Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June is coming to an end

To finish our weekend my wife and I went to the Camera Obscura concert at the Wexner Center last night.

Last month we found out from her friend Lisa that their mutual acquaintance Francois would be playing with the band. Emma sent him an email, which he did not receive.

After dinner at Bento we headed to Bernie's for a beer before the show and looking into the window at Jimmy John's was a slight figure.

"That's Francois!"

She calls out to him and he blinks and does a great double take on High Street. Introductions are made, he's looking for a salad, we give him recommendations and make a vague plan to meet by the tour bus after the show.

Turns out he moved from percussion to bass after the group's bassist had a death in the family and had to head home in the middle of the tour.

He switched to guitar for one song.

The show itself exceeded expectations. They're all very good musicians and their performance had some unexpected energy. Plus, they did Razzle Dazzle Rose, which made me happy. I'd never seen a show at Mershon when it's standing on the stage. The sound was good even if our backs are getting too old to stand for a couple hours straight. The opener was a singer named Anni Rossi, who did some interesting things with a viola, including a cover of In Between Days.

When I get my mediocre camera into a show I do not like using a flash because it draws attention and because security took my batteries at a Springsteen show years ago.

Afterwards we looked over by the bus and a couple of band members, including Francois were headed back into the Wex. One member was graciously talking to some fans and being very cool. The fanboy in me took over.

We talked a bit, told her she knew Francois and when she was done talking, signing and posing for pictures with the dozen or so fans gathered around she went in and got him. We talked a bit more, told him Pittsburgh was a cool city. The group liked the venue, said it had cool lighting and good sound and that's how the night ended.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

And the dog paid my wife 13-1

I went to Pittsburgh having no idea what it was like, or what to expect. It was an easy and leisurely drive there with a view that blows you away the moment you go through the Fort Pitt tunnel and downtown assaults your senses. It's rather amazing.

We went up the inclines, the Monongahela and Duquesne, which give you the best views of any city's skyline that I have ever seen.

We had a great time walking around the compact and sometimes confusing downtown. If you ever have an opportunity to stay at the William Penn Hotel, do it. The service is first rate and worth every penny.

We met up with a friend, who gave us the locals tour of parts of the city. Somehow, when we get together, we are encountered by people who like to talk about themselves, who we can't seem to get rid of either. We also went onto the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. I wanted to see the remains of Forbes Field, where the Pirates used to play. Home plate is inside one of the campus buildings. It was supposed to be in it's original location, but that would put it inside a women's restroom, so it had to be moved a little so the public can see it.

Some of the outfield walls are still preserved.

We also hit the Cathedral of Learning, a large edifice that I think Ayn Rand would have had a suite in.

Nothing like that on the OSU campus I can assure you.

I cannot emphasize how picturesque the city is.

On the way back to Columbus, we stopped in Wheeling to see the casino and the dog races. We bet on one race and my wife's dog came in 13-1. I did not do so well. We played the slots and saw every senior citizen in the state of West Virginia before leaving for home. Then we get home to find out Comfest turned into Altamont, Billy Mays died in his sleep, and Michael Jackson is still dead.

Can't wait to have more time to see the city, it's only three hours away.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Let Scott's Groove Locker Say Amen

My friend Scott has put together a wonderful podcast of Michael Jackson's music.

You can listen or download it here

As I've said, my Mother and her generation watched the rise and fall of Elvis Presley. Now I and those of my age have seen the same of Michael Jackson.

I choose to remember the music he left behind.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I know many others have died

Today was a celebrity death double, one that has not had such star power since the triple of Billy Wilder, Milton Berle and Dudley Moore back in 2002, and before that was Sammy Davis Jr. and Jim Henson back in 1990.

We knew Farrah was not much longer for this world. She fought the brave fight, took it public when the rumors and lies went out of hand. Now, I suspect her family and friends will be able to mourn privately after Michael Jackson's sudden death.

At first CNN was saying cardiac arrest, at the same time TMZ was saying he was dead. It reminded me of when Lady Diana was in her car accident, but we got the sad news much quicker.

Jackson's music and talent are unparalleled. You cannot take that from his legacy. He left behind an incredible body of work.

It's the surgery, the changes of skin color, the trial, the dangling of a baby over a balcony that too many will remember him by. Like me and Elvis. My memories of Elvis while he was alive are of a fat, bloated pill popping has been. Jackson left us as an anorexic pill popping space cadet. It's a damn shame.

He leaves behind a financial mess and I'm wondering what's going to happen to the kids he bought.

