Monthly Archives: June 2007

The room was on fire tonight!

poor choice of words, maybe, since we were paying tribute to a cafe that burned down.
or excellent choice of words.

i saw old friends i hadn’t seen in years.
some of them are still performing at open mics…just different ones than me…and now i know where they are.
i was told by a handful of people that i gave my best performance ever.

and to tie this into my other recent hot topic, i recently learned the address of the last residence for my faux-irish great grandfather. he lived on delmar, about four blocks from where i performed tonight. four blocks from where the wabash triangle cafe used to be.

I have laryngitis!

…just kidding. (I guess I shouldn’t joke. There are still 3 more hours left, it could happen.)

For those who haven’t been reading any of my blog posts for the past couple weeks (and why haven’t you?!) there’s a performance tonight of several Slam Poets from the Wabash Triangle Cafe era (along with a few members of the current St. Louis Slam Team). It all starts at 8 pm at the Regional Arts Commission, which is on Delmar, Across the Street from The Pageant. (And The Pageant was built on the ashes of The Wabash.) I will be one of the poets performing. There will be explicit content and explicit language in the poems. I can guarantee that. So parents should keep that in mind. I have no idea whether I will be scheduled first, last, or in the middle. There is a $5 admission fee, which is miniscule for an evening of quality Performance Poetry.

MJ, Marilyn and Me.


There’s some controversy over a recent cover to a hardcover collection of a series of Marvel Comics called Marvel Zombies. Basically people upset that Marvel took the artwork of Mary Jane Watson (Spidey’s girlfriend) from the cover of a series of Spider-man comics aimed at kids, and turned her into a somewhat alluring zombie. (Original and adapted artwork linked to above)

The original series of comics were a hit, so no one is upset over that. And MJ was turned into a zombie within the storyline, I suspect (haven’t read it) so they aren’t upset about that. They just seem upset that Marvel adapted earlier artwork. There is also some complaints about how this makes zombies ‘alluring’.

And I recalled a poem I once wrote about Marilyn Monroe fresh from her grave. And in case there were some readers who never heard that poem, or haven’t even read that poem, I thought I would make it clear that that poem will be performed Saturday night at the Regional Arts Commission on Delmar in the Poetry Showcase that begins at 8 pm.

Not appropriate for kids. This applies to the Marvel Zombies comics. This applies to the Poetry Showcase on Delmar Saturday Night. And this applies to my poem.

Not as old as I thought

I am a procrastinator. Have been for a long time.
I’ve thought about working to change that…but you know, always tomorrow.

So I’ve known for over a month that I will be performing 3 poems at the Poetry Showcase Saturday evening at 8 pm at the Regional Arts Center on Delmar — across the street from The Pageant.

While I’ve been reading poetry at open mics for 13 years, at open mics no one minds if you bring a chapbook to the mic and read from it. Or sheets of paper. This performance is by former Wabash Cafe Slam Poets, and slam poetry is different. It’s a mixture of poetry and performance, and you’re expected to memorize your poems.

It’s actually been a decade since I memorized a new poem, I think. I wondered if I could do it. I assured the MC of the event there would be no problem. I had over a month.

Well, since two of the three poems I will be performing are old Wabash poems, that made it somewhat easy, since recalling those from my synapses wasn’t too difficult. But I waited until tonight to start memorizing the third poem. Thursday night. Saturday performance.

Now, I will admit that I have ‘performed’ the piece before. It’s about a year old, and I have read it several times at the Hartford Cafe open mic. But I read it.

I memorized it in one night. I’ve still got it. I will give it a dry run-through at Hartford tomorrow night, but I’m confident I won’t embarrass myself.

And you know…despite the fact that the crowd at Hartford doesn’t require memorization, I think I’m going to start memorizing poems on a regular basis again.

Census Whacking

Some of you may be familiar with the ‘sport’ of Googlewhacking where you search for two words that exist in Google’s dictionary, but when used together in a search yield only one result.

Genea-Musings talks about “Census Whacking” Searching an online census for a given name that only one person has, or a surname that only one household has.

I thought I’d give it a try and I actually discovered five people in the 1930 census named Balaam, four named Belgium, and 820 named CAIN. OK, yes, that is a biblical name. But 820 parents who thought “Hey, let’s name our kid after Cain!” So, of course I had to check:

Satan – 21 people.
Lucifer – 7 people.
Beelzebub – 0 (whew!)
F_ck – 3 people! (no kidding!)
Slartibartfast – 0 (not surprising)
Trillian – 1 !

My first Census Whack!
Trillian McDaniel – age 11 in 1930 – lived in Nowata Nowata OK (I think whoever named the town was thirsty)

Some other related discoveries in the 1930 census

Arthur Dent – 26 people
Ford Prefect – 0

Would you say anything

Let’s say — as a hypothetical situation — you are at a fancy country club restaurant. You are looking at their menu. And on one side of the menu, there is the heading: Entree’s. (Spelled exactly in this manner, with the possessive apostrophe there for all the world to see and guffaw at.)

Would you say anything?
If so, what would you say?
Something like:

Waiter: Any questions?
Self: Yes. What exactly do the entrees possess?

