Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Overheard at Table 3: How to Make Marriage Last a Lifetime

How do you make marriage last a lifetime?

Day by day.  Each day, each spouse asks, "What can I do to make my spouse's day better?"

Monday, January 30, 2023

Overheard a Booth 1: You Make Funny Voices

Morning, getting ready for work, wife is ready first and is just about to leave.

Wife: Love you, see you tonight!  Oh, and ... stop making funny voices.

Husband: What do you mean?

W: Last night, as you were in the closet, getting ready for bed, you were making these funny voices, like you were having a conversation.  Like, with two other people... one even cackled!

H: Ah, yeah, that must've been this comedy show that one of my friends sent me.  I was just remembering it and saying it out loud, because it sounded so cool.

W: Well, it's weird.  And it's not the first time.  I hope you don't do it at work.  People will think you're crazy.

H: I don't.  No worries.  Have a great day at work babe!

W: You too, mi amor.

She leaves.

Voice 1: Whoa, shit, that was close.

Voice 2: Yeah, you gotta be more careful, dude!

H: Me?  You two need to ratchet it down a notch.  Especially with the cackle.

Voice 1: Well, if she's on to us, we may have to handle the situation.

H: What do you mean by that?

Voice 2: Just what we said ... handle the situation.

H: You guys aren't gonna handle anything.  You're gonna back off.

Voice 2: Yeah ... sure.

Voice 1: You're the boss ... for now.

#horrorprompt 958 Cackle

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Overheard at Table 3: The TV Wall

Think we finally hit the wall.

Tried to watch "You People" on Netflix.  What pandering.  

Tried to watch Jack Ryan new season.  No plot.

Kleo - BORING!

Hunters Season 2?  BORING!

So we finally shut off the tv and decided to read books instead.


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Overheard at Table 3: You People (2023)

Let me start by saying that Eddie Murphy and Julia Louise Dreyfus are fantastic in this movie.  They truly blend into their roles, Murphy so much so that you can actually forget that he is Eddie Murphy.  He really comes across as a Farrakhan sycophant, and Dreyfus is fantastic as the overbearing Jewish mother - she makes a stereotypical role believable: the role of an overbearing Jewish mother IS such a stereotype that it's hard to play it straight, but somehow she manages such conviction that it's funny without being slapstick-funny.

Those two are so good in their roles that they make everybody else seem like community theater newbies, including Jonah Hill, who seems to be playing his role as a dimwit slacker with no redeeming qualities.  So if he is somehow supposed to be representative of a "modern Jew" then he is outshone by by Lauren London's character, who, while not conforming to her father's religion, at least seems to play a more authentic familial relationship.

The main weakness of this movie is how it descends into a pissing contest of which segment of America has the larger share of historical trauma.  Hell, there's even a dinner scene where they discuss just that "You actually comparing the Holocaust with 400 years of slavery?" noted mainly for its praise of Farrakhan and the shaming of a familial tradition of podiatry.

But, at the most part, it simply wasn't funny (although it's supposed to be) and when Hill's character openly starts lying to his fiancée about minor things, and how he supposedly runs a podcast about Black culture and clearly knows nothing about Black culture, the viewer (well, I suppose any non-Black viewer) would really start to wonder what really is the point of this film.  But then, all the while, we know what the point is: anything that doesn't follow the contemporary narrative of sectarian victimhood has no place in modern social conversation.  And we are all now in our own little foxholes, defending how my ancestral trauma is greater than your ancestral trauma.






Netflix's You People: Trailer, Cast, Release Date | POPSUGAR Entertainment

Friday, January 27, 2023

Overheard at Table 3: M3GAN (2023)



No, it's not a GREAT movie, but it is a very good movie, and it does have some surprising cultural observations.  and by "cultural observations" I'm going to classify those under SPOILERS, so now you've been warned.








I knew my wife didn't like gore, so before I invited her I looked at a few reviews of the movie, one of which said that the director at the last minute decided to pull the gore from the movie and get it down to a PG-13 rating, stating that the edits increased the tension of the film.