I got nothing else but Thriller on vinyl, the cardboard 45s from the back of the box of Alpha Bits cereal were thrown out years ago.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A heaping amount of poetry

Thanks to a couple of pints of Jeni's I got to attend Writing Wrongs open mic last night. First time I'd been there on a Tuesday night. A good crowd was on hand for the poetry and Scott Woods feature. The open mic was electric, there was some fine poets who read last night. I read too, Everywhere at Once, and did a decent job with it. Scott had a strong feature. Glad I got to go.

Last Sunday I was on internet radio as part of the panel with Miss Vernell, Miss J. and Wali. We had a fun and spirited discussion about the greatest poets of all time. I got my picks of William Carlos Williams and Sylvia Plath into play and was the bad judge when it came to Saul Williams. I regret the comment about Tupac getting shot again after he was not chosen. I hope they have me back as a talking head soon.

Tonight it's open mic at Writers Block. Starts at eight at Kafe Kerouac. Maybe I'll have something new, maybe not.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The only time you may ever see one of those here

Save Ohio's Libraries or the kitten dies.

In Unforgiven, He Was Totally Mean

Finally watched The French Connection last night. A fine cop drama that won Gene Hackman an Oscar.

Roy Scheider was also nominated for an Oscar, but lost out, this does not diminish his excellent performance either.

It's a great film that exposes all the grit and foulness of New York City and Brooklyn in the late sixties/early seventies. In one shot, you can see the World Trade Center being built. I liked all the old storefront signs, which always give me a sense of childhood nostalgia. Naturally Sal and Angie's diner is no longer there.

That's not my Volvo in the picture!

Thirty eight years later, the movie holds up - and my already high esteem for Gene Hackman went up a notch.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer's Here and the time is right

My birthday was yesterday. I am now the age of a certain number of revolutions per minute.

My friend Stephanie was recently profiled about her wonderful artwork, which we own four pieces of, including this one of my anatomy.

Got to take the boy to a local park where he used some of the play equipment appropriately!

Emma's been working hard on her garden, and if any more squirrels get into her seedlings again, there is going to be war. This has brought some long repressed feelings back to the surface. Back when I used to have bird feeders. I say used to because those &%^$ing squirrels ATE my bird feeders. It was not enough that they'd knock the seed to the ground. No, they had to eat the plastic or metal parts to sate their lazy appetites. So, yes, there is squirrel hate.

No hate at a lovely wedding we attended in Marysville today. Got there just in time to see the vows, here's how we looked in the heat.

In potentially bad news, Ohio's libraries are under siege. Horrible budget cuts are potentially losing government support. I wrote this and sent similar letters to my state representative and Governor Strickland

"I understand that economic times are tough and that difficult choices must be made but cutting 227 million dollars from libraries in Ohio is not the right decision to make.

Is forcing libraries to close if they do not have local support, or those with the privilege of having community backing through local tax levies to cut programs and services the answer? These days libraries are more than places you can check out a book. Libraries have become the backbone of a community, providing services to the poor and helping to bridge a huge technology gap that is happening in society by offering the extensive use of computers and other forms of technology so that citizens can educate and market themselves.

Senator Miller you have to know that your constituents rely heavily on the Hilltop Library to provide their educative and entertainment needs. Many people in your district are using the library to apply for jobs, learn how to build a resume or simply to set up an email account.

Denying Ohio's and your voters the use of their public libraries is not going to bring them up to speed with the challenges in today's economy. I would like you to vote against this budget cut and wish you well in providing an alternative to balancing the state budget."

Times are tough, and I think they're going to get worse because we're too cheap to save ourselves.

Tomorrow night I'm on the radio. Internet radio, talking poetry. Starts at six at www.talktainmentradio.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Respite Since I Have Little to Say

I like her debut. Some not so good songs, but the good ones out weigh the bad. Keep in mind the video and the mix on the record are not the same.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You can have a cell phone and that's ok, but not me

Oh yes Jonathan Richman was a blast last night. He played at the Summit, a north campus dive I've never been in.

Vic Chesnutt opened. I'd never seen him before. Emma did in Edinburgh. I could not get a good picture of him. Heck, all the pictures I took last night were poor because of the stage and the bad lighting, but it was a great show.

It was the third time I'd seen him, and this was the loosest. He showed some mad guitar skills and sang a lot of Spanish songs. He also did 'Give Paris One More Chance" which is one of my favorites of his.

Ran into a former coworker and his wife and it was good to see them.

It was the first concert my wife and I attended together, supposed to be Camera Obscura in a couple of weeks but this one came out of nowhere. First show I'd been to since Jandek. It's been awhile. Ended up at Waffle House after the show, which let out about 12:30. Got to see a girl fight over a stolen purse. Bit of everything last night.

