Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Annual Consolation

These are five artists who came close to making my favorites of the year. For whatever reasons, they did not make it.

I like this band, but something is not quite complete yet. If they can keep it together long enough to fill in the hole, good things can happen.

I made the mistake of calling this band the Canadian Posies earlier this year. They've been around just as long. I knew this, but failed to make the connection. It's a very pleasant record, but did not have enough to push the top twenty two.

This is a monster of an album. It could be a Grammy sleeper. That said, I really wanted to embrace it, but it's too damn clean. Every note is programmed, played with expert technical precision. I wanted some spontaneity, this record is missing that.

Close, so close.

Is it me or is the video kinda pervy?

Sondre: I love you. You are the Norwegian son I do not have. You are a talented musician and arranger. A craftsman of your instruments. Son, it's been eight years since I've been following your career. It's time to get a lyricist.

Going to get to work on the obsessive liner notes soon and tweak the order of the year's best over the weekend. Expect the official release in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You Love to Surf and it Shows

Readership here is up. November is the fourth highest number of views since I started here back in 2009. Men in Morphsuits has plenty do do with that, it's the fourth most read post here and it's not even a month old. I'm pretty sure the shout out at Buckeyes are Deadly Nuts helped with the clicks, as did posting a link to the Green Men group on Facebook.

I was very amused to see the term "white women poetry slam" as a traffic source.

November is ending, look for the year end CD in a few weeks. The usual holiday angst will turn up soon enough, and then 2012 will arrive.

Thank you all for stopping by this part of the internet. I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to internet entertainment and I appreciate all of you who make a point of stopping by The Mystery Spot.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

From the spam folder

"You must have forgot your little sister? Is it so wonderful in Chicago that you neither have time to give me a call nor answer my calls? But I’m clever enough to e-mail you! ;)"

The link is selling viagra.

"Booty Cutie Sexy Dolls wait for your Viagra Falls )))))))"


Then there's this one.

"Sex with two women - the first step to having sex with three."

I'll take their word for it.

Forgot to post that picture on Thursday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sanford keeps the junk out of the yard

Friends of our asked us if we wanted to go see the Blue Jackets play the Sabres tonight. We were thrilled to say yes. It's true the Blue Jackets have been the doormat of the NHL this season, but their play of the last couple of weeks may indicate that the situation is improving.

I am also a Buffalo Sabres fan, they're my second favorite team. The last time I saw the Sabres and Blue Jackets battle this was the result. I was at this game, which I believe was Pascal Leclaire's last win as net minder for the Blue Jackets.

We had really good seats. The type of seats where your section has wait staff and they show up between periods and hand out the team stats for the game. Impressive.

We were slightly stunned when the home team went up 1-0, and I was elated when Nash deflected a blast from Wisniewski to put them up for good.

The Blue Jackets added to their lead, three, then four goals to nothing by the Sabres. They did not seem to show up tonight. I'm trying to remember when the Blue Jackets chased he other team's starting goalie and I cannot. The Sabres did get one goal back, but Nash scored another goal and the final was 5-1!

Here's the difference maker.

Curtis Sanford has given this team confidence. He's 3-0-2 as a starter for the team, and they played like a team tonight. Players were covering for each other in both zones, they were scrapping, passing well. One Sabre got in a little shot on Sanford after the whistle had blown and The Wiz's reaction was to grab the guy by the neck and nearly throw him to the ice. This grit has been missing from the Blue Jackets for, well, a long time and it's great to see, finally. It's a long season, and one way or the other, anything can happen.

You never know who will show up

When you become part of a meme, the only thing better would be to turn up as the subject of a Downfall video.

Jon Sands did a great feature Wednesday night at Writers' Block. You already knew that was going to happen.

At dinner that night, my wife an I were talking about Scott bringing up Jon to do about five encores last year, nearly killing him. She came up with the idea of Jon reading other people's poems all night. I brought this up to Scott, and he liked the idea so much he handed me a note to have one of my poems ready for Jon to read. The decision I had to make! First off, I needed a clean copy, one that was not edited or annotated since my handwriting is atrocious. Second I wanted to give him a good poem, not a raunchy piece of fluff, like the poem I read earlier in the evening. So I chose David's Rock, and Jon was a great sport.

He also did one of Hanif's poems, which was really long. So long I thought the battery in Hanif's phone would die.

Another sick night at Writers' Block.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Son and Saint Nick

Every year around this time I get the question, "Is your son excited about the holidays?" And I give the same answer, "I do not know."