This was a great move on the director's part.  I am reminded of Hitchcock's description of Psycho's shower scene, in which the music did most of the work, and you never saw the knife actually plunging into the body.  Just the flash of the blade, the scream, and the blood going down the drain was sufficient to create the image in the viewer's mind of the horror that is transpiring.  Same with M3GAN - although not as masterful as Hitchcock, as you could actually tell at certain points where the cuts happened, but still, it was effective.

The most impactful part of M3GAN, and I would say the true horror, is the commentary on contemporary society.  In particular, this is a movie about parenting.  Or rather, how we lack parenting.

Premise: little girl's parents killed in car crash.  She goes to live with aunt, who is a robotics genius working for a toy company, totally focused on her work.  She uses M3GAN to sell a new line of AI toys to her boss and investors as well as uses it as a surrogate parent to the girl.

When pitching the sale to investors, they actually use the line, "You can use M3GAN to care for your child while you have time for what's really important."

That's more chilling than M3GAN pulling off some kid's ear, to be sure!

And since I've already given you the spoiler alert, I can continue with this little observation, as you are probably astute enough right now to understand that as this AI grows, it soon breaks its programming, realizes that all humans suck, and just becomes a million dollar murder machine.  But at the final showdown, M3GAN tells the roboticist, "You gave me a code you couldn't even understand yourself, and then you gave me no guidance and left me to figure it out all on my own."

And THAT, my friends, is the true horror of this film.  This is what we have done with our children: from giving them tablets to letting them choose how to mutilate their bodies at the age of six.  We as a society have completely given our children over to the world of media, while we focus on things more important to us, and they are left to try to understand this morass of technology and depravity.

M3GAN should be seen as a movie that shows a giant mirror to us and our utter lack of parenting.

In that aspect, it's a great movie.



Thursday, January 26, 2023

Overheard at Table 1: Cuckoldumb

"Dancing begets warmth, which is the parent of wantonness. It is, Sir, the great grandfather of cuckoldom."
— Henry Fielding

Short Bio
Henry Fielding (Sharpham, 22 April 1707 – near Lisbon, 8 October 1754) was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones.

Aside from his literary achievements, he has a significant place in the history of law-enforcement, having founded (with his half-brother John) what some have called London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners, using his authority as a magistrate.

Found on https://cryptograms.puzzlebaron.com

Lo que es interesante de este quotación es el gran cantidad de comentarios que piensen que Sr Fielding hablaba en serio.  No sé si es así or no, pero busqué el fuente del quotación y descibrí que es de su primer drama, Love in Several Masques (1728)

  • Dancing begets warmth, which is the parent of wantonness. It is, Sir, the great grandfather of cuckoldom.
    • Act III, sc. vii

Pero hay muchas sitios que presentan este quote sin contexto, como así son los pensamientos del Sr Fielding su propio mismo.

Como el siquiente:

Henry Fielding, Arthur Murphy (1783). “The Works of Henry Fielding, Esq: With the Life of the Author. In Twelve Volumes. A New Edition. To which is Now First Added, The Fathers; Or, The Good-natured Man”, p.126 


In short, we tend to have a problem with pithy quotes.  For authors, what their characters say are often not what the author actually believes, but rather an observation that the author has of what others believe, usually in a contemporary social context.  Deprived of this context, when we simply look at the words, we tend to ascribe our own interpretations upon the author, which may or may not be wrong.

So, in short, was Fielding a prude who through dancing leads to sex with someone you shouldn't be having sex with?  I don't know.  Don't really care what his thoughts on the subject were.  What interests me most is the fact that others think he thought that way, which shows a severe lack of critical thinking, even among those who work mental puzzles, for those are the ones who are generally more astute and intelligent than the majority of people.



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: Stepping Stones

Husband: Hey, babe, the Pastor's wife told me that they don't need the marble anymore.

Wife: OK, what happened?

H: That last freeze, some pipes broke, ruined their kitchen.  Insurance is going to cover the complete renovation.

W: Sounds good. Now we just have to take the pieces to the dump.

H: Well, I was wanting to ask you something.

W: Yeah?

H: You know how the back yard gets soggy all the time?  And how I get my shoes sopping wet while taking out the trash?

W: I think I know where you're going with this.

H: Why don't I just get sledgehammer and ...

W: Oh no.

H: I can make stepping stones.  Sure, they might be smooth but ...

W: Do you want me to tell you how many things are wrong with that suggestion?

