Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At the Counter

Verble leans over the counter and shoves this under my nose and tells me, "You've gotta get check out this site . . . I mean, the title alone says it all!"

I read it. "http://www.topacousticsongs.com/?" I ask.

"Yeah! All my life I've been waiting for this moment! A website that does nothing but give me acoustic songs!"

I'm tempted to say, "You're a very lonely man, aren't you?" but something in the gentle innocent cheer of his demeanor (that, and he's got about ten million more friends than I do) helps me to put my sarcasm in check and breakout my notepad to start seeing who I might be able to get to come in and play some Saturday afternoon well into the night.

Overheard at Booth 2

Belgium Mercado: What's that one part of the Bible where it talks about putting your mind on
good things? "Think about good things and you'll be happy" - or something like that . . .

Independence Peaks: Wait! Wait! I've got it on my phone . . . here it is:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Belgium Mercado: Right, that's it. So if I just keep thinking good thoughts, I'll have a great life, right?

Independence Peaks: I don't think it's all as simple as that. I take it as a kind of holistic litmus test, kind of a 'clear your mind of all the bad karma' type of stuff.

Belgium Mercado: Isn't that mixing your religions?

Independence Peaks: More like a cross-cognation of terminology.

Belgium Mercado: You confuse me sometimes.

Independence Peaks: But that's a good thing, right?

Belgium Mercado: I don't know. I'll think about it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Overshouldered at the Counter

I'm looking over your shoulder as you are looking at the NPR webpage and we are reading this article, and I tell you, "Man, a Republican who is a true Christian!"

And you reply, "I knew there was at least one."


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Overheard at Booth 4: Temporary Security Essential Liberty

Billy: Heard this crud on the teevee the other night about the old Ben Franklin saying that those who will give up essential liberty for the sake of temporary security deserve neither.

Joe: Yah, that's from some Republican news station. They talkin' 'bout this health care, it's temporary security but givin' up our freedom from invasive gummint.

Jim: Seems to me like they should be talkin' about that there tapping our phones without gettin' a court order - or holding US citizens without charges or trial. Seems to me like THAT's a lot more worser.

Bob: When did they do all that?

Billy: Where you been? It's called the Patriot Act. George Bush. Yer right. THAT's some dang invasion of givin' up our essential liberty.

Joe: Direct contradiction to the Bill of Rights. Obama's carried it forward too, even though he promised to stop that Shi'ite.

Jim: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. Where'd I hear that one?

Bob: Vodka commercial?

Billy: Don't be an eejit. But what gets me is that we let this all slide, we let the government steal our ability to defend ourselves in court, our right to keep our library records private, our right to keep government from listening in on our phone calls, we gave ALL that up, just so al-quayda won'b bomb us no more, but we don't want them to make sure that no more bombers get on the plane.

Joe: You mean them scanners what can tell the size of yer johnson?

Jim: Heh - that'd have to be a really BIG scanner!

Bob: Heh, heh! Good'un.

Billy: That's exac'ly what I'm talkin' 'bout. I swear, we get all our panties in a wad over the scanners, and yet we give up the big ones.

Joe: That's because we're visual. If we don't see it, we let gummint take it away. The scanners is something tangible.

Jim: You mean we're a visual based society?

Bob: Nah, he's saying we Americans are stupid.

Billy: Dang right. We're ignorant of our own rights, but we're shootin' our mouths off about it all the time.

Joe: Sometimes when I really think about what we're doing to ourselves in this county, it gets me so mad it just makes my stomach hurt!


"Bob Mould, right when he quit Husker Du, this is what he came out with. I always thought that he had been storing up these gems, but they show what the acoustic guitar can do, when it's layered over eighteen times, making his Wall of Sound.
"That's what I always liked about this guy, on both Husker Du, his own stuff, and with Sugar - he always has what sounds like a hundred guitar parts on every song, but it's always coherent, like some rich tapestry. I always consider it as he doesn't make one album, he makes five albums and then puts them to one disc, so you're listening to all five at the same time.
"And," Verble continues, "what I'm really proud about displaying this little beautiful album cover is that it's also great art, not just a great acoustic album, but a fantastic piece of art in and of itself. Reminds me of the work by Nick Bantok - the guy who did the Griffen and Sabine books, or the I Spy books.
"Regardless, beautiful, it is. Simply beautiful."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Overheard at the Counter: Letters to Juliet

John Steppenwolf said, "The wife and I really really enjoyed Letters to Juliet. The kids loved it too, well, not my son, who thought it was 'simpery' and went to his room to practice his zombie-killin'"

"A very noble passtime," Verble interjected.

