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
computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of over
250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world
which you were selected.

The BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and also
Licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).
To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact our fiduciary
claims department for more information as regards procedures to the
claim of your prize.


Contact him by providing him with your secret pin code Number
BMW:2551256003/23. You are also advised to provide him with the under
listed information as soon as possible:

1. Name In Full :
2. Residential Address :
3. Nationality :
4. Age :
5. Occupation :
6. Direct Phone :
7. Present Country :
8. Email address :
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


1. FULL NAMES: __________________________________
3. SEX: _______________
4. AGE: ________
5. MARITAL STATUS: ___________________
6. OCCUPATION: ________________________
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Make sure this Verification and Funds Release Form is sent to the Fiduciary agent for quick verification and funds release purpose. Our winners are assured of the utmost standards of confidentiality, and press anonymity until the end of proceedings, and beyond where they so desire. Be further advised to maintain the strictest level of confidentiality until the end of proceedings to circumvent problems associated with fraudulent claims. This is part ofour precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program.


At your disposal, we remain.

Very Truly Yours,

Michael Platt
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.