Friday, July 30, 2010

Let Me Grab Your Soul Away

Finally got around to watching Crazy Heart last night. I liked better it when it was called Tender Mercies. It's not that I hated Crazy Heart, but the story has been told before. Jeff Bridges did his usual great performance and I'm glad he finally got the hardware. What did put me off was the relationship between the alcoholic country singer and the writer. Maybe it was the age difference between Bridges and Gyllenhaal (60 vs. 33), or maybe it's that Gyllenhaal, despite her lovely baby blue eyes, was a bit out of her depth in this film.

I watched a couple of Robert Bresson films last week to, which alters how I watch film. If it's not in French, with a bummer of an ending, it most likely will suck.

My wife wanted to kill me after we saw Au hasard Balthazar, saying it was two hours of her life she cannot get back. I get that. It's not for everyone. But after seeing this film, you will believe a donkey can act.

It's a bleak film, but the camera work and sound are magnificent.

Kate Bush turns 52 today. Here's a video to send you off on a positive note from a performance during her only tour. She was 21.

So darn sweet when she jumps and waves at the end.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Over Fifty Pounds Ago

Today marks what would have been Prince Charles and Lady Diana's 29th wedding anniversary. This date would have also been the 25th wedding anniversary with my first wife.

Hindsight offers a lot of opportunities at excuses and what ifs, but it happened and cannot be changed. She and I are, by her choice, no longer on speaking terms. This day finds me thinking in terms of rituals that probably have no real meaning. So finding a narrow part of the Scioto River to throw a tarnished piece of silver across is of mixed metaphor and a pathetic stunt at best. Closure is a myth.

Last night was another IWPS qualifying slam at Writers' Block. Twelve poets took part and round one was close. I'm not sure if I was tied for seventh, eighth, or ninth. All I knew is that I was going 11th in round two. The one minute round.

One minute poems are a necessary evil of slam. Every slammer worth their salt onstage should have a few of them to rely on. It's like learning trigonometry in high school. As the teacher said, "You never know when you're going to need it on the Subway."

Such is the one minute poem. It's tough. It's quick. But it's a tool the good poet needs.

Scores in round two were once again weirdly consistent, and very tight. Had a feeling I could jump up the ladder with a high score. Did a poem I've been holding onto for this moment. It was inspired by an item in a friend's memory box, and essentially wrote itself in a thread on Live Journal. Went up and did it. Knocked it out well enough to get the highest score of the night (29.2) and vaulted up the standings like Beamon at the '68 Olympics to finish in second place.

All I'll say is that the poem is related to the image above and that I have forever changed the way many people in Kafe Kerouac think about said image.

Congratulations to Dain for winning the slam and Atticus for coming in third. Hot action all around!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Writers Block

So I'm stealing this from another blog.

The All Songs Considered podcast recently asked it's listeners to create a dream music festival line-up of ten artists and/or bands, active or defunct, living or dead, that might get to out of the comfort of your living room and into the mud of a make-shift campsite. Here's mine, starting with the opener and ending with the headliner:

Since The Beatles in 1961 were not a festival band!

Let me try this in order too, and I will forget at least ten other bands before the next hour is done. I'm appalled at my lack of women on this list.

Belle and Sebastian
Arcade Fire
Talking Heads
Lucinda Williams
The Clash
Creedence Clearwater Revival (ca. 1969)
Otis Redding
The Who (ca. 1971)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

I've seen seven of these bands. I'm counting John Fogerty for CCR and The Who in 1982, despite the lack of Keith Moon. Weird, I saw the Who and The Clash at the same show in Buffalo.

Jimi Hendrix opens for no one, not even The Monkees.

If this list went to eleven I'd add Queen to the line-up.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Car Trauma

After many months of noise and one failed attempt at repair, the noise that my car's exhaust was making has finally been fixed.

This summer has been irritating; all the heat, the longer commute in a car that has black leather seats, no air-conditioning and a CD player that has had better days. So when you can't hear yourself think when you start the car, or accelerate, because something in the tailpipe is blowing up - there's not much relaxing. No Fahrvergn├╝gen.

