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Showing posts from July, 2007

Great article from Sunday's LA Times

When your child has a certain disease, your eyes become trained to see it in print and immediately read the newspaper or magazine article. Out here in Los Angeles, Bill Plaschke is on of the great sports columnists for the L.A. Times. I have read his columns periodically and always enjoyed his opinions. I did not know that his brother has cystic fibrosis, so it surprised me when I read it in the wonderful article he wrote for Sunday's edition of the Times. Cf does not factor into the point of the article, but the fact that Plaschke's brother is 34 and "winning the battle" is wonderful to hear. The article is about Tony Gwynn, the great San Diego Padre ballplayer who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this past Sunday. I wish there were more players like Gwynn in every sports league. Enjoy: A Hall of Famer as sweet as his swing Bill Plaschke July 29, 2007 (LA TIMES) This is a Tony Gwynn story. But, as with every Tony Gwynn story, it is about somebody el

From the Malchus Vaults...

While searching for a Jonathan Franzen short story sent to me a couple years ago, I came across a folder of old journal entries that date back to my senior year of high school. Included amongst this drivel is a letter to an ex-girlfriend and a lot of bad poetry. So, I thought I would share with you all, my ode to Roy Orbison. But first, a bit of history. When Roy Orbison died in December of 1988, I was a freshman at Bowling Green State University. I had become attached to his music ever since hearing "In Dreams" featured in "Blue Velvet" and seeing the great Orbison perform on Saturday Night Live soon thereafter (I believe that Dennis Hopper was the host). Orbison had just been involved with the Traveling Wilburys and performed his final concert in Cleveland when he died. I can't explain why I became so moved by his death. Looking back, my reaction made no sense to me. The night of his death, I called the BG radio station to get some Orbison played... and they d
The day was spent preparing for the birthday party of my father. He turns 70 on August 1 and since mom and dad are in town, it was a perfect (and rare) opportunity to celebrate with him. The disappointment he felt last week when I told him we wouldn’t be able to drive to Tucson next weekend wasn’t visible tonight when he entered the house to banners Sophie hung, two huge mylar balloons, handmade cards and a crown Soph constructed out of printer paper. Buying any gift for him has become more and more difficult as the years go by. The man has everything he’s ever wanted. I wound up buying him the recent autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and a collection of Artie Shaw’s best music. He seemed genuinely excited about the Shaw cd. In fact, he told me (as we were listening to the music) that he’s always preferred Shaw’s clarinet playing to Benny Goodman’s. I guess that thirty minutes I spent wandering through Barnes and Nobles scarce music department was worth it. Reading over the l

Basement Songs- "Ana Ng" by They Might Be Giants

If you should find yourself in North Olmsted, Ohio with a few extra minutes, you can drive past the North Olmsted high school. There, if you know where to look, you can see a brown brick, perfectly centered between two windows on the way to the soccer practice field at the back of the school. Because it is brown, this brick blends in nicely with the rest of the orange and tan skin of the school. That layer of burnt umber, oil based paint was applied to the wall on a humid, scorching afternoon in August 1990. At the tail end of my time working on the North Olmsted Board of Education summer maintenance crew, I decided to leave my mark on the school in which I grew up and started the path to adulthood. For three years, I worked alongside a group of college guys my age and a group of men in their 40’s and 50’s (“lifers” as we called them) who were the full time maintenance men for the school system. Each year, our summers were spent sweating our asses off in the Ohio heat, primarily

Boston 1, Indians 0

An exceptional effort by C.C. Sabathia was wasted last night when the Inidans once again wasted scoring opportunites with men on base. I guess you can't really complain about a 1-0 loss to the best team in baseball, but at some point, these guys are going to have to put up some runs if they hope to make it to the World Series. This isn't 1997 anymore. And man, I dread saying this, but we have to keep an eye out for those damn Yankees.
One of the visits I was looking forward to on our trip back to Ohio was with Matt's brother and his mother. As is always the case, schedules were hard to coordinate and I wasn't able to see them until late Wednesday night. 11:00 pm, to be exact. Rain came down on a surprisingly dry Northeastern Ohio, just in time to salvage dead lawns and relationships gasping for life. The time we spent at Matt's mom's house was very pleasant. The three of us just hung out, having some laughs and catching up. By about midnight, though, we decided to leave and go have some beers at a local bar. I bid Matt's mom good bye and off we went into the drizzling night. She appears to be coping as well as can be expected. I was happy to see her. It was off to Arturo's, a dark watering hole that has a kitchen and serves up half way decent food, if memory serves me well (it was actually one of three places Julie and I went to on our first date). The place was empty and the bartend
The Indians lost last night. However, I believe they were destined to lose no matter how erratic Jake Westbrook pitched. Boston pitcher Jon Lester, who left the bigs last year to battle lymphoma, was returning to the majors for the first time since defeating the cancer. HE was the story of the night and being the optimist that I am, I wanted the guy to win the game. The entire WORLD wanted the guy win. It's just the way things should be in this messed up world. That said, I have to ask how much longer the Indians can put up with the inconsistent pitching of Cliff Lee and Westbrook. Although Lee showed some signs of his former self in the late innings on Saturday (after a 5 run 1st inning), Westbrook has been miserable. And folks, I love Jake Westbrook. Since the day we got him in the trade with the Yankees, I've thought the guy was scrappy and earned his way to that nice fat contract he received this year. I don't want the guy to fail. In fact, I would love to see

Back in the swing...

