Saturday, December 31, 2011

Change of the wall calendar

Here's how it ends, with the Marx Brothers on TCM. You might make #54 Monkey Business unless I decide to watch the Blue Jackets.

The death pools have been posted to.

1) Brassed Off
2) Big Fan
3) Exit Through the Gift Shop
4) Triplets of Belleville
5) Five Easy Pieces
6) The Expendables
7) A Town Called Panic
8) House of Flying Daggers
9) Sunrise
10) Who is Harry Nilsson?
11) The Secret of Kells
12) Local Hero
13) Sherlock Holmes (2009)
14) Murder by Death
15) A Mother's Courage
16) Poetry
17) The Kids are Alright (2010)
18) The Town
19) Raging Bull
20) Bottle Rocket
21) Morning Glory
22) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
23) Cave of Forgotten Dreams
24) Winter's Bone
25) Wallace & Gromit - A Matter of Loaf and Death
26) The Fighter
27) Beauty and the Beast (1991)
28) Partir
29) Romance and Cigarettes
30) Tristram Shandy a Cock & Bull Story
31) Airplane
32) Steamboat Bill Jr.
33) The King's Speech
34) Love and Other Drugs
35) Midnight in Paris
36) Blue Valentine
37) Empire Records
38) The Guard
39) Keyhole
40) Killer Elite
41) The Natural
42) Pearl Jam 20
43) Catfish
44) Passport to Pimlico
45) Whisky Galore
46) This is Spinal Tap
47) Mad Max
48) 24 Hour Party People
49) Hugo
50) Office Space
51) George Harrison: Living in the Material World
52) War Horse
53) Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

Rest up!

Fewer posts this year than last. Readership is up, and I thank all of you for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Trying to be brave, hiding on the couch instead

The day started by messing up my plans for the weekend because my ex did not pay attention to the schedule she agreed to concerning watching our son over winter break. And it was up to me to sort it out, by altering my work schedule. I did not yell, she is not worth it. I am lucky to be in a work situation where there is flexibility, but that capital is not bottomless.

I did calm down after being at work for awhile. Then again, I am getting annoyed at people who who incessantly click 'like' on my Facebook status, no matter what it is. Feel like planting a 'my goldfish died' status update just because I know there are people who will click on like. Pay attention dammit!

Took a half day so I could head to Fado up at Easton to watch the Old Firm match. An impressive crowd of over two dozen showed up at mid-day on a Wednesday to watch the good guys win by a score of one nil. Heard some impressive cursing and serious white on white hatred. No one was stabbed though, and the distributor was giving away free Newcastle Brown Ale, not my brand, but no complaints.

While at Easton I figured I'd take in a movie since I had free time.

Have to say War Horse is one of the most beautifully filmed works of cinema I've seen in some time. The cinematography is breathtaking, the locations picturesque. It's the story of a boy and his horse during World War One. There's a lot of earnestness from the actors, and the script. There's a line from The Last of the Mohicans used which made me nearly groan out loud. Spielberg does not go Saving Private Ryan during the detailed war scenes, he keeps the gore in check while showing us that war is a nasty piece of business. The film is also about the sad advancement of weapons technology. A scene that goes from a cavalry attack to the use of machine guns is horrifying. The horses used are so expressive, they can do comedy next, they can't be worse than Sandler.

It's not Spielberg's greatest work, far from it, but a touching at times story reminiscent of an epic from the 1940's. Again, it's a visual feast.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Glazed with Hot Sauce, Beside the White Refigerator

I'm a rather plain eater. There are foods I like and foods that I do not. I'm far from a foodie, and am puzzled by free range molecular gastronomy. I like a certain taco truck's chicken and have not stepped foot in McDonald's since reading Fast Food Nation.

Moving from the east coast to Western New York then to the midwest, I've come to tolerate and even appreciate pizza that is different and that mustard comes standard on the burgers at Wendy's.

What I will not deal with is an inferior chicken wing.

Thirty years ago, when I went to college in Fredonia, New York, I had never heard of the chicken wing as being a major food group. Soon, though, I learned about ten cent wing night at B.J.'s, where a cook named Gary Kowalski manned the fryer that made the best chicken wings in existence. In later years I had the wings at Ground Zero, The Anchor Bar, and they were pretty darn good, but over priced. I was also turned on to the wings at Duff's, people think they're the best and I'm not going to argue with them.

