Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The movies I saw in 2014

I did average more than one film a week this year. It's hard to concentrate on a movie when my son is in the house and does not dig Lubitsch the way I do. Hope to see more in the cinemas next year, but I appreciate Netflix.

1) That's Entertainment
2) Inside Llewyn Davis
3) Arsenic and Old Lace
4) Blackfish
5) Reds & Blues
6) Negros With Guns
7) Drinking Buddies
8) Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure.
9) Heroic Trio
10) A Hard Days Night
11) The Rape of Europa
12) The Lego Movie
13) Gigot
14) From Russia With Love
15) Ghostbusters
16) Gamera Vs. Guiron (MST3K)
17) 20 Feet From Stardom
18) Destroy All Monsters
19) Goldfinger
20) Godzilla Vs. Mothra
21) The Grand Budapest Hotel
22) The Fifth Element
23) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
24) Dave Clark 5: Above and Beyond
25) The Matrix
26) Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster.
27) Beware of Mr. Baker
28) Godzilla (2014)
29) Muscle Shoals
30) Pele and Garrincha - Gods of Brazil
31) Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
32) The Angels Share
33) The Aristocrats
34) High Anxiety
35) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
36) Werewolf (MST3K)
37) Girl Shy
38) Alpha Papa
39) Sharknado 2: the Second One
40) Boyhood
41) Bettie Page Reveals All
42) Guardians of the Galaxy
43) Axe Giant: the Wrath of Paul Bunyan
44) To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
45) Hot Saturday (1932)
46) A Dog’s Life (1918)
47) Upside Down: The Creation Records Story
48) Blue is the Warmest Color
49) God Help the Girl
50) The Divorcee
51) God Help the Girl (with Wife)
52) Red Dust
53) The African Queen
54) Twentieth Century
55) Gone Girl
56) A Night at the Opera.
57) Birdman
58) Snowpiercer
59) The Last Gladiators
60) Filth
61) Pulp: a Film about Life, Death, and Supermarkets
62) A Long Way Down
63) Love and Death
64) Comfort and Joy
65) Shop Around the Corner
66) Big Eyes
67) Pearl Jam 20

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Books 2014

The embarrassingly low number of books I've read in the past year. I got nothing. No excuses.

1) Pat Conroy. The Death of Santini. 339 p.
2) Carol Conroy. The Beauty Wars 124 p.
3) Jay Stringer. Lost City. 301 p. ***
4) Emma Donoghue. Frog Music. 405 p. ***
5) Bill Campana. Said Beauty to the Blues. 137 p. ***
6) Scott Martelle. The Admiral and the Ambassador. 310 p. ****
7) Stephen King. Mr. Mercedes. 437 p.
8) Greg Baxter. The Apartment. 193 p. ***
9) Denise Mina - The Red Road. 297 p.
10) Amanda Petrusich - Do Not Sell at Any Price. 260 p. ****
11) Haruki Marakami - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. 386 P. ****
12) Peter Matthiessen - In Paradise. 256 p. ***
13) Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz - Dr. Mutter’s Marvels. 372 p. ***
14) Ken Sharp. Starting Over: the Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy. 262 p. ***
15) Randall Maggs. Night Work: the Sawchuk Poems. 189 p. ****
16) Michel Faber. The Book of Strange, New Things. 500 p. ****
17) Scott Saul. Becoming Richard Pryor. 586 p. ***

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 in pictures

Put this slideshow together on my Macbook Pro, the acquisition of which was a highlight of the year. The soundtrack is Who Killed the Moonlight by Nicole Atkins, my favorite song of the last 12 months.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Everything but the batteries

Finished most of the Christmas shopping by going to one of the big malls north of Columbus. Got up early, went to the Fox and the Snow cafe to get some sustenance for the shopping ordeal then made the journey up 71 north.

I thought it was going to be a lot like this.

It actually was not unpleasant. We got there early enough to avoid traffic and found a decent parking space. People were in a good mood. The crowd had not grown into a desperate, angry mob so the use of a scythe and taser were not necessary. Had a couple of ideas then and there and found what I was looking for with little trouble. No one was hurt or injured.

Still needed a drink afterwards, and had one.

The biggest hurdle was fighting the traffic out of there, but that's done now. For this year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The first time

For the last 28 years on his last taping before Christmas, David Letterman has had Darlene Love on as his musical guest and she has performed Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). This was from the first year, 1986.

Letterman is retiring next year and tomorrow night will be the last time Love will perform the song on television, so she claims.

It is a yearly tradition that will be missed. Is Jay Thomas going to throw a meatball on the studio tree?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Best of 2014 - Music

There ware some good tunes on my list this year. I do most of my listening in the car and these records made trips more pleasant. As always, there are plenty of gaps in what I listen to. This list is more or less in ascending order.

20) Jose James - While You Were Sleeping
19) Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread
18) Bryan Ferry - Avonmore
17) Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers
16) Janiva Magness - Original
15) Happy Tooth & Dug - W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y.
14) The Cleaners From Venus - Return to Bohemia
13) Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
12) Withered Hand - New Gods
11) B-Movie - The Age of Illusion
10) A/C D/C - Rock or Bust
09) Francois and the Atlas Mountains - Piano Ombre
08) King Creosote - From Scotland with Love
07) St. Vincent - St. Vincent
06) Ex Hex - Rips
05) Beck - Morning Phase
04) Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want
03) Robert Plant - Lullaby and... The Ceaseless River
02) Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else
01) Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser

Friday, December 12, 2014

Reaching for the phone, and having to stop

One year ago my Mom died. People have told me it does not get any easier, and they are right. She is on my mind every day as are what my Stepfather and Aunt are going through. And what the other members of my family are going through.

