Monday, October 31, 2016


It's 4:00 AM EST, and I can't sleep.  I've got a ton of stuff to accomplish tomorrow, and being fuzzy headed all day is not going to help.  I'm beginning to think I should pay my favorite witch doctor a visit and see what he has to say.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dancing on Halloween (2016)

Ellen was in town last night, so we decided to get some dinner and then go dancing.  Dinner was at Ciao!, an excellent Italian restaurant located at Monroe Street and US 23.  I had scallops and Ellen had white fish; both were outstanding.

Matt Miller had a Halloween costume party at his studio, which was excellent fun.  Here's the evening in a dozen photos or less.

10 South Holland Sylvania Rd
Toledo, Ohio 43615
(Hill Ave in the Martin School Bld, Top Floor)
(419) 654-8650
Matt Miller, owner/operator

Our Host, Matt Miller
As you can see, Matt is having an identity crises combined with a bad hair day.

Here's a nice couple we met at the party.  I happened to have my camera, and they wanted a souvenir photo.  Here you go, guys!  Regretfully, I didn't get their names, for which I apologize.

My Ellen, Looking Quite Ravishing
Ellen and I
No Caption
We had a great time and we're looking forward to Matt's next party.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Film Review: Papa Hemingway in Cuba

If you haven't seen Papa Hemingway, pick a nice movie night, settle in with your favorite alcoholic beverage and enjoy yourself.  The film was shot in Cuba at Hemingway's home, and although the critics gave it poor reviews the great unwashed seemed to like it just fine.

This is the true story of a na├»ve junior journalist, Ed Myers, who writes a fan letter to Hemingway and ends up spending a good deal of time with the man and his friends and family on the island of Cuba.  It's a long way from the sort of affecting, syrupy sweet story that one might expect, and instead shows what life was like with the a drunken, volatile, literary genius and his equally mercurial wife.

You can find more reviews on Papa Hemingway in Cuba (2015) on IMDB and on Papa Hemingway in Cuba (2015) on Rotten Tomatoes. I highly recommend the film.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Why are some writers obsessed with cats?

This short vignette was stolen from Michael DiSibio, edited by yours truly, and used without permission.

  • A cat takes more interest in your writing than your spouse or your boss.
  • Cats don't mind watching you write for hours on end. In fact, they find it comforting and will fall asleep nearby.
  • A cat will take a keen interest in the cursor moving on the screen if it catches their attention.
  • Cats love keyboards.
  • If you leave your writing post for a few minutes and return, your cat will be sitting on your chair and will look at you and say, "Are you really going to keep up this pitiful charade of writing, or do I have to show you how it's done?"
  • Like writers, cats don't really have time for full meals. They nibble throughout the day.
  • A cat's measure of success, like writing, is inversely proportional to the expenditure of energy needed to get things done.
  • When a cat has no more interest in what is going on at the keyboard, he walks away and finds someplace to sleep, as does the writer.
  • If you work all night to solve a particular plot requirement and you succeed, your cat will come running into the kitchen and celebrate with you at 4:00am with a bowl of cream.

And that's why some writers are obsessed with cats.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The End of the Ballroom Matter

As some of you know, I attended the grand opening of Toledo Ballroom in Sylvania, OH on Saturday, which resulted in the owner/operator Kent Lautzenheiser sending me an email Sunday, stating that I think that it's in the best interest of our students, our staff, and the studio that you no longer attend our events and parties at Toledo Ballroom. I wrote about it here, Thrown Out of the Bar - Or Ballroom.  I've been out of town for the past few days, and haven't had time to deliver a considered response.

Since then I've had a lot of support from my friends, expressing their surprise, shock and outrage at Kent's unwarranted action. I'm also given to understand that I'm not the only one Kent has treated this way, which in hindsight is not really surprising.

First of all, I thank all my friends for their support. Their opinions, advice, and kind words mean a great deal, and are a real blessing to me. Thank all of you very much for your support.

As for the insufferable Kent Lautzenheiser, I refuse to allow him to rent space in my head. The man could have come to me in person, but instead he sent me an email message. That labels him a coward. Then there's the fact that he invited me to his grand opening, welcomed me in person, and thanked me for coming. That makes him duplicitous, to put it politely.

I suppose I could continue this diatribe, but instead I'll be satisfied to give him the same treatment a dog gives a fire hydrant. Kent Lautzenheiser is his own worst enemy. His aberrant behavior will eventually catch up to him, and he'll go bankrupt and quietly fade away.

My only real concern is that Kent will treat others the same way he treated me. When that happens, I hope the victim will know that he (or she) is in good company, and won't waste time or energy feeling rejected.  Instead, give Kent the same treatment I'm giving him.

My other concern is that I wouldn't want anyone to think that I'm the sort of person who would just stop showing up at a regular venue without so much as a see-you-later. I'm not, and I shall miss seeing all of you very much. I'm in the process of moving to Columbus, Ohio, where I've been assured I'll be made welcome at the studios and dance clubs there.