Moving to Columbus twenty one years ago, it was hard to find a decent wing. Places that were hyped as being the best in Central Ohio were tried, and frankly they sucked. Greasy, soaking wet in slime - all loud hot sauce with little meat and less balance. Idiots did not realize they had to fry and bake!

Eventually I stopped trying. Why spend my money on food that will make my brain sad and my colon spastic?

A couple of weeks ago my nemesis, Scott Woods, started a blog about food that white and black folk can agree on, and the chicken wing was common ground, as Jesse Jackson used to say. Naturally, I have failed to bookmark that site so I cannot link it to you. Hopefully that will be corrected.

So between the coy racism and outright hatred when he and I converse, Scott recommended I try Wings Over Columbus, a wing joint just west of the Ohio State Campus. I looked over the menu, saw the potential and made a note of it to head over when the opportunity knocked.

My vegetarian Scottish Wife is out of town this week.


I was stunned when I got home and opened the box. They're beautiful. They were also starting to smell really good just before I got home.

Ok, sure they look good, but how do they taste?

I'm going to start with their one flaw, they ain't crispy enough. Call me a wing snob, but there it is. However, they are the best damn wings I've had in Columbus in twenty one years. The meat is plentiful, the sauce (I got the cruisin' altitude) is not over whelming on the meat and just spicy enough to get that burn on your lips. These wings have balance that no other wing I've had in this city possesses. I have found, after years of searching, then giving up, a go-to chicken wing place.

Wings Over Columbus is located at 1315 W. Lane Avenue, in a strip center next to Buckeye Corner. It's mostly take out, there are only three seats in the place, so keep that in mind. Service was lightning fast.

And hardcore wing snobs. I know. I am not in Western New York. I know the wings will always be better there. But I'm not there anymore. I can't drive up to Duff's.

So Thank you Scott, for proving the chicken wing transcends racial divide, now when's that Little Palace review up?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I See the Lights

Nothing says Christmas like Indian Buffet. Actually, that was the best Indian food I've had at this point in my life. So thank you Taj Palace, for making me believe, and for being a third as much as the Chinese Buffet we did not go to.

We had my son on Friday night and Saturday morning. We went to look around at some of the lights in the city. We were told there was an "It's a Wonderful Life" decorated house in Bexley. We had to go.

Other than the pictures in the windows, which are kind of cool, it was rather underwhelming. Reminded me of getting a big wrapped box for Christmas when I was eight, but finding out it's filled with underwear.

For the first time we checked out the State Auto display, which has become a large model of the birth of Christ. Not bad, if that's how you roll.

Columbus Commons has a rather cool display this year. Lots of LED lights. For it's first year, they're doing a good job getting people to hang downtown.

My son seemed to be tolerating walking around the park so much to the point that he whined when we went back to the car. It was cold, and I think he wanted to take another lap.

Still, the best holiday display lights up my dining room. It's a couple of houses behind us. Years ago, with my first wife, we found this. I had no idea my second wife and I would be living close.

This guy usually goes all out, and this year was no exception. Check out the American flag and the Block O.

There's music piped in and the deer are moving in front of the pond.

You know it's hardcore when the side of the house is decked out.

Anyone can get a bunch of inflatables and prefabricated junk and slap it down on their lawn, but I appreciate a display that has a balance. And this guy does it, year after year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011, a Year in Poetry

Yes, it's just a calendar and a year ain't nothing but a number yet it's time to reflect on my year in the world of poetry.

I don't post goals, but have them in my head sometimes. Not sure what I achieved this past year. There was some good work done, I got published in the online journal The Legendary. That was a goal. It's not print, but it's closer.

The writing did not go as well this year though. I was distracted too much, not particularly focused and it showed. I can do better. Sure, the highlight was being asked by Will Evans to be on a Rust Belt slam team at the last minute. The Collective of Atticus, Ellie, Paula and myself did great, after that, what?

Finally was asked by Mark Hersman to feature at Sips Coffeehouse and did a good gig with Joe Suarez.