"But my daughter loved it. That surprised me, I thought she wouldn't love anything that didn't have vampires in it, but it was nice, finally, to watch a movie that didn't have teenagers licking each other's nether regions or psycho killers dismembering said teenagers immediately afterwards, so much that you don't really know exactly WHAT is in those gobs of liquid flying at the screen . . ."

"Omigod, fer gosshakes stop it already!" said the Barista.

"Oops, sorry," said Steppenwolf. "Forgot where I was there for a minute. But seriously, this is a sweet sweet movie, something about Italy just inspires these kind of love stories . . ."

"Yeah, now I remember," said Niall Carter, "That's the one where this girl goes on a pre-wedding honeymoon with her restauranteur/fiancee and she starts answering letters that lonelyhearts women stuff into a brick wall . . . "

"and she answers the one from fifty years before, and it brings the woman back to Italy to find her Romeo, yeah, that's it."

"That's a beautiful one," said Niall.

"It sure is."

"Man, I think I'd love to be able to go back and find my true love after fifty years," mused the Barista.

Verble looked at her, "Sorry, young lady, you've got to be at least 65 before you can even think about doing that. That means you've got about 45 years to go!"

"42," the Barista corrected him, "but thanks for the compliment."

"Of course, my young lady, but of course."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Photo left on the counter

"Looks beautiful," someone says.
"Where d'ya think it is?" says someone else.
"I dunno, there's no writing on the back."
"Europe, maybe? Like Sweden or somewhere?"
"Definitely Europe. Maybe even Iceland."
"Is Iceland in Europe?"
"I think it kinda semi-sorta is, could be."

Overheard at Table 2

"I always said we should have more women in government but power-hungry Republican b!t@#e$ isn't really what I had in mind."

"Hold on, hold on! I'm tweeting that right now!"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Overheard at Booth 4

and so Edmiston was telling Rachel, "it's a rip in time, essentially, at least that's what our research is leading us to understand. There essentially are no ghosts, in the sense of souls trapped in a certain location and just there to scare the daylights out of the living, no . . ."

". . .and nothing for anyone to say, 'you need to move on, go! go into the light!'?"

"right, nothing like that. But I love that show, by the way."

"I know what you love about the show."

"well, anyway, we know there's a soul, and we know the soul leaves the body when the body stops. Sometimes it even leaves the body before. Especially if you're an attorney, but that's another story . . . "

"ooh, I hope nobody's recording this! You could get sued!"

"anyway," Edminston continued, "really what we think of as ghosts are really nothing more than a ripple in time. Same as when you drop a stone into a pool of water, the ripples are reflected throughout the entire pool. We think that's what we think of as ghosts. Something traumatic happened at a specific place at a specific time, and we think that perhaps the psychic energy was so strong, so intense, that it actually caused a rip in time, so that incident, if you will, is replayed throughout time. These are not ghosts in the sense that they have any intelligence, will, memory, consciousness, no - they're simply reflections, ripples, of some tragic event."

"so," Rachel said, "you're kind of saying that they're like just a reflection of the thing that happened, rather than the person themselves."

"right, the person is gone. The soul is gone, it's moved on, Heaven, Hell, wherever, but there was something about the incident that caused such an intense amount of energy from the person that experienced it, that a reflection of them, however faint, remains - and can be felt and experienced."

"well, what about the spirits from 'beyond' when someone goes to a fortune teller or whatever?"

"oh, man, that's a totally different thing altogether, we know those aren't ghosts. Those aren't even souls, those are demons pretending to be your long lost loved ones. We shoot those goons back to Hell pretty much on a daily basis. No, we're talking about haunted houses, pure and simple here. We're talking about psychic energy that has the power to touch people all across time . . . .

"and let me tell you," Edminston continued, "what really makes me stop and think, about all this, about these conclusions we're coming to - what really makes me sit up late at night is to think, 'how strong did God make our souls that they can actually TEAR A HOLE IN TIME' ? Think about it - that's defying the laws of physics. And if we're right, and we have that power - it just blows the mind."

"well, the Bible does say He breathed into us, right? Made in His image, and all that. That's gotta mean something."

"yes, it does. That's what we're trying to get to the bottom of."

"so what do you need from me?" Rachel asked.

"we need you to scout a new location. One for testing. A haunted house."

"there are millions out there, why don't you just open the phone book?"

"no. I'm talking about one that no one's ever been to before, one that no one ever talks about. Nothing that's ever been documented. We think you can find it."

"thanks for the faith . . . well, let me do some checking and get back with you."

