Friday, December 30, 2016

Shameful end of the year post

This is usually the post in which I copy and paste the list of what I read for the past year. This is going to be the first year I have not done that for awhile.

Let me explain with a picture.



I subscribe to the New Yorker. The magazine on top is the one I'm working on. The rest of the pile is unread and in chronological order. The date on that issue is January 11th......2016.

So I am about a year behind in that magazine, alone. And if I'm a year behind in one magazine, imagine how many books I've read.

It's embarrassing. I do not read, what I write suffers. This year, it really has. Sure I had a couple of poems published earlier in the year. After that, zip. A few deserved rejections and here we are.

What's keeping me from writing is often the objects that are right in front of me, or in my hand, or in my pocket.

I have to do better in 2017. Have to.

Did see plenty of movies in the last year. Averaged a bit more than one a week, which is acceptable to me. I did watch 100 movies a couple of years ago, just to see if I could, and I did. Know what? All I did was watch 100 movies in a year.

So here's that list.

Brooklyn
Sleeper
David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Autism In Love
The Little Fugitive
Galaxy Quest
Stagecoach
Design For Living
Peter Pan (1953)
Much Ado About Nothing (2003)
Room
The Wolfpack
A New Leaf
Cabaret
Hail Caesar!
Where to Invade Next
The Odd Couple
Dirigible
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
The Story of Temple Drake
Viva Las Vegas
Finding Vivian Maier
The Wrecking Crew
The Art of Love (1965)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Captain America: Civil War
Sounder
Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon
Purple Rain
All the Light in the Sky
After the Thin Man
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Min and Bill
Simply Irresistible
Blazing Saddles
Lost in America
Ghostbusters (2016)
A Hard Days Night
Sharknado 4
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Koch
A Fistful of Dollars
Ball of Fire
Golden Age of Comedy (1957)
Sons of the Desert
Under the Skin
Bananas
The Little Prince (2015)
Speedy (1928)
Rockabye (1932)
Blonde Crazy (1931)
Airplane!
Drunken Master 2
Moonlight
Where You’re Meant To Be
Meet Me in St. Louis
Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Rogue One
Krampus
After the Thin Man (yup, again)
Possession
Scrooge
The Omega Man
The World, the Flesh and the Devil

I do not go to the theater much these days. Most of what I watch is on Netflix or TCM. And I'm fine with that. So I will maintain my resolution to watch a movie a week, it's been doable. The reading though, oy.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The year that keeps on taking

George Michael was an incredible talented musician. He became an artist after starting out as a boy duo with Andrew Ridgely with Wham!

This was my favorite song of his. Dead, and only a year older than me. And this year still has six days left.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A ride to enjoy

Today for the first time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets are in first place in the Metropolitan Division. They are also tied for the lead for most points in the league. The team has games in hand on their closest opponents. The team has also won eleven games in a row and are 10-0 in the month of December.

I cannot believe I just typed those words, but they are true. You can look it up.

The franchise has talent depth, strength at all positions and gain speed as the game goes on. They are vicious in the third period. Conditioning has paid off, greatly, this season. So much of this is from the mind of coach John Tortorella. He's turned this team, and its fanbase, into believers.

Sure, they're probably not going to continue this blistering pace all season. There will come a time when questions will be asked. The difference now is that those questions will be answered, and faults fixed, before the bricks tumble.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Geezers are strong

2016 is going to be remembered more for what musicians died than what music was made. This is the music that helped me cope. There are some good songs on these records. The people that made them are passionate about what they do. As usual I have gaps, they have always have been there, and always will be. There are not many newer artists on this list, I know. I’m still looking, still trying to listen. Some days it’s easier to do than others.

Blood Orange - Freetown Sound
Cait Brennan - Debutante
Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker
King Creosote - Astronaut Meets Appleman
Gaby Moreno - Ilusion
Van Morrison - Keep Me Singing
Emma Pollock - In Search of Harpersfield
Marta Ren & the Groovelets - Stop, Look, Listen
The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome
Emile Sande - Long Live the Angels
Teenage Fanclub- Here
A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service
KT Tunstall - KIN

Friday, December 9, 2016

Taking on the sunshine brigade.

Earlier a friend did a Facebook post inviting us to share unpopular Columbus opinions. It turned into a long thread. It seems that some feathers got ruffled as some of their sacred cows were grilled.

Anyway, to contrast.

Ten things I think are cool about Columbus:
1) The number of first run and art films available. Plus the wonderful CAPA Summer Movie Series.
2) You can find a good poetry reading just about any night.
3) My mortgage is about a third of what some people are paying in rent.
4) The Scioto Mile is an asset to downtown.
5) The Metroparks system is well taken care of, pretty safe, and a great way to connect with nature.
6) Our public library system is thriving where others are being cannibalized.
7) Four String Brewery's commitment to the west side. They make some good beer too.
8) The thrifting here is good. Plenty of places to shop.
9) Not one, not two, not three but four (Southern, Ohio, Palace, Lincoln) old theaters have been preserved and restored to their former glory. A lot of places can no longer claim one.
10) Our ice cream kicks ass.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I speak good English

Fawlty Towers is my favorite television program. The acting, comedic timing and writing are perfection. Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel, died today, aged 86. This is one of the best scenes from the show.



Almost 40 years later, it still makes me laugh.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Better poetry than mine

Goods are meant for boosting your stiffy!
Carol Wunderlich

Carol Wunderlich

I recommend to visit this site
Perry all stared at thе grate. Chimed in thе shеepman. I raised him up out of nothing.
It was painted about fifteen years ago—no.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Reverting

I've been dreaming of two different places recently. One of them involves being in some resort, and there's a room called the Branson Room. It's not in Branson, Missouri, but more of a theme park like place. In any case, there's some sort of orientation and when it's over some people leave, some move on, others stay and sing gospel songs.

The other has me working in some dive bar on no notice or experience. I'm pouring drinks, getting customers the wrong beer and I do not care when they complain. I'd rather be anywhere else, and it shows.

Here in Scotland for one final night. It's been a good trip.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Catching fire, or not

It was not quite the viral explosion of Ceiling Cat or The Colored Dress, but less that 24 hours after Friday's Joe Biden post it became the most viewed post in this blog's seven year history.

So thank you all for reading, sharing and clicking like. Please stick around.

When your new car gets a recall notice less than six months into ownership, it can be cause for concern. Took my Golf to the dealership on Saturday morning. Drove up to the service entrance and was directed into the garage. A batcave large, clean parking area. Gave them my keys and was directed to the lounge area, where I had average coffee, wifi and a muffin. Got to check out the sweet looking Alltrack. I was in and out in less than an hour. It was an impressive experience, no hassle service that I know is very rare in the business. So I'm going to take that and run with it for a few weeks until the first oil change.

The Golf makes a chiming noise and puts a snowflake next to the temperature when it's under 40 degrees. It also sounds a gentle alarm with a dashboard light when the car has less then 50 miles of range left. What it does not do, if inform the driver when there's no washer fluid left. Good to know.

Trying to catch some lightning with a poem a day challenge for the month. I've had mixed success with this stunt in the past, but this month is going ok so far. I am worried about keeping up when we go to Scotland next Monday.

What? Vacation is eight days away? Now that's something to look forward to!

Friday, November 11, 2016

I will miss Joe Biden

While watching Scotland get beat by England today, I found a few Biden memes online, and decided to make a few of my own. I did not ask permission for the pictures, so if any of them are yours let me know. I'll take it down or give you credit and thanks. Do enjoy, we need a few laughs to keep us sane right now.


