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8 years of suffering under Barack Obama

My sentiments exactly.  This article shared by a friend of mine via Facebook is worth re-blogging.

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3C54DC7D00000578-4140672-Barack_Obama_waves_as_he_boards_Marine_One_and_departs_the_Capit-a-77_1484945371469 Photo credit: The Associated Press

The sentence I hear most from well-meaning, conservative friends since President Trump’s election is this: “We suffered 8 years under Barack Obama.”

Fair enough. Let’s take a look.

The day Obama took office, the Dow closed at 7,949 points. Eight years later, the Dow had almost tripled.

General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.

While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.

Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

He drew down the number…

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A Quick Little Post, My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

Happy Fourth Of July From Mad Man On A Great Lake.

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A view of the Wildwood Yacht Club, taken today.

Who would have thought this is already July?   The blog is still here and this writer is busy with his little projects.  Despite the loud noises from firecrackers scaring my cat, today has been in fact the quietest of a four-day weekend away from ‘the job’.  I didn’t get as much done as I hoped, but I can’t say that nothing was accomplished either.

There are some ideas for potential upcoming posts, and at least one article churning around in my head for this blog.  It turns out one possible subject I could have worked on; a policy summit on housing,  human capital, and inequality hosted by the Federal Reserve, took place two weeks ago and I didn’t know about it.  I also heard on the radio that the Cleveland Planning Commission was doing at the end of the week a presentation on the Opportunity Corridor but cannot find out any further details.  After all, subjects like these, and not my opinions on current politics, that are the basis for the blog.

Speaking of politics, Frank Rich’s article last week in New York Magazine was very interesting to say the least and who knows where we will be one year from now regarding the Trump Circus.  But I digress, enjoy this fine evening (at least here on the North Coast) look at Fireworks and Happy Fourth of July.

 

Photograph by James Valentino

 

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A Quick Little Post, My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

Where It’s All Heading? A Quick Little Post.

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A trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

Last month, Mad Man On A Great Lake received 122 views.  That dos seems better than one but, for me, it’s kind of makes me think.   After all, this is supposed to be an outlet to self publish things that apparently real publications such as Crain’s Cleveland business aren’t interested in (What Happened to the West Quad Project? March 7 2017).  It has also turned out, mainly in my quick little posts, a mean to articulate my voice on issues, for the most part lately political since in the real world I am pretty much forced to play the role of listener with people who basically want others to validate their own views, no matter how much I truly disagree with them.  That was not the plan for this.

While perhaps A Long Hot Stinking Summer probably deserves only 6 views throughout the world, I would have thought that Don Peck’s America Is Still In a Pinch would have received far more than the 14 views generated.   After all, a lot more time and effort was put into that.

Like many other things, I have to contemplate where I am going with this and if the direction is towards a cliff instead of a gate, I will just turn and walk away.  Well, enough self-pity, there are other things that need to get done.

Okay Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy your Saturday Evening.  I sure plan to.

 

Photograph by James Valentino.

 

 

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My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

A Long Hot Stinking Summer

A summer heat wave has hit the North Coast.  When you have three days in a row above 90 degrees and humidity to boot, North Bay Ontario sounds very alluring by now.

As the air conditioner cranks up and I run out of ice cubes in the freezer, I for some reason think about an old movie  that many have seen over the years, some of you even when it first came out in Cinemascope..The Long Hot Summer.  This overblown 1958 melodrama (the working title for the script had to be SUDS) with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward was a big deal when it came out.  However, whenever I see it, I start howling with laughter half way into it.

Cleveland’s own Newman plays Ben Quick, a redneck hustler with a history of setting fires.  He stirs things up in a small Southern town owned by an even bigger redneck hustler, Will Varner, played by Orson Wells.  Varner is the fat, coarse, conniving, big mouth operator who owns the entire area and nobody, not even his pig-headed daughter (Joanne Woodward) will stop him from getting his way.  In this epic full of  nasty rumors, fights, Angela Lansbury pestering Orson on when they’re getting married, Lee Remick running around in as flimsy a wardrobe she could under the Eisenhower Administration, Orson being trapped in a barn by his own son (played by Anthony Franciosa; now what’s a Paisano doing in a flick like this?) who tries to set it on fire, Paul nearly getting lynched, and oh yes Joanne falling in love with apparently a gay guy, Paul woos Joanne throughout and, after all THAT, there’s a happy ending.  How the heck did they pack all that crap in a little under two hours?

There’s another good reason why The Long Hot Summer is on my mind and it’s not just the sweltering heat.  While First Son-in-Law Jarrod is no Newman, for the life of me, when I think of Orson barking orders from the big white plantation house he calls home, it’s so easy to move on to The Donald think he can do the same thing in the Oval Office.

The reality TV show that has become the presidency is not only providing a steady stream of ‘breaking news’ for evening cable news shows, and fodder for the Australian Prime Minister to make jokes out of, but we all now despite his protestations there’s, as Malcolm Turnbull quipped “this Russian Guy” who must be elated that whatever took place last year gave him a bang for his ruble.  Yet, for many Americans, there’s a dark edge to the humor and I that when I watch the news I am amazed and angry at the same time.

Even when Trump goes, the damage has been done.  As I’ve written in previous posts, many of the people who voted for him did so because he promised to deliver on changing things that they believed hurt themselves, their families, and communities.  What Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have been trying to ram through Congress (such as the Health Care Bill now under wraps in the Senate) are not the things many voted for   Their anger and frustration will flare up again, and get worse.  Now, as shown by incidents such as what happened in Alexandria Virginia, you also have disturbed people who, in this case, supported Bernie Sanders who felt they had to take the law in their own hands with near tragic consequences.  If neither party really makes an effort to address the average American’s need for a living wage, good health care, opportunities for their children, safe communities, and that the future will at least get a little better (which I argue was starting to happen under the Obama Administration), there will be such an explosion that our governing class won’t know what hit them.

As I write this, another movie comes to my mind far removed in location, and tone from the Newman/Woodward Sudser.  It’s  a rather sparse black and white 1961 film version (with Sidney Poitier and another Cleveland native Ruby Dee) of a play by Lorraine Hansberry: Raisin in the Sun.  It is the story of a black family buying a house in an all white area of Chicago.  Naturally, a very polite meek looking white man from the local neighborhood association drops by to offer them a check to get the hell out of there.  The happy ending in this film is that they managed to stay.  For those of you reading this who don’t know it, Ms. Hansberry took the title of her drama from a poem, A Dream Deferred, by Langston Hughes.  Of course it was a reflection on the hopes and frustrations of African=Americans in the 1950s but the message is universal; especially today

Starting on Sunday, things here south of Lake Erie will be a little more normal with temperatures in the high seventies by Tuesday. On that day is the congressional election in Georgia  I will definitely keep an eye on it and, naturally, I hope Ossoff can pull it off.  If he does, then there is hope for next year in my book.  Then of course is Robert Mueller’s investigation.  However, it will take a few years I fear before anything approaching normal will take place in the country.  In the meantime, will things explode?

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A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, Opinion, Uncategorized

Let’s Take a Break at the Lake: Another Quick Little Post.

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The East 55th St. Marina lookng West.

One of the reasons I haven’t been able to write as much as I wanted is because of all the things that have been happening at once. This does not include what is being shown on the news everyday. Last Sunday there was an afternoon with Jerry Springer in Bainbridge Ohio.  Friday, a planning and zoning workshop in Warren Ohio.  This week block watches and ward club meetings once I get home from the job.    I have to use the lunch break on the job just to read the Washington Post Daily 202 just to get my bearings with what the heck is happening to this country.   I wound up listening to NPR’s broadcast of the James Comey hearing in my car as I drove from work to get ready for my dental appointment.

To think that two years ago we would be at this point right now boggles my mind.

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A view of the marina looking West.

So, when things are spinning around you and you shoe horn things into your daily routine so they can get done, what do you do?  Well, in my case drive to the East 55th St. Marina Saturday night to hear a band and hang out by the water.   A waitress at a local diner told me about this and in some ways it’s one of Cleveland’s best kept secrets.  The marina, just west of the remains of Gordon Park  and the now demolished First Energy Power Plant, hase been driven past by thousands of commuters from Eastern Cuyahoga and Lake Counties daily as they head downtown to work or go to the West Side.  It’s that easy to miss since it looks like a blur of docked boats with an ugly structure at the end of a parking lot extending into the Lake.   However, there’s a little more to it than what meets the eye.

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View of the restaurant/shop from the dock.

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Looking North from the shore.

Every Saturday night in the summer, the marina is host to a series of bands just like those held at Edgewater Park on Thursdays or at Wade Oval at University Circle on Wednesdays.  However, with a smaller crowd and ample parking, the ones at the marina seem more appealing.  Also, instead of a bunch of food trucks, there is an outdoor bar and restaurant people can order from.  While the place may not have the bottles of champagne in wine cases that I saw Friday at Warren’s Avalon Inn, there is a pretty full bar there and soft drinks too which is what I settled for.  The menu is basic but from what I see just as good as what you can find at Wendy Park on the other side of town. There’s even a little shop.

Since they took over, the Cleveland Metroparks have taken measure to improve the maria (as they have the other parks and beaches they acquired like in North Collinwood).  However, I think that more can be done.   As I stood on that pier jutting out into the water I looked across to the breakwall.   For some reason, I can see at least six boathouses like I saw up in the Muskoka Lakes Region of Canada being built there.   I can also see a water taxi to downtown and Edgewater Park or better a tour boat like I saw in Erie PA going out on Lake Erie from there going to, let’s say, Grand River Ohio for lunch.  You can dream up a lot of things standing at the end of a dock.

