Friday, September 30, 2022

Overheardt at Table 3: Going to Work Feelin' Bad Blues

Are you sure you want to go to work today?

I've got so much to do.

But you're still all coughy and sneezy and you really should take another day to rest and get to feeling better.

There's some projects that are getting critical and I really have to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Well ... I know I can't stop you from going, but just please, know that you can come home whenever you want to.

Well, jeezus, I'm just going to work, it's not like I'm leaving you or anything!

71,638 Two Coffee Mugs Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Overheard at Booth 4: Notes for "Mags"

[end of book one]

two shots.  one, then two.

a dog barks in the distance.

Mags slumps against the blue metal dumpster.

man stuffs the gun back into his belt and says, "fucking stupid slutwhore cunt" and turns to walk away.

"Hey, fucker!" Mags says, hand to her side, blood spilling from between her fingers, "I'm not stupid!"

MAGS! MAGS!  are you OK? 

"What an asshole," Mags says.

MAGS! Stay with me!

"ass ... hole" and suddenly it is very cold.

[that's where book one ends]

[book two]


I awake in a hospital room and the first thing I notice is that my right wrist is handcuffed to the bed, because I want to scratch my eye because it itches and suddenly I'm jerking this clanging metal against metal, so I scratch with my left hand because that one is still free.

Light is coming through the window and it's hella bright.  Can somebody shut the curtains or something? and I don't know for a second or two if I'm speaking that or just thinking that, but it seems like someone heard me because there is someone at my side now, can't really focus on the form but it has that feeling of a female body, the fleshly belly pressing close against me, there is a warmth to the female body, especially those who've had children recently, it's very, very comforting.

But this person isn't saying anything, aren't they supposed to ask me how I'm feeling or hold up fingers or something like that, but the voice I hear now is someone behind them, "Do you know your name?" it says, and yeah, it's a woman, but it's obvious that she hasn't had any kids ... or else she drowned them in some fucking river or something.

"What?" I say.  Gee. That's a brilliant comeback.

"Do you know your name?" it asks again, and then it, steps to the side of the comforting belly (which I will now say is the nurse) and holy shit, yeah, it's a cop.  Definitely a cop.

"Yes I know my name," I say.

"What is it?"

"Don't you already know?"

A man behind her says, "She might still be under."

"I'm not a hundred about that."  Then, to me again, "Please tell us your name."

"Charlotte," I say.  "Charlotte the harlot.  Like the Iron Maiden song."

Then, finally, someone draws a curtain ...


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Overheard at Booth 2: Serving in the Church

C: Why did you tell Becky we're back.

M: I didn't.

C: How did she know, then?

M: I don't know how she knows.  She's the pastor's wife, maybe she's got some sort of special Holy Spirit tracking device or something.

C: Don't give people dates of our trips.  We just got back and I just want to decompress and I need to clean my car and go get groceries this weekend and Kaci's just moved into her new apartment and she wants us to come see it and I need to get the stuff to continue renovating the kitchen and Becky's wanting me to help set up for the church's 5th anniversary.

M: Just tell her you can't.

C: I can't do that!  Don't you know how that'll LOOK?!  That's why I told you not to tell them when we were getting back from vacation.

M: Again ... I didn't tell them,

C: Well, if you'd just told them we'd be gone until October, I wouldn't have to be roped into this thing at church.


Later that morning, when M opened up the daily Bible devotional on his phone, the verse of the day:

"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, 'Here am I; send me.'"  - Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah 6:8 Vinyl Decal - PatchOps

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Monday, September 26, 2022

Overheard at Table 3: Head Banging

Used to smash my fist into the side of my head whenever I was under a lot of pressure, you know.  I realized years later that this kind of self-harm is a coping technique.  Yeah, an unhealthy one, I know.

Started in high school - or maybe earlier, who knows, but high school is where I remember it - being embarrassed or pissed off about something, I'd bash the back of my head against a brick wall until I saw stars.  Once, I slumped down to the floor.

Worst time was when my girlfriend was suing me for paternity.  On the payphone, with her telling me how she's gonna "get me for everything" I just started bashing the phone against my head until blood flowing down around my ear.  Went to the bathroom of my work and passed on on the floor.