Since he rarely shares his feelings in a way we can understand, it's hard to know what is going on in his head. I wonder, if he's like Tommy, and does not know what day it is. We do not know if he knows about the concept of Santa Claus. He is nine, and probably on the cusp, or past the time most kids start realizing the truth about Christmas.

A few weeks ago my friend Teri let me know about an event that was taking place at the local mall where she works. It was a Sensitive Santa event, in which special needs children could take in Santa's workshop and visit with him in an environment that is much more laid back and quieter than usual. It happened on a morning in which the mall was not open yet, lights were low, music was turned down and crowds were non-existent. The event coordinator asked me what snacks my son liked, what he like to do, and what could be done to make the visit enjoyable for him. I let her know about the only thing he might enjoy are lollipops.

We got to the mall at the designated time and Teri was waiting for us at the door and took us down. There were crafts they could make, coffee, juice and other snack items available. The coordinators really did a good job welcoming us.

We had only taken him to see Santa once or twice before, there is one picture of him at about the age of two or three screaming in Santa's lap, and we were wondering how he would do now. Here's a pic from his first Christmas, not with Santa.

When we got to Santa, he was seated and N. walked around a little, looked at Santa, put his hands on his eyebrows and gave him a kiss on his forehead. Unbelievably sweet. Santa got out a Tootsie Pop and he took it. He was not interested in sitting on Santa's lap, but sat on the floor at his feet. Santa pulled out a small footstool and my son sat on that.

The mall staff also took some pictures, showed me what they had an printed a couple of them out, for free. Send them to my mother, she's wanted a picture of him with Santa for years. Just wanted to say Tuttle Mall did a really, really cool thing for families of special needs children this year. I commend their staff and thank them very much.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Listen to the words

On Wednesday night, Writers' Block Poetry will be hosting Jon Sands. He's been on this blog before, and is most likely going to be on this blog in the future. Why? Because he's one of the best damn poets I've had the pleasure to know.

Sure, the video is off a blurry phone, but through the Vaseline lens, Sands' work hugs you hard. He's hard to let go of.

Here's Sands with more visual clarity.

Sands' book, The New Clean, is available at the usual places.

He will also be appearing at Writing Wrongs Open Mic in Columbus tomorrow night.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I am not breaking rocks in the hot sun

Friday the eleventh was Veteran's Day, a federal holiday for some, including myself. My son had school that day so my wife and I had a rare day to ourselves.

Last year several of us went to Spoonful Records then to lunch. I asked Scott Woods if he wanted to continue this and he agreed.

After record shopping we were going to go to lunch at Dirty Franks, but it was jam packed. It's so crowded, no one goes there anymore. So we went to Little Palace, which was almost as crowded, instead.

We parked at the meters around the corner. My meter would not accept my money, seemed to be broken. Strangely, the meters were on during a federal holiday. I'm not sure how much Scott put in his meter. I also got to tell Scott the story of Elvis Costello, Bonnie Bramlett and the bar in the Town Street Holiday Inn.

When we finished lunch we came out to our cars and discovered we both had been ticketed. How does one put money in a broken meter? I filled out a form on the city's webpage, disputing my fine and called the 311 line to let them know that there was a broken parking meter.

Yesterday I received this in the mail.

Tore up the ticket and did a happy dance in the kitchen. Saved $25 by fighting City Hall, and winning. Still, owe Scott Woods a couple of lunches.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Paragraph at a Time

Time to get a bit nostalgic for another post. I Want My MTV is a lengthy, oral history of the first decade of MTV, when music was the focus. Like many of videos of the era, it's assembled in very brief snippets that make it seemed edited by someone with a short attention span.

The chapters are easy to follow, it flows in loose chronological order and we get to read sentences by many of the major players of the time. Stewart Copeland hates Sting, Martha Quinn wonders why and Adam Curry hates everyone.

The chapter on the winner of a weekend with Van Halen is sad and shocking as is the chapter on the video that ended a career.

The book depicts a lot of egos, sex and drugs. Plenty of coke was consumed. There's still a lot of he said, no he did not about the network's race controversy in the pre-Thriller era. I'm surprised a few of these stories came to light as, even thirty years later, they're rather eyebrow raising. Makes me wonder what the author/editors could not, or would not print.

If you were there during MTV's heyday and want to relive the times, or want to find out the history of a station that did change the way music was marketed, it's rather compelling reading.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Journey to The World of Beer

Regulars to this blog know that I like beer. Beer, is good. Still, when I found out that World of Beer was opening up a couple of miles from my house, my response was a bit tepid.

It opened up on Halloween and I gave it a couple of weeks for the initial hysteria and crowds to die down a bit. Stopped in yesterday afternoon and found a decent, half filled bar drinking beer and watching football.

Got a seat at the bar and was immediately asked by the bartender if I was doing alright despite the Bills score (I was wearing my Bills polo), then presented with a two sided sheet of their fifty beers on tap and a substantial book listing their bottled beer.

Looked at the list online earlier in the day, glanced at sheet in front of me, and ordered a Kolsch draft. You do not see too many of those in bottle in Central Ohio, let alone on tap. I was happy. The beer was good. The bartender asked what I thought of the beer. Great flavor, light nicely balanced between malt sweetness and bitter hops, what more could I ask for?

What I did not tell him was that it was cool to see such a simply made yet complex beer on the list. That I'm sick to death of seeing over hopped, high alcohol beers with every ingredient but the kitchen sink dominate American craft brewed beer culture these days. Yes, I'm looking right at you Dogfish Head!

They do have a massive selection of beers from all over the United States and the world. They're trying to represent every style, it's a very deep, and well presented selection.

My wife showed up and placed her order. A few minutes after that one of the bartenders with a lot of cleavage asked us how the beer was. It was odd, there were a few female bartenders, but not all, doing this. It was not Hooters, The Pub, or, heaven forbid, The Tilted Kilt. But it was strange, I kept waiting for an invite to a private beer room where she'd sit on my lap and pour me a bottle of Westvleteren or New Glarus while whispering to me about HBU's and ABV.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good cleavage, but it showed up in an unexpected place. And it's not that I did not enjoy going to The World of Beer, I just found that the service tried a bit too hard. Maybe that will settle down once everyone gets used to the place, I hope so.

Also keep in mind that the selection is beer (and some wine) only. There is no hard liquor and no intention of bringing any in. Also, there is no on site kitchen, all food is brought in through neighborhood restaurants, the friendly bartenders will offer you menus and the restaurant will deliver.

What I did not like about the World of Beer is the pricing. I get what they're doing, but if you're on a budget five dollar pints empty the wallet quickly. Which is something I will keep in mind before my next visit, and there will be one - or, shall I say, more than one.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Men in Morphsuits

Instead of trying our luck and scalping tickets to the Blue Jackets game, we went a safer and less expensive route and went to see the Ohio State Mens Hockey Team for the first time this season. They've been playing well, on a four game winning streak as they faced Northern Michigan.

Not many people have been going to the game, when 2,000 people go to an arena that seats 17,000, it can feel like a tomb. The band was there though, and these dudes in front of us made the night extra special.

I was told that there were two members of the Red Man Group at yesterday afternoon's game. Tonight, the unit doubled in size.

They did some truly filthy things to the first Wildcat player who was penalized. Unfortunately the camera app froze on me, but I was able to catch security having a few words with the gentlemen.

Buckeye goal!

All was forgiven as they received approval from the second most important Buckeye. Only Gordon Gee's attendance would have given them more cred.

Later, some young ladies came down to take a closer look at the redness.

So awesome, they had to appear on the Jumbotron.

Oh dear. What are they doing?

OSU wins 4-1! Red Man Group makes my day!

All Joking aside, I was very impressed with the team I saw tonight. They can finesse it when they can and compete physically when they need to. Five wins in a row, well done!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I know what I did, what have I done?

What I told my son about his Grandmother's death.

On Saturday I told him to think good thoughts about Grandma. Yesterday I sat with him and said that she got very sick, and that she had to go someplace, that he will not see her again - but that she loved him very much. And to give his mother, his Uncles, Aunts and everyone nice hugs the next time he sees them. I do not know what else to tell him. Have no idea what registers with him. Not much of a reaction. It was hard.

Still have not heard from L. about anything, understandable since I'm persona non grata. I know she's grieving, and it has to be hard on her, but she would not even tell me what hospital she was at.

Went to Rumba Cafe to see a friend read. Ara Harris uses a precise brush. Mary Stuart Masterson with a pen, and her friends, the F-Bombs. She is her own brat pack. You won't forget about her after seeing her read.

Ok, enough eighties.

I think I've been officially relegated by a friend again. When someone cannot bring themselves to call you by name, well there you go. It's good to know a person is happy in their new life, but when they don't return your email or address you as a collective term, well you know you're not cool anymore. Just ballast on the balloon that is now ascending.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rest you well

On Saturday I was bringing my son home from swimming. Down the road I noticed some emergency vehicles near my ex mother in law's house. I thought there was an accident on the corner, but when I got closer I saw they were in front of her house. There was a paramedic in her front doorway, which was also open. That door is rarely open, so something was up.

I called L. and told her. She had not heard anything. I'm guessing she went right over there and I did not hear back from her until that evening.

She told me her mother had a ruptured brain aneurysm, and the prognosis was poor. This morning she let me know the doctors declared her brain dead yesterday afternoon.

I feel horrible for her, her brother and the rest of her family. She loved all of them and was equally loved back. She and I ended badly and had not spoken for over four years. Life's to short to keep those grudges, right? I wish everyone peace.

I do not know what to tell my son, what will register with him? I told him to think good thoughts about her on Saturday. But now what?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time for the seasoning

A lot of poets, before they read, tell a story or anecdote about why they wrote their poem. Sometimes the story is longer than the poem itself. This act is often called marinating. To be honest, most of the time, marinating does not help your poem. Last night though, two poets very effectively marinated their work. They each told a very personal story, put themselves out there, and shared some brilliant work.

Since this is my blog, and I rarely do this, here is a bit of marinating. For the past few months I've been trying to research the army career of my Great Uncle. He was killed in action during the late stages of World War Two. He was nineteen. His death had a serious impact on my father's side of the family. My Grandfather was devastated by his death. Never spoke about him, only asked my parents if I could be named after him. My Great Uncle was one of twelve children. First there was a boy, my Grandfather, then ten girls, then my Great Uncle. Irish-Catholic, if you have not guessed.

So I've been trying to find out about his unit, the circumstances of his death, with a little luck I've found out the activities of his division but have been unable to find anyone living who knew him. Last week after a four month wait I finally received his individual personal death file from the National Archives. The information I hoped to see was not there. Eighty five pages in a PDF file gave me little else to go on. World War Two veterans are not getting any younger, they're dying every day and I think I'm losing the people who served with him, if they're not gone already.

Here's what I've written about him, still a bit rough.

My Great Uncle and his Inventory of Effects 

One wallet soaked in the Rhine with the blood of soldiers form both sides
One identity card: In case of capture, break out.
Be grateful you were not captured by the Japanese
One souvenir note: Francs to buy beer with, for the grateful girls you kissed
Five souvenir coins; to give to the French children the way you gave away Good Humor ice cream to the kids in Brooklyn when you were the neighborhood Ice Cream Man
One cigarette lighter, no name, because a tin of cigarettes were included with your c-rations.
You did not care if the tobacco killed you.
In your case, it did not matter
Two religious medals: They protected you at Anzio, on D-Day, but not on March 26th, 1945.
One Wearever fountain pen, to write your brother, my grandfather
Eighteen photographs. One of you and two of your buddies walking through the streets of a French town you helped liberate
Another of an infant we guess was yours, but where or with whom, no one knows. The easiest path to the child, you left in your grave at St. Avold.  

The other sixteen pictures were missing, lost for years traveling from Germany, to France, to your dead father's home in Brooklyn where it was returned to sender, to a government warehouse in Kansas City.
Returned years later the pictures are scattered among family who do not talk.
Who think that grief should be kept in a vault, turned into a puzzle that future generations will not be able to reassemble.
The PDF file from the National Archives I waited months for, it details the fate of your remains, it cannot speak.
I look through newsgroups on the internet, hoping for a mention of Company A.
Scan pages of a now overdue inter-library loan, looking for time, or a face that may be yours, and that of a veteran who may still be capable of remembering you
But all I see are obituaries of men in their nineties
As for trying to know anyone who fought alongside you, age has taken away what the war did not
He was only nineteen, and I do not want to forget someone who shares my name, but never knew.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One minute snapshot

Today is Autistics Speaking Day, an event similar to last year. My son does not type, but I put together a video last year and this year I have done the same.

My son does not initiate a conversation with you, for the most part he is non verbal and echoic. He is capable of telling you some of the things he wants, but he has only verbally expressed how he is feeling to me just once in his nine years. He is in there. You can see the wheels turning, the joy and the frustration. This is a typical minute of his life, with prompting.