The noise had escalated, and I returned to Mad Hatter Muffler for another shot at hope. Initially I was told there is a small hole in the muffler, but that was not causing the major noise. I know there could be a problem with the exhaust manifold, and understand it would cost a few hundred bucks to repair. It's a 22 year old Volvo with 237.000 miles on it, there are some repairs that would not be worth the expense. The mechanic and I talked about this, but then he said he'd take the car off the lift and take a closer look.

He emerged from the garage area with a diagnosis of a broken gasket between the manifold and the downpipe. The cost, about $50, which would have been so much more if I had gone to a dealer or just about any other shop I can think of. If you're having trouble with your exhaust system, I highly recommend Mad Hatter Muffler, they've done good by me several times in the past few years. Yes, that was a plug.

With the gasket repaired I started the car and heard...the engine, and little else. Idling is quiet, acceleration sounds normal. I keep flinching, waiting for the loud sound to happen, but it does not. The relief is incredible.

There's still a bit of life in the 760 yet. Not sure if there's enough to go to Buffalo in it come October though. At least the rest of the summer will be quieter.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No One Received a Score of 2.3

There's something to be said about the topic du jour during a poetry slam. Some nights it's about domestic violence, some divorce, some nights there is no theme at all.

Not last night.

I told my Scottish Wife before the draw that I'd get the first or second slot and I was right. I drew second.

In preparation for this slam I pretty much had the poems I would be reading in mind, and in order. So when Ethan started off with a poem about LeBron James I was in a bit of a quandary for, you see, I had already planned on using my LeBron James poem in the first round as the poem I wanted to use in round two I did not think would be the right fit that early.

Thought about switching for a second, then said screw it and took the risk. So I did the second of two LeBron James poems coming out of the gate in a poetry slam and did well with it, even scoring a few notches higher than the first LeBron James poem.

We all sail through round one. I end up in fifth place overall.

Joanna reads second in round two and guess what she does? That's right, another poem about LeBron James. It goes over well.

I read an older poem, one that mentions a certain malt beverage without actually naming the item. It's a younger crowd and I'm not sure the kids are getting the references, but I can definitely hear that some people were getting it. But when I was done Scott came up to me and asked what that was about? Dude's heard me read it before, in a slam. What?!?

Weird happenings all around.

I'm having fun, so I sidle up to Louise and offer her a dollar if she reads a LeBron James poem. She shows me the poem she was about to read. Oh well.

But wait, I then see her scribbling something and I'm thinking, nah, she's just doing some small editing, adding a line or two.

Turns out, she was editing LeBron James' name into her poem. So the place is going nuts, I throw the promised dollar at her, Vernell throws keys, it was a great night!

The tally.

Four poems about LeBron James.

There were sixteen poems read in last night's slam. 25% of the poems mentioned LeBron James.

Of the four poets who wrote about Lebron James only one of them, Joanna, earned points by finishing in second.

The winning poet, Rachel, did not do a poem about LeBron James.

Only two IWPS qualifying slams remain. I got to get my butt in gear or it's going to be a like a Super Bowl champion not even making the playoffs the following year.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spread it Around

This is no secret blog. It's public in that there's nothing going on here that I'd hide from my wife, child, mother or boss.

I put the Share This option just to see if it works. Feel free to work it. I'm not going to put the box in which you check if you think this post is funny, cool, or whatever.

That's too easy.

If I had time I'd post a longer review of Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne. Until then, here's a preview to whet your appetites.

Good stuff there, am I right?

Readership is up. Or, the number of hits this page has had in increasing a bit more than gradually. Thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That Darn Closure

Still thinking about Andyman's passing. My first wife was a disc jockey on his station for a brief time. Triggered me a bit with the question I was asked a couple of weeks ago. She made some very cruel posts about me on craigslist a few years back then accused me of spying on her when I called her on them.

I never did get an answer to my question. How is seeing posts made in a pubic message board, or a blog or website that is public and not password protected considered spying?