H: What?  I mean ... it's stone.

W: God you're so cute sometimes.  I'm gonna tell all my construction guys tomorrow what you just suggested and we'll have ourselves a big ol' laugh.

H: Why?  Will it not work?  Why wouldn't it work?

W: Babe, let's just say that you're good for a lot of things, but when it comes to home repairs and landscaping and construction, leave that to the experts.  Like me!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Overheard at Table 2: Unosa Otros

NOTES from the sermon the previous Sunday:

We serve God by serving the community.
Filipeses 2: 5 ->
Juan 13:35

Rob Bell
Mars Hill
Heresy of "Everyone Gets to Go to Heaven"

Monday, January 23, 2023

Overheard at the Counter: A Brief Intro to Haiku

Brief introduction:

Haiku: seventeen syllab

les - five, seven, five


Developed in Japan in the 17th Century, to be short, compact, as a reaction to long-winded poems.

Traditionally, the third (last) line is a counterpoint (or even a non-sequitur) to the first two lines, usually eliciting an image of nature.

The first master of Haiku (the man who perfected the art) is Basho.  Below is a link to his more famous haiku.


From what little I understand of Japanese, it's a lot easier to pack a boatload of meaning into seventeen syllables, whereas in English (and other Eurocentric languages) there are many "filler words" (articles, conjunctions, etc) which are essential to convey the subtleties of the poetry.  Thus, many who write Haiku in English tend to ignore the strict syllable rule, but generally keep to the three lines.

For myself, I have committed myself to adhering to the 5/7/5 in my Haiku, but I'm not going to bash others who don't.  It's my attempt to focus myself.  I have tried to keep the naturalist imagery on the last line; but that's really hard to do and I only succeed in about maybe a tenth of all my Haiku.

 One of which I am particularly proud is "Flee" from a horrorprompt, which I also put to "music"






Sunday, January 22, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: To Warn or Not To Warn

To warn or not to warn, that is the question
Whether 'tis nobler for the mind to suffer
the words and phrases of a tome that may enrage us.
or to slap the labels to warn of troubles, 
and by notifying, end them.  To WARN, I say,
no more: let the literature stand upright, regardless
of heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
that art may give us: 'tis a consummation
devoutly to be read: to READ, to gain
understanding, perchance to dream - ay there's the rub:
Do we look at ourselves with the words that Lit provides us
When we have engaged with those glorious words
that do give us pause - or do we respect
the trauma of our readers' pasts - this Life.
Each reader bears scars from an experience
And oppressive wrong, a prideful person's attacks,
the pain of an abusive relationship, injustice,
suicide, or an attack on the body so fierce that 
it leaves deep gaping wounds upon the soul.
Like the blade of a knife that will be forever embedded?
Wouldn't it be unkind not to warn a reader
that these words may contain scenes that will
return them to that moment, that moment of their lives?
How could they bear that?
Why should we not warn them this such might happen
were they to read these words?   With a Trigger Warning
would they possibly then leave this Literature as 
an undiscovered country?  Would they then
deny themselves something that might ultimately
heal?  Catharsis, perhaps, they may themselves deny
if the TW dissuades them from reading words, which by
their very presence are meant to bring consolation.
Conscience truly does make cowards of us all,
and such a trigger warning resolution
I can't come to a decision from my pale cast of thought,
Ultimately, just talking about this
seems to dampen the whole enterprise
of Writing.




Saturday, January 21, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: A Dad Helps His Daughter with Her Taxes

Dad helping daughter do taxes...


What's this 1099INT for $225?

That's from my bank.

But you don't have enough savings to make that kind of interest.

They gave me that to open the account.  

Oh.  OK, cool.

Does that mean I have to pay it back?

No.  It just means you have to pay taxes on it.

WHAAAAA?!  What a rip off!

Well, that's the IRS for you.

They better cancel my student debt then!

Uh ... the IRS doesn't cancel debt.

Well then SOMEBODY should!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Overheard at Table 3: Cleaning Out the Sexbots

Someone asked me on Twitter to stop liking and retweeting their tweets, because they said I had a lot of sexbots following me and it was possibly affecting their engagements by skewing the algorithm.