It's hard, you expect that. But you do not know how much.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The fight to save Cafe Edison

For the first half of my life I lived in New York state. I'm not a New Yorker, but from Long Island. No matter what anyone tells you, there's a world of difference between the two. These days, it's a nice place to visit but I would not want to live there.

The city has changed. As rents get too damn high small businesses are folding or forced out and upscale chains continue to be brought in to remove any local flavor the city once had. It's becoming a large shopping mall for tourists and I cannot help but wonder where the locals who are left go to eat.

One such place, 45 seconds from Broadway, is the Cafe Edison. It's been called The Polish Tea Room and has been operating just off the lobby of the Hotel Edison for over thirty years. Click on the link for some very interesting pictures of the inside of the diner and its history.

We ate here a couple of years ago when we visited. Is it the greatest breakfast place in the world? Hell no. Does it have the best atmosphere? It's real New York, a part of Manhattan that is fast disappearing. It is affordable. A place the stagehand and local workers can get a fast and reliable meal at a fair price. A place where a tourist can fuel up on the cheap for a day of sightseeing. And the city is fast running out of joints like this.

The owner of the hotel is trying to evict the current operators of the cafe, and has plans to put in another white table cloth restaurant with a name chef in its place. As if Manhattan does not have enough of them.

There's been a grass roots campaign to petition the owners to stop this, and to give the current operators of the cafe a long term lease on the site. City council members are aware, as is Mayor de Blasio. The story was told on NPR today. People are not giving up.

Friday, November 28, 2014

My black Friday did not cancel Christmas

It is easy to recognize when there is a problem with my car. If it does not feel right when it goes over 65, when you hear a belt making a high pitched scream while turning, and the most recent - the temperature gauge going over the baseline and nearly hitting the red zone that means the car is over heating. The car was, thankfully, not leaking or burning coolant. Had no idea if the thermostat or radiator was messing up, and certainly do not have the tools or knowledge to do the repair myself.

So it was off to the repair shop downtown at an ungodly hour this morning just after they opened to get the car fixed. I waited for a diagnosis and received one. New thermostat, temperature sensor and coolant flush and fill. At least it was not the radiator. They told me they'd have it fixed in a couple of hours so I wandered off to find some breakfast.

On the day after Thanksgiving not much was open in downtown Columbus, which is not how a vibrant city with ever increasing density and street edge construction should be at any time of the year. With the exception of Potbelly, the only other place I could find open was Dempsey's, which had only one customer, me, when I entered.

Dempsey's is just around the corner from the now closed Jury Room. It was announced today that the business was sold and the new owner would be renaming the place Balls. That's right it's going to be a meatball place. I have no problem with that but if the food is not good the name is going to give it nothing more than a silly novelty act.

After breakfast I went to the Statehouse to see if the gift shop I used to work at was open. It was, and I talked to the owner for a few minutes to catch up.

Picked up the car and drove it hard on 71 and 270 to see how fixed it was. The temperature gauge did not move any higher than this.

Also noticed that the heat kicked in much quicker after starting the car. Darn, it had been kicking in slow the whole time I have owned the car. Must have been off all along. Still calling it a win.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My kind attention, for the children of course

Please do not be surprise at my email,I am a Syrian citizen, I use to be a
member of the Regime in Syria but i went out of my country because of the civil
war,i feel i might die any time soon,the president want to kill us all if we do
not support his government along with ISIS. I am contacting you because of my
children, i need you to help me keep my funds and also invest for my children,
the people I have trusted failed me so badly.I do not know how long i can hang
on. Please get back to me let me give you details of my self and how the funds
will be transferred to you for a safe keep for the children.Please email me
now. EMAIL;

Rifaat Al Assad

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

No, we can't

In many ways, I have led a lucky life. I have a home in a forgotten about part of this city. It's relatively safe aside from the crackheads who rummage in my car from time to time. I leave the doors unlocked. It's easier to replace a power adaptor than to fix a broken window. A couple of days ago they got into the trunk by unlatching the back seat, did they read the manual? They are welcome to take the wiper fluid and I would not shed much of a tear if they drank the antifreeze. That's life in an urban area.

I've never been pulled over by the police while driving (occasionally I speed) or questioned about my activities while walking or shopping.

Just because I have not had these things happen to me does not mean I do not think they happen to anyone else. I do not think people will not be bothered if they mind their manners, or change their clothing or behavior - those things will not make the bigotry go away.

Having a special needs child causes me much worry on a lot of levels, but I'm not sure I have to be too concerned about finding out my 12 year old son was shot by a lawman in the back, or the head, or the torso. A number of scenarios could surely be invented. A couple of years ago he wandered off and was quickly and safely found by the Columbus Police, something which my family is grateful for. Trusting those who protect and serve is very troubling when you begin to realize who exactly is being protected and served.

To say I'm not sure where this country is headed when race relations are concerned is an erroneous statement. We're already in a screwed up place, we've been in a screwed up place and I have no idea if this can be straightened out soon, or what it will take. Scores of dead black men and children shot for no reason other than the color of their skin is not waking us up. That's how I'm seeing this country right now, and Rodney King's question still resonates.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The effect of lake effect

A driveway that I parked in a month ago is now under six feet of snow. Buffalo, New York gets picked on its weather but this week's storm has not given people around the country reason for mocking or ridicule, but respect.

The most snow I experienced was Super Bowl weekend of 1985 when three feet of snow fell in Fredonia, New York. It was impressive and more than a bit scary. College classes were delayed for several days as the semester was set to begin that week.

It is mind boggling for me to think about double that,

When roads were blocked and travel next to impossible I saw the people of Buffalo rally together and help people get to where they needed to go, or to a safe place.

Friends of mine still cannot get out of their homes, thankfully their power and heat remains on. They've shared stories and photographs. They've been trying to dig themselves out to get to work, to get to the store, to do something for a neighbor, to keep from going stir crazy and I have nothing but admiration for all of them. They have had a crazy few days and each one of them deserve all the rest and quality beverages they want when their driveways are cleared and the roads are passable.

Be safe, all of you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Driving away happy!

First I get all that cash, now this!

Dear Winner,

This is to inform you that you have been selected for a prize of a
brand new 2014 Model BMW 7 Series Car and a Check of $500,000.00 USD
from the international balloting programs held in the UNITED STATES OF

The selection process was carried out through random selection in our
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The BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and also
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Contact him by providing him with your secret pin code Number
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1. Name In Full :
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9. pin code Number BMW:

Mrs. Rachael Adams.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

About trophy beverages

When I was in the alcohol business in the late eighties and nineties there were a few wines that were allocated. Products that had such a scarcity the distributors doled them out to favored accounts. These were generally wines that had a high score from either the Wine Spectator or Robert Parker. Once the publication came out, the wines would generally disappear from shelves, or get an additional mark up by the retailer until they sold.

Where I worked was not one of the favored accounts so we'd get the phone calls asking if we had that wine Robert Parker gave a 97, a wine that only had 500 cases available. If you think that wine would ever show up in Columbus, Ohio you were sadly mistaken.

Back then, one of the trendiest and sought after wines was made by Silver Oak. Their wines were released once or twice and if we were lucky our shop would get a bottle or two. That's it. And how do you decide who gets it? It was a tough call. Thing was, I had the wine and was never impressed with even the better vintages. There were better wines available at far less cost, but do not tell a person who has their heart set on it. We always seem to want what we cannot have more than what is in front of us, that's human nature I guess.

These days, there are many other wines that have high ratings and are even scarcer than Silver Oak ever was. Now I see Silver Oak in Kroger and have a little chuckle each time.

I'm amused at the fever that is going on for a bourbon called Pappy Van Winkle. I'm told it's good, and its price point, which if it's not given a jack up by a retailer, seems fair enough for the quality I've heard about. But the lines I've seen of people waiting to purchase a bottle are turning into a Best Buy experience, and no liquor is worth that. There are plenty of excellent bourbons available.

Again, people want the most what they cannot get and will ignore a salesperson's recommendation. I've never had Pappy Van Winkle and have no desire to get on the Trophy Beverage bandwagon. There used to be wines on my bucket list, but I can't even afford to look at a bottle of what I'd like to try anymore. I saw a bottle of Domaine Romanee Conti for 3,500 bucks last month and cracked up because it was in a locked plastic case. Wine displayed as art.

Sure, if offered to buy a shot of Pappy Van Winkle I'd probably spring for it. I lucked out a couple of years ago by getting to try a bit of Westvleteren, a Belgian Trappist brewery that is not readily available in the U.S. It was good stuff, but nowhere near worth what the person paid for it on the grey market. That same night I had a sip of a North Korean plum liquor, which was not as bad as it sounds - and how many of us can say they tried a bottle of that and lived?

I could not care less about Hop Slam and was very entertained by the social media controversy last year when a local retailer tried to corner the market on it by buying an entire grocery store's stock. Can't wait to see what happens when next year's allocation is released.

The liquor cabinet here is nicely stocked, and I'm still trying to find a dark rum I like. That's the hunt I enjoy more than looking for a specific brand.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Closings and bannings

It is always a little disappointing when a local place you frequent closes down. On Sunday it was announced that The Jury Room was sold and would be reopened in a couple of weeks. My wife and I liked the place a lot, we thought the staff was great. When we brought my severely autistic son who does not eat off the menu due to his eating disorder, they were always accepting and accommodating.

It was weird that the owner, Liz Lessner, was relatively quiet about the closing online in that when one of her other establishments recently closed, she was very open, in painful detail, during the process of the close. With the Jury Room, there was no process, but this happens.

The local newspaper published what I think is a fluff piece about the closing that seemed more like damage control to me.

Why damage control? A former employee was publicly posting about financial difficulties and Columbus Underground, a local message board, was also getting a few posts about the situation. Questions were asked, some I thought legitimate. There were people defending Lessner and others not so much.

I decided to reach out to Liz. We exchanged some respectful emails and I felt comfortable she told me her side of the story.

Meanwhile the Jury Room thread on Columbus Underground attracted various sock puppets, trolls and deflectors, including the site's own food critic. Not a very professional move on her part. One poster was banned from the site and created a blog about Columbus Underground censorship.

I understand that Columbus Underground is Walker Evans' site, and he has rules. But his ways of moderating the site are quite arbitrary. He'll allow trolls, and newly created user names to post all kinds of libel, bullying and misogyny, but when questions are asked of a city business owner, posts begin to get deleted. He deleted my link to the blog post immediately and sent me a private message about the terms of service of the site being violated. We exchanged some messages and I told him he was promoting bullying and misogyny through his site and could have done better in handling the Jury Room thread.

We all like a few laughs, but when internet mob rule runs a website unfettered while important questions go unanswered, it might be time to rethink my interaction with a local message board.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Best. Day. Ever.

Dear Lucky Winner,


We are pleased to notify you the Draw (#1969) of the NATIONAL LOTTERY, Online Sweepstakes International Lottery Program held on Saturday, 8th November, 2014. Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from a pool of over 25,000 names of distinguished professionals drawn from Europe, America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Middle-East, parts of Africa, and North & South America as part of our international promotions program conducted annually to encourage prospective overseas entries. We hope with part of your prize awards, you will take part in our subsequent lottery jackpots. The result of our computer draw (#1969) which took place on Saturday, 8th November, 2014 selected email address attached to an e-ticket number 56475600545 188 with Serial number (5627635368/10) drew the lucky numbers: 02 05 21 25 34 36 (bonus no. 28), which subsequently won you the lottery in the 1st category to the sum of £2,128,101 (Two Million one hundred and twenty-eight thousand, one hundred and one British Pounds Sterling).

You have therefore been approved to claim your winning valued at £2,128,101 (Two Million one hundred and twenty-eight thousand, one hundred and one British Pounds Sterling) in cheque credited to file KTU/9023118308/10.

Your prize award has been insured in your email address and is ready for claims. To begin your claims therefore, you are advised to expeditiously contact our licensed and accredited claim agent for Overseas Lottery Winners within a period of 7 days (date of this email inclusive) for the processing of your winning and remittance to your designated bank account after all statutory obligations have been satisfactorily dispensed with. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claim is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program. Please be warned.

This promotion takes place twice weekly. Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative as indicated in your play coupon. In view of this, your funds would be released to you by any of our payment offices in the United Kingdom. Please be informed that claims not processed within the stipulated period may be forfeited to the pool without further notice. Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him. You may wish to establish contact via e-mail to the agent with the particulars presented below sending the batch and reference numbers and these information below for quick verifications and release of funds between the hours of 8.00am - 7.30pm on Monday through Sunday.

Overseas Claims Unit
United Kingdom Lottery Fiduciary Agent One
Name: Stephen Alex Williams


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The National Lottery .

Veterans Day, 2014

So much has not changed.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Good toast points

Yes, I still giggle when I hear the words 'artisan toast' used together. But after meeting the Man behind the business maybe it's time for this whiny ass library cataloger blogger to ease up a little.

Last night my Wife scored an invitation to an open house given by Dan the Baker. We got to tour the facility and indulge in many of the breads and products (all local) of the business.

Hearing Dan speak with passion and savvy about what he does it quite inspiring. That he backs up his words with delicious breads is icing on the cake, for lack of a better term. The care he puts into his work, the signs on the freezer that say enter like a ninja where the dough is to keep the temperature constant, show me the conviction of what he does.

As my Wife said, we got to eat the toast flights tonight. My loyalties to other bakeries in this city are now divided. There's room for everyone, and we all win when the product is this good. It's located at 1028 Ridge Street in Columbus, just off of Dublin Road.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The dishes greed serves

The dishes greed serves

Take away a lunch counter
replace it with tables draped by 
linen napkins, framed by stemware
Take away the soul of a worker
who needs a place to eat lunch
that will not empty a wallet
Take away the jobs
of people who want to 
feed the people
Not cater to another dining trend
A concept that will pop up and close
in three months
Something to fill the bottom line
of an accounting sheet
that keeps the stomach unnourished
Takes us away from a neighborhood
that turns into a district in name only
which has no real meaning
beyond a marketer’s vita
A strategy that is empty
on a boulevard that used to be something
unique to its citizens but is now
like everywhere else

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

We're not addressing mental health this time either

An act of murder was committed when Jillian McCabe threw her six year old son London, off a bridge in Oregon. It is a terrible, criminal act that I cannot condone or defend.

London McCabe was severely autistic.

In addition, the McCabe family was in trouble, London's father was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was unable to work. He was the financial head of the household, so Mrs. McCabe had to juggle being a caregiver and seek out financial assistance for her family. A rather stressful undertaking.

Then Mrs. McCabe's father died and she and her husband separated.

It is not difficult to see why Jillian McCabe may have snapped, but that does not give her any excuses for her crime of murder.

We talk a lot after tragedies about how we have to address mental health. It's a lot of talk. Whatever Jillian McCabe's mental health treatment was, it was not enough, and her family is now suffering the consequences of her actions.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

An extra hour to bounce off the wall

My son swims on Saturday mornings. I was getting his things ready, bag packed, then I put his shoes on about fifteen minutes before we were going to leave.

As soon as I put his shoes on he kept saying, "Time to go," over and over.

After the 75th time I asked him where we were going.

"Swimming," he said.

It was time to go.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

She has a Hot Lean

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How would I know she was real?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An internet expansion

It's said that a blog is supposed to have a singular topic or focus. That does not happen here, and probably never will.

For awhile I've thought about starting a new blog, one that would be focused on something singular. Never could find a topic.

Late last year there was a series of crime that involved Crock Pots. Be they the wrong gift, used as a weapon, or just in the room when something strange happened. So I thought about it some more, and waited, and continued to wait for inspiration and then decided, in August, to start a new blog.

People do not use their Crock Pots in summer, at least little to no crime involving a Crock Pot is reported. It's not until the weather cools that the Crock Pot is brought out of storage, and it's role in infamous activities begins anew.

So I present this newish blog to the millions of other small, relatively unimportant things on the internet.

Crock Pot Crime

It will be updated as events are reported. Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A rehatching

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a press release today, announcing that the Hatchery at Connetquot River State Park will begin operating again next year.

My Mom worked here and loved working in the hatchery. A virus shut it down in 2008 and there was a strong chance that it would never reopen. A lot of people in the park were very disappointed that it was not happening.

"The project is funded by a $150,000 Environmental Protection Fund grant awarded through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The Friends of Connetquot and other local fishing clubs will contribute $10,000 to purchase eggs needed to begin cultivating fish."

I think my Mom would have been very happy to see this happen. Her memorial bench is located by the hatchery. 

The entire press release is here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Four weeks, one chapbook

About a month ago, Scott Woods created an online poetry project called Muse Arcade, in which poets would write a chapbook with the book title, poem title and order already set. All the poets had to do was write the poems and put the work online.

My book is ready to go and you can read/download it right here.

Many other poets from all over the world are taking part in this project and you can read their work here.

People are being creative, having fun and putting out some good poetry. This has been a great project to be a part of. Some of the titles threw me off a bit, but I did my best.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Super sub reads again

It's rare when I get asked to do a feature outright instead of being a substitute when there's a cancellation, but I'll usually take the gig.

Such was the case yesterday when I was asked to read in the Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge series in Mansfield. My feature partner was Fred Kirchner, a fine poet from Dayton.

This was my first time in the city and I was impressed with the mix and signage on the block Main Street Books is on.

The bookstore itself is quite cool, there's a loft where events are held that overlooks the shop.

Fred and I compliment each other very well, and we had a good time appreciating the sign outside of the store that promoted our reading.

I went on first, and here's the set list.

It was an old book
Divorced, with special needs
From the streets of the under served
318 feet from home plate
After Birth
David's rock
Is gun
The wine list of the Overlook Hotel

It was a small, but attentive crowd that really appreciated the work, and had some good poems of their own. Thought I did a decent job, and the work was very well received. Was asked if I had any chapbooks, which I sadly do not. That's rather pathetic. I should have something to offer. Just not interested in the labor of stapling something together. I'd rather go the self publishing route of createspace or lulu than work a photocopier. Reality is publishers are not knocking on my door.

Mansfield is definitely a trip I'd take again,  maybe I'll ride the carousel.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

There stands the glass

Columbus lost an icon of wine retail this week when Roger Gentile died on Monday. Gentile's Wine has been in business for sixty years and Roger has been in charge for over forty of them. It's not a big shop, but the selection is quality and carefully selected. He shared his wine knowledge through conversation, teaching, and in two books on wine he wrote.

I did not know him well but had a lot of respect for him as a person. He was always fun to be around during trade tastings and after the owner of the shop I managed died, he came in to offer condolences, and not to be a vulture by eyeing the store as a possible thing to poach on the cheap the way some other owners did. I appreciated the kindness he showed me during that rough time.

May his family, friends and all those he shared wine with over his long career have some peace at this sad time. Slainte.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I think this is the script of the new Bond film

Hello Dear ,
 I am Miss Ngama. A computer scientist with central bank of Nigeria. I am 26 years old, just started work with C.B.N. I came across your file which was marked X and your released disk painted RED, I took time to study it and found out that you have paid VIRTUALLY all fees and certificate but the fund has not been release to you. The most annoying thing is that they cannot tell you the truth that on no account wills they ever release the fund to you; instead they let you spend money unnecessarily.
 I do not intend to work here all the days of my life, I can release this fund to you if you can certify me of my security, and how I can run away from this Nigeria if I do this, because if I don't run away from this country after I made the transfer, I will be Seriously in trouble and my life will be in danger. This is like a Mafia setting in Nigeria; you may not understand it because you are not a Nigerian. The only thing I will need from you to release this fund is a special HARD DISK,I will need two of this hard disk to recopy your information from the corrupted one, destroy the previous one, and punch the computer to reflect in your bank within 24 banking hours.
 I will clean up the tracer and destroy your file, after which I will run away from Nigeria to meet with you. If you are interested. Do get in touch with me immediately, You should send to me your convenient tell/fax numbers for easy communications and also re confirm your banking details, so that there won't be any mistake.
Miss Ngama

Monday, October 13, 2014

You're all just hangers on!

On a day in which I witness brand theft, when critiques of a poetry slam go passive/aggressive on Twitter, when imaginary FEMA camps for bad people are still a thing and I call out a local website for being mainstream and no longer underground this song comes to mind.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I will work with a God fearing barrister/person

Dear Friend,

This is a personal email directed to you. I got your details after an extensive on-line search Via (Network Power Charitable Trust) for a reliable person, I know I have never met you, but my mind instincts me to do this, I believe everything happens for a reason! People change so you can learn to let go, Things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they’re right.

I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to you for charitable goals.

I am 62 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 4 years ago, kindly Contact my lawyer through this email address or you can call her private Line :{+855 887 229174 ( she is a God fearing Person work with her, if you are interested in carrying out this task, so that she can arrange the release of the funds of ($10,500,000.00) USD to you. My lawyer's name is Barrister Dara Touch.

Thank you and God bless you.

Mrs. Kanya Keisuke

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Poetry and Pasta

My friend Betsy Clark has been taking on an ambitious project this week. She's been doing a feature at someone's house each night the past six. There's also a spaghetti dinner involved. Last night I was one of the opening acts. It was a small intimate gathering in Alexis and Jay's living room, and Sam the dog was loving on everyone. I did these poems.

This Poem Will Never Be Buzz-fed
Terra Nova Pantoum
Is Gun
All Time None of the Time
The Wine List of the Overlook Hotel
The Real In-flight Announcement

The Word and Spaghetti Tour concludes tonight. Congratulations in advance to Betsy for completing this project!