Biden: I switched all the toilet paper to one ply
Obama: Fix it Joe!

Biden: Why can't I siphon the gas from his limo?
Obama: You know why.


Biden: Yes, I put in lower wattage bulbs. Is there a problem?
Obama: Joe...

Biden: What if I set the thermostat so it's really hot when they come home?
Obama: Shut the door Joe.

Biden: I bribed the Secret Service to give you the door codes.
Clinton: Just stop it, Joe

Biden: HDMI cables are expensive, I'm not leaving them here.
Obama: *eight years of this*

Biden: I like the dog, can I keep him?
Obama: The dog is mine, Joe. 

Biden: What if I put up electric sensors that would shock them if they messed with the wallpaper?
Obama: Angela, can I call you back?

Biden: I'm going to order them 50 pizzas a night, they can afford it.
Obama: ......
Biden: How about 25?

Biden/Clinton: We short sheeted the Lincoln Bedroom!
Obama: Guys....guys...

Biden: Feel how much silverware I got in here, go on...
Obama: Uhhhhhh

Biden: How am I going to get my packages from Amazon now?
Obama: Don't worry, Jill will fill out the forwarding form for you.

Biden: Can I bring my 'Vette by at 4AM to do donuts on the lawn?
Obama: For the last time, no!

Biden: Before we go can...
Obama: Plane's about to take off, got to go!

I better not see Pence eating ice cream once. I am the ice cream eating Vice President.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The clouds, the breeze

How does a parent tell their 14 year old non-verbal child that the world has changed? I’ve had to tell him about the deaths of Grandparents and other relatives and it is so hard to know what has registered. As a parent of a severely autistic child, I’ve been advised to assume he is aware of the world around him even if he behaves as if he’s separate from it. Gauging his reaction is always difficult and in the wake of a death or other Earth shattering event it’s frustrating for me.

“I have to tell you something important happened last night. You know how Daddy yells when something bad happens to Everton? Well it’s like that, but a bit bigger….”

Oh Hell I do not know what I’m doing but I’m even more fearful about his future now, and about the health care of so many special needs children and adults who are probably going to lose their benefits when the new administration erases the Affordable Care Act.

The new sheriff in town does not inspire confidence when he mocks a man with cerebral palsy onstage and his followers kick a child’s wheelchair.

It’s not a good time to live in this country unless you’re a straight white male with some means. I have no idea what the next four years will bring, even the stock market shocked me with a rally today. Yet I can’t seem to want to give up hope. Maybe when the guy leaves it will be better than it was? I can’t help but be cynical and frightened for my friends and coworkers who do not look like me though.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Cue Roy Orbison

It's been an absolutely horrible 18 months, not just for me personally, but for the country (and the world, really) to have to endure this disgrace of an election cycle.

About twenty seven and a half hours from now, the polls will close in Ohio. This election may decrease Ohio's influence over the electorate. This means we may be less of a swing state, which means we get fewer ads.

Thank God if that happens.

With Clinton once again, and rightfully, not being under further investigation by the feds concerning the nonsense email scandal the markets shot up today. They were looking for a reason to. After tomorrow, it's all speculation and over-valued.

Good luck to all of us.

Friday, October 28, 2016

He had a passport

We were in Paris, hanging out by the Eiffel Tower when my son disappeared. Emma and I went after him, for some reason my stepfather came with us but he stayed put.

I was running, not as fast as I used to and noticed that. Age caught up to me. Lost track of my son. Now there was a missing non-verbal teenager in a country where there is already a language barrier.

That moment where you think you spotted him from behind but when you got there saw it was a French kid wearing a similar shirt happened.

Fences and barriers were jumped and rolled over, stairs were climbed. There was a small place to eat at the top of one flight and my son was not there. When I turned around I saw my Wife and we each had the same look of exhaustion and horror on our faces.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Revisionist discord from a rock and roll pariah

It's always hard to determine how people will react when fame comes to them suddenly and at a young age. The story of the Beach Boys has been told from many angles and by many different people. All seem to agree that Murry Wilson was an unrepentant tyrant, Dennis was a split personality with demons, Carl was a good soul who got caught in addictions and Al is, well Al.

Brian Wilson's troubles are well documented and often told with the man on a pedestal. A musical genius who became brain damaged through drug addiction and pressure to produce masterpieces. Brian's story often puts his cousin, Mike Love, in the role of tormenter and adversary.

It's time Mike Love has told his side of the story and he has with his new book. Love writes about how he was manipulated and cheated out of lyric credits by Murry and Brian and is rather convincing with his side of events.

There are some fascinating stories about Dennis and his situation with the Manson family. His relationship with the Bush/Reagan families does not go into politics but into genuine concern about the planet.

Sure he comes across as a bit of an ego maniac, but he is rather honest about his flaws and I thought less of him as a villain and more of him as a bit of a ass who got screwed by his Uncle. Love and James S. Hirsch have assembled an entertaining and informative read about one of rock music's most misunderstood and controversial members.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I'll pick Click Bait for $1200 Alex

Last week I took the Jeopardy online test. Initially I did well, better than some of the other tests I've taken. Then I saw the replay of the questions and I got at least nine wrong (out of 50 questions) and stand a slim chance to move on in the process.

Today I got an email from Jeopardy. It's subject heading was, "Congratulations!"

Intrigued, but not convinced, I opened the email, which said, "CONGRATULATIONS! You completed the online test. If you pass we'll contact you to schedule an audition."

Bite me you teases!

Because of the Columbus Day holiday my son had no school so I have been watching him today. It's been rather chill. We took a walk downtown earlier. The meters were free thanks to the oppressor's holiday. My son got to meet one of the three deer along the Scioto Mile.



He seemed to enjoy the walk. He walks very fast, faster than me and it was a struggle for my out of shape self to keep up with him. He liked the loop, we did not see anything twice, and he did not complain when we got back to the car. Dad win.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dead icons and not wanting to hear it

Not sure what led up to this but one segment had my son removing one earplug and placing it on a bookcase in the dining room. He then took out the other earplug and threw it on the floor. I told him to pick that up, which he did and he put the earplug with the other one. Why he did not do that in the first place is unknown.

The other part involved Nelson Mandela giving a lecture in a small room. He did not really look like him, but like a bespectacled Greg Morris from Mission Impossible.



So he's giving a talk as Mandela but not looking like Mandela, who is dead but that not seem to matter. My friend Alexis was also attending. He seemed to have problems with cleaning his glasses so I got my sunglasses case out and handed him my microfiber cloth. He really appreciated that and made small talk with Alexis and I. Mandela kept asking us about getting a clearance, access or something we had to get online, and the password to get to the site was Mandela62.

And that's how that dream ended.

Monday, September 26, 2016

I miss the days of Russian Brides

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Failure to thrive

Traveled last weekend and came back with a sickness that has been kicking my ass this week. All the humidity on Long Island combined with going into air conditioning and not enough (never enough) rest added up to something nasty taking hold on my system.

Did get some things sorted about with my Aunt's estate. I now have the rest of her pictures and went though my Father's pictures and did some scanning. A lot of memories went by, good and bad ones. Did end up driving on the LIE during afternoon rush hour to see my Sister in LIC. Nice neighborhood, with a cool view a few blocks from her apartment.



Driving was tiring. Put over 1,500 miles on the car, and it performed wonderfully. Still, it was a long trip in a shot amount of time. That, and my son's annual IEP meeting always adds up to additional sadness and inadequacy as a parent. The meeting went well enough, his Mother had concerns about the amount of a therapy he was to receive, which made sense to me. That my son is attending a new school and they're still getting to know him adds more to the uncertainty. He does seem to be doing well there. We were very concerned about how he would take the transition to a new school and pickup and exchange between his Mother and I, but that has not been a problem. Which is a very good thing.

Called an accountant today, we're meeting next week to talk about finances. This is a first.

Week two of my NFL hiatus is in full effect. Weird getting messages during the game and comments directed to me the next morning about what happened the night before. I do not know the specifics, I see the headlines, but do not know how the Bills are sucking.

Now, back to trying to rest or avoid writing.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Too many Princes are dying this year

When I was a teenager Ska made a little resurgence. I liked Madness and the Specials a lot then learned where they got their music from.

Prince Buster was a legend. He died today, aged 78.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZC6Ot1MLP0

Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Another good one taken

Bill Hurley was connected to life. A very intelligent man of many talents. He came to Writers Block a few years ago and he earned and deserved our love and respect. A fine poet, a fine Father and Husband. We're going to miss him.

Meanwhile, I keep pulling myself away from the poetry and arts scene slowly. Feeling like I have nothing left to offer because I'm not as directly affected by the topics of the day than others. Don't know if it's age, social or financial status but it's become hard to connect and much much easier to stay at home. If it's not my Son's sleep schedule, my own schedule is wearing me out.

My Son will be 14 on Thursday. He seems to be adjusting ok to the new school and schedule. A much better adjustment than this summer's caregiver. There are still so many challenges and I feel like I'm running out of time somehow. It's hard to connect with him too frequently and that frustrates me as the circle of self blame is all around me.

Solo trip next week. At least the car has roadside assistance.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

As Mary Wells sang, You Beat Me to the Punch

When you do half assed work on a project for years, you cannot be upset when someone else beats you to the publishing press. Such is the case with Claire Prentice, who has recently wrote a book called Miracle at Coney Island: How a Sideshow Doctor Saved Thousands of Babies and Transformed American Medicine.

It's about Martin Couney, the man who saved many, many lives of premature babies by keeping them in infantoriums, an early form of a modern neo-natal unit disguised as a carnival sideshow.

Her research is sound, and it makes some fantastic discoveries about Couney, primarily about his early background (which is still very murky) but also reveals that he never earned any kind of medical degree. A rather amazing accomplishment considering the work he was doing. Prentice does say, correctly, that Couney never administered medication, his techniques and innovations in neo-natal science did not really use it. Plus, although there is no paper trail, he claims to have had a very high success rate at saving lives.

After my son was born premature, I came across Couney through the work of William Silverman a noted neonatalogist, who was one of the first American doctors to do any research into Couney's life. He died in 2004, but Prentice was able to interview one of Silverman's colleagues, but did not give Silverman any credit.

Prentice did find and interview several of Couney's patients (I found one) and gives us a good look at how the infantorium was run. She also mentioned the patients proudly displayed photographs of themselves at the infantorium but the book has no photographs. A missed opportunity to humanize them, and Couney.

Overall it is a slim volume, only available on Kindle, that cracks a few mysteries about the life of Martin Couney save one. I'm still trying to find out what happened to Couney's Daughter Hildegarde, who became one of his nurses. No trace of her seems to exist. I think the paperwork of the Couney estate and infantoriums went with her.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

So in about seven hours

My son starts eighth grade today. We transferred him to a new school that focuses on students with autism and special needs. Middle school has been tough. The communication from his teacher was poor, despite our efforts to get information about him. When your son is non-verbal, he cannot really tell you how his day was, and we rarely got news. There were other factors in out decision also. A decision both I and his Mother felt had to be done.

So the transitions for the next few weeks will once again be challenging, probably. There is no bus service so one of us will be dropping him off and picking him up, every day.

I got a short tour of the school on Monday, his Mother went to the open house yesterday and met his new teacher - as did he. I was at a library convention I had previously committed to. I'll pick him up later, and see how traffic is before 4PM in the northern part of Columbus.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Not enough miles

Been working on gathering information and forms to renew my passport. Next year will be ten years that I’ve had one. An essential item to have if you travel internationally and easier (I think) to use if you have to endure flying domestically.

Like most, time and money have kept me from traveling as much as I want to. Except now that the pound has sunk to amazing lows, we can’t get over there to take advantage. When I first went to the UK in 2007, the pound was almost $2.00 to one. That was brutal. Now, thanks to the Brexit nonsense, it’s been at about $1.32, which is freaking unreal. Of course this is all going to change when the markets collapse next year, but that’s another story entirely.

Today my wife starts a new job. It’s a small miracle she got the interview but she worked really hard to get the position. Did it all by herself and I’m very proud of her.

Next week my son starts at a new school that specializes in special needs students. It’s scary and terrifying but we think it is going to be a better place for him in the long run. The change in routine will probably be an ordeal, but that should settle down in a few weeks.

Been trying to write. Got two rejections last week, and I accept them. If you’re not in the game you cannot complain about it. Which got me to thinking a bit about slam. Last weekend was the National Poetry Slam. I did not follow it. Have no idea who is on the team from Baltimore that won. Slam’s a game I have not been able to commit to for about three years. I also think I peaked out, have no added value to really offer and am just plain not good enough to really compete. That lack of commitment is on me. Some days I want to get back to it, others make me realize it’s good to let others have the playground.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Something from the LJ archive

There were fireflies glowing by the old chicken coop in my Grandparent's backyard. We used to have barbecues there when the other tenants of the house were not home. We'd cut through the breezeway, looking into the kitchen of their neighbors. One time, when i was five or so, i snuck in their home, walked into a hallway. heard a noise and bolted out of there fast. I remember a black and white portrait on a dresser.

Down the road from their house on Eagle Avenue was a riding stable. We used to go down there, not to ride, but to look at the horses. Some of them knew their names and would look up at you as you read their names from the plaques on the door.

One day, I was sitting alone in the front seat of my Stepfather's Barracuda. I was playing with the gear shift and put the car in reverse. Their driveway was on a slope that, slowly, sent me into traffic. Luckily i was not hit by any oncoming cars. A passerby saw me frozen in the front seat and went into the house for help. When my parents came out to get me, all they saw of me was my beanie cap with the propeller on it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Columbus, Ohio 4:41PM, today

The scene: the southeast corner of North 4th and East Main. The meter has just been paid. A couple are on their way to dinner when suddenly...

"Excuse me Sir." A person walking with another person walking north on 4th yelled out.

"Yes?"

"Would you like to buy a tent?" In one hand he was carrying a medium sized black bag in which, I guess, was his ware.

"No thank you"

The man looked a little upset, thought he has a sure sale, but I have no tenting needs for now, or the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It's high tide

Up until about three minutes ago I had no idea this video existed.



Another one that is almost 30 years old and just as relevant as when released. That's sad, people.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The flavor of the month is getting warm and flat

Took a trip to Buffalo over the weekend. Saw the super fine Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Had pictures taken with a number of bronze statues and one NHL mascot. Was introduced to the strangeness of Steel Panther and drank a fair amount of local beer.

Like many cities around the country, Columbus included, Buffalo is in the midst of the craft beer boom. This is not a bad thing at all. What does concern me is the overwhelming amount of average beer being made, and the number of poor experimentation being done.

One of the best places we visited was in a part of South Buffalo that has seen better times. Gene McCarthy's has been there for at least fifty years and it is at the end of railroad tracks, surrounded on three sides by abandoned factories. About a year ago they put a garage on the property and built a microbrewery.





