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

Happy MLK Jr. Day; A Quick Little Post.

The roller coaster weather here on the North Coast has gotten me in a hibernating mood.  From a high of 60 degrees Fahrenheit Friday Morning to single digits Sunday, it has been one hell of a ride weather wise.

Same with the nation as a whole.  This is not the place to mention what all the media has been discussing since January 1st from Michael Wolff’s book to Donald Trump shooting his mouth off to the point they are now using a swear word in national news shows to quote his high regards for Third World countries.  Yesterday, there was a false alarm in Hawaii about a missile attack on that State and the sloppy way they handled it doesn’t bring me much confidence.  Then again, we now have a president who has to tell the wold “I am not a racist” while having two Senators take another bullet for him while implying that a colleague is a liar.

It’s so easy to forget that people voted for this. I saw that while Saturday while getting my haircut.  The owner and his two colleagues, I guess longtime friends somewhere in their thirties, love what the Trump is doing. They were talking with another of their customers politics while I for one was unusually silent. That guy was telling them that his brother-in-law who was “good crunching at numbers” (or so it sounded to me) claims that everyone will be getting a three percent tax cut with this tax bill.  I didn’t want to break in and say that, even it were so, those cuts will be phased out for guys like us in a few years while the wealthy got as someone said in Florida “a whole lot richer”.  One of the barbers loved the man’s tweet about his bigger button because supposedly Trump called Kim Jong Un.  He called their bluff!  Didn’t the North Koreans finally used that phone to call the South after all these years (tell that to everyone living in Honolulu)?  Many more things were said along those lines while I pretended to be asleep.  As the shaving cream was applied to my neck, I went back to thinking about the piece I read in the Guardian on the United Nations envoy who wrote a report on extreme poverty here int he United States just one month ago.

I wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would have thought about all this if he were alive today.   My copy of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury should be arriving at the homestead sometime this week as the temperatures warm up.

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

It’s 2018 And We’re Still Here!

We survived almost one year of Donald Trump.

Now, with that out of the way, here are just few musings of mine.   As anyone can see, the blog goes on.  In fact, this month I have had over 140 views which is quite good for a site like this.  I didn’t know people cared!  However, it seems the thing they most care about is a piece I did a few years back.  Maybe because of the title makes it easier to pop up than the one I just did for the Jazz Age exhibit, or my critique of Atlantic writer Derek Thompson’s World Without work hits a cord with people, that piece seems to get the most views.

I hope and pray that on the national front 2018 is going to be much better than 2017.  Perhaps the Democrats will wind up winning one of the Houses of Congress.  If they following a suggestion by Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin and get their own Contract for America, then people will have more to support them than just trying to get rid of Trump.  Speaking of which, since we have had a year of his presidency, I hope than some of those who voted for him in 2016 have buyer’s remorse and will join people like me in resisting these attacks to common sense, good faith, and let’s just say democracy that he represents; though many others in his adopted party seemed to have done a pretty good job with this for years now.   Of course, this is only my opinion.

As for the neighborhood and Cleveland itself, it’s a mixed bag as well.  As the daytime shootout at Waterloo and East 156th St. showed, the city’s cost saving measures of not hiring enough police officers are definitely paying off.  Councilman Polensek is right in saying that newly re-elected Frank Jackson dropped the ball on this one by only hiring 65 from the academy, when roughly the same amount retired this year.  This is making many residents particularly angry about this because of the 1 percent income tax increase the Jackson Administration got voters to pass in 2016 to prevent, you guessed it, potentially severe budget cuts in such things as police and fire protection.  At least the number of homicides was a few less than the year before so Cleveland barely joins the national trend in this regard.  However, when it comes to police protection and other essential services, Clevelanders want to get their money’s worth.

On the other hand, the La Salle Theater renovation is moving along smoothly and I am looking forward to getting a tour of the place once they set a date.  Our local development corporation will have a meeting sometime soon and I intend to be there to see if they are getting their act together again.  Fortunately, Councilman Polensek got re-elected by a landslide and he can keep trying to get us the resources (if not the police like he wants) from City Hall to keep our long-term projects in North Shore Collinwood going.  We’ve come a long way but plenty of hard work still needs to be done.

As for the blog, I hope I can find a few more topics worth writing about.

Happy 2018 everyone.

My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

Merry Christmas From Mad Man On A Great Lake.

Another Christmas is almost over.  I hope everyone out there spent a wonderful time with family and friends who liked the presents you gave them.

Next week is going to be 2018.  Who knows what will happen with this site.  I do know that 114 views took place this December and the trend for the entire year is that slowly but surely it’s catching on with at least a few people. With my computer back from being debugged I am back on ‘the grid’ so to speak and can resume work on a few writing projects, and not just Mad Man On A Great Lake.

Merry Christmas to you all!

About Cleveland, Uncategorized

The Jazz Age: American Style in the 20s.


Exhibition sign featuring Josephine Baker.

Over the years, the Cleveland Museum of Art has held many world-class exhibitions such as Monet in Normandy and Pharoh: King of Ancient Egypt to delight area patrons.  This holiday season is no different.  The Jazz Age: American Style in the 20s is going on right now in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Hall.   There are over 300 pieces in the show, which, as Mark Mezoros wrote for the News Herald, is done in collaboration with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.  It was so good that I went twice.



A skyscraper themed desk from the 20’s.


One of the displays.

One of the things that strikes the visitor is how French American Art Deco Style was at the time.  Names like Ruhlmann, Franck, Lalique, Cartier and, of course, Chanel meet the eye among the jewelry, furniture, gowns, and even cars on display.  After all Paris was still the art center of the world at the time, and Americans were the ones with the money. Many had no qualms boarding the Paris or the Ile de France to see the City of Light for themselves.  In return, many Parisian designers, artists, and intellectuals (let’s not also forget the cafe owners with a full bar), were fascinated by America, be it New York City skyscrapers to Josephine Baker and it relected in their work. However, the show also features pieces from American artists and even Bauhaus and the Vienna Workshop so it’s more eclectic than it sounds.


An original Chanel No. 5 bottle and case.


One of the exhibition rooms in the Exhibition.







The show runs through January 14, 2018 so there is plenty of time to head down to University Circle and see this visual delight.



Photographs taken by James Valentino

A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, My blog., Uncategorized

Yum Yum Sweet Shop: A Quick Little Post



The front entrance to Yum Yum Sweet Shop in Peninsula Ohio.

One thing about driving down to Peninsula Ohio in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is that parking is hard to come by.  With all the people who come down there to walk the towpath trail, rent a bike, or stop in some of the shops, I usually wind up driving through or parking too far to really feel like seeing what’s in those houses lining Route 303.  Well, Saturday, I was lucky enough to get the last empty space on the street and stopped at finally the Yum Yum Sweet Shop which is located just a few doors down from the Winking Lizard.  It was a good thing too because right next to the front door was  a sign stating that the place is moving soon to Cuyahoga Falls.







There was everything for a sweet tooth there from the standard candy bars you were to find at your drug store to those that have become had to come by here, like the Clark bars that I wound up buying.   There was also homemade chocolates on display, gourmet ice cream and popcorn, and different types of soda pop drinks you would not see in your office vending machine.


Yum Yum Sweet Shop in its’ current building.

The owner plans to move to a new place on Front Street in downtown Cuyahoga Falls next to a new ice cream parlor that someone she knows is going to open.  It will be a “sweet corner” as she puts it and said that she would have a lot more varieties of candies to choose from over there for customers to be tempted with.  I would argue that a place like this would also be a really nice addition to the Cleveland scene; say a shop on East 185th Street for example?  We can always dream….


What was brought home.

Photographs taken by James Valentino.



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

Happy Holidays, and all that.

Thanksgiving 2017 has come and gone that the Christmas shopping season is officially here.

While others may be driving all over NE Ohio to stand in line for deals that may not be there at prices that would probably be lower on December 27th, I am here typing a quick little post unrelated to many of the themes of this blog.  In fact, since I wrote about the Ohio Land Bank Conference a few months back, I really haven’t had the time or, shall we say inspiration, to write a carefully researched piece for this site.  I am thankful that a few people actually keep looking at this blog.  So far, 107 views have occurred this month and that’s something.  I am also thankful that my new furnace is running in the basement, the new roof on the garage prevented anymore leaks when there has been rain, and a little bit of snow, and I managed to have found the money to pay for both (at least on an installment plan).  There are other things to ponder….

Dana Milbank in his latest op-ed piece for the Washington Post (Dear Sarah Huckabee Sanders: I’m thankful that Trump has failed) puts it down so succinctly what I feel so far about this year with Donald Trump as president.  I hope and pray that one year from now I’ll be thankful for a whole lot more; such as the Democrats winning back the Senate, the Mueller investigation leading to some individuals going to jail, and a lot more of those relatives and acquaintances of mine who voted for Trump last year get buyer’s remorse and realize what a disastrous decision their vote has been.  Locally, I am thankful that Councilman Michael D. Polensek received ninety percent of the vote in his ward and won another term.

Enough with the politics.

I am hopeful, instead of thankful, that property values continue to increase no matter how slowly, in North Shore Collinwood and more people move in and fix up houses like I see they are doing.  I hope that Mayor Frank Jackson uses the money from the one percent income take hike we voted for last November hire hundreds, and not just 65 like this year, more policemen to make all of Cleveland’s neighborhoods safer.  I hope that the LaSalle Theater, whose renovation is almost finished, will be a catalyst for even more investment on East 185th Street so and be a launching pad for all those plans to redevelop the street that I attended meetings for a couple of years back.

On a more personal note, I am also hopeful that, next spring, an organization or publisher would take a look at this project of mine that I have been working the past couple of months.  Not only that, it would be hopeful to see that, instead of them sending an email a month after I submitted it saying “thank you for your interest be we decided it’s not a good fit” they would say “this is wonderful, can we publish it?”  Of course, that’s way too early to say if the odds are good or not for that to happen.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays and all that.



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

Election 2017; A Quick Little Post.


The Slovenian Workers’ Home for the Ward Eight Election Party.

Another election day is winding down and I am back from Ward 8 Councilman Michael D. Polensek’s party at the Slovenian Workers’ Home on Holmes Avenue.   As we all told him, the councilman had no problem beating his opponent and earned another term.  Cuyahoga County Councilman Anthony Hairston as was winning last time I saw on the television by a large margin.  This is great because, not only do I think he would make a very good councilman for that ward but he is easily beating the previous councilman there; and the reason why in the last redrawing of the city wards things got so messed up in the Northeast Corner of the city.   However, the biggest surprise is the low voter turn out in the city as a whole.  Mike told me around eight o’clock it was 26 percent and that included absentee ballots like mine.  It’s possible that the numbers changed since then but it does seem that the vast majority of eligible voters in the city of Cleveland just didn’t get out to vote.

On the other hand, what has happened tonight in Virginia is wonderful for a Democrat like myself.  The nine-point lead Ralph Northam had over Ed Gillespie is as significant as what the talking heads on the news are now saying.  If this is a harbinger of things to come in 2018, and the Democrats come up with a strong message and real proposals, then there will be some hope.


Photograph taken by James Valentino