Saturday, June 30, 2012

Who is that guy?

A couple of days ago Facebook's NPR page posted this picture that was taken just after the Supreme Court verdict on health care was released. A friend of mine sent it to me and asked what I was doing in Washington. Check out the blurred person in front.

I have done more than a few double takes on this. The guy looks a heck of a lot like me. So much I jokingly think there was some photoshopping shenanigans going on. The hair is very similar. I've worn that style of frame in the past. I've written to NPR and asked if they know who the guy is. I'm posting here because you never know. I'm 100% sure there's no twin brother out there, but I'm really curious who this guy is.

Wouldn't you be?

Friday, June 29, 2012

We are lucky

We had a nasty storm blow through Ohio during the late afternoon hours. The heat was in the upper nineties, the humidity was increasing just as a weak front came through.

We could see it coming.

About five minutes after this was taken the wind began to rage, the rain poured down and there was very heavy lightning. The heavy stuff lasted for about ten minutes. Ten very intense minutes.

The power and the cable flickered a few times, but for us, the power stayed on. A lot of the neighborhood still has no power. Friends of mine had a tree go through the roof of their house. Another lost a bit of his garden when a tree fell on it. It does not seem that anyone was hurt. There is a lot of property damage in the county, and state.

A branch from the neighbor's tree was knocked into the middle of the road in front of the house. I ran out to move it in the middle of the deluge.

Now I'm enjoying a martini.

Let me also give a big Thank You to all of you who stopped by here during the past month. June 2012 has registered a record number of page hits for this blog! I'm humbled by you, Constant Reader, and you, too.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Over three minutes ten seconds, you go back to your seat. You feel shame

Last night was another IWPS qualifying slam at WB. There were two rounds, the first a three minute poem, the second a one minute.

I’d done the three minute so many times, and in so many places. I slowed it down, just a little too much and the time was 3:11. One second over the ten second grace period left me with a half point deduction. Such is the animal of slam. I would have finished first in the round instead of tied with two others.

My one minute was a brand new poem. A bit on the odd side; inspired in part when Hanif said there were no Tito Jackson poems in a Facebook comment. I used it. It went ok, but a couple poets sailed by me in the standings.

Turns out, I would have finished in third had I not had the time penalty. No one to blame but me. Congratulations to Ethan and Gina who tied for first place, and Vernell for coming in third.

Also a welcome to the fold to Aaron, who broke his Slam Cherry last night. He was so cute, doubled over in his chair all nervous before going on stage.

In other news the book I’m anthologized in came in the mail yesterday!

If you want to read the rest of the poem you can get the book HERE.

Also been watching the internet foam at the mouth over the ACA today.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday questions

Why do the people next door hate trees?

Why won't my kid poop in the toilet?

What the hell is wrong with my scanner? It will not scan at the actual size.

What makes a large family split into divisions, then into nothing at all?

Who did the picture of the child in my dead Great Uncle's wallet grow up to be?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday pictures

Here are a few pictures from Comfest yesterday. No naked boobs. Everyone we saw had their pants on.

Thistle on steroids.

Captain Ohio was on duty.

That's the pond in the park that has leaked since the new fountain was installed. Second Comfest in a row without a functioning fountain.

That's Struggle Shark. We hope he's still able to float as the summer goes on.

In other new mys Great Aunt's granddaughter (second cousin?) has contacted me through Facebook. I was found through the searches I've made regarding my Great Uncle's war records. Getting the genealogy bug last night, I found the wedding record of my Great Grandparents and 1940 census records of my grandparents and great-grandfather.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

All this and a dude with a snake

Wes Anderson's new film, Moonrise Kingdom, oozes with precocious charm. It's everything that is good about a Wes Anderson film - The swirling sets, the alternative universe, foppish human characters. It's also a perfect definition of what people dislike about his films.

I was totally mesmerized by the sets, a child's eye patch that kept sliding down his face as the film went on, and the relationship between Sam and Susy, a pair of 12 year olds who find themselves falling in love on a remote east coast island. There's an escape from a scouting camp, a chain smoking scoutmaster who drinking cognac while recording his daily log, social services, and a classical based soundtrack.

I recently was told that my cousin designed the cover of one of the fictional books that Suzy reads during the film.

Got to see his name in the closing credits too, very cool. I loved the film.

It ended up being a late night, something we're not used to. I crawled out of bed this morning only to find out that my son was not going to swimming today because he was up half the night. He's also been using the iPod at his mother's to watch videos of surveillance video on school buses.

We ended up going to breakfast at Tommy's, where the owner immediately pointed at my shirt when I came in. I was wearing my Everton shirt and he questioned why I was not wearing something from Chelsea, since they won the Champions League. We bantered about a bit and talked about Euro 2012. He said he had to buy three beers watching his Greek team get slaughtered by Germany yesterday. He's also a Liverpool supporter, but that's not going to stop me from going there.

After finding a cocktail shaker, we walked around Comfest for awhile. I still think the party has become too big for the space, even though we walked around easily. . I'll have pictures tomorrow of a mellow afternoon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Submission granted

Happy to reveal that my poem, "The Luckiest Ones" has been published in in the book, Buzzkill: Apocalypse - An End of the World Anthology.

You can find out more information about the NightBallet Press book, and ordering information right here!

I rarely submit my work, which means I rarely get published. This is a big deal for me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Over four dozen years now

First day of summer and it's blazing hot. More of the same for tomorrow. As I age, the heat and I get along less and less. Not that I necessarily want to go to a cooler climate.

But maybe live somewhere where the Frascati and Vihno Verde are always cold, and the selection of Madiera is excellent.

If not that someplace where it cools off in the evenings. The heat lies on the ground here, it stays embedded in you when you go inside.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday, in the shop

We were headed to a clambake yesterday afternoon. What we thought would be a casual day in a backyard. I brought a bottle of Vihno Verde, some lemon meringue pie. Packed up the kid, and his Ipad and off we went.

On I-70 East, right before the split to I-71, I sensed something wrong with the car. While accelerating the front end violently shook. Had an idea what was wrong as the car was making a bumping sound while turning left. Pulled off the highway and got us home. Luckily I found a mechanic down the block who could look at the car.

As I suspected, it was the driver's side CV joint. Spend two and a half hours at the shop, got to hear about golf, and the other things that were wrong with the car - mechanics always do that to you. It could have been worse, we were not stranded on the highway, and I knew this repair was coming.

Found out the party we were going to was a surprise wedding. Congratulations to M&T!!!

We were not dressed for the occasion. My wife was in flip flops, my son had a Woodstock shirt on and I was wearing this.

Who knows how awkward we would have felt!

Oddly enough the mechanic asked about the shirt and if it had significance other than being a target roundel for the British Royal Air Force.

So I told him about Keith Moon and The Who. He asked if I was a drummer. We talked about golf more, and how I was not much of a fan. Then I mentioned my Scottish Wife and how they were not really into golf either, and he was taken aback.

Finding out the clambake was a wedding was quite a pleasant shock. We're sorry we could not make it. The pie was good though.

Next week there is another party we're attending now that the car is fixed, will this be a wedding, too?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

She laughs in her sleep. He transcends poetry

A couple of weeks ago a conversation about a film about slam poetry came up on Scott Woods' Facebook page. It did not sound like a good film, but I went to Amazon to check on its availability. Turns out, the DVD cost six bucks and change, which included shipping, so I bought it and thought we could invite a few people to the house, have a few beverages and razz the shit out of the movie. MST3K style.

It got a bit bigger than that, Scott booked a room for us, and a dozen people showed up for a screening of the film Street Poet.

Now, you may be confused by the title Fighting Words. That is because the film was originally released in 2007 with that title, then, for some unknown reason, perhaps to squeeze a few more pennies out of the turd, it was re-released with the new title.

I was intrigued because Fred Willard appeared as Longfellow, the host of the poetry slam. It also had Fred "The Hammer" Williamson as some sort of Mr. Miyagi type character. One of the stars is C. Thomas "Pony Boy" Howell, with an abusive soul patch. Plus, a character named Benny the Heckler. How can you not want to see a film that has a character named Benny the Heckler?

The poets gathered. There was pizza, Twizzlers and Swedish Fish. Minutes into the film, a poet mentioned the term "Third Eye." The DVD was paused so Slam Bingo Cards could be made.

There were so many poetry cliches mentioned, "The best poet always loses."Tomorrow, the days will talk backwards." "A heart the size of the ocean." But the poetry was not the worst part of the film. It was not very well acted, and the script and direction were poor. It was far from the worst film ever, but really, there's a reason few have heard of this nonsense.

Our young poet lived in a garage, was behind on his rent and read his landlord sexy poetry to get a delay in payment. This also implied that it was done before, successfully. Kind of creepy.

Our poet was trying to be success at his local scene, to poor results. Then, he was discovered by a woman at a publishing company. They were adversarial at first, but then they were about to have sex in his garage/home.

At a crucial moment, she revealed she was HI-V Positive. Poet goes to the store, presumably for condoms, but ends up adding a bottle of Jaegermeister to his order and roams around the neighborhood, drinking while watching a children's soccer match, leaving our hottie in bed with just a bra and panties on.

Somewhere in there the line, "Barebacking is only for horses."

Our hottie was in a relationship with a successful poet, played by Pony Boy, who sees the young poet as competition.

Soon, there will be a big slam. The Poetron Slam, with first prize as $25,000.

Before this though, is one of the most excruciating sex scenes ever committed to film; complete with the longest donning of the condom. Ever. This is the scene that inspired my poem Condom Kabuki.

Fred Willard is the host of the slam. He's no Marc Smith. Not even close. The slam goes down. The word "invomitation" is invented. Alexis won Slam Bingo. There is a comeuppance, but remember. The best poet always loses.

I've probably forgotten a few key points of the film, but its for the best. The condom scene though, cannot be unseen.

After the film, Scott had a thread going on Facebook that ripped it apart, then a person who actually worked on the movie had some comments - which steered the conversation back to the respectable. A film is like any job project, you go in with some positive expectation, then stuff goes horribly wrong, egos clash and the project bombs. So, I learned a little from the thread. The film still sucks though!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Throwing the party at you

Big night in the sports world as Matt Cain pitched the 22nd no hitter in MLB history. Ended up staying up until one in the morning to watch the last inning. Never seen one before. Very exciting.

R.A. Dickey of the Mets has been mowing batters down with his knuckle ball. First pitcher to reach ten wins this season. With some semblance of a middle relief staff, the Mets would be flying high instead of fighting for a wild card spot.

The Rangers FC is no more. Being sold because of tax problems and other issues involving financial malfeasance. What happens next will be another chapter in the soap opera that is Scottish soccer. Does the league vote to put the NewCo, the reorganized Rangers Football Club, in the league this coming season? Or do they vote them out, relegate them to a lower league and make them fight their way back to the top division? Needless to say, opinions are divided. Opponents of relegation say it will cripple the league financially. I say the league is already a financial mess, and with the Old Firm split, it would eventually enhance the fortunes of one or two clubs looking to finish in second place to gain play in European tournaments. Attendance figures may prove lower but I think that is a risk the league could take. The problem is television revenue. Sky may have a provision in their contract that there must be an Old Firm. Going to be very interesting to see what happens.

Last night Writers’ Block held its first qualifying slam for the Individual World Poetry Slam season. Seven poets took to the stage to start the season. I got the six slot in the first round and went with a new poem called Condom Kabuki. It’s based on a scene from a horrible film a dozen or so poets viewed last Saturday called Street Poet. I’ll probably post about the experience in a few days, it’s still sinking in, but the sex scene was excruciating and I cannot unsee it. Hence the poem, which got me the high score of the round so I got to read first in round two. Here I read gaythiest, which got a decent score, but I did not think it was good enough to keep me up top. Rose Smith scorched the stage, Alexis, Ythan, Louise and Vernell all did well. Brandon kicked ass in round one with a poem about gangsta’ Connect Four with a child.

In the end I finished in first, got the three points by .2. Rose came in second, Alexis third. The difference between first and seventh place was 1.6 points. Very tight scoring in a great slam.

Open mic was a blast. The first poet up pulled her poem out of her pack of cigarettes. That’s hardcore! Scott burned the stage with his hosting and a poem. The Suarez family represented. Jon Sands is featuring next Wednesday night. All is well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Getting answers

There was a situation at my son’s camp yesterday. The counselors brought him out for pick up early, with the kids that leave at three. I guess when no one showed up to pick him up they realized their error and brought him back to the play areas.

He had a fit, a big meltdown that resulted in them calling his mother asking if she could pick him up. It was about the time I was coming to get him, so she did not.

I was told about this when I got there; reassured it would not happen again. He was outside, running around to calm himself down. It looked like he was doing laps, and he was showing very good form. Not sprinting, not jogging, but moving at a good pace for a mile run. I’d consider track for him, if he understood when to stop and start, along with proper hydration.

We got to the car and he was still a bit agitated so I asked him what was wrong and what he wanted, “Nothing.” is what he said. Great, I have a fourteen year old, nine year old.

He has also, on occasion, been going to the toilet on his own. Not putting anything into it, but pulling down his pants and sitting on it. No prompting. I think his thinking is that, if he does this, he will get the iPad. Sorry kid, you have to put something in there, but a very good effort.

Later, after his shower I was putting his clothes on and asked him again what he wanted, “Drying,” was his answer.

He throws those things at you then you forget about it and a week or two later he lets you know again that he’s aware.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life for the next ten weeks

Today is the first day of summer camp for my son. His mother drops him off in the morning and I get to pick him up in the afternoon. It works for both of us. Because the camp cut its hours this year, from 9-3 instead of 9-4, both of us have to chip in extra for before and after care. Neither of us want to do this, but our work schedules mean we have to, and I have to pay a ridiculous amount for after care. It runs from 3-5:30, I'm going to be picking him up around 4PM, every day. I asked if there was a way I could pay partial, and was bluntly told no.

So I get to pay a ridiculous four figure amount for camp, and even more because their hours stink. There are not many choices, if any, in the area for special needs camp. Just have to suck it up for another summer.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fun Friday

I'm digging this 11 piece band from Melbourne, Australia these days. The energy is infectious. Lots of old school mayhem!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Scioto Mile Loop Photo Dump

Tonight, to get out of the house, my wife and I took a walk along The Scioto Mile. It was where the Arts Festival was last weekend. Everything had cleared out, and there was plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the charms of a lovely evening in Columbus.

Took these pictures with my iPod.

My wife called these goose steps.

In the center of the picture, there a young lady in magenta. My wife suspects she's going through Quinceanera.

Columbus was looking good tonight.

The reward? A nice glass of sangria at the end of a walk.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Circus is Coming!

Unexpected visitors have me pushing back What I'm Drinking to next week.

Tents and at least one large animal will be in my backyard. Hoping for jugglers.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Still a bit sore, in a good way

On Saturday I emceed the Word is Art Stage at the Columbus Arts Festival. All day. For seven hours. It was fabulous.

Sixteen poets read during the afternoon (there was one no show) all of them did quality sets that had the crowd either pausing to hear a poem, or stopping to sit and hear more than one. If I write about everyone, I'd be here all day!

Took a few pictures that you can see here.

The return of Arts Fest to the riverfront was a great success. There were good sized crowds on Saturday and Sunday. I was not there for Friday, when it was cold and damp.

Thursday night, I checked out the site of the stage.

It was a prime spot at a major entrance point to the festival. There was constant foot traffic, and great people watching. Although I did not get to see Art Shark, I did manage to run into someone on Saturday who was having just as good a hair day as I was.

It's not every day I get to see the Mayor of Columbus. Michael Coleman is a very good man, and better sport.

Did not have much time to see the festival, but everyone seemed to be having a great time. The poets were all wonderful to work with, and I thank them for giving me introductions as my improv skills were inconsistent. I apologize again for mispronouncing names.

My favorite thing of the weekend was seeing Nancy Kangas. She brought a prop with her. At first I thought it was a storage file for her poetry, which would have been awesome. Turns out, she was using it as a rim shot during a series of short poems. Which had me giggling the whole set.

Last year, her set was cut short my a massive wind storm. This year, she got to complete it, and brought out the sun!

Emceeing was hard. Seven hours of anything is an endurance test, I think I passed. I thank Scott Woods for working with me, Lamar Jordan for always being available, and Kevin, our sound man all weekend.

The slam was fun, and loose. Alexis, Walli myself and Brandon took part. There were also police horses involved. I had to yell at Walli to remove himself from a woman and get to the stage. Scott kept saying I owned the festival. Brandon won the slam.

I was tired at the end of the night. Woke up the next morning with a headache than went all the way down my body.

Back to the festival. Scott left early. Lamar was not really interested in emceeing (shy kid), so I ended up taking the stage again.

The folks at Wild Goose Creative were excellent. They really pulled the crowd to seats with some very entertaining storytelling. Passersby would stop, watch for a good length of time, smiling the whole while. Such extraordinary talent in the Columbus scene.

That's Andy Anderson.

The whole afternoon went well, despite an incident in which a young girl was hit in the head by a display sign. First aid was called, but none was required. There was also a lost child incident on Saturday that was quickly resolved with a happy reunion. I wore SPF 50 so there was no sunburn.

Really, a great Arts Festival weekend. Everyone did a fantastic job. Two more people I do want to name are Shana Scott, who coordinated everything and worked with us on the Word is Art Stage and Festival Director Scott Huntley. We had a photo shoot in the fountain, he rolled up his pant legs, took off his shoes and went into the fountain, dragging us in with him. He is the type of boss I would go to the wall for, needless to say, I went into the fountain, shoes on.

I also want to thank Greg Bartram of for taking this picture of me that does not suck.

He did some great work all weekend. You can see some of it here.

And how can I leave out Johan Santana, pitching the first no hitter in Mets history on Friday night? Been waiting for this to happen a good chunk of my life and I'm glad it was Santana. After being out all of last season and most of the year before with a shoulder injury, it was great to seem him cap off this comeback season. Came home Friday night to a flurry of email asking me if I was watching. By the time I got home, the game was over. I do not care that I missed it live, it happened! And I got to see the highlights. Go Mets!

I also cannot omit the efforts of the Writers' Block Poetry Slam team, who won the Rustbelt Slam this weekend. Big congratulations to Vernell, Hanif, Izetta, Louise and Gina for bringing the belt home!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rainy Day in June

My wife and I had a good dinner at Milestone 229 last night. The food is a bit pricey and there are not many selections for vegetarians, but the drinks are exceptional and the view of the Bicentennial Park fountains and Scioto River make it the best outdoor dining in the city. Not sure if I'll eat there much, but for a nice outdoor cocktail it's a destination.

Speaking of food, I went back to the Creole Kitchen for breakfast this morning. The place was bustling at 7:30AM. A number of people, drinking what I think was free coffee, stood around chatting while waiting for their food. I ordered french toast, an egg and turkey sausage. Also got a beignet, which I'd never had before.

The french toast was dense and flavorful, lots of pleasant sweet spice. When I ordered the guy at the counter said I did not have to have turkey sausage. At this point now, I'll eat what even Chef Henry makes. In fact, while I was there, a customer getting his order said to Chef that, "His wife loves him."

As I've said, if this place was anywhere else, it would be famous.

Loved the beignet by the way, tasty fried dough in powdered sugar. Saved a couple for my wife, not sure how they hold up after a few hours.

This weekend is the Columbus Arts Festival. I will be working the stage in some capacity all day tomorrow and a bit on Sunday. I'm also participating in the slam Saturday night at eight, which is going to be a great appetizer for Water Fire.

Very excited to be back at the riverfront. We walked around after dinner and were impressed with the layout. You can see the whole festival from just about wherever you are standing. You can also walk the festival in a line without any doubling back to see anything you missed.

The Word of Art stage is in a prime location, at the corner of Civic Center and Town Street. It's a major entrance point and the poets are going to have some fantastic exposure. Speaking of exposure, it's not in a tent this year so bring an umbrella (you will need it today) or sunscreen (because you never know) as there's no cover, except for the poets.

The Rich Street bridge is also open for foot traffic this weekend.

The Word is Art stage is on the left.

I've also installed a widget here, just to monitor where people are coming from. I do not care who you are, but management is curious.

In some rare discussion here regarding work I was encouraged to put my name in the ring to be a member of the Staff Advisory Council for the library. Five people were being voted on for four openings in the committee. I was one of the four. God, I'd hate to have been the fifth.