Friday, July 31, 2020

Overread at Table 4: Watching my Daughter Play Soccer

Watching my Daughter Play Soccer

While watching my daughter play soccer,
I thought to myself,
They may not be as fast
        as the boys
        nor as brutish,
but they kick the same,
       indeed - they kick harder -
they endure as much,
      they can run for far longer periods of time,
they communicate better, co-ordinate passes,
kicks, throw-ins, and
         even when they are losing
         they (unlike the boys)

[slight revision 2020-0731]

Overread at Booth 3: Respect

"To demand respect, without being prepared to offer it, not only negates any reasonable claim, but also ensures that none shall be given."

- Giuseppe Salinghetti

[found in a notebook 2012-0301, presumably written 1954 or 1955]

Overread at Table 2: Rainy Night in Galveston

Rainy night in Galveston.
Sheets of water
         cross the black street - sideways -
and somewhere, out beyond
that grassy knoll,
         where the waves beat steady
         against the strand,
you can almost hear
         the ghosts walk here.


Overheard at Booth 4: The Difference Between Concern and Gossip

"The difference between concern and gossip is the level of glee experienced in sharing someone else's secret."

- Giuseppe Salinghetti

[found in an old notebook in 2012-0228 - notedly written sometime in 1954 or 1955]

Overheard at Booth 4: Point Counterpoint


A remake of Point/Counterpoint ... but instead of the punchline of "Jane you ignorant slut," it can be of two women, one black one white, discussing culture and the current cultural movement, and it can end with the white woman saying, "Bye Felicia!" and the black woman replies, "Fuck you, Karen!"

[Thanks must be given to @CandaceTX for this idea]

Overheard at Table 2: The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

I suppose the wife and I were still in our 80's movie mode, because for some reason she suggested we watch "The Witches of Eastwick" and to be honest we were both a little miffed that we still had to pay four bucks for an 80s movies, but what the heck, we thought...

Not a bad movie.  Little cheesy and the special effects must have been decent for the time period, but look a little silly now..

I have to say that Jack Nicholson is Jack Nicholson, and him playing the Devil was no different than him playing Jack Torrence in The Shining (but that still is his most superlative role ... everything else has simply been a shadow of that character after that, it seems) and Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer just seem to be stereotypes ... the "biker" chick, the baby momma, and the old maid ... who is the sexual tigress who just needed to be awakened.

All in all, it seemed to rather revel in the same feminine mystique myths that it purportedly was trying to dispel; however, one bright aspect was the fact that the male figure (The Devil) who seduced the women by claiming to respect them, in the end throws tantrums like a little child because they don't give him what he wants.

That part, I thought, seemed very accurate regarding the male of the human species: in the end, all a guy wants is to have the woman's entire attention be on him. 

Rather pathetic, in a way.

Overheard at Booth 3: Tent Revival Album

Idea for album.

Set at a tent revival.
small town.

can engage different musical styles of the time: blues, country, folk, the remains of minstrelsy, the jazz of the 1920s

The songs will be a linked story-line - focus on each song one character, or multiple characters, who show up in other songs.

sources: DC Talk's "Jesus Freak (reprise)", Tom Russell's Hotwalker

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Overheard at Table 3: Blame It on My Period

Two weeks ago, my 23 year old daughter said that she yelled at her mom because she was on her period.

Then, last week, when I asked her why she hadn't finished the internship application like she said she was going to do, she said that she couldn't get to it because she was on her period.

Last night, she's heading out the door and she says to her mom and me, 'OK, I'm going to spend the night at my boyfriend's house but don't worry we're not going to have sex because I'm on my period!"

And I told her, "You are either using menstruation as some sort of blanket excuse, or you really need to go see a doctor!"

Overheard at Table 2: Comedy Sketchbook - White Privilege and the Wal-Mart Receipt Checker


[Scene opens: Man on small stage with microphone.  Canned laughter sprinkled throughout the monologue]

"So I was at Wal-Mart the other day, and I'm buying my things at the self-check and I put them into bags and as I'm walking to the door, there's a lady there, Wal-Mart vest, who stops me and says, 'Sir, can I please see your receipt?'

"And I said, 'What?'

"And she says, 'Can I please see your receipt?'

"And I say, 'Why?'

"And she says, 'Cuz it's my job.'

"And I say, 'Well, can my White Privilege be my receipt?  Let's say you just saw my White Privilege.'

"And she said, 'Well, I'm sorry to tell you sir, but your White Privilege has expired.'

"And I lifted my fist in the air and said, 'Damn you, Obama!'"

[Scene closes]

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Overread at Booth 3: Salinghetti Chronicles Vol 190 - Persimmon and Lace

t1 Jocelyn West feat. David Lynch "Flame and Visions"

couch back, table turned, room darkened, throw pillows on the floor, thrown, staid, stayed.  She is gone now.  Gone forever.  Gone to the store.  Gone going gone, and then the thundercrack the lightning bolt, the sky outside is purple like a blood blister wanting to burst out loud and crush everything in its path.

t4 - Emiliana Torrini "Nothing Brings Me Down"

my love for you is ridiculous.  my love for you is waiting.  my love for you is a song you sing in the in the rain.  my love for you is what brings down the wildlings and the roses. 

my love for you is hidden.  my love for you peers out from behind the smooth stones in the garden where the water flows.

Overheard at Table 1: Cute When She's Angry

1: She's so cute when she's angry.

2: You haven't been married that long then.

1: How can you tell?

2: What you just said.   No guy who's been married any length of time ever says that.

1: So they stop being cute when they're angry.

2: Oh most def! 

1: They get ugly?

2: Ever seen Alien where that second mouth shoots out and crushes your skull.  Yeah.  Like that.

Overheard at Booth 4: Fatigue and COVID

Mom: I don't, I've just been so tired all day.

Dad: You've been working long hours.  It's probably stress.

Daughter: Fatigue is a symptom of COVID.

Mom [to Dad]: Is that true?  Is fatigue a symptom of COVID?

Dad: Fatigue is a symptom of a lot of things.  COVID, cancer, stress, the flu ... but I'm really gonna go with stress.  Like, stress over worrying if you have COVID.

Mom: We need to get tested.

Daughter: We just got tested last week.  We were all negative.

Mom: What if they were wrong?  What if they mixed up the tests?  There were a lot of cars there.

Daughter [to Dad]: Yeah. I'm gonna go with "stress."

Monday, July 27, 2020

Overheard at Table 4: Morning Routines

Wife: ... and stop coming in from the garage in the mornings barefoot!  You know that drives me crazy.  Do you want to make me mad?  The dogs poop all over the garage, and there are fire ants on the yard and you've stepped on their ant hill before in the morning before the sun comes up and I don't know why you never learn ...

Husband: Gee, honey, you're welcome!  I mean, I'm only just out there feeding the dogs, taking the trash cans to the street, and moving all the cars, then coming in and getting ready to go to work and starting coffee and feeding the cats, and for what it's worth, I don't step on the grass and I avoid the parts where the poop has been, so I'm sorry if that drives you nuts!

Wife: ... I guess this is just our morning routine!  You acting like you do SOOOOO much and just pissing me off!

Overheard at Booth 3: The State of Modern Communication (It's the Shits)

F: Oh shit oh shit oh SHIT!

G: What?

F: I just sent the text to the WRONG cousin!

G: OK, just re-send it to the right one.  What's the big deal.

F: It's talking shit ABOUT HER!

G: Oh shit.

F: Oh shit is right!

G: Just recall it.  Can you recall it?

F: NO!  She's already read it!

G: Oh shit.

F: No shit.

G: You're in deep shit.

F: She's texting back!

G: What's she say?

F: She's still typing ... "Well, shit, didn't expect that."

G: What didn't you expect?

F: No.  That's what she wrote.

G: Well, that's not a totally bad reaction.

F: And now she just texted EAT SHIT!

G: No shit?

F: No shit.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Overheard at Table 2: And then she said...

and then she said that Margaret never calls her never texts her and only wants her whenever she needs something, and then she saved the voice message and sent it out and she thought she was sending it to Maria, but she send it out to a group chat WHICH INCLUDED MARGARET and then she realized what she did and she was like OH SHIT and tried to delete it, but Margaret had already responded and said OH so THAT's the way it is, then?  OK fine then just have someone else bring the painting over that you said I could have... and she was like, SO embarrassed and she didn't know how she was ever going to face her at church the next day ...  and I was like, "Well, we'll all be wearing masks anyway so no one will really be able to read faces," and she told me "I bet Margaret will kill me dead with her eyes."

and I'm like, oh well, yeah... probs.

Overheard at Table 3: No Movies this Summer

Wife: So when are you going to take me to see a movie in the theatres again?

Husband: Well, most of them are closed.  And the ones that are open aren't showing anything new.

Wife: What about Mulan?  You told me that Mulan would be out by now.

Husband: That's what they said last month.  But now they've kicked it back another month.

Wife: And what about Wonder Woman?  That was supposed to be out this Summer.

Husband:  Same thing.  I think they've pushed that back into the Fall.

Wife: Well, I heard there is a move about Marie Curie out on Amazon.  How about that one?

