Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Man and His Love

Yeah, he went there. This guy is brilliant, a shame he does not tour in the U.S. due to a lack of a market.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Down for Maintenance

The laptop is in the shop so I'm not quite sure when the blogging can recommence.

Here's a great book you should be reading in the meantime. Not for the squeamish as it has santorum coming out of many of the pages.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I've Got Something Inside of Me!

This was from a 1972 appearance on the Dinah Shore Show. Had not seen this interpretation of the Harry Chapin song, until today.

I am, once again, forever changed by Shatner

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tapping on the Shell

I was able to speak to one of my son’s therapists at school yesterday when I picked him up for his vision therapy. They’re using sentence strips with him, to encourage language use, and reading. He seems to have a lot of fun with the strips and his use of phrases starting with the words, “I want…” is increasing.

She told me he was on the computer, and he left his seat to go to his box where all the sentence strips are kept. He rummaged around the box, looking for the right strip. Then went to the work table with the strip in hand and waited for one of the aides to come by.

The strip said, “I want a walk,” which means he wants to take a little break, a stroll in the school hallway. So he got his walk.

To get him off the computer with no fuss is a major accomplishment in itself. For him to leave it voluntarily is huge.

Another important thing to come out of this is that we know he can read.

His vision therapy is going very well also. His therapist said he works well on a slant board and was doing a fantastic job at connecting dots, with the prism lenses on. With the prism lenses off, he did not do so well. She asked me if I would ask his teacher if he can use the lenses in class for a few minutes each day. I asked his teacher last night and she agreed. He’s not going to be wearing them during recess or anything, but when he’s working at a table, on writing skills.

These are positive steps. He is much calmer these days. Whether or not it's his age, being back at school or the sensory learning that started back in June is not really relevant. He's adapting, slowly, but noticably. His sleeping has also improved, even though he was up at 5AM on Tuesday morning. Toilet training though, is another issue entirely.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Your Time is Gonna Come

Dreamed last night that my son was standing by a piece of paper on the floor. He had a marker in his hand, bent over and wrote Led Zeppelin quite legibly on the paper. Somehow, it was implied that he wanted to listen to the first album.

Maybe he liked the graphics, or wanted to hear Good Times, Bad Times. It's almost time to wake him up. He was awake at 5AM, being Mr. Giggles. It's hard to reach him when he will not stop laughing for reasons unknown, or when he repeats the same words in a circular pattern.

His mother emailed me yesterday and asked if we were going to be home when he got off the bus on Wednesday. I told her no. She replied 'good' because her mother was going to be getting him off the bus that day and she did not want the potential for a confrontation.

Is this shit still going on?

That's moving forward? Gives me little reason to be optimistic about my college homecoming in a couple of weeks. My first wife is allegedly going to be there and who knows what type of buried drama is going to be stirred up.

I do not know why I compared the situations. Two different things. Or are they? It's baggage no one needs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep

Had a very relaxing weekend in the middle of nowhere, Ohio. It was good to unplug, even though we discovered the cabin had Direct TV. The woods are not quiet. The roof was bombarded by random assaults of walnuts. Even our hike was dangerous, as we we dodged a constant dropping of hickory nuts.

Ever eat a tree? Many parts are edible.

I built a fire, on my own, out of logs and a few Sunday editions of the Akron Beacon Journal. Eventually it burned on its own, and I figured out how to open the damper so we did not die of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It was an easy two hour drive. The car did well enough, getting almost 25 miles per gallon. Something's up with the tailpipe though.

Took today off to make sure the gas meter got read and to have the furnace looked at. It conked out on us in April and it's time to get it ready for winter. It's been having a repetitive issue with the pressure switch, which is easily fixable but there's a new twist to each repair.

I'm really digging Band of Joy, the new Robert Plant album. He has Patti Griffin as his foil this time around and it's quite gritter than Alison Krauss on Raising Sand.

One thing I admire about Plant's post Led Zeppelin career is that he's not coasting on his accomplishments. Sure, he's worked with Jimmy Page and done the one off reunion concert, but he's not peddling the same old show the way many, many, many other rockers of his generation continue to do to this very day. I'm not going to name names, but you can guess a few.

