Friday, December 31, 2010

The last day of this year

There is a choice of tunes in the car again. Bought one of those cassette adapters all the kids are using these days. The kids that have old vehicles with cassette decks in them that is. Took it out of the package right in the parking lot, popped it in the deck, plugged in the iPod and This Time Tomorrow by The Kinks started playing in the speakers. Nice.

Here's that year end meme that makes the round every year at this time.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Was the driver in a car accident.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Did I make any last year? Do I even want to look?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I was starting to know Jeff Abraxas.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More time to travel. A son who is verbal and toilet trained.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 15th, the accident. Could have been so much worse.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
30 poems about autism in 30 days. That was April. Changed a tire on a cold, November night without wanting to hit anything with a tire iron.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being able to pull my son into our world

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A bit of vertigo

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A 1993 Subaru, iPod baby. Bedroom floor.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My Scottish Wife.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Those who vote against their own interest

14. Where did most of your money go?
The mortgage, freaking car repairs.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My son when he decides to poop in the toilet.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Winter Winds - Mumford & Sons

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Not much different, and that has to change
iii. richer or poorer? Um, richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Getting in my son's face, writing

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Goofing off online

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my wife, saw Black Swan, then at Jim's watching Doctor Who

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

23. Did your heart break in 2010?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Men of a Certain Age

25. Where were you when 2010 began?
At home, I was at Scott's but left early

26. Who were you with?
My wife, who was recovering from dental work

27. Where will you be when 2010 ends?
At home, but at Dave's before that

28. Who will you be with when 2010 ends?
With my wife and (hopefully) sleeping son

29. What was the best book you read?
Room - Emma Donaghue

30. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Drew Grow and the Pastors Wives

31. What did you want and get?
My wife to find a good job

32. What did you want and not get?
Published. To get on a slam team

33. What was your favorite film of this year?
Saw so few new ones. Toy Story 3

34. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I think I stayed at home and whined about the heat

35. How many different states did you travel to in 2010?
Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania. Blech

36. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

37. What kept you sane?
My job, my son, Emma.

38. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Readers of this blog already know the answer to that question.

39. What political issue stirred you the most?
Manufactured outrage

40. How many concerts did you see in 2010?
Mumford and Sons, Roger Waters

41. Did you have a favorite concert in 2010?
Mumford and Sons

42. Who was the best new person you met?
I'm not sure if I've met anyone who I can say is the best, really have not been close to anyone new to rate them

43. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
I do not think so

44. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2010?
Turning a two minute poem into one that went on for over three minutes

45. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
Changing a tire on a cold November night is not that difficult as long as there is some lighting

46. What are your plans for 2011?
Travel more, to Long Island and Scotland. Write more. Lose some freaking weight

47. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I want to write a message to you every day at ten o'clock in the evening - Belle & Sebastian

2010 was not a bad year. I'm very lucky.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010, a Year in Poetry

Scott Woods encouraged others to do this so I'm going to take a stab at it.

While I think my work this year suffered due to a lack of writing discipline and distraction, I had a hell of a lot of fun with poetry. If you can't have fun with it, to me, it's not worth doing. This is in random bullet form.

Good memories of this year include the Decathlon Slam at CSCC. Doing the Dozens round against Izetta. Death by Fantasia.

Then there was the Decathlon Slam at Arts Fest. I captained a losing squad, but we kept our dignity by blasting the winning team (including Izetta) with Silly String.

It was an honor to be invited to the Face Off Slam at Writing Wrongs. I went head to head with Izetta, and lost again.

Anyone else detecting a pattern here?

There were some fine features at Writers Block this past year. A few memories are Adam Stone's "Robert Frost Checking his Netflix Queue" poem, Bill Campana's "When Love Met Love" and Jon Sands hitting the stage again and again.

Some nights after Writers' Block, you need a Silkwood Shower. Triggers include Mountain Love. Legs of Silk. Shake and Bake. Irene Cara's Raisinets.

Another honor was being included in the Language of the Art exhibit at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. My poem and Ed Elberfeld's photography together was a good combination we both learned from.