Was a part of the Language of Art exhibit. Again. Read at Arts Fest. Again. Is it me? Or should I be challenging myself more? Not sure if I have anything worthy of submitting for Arts Fest 2012. Am I feeling complacent, not confident or am I looking for something bigger, whatever that is?

Know what's great, going to another country where no one has heard your work so you can do some old shit. That's why reading a few poems with the Bards in the Park at Tolcross Park in Glasgow was so awesome. I could have read anything!

There was plenty of fun too, Jon Sands read my poem, the Race War reached new lows, I pulled out my guitar and played "I Do the Chet" in front of an audience, something I had never done before. Seuss lost to Silverstein and I read "The Smoke Off" as a tribute. Hearing the Humpty Dance in Italian during the Rap Lyrics Slam was one of the hottest poems of the year.

Wanted to put out another chapbook, but released a CD instead. Is this a step forward, or back?

So I'm going into another year with uncertainty about where I want to go, and a lack of confidence with what's in my backpack. I want to write better, perform better and the only way to accomplish these things is to stop farting around and do it.

And there it is. What am I missing, and what did I miss?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another Year Closes

I'm just about to start the new Murakami and I doubt it will be finished by the end of the year. So here's this year's list. Tough year for reading. Had a vision problem earlier in the year and no attention span the rest of it.

If I finished the book, it's on this list. Three stars means it's better than average, four better than that.

1) Patton Oswalt - Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. 208 p. (too many footnotes)
2) Ian Rankin - Mortal Causes. 310 p.
3) Robert Kirkman - The Walking Dead v.3 Miles Behind Us.
4) Melissa Muller & Monika Tatzkow - Lost Lives, Lost Art. 248 p. ***
5) Geoffrey Cunningham, Carla Repice & The American Public - Office of Blame Accountability. (unpaged) ***
6) Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - When Mortals Sleep. 253 p. ***
7) Mindy Nettifee - Rise of the Trust Fall. 111 p. **** (best poetry)
8) Stuart Murdoch - The Celestial Cafe. 334 p. ***
9) Catherine Price - 101 Places Not to See Before you Die. 249 p.
10) Carolyn Turgeon - Mermaid. 244 p.
11) Keiji Nakazawa - Barefoot Gen v. 1. 284 p. ***
12) Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead - Safety Behind Bars.
13) Tea Obreht - The Tiger's Wife. 337 p. ***
14) Kristin Downey - The Woman Behind the New Deal. The Life of Frances Perkins. 458 p.
15) Francisco Goldman - Say Her Name. 350 p. ****
16) Alexander McCall Smith - The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party. 213 p. ***
17) Robert Kirkham. The Walking Dead V.4 The Heart's Desire. ***
18) Laura Hillenbrand - Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. 473 p. **** (best non-fiction)
19) Dan Barry. Bottom of the 33rd. 255 p. ***
20) Portia Iverson. Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism. 391 p. ***
21) Keiji Nakazawa - Barefoot Gen v. 2. 234 p.
22) Dorianne Laux. The Book of Men. 91 p.
23) Dorianne Laux. Facts about the Moon. 96 p. ***
24) Jewely Hight. Right by Her Roots: Americana Women and Their Songs. 235 p.
25) Michael Morpurgo. War Horse. 165 p. ***
26) Keiji Nakazawa - Barefoot Gen : life after the bomb. v. 3. 257 p .
27) Alexander Theroux - The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. 68 p.
28) Ian Rankin - Let it Bleed. 287 p. ***
29) Donald Ray Pollock - The Devil All the Time. 261 p. **** (best fiction.)
30) Flint Whitlock - The Rock of Anzio. 479 p. ***
31) Dana Reinhardt - The Summer I Learned to Fly. 216 p. ***
32) Edward Gorey - Amphigorey. (unpaged)
33) Rachel McKibbons - Pink Elephant. 83 p. ****
34) Christine Sismondo - America Walks into a Bar. 314 p.
35) Denise Mina - The End of Wasp Season. 404 p. ***
36) Keiji Nakazawa. Barefoot Gen, Out of the Ashes v. 4. 281 p.
37) Richard Schickel. Harold Lloyd: The Shape of Laughter. 218 p.
38) Charles Lachman. A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland. 481 p. *** for historical description. No stars for historical accuracy
39) Bob Mould. See a Little Light. 403 p. ***
40) Brian Selznick. Wonder Struck. 637 p. (mostly drawings) ****
41) Wilfred Santiago. The Story of Roberto Clemente. 200 p.
42) Anne Enright. The Forgotten Waltz. 263 p.
43) Roddy Doyle. Bullfighting. 214 p. ***
44) Ernest Cline. Ready Player One. 374 p. ****
45) Art Spiegelman. Meta Maus. 299 p.
46) Stephen King. 11/22/63. 849 p. ***
47) Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. I Want My MTV. 607 P. ***
48) Christopher Payne. Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals. 209 p. (mostly pictures) ***
49) Darby Penney and Peter Stastny. The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic. 205 p. ***
50) Charles J. Shields. And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, a Life. 513 p.
51) Nile Rodgers. Le Freak. 318 p. ***
52) Robert Greenfield. The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun. 408 p. ***
53) Dr. Seuss. The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories. 72 p. ***
54) Jon Sands. The New Clean. 108 p. ****