He also looks his age. Every one of his 62 years.

He's challenged himself by working with a diverse and talented cast of musicians and reworking the folk rock that influenced him. My one complaint is that he's not doing any originals, where are they at? Buddy Miller's collaboration is much rawer and looser than T-Bone Burnett's polish. Band of Joy is going to be one my favorite records this year.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The New Retail God

Spoonful Records came through again, without even asking. The owner posted that he had some new vinyl in, including Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More."

I immediately asked what he was asking for it. He told me, and I said I'd be there in less than an hour.

This is excellent customer service in the age of social media. Odd that the next time I would have been there I was going to ask him if he could get this for me. Knowing a customer needs without asking, that's amazing!

Now I'm on my second spin of this record, and it sounds so much better than on the laptop. The vinyl is thick! The sleeve was shrink wrapped! I think it's the second new vinyl I've purchased in years, the last being Mossy Liquor by Robyn Hitchcock - that would have been 1996,

Going on a bit of a road trip after a half day of work. You kids have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Put Me in Coach, I'm Ready to Play

Had a dream that we were stuck in traffic headed north on 71, just south of the 70/71 split by the Greenlawn Avenue exit. The windows were open and we could hear Bill Campana reading poetry at the Berliner Park softball fields.

What was not a dream was going to the Clippers game last night. It was game two of the Governor's Cup playoffs and the hometown heroes had won Tuesday night 18-5. The Clippers had very solid starting pitching and timely home runs and shut out Durham 4-0.

Even with my dollar scorecard and lineup I had no idea who any of the players are. Usually there have been a couple of names I recognized from a roster. A player that's hanging on to his career by playing in the minors. I'm simply not following the game the way I used to.

We sat in the second row, third base side. The great thing about the minors is that the players will have some fan interaction. Major leaguers will simply ignore you while they collect a paycheck to hit .228. Here they'll nod their head at you, put a smirk on their face after a good heckle. Between innings, the left fielder overthrew a ball while having a bit of a tiff with the guy warming him up. The ball flew into the stands, nearly hitting a woman in the head. Both players came over to them and apologized.

I have a streak going that has reached 39 years now. At the first game I attended, on my seventh birthday, a foul ball came toward me, fast. The man in front of me stuck out his hand caught the ball on the fly. I can still hear the sizzle of the ball and the slap the ball made on his hand. It would have caused some damage to me if I'd made an attempt to catch the ball.

Years go by, lots of Clippers games go by until, at a game in Cleveland there's a pop foul into the stands, and it lands in the tote bag my wife was using as a glove.

Last night, a foul ball flies into the stands behind us. The ball bounces off the brick wall of the concourse and richocets towards the field. It goes over my head and slips over the rail in front of a man, sitting in front of my wife, in a Derek Jeter jersey and goes onto the field. Third base umpire gives him the ball.

Still counting.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Image chosen at random from results of entering "I am nothing" into Google's image search box

When Ink is Glue

These walls are yours
Use the floors as you wish
Press on the stairs with
pencil point fingertips
Stand on your hands, push
the cracked ceiling with your heels
Make the windows shine by cleaning
strawberry breath from them
You do not have to work anymore
This roof is solid
The foundation is secure
when the heat comes from you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'd sooner put some joy back

I'm still not sure why any of Paul Weller's efforts, The Jam or Style Council never caught on in the U.S. Maybe he was took political, or too powerful of a songwriter for American audiences and radio to grasp. When The Jam broke up, the first album of the Style Council caused a lot of banter and discussion at my college radio station about how Weller had sold out rock for smooth jazz. I was not among them, I thought it was a clever new sound, and loved the energy, but what I know about jazz you can put on the head of a pin.

I've been going back to my vinyl and playing the few records I have of them over and over. It's a great sound of rock trio strongly influenced by The Who to impressive pop with underlayings of soul. I have to say I prefer The Jam of all his material, which should not come as a surprise. Weller still has the passion to this day.

While Weller is viewed as a cantankerous legend in his native country he's a cult musician over here. I have a couple of his solo records but have never really connected with them, but what I've heard from his new record is pretty darn good. At least the music is easy to find.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happenings Minutes Ago

One of my poems is included in the Language of the Art exhibit now on display at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Poets were assigned works of art from local photographers and artists and asked to write an ekphratic poem.