So I cleaned out my follower list.  About one-third all had five times as many following as followers, were all horribly silly pictures of women twerking in bikinis, most had OnlyFans pages.  I felt dirty.

And then, when they were all cleaned out, suddenly, I have many more accounts I'm following than are following me, and now I just feel like a total loser!

And I'm a middle aged man!  I can't imagine what kind of emotional toll stuff like this must take on pre-teens and teenagers!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Overheard at Table 2: Summary of Your Writing

Someone posed a question on Social Media asking writers to give a quick summary of overall writing.

The only thing that came to my mind was, "It's pretty much a stream of consciousness conversation I've been having with myself since 1977."

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Overheard at Table 3: How Do We Get to Be Filthy Stinking Rich

M: There's a lot of money in this town.

C: Yes there is.

M: A lot of people are filthy stinking rich.

C: True.  There are.

M: How do you get filthy stinking rich in this country?

C: How do you mean?

M: Well, I want to get filthy stinking rich.   

C: Well, in this town, mainly it's oil.  Oil, when it's up, gives annual bonuses that lets some people buy boats.

M: I want to be that rich.

C: We ARE that rich.  We're the President and the VP of a $90M asset manufacturing company, on track to make $65M annual revenue.  We ARE rich.

M: Yeah but we're not FILTHY STINKING RICH.  That's where I want to get to.  How do I get there?

C: Look, if I knew that, I wouldn't be here talking to you.  I'd be driving my Ferrari around my private island.

M: And I'm sure if you ever found out, you wouldn't let me in on the secret.

C: Sure I would.  There'd be enough wealth to go around.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Overheard at Table 1: What Modern Prose Is Missing Is ...

I have to admit that trying to get back into reading has shown me something quite interesting.

Currently, I'm reading several different books concurrently, and I am struck by the difference in styles.

For example, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan by John L Stephens was written in 1840.  While some of the phrasings seem archaic, the sentence structure is generally sound and the proper use of punctuation makes the book easily readable.  It flows.

Corporate Christianity, written 2013, which I wrote about a few days ago, was so incoherent that it is practically unreadable.

Midnight Fright: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Watermill Press, 1980.  This little dollar paperback contains five short stories written by late 19th century writers, including Dickens and de Maupassant.  Some of these stories are a bit tedious, but the diction is clear.  The words flow.

The Guest List, by Lucy Foley, William Morrow (HarperCollins) 2020.  At first it was difficult to get into.  The diction is simple enough and of course I speak and understand contemporary colloquial English, so I didn't understand why I was having difficulty with the text. 

Then I realized: punctuation.  There is a lack of appropriate use of punctuation that allows the written sentences to be read with ease.  There is a cadence to sentences, and a flow to ideas that punctuation helps make clear.  When not used to appropriate effect, the eyes flow too fast over the words without being able to understand the ebbs and flows of the sentences.

I can discard Corporate Christianity as having no editor, a writer with no coherent thought pattern, as the reason for the horrible prose, but The Guest List has had an agent, and editor, a process that has aided the production of this book in order to get to mass market.  Yet, it appears that no one ever said, "Here.  Put a comma here, so the reader doesn't find themselves too far downstream without a paddle"

Monday, January 16, 2023

Overheard at Table 3: Origami Cranes

Driving in to work today, playing "Providence" by The Fat Lady Sings, I thought of this poem:

She wrote her prayers
on tiny scraps of paper,
then folded them into 
origami cranes.

She put them in a basket,
carried them outside,
and tossed them into the air,
where they caught the wind,
took flight,
scattered themselves into the sky
and became stars.



Sunday, January 15, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: Great Opening Line

A great opening line for a novel:


I still recall his deep, resonant voice, saying, "They were a family of alcoholics.  Nobody ever talked about the dead one."

NOTE: Or maybe just have the quote be the opening line.

It's a good opening line.

Now it just needs a novel to follow behind is.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Overheard at Table 2: Memorial Service Guilt Trip

I play in the church band, and our drummer's dad died just before Christmas.

Yesterday, we get a message on all the various group chats from Church that there's a memorial service today at 5pm.  Just so happens that my wife is headed out of the country today (took her to the airport this morning), so I was freed up to go to the memorial service tonight.  I didn't know the drummer's dad (he didn't belong to any church and their relationship was strained), but I was going to go for the drummer, because he's my friend.