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh I Don't Know These Buildings I Think I am Lost

Another year of assembling songs, trying to put them into a decent playlist is over. The album is dead dead dead, it's all about the songs now. Looking at other people's year end lists, it is clear I am not listening to what a lot of people are listening to. Am I that out of touch? Or are we that far apart? I admit to gaps in this list, great big colorful ones. Life's too short to hear every little thing though so it's time to get on with the list!

1) The Go Team with Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast - Buy Nothing Day. Rolling Blackouts. I'm not very familiar with the work of the Go Team, and Best Coast bubbled under the year end list a couple of years back. This is an infectious little pop song that has stuck in my head for the whole year. When a song pops up on the iPod over and over for a year and I do not get bored with it, speaks volumes.

2) Grouplove - Don't Say Oh Well. EP. I like this song from these pseudo hippie hipster 420 friendly group of west coasters. It did not even annoy me when I heard it in the background of a Chevy commercial. Someone's got to pay the buds, dude.

3) Blues Brother Castro - Walk in the Park. Out on the Beach. This one I got from the Music Alliance Project. Super high charged indie rockers from Amsterdam. Less that two minutes of full throttle rock with some good shouting. Reminds me of a punky Neil Young.

4) Fitz & the Tantrums - Money Grabber. Pickin' Up the Pieces. I have to admit to hearing this song for the first song on a radio station. A terrestrial one. Local. WWCD-FM. Well done. Sure, the lead singer sounds like Daryl Hall, but Oates is nowhere to be heard.

5) P.J. Harvey - Bitter Branches. Let England Shake. This one's been on a lot of year end best of lists and deservedly so. A Corbjin print of her is now gracing our walls. Good ol' P.J. shape shifts again and devotes a record to the horrors of World War One. Well done!

6) Anne Calvi - Blackout. My favorite app on my iPod is Tune In Radio. It gives you access to thousands of radio stations from around the world. One afternoon I was listening to BBC6 as background and this song came on. I had no idea who it was so I listened to the lyrics and googled them. Through that I found out about Anne, the album it was on and had it on my hard drive within ten minutes of hearing this song. Technology is amazing. In the old days you had to call the radio station and hope you could get through to the DJ so he could give you the information. How does it sound? Brian Eno thinks she's the next Patti Smith. I'm not sure of that, I just hope she's not the next Glasvegas.

7) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues. I love this song. The arrangement that goes from gentle to soaring to massive back to gentle. Great, great stuff. The rest of the record sucks, but this is one of the best songs of the year.

8) K.T. Tunstall - Alchemy. The Scarlet Tulip. I wanted to like Tiger Suit, but nothing really grabbed me. Over the summer, while on tour, she put out The Scarlet Tulip, a mishmash of songs. I really like how she stretched out of her comfort zone and vocal range on this song. It's not perfect, but I heavily applaud this effort from her.

9) Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse - Body & Soul. She's going to be missed. Lioness should not have been released. We'll never know what she could have accomplished.

10) Eleanor Friedelberger - Roosevelt Island. Last Summer. My Scottish Wife questions whether or not the singer of this song is a man or a woman. I haven't the heart to tell her she's my indie-Brooklyn crush object. I'm not a fan of the Fiery Furnaces, but I enjoyed her first solo effort.

11) Mayer Hawthorne - The Walk. How Do You Do. The white kid who sounds like Curtis Mayfield came out with a fun little record this year. I hope he does this frequently and well.

12) King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - Bats in the Attic. Diamond Mine. One of the most unlikely hits over the past year. The record received high acclaim. There's not a real hit on it though. It's all well engineered recordings that demand your attention when you listen.

13) Florence & the Machine - Breaking Down (acoustic) Ceremonials. Have to admit I was scared after Lungs came out. Would she be able to follow it up. She kept releasing different edition after different edition of her first record. Had to wonder if she was capable of following it up. After my first listen of Ceremonials I was not so sure. I thought it was an over produced record of songs that all sounded alike. Then I got to the bonus portion and found this stripped down gem. I'm still worried about her though. Her handlers have her appearing on the X-Factor for crying out loud. At SXSW in 2008 she was splashing around in a kiddie pool in a bar. Now she's on the cover of Vogue. Why should I worry?

14) Nick Lowe - I Read a Lot. The Old Magic. The legend. The master craftsman. One of the greatest songwriters of our time came out with a lovely new record this year. He also got a great amount of exposure opening up for Wilco. Bless him, it's about freaking time.

15) Norma Sass - Robbery. Hunting for Treasures. I'm not sure what music blog pointed me toward this Norwegian quintet. They were performing this song in a corner shop and looking adorable. The record is slick and over produced, the band name is a poor pun, yet they have an appeal

16) Sam Phillips - Broken Circle. Solid State. Sam's been in my radar for years now. Her last few records though, she's painted herself in a corner with the same tone of instrumentals and vocals. This last year she was quite prolific and put out an EP every few months and released them by an innovative subscription on her own over the web. This song has a joyful little shuffle amid the sad lyrics. She's one of my favorite artists.

17) Tom Waits - Hell Broke Luce. Bad as Me. He's back and banging. At 65 he's rocking harder than kids a third his age. An amazing artist who is only improving his skills with age. Left. Right. Left!

18) Wilco - Standing O. The Whole World. What can I say? Tweedy and company bored me less this year than with their recent releases. I almost got cheeky and put the Nick Lowe cover they did on here. But they rip off an Elton John riff on this song, and it's all good. Live, they're still one of the best bands you can see and Nels Cline is a monster on guitar.

19) Imelda May - Mayhem. First saw her on the Grammys a couple of years back. She was playing with Jeff Beck and knocked my socks off. Her own record has been out for a few months, it's a bit too polished but the raw materials are right there.

20) Marianne Faithful - No Reasons. Horses and High Heels. At sixty four, Faithful is still going. I'm really surprised this record got little attention. A lot of special guests, including Lou Reed (better than Metallica) Dr. John and Wayne Kramer. It's a rocking record and she does a fine cover of this Jackie Lomax song.

21) Over the Rhine - Rave On. The Long Surrender. They went all in on this one. Asked their fans to fund their trip to L.A. and to pay for Joe Henry to produce the record. I think it paid off for them, but they have to rock it a bit more to keep me awake.

22) Frightened Rabbit and Traceyanne Campbell - Fuck this Place. A Frightened Rabbit. This is from an EP Frightened Rabbit put out for their fans during their tour of the U.S. earlier this year. Why did they give this song the title they did? It's radio friendly and damn if Scott and Traceyanne's voices do not blend together well.

Enjoy the list.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Train Seals to Balance Big Balls on Their Snoots

Last night at Writers' Block First Draft was a posthumous battle between two children's authors and their post-death writing. Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. The host of the night, asked me to take on the Seuss and Scott Woods to assume the role of Silverstein.

This was going to be tough. The tale of the page has the new book by Silverstein, "Everything on It" coming in at 208 pages, with dozens of poems, if not more, to choose to read. The Seuss, The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories is 72 pages, and 17 of them are the forward. The books is seven stories. I chose to read three of them but had to cut two of them in half to meet the constrictions of a five round event.

After an epic day of smacktalking on Facebook between Scott and I, the battle was finally on.

In round one, I read the first half of Gustav the Goldfish, but it was not enough as Scott won the round.

Round two, however, was all mine.

Round three went to Scott as I started the Steak for Supper story, but once again I took the round with the second part of the story.

At this time, Scott went deep into character and brought out a guitar. An impressive act, even if he can only play one chord.

At one point he even suggested that Dr. Seuss was a Nazi. The nerve. Ok, earlier I did compare the reading to Agincourt and called Scott a French mercenary, but a Nazi? Really?

We went into the final round tied at two. Scott read first and I was about halfway through The Great Henry McBride when the thread snapped.

The wonderful audience started heckling, Shel was heckling at my right and the story was turning into foreplay for a certain ex-defensive coordinator of a big ten school. Things got a bit out of hand, pants were almost wet onstage. It's on tape somewhere but I have not seen it yet. It's rather legendary. Thanks to Ara and Steph for the pictures here.

Scott won the round, and the night, but one poet is changing his name to Two Gun Henry McBride. It was so much fun, you should have been there. Thanks to all who turned up and to Louise Robertson for hosting the night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This is the ordinary

My son was doing his thing when all of a sudden he put his hand in his mouth, handed my wife his tooth, and went back to what he was doing. There was very little blood, it was one of his baby teeth not the permanent ones I spent money on to fix. Some gift eh?

I do not know what to do with the tooth, it's on a table to my right. The Tooth Fairy is not a concept he understands, let alone money. He barely noticed we decorated the tree last night. How do you fake what is considered to be standard operating procedure?

Coming up this Friday, it's First Draft night at Writers' Block Poetry. This month is an extra special event. A face off pitting Dr. Seuss against Shel Silverstein in combat for the 2011 title for Greatest Posthumous New Work by a Beloved Children's Author! I will be reading from the Doctor's The Bippolo Seed and Other Stories. Taking on Silverstein's Everything On It will be none other than Scott Woods. It promises to be an evening of posturing, cool stories, poetry and coy racism. Starts at 8PM at Kafe Kerouac.

The download link is complete, all I have to do is get the liner notes in order and I will be posting my best songs of 2011. This will happen by the end of the weekend by gum!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

When You Get Two Calls

We were watching the George Harrison documentary when the phone rang. I checked the number, it was a name I definitely recognized, my heart jumped because the name on the caller-ID was one that has never called me, ever. I immediately wondered who died.

Picked up the phone, the person on the line was the name on the caller-ID. It was my stepfather's sister. She was calling me because she was not sending out any Christmas cards this year, and wished me a Merry Christmas. We talked for a few minutes, we asked how everyone was. She said she was old, had good and bad days. Was maintaining. She's an absolute hoot who may out live all of us. I can tell wonderful stories about her offline and was so happy to get a call from her.

Later, while still watching the documentary, my mother called. I waited until the film was over to call her back. She asked if my aunt called. I told her she did and how amazing she is.

Just now, I found out that a cousin is having open heart surgery on Tuesday through a Facebook update.

I hate being so far away from them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Speed like Wind

Yesterday there was a rather fierce storm in Scotland. Winds exceeded 160 mph at one point. When I first heard about the storm, it was simply called a storm, a weather bomb.

But then, something interesting happened.

It was around 8AM my time that the hashtag #hurricanebawbag began making its way into the consciousness of Twitter.

A bawbag is a Scottish derogatory term for a part of the male anatomy. Its American equivalent would be Al Roker calling a storm Hurricane Dickhead, or Nut Sack.

Meanwhile the storm was happening, Hurricane Bawbag was trending and the Scots were posting some amusing things.

The Edinburgh Zoo just received two pandas.

Soon after that video started coming in. The Clyde River in Glasgow was close to overflowing due to the storm surge. Then a young man named Conor Guicham posted this on Facebook, which moved to Youtube and became a viral hit.

OMG! Trampoline then received a musical soundtrack.

All of this was happening in less than three hours from the start of Hurricane Bawbag. Enterprising companies began selling T-Shirts! The storm even received a Wikipedia entry.

It was amazing how fast it was all happening, and more than a few of the comments on Twitter were very funny. Luckily, there were few injuries reported and the storm damage was minimal. I could picture my Father-in-Law in his living room, observing the fair breeze blowing in Duntocher.

