Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is Terrelle Pryor Worth a Look In Fantasy Football?

With a recent report by CBS football insider Jason La Confora that the Raiders may release quarterback Carson Palmer and his 13.5 million dollar contract, will Terrelle Pryor be the Raiders' quarterback next year. With the recent success of young quarterbacks making an impact early in their first or second seasons, one might be led to believe Pryor has a chance. But here's the deal. Russell Wilson, RG3, Andrew Luck, and Colin Kaepernick all have one thing in common... they can throw the football. Accurately. 

Terrelle Pryor and Tim Tebow also have one thing in common: neither one can throw a football accurately. And while the Read Option offense might allow the quarterback more freedom in deciding when to run or throw the football, one thing it can't do is make a quarterback hit an open receiver. Pryor will be interesting in fantasy football drafts this season, especially if Carson Palmer is cut by the Raiders, but unless you can get him for an obscenely low draft pick, let someone else have this walking headache.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is the Treasury About To Take Pennies and Nickels Out of Circulation?

I always liked that Johnny Cash song "One Piece At a Time" by Johhny Cash. of course it's a song about a career thief who assembles a primo Cadillac from parts he stole while working at the factory over many years, but the idea always stuck with me: assembling something valuable slowly, surely. An article I read at Dirty tricks squad today about the value of a nickel really intrigued me. According to the website Coinflation, which tracks the bullion value of coins, the American nickel was worth 5.35 cents today. Not the coin itself, but the metal in the coin, which is composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel. In short, you could walk into Chase bank, give them a twenty dollar bill and walk out with something like twenty-two dollars worth of bullion. Which means exactly nothing unless the Treasury lifts the melt ban on pennies and nickels the way they did with silver coins in 1964, but it also means if you give them a twenty dollar bill they give you twenty dollars in return.

And while pennies and nickels will likely never attain the value silver coins did, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has indicated pennies and nickels might start to be withdrawn from circulation as early as January 2013. 

It cost much more to mint the penny and the nickel than they are worth. I'm not convinced they will be removed from circulation anytime soon, but an announcement would cause a hoarding of these coins. That would lead possibly to a lowering of prices because everyone would have them, but as more and more was melted down the price would start to rise again, and if you could sit on a nice stash of pennies and nickels and ride it out while everyone else cashed there's in, you'd probably see a nice windfall eventually.

And you can get them one piece at a time. 

February 21, 2013 update: Nickel prices soared a couple of weeks ago, and appeared to be headed towards ten dollar a pound, which would have been a 25% increase, before collapsing this week and losing more that the original gains. But that huge move is likely to happen again, so keep collecting.

Also, President Obama said he would retire the penny if possible. The run hasn't begun yet, so let others laugh as you stockpile the very thing they'll be overpaying to accumulate shortly. 
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Poet Lucien Stryk Has Passed

Lucien Stryk came to speak for professor Quinn's poetry class at Rock Valley College in the early 90's. I was there and really got a lot out of the lecture. I was also blown away by this particular poem:

Lucien Stryk

Because I sit eating cherries
which I did not pick 
a girl goes bad under

the elevator tracks,will 
never be whole again.
Because I want the full bag,

grasping,twenty-five children
cry for food. Gorging,
I’ve none to offer. I want

to care, I mean to, but not
yet, a dozen cherries
rattling at the bottom of my bag.

One by one I lift them to
my mouth, slowly break
their skin—twelve nations

bleed. Because I love, because
I need cherries, I
cannot help them. My happiness,

bought cheap, must last forever.

NPR reported today that the poet Lucien Stryk has passed. One doesn't have to be from the Northern Illinois region to mourn the loss of this incredible poet.

Lucien Stryk has left us, and we are all worse for it.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Sunflower's Face Haiku

Here is the latest in the Tiny Drawing Poem series. The Sunflower's Face. 

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Monster's Genealogical Chart

I woke up this morning and read an email from John Bolton's personal assistant that it exists! The monsters genealogical chart Vincent Price explains to John Carradine in the movie The Monster Club exists, and she sold it to someone last year. 

Part of me hopes the collector paid a handsome sum and has it framed somewhere and will never part with it for any price, but I also have a hope someone just gave her fifty dollars and it will eventually end up on Ebay. I have fantasized about owning the actual piece used in the movie for almost thirty years now. I know it's an incredibly strange thing to pine for but the heart wants what it wants. 