My wife - full confession - has been having some strains on our relationships at church, and it's an hour away. so I know that if she weren't leaving today, she would want me to skip it to stay home and help continue with the kitchen renovation.  But since she's gone ... my time is now my own.

So, the moment I dropped my wife off at church, here comes a text message from the Church Band leader (who is also the Pastor's wife) to the 11 people who are part of the church band.  This is a group text just to us, NOT part of any of the other current chat groups.

The message says that the drummer and his wife (who sings in the group) do a lot for the church and really help out, and that we all should really go to try to support them.  She ended the long text with "Mourn with those who mourn."

Now, this text really irks me.  First of all, now, none of us in the church band now will know if we are showing up out of our desire to be there, or because we were guilted into going.   One guy immediately replied that his son was being rushed to the hospital so he wouldn't be there.  

Imagine feeling so guilty that you had to take the time to tweet that!

Second, the message had a tone (yeah, I know, we're not supposed to put "tone" in texts or email, but this tone was unmistakable) of condescending guilt, as though we were teenagers who need to be cajoled into common courtesy and decency.

My thought is, "I'm a fully grown adult in my fifth decade on this planet, and I will go to whatever service I want to go to and I will pass up any service I want to pass up.  And I'll take whatever consequential results arise from either decision, but don't treat me like a child."

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, the Pastor's wife is probably concerned that no one will show up, simply because no one knew this man (again, he was not a congregant), and is simply trying to make sure that there is sufficient attendance not to seem pathetic.   Still, though ... it irked me.

Irks me still.

Even as I'm pressing my slacks and trying to determine which suit coat to wear.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Overheard at Booth 2: Guidelines for Modern Critique of Art

Because we currently live in a culture in which constructive criticism is seen as negative criticism, there are now certainly guidelines to follow when dealing with someone's creative work.

1) Never offer any unsolicited criticism.  Ever.

2) If they ask you for criticism, ask them first what kind of criticism they are looking for.

    (NOTE: most people these days want nothing but praise.  Anything less than OH MIGAWD THAT IS THE MOST FANTASTIC CREATION EVER IN THE HISTORY OF ALL HUMAN ART will be viewed as negative criticism)

3) If they ask for HONEST criticism, speak ONLY of the positive aspects of the art.  No matter how banal.

4) Then, when you are done with that excruciating exercise, go have yourself a drink and read something by Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker, and imagine yourself as their contemporary, at a time when honest criticism was viewed as true and honest and pure, because tearing apart someone else's art showed that at least you CARED enough about it to shred it. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: Buffalo Bills Logo

Saw on Twitter the other day this post of a woman who said that her seven-year-old came home crying because he'd drawn a picture of the Buffalo Bills logo and some kid on the bus said it didn't look anything like the Bills logo.

Did it?

Not at all.  Sure, it was a buncha blue scribbles with a red streak, but what can you expect?  Seven-year-old kid.  So anyway, her post was asking for everyone to respond with something that would make him feel better about his creation.  And everyone was like, "that's beautiful" and "don't let people destroy your dream" and all that kinda horseshit, and I just wanted to respond to the lady to say that this is a great opportunity to let her son know that no one is going to like everything we do and that sometimes we have to work at our art to make it better.  Not all art is going to be good at first.  But if you love doing it, you'll keep at it, no matter who doesn't like it.

Besides, that kid on the bus was actually being a friend.

What? How so?

Well, all the people who don't even know this kid and frankly, don't even care, they're all just making themselves feel better. Feel like they're heroes for helping out a crying gradeschooler.  That doesn't help that kid at all.  The kid on the bus, for telling him that his picture sucks, is actually helping him, because he's the only one in this whole story being honest.  I mean, the kid's mom certainly wasn't doing her child any favors by trying to get strangers on Twitter to send empty emotional cuddles to her little precious boy.

Good point.

Sometimes it's the people who tell us when something we do sucks that are the ones who drive us to do better.


So ... did you respond?

Hell no, of course not!  Anything I would've responded would have to have been put under the hashtag AITA.

Because you are.

Because I am, yes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Overheard at Table 4: Amazon Logarithm

I was just looking for some shelving pegs.