Creating the Uni with Beverly Wilkinson, hardware for the IWPS Champion. Had a lot of fun with that and hope to sustain a tradition.

Came in third place at the Upper Arlington Arts Festival Poetry Slam. Izetta was not there.

Thanks to Tyrone I wrote "Knocking You in the Bluetooth", a poem about cell phones going off during poetry readings.

I tried upping my game a bit with a trio of Persona poems, subjects that only I can come up with: An Obscene Phone Call from Mr. Potato Head. David's Rock, about, yes, that rock. Juan Valdez's Donkey Speaks.

The LeBron James slam. Ethan started the slam with a poem about the freshly departed basketball player. I followed with another. Joanna referenced him in one of her poems and I paid Louise a dollar to do the same.

A fun piece inspired by actual events was formed right before a staff meeting. Lincoln Tower, the Grassy Knoll - the poem about the Cows, thanks Henry.

Completed the exhausting task of writing 30 Autism poems in April. Autism Awareness Month and National Poetry Month gave my brain a workout and forced me to write in a few unfamiliar forms

I wrote two pantoums!

Featured at Cover Me! in January. Thanks Nick.

I'm sure I forgot something. The fine poetry that I witnessed at WoW, the establishment of the No Touching Party. 2011 is going to be nothing but a continuation of the journey. I'd like to thank my wife, and everyone at Writers' Block for all of their support, and to you for reading.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame

I've enjoyed reading Scott Woods' recap of his year in poetry. Don't know if I can do a top ten, but I think I can go back and pull of few of the most memorable moments down. Give me a day or two.

Headed back to work after a six day vacation. The child goes back to school on Monday. Not a moment too soon. He was bouncing off the walls from about six yesterday morning to ten at night. At least he slept without interruption.

Here's a list of all the movies I saw this year. They're not ranked. If I hated any of them I would have mentioned that already. Ok, I hated Hamlet 2. A few might be missing due to the hard drive failure but most of them are here. It's a pathetic list, but I don't get out to see movies as much as I used to, and I suffer through a lot of Blue Jackets games. Time in which it could be said would be better spent watching a good film.

Film 2010

1) I've Loved You So Long
2) The Horse Boy
3) What's Up Doc?
4) How to Draw a Bunny
5) Slamnation
6) In the Loop
7) The Crowd (1928)
8) Midnight Cowboy
9) The Hangover
10) District 9
11) The Reader
12) Kill Bill Part One
13) Kill Bill Part 2
14) The A-Team
15) The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo
16) The Art of the Steal
17) Dumbo
18) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
19) Hot Fuzz
20) Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
21) Matinee
22) Crazy Heart
23) Au hasard balthazar
24) Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
25) Sherlock Jr.
26) Horse Feathers
27) Duck Soup
28) Second Chances
29) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
30) Inception
31) This Mortal Coil
32) To Be or Not To Be
33) The Kinks: You Really Got Me
34) Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff + Robert Mapplethorpe
35) The Sting
36) The Kid
37) Anvil - The True Story of Anvil
38) The Girl Who Played With Fire
39) The Girl Who Kicked in the Hornet's Nest
40) Where the Wild Things Are
41) Hamlet 2
42) A State of Mind
43) The Great Santini
44) 101 Dalmations
45) Toy Story 3
46) Peter Pan (1953)
47) Black Swan
48) Red

Monday, December 27, 2010

It Could Have Been Worse

Spent a fair amount of time and money in three repair shops on Thursday and Today. When you buy a used car, cheap, it's going to be far from perfect. First I had the brakes fixed, this morning the exhaust and in the afternoon I had the thermostat replaced.

The car now stops, sounds quiet and has amazing heat. There are a few more things that need to be taken care of, but not yet. Probably after we return from our trip east in two weeks.

Hoping we have better weather than what's been going on the past couple of weekends. Long Island got socked with snow. Luckily one of my brothers and nephew helped dig my parents out. They're not getting younger, and my stepfather has a bad shoulder that prohibits him from a lot of physical activity. So I worry.

Tomorrow, my oldest brother turns fifty - and I'm right behind him.

