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


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.