Vacation is over and I'm going through that slow ease back into working and L.A. life. I'll tell you, it was very difficult to leave Cleveland this year. So many times in the past, you'd catch me being the first one on the plane. Not so, this time. The weather was awesome, the company we kept with Julie's family was outstanding, and every visit I had was memorable (good and bad). For the first time in years, I found myself contemplating the "what if's" of moving back east. I know I've discussed this in the past, but as of Saturday, I was searching for a way to make it work. There would be no simple solution. One of us would have to have a job long before any move. And as I say these words out loud, I feel like I'm betraying myself. Still, the dagger in my heart doesn't hurt as much as it has in the past. I have a feeling that the dark months I went through this past winter may have something to do with that. Watching Sophie and Jake

reflections on the hometown

After 37 years I am still amazed each time we return to North Olmsted and I discover small pockets of the city; unknown neighborhoods that have always been here but I never roamed into during my youth. I grew up thinking that this Cleveland suburb was so small and restrictive. The only thing I wanted more than becoming a filmmaker was to get out of here. How many of us have felt the same way? How many of us left seeking the American Dream only to return to Ohio time and time again to find some comfort or to escape the hardness of the world? Or, how many have stayed here, finding the surroundings just right? How many decided that there are enough dark corners in this city to make up for the L.A.'s, Miami's or New York's in the country? Oh, and there are dark corners. Some mornings, when I'm on a walk in my in law's neighborhood, I'll take a left when normally I would have travelled straight. And upon that turn what do I find but a seemingly peaceful cul de sac wi

Sheer artistry at the ballpark

Sophie decided not to go to the Indians/White Sox game with me tonight and I wish she had been there. Not because it was a great game (except for one inning, it was) or because the Indians won (they didn't). No, I wish she would have been there to see the most brilliant catch I have ever seen at a baseball game. It was sheer artisty and proved once again that Indians center fielder, Grady Sizemore, is a rising superstar in major league baseball. With one down in the 7th, a fly ball was slammed into deep center field, destined to hit off of the scoreboard and result in extra bases. Instead, Sizemore timed the ball out perfectly, made a ballet like leap into the air, and I mean LEAP, it must have been a good 10 feet into the air, and then, after the ball did bounce off of the board, he caught it. Landing with a graceful plop onto the warning track, he jumped up and sailed the ball back into the infield, preventing the White Sox from advancing their runners. It's one thing to see
Flying to Ohio, I recalled one of my favorite memories from this summer. It was a Saturday afternoon when Sophie, Jake and I danced to Paul McCartney's "Ever Present Past" (from his great new album, "Memory Almost Full"). During each version of the song, we marched around the house with straight arms and stiff legs until reaching the living room and the jubilant chorus. Then, while Sir Paul's music takes a bittersweet, melodious turn, the three of us danced crazily, like teenagers on "American Bandstand" in the 1960's: Twisting, shaking our butts and jumping around like loons! It was great fun. I can see their smiles now. Sophie, with her wide eyed, opened mouth grin that she inherited from Julie grabbed my hands and wanted to dance in a circle. And Jacob, all squinty eyed and giggling, laughed hard and ran out of breath. In the end, we were all sweating. "It went by in a flash, it flew by in a flash" is how the song goes. "searc

Not gonna happen

I don't know who I was trying to kid when I thought I would write a basement song this week. With the revision on the script and finishing everything I need to get done before a family trip, old Scotty's out of time. The good news is, while I'm sitting on the airplane, I can actually write a couple basement entries, and maybe even a couple film pieces I've been thinking about. What does this mean to you all? Not much. Another week of nothin'. I'll be back in a couple weeks. Have a good time. Go Tribe! Aloha

check this out...

Jefito features some of my rambling about rap music over at Jason Hare writes up the brilliance of David Soul on his weekly "Adventures in Mellow Gold":
The thing about claiming to be "back" is that you actually have to be "back". My beard is now in the "get this shit off of my face" phase, as I am just about done with my quick revision of that first draft. Word to the wise, put some distance between yourself and your script before you dive in revise what you just wrote. It's kind of like scraping your knee nice and bloody, then going out and playing football and reopening the scab the next day. Oh sure, you thought your Toughskins would protect your massive leg wound, but no, they do not. Now, you're limping around with a bloody knee cap (or in this case, a maddening beard. Went to see Sophie swim this morning. She's been taking a lap class for the past couple weeks and, damn, that girl can swim. There is an older girl (4th or 5th grad) who really excels and Sophie does her best to keep up. Soph has trouble with her freestyle (called the front crawl when I was a kid), but she kicks ass

hey, I'm back!

Sorry I've been out of commission for the past week. I decided to complete the screenplay I've been working on for nearly a year. What this means is that I don't read any new books, glance through the newspaper (except the sports section, which Sophie and I check regularly) and I generally don't write anything other than the voices in my head. but, I have finished the first draft and once I proof read it, I will send it off to the manager I have been developing this with for over a year. I also put off shaving until I turn it in. This is basically my own stupid ritual to keep me motivated. the first week or so, the beard is kind of cool. Julie hates it, but I kind of dig having the whole Serpico thing goin' on for a while. Usually around day 7, I start to itch and the beard drives me crazy. that's when I really light a fire under my rear. Since we're leaving on vacation next week, the beard comes off on Thursday and I send the script whether I'm