Going to combine this entry with a list of the books I read this year. I did read a few more than this, but they were lost to bad memory and a failed hard drive. Not time to give lengthy reviews, but if you see three stars it means the book was very good. Four stars is a superior read. No stars means I got through it, but it was nothing special.

So here's the list of the books I read in 2010.

1) We're Going to See the Beatles. Garry Berman. 284 p.
2) Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend. Larry Tye. 392 p.
3) A Couple of Ways of Doing Something. Chuck Close, Bob Holman
4) No Poet's Corner in the Abbey - David Phillips. 222 p.
5) The Horse Boy - Rupert Isaacson.357 p. ***
6) Tooth and Nail. Ian Rankin. 290 p. ***
7) Words in Your Face. Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz. 371 p. ***
8) Open: An Autobiography. Andre Agassi. 385 p. ***
9) Corn Flakes with John Lennon. Robert Hilburn. 296 p.
10) Just Kids. Patti Smith. 278 p. ***
11) Sakura Park. Rachel Wetzteon. 115 p.
12) Marriage and Other Acts of Charity. Kate Braestrup. 217 p.
13) Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine and the End of France. Michael Sternberger. 243 p.
14) Point Omega. Don Delillo. 117 p.
15) As it was Written. Sujatha Hampton. 370 p.
16) Me, the Mob and the Music. Tommy James with Martin Fitzpatrick. 227 p.
17) Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. Barbara Demick. 314 p. ***
18) Marilyn Johnson - This Book is Overdue. How Libraries and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. 272 p.
19) The United States of Poetry. 176 p.
20) Secret Historian - The Life & Times of Samuel Steward. Justin Spring. 478 p. **** (best non-fiction)
21) The Half Life of Planets. Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin. 247 p. ***
22) You Lost Me There. Rosencrans Baldwin. 296 p. ***
23) Eaarth. Bill McKibben. 253 p. ***
24) Lay the Favorites - A Memoir of Gambling. Beth Rayner. 228 p.
25) Pat Conroy - My Reading History. 337 p. ***
26) Emma Donaguhe - Room. 321 p. **** (best fiction)
27) Keith Richards - Life. 564 p. ***
28) Patricia Smith - Big Towns, Big Talk. 114 p.
29) Maus Book 1. Art Spiegelman. 158 p. ****
30) Great House. Nicole Krauss. 289 p.
31) Gold Medal Killer. Diana Britt Franklin. 210 p.
32) Pat Benatar - Between a Rock and a Hard Place. 256 p. ***
33) The Passage - Justin Cronin. 784 p.
34) The Outside Boy - Jeanine Cummins. 384 p.
35) Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend - James S. Hirsch. 640 p. ***
36) The Autism Mom's Survival Guide (For Dad's Too) - Susan Senator. 208 p. ***
37) Ian Rankin - Strip Jack. 320 p. ***
38) This Body of Death - Elizabeth George. 692 p. ***
39) Tooth and Nail - Ian Rankin. 304 p.
40) A Good Hanging - Ian Rankin. 253 p.
41) Little Bee - Chris Cleave. 304 p.
42) The Emptiness of Our Hands: A Lent Lived on the Streets - Phyllis Cole-Dai & James Murray. 243 p. ***
43) The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron - Howard Bryant. 624 p. ***
44) Shutout - Brendan Halpin. 189 p.
45) Paul Murray - Skippy Dies. 672 p. ***
46) Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteynegert.. 352 p. ***
47) Medium Raw - Anthony Bourdain. 304 p.
48) Poisoner's Handbook - Deborah Blum. 336 p. ***
49) Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So - Mark Vonnegut. 203 p.
50) Wilson - Daniel Clowes - 77 p.
51) How to Read the Air - Dinaw Mengestu - 305 p.
52) Voices of Autism: The Healing Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort and Strength. 243 p.
53) Solar - Ian McEwan. 304 p. 480 p.
54) Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Daniel Okrent.
55) An Object of Beauty - Steve Martin. 304 p. ***
56) Stephen King - Full Dark, No Stars. 368 p. ***
57) The Walking Dead Volume One - Robert Kirkham and Tony Moore
58) Jennifer Egan - A Visit from the Goon Squad. 288 p.
59) Ian Rankin - The Black Room. 336 p.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thought I Knew it All Baby

Teena Marie died today at the age of 54. She was Madonna before Madonna. A white woman who was quite funky.