"First we have the primate monsters, vampires, werewolves and ghouls – but everyone knows about those. Now pay attention: A vampire and a werewolf would produce a werevamp. A werewolf and a ghoul would produce a weregoo. A vamire and a ghoul would produce a vamgoo. A weregoo and a werevamp would produce a shaddy. A weregoo and a vamgoo would produce a maddy. A werevamp and a vamgoo would produce a raddy. If a shaddy were to mate with a raddy or a maddy, it would result in a mock (which frankly, is just a polite name for a mongrel). Just remember the basic rules of monsterdom: Vampires suck, werewolves hunt and ghouls tear. Shaddies lick, maddies yawn and mocks blow. Oh but a Shadmock, which is the result if a mock were to mate with any other hybrid, whistles – and they don’t do it very often. Now the humegoo, which is a cross between a ghoul and a human being, don’t really do anything interesting but they do have an unfortunate appetite for carrion (which they get, of course, from the ghoul side of the family). It must be noted that although monsters can mate with human beings, the results are almost always disastrous. " -Aramus

The quest continues. 

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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Hot Wheel That Broke My Heart

The first car I can remember my family having was a lime green Chevy Vega. Probably a 1973. I remember this car more clearly than cars I've actually owned as a result because I have an uncle who is six foot and nine inches tall and it was an exercise in comedy watching him try to get into that car. 

It's odd the things you remember and the things that will traumatize a four year old boy. For me one of the lingering traumas of my childhood was when I lost my pink Hot Wheel in the crevice behind the back seat of this car. I remember the car being a super shiny magenta with a bubble hood and it reminded me of the Jetsons. In my little boy brain it seemed more like a flying saucer than a car. Maybe I didn't even cry when it disappeared into that seemingly irretrievable void behind the seat. Maybe I did and no one thought enough to look for it. Either way I lamented the loss of that toy my entire life. Until three years ago when I saw...

The 1968 Beatnik Bandit. That was it. The thing that was lost forever, found again. Needless to say I bought it straightaway, but I did more than that. I bought myself the entire 

The original 16 Hot Wheels from 1968. Reclaiming lost aspects of your past is a very important component in Gestalt Therapy. Unfinished business. The Hot Wheels I played with as a boy aren't as old as these, but it's nice to start somewhere, and the beginning is often a good place. I have a goal to own one of every redline Hot Wheel ever made eventually. Maybe that's overkill, but it feels good to get this far down the road and be at peace with things. 

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Postcards Of the Faust Hotel In Rockford

Greetings from Rockford, Illinois. I found these postcards of the Faust Hotel on Ebay today while I was looking for some neat historical memorabilia. I can see this hotel from my North window. From the same window I can also see The Midway Theater.

Presidents and the rich and famous stayed here at the Faust. Kennedy was in there. Sinatra. I've never been in there but in the uppermost room a few nights ago I saw a light I hadn't seen turned on in four years and I imagined a super-secret meeting of some ancient society sworn to protect the city had been convened. I just couldn't think of anyone in this city who would be summoned to such a meeting. 

This is the lobby of the Faust. It looks pretty much this way when I walk by it almost every day. Knowing Rockford that's probably the same carpet. I'll look hard next time and report back on that. 

And this is one of the lounges. I hear there's also a bowling alley in there. I wonder if JFK bowled when he was there. It seems unlikely given the many quality entertainment options open to him, but it could have happened. Right here in...

Downtown Rockford, Illinois.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gargoyle #59

I had really good fortune as a young poet getting poems published. In fact, one of my first poems was published in the literary avant garde review Exquisite Corpse. I was encouraged to have my poems published along with some of the best critics and poets of these times. Perhaps too encouraged. That was 1991. By 1996 I had published a couple hundred poems, three chapbooks, and a full-length book, Concave Buddha. But by the late 90's the small press revolution was stalling out. It would soon be replaced by the internet. Instant publication of anything was possible. The days of the small presses were over. That's when I began Zombie Logic Press. I just didn't want to submit work anymore. But there were a few mags I regretted never having appeared in. Three of them were GargoyleBogg, and The Wormwood Review.

Now, unless they do perfect time travel I never will get the chance to appear in The Wormwood Review because legendary small press editor Marvin Malone died in 1996. However, I was fortunate enough to appear in both Bogg and Gargoyle. In fact, I have two poems in Gargoyle 59, the latest issue.

A Poem I Also Title "The Donner Party"
After an Evening of Reading Richard
Brautigan's Poetry

"What's for dinner?"


"No, I meant what's
For breakfast."


Every face
At the bus station
Is a torn
Lottery ticket.

My gratitude to editors Lucinda Ebersole and Richard Peabody for including me among such august company. You can read more poetry from me at Zombie Logic Review

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Point of Terror (1973)

One of my favorite deliveries I ever got when I still subscribed to Netflix delivery was Horrible Horrors Collection 1 because it had such movies as Horror High, Prime Evil, and The Hearse. But the movie I enjoyed in spite of itself was Point of Terror. I have to admit I remember virtually nothing about this movie except there's this guy who fancies himself to be the next Englebert Humperdink

Ya, that guy. And I think there's a seedy rich woman with a pool and the obvious subsequent murder plot, all of which I must remember as being pretty entertaining or I wouldn't have such a hankering to see it again.

Who lives, who dies, who falls for a double cross, and who ends up walking away with a fortune in 1973's Point of Terror? I don't remember. And since Netflix now stocks less movies online than the corner gas station that used to have a video store in it with seven Beta tapes when I was a kid I'd have to buy it or rejoin Netflix to see it, and that's not going to happen. Is there a movie poster?
Apparently there is a poster. Which says a lot of stuff about demons and outer limits of fear I don't remember from the movie at all. I think it's about a Tom Jones impersonator and an aging blond and maybe a younger blond and a pool. Anyway, Point of Terror, probably worth a watch for those who understand the genre. 

January 25, 2015: Two years later, and what I can report to you is that I have seen Point of Terror close to twenty times since I wrote this blog, and it is now one of my favorite 1 a.m. movies. Last night I went so far as to do some research on actor/writer peter Carpenter, and learned that he died in 1971 after Point of Terror. learning that made me extremely curious about Carpenter, and a subsequent Google search turned up nothing about his life or death. I'm still on the trail, and have found one article written for a book, but I have to order the book. There is also some information from co-star Leslie Simms in the commentary of a recent re-release of the movie, but aside from this only his movie remain to document Peter Carpenter's existence. I'll stay on this trail and expect to write a blog about it soon, but in this current age I guess we expect to be able to type anything into Google and be bombarded with information. It's really strange to me that someone with a life that appeared as large as Peter Carpenter's doesn't turn up anything on Google.

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Will Joe Flacco Be Whack-O In 2013

I have one fantasy football league by which I evaluate the entirety of my fantasy football prowess. It's the only keeper league I play in so I take a long view on certain players. Year to year a player can make your season or break your season then never really have much impact on you again, but in a keeper league certain players come around and around again to either save your butt or perpetually ruin your life. For instance, in the five non-keeper leagues I play in two years ago I was one of the people who drafted Arian Foster early on and he led me to two championships. I've never had Arian Foster on a fantasy team again, but for that year he made it fun to wake up on Sundays. One person who for the last six years made waking up on Sunday, Monday, or Thursday an adventure in uncertainty is Joe Flacco

For the first time since I began playing fantasy football six years ago Joe Flacco was not on any of my teams. My running strategy for three seasons was to load up on running backs and wide receivers early in the draft and get a bargain later on Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler, who I could usually get back to back in rounds 10, 11, or 12. One of them was sure to break out and fulfill the promise I was being told they had. Right?

Wrong. Every time I did this I ended up having to resort to a third option I got off the waiver wires, and usually sooner than later. 

I didn't play against Joe Flacco once his year with any of my teams so it would be overstating the case to say he had much impact on my fantasy season at all. I watched with a mild degree of interest as he did what he always seems to do: have a few good games and a lot of games where he bores you to death. But mid season it seemed the Ravens decided they wanted to whip the football downfield, and Torrey Smith decided he wanted to catch it. Some of the numbers were gaudy. But was anyone really winning in fantasy football with Joe Flacco at quarterback. And more importantly, will anyone be beating you with Joe Flacco at quarterback in 2013?

Probably. Because that's what Joe Flacco does. He makes you lose at fantasy football. And in 2013 he'll have to once again do it on someone else's team, which he did exactly zero times in 2012. You want him, you got him. I realize what I've said here automatically ensures he will have a huge game and be the Super Bowl MVP, but I don't care. With exciting quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, and RG3 once again re-defining the position I'll look elsewhere in 2013 for my quarterback and make Joe Flacco beat me. God knows he did it enough times when I did have him on my team. 

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Charles Band and Wizard Video

I have such a fond memory of the days of video stores. Video stores. Before DVDs. They had a smell to them akin to bookstores. The tapes were big and bulky and made a pile in the front seat of your car. You had something substantial there you had to attend to. You had an entire weekend. 

In the early days video tapes cost a fortune. A run of the mill tape might cost the store 75 dollars and more. That seems ridiculous to us now, but the medium was new. The only way to watch movies at home previous to that was either on a television or with a movie projector. What a novel and welcome advancement the video tape was.
Charles Band was one of the earlier pioneers of making previously distributed movies available to video stores. He founded Wizard Video in 1981 to distribute cult films to a broader market. I was that market. At least I was later without really realizing it.

What really put Wizard Video over the top was the big box format they developed in 1984. 

