Monday, December 15, 2014

Best of 2014 - Music

There ware some good tunes on my list this year. I do most of my listening in the car and these records made trips more pleasant. As always, there are plenty of gaps in what I listen to. This list is more or less in ascending order.

20) Jose James - While You Were Sleeping
19) Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread
18) Bryan Ferry - Avonmore
17) Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers
16) Janiva Magness - Original
15) Happy Tooth & Dug - W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y.
14) The Cleaners From Venus - Return to Bohemia
13) Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
12) Withered Hand - New Gods
11) B-Movie - The Age of Illusion
10) A/C D/C - Rock or Bust
09) Francois and the Atlas Mountains - Piano Ombre
08) King Creosote - From Scotland with Love
07) St. Vincent - St. Vincent
06) Ex Hex - Rips
05) Beck - Morning Phase
04) Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want
03) Robert Plant - Lullaby and... The Ceaseless River
02) Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else
01) Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser

Friday, December 12, 2014

Reaching for the phone, and having to stop

One year ago my Mom died. People have told me it does not get any easier, and they are right. She is on my mind every day as are what my Stepfather and Aunt are going through. And what the other members of my family are going through.

It's hard, you expect that. But you do not know how much.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The fight to save Cafe Edison

For the first half of my life I lived in New York state. I'm not a New Yorker, but from Long Island. No matter what anyone tells you, there's a world of difference between the two. These days, it's a nice place to visit but I would not want to live there.

The city has changed. As rents get too damn high small businesses are folding or forced out and upscale chains continue to be brought in to remove any local flavor the city once had. It's becoming a large shopping mall for tourists and I cannot help but wonder where the locals who are left go to eat.

One such place, 45 seconds from Broadway, is the Cafe Edison. It's been called The Polish Tea Room and has been operating just off the lobby of the Hotel Edison for over thirty years. Click on the link for some very interesting pictures of the inside of the diner and its history.

We ate here a couple of years ago when we visited. Is it the greatest breakfast place in the world? Hell no. Does it have the best atmosphere? It's real New York, a part of Manhattan that is fast disappearing. It is affordable. A place the stagehand and local workers can get a fast and reliable meal at a fair price. A place where a tourist can fuel up on the cheap for a day of sightseeing. And the city is fast running out of joints like this.

The owner of the hotel is trying to evict the current operators of the cafe, and has plans to put in another white table cloth restaurant with a name chef in its place. As if Manhattan does not have enough of them.

There's been a grass roots campaign to petition the owners to stop this, and to give the current operators of the cafe a long term lease on the site. City council members are aware, as is Mayor de Blasio. The story was told on NPR today. People are not giving up.

Friday, November 28, 2014

My black Friday did not cancel Christmas

It is easy to recognize when there is a problem with my car. If it does not feel right when it goes over 65, when you hear a belt making a high pitched scream while turning, and the most recent - the temperature gauge going over the baseline and nearly hitting the red zone that means the car is over heating. The car was, thankfully, not leaking or burning coolant. Had no idea if the thermostat or radiator was messing up, and certainly do not have the tools or knowledge to do the repair myself.

So it was off to the repair shop downtown at an ungodly hour this morning just after they opened to get the car fixed. I waited for a diagnosis and received one. New thermostat, temperature sensor and coolant flush and fill. At least it was not the radiator. They told me they'd have it fixed in a couple of hours so I wandered off to find some breakfast.

On the day after Thanksgiving not much was open in downtown Columbus, which is not how a vibrant city with ever increasing density and street edge construction should be at any time of the year. With the exception of Potbelly, the only other place I could find open was Dempsey's, which had only one customer, me, when I entered.

Dempsey's is just around the corner from the now closed Jury Room. It was announced today that the business was sold and the new owner would be renaming the place Balls. That's right it's going to be a meatball place. I have no problem with that but if the food is not good the name is going to give it nothing more than a silly novelty act.

After breakfast I went to the Statehouse to see if the gift shop I used to work at was open. It was, and I talked to the owner for a few minutes to catch up.

Picked up the car and drove it hard on 71 and 270 to see how fixed it was. The temperature gauge did not move any higher than this.

Also noticed that the heat kicked in much quicker after starting the car. Darn, it had been kicking in slow the whole time I have owned the car. Must have been off all along. Still calling it a win.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My kind attention, for the children of course

Please do not be surprise at my email,I am a Syrian citizen, I use to be a
member of the Regime in Syria but i went out of my country because of the civil
war,i feel i might die any time soon,the president want to kill us all if we do
not support his government along with ISIS. I am contacting you because of my
children, i need you to help me keep my funds and also invest for my children,
the people I have trusted failed me so badly.I do not know how long i can hang
on. Please get back to me let me give you details of my self and how the funds
will be transferred to you for a safe keep for the children.Please email me
now. EMAIL;

Rifaat Al Assad

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

No, we can't

In many ways, I have led a lucky life. I have a home in a forgotten about part of this city. It's relatively safe aside from the crackheads who rummage in my car from time to time. I leave the doors unlocked. It's easier to replace a power adaptor than to fix a broken window. A couple of days ago they got into the trunk by unlatching the back seat, did they read the manual? They are welcome to take the wiper fluid and I would not shed much of a tear if they drank the antifreeze. That's life in an urban area.

I've never been pulled over by the police while driving (occasionally I speed) or questioned about my activities while walking or shopping.

Just because I have not had these things happen to me does not mean I do not think they happen to anyone else. I do not think people will not be bothered if they mind their manners, or change their clothing or behavior - those things will not make the bigotry go away.

Having a special needs child causes me much worry on a lot of levels, but I'm not sure I have to be too concerned about finding out my 12 year old son was shot by a lawman in the back, or the head, or the torso. A number of scenarios could surely be invented. A couple of years ago he wandered off and was quickly and safely found by the Columbus Police, something which my family is grateful for. Trusting those who protect and serve is very troubling when you begin to realize who exactly is being protected and served.

To say I'm not sure where this country is headed when race relations are concerned is an erroneous statement. We're already in a screwed up place, we've been in a screwed up place and I have no idea if this can be straightened out soon, or what it will take. Scores of dead black men and children shot for no reason other than the color of their skin is not waking us up. That's how I'm seeing this country right now, and Rodney King's question still resonates.