If you put material out there for the public to see you should be responsible and know who is going to be a part of the audience. It could be anyone. It often is someone you specifically do not want to see what you're ranting about. People do not like to be caught being jerkwads, or sticking their foot deeper and deeper into their mouths. I guess that's what makes them jerkwads. Lord knows I've stuck my keyboard up my ass too many times to mention.

Back to Andyman. Another time when he was the PA announcer for the OSU hockey games he announced a penalty on an opposing player as, "Two minutes for holding the steek."

You read the Facebook and Twitter tributes and you see the impact one person had on people in the city. It will be hard to replace someone who had the personality he had.

Now I'm getting word from wife2 that she does not want to keep the dog. There's nothing wrong with the dog, but she does not think she has the personality to be a fur-mother, or whatever term she used. Better to find out now than later I guess. Now she has to find a home for the sweet guy. Wonder if my son with notice the dog is gone? Something she should have thought through, like so many other schemes she has had, which I'm sure includes marrying me.

Maybe I won't be so damn angsty when the heat breaks, at this rate we're looking at October.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking Calls...

My wife informed me about the death of local radio personality Andyman this morning. I never met him, but his personality, and voice, were everywhere in this city. He'd been a part of the radio scene for almost twenty years.

I remember him when he was the PA announcer for the Ohio State Hockey games. He messed up the pronunciation of Mike Komisarek's hometown. It's Eye-Slip Terrace not Is-lip!

On at least one New Years Eve, he was lowered by a crane at midnight, wearing only a diaper. He did a lot of good for local charities, raised a lot of money and awareness. He loved Columbus, owned a bar that had a tree growing in the middle of it - he was a local version of Falstaff.

He lost a lot a weight, started a family, had three children and will be a voice that is going to be hard to replace.

Over the weekend he drowned while on vacation.

Life is too short. Rest in peace, Andyman. You're missed already.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Water All Over Me

We were invited to a cook out at a friend's house. There is a pool.

Last year we received an invite, but it was about twenty five degrees cooler and raining. Today it was in the upper eighties and quite humid. We got a bit of rain, but that did not damper any of the fun.

He zipped around the pool better than I could. I followed him around, relaxing with a noodle while he went into the deep end (8 1/2 feet) and back. For nostalgia, I did manage to fit a dive in. Even my Scottish Wife managed to put a suit on and cool off.

I'm also putting sunglasses on him while we ride in the car. It will get him used to wearing glasses for the upcoming vision therapy.

He does not seem to mind.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This Will Be Great

It is truly an honor and challenge to be on this stage with Izetta. I was humbled that Will Evans asked me to take part in this event at Writing Wrongs.

Now, I've new poems to write since I'll be using the ones I have for IWPS season. Nice timing.

As one person, who shall remain nameless, has told me, "You're going to get murdered."

Death, will be a pleasant experience.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Keeping Heads Above Water

Yesterday was a very introspective day concerning my thoughts on the internet and social networking. The topic received a thorough and spirited discussion which got me thinking about Columbus and how it is perceived by outsiders.

It also was good for me to vent a little in a productive way. I did not like what Michael Ruhlmam said. I wrote him a reasonable email, not a blog post about wanting him to die in a fire. I got a respectful response. Lines of communication were kept open. Still, not enough for some people, but plenty for me. And it was not the 'celebrity' writing me back. It's the same situation as a poor business transaction, or part of a poetry slam you do not like - it's a good thing to offer on the spot constructive criticism. To find the person in charge and make concerns known. I guess it's easier to archive outrage in a blog or sit in internet purity on a message board than to be proactive.

What do you all think of Columbus? What are you initial reactions to it, especially if you have never lived here? What were your thoughts about it when you found out you were going to live here? I've lived here for twenty years and I'm learning things about it every day.

