Monday, January 30, 2012


Despite my lack of production in other areas, I got our taxes finished this weekend. For the first time since my divorce I was able to claim my son and therefore received a modest refund. Not a major windfall by any means, but enough to pay for the car insurance and a tea kettle that does not leak.

My wife received some good news, she is now an official permanent resident of the U.S. Her new Green Card came in the mail on Friday and we do not have to worry about anything immigration related for another ten years.

Mere words cannot express my disdain for the above character. I give my son his iPad, he immediately finds videos of her, and watches them over and over. The learned helplessness is overwhelming. The annoying meter, breaks the meter. I know, it's something he gets, but you have not lived until you have heard the words "Bridge, rocks, tall mountain" shouted at 3AM. Try it sometime.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It will arrive

I write in a comfort zone often. I suspect this problem is not unique. A writer can fall into a lack of confidence, and then write about the familiar to at least keep writing.

My pen's fast food is Mad Magazine snark, a bunch of anger, my son's autism and too much autobiography. I'm more than capable of writing outside of those zones, more often than not I look at it afterwards shake my head and move on. Or move back as it were.

In the middle of a piece not quite outside of the zone. Trying to not write a poem that does not have frequent uses of the word "I" is tough for me to do. In a place I know about but do not reside in and am flailing about for an ending. Tried wedging in a fragment I had lying around and that did not work.

This one's going to get finished. I'm not worried, just kicking my own tires.

Thanks to my mom, I downloaded the Proloquo2go app. Have not had much time to work with it, but it does seem easy to use. The trick is to get my son to actually use it appropriately. He loves the iPad, and is more than capable of navigating it, but spends most of his time watching trailers and videos. Often watches the same video on repeat.

We're also taking him to a new doctor concerning his eating. He's 4'3" and weighs 46 pounds. Very thin. We have some ideas and are working on a new approach. It's hard.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What wad ye wish for mair, man?

It was a perfect storm of poetry last night. For the past day or two I'd been taunting my wife, trying to get her to read something by Rabbie Burns at Writers' Block. How often does Burns supper fall on a Wednesday.

After I sent her some of Burns' most erotic and filthy poems in email, she found one a bit more sensible and read last night. She had to represent!

After a three virgin open mic, and one of them was thirteen, Scott Woods took twelve minutes to introduce Rick, who did a twelve second poem. No wonder he gets so many time penalties.

There was also the first qualifying slam for Nats. Eight poets entered and J.G. won this night, with Wali taking second and Gina third. Each of them earns points to get into the Grand Slam. Louise came in fourth, myself fifth and Alexis, sixth, with Rose and Izetta in there as well.

I did a new one called 'A Few Words from our Sponsor" and "Slam Poet Junction," which I'd only used in a slam once before, at Rust Belt. I think it's only been read three times, despite it having You Tube presence. I'm glad the No Repeat Rule remains in effect this year. Tired of relying on the same poems to earn high scores and points. Time to challenge myself to do newer work, or at least poems that have not been performed. Same as last year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Strong to the finish

Not much to say so I'll keep posting videos until I figure it out. As a kid, I loved the Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons. I think they'd approve of this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Adult Music for Adults

This record by Tim Finn came out late last year. I have no idea where it was released, maybe just in New Zealand and Australia, but this is another fine pop record by a very good songwriter. Just found it now.

The record is called The View Is Worth The Climb. Here's another one from it.

That's his daughter in the back seat.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

De mortuis nil nisi bonum

It's easy to pile on a dead guy. No matter what he or she did they're no longer capable of speaking for themselves in an admission of guilt or defense.

Never met Joe Paterno, or had any real stake in Penn State University or its sports programs. He'd been coaching at Penn State for most of my life.

Reading the hate attacks on Joe Paterno over various social media today has been rather dismaying. All I can say is that a distinguished career ended with a horrible series of events and that my respect for him is noticeably diminished but not eliminated.