Bit of shopping today then staying put.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Busy times

There will be a lot of pictures coming up. Be warned.

Here's one of the boy playing with his sand and water thingy. He was still using it, even a few days later!

Finding toys that he plays with has been a difficult and sometimes frustrating process. He's been perfectly content rolling an empty can of Pringles around so this made us very happy.

Thursday night Em' and I went bowling. It's been years since either of us went and I was so out of practice, but beer makes everything fun.

I've been bowling for about 35 years. That may be the only photograph of me bowling. My shoulders are way off. Bad form.

Last night we went to Alana's for our post wedding and between birthday dinner. Food was excellent, wine very good. I had this for dessert.

Damn good pie!

Ended up at Encore for a nightcap, when I was poured a very devastating measure of Laphroaig.

This morning we found, thanks to CU, a very cool produce store on the near east side. Arena Produce is off St. Clair Avenue and selling good quality produce at very reasonable prices.

Then it was off to the Park of Roses. No official festival due to lack of sponsorship, but the roses are in bloom.

Once again people see me as being nice and not a sociopath by coming up to me and asking if I'd take their picture. At least they were not asking for directions!

I liked this picture of the ladybug (state insect) on the hop plant. It's not a ladybird, as my Scottish wife calls it! Humbug!

Then there was this invasive photo.

Taking a picture of a mother taking a picture of her baby daughter in the park. Shameless!

Got the lawn mowed. She's out front tilling the field. Later we're going to Jonathan Richman and Vic Chesnutt.

Two other places we've been: Bob's Bar, it's south of Graceland on High Street. Cool atmosphere. Relatively quiet. Great draft and bottled beer selection. The Pita Hut and Grille. Next to Bob's Bar. Loved the chicken sandwich, she loved the tabouli, as we left they gave us dessert on the house. Cheap and great.

Tomorrow we breathe out, a little.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hey Hey in the Hayloft

News is breaking that Christiano Ronaldo has been transferred from Manchester United to Real Madrid for the record sum of eighty million pounds. I think that gives Real Madrid the right to replace AIG as Man. U's sponsor.

Made reservations in the city of bridges a couple weeks from now. Never really been there, and she certainly has not so we're looking forward to inclines.

Got some expected bad news regarding our central air unit. Kaput.

TCM was having a Preston Sturges marathon last night. Caught the last half of the Lady Eve and all of Sullivan's Travels, which she had not seen. Such wonderful dialogue and McCrea and Lake were wonderful together.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Art on the Wall too!

My coworkers put on a pleasant little bash for us yesterday. They're good people, and there was an enormous cake. They wanted us to take some home, but there's still plenty of wedding cake left!

Been reading all kinds of articles on either a renaissance or the death of poetry slam.

I blame Obama on that silly little poetry jam he had at the White House that had such renowned slam poets as Michael Chabon and his wife. Joe Biden never would have hosted a poetry jam.

One thing I did notice in the stories is that there were few women poets mentioned.

And poetry in the news cycle is ending in three, two...

Wishing my Scottish wife luck today. She will be watching the boy for the next three days.

She'll do fine. He can be quite the handful though.

I see health care is coming back to the forefront again. How about this? Allow every American citizen to pay the same amount and into the same plan that congress gets. If our number one health care system is good enough for them, it's good enough for the rest of us.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Our Wedding Slideshow

Thanks to Kate and Doug for taking most of the pictures. Camera Obscura provides the soundtrack. Hope you like it.

Arts Fest Weekend

What a beautiful day to be outdoors. The temperature was perfect. There was a light breeze that took away one of Louise's poems just as she started it. Mikelle did a great reading. Here are the top three Arts Festival Poets of 2009.

It is very humbling to be on the same podium as Mikelle and Louise, and they're so much better looking than I am!

Here's the set list

It Was an Old Book
River Walk
The Tiles
After Birth
The Children of Dunblane as Teenagers
For Daredevils
Art Exhibit Opening
They Hate Your Blog

IRN-BRU is used as a prop/crutch/cause for banter between poems. I thought it went well. A good crowd was paying attention. Did not see the police car that pulled up behind me as I was reading but the helicopter that buzzed over head threw me off a bit.

After the reading someone came up to me, said I did well and (not to be offended) compared me to this guy.

I took the compliment. I'm not up there doing Holiday in Cambodia. He said I looked like him a bit as well. I'm not so sure there's a resemblance between me and Jello Biafra though!

Today we found the boy a cool sand and water activity set. It's very, very hard buying anything for him. You do not know if he will ignore it, be afraid of it, or use it. The smile on his face as he ran his hands though the sand said it all. He's a great kid.

I'm a bit relieved to have done a good thing for him.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's Saturday

And I'm reading at the Columbus Arts Festival at six tonight. Here's how I looked two years ago.

I'll have a different shirt on today, and poems that were not even written then!

More wedding pictures are coming soon. So busy we can't even look at them all!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pictures are stll trickling in

We got some lovely video that Tyrone took. Funny guests, saying nice things, bless them.

Found out yesterday that the place where we had the rehearsal dinner is closing in a couple of weeks is closing due to the economy. It's a shame. We did not actually go to Handke's, but Encore, their small plates bistro, which was only open for a short time.

Emma and I scoped the place out about ten days before the wedding. I called them and asked about whether or not they could accommodate large parties. They said yes and we made the reservation.

Everyone had a good time. It was not very busy. Our only critiques were that the server really would have been overwhelmed if it were busy and that the music was a bit loud. The food was good. Some people had the Handke's desserts and the check was not as large as you'd think.

I'll close with the periodic reminder that I will be a featured poet this weekend at the Columbus Arts Festival. I start at the poetry tent at six o'clock. The weather should be great. Please come!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Saturday Night at The Lofts

Review posted at tripadvisor.com and sent to the hotel. No response yet.

On May 30th my wife and I spent our honeymoon night at The Lofts. We expected a quiet and relaxed evening after a busy afternoon wedding celebration. We got a different experience.

I made my reservations a couple of weeks in advance and was treated with great professionalism by the staff. I was looking forward to the evening. However, when I went to check in on Saturday at noon, things began to change.

The meters in front of the hotel we all bagged, on a Saturday afternoon. I had to park across the street, and was accosted by a homeless person – which left me more irritated than uncomfortable. When I mentioned the situation to the staff after I lugged my bags across Nationwide Boulevard, I was told that there was construction being done on the Hyatt skywalk, over 100 yards away. Ok, fine. I could not help noticing that the meters were still bagged on Saturday night, and may have also been on Sunday morning. What was the story there?

When I checked in the room looked fine, but I was extremely disappointed that it cost ten bucks for wi-fi. While I had no plans on going online in the evening, it would have been helpful to make some last minute checks of email before the wedding as there was at least one cancellation that needed to be addressed. I can go to Wendy’s and get free wi-fi, how come I can’t get free wi-fi at The Lofts?

Returning to the room in the evening brought more little things that were wrong. I decided to use the valet service and was treated rather abruptly by the valet when I asked him what I thought was a simple question.

When we went upstairs to the room the key did not work. This was very bad form. I had to inconveniently go all the way back downstairs, leaving my wife by the door with our bags. Then I was told rather casually that the key may have been demagnetized by a cell phone. I do not have a cell phone, but was in no mood to discuss this and went back to the room after the key was repaired.

We are not coffee drinkers but enjoy tea. My wife is Scottish. Having a choice of only two bags of tea was quite cheap. That, and having to boil water using the coffee maker made our tea taste like coffee.

We were also not impressed by the noise level of the room. We felt as if we were sleeping in the middle of a factory.

Our experiences at The Lofts had two plusses, the bed was quite comfortable and the bathroom was very well equipped. The rest was quite lacking, a lot of style and very little substance. I really have no desire to stay here for any future special occasions and will definitely not recommend The Lofts for any out of town visitors.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pictures are trickling in, more coming soon

The out of town guests are no longer our responsibility. They have flown, drove away or are being taken to the airport by other friends.

I'm really, really grateful we had such good friends and family here to help, share, support and have a really great time this past week.

Her father and sister were here for eight days and they had a wonderful time. We got to take them to many different parts of the city and they seemed to be happy where their daughter and sister was going to be living. Her dad was very inquisitive about traffic laws in Ohio and noted the sizes of the automobiles. One of my favorite moments of the week was when he ordered a Bud at the rehearsal dinner and got it served to him in a frosted mug.

Her sister is wonderful. We have to find a brother-in-law and sister-in-law day to give us something to celebrate.

So many traveled great distances and came to see our wedding at no small expense. We're blessed to have such great people around us.

My left leg has a nasty scrape and the bottom of my right thigh has an incredible bruise from when I fell down the steps. I still have no clue what happened. At least I did not knock Lisa over. The first person to come see if I was alright was Louise's six year old son. He should be a paramedic.

More on our wedding as the week goes along. There's so much to remember. It was a perfect day in so many ways. We really could not have done it without Lynn's allowing us the use of her B&B. She is awesome. Harrison House is highly recommended.

The Lofts: there's a post for another time.