"okay, then."

"okay. Thanks for the cappucino."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Overwritten at Table 1

from 364


It’s ridiculous, the way they
fall at their feet, all smile and malarkey,
smuggling post-its, darkly,
across the simian wasteland of
the campus green,

these wastroids of the neargone age,
their minds, once upon a time, would have
been opened,
by ideas, ideas that crept in and
unlocked the door,

no more
quoth the raven atop my chamber door,

these ideas that exist not forevermore are
locked away inside the paper, inside the
paper, which is held together between
two blocks of board, cardboard mostly
(95% recycled, in some select cases)
and these ideas
will not yet again see the light of

until the electric companies are overthrown
and all the batteries die,
and we are relegated back
to the
Age of Enlightenment,

tossed aside, into the ditches of
the Renaissance, back into
the monastaries of ancient Gaul
and sister Hibernia,

where the scrolls were written,
and we learn, we finally learn,

we learn

to read again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Overheard at Booth 2

Thomas was saying, "and then I read in the paper today about some conservative talk radio host in Florida who said that she wasn't going to take a spot in the new governor's cabinet, or something, because there had been some flak about some comments she'd made on her show. Turns out she was talking to some teaparty activists one time and said something like 'if ballots don't work, bullets will' - then some of the crazies called in a threatening email to the local schools, like, taking up the call2arms, y'know?"

And Jenni said, "all I know's this's frikkin' nuts, y'know, it's like, I dunno, other countries always have revolutions to, like, overthrow the plutocracy, and we like, y'know, wanna spill blood in the streets to keep ours!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Overheard at Table 3: A Connecticut Facebook Ranter in King Verble's Court

Luego says, "Dang right I think they should have fired her - I mean, nobody's got the right to go on and slag the company they're working for."

Hasta says, "Heck yeah, they do - that's what we've got First Amendment protection for!"

Manana breaks in, "Actually, what I read is that they were gonna fire her anyways, for being generally rude and giving bad customer service."

Luego says, "See - that's just right. Her going on Facebook is just spreading more crud around - and what's bad for the company is bad for business - and don't we want business to be able to grow."

Hasta, "But business can't break into people's private lives"

Verble, bringing more lattes for the table, says gently, "Manana had a good point about the customer service issue - and does anybody know what she worked as?"

Hasta says, "No - what is she?"

Verble says, "She's an EMT . . . now, is a paramedic really someone you want giving poor customer service?"

Nobody responds for a moment, and Verble continues, "And remember, the law states that you can say whatever you want to about wages and about working conditions - which by the way, are rights found for you and you and you about a hundred years ago by the sweat and blood of your great-grandparents - but beyond that, the First Amendment was only set up by the founders to protect political speech. They wanted to make sure that we live in a society where the government can never lock you away or kill you for speaking out against it."

Manana says, "Really? Man, how do you know all this?"

Verble says, "Oh, it's a little thing called reading."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Overheard at the Counter: Because the Lawyer Said So

I take a drink of my dark roast and I tell to the people around me, "I couldn't beleive my ears what I heard today on NPR!

"Bush, our former President, honestly stated that his position is that waterboarding is not torture, and I quote 'because the lawyer said it was'

"Can you believe that? I couldn't! I looked at the radio and said 'WTF?! Play that again' . . . I mean, what a wishy-washy wriggle out of it approach. Because the lawyer - that's the lamest excuse for torture EVER! It's weak, and it shows a weak, foolish man - hiding behind money, like he has most of his life.

"I don't understand why people aren't screaming from the rooftops - because the lawyer said it was is simply a euphamism for 'because I could get away with it.' Because basically the lawyers were not making a decision as to whether it was morally right or justifiable, and lawyers certainly can't have any knowledge as to the effectiveness of the technique, no - they simply can tell you if you can get away with it or not . . . and that's all this man is - someone who wants to get away with it. I tell you, that man screwed this country for eight years, wrecked it beyond all recognition, but I swear to you, even if he hadn't, just for that statement alone people who voted for him should hang down their sorry heads.

"You know, I could even - even slightly - give him some modicum of respect if he held to the belief that it actually caused some good, saved lives, said something like 'man I'm sorry we had to do it' or EVEN if he just said 'As President you gotta make tough calls and that was a tough call and I made it.' I would disagree, but at least I would give him the benefit of the doubt that he actually believed his own bullship . . .

"But to hide behind the lawyers! Come on! This is a moral decision, and I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that everybody pretty much knows that lawyers are certainly the LAST people to make moral judgements about anything!