In other poetry news, local poet Will Evans and former local poet Hanif Willis-Abdurraquib have both made the finals of the Individual World Poetry Slam in Phoenix. Best of luck to the both of them as they compete tonight.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Practically a found poem

Is Gun

Sandwich is gun
Sweet tea is gun
Hoodie is gun
Pants at the knees is gun
Broken down car is gun
Knock on the door is gun
Broken tail light is gun
Licence plate light not working is gun
Cell phone is gun
Hands in the air is gun
Shopping in Wal Mart is gun
Standing on a street corner is gun
Not getting out of the vehicle is gun
Not showing ID is gun
Getting your ID out is gun
Saying no is gun
Saying yes is gun
Saying I do not know is gun
Saying stop is gun
Saying don’t shoot is gun
White man with gun
is second amendment

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Three things I am trying to find.

Most of the time, I have mad research skills. I can find things, it is part of what I do for a living, and I'm good at it. Most of the time. There are times where I am fallible. When google fu evades me. These are the things I've been trying to research. Three things that frustrate me to no end every few months when I go back to them. These are my Holy Grails.

1) The family of Dr. Martin Couney. Cristin O'Keefe Aptowitz  got me back on this case after she gave a talk about her book last week. Couney was the doctor of the Coney Island Infantorium for many years in the early 20th century. His work was sound, and it was said he saved many premature babies. Just how many, and who they were is not exactly known. His papers have not been found, and his only family, his daughter Hildegarde, is untraceable. I'm sure she's dead, but where and when did she die. She is said to have never married and I cannot find her. I'm also a few hundred miles from some where I can find potential leads. Drives me nuts!

2) Information about my Great Uncle Edward A. Plunkett, who served in the 45th division Company A in World War 2 and was killed in action in March 1945. I received his individual death file a couple of years ago. What I'm trying to find are people alive who knew him during the war. Those chances are dying by the day, if they're not already gone. I'm in a Facebook group about the 45th, which is informative but I have hit nothing directly. There's also a strong possibility he had a child, and it's been one dead end after another.

3) Elton John, August 5th, 1982. This was a show I saw at Madison Square Garden and it was a really good concert. Been trying to find a bootleg of it, but have never found one from that specific date. I'm pretty sure it was taped because someone was playing part of the show on the train ride home after the concert. I'd also like to know if the setlist is as I remember. The link says he did The Bitch is Back after Empty Garden, I'm pretty sure it was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I wonder if the death crush I went with would remember?

I rotate these items, occasionally I find a small nugget, a name, an extra link to bookmark. Concrete conclusions and evidence has been hard to come by though. So I plod on, knowing that life would not be complete when I find the information, but a path for more mysteries.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Kicking basements

At this point in the home buying process, we're only looking at open houses. It's going to be months before we're serious in making a purchase. We still have to get this house ready for sale, or rental, or some form of both.

We've been looking in Westgate, an area close to our home, near a park, between two major roads. Still though, the west side of this city is neglected for stuff to do and I'm not sure how long it's going to take for things to develop. There's still no coffee shop here, it's ridiculous! More space and less yard is the ideal situation.

Today we looked in Merion/Hungarian Village, an area south of downtown and south of the prestigious German Village, which means the real estate is less expensive. One house was way out of our price range, the other two were interesting. One was already in contract. I suspect real estate sells there fast as it is becoming a more desirable area to live.

So at some point in the late spring of 2015 we'll start looking in earnest, at homes we're really interested in looking inside.

In other news, I got a rejection today. It's ok, have to do better. In my head it's that simple.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rich history brought to life

Very little is known about the life of Thomas Dent Mutter, the founder of the famous Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. With this book, Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern MedicineCristin O'Keefe Aptowicz brings Mutter to life in extraordinary context to his times. 

Excellent research shows us the horrors of surgery in the world during the early 19th century and O'Keefe Aptowicz describes the procedures very graphically. We learn of Mutter's education and travels but sadly, very little about his wife, who only gets mentioned on six pages. It is difficult to research and find what has been lost though and O'Keefe Aptowicz fills in the gaps with fine historical details although she can get bogged down in occasional minutia and trivia. This is a wonderful book with an incredible conversational tone.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sometime around 6AM

We were on a road trip, I think my wife was with me. For some reason we were driving through Ohio, no idea what part, or why - just driving.

At some point my car, the car I have now, had one weird steering issue. It was slipping while I turned left and I had to over steer to compensate.

Then we got to the town of Jack Vine, Ohio where the car started running badly and a shut engine off light started flashing on the left side of the dashboard.

I pulled into a parking spot in the middle of the town's business district. It looked like a small town in Ohio. Any small town in America. That's when I woke up.

Not sure where Jack Vine came from, but there does not seem to be any town called Jack Vine anywhere.

Friday, September 19, 2014

There's something about loss

I've probably seen more loss than victory, and not just from the world of sports. 

Redman Street 

High school was a barrage of
Friday night parties I was not invited to
On Monday the sounds all around my desk
were laughter, all the drinking, fun and vomiting I missed
It's said the diploma was the goal
More important than a degree was
four more years of directionless loss
Administrators pushed me through second grade
because I could read
In third grade I learned how to hate myself
In fifth I learned how power can abuse
If seventh grade went as quick as sitting next to a pretty girl
in ninth grade science class
eleventh grade would have been more tolerable
I'm not even going to mention any more even numbered years
Every Saturday afternoon I heard the marching band play
at halftime from my backyard
I'd been beat up under those bleachers too many times to see them filled
Had lockers broken into more times that I want to remember
Problems were solved with withdrawal, not a gun
another shot of whiskey means
another game of dodge ball forgotten
There's not enough whiskey
but there's plenty of time to move forward

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A few hours at the Horseshoe

I've lived in Columbus for nearly 25 years now and until today I had never been to an Ohio State Football game. The only times I set foot in Ohio Stadium were for a Crew match before their stadium was built and a game of the Ohio Glory of the doomed World Football League. For a staff appreciation, the President of the University put some tickets up for a staff drawing and I was one of the winners.

My friend Alexis and her husband joined my Wife and I for a lot of firsts. We were wandering around outside the fan fest and saw the cheerleaders being thrown into the air. And there was Brutus Buckeye. Alexis had gumption and wanted a picture with the legendary mascot. I joined her.

I love mascots and can now cross a picture with Brutus off the list. We got into St. John Arena and watched the marching band do their skull session. A pep rally of sorts.

The band members in red are the alumni band, who had a reunion this weekend. Over 700 members took part today, more on that in a bit.

C-Deck of Ohio Stadium has 41 rows. We were in row 41. There were a lot of stairs to climb. Jokes were made. Who needs binoculars when we can summon the Hubble! We did find our seats without the need of a Sherpa.

There was nothing behind us but a concrete wall. I climbed on our seat and looked over the top of the stadium. Here's the view. 

Bought a Coke, the label was very ironic considering the firing of OSU Marching Band Director, Jon Waters, just a few weeks ago. There are a lot of feelings about this still going around. 

It was my wife's first live football game, she's trying, even with little oxygen. Maybe that's why we're both smiling. 

The background is a concrete wall. The backrest to our seats. At halftime the bands came out and did four Script Ohios. It was rather impressive.

Over 100,000 people were in attendance. That's a city within a city. Sometime in here a half of football was played and Ohio State was totally in control. They were ahead 45-0 at the break and won 66-0. Watching a rout is not much fun so we left after the band played, with many other people. I did take one last picture.

If you look inside the stadium and spot the blue flag on the right, the open space to the lower left of the flag - that is exactly were we were sitting. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

One American's take on the Scottish Referendum

On September 18th the people of Scotland will be voting for whether or not they want to be an independent nation. After an early lead by the No campaign that has dropped with Dukakis like speed, in recent weeks the polling results have become too close to call.

I have no say in the results at all but have immediate family, friends and acquaintances who will all be directly affected by the outcome. So I’ve been trying to follow along. What has impressed me most is how votes will be cast under peaceful conditions. There have been no tanks in the streets, no violent protests, no voter intimidation but a lot of simply talking about it.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a live debate on STV that had members of each faction reasonably and with great conviction stating their cause. There was no shouting, no sound bark talking points or name calling, but an actual debate happening. This is something you rarely see in this country anymore. It was so refreshing to see something of great importance being given the respect it deserves by everyone involved. I'm reading that voter registration is at a record high and a massive turnout is expected.

Both sides have their points. Many of my friends and acquaintances online are talking about and linking to articles stating their positions quite clearly and rationally and I thank them all for this. From here I wonder what happens to my wife’s citizenship and passport if there is a yes vote, not to mention many other legal and financial concerns.

Come Thursday night though, after the smoke has cleared and there is a result, I hope they all keep their passion going for their nation and not merely be better together.

Be better, because they’re on the right path.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who died and left me boss?

This email explains that!

Dear Plunkett

This is an official legal notice of an unclaimed fund left by Mr.A.
Plunkett,who died as a result of an industrial accident in his energy
& gas exploration company on the 31st of March 2010 As the former
official/personal attorney of the deceased and witness of fact of this
subject matter, I hereby solicit for your immediate response and
positive committed efforts to facilitate the fund remitted of total
sum  $12.5 million dollars(and Gold).

May his fragile soul rest in perfect peace, Amen!!! If you want to
know more, get back to me so I will give you more information to

My email;

Yours Sincerely,
Peter Okeke Esq

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News about the sport balls

The announcement that the Buffalo Bills were sold today for about a billion and a half dollars to Terry Pegula caused a massive sigh of relief and a release of hope for the people of Western New York and Bills fans all over. Since the death of Ralph Wilson earlier this year, and  for many years before, there was a lot of speculation that the team would move if the team was not sold to an owner who loved the city of Buffalo. So the drama that Bon Jovi and Donald Trump caused as potential buyers added to the stress levels of supporters. An opening day win and a home game against arch rival Miami this weekend only adds to the joy of a new season. I'm guessing Pegula is introduced to the crowd sometime during the game, which gives the crowd 80,000 plus another reason to go nuts. The move is not official until approval by NFL owners next month.

Pegula already owns the NHL Buffalo Sabres so there is hope that he can become a benevolent monopoly owner of Buffalo sports teams. Do not be surprised if Kim Pegula has a major role in the operations of the franchise.

The NFL itself is in deep shit over the whole Ray Rice domestic violence situation. When TMZ exposes a story that the league denies in the video of Rice striking his fiancee in the elevator you have a massive credibility issue.

Meanwhile the NFL continues to allow Greg Hardy to play after his arrest in May on domestic violence charges, he threw his girlfriend onto a couch covered in rifles and shotguns, but the league has threatened to fine him if he wears face paint under his helmet.

I'm not sure how much more of the time I have left on this planet will be spent watching this bloodsport.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good day to be a Columbus Poet

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for the newsletter Front Row Center, a publication of the Greater Columbus Arts Council about Columbus poetry. I spoke to the writer for a good half an hour, gave some honest thoughts about the scene and suggested she speak to a few other people (which she was already going to do) on the scene to get a broad view.

The finished article went online yesterday and I really think Tracy Zollinger Turner has come the closest to putting in writing what the entire Columbus poetry scene is all about. Read for yourself.

Early last month I was not feeling very confident in my writing and my wife sent me a link to a local submission. So I sent them a poem.

Never heard back, which I have to admit bothered me. I'd rather take the rejection, a thanks but no thanks than not hear anything back.

Went to eat in the Short North yesterday afternoon and saw a stack of the new issue of the publication in the doorway. I did pick one up and turned to the section where the poetry goes.

And I got in. Was never told I was in, but there it is, my poem From the Streets of the Under Served in 614 Columbus September issue. It's all over the Short North and other locations in Columbus. This is probably the biggest exposure to any of my work and I could not be happier!

A book about the Shakespeare and Autism program my son was in will be published in December. The cover art was released today, it's the worst cover ever because my son is not on it. See for yourself, then preorder the book if you'd like.

A video about the program which has the actors discussing how it affected them was released today. You can see that, right here

Friday, August 29, 2014

I am a winner!


Payment Notification Of Your Pending Funds.

I wish to notify you that your Winning / Inheritance Payment of $10.5
Million United States Dollars, Has been Approved and will be released
to you as soon as you respond to this letter, Also be inform that the
Federal Government of Nigeria have decided to wire your Payment
through our Oil Reserve Consolidated Account, You are ask to reply to
this Office with the reconfirmation of your information as below:

Your Name in full:
Your Telephone and fax number:
Your Age and Occupation:
Your Count Address: (1, 2, ha ha ha!)

Furthermore, as soon as I hear from you with the reconfirmation of
your information I will use it to obtain the Fund Approval Certificate
that will back up your fund to your Account, You are ask to stop any
Communication with any Office or person until you receive your fund.

Thanks and have a nice day, Extend my greetings to your family, I am
waiting to hear from you.

Best Regards,

Mr. Francis Johnson

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A visit and a memory

Stopped by the library to pick up my reserve of the new Murakami book, one chapter in and all is well. While there, one of the clerks, who worked with my on Sundays at the Hilltop, asked my if I missed public service.

After I laughed for about five minutes I said no. I do miss seeing the new, more popular work instead of the more academic materials I do process these days but there is no way I would trade anything now. The last few years there were rough. I was profoundly unhappy and should not have been dealing with the public in any way. My leaving was good for everyone.

Ten years ago, this happened. Here's a Live Journal entry about a typical day in the life of the Hilltop. Yes, it's more than a bit cynical and a bit hateful. Such was my life in 2004.

"Had a train wreck of a customer. She had us print up a list of the books she had checked out. Then proceeded to say that she returned about half of them last night. I looked on the shelves for one of them, it wasn't there.

She then went out into her car, a few minutes later came back with a huge tub full of books - including the one she claimed to have returned in the book drop overnight.

I overheard her talking to my supervisor. She said she clearly remembered returning one book in particular. That the book was so big that she hurt her hand on the book drop door. My supervisor looked the book up and said, "This book is a small paperback that cost $2.99."

If there was any liquid in my mouth, there would have been a spit take.

God, that was funny.

After she did her business, she asked if she could leave the tub on the check-in counter. For some reason, we did. A few minutes later an elderly customer dropped her copy of the latest Evanovich right in the tub.

I've never seen my supervisor laugh so hard.

We moved the tub off the counter after that. About an hour later, the train wreck came back, and was looking for her tub. Luckily I told her we'd moved it before her panic would set in."

Monday, August 25, 2014

One day at a time, is all we do

My Stepfather came to town for an all too brief visit over the weekend. He brought a few of my old records with him, and an old case of 45's. Despite the short visit, we had a good time. We bought each other dinner (what, City Barbecue is also in Grove City?!?), took my son swimming in the pool of the hotel he stayed at. He really wanted to see the casino where he lost money while I had a free soda while watching Everton draw Arsenal on a very large screen. He's doing ok, as well as he can about the loss. His legs are not in great shape.

Still not sure when I'm going to be able to get east. Airfare remains permanently ridiculous and driving that distance with my son and his needs is difficult.

My son's sleeping remains very inconsistent. The melotonin is putting him to sleep a bit faster but he is not able to stay asleep through the night. Last night he was in bed at ten, then woke up around 12:30 and did not fall back asleep. I was so wiped out I called off work. I'm still wiped out. Somehow he got through school, but fell asleep about 4:30. We let him sleep about an hour. He was not happy being woken up for dinner.

May that hour of sleep he did get not process into four extra hours he can draw energy from.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

You will surprise

I am a positive and loving lady and I am looking for a gallant, intelligent man who is self-confident and firm of purpose.
I'm very charming, responsive, sociable and romantic.
I have good sense of humor.
I'm funny  and compassionate, I have good sense of humor.

I respect people and their personal freedom. I do believe that I would meet a reliable, loving and wise man with whom I share all the moments in my life!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sixth grade: day one

Sixth grade: day one

They do not tell you how many times your heart breaks
as you watch your child grow up
The pain of leaving him in a classroom he does not know
after being in a different school for seven years
The look of fright, a shock in his eyes you cannot erase
for his mind or your own
When you leave your son alone with a group of
peers and strangers for the first time
Knowing he will not tell you about any of it
at the end of the day
That he cut a circle with scissors
or some bigger kid, and they’re all bigger than him now
poured milk down his back
The silence at days end of five years of schooling
five years of rides on the short bus
twelve years of life
is insignificant compared to the swirl of everything
that happens in his head from minute to minute
No one knows what is coming to us
we can's live in fear, put him in a bubble
but we have to hope
dammit, that’s all we have some mornings
when he’s up at 2AM telling the ceiling
the script to an episode of Dora the Explorer
all I can say, with more sleep deprivation
than sense
is vamanos.