Sunday, February 26, 2017

Funny Shit My Aunt Emails Me - "Advertising Scottish-Pub Style"

Everyone has a relative that sends them funny stuff via email, right?

It seemed like a waste to just look at these and then shelve them away in my gmail archive, so I thought I'd post them here and let the rest of the world see them, too.

This one features photos of Scottish pubs, although it may be pubs outside of Scotland. It's just a bunch of funny pictures.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Music Videos that Rock BillyBlog's World - Audioslave

Found this in my drafts folder from July 11, 2008. I still love this video.


This is "Doesn't Remind Me," one of my favorite Audioslave songs, and the video makes me like it even more.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Criminal Elements in Saginaw, Michigan

I found this in my draft posts from 2009. I have no idea why I had assembled this, but it seems wasteful sitting in my drafts. It probably had something to do with the illegal tattoos.

Clare County deputies handle vomit calls, mysterious door-knockers, and
illegal tattoos in the course of a day

by Dean Bohn | The Saginaw News

Tuesday January 06, 2009, 6:31 AM

CLARE -- Clare County sheriff's deputies say they try to help everyone over
the holidays, but sometimes there's not a whole lot they can do. For

• A man returned to his home along East Cranberry Lake at 4 p.m. New Year's
Eve to find someone had broken into his home and "vomited all over."

The man said the front door was wide open and all the stove burners were
on. After checking the house, he could not find anything missing.

• A woman called deputies at noon New Year's Eve to report a man in a white
flatbed truck drove by and splashed her with snow while she stood in front
of her home along Beaver, between Ludington and Maple.

Deputies took the description of the vehicle.

• At 1 a.m. New Year's, a woman living at a home on North Clare said a man
wearing a red hat and beard was knocking on her doors behind her house.
Deputies said no one was there when they arrived.

• A woman dragged her teenage son into the Clare County Sheriff's
Department at 10:30 a.m. Friday to file a complaint that someone gave her
son a tattoo without her permission. Deputies were looking into it.

• At 5:30 p.m. Jan. 1, a man along North Temple told deputies he was going
to cut the bolt to the well house on the property he was renting because he
could not reach the landlord and has not had water for 16 days. Deputies
noted it in case more came of it later.

• A woman at 8 p.m. Jan. 1 called deputies to report a man "spinning
donuts" in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Farwell. She said it
"isn't right," because a few days before her dog bit one of his tires, and
he insisted she buy him four new tires, which she did. Deputies said they
would look into it.

• A woman called deputies at 5 p.m. New Year's Eve, stating some juveniles
in a Dodge Ram who were under the influence of "liquor or drugs" put the
pickup in the ditch. She said they were able to get it out, but then got
stuck again -- and were doing it repeatedly. Deputies made an arrest for
drunken driving.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Poetry in Motion: The Good Life by Tracy K. Smith

Here's another Poetry in Motion from the archives. Snapped this blurry photo on August 2, 2013:

The Good Life by Tracy K. Smith

When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and real wine.

~ ~ ~
Here's a clearer image:

Visit the MTA Poetry in Motion page here.

Bios of the poet and the artist whose work in the subway that serves as the backdrop for the poem above, which was one of four released in 2013, appears on the site here. You can also click on the Poetry in Motion tag at the bottom of the post to see prior BillyBlog posts about the series.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cleaning Out the Drafts, 2010

Over the years, I have started posts and they end up sitting in draft status.

That seems wasteful.

Here are some more draft fragments from years past:

from December 10, 2010:

"Rapid Review: I Found This Funny, edited by Judd Apatow"

Hello, dear readers. BillyBlog is still kicking around, despite all my
creative energies being funneled into Tattoosday.

I wanted to throw out a brief review of a book I recently finished. Not a
novel, this was an anthology of short fiction and humor pieces. Judd
Apatow, the creative mind behind Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, and the
40-Year Old Virgin, among countless other films, has assembled a collection of
his “Favorite Pieces of Humor and Some That May Not Be Funny At All”.

This was a really pleasing collection that not only included humorous
essays by the likes of David Sedaris and ______, but some dark stories from
Flannery O’Connor and Tobias Wolff. Poetry by Tony Hoagland.

~ ~ ~
Based on the format, I think I had typed that up on the train and never posted it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Books on the Edge of My Attention Span, February Edition

Last month I blogged about a handful of books that I have at my disposal that I all can't possibly read and I got some positive feedback about it, so I thought I'd share again.

First up, I am currently reading simultaneously The Daily Show: An Oral History (in old-timey book form)

 and also, on my tablet, The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura.


I had read Nakamura's noir book The Kingdom and, having enjoyed it, decided to read the first book that really put him on the map. Good stuff!

Also on my tablet is Nakamura's Evil and the Mask (which I doubt I'll read - just a gut feeling)


and poetry in the form of Special Orders by Edward Hirsch, which I have started and am picking at, little by little.

The vast ensemble of books I had last month has subsequently been been returned and I grabbed a handful of slim tomes to accompany my travels.

The Walking Dead, Volume 1 Days Gone By

 Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Songs and Sonnets by Paul Muldoon

Balloon Pop Outlaw Black by Patricia Lockwood


The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cleaning Out the Drafts, 2014

Over the years, I have started posts and they end up sitting in draft status.

