Thursday, May 31, 2012

best of the blotter: cleaning fairies and bunkers

A resident found an old bunker in a wooded area off Mohawk Drive May 22, and told police it looked like someone was living there, according to a report.
Police confirmed that someone was living in the structure, and went back a few hours later to see if he had returned.
He was. The man told police he thought the property belonged to a friend, and said he was trying to figure out a way to build a waterproof bunker.
He was told he couldn't live there. In addition, the report said the structure looked like it might collapse and is a hazard if kids play there.

Suspicious Sitting
Someone noticed two men sitting in a car in a Pearl Road paking lot for 45 minutes May 22 and called police, suspecting the men where shooting up.
Police found their were surfing, not shooting. They'd had lost their cable and were using the Wi Fi signal. They were told to move on.

You Yelled?
A Whitney Road resident told police his neighbors were having a domestic dispute May 21, saying he could hear a woman screaming in another language.
A report said the woman was yelling at her children to encourage them to behave.

RUDE NEIGHBOR, BRIDGESIDE DRIVE: A resident called police at 5:22 a.m. May 25 to report someone on a loud speaker was yelling, “Hello, neighborhood — time to wake up.” When officers arrived seven minutes later, the neighborhood was quiet, police said. 

THREAT, WEST CLIFTON BOULEVARD: A man texted his former boss to say that he wanted payment for work that he had performed. He threatened to initiate a “duel” if payment were not received.
The boss was advised to keep in touch with police if the man tried to start anything.

 RECKLESS DRIVER, PEARL ROAD: Police cited a man for drunken driving at 8:22 p.m. May 7 after receiving a call that he was driving recklessly in a motel parking lot. Witnesses said the man was doing “donuts” and nearly struck the motel sign. The man told police that he was taking a “victory lap” around the lot after meeting a girl and being offered a job that day. He failed a portable blood alcohol Breathalyzer test and was cited. The man had a previous DUI in 2007.

UNDERAGE DRINKING, VARIOUS LOCATIONS: Over the four-day Blossom Festival weekend, police made 23 arrests, 14 adults and nine juveniles, involving 33 charges. Of those, nearly 80 percent of those charges were alcohol-related, including the highest occurrence of underage consumption in four years, police noted, adding many of the underage arrests occurred in the Shopping Center parking lot.

At the same time officers were transporting the Bentleyville woman, a South Russell man, 18, approached the cruiser and started jumping up and down waving his arms wildly and saying, “that’s my best friend in the back seat.” When police told him they noticed an extreme odor of alcohol on him as well, he initially refused to give them his name, saying “C’mon, it’s Blossom Time!” He was also charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and failure to disclose personal information. Police said he later apologized for his behavior, and acknowledged he had acted “stupid.”

A Chagrin Falls boy was given a citation for his 17th birthday May 27 after an officer near May Court and Elm Court spotted him with a disposable cup that had his name on it, and also said “Not Alcohol.” The officer was not fooled, and found several unopened beers in the backpack left behind after several other juveniles with him denied having consumed any alcohol.

A Hunting Valley man, 19, was charged shortly before 5:30 p.m. May 27 with a beer in a brown bag. Police also seized two out-of-state I.D.s, one from Illinois and one from South Carolina, both of which made him 21 years old.

WESTLAKE -- Police have identified a real life cleaning fairy -- who may be flapping her wings into a jail cell.
The woman broke into a Westlake home, did some light cleaning, then left a bill.
The family thought a cleaning service sent someone to the wrong house, but the "cleaning fairy" told them it was no mistake, and they better pay up.
Sherry Bush has re-told the story more times than she can remember, and every neighbor wants to know about the cleaning woman who took the sign on her front door a bit too literally.

"There were some coffee mugs that my husband had out," Bush said. "She had washed them all."
Last week, while she was away and her daughter was sleeping upstairs, someone broke in the house, took out trash, vacuumed the carpet and cleaned up the playroom, Bush said.

"She wrote a note [on a napkin] and left it on the table, saying, '$75 I was here to clean,' and left her name and number," Bush said.

When the Bushes read it, they thought Sue Warren just cleaned the wrong house, so they gave her a call.

"I think our jaws just dropped to the ground," Bush said. "I said, what happened, did you get the wrong house? She said, 'no, I do this all the time.' I said, what do you mean? She said, 'I just stop and clean your house.'"

It isn't clear if Sue Warren does this all the time, but she did do it last month in Beachwood, and was charged with criminal trespassing.
A friend living at Warren's Elyria home said Sue is always working and owns her own business.
Sue Warren Cleaning can be found online.

"That's what she does for a living. She cleans," Bush said.
"Now that we've seen the job that she did, it was like whoa, $75? $15 maybe," Bush said laughing.
No charges have been filed against Warren yet in Westlake, but they may still come.
Despite the strange nature of these crimes, nothing was stolen from the homes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

do the meg white

It's been awhile since I've just jammed with people in a noisy kind of way, back porch bluegrass runs notwithstanding, despite failed attempts at playing in bands where neither personalities nor sonics clicked, and so last night, there were a few of us together working through the music for Sunday morning, some new faces, and some newly back in the area, and with all of us able to sing, to layer harmonies and vocal lines on top of each other, mashing together old songs and new, and with a drummer and a keyboard and another guitar providing a foundation of rhythm so I can play more freely and emit squalls of reverb from the SG, it feels so natural and organic, this single entity that comes from disparate parts and tastes.