But usually, throughout the years, I would just take my right and pound it against my right temple whenever I was angry, or hurt, or scared, or under a lot of pressure.  Usually it would be some argument where I just felt like shit and there was no way out and no resolution.  I always had this thing about automatically feeling guilty whenever anybody accused me of anything, even if I knew it wasn't true.  Weird, it's like just for someone to accuse me of something somehow makes it the truth.   Like, if my wife says she thinks I'm cheating, I suddenly feel like I AM cheating.  Stuff like that, arguments from stuff like that, would eventually get me to go into the bathroom and just bash my head with my fist.

It usually did cause some sort of relief.  Release.  There's probably a physiological explanation, I don't know, but it always helped release the stress.  Even though I somehow knew it wouldn't be good for me in the long term.

I haven't hit myself in years.  Over a decade.  Seems like getting older is softening the urge for bashing my own fist against my head.  But sometimes ... most of the time, the spot above and in front of my right ear, just behind and above my right eye, right where the hairline is, that spot hurts.  I will touch it with my fingertips and it will feel tender, just as though as if I had just hit it, at that moment.  But I haven't hit it in years.  But it's still tender.  No other part of my body feels like that.  

It's as thought THAT pain, even though broken, is somehow permanent, now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Overheard at Table 1: Isaiah 6:8

 This is an obscenity.

US Army Soldier With Bible Verse of Isaiah 6:8. Digital - Etsy

Isaiah 6:8, in context, was God preparing Isaiah to go out and tell the people that they MUST TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS AND COME BACK TO THE LORD.

American soldiers are sent to kill people.

You can dress it up all you want: Stopping further aggression, halting evil, saving lives that otherwise would be killed, blah blah blah, fact is - they are sent to blow shit up and kill human beings, human beings that God loves.  Period.

To conflate human aggression for a human command, supported by human laws, with a mission from the Creator of All and Everything is blasphemy, pure and simple.

Let us not mince words: It is blasphemy.


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Overheard at Table 1: Hell is a Carnival

Of course people no longer fear Hell.

Hell has been presented as a carnival, a county fair, a penny arcade, a casino, a festival of lights and sounds and cotton candy and Ferris wheels and Tilt-a-Whirls.

Unfortunately for those who want it, Hell is the flip-side of that.  Hell is when the fair has all closed down and everyone else has gone home, and the lights have been turned out and you have been left on the Midway, lying face down in your own vomit and blood, soaked to the skin in the puddle streams of other people's piss and shit.

And there is no one there to hold your hand.  No one there, ever, to check on you.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Overheard at Booth 3: Grumpy People at the Grocery Store

Last night I had to run out and get coffee, because we realized we were out and knew there wouldn't be any coffee in the morning, so I'm at the grocery store at 9:30 at night, and something just hits me, 'this is great!' I thought, 'I'm out, walking freely, at night, in the dark, buying coffee.'

That's a real blessing!  So many people in the world, even in some places here in America, do not go out after dark.  There are streets where you just do not go.  And coffee is a commodity!  So many people can't afford coffee.  So many people can't just go out and buy what they want to whenever they want to.

And then I saw the faces of the people in the grocery store and I dunno but everyone just looks so GRUMPY.  They all looked miserable, having to be here, getting what they needed.  I wanted to tell them, 'Look people, there are not gangs or armies in the streets, no guards in shotguns in front of the doors, we are all out here AT NIGHT, buying what we want!'

I mean, even the scrawny hippy-lookin' 20-somethings who look like they don't have a penny between them, have a big bag of cat food slung over one arm and a case of Fanta in the other.

This IS freedom ... right there, at a grocery store at 9:30 at night.  And NOBODY seemed to recognize that.

Just ... I dunno.  Just seems like we should all be a bit more grateful.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Overheard at Table 1: New Harvest Christian Fellowship

Awoke this morning to the KHCB airing Dr Ed Young from Second Baptist Church, as it does every Sunday, and, it being September 11, the Pastor was as usual making any person with the slightest link to public services, such as emergency services but particularly those of LAW AND ORDER, stand up and be recognized.  While I myself honor true service and recognize the sacrifice, such displays easily veer off into worship of the police force without ever considering their abuses of power, and I was glad that I no longer attend that megachurch.

We tried a new church in Pearland today: New Harvest Christian Fellowship.

Very friendly - most of the congregants knew that we were new, and about five or six of them took the time to welcome us without making us feel pressured, which is a very good way to have the congregation recognize newcomers.   The music was OK - the lead vocalist had a great voice: rich, powerful, one that could sing any genre of music.  Her keyboard skills were passable, as was the rest of the group.  Which is how I personally prefer music ministry: everyone having just enough talent to help the congregation prepare to receive the Message but none so talented that they outshine each other and thus risk absorbing people's attention on their particular musicianship rather than worshiping God.