"It's times like this that I thank GOD for the twenty-second amendment!"



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crosby Stills and Nash

Although everybody always talks about Deja Vu, this one is really the seminal album by this group (with much apologies to Neil) not only for being a great acoustic album but a great album overall.

Stephen Stills has always been underestimated as a guitarist, an acoustic guitarist especially, and this album is really the culmination of his efforts - you can hear that just in "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Overheard at Table 2

"What I can't believe is how we're so drowning ourselves in hyperbole: they SWEPT the House, it was a TIDAL WAVE, the Dems were SMASHED, CRUSHED, RIPPED TO SHREDS . . . "

"Heh, heh, those crazy nutblogs . . ."

"Heck no, that's from mainstream news! It's a little embarassing, thinking that we're so craving the high, that we make this stit up . . . a 'landslide' or a 'rout' would have meant the Republicans winning EVERY race. But they didn't win every single race - they won a LOT, sure, but . . . "

"- the thing that scares me is that lady in Nevada - who refused to answer any questions - she told one reporter 'I'll answer all those questions when I'm senator' - what scares me is that she actually got 45% of the vote! A nutjob like that should have had only something like the usual five psychos who wander drunk into the polling booth, but she actually gave him a run for his money. A whack-job who ran only on the Tea Party ticket - who got 45%? What kind of people are we voting for anyway?"

"Apparently nobody. We're not voting for anybody any more. We're all just voting against people - even people who aren't running for office."

"So tell me, at the end of the day - who's fault is that? The people running for office or the people voting?"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story

Verble points to another of his prized possessions,

a framed cover of this album from



Ah, I can't remember, but man, where would we be without acoustic rock like this? It doesn't get any better . . . sure, "Maggie May" might be a little overdone, but the title track just blows it all away, I've never heard a more ripping opening to an album - that track just throws you right into the whole mix.

And every track on this album is great. The acoustics are clunky, boxy, raw, and just complete rock and roll. Even down to these little fake galliard pieces in between songs. Utterly fantastic. This album needs to be listened to again and again. The only one that comes close is Gasoline Alley, but this one edges it out by a hair.

Always made me a little sad, though, to watch the man go downhill. He had other albums that showed the same promise, but they got a little less and less with each one he put out.

and by the time he got to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" - ugh! It was all over . . .

but we'll always have Every Picture Tells a Story!

The Cafe, the Day After: various voices

. . . now he's gonna have to work with the other party.

wait, did we all forget? He HAS been trying to work with the other party! He's the guy who ran two years ago on a ticket of working across the aisle!

. . . didn't do it very well, then did he?

All I know is we gotta get rid of that health care bill.

One, it's already law, and two, why?

Why what?

Why do we "have to get rid of it"?

I dunno. It's big government, I guess.

You don't even know what's in it.

Nobody knows.

Then how do we know we don't like it.

Because Obama was for it!

All in all, it's really business as usual. More money, more power grabbing. They're all crooks.

That's why we had the Tea Party.

Whatever! The Tea Party just wants to be crooks like the rest of 'em.

Looking back over this decade I realized that the Wrong side spent eight years ruining the country, by overspending in two useless wars, and then they bailed out these HUGE megabanks, and they were swept out of power. Then, two years later, because the Left side hadn't been able to correct what took the Wrong side EIGHT YEARS to screw up, we sweep them out of power WITH THE SAME GUYS WHO SCREWED US UP TO BEGIN WITH!!! now HOW




That's not stupid. That's just realizing that there's nothing else. Just these two. It's like if all you ever had were the Rams and the Saints, what's a Packer fan to do?

I think it was a victory for the Democrats.

How can you say that? They got spanked!

No they didn't! That wasn't a spanking. Look at each of those results - each one was 51% to 49%. 52% - 48% and so on. When you put together that the Republicans outspent the Democrats 7 to 1 - that's $7 Republican for every single dollar on the Dems, then you realize that it wasn't a fair fight at all. If the Republicans have to outspend in such ungodly amounts, just to pull off these half-n-half victories, then you know who is truly the weaker.

I don't understand how you can call them weaker when they won.

Yeah, you and about 250 million other Americans. But don't worry, someday, God willing, you will.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Coffee

Everybody who comes in tonight with an I VOTED sticker gets a free coffee. The Zen and Tao Acoustic Cafe supports the voting process and the support of democracy. We believe that you not only get the government that you vote for, but you suffer the government you allow to happen when you do not exercise your rights.

So, in the words of John Canada from next door at SHR, who quotes some wise old soul from the anals of American history . . .


But whatever you do, just get out and VOTE!