Thursday, December 31, 2015

Movies I watched in 2015

Spent over a week of my life watching movies this year. And this does not include the amount of television in general, series followed, binge watched, or sports. Do watch Bron/Broen though. Outstanding television. That’s a lot of time in front of a screen. Wanted to hit over 100 movies to see what it was like, and I did, and it’s like, wow I watched over 100 movies so fucking what?

It means I should write and read more that’s what.

We Are the Best
In A World…
Richard Pryor: Live at the Sunset Strip
Roger Ebert: Life Itself
Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie
Taken 2
Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
Force Majeure
The Darjeeling Limited
Gil Scott Heron- The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Singin’ In the Rain
Paton Oswalt: Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time
50,000,000 Joe Franklin Fans Can’t Be Wrong
The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
Wing Chun
Wuthering Heights (1939)
The Philadelphia Story
Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Killer Mermaid
Iron Monkey
The Blue Dahlia
The Maltese Falcon
Kingsman: the Secret Service
Way Out West
Sunshine on Leith
Northern Soul
The Ruling Class
Paul Williams: Still Alive
Lady Snowbird
Battle Royale
Darby O’Gill and the Little People
Odd Man Out
Grey Gardens
Lime Kiln Field Day (1913)
Wild Tales
King Kong (1933)
Holiday (1938)
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Smashing Time
Citizen Kane
Avengers: Age of Ultron
No No, a Dockumentary
Atari: Game Over
God Help the Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll
Kung Fury
The Other One: the Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir
The Sheik (2014)
The Castle of Fu Manchu (MST 3K)
Two Days in Paris
Inside Out
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Love and Mercy
The Road Warrior
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Chicken Run
Wayne’s World
Bride of the Monster (MST 3K)
Born to Boogie
The Search for General Tso
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!
Arsenic and Old Lace
Duck Soup
Singin’ In the Rain
Downstairs (1932)
The Bank Dick
It’s A Gift
Casino Royale (2006)
Breathless (1960)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Why Be Good?
The Illusionist (2010)
Bridge Of Spies
The Forbidden Room
The Mouse That Roared
Rumble in the Bronx
A Free Soul
Call Me Lucky
Strangers May Kiss
Jason and the Argonauts
The Assassin
Begin, Again
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Beyond Outrage
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
It’s a Wonderful Like
The Thin Man

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The books I read, 2015

It's a longer list than last year, thank God. At least I averaged more than two books per month this time. Also the quality of books was better, I felt. If you see no stars, the book was finished and it was ok. Three starts means better than average. Four stars means I really, really liked it.

Juan Gelman - Unthinkable Tenderness. 191 p. ***
Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka) - Blues People: Negro Music in White America 244 p.
Graham Kelly -Terrace Heroes: the Life and Times of the 1930’s Professional Footballer. 174 p.
Alejandra Pizarnik – Diana’s Tree. 45 p. ***
Etgar Keret - The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God and Other Stories. 182 p. ***
Nick Hornby - Funny Girl. 452 p. ***
Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett - Good Omens 384 p. ****
Erik Larson - Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania. 430 p. ***
Scott Martelle - The Madman and the Assassin. 226 p. ***
Thomas Kunkel - Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker. 366 p. ****
Wade Shepard – Ghost Cities of China. 218 p.
Kim Gordon - Girl in a Band. 273 p. ****
Paula Hawkins - The Girl on the Train. 322 p. ***
Irvine Welsh - The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins. 349 p. ****
Caitlin Doughty - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Other Lessons From the Crematory. 254 p. ***
Jim Sweeney - North Korea Undercover: Inside the World’s Most Secret State. 306 p. ***
Matthew Sweet - Shepparton Babylon. 388 p. ***
Jay Stringer - Ways to Die in Glasgow. 277 p. ****
Steve Silberman - NeuroTribes: the Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. 534 p. ****
Elion Paz - Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collection. 440 p. ***
Chrissie Hynde - Reckless: My Life As A Pretender. 312 p. (worst book of the year)
Sophie Calle - Suite Ve├Čnitienne (one volume unpaged)
Grace Jones - I’ll Never Write My Memoirs. 386 p. ***
Patti Smith - M Train. 253 p. ***
Kate Clifford Larson - Rosemary: the Hidden Kennedy Daughter. 320 p. ***
Elvis Costello - Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink. 674 p. ****
Denise Mina - Blood, Salt, Water. 295 p. ***
Clips Nesteroff - The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy. 425 p. ***
Percival Everett - Half an Inch of Water. 163 p. ****

2015, the year in poetry

2015 was not the most public year for me and poetry. I'd like to blow this year up socially as being constantly worn out made it difficult to attend open mics in the community.

Had to cancel a feature in Pittsburgh due to weather difficulties but I did have a good reading in Dayton in May for the Gem City crew.

It was an honor to be a part of the Sign Your Art project that put poetry on the street signs all over Columbus.

Had a great co-feature with Nancy Kangas at the Kitamu Coffee for the Second Friday Fete in November.

Had some strong thoughts about how the Columbus Arts Festival gave poetry the shaft.

Still writing, albeit slowly. It's there, quiet.

Most important though, we lost Gina Blaurock and so many of us are still reeling from her death.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 slideshow

For the past four years I've been making slideshows and setting them to music. This year is no exception. It's been a year of a lot of loss. Friends, a co-worker, my Brother and my biological father just died on Sunday. It adds up.

The music is Nobody's Empire by Belle and Sebastian and it's a very appropriate song that resonates this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Who is this guy?

A friend messaged me this morning to tell me that I was on the CBS Morning News in a clip about Star Wars. This was news to me, I do not remember any cameras when I was in the theater.

Found the clip here and was a bit freaked out.
The person who looks like me is at the 1:53 part of the segment.

The wardrobe, the glasses, the hair. Honestly, it almost could be me.

Took a screen shot.

Honestly at first glimpse it's kind of jarring.

Now. How do we find this dude?

Monday, December 21, 2015

218 views in five years

From back in the day when I was writing. Writing well is another issue entirely. At least my mug is on youtube, for anyone to find, stumble across blindly, hate watch, or whatever.

Come on, let's get to 500 views by 2021! Four digits by 2030! We can do this internet!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Some Music I Liked Listening To In 2015

Instead of fifteen tweets about it, here are fifteen records I liked this year

Belle and Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. I really liked Nobody’s Empire a lot. You’ll see that in a week or so.

Cait Brennan - Debutante. Technically this is not being released until January, but I was an early adopter and have been digging this blast of rock/pop for several months.

Charanee Wade - Offering: the Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson. This is such a respectful project. Ms. Wade has a great voice that matches up with the material.

Chvrches - Every Open Eye. You’re always skeptical about the second record but this band actually exceeded the promise of the first release. Lauren Mayberry is a star.

D-troit - Soul Thing. This was from the Music Alliance Pact Project. A bunch of Danes being American funky. Good stuff.

Steve Forbert - Compromised. The man keeps delivering.

Sarah Hayes - Woven. This is a terrific folk record from one of the members of Admiral Fallow. Ms. Hayes has many talents.

Darlene Love - Introducing Darlene Love. Best record from a person in their seventies this year. Ms. Love’s voice is as fresh and powerful as ever. Timeless.

Florence and the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. I love watching her career soar.

Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free. He remains one of the best singer/songwriters out there.

Ellie King - Love Stuff. I had no idea she was Rob Schneider’s daughter and grew up in Ohio. Gritty and sassy debut.

The Last Hurrah - Mudflowers. This is a neat little project produced by H.P. Gunderson, who worked on Sondre Lerche’s Faces Down record. Maesa Pullman is the singer. She’s Bill Pullman’s daughter. Pleasant little pop record.

Leon Bridges - Coming Home. A second coming of Sam Cooke. I’m impressed with his style and look and hope he pays more attention to the music than the fashion in his next works.

The Mynabirds - Lovers Know. Laura Burhenn keeps delivering quality sounds with a goth girl group edge.

Veruca Salt - Ghost Notes. Might have been the best comeback no one heard. Nina Gordon and Louise Post patched up their differences and made a very fine record.

If you're interested in a deeper playlist or an MP3 or two, shoot me a message here or back channel.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Two old COTA stories, not sure if I ever put them here.

Tonight on the 8 - from 2001

Before boarding the bus this evening a person who was herbally enhanced
accused me of being able to break a five for him. 'You've got to be able
break this five for me.'

Sorry, not my job in this universe to do so, I'm merely a vessel of
information. Not a vessel of finance.

I think the bus driver was able to get him change. 'Sweet!' came out of
his mouth. He looked like the slacker in the Dell commercials. You know,
'Mrs. Smith, I'll stop getting your kid high if you buy this Dell

The driver got him situated, the driver more or less made the kid sit
right behind him - to keep him away from the rest of us?

I couldn't really hear but he then got into an argument with the bus
driver, 'I pay your salary.' You just know that it's going downhill from

As the kid was getting off he kept telling the bus driver, 'If everyone
took weed, the world would be a better place.'

'Just get off the bus'

'If everyone took weed the world would be a better place.'

'Get of MY bus!'


A couple of the passengers yelled 'If you get off this bus the world
would be a better place.'

Kid got off the bus and yelled 'Weed! Weed! Weed!' at his reflection in
the windows as the bus continued on its route.

From 1999 - a brush with greatness

There was a commotion as the new passengers of the #2 bus were
getting on.

"Don't you recognize me?" A man yelled from outside the bus.

He got on and exclaimed to all the people on the bus. "Don't you know
who I am? I'M GOD!"

God sat behind the driver, preaching about how we should all
recognize and obey him.

"That God, he crazy." A rider mumbled.

A number of passengers challenged God.

"Don't antagonize him," the bus driver pleaded.

God spoke to all of us of the year 2000 and how all that would be
left would be he and Satan.

A couple of stops later God burst out of the bus, issuing us no

It turns out God got on the wrong bus.

How could someone as omnipotent as he do that?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Saw this episode, went out and bought the CD the next day

Bad days and days

It's a struggle that has nothing to do with agoraphobia but it's a time a year when I just do not want to leave the house.

Another tough holiday after a tough year approaches and it's really hard to celebrate. Never know what to get my son. Hard to know what he likes to do other than watch trailers on iTunes.

Mom's been gone two years, my Brother two months, it's too freaking dark outside although unseasonably warm for this time of year.

So it's become too easy to stare at a screen, a device, to catch up on season two of Buffy and ironically chuckle at the use of a Sarah MacLachlan song in the last episode. The results are no real writing or reading gets done, let alone attempting to be social.

My Wife has some hope and started a new job this month, there is that to rightfully celebrate and appreciate.

Getting out in the crowds is difficult, but maybe next weekend. Perhaps the temperatures will remain warm or there will not be bitter wind chill to annoy me during the experience.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Still fading away

Another one of my former coworkers died this past week. Jane was an incredibly sweet woman, who I thought had a much harder life than she deserved. She was always working to help make ends meet, even while she was raising her daughter. Her acceptance when I first started working at the liquor store meant a lot to me.

Jane knew everyone who came into the store, and would share gossip and tell some interesting, but not always slanderous stories about them after they left. She was a talented woman, who was the first female window decorator for the J.C. Penney's company in the 1940's.

So when I saw her obituary and read that she died, at the age of 92, I was sad but not too surprised. Had not seen her in years, and thought maybe she was already gone. I hope the final years of life were kind to her.