I always liked playing that one.

Just turned off the television after the Blackhawks went on top of the Blue Jackets 3-0. This team could not score in a bordello with pockets stuffed with $100 bills. Coach Arniel has to be scratching his head, a lot, wondering what he got himself into in his rookie season as a head coach in the NHL. A team that has little offense, no talent on defense and a goaltender who developed the hockey equivalent of Steve Blass Syndrome.

What to do about this team? No idea. Upper level management, above GM Scott Howson even, needs to be reassessed and possibly replaced, as does the scouting system. Does ownership really care about this team being in Columbus after John McConnell died? People are not paying to see this team play and can you blame them?

In the short term this team needs a shake up, one that can be started by replacing captain Rick Nash with R.J. Umberger. Nash needs to concentrate on scoring. Period. Umberger hates to lose and I think he has the ability to be accountable on the ice and make sure his teammates are as well.

There's very little in the farm system. A lot of bodies, undeveloped young talent, and little else. You can say a trade is needed, but the team has little to offer. It could be ten out of eleven seasons that the Blue Jackets do not make the playoffs, a sad display of a sadder franchise.

Friday, December 24, 2010

That's Not My Blog Post!

I am now an owner of a 1993 Subaru Legacy Station Wagon. It looks like this, but a bit dingier.

It has low mileage, 133K. For a 17 year old car that averages out to about 8,000 miles a year. Has not been driven much. I've had the brake pads replaced and will have the exhaust fixed on Monday. The engine has more pep than expected.

My son joined me as I signed the paperwork, went to the exhaust repair shop for the sticker shock and got the oil changed. He behaved wonderfully.

Returned the rental, someone might need it. I was very impressed with the Hyundai Elantra. When I rented the Accent back in October, I was unimpressed with it because of it's highway boredom, small gas tank and poor gas economy.

The Elantra has a lot of zip, was very comfortable to be in. Wish I had it longer because it had a plug in for an iPod.

Also have to once again give props to the staff at Enterprise on West Broad Street. Very courteous people and they gave me a lift home.

My Scottish Wife suggested we go to an Indian restaurant. It's not my go to place, but she asks for so little in return for being so awesome I could not refuse.

After being seated sitting next to us were two servers from Zen Cha, a tea house my wife goes to (as do I, sometimes) so we had a nice talk with them too.

Then the server came up and said a co-worker told her that I was a "great poet" and that it was "An honor to serve me."

Recognition does happen, and it's humbling when it does. Unlike one poet, who told me she was recognized in a store dressing room, with her pants down - it's pretty cool when someone publicly gives you praise, outside of the venue.

Had a very good chicken curry. Got comped for nothing, not even naan. See what being a famous local poet gets you? Thought about putting a haiku on the receipt but did not.

Glad we decided to head to a friend's house for socializing instead of seeing a movie or not going out.

Played Apples to Apples Jr. and ended up being the winner. Yay me!

I'd never played Catch Phrase and have not laughed so hard in a long time. Had to take my glasses off because they were steaming. Trigger word - Doo Rag.

Today my son's coming over and will stay the night with us. He's at his mother's the rest of the weekend. I might get some last minute shopping in. Tonight we'll open his presents and have a quiet night with each other.

Life is good, Otis Redding is wishing me a White Christmas, and it looks like the snow is staying on the ground for the next few days.

May you Constant Readers have a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and a lovely holiday. Thank you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Going a Bit Deep

Such a fantastic notion has been formed in our culture; one that has been manipulated to believe that the rich are poor and need more and the poor are rich and have too much.

My son is not human. How he can survive on little sleep, get knocked out to have dental work done and still stay up until one thirty in the morning is astonishing. This kid can power a neighborhood.

He had a lot of cavities filled in, and was not happy coming out of the anesthesia. Scary and sad to watch, poor guy - and the over bearing nurse who assumed way too much about what my son does for activities and eats for starters, would not shut the hell up. I know she has a job to do, but if she got any closer she would have been behind us.