By the end of the day, Hurricane Bawbag had its own song.

My wife was giggling most of the day, like a thirteen year old boy, and she asked to see this clip again.

I'm still not sure who coined the term "Hurricane Bawbag" yesterday morning, but I'm sure that will be revealed in the fullness of time. I salute this person, and Scotland, for sitting in their homes, staying put and taking the piss out of the storm instead of cowering in fear. Well played!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

That's perfect on this cold, dim, December morning

My son had the day off school today so it was my turn to look after him. I had a bunch of errands to run and I wanted to get them done early.

A couple of years ago I filled out an immigration form wrong and had to overnight an envelope to the UK ($42), the clerk at the Main Post Office was amazing as she helped a panicking me get the paperwork done to get it there in time. I had a thank you package to mail out this morning and expected a line at the Post Office. To my surprise, there was none and the same clerk got my package out to its destination.

Errand two was to get myself a coffee and bagel I went to Colin's Coffee. I do not get up here much, it's out of the way, but I really like the atmosphere. The owner and I follow each other on Twitter so I finally got to introduce myself. He said hello to my son, I explained why he does not converse. Colin asked if he could get him a book, and went to the bookshelf and got a couple of books for my son to look through.

This is the type of service and treatment I do not usually get at Stauf's. There you get your beverage in an assembly line that is as bitter as the coffee can be there. Have to get to Colin's Coffee more, it's worth the time.

Errand three was to the Schottenstein Center for OSU Hockey tickets. Got a pair for Friday night against Miami. Should be a great game. While at the arena we stopped to look at one of Archie Griffin's Heisman's. Someone's kid was not impressed.

A quick trip to the library and we got home before 11AM. Cold and miserable out there.

Tonight at Writers' Block Poetry is the Grand Slam for the Women of the World Poetry Slam. No fake feminists here, all eight of the contenders have got the motts, but only one of them is going to represent WB at the WoW finals in Denver. Starts at eight at Kafe Kerouac.

Monday, December 5, 2011


We're due for about three days straight of rain to start the week. Dreary, dark, depressing and other D words come to mind. None of the words are snow, which is odd for this time of year. Friends in Buffalo are worried. There has been little, if any, measurable snow. A very rare happening.

It's going to get cold though.

On Wednesday night Writers' Block will be holding a Grand Slam for the Woman of the World Poetry Slam. Eight poets will be competing for the opportunity to go to Denver in March. Going to be some hot action on the Kafe Kerouac stage. Starts at eight.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

He is Shaggy with Coin

This weekend the Wexner Center is holding its annual family film festival. A silent is usually screened and this year was no different. They selected three silent shorts and had local band Super Desserts provide the soundtrack.

The first short was Movie Night, with Charley Chase. I admit to being unfamiliar with Chase's work. You do not see it screened much and his work is overshadowed by Chaplin's and Keaton's even though he was quite popular in the late twenties.

It's a period comedy of Chase taking his family out to the movies. His son needs to dress younger to get in at a cheaper price, there's a Jewish joke and a couple of people with cases of the hiccups. Super Desserts really captured the feel of the film and delivered a very authentic soundtrack. I thought this was their strongest interpretation of the night. A good start.

The second film was Go West, this had nothing to do with the Keaton feature.

Monkey western.

This was a group of trained animals called the Dippy Do Dads, who were involved in about twenty Hal Roach produced shorts in the silent era. The Monkeys drank, smoked, rode goats and were probably horribly treated. I'd bet a number of these monkeys were in some of the Our Gang shorts.

The finale was the classic Laurel & Hardy short Big Business.

The boys are selling Christmas trees in July. They come to the great James Finlayson's house. Mayhem ensues. One of the great silent comedy shorts. Super Desserts did some nifty foley work involving a tree stuck in a door. I was teasing them on twitter this week but had to go up and praise them after the show. I asked how they prepped and they told me they watched the films over and over, took lots of notes with cue points. They did a fantastic job.

It was a good night out. We took my son, the program was only an hour. Hard to tell what he got out of it, but he stayed in his seat the entire time with no trouble at all. It was his second time seeing a film at the Wex, maybe Godard will be next for him?