Thursday, April 30, 2015

Overread at Table 1: Bread and Stones

The fifteen year old watches his sister
spend her college money on a fake suntan,
get prescription contact lenses,
buy a dress for the prom.

He asks her if she's finished her FAFSA.
She slaps him with a vulgarity and tells him
to mind his own business
or he'll be walking to school.

The fifteen year old watches his mother
wither in the evenings, after returning home,
numb from months of shouts that filled the house,
ending with threats to leave.

He asks his dad "Why don't you make her stop?"
His dad just shrugs, and asks the mom if he
can bring her some tea, and she says,
"You would understand if you were their bio-dad!"

The fifteen year old looks at his dad,
wonders why, if the man is supposed to bring the bread,
why then, in this house
has he allowed so many stones?


Baltimore 1861 - and we think we're violent today!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

At the Counter: Discussing Lyle Lovett's "Baltimore"

At the Counter
Discussing Lyle Lovett’s Baltimore

Lyle Lovett

I know I've seen this place before
Lord can't you hear me screaming
As a young man long ago
When I was twenty-one

And I know I've seen this house before
With people all around it
With my baby cousin on the floor
And Mama in the kitchen

And a woman lies upon the bed
I think she must be dying
And I recall the words she said
As she began to cry

She begged son please don't go to Baltimore
And leave me where I'm lying
For you will son but I no more
Walk among the living

And if you go to Baltimore
Then I'll see you in heaven
And as you breathe I'll breathe no more
And I will surely die

Well you know I went to Baltimore
So confident and wise
And as I breathed she breathed no more
And she did surely die

And now as I lie upon my bed
I pray I must be dreaming
With faces all around my head
And strangers at my door

And a woman's voice calls out to me
Bring unto you your children
And let them see these things you see
And hear the words you say

Beg them to go to Baltimore
And leave you where you're lying
Just like you did one time before
When you were twenty-one

And if they go to Baltimore
Then I'll see you in heaven
And as they breathe you'll breathe no more
And you will surely die

And I know I've seen this place before
Lord can't you hear me screaming
And if I should awaken Lord
Then answer me my plea

What makes the sun set in the west
And birds fly in the sky
And what makes a woman beat her breast
When her children start to cry

And what makes those little ones grow old
To find eternity
And what takes the wise
And leaves behind
A foolish one like me

Verble says:

Hearing about what’s happening in Baltimore shed a new light on this song by Lyle Lovett for me.  The song, as written, is lyrically in the style of old British and Irish ballads that recount lovers or sons moving away, usually to seek a life in a new world across the sea.   At this time, with these incidents of violence, especially blamed upon rioters who have come from out of town, the narrator of this song seems like it could be one of those instigators of violence, who is heading to Baltimore to cause violence, leaving behind his dying mother.

In the second half of the song, the narrator, later in life, reflects on the choice he made and all about how the cycle repeats itself.   Again, the original song reflected on the loneliness which we leave our loved ones is the same loneliness in which they will leave us, but in the new rendition, it speaks to how violence is a never ending cycle, and we are left to wonder, decades from now, in what city will these fires burn again?

My friend, MR, has penned this little poem and left it on the counter here at the Z&T:

The Streets of Baltimore

The streets of Baltimore are quiet tonight.
The curfew is holding.
The shop windows that were shattered
stand patched with slabs of chipwood.

The streets of Baltimore are quiet tonight,
a hushed moment,
stilled with the people all holding their breath.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: Texas Education

"Our kids are graduating without being able to form a coherent sentence.  My son can't frikkin' read!   And this is considered the BEST school system in the Houston area!   I have no idea what's happening here.  All I know is that of the top ten academic graduates of every year, NINE of them were born and raised in either China or India.  There's always like ONE token white guy.   Doesn't THAT tell you something about who is REALLY being educated?"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Note left at Booth 5


all these years Ive been with you and the girls and never once have you ever taken my thoughts into account for being their Dad.  That's D-A-D.  DAD.  Always, 'ur just the stepfather' - that's all I am to you.   Ive been with them since they were 3 and 5 and now when the chips are down and one wants to run away and the other just wants to quit school and suddenly you want to take out a second mortgage to pay for Jamie's dorm and for Holly's whateveritis total-body-makeover or some shit, when what they really need a good reality check that theyve had a home all these years and two parents - TWO - who love them and provided for them and got their eyes checked and made sure they always had food and got braces and everything they needed, suddenly IM the loser because I don't make $100k/yr.

yes we both work and yes we have stressful jobs and yes our girls are young adults and yes they want to grow up and move out and YES its easier on me than you but NO that doesnt give you the right to think that Im some sort of loser just because I dont make enough money to send one off to college that she'll probly quit in 6 months anyway and pay for stupid plastic surgery that our alreadybeautiful daughter DOESN'T NEED!

all this makes me wanna just park the car in the garage, close the door, and leave it running.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Overheard (and seen) at Table 1: Migrants from the South

In Europe, they've got an issue with all these people fleeing the lawlessness and total collapse of civilization in North Africa, and here's what it looks like in Greece

This is the Coast Guard AND some local town folk, who helped these migrants when their boat started sinking right off the coast . ...

Just like we do here in the wonderful US of A!!!!

Oh, wait . . . 

No, no we don't.
OUR migrants coming up from total collapse of civilization in the South are faced with this!!


Yay, America!

(Do we REALLY believe we are a nation that follows the Prince of Peace?)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: Wrong Number

.... so last night around 9:30 I get this text from a  number I've never seen before.  It's not in my contacts and just comes up as the number.   This text says "Arent you supposed to open the damn door when someone rings the doorbell?" I figure, this guy just sent a text to the wrong number, because no one's rung my doorbell, and I can just picture this dude somewhere across town, texting his buddy to open the damn door, and he's standing there on the porch, I decide to mess with him a little, and so I text back, "I would but right now I'm in bed with your mom!"

...and I'm laughing because, we'll, hey, that was pretty funny, right?  and about a minute later another text comes back saying, "you mean your dead grandmother?"

One picture: Never Forget

There was a day care center there.  

And he knew it, and he killed them anyway.

He killed them for no other reason than he hated his own country.

Not every vet is a hero.  
Some of them are murderers.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Overheard at Booth 2: Absolutely Nothing

Two people, sitting across from each other.

Not talking.

The void between them is the resounding scream of a dead love affair whose soul is still being strangled by the corpse in which it is trapped.

Overheard at the Counter: Catarina Sforza

Verble:  In the episode when this woman stood atop her castle wall and screamed TEN MORE SONS I turned to my wife and said, "Baby you are Catarina Sforza!"

Friday, April 17, 2015

Overheard at Table 2: All Flights Cancelled

I keep having these dreams where I'm waiting at the airport to get into heaven and the TSA guys keep making me go back through the metal detector over and over and over, and I'm really in this panic because I'm going to miss my flight, and when they finally let me through I'm tearing down the concourse to the gate and when I get there everybody is just standing around and there's this big sign that says ALL FLIGHTS CANCELLED.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sultans of the Z&T

On the sound stage of the Zen and Tao Acoustic Cafe



Let me bring you another latte.

Overread at Booth 5: Reading MR's 366 ...


Screw Whitman, screw Eliot, screw Pound and all those prats.
The only true poetry is the ballad in which the tanner
bleeds the baby
of the lord and the lady,
and that, my friends, is that.

from 366

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Overheard at Table 4: The Interview

We broke down and watched "The Interview" last night.

How was it?

Oh my GOD!  It was the worst piece of crap ever put on film!   I mean, 4 hours into this thing and you're like, yes, Seth Rogan, we KNOW you can drop the F-bomb but do you have to drop the F-bomb in every-single-line?


Seriously, I'm no prude, but even I know when curse words are over done.   Seriously, only Junior high kids use that much profanity.   And that's probably who wrote this piece of crap, too.   The jokes were stupid, moronic, "They hate us cuz they AN-US"  har har har snickery-har.

What about the whole Kim Jong Un, thing?

You know why Kim Jong Un hacked Sony?   I'll tell you why.  It wasn't because the film was talking about assassinating him, oh no, I'm sure he would have been like "Hey, you know, I wouldn't care if you had me killed by Tom Cruise's 'Mission Impossible' or The Rock's 'Fast and Furious' gang.   I wouldn't mind if you took me out with the Expendables, the RED, or hell even by Ben Stiller.  But to have me killed by JAMES FRANCO AND SETH ROGAN?! In this knocked-up/neighbors dumbass low-level stinkhole of a movie?   Heck no,  Americans!  I nuke you all!!'   THAT's what Kim Jong Un was feeling!

It was undignified, you're saying.

Ex-actly!  Undignified!  Oh my Lord what a waste of time!  ... except for the two chicks.  They were really cute!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Overread at Table 3: Poem of the Day: Carl Sandburg's "Still Life"

Still Life
Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967

Cool your heels on the rail of an observation car.
Let the engineer open her up for ninety miles an hour.
Take in the prairie right and left, rolling land and new hay crops,
      swaths of new hay laid in the sun.
A gray village flecks by and the horses hitched in front of the
      post-office never blink an eye.
A barnyard and fifteen Holstein cows, dabs of white on a black
      wall map, never blink an eye.
A signalman in a tower, the outpost of Kansas City, keeps his
      place at a window with the serenity of a bronze statue on a
      dark night when lovers pass whispering.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Overheard at Booth 3: Jogging at Lunch

... I was jogging at lunch today around the neighborhood.  Going past this apartment complex these two young ladies come out of the gate, they looked like one was a realtor showing the other the apartment.  The path was narrow so I had to slow down, and this one - tall, brunette, elegant, gorgeous - says to me "Please excuse us, don't let us get in the way of your run"

and I said, "A gentleman always pauses to appreciate true beauty."

I tell you, if I were twenty years younger, that line would probably get me laid.

Overheard at Booth 5: Easter Eggs

“reminds me of guy i once knew.. he worked at the company I did.. he had a sick sense of humor.. no big deal, we all did.. but he used to joke about liking "young" girls.. like pre-puberty ones.. he said they smelled like "Easter Eggs" whatever that meant.. we all thought he was just joking in a sick way.. until one day on the way back from lunch.. we stopped by a co-workers house on the way back to the office and in the neighborhood we noticed him parked out by an elementary school watching the kids on the playground.. so we started following him at lunch and found he went every day and appeared to have "love for one" in the car while at the playground.. i mentioned it to a friend who worked at the DA's office.. the guy quit the job soon after and i didn't think about it again.. until a few years later.. watching the news one night.. there was old "Easter Egg" in handcuffs.. busted for lewd act with a minor and kiddy pron.. a sick breed these type... there's no cure for it short of "lead poisoning"... these guys will be out on bail meeting real kids for sex in a few hours.. meeting fake "cop" kids is just an inconvenience.. they'll be getting that Easter Egg tomorrow..”

NOTE: This was an online comment to a news article about a sting operation that netted 12 men in Fort Bend County on charges of intent to solicit a minor

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Overheard at Booth 2: Kayleigh and her Dad

Kayleigh:  Don't worry Dad I'm still a virgin.

Dad: Just the fact that you're telling me this makes me suspicious.  Is there something you really wanna tell me?

Kayleigh:  OK.  Fine.  I smoke dope.   But I thought I'd lead with the virgin thing so you wouldn't totally freak.

Dad:  Oh.  Thanks.