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

Thoughts on Charlottesville; A Quick Little Post.

What I’ve seen so far on the television regarding the violence that broke out today in Charlottesville, Virginia, leaving one dead and 19 injured disturbs me.  The debate over removing a statue of Robert E. Lee aside, what happened today, and Trump’s manufactured tweet, is another step down a path for this country that I fear.  This on top of the jitters over North Korea,  and now Venezuela, makes me think about what our president said on the campaign trail and in his inaugeral speech of an America that, seems today far more like what he spoke about than only a year ago.  Despite saying the words “there is no room for prejudice”, the Alt-right and White supremacists are emboldened because they have a few of their own now in the White House.

This American carnage “stops right now”, as Trump said in January, or will it get worse?

 

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

A Quick Little Post.

 

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View of Lake Erie looking West from the Villa Angela Beach Pier.  Taken Saturday.

The dog days of summer are staring to feel like more like Indian Summer this past week here on the North Coast.  Not one day braking 90 last week and seventies this weekend.  Actually, this is the perfect weather for me and it’s really nice to not to have the air conditioner running.  Saturday  I took a walk at Wildwood and Villa Angela.   The surf on Lake Erie were high and the waves were crashing over the breakwalls with wild abandon.  I myself came more than once being splashed with water on the fishermen’s pier at the mouth of Euclid creek.   For some reason, weather like this make my mind wander north and I kept thinking how it would have been a nice day to drive up I-90 to Canada.   Instead, I wound up at a steak dinner in Newbury Ohio.

This past Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Daily 202 has something on the new book that just came out by Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake.  Having just glanced at this ad hoc review by James Hohmann, I must admit that it’s something I might like to take out of the library if possible.

To be honest, I do respect those on the other side who sincerely believe conservative values and are willing to work with liberals and progressives on major policies if need be.  Congressman Flake seems to be one of those in mind.  It is very courageous of him to stick to his guns at a time when so many Republicans chucked those very values out the window once Barack Obama left the White House.

Again, things are developing so fast when it comes to national politics.  I wonder if the Donald would like to frame a copy of the latest issue of Newsweek for one of his golf courses?   Then again, after seeing that publicity stunt..I mean rally…in West Virginia (“lock her up?”), I wonder what the President of Mexico and Prime Minister of Australia think about us since so many actually did vote for this guy.  Thanks to the transcripts, among other things, we all can get a pretty good idea what they think of the man himself.

Other books of interest are out there that caught my eye from one by Canadian journalist Doug Saunders to the latest by the MIT tech geeks Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee titled Machine, Platform, Crowd.   However, what I really would like to do is more writing, and finding a professional audience who is willing to read and share it.   Let’s see what comes up in the next blog posts.

 

Photographs taken by James Valentino.

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My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

Out in the Boonies: Picnics with the Geauga Dems and Other Matters.

There is always that fine line where you go to a group’s event because you have to or you want to.  The tipping point between one or the other is regarding the costs.  So, when a club has their free annual picnic the odds are you plan to be there like I was a few Sundays ago in Russell Township for the Geauga Democratic Party’s Picnic.

An Annual event, the picnic was one of many held throughout\ NE Ohio this time of year.  The pavilion in The West Woods Park was crowded.  Middlefield Councilman Ron Wiech and his team were grilling up the hamburgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausages.  As my my watermelon, it wound up joining the other two already there being eaten.  Janet and Terry Carson were working the tables as a few candidates did come up to speak; and not just Ron.  Former Appeals Court Judge Mary Jane Trapp spoke since the one who won her seat in 2010 is aged out and she would like her old job back.   That wouldn’t be at all a bad thing since Ms. Trapp was an excellent jurist and because there is talk that the husband of the one there now, Tim Grendell, is actually thinking of running for it (having a record of playing poltiical musical chairs with his wife in the past). The residents of the NE corner of Ohio could do a whole lot worse. Then there was a woman who is trying to run against Congressman David Joyce.   Finally, Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill spoke and announced he wasn’t going to run for governor next year since Richard Cordray might.

After all, isn’t the saying that all politics is local?  I continue to keep Frank Rich’s piece in my head on how long it really took during Watergate for the tide to turn against Richard Nixon.  Despite all the mind-boggling news from eight people now at that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower to news that Trump met a second time with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, it will probably be well into 2017 before anything on  the order of  July 1974 hitting DC.  We’re stuck with the Donald for now, and the damage he, McConnell and Ryan have done so far these past six months has been considerable.  Yet, for many of those who voted for Trump  in November, that’s probably what they want.

So far, all this really hasn’t hit people.  After all, the stock market is still up, housing starts rebounded and apparently for the first time in seven years pay increases for low-income workers outpaced the rest of the population.  Of course, no matter how much our president would like to take credit for all this, it was eight years of hard work by the previous administration that in part made this happen.  It will be interesting to see what economic reports will show a year from now.

It may be 2017 but it’s still an election year.  In Cleveland, not only is there a mayoral race but a number of councilmen such as Mike Polensek, are trying to get re-elected too.  Recently, I attended my second campaign meeting for him at the Lithuanian Hall on East 185th St.  He already ordered the yard signs, had a few T-shirts, planned a fundraiser in August, and has been walking up and down the streets in Ward 8 and plans to do even more.

What Donald Trump said in that New York times interview didn’t surprise me at all; especially throwing Jeff Sessions (let alone Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus) under the bus.  After all, hasn’t it always been for him all about himself?  However, as this piece in the Daily 202 shows, you go ona limb for this guy at your own risk.

With a president who is apparently trying to see if he has the right to pardon himself, it is ever more essential for the Democrats to get their act together for 2018 and be able to win back at least the Senate.  The divisions there between the Sanders supporters and those who are just plain ‘liberal’ might make it rather difficult to bridge for a clear concise message.  However, it can be done, if Perez and company can do more than just send out surveys and requests for money.   Then again, with John McCain not only voting against “skinny repeal’ but also admonishing his colleagues to try to work together, you may just never know.

 

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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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