(No. I only thought it.)

Play Ball!

IBL ball

For me, the most interesting aspect of the Israel Baseball League, which begins its inaugural season in just under 2 weeks…is that I can read every page of their website. You can too.

What does it say on the baseball?
The second line of Hebrew reads (from right to left): League Baseball Israel…or, to be more precise, Leeget beysbol yisroel.

So why aren’t they calling themselves the LBI? Gut question.

Genealogical Research

As I noted a couple months ago I’ve been doing some genealogical research. It’s been fun. Beyond discovering I’m maybe, perhaps, possibly descended from Chaucer.

This past week I added an entire branch to part of the family tree. The brother of a great-great grandmother, and all his descendents. Beforehand all I knew was the name of the brother.

That’s rather exciting, and several of these new cousins live in Chicago, which isn’t too far. I see a possible reunion at a Cards-Cubs game in the future.

Somewhat sadder has been the death certificates I’ve found of great-great aunts and uncles who never made it out of childhood. A common occurrence in the first half of the twentieth century. But either having blocked it from their mind, or not wanting to pass on the painful memories, the parents and siblings never said anything to their children and grandchildren, so the names were completely lost, until uncovered in Missouri’s online archives.

I must say I am really impressed with the archives. They’re scanning in every death certificate from 1910-1956. (And I have the impression that in 2008 they will add 1957, etc) They have some records prior to 1910, but counties weren’t required to keep them prior to 1910, so the archives are a little spotty. Those that aren’t scanned in yet, can be ordered for $1/copy. Compare this to Illinois, where nothing is scanned in, and ordering a copy costs $10. Those copies can add up when you’re doing a lot of research.

It sounds gruesome to be ordering death certificates of your ancestors, but they contain information such as the names of parents, date of birth, and cause of death.

Another great resource has been census forms. In the US they’re available online through 1930. There’s a federal law making them private for 72 years, so 1940s won’t be released until 2012. Genea-Musings has some tips on searching the census databases, since the information was spoken from the individual to the census-taker, and then handwritten, so the indexing of names wasn’t 100% accurate where spelling is concerned. Phonetic spelling of names aren’t uncommon.

One of my most interesting discoveries, I think, is the sister-in-law of my Great-grandfather Barney. The faux-Irish great grandfather I’ve mentioned before. His brother married Sarah Nathan while they were still in England. That was the name in the British Marriage Index. I have every reason to believe that is the name she went by — so lets call it her maiden name. However, her father wasn’t named Nathan. OK, yes, her father’s name was Nathan. First name. She was “Sarah daughter of Nathan” without the “daughter of” which is really confusing for research. And this wouldn’t be all that surprising if we were talking 19th century Europe and not 20th century England. Of course, her parents were 19th century Europe. Luckily her death certificate didn’t ask for her maiden name, but asked for her father’s name. So with that information, I went to the 1901 England census, and found all her brothers and sisters. Because the English census taker, obviously, asked the father for his name, and then assigned the last name to everyone. Why wouldn’t he?

In order to get the right answer, you need to ask the right question.

Every little blog she posts is magic

I wish I listened to top 40 music more in high school. I really do. Because, I’m sure if I did, The Police would have been one of my favorite bands. And believe it or not, they have TWO opportunities for PaidPosting, potentially propelling the happy bloggerfan into the doubledigits in income.

I mean, sure, I know their music. Who doesn’t?

Every Breath You Take
Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Every Little Things She Does is Magic

The songs got a lot of radio airplay when I was a lad. But they want bloggers to write about their favorite concert experiences, or gush about how they “absolutely love the band” and are “ecstatic that The Police are going on a new worldwide tour” or write about their favorite song that appears on their upcoming album.

I’m creative. I could write it. But it would be a lie.

I had no idea they were going on tour. I had no idea there was a new album. I don’t own any of their albums. I have two of their songs on my computer. (2 of the 3 listed above) I must have downloaded them from ITunes.

If I could honestly do what they want, I probably would.


I better make it clear that the website offering these opportunities is, which looks to be their Offical Fan Club, but for all practical purposes, they’re an extension of the band.

IDontDrive wants positive reviews. The name sounded familiar, so I looked at their website. They’re an Online Backup provider. Cool. Backup is good.

Of course…uploading your documents to a server, you kind of want to know who owns the server. Call me silly, if you wish. Even if all you’re uploading is some pictures from your camera, you’re using them as backup, so you don’t want the website to go under in a year.

So I clicked on the tab that said “Press”. Their press, since January of this year, consists of two press releases. And of course, when I did the google search, I discovered millions of blog posts. And I discovered why IDrive sounded familiar (but not in these blog posts…)

1) IDrive is a computer system in BMW cars.
2) There’s a wiki article on I-Drive, which **used** to own (note the hyphen). It was a backup space provider too. What a coincidence! Rated highly by CNet and Fortune Magazine. No longer exists.
3) There’s a software program for backup called IDrive, offered from IBackup

So you know…it kinda looks like this website here is trying to cash in on the name of some other products past and present. So, even beyond the legal issues they might face (I’m not a lawyer), I don’t think I’m uploading any of my stuff on to their servers. Nor am I blogging positively about them.