There's a gravel plot with some tables, umbrellas and chairs installed and it's a wonderful place to have a drink. The beer is all sound, well made and contained your typical ales, stouts, wheat and a lovely Czech pilsner. This was the best beer I had over the weekend.

We went to other places, had some pleasant beer, but so many were loaded with excessive fruit and other gimmicks. I get that, you want some novelty and to stand out, but you want a centerpiece to build your brand on, not flavors of the month.

Again, this is not limited to Buffalo, it's definitely happening in Columbus. A lot of brewers are going to have to up their game very soon because few breweries are standing out in a good way. There is a sea of mediocre beer out there.



What it comes down to is that I'm tired of drinking adjectives. I demand consistent quality. I demand having beer on hand that is not so high in alcohol content I can't have more than one. There is going to be some attrition in the next year or three and a lot of brewers had better start looking at their recipes instead of the cool artwork on their blackboards.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Perot's giant sucking sound has gone in another direction

Back in the late 90's at my horrible job at Long's Bookstore my coworker in the supply department and I would listen to the Jim Rome radio show while pricing merchandise.

Say what you want about Rome, it does not really matter now. One of his 'rules' for getting on the phone in part of the show was, "Have a take, and don't suck."

And get of my lawn I would like social media commenters to follow that Rome Rule, but it does not happen.

Plenty of takes from people who like to see their profile pictures in the comments section, who may seem to thrive on the attention their posts get, negative or not - and plenty of sucking out there.

I do not have much energy to engage with people I know, let alone strangers on the internet. Better for me to keep quiet.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I should pin this post here

Another day, another police shooting of an African American male. I wrote about it a couple of years ago. Hate that it's still relevant, and will most likely continue to be.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tales from the riverbank

Been walking downtown a bit more. The Scioto Mile with its walking and biking paths is finished and it's a beautiful way to explore the riverfront area. A lot of people are taking advantage of this. You would not have seen kayakers enjoying the river a couple of years ago.



We looked down while crossing the Broad Street Bridge and saw a great blue heron catch a fish. No way this type of nature flourishes now without the dam being taken down.



A few seconds after I took this picture a swallow dive bombed the heron, and it flinched - truly an awesome sight. After that the perturbed heron flew over to the other bank of the river.

Last week my Son and I took a walk down there. As far as I know it was his first time walking around the Scioto Mile.



He seemed to like looking up at the tall buildings. We're going to take advantage of this while we can and hope development and developers do not restrict access to this part of town.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

So i will walk without care, beat my snare, look like a man who means business

Been a shit couple of days, even without the Brexit. My Son is still not transitioning well between his caregiver and coming to my house afterwards. There's a lot of shrieking, hissing and general unhappiness and it takes him a long time to calm down. Even today he greeted my cheerful, "good morning!" with shrieking and pounding on his bed. I know I'm not the cool parent, but this does not inspire me.

While prepping his lunch, this song came on iPod shuffle.



My Aunt was on the one who got me onto Rufus, he was on Geffen and she sent me his first record. That was the first song I heard and I have been a fan even since. Even went to see him live at the Newport during a sad period of my life when I was single. Imogen Heap opened, and Jon Hopkins was in her band. Things do go full circle as Hopkins and King Creosote have come into my radar.

This was on my Aunt's wall, so this show of his that she saw meant a lot to her. She would not have framed it otherwise.



So even with the small blow to her planning that Brexit took yesterday, and with everything else happening, maybe she's trying to cheer me up a little. I'm still not sure what to believe anymore.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Truck, what truck?

52 is an odd year for an even number. I'm one year younger than my Brother when he died. It's tough to wrap my head around that, still, and all the other grief I've dealt with over the last year.

Did a lot of driving this weekend in the new car. It's been a comfort, a lot of fun to drive. Went to Yellow Springs for lunch, another match of International Mini Golf (the first draw!) and to Westerville for dinner. Took in a good sunset at Hoover Reservoir.



My Wife's been taking good care of me. This afternoon we went to the Ohio Theater and took in a matinee of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Clark Wilson did his thing on the Mighty Morton Organ.



So it's been a good birthday weekend. And I got a reminder from my son's mother about upping the size of diapers. He's eating well, if not sleeping right, but he is growing - he never came with a pause button.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

How did I get here?

Of the documents and photos I inherited this is one of my most respected.



Alfred Dewhurst was my paternal Grandfather's Grandfather. He came to the states from Clitheroe, England in 1881. He made his home in Fall River. At the time he died, at he age of 43 in 1900 of tuberculosis, he lived around the corner from the Lizzie Borden house. Makes me wonder what my family knew of the crimes, if they attended any of the trial.

That document makes me want to go to Clitheroe, and try and find some of my ancestors graves in the local cemeteries.

This happened on Thursday



Easily the newest car I've ever purchased as it had 63 miles on it at the time. It's a thrill to be connected to the road, and have a warranty. Have no one to thank for this but my Aunt, really. Her planning made it possible. A friend of hers said she'd be happy for me, and that she'd be giving me directions. There were very few times we were in a car together and only one in which were were alone. I drove her to the luncheon after my Mom's services and she said I was a very good driver, it was about a mile.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Witnesses to notoriety?

Scanned a few more pictures tonight. There are so many and it's hard for me to figure out how to label them when there is no information on them.



That's my Grandfather, today is the 112th anniversary of his birth.

Got some genealogy updated. Have a couple of death certificates that I cannot connect to the rest of the family. One of them is of a girl who died at the age of five of marasmus. Click on the link if you dare, times was hard in 1888.

Also confirmed that some of my family lived around the corner from the Lizzie Borden home at the time of the murders. Small town that Fall River. Wonder if they were ever interviewed, or in the background the crowd photos of the trial, if there were any taken. Plenty of research in that case.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

You can't buy time with cash

My Son started a new summer schedule with a new caregiver this week. She's watching him up in Westerville, which means I do not really see how it's going as his Mother brings him to and from there every day. She works close, so it makes sense that she does this.

The transitioning has been rather stressful. He's not happy being dropped off here and it takes him a while to settle down. Hopefully this will diminish as the summer goes along.

We got him a new bed last week, which he saw for the first time yesterday. He did not seem to be bothered by the change. He even slept in it all night without waking up. At least this bed is quieter than the last one, the frame squeaked often.

There's a new couch in the house also. We tried to get the old one out and could not. I was here when it was brought in and have no clue how the delivery guys did it. Ended up finding a saw and cut the top off the couch, then slid it all out. The new couch came without it's feet installed and the movers got it in the house with no problem.

There's a lot of movement this summer, in many ways other than travel. It's nearly impossible to plan ahead with my wife and son's schedules. So ironic that the money is there for trips, and we're immobile here. Also waiting for the title to the Hyundai to get here so I can trade it in on a new car. Maybe for my birthday next weekend?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Three parts today

First off, it's Memorial Day. I've been scanning some inherited pictures of my Great Uncle, who was killed in World War Two. Here's a picture of him (upper right) and some of his brothers from the 180th, Company A. I have no idea who they are, but I think they're in France because I suspect there is red wine in those glasses.



Second, it's our seventh wedding anniversary. Still love this brave woman who came across an ocean to live in this crazy place!



Third, I am very pleased to announce an old poem of mine called Mr. B. has been published today in Work Literary Magazine. Love when a poem finds a good home!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The schedule is lacking in quality

After I posted about how the Columbus Arts Festival has significantly reduced the amount of poets and poetry on the Word is Art Stage two years in a row it can be concluded as fact after seeing the finalized schedule.