The insurance company made me a low, but ultimately fair offer on the Volvo and I made a commitment to buy a 1993 Subaru Legacy Wagon.

The Subaru has some issues. There's a leak in the exhaust that is easily repairable and the brakes are going to need some work. I offered to pay "X" amount in cash and the dealer agreed. Should be picking it up tomorrow.

What is sleep again?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Whoop ti do, Subaru

Getting gifts for my autistic son is a challenge. Thought I was clever last year by getting him a tent/tunnel. He rarely used it, then trashed it before spring. He also has a wobble board I thought he'd really dig for the balance and lights. Another mistake, he is afraid to stand on it.

What he's been playing with most is a bank I made from a pint of Jeni's Ice Cream by putting a slit in the lid. Cost: ten bucks plus about fifty cents in change.

Don't want to get him a video. That's too easy. Looking for him to be engaged, in something, a little bit. Sure, I'm probably projecting what I want him to do. Walking by the bikes and the toy department in Target is hard, especially during this time of year. All the can'ts and what ifs swell around in your head, along with the piped in Christmas music.

I went into Giant Eagle to get food yesterday and heard Psychotic Reaction by Count Five. That'll put anyone in the holiday spirit!

Santa's on fire though. The tree is decorated. Some presents are wrapped. It's not all gloom!

Have not heard back from the insurance company yet. Waiting to see if they will repair the car or total it. Not looking forward to that offer, I'm sure it will not be enough to cover the cost of a decent used car. Regardless, to get the feel of what's out there I went to a few dealerships on my side of town. Got a better feeling from one, established, used car place with a couple of vehicles that looked good on the outside. What's under the hood is more pressing though. Don't want a car that's going to explode a week after purchase.

Going to try and get motivated to work on Christmas cards, wish me luck!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Still Relevant

Even though I'm far from his biggest fan, I don't understand the Neil Diamond hate. He has a long, important and substantial career as a songwriter, performer and musician. And yes, some of it is rock and roll.

About time he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If Bobby Darin, the Bee Gees and Abba are in there, so belongs Neil Diamond.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Everyone is ok

Some mofo cut me off on I-70 as I was going onto to 315 this morning. I had to stop short to avoid hitting the idiot and I got rear ended. My son was in the car too. The back door of the wagon is shot. Bumper is messed up. Again, no one was hurt - and it's why I drive a Volvo. You should see the car that hit me, had to be towed. The Volvo is still drive-able.

Now I'm dealing with the insurance companies and wondering how much I'll be inconvenienced by an idiot who was not paying attention on the highway.

I'm sure there will be more on this later. Got a good poetic rant about it at least.

Again, the important thing is that no one, not my son, me, or the driver of the car that hit me, was hurt.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's starting to get warm in here and things are starting to get strange

Holiday schedule is keeping me busy. Decorating the tree tonight. Still not done shopping and my wife's been working on getting Christmas cards to the UK.

My son would have nothing to do with 101 Dalmatians last night. Yes, it was the original. I think the opening credits were too boring for him and he quickly lost interest in the whole thing. At least he pooped in the toilet, again. He's become an eating machine at school, they tell me, but he's not eating oatmeal in the morning anymore. This kid!

Going to my his eye therapy session with full intention to write while there. I have nothing worthwhile to submit for the Arts Festival next month. Lacking focus and quality. Trying not to be angry about it or external events. I mean, Obama is hiding behind Clinton trying to get Paris Hilton her tax cut over 9/11 first responders medical care. That's what it's come to.

Hell, I'm trying to get my kid to poop and eat right. That's where I'm at. I can sit here and post links to things I do not like all day long, then do nothing about it, where does that get me?

But, in this time of stress there will be snacks. Andrew Bird is going to make sure of that!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

21 Cool Songs from 2010

2010 has been a year of electronic loss: The hard drive in the laptop fried out, while little music was not backed up, many photographs, folders and slide shows vanished. The CD player in the car gave up the ghost as well, and local radio does not cut it, making me a sad driver. Yet, as the year ends, we have endured another twelve months of watching the world go crazy.

