Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Notes from a Tweetstorm Never Posted

You are right on one point: the ACA was doomed to failure because it did not do what it needs to do to help all Americans, which is: to kill the Health Insurance industry.

But to strike to your nihilistic (IOW “bullshit”) POV: a functioning society needs people – HEALTHY people – to make it function.  A bunch of sick people don’t help a society work.  Ergo, health care is needed.

Why is healthcare needed?  Because our bodies are frail and they get sick (as you so pointed out), but for us to truly help each other, it behooves us to be as NOT-sick as possible.

Additionally, the government has one job – ONE! – which is, to make sure that its citizens do not die.  Which is why we have the military (which makes conservatives ejaculate wildly), which keeps bad guys from bombing us.  But that also means it needs to keep the citizens from dying from sickness.

Being healthy is not an attempt to put off inevitable death: it is merely an attempt to have as fulfilling life while here. 

But let’s get to the main point: the reason for us to be here as individuals is to help each other.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Overread at the Counter: Poem for March 23

Poem for March 23

They say that life began in the ocean as a single cell,
but I really don't remember that part.

I don't remember all the comings and goings and the stretchings
of gills to lungs of fins to feet and wings and arms and

hands, with the miracle of the opposable thumb.
Thumbs that were used to build the atlatl,

the chisel, the cantilever, the optical lens,
the mudflap and the microchip.

Now I look at my hands nearing a half century of
age, spots dotting the veins as I type these words

spots marking the remnants of the original
atoms of the first amoeba that they tell me somehow

lives on inside me, from these hands to the farthest star.


[Rough draft]

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Overheard at Table 2: Work and Migraines

So last week, my wife woke me up in the middle of the night, migraine so bad she was vomiting all over the bedroom, so I took her to ER and we were there til like 7am and finally got some medicine and I got her home around 9 and then texted my boss that my wife was sick - migraine, et cetera - and told the boss that I needed to stay home with her ...

and the boss texts me back, and says - get this - she says "Hope your wife's OK, need you to take the lead on the SCOPE meeting for Friday.  Put that on your calendar and schedule a conference room with Ops and Sales.'

and I was almost like, gonna text her back and say, "HAH!  Good one." and then I realized she was serious, and I'm thinking, what if my wife had actually DIED, you know?  Would my boss have given me until Monday?!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Overread at Booth 1: Poem "Proposing to my Wife"

Proposing to my Wife

That night I stood before you,
my heart naked like a Neruda poem,
I searched for the words that I had been practicing for days.

I searched for them frantically, feeling as though I
were drowning in the ocean, struggling to break through to the
surface for one gulp of air, as the ship
sank to the obsidian depths, dragging me with it.

I had nothing to say.
My words had no meaning:
they struggled out sideways and sputtering, as
though I were spitting out the spines
of stems of roses that I had cut from a garden that did not belong to me.

Then, to end my stammering, you put one finger to my lips.
You pressed your lips against my ear, and with one word,

one single word, you
dispersed the ocean and
lifted me upward into the clouds of heaven,
to set me down gently upon a stone
among a rose garden that is now our own:

one word,



Saturday, March 16, 2019

Overread at Table 2: Open Notebook

Notebook left open at a certain page:

On History:

You are not the victim here.

History owes you nothing. It has already given you all that it is going to give you.
You’re welcome.

People did bad shit to other people.
That’s called history.
Learn it.
But don’t ever expect it to be repaired.

Every human who went before us is our ancestor. Each one of them contributed in some way to the world in which we live.

We should cease immediately to ascribe “good” and “bad” to entire swaths of people.
In fact we should cease doing that to individuals.
Each human is a complex organism, both physically, mentally, and ethically.
Yes, even the scumbags have depth.

Truth is anything but a tender flower.
Truth is a stone that you are expected to eat as bread.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Overheard at Table 2: The Bellicosity of Toxic Nationalism

Grocery store.

You see a lot of different types of people at the grocery store, because hey at some point, everybody's gotta get groceries, right?

I don't know what it was that made me start noticing, but I started noticing everyone's t-shirts at the grocery store last Sunday, after church, when I went to pick up some stuff.

And the more I saw, the more I didn't want to believe it.

Now, a lot of t-shirts are sports, of course.  Here in Houston, we've got the Texans and the Astros, and I saw A&M, but other shirts were more to the point.

There's the ubiquitous "COME AND TAKE IT" cannon, which of course, refers to an old mythic battle between the white and the Mexicans.

But there were others.  There were some THESE COLORS DON'T RUN, which was obviously a holdover from the old Post-911 days.  And there were some Eagle and flag shirts, and there was one with the Punisher mask with the colors of the American flag on the face.

Then there was one that really got me.  American flag on the front and on the back it read, "If I charge, follow me.  If I retreat, kill me.  If I die, avenge me."

Which, on the face, is stupid: because if I kill you and you die and I avenge you, that means I have to kill myself, which I'm not about to do.  

But yeah, I know it's probably meant to be separate, but the point is, it's warlike.  It's warlike for no reason.  It's warlike just to be warlike.  It's all about war.  Everything about what we wear on our bodies, at least here in Houston, is all about hurting someone or killing someone.  We glorify mass slaughter as though it is somehow heroic.  We wear the American flag as though it is a license to kill.

We are so seeped in the disgusting nature of our own bellicosity that we wear it on our bodies like entertainment, for relaxing garments.  For Sunday... after church!  Hell, some of these people wear this shit TO CHURCH.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do know this: that our Nationalism is toxic, and it's eating away at our souls until there is absolutely nothing left of our humanity.   And if we don't do something about it soon, we are all going to die, taking the rest of the world with us.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Overread at the Counter: PK Goes to Bonaire

PK Goes to Bonaire

… and now PK’s gone,
flying on a jet airpline,
leaving Jersey for

Clear air.
Good air.
Bonnie ayre!

And I can see him
looking out the window,
wearing his reflective shades
and his brown Stetson hat,

fingers tapping on the windowpane:
scarred plexiglass that has seen
a thousand skies.

PK starts to hum a note,
then another note, notes
that string themselves into a tune.

Feel the beat.
Tap your feet.

Smile at the passenger
in the next seat.

PK goes to Bonaire,
                clear air!
                                good air!

and he’ll return
                from there

with some stacks of wax
and a pack of





Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Overheard at Table 3: Ketamine Dreams

Lucky Moran: I heard this great bit of news on NPR coming here just now.

Otis Redwing: OK, shoot.

Lucky: There is a new antidepressant drug on the market.  No more Prozac - whoo hoo!

Otis: I thought you stopped taking that a long time ago.

Lucky: Yeah, but the wife wants me back on it.   Long story.  Anyway, this sucker sounds AWESOME!  It works in hours, not weeks, and it's in a nasal spray, and you huff it only twice a week.

Otis: Advancements.

Lucky: And THEN they popped out with the best part: the side effect is hallucinations!  I'm like "Oh hell yeah, sign me up!"

Otis: You know, hallucinations are generally not a positive side effect for people suffering from depression.  I don't really think you suffer from depression.

Lucky: I suffer from MANIC depression.  My phases just happen to last decades.

Otis: I think you're already huffing the Ketamine.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Overheard at Table 4: The Butterfly Effect (2004)

I was surprised to hear that the wife had never seen it. I thought everyone had seen it. I thought it ranked up there with Donnie Darko as one of those early 2000s mindfuck movies.  

Also, I was worried that she wouldn’t like it. I remembered that it was a time travel movie, complete with changing timelines and usually she hates that.

Then, the first 10 minutes of the movie have a pedophile making kiddie porn, and a psycho kid burning a dog in a bag. I thought for sure that would make my wife say, “Turn this shit off.”

But she didn’t. She wanted to see how the story ended.

My wife thought the actress did a good job playing the different roles – the different versions of her, the different version of who we could be, given different circumstances.

I thought the hooker-junkie scarfaced version of her was a little over the top, but then I find that role is a stereotype … although she wonderfully delivered the line, “the one problem to your story is that no way in hell, in ANY version of reality, would I be in a sorority!”

She also spotted that Asthon Kutcher’s friend Lenny was the Historian in the TV series Travelers.

However, when I double checked that, I found that wasn’t quite true: The Historian in Travelers is Reilly Dolman and Lenny in Butterfly Effect is Elden Henson. But that’s OK: to my wife, all us white guys look the same.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Overheard at Booth 3: Husband and Wife at Lunch After Church

Wife: I can kind of see the Republicans' point of view.  I know you don't agree.

Husband: Why would I disagree that you can kind of see the Republicans' point of view?

Wife: You know what I mean.  You don't agree with them.  But they have a point when it comes to immigrants using the welfare system for free money.   Like my cousin.  She just went to the ER and said that she got all these tests done for free, and she said she filed her taxes for last year even though she only came her in October and doesn't work because she says she's sick, but still got $1200 back because she has kids.  It's stories like that that make Republicans so upset.

Husband: No one ever said that there were no abuses of the system.  What's sad is seeing a National Geographic article last Saturday about a Salvadoran woman here for 30 years on TPS and her daughter and grandchildren may have to go back with her if the TPS is removed, and 1800 comments to the story, literally HALF of them say things like "leaches"  "cockroaches" "Freeloaders" and "What was it about TEMPORARY you don't understand."

Wife: You're comparing apples to oranges.

Husband: They are both fruits.  What I'm saying is that the hateful rhetoric makes those who can vote, vote for representatives who do nothing to help the situation.

Wife: What would help the situation is if no one abused the system.

Husband: And that would include immigrants and citizens as well.  If no one abused the system, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

Wife: Well, all I know is that my cousin needs to learn English and stop telling me that she goes to ER for free

Husband: Feel free to tell her that it's NOT free, that you and I paid for it.   That would be a good start.

Wife: I'm texting her that right now.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Overheard at Booth 2: Frenetic

So I had to go into work this morning, on a Saturday, work five hours which put my total work this week at 60 hours, which is total bullshit, because we're only supposed to work around 40, right? 

wrong!  not anymore goddammit.  you don't work at least 50 you won't get ahead, you won't get that raise, you won't get that promotion, fuck it's not even that any more, if you don't work your ass off and sell your soul to your fucking company they will let you go, because that's America, that's how we DO things here,

and then i get off work and I go to Krogers because the wife has called and wants me to pick up some brioche buns - not those cheap ones like you always get! she says - and soem sharp cheddar cheese, and then she wants me to pick up some Blue Bell ice cream - not that generic brand! she says, gimme something good!

and I'm at the store and then everybody there is so FRENETIC - the carts are zipping in and out around each other and everybody is looking insane, hell even the grade school kids are running around with their arms in the air acting like they have no self control and I just want to scream and run out of the store and just go hide in the car and

i don't know how we stand it.  We are sick, i tell you.  It's like there is a constant stream of electric shocks being forced through our bodies and we can't relax, we can never relax, we never rest and I kid you not, this is what will kill us all.

The Salinghetti Chronicles Vol 163, Track 1

SC Vol. 163, T1

Team Sleep - Delorian

....eyes opened again to the sight of the water stained ceiling.  Where am I?  sounds of cars outside make me think of a highway motel.  Lights, neon.  Typical.  There is the faint smell of damp piss rising up from the carpet and there is some movement in the bathroom.  Don’t really know who I want to see coming out of there.  There is a tv on the table by the wall, by the door, what the hell are these wood panels on the walls, good god have I been sent back to the seventies?