George Steinbrenner died yesterday. I'm no Yankee fan, while he made sure baseball players got paid well it also made it difficult for those who are not well off to attend a baseball game. In the mid nineties I was at a Clippers game with wife no.1, we were walking though the concourse and I saw a short, portly man. It was Steinbrenner, all by himself, putting ketchup on his burger. I was impressed that he was doing something ordinary, but also thought that the last person who did that for him incorrectly probably got fired, as did the person before that. She went to talk to him and had a casual conversation. She told me as she started talking to him she could see a look pass over him that meant that he wanted to be left alone but quickly changed to one in which he was dealing with the public. I'm not sure about the conversation, but it was short and not unpleasant.

Here's a video of my son swimming.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Reservations

Sent this to Michael Ruhlman after he ripped on Columbus during Anthony Bourdain's show last night.

Dear Michael,

After watching your appearance on No Reservations last night I have to let you know how uninformed you are about the wide variety of restaurants that are available in Columbus.

Columbus is not the "Land of Applebees" but a growing field of independent chefs who are using locally sourced foods to create spectacular dining. From Alana's to Latitude 41 to dessert at Jeni's Ice Cream - this city's dining establishments are earning the respect of many publications, including Gourmet Magazine, Food and Wine and the New York Times.

Where have you been? When you looked around at Kihachi, what were you looking for? A group of people eating McDonald's take out? For whatever reasons, I expected better from you.

Columbus is right down the road from where you live. Have you ever spend any length of time here experiencing the culinary culture? I know you have been invited by several people to come and eat here. Please take advantage of their generous invitations and you will change you mind about what Columbus has to offer.



Edited 9:45 AM

Michael Ruhlman just send me an apologetic email. Said he did not know how the show was edited and that he hates malls around interstates, and that is probably what he was referring to. Also said he has not spent enough time in Columbus to form an opinion and that he meant no offense.

I respect that.

That felt much better than spouting off and doing nothing about it. Problem. Reasonable complaint. Positive response. Group hug.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cese Fabergas Changed the Complexion of the Match

Yesterday was my parents 39th wedding anniversary. Mom was in the hospital earlier this month so I'm happy she was home for it. The frustration continues, being so far away from them. Airfare is ridiculous right now, and for the foreseeable future.

Just did the math, had I stayed married the first time, the end of this month would have marked twenty five years. A tarnished hunk of silver for sure.

I was asked Friday what I'd do if my first wife showed up at the radio reunion in October. I honestly did not have a good answer. She's the one who tried to interfere in my second marriage. Called me a sociopath after lying to my face. She's very bitter. This is not the time for bon mots.

My son has been making improvement in the pool. He's been going underwater on his own. Swimming along, putting his head under, very cute. I'll post video when I get time to upload it.

Fun night of music and poetry on Saturday at a friend's place. They have a cool music room in their house. Piano and drums, people were playing some very pleasant blues. A bunch of us read a few poems. I ended up playing Words of Love to an empty room. Then we got home in time to watch Doctor Who. We follow on BBC America so we're still two weeks behind everyone who watches on the torrents.

The World Cup has ended. Kudos to South Africa for putting up a great event. No love for vuvuzelas and even less love for FIFA and some wretched officiating. Much love to Spain for finally winning the whole thing. I called it! Cese set up the goal!

EPL starts next month. Celtic are playing Man U. on Friday in Toronto. I should be going to a Crew game on Wednesday night. Good things are happening for my wife at her job. It's a busy life.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One Way to Earn Respect

I was so excited a few months ago when it was announced that Squeeze and Cheap Trick would be touring, together. I had never seen either band and the nostalgia appeal was too good to pass up. Plus, tickets after the ridiculous fees were only $28 each. So I had to go.

My Scottish Wife was familiar with some of Squeeze's songs but had only heard just one or two Cheap Trick songs. She was interested, and once the rain stopped and a few beers at Barley's we were all looking forward to the show.

Squeeze opened. It was their first show on this leg of the tour.

They opened with Black Coffee in Bed. Then tried to turn it into a singalong, which really was not the best way to handle it. Turning the opening song into an extended jam was not a good idea either.

