Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Early promotion

On Wednesday, September 11th, I will be taking part in a reading sponsored by Streetlight Guild at Kafe Kerouac. 30 poets will be reading in 30 days in the Rhapsody and Refrain Series. I'm humbled and honored to be one of them.

It's been awhile since I've read anywhere and I've written some new poems for this event. There will be new and old poems, I'll even take requests in advance.

Here's my Instagram Page for more information.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Pulled back in for a night

After a few years of discussion with Scott Woods, we finally accomplished Pairings: A Night of Wine and Poetry at his new venue - Streetlight Guild. The poetry part was provided with great skill and whimsical gravitas by Zach Hannah.

A wine budget was established and I made the selections based on personal taste and wines which would engage and please the guest. Five wines were on the menu, and all five showed their excellence.

My self confidence is shot to Hell right now for many reasons, but this showed me that after 21 years away from hosting any form of wine event, that I still was competent and capable of flexing my wine knowledge when given the opportunity.

I mean, I can go on about Germans for hours, still.

The audience was receptive, positive, and that made so much difference.

Thanks again to Scott for trusting me with his space to put on a really cool event we've been kicking around for awhile. It may happen again.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Paper Hearts

My friends Teri, Vernell, Fabio and Tyrone have made a wonderful short film. You should take four and a half minutes to watch it.


Paper Hearts from Sweet Pie Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A scratched surface

In France, in Paris, everywhere but here maybe, they drink Pastis. In my readings about wine, booze, and France, Pastis would always appear in someone's milky colored glass. Whether in a wine bar, a cafe, or after dinner in a garden, Pastis was there. What the Hell is it really? Reading about it did not provide a full answer, I would have to try it.

For our 10th wedding anniversary (yes, it's been that long!) my wife and I decided to go to Paris. It was time to take that leap into a truly foreign land where your language is not the native language. This was a trip to take while we were still capable of enjoying the city by foot.

Walk we did. The second day we took over 36,000 steps, that's over 15 miles. Ok, in hindsight it was a fooling and painful thing to do and I admit it being my decision. Yet, we continued to walk, but the number of steps was reduced.

Paris has a very good Metro. I read that the Metro was dirty and smelled of piss but at the numerous number of stations we used, this was far from the case. I mean, they were not spotless, but they were in fine condition and did not stink they way the subway does in Manhattan. Paris is not perfect, I'm not sure where the poverty is, but as we were being driven though one area we were told this was where the poor and immigrants are, and it did not look any worse than I would have expected. There are homeless, a lot of them are older. There are panhandlers. It's a very large city.

We chose to go to a truly beautiful city. So much to see and do that it could not be done in a week. As we looked down the charming streets we would see a building at the end of the block that looked interesting, but in order to see it we would have to not go where we were originally going.

Paris is where I found, in the Le Baron Rouge, the Parisian wine bar of my dreams. Locals, art on the walls, a friendly but knowledgable bartender who put up with my merde French.

Wine is a universal language though.

And on the wall of that wine bar I saw that Pastis was offered, and I had to have one. So I ordered one and watched to see how it was prepared. A shot or so of Pastis in the glass, then the rest of the glass filled with tap water and boom! There it is.

No fuss, no fancy prep or elite water cask.

For all that it was not a let down.

Pastis is primarily made with star anise. There are many variations that use different types of herbs but anise is the main ingredient so your drink is going to taste like a liquid Good N' Plenty.

I happen to love Good N' Plenty.

This wine bar happened to have bottles of Pastis Du Provence for sale. For 27 euros.

I now have a bottle of that at the Westgate Cavern.

Service is Paris restaurants and service in Columbus restaurants are two things that can learn from each other. Service in Paris is slow, no doubt about that, but you are on vacation - where are you going? In Columbus they're on top of you, the server telling you the "story" of the brand. You, thankfully, do not get that in Paris. They do not hover over you. You do get a trained, experienced, career server making good recommendations on the wine and food. But they rarely ask if you want another drink, or dessert. You have to get their attention and work for their service. It's not better, it's not worse, but different.