Husband:  That the one with Rosamund Pike?  Aw hell no!  I saw what she did with a box knife in Gone Girl, I don't wanna see what she can do with raw nuclear material!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Overheard at Table 2: Norsemen on Netflix

Meg: Season 3 came out last night.  Binged it while you were asleep.

Meg's Boyfriend: How was it?

Meg: So stupid!  You know I hate flashbacks!  The whole Season 3 is one giant flashback to before Season 1.

Meg's Boyfriend: Does that mean it's got Freya in it?

Meg: Yeah, it's got Freya in it.

Meg's Boyfriend: Then I'll watch it.

Meg: What ... you got some sort of thing for Freya?

Meg's Boyfriend: Of course I do.  She reminds me of you.

Meg: Then maybe I should ravish you like she did to one guy in the episode 2!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Oversung at the Counter: Song of the Day, "The Mothers of Portland"

The Mothers of Portland

Well they gassed the mayor of Portland
On the city streets last night
and they've been shooting at the faces
of the protesters on sight

And they're running down the taggers
with their jackboots and their guns
and they're beating on the journalists
with their shields and their batons

And they ain't got no insignias
Just their camouflage fatigues
You can not see their faces
But you can hear them laugh with glee

And all the Mothers of Portland
Are out in Yellow shirts tonight
Forming a line with their bodies
But they too get shot on sight.

Don't matter who you are
You all gonna get the gas
You gonna get your bones broken
You gonna get your face all smashed.

You gonna get shot in the face
But don't worry, the rounds ain't lethal
And we'll beat you twice as bad
If you dare say this ain't legal.

We don't care if you're the Mayor
We don't care if you're a mother.
We're gonna make you shut your mouths
One way or another.

[to the tune of The Mothers of Invention's "Trouble Every Day"

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Overread at Booth 1: Poem of the Day "Memory of a Most Perfect Day"

Memory of a Most Perfect Day

All afternoon in the rain,
under umbrella,
reading "Trout Fishing in America"
to the ducks in the pond
behind the gazebo of
the art museum.

No rain since
ever smelled so sweet.

MR 2020-0721

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Overheard at Booth 3: Movie Idea

So, my wife and I were taking our evening walk around the neighbourhood one day last week and we saw one of our neighbours at one of the house at the end of the street pulling a bunch of palm branches from the back yard to the front yard for the trash to pick up the next day.

We commented that it looked like she was doing a lot of yard work that day, and next thing I know we were getting this story:

"Well," she said, "I finally divorced my husband and my two boys are off in college.  Well the other one is, the younger just graduated high school.  But of course, you know, this year, there wasn't all that much of a graduation, with Corona and everything, and he doesn't even really know if he wants to go to college in the fall.  I don't really want him to but I don't want him to stay with me either.  The only time he comes out of his room is to ask me when I'm going to make dinner.  If he is gonna be like that, he can just go live with his dad.  But on a day like today, when I have to clean up the back yard to get the house ready to sell?  No help at all, neither of them.

"The older one can't be, of course.  He's my miracle baby.  Dad left when he was born and when he was five, my husband - the one I just divorced - was supposed to be watching him while they were out fishing, but he wasn't watching and he fell over the edge of the boat and smacked his skull open on the outboard motor - I thank GOD every day it wasn't running because it would have killed him right there.  They thought he was going to die.  They thought he wouldn't make it, and if he did they said he would be unable to finish fifth grade or even be able to walk. 

"But he made it!  He was varsity basketball in high school.  Then he went to college on an academic scholarship.  But even he never wants to come home to help me.  He just wants to stay on campus, but they've closed campus, so now he's just in the apartments on campus and I got NO clue what his plans are for the fall.

"But I'm downsizing.  So they can figure it out.  I'm 52 this year.  52!  Can you believe that?  But everyone says I look good for my age, so I guess it's time for me to get this 52 year old butt back into school and finally finish that degree and boy it's gonna be interesting getting back out into the work place after all these years.  I tell ya... I gave up any chance of a career just having my oldest and then nursing him back to health after the accident.   But he's my miracle boy, so I guess it was worth it.

"But it's my time now, don't you think?  Don't you think it's my time now?"

And the wife and I agreed.  I mean, how could we not. 

And to home, and processing, and as we discussed the 52 year old woman who was downsizing and restarting, what came to mind was the movie that we had just seen, "Just One of the Boys."  That movie, in 1985, this woman would have been 17 at that time - the same age as the main character.

Imagine this: a movie set in 2020, the time of Corona, the character of that movie, who had been so set on becoming a journalist.  Imagine that character as this woman... who had a child, whose father left, then married another man, who let the child get hurt horribly, then she had a child with that man, and now is divorced and looking to reclaim the career that she never had. 