They sounded a bit tired, or not used to the idea of playing together yet. I have to say that Glenn Tilbrook sounded fantastic. Chris Difford, on the other hand, phoned in Cool for Cats.

They dug deep into their back catalog, included a couple of songs from the Difford & Tilbrook record, which was quite the surprise. Plus, a nice version of Someone Else's Bell from East Side Story, which is a record that lived on my turntable during freshman year of college.

We were a bit disappointed they did not do Another Nail in My Heart or Pulling Mussels from the Shell, it was still a good time.

For whatever reasons I've never been able to take Cheap Trick seriously. Live at Budokan is certainly a fine live album. Dream Police and Surrender are great songs, but the rest always seemed uneven to me. Then there was The Flame, and the horrors that come from that song.

So I was very curious as to what kind of show they'd give.

Jesus I was impressed from the start. The energy these guys can still put out after being together for over thirty five years is very impressive. Robin Zander has developed and kept some serious vocal chops, and at the age of fifty seven can still wail with the best of them. Rick Neilsen has an untold number of guitars, (he brought out the five necked one!) and can play them all with the best of all the guitar heroes. Incredibly, at the age of sixty three, he was running around the stage with the energy of a twenty something.

They performed a few hits amidst some what may have been some newer or even some deep cuts from the older records. It did not matter, what they did rocked the shit out of the place!

A memorable moment came during Dream Police when a police helicopter went over the LC and shined its spotlight on the crowd. One of the freakiest thing I've ever seen at a show. No way this could have been planned, right? Also on the weird scale is that my ex wife's ex boyfriend saw me there and texted her. He also saw us at Cuco's on Thursday night. Who is stalking who? And hey someone from Florida who looked here for a long time yesterday, how about an introduction?

After finally seeing Cheap Trick I seriously have to wonder why these guys are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was boycotting the place until Ronnie Spector got in. Now, there is another legitimate reason to not go.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Rhythm of the Heat

It's been quite hot here. Not east coast hot, but we landlocked people do not have any form of a cooling ocean breeze to rely on - just stagnant air and increasing humidity.

So last night I dressed for open mic as if I was headed to the beach. Shorts, t-shirt with holes in it, Chucks with no socks. Then my wife comes down in a nice summer dress and I'm left feeling like a complete dork.

Dirty Franks was packed so we went a couple doors down to the recently reopened Little Palace for dinner. Had the greasiest cheeseburger I've eaten in years. Still not sure if that was good or bad. The server had an uncanny knack of asking how your food was while you're in mid-bite. She was a bit smothering in that aspect of service, and disappeared when it came to paying the check. I've had far worse dining experiences, but I'm not sold on the reboot.

Got to open mic and immediately discovered that the zipper on my shorts broke. I was in a minor pickle, so to speak. Let my wife and Linc know since I was sitting between them. Luckily my shirt was long enough to cover up any wardrobe malfunction. I was still a bit self conscious getting up on stage and reading. I had a secret.

Did a new poem that came from a Facebook prompt. Write a biblical persona poem, the prompt suggested. I've only written a couple of persona poems, they're not my favorite unless the right person is doing them. And by right person I mean Dee Matthews. I've written one from the point of view of Juan Valdez's burro, which tells you, well, what the persona poem means to me.

What I know about the bible you can put on the head of a pin, but in the shower I came up with the idea, wrote it down in about fifteen minutes. Did about five minutes of "research" and tweaked it a bit. It's called David's Rock and I think it went over well. When Rose Smith high fived me after I suspected something worked. Still needs some oomph, but I'm satisfied.

Good quality work at Writers' Block last night. I'll not be able to look at a school bus for awhile without thinking of something illicit involving the bus, a pervert and a trailer. Thanks for the image, poet!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Guess They Like the Water

It's not that I do not get along with my eastern neighbors, it's that so few tenants are around long enough to even say hello to. In nearly eight years of living here, few have ever lived there longer than three months. The latest tenants moved in last month, one of them frightening me with obesity, no shirt and a lower outfit that showed more than it covered.