And afterwards, we feel kind of euphoric, because it's been awhile since any of us have done this kind of thing, so we start swapping instruments, he plays my guitar, and one of the other girls grabs a bass to noodle around with, and I'm goofing around on the drums but something clicks as we bash our way through Radiohead songs and sundry chord progressions, and my tendency to air-drum in the car has given me a sense of what does what, and I find I can keep a beat left-handed, the way he had it set up.

I'm no pro at this, my hands being infinitely more adept than my feet. Maybe it's the adrenaline, or that I'm comfortable enough and it's chill enough that I can goof around without being stupid and I'm no longer deferring due to shy-girl feelings  but I find myself switching time signatures and tempos and adding flourishes and fills that I never even knew I could do. I still couldn't say I knew how to really play, because I've watched others really be good at that kind of thing, I'm no Aesop or Stewart Copeland or Janet Weiss or Matt Cameron but I could hold it down for a garage band with no problem and a bit more practice to get the sense of dynamics and nuance and what works with what.

The bouts of dark nights of the soul will probably always exist, but there's something that feels so incredibly good about pounding the crap out of an inanimate object for some greater sonic purpose, letting out all the inarticulate emotion as he plays my guitar until the e string breaks and we're making up songs that make no sense and dissolving into helpless laughter. I wish I hadn't gotten rid of those drums, but it's not like I could play them with the landlady downstairs anyway. There's a part of me that feels like something clicked last night. I want to learn how to do this and do it well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

To find a way to turn the signal back to heaven sounding blue

A detour off the ramp because the front end was dragging on the ground, trying to find a parking lot to examine the damage in a neighborhood of abandoned buildings and skeezy strip clubs, and everyone's cars look better than mine in the hood so The Local Kids were scoffing and the men in cadillacs disdaining at my duct tape repair job (incidentally Family Dollar sells the duct tape in the automotive section so there!), but we turned around and got to the museum where the Finster exhibit was everything I hoped for and more, paintings on mirrors with truck enamel, cheetahs as guardians of paradise, visions of spaceships and the towers of Planet Heaven, whimsical hellfire and brimstone, an exuberant and consistent strange vision part Flannery O'Connor, part William Blake.

We decided to make a day of our time down south of Clevelandia, and detoured through lands of strip malls that haven't changed since the 1960s to Grace Cathedral, home to the local toupeed televangelist who's gotten a bit senile in recent years, and despite scriptural admonitions about gluttony and greed, has a buffet and gift shop full of cornball crystal jewelry, sentimental tchotchkes, and shrinkwrapped tissues for when the sermon gets emotional I'm guessing.

I only had the giant camera, and said gift shop, buffet, and wax museum were closed and despite theoretically worshiping the same God, we probably looked more like snarky jaded heathens than actual acolytes, and so we headed north to Kent, land of bibliotheque school and frat party rioters extraordinaire.

Much of downtown has been torn down and redeveloped and while I'm generally not a fan of destroying old buildings, there's actually stuff downtown besides Bars for Bros and aging punk townies. The best burrito place ever satisfied our hunger, we ambled through sundry stores and then down to the river where the sunlight filtered through the trees,  the honeysuckle smelled incredibly good and there were teens being angsty under the overpass spraypainted with graffiti.

 (as I didn't get the pictures off the memory card, this photo is courtesy of someone on flickr)

We drove up through Ravenna, hometown of a certain singer, marveled at the signage and the proliferation of non-vacant storefronts and this strange sculpture on the children's elementary school playground.

 Someone's not Thinking Of The Children.

Drove back through the darkness and the heat lightning, spent the next day errand-running and filling out the garden with okra plants and mini pumpkins and hanging out at my favorite record store talking about literature and outsider art and listening to the Rolling Stones before heading up to the lake on Sunday to hang out with the family and sit alone on the breakwall in the darkness with the swirling of the waves like a Winslow Homer painting, to contemplate and re-examine some already existing sad things that swirled to the surface in the past couple of days that have left me a little wrecked and questioning every interaction and motivation. It's not that it isn't good, it's just that this growing up thing is really hard and painful. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Akron calling

Wheelie bus in ten, an hour later I'll be on the way to Beautiful Akron Ohio, land of Devo and the Cramps and other weird folk, for the Howard Finster exhibit, and sundry other weirdness and opportunities for pithy social commentary and snark with the Queen of the Bondo. It's not every day yours truly gets to escape from Ye Olde Towering Slabbe, but I promised Randal pictures, and I need to occasionally leave the county or the state so this will satisfy the urge for now.

talking past each other

the following dialogue more or less took place in my car yesterday.  Sorry if it offends everyone.

If America doesn't vote Democrat this fall we're screwed! Romney's declared war on women!

Um... and Obama's declared war on everyone? We've been bombing Afghanistan and Libya and droning Yemen and Pakistan and fighting proxy drug wars in Mexico and Honduras!

But Romney wants to overturn Roe V. Wade, and he'll put Supreme Court justicies in to do that!

Ummm... that didn't happen under Bush, and probably won't ever happen. Both sides need that spectre to rally the masses against the other side while everyone's rights get trampled on (other person in this argument also forgets that I've got that whole weird pro-life Jesushead thing going on but I'm not even going to go there).

Imagine how bad it'll be when Romney takes away your rights!
 Lest we forget that a Democrat president has kept Gitmo open, Bradley Manning locked up,  signed NDAA (which was authored by McCain, but one didn't have to sign it), and also the whole cops beating the snot out of and intimidating protestors and laws being passed to make it really hard to exercise one's right to political expression. I'm just sayin'...

Why don't you care about women? They don't want you to get paid equally!

Well, considering that I'm already considered less worthy of equal pay for equal work being a single chick without a family to feed and there's ways to get around such things, I'm a little more concerned about human rights around the world as a whole at this point, not just white women who are employed.

But the Republicans are way worse!
Ummm, two sides of the same coin financed by the same super bankers and mega military industrial corporations. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  Screw that, I'm voting third party this fall. 

Well you're throwing away your vote.
I'm sick of picking between the lesser of two evils every year and holding my nose. Stalin was all "yay women" but killed 40 million people. Hitler picked on only certain groups and killed 6 million. Both of them were awful evil people whose ideology meant misery for anyone not on their side. Is one less evil than the other? If I lived in Poland in 1940, couldn't I just not pick either?

Also, I'm sick of the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. Both sides are perpetuating this. It's not like I have that much faith in libertarians but at least Gary Johnson doesn't care what you do in your bedroom or with the cannabis plants on your porch and wants to get the hell out of these countries. And he won't win so he won't screw anything up and I'll feel like I have less blood on my hands than I do right now. This whole process is stupid anyway and I don't want to play this game anymore.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

all I wanted was a day off

Sometimes I try to do things
And it just doesn't work out the way I want it to
And I get real frustrated, and like I try hard to do it,
And I take my time, but it just doesn't work out the way I want it to
It's like I concentrate on it real hard
But it just doesn't work out
And everything I do and everything I try
It never turns out, it's like, I need time to figure these things out

 and it was stupid of me to forget about three-day-barbecue holiday weekends, because I want to get down to Akron for that Finster art exhibit and maybe hit up the wax museum of the local televangelist and some weird flea markets and that fabulous burrito place in Kent, but everyone and their mom wants the day off too, and despite clearing it with the usual parties, others still deservedly enveloped in a golden glow of newfound domestic bliss have inadvertently left me possibly stuck covering the office where the phone will probably not even ring instead of documenting the absurdity south of the borders of Clevelandia.

Maybe it'll all work out, but right now it's not, and, well, it gets old to be doing the right thing and always feel like I'm getting shortchanged and stiffed, hitting the glass ceiling, being told I should be thankful for the pittance thrown my way.

First world problems, rust world problems, whatever. It gets frustrating to feel so stuck. I shouldn't complain, especially since I've got the best fellow peons one could ask for and work that is consistently meaningful and interesting, but the dynamics above all that, the absurdity of middle management and the stupidity of my city and country, it really starts to get me down.

the voice of many waters

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below —what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.

  One of the strange silver linings of living in a dying town is even the peons have access to cheap rent within walking distance of the lake. It is true that most of our lakefront is cut off by highways and salt mines and the homes of the affluent, but to have the simple primal pleasure of being near rocks and water, it is there, and we make use of it. It keeps us alive, keeps us from killing ourselves, lets us clear our heads. Is it some kind of thing wired in us to love rivers, oceans, lakes, to live near them, to drink and baptize and immerse, because they are our lifeblood, we would die without what they give.
The rational side of my weird brain knows that these moments of extra intense melancholia have their reasons and that they'll pass, that feelings and reality are not always congruent, and so I let the waterworks dry up and went to the park where the rocks and water are, and walked down, navigating the concrete breakers and the scrubby trees growing between the boulders that keep the shoreline from washing away.

I try not to think of all the people who used to come down here with me, all the memory of this place,  I try not to think of the occasionally encroaching loneliness that hovers closer like a bird of prey each year.

The waves were too high to walk across to the beach of pebbles beneath the cliffs so I made my way to a flat rock not completely soaked by water, far enough to not infringe upon someone doing the same thing. And I sat there for a couple hours at least, in non-yogic quiet meditation, silently pouring out my soul to the creator of all this beauty, seeking some kind of oneness with indescribable longing, with the waves breaking and the water undulating through watering the deep green moss on the sides of the rock where I perched, taking a break only to grab a sweater out of the car as the sun sank lower and changed from orange to pink.

The water in this lake may be dirty, and I haven't swam in it since I was in my teens, but there was this cathartic cleansing in the moment, of the sense of smallness of one's self and one's inner drama in the face of elementals that made me realize I should seek out this place and others like it much more than I do.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

I walked up to the top of the hill to watch the swollen pink sun sink into the violet waters, with the sounds of the birds and the sweet smell from the honey locust trees, we were all enraptured by the newest installation of the endless cycle, the teenage girl scrawling in a notebook, the Muslim family on the park bench, the dead ringer for latter-day Kerry King, the couple with the big hair and the couple embracing on the breakwall, and the old man on his night walk. As the light vanished, we walked back to our cars, back to the neighborhood, experiencing some small moment of transcendence.

For the grace of the presence, be grateful.
Touch the cloth of the robe,
but do not pull it toward you,
or like an arrow it will leave the bow.
Images. Presence plays with form,
fleeing and hiding as the sky does in water,
now one place, now nowhere.
Imagination cannot contain the absolute.
These poems are elusive
because the presence is.
I love the rose that is not a rose,
but the second I try to speak it, any name
for God becomes so-and-so, and vanishes.
What you thought to draw lifts off the paper,
as what you love slips from your heart.
 - rumi

Monday, May 21, 2012


Summer in Clevelandia officially begins with the first of the street fairs and festivals all over the city and last night, me and one of my fellow Parmastanis made a pilgrimage out to the Hessler fair to meet up with sundry folk and mingle with the tiedyed masses fighting the conformity of The Man by engaging in overpriced capitalism of another kind, as we observed the sartorial performance art of art school kids and boomers clinging to their glory days, busking musicians, and the kind of beat-writer inspired poetry that will be eternally terrible. It's strange to me that the more "leftward" I've swung politically (as far as being fed up with the whole perpetual warfare goonsquadery both at home and abroad), the less patience I have for the Lennonistas and their ilk.

It was hard to not openly chortle at the Che Guevara crepe paper festooning one of the booths, considering that the jerkface who got iconic by being good-looking had no use for arty folk or gay people in his concept of revolucion and what's more capitalistic ultimately than $10 parking (we parked down the street and walked), overpriced (vegan) fair food and $40 batik skirts? But I digress. After all, I've sold out as it is and was disappointed in the lack of Jamaican chicken and rice and ended up eating one of my friends' couscous plate because he didn't like it.

I'm also convinced that afrobeat will eventually undergo the transformation into cracker party music the way ska did in the 1980's and especially the 90's, because it takes a legitimate and often political black music form with an intense sociopolitical history that you can co-opt to make party music with all of your nerdy friends from marching band. Mark my words, you heard it here first.

That being said, I had a good time hanging out and such, drove back through Parmastan to drop off my traveling companion and continue the conversations that we usually have, and then drove home under sunsetting skies, made peace in the garden with relevant parties, drank tea and watched Buffy with the cat.  It was a good weekend, and much harder to come back to the routine when the sun and the breeze just feels so perfect.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

no good deed goes unpunished, or does it?

So in the spirit of Christian charity (non patronizing variant), I offered the girl on the next street part of my already very small part of the community garden, because I had some and she had none and I kind of believe in sharing. As it turns out, "just a couple tomatoes" turned into multiple flats of stuff as she's proceeded to cajole others into giving up their space as well, and it's become evident to all of us that she's got a severe case of little empress syndrome.

So as that's being ironed out as the rest of us are trying to figure out how to deal with a bullying personality in our little space, I'm once again reminded of why most -isms based on the "better angels of our nature" are naturally doomed to failure. It's hard to share when it's a recreational plot of ten people, let alone resources and corporations and powerful entities.

Still, speaking of overlords, I showed up to work Randal's shift and about an hour on of hearing about the intricacies of catching fish in World of Warcraft was relieved ironically enough by one of the people who is a true bona-fide slacker, unlike us Gen-X posers who always show up to work, if only for the camaraderie of St. Drogo and an unspoken commitment to not screwing over our fellow peons. I'll take what I can get so I walked down to the Asian festival down the street, which was quite swanky and awesome, especially as it represented a sizable chunk of the continent, which is no mean feat.

One of my friends was up there so me and her walked around with the girl she's mentoring who said lots of awesome snarky things, and we admired Filipino folk dancing and kids playing covers of G'N'R songs who called themselves the Tone Lockers, ate noodles, people-watched (every conceivable background and age made its appearance), noted that all the "authentic imports" from Nepal, Peru, and Thailand look like the usual tie-dyed paisleyed headshop generica, and I probably have a fantastic sunburn upon my cracker brow, but all in all, good times.

Friday, May 18, 2012

best of the blotter: lawnmowers, skunk spray, and those darn kids again.

DISTURBANCE, HIGHLAND ROAD: A drunk man decided to mow his lawn May 6 about midnight. This is past the time one is allowed to operate gas powered equipment in the city. When approached by police, the man became obnoxious and was arrested.

DISTURBANCE, HOWE ROAD: A man called police around 2 p.m. May 13 after he finished cutting his grass.
The caller’s neighbor, apparently upset that he was blowing the clippings into the street, began yelling at him, threatening to shoot him and calling the man white trash. According to the caller, as the neighbor was saying this, his dentures were falling out.
The responding officer held an impromptu summit in the middle of the street, over top of the infamous clippings, so the men could meet each other. They were advised to get along, and they agreed. The caller also agreed not to blow grass clippings in the street anymore.

LARGE FIGHT, CHILLICOTHE ROAD: Russell police assisted Chester police with a fight involving Lacrosse players and their parents at West Geauga High School 9:20 p.m. May 8.

MARIJUANA? BRADWAY: A Bradway Street resident told police that an odor of marijuana was emanating from a nearby home at about 11:35 a.m. May 10. Officers responded and surveyed for a burnt drug smell, but none was detected. It was determined that the odor was actually odor from skunk spray.

WATER BALLOON, IMAGINE: A man told police he thought a group of kids was going to throw water balloons at him on Imagine Lane at 6:15 p.m. May 9. As it turned out, it was all in his imagination. Police responded and found that the kids were playing in their yard and were supervised by an adult.

ASSISTANCE, LAKE AVENUE: Police were flagged down and asked to check on a woman at Lakewood Park who seemed overly lethargic May 13.
She told officers she was fine.

DISTURBANCE, MADISON AVENUE: Four or five men were reportedly fighting outside a local bar at 3 a.m. May 12.
Officers found out they weren’t fighting. Rather, one of the men was upset that the bar’s manager wouldn’t sell him a six-pack to take home.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Because ranting about politics and personal lifeness and such gets old after awhile, here's some beauty. One of my first drawings as a kid was drawing my own version of a Hiroshige composition on the chalkboard in the basement of my parents' first house.

When I took printmaking, I was awestruck by the incredible attention to detail that I saw in these at the art museum. I know it's kitschy, but I have a calendar of this stuff in my kitchen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

this is not for you

OfficeSpaced snark aside, it's not that I want to be down here on a lovely Saturday in May when there's a lot of swank stuff going on, homies occasionally getting a weekend off instead of stuck dealing with angry women and space cadets takes precedence and with the weather warm, the day is still young at 5:15 as it is. Whether or not this is used against me because I've outed myself as a sometimes sucker will be evidenced later on. And maybe it'll rain. Despite what the overlords would have one believe, this is not because I'm a good little worker or want to score any brownie points with them. It's all about peonage solidarity.

 But time spent there equals to less time later so inshallah I'll be roadtripping down to the Rubber City recently vacated by certain now-famous folk to see the works of the wonderful Howard Finster, who in a fair world would get more recognition than, say, Thomas Kinkade. His fans include Michael Stipe and David Byrne, but I stumbled across not by that trajectory but a random library search for outside art.

By all accounts, he seems to be a nice guy, and as far as what I've read, doesn't seem to be super crazy unless one counts spirituality as such.

So yeah, take that, The Man, or something.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

speak to me of universal greed

I met the Queen of the Bondo downtown after work yesterday, where we got Jamaican meat pies and hung out in Tower City watching the last minute preparations and picking out the future gamblers of Clevelandia from the level above the food court, mostly super dressed up senior citizens and suburban crackers in chinos and such. You could pick them out from the working stiffs and The Kids pretty easily because in part they looked like they haven't come downtown in decades. The people who owned the stores in the mall looked universally anxious and stressed out, as did the casino peons, because this is all new and who knows what kind of pressure there is further up the food chain. And there were lots of cops everywhere, and the SWAT team because you know things might get real if too many of The Bus People go crazy and because my paranoid self sees the barricades and big guns that seem to multiply every year as dystopian dress rehearsal.

Everything kind of had that tacky look of ersatz swank that impresses the yokels but isn't terribly special, and the other outgrowths of the casino/convention economy are already making themselves evident too. We were waiting to cross the street to catch our bus back to the west side and there was a trio of lithe Somali girls chainsmoking cigarettes outside the hotel in short shorts and colorful leggings that looked kind of lost before hopping on the trolley that goes to another hotel and the whole sight gave me the shivers, because I know this is going to be happening a lot and it isn't always going to be so out in the open, and because Somali girls have been victims of trafficking in this area before and now with the casino, it will probably be moreso.

It was hard to be snarky eventually, because the human cost will be so high, of broken families and desperate people and exploited girls. There might be some revenue that goes back to the city, but I really don't give a damn about the convention industry and the what happens in said city stays in said city mentality. We're already screwed financially by the system, but do we have to be screwed in every other way too? All of this supposed economic panacea comes at a price far more than its perceived monetary worth, and it just makes me mad. I called one of my friends who works with refugee populations to see if she can get something going, because I don't know what else to do except to watch and then attempt to take some kind of action, because I can't just let this go.

Monday, May 14, 2012

you know I was born to lose, and gambling's for fools

So far, there are people camping outside the newest money pit in My Fair City, the cops are out in riot gear so that The Bus People don't scare away the Fine Upstanding Members of Society who want to buy tacky clothing and gamble away their children's inheritance. Not that we had one coming anyway.  Oh well, we'll just be Detroit in another few years as it is.
Public Safety and Downtown Cleveland Alliance ambassadors are out in full force, but you still need to use common sense and follow safety guidelines, if you decide to visit the Casino.

Casino Safety Tip No. 1: Look out for your valuables.
Your valuables are the main target of petty criminals inside the casino. When playing in the slot machines or table games, make sure that your purse is on your lap or in front of you. Never put it on top of chairs or tables as it can get snatched away easily. Also remember to beware of those who bump you along the way. When walking inside the casino, always place a firm hand on the zipper of your purse or at the pocket where you store your wallet. On the other hand, wallets are safer when they are in the side pocket because they are harder to fish out.
Nevermind the big criminals that are robbing you blind from the top.
Casino Safety Tip No. 2:

Forget the fanny pack. Fanny packs are adequate for you basic essentials, but not for your valuables. For instance, you can place you slot club cards and sunglasses inside the fanny pack but not the cash and wallet. Thieves look at fanny pack as targets because they are easy to grab. Wallets with chains are safer when it comes to storing your money.
I haven't seen a fanny pack since my art professor in undergrad. Seriously? People still wear those things? We're not known for our sartorial acumen, but wow.

Casino Safety Tip No. 3:

Never brag about your newfound money. First-time players often get excited about winning a huge amount of cash, and often flaunt it inside the casino. Flaunting your money is obviously extremely dangerous. Always take time to place the cash in your purse or wallet before you leave the redemption cage.
 Casino Safety Tip No. 4:

Do not hesitate to avail of the casino safety services. Casinos place a minimum amount in which they hand out checks instead of cash and therefore make you money safer. Security guards in most casinos are also available upon requests, as they will gladly escort you to a cab or to the parking lot.
Because those people riding the bus are scary.
Casino Safety Tip No. 5:

Stay safe when you head outside. You should be extra cautious when looking after your safety as soon as you step outside the casino. Make sure to be careful in elevators and in desolated hotel corridors. Do not go near someone who makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, and always be alert for the undesirable things to come ahead.

oh dirty river

There were people getting drunk under the trees by the garden while we were all at work, prompting heated discussions amidst my neighbors and also plans to rip out the saplings and put in more flowers, and then one of my friends from the tutoring days showed up, and so we checked out an exhibit about Clevelandia and pondered City Issues and caught up on life over giant sandwiches devoured at a wrought iron table overlooking the scenes, of bikers and kids and Bright Young Things, and then as the night went on, the drunk girls and the bros who love them waiting to board the party buses named after Kurt Cobain and Bob Marley.

There are dishes still in the sink at home, it's hard to stay inside when the days are like this, and the nights are too perfect and there's enough beautiful distraction all around to heal the papercuts on the heart. Trawling the leftovers of the bazaar now vacating its long-held place in the landscape of strip clubs and skating rinks, driving through forgotten parts of Clevelandia, sitting on the front porch as a local metal band offroads on forklifts on the vacant lot next door the sound of "80's drums," dinner with family, banter with cousins, late nights wandering through Lakewood and laughing in nighthawk environs over tales of peonage, my front seat full of coleus and herbs, the fragrances of wormwood, hyssop and lemon balm, a steady stream of beautiful interactions that left me alive rather than exhausted. Summer hits early, the smog settles over the city, and the reunions and hopes have come alive again for now...

Friday, May 11, 2012


No more pencils no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks....

 There were people when I was growing up who swore that Amerika was the greatest places ever and that we were founded on principles of freedom and goodness and whatnot and then I got older and read more books and talked to more people and realized that a lot of what I learned was wrong. I've also learned that in the minds of a lot of people of every stripe, ideology often trumps truth and that no one appreciates a Cassandra.

Oh you chicks are so emotional. You're so negative. 

Revolutions might unseat a terrible order, but most of the time, maybe Vaclav Havel excepted, the new order isn't any better. Meet the new boss same as the old boss, just different names and groups on the shitlist, a different crew of elites. So it's hard for me to believe in revolution, especially starting over from scratch socialist revolution, because that's how you end up with holidays in Cambodia and those are no fun for the peons any more than colonial overlords.

And when the arguments brought to light are irrefutable, when one god is set up over another, and the absurdism is evident to anyone with half a brain, bumper-sticker platitudes might sound great, but only go so far, and I feel like I've already won when the discourse goes from dissenting arguments to personal attacks. If the way the students around me rolled their eyes as he tried to get the last words in again today were any indication, his pettiness is evident as is the process of indoctrination and regurgitation.

Stop laughing, stop smirking, stop making those faces, stop mocking. 

A winning smile and the chortles of "you can't expect me to believe this" seem to be far more devastating than an f.o.a.d or a snarl, and so half an hour later, I turn in my paper with a huge grin, wish a nice day, and walk out triumphant. Heaping burning coals on your enemy's head by not returning the favor of jerkness seems to attest to the keen of understanding found in the books of wisdom that he so despises. The grades don't matter, this was a waste of time, but I got some wheelie bus transportation cheap, the company of my homie in all things geeky, and maybe someone else in that room of a hundred people realized that it's okay to truly question.

Besides, I'd rather be insulted by you than someone I respect as it is.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

best of the blotter: zebra-striped glitter, fake priests, and those damn kids


Sometime Strongsville police go beyond the call of duty to help a distraught resident.
Here's what happened at 3:20 a.m. May 4. Someone called 911 from Raccoon Trail, a report said. A dispatcher heard yelling before the call disconnected. Callbacks weren't answered. Police have to follow up on 911 hang-ups, so they went to the address, where they found an intoxicated woman who was upset that she couldn't find her purse.

She told officers a Royalton Road man had just dropped her off and she may have left it in his car.
So they went to the man's address and looked in the car to see if they could see it inside. Sure enough, there was a pink purse in there.
The woman confirmed it was hers and officers retrieved it. By 4 a.m., the woman and her pink purse were reunited, a report said.

SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY, PEARL ROAD: Someone thought that four people standing outside of Wendy’s were trying to set a fire near the front doors after the restaurant was closed May 3.
Turns out it was just some employees of the restaurant smoking cigarettes and burning twigs. They were told “not to do this.”


There's the beef
Lakewood police responded to the Rally’s on W. 117th Street in Cleveland for a report of a tow truck driver who was threatened by a man who said he would shoot the driver if he didn’t buy him a burger at around 1:40 a.m. May 3. Police caught up with the man on Detroit Avenue and turned him over to the Cleveland Police Department.

Scary noises
A resident in the 1600 block of Phelps Avenue told police that a neighbor was making scary noises at around 7 p.m. May 1. The woman called back and said the neighbors making noise left.

ANIMAL AT LARGE, DOWD AVENUE: Police received word that a wild groundhog was charging at a group of people.
Officers could not find the groundhog.

COMPLAINT, RIDGEWOOD AVENUE: A group of children were playing football and, in the process, forcing traffic to stop when the ball went into the street multiple times.
A neighbor called the police, but the children stopped playing before officers could get there.
COMPLAINT, OLIVEWOOD AVENUE: After one apple too many, a woman called the police to report children throwing apples at her house May 5.
The children told the officer they were having an apple fight and a few of them may have gone over the fence.
DISTURBANCE, COHASSETT AVENUE: A man chased away a group of children who had been fighting in his front yard. He wanted officers to follow up on the matter.
When police arrived, the group had separated and no one was fighting.
COMPLAINT, HARLON AVENUE: Two children were shooting pigeons with BB guns May 4. Officers never found them.
COMPLAINT, HOPKINS AVENUE: Children were reportedly spraying passing vehicles with a hose May 4. As it happened, however, they were just spraying each other and a few cars got hit. Their mother took the hose away.

THEFT, GREAT NORTHERN: Workers at an accessories store inside Great Northern Mall told police May 4 a woman tried to steal $73 in merchandise. Among the items stolen were a scarf, a purse, several hair flowers and a zebra-striped glitter flask.


DISTURBANCE, EASTWOOD AVENUE: A boy, 16, was cited for unnecessary noise May 5 when he was playing a guitar too loud. Officers were unable to get the boy to answer the door due to the volume and had to contact the boy’s stepfather, who had to come home to let them in. This was the 12th time since 2008 somebody had complained about the boy and the volume level of his guitar.


DRUG SWEEP, EAST WASHINGTON STREET: Working with three K-9 units from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, village police checked more than 150 cars in the parking lot at Chagrin Falls High School shortly after 8:30 a.m. May 2, using the drug-sniffing dogs to detect the scent of any contraband. The dogs gave alerts on eight cars in the lot, although no drugs, alcohol or other evidence were found in those vehicles, an improvement from last year. Officials followed up with students whose cars were flagged, as well as those students’ parents.
DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, EAST WASHINGTON STREET: Later in the day after the sweep of the high school parking lot, at least two parents contacted police with complaints that the drug-sniffing dogs had scratched the finish of their children’s cars after they alerted on a potential scent. “The parents were advised that the cars in question were ‘hit’ on, out of 150-200 cars, by what may be the best drug dog the sheriff’s department has,” police said.

GENERAL ASSISTANCE, NOB HILL: After a woman called police May 5 to report that her mother took her credit card and would not give it back to her to use as she wants, police learned from the mother that the credit card in question actually belongs to her, and that she had given her daughter some funds the day before.

SUSPICIOUS, JACKSON: Police responded to a Jackson Street location upon report of a suspicious vehicle in the roadway at about 3:35 p.m. on March 30. Officers made contact with the occupant of the vehicle. The occupant was parked in the middle of the street looking at a sofa on the curb. They were advised to move on.

ELYRIA — Three men who identified themselves as priests were arrested after police said they found marijuana and weapons in one of the men’s home.
At 5:15 p.m. Monday, police arrested and charged Anthony Williams, Jr., 38, for weapons under disability and an outstanding bench warrant and James Lemroyal, 48, for an outstanding bench warrant. James Utsey Jr., 28, was issued a citation for drug paraphernalia.
According to a police report, police were dispatched to apartments at 234 Brunswick Drive for several complaints from tenants of a marijuana smell in the building. Police said they found Williams, Lemroyal and Utsey in an apartment filled with a strong odor of marijuana.
Police said they found two ashtrays filled with ashes and marijuana roaches and a silver marijuana grinder in the apartment.

