Monday, June 29, 2015

Overheard at Booth 4: Gently and Good Night

So I had this friend, and his name was Eric Gently, and he started seeing this girl, called Holly Goodnight.  And I just couldn't help myself, but I would tell him "Do not go, Gently, into that Goodnight."

Oh my God.


You actually said that?

Well, yeah!

Are you . . . are you . . . an ENGLISH major?

Well, yeah I am . . . is that a problem.

Well, yeah, if I ever want my kids to have a hot meal.   Yes, it's a BIG problem!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Overheard at the Counter: Marriage, Both of Them

Verble, still blathering away, says,

"Now, the reason why Christians, or those who claim to be Christians (yes, it's true not everyone who claims to be a Christian is truly saved.  Now I am not to judge people individually so I can't say 'You are not a Christian because that would be my pride and judgement talking, but just read 'Sheep and Goats' from Matthew and you know it's true, but anyway...) those who claim to be Christians think that Social Marriage and God's Marriage are the same.  They think that if they are married by a pastor that makes God bless the marriage.

"Completely false.  We have conflated the two so that in our minds they are indistinguishable.  This confounds the ignorant and the intelligentsia alike, but this is what it is.

"The human race is separated into two genders.  From those genders offspring is made, and by this the human race continues.  We all agree on that.   Yes, we all know that our science can produce offspring, so sexual reproduction may be rendered unnecessary, but we can't doubt that this is how we all got here.  OK, then...

"A careful reading of scripture reveals to us that God's intent is for monogamy.  God has many aspects of His personality - call them emotions, call them character traits - but what Christians, among others, believe is that He infused humanity with those traits, separated them between the genders, and that by coming together as one, we could, in our marriage, replicate the completeness that is God.

"Period.   One Man and One Woman, giving their marriage over to God to demonstrate to the world their worship of God.  If you do not believe in God you do not have a God Marriage.  You have a Social Marriage.  

"Yes, there are millions, billions, gazillions of people throughout history who have been married in churches in front of 'God and everybody' who have always had a Social Marriage and not a God Marriage.  I would say that God Marriage is in terribly short supply.

"Christians are supposed to promote their marriage as a worship of God in the same way that missionaries feed the sick and build homes for the poor as a way of worshiping God.  Marriage is intended to be sort of a constant prayer, a vigil, putting up your ebenezer, that type of thing,

"However, Social Marriage is what we have.  As humans we have the freedom to create and recreate our culture to what we want it to be.   In this culture of equality, I say fair play to yesterday's Supreme Court decision, because they have is bestowed dignity upon couples who have spent years fighting their families over such rights as who gets the stuff when the partner passes away, fighting school systems over who gets to pick up the child from elementary school, fighting companies over who gets to be put on disability benefits, and fighting the culture over who gets the social status of demonstrating to the world 'This is the person I LOVE!' . . .  and for that I say, 'Fair play!'

"But sadly, it is not and can never be the concept of Holy Matrimony as an act of devotion, constant prayer, and glorification of God.   See?  God Marriage.

"But that's OK.  Don't worry about it.  Most people no longer believe in God anyway, so who cares, right?

"Regardless, any sort of movement by supposed Christians to make any Amendment to the Constitution will only be serving to send a signal that they think they are somehow better and more deserving than others to this idea of marriage, and ultimately that will negate our mission as Christians to show His love to the world through our acts of service to the world.

"We must live together.  As much as it is within our power, we must live peaceably among all humans.   Personally, I think all this confusion is because we humans always pretended to have something that we did not, and it was our prideful nature to elevate our desires over our worship for Him.  We always thought that our Social Marriage was a God Marriage, and it has always only been a social contract.

"But oh, well, frailty is humanity.

"God bless, and have a wonderful day!"

Overheard at the Counter: A Brief History of Marriage

Verble, recapping the events of the week, goes off on a history lesson:

"Marriage has always been a social contract.  Always.  It's always been about who gets your stuff.
When Og and Grog were fighting for who was gonna lead the tribe down the river to the next cave, whoever won would need to ensure that if they got eaten by a mountain lion, that their kid would be the next in line to keep the tribe moving.  Marriage solves that problem.

"So, in a way, marriage has always been about social status and economic distribution.  We see this throughout history.  Do you really have this false notion that monogamy was ever really practiced?  We've got loads of evidence, even Biblically, about concubines and prostitutes and little boys and all sorts of fornication that is the hallmark of humanity.  But of all the pre-Legal Trust societies, marriage made sure that your cash and your credit got passed down.

"This is because a society could always tell what baby came out of what woman.  That kid popped out of her womb.  But the daddy?  You can never really tell.  Does this kid have a claim to Locutus's sword?  Or to Zoltar's 100 head of oxen?   Without marriage, it would have been one bloody mess trying to figure that out.

"The only historical blip on marriage was Jesus Christ, who came along and introduced strict monogamy.  You were supposed to have only your wife.  'What the hell?!' the people said.  'I can't have my wife and have my fun with that loose Samaritan chick that sometimes goes to the well?' 'No,' Jesus said, 'because if you do, you've broken your vow not just on this social compact, but also before God, and therefore you lose your right to your stuff, because God gave you the stuff.'

"That was one of the reasons why they so wanted Him dead.  'We gotta get rid of this guy!  It's OK if he heals the sick but now he's talking about our STUFF!'

"Am I starting to sound like a George Carlin routine?  That's OK.  Carlin was a spot-on guy.  Although it is funny to mention Jesus and George in the same breath.

"But I digress:  this is really why St Valentine was marrying people in secret around 300AD.  The Emperor didn't like people marrying because then someone would have secret claim to whatever stuff the people would have after they died in far-off countries trying to expand the empire.

"The idea of monogamy (which is God's marriage, which is different that this social idea of marriage, but that's a different rant) is what became solemnized with social marriage with the rise of European countries as a world influence.  Still, though, throughout the Dark Ages and even the Renaissance, the idea of marriage was basically that this is the woman who you say to the world this is who I'm doing it with, and your other lovers you just keep in the dark.  Any kids from the lovers never got a cent - imagine that!  No child support - nothing! - they had to go out and make it on their own.  Why do you think William the Bastard was able to change his name to William the Conqueror in 1066?

"Christian pastors today think that the beginning of the end of Traditional Marriage (which, by the way, is this confusion between God's marriage and Human Marriage) began with the Enlightenment.  Man, do pastors HATE the Enlightenment.  Still, though, that's yet ANOTHER rant.

"Me, I think the true end for Trad Marriage is the Romantic Poets.  Why?  You may ask, How can these proto-hippies be so bad for marriage.   Well, it's because they introduced the idea that you were actually supposed to LOVE the person you're married to.

"The whole idea behind marriage up until right before the 20th Century is that you marry someone, have kids, the kids get your stuff, and maybe you will find love with that person, or at the very least find a way to tolerate them for the rest of your life.  Either way, the women get economic security, the man gets regular meals and social status and the kids aren't sent away to live in the woods with the mountain lions.  Period.

"Then all this ROMANCE comes along, and marriage is infused with this 'you MUST fall in love'  Now, that's OK by me.  Took me three tries but I finally did it.  What I'm saying is that this breaks down the SOCIAL contract of marriage and makes it a romantic contract.  While this was probably intended to be closer to God's Marriage (which again, is separate and distinct), it actually paved the way for divorce.   Because a contract can not change hearts or help you through the bad times.

"Fast forward to the 20th century, where the incidence of family abandonment got too great for societies to bear, so divorce became easier.  The social stigma of kids coming from broken homes was removed, and suddenly the Social Marriage is left as nothing but a hollow symbol of this-is-the- person-who-makes-me-happy-at-the-present-moment.

"And that, my friends, is a Brief History of the Social Contract of Marriage.

"God's idea of marriage is so different that the two are unrecognizable.  The only reason why we think they are the same is that we have the same word for them.  But that's because our words confuse us."

Overheard at the Counter: Roof and Pinckney

Verble, at the counter, on this Saturday morning, saying,

"When the President at the eulogy yesterday said that the Lord works in mysterious ways, it got the natural callback response from the congregation.  To me, it sounded disingenuous, somewhat hollow, like he knew his audience and he knew how to speak to them, what terms to use - but then, he's a politician.  Knowing what to say to what people currently in his vicinity, that's his job.  And he does it well.

"Still though, he is right.  The Lord does work in mysterious ways, and while we try to wrap our heads around why a 21 year old white boy with no obvious direction in life would want to slaughter old black men and women, in a church, during a Bible study, we have to remember that while the Lord works in mysterious ways, evil works in obvious ways.

"Clementa Pinckney had a calling to serve the Lord from the age of 13.  He pastored his own small church at the age of 17.  He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives at 23 and the State Senate at 27.  (Now don't correct me if I'm off a year or two on the relative ages, OK?)  But it just surprises me how Dylann Roof will never, I repeat NEVER, have the opportunity to work in that level of government and possibly do real good for the people of the state of South Carolina.

"All Dylann Roof has assigned his life to is a picture of a mangy-dog, feral white boy, holding a gun and a Confederate battle flag.  Clementa Pinckney leaves behind a wealth of accomplishments, a series of sermons, and contemporaries in public service who can say they were better off for having known this man.

"For me, I wish, fiercely wish, that while Dylann Roof had been sitting there for that hour on that Thursday in June, listening to Bible study, that the words he heard would have entered his heart, softened his resolve, and yes, I don't imagine he would have rushed into the arms of the people saying 'I'm saved I'm saved' because that's just fairy stories, but instead, he would have realized that these were holy people serving a holy God, and that he had no cause to take their lives, and that he would have just walked right out that door.  

"But God allowed him to murder and slaughter people in prayer, and we have to ask why.  We as a culture don't even ask that question any more.  We instead fight about guns and flags, which is like fighting over the color of the band-aid instead of staunching the flow of blood from the hand that's been severed from the wrist.

"But where was I?  Oh yeah!  The only reason why God would have allowed that is because He has something even greater in mind.  The choices we make are our own, and we have full responsibility, but I think there are things we will never know. Mysterious ways.

"Dylann Roof is not saved, I think we are all safe to say that.  But what if, just what if, when he's spending the rest of his life in prison - and by the way, wouldn't it be just delicious justice if he gets an all Black jury? Man, that though just makes me chuckle! - but imagine if, while he's spending his life, he starts to listen to Pinckney's sermons?  What if he starts learning about the history of the AME church?  What if he does get saved?  What if he then writes a biography of Pinckney?  What if, in that way, he immortalizes the man whom he killed?

"I know, that sounds like fantasy, and maybe won't happen.  But maybe it will.  Only God knows and only time will tell.

"I like to think more that this is plausible:  the church reopened and I hear tell that thousands filled the park across the street for the eulogies and services.  The people in those crowds were motivated to go to Charleston out of a sense of solidarity and compassion for fallen, decent people.  I truly believe that, somewhere in that crowd, is one person, just one person, who needed to have that spark to realize the truth about salvation through Jesus Christ, and will commit their lives to God, and then, when they shuffle off this mortal coil, will be with Reverend Pinckney and the other victims, dancing with our Father in Heaven.

"But then, you will ask, 'God let nine people be slaughtered to save one?' and I will tell you, 'Remember, that's ten saved souls.'

"Mysterious ways."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Overheard at Table 3: African American White Girl

So I'm at the library and I'm trying to check out my books at the self-help machine and I don't have my card, so I go to the librarian who's there to help, and as she takes my books and starts looking up my number, I notice that her skin is as white as mine.  I mean, like really light skinned.

- And?

But she's black.  Or African American.

- If she's as white as you, man....

Because her hair is full of those things, what are they called, corn rolls?  They're actually kinda cool-looking, because she has them colored like red hair and blond hair mixed in with brown hair, and they were all linked together like in one long chain, and I could also tell that she was African American by her accent, but then I noticed that she had this Grecian nose, like not an African American nose.

 - So you're thinking maybe you're looking at someone like that Rachel Dolezal chick?

Well, not really, because she definitely had an African American body.

- Man, now what the hell do you call an African American body?

She had - you know - the curves.

- You mean the booty.

Well, I wouldn't be like that, you know.

- Son!  I never knew!   You're attracted to black women!

Look, I'm just trying to tell you about this lady I saw.

- I still would never let you date my sister.  Just sayin.

Look, all I'm trying to say is, at some point, this girl had a choice.  She could identify as either.  What made her identify in THIS way.  Not saying either way is right or wrong.  Just wondering if there's something in our culture or society or whatever that makes people identify as either this or that.

- I still can't get over the fact that you were checking out the booty.

Come on, dude.  Don't be rude!

- Did you at least get her number?

.... no.

- Well, then you'll never know the answer to all your questions, now will you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Overheard at Table One: Who?

Amanda: Was is Jay-Z I heard attacked a guy with a stanchion?

Ronnie:  What's a stanchion?

Amanda: Those things that make lines. Like the lines you wait in.   You know, they stand straight up and you hook the velvet ropes to?

Ronnie: Cool.  How'd you know that word?

Amanda: Because I just had to order some for the branch.   Had to Google 'em to find out what they were.

Ronnie:  Cool.  And no.  It wasn't Jay-Z.  It was Kanye West, I think.

Amanda: Which one's married to Katy Perry?

Ronnie: Neither one.   Russell Brand was married to Katy Petty but I think they split up.   P Diddy is married to J-Lo.

Amanda: I thought some Cuban guy was married to J-Lo.

Ronnie:  Hell, girl, EVERYbody's been married to J-Lo.

Amanda: True.  So true.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Overheard at Booth 4: Two cousins having coffee, when suddenly . . .

G: Oh. My. GAWD!

N: What?

G: Is that Julian Rosetti who just ran by here with no shirt on?

N: Who's Julian Rosetti?

G: Oh, prima, I sO wish you went to school here with me.  That is JULIAN Rosetti, he is SO unbelievably hot!

N: Like, how hot is he?

G: He is SO hot he ALmost inspires me to go running after him.

N: With no shirt on?

G: You know it!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Overheard at Table 1: Cops, Blacks, Whites, Pool Parties

Billy: That cop resigned.

Joe: What cop?

Jim: The one in McKinney.

Bob: McKinney where?

Billy: McKinney Texas

Joe: What for?

Jim: For the pool party.

Bob: What pool party?

Billy: The pool party in McKinney Texas.  Where you been, boy?

Joe: Here, mostly.

Jim: And there, some.

Bob: And roundabouts, mostly.

Billy: OK.  That's settled then.

Joe: What?

Jim: I don't know.

Bob: The cop who resigned?

Billy: No.  Where you all been.

Joe: So why did he resign over a pool party?

Jim: Pulled his gun on some kids.

Bob: Why'd he do that?

Billy: Probably because they were black.

Joe: I heard they were fighting.

Jim: Fighting with who?

Bob: Fighting with WHOM?

Billy: Yeah, them too.

Joe: They were fighting with the residents of the pool.

Jim: The people at the pool party said the black kids didn't belong there.

Billy: Ah.  So it was the white neighbors who called the cops on the black kids?

Joe: Seems like it.

Jim: Sounds to me like the white people need to resign.

Bob: They have resigned.  They've resigned themselves to calling the cops whenever black skin touches their white water.

Billy: Sad.

Joe: That's Texas for you.

Jim: Or America.

Bob: Looks to me like it's gonna be a looooooong hot summer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Overheard at Booth 4: Timmy to Tammy

Keiko Rajo: You wouldn't beLIEVE what my little Timmy said the other day!

Jean Guate: Omigod, what?

Keiko Rajo: We came out as TRANSgender.

Jean Guate: How's THAT for being super-smart?  And he's only four!

Keiko Rajo: Actually, three and seven months.  But isn't it BRILliant?  I mean, to be so certain at that age!

Jean Guate: You must be so proud!

Keiko Rajo:  He said to me, "Mom, I won't be a boy any more!  I'm gonna be called TAMMY."

Jean Guate: They are so CERTAIN these days!  So SURE of them selves.

Keiko Rajo: Yes.  We start the surgeries on Friday.

Jean Guate:  No time to waste!  Life is short!

Keiko Rajo:  It sure is!

Overheard at Booth 2: Granite Flats

Clare O'Casey: So what'd you think of that new show on Netflix last night?

Dever Dodd:  Weren't you there?

Clare O'Casey:  I fell asleep, remember?

Dever Dodd: Well that's always a good indicator.  But you were spot on.  That show is a good example of how NOT to script a television series.

Clare O'Casey:  From what I watched everyone seemed a little like they didn't really want to be there.

Dever Dodd: Neither the actors or the people watching it.

Clare O'Casey: So that means tonight we can go back to watching Las Aparicio?

Dever Dodd:  [sigh]  Yes, I guess.   If you HAVE to!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Poem of the day: Old Boston, memories of...

We ducked the serrated winds of November
by cramming ourselves through the door
of the Firehouse Pub.
Laughing, we shook the cold
into memory and
found ourselves up against
last call.

Two brothers,
looking like they had been
twins since the world was new,
stood and stooped at the
open mic and piano,
playing old Billy Joel songs,
(but only those from The Stranger

With your freshly-ex's credit card
We bought a round for everyone
And we closed that bar down that night
Singing, "Only the Good Die Young."

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Overheard at Table 1: Tired of the Duggars

You know what?  I'm tired of hearing about the Duggars, and mainly it's not the whole son-molester bit, but I really get torqued when I read all this smack about the Duggar woman being all ANTI-feminism by asking girls to dress nice.   Like all us Christian women are so uptight and moral and have no sex and don't want anyone to enjoy it or whatever.  Look, I'm a Christian woman and I LOVE sex!  Sex is fantAStic and I thank HOLY GOD, but if I could write for one of these magazines, I'd say this...

I'd tell 'em, listen.  I'm not for what this Duggar woman does, with the no-fixing-up-your hair and the Pentecostal jeanskirts, but listen, my daughter's about ready to wrap up her senior year in high school and this year has been HOLY HELL living with her!  She needs to be saving up money for college, because we can foot the bill for the classes but we just can't afford the dorms.  But instead of saving any money for her dorms, she just went out and blew $256 on disposable contact lenses.... DISPOSABLE!  These things won't last her 6 months!

And the clothes she suddenly got into this year!  Oh - my - GOD!  I'm all for free expression, but we've had some serious conversations over these skirts she's wearing.  It's like she's put a sign right across her butt saying TOUCH THIS.  

Again, we were never like the Amish and I'd never be for putting our girls in burkas or anything, but there is a point where modesty comes into play here.   You know, less is more, right?   Well, she's showing more and more and she looks less and less classy.

So on that level, yeah, I'll admit, I agree with the Duggar woman.  Not saying that any woman deserves what she gets, because that's a load of crap, but at some point there has to be a balance between looking good and looking cheap.   It's called modesty.  Doesn't mean you're wrapped up head to foot, it just means you wear clothes that are nice, nice fitting, nice compliment to the shape, and not have your T-n-A spilling out all over the floor!