They also installed one of those inflatable water slides and left the fan on for it 24/7. Over the past couple of days they have taken down a couple of small trees that border the property and put up what appears to be an 18' by 12' above ground oval pool. Also embedded in the ground are several tiki type torches. May they live there long enough to enjoy them this summer.

In other news my ex adopted a dog from the city shelter. He's a three year old beagle who, when I met, seemed quite friendly and curious - or maybe he was happy to see anyone after being let out of jail. She got him as a companion for our son, and I honestly hope my son and the dog can bond. I've read about therapy dogs and autistic children and it can really improve everyone's quality of life. The real thing is a bit expensive so I'm hoping she made the right choice in dog temperament. I'm optimistic. They meet for the first extended visit after camp today.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Snooking in the Heat

I'm not really a reader of true crime books, but occasionally I'll jump at one when it crosses my desk.

Gold Medal Killer is about a notorious crime that happened in Columbus in 1929. In short, a respected Veterinary faculty member of the Ohio State University and a gold medal winner for pistol shooting in the 1920 Olympics was having an affair with a woman half his age. He ended up killing her at a shooting range at the corner of Fisher and Dublin Road.

Many details of their sex lives were exposed at the trial, and it was a the scandalous trial of the day.

James Snook was convicted of the crime of first degree murder of Theora Hix and was put to death in the electric chair. For sixty five years, the location of his body was kept secret. The rest of that story is here.

How many times can you say you have seen the grave of an Olympic gold medalist who was executed? And right in Columbus.

I think the story is more interesting than the book, and perhaps an author with more talent could have told it in a better style. Gold Medal Killer is worth seeking out though for its capture of an era of Columbus history.

While at Greenlawn, near the Snook grave, I noticed this juxtaposition.

My wife thinks it would be even funnier if I were fifteen again.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Amidst all the World Cup action

There's a very cool little place in the Short North we went to on Thursday night. I do not know much about authentic New Orleans or cajun food, but Da Levee is quite satisfying. The menu changes daily, and is small, but it also has vegetarian options. Entrees are seven bucks, and you get plenty of food. You're also given the option of splitting your entrees and getting a half order of two items. This is a deal and a great way to try different food. I had red beans and sausage and the chicken creole and was quite pleased with both.

There was only one person working when we got there, and he had our food out practically by the time we walked to the table. Very friendly. There's also an arcade basketball game in the back. My wife went to the restroom and while I was talking to the owner he heard the beeping and said, "I think she's found the basketball game."

She beat me, so we have to go back for a rematch.

It was a lovely night to be out. High Street was quite busy. A lot of fine looking women strolling about. Then there was this kid in a faux sombrero, trying to get us to sign up and pay to save the environment, a block later another your lady asked us to Save the Children, and further down someone else was being asked to save Lake Erie.

I really do not mind solicitors, but unlike panhandlers they follow you, and try to inflict guilt on you. When you get saturated with charities every block, you get fatigued, and these people dehumanize giving.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hey, it's the First of July

It was an eleven person slam last night at Writers’ Block. I drew third and presented a new rant. Not sure if an inferior poem did not go over well, or if I did not have the lungs to present it. Maybe it was a combination of both as I placed ninth in the round.

Scores were low, which I always like so as the second round scores were coming in low I thought I could sneak up and maybe snatch third place. Did My Thunder, which went over very well, just enough to miss third place by two tenths of a point. Not a bad climb, but no points. A fun night overall. No one is really blowing me away right now though, and I include myself in this criticism. A lot of tired and distracted poets, busy too. Being sick is no excuse, really, but I’ve lacked the lungpower to get it right the past couple of weeks.

The social schedule kicks in next weekend. Squeeze and Cheap Trick are next Friday, parties on the weekend. More activities will come as the month progresses.

Google analytics is a rather fascinating way of finding out who is looking in here, and for how long.

Been lax on posting pictures lately, perhaps there will be an update this weekend. Depends on how busy the boy wants to be. Really have to get some rest between World Cup matches (Go Spain!) and swimming. The heat is supposed to increase again.