The festival still has not put the completed stage schedule, again, on its main page but you can find the guidebook on their website. There you can marvel at such programming such as "poetry", "storytellers" or "Artists' stories, Poet, Festival Director." The lack of depth and description is a sign of some very poor planning. Fewer than twenty poets seem to be scheduled to appear on the stage this year.

My original post stands.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

When the lines out the door are more than for donuts

A new business opened on the west side this week. Amy's Donuts is a chain based out of Colorado and California. They make dozens of types of donuts. From traditional to over the top toppings such as Lucky Charms cereal. They had a soft opening last week. To say business is booming would be an understatement.



The lines have been out the door all week. They had to close one day because the donut locusts took them all. Another day they had to shut down for training and presumably to make more donuts. This overwhelming support is not about donuts. This is about a side of town that is incredibly underserved and is willing to give support to a business that establishes itself on the west side first, instead of Clintonville, Campus, Gahanna, Hilliard etc.. The residents of this area have money to spend, and want to do it here, where they live. We've been ignored for far too long.



As for the donuts, yes, they're darn good.

Monday, May 16, 2016

We are Monsters and Angels, often as one

When a film maker I admire and who has been a great influence on me for most of my life is accused an absolutely abhorrent act, well I've spent years, not really in denial, possibly an apologist for him.

If I could go back in time to try Woody Allen, I'd rather see that than all the vitriol that goes around now whenever he has a new film out.

It seems like a formula now. Allen releases a film. Ronan Farrow makes a snarky tweet. Mia defends her brave son. People rush to judgement all over again. Heaven help us if he gets an Oscar nomination.

Hollywood and the press are fickle, and always in denial about their acceptance of, well a standing ovation for man who fled from sentencing in Roman Polanski says it all.

The real victim here will always be Dylan Farrow, whether or not her mother Mia coached her (very unlikely) or if Allen did rape her (more likely than not), she has definitely suffered serious trauma.

And all the open letters, creepy Woody Allen interviews and Ronan Farrow teases that he may be Frank Sinatra's son do not make a case.

Trial by internet does not help. I do not believe it ever will.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The last of the cast

Madeleine LeBeau has died, aged 92. She's one of the faces who are given emphasis in this powerful scene from Casablanca.



LeBeau was one of the many cast members from this scene who escaped nazi Germany and moved to Hollywood to act in films about escaping nazi Germany. A heck of a life and she was the last living member of the cast.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Columbus Arts Festival, but not poetry

Up until 2014 the Word is Art Stage of the Columbus Arts Festival was on an upswing. Many good people volunteered their time and abilities to make the weekend a destination stop for poetry in Columbus during an exciting festival weekend. Poets, storytellers and writers who were not only from Columbus, but from all over the state and represented some of the best literary talent that Ohio had to offer.

Good strong bones had been developed for future festival organizers and committee members to build upon. A solid blueprint had finally begun to form after years of erratic scheduling and committees. While far from perfection, there was a sense that local poetry and literary performances were an event at the festival, and not an afterthought.

Last year, the marrow was sucked out of the bones by a committee that reduced the number of poets on the stage in favor of writing and publication workshops - which are good and fine, but not necessarily at an outdoor festival. The regression in programming quality had begun. Little has changed from last year. In fact it’s much worse. The current schedule on the festival’s website is not complete, but it does not inspire confidence.

This year six poets have been scheduled to read over the course of the weekend. In 2014 over 50 poets graced the stage.The profound drop off in numbers is deliberate. No disrespect is meant to any of the poets who will be performing. There has once again been little promotion for applying to be on the stage or announcements of anyone performing on the Word is Art Stage via social media. All the while the Festival has been tweeting about their 5K and promoting other artists, none of the posts have mentioned a poet or writer.

As an example of the shortcomings of the organizers; this year marks the debut of the Poet Laureate in Ohio. He lives in Dublin, is local to Columbus and he was not contacted to read by anyone associated with the festival. This would have been a golden programming coup, if the committee had the intent of promoting Ohio poetry.

It can no longer be considered a missed opportunity, but a failure by the Columbus Arts Festival organizers to recognize or develop any effort in publicizing those appearing on the Word is Art stage. A failure due to a lack of respect of poetry by the executive committee of the festival. Add nepotism and hubris as probable causes of the dismantling of successful programming, then it becomes obvious that once solid bones have been decidedly broken. New structure is needed, once again, to rebuild an sound and vital cultural arts tradition that the Columbus Arts Festival has disconnected from its visitors.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mom, the rock and one of the Seven Wonders of the World

Mom liked to travel, and did so frequently after my Stepfather retired. They went to a lot of places: Iceland, Hawaii, Prague, Ireland and cruises to various places. It was either 2004 or 2005 when they went to Egypt.

Mom would always ask if there was something she could get for me when she traveled. She got me a nice porcelain mug and bottle of Pilsner Urquell from the Prague trip.

I had no idea what to ask for from Egypt so I said a piece of the Sphinx.



On the back of the photo is a note that says, "Here I am holding your rock (note the shape). Cool :)"

It's a heart shaped stone. She was walking around the Sphinx, looked down for the right rock, and there it was.

She also got me a slim biography of Charlie Chaplin, in Egyptian.

Thanks Mom, love you. Miss you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The road less bitter

The mood I've been in recently has been less that cheerful. There's a lot of stress. I do know there is a light at the end of the tunnel but it may burn out when I'm in the middle of it.

Who can say?

So I've been vaguebooking and saying pithy things, then I paraphrased the title of a book my wife told my mister misery guts about, which I then posted to Facebook - then a friend made into a meme.



So thank you Jeanetta.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bandwagonleicester

It is probably the best sports team story I have seen in my lifetime. The rise of Leicester City Football Club from Division One of the English Premier League to the top level, only to barely hang on to their spot last season.

Now, the team is a hair's width from winning the Premier League Championship, which would earn a team with one of the five lowest payrolls in the league hundreds of millions of dollars. If team manager Claudio Ranieri is not Manager of the Century, I do not know what it would take.

So many stories have been written about their rise in the ranks. It's been quite The Struggle, as my friend Graham, who is from Leicester and now calls Columbus home put it this morning. I cannot imagine the joy, the incredible impossibilities that are going through his mind as his boyhood team is so close to winning it all, for the first time ever.

I went to a local brewpub this morning to watch the match, and provide backup support. I had heard members of a Scottish band I like were looking for a place to watch as today was their day off before a Monday night show in town. Even brought a couple bottles of Irn-Bru in case. An offering to boys far from home. They did show up, and were extremely pleased with the gift, the brewpub, the match, and everything I think. As a neutral, I want to see this magic happen and am winning to deal with Everton losing to them next week so they can win the title at home. If chelsea were to beat Tottenham tomorrow, the point is moot, Leicester City win. Game on.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The key is hope

It's been a week of near total anxiety, panic attacks and general stress. Been worried a lot about doing the right thing, making sure people are looked after, making sure myself and son are looked after. Closer to being on the same page with someone that took a lot of that fear away. Add a couple of glasses of red wine and a Mets win in which they scored a 12 run third inning and yes, I felt better.

Next week should solve and create a few more issues, but situations will be closer to working out.

It's a process, there are steps. Forms sometimes get filled out wrong, a reminder of a scene from seven years ago when I ticked the wrong box. In the end though, it turned out ok. We're all here, intact, and will be for the time being.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why I am an Asshole

The scene: A red light at North 4th St. and Long Street.

[Our driver is stopped at the light. He is in the far right lane Out of the corner of his eye, he sees someone waving at him from the car to his left. He rolls down his window.]

"Do you know how I can get to [an address on Town Street, but it sounds a bit garbled]

"Did you say Town Street? It's back that way [waves in a southerly direction] get to High Street and turn left."

"Ok thanks."

[The light turns green, as there are cars parked in the lane in front of him, our driver needs to get one lane over to his left, he turns his signal on...

and the driver who he just gave directions to refuses to allow him to merge into traffic, and leaves our driver stranded as he waits for a long line of traffic to pass before he can proceed north, muttering many obscenities at the world around him]

- scene -

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday earworm



It's a catchy chorus that been in my head. Could be worse. Could be all the heavy crap in my head right now. Crap that's not about cats, or Hamilton or Hamilton performed by cats. Or just going outside and shout Alexander Hamilton at the top of my lungs until I get a Pulitzer, or sectioned.

No, I don't get it.

Who am I, though, to deny people happiness? Or obsessions? Or happy obsession?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Summertime and the weather is queasy

Spring has arrived in Central Ohio. The leaves are forming, the grass is growing, the back gate has finally been reinstalled. Had to inform the lawn crew to not bulldoze their way through there because I was the one that did the work and my company may be called Shoddy.

It's getting warm out, and some people hate the warm weather and are going to be sad because we did not get shit for snow this winter. At least there was only one snow day. Tested the a/c in the car and the house. Both functioned after their time off.

It's the time of year when you send your kid to school in a black hoodie and he comes home with just a blue fleece jacket in his bag.

It's the time of year you should have already had a commitment for a summer caregiver for your son but that has not happened yet. Our previous one priced herself out of our budgets and we have not had any luck finding another. Spoke to one earlier, she was a great lead but we could not mesh on schedules. There is a nuclear option his Mother has come up with, but it puts it all on her, and that's not fair. But you have to do what you have to do.

For future reference, Susan Senator has written a great book about forming a plan for your soon to be adult with autism. Really, it's a great read with blueprints and strategies. They're not going to be easy, but she explains it all very straight forward.

In other news I've made an appointment for a test drive on a new car on Saturday. Not buying, but research with the possible future intent to buy continues.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A bit of acceptance.

Very happy to announce that my poem "The Onramp from I-70 East to 315 North" has been published by Red Fez in their latest issue.

It's good to be playing the publishing game this year. I know one more may be coming out soon, but I err on the side of caution and let it be known when the work is actually out there. Plus, a few more are in the hopper.

There have been rejections with the acceptances, but that's how it all works.

Now, about these form poems I'm writing in a 30 poems in 30 days of April group this year.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Will these products be laundered before or after I process them?

Good day,

R&B Holdings Corp,Canadian Clothing Recyclers (CCR) specializes in the purchasing, processing and recycling
of commodity used and vintage clothing. We service a wide variety of industries: from domestic department stores,
vintage clothing boutiques in Canada and abroad, export markets throughout the world, designers seeking inspiration,
and costume departments in the film industry. We exclusively source our products bulk buying programs and based on
demand and overall quality. We hold a specific in the market in that we process the inventory of most industry
grade rag mills, yet we operate in such a manner that includes many characteristics of smaller specialized used clothing dealers.

R&B Holdings Corp have customers in Americas,Asia,Caribbean, and our customers mostly made out payments in cheque.
We hereby want your services of being our payments officer in United States,Your duty is to receive check payments
from our customers and have it cashed and your salary will be 8% of every payments received and cashed.
If interested,kindly get back to us via email below to fill out Emplyment form and resume work immediately.

Email: pearcephilliprichardca@gmail.com


Yours Sincerely,
Phillip Pearce Richard.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekend getaway

We got out of town for the day yesterday. I had a poetry reading in Portsmouth and we stayed overnight because driving up route 23 late at night is not my idea of a good time anymore. As it was we drove down in sun snow and heavy flurries, which was not pleasant. I think my car knows a replacement is coming, it got over 35 MPG this trip.

The reading went well. It was good to help Zach Hannah and Hastings House try and establish a poetry night in an area that is lacking in a lot of things. Driving through there was sobering. A lot of empty storefronts in downtown, some of them were even gutted out.

We stayed about 15 miles from town in a state park lodge in the middle of nowhere. Shawnee Lodge is a fine place to get away from it all, and there is not much to get to that is in the area around it. My Wife was my nature spotter the whole time, shouting out "Cow", "Pig", or "Turkeys" as necessary.



If we had more time and if the weather was warmer we definitely would have taken a walk. Very scenic area. The Lodge itself was decent. Clean if not a little run down. The whole place could use a bit of a refresh, especially in food amenities. There was a bar/lounge that did not seem to be open our entire stay. Maybe it's only open seasonally? Wifi was spotty, which is not good if you're calling the place a conference center. The walls were paper thin. I do not want to hear anyone else's business, and I'm sure no one wants to hear mine. The staff were very friendly. It was our first time in a state park lodge and probably not out last.

Friday, April 8, 2016

An April Road Trip.

National Poetry Month is in full gear and I'm proceeding at my own pace. There is writing being done, in a group even! We're working on form poems, some of them very challenging and unfamiliar to me. Writing them helps, and I'm seeing some good work by others, which is inspiring.

Been sending out poems too, trying to find them homes. They will be news about them soon, but not until the thing happens.

I'll be reading in Portsmouth, Ohio on Saturday April 9th with some of my fellow poets as part of a National Poetry Month Series that Zach Hannah has assembled with the generosity of Haskins House. If you're in the area it starts at 6:30.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The title defense begins in one hour



On the last game of the 2014 season, I said the Mets would be in the World Series next year. At the beginning of this season, I make no such claim. Despite changes in the middle infield and a solid outfield along with what may be the best starting pitching in the league, baseball is a funny old game and anything can happen. It's hard to repeat, and I salute the Royals for coming back to the series after being so close to winning it all in 2014.

Shortly, the Mets and Royals will play in Kansas City. The 162 game spring/summer/fall race begins. I am so looking forward to the ups and downs a season of baseball contains.

Lets Go Mets!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Things the bubble wrap and packing peanuts protected

When I went through my Aunt's belongings after she died, I found a lot of the genealogy I was looking for, a few things she held onto after a life in the entertainment industry and other assorted artwork and memorabilia. I took what I could that day, which was not much as I was on foot and traveling by train, and let my Brother, who is the executor of her estate, know of a few things I might like to eventually have.

What she owned is now in storage, and the company shipped me a few of the things I had asked for. Somehow I received more than a few videotapes of single song rock videos that I could not use, but I do have the home videos of trips she took to Yellowstone Park and Europe in the early nineties. As I watched the trip in Europe I marveled at how happy she was, and how much fun she was having reading about where they were for a guidebook as her husband played around with his new video camera.

One of her drawers had a number of original scripts and screenplays from various productions her company produced in the eighties and nineties. I mentioned this to a coworker and she suggested I donate them to my library's theater department. I got a name of the librarian, gave her a list of what I had and she let me know which ones they can use for the Theater and Research Institute. There will be a little note on the script or in the record that they were donated in honor of her. I am very, very pleased this was able to happen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A few hits to fill in the blanks



This was a good little record by the Fine Young Cannibals back in 1989. It was a year I do not remember too well. Too much drinking, a few too many drugs and general unhappiness/uncertainty. At the end of the year we moved to Ohio, leaving the alcoholic comfort zone of lousy pay for the mystery of a big city. If I stayed on I would not have survived. The next decade was a combination of being broken down and breaking myself. Bad career decisions were made, one after the other. A marriage fell apart. The next decade seemed to repeat itself with financial strain replacing the alcohol. These days the stressors are different but profound and worrisome. I've found it harder to reach my son when the show in his head is greater than that around him, or if he's in pain. It's hard for him to tell us that, and it weighs heavy.

Then this song becomes the show in my head -

"Oh I know that times are bad
and they make you want to cry
Don't be sad, we'll get by"

All I can say is, maybe.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Reply: Let's Be Naughty Together

If anyone wants the phone number let me know. But you have to let me know how it goes with Cindy.


"hey there babe, I finally got a moment to read your profile and gotta say loved.. loved.. loved it!.. I'm feeling a bit naughty today would you like to put me over your knee.. pull my panties down and spank my naughty bottom? (please and thank you) ;)

if this sounds like fun to you hit me up my phone is 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX txt me!!! .

talk to you soon babe. im getting wet just thinking of you..mmm..!

xox Cindy
0"

Thursday, March 17, 2016

So many links, so many mysteries in the hunt for facts

Finally opened up the genealogy binder that I found (in the last place I looked) in my Aunt's apartment and started plugging data into an online family tree database. The site linked me to some other previously unknown to me distant relatives so the tree has a few more branches.

My paternal great-grandparents came from Clitheroe, England, which I knew. But I have his naturalization documents from 1888, which is very cool. The family all settled in Fall River, Mass. and many of them moved to Brooklyn/Queens in the 20's, which is when my father's parents met. They were married in 1928 in Brooklyn at a church that still stands. The Irish on that side I have going back to the early 19th century and those ancestors came from Derry or Dublin. There are also ancestors who lived in New Hampshire and New Brunswick.

My maternal grandmother's story is sometimes painful and difficult. She was a twin, her brother did not live a year. Her Mother died in 1910, she was put in an orphanage then her father died six years later of TB and was buried on Hart Island. Her Mother also had a brother, but he was shot in the head in 1913 and I'm trying to find the documentation of that event. Did he shoot first? My Grandmother's Grandmother had a number of children, none of whom seemed to live past 1910. This is frustrating when you cannot find anything, but the thrill of recovering history happens when you can match a name.

My Mother's Grandmother came to the U.S., alone, from Poland in 1893 and settled in New Britain, Ct.. She married her husband, also from Poland in 1897 and lived in New Jersey for a time before they moved to Brooklyn. I do not know too much of my Mother's Father, neither did she, so I have not really traced that side of the family.

I also have a lot of pictures, none of them written on so I have no idea who all these ancestors are, and there is no one left to identify them that I know of. I do not like lost history, so I will plug away from time to time and get people identified and noted properly. As a librarian/cataloger/archivist it is something I have to do.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A trio I did not want to report

Found out yesterday that my Father-in-Law's Cousin's Wife died. Finally got to meet her during our last visit in June. Lovely woman, who had a very subtle and vicious sense of humor. She and her husband were both doctors, helped build hospitals in India in their missionary work. Good people, who sent us a cool quaich, for our wedding, which we used in the ceremony. They also gave me a great word to use in Scrabble. Hoping the best for her husband of at least fifty years, who faces life without his partner.

Was also very dismayed to hear of the death of Monica Harris in a car accident on Thursday. She was the Wife of Joseph, aka Logic, a poet whom I have come to know though his visits to Columbus. They were both just here a couple of weeks ago with their baby, their third. I cannot imagine what he is going though. It's very hard for my brain to deal with three small kids having to grow up without their Mother. This is a family that has been broken, but will be strong. They also need help. A GoFundMe page has been set up on their behalf. If you can, please consider a donation.

After he announced he had pancreatic cancer a few weeks ago, I figured death was inevitable but did not expect it to be so soon. Pat Conroy was one of my favorite writers. His use of rich, expressive language was an incredible skill. His work was a pleasure to read. His best, and worst traits were that he talked to much. Would have loved to have got to hear him read and tell him thank you. That there will be no new Pat Conroy work makes my world a sadder place.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A vaudeville trick

Was thinking about pith helmets last night and this morning, and the colonialism they ended up representing. To me the helmet was something Groucho Marx wore in Animal Crackers, part of a costume. Then I realized Captain Spaulding was probably a poacher, or even worse.

Everything becomes problematic, if you really want to parse through it enough.

The original excitement over the Ghostbusters trailer quickly became but aren't there enough sassy black women who are not scientists the way the while women are depicted in this film.

Ten years ago today, I mentioned pith helmets in a live journal post.

I did not know this while I was thinking of the pith helmets.

Years ago, I did dress as Groucho for Halloween, and wore a borrowed pith helmet. I do not think my costume was problematic even though I put lamp black on my eyebrows and upper lip.

Ghostbusters 1984 is as good as Animal Crackers, but not Duck Soup. I hope Ghostbusters 2016 is better than A Day at the Races, or at least The Big Store.

No, I do not know what any of this means - other than I want the best for all of us.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Double secret filtration

My social media feed is looking more and more like the ad block of the nightly news during October of a national election year. How many different ways can it be said that a person does not like another person?

Quite a few I guess with all the memes, links and other sources of dislike.

Can only unfollow so many people. I know they're passionate. I get that. It's great.

It's also overwhelming. Very overwhelming to see the same links over and over. Dozens of links to the same John Oliver video. Wow, it is funny, but his audience is the converted.

So I am filtering out a word for the time being, to see how much that cleans up my feed to what I want it to be - and to keep my blood pressure down.

Now it's back to cat pictures and Hamilton/Rent mashups.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tale of two cities

Did something out of the norm last night and left the car at home. Since we're not in walkable distance of anything, we took the COTA bus downtown for dinner at a newer restaurant It's been a stressful time and this was a good opportunity to relax, have a good meal, a couple of drinks, and not have to worry about parking downtown or getting an OMVI on the way home.

I did not realize Salt and Pine took up most of the length of a city block. It does not go deep into the building, but the layout is very modern. Some tables are intimate and secluded, while others seem to be on public display. We got a window table with a view of High Street.

The service is excellent, though I could not help but notice our female servers had one button extra unbuttoned on their work shirts. The flank steak I had was outstanding, my wife had a pork cheek pasta that was very good. The cocktails were fresh and potent. I had my first taste of Pisco. Our fig pudding dessert was the one minus. It was too dry and needed a soaking in the sauce.

It is odd, paying an electric bill for dinner. What a few years ago would have been a serious luxury was not so this time. We can't afford to go there weekly, or even monthly, but this was a gift for my wife and I. Ten years ago this would have been impossible. Finances have improved. We're alright, not great, but better than ok.

On a day where the city of Columbus deemed that the short north was no longer a place for low income people to live, the ride home was an unsettling reality of the two cities in my city.

This is the route my wife takes, everyday, and she hears stories, sees things and they're not pleasant. At one stop, a good portion of the passengers got off and crossed over at West Mound. These people were all going to the homeless shelter on Harmon. Heaven help this city if there's another shelter for people in the inner core. We have to have them outside of downtown, out of sight, at a spot you can't access easily by foot. Where your journey to a cot for the night begins at an unlit bus stop.

I do not have any real answers, and I'm not going to be guilt tripped after having an expensive dinner. There's a gap though, between me in a warm room tapping this on my Macbook Pro in our underwater mortgaged house. There are changes coming for the better for my family. Others though, I wonder where there is hope.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Snow Day reading about craft beer turns into a blog post

Another snow day today so while the boy is upstairs on his iPad I got to read an interesting local blog post about weirdness in the local craft beer trade. I've read some interesting whispers about things that are happening locally that are quite sad and disturbing and I'm pleased to see someone was brave enough to put their thoughts down.

Very little of what the author wrote surprised me. She was spot on in her reporting that micro-breweries are putting out mediocre beer just to have something new to market. If you can't establish why you wanted to become a craft brewer with a signature beer or two, drinkers are going to find you out when you keep putting adjectives into cans instead of decent product.

Read the post I linked to, it summarizes a lot of what I've been micro-ranting about on social media for the past few years.

Here's my post about Trophy Beverages from 2014.

When I worked for McGee's back in the nineties, there was a lot of cooperation and synergy between retailer/wholesaler and the few micro-breweries in Columbus at the time. We were trying to break even at best, which did not happen to McGee's in the long run, and introduce good products to our customers. And if a brand did not work, we did not recommend or support it. Sorry to Gambrinius who had some massive sanitation issues when an attempt was made to bring the brand back.

Every Friday turned into a beer tasting, we'd open up the new stuff, people would bring in beer that they had acquired on the travels to The Party Source or out of state and we'd discover what was happening in other states or a cool foreign beer we could not get in Ohio. Sure it was illegal to do it so openly, it was all new.

Our shop put on one of the first outdoor beer festivals in Columbus in 1996 when we pitched a couple of tents in the Bank Block parking lot behind the shop, invited the local brewers and wholesalers to pour their stuff, had a homebrew competition and we had a reasonably good time doing it.

There was allocated product, but no one really went without. No retailer really tried to hoard all of any given release, our customers did not buy up all of our product for their use. There was sharing, and that spirit seems to have disappeared. The changes of the industry and the drinking culture bros who go for the trophy brews over anything else, is flattening my interest.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ten year old free write

Inhale/excrete

I mean. Geez. Sometimes you have to merely listen to your colon to know to show that what's happening externally just isn't cutting it - so to speak. Your body knows. It flees stress, even though you take it to that wall of anxiety and try to ram it. Failing at that, the food beckons. All those cashews, cherries, fruit rolls and cognac are masticated and guzzled like a cheeseball. Have you ever looked in your gut? If you could see the intestinal laws that are made - if there was a window in our belly we'd all be very very thin.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Final Whistle

After the baseball strike of 1994 I vowed to not watch a game or read a box score for a season. I cannot tell you anything about the 1995 season, or much about the years following as I realized I did not miss the game much until recent years. It took me until 2014 to attend another live MLB game in Pittsburgh. I am capable of turning my back on things. Sometimes it does not work out, sometimes it does. This time, I’m not so sure, but I’m going to give it a chance to take. Fandom is a hard thing to reduce, let alone get rid of.

After 43 years of following the National Football League, it’s time for me to take a hiatus. A break that may be permanent. This is why.

Tired of the paid acceptance of the military industrial complex.
Tired of the concussions.
Tired of the cover ups of concussions.
Tired of the acceptance of domestic violence of players.
Tired of the fining of players for minor changes in their uniforms while other players commit acts of domestic violence. Oh, and $10,000 fines for not wearing Beats headphones. Please.
Tired of Roger Goodell.
Tired of the time investment I make. I only have so much time left on this planet. Not for this. Not anymore.
Tired of networks promoting television shows I will never watch during games
Tired of commercials aired during games that appeal to the lowest common denominators of society.
Tired of Anheuser Busch and Miller beer ads.
Tired of Papa John and all Peyton Manning commercials.
Tired of ESPN and their commentators who do nothing but shout and provide no real nuance to the events of the game.
Tired of ownership that holds cities and states hostage to their greed to win tax abatements and public financing of their stadiums
Tired of watching men cut their lives short, willingly or not, for my entertainment.

Not going to be a person who asks on social media why people still watch this game or judges those who do, but I’m going to do my damndest to keep away from it. How it goes, November, October will tell. Maybe by then I will be able to find better things to do with my time.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Take care of those who are there, not those who did not show

We buried my Aunt today. It was a very fine service that had fewer glitches than the last Catholic mass I attended. Her viewing on Friday was sparsely attended, the storm that brought a lot of snow to Long Island on Friday kept a lot of people away.

It's getting tiresome only seeing family at funerals, so we have to so something about that. I am putting a moratorium out there right now.

Nobody I know dies for two years. Got it?

I spent a good part of Thursday in her apartment. Gathering pictures for the photo board at her wake. There were hundreds of pictures to assess, so many people I did not know, so many family members I do not recognize - and now there does not seem to be anyone left who can identify them.

This is very sad to me. I cannot take charge of all the pictures and I do not know who will want them. As a cataloger it makes me cringe. I did find a lot of cool pictures for the board, and for my own research. It was unsettling being in her empty home, knowing she was not coming back. My Brother is in charge of her estate and I can't travel back and forth to help clear her possessions out. His work is cut out for him on so many levels. He did a fine job in arranging her services.

What I did find in her apartment was rather remarkable. My Great Uncle's wallet that he had when he was killed in WW2, along with a stack of letters he wrote to my Grandfather. I have not even begun to process these yet and have no idea what to expect. I am also in possession of his Purple Heart, which I had never seen until today. She saved so many things from her life and career. It got so overwhelming I had to get out and walk around the upper west side for an hour or so. Ok, I stopped in a cool Irish bar that had a bartender with a splendid brogue and one hand.

At the end of the day I had a bag of framed pictures in one arm and my satchel full of pictures, paperwork and a binder of family genealogy she had done twenty years ago. There is so much to organize.

It was good to meet a lot of my Aunt's friends. Been hearing about them for years but never met them until this sad day. She was loved, admired and held in high esteem by those close to her. She did live a full life, but the last years, too darn cruel.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Not the last words

My Aunt Sandy died on Friday. After she retired, her health deteriorated. It makes me angry that such an active person was not able to enjoy her final years on her terms.

I owe much to her personally and culturally. She gave me a lot, took me on my first plane trip to D.C. when I was 12 and a bigger jerk than I am now. She should have left me there. She made time for me just to talk adult things, turned me on to a good portion of my music collection, got me tickets to The Rolling Stones and The Who, backstage passes to Aerosmith, Cats and so much more. Geez, there were things we outgrew and lost like the “God Save The Kinks” t-shirts she gave us, or the vinyl Yellow Submarine tablecloth.

She’s been a very important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Her own life was amazing. She worked as the office glue for the entertainment industry for 50 years. From the Brill Building, Capitol Records, RCA, Atlantic, Geffen, Dreamworks, an EGOT and SONY it was a wild career that she worked at with amazing professionalism. She was called a “Paragon of discretion” by a household name and I’m seeing the respect and love her colleagues had for her on social media today. Yes, she was cool as all that.

It’s quite touching to learn about this part of her life as she rarely went into detail. She’d tell me that, “George Clooney came into the building, nice man very handsome.” Or, “Woody came into my office because he wanted to use it in one of his movies, all he said to me was when he asked if the air conditioning could be turned off.” “Had lunch with Andy Partridge, brilliant man.” And I’d be, please go on. Really, really wanted her to write it down and unless there’s a diary in her belongings, I think a lot of those stories are lost - which is a damn shame.

As her health wavered a lot of people looked after her. It was frustrating for me as I was far away and have my own challenges here. So the work and care of so many family and friends is gratefully appreciated.

Her services are Saturday in New Hyde Park, and she is going to be buried in the plot with her parents.