The three suspects refused to reveal their real names, only identifying themselves as priests.
Williams said his name was Priest Ish’ra’el, Lemroyal said he was Priest Lammalak and Utsey referred to himself as a Priest Ilataza. The men said it was against their religion to provide their real names and said the apartment belonged to the church.

Police also said they found three .40 caliber handguns, one Glock 22 and a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun in the apartment. The men told police the handguns belonged to the church.
According to police, Williams has prior felony convictions for trafficking in drugs, domestic violence, felonious assault and weapons under disability. Williams and Lemroyal were taken to Lorain County Jail.


Upon finally retrieving photos from my camera, it's time for one of those interludes again...

the magnolias are gone now, but they were lovely while they lasted.

One of my friends says my apartment looks straight out of the 1970s, and while there's a lack of polyester, there is a lot of old furniture and faded Persian rugs, an old stereo system, and a table of succulents.

Edgewater is more the purview of homicidal seagulls rather than swans, but this was a welcome surprise.

We found this jawbone on the beach and the texture fascinated me enough to take it home and drop it in a bowl in the art room with sundry other weird things.

The Wild Deer of the Valleys of Parmastan

little buds.

view from the improvised DJ booth on Record Store Day

And, just for Jim, and for other folks, here's how we do on Fair Clevelandia's west side this past weekend.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

femina feminae

One of my friends linked to some article lamenting the lack of feminine presence in the current music industry, bemoaning the preponderance of The Kids to prefer Lady Gaga to Patti Smith, and how there aren't as many prominent "rock chicks" as there were back in those halcyon days known as the 90's.

The aesthetic of the time was different, the slick marketing of acceptable grungeness, heroin chic, and edginess, and former dance-pop divas like Alanis Morissette were rebranded as Angry Chicks, in an image just as manufactured as any other. And most of the girls in bands were either the bombshell lead singer or the hot bassist. They weren't the main creative force or the songwriters or the guitarists, more often the eye candy and the objects of ogling by the male fans and the image of what we girls wanted to be, which maybe wasn't the same sexualization as, say Britney Spears, but it still was just as dysfunctional.

And hell, most music is "mewling" about love and stuff. It's just that some people make it more awesome than others. So yeah, non-story, but people like Liz Phair need to eat and still feel relevant, so it gets trotted out everyone once in awhile so everyone can feel superior about the good old days that in this case really weren't. Besides, as I've said before, there's more than enough good stuff out there due in part to the fair sex as it is. And while I don't believe that the double standard will ever magically evaporate, I do think the next generation of girls will have it easier than I did.

Monday, May 7, 2012

maybe what you see isn't part of me at all...

There were so many things that happened... a night at the cinema, social obligations akin to females involving the pending matrimony of friends, and I ducked out before the housewares came out of the boxes to start preparing for the dinner soiree but detoured to the Fun Wall and mingled among graffiti artists and skateboarders and those who love them, shooting photos of breakdancers and aerosol cans and little kids wandering around in the teenage wasteland of Clevelandia. Breakbeats and generator party soundsystems and a refreshing lack of corporate sponsorship, the only festival thing that wasn't institution related where people of every conceivable background if not age were hanging out together.

The hours dripped away, dinner for some old friends from the Parmastan and Kent years, waking up early to play guitar and sing to God praying through a hundred doubts and distractions and hearing the voices before me rise in a way that crystallized beyond any effort of mine, and afterwards we spoke again for the first time in years and while we had a lot to say, to catch up on, I knew that it would end there.  And that's okay. I'm accustomed to a lack of requition, but almost three decades on and this just starts to get old.

And now I'm back here, dealing with ditzy undergrads and egocentric academics who understand the balance of power well and can make passes at women twenty years their junior without fear of recompense and so all I can do is scowl and complete the transaction with a minimum of eye contact. I just don't want to be here today.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Ended up going to the movie theater with a couple homies last night to watch things blow up and see Fair Clevelandia laid waste by demigods. My sister laughs at me, because I never go to movies and hardly watch any but it was a good giant piece of explosive fluff and pleasantly undark, and we sat through innumerable previews making snarky comments and seeing the ads for the military inserted between shootemup summer blockbusters makes me realize how messed up we are as a country and I drive home more tired than I thought I'd be, trying to figure out the tangle in my brain, why it seems like everything seems to dead end so quickly..

The family's out of town, I've got some people coming over for dinner, and there's a part of me that feels a little nervy even though there's no reason to. Fits of extreme introversion always seem to come at such inconvenient times.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

best of the blotter: Zombies, Cookie Thieves, Law and Order, and Get Off My Lawn

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, BETA DRIVE: The suspected cookie thief returned once again to the Hilton Garden Inn April 27. This time he reportedly stole candy from the lobby before leaving.

THEFT, DETROIT ROAD: Two Cleveland men, