really so STUPID? When are we going to chuck out these Republos-in-the-pockets-of-Big-Business?

and then the other guy, sitting across from him at the table, tells him: because we here in America like being slaves to Big Business. Big Business keeps us addicted to a particularly sweet piece of candy called 'If you're as greedy as us, someday you might have what we've got too!'

and the first guy says: i guess you could say it's all a Shell game.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Overheard while passing through the Cafe

"and then Boxie made me laugh so hard when he said, 'Look! It's a Civil War plane!"

" . . le dije 'quiero 'cucharte quiero cucharte pero no 'sta 'blando nada'!"

"he didn't really, did he? He didn't really tell her that, did he? What did she say? I mean what COULD she say?"

"somewhere down the line we are all going to be on the hook for what's happened here today, but then, most people I think, even now, are no longer shocked by the pictures of innocent ducks covered in oil, they've seen too much of it, you know, and being irate about it has never caused in obvious positive change before . . . "

Friday, May 14, 2010

God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian

I just got back from a near death experience in which I travelled down the blue tunnel toward the pearly gates and at the pearly gates, there was St. Peter, who already knew the person I wanted to talk to, and that was none other than Kurt Vonnegut himself, who came out to speak with me, holding his traditional limp cigarette blithely in one hand as he waved it around his dishevelled hair as he talked, and I had to confess that while I really liked the premise of the book that I'd just finished, I felt it was a little too


about the whole Christian ethic.

I mean, nice idea, and it would be nice, it would be, you know, if there was no Hell, only Heaven, and everybody went there - even Hitler, just like he wrote in his book, and Vonnegut said,

"Well, you know, it's hard to face the entire concept of Hell when Hell is being forced upon you by people who simply don't like you. The problem with the living is that they have already judged who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell, and it's all based on whether they like you or not.

"I mean," he continued, "I sum it all up in the very last line of the book - 'Watch out for those Christians'."

I told him I'd caught that - very poignant line, I had to admit.

" . . . so, yeah, it's very hard to take seriously the entire concept of being condemned when it's people doing the condemning. It's only now, that I got up here, that I've realized that God Himself never condemned anybody anyway. It's only humans who condemn. I gotta tell you - God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is a wonderful wonderful God, but even He - more than any human - understand the complete irony of having followers who are the WORST purveyors of His message - I mean, the greatest message of peace and love has historically been delivered at the point of a sword, with rampant disease, with genocide, and with hysterical voices and lying hypocritical and hypercritical tongues. It's amazing there's anybody up here."

"Well, since you yourself in the book seemed to indicate the lack of need for Christ, how did you make it here?" I felt a little impertinent, asking such a question, I mean, this was our guy, when I was a teenager, all my friends and I read this man's works avidly: Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, Welcome to the Monkey House . . . although I had to admit, my cadre of ernest readers seemed to sour a little on Galapagos, although I can't remember why, maybe it was just boring. Maybe nothing could ever really compare to Cat's Cradle.

Anyway, during my reverie, Vonnegut had been explaining to me how he had actually been able to be a Christian AND an intellectual at the same time, and when I asked him to explain again, he said he was tired and wanted to get back inside where it was nothing but poolside and highballs for eternity.

As he walked back through the gate, I asked him one last question, "So, truly, is Isaac Asimov in Heaven really?"

Vonnegut replied, "Let me tell you a little secret - every once in awhile God will grace an individual human with just a little tiny bit of His own intelligence - and those people are your Einsteins, your Newtons, your Asimovs. And of course, He's not going to let knowledge like that be reverse engineered in the flame pits of Sheol! Not in a millenium! Ta ta!"

And with that, he was gone, and

I have come back, here, to the cafe, to tell


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Overseen at Booth 5: Pandora bio of Peter Mulvey

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Peter Mulvey
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Urban art-folksier Peter Mulvey has lived an artist's life since adolescence -- he was a college theater major, spent time busking in Dublin, Ireland, and founded the Milwaukee band Big Sky, all before his early twenties. But his professional music career didn't really begin until 1991, when was fired from a job at a Kinko's Copiers in Boston. Flat broke and in need of immediate cash to entertain his visiting brother, Mulvey starting playing his guitar in the subway. He supported himself that way for a couple of years, working ten-hour days in the smog-drenched underground. In the meantime, he released two CDs on his own (Brother Rabbit Speaks in 1992; Rain in 1993). Mulvey's rising star hit the accelerator in 1994 when he won the Boston Acoustic Underground competition. In 1996, he signed with Eastern Front Records and recorded the Boston Award-nominated Rapture, which won consistent raves for his dazzlingly funky acoustic fretwork. He tossed off an acoustic EP (Goodbye Bob) before releasing a much more aggressive acoustic modern rock album in 1997 (Deep Blue, also on Eastern Front). As a side project, the prolific guitarist also rejoined his old colleagues from Big Sky in 1997, to record a CD entitled Lately under the band name Little Sky. The solo The Trouble with Poets followed in the spring of 2000. ~ Darryl Cater, Rovi

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Overheard at Table 3

". . . and in the 'oh no he DID-UNHT' department, I just heard an interview on NPR yesterday with the CEO of BP who actually dared to compare this oil spill with the AirFrance plane that went down in the Atlantic from Rio . . .

"yes, he most certainly did! He said that they didn't call for sanctions against the airline industry because of that tragedy. He also said they didn't cancel the Space Exploration industry because of Apollo 13. I couldn't believe it! I was screaming at my radio at this officious Brit, all smug, that those incidents didn't even compare!

"listen, the Exxon Valdez was only ONE tanker and to THIS DAY twenty years later, 200 miles of Alaskan coastline is still unsuitable for fishing - by the way, which was their ONLY industry! This is 5000 gallons of oil gushing out of the bottom of the ocean A DAY! It's like the Earth is a hemophiliac and BP just jabbed it with an ice pick - then turns to the rest of the kid's family and says 'Ooops! So sorry chaps, bit of a problem an' all that, eh wot!

"poncey Brit!"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Verble stands in the middle of cafe and raises an espresso (by the way, today, all women get free lattes!) and offers up this toast:

To all mothers -

May your day be filled with hugs,
May your refrigerator be filled with crayon drawings,
and may all your mandates be followed immediately and without question!

and always remember, two out of three ain't bad!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Overheard at Booth 4

Wife: . . . glad the work's good, so how are the people?

Husband: The people seem all right. There's this little old lady from Finland, can't understand a word she says. Which stinks because she's the one that going to be training me. Andy, who sits right across from me reminds me a lot of Nick, but that's all right, I eventually learned how to get along with him, and then there's this girl on the other side of the cubicle, seems nice, but bless her heart she's as ugly as they come!

Wife: So does she have a nice body?

Husband: See, that's you going again. I say she's ugly and you think it's code talk for nice body. No, she doesn't have a nice body, or a nice face. In fact, I hated thinking this but when I saw all those pictures of her kids on her desk I was wondering how in the world she could have had someone to help her have those kids!

Wife: How to you know they're her kids?

Husband: Because, poor kids, they're as ugly as she is!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Booth 6: at the monthly meeting of the The BibliOphiliacs' Review of Books: The End of the Alphabet

It's such a sweet sad little book, the Jane's chord being "This story is unlikely" - and it is, because no love, no marriage, is like this marriage - but we all want it to be, and that's what keeps you going through the entire book, even though no dying is ever this beautiful - but these two characters are beautiful, and we want to be like them, we want to be like Ambrose and Zipper, the beginning and the end of the alphabet, and every man, at the end, wants to die in the love of a woman like Zipper. It's incredible! I finished it on the bus and nearly broke out into tears, there, in front of all the other commuters.

plus, the writing is eloquent and beautiful -sparse, yet full of meaning, and how eloquently balanced, the dance between the two characters, how each of them remembers differently their communal history. The book does touch on some realities of marriage, such as the things that we want to say but don't, the boredom with the stories that the other tells, the disagreements about when to be with friends and when to not. So there are bits of real relationships that are interspersed in there, which is probably why the book is so touching . . . it has the reality of marriage mixed in with the fantasy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Overheard in Booth 1

"Hey, I'm not so concerned about the number of Pakistani terrorists that might be here in the country so much as I'm concerned about the utter LACK of watchful t-shirt vendors that we've got! I mean, if that's what it takes to stop bombs, then really the only safe places are Manhattan and Venice Beach!"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Steppenwolf on Hancock

Steppenwolf talking to the Barista and Payne:

"I don't know why Hancock got mixed reviews - the wife and I watched it last night and it was hilarious - not something to show the kids, little bit heavy on the language, but other than that, it was spot on. I mean, Smith was great as usual, and it was a great twist on the whole genre: a superhero who's a foulmouthed drunk misanthrope - fantastic!

"Anyway, this one is a must-see, and again, I don't care what anybody else says - this is definitely a different take, and I'm not going to spoil it for you or give away any secrets, but let me just say that his arch-enemy is a surprise, and a twist on the usual archetype.

"The whole movie takes these superhero movies and just turns it upside down - again, this is one you really gotta rent!"