Can you convict a dead man? Focus on the living, and bring the guilty to justice. Or is it easier to focus on a the dead legacy of Joe Paterno than the living hypocrisy and crimes of Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State Athletic Department?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Do You Haiku?

Last night was the annual NuKu Haiku Head to Head Match at Writers' Block First Draft. I was asked to be in the event and began preparation weeks ago. Thinking in 5-7-5 and three lines. Writing Haiku on an almost daily basis and right up to minutes before the start.

The emcee was Taz Yamaguchi, a national Haiku Master, who ran the match with dignity and precision.

Open mic was very good last night and John Barnes knocked me out with a couple of short poems that had some thought provoking punch.

Taz also did a feature, with Colin Martin providing some great emphasis on his saxophone.

Now it was time for the match, and for the brackets to be filled. I drew a bout with Rose Smith. Advancing was going to be difficult, if not impossible.

I brought out some wack stuff, and somehow won in three straight. Stunned. Beyond. Belief.

In round two, I faced off against Alexis. She was more than prepared for me and took me out in four.

If you're going to be taken out, it's best to be taken out by the champion, which I was. Alexis took on Vernell in the finals and won. Amazing and well earned!

All the participants did great. Ara, Izetta, Hanif and Andy Anderson; who deserves this award for one of his Haiku.

Here is what I did last night, in order.

Kenny G. divorce
We can only conclude that
Sax is not enough

Your soul is bitter
Like a Gingrich ex-wife or
either of my two

Go down with your ship
Bad Italian sea captain
Chicken of the sea

Ok George Lucas
Do I have to see Red Tails?
Is Jar Jar in this?

Calista Gingrich
Are you completely frozen
below the waist, too?

Ice, rain, water, wind
snow, dust storm, hurricane, sleet
Shit my Haiku says

Ghosts are terrified
when Courtney Love has breakfast
without make up on

And here are three more I did not get to do.

Sad nativity
Balthazar brought the wrong myrrh
Forgot the receipt

Perry Huntsman Paul
Gingrich Santorum Romney
I miss Herman Cain

Failure writes itself
Sad Columbus Blue Jackets
Whoops, another goal

One more since he called me out last night.

Scott Woods is racist
When we ordered chicken wings
He took all the sauce

Oh Hell, a couple more

Scott Woods Guide to Love
Bedsheets, wrap her up tightly
Jar of Mrs. Dash

Fully loaded Glock
and fully loaded strippers
The Chet's Guide to Love

Thanks to Louise for putting this night together. Great evening!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not treading on new ground

Got home from the movies last night and the first thing I see on my Facebook feeds is that BJ's caught fire last night. BJ's is the bar I lived in during the eighties. DJed there for a couple of years and chewed a lot of Bazooka gum while staying until closing time. It's one of the oldest bars in Western New York and a Fredonia landmark.

After the initial shock friends of mine were reporting that there is water damage but it's not as severe as it could have been. The apartment directly above the bar caught fire, causing the damage and a few ceiling tiles fell.

Most important. No one was hurt.

There was a bit of internet panic going on, but people were already joining forces and speaking of fund raisers and getting the band back together to reopen the place. That's how special it was. I hate to be hokey, drowning in false nostalgia, but that joint was my Cheers, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Earlier we went to see The Artist. I've been jonesing to see this film since it got such amazing buzz at Cannes. If you don't already know, it's a silent film.

Naturally it has a score, one that has Kim Novak screaming rape.. I'll agree that Bernard Hermann's score from Vertigo was used liberally during pivotal scenes, but rape is a rather harsh word to use.

It's a simple plot, big star meets adorable extra girl in a cute way. He refuses to adapt to talkies while her star ascends. He goes from a strutting cad with plenty of arrogance only to fall into a rigid pit of despair. There's also a great dog.

I liked the film, but thought some of the pacing and energy could have been increased. There are a few wonderful images, almost too many homages to silent films of the past. The nostalgia nearly borders on pretentious, the heartless can call it that, if they may. Once scene right at the beginning of the audience watching the film being screened made my jaw drop and I wish the rest of the film had as many surprises.

The acting was excellent. The lead man, Jean Dujardin, is big screen friendly with looks that cross between Gene Kelly and Douglas Fairbanks. The lovely leading lady, Berenice Bejo, had plenty of sass but you only saw the shine and chemistry the pair had together infrequently, but when they burned it was amazing to witness!

The Artist did not blaze any new trails, how could it? The film is well made, well acted and depicts a cinematic past that should be celebrated more, and preserved.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stepped into an another world

It took weeks but at about 12:30AM today I finally finished Haruki Murakami's 925 page work 1Q84. It was a lesson in endurance that in the end proved worth the effort.

The prose is dense, Proustian at times and Proust is being read by one of the characters to pass the time.

Aomame (sweet peas) is a thirty year old woman who is a contract killer. On the way to a job she descends a staircase next to a highway and finds herself in an alternate reality. One with two moons.

Tengo is a thirty year old teacher who is an aspiring novelist. His father worked for NHK (Japanese television) as a fee collector. His mother is absent from the scene. Tengo does not think the man who raised him is his father.

Fuka-Eri is a seventeen year old girl who wrote a manuscript that was rewritten by Tengo that becomes a best seller. Fuka-Eri has secrets.

A lot of stuff happens, as you'd hope in a book of its size. The chapters cut back and forth between Aomane and Tengo as their paths begin to cross. Naturally the mystery will be if, how and why? There's a lot of wit, magic and sadness which is typical for Murakami.

The prose can be rather thick to get through at times. The details can be a bit maddening but it's a good book to read through a couple of short chapters at a time, then digest and repeat.

I do not think it's a book for people who have not read Murakami before, nor is it strictly a fans only novel. It's not a bad book to have by your bedside, to absorb a few pages before going to bed.


I liked reading this with whisky and will real something a much lighter as a follow up.

Friday, January 13, 2012

No such thing as a free App

Been trying to find apps for my son on the Ipad to use that do not involve him watching the same Dora the Explorer trailer over and over. A fellow poet posted a link on Facebook to an app called Scribblepress that seems to attract him.

Tonight we were working together with it and he was naming all the colors of the pens he was using as he scribbled on the screen. It's very easy to use. I have not made a book with him yet, but we're going to take some more pictures soon enough.

It's tough to find things we can do together. I got him a Hot Wheels set that he does go to once in awhile, and he uses it rather appropriately. That's one of the rare ones. I feel like my life with him leans more toward the miss out of he hit and miss. Winter's here and I'm feeling a bit lost. A picture I do not want to draw.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pow Pow

Tonight at Writers' Block Hanif Abdurraqib aka Two Gun McBride will be featuring.

Hanif's been running his own night at Travonna Cafe for some time now and it's a great opportunity to get even more familiar with his work, and his cardigans. Starts at eight at Kafe Kerouac.

Coming up next Friday, Writers' Block First Draft is underway. It's the NuKu Haiku Deathmatch featuring Taz Yamaguchi, national haiku master and filmographer with Colin Martin, saxophonist extraordinaire. Going to be a great night, I have been working on assembling some deadly haiku.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Running, not standing still

This is a great video put together by a fan. Love the song.

The Explorer's Club's second album, Grand Hotel, will be released on February 14th.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

If you want to hold your baby tonight

Sad news that Tom Ardolino, the drummer of NRBQ, has died at the age of 56 after an undisclosed illness.

A fine rock drummer, very versatile. Saw them once, in Buffalo in the early eighties. The band knocked my socks off. Did not seem to have a set list, but went off Terry Adams cues, or notes he played on the piano, or some mystical magic that existed between the members of the quartet.

Before the show a friend of mine interviewed them for the college station, and I went backstage with him. Got Terry and Joey's autographs, Big Al walked though. That man was huge!

Never had a real chance to see the band again. They played Comfest, but we were out of town. They were going to play in a local bar, but cancelled. One of the most under rated bands of all time. House band of The Simpsons.

Rest in peace Tommy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The winds begin to howl

The big news out of soccer yesterday, aside from Newcastle's thumping of Manchester United was that Tim Howard scored a goal for Everton.

No big deal you say?

Tim Howard is the goal keeper.

Here's a link to the goal if you have not seen it already.

There was little skill involved. A lucky bounce and a gusty wind did the trick. Howard himself, played down his goal and felt sorry for the Bolton keeper. Howard becomes the fourth goal keeper to score a goal in an English Premier League match.

Unfortunately for Everton, Howard's goal was not enough as they lost 1-2 to Bolton. This is what bugged me. Everton is a mid-table team, and is struggling to stay there. Bolton is in the bottom three. Everton were at home and should have won this match. They're so weak on offense, they're goal keeper scores and they still cannot win. Manager David Moyes is still relying on Tim Cahill and Louis Saha to provide the offense, but they're well past their expiration date. In fact, Cahill has not scored a single goal since 2010.

Adding to Everton's woes is that three players, Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Phil Jagielka went down with injuries. Jagielka's injury concerns me the most as Everton have no depth on defense. It's no coincidence that after he left the pitch, the team gave up the game tying and winning goals for Bolton.

The Toffees play an F.A. Cup match this weekend and a league match against high flying Tottenham next Wednesday. It could be a long second half of the season for Moyes and company if the gaffer does not alter his offensive tactics and get some transfer help from an owner who pleads poverty and every opportunity.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bagger Vance, your days are numbered

Of course the autistic kid in the new Fox series, Touch, is a genius. It is good for ratings. He may not speak, but he's off the charts with numbers, their connection to the universe and is possibly psychic!

Honestly though, they're not Rainman. Not even close. Remember Rainman, despite his incredible ability to count toothpicks, was living in an assisted care community and could not take care of himself. Most autistic people are not savants, not even close.

And Rainman, like Touch, is fiction.

Once in awhile I post about my son and his challenges on Facebook, and get some off the rails responses. "Let him sit at the table, he'll eat when he's hungry" or a link to a behavioral training course that will cure the 'defiant child' for parents that specifically states it's not for children who are severely autistic or non-verbal. Sure, their hearts are in the right place, even if they're not paying attention past clicking "like" on everyone of your status updates.

Even if I know I'm wrong Aspberger's and Autism are two different things. With Aspberger's as a malignant mole on your ass that is easily treatable and the autism my kid has being stage four colon cancer. It's an extreme analogy, but it's all I have today.

It's been a rough couple of weeks with my son. Maybe I'm magnifying it with holiday stress and my own issues but his OT at the feeding clinic has reached the end of her ability to help him. I appreciate her honesty. So we're made another appointment with a behavioral psychologist. I have no idea how much his Grandmother's death has affected him. His mother's world has had some serious upheaval in the last couple of months. They're moving into Grandma's house, which is a good move for them, and out of the sketchy apartment complex.

Meanwhile someone who does pay attention to my Facebook updates hooked me up to another doctor who deals with feeding behaviors. We had a great phone conversation. He was very compassionate and gave me some good advice and confidence. I'll follow up with him in a couple of weeks.

I'm trying to get my son to use language more, to be specific in what he wants. He gets into asking, straining before finally pushing out three words.




So much is happening in that brain of his and it is so hard for him to filter it properly.

Unfortunately, like the kid on Touch, he's not able to give me the winning lottery numbers. Luckily he's not climbing cell phone towers at 3:18. My wife thinks the Autistic Child with "Abilities" is going to take over what was formerly the place of the Magical Negro in popular culture. We're all going to get lessons in life from the silent autistic child who does not like to be touched. So sad and poignant. A long as the ratings are high we'll see more of this, and will continue to ignore what will happen to these autistic kids as they become adults.

In closing this rant we had this honestly charming piece of real life magic this morning. My wife needed a tissue and asked him to get her one. He picked up his shoes instead.