The sermon was very logically laid out, with good quotes primarily from the New Testament.

Sermon title "Who's Your Daddy?"

It started off with an assertion that before 1840, the government supplied all people's needs (which is not in any way true) but that was the only factual error I could perceive in the sermon.  This comment did, of course, go hand-in-hand with the American church's anti-government stance.

The Pastor also mentioned rising crime.  That came close to fear-mongering.

However, these were to lay the groundwork for the main point, which is that there is nothing to be trusted in this world, as all these realities are the cause of Satan's work in a fallen world for the sole purpose of keeping believers from resting in full security in Jesus Christ.

Relevant passages quoted are as follows:

1 John 2:15-17

Psalm 27

2 Corinthians 4:4 - the god of this world has blinded society

1 Corinthians 3:18-23

Hebrew word PATEI means to deceive, entice, persuade, allure

... and here he mentioned the quote that grates on my ear, "If My people who are called by My Name ..."

and the pastor again stated that drugs, alcohol, abortions, alternate lifestyles, etc - are all "out of control"  ... this argument puts forth a Strawman Fallacy that there was somehow a "more peaceful and Religious past" that, if we all just worship Jesus, will be reclaimed again.  

Yes, it is true that, if everyone were a true Follower of Christ, there would be no war.  This is because each human being would always provide for every other human being, and then everyone would be provided for.  Sadly, though, in the American church, the argument is: if everyone lived like the old 1950s TV fantasy show "Father Knows Best" then everyone would know their place in society and stop making Christians (i.e. White Americans) feel uncomfortable.

Other passages: John 17:15-17 - Jesus' prayer for His followers is not that they should be taken to Heaven too soon, but that they should be left on Earth, albeit equipped to do the work of the Father.

Romans 12:2 - do not conform to this world

Galatians 1:2-5

James 4:4

2 Corinthians 5:17

1 John 2:15-17 (the pastor opened with this, and closed with this)

The Pastor had a very good analogy of a submarine, which is able to withstand the pressures of the deep because it has corresponding, offsetting pressure inside.  The equalization of internal and external pressure allows the hull to remain intact.   The World, like the Ocean, will try to pull the believer down into the depths, increasing the pressure to conform.  If the believer will read the Bible, they will have corresponding pressure (i.e. strength) to withstand the external pressures of the world.

This is sound doctrine and supported by Biblical principals. However, again, it begs the question of the Believer's interaction with the world.  If we truly believe that we have salvation and have access to the Creator of All Things, then why are we still listening to sermons that make us sound like we are wringing our hands and saying, "Oh why oh why does the world not let us worship Christ?"

If we truly believe what we say we believe, we would worship Christ openly EVEN IF to say His name would get us shot in the throat.   Ergo, the question is not that the world is making us conform, but that we are so weak in the faith that we are allowing ourselves to be conformed.

Such sermons (and current belief threads in the American Church) are overly focused on "the big bad world is so mean" and not forcing believers to look deep within themselves and confront the intrinsic weakness of their faith.














Saturday, September 10, 2022

Overheard at Booth 3: Life and the Stifles

"Is life not a hundred times too short to stifle ourselves?" - Friedrich Nietzsche

Billy: What's he mean by that?

Joe: Life's too short to drink bad wine?

Jim: My grandmother had that as a fridge magnet.

Bob: Classy grandma.

Billy: So basically it's, "Life's short: go for the gusto."

Joe: Get all you can!

Jim: Comer menos, coger más!

Bob: Sure it's been used to be an encouragement for self-fulfillment, but what about those who use it as an excuse to run over others?

Billy: Stifle others to unbridle ourselves?

Joe: As in Corporate CEOs?

Jim: Sure.  But anybody, I guess.

Bob: Maybe if we just stick to the positive and not dwell on the negative.

Billy: Yeah, Life's too short.

Joe: A hundred times.

Jim: And stifling.



Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, September 9, 2022

Overheard at Booth 1: The Chest

The Chest

I was only about eight or nine years old when my mother disappeared.  I remember the day was full of rain, but the sea was strangely calm, as though somehow, finally, satisfied.

My mother, my father, and I lived in a small house atop a high cliff wall, in the front of which was a small clearing leading to deep woods through which my father would leave each day to go down to the village to work as a fisherman.  Each day he would arrive home and my mother and I would greet him at the door.

On this day, only I was there to greet him at the door.  I remember he said nothing to me, merely pushed past and went immediately into their bedroom.  When he emerged a moment later, he left through the back of the house and spent the rest of the evening on the cliff, staring at the sea.

I had already seen what he had found.  The chest had been opened.  The chest, a large, heavy wooden chest, so thick that several men would be needed to lift it, had always been stationed at the foot of my parents' bed, like an altar.  That chest, until this day, had always been closed, locked with a heavy iron lock.

Today, the lock was on the floor, the lid of the chest was flung open, and the inside was empty, except for a faint, lingering smell of the sea.

I don't know if my father had known that, for as long as I could remember, my mother had been trying to open that chest.  Many was the day when I would return home from school, or come in from playing in the clearing or the woods, to find her kneeling before that chest, attempting to open the iron lock with a hair pin, or her own fingernails.

At times she would look at me with an impish smile, a smile that made the golden flecks of her green eyes sparkle slightly in the dim light of the afternoon.   Often, though, she would merely wear a face of sad resignation.  Occasionally, when the sea seemed particularly wild on a given day, she would herself seem angry, almost to the point of fury.

On such days, I would go back out to the woods to play.

Usually though, she would make us some mulberry tea, which she would sweeten with honey.  I do not recall if she ever said it in words, but somehow I knew that the honey in the mulberry tea was a secret just for the two of us, just like my seeing her trying the lock was a secret that remained between my mother and myself.

On this particular day, long before my father had come home, I had come in from the woods to find the faint impression of odd shaped footprints upon the floor, from my parents' room to the back of the house.  When I peered into the room, that was when I had seen the lid open, and strange hairs scattered in odd places along the floor.  

I had followed the footprints to the back of the house, where, at the edge of the cliff, I had seen a creature, a creature that looked so very much like a seal, standing and gazing down at the sea.

The creature had sensed my approach, and I remember the head slowly turning, and looking at me with large green eyes.  Eyes that sparkled with flecks of gold.

Then, it dove from the cliff and by the time I got to the edge, I looked down but could not find any trace of the creature in the sea far below.

Neither could my father, who stood on that spot, in the rain, until the night grew dark and cold, until finally, he returned to the house.

And even though it was near midnight, he began to make some mulberry tea, for both himself and me.

He even mixed some honey into the tea, but I knew before taking the first sip, that it would never again taste as sweet as hers.


[NOTE: this story is based on the Irish legend of the Silkie, a seal-like creature who turns into a beautiful woman when on land.  Legend has it that men who take Silkies for wives often hide and lock away their seal skins, preventing them from returning to the sea.

[I have always wondered what it would be like for such a creature to have children, human children, and what would it be like for a creature to want to return to its natural existence.  How powerful is the call of our original natures, anyway?  Is it stronger than the call of motherhood?]

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Overheard at Table 1: The Queen is Dead

The Queen of England died today.  And of course, there will be two songs that everyone will be playing (and rightly so!) and so I shall play them here as well, but there is also one other that is not as well known that also should be played.  They are, as follows:

The Smiths - The Queen is Dead

The Queen Is Dead - Wikipedia

Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols song) - Wikipedia

Robyn Hitchcock - The Veins of the Queen

Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians – Veins of the Queen Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Overheard at Table 3: Co-Ed Dorms

Woke up to hearing Pastor Erwin Lutzer talking about how bad it is "these days" that co-ed dorms led some girl to sin.  He was saying she was a Christian and he said he was a Christian and he was pressuring her to have sex and she says they prayed and then they committed fornication. 

Sounds like most college days.

Absolutely!  Look, I know it's a sin, and I know what the Lord intended, and what's ultimately best, but what really galls me is these pastors acting like this is something new.

Co-ed dorms ain't new.

The sermon was probably from the 80s.  Don't know.  But regardless, he mentioned how "these days" there is so much immorality.  Look, I read once that in the 1700s in the Colonies, most first born babies were born 6 months after the wedding.  

Gee, didn't know pregnancies were so quick then.

That's because the girl had missed her period and THEN they got married!

I know.  I was KIDDING.

Oh, sorry.  Just get so worked up.

Well, you shouldn't.  I mean, it's just the birds and the bees.  That's how we all got here.

Just bugs me when pastors act like fornication is just something that "oh my GAWD what has the world become, we all used to be SO PURE and angelic in the mythical 50s!"


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Overheard at Booth 1: Jurassic World - Dominion (2022)

Truly the only thing I can say about this movie is that it's really sad to see franchises fizzle out, and this one is one of the worst ones.

I mean, you can tell when even the actors are bored and just getting a paycheck.  Normally, these fairly decent actors at least LOOK like they are into their roles, but this time, they act like they are cartoonish fops from 1940s Saturday Morning Matinees.

Heck, the most lively actors in this movie were the CG Dinosaurs!

This movie was badly plotted, poorly written, sadly acted, and the editing just made it choppy and the story incomprehensible.

Jurassic World Dominion (2022) - IMDb

Monday, September 5, 2022

Overheard at Table 4: Body Worlds at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences

"my wife and I really liked this exhibit!  we just decided to go to the museum today - basically, we had just intended to walk around the gardens, but I saw a banner for King Tut and we went in to see it.  Tut's not coming until October, but we decided to check out Body Worlds.  We've seen an exhibition like it before, and they are always good.  These are real bodies, people who've donated their bodies to science and education.

"what I enjoy almost as much as the exhibit itself is seeing the reactions of the people.  There were mothers there with their sons, showing them the different musculo-skeletal structures, there were about three young women there, and the way they were discussing the different exhibits, you could tell they were nurses.

"there was one exhibit of kidneys attached to the urethra attached to the penis along with the testes, and there was a dad with his two sons and he said to them, 'remember what I was telling you about the kidneys and how it filters the pee and the pee comes out?' and the mom behind them clears her throat, because she just KNOWS he's about to move on to the testes, and he immediately shuts up and they all move on.

"then the nurses are discussing the appendix and the reason for it and why can't they stop the appendix from being infected, why does it have to be removed surgically every time it goes bad, and I SO WANTED to let them know that, at least when I had mine out 30 years ago, it was because there is no warning sign and no screening and by the time it goes bad, it's cut that thing out or you gonna die!  and I was ALMOST about ready to discuss it with the nurses, but I know it would just embarrass my wife, so I didn't say anything.

"still, it was a great day and a great exhibit and both my wife and I were happy to see the museum so crowded with people.  That really was a wonderful sight to see!"

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Overheard at Table 2: Three Women (song idea)

The Dead Kandinskys have had this running through their tiny brain.

*singing* Philosophy ... is a walk on the slippery rocks, Religion ...
is the smile on a dog.

*cut to* I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind
got my paper and I was free

*cut to* You gotta make a decision
we can leave tonight or live and die this way.


These can be sampled and cut/spliced together.

Would be a good story to show the points of view and intersecting lives of three different women, living in the late 1980s.

Or ... it might be the same women, at three different points in her life ... teenage/college/20s

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Overheard at Table 2: Clannagall

Is it Clann na nGael or Clan na Gael?

Or are there different spellings from different regions?

Can it be shortened to Clannagal or Clannagall for the sake of a band name?

So many questions but who has answers?

Friday, September 2, 2022

Overheard at Table 3: Lord of the Rings - new prequel

Billy: Heard some folks're pee-Ohd over the new Lord of the Rings having black elves.

Joe: Black elves? Like in Dungeons and Dragons?

Jim: No.  Black actors playing elves.

Bob: Are they good actors?

Billy: I suppose they are.

Joe: So what's the problem then?

Jim: Some folks think that since JRR wrote 'em as white they should be played by white people.

Bob: Did he write them as white?

Billy: Not really.  Some folks just assume.

Joe: Cuz Tolkein was white?

Jim: Something like that.

Bob: That's silly.  It's not like Middle Earth is actual history. 

Billy: Like Idris Elba playing Henry the VIII.

Joe: Actually, that's not a bad idea.

Jim: Idris Elba can play anything.

Bob: He's still my choice for James Bond.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Overheard at Table 3: Another Russian Suicide ... Apparently

John Steppenwolf: Just heard on the BBC that a head of a Russian oil company just fell to his death from a 6th story window in what is being ruled as an "apparent suicide"

Niall Carter: Funny how that happens with such alarming frequency.

John: They noted that he had "expressed concerns" about Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Niall: Then I'm surprised he didn't commit apparent suicide months ago!



"Ah Russia!  A country of such opulence that Oligarchs and Executives fall like rain!" - Lucky Moran