It's an international cast this year as two thirds of this list is from outside of the United States. An unprecedented two bands from Columbus have made the cut. It was almost three with Scott Woods barely sliding out of contention. Frightened Rabbit was also not good enough to make it through to the final twenty one. Almost put an unreleased track from the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street record on, but that would have been cheeky of me. I owe Janelle Monae an apology. Disappointments include Arcade Fire, who gave me no inspiration, and Rufus Wainwright - I should have known better to purchase that one. There's a festive blend of old geezers, legends and up and comers who I hope have long careers ahead of them; all complied for your listening pleasure.

The link to download these songs is at the end of this post, if you don't care to read my musings. Not sure what order they are in, but the obsessive liner notes below is the tracking that, after many hours of testing, I have come up with. You, of course, may listen to these songs in any order you wish. As always in this day of the MP3, it's not about the album, but the songs.

1) Sakert - Dansa, Fastan. Also known here as Hello Saferide, Annika Norlin has made her second project as Sakert. This was a tough record to find as getting an MP3 of Facit was forbidden from the website but my google-fu prevailed and Swedish Pop won the night. I'm always impressed by the ache in Ms. Norlin's voice even though I have no idea what she's singing about.

2) Jonsi - Boy Lilikoi. Taking the solo route while Sigur Ros is on hiatus has lead singer Jonsi edging toward Jon Anderson territory, but thankfully not going all there way there. This song was almost the lead track until Sakert pushed it down a notch.

3) Robert Plant - House of Cards. Robert Plant takes it back to pre-Zeppelin days by resurrecting the Band of Joy moniker. Replacing foil Alison Krauss with Patti Griffin was a move that added some grit to the vocals as did putting Buddy Miller on guitars and in the production seat. Plant once again finds some well chosen covers, including this one from Richard and Linda Thompson to make my favorite album of the year. I do worry he's going to the cover well too often though, how about some originals next time? Here's the Band of Joy on Jools Holland.

4) Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Money. I like the sass of this Brooklyn band. I like that they record to tape. I'm not impressed with the lack of bass in the mix though.

5) Nick Tolford & Company - I Kissed Her. A Columbus band that is doing a lot of things right. Soulful lead singer, competent musicians and decent songs. Plus, this record was recorded live. No overdubs. I bought this a Spoonful Records and got the download code with the vinyl. That's how you do it record industry, listen to the indies!

6) Cee-Lo Green - Fuck You. If you have not heard this you have been in a cave most of the year.

7) Cypress Hill - Amada Latina. Not a band I usually listen to but I heard the CSN&Y riff to Suite Judy Blue Eyes and I got sucked in by the hook. Why this was not a bigger hit is beyond me.

8) Gil Scott-Heron - Me and the Devil. After a sixteen year absence that saw him imprisoned and seeing some hard times it was a relief to hear that Gil Scott-Heron's working again. His voice now a guttural rasp, but it still has the power. Useless trivia I did not know until this year - his father, Giles, was the first black player to play for the Scottish Premier League team Glasgow Celtic in the 1950's, where he was known as "The Black Arrow." The record is called "I'm New Here."

9) Tom Jones - Burning Hell. Seventy years old and still has his chops. Working with Ethan Johns as producer gave him vitality. "Praise and Blame" was recorded live in the studio. A hot selection of gospel and blues that puts to shame singers of half the Welshman's age. Here's Tom on Jools Holland.

10) Drew Grow and The Preachers Wives - Bootstraps. I found these group through the "I Am Fuel, You are Friends" blog. Grow's out of Portland, Oregon and this song is hypnotic. Very primal, swampy, it got in my head. Grow's parents are ministers and he's got the ability to testify. A band to watch for.

11) Admiral Fallow - Squealing Pigs. From Glasgow comes one of my favorite songs of the year. That damn accent pulled me in, combined with the female backup then that wacky coronet solo. Good stuff. This video was recorded at T in the Park.

12) Kid Canaveral - Good Morning. Another Scottish band, this one from St. Andrews. Some straight forward pop/rock with decent melodies you can shout along with.