Not tipping is something that I really had to bear down and deal with. Occasionally I still had a leave a few euros out of habit. But hey, they all have great health care, and that's part of the bill!

I did think Paris would be more expensive, but where we went prices seemed reasonable. You are in a big freaking city and you pay. Plus, we got driven by a house that cost over 200 million dollars so there are top dollar areas.

I did not get to as many museums as I would have liked. Two things prevented that: time, and crowds. Ok three things. I bought advance timed ticked to the Louvre on Monday morning. We got there, and saw this huge line. Went to the front of the line to see what was going on. No one was being let in the museum. The line was tremendous, and it was the one for advance tickets. Then we heard a few people start muttering the word 'strike'. The staff was on strike. No one was being let in the museum and we were not going to stand in line for 2-3 hours and not move anywhere. It turns out staff were on strike because attendance had increased to over 10 million people per year (30,000 a day) and staff were being cut. I was eating those ticket. The good thing is that the company I bought the tickets from have me a refund.

So no Louvre but we did get to the Rodin, Jacquemart-Andre, L'Orangerie and the Museum of Romantic Life.

The big highlight was a three hour tour of the city in a Citroen DS23 convertible. The Goddess! Truly a beautiful car with a wonderful driver and guide. We had champagne in the back seat, and so many admiring glances while driving the narrow streets. There was a chance encounter with an all girl pep band playing Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out For A Hero on the banks of the Seine. "That was one of my secret romantic stops," our driver apologized while my wife and I laughed our asses off. It was wonderful. Being driven around Paris with my gal next to me in the back seat, and two laps around the Arc Du Triomphe, was a life highlight

We did so much: Pere Lachaise is beautiful, the Catacombs are creepy and incredible, I had the best baguette in Paris, our hotel staff was amazing and the people are cool - including a barely five foot tall chocolatier. I'm sure I'm missing a lot.

The flight over on Air Canada was ok in comparison to the flight back. United screwed up on so many levels it is disturbing.

Took a lot of pictures. Drank my way through the crus of Beaujolais, had some awesome cocktails in a very cool and trendy bar. Ate great gratin, want to go back. There's a lot to do here, to see and experience.

Monday, June 3, 2019

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Subjext: Your payment

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Temporary breakthrough

To say that I have written very little lately is an obvious understatement. I'm not even talking about updating this blog, but writing in general. The addictive time suck of social media, along with a lack of confidence has really caused me to essentially stop writing. It's been months since I've written a poem.

Months.

Since Meatgrinder last July, perhaps?

It's been a few years since I've written with any energy and grief stopped that in its tracks. Now, I have zero confidence in putting any thought to paper, let alone want to present it to people at a reading. I think I have successfully erased myself from the Columbus poetry scene. That's how low I feel.

Something was festering in my head for a few weeks though. The germ of a thought that came from an observation. Could I put it down and feel like i am not mining my son's life, which is (again) what the poem is about?



There was a moment in time before a webinar today when I set pen to paper and hoped. It took less than five minutes for most of it to be put down. I refrained from putting the paper in the shredder. During the webinar I edited it a bit and in typing at home it got edited a bit more.

Not the best, far from it. Not the worst, far from it. But it's something, and it's been a long time since I put something down that I did not immediately hide or erase.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The high horses on keyboards

I'm old enough to remember when a lot of people lost them minds when a dude solicited donations through gofundme for a potato salad recipe.

Now it's shifted to people policing where people give their charity to. Most recently the renovation of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris after it sustained heavy damage in a fire this week.

"But the Catholic Church is bad."

"The church no longer owns the cathedral"

"But the Catholic Church is bad"

"It's a living, breathing work of art and museum."

"But the Catholic Church is bad."

"It's a touchstone of Paris, a cultural and cartographic icon of France."

"But the Catholic Church is bad."

While we're still able, people have the right to donate their money where they wish, whether it be to victims of rape, church renovation or saving a barrier reef. It's the judgement, the sanctimony, that is grosser than the transgressions which lead to the solicitation of funds.