Another crazy week in the news coming up.

 

Photographs by James Valentino

 

 

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A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, Opinion, Uncategorized

Northeast Shores’ Membership Meeting; A Quick Little Post.

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The NE Shores Development Corp. Meeting at Euclid Beach.

I truly believe that to have a successful city, you must have strong neighborhoods.  One of the signs of this is to have a good network of local development corporations that work with the community.  The Collinwood area happens to have two of them; the one representing North Shore Collinwood being the Northeast Shores Development Corporation.  This has been around for decades and I remember stopping in their offices in the 90’s when they were actually housed in a building next to Euclid General Hospital. Board members, and executive directors, come and go but I’ve been a fairly loyal member.  However, Wednesday’s Quarterly Membership meeting was the first I’ve been to in a year.  Instead of at the Collinwood Rec Center, they decided to put it across the street at Euclid Beach Park.  That’s where I went a little before 6:00 to the pavilion to see what was going on.

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Mary Louise Daily speaks with Scott standing next to her.  New Executive Director Camille M. Maxwell sits to his left.

I knew some of the people already, such as Councilman Michael Polensek’s aide Mary Louise Daley, but the vast majority were new faces. Even the new Board president, a guy named Scott, I never met before.  However, I wound up staying there for over an hour and a half, and not just because of the hot dogs.  They just appointed a new Director and I got to chat with some of the staff for the first time in years.  None lives in the neighborhood.  However, one young lady did just buy a house in Old Brooklyn which at least is in the city.  As for the business development specialist, he lives in the same area of Cleveland Heights where my mother grew up.  As for the new director, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Actually, a lot of positive things are still taking place here.  Work is still going on regarding the new Euclid Beach Pier.  As for the La Salle Theater on East 185th Street, they are in the process of getting more funding for the renovation project there.  Also, we’re going to get one of the big white Cleveland signs like the one that everyone has been taking photos with at Edgewater Park.  Considering the terrible events last month at Mr. Car, this meeting put things all back into perspective.  While my neighborhood is not one of those targeted in that new Cleveland State Univeristy study commissioned by Mayor Jackson for investment, it still on the cusp of becoming one happening place.  Chatting with some of the people there, I met a lady who moved here from Shaker.  She told me that a realtor told her that the area where she moved to was getting a lot of money coming in renovating those lakefront properties.  Also, like many of the other former Heights’ residents who moved into North Shore Collinwood over the past few decades, she loves the lower taxes from what she was formerly paying.

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I hope the Corporation starts renovating their new offices on East 185th St. soon so they can move back there.  I also will try to attend more meetings to see what is going on.

 

Photographs by James Valentino

 

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A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, Opinion, Uncategorized

Buying Irises; A Quick Little Post.

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The main entrance to the Rockefeller Greenhouse seen on East 88th St.

In light of all that has been going on, not just on the news but also in this blogger’s life, I haven’t gotten around to seriously working on a post that I’ve been researching for weeks. However, I offer to my readers (roughly all three of you) this quick little post!

The Rockefeller Greenhouse had their annual plant sale Thursday May 18th through yesterday.  Fortunately, I was able to get there around 10:15 A.M. yesterday  Organized by volunteers, it may not be as flashy as the sales organized at the Holden Arboretum but this one draws a good crowd as evident by the cars parked on the street and the parking lot in the park on across the road.  I went there determined to buy a few dwarf irises for the garden.  I knew that I could find them there since I bought one last year at a table manned by iris enthusiasts who tend the Greenhouse’s Willott Iris Garden, many of the plants in the pots being grown from rhizomes thinned from it during their regular maintenance.

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Ron (left) and Bob (right) pose for the camera.

I wound up striking up a conversation with a man named Bob who sat behind the table with occasional comments from his colleague Ron who was busy for the most par running around.

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The Willott Iris Garden.

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A view of one of the beds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Iris Garden is past its peak bloom but there are still many plants with flowers of a nice array of colors.  I wasn’t able to locate the two that I purchased but spotted some that I hope Bob, Ron, and the others would thin out for next year’s plant sale.    The origins of the garden started in 2008 when the iris hybridizer Tony Willott died leaving behind his rows of hybrid irises.  So, with the support of his widow Dorothy, a group of iris enthusiasts got together, cataloged then, dug them up and by 2012 had them replanted on the grounds of the Rockefeller Greenhouse.  Today, the Willott garden is a big attractions in late spring with its many blooming irises of various sizes.

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As for yours truly, I bought two dwarf irises for the yard and they are now in the ground. One, Laurelwood, is a very unique rust bi-colored one while the other, Dainty Design, is an apricot colored one brused with cream. They should be very nice additions to the garden.  However, it will take a whole year to see if they bloom and a lot of things can happen in the meantime.  As for the plant sale, from the way the crowd was even on its’ last day, I’m positive it was a success.

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My two purchases .

 

Photographs by James Valentino

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