13) Cours Lapin - Cache Cache. Producers of Danish movie soundtracks find a girl singer, write their songs in French. Happens every day, right?

14) Super Desserts - Funeral. For the first time, two bands from Columbus are on the list. I'm charmed by this seven or nine piece group who put out two record this year. One is Banjo Forever, the other, Twee as Folk. Both are gentle, quirky and possess a rare charm.

15) Belle & Sebastian - I Want the World to Stop. This record has been growing on me. As long as I forget the mistake of a Norah Jones duet, this is one of my favorite records of the year. What I am very pleased with is the emergence of Sarah Martin in the band's songwriting and arrangement dynamic. The progress she has made is a marvel.

16) Furland - Quiero Ser Un Color. This was culled from the Music Alliance Pact. An earnest young man from Mexico. Great little song that battled all year to make the final list. I think it was that George Harrison slide guitar that did it.

17) Broken Records - A Leaving Song. They've been here two years in a row now. This Edinburgh band released their first full length record, Let Me Come Home, a couple of months back. They've become less of an Arcade Fire type ensemble and more of a rock group. This is a good thing. They're coming to the U.S. early next year, sadly, nowhere near Columbus. See this band in the clubs before they become too big for them.

18) Paul Weller - No Tears to Cry. The geezer is still relevant. Anyone who tells me otherwise is itching for a fight.

19) Mynabirds - Numbers Don't Lie. This song's been in my head all year. A fantastic song with mega girl group influence. It's the creation of Laura Burhenn. What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood is the name of the record. Here's the band at SXSW.

20) Divine Comedy - I Like You. Neil Hannon made another record that no one in the states really heard. Bang Goes the Knighthood was not even released here. Thanks to for shipping it here! This is one wacky video.

21) Mumford & Sons - Winter Winds. These guys penetrated my soul this year. Absolutely went nuts off their debut record and they met all expectations when I saw them at the Wexner Center for only $12 in May. You'll never see them again in a small venue and forget about paying that price to see them. They're huge now. Hell, I have Sigh No More on vinyl. Thank you Spoonful Records!

The link for the songs is HERE.

Click on

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It was bad, really bad

I like Steve Coogan and was excited to see the film Hamlet 2 on this list.

The film was reserved from my local library with ease and my wife and I settled in for what we thought would be an overlooked gem.

What we saw was completely the opposite of what we expected.

I really think this project was originally written with Martin Short in mind, such was the exaggerated gesturing and facial expressions of Coogan. It was bad, really bad.

The musical number "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" scarred my wife as it had the line "Jesus' swimmer's build."

In fact, the best part of the film was the song that was over the closing credits. A classic song from the 80's. Enjoy the best part of Hamlet 2.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finally, a Progressive Voice

I'm not in complete agreement with him on everything. I have a lot of doubts about the estate tax, for example. He gave this speech about a week ago but earlier today gave an eight and a half hour speech against the current bill to extend the 2001 Bush tax cuts.

It was refreshing to not hear an uninformed rant, biblical verse spouted, 9/11 brought up for points, incoherent shouting, insults of the opposition, or to see foaming at the mouth.

Bernie Sanders is an American. He made me feel a bit less cynical today, even as I know he's chasing windmills.

From the Finals Stage to Dead Last

The Individual Poetry Slam is happening in Charlotte this week. Results are posted here. Click on the results link for the scores and updates. A lot of familiar names in the mix. Local poet Will Evans is in the top ten and Vernell Bristow is in the middle of the pack.

Looking at tonight, bout number twelve is where I'd reserve my seat. There are going to be some fierce battles for spots on the finals stage. Nothing is decided until it's over!

Had a bit of a health issue the past couple of weeks. Went to the doctor Wednesday and he tends to think it's a condition called BPPV. I've been lightheaded especially when going into and out of bed. Sudden head movements cause the room to spin. Bed spins while sober can be a bit terrifying, you think the bed is going to flip over on you. I'm feeling better, not because I've started the exercises, yet, but getting an extra firm pillow really helped. I shift a lot when I sleep and there were no bouts of dizziness last night. Felt more secure getting out of bed this morning too.

Dusting of snow on the ground today. Not sure what the weekend weather will be but it has to be easier than the nearly four feet that fell on my friends in Western New York. Even in Scotland, where nine inches fell in Glasgow, I worry that my Father-in-Law may have to eat his sled dogs.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Look Through Any Window

That's the view from my desk at work when I look to the right. Been busy getting settled into the new space. All is well so far.

Thinking about this, which happened in this city six years ago.

And any history of this day has to include another event. All I'll say about it is simply, shine on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ernie, Those Sheep are Tap Dancing

Finally got up the nerve to take my son out to see a movie. The Wexner Center is having it's annual kids weekend and this afternoon they showed Sesame Street Sings!

It has Sesame Street, the muppets, music, I can tolerate those things and he likes them. Let's see what happens if we take the act out of the living room. Plus, it only cost two bucks a piece so if the mission had to be aborted we would not be out much coin.

Speaking of coin, Laurie Berkner is coming to The Palace in February, $33 bucks to sit in the balcony. For those prices she's not building a wall on stage. Sorry, not buying into that!

Got our tickets and gave his to him. Told him to give the ticket to the taker. She tore it up and I told him to take it back. He looked so cute holding the ticket, I teared up a bit.

Found a row toward the back and I let him choose a seat. He picked the aisle.

We only waited a short time before the film started. He amazed me. Not sure how much he paid attention because he was pretty quiet and not singing along. I have to say he was very well behaved. After about an hour he got a bit fidgety, but that was because it was running too long. If he did not like what he was seeing he would have got up and walked around. But he stayed in his seat for 82 minutes.

Tried to get him to eat some celebratory Dark Chocolate Jeni's Ice Cream by calling it pudding, but he was not having any of it.

As I was driving there I realized I forgot my bag with his diapers in it. So I obsessed about that a bit. Luckily there was no poop until he went upstairs when we got home. Not in the toilet though.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A New Thing

Took some video with the new toy. Takes a decent enough picture. Captured the kid doing something brand new today.

They've been trying to get him to jump in the pool for a long time. Today he finally did it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Back it up. I'll Take it!

Got everything packed for the move to the new offices. Tune in on Monday to find out if everything got there in one piece and is hooked up properly. I've spent the last day and a half working a group project at the Fine Arts Library. Pulled a few hundred books off the shelves and the physical activity wreaked havoc on my legs, but mostly my right ankle. It was on fire today!

Never been in that part of the building before so the moving shelving on the second floor was pretty cool to play with the first couple of times I had to go up there. That's where the over sized art books are kept. It was also a kick seeing a few books I've processed over the past four years. My scrawl behind the title page is quite recognizable.

I hit a wall a bit early today and left earlier than I wanted, but I was overwhelmed - and it a bit of pain.

Did head out to the OSU Forestry Department's annual Christmas tree sale and picked up a Scotch Pine. It's lovely, but a bit wonky on the bottom. A lot smaller than last year's, which took up a third of the living room. I recommend this place, the prices are fair, the trees are farmed from Ohio and the service is great. They're located on Fyffe Road due west of the Schottenstein Center.

The other new addition is an iPod Touch. To synch it up we had to upgrade our operating system to Snow Leopard, which took some time but seems to be well worth the twenty nine bucks. As I type this I'm backing up to the external hard drive with Time Machine. Seems to be quiet and seamless.

One of the main reasons we got the iPod is to download some apps for autistics. When we borrowed an iPod a few months back my son seemed to be very interested in touching the screen and playing with it. I've found some free apps for some basic things he may try to communicate to us, we'll see how this works out. There is some more expensive software available, but I'm not willing to jump into that yet.

Been quite the whirlwind this week. More over the weekend, but not as intense. My son's been feeling better. Off the bus earlier he seemed more his old self than he's been in a few weeks. Swimming should be fun for him in the morning.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Month Number Twelve

So long November with your anniversaries of death, poor overall health, odd weather patterns and high stress levels.

Kate Bush, at twenty one, sitting in a high back papasan chair, oozes more goodness than today's edited on crack video nymphets.

December is magic.