Thursday, February 28, 2013

This week I got everyone's name right

There were nineteen poets on the open mic list at Writers' Block last night. My job was to get them all on stage and keep the audience engaged. There was also a slam. That's a lot of poetry to introduce. I've hosted three open mic/slams now and have to say it's been quite the education.

As emcee you give and receive a lot of energy from the activity around you and I've been on an adrenaline rush combined with complete exhaustion at the end of the night each time. My admiration for those who do host open mic nights week in and week out at venues not just in Columbus, but all over the country has increased greatly over the past month. It's hard work!

Emceeing was an experience I was hesitant to do, it's the fear of completely screwing up, having nothing to say that kept me away. Introducing seven hours of poets at Arts Fest last year chipped a good part of that wall down and when opportunity presented itself at Writers' Block this year, I asked Scott Woods and he said yes. I even hosted during two of the four weeks of Black History Month, thanks Scott.

Writers' Block has also had some amazing audiences recently. We're seating people on stage, the room is packed. None of this could be done without them, and Kafe Kerouac. The poetry has been great too. Cheers to all the poets and the Writers' Block crew who also make the night one of the best open mics in the city.

For me, it's back to being a happy groundling.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Maybe he'll sleep past 4AM tonight

My son's teacher emailed this afternoon to say he pooped in the toilet at school today. Might be the second time that has happened. Ever. He saved some more for me tonight, and not in the toilet. He's good at sharing.

While he was playing with my eyebrows I asked him what he saw. I prompted him by saying, "I see..."

And he said, "Sand."

If you know my eyebrows you understand how correct he is.

Five weeks from now my wife and I will be back in Scotland. I'm looking forward to getting out of here for a week, and I'm sure she is as well. She misses her sister and father, and more. It will be good to see them.

This morning tickets went on sale for the Celtic vs. Hibs match on April 6th and I scored one. My wife would have gone with me, but a friend of hers she has not seen since the wedding is coming up from Bristol so they'll have time together. This actually worked to my advantage as I was able to snag a very good single seat as two together in a non-nosebleed location would have been difficult to find. My first international match. I am excited even if it is the last game of the season and Celtic may be thirty points clear of the title.

In the meantime Arts Festival glitches are happening, and I'm doing my best to remain calm - knowing it's better that erratic stuff is happening today instead of on June 6th.

Monday, February 25, 2013

From my spam folder to you.

She even attached a picture, which I will not click on.

Good day my new friend!
I for the first time try such a way of dialogue, and I really don't know
what to tell right now even though I understand that this first message have huge importance.
My name is Lubov. I look for the friend on the web. I saw your
profile. And I wanted to write to you. On the Internet I did not
communicate earlier. My girlfriend advised to me to communicate on the
web. Now I decided to find the friend. I Hope we will
communicate. Then communication can outgrow in that bigger))).
Thanks for time found by you! I am wait your answer!
My mail box
Your new girlfriend Lubov.

She is so bold.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

This Blog Post WIll Change Your Life

If I click on that link that was posted on Facebook, it will change my life. I scroll further. Another link, same thing. What if I clicked on both links? Would my life have changed twice? Oh, there's a video I should click on. It's guaranteed to change my life. Here's a stray dog that needs medical help, would I please donate. It will change the dog's life if I did, maybe my own. Here's a couple who need money for a honeymoon. Here's someone who has a friend who is very sick and needs money. Here's a friend who needs money to start a film they're thinking of filming about taco trucks. Here's a poet who needs money. Period. If I gave to them, my life would be changed but I am not sure how. If I gave to all of them, I'd need to start a Kickstarter campaign to pay my electric bill. Do I give to the sick horse first, or the cat that has feline leukemia. How do I prioritize this? But I have to listen to this podcast first, it's important. It's all important. It has all become truth in all capital letters. People with horrible diseases are shouting at me to give them money. Social media has become late night television ads, so many have turned into Sally Struthers with a Sarah MacLachlan soundtrack. I am not calling now. I am not clicking now. I am not the hope of the hungry. It's another channel I have the power, to change. To scroll. To shut that window. To change my own life. Or turn on Netflix.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The remnants shine. The Who play Columbus

Thirty years later, I got to see The Who again. Keith Moon is long gone, and John Entwhistle as well, but Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are still having a go at it and performed their rock opera Quadrophenia in its entirety.

I have not been that high in the Schottenstein Center since Roger Waters did The Wall. This time, we were even higher, five rows from the back of the arena and no Sherpa guide to usher us to our seats.

After a friend linked to a band called Vintage Trouble performing on Letterman last year, I became an instant fan and was excited to see they were the opening act. They did not disappoint, doing a very high energy act and they won the entering crowd over with the strength of their hard R&B songs and the charisma of lead singer Ty Taylor, who gyrated and did spin moves their whole set. He even ran into the crowd on the arena floor to keep the joy going. The band exited through the crowd also, distributing high fives and making new fans along the way. In another move of marketing strength, the band did a meet and greet after The Who’s performance in the concourse. A savvy band you’ll be hearing more of.

After a short break the projection screens on top of and to the sides of the stage came to life and the strains of Quadrophenia were heard. All night long Daltrey’s voice was hit or miss. When he was on, he was on and rather good. The next verse though, he strained to maintain the flow. There were some cringe worthy moments but despite the inconsistencies Roger had the crowd on his side and they helped by singing along where he could not. Quadrophenia is tough to sing, Daltrey did not embarrass himself.

My respect for Pete Townshend increased a thousand fold. He was magnificent all night. No jumps but he windmilled all night and did more than a few guitar solos that absolutely shredded. He sang in a gruff staccato most of the night and sounded great, even if he had to read a lyric sheet off a music stand a few times to know where he was in the show. That said the one two punch of the Punk and the Godfather right into I’m One is one of the best live segues I’ve ever witnessed.

The band had some great support by Pino Pallodino several keyboardists and horn players and the amazing Zak Starkey on drums. Pete’s Brother Simon provided guitar support and sang a worthy rendition of the Dirty Jobs.

The band also paid tribute to Entwhistle and Moon by adding a projected bass solo that Starkey played along with nicely and a proud Daltrey watched as images of Moon were screened during Bell Boy. The staging was quite well done. One moment that was a bit odd for me was a historical montage during The Rock that had a climax with the explosion of the World Trade Center. An odd cheer came from the audience that had me a bit unsettled.

After Quadrophenia was finished, the audience was finally acknowledged, with Townshend introducing the band and saying, “We know times are hard, now we’re going to play some stuff.” As they broke into a ripping Who Are You, this was the first time in the evening I could see the band loosen up a little and smile.

After that it was Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O’Reilly and Won’t Get Fooled Again and that was it. In other shows they’ve played Pinball Wizard and closed with Tea and Theater, for some reason Columbus did not get those songs. For the length of the show there was little contact between Daltrey and Townshend that seemed to extend to the group bow at the end. I did not see Pete and Roger touch, this was as close as they got. Are they in a hate stage of their love/hate relationship this week?

Then Pete was off.

And the lights came up. Night over.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

All I've got is a photograph

In a week of death, cancer and breakups there had to be a time to get away from things, and even in the middle of that I found a sense of sad finality.

We went to our first Ohio State Hockey game of the season last night. The Buckeyes were playing the #6 ranked team in the country, the Western Michigan Broncos. The first period was a back and forth match that had the visiting side up 2-1 at the end of the first period.

In the second the Broncos went up 3-2 but Ohio State fought back and went ahead with the final score being 6-3. I was very impressed with both sides and the play of senior OSU goaltender Brady Hjelle, who did some rather remarkable gymnastics making a few saves. He even picked up an assist.

The star of the game was Junior winger Alex Szczechura, who scored a hat trick. The third coming off a play that had some dandy passing. It was a game I enjoyed watching, and in between periods the band came out and did Script Ohio on the ice.

Toward the end of the game I realized this is most likely going to be the last CCHA game I ever see. The conference is being made redundant after this year since the Big Ten conference is being started up. I really enjoyed seeing the smaller schools, Western Michigan, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Alaska-Fairbanks, Bowling Green and others play the so called larger school and often play them well or even better the home side.

I've been following the league for about 15 seasons now and it's odd to know that it is all going away, all the history of the league will simply halt. The Big Ten will start with at least six teams, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and the newly started Penn State. It will be different and I'm sure we'll see a few of those familiar teams, such as Miami, come through town to fill out the schedule. The rivalries will be changed though.

Maybe The Buckeyes will have a home playoff game in March I can attend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fresh release!

Music from the Motion Picture is 10,000 Maniacs first record in 12 years. This is the first video from it and it's lovely. I have a long history with this band, over thirty years and it's great that they are still going strong.

The people in the video, other than the band, helped fund it through the campaign the Maniacs had on Nice touch.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Assuming room temperature

A friend of mine died on Monday. A brilliant, witty (the subject line is one he would use often) and opinionated man was taken from us and his amazing wife way too soon. Just a couple of years older than me, he beat me at chess while staring at an empty board on the other side of the room while I had the board with the pieces in front of me. Cancer sucks. I first met him through a friend of my wife and I, who told us she was marrying this man she met at her brother's wedding a few months earlier. She thought nothing would come of it. They had twenty three years together. Not enough if you ask me. Not enough if you ask anyone who knew them.

At first they lived on a rural road in a holler on New York State's southern tier. Outside the house was his Jensen Healy, no longer running. And it sat there for years, home to chipmunks and leaves for several years.

He did finally get it restored. I rode in it. There were no seat belts. There were always risks Jeff was willing to take. He should have had many years of life left.

He is missed so much by many already. Rest in Peace, Jeff.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tonight I think I'll walk alone I'll find my soul as I go home

Pandora keeps playing this song for me. This band was different. Never heard anything quite like them when Blue Monday hit in Fredonia. The production, panning, the spaghetti western themed peter gunn bass throbbing. They had their time in the sun, and never seemed to want it. Like a lot of acts in the 80's, they did not seem to enjoy what they were doing when they were doing it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

When your girl has left you on the pavement

The Lexicon of Love is one of my favorites. Great pop record from the early eighties. A go to at WCVF and Rascal's. Martin's a bit indecisive in this song. He goes from one extreme to another.

I say maybe, there must be a solution to the one thing, the one thing we can find.

Poison Arrow's great too, if you know this song, you know that already.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Heard this song for the first time about ten years ago of the closing credits of an episode of the TV show Ed. Did not really listen to Blue Rodeo back in the day, but this is a darn good tune.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Our intentions were good

To get out of the house for a little while, and get off the computers for a bit I suggested to my wife that we take a walk around the Scioto Mile today.

It was a spot chilly, about twenty degrees, but there was also a stiff breeze in our faces.

My wife was struggling with her scarf, and the elements. I was not doing very well in the wind either.

Columbus was losing its color in the grey chill.

A cold train made its way through downtown. It shivered over the tracks.

We cut our walk short more than halfway through.

We made the right decision crossing over the Town Street bridge.

Because Milestone 229 was our original, final destination.

It's a good place to have a pre-grocery shopping drink, in any weather.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Welcome to my bridge

You have to be larger than life to be Mayor of New York City and Ed Koch certainly lived up to that billing. He served three terms as Mayor in the late 70’s to 1989. I lived in Fredonia most of his term, but his actions always echoed across the state, especially when he called the suburbs sterile and ridiculed the rural areas. Not a great idea and it was one of many reasons why he never became Governor.

He was a self-proclaimed liberal with sanity who endorsed many republican candidates after leaving office. A controversial master of self-promotion he was always in the media spotlight as a film reviewer or judge on The People’s Court.

To me, he’ll always be the cantankerous, brash yet loveable Mayor of New York. Whether or not I agreed with his politics no longer matters, he died this morning at the age of 88.

Last year he appeared in this fluff piece for Emperor Bloomberg, his twenty five second cameo (Yes, the bridge is named after him) blows the current mayor out of the water.

He will be buried in Trinity Cemetery, the last cemetery in New York City still doing burials, because he did not want to be buried in New Jersey saying, "The idea of leaving Manhattan permanently irritates me." An ambassador for New York all his life. A New Yorker until the end. Rest in Peace.