Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Overhead at the Counter: A Connecticut Christian in a Southern Baptist Church

My pastor last night had just come back from a church planting in Connecticut. He said he was amazed that there could be such a turnout in that state. That niggled at me for awhile, until I remembered that he's from Alabama, and teaches in Texas.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Overheard at the Counter: Some thoughts on some recent Poems of the Day

Maria de la Luz Knows How to Walk by Juan Felipe Herrera
touched me, because the stories of the migrant worker and the undocumented immigrant have a special place in my heart, as this is the current example of human suffering, resilience, endurance, and dignity.   The unpunctuated stream of words and images, from a variety of different places, shows how Maria de la Luz is one women, but also is all women, in the life of the migrant worker, and in her story are all the stories of travel, pain, loss, and hope.

First Light by Chen Chen
was a kick in the eye, i.e. a Satori.  As the poet himself stated, it is the immigration tale of a person who does not remember being an immigrant, and whose immigrant story is told to him, and thus, becomes something wholly imagined - almost a creation myth, that has little bearing to the fact, with mundane facts replaced by heroic fantasy.

Self-Portrait as Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
Frankly, I cannot tell if I like this poem or not.  The staccato rhythm I understand is important to the jarring "mood" that the poem is trying to create, the city, the camps, the conflict between the shared culture of America and Vietnam, how a singular human being came out of this war and, as such, contains both warring factions within the self: that I understand. 

However, on the other hand, the poem seems a little too "busy" (for lack of a better word), as though the images were rather thoughtlessly placed.  Simply put, it reads as though someone dumped a desk drawer and made a list of all the trinkets that had filled it over the years.   If this was the poet's intent, well, good for him.  But it does prevent the reader from truly getting into the "flow" of the couplets.

Overread at Table 3: Poem of the Day: Crossing the Stream

One night full of bifurcated dreams:
the flowing streams the water over pebbles of so many colours,
like a mad painter's palate, the slate greys and bone whites and ocean hue blues,
these stones that you walk across
with your bare feet, your pigeon toes
grasping and unclasping,
the water up to your ankles now and the
summer sunlight trickling through the leaves
of the limbs of the trees on the bank of the other side
of the stream, hands out to
each side, airplane-balance in
grounded flight, tilting only slightly as you
balance and bounce to the rhythm of the
laughter of the water over these stones,
and minnows tickle your toes
and then you reach the grass, a mop of
tasseled hair atop the mudslope, where the roots
of these trees become your rope ladder
to pull yourself out of the stream
and into the vast new world
that awaits your exploration.



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Overheard at Table 1: Trump, smart or .... nahhh

Man: He’s got his hotel…

Woman: Oh yeah, he was smart to do that then.

He was smart then I don’t know about now. Ever since he won the election, he’s just, well…

It’s the most interesting Presidency I can tell you that.

It’s always something happening.


Woman: I’m gonna fly first class one day.  It’s on my bucket list.


Man: I went to Vietnam in 65, they put me in Pan Am first class.
These days it’s just a Chinese tincan.


Woman: You watch the news they draggin people off the airplane and fights in the lobbies oh Lord!



Woman: If he makes it four years I’ll be surprised.


Man: Well the Middle East was messed up since WW1 when they divided it up.  Cut across trahbal lahns.


Woman: I can’t even wake up watching the news, he’s just tripping all over himself.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Overheard at Table 4: Father's Day

Lucky Moran: I hate Father's Day

Otis Redwing: Why?  All you get are ties?

Lucky: No.  Nobody's bought a tie since 2005.  At least not for anything but job interviews or funerals.

Otis Redwing:  Which you have said before are much like the same thing.

Lucky:  Yeah, every time I go on a job interview I'm mourning the loss of the hope of all advancement.  But the reason I hate Father's day, really is because of all the deadbeat dads out there.

Otis:  How so?

Lucky: Because they make everything so freaking aMA-zing.  For Father's Day my kids are like, "gee dad thanks for sticking around all these years"  I mean, my 17 year old last night said, "Thanks dad for never beating us" and I said, "Most dad's don't beat their children, son" and he said, "You'd be surprised"

Otis: Actually, he's right.

Lucky: See?  So that's why I hate Father's Day.  I get lauded for just doing the basics, the bare minimum, and guys who are totally crap dads probably get some sort of recognition for being a little bit less of an asshole than they normally are.  It's sucks.   It's like why have it anyway.

Otis: Damn, man you're depressing.

Lucky:  So what are your kids getting you for Father's Day.

Otis: They're going in on a new Sea-Doo.   It's my present for always telling them the Wi-Fi password.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Overheard at Booth 3: The Father of Saudis

Saw on Twitter this weekend a discussion about a picture of the Saudi King, who had some guy changing his slippers to shoes right before Donald Trump came in.   Really interesting, how one person tweeted that the old guy should be able to change his own shoes, and then there was this long string of replies about how Saudi culture respects the elderly, how the king is considered Father of the Saudis, how it is an honour to serve the king, how you have to understand Saudi culture to understand the depth of their gratitude and their love.

Man, I wanted to jump in but I just couldn't.   There was a cultural divide that I couldn't bridge.  I wanted to say that the difference is that here in America we do not bow to a King, we only bow to the the One True God.

But then, I realized that's just a fantasy that I believed when I was growing up.  A fairy story that they taught us to keep us in line and to get us all choked up on the Fourth of July.   Now, we just worship money and power.

Sort of like the Saudis.  But at least they still have the comfort of their fantasy.  And that must be nice, on some level.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Overheard at Table 2: This Schniz

4 young ladies sitting at the table, one points to her phone screen:

1: Check out this schniz

2: That IS the schniz

3: Total schniz.

4: Right .... wait.  OK, what exactly is schniz, anyways?

2: It's ... well, it's ...schniz

3:  Yeah, right.  Schniz is schniz.

1: [points to her phone screen] THAT ... is the schniz.

4: [shrugs] OK.  If you say so.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Overheard at Table 3: M and E Discuss Mutant Jeans

M: It's Friday why don't you wear jeans?

E: I don't have any jeans.

M: Yes you do.  Everybody has jeans.

E: I got a little too fat, so I outgrew all my jeans/

M: You know they make jeans in all body types.  Plus you DO have genes, in every cell of your body.

E: I want mutant genes.

M: Like Jean Grey.

E: She had very nice mutant genes.  But you know, I never thought they casted her right in any of the movies.

M: I thought Famke Jannsen was a good cast.

E: But Logan, wow, that was good casting.

M: Yeah, he was made for that role, but man after playing Wolverine for 20 years don't you think he got tired?

E: I think he made his last.

M: I couldn't stand how all the movies start to run together.  One is called "Wolverine" and another is called "THE Wolverine," after awhile you can't tell them apart.

E: I was telling my son, when I was his age and reading the comics I never thought they could come to the big screen, but I guess technology finally caught up to the fantasy.

M: Yeah, and now we can't tell which is which!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Overheard at Table 2: SB4 and Profiling

M: So, now with SB4 as law, all Texas cops get to profile anyone driving while Hispanic.

K: People profile all the time.  It's normal.

M: No it's not.  Why should an Hispanic have to drive around with their papers while white people like us don't have to.  Everyone should do it or no one should do it.

K: Who are the majority of the people here illegally.

M: [a pause]

K: Thought so.  If that's the target group, then the ones who are here illegally have to put up with the inconvenience. Sorry.  It's just like who we leave our kids with.  We're much more easy to leave our kids with a woman than with a man, even if it's family.  Why?  Because men commit most of the crimes of abuse against children.  So, we automatically profile if Cousin Freddy offers to watch our kids, we're much more willing to say, no thanks I'll ask Aunt Barbara.  Is that fair to Cousin Freddy?  Hell no, but he's got to put up with it because of all the other men out there who've ever beaten a child.

M: Women can commit child abuse.

K: My point is that we automatically PROFILE.  I didn't say it's right on an individual case-by-case basis, I'm saying it's a necessity for the whole of society.

M: Well, society sucks.

K: Suck it up, buttercup.  You enjoy living here, don'tcha?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Rise up

It is time now to rise up.
Raise your voice.
Lift your hands to the sky.
Get to your feet and stand for something greater than yourself.

When you rise, you do not rise for yourself.
You rise for those who cannot speak for themselves.
You rise for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
You rise up for those who live in the shadows.

Rise up.
Now is the time is


Thursday, May 11, 2017

The soft light through the window upon the open pages...

Overheard at Table 3: Kids These Days

Writer 1: So then we have the twins come out as transgender.

Writer 2: I thought we were going to go with straight-up gay.

Writer 3: "Straight-up gay" - good one!

Writer 1: No, they're going to have their 8th birthday party in episode 3 this season, they need to come out as transgender, only Lucas will want to start transitioning NOW and Marcus will want to wait until they're closer to puberty.

Writer 3: Marcus always is the more cautious one.

Writer 2: Then we can have a big argument where Lucas will say Marcus will want to back out when Lucas is already halfway transitioned ....

Writer 1: ... which will break the pact they made in Season 1 Episode 10 to

Writer 3: ... always be a unit.  Right.

Writer 2: Cool, that could take up a solid 10 of screen time.

Writer 3: We could have the argument right through the last 20 of the episode.  Start at minute 9, go through the end.

Writer 2: Filler?

Writer 1: We still have Becca's subplot.

Writer 3: The cutting?

Writer 2: I thought we agreed to move on from cutting by Epi 2 this season.

Writer 1: Whoa whoa whoa, didn't you guys forget?   Her and Charlie?

Writer 3: "Lust for Grandpa" ?  Are you sure we really want to go with that?

Writer 2: Pushing the limits.  That's what we do.   13 year old girl wants to lose her cherry to her 60 year old grandpa.

Writer 3: Mike told me we still haven't gotten her parents to sign off on that yet.

Writer 1: Let Legal deal with that.  We're writing it in.  By the time we're shooting the episode her parents will be on board.  The studio will kick in a 20 grand bonus.

Writer 3: I'm sure if they bump it up to 30g the parents will let us film her full frontal.

Writer 1: God I love working on this show!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Overread at Booth 3: The Right to Believe

A paper left at Booth 3, type-set on a sheet of white paper.  It appears to be a first draft:


Every philosophical discussion or debate must have carefully designated conditions for debate.
The Right to Believe as one wishes is a philosophical debate.
We must therefore define the conditions.

Condition 1: That every individual has the right to believe as they wish.

Condition 2: That every individual does NOT have the right to act as they wish on their beliefs.

For example, you may believe that all women should be veiled.  I can believe that all women should be paraded around naked.  Neither of us has the belief to go around veiling women without their consent nor tearing off their clothes to expose their nudity.

Some may believe that all Jews should be rounded up and thrown into the sea.  They have that right.  They do not have the right to round up Jews and throw them into the sea.

You may believe that those who draw cartoons of the prophet Mohammad should be killed.  You do not have the right to kill cartoonists who draw the prophet Mohammad.

I have the right to believe that those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior will never enter the gates of Heaven.  That belief has nothing for me to act upon, because whether another human will enter Heaven or not is completely beyond my control.

So, now that we have set the conditions, let's start the discussion...

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

First Cup of Coffee

I am a septuagenarian male, yet I feel like this picture upon my first cup of coffee of the day, yessirree!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Overheard at the Counter: Why Rural Communities Vote Republican

I had been wondering why so many in the non-populous states voted for Trump.

The idea that they are all ignorant or stupid seemed a little to facile for me.

Then I heard an article on NPR, about the opioid epidemic.

The opioid epidemic has actually spread faster among rural communities.

The reason, interestingly enough, is that even though there are fewer people per square mile, the people have a stronger interpersonal network.

This interpersonal network allows them to spread information quickly (as well as drugs)

I extrapolated this article to the concept of government assistance.

If people who live in cities have a weaker interpersonal network, then by necessity, they will need a stronger social safety net.

People in rural communities don’t see the need for a government social safety net, because they have one built in.

Example: If your neighbor two miles down the road needs help fixing his fence, you go help him.

In the city, if your next door neighbor is 83 years old and needs food, you will never know and even less likely, care.

So, this may be why rural areas are more Republican, and see the government sponsored social safety programs as ineffective and unnecessary.  They do not understand the breakdown of social interaction in cities. 

We always assume that the more people in a given area relates to a stronger interpersonal connection, but rather the converse is true. 

Example, go to Manhattan or Tokyo.  Millions of people.  No one looks another in the eye.  To make connection is exposure to potential threat.

These are just ideas, but they invite further thought and research.