Naturally, I don't recommend Toledo Ballroom to my friends or family. There are several alternatives which offer quality dance instruction and a more congenial atmosphere:

The Dance Clinic
The Dance Clinic on Facebook
10 South Holland Sylvania Rd
Toledo, Ohio 43615
(Hill Ave in the Martin School Bld, Top Floor)
(419) 654-8650
Matt Miller, owner/operator

Paulette's Studio of Dance
Paulette's Studio of Dance on Facebook
4853 Monroe Street, Building B
Toledo, OH 43623
(419) 654-3262
Paulette, owner/operator

The Ballroom Company
The Ballroom Company on Facebook
2319 Detroit Ave
Maumee, Ohio
(419) 893-1850
Gil Aromas, owner/operator

Alfredo's Studio of Dance
Alfredo's Studio of Dance on Facebook
5224 Renwyck Dr
Toledo, Ohio
(419) 536-3243
Alfredo Horna, owner/operator

I've know all these people for years, some for more years than either of us care to remember, and all offer good quality instruction at a reasonable price.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thrown Out of the Bar - Or Ballroom

Getting right to the point, this post is about:

6365 Monroe Street
Sylvania, OH 43560
(419) 690-3897
(Located in the same shopping plaza as Little Caesars)

Owned and operated by Kent Lautzenheiser (Nash)

I worked at Toledo Ballroom from January 1, 2016 through June 19, 2016. I taught group classes, and generally enjoyed it.  The students all said they enjoyed it, and they seemed to learn.  Then on June 23, 2016, I received an email from Kent (the owner) that stated, in part:
I feel that it's time for you to "hang up you hat" as far a being a dance instructor at Toledo Ballroom. You need to be able to enjoy yourself and not over do it. And I need to have a staff who can work a whole dance social or group class, on a consistent basis, without physically having a hard time making it through the event.
Fine. I'm relocating to Columbus anyway, and I have good days and better days health-wise. Besides, it's his studio, and if he doesn't want me to work for him, that's his decision.

In the intervening months, Kent moved his studio from Reynolds Rd to its current location on Monroe St., about ten minutes away from me.  I attended a few Wednesday night practice parties there, and was always made welcome.

Last Saturday (10/15/16) was Kent's grand opening, which was open to the public. I attended, danced with everyone, and both Kent and his mother Judy welcomed me when I arrived and thanked me for coming when I left at the end of the evening.  Everyone was quite congenial.

This morning I found this little gem in my email, as sent at 11:49 PM Sunday night:

Hello Bill. After much consideration, I think that it's in the best interest of our students, our staff, and the studio that you no longer attend our events and parties at Toledo Ballroom. We thank you for your help in teaching for us in the past, but we feel that with you attending our events now, there is a definite conflict of interest. We would appreciate [it] if [you would] respect our decision and enjoy your dancing at the many other venues in the Toledo area. Thank You, and we wish you the best.
Kent Lautzenheiser-Nash
Perhaps I've offended someone, certainly unintentionally.  If so, I apologize for whatever offense I might have given.  As far as any conflict of interest, if there is a conflict it exists solely in Kent Lautzenheiser's somewhat neurotic imagination.

Toledo Ballroom belongs to Kent Lautzenheiser, and he's made it very clear that I'm not welcome there.  Believe me when I say that I never show up where I'm not welcome.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

While clearing out the familial estate, I discovered a VHS tape that I thought was worth digitizing.  This is Bill Emery (my father) riding his all-time favorite five-gaited mare, A Worthy Penny, in the Five-Gaited Amateur Championship class at the Brown County Fair at Georgetown, Ohio.

Dad is number 12 in the class.  My mother shot the video, and the man you can hear shouting encouragement is Tommy Clouse, a professional horse trainer and close friend.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the five-gaited horse, I'll offer this: Horses will do three gaits naturally; walk, trot, and canter (gallop or run).  The natural gait for a horse when he wants to get along down the road is the trot, which is a little rough to ride.  The other two gaits are man-made, and called the rack and the slow-gait. Both of these gaits are smooth and very easy to ride.  Horses tend to rack about as fast as they can trot, and slow gait a little faster than a walk.

Dad won the class, and as he makes his victory pass you may note that he holds the reins in one hand while Penny racks.  He's showing off a bit, as the other riders would need both hands on the reins to keep their horse at a rack.

Friday, October 7, 2016

General Announcement of Publication

My good friend and fellow author, John B. Meilink, has just published his third book, The Unruly Guitarist: "Thank you, Modesto, and Good Night!". I haven't read it yet, but will just as soon as I find an afternoon or two when a dozen or more critical projects are not demanding my time and effort.

The author is a professional musician, and when he isn't holding a piece of wood in each hand and hitting stuff with them, he's living the life of a musician.  Although he might deny it, many of the situations in this book are based on real life events.

I can't say it's an excellent read, since I haven't read it yet, but if it's anything like his first two books it's worth reading.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Birthday in Columbus 2016

Last Sunday (October 2nd) was my birthday; Wednesday (October 5th) is my brother Mike's birthday.  Naturally we tend to celebrate together, generally picking a day that's equally inconvenient for both of us.  We decided on Tuesday night, so when I finally got down to my condo in Columbus, what should I find?

Monday, October 3, 2016

RIP Lilly the Cat

Today I got some sad but not unexpected news.  Our old cat Lilly died while living in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.