Zombiethon was one of Wizard Video's later successes, but  the trend soon petered out and Band went on to form Full Moon Productions

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zombiethon Wizard Video Counter Display

I am now the proud possessor of this Zombiethon Wizard Video Counter Display from 1986. This makes me happy for multiple reasons. The first and primary reason is I've been a zombie genre fan since I was twelve, and when I went to Rockford College there just weren't very many zombie movies on the shelf to rent at the video stores. But once place that did have a few was Dollar Video on Morsay Drive. In fact, they had this very movie, which I would rent at six month intervals over a period of four years until Dollar Video disappeared. 

The second reason is that I didn't know there was a movie poster for this movie at all because it was made for video. The interstitial zombie shorts directed by Ken Dixon are worth the watch in themself. 

Third, I love this poster. After finding a version of The Monster Club movie poster I didn't know existed a few weeks ago this really puts a cherry on my sundae. There are still a few posters I consider essential to my ongoing collection, but finding one I never even knew existed is even sweeter. Oh, here's the poster...

I never realized there was such a following for Wizard Video memorabilia until I found the competition for this beauty fierce.  Because I have never seen another one I had to have it. 

I say, old sport, I'll trade you this perfectly good white chick for your copy of  the Zombiethon poster.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Hell of These Modern Times

What needs to be said? What is meaningful? Among all the noise what signal needs to be heard? What isn't being said, or isn't being said enough, clearly enough, frequently enough, or reaching the ears of those who need to hear it?

I'm not sure anymore. As someone who considers himself primarily a poet I never really thought about such things in the past. My one goal was to write a poem I found entertaining. End of discussion.

But these days so much information gets flung around. Almost all of it useless, devoid of meaning or fact, or just plain wrong. If the truth is out there it requires so much more effort to get at it. 

I don't have much to say this day. I plod forward no wiser and no more infused with truth than I was yesterday. Maybe slightly wiser for at least knowing that, but only minimally so.

I am so bored I am almost driven to getting out pen and ink and writing on actual paper. Oh, the hell of these modern times. Pin It

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

When Will the American Penny Disappear

Jenny looked at me yesterday and said you haven't said much lately on Facebook. And I hadn't. Because something was really wrankling me and I knew if started talking about it I'd explode like a volcano of anger. But I had my say today on the local art scene here in Rockford and now I feel better. But speaking of pennies...

The Canadians are removing the penny from circulation. And considering doing the same with the nickel. I was surprised to learn many countries have already done the same. JP Morgan also recently got permission from the SEC to go ahead with their XF Physical Copper Trust ETF. What will this do to the price of copper? I haven't a clue, but I began saving pennies from 1982 and previous a couple of years ago after I learned they are 95% copper. I like to collect them because I can get them at the bank for... a penny. It's a penny for a penny investment. Aside from the possibility of rampant inflation making my penny worth significantly less it's a no lose proposition. One of the main problems is sorting the pennies when you can't see. I know they make sorters to do this, but I can't imagine myself even being able to ask a teller for enough boxes of pennies to make this worthwhile.

I recently played Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds Advanced Dungeons and Dragons games on my computer so the idea of using metals as currency piqued my interest. I wonder if we will return to a monetary system where even baser metals like copper will have enough value to be traded for commodities like bread, milk, or meat. And the more I see people seeming to revert to a bunker mentality and trading locally, bartering, and using all kinds of alternative forms of currency, it's not hard to imagine a time when a penny might buy something of value. 

The Canadian plan is to remove the pennies from the hands of the public in a six year span, melting them down. If that happens where does the copper go? And if you wanted to buy more at what price would you be able to buy it in a market with no copper coins? 

When I heard the story about the JP Morgan ETF my first reaction was why are they trifling with a metal so clearly beneath their level of interest? Why even bother to trade a metal going for something like a quarter an ounce? I don't have a conspiracy theory answer. It seems just as likely that if you try to raise the price of copper those who cause it to have value by using it in construction will just turn to cheaper alternatives. And if you try to convince a public that has been trained to see copper as the cheapest currency available they're just as likely to cry bullcrap as go along with it. But there's this. the possibility that in the future they will convince the masses that copper is valuable. Especially after they remove it from circulation and only they have it. At that point wouldn't you love to have a vat full of the coin you wouldn't even bend over to pick up on the street before?

If the penny is taken out of circulation and the melt ban is lifted it's not beyond imagination to see copper being used an intermediate currency, a tangible form of wealth used more to buy daily commodities than as a store of real wealth. In that scenario I'd like to have some around.

How about you? 

I think a jasper-colored penny from the year you were born with a deep, rich cameo, is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Will our children even know what a penny is? 

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