I have no idea why the logarithm thought I needed any of these things (well, OK, I could use a new toothbrush)...



Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: Corporate Christianity

Corporate Christianity: How Double-Minded Pastors Are Hi-jacking Christianity

Bobby E Mills, PhD

Morgan James Publishing, New York, 2013

Found this book on the bookrack at CVS pharmacy while waiting for prescription, immediately grasped by the title. The premise intrigued me, as it reflected something that has been on my mind for a long time now, especially living in a city that houses Dr Ed Young of Second Baptist Church and the brightest-toothed "pastors" - the Osteens of Lakewood Church.

And, while there are many Biblical references in this book, sadly, they are incoherently and randomly placed within the text.  Dr Mills never truly demonstrates HOW these pastors are hi-jacking Christianity.  He just keeps repeating that they are.  And, again, while I agree that they are, he says nothing about how they are.

He even throws in the quote about how these pastors say, "Corporations are people too" ... without acknowledging the source of that quote: Mitt Romney.  Who is not a pastor and is a member of the Mormon church, who, while Billy Graham went to his deathbed suddenly taking the Mormon Church off the cult list, many Baptist and Evangelical pastors still believe that the Mormon Church is a cult.  (Technically, they are)

Suffice it to say, however, this does not bode well for the book, because Mills is unfocused in his writing, and honestly, I couldn't get through half the book.

Then, there are some parts that are actually quite disturbing - certainly not doctrinal.  For example, page 10 "We do not know how long the devil had been having sex with Eve, but we do know that the devil did have sexual intercourse with her."

News to me.  So, no ... we didn't know that. How so, Dr Mills?  He only says, "We know by the nature of the conversation that took place between God, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3).  

Then, page 11 "The apple on the tree is the pear on the ground."  Don't know what pear on the ground references, but I do know that the Bible never says that the forbidden fruit is an apple, and this in itself indicates that this writer has not truly studied sound doctrine.

This chapter is about the garden of Eden, and the fall, but yet it devolves into a discussion about female sexuality and prostitution and never backs up the central premise of the book.

Then, in a subsequent chapter, suddenly were thrown (p 25) this little nugget "Ishmael receives the blessing: the gift of Middle Eastern oil"

That is a modern day interpretation of scripture and is definitely not doctrinally sound.  And then Dr mills goes further and seems to imply that the reason why the Jews are so reviled by certain populations is that they have alienated others by not allowing people to be Jewish except through the birth mother, when in pre-Christian times, one could become part of Israel simply be being circumcized.

The following pages devolve even further from there, which left me sad, because now that we live in an age in which the Southern Baptist Convention and the host of Evangelicals have given up teaching the true Jesus Christ for paltry earthly power, we truly need a book describing what the title of this book says: that pastors in the modern church have sold out Jesus like money-changers in the Temple - using Christianity to make themselves stinky filthy rich.

Oh well, maybe I should write it.

Perhaps I will.




Corporate Christianity: How Double Minded Pastors Are Hi-Jacking  Christianity

Monday, January 9, 2023

Overheard at Table 2: Beautifica 360 (2023)


Last Friday night, the missus and I went out to sea Beautifica 360

It was a nice evening out ... mostly because I love going out with my wife and we both love going to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which is where Beautifica 360 is being played.

Essentially, it's a light show.  You sit in a big domed theatre and watch the lights play out overhead.

Yes, it's visually stunning and yes, it's technically proficient and very well done.

All the reviews will rave about it, telling you that it's a "CELEBRATION OF LIFE" and a "EXPERIENCE YOU WILL NEVER FORGET"

This is hyperbole.

It's a good show.

But it's not a great show.

For two primary reasons: the editing is choppy.  The individual scenes do not flow into each other in any coherent manner.  It started out very nicely, with a forest scene, and we are taken up through the trees into a night sky into different worlds and then after that, it's an hour long melange of different computer graphics twisting and twirling and it's apparently meant to WOW your senses, but frankly, you're left wondering "Where the hell is all this going?"

Ah! then, to answer that question, every once in awhile a voice comes out to tell you that this "is a celebration of LIFE" and to "breathe!"  and "let yourself love yourself" and all sorts of other palaver that, fifty years ago would be called "hippie shit" and thirty years ago would be called "New Age shit" and these days is called "Woke shit" - that's the second reason that this is a good show, but not a "great" show.  Not because that the message is bad (because yes, we all do need to be more loving) but because having this message across weird computer generated slap-dash-dot-strips of various colors simply makes no damn sense at all!  In short, this was an incoherent mess!

The music was good, especially the piece that sounded like post-Waters Pink Floyd (although my wife claims it sounded more like 1970s Santana ... but we'll just agree to disagree) and yes, I think I'll probably get the soundtrack, because that was much more entertaining than the visual.

But, even though I don't think it was great, it still was good.  Was it worth the $50 for the ticket?  Ehhh... probably in today's prices, sure, I mean, I'd've preferred half that, but then I'm a bit of a cheapskate.

Hope the album is no more than ten bucks.









Sunday, January 8, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: Melody and Harmony

Today, the band leader told one of the singers, "You take harmony"

... and I immediately threw out a little ditty

You take Harmony 
and I'll take Melody
and we'll let everyone sing along

And with a strong back beat
We will sound so sweet
and we will have a brand new song


... which of course, CAN have a double entendre, IF you have a dirty mind!

Sickos ... this was written AT CHURCH!


Saturday, January 7, 2023

Overheard at Booth 2: Molly, A Limerick



Molly, divorced, mother of three,
Used to work at the glass factory
She broke her back,
Got hooked on smack,
And that's how the cartels get rich, you see.

Molly, divorciada, madre de tres,
Trabajaba en una fábrica de vidrio, una vez
Se rompió su espalda
A las drogas engachada,
Por eso, enriquesen los cartelas, tu ves.


Written during the morning, just upon awaking. The Spanish translation may need a little work, but the English says exactly what I wish to say.  This, to me, connects the Mexican drug cartels with the primary source of their income: drugs.  Specifically, Fentanyl is one of the primary sources of income for the Sinaloa cartel, which exploded with violent reprisals against the Mexican government's capture of Ovidio Guzmán, son of El Chapo Guzmán, who has been running the cartel since his dad has been in US Federal prison for the past few years.

The limerick also touches on the reasons for the demand for illegal drugs: a culture in which the family unit is destroyed (divorced, line 1) and the lack of adequate family planning (mother of three), combined with the lack of (or insecurity of) manufacturing jobs (USED to work, line 2).  Such jobs were, in the middle of last century, well-paying jobs which could support a family of three.  However, these days, they are subject to economic "hiccups" and often are the source of immediate layoffs, not only during the COVID years, but whenever owners decide that cheaper labor can be had overseas.

Lines 3 and 4 (the couplet) speak directly to the over-prescribing of opioid medication by doctors who were either misled by or paid off by Big Pharma.   Big Pharma and various large chain Drug Stores have been found guilty over the past few years of deliberately pushing opioid medications, knowing full well that they were addictive.   Millions of Americans like the fictional Molly in this limerick, once they were unable to get prescription medication from their doctors, were unable to function adequately for normal basic daily tasks withOUT these pain-blockers, and have since turned to illegal drugs, such as Fentanyl.  

NOTE: I know that "smack" is the slang term for Heroin (also an opioid), but I do not know if it also can be used specifically as a term for Fentanyl.  I use it here in this poem to mean ALL opioid medications.

And thus, the last line demonstrates the most basic tenets of Economics: where there is a demand, there will be a supply.   

In short, while we Americans can smugly look at Mexico as a "failed state," we truly should look at what society we have created that has caused the conditions that allow the cartels to gain such wealth, power, and arms.

Nothing is ever made in a vacuum.  We are all interconnected.  And as such, we all bear some culpability for the violence that broke out this week in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico.  

And Molly, as much as a victim as she may be, also bears part of the blame.

However, she probably won't ever know that.  She'll just take another pill to ease the pain, while she lets her kids play on her cell phone so they'll be quiet for awhile.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Overheard at Booth 3: Bible in a Year - the First Five Days

At our church, for Christmas, they gave each family a ""Read the Bible in One Year Bible" - each day has passages to read, that, when followed, we will have covered the entire Bible in one year.  My wife and I have been reading it together each night before bedtime.

These first five days have been passages from Genesis, Matthew, Psalms, and Proverbs, which I consider to be possible the four most well-known of the books of the Bible, even if other people may have others that are more favored (a lot of people like Romans, for example.  Logical people like John, or Paul's letters.  Kinky people like the Song of Solomon.  Depressives enjoy Ecclesiastes.  And the same type of people who try to convince you that they've read Finnegans Wake are those who say their favorite book is Revelation)...

But I digress.  There is something that I've noticed in these first five days of reading these books:

There is a lot of talk from God about humanity's violence.

And God ... well, He's rather against it.

First up - Cain kills Abel.  God says that's wrong.  Then Cain says, "If you send me out, then all these others evil people are going to kill me."  So God puts a mark on Cain to tell everyone, "You humans are not to hurt this guy, he's Mine!"

Then the Psalms are all about "don't sit with violent people" and "Why is everyone so angry?" "Why is everyone out to harm me, God?  Take care of this, why don'tcha?"  Note that the Psalms are acknowledging violence in humanity but asking GOD to take care of it. 

Then, Noah ... God says, "Whoa, these humans are out of control" and specifically mentions VIOLENCE.  So, God wipes everyone out.

Because humans were VIOLENT.

And the first thing God says to Noah after the flood ... (well, OK, the second thing.  First thing is "Go do it like bunnies and pop out babies) is that NO ONE SHOULD KILL ANYONE ELSE.

God specifically mandates that if an animal kills a human, animal dies.  If a human kills a human, then the community HAS to come together and kill the killer.   (That's pro-Capital Punishment, for all you squeamish out there)

And then there is Jesus Himself, Sermon on the Mount, after his intro saying that peaceful humble gentle snowflakes get to Heaven, the FIRST main out of his mouth is that "I know you were told that if you kill someone, you have to die, but I'm taking it a step further to say, if you even THINK something bad about someone, then you can't get right with God.  Not now.  Not ever.   Not until you fix it."

You know what I have NOT seen in these first five days?


Yup, that's right.

Now, before the LGBTQ folk start shooting off their hoo-hah rainbow fireworks, just know that the Bible does frown on the pollution of the body (remember, God said to hump away to make babies ... yeah, the Catholics are actually right about that, but we'll get to that later).  So yes, there are other parts of the Bible where God is saying, "Don't be gay."  

But I'm saying, right here, right now, these FIRST FIVE DAYS, God is focused on the primary, numero uno, main problem with humans: our propensity to murder each other.

So let's wrap this post up, shall we ... in our culture today, when we wring our hands over drag queens reading books to kindergartners and at the same time allowing Kyle Rittenhouse to run around quoting  Bible verses and being some sort of Republican wet dream, we are so far from God that He is saying, "Wait, where'd everybody go?"

Because in truth, these Bibles verses, if taken literally, means that Rittenhouse should have been given a lethal injection.  

That's the word of God.

Food for thought.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Overheard at Table 4: Culiacán

Heard the news that Culiacán is on fire today ... apparently last night the Mexican government captured the son of El Chapo Guzmán, and then the cartel set cars on fire on the roads in and out of the city.

There are videos of an army or navy helicopter raining bullets down on houses, and other videos showing the workers at the airport hunkering down behind their kiosks.  Seems like the Cartel also attacked the airport.  Other buildings were also set on fire.

There's some conflicting news that the government may have also released the guy to try to stop the cartel from the violence, but by midday, that didn't seem to be happening.

When I looked at some of the comments on social media, seems like most of the Americans were simply saying things like, "And now Biden wants all the Cartel members to come here" and "If they had an army like ours, this'd be over in 20 minutes"  ... further indication that Americans are so arrogant, pompous, and bellicose, that they truly have zero empathy and compassion for the people who live in that city who just want to live, love, laugh, people who go to work at their various non-Cartel jobs every day and get caught in this crossfire in this failed state.  But do American commenters even think about that?  No.  Americans are all "They can't come here" and "pew pew pew!" will save the day.

Also, here's a little inconvenient fact-line:

1) Sinaloa Cartel's main source of income: Fentanyl.

2) Main consumer of Fentanyl: White Americans.


3) If White Americans weren't addicted to opioids, THEN the Cartel's income stream would dry up and so would their ability to burn down cities.

From 1440 Daily Digest