What kind of movie could you make of that?   Definitely you would have to bring back the brother, but all the other characters from the original movie would be long gone.  But the possibilities are endless - for comedy, for tragedy, for introspection, for a deep delving into what it means to be successful, a peeling back of the sacrifices that we make for our children.

I think it could be a great movie.

My wife, on the other hand, thinks it would be boring.  Like "My Dinner with Andre" ... which she will never let me live down making her watch one time back in 1995.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Overheard at Booth 1: Donnie Darko (2001)

I must be the only person in the world who doesn't get this movie.
This movie is a lot like Radiohead to me: something that I apparently am supposed to be in awe of its genius, but which for some reason left me cold.

And usually I like strange movies.
Usually I like movies with odd characters, dry dialogue, and plots that wrap around themselves.

But something about this movie just seems forced, rigid, and overall, insipid.

So, more than likely, if you've seen it, you've liked it, but if you haven't seen it, well, don't let this negative review stop you.

Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Overheard at Booth 3: New Christmas Movie idea

Houston to New Orleans

A Family trip to the city of Sin.  A comedy.   Along the way, they see the weirdness.  Perhaps they learn to love each other more, perhaps they learn to accept each other.  Perhaps its a movie of the parents looking for their almost adult daughter who wanders off into the crowd.

Perhaps they find some sort of solace in the decorated Catholic cathedral in the middle of town.

I dunno, but if someone can find a couple of million dollars to throw at this thing, I wouldn't mind filming it in the French Quarter.

At the Counter: Three Days in the Canal

John Payton Payne took a sip of his coffee and told Niall Carter, "I keep thinking about this thing that I heard last month, on BBC, Witness - "

"I love that programme," said Niall Carter, "They always have this particular date, what happened on it x-number of years ago, that sort of thing, right?"

"Yeah," said Payne, "And this was last month, maybe last December, I dunno, but they had this guy talking about the First Gulf War, when it started, a ....

[and at that point, our stenographer passed out and missed the rest of the conversation, which has now been posted here as a copy from a lost conversation circa 2012]

[The editors of the Zen and Tao Acoustic Cafe do apologise in advance for the error.]

Overheard at Table 2: Asian Fly Swatter

I was at the Asian market nearby and I saw in this bag something called a mosquito swatter.  This thing looked like a thick-rimmed racquetball racket.   And the cover of the bag, it was awesome!  Had the cartoon character of a kid with Super Saiyan hair, and the title said, "Mosquito Killer!  Fun Size!  Family Helper!"

Family Helper?

I think something was translated literally, because, well... I guess you COULD consider it a "family helper."

Overheard at Table 1: Fact Check Trump I Can't Breathe

I thought so as well, that Trump was making fun of George Floyd, but it turns out that the clip was from February, when he was making fun of Michael Bloomberg's lackluster performance in the Democratic debates.

OK, fine ... but then, let's also state that the "I Can't Breathe" didn't start with George Floyd.  It started with Eric Garner, and had already been used as a rallying cry for systemic racism in policing across the country.

And if Trump knew that and still used it, he's still disgusting.  And if his supporters knew it and still think it's funny, then they're disgusting.

And if Trump didn't know it, then shame on him.  In the position he currently holds, he should.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Overheard at the Counter: (FROM THE VAULTS of 2012)

Niall Carter says, "You know what I just heard? I just heard that the Vatican is going to allow people to text their confessions. They no longer have to go to a Priest, they can just text their sins and hit send!"

John Steppenwolf says, "I thought that was called Facebook."

Overheard at Table 2: Luv in the Time of COVID

1: Hey, baby, whaddaya say we flatten some curves?

2: Six feet apart or six feet under, pal!

1: Well, no one ever accused you of opening too quickly.

2: And you wonder why everyone wants to keep their social distance from you.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Overheard at Booth 2: Birds of Prey (2020)

Birds of Prey, and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

Well, to be honest, my wife thought this movie was "Sucker Punch" and she started watching that and we finished it just to see if the main character ever came out of her "dream within a dream" stupor and nothing was ever really resolved and we were left wondering what the hell just happened, so then we watched "Birds of Prey" to get "Sucker Punch" out of our heads, and in comparison, this Harley Quinn vehicle seems like Casablanca by comparison.

But, even without the comparison, this is a fun movie, and decent.  Margot Robbie gets so completely into the Harley Quinn character that she is completely fun.  The fun never stops, even though you know Harley is completely batshit crazy and volatile and a total caricature, but she also somehow seems REAL, if that can be believed.  I can't even believe I'm writing that.

True though, the rest of the characters don't seem particularly well-drawn, but they do have some kick-ass fighting moves.  I don't particularly care for the story line of the black woman who lives in the stereotypical slum, but I suppose that's the typecast for every tragic black superhero.  Still, though, it seemed a bit trite.

But maybe I'm trying to make this movie into Casablanca.  I should stop trying to analyse it so much, and just say that it was a fun movie, although I enjoyed "Suicide Squad" a lot more (even though a lot of people didn't like that movie, *shrugs shoulders*)

Well, anyway, watch it if you like superhero movies.  Watch it if you like cool action scenes.  Watch it if you like Margot Robbie.  If you don't like those three aspects, then steer clear of this one.

And ... remember, I have now watched "Sucker Punch" twice so that you don't have to.

Overheard at Booth 1: Fourth of July

So the firecrackers are going off in the street in front of my house, echoed by deeper works somewhere in the distance.  I feel somewhat like I am sitting inside "Fever Dream" - a novella by Wallace Shawn told from the point of view of a man with a fever, holed up in a hotel room while a revolution explodes in the streets below.

To be honest, this seems a bit surreal.  We seem to be celebrating for no other reason than we can buy firecrackers and it's what we've always done.  It's like eating when you're not hungry, or having sex with someone just because you're living together and you're bored with nothing else to do.

We are going through the motions this year.  This Fourth of July, even the flags hanging in front of the neighbours' houses seem sad, as though they really have lost the spirit as well.  Maybe it's just because it's already hot as August in Houston, these miasmic summer days that make you wonder why the hell do we even go out in this?  Who can live in this?

And the heat is just a reflection of the sullen apathy that is gripping us all about the state of our country and the state of this miserable year.  Racist spouting White Nationalist hate in front of Mount Rushmore, while we are all wearing masks and my son has locked himself in his room because he thinks he has COVID.

This is how we live in 2020, this foetid, miserable year, that will be so much better in the past.

Another explosion.  Then another.  Now the smell of gunpowder seeps into the house.  The wife thinks that something has hit the roof.  Better run outside to check and make sure that our house is not on fire.

Which ... as we all know, it is.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Overheard at Booth 3: Survivor

First of all, I didn't even know Survivor was still on. I mean, Jesus, how many seasons does this make it?  50?

But I heard on the news yesterday that now there's a big stink because only 5% of the winners have been blacks, even though they've been 30% of the cast.  So, it's like they're over-represented on the cast, but under-represented on the winners.

AND! another thing!  They're all talking about how behind the scenes they've had people being rude and quoting movies with the n-word and how that led to a toxic work environment, and that's when I went


This is a television show whose very premise is to METAPHORICALLY KILL PEOPLE ... each week, they vote someone off the island... as though they are killed off!  The whole fucking POINT of Survivor is to make alliance and stab each other in the fucking back until you're the last one standing.

Losing that show should be a point of PRIDE!  "Hey, I've got some shred of decency ... those other assholes have no fucking moral code."

I think the fact that most winners are white should tell you something: that white people are trash assholes who will lie, cheat, steal, and backstab in order to get ahead.  They will use others and then shred them when their usefulness is over.

Survivor should be a goddam testament to the entire notion of Manifest Destiny and White Supremacy and all that shit!

So, people should not be wanting Blacks to win more Survivor.   No way.
In fact, no people of color should even want to go on the show.  Let the white folks kill each other off!

Overheard at Booth 1: We Always Go Low, We Never Go High

The movie Frida had a line in there in which Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo said that she always used the "tu" form with everyone, not the more respectful "Usted" in order to show that everyone was equal.

Which is good.  Equality is good.  Sure, yeah.  But I always wondered why she then used the more familiar "tu" instead of just using "Usted" with everyone.  Wouldn't that have shown that all people are deserving the respect that we normally reserve for kings?

This came to mind last Sunday when the pastor during his sermon said that pornography among women was at an all-time high.  Made me think of the current cultural trend that allows women to pursue an unchecked libido, something which had, in prior eras, been reserved only for men.  This is evidenced by my high school children's reports that, "Dad, you just don't know or understand ... girls just practically throw themselves on top of guys, right in the classroom.  You can't really get what you and Mom used to think of as just going out.  Girls wanna do it on the first date.  They expect it."

Again, I know the culture is saying YAY!  WOMEN GET THE SAME AS MEN! And while we think we can celebrate the unchecked libido of the American female, why did we promote that instead of, for once and for all, tell men to keep it in their pants?

But instead of telling men to keep it in their pants, we told women to unzip their flies whenever the mood strikes.

We always go low.  We never go high.