the one where America is a sexy bitch

August 15, 2012

It’s probably time I made a confession.

Hi I’m Jimi and I have a crush on Meghan McCain.

(Hi jimi!)

Okay that simply isn’t true. I don’t just have a crush on Meghan. I have a HUGE crush on her. I practically trip all over myself creeping on her on twitter.

What’s not to love?

(Most of my friends will yell “she’s republican!” here.)

And I counter: she’s full of life, loves whiskey and the Big Lebowski. Plus she is hot as all get out.

I got a chance to read/review America, You Sexy Bitches: A Love Letter to America thanks to The Well Read Wife. Did I mention it was free bitches?  Yeah it was. Freedom might not be free Meghan but this book was!

(That was unnecessarily mean. Freedom isn’t free is a clichéd catch phrase Ms. McCain loves to use)

My reading of America, You Sexy Bitch sort of parallels the two’s experience. How? Nobody in my life seemed to be able to understand why I was reading it. There was the Mother/Father in law who had no idea who Michael Ian Black was. They’d also forget who Meghan McCain was.  I’d remind them and they’d wonder why I wanted to read it.

I’d spend the next few minutes live swooning over her.

My coworkers were either puzzled or scandalized. I was eager to read it. To feel like I was part of the journey I threw on some yoga pants and dug into the book.

 

This is the book’s description of the book:

She is a single, twentysomething, gun-loving, Christian, Republican writer and blogger, the daughter of a Senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee. He is a married, forty-year-old, gun-fearing, atheist, Democrat comedian, the son of a lesbian former Social Security employee. Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black barely know each other. But they are about to change the way politics is discussed in America.

I like the inner description: Michael Ian Black got hopped up on Ambien and trolled twitter. Then he tweeted at Meghan McCain (something I do daily: usually with the hashtag #swoon in it) that they should write a book. She was all “hellz yeah foo!”*

(*not really those words)

The goal is to see if two people on completely different sides can find common ground. It is unfortunate when the concept of common ground seems so foreign. That is sort of sad to me. The fact that each and every point they discussed a topic they disagree on ended in a fight sort of sucked. Of course by the end of the RV trip the fights seemed to be more based on friendly ribbing and button pushing. The book does start off a bit sluggish. I guess this is to be expected seeing as they logged the awkward time where the two had to find a groove. Once they settle into their routines

The book is certainly a love letter to America—if only a brief glimpse of the vast different places. The pair made their hot sticky way across America. They took their differing points of views to places like Nashville, Little Rock, Austin and New Orleans. One of my favorite parts is when they visited The Islamic Center of America.

(The center’s name is just so hugely American too!)

Apparently, Dearborn, Michigan turns out to be the Muslim capitol of the United States. It is here we meet Eide A. Alawan. I loved meeting him and the ideas and feelings he expressed. This is where the book succeeds the most and I sort of wish there were more moments of this. The trip had a logical ending point Washington, DC of course. Ironically it happened at a point where the derisiveness of our political parties seemed to be at a boiling point.

Hooray Congress!

Their time with Congress and dinner with her pops (John McCain) gave a real glimpse into the climate on the hill. A ray of hope was seen with their time with Dennis Kucinich who both came away with a new understanding of.

Meghan would of course have one view of the kooky Senator.  I mean he would from far (and especially from the Republican side) appear to be the worst of “liberal” nuts.

(Hey we can learn things if we just meet civilly!)

This is one of the books great successes. The fact that Kucinich was the only one to meet with them and in the process open their eyes is the hope you can pull away. The fact that the pair turned out to be able to grow close and get along should not have come as a surprise.

Meghan McCain is admittedly not the most conservative of the Republican Party. What I love about her is whatever the view she seems genuine in her desire to learn. She is ready to explore and develop her views.

I was afraid my <s> hardcore/obsessive/creeper like</s> crush would be tarnished. Some of the beliefs she expressed (and so steadfastly) made me curse my undying love for her.

But then I yelled “That is what this book is fucking about!” We too can find common ground.

That common ground? That I want to cuddle the crap out of Meghan McCain.

I mean uhm…

A coworker asked me to describe it in one sentence. I said “entertainment with some hope at the end.”

“no greater insights than that?” he countered.

Is there? Probably not.

Was there supposed to be? Probably not.

I didn’t go into it thinking anything more than that the answer would be yes they’d find common ground. There were wonderful glimpses into this country and some poignant thoughts from both McCain and Michael. There was some real emotion.

In the end it didn’t “change the way politics is discussed in America.” The statement is just another bit of wonderfully American hyperbole.

The book will make you laugh and make you think and can you really ask for more than that?

To read the other (and probably better) reviews from Mandy’s Blogger Book Club click here.

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Cobain Unseen book review

March 21, 2012

I was given this to read by the lovely rizza. I read it quickly and intensely. Next thing I know I was typing up this review.

 

 

 

Charles R. Cross (Heavier than Heaven) makes a return to a familiar
topic with Cobain Unseen. In this meshing of photos, journal excerpts
and bits of memorabilia, Cross attempts to bring further insight into
the life of one of rock and roll’s most mysterious and beloved front
men, Kurt Cobain. This is not your typical biography. Cross doesn’t
just fill the book with the typical biographical information followed
by some home pictures; no instead he goes much, much deeper into the
life and art of Kurt. Readers are treated to very entertaining bits
and stories from Cobain’s early life and through his rise to fame. The
book’s 154 pages are filled with hundreds of beautiful pictures: shots
of Cobain as a kid, on stage, even quiet family moments. The images
are wonderful counterparts for each other. Even better are the
glimpses into Kurt’s creativity, given to us through paintings and letters done in
his own hand. There is even a CD of the troubled singer reading from
pages of his journal.

Cross chooses a scrapbook-style for Cobain Unseen, and it really seems
fitting as we learn more about Cobain’s collections, passions and
artistic endeavors. The writing is on point and unencumbered by the
traditional style of most biographies. The author has no need for an
over the top portrayal of his subject, and this results in writing that
is raw and real. It feels authentic to Kurt and parallels the style of
writing in his songs. The book uses extensive research and interview
materials in a quick and entertaining manner that at no point feels
clunky or wordy. Cross of course has the benefit of having written
Heavier than Heaven before this. Cobain Unseen isn’t necessarily for
those who are coming at Cobain, or Nirvana, for the first time. With
this attempt, Cross has no need for the usual information. He doesn’t
need (or want to) introduce us to the people in Kurt’s life. He
focuses on giving the reader a new view into the mind, the creativity,
and even the madness, that was Kurt Cobain. He chooses to go for an in
depth look at the pieces of history that came together to fuel and
create Kurt’s unique personality. This means newer readers may be left
to their own devices to understand or figure out the simpler of facts
and stories involving Kurt. That fact should not hinder a reader new
to the Cobain story from enjoying the book.

These pieces and intimate recreations are punctuated with the author’s
thoughts and research. It presents the life of the artist through
never before seen photos, chaotically scribbled notes/lyrics, precious
mementos and art. These are the real gems of Cobain Unseen. The almost
dizzying array of personal photos such as Cobain and his daughter, the
concerts, or even the shots as a baby and young child are unseen
glimpses into the rock legend. We are given views of his entire
emotional spectrum. Some match the raw and unrefined moments
of his lyrics. They run the range from blurry and untouched to glossy
magazine photo shoots. Included are slices of Cobain’s interests,
which are as odd and mystifying as the singer was. The odd dolls,
masks, monkeys, and the love (shared with Courtney) of heart-shaped
boxes, carved-up drawing figures and graffiti. One of the best parts
of the book are the assorted fold-outs and removable items: ads for
Nirvana, a copy of Kurt’s high school diploma, a CD of old songs,
blurry letters, X-rays, a scrawled handwritten draft of “Smells Like
Teen Spirit,” and even a handmade Thanksgiving day card made by a
young Kurt. This helps ground the reader and the life of the singer
who took his own life.

The diary like style employed by Cross immerses the reader in the
world that was Kurt Cobain. Cobain Unseen feels less like a biography,
and more like a collage of Cobain’s lifetime. Chaotic, pieced together
moments and scraps perhaps not all that different than the ones Kurt
himself glued and pieced together. If you’ve read Heavier Than Heaven
or any of the other books on Kurt and Nirvana, you will still want to
buy this book. As a whole, the book is a great for any fan of Nirvana
or even someone who just loves music.


the week that was through cellphone pictures

March 19, 2012

 

 

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1. Night passing the Earth to Day. (At Wade Lagoon)
2. St. Patrick’s Day tie. Appeared to blow the minds of coworkers (They aren’t very creative I guess.)
3. Incense holder filled with the remains of incense and matches.
4. My new Cleveland Clinic Fitness Center ID (Wifey thinks I look Mountain Manish.)
5. A Church on Euclid early morning.
6. Csonka sleeping on Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010.
7. Beef & Guinness stew (Our St. Patrick’s day dinner tradition.)
8. Guinness & Jameson at 7:00am @Parnellspub (My new St. Patrick’s day breakfast tradition?)

 

 

Now a few cool snaps from my camera:

 

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At Lake View Cemetery

 

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The perfect pour at Parnellspub


donks, cops, creepy uncles and puking on books

July 1, 2011

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What’s this? Posting the best of Overheard Ohio for June on the first day of July? It’s a miracle! If you’re not following it on twitter, what the hell is the matter with you?

(You may be what we like to call “a bit touched” in the head. See a doctor about that.)

Without further insult (seriously I love you guys.) here are my favs in no particular order:

“Yeah she was hot but I think she was the one who took a crap by the bed.” –dude drinking @XYZtheTavern

“I told this white dude that SMH meant slicing my hand and those who say it are really depressed.”

“maybe I could become a doctor but you wouldn’t give me no dollar for the bus.” guy not wearing shoes to dude who wouldn’t give him change.

“My Uncle asked me to pick up some “supplies” when I went grocery shopping but his list was: Pepto-Bismol and condoms.”–Girl in parking lot

“Is this the bookstore that you puked on the books in the science fiction section that time you got wasted on @molsoncoors at like 3pm?”

Mom-“this is kind of a ghetto area” Son-“Well mom its not like we’re gonna get out of the car & have a fucking picnic”

“Not every cop is trying to fuck you in the ass guys.”–cop to some young guys.

“Son that is what we call a donk.”–Older guy to his son about a woman getting off the bus.


the one with a King

June 24, 2011

Recently I decided to undertake the task of cataloging all of our books. I’ve created one big spreadsheet and began listing them. I’m taking my time doing this and I’m on about book 327 or so. Part way through this I realized if I put it on Google Docs than I’d have access to the list wherever I go.

Sweet.

I’ve accumulated more than a few doubles because I wasn’t sure if I owned a specific book. It would happen something like this:

(Inside a thrift store I slowly search the bookshelves. I spot something interesting. I peer around and creep closer. When old person comes up to the books I shove them down and kick them to make sure they can’t grab the book. I pick it up.)

Me: Damn this is only 50 cents! Oh wait do I have this? I can’t remember I don’t think I do. I’m not sure though.

Old person on floor: I think I broke my hip.

Me: Shut up! (Kick them.) Shit it’s only 50 cents and I don’t think I have it. Maybe Sillie will know…no she’s not going to know…I can’t not buy it…what if I don’t have it…you know?

Broken hip: I’m in so much pain.

Me: It’s always about you!

(Stepping on their spine I walk past them.)

Then I get home and see I do own the book.

“Damn you thrift store and your alluring 50 cent book siren song you’ve bashed my ship along your rocky walls once again!”

AnyFakeViolenceAgainstOldPeople as I was cataloging the books I came across my copy of Richard Bachman’s The Regulators. Many of you may know this actually a book written by Stephen King. Now King is probably my favorite modern day writer. I’ve read every one of his books, and when I was young he inspired/influenced my writing.

I flipped open the book and admired the autograph in it.

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Why did I get a book he wrote under a different name signed? Well, it was the book I was reading at the time or perhaps was literally just purchased.

(This happened way back like in 1997 so let the fuzzy details stay that way!)

If I was to do it over I’d probably get The Stand or The Gunslinger which are my favorites.

Stephen King (along with it seems a billion other writers) formed a rock band named The Rock Bottom Remainders. I mean this is the list of authors who’ve played in the band at some point:

Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou, Cynthia Heimel, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Sam Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Joel Selvin, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Fulghum, Matt Groening, Tad Bartimus, Greg Iles

Well it turned out they were playing the Miami Book Fair and would include Dave Barry (hilarious) and King. My sister Lisa who is oft the catalyst of my good times took me. I brought (or bought??) the book with the hopes of being able to grab an autograph. They played (and you know were decent for authors who wish they were rockers.) and then he disappeared into the back.

A large crowd lined the barrier and bulged. He reemerged and began signing books. After being pushed over to the crowd I waited and waited. Finally he made his way to me and bam Stephen Mother fucking King stood in front of me.

Now these days I’ve met a bunch of people and writers that I admire. I’ve spent time with some and talked and asked questions and it was fun. This however went more like this:

STEPHEN KING is standing in front of me. Angels were probably singing and I believe there was a bright aura shining around him. He grabs my book.

King: Hey buddy what’s your name?
Me: ….
King: Who would you like me to sign it to?
Me: ….
King: ….
Me: ….
King: ….
My sister is poking me in the back at this point.
Me: Oh uh…uh..uh..James.
King: Great.

(He signs and hands it back.)

#JimiFail


The one with the Cleveland Creep

June 13, 2011

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Finally I’m getting around to posting this. Way back on June 4th I had the privilege of being part of a Books for Bloggers event. It was held at Visible Voice Books in Tremont and allowed an intimate conversation between Cleveland bloggers and Cleveland mystery writer, Les Roberts.

When I received the email invitation I was excited. It allowed for me to bring a guest and I chose my lovely Wifebot, who of course could have attended as a local blogger herself.

A little bit of honesty time. When I first move to Cleveland way back in 2002 someone suggested I read one of the books in Les Robert’s Cleveland series. It went something like this:

Person: Hey yo you’re into writing and new to Cleveland. There is like this author who writes mysteries set in Cleveland.*

(*Nowhere near how it happened.)

I looked up the name and picked the first book in the series—Pepper Pike. I read it pretty fast and really liked it. I decided right than that I was going to get to know Milan Jacovich real well, but you know things come up. I hadn’t read another in the series since. I sort of forgot all about it until I received the email.

The event was to promote his new book, The Cleveland Creep and was sponsored by Roberts’ publisher Gray & Company.

Les met with us in Visible Voice Books’ quaint upstairs meeting room. I was happy to see the room because I’ve been considering it for a reading of one my plays.

(More on that later bitches!)

It was intimate and the author easily fell into a back and forth conversation. It wasn’t long before he was weaving story after story for us, and it felt like we were all old friends. He (obviously) can really tell a story. It was interesting to hear about how Cleveland grew on him and you could tell the love he had for the city.

The meet and greet was very lighthearted and filled with humor. He answered questions and signed the books.

(Free bitches!)

I was happy to meet @ADHicken who I’d enjoyed on the twitter.

(Wait that didn’t come out right.)
(T.W.S.S)
(Not her but you know the royal her–nevermind!)

And her blog Clue Into Cleveland is always a fun read. It was cool to meet her hubby @ScottHicken and @timzaun (who you’ll see more from down below.)

(That’s what she said!)
(Sorry.)

Roberts’ has lived in both Chicago and L.A. but fell in love with Cleveland and couldn’t leave. He’s lived here 21 years and tells how the city has influenced him and his writing. When asked about what needs to be done for the future growth of the city his first reaction was said with humor and care:

“Oh Boy”

After a chuckle he dove into what he felt needed to be done. I snagged this from TimZaun.com because it was a little more thorough than my notes. His site is a very good read. He snapped the picture above too (Hooray for lazy jimi!)

• We need to stop the brain drain of Cleveland’s upcoming talent-young residents or transplants, choosing to be educated here; and then leaving town for larger, more progressive cities.
• Government needs to make it easier for businesses to locate here with tax incentives, etc.
• Officials who embody the “What’s in it for me?” mentality need to be replaced with individuals committed to helping Cleveland thrive.
• We need more writers to promote Cleveland’s assets.

The Cleveland Creep is Roberts’ 25th book and more importantly 15th featuring Cleveland private eye Milan Jacovich. I will have a longer review up soon but I will say that it is an excellent read. Once you talk to him it is hard to hear his voice as you read. It was near me and I opened it up just to read the first few pages and was instantly hooked. The story is a fast and smooth read. The book is filled with some wonderful prose. Jacovich’s humor and love for Cleveland mirrors that of Roberts. There is a tinge of sadness to the pages as the Cleveland private eye deals with age and loss. This only adds to the gritty realism and edge the series has.

Les Roberts will return in 2012 with Whiskey Island. The story will revolve around a Cleveland city councilman—who is corrupt—sound familiar?


the one with April’s overheard

June 3, 2011

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Then there was the time I hadn’t blogged in about a week and tried to come up with an easy post. Yep kids always try to take the easy way out. It was this in mind I whipped up the best of Overheard Ohio for May. It wasn’t long before I realized I didn’t do one for April. Hooray two easy breezy posts. So May will wait (till next week probably) while I present to you the best of April:

(In no particular order.)

“I don’t trust him he never once looked at my tits and I had some nice cleavage going on.” –woman in lobby Downtown.

“This fucking dog hasn’t got me one fucking chick.”–Guy to another guy while walking a dog.

“Guy has been accused of rape 3 times. I mean I’m not saying I’m ‘rape free,’ but damn.”

“Treat that drain like you would your woman. Get at it!”-Plumber one to plumber 2

“Hey girl you wanna come sit on this? I ain’t got a home but I be getting women off all da time.” –drunk dirty homeless looking guy

“I gave bobby a hand job at the party so he’d pee in Mike’s book-bag.” –Girl outside of the UC.

And the winner for not funny and really sad award:

“aint you get pregnant from suckin dick?” girl in sex ed class.


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