I received a photograph called Bloodless Beasts and wrote this poem about it.

It was very cool to meet the photographer, Ed Elberfeld, to discuss the photograph and poem.

We hit it off very well. My assessment of what the picture was of matched where he had taken it. I worried about that. Soon, I'm going to send him one of my poems and he's going to send me an image. I like this type of collaborative effort and find it odd that I have not explored this in my own work.

The reading that coincided with the exhibit was wonderful. Many of the poets read their work and got to meet the artists involved.

Kudos to the German Village Art League, Scott Woods and all the collaborators for this exhibit, which runs through October 22nd.

After an exhausting effort that took no less than two mobile phone companies and being unable to activate a phone online to having it take an hour to do in an actual store with an actual person helping - we now have a cell phone.

My lovely wife is currently painting the dining room. I'm proud of her.

When is this country, as a whole, going to have the resolve to heal itself after 9/11/01? Yes, I understand it was a horrible day and the lives of many were changed, forever. I'm wondering if the victims would like it if we had their memories battered over our heads. Thing is, it's not just on the anniversary, but the other 364 days too. How can anyone move forward from that?

I'm starting to resent being told I have to be patriotic today (of all days) and being reminded to "never forget."

How can anyone forget?

I love the stories, the memories. We all have them to share and I honor those.

Anyway, here's a picture of the kid with his hair cut.

Been quite the week. Weirdness with cell phones, and other store transactions that went awry, being snubbed by someone you have not seen in thirteen years. I said hello, was definitely seen but walked right by, to forgetting to bring my son's swim trunks to his lesson this morning. It's said that Mercury is in retrograde. How does that explain my coming in third at the Upper Arlington slam or Everton scoring two goals in extra time to tie Manchester United?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No One Sleeps On the Yellow Lines, No One's That Alone

After the flood hit the basement, out of the vinyl that was damaged and had to be thrown away there were two records that I really missed.

One was George Harrison's 33 1/3, the other was Warren Zevon's The Envoy.

A few weeks back I went to the new downtown record store, Spoonful Records. I found 33 1/3 within minutes. After speaking with Brett, the owner, I felt confident that he'd find The Envoy for me.

Yesterday I got a Facebook message that he found it, and asked if I still wanted it.

This morning, I'm sitting in the back room, drinking juice with the sun rising to my right and The Envoy is playing on my turntable. All is right in the world for the moment.

That's what I call great customer service. He's won my loyalty. These are not valuable records, nor are they the greatest music ever made, but they both have some meaning to me and having them on vinyl again is such a thrill - and that's what being a music fan and record collector is all about.

Next time I go there, I'm playing a couple of games of pinball!

I did some other shopping in the recent past. After winning IWPS we always talked about having a green jacket to pass on to the champion. That could cause logistical problems regarding the size of the jacket. There's no one size fits all here and I do not think a green snuggie is going to fly.

So I went looking for an object, a Stanley Cup of poetry if I may say so. After looking in no less than five thrift shops one Saturday afternoon, the object came to me, in the last place I looked, in the last store I was to look in before giving up the quest.

I sent a picture of the object to my friend Beverly and asked her if she would be able to bedazzle it for Writers' Block. Happily, she agreed and did an amazing job adorning it. Really. I did not see it clearly until I opened it up in the bathroom at Kafe Kerouac. It's an amazing piece of craftsmanship.

Last night I got to present Vernell with the hardware, that is now called The Uni. I think she likes it.

There are rules and responsibilities to owning The Uni, the main one being that it must be handed down from Writers' Block IWPS Champion to the next. There is only one Uni.

No pictures yet, if you have not seen it I want you to imagine what it looks like, but they are coming soon.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

There's a Whole Abundance of Trees Here, You Might Even See Deer

Everything I love and am repulsed by about Long Island is summed up nicely in this four minute package.

Where I grew up was so, white. There was one African American in my high school and she was the Vice Principal's daughter. There were over six hundred in my graduating class. The only diversity came from a number of Puerto Rican and Latino students.

It's a nice place to visit but to live there again would be like me moving into a trailer park here.

Where's that sweet looking waterfall though?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Did Not Buy a Broom This Year

Took part in the Upper Arlington Arts Festival Poetry Slam this afternoon. Had a title to defend. Made my way through the crowd, it seemed a lot bigger in scale this year than last year's.

Had my end of summer Lemon Shake Up and found Rose Smith before finding other poets gathered behind the activities tent.

Scott Woods was hosting this year and he gave us the low down. Prizes would be awarded this year. Cash prizes.

"Dollars?" One of the poets exclaimed.

Yup, cash money.

Louise Robertson has the thankless job of going first with no sacrificial poet. Then I went up and did Lincoln Tower: The Grassy Knoll, which is about escaping cows in Ohio. There were only three judges, but there was a good crowd and I scored fourth in the first round.

Wali Crowder arrived just in time and was immediately called to the stage where he knocked the crowd out with Bullets. It was time to get deep.

I did After Birth in the second round. Scott taunted me by reading the scores from high to low. I received two 10's and a 9.7. Nice.

Did not think I scored high enough to get past MeaLea and get into third spot, but I did. I felt just like this.

Never won money before, and I got a certificate. Good times!

After the slam we were awarded our prizes on the main stage and Wali (who won), Rose (2nd) and I each read a poem. I did Daredevils, a good encore. Not many people were there but it was cool.

So, after dealing for the last time with anyone from Virgin Mobile, it was a great ending to a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Richard Branson, on the Other Hand, is on My List

Trying to handle things maturely, at least in public. When you have a bad restaurant experience what is the proper protocol? Saying something then and there? Going to your blog, Facebook or Columbus Underground and nailing the place to a wall? Or contacting the owner after a cooling off period?

The first choice is valid, if you could find a person to speak to, which was not the case at a place we went to last week. We went in, waited many minutes and were ignored while others who had just walked in were taken care of. We left and I sent an email to the manager later that evening.

I was impressed by their quick reply and they were very apologetic and asked if we'd give them another chance, which we did.

We spoke to one of the owners, who was happy we contacted them directly instead of going off online. I'm trying not to do that these days. It's so easy to want people to die in fires after they don't take care of you or put on a poetry slam you did not go to but had the time to complain about after it happened. It's so easy to rip a business to shreds without speaking to the person in charge first. And just to say "so and so" FAIL is really immature. How old are some of these arbiters of the foodie culture when they use the terms 'nom nom' and 'epic fail' in their descriptions?

The food we had was quite good. I pleasantly spiced pulled chicken sandwich, great cocktails and a tiramisu parfait that had me smiling very much when I hit the coffee level of the dessert. Well done!

If you're looking for another place to go in the Short North area, you Knead to go there.

I'll have more to say about this in the days to come, but we bought a cell phone yesterday. Eighteen hours later the network will still not allow us to activate the phone and assign us a phone number. How convenient are these things again?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Change in the Weather

After many listenings, both at home and in the car, I’ve concluded that Arcade Fire’s latest bores the crap out of me. A big revelation in the grand scheme of things, but there it is. There’s no connection between me and this record. None of the songs move me to do anything but turn them down, or off. Yes, it’s about the boring suburbs and the movement of people and children back to their parents’ homes in times of financial peril. I get that. Does not make me care about the music though.

Weird year, most of the music I’ve bought has been disappointing. The music I’ve found through other means has been more exciting and vibrant. What does that mean?

What I’ve heard from KT Tunstall’s upcoming release has not been great.

Hope this does not bode well for the Belle and Sebastian release in October that I have already preordered.

Shifting to poetry: this Monday the sixth, Labor Day, I will be participating in a poetry slam at the Upper Arlington Arts Festival, which is HERE. It all starts at 2:45PM.

Hope to see you there and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Figure Eight as Double Four

The boy had a dentist appointment yesterday. His mouth is going to cost us an arm and a leg. It's a mess. Better to take care of it now before the problems get even more serious. He does not like anyone poking around in his mouth. He does not bite, or hit back, but offers up a strong resistance. He had to be put in a papoose board which is hard to watch. For his next procedures, including a cleaning, he's going to have to be knocked out.

In better news, he's eight years old today!

And I lived to see it.