That seems wasteful.

Here is the first of some fragments from years past as I dispatch these drafts.

~ ~ ~

from 2014:

What I'm Reading in 2014: Roberto Bolaño

With the exception of Gabriel García Márquez,  I have never been a huge fan of Latin American literature.  I have been AWARE of it,  but I never consumed it and if I did,  it was rarely in any great quantities.

Some time in 2013, I was in Westsider Books on Broadway,  trying to determine how to spend a store credit,  when I spotted 2066 by Roberto Bolaño .

I knew enough to recognize Bolaño's name,  and knew that he had died young,  at fifty,  but I had never read anything by him.  The copy of 2066 was a trio of slip cased paperbacks and I love a good presentation of literature,  so I nabbed it and brought it home.

Yet it wasn't one book,  it was three,  so it didn't beckon immediate reading.  As is often the case with lovers of literature,  I let Bolaño simmer on my shelves.  I learned that I had made a great choice,  that 2066 was considered to be his masterpiece.  I brought the volumes to work and placed them on an empty book shelf.

And then, one day,  I started on my first Bolaño journey. It was unlike anything I had ever read.  It was fascinating. It made the mundane interesting.  Literary critics obsessed with the same obscure European novelist.  The book was five parts, or the books were five volumes, captured in three bodies.  We went from Europe to Mexico where book 3, The Part About the Murders, crawled along in fascinating yet clinical detail about serial killings of women in northern Mexico,  a true crime aspect that was based on real life atrocities. The dust that seemed to hang in the air of the fictional town of Santa Theresa found is way into my bloodstream and became a part of me. 

It took me a while to read the whole of 2066. I want to say several months,  but I am a slow reader at times,  and Bolaño can be difficult. When I finished the third section,  I breathed a sigh of relief.  It was disturbing and numbing, simultaneously. I moved on and the narrative sped forward. I was transported to a version of World War II unfamiliar to me, a perspective of a German soldier,  fodder for the war machine.  Having just read Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, I was feeding on another facet of the war.

2066 is one of those novels that changes you,  as long as you embrace it and commit to every leg of the ride.  This Bolaño,  I now understood what the fuss was all about.

I have since found this list of an essential Bolaño reading list, perused it,  bookmarked it, and after a few months, went back to it.

All of a sudden,  I was bonkers for Bolaño. I read AntwerpLast Evenings on Earth, The Insufferable Gaucho and Monsieur Pain. Antwerp was a short experiential "novel" that read more like the bastard child of a surrealist screenplay  and a lengthy prose poem.  LNOE and Gaucho were short story collections that had me riveted.  Pain was categorized by the aforementioned article on Bolano's work in the grouping of "for conpletists".

I have still to read other great Bolaño's,  I am told.  I am hooked. I can hardly wait to see what else I will discover.

~ ~ ~

Looking back, I embarked on Bolaño's acclaimed novel, The Savage Detectives, and hit a wall. The first section was great, then the library due date arrived and I couldn't re-new it. I set it aside. One of these days, I'll try again.

Of course, this seems like a pretty full post. Not sure why I never hit "publish" on that one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Poetry in Motion: A Strange Beautiful Woman, by Marilyn Nelson

This is more recent, from just last year, and since the 2017 posters haven't been unveiled, you can likely spot these on the subways currently:

A Strange Beautiful Woman by Marilyn Nelson

A strange beautiful woman
met me in the mirror
the other night.
I said,
What you doing here?
She asked me
the same thing.

~ ~ ~

Visit the MTA Poetry in Motion page here.

Bios of the poet and the artist whose work in the subway that serves as the backdrop for the poem above, which was one of four released in 2013, appears on the site here. You can also click on the Poetry in Motion tag at the bottom of the post to see prior BillyBlog posts about the series.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Poetry in Motion - To the Reader: Twlight by Chase Twichell

Here's another Poetry in Motion poster from my archives, spotted underground August 7, 2013:

To the Reader: Twilight by Chase Twichell

Whenever I look
out at the snowy
mountains at this hour
and speak directly
into the ear of the sky,
it's you I'm thinking of.
You're like the spirits
the children invent
to inhabit the stuffed horse
and the doll.
I don't know who hears me.
I don't know who speaks
when the horse speaks.

~ ~ ~

Visit the MTA Poetry in Motion page here.

Bios of the poet and the artist whose work in the subway that serves as the backdrop for the poem above, which was one of four released in 2013, appears on the site here. You can also click on the Poetry in Motion tag at the bottom of the post to see prior BillyBlog posts about the series.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk Chocolate

Someone was having a bad day.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Random Photos from My Past

The funny thing about the cloud is that pictures that have little or now value are stored in perpetuity, making future self wonder what my self from 2008 was thinking, like this shot from January 30, 2008. Heck, I'm not even sure that's when it was taken, but Google photos dates it thus:

The story behind this was that the local synagogue was having problems with people feeding strays in their back yard. I believe I snapped this for the rabbi as proof that even a sign couldn't deter folks from feeding these feral beasts.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Found on the C Train

I found this last night on the C train, leaving 72nd Street: