Friday, October 28, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: Singapore

Verble says to the Barista "I've got only seven people from Singapore coming into the cafe this month, let's get that number up."

"And exactly how you want me to do that?" asks the Barista.

"What do I know about Singapore?" replies Verble. "Google it."

"Sure," she replies. "Let me see your iPad."

Overheard at Booth 4

A Spouse: You always have to contradict everything I say.

The Other Spouse: No I don't.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Overheard at Booth 3: Grass in their A--

Big Man: And my new HR director nearly had a snippit when she heard me tell Louis not to come back in after lunch without some grass on his a--!

Smaller Man: You said what? Troy, now you know you can't say stuff like that!

Troy: 'Course I can! I spent a good $500k on those grounds out there! Making them all nice so that the employees could go out there and eat their lunches just like in a real picnic. They can even take off their shoes and cross their legs like yoga and go OMMMMMM and all that, so that I know they are good and relaxed when they come back into the office with grass on their a--es!

Smaller Man: But seriously, some people might get offended. Foul language, and all that.

Troy: Bill, you know what's foul? Bad attitudes, that's what's foul. And what makes bad attitudes is stress. And stress is not good for business. It wastes the employees' time, it wastes my time, it wastes the company's time. So I read in a real old issue of Men's Health how yoga on grass relieves stress, makes relaxed employees, and relaxed employees can do better work, get better ideas, stay focused longer. So, yeah! I want to make sure that when they come back inside after lunch, that they are relaxed and totally UN-stressed.

Bill: And you know that by the amount of grass on their a--.

Troy: EX-actly!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Overheard at Booth 4: Unicorns Glitter and Rainbows

Little Brother: We were drawing in class and I told this girl "Your picture looks like unicorns puking rainbows all over the room!"

Older Sister: You moron! Unicorns don't puke out rainbows. They puke out glitter.

Little Brother: That's exactly what SHE said!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mark Twain's The War Prayer

As I study the Holy Bible and try my best to get into a closer walk with Jesus Christ, the more dissatisfied I become. With so many things. Not the least of those things: these wars. These bloody endless wars that we Americans allow to continue and we don't even think about most days. We just let our government take our brothers and sisters and cousins and turn them into killing machines. We make commercials that show a man sending a drone plane to blow up a mountain, and he still makes it home in time for supper.

And our chuches keep telling us to write prayer cards in support of these soldiers that we are allowing to be abused - by our government. And never ONCE a prayer for our enemies, as God Himself commanded us to pray. I tried to find words for these feelings, some way to express it, and by some miracle, I found some human words written over a century ago, by none other than a writer who no American can deny is THE pre-eminent American Man of Letters. None other than Mark Twain, who, in this short passage, spoke not only for his time, for the time before, but was so prescient that he could not have known that he was writing for America of today.

Read on, my friends:

The War Prayer

Dictated by Mark Twain [Samuel Clemens] in 1904 in advance of his death in 1910.

During his writing career, he had criticized perhaps every type of person or institution either living or dead. But this piece was just a little too hot for his family to tolerate. Since they believed the short narrative would be regarded as sacrilege, they urged him not to publish it. However, Sam was to have the last word, and even the word after that. Having directed it to be published after his death, he said,

"I have told the truth in that... and only dead men can tell the truth in this world."
- William H. Huff

The War Prayer
by Mark Twain

It was a time of great exulting and excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest depths of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast doubt upon its righteousness straight way got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams – visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation:

"God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!"

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory –

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!"

The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor – and also you in your hearts – fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."

[After a pause.] "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Overheard at Booth 3: Airline Ticket Prices

Man #1: You know I just don't get airline ticket prices. I was trying to look for tickets to bring my mother down here for two weeks, and the prices were varied between $184 and all the way up to six hundred bucks!

Man#2: Was it the date?

Man #1 Well, the date seemed like part of it, sure, but I was thinking it was the weekend, so I tried during some of the weekdays and it was the same price. The only determining factor I could see was that the lowest price came from having her stay longer. It seems that if you just want to get in and out of some place, the price skyrockets. Why is that?

Man #2: I dunno. Maybe they figure that short terms are business trips, and they naturally assume that business trips have more discretionary cash to spend.

Man #1: Or they can just bilk you more. Plus, I also looked at it for the price of if I were to go up there and come back, and it was also at the higher price - no matter if I stayed two days or two weeks! What's that all about? I don't know. I know there's got to be some sort of freakily complicated formula figuring out the top dollar they can get for every seat, but man, at least have some rhyme or reason to it.

Man #2: They can't have that. If they had something that everybody could figure out, then everybody would be flying ONLY on the third Saturday or the fifth Sunday of every month! No other dates.

Man #1: Wouldn't that be freaky cool!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

At the Counter: Verble shows a post that he likes

I just copied this from, because it is wonderfully written and I would have loved to have rewritten it into a conversation, but it says everything that needs to be said just as it is.

Thanks to litingyu before he/she/they even knew that I was going to copy&paste this post here.

God’s Dwelling Place
Posted in Uncategorized by litingyu on April 27, 2010
Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up to the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure and be honored,” say the Lord.
“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty, “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house [...]“
Haggai 1:3-9
God purposely frustrates our human efforts to get ahead – school, life, work – because he wants to get our attention, to make us realize we are missing out on life, which is God.
He gets our attention through difficult circumstances. Question: how do you know you can trust in God, until you’re in a situation where you need to make the decision to trust him?
Or in other words, how do you know the strength of your anchor until you’re in a storm ?
Our love (trust and faith) for God must be tested: it’s human nature to try and work our way to comfort and security. God puts trials in our life to get our attention.
The most beautiful part is – He isn’t asking for perfection.
No, he only requires that you put forth your best, even if your best is broken, incomplete, ugly, because your best is a reflection of your current attitude and heart. And God will take pleasure and be honored in what your best has to offer.

Overheard at Table 4: Sleeping In

Helene's iPhone buzzes next to her hand, which is resting next to her mocha latte. She taps the screen and says to JoHannah, "My daughter. She's just texting me she's just now getting up."

JoHannah says, "Wow. You really let her sleep in late."

"Just on Saturdays. During the week we all get up super-early. We just let her sleep in on Saturdays because ever since she turned 14 she's been like, you know - 14. So it's the only time when there's actually anything like a peaceful moment in the house, that's Saturday mornings, you know?"

"Don't I know! I've got my 17 and my 16 year old both hanging at the house today . . . Why do you think I texted you, begging you to meet me here for coffee?!

Overheard at the Counter: Maybe there's a reason why his name is Cain

Niall Carter says, "Just read a quote in Time magazine."

Lucky Moran says, "I'm obsessed by Time magazine/I read it every week in the downtown library."

John Steppenwolf, "Thank you, Allen Ginsberg."

Lucky, "That's his premier poem. So much better than Howl, don't you think?"

Niall Carter interjects, "But what I READ IN TIME MAGAZINE WAS . . ."

Steppenwolf, "Yes, yes, Niall, please tell us."

"It was a quote by Herman Cain . . . he was speaking out against the Occupiers, and he said 'Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself.'"

Lucky said, "I heard that on my radio, just before I yanked it right out of my dashboard because hearing that pissed me off so much."

Steppenwolf, "I think the problem lies in that we as a culture have established this 'American Dream' that if you just work hard enough, you can be rich. It really should be called the 'American Fantasy' because it is a bald faced lie. No wealthy person EVER got wealthy JUST because they worked hard. It takes a huge combination of factors: timing, other people's support, the current economic conditions, the ability to get your message out, who else is or is not currently working in your particular field, and just plain dumb luck."

"That's so against what this country was built on," says Niall, "I'm wondering how you're able to sleep at night."

"Not well," says Steppenwolf. "I'm always afraid the CTP are gonna come crashing through my window and force feed me a solid non-stop diet of Michael Savage."

"CTP?" asks Lucky.

"Conservative Thought Police."

"Ah," says Lucky. "I always just called it the Heritage Foundation."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Overheard at Table 2: Conservative Smokescreen

"I don't know what it is, but there's a term for this, it's when you are doing something, but you accuse the other person of doing it first, so that you can get away with it yourself, and I've really noticed this for a couple of years now, with all these conservatives and their radio and tv and books and everything, and it's just weird - like

"The conservatives are rewriting history, by accusing the liberals of rewriting history,

"The conservatives have taken control of the mainstream media, by claiming that the liberals control the mainstream media,

"The conservatives want to set up concentration camps for illegal immigrants and consolidate power in one small group, by calling the liberals Nazi fascist.

(and don't even get me started on how they can call liberals Fascist AND Socialist in the same breath - that's just like calling one piece of food a potato chip AND a corn dog)

"But anyway, don't you find that weird? Also, the conservatives bring government to a standstill, they've osbtinately refused to do ANYTHING for the past three years, and then they blame the liberals for ineffective government. They kill every bill, even their own, just to prove that government isn't doing anything at all. They hate government, but they want to run it.

"These guys are nuts. Conservatives are mean-spirited and wholly disfunctional. And yet they are the largest ideological BLOC in the country. They're the largest ideological bloc by claiming that the Liberals are the largest ideological bloc.

"Is everyone nuts here, or is it just me?"

and I hear his friend say,

"It's just that you intellectuals are ruining this country for the rest of us by always having to second guess everything. Just lie back and think of America, and let Big Business have its way with ya!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: Mormon/Mammon - seem the same?

Steppenwolf is telling Niall Carter: Hey listen I don't really care about a guy's religion, I mean, he's running the country, he's not saving my soul. But I have to say it's damn hypocritical for half the nation to be totally p'o'd three years ago, all yelling "Obama's a Muslim - just look at his name - Barack HUSSEIN Obama - the name is a MUSLIM name" and then now we've got a Mormon front running the GOP and the same people are dead quiet. What freaking hypocrites. They don't even understand that by their own beliefs, Mormonism is a cult.

Niall says: Yeah, but it's a cult that runs a whole STATE!

Steppenwolf says: But by the standards of those who claim that the Bible is all you need for salvation, then any extant or extraneous text that puts itself equal to or surpassing the Bible is heretical. Like the Book of Mormon - it's very existence claims that the Bible is not sufficient for salvation - as though everyone for 1900 years got it wrong, until Joseph Smith came to town - in a beam of light with a choir of heavenly angels singing sweetly to him, telling him to be fruitful and multiply. and not a peep from those who say their litmus test is a man's belief in Jesus.

Niall: But that goes out the window if he's a Republican.

Steppenwolf: Like I said, I don't care much myself. It's the double standard from the people I can't stomach.

An Observation

from 365


I have just noticed
that, throughout the years,

the stars
have steadily


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Hey, whoever played at open mic night last night, you left this guitar . . . .

My Barista says she liked your songs. She especially remembers one called "Greatest Things" she said it was "Sweetly cool."

You may want to come back for both your guitar - and her phone number.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: More Hard Truths

You know, says Verble, it's been over a year now and I think it's time for some more HARD TRUTHS, so here you go:


Conservative talk radio hosts are small minded and mean.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd are Millenial Hippies (God bless 'em, they're well-meaning but unfocused.)

The Occupy Wall Street crowd secretly scare the snot out of the conservatives because, at the heart of it, their movement shows that people really DO want an equitable division of wealth.

Basically, they want to steal from the rich and give to the poor.

This is why the Right hates them.

This is also why the Establishment Left are wary of them.

Oh my God! The rich think! What if the people DO rise up to destroy the wealthy class!

This is the hard truth: That there is a segment of America that doesn't think the wealthy deserve their wealth, ESPECIALLY when they made that wealth through deception and fraud.

And the REAL HARD TRUTH that nobody wants to know (not the Occupiers, not the Conservatives, not the Evangelicals) is this:

the Occupy Wall Street movement is in line with the Word of Christ.

"What you do to the least of these, you have done to Me." saith the Lord. And the Occupiers are saying, "We are the Least, we represent the Least, and we are showing you what you have done to the Least."

Bitter pill, but it's time to take the medicine.

The Cafe is, as always, open for discussion

Overheard at the Counter: American Tapestry

I am just so tired of all this self-identification here in America, I mean, my God all we ever do is try to "identify" who we are: I mean, we classify ourselves in so many ways: conservative, liberal, progressive, Tea Partier, Occupier, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian-American, Christian Buddhist Hindu vegan vegetarian carnivore - Muslim American, black, high yellow, boricua, cuban-american, slaviv, irish, nordic, germanic, gay straight bi tri quad queer and transgender, transgender in waiting, cross dresser only, protestant catholic reformer and reformed, male, female, white, straight, fag, drag, redneck, legal, illegal, hillbilly, yankee, southerner, midwesterner, californian, texan, not born here but got here as fast as I could, libertarian, socialist, social conservative but economic liberal and vice versa, pugilist, nihilist, constitutionalist, citizen, patriot, patriotic, founding father ist, constitutionalist, midgit dwarf giant autistic gifted but never just plain mediocre

LORD I can't keep track of it all!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Overheard at Table 2: Savage and the Nation of Occupy Wall Street

Philip: Did you catch the Michael Savage show yesterday?

Hilda: No. I was feeding my cats. Why?

Philip: Really bizarre. Just caught part of it. He was saying something about how Sorros was behind the whole thing, by hiding from paying his own taxes and giving all his money to some Canadian Communist group to start up the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Hilda: Canadian Commies. That's new.

Philip: Yeah, well, you know, their flag IS red!

Hilda: And they are cold like Russia.

Philip: All these years - just waiting for a chance to strike.

Hilda: It was losing that hockey game last year in Vancouver. That did it. They finally decided now's the time to spread their commie revolution to the States.

Philip: Thank you, Michael Savage! You are the herald, the prophet, the voice of God that has saved us all by opening our eyes to the menace of maple syrup!

Hilda: And tuques! Don't forget the tuques!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Overheard at Booth 4: Aging Christian Progressive

Charles Owenson is saying, "I was looking up the lyrics to an old song by Ten Years After - 'I'd Love to Change the World' and I was amazed by the comments by all these guys who are about as old as I am - I was about, I dunno, maybe 12-13 when that song came out, and all these guys were remembering that it was still long hair and hippy days, and while we'd missed all the rallies and everything we were still kind of influenced by what our older brothers and sisters were into, and that was cool, but all these guys were saying how they didn't believe that any more, and how when you grow up you become more conservative, and how life makes you into this Republican, and

"I remembered an old joke, that said that a Democrat is just a Republican who hasn't been mugged yet. So you can kind of see how we see the Democrats as Liberals as young as idealists, and once reality sets in, you need to become a Republican, you know, conservative, what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours, and

"I dunno, but I tell you the older I get the more progressive I get, the more liberal. Maybe something's wrong with me, but I just don't see how you can fight wars to bring peace, and I don't see how a country this rich can kick people out of hospitals and let them die on the street because they can't afford health care, and I really can't see how we can say we're the best and the brightest when we're killing out own children's education and cutting off our grandparents from the bare monthly minimum needed to cover their prescriptions, and yet still spend more money on our military than the rest of the world combined.

"Yeah, I've been loving to change the world for over 50 years now, and I really only see me getting more Progressive as time goes on.

"Sorry to all my other 50 year old contemporaries who apparently are waving their guns and putting no trespassing signs all over their property."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Verble Continues

" . . . But seriously, there is one thing about Romans that gets me time and time again, is how it seems to be a different book each time I read it. I mean, I've read this wonderful bit of twisted Zen illogic time and time again and each time it seems like a different passage. For those who read Sartre for fun, or who study Chinese philosophy or who just like the mindtwists of a good Sudoku, well, then they would have a great old time trying to figure out Romans.

"I mean, look - what simple beautiful seeming incongruity can be found in 'We died in Christ so that he may live in us' (Romans 6:8) - and then continues on to talk about how when we lived in sin we served sin and all that was left in our wake was death and the stench of misery, but when we serve the living God what we send forth is righteousness. Like I said before, it's like, look - you're going to be a slave to something one way or another, you can be a slave to your own desires, which you might think is fun for awhile, but one day you're gonna wake up broke and stinking and your supposed friends all gone because the money's run out and the young chicks you used to take home with you nightly are just all getting younger while you're getting older and they're starting to look at you like you're some sort of sick old man, OR you can serve God and get yourself into something decent, and you can move it forward, have fun, create things, BE somebody in the community that people actually want to have around, have a family, for goodness sake, have something that makes a lasting impression - do something that makes other people happy, and the more you cast that glory back to God, man, the absolute happier you will be.

"And that's only on THIS reading of Romans chapter 6. When I re-read it tomorrow, I'll get something even more and different out of it."

Verble's Summation of Romans Chapter 6

Romans 6

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.

18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.

Verble says, "You know, whenever I read this passage, there's a song that keeps coming to my mind. It's a song that my pappy used to love to sing, in his nasal twang. He put it on one of his albums, called the album Slow Train Coming, and the song had the lyric:

"Well, it may be the devil,
And it may be the Lord,
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
Yes, you're gonna have to serve somebody.'"

Overheard at Table 3: Discussing Occupy Wall Street

I think it's great, you know, that we finally have a movement that isn't for or against any one thing, but rather a protest against the status quo.

Like, the Tea Partiers, you knew that they were just against. Nothing for. Just against. No taxes. Let business rape whatever land they want, that kind of stuff.

What I think is way cool is how the Occupy Wall Street crowd are actually speaking out that one saying that we've always been taught that we shouldn't never say: "Equitable division of wealth." Man! That's even hard to say, because I think the Capital Police are going to bust in here and haul me away!

I know! I was thinking that too. I mean, we hear all the time "Don't be socialist! Don't be communist! Don't let anybody take the rich's stuff!" But some of these guys are actually coming out and saying it. Let's spread that wealth around - hey look, the way I see it, most of those CEO's got it from us, the workers, any way. If not by working for them, then by being on the chopping block!

What I think should happen is the news should say OK - who REALLY represents "the American People" - the Tea Party Movement or the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Then they should point out that the first had people screaming and biting off fingers in town halls, and this one has people singing and dancing and cleaning up after themselves.

Yeah, but which one really represents who we are, vs the one that we WANT to represent who we are?

Good question.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Overheard at Table 3: Cultural Chatter

1: you get 10 parents in the same room and invariably 7 of them will have a child in G/T. How does that work?

2: yeah, especially when 1 out of 4 kids is graduated from high school functionally illiterate.

3: what I can't understand is talk radio hosts who are actually proud to state that they're rich and that the poor are just some freeloaders. Come on, so you give a fat black innercity mom $12k a year . . . is that anything compared to giving GE $26 BILLION?

4: yeah, but when you add up that 12k over all 300 million of us, that idea is what freaks them out.

5: what freaks them out is the thought that somebody else is getting what is theirs.

2: but what is theirs doesn't really belong to them. let's face it, nothing that we have really BELONGS to us, right of ownership is really an illusion.

1: you're right. you've got stuff, you use it for a time - wear clothes, drive car, put unpaid parking tickets in wallet. all that stuff will pass away, and really the only thing you ever take with you into the future is yourself.

4: that's a little heavy for a Tuesday morning, don't you think.

5: maybe, but it's a lot easier to digest than some guy on the radio saying he's happy to be rich and he doesn't want the government to take it away from him.

3: poor sod. A guy like that is trapped in his own small, small box.

4: yeah, but he'll tell you it's a box made out of gold.

5: a gilded cage is still a cage.

1: true that.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Overheard at Table 1: Steve Jobs' Cultural Impact

Billy: Well, he did change the culture.

Joe: But to whut? Now we all walk around tied to these sleek little devices.

Jim: Touch screen. He gave us touch screen.

Bob: An' whut else?

Billy: uhh . . . the phone?

Joe: Naw, he just made the phone cooler.

Jim: and music. He gave us music!

Bob: Music had been around before Jobs.

Billy: That's right. He just gave it to us for 99 cents a song.

Joe: Didn't that used to be called a jukebox.

Jim: But that was only a nickel, and a jukebox you couldn't take with you in a 4-inch silver case all around the world.

Bob: So, basically, I think what conclusion we seem to be arriving at is that Jobs didn't make anything new so much as he made what we had more accessible, more portable, and just basically, cooler.

Billy: Yes, I would say that in a nutshell.

Joe: Then why are we glorifying him these past few days.

Jim: Why, why are people crying like he was some sort of Maharashi Buddha Jesus Mohammad Mother Theresa ?

Bob: Because we're all looking for a hero. We ain't got heroes, any more. There's no one we can trust. Jobs. he had one job, one thing he did well, he gave us our music, our movies, our touch screens, and he gave it to us smaller and sleeker and easier and . . . well, cooler.

Billy: Bascially, he was cool.

Joe: And he made cool stuff.

Jim: That he did.

Bob: Cool. I wonder what they'll say about that guy who invented Starbucks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Guitar Music

Guitar Music

Leo Kottke

In a frame and mounted on the wall at the Zen and Tao Acoustic Cafe.

Verble says that this album is essential for anybody who claims to like the sound of the acoustic guitar, and no album has been so profound ever before or since.

"He FINGER PICKS A TWELVE-STRINGS, fershlugginer's sake! Do you know how HARD that is?!" says Verble, every time he spots this album on the wall.

"Unfortunately," he invariably adds, "it's one of the most hideous covers I've ever seen in my life. Gak! The neon death rays!"

Overheard at Table 4: Steve Jobs

iPhone user: Steve Jobs will be so missed. He put entertainment right into our lives.

iPad user: I never knew it was anywhere else.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Overheard at Booth 3: Bank of America v President Obama

Trixi D sez: in this war uv words 'tween the prez and BofA "the American People" have fogottun - actually - dey couldn't uv forgottun b'cuz they never knew - this thing that's called "The Elephant in the Room" - and that is Visa and MasterCard International. They're the ones callin' tha shots. All this talk uv interchange - dat's not collected BY the banks - it's charged BY Visa/MC and givun BACK to the banks, but what choo also doan' know is that Visa/MC also CHARGE the banks just for people usin' dey cards! So for the banks - de income barely covers dere EX-pense, see? Now, uv course, yer BofA and yer Chase and da big boys dey gots it covered, but dis really hurts all the others: y'knoo, smaller banks an' credit unyuns.

So, it breaks down like dis: as the prez and the banks and the congress and alla dem duke it out, Visa/MC are jes' sittin' back an' smilin', smilin', smilin' - all the way 2 da BANK!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Overheard at the Counter: The Great Buck Howard

Steppenwolf says, "Saw The Great Buck Howard the other night. Not bad. It was all right. I liked Malkovich. He wasn't as completely weird as he usually is in most of his roles, not so 'etherial' - but he played this mentalist - hypnotist - who is about 30 years past his best days, and this kid who dropped out of law school and has no clue what he wants to do with his life becomes his road manager, and Malkovich is playing Bakersfield and Akron, all these run down community playhouses and still acting like he's up there in bright neon lights.

"The only time that the movie was not believable was when Buck Howard finally admits that he had known for years that he was done. Didn't know why he was fooling himself. Don't know why they wrote that line in there. I don't think that character would ever admit that - not to himself, and even if he did I don't see how he would ever admit it to anybody else - I mean, here's a guy who has truly become his persona.

"But it's a good movie - not a redemption movie - but one of those that at the end teaches you that it's OK to live a mediocre life, if it's a life that you love to do. That you don't HAVE to have the money or the fame that we all beleive that we should have - but that if your particular place in the world is entertaining an aging and thinning segment of society that still wants to believe that there's a little magic left in the world, then, that's the perfect place for you to be, and be happy in it."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Overheard at Table 3

You know, the more I study the more I come to this conclusion: with the exception of Psalms, Proverbs, Solomon, and Ecclesiastes (which I call Praise Songs, Fortune Cookies, Erotica, and Guide-to-Healthy-Living), if someone is quoting any other book in the Old Testament, but not in the context of how prophesy is fulfilled in the New Testatment, then they're simply trying to establish a position in favor of thier support for their own bigotry, intolerence, murder, and war.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Overheard at Table 1: Dennis Miller HEARTS Tea Party

Framer: Wow, I just scanned through AM the other day and caught Dennis Miller's radio show. I always thought the guy was funny, but man, did he turn out bitter. I don't know what happened, but it seems like he's got his tongue shoved so far up the Tea Party's anus that he can taste the bitter acidity of its black black heart!

Overheard at Booth 4: The Happening

By M Night Shayamalan

What I really like about this guy, and I've said it before, he doesn't make your typical genre movie. And like a really good painter, or an artist of any real talent, he doesn't follow a formula, but you always know that his work is his. He owns it. Good or bad, liked or disliked, each one of his works is distinctly his.

I remember when the movie came out that the conservatives gave it the big 'pooh-pooh' as 'just another one of those pieces that's supposed to make us all feel guilty just for livin' on this planet,' but when I finally watch it, a it's totally different thing altogether.

It's a sci-fi piece with a flair of what they had in the 50's - nature taking back what's its, kind of. Whereas in the 50's, you'd see big giant plants walking around and eating people, this time it's a much more subtle attack, where the plants have suddenly released spores that humans actually trigger as they walk among the trees and the grass, and the spores, when triggered, stop the chemicals in the brain that give us our sense of self-preservation. When that chemical is blocked, people just start killing themselves. Sometimes pretty gruesomely as well. I mean, we're talking guys who start up their riding lawn mowers and laying themselves down in front of it, that kind of thing.

Which actually reminds me of some articles I'd heard on the radio a few years back, about how trees actually do go to war with each other: the article was saying that some spoecies of trees will actually drop their seeds to the forest floor that will have a chemical that will prevent the seeds of other species of trees from being able to germinate - thus killing off the other species. They don't know how this is made - it just is.

Pretty spooky when you think about it. And yes, the movie does have the typical talking heads discussing the greater metaphysical implications of such actions - such as, is this the planet finally saying, 'hey I've had enough of you raping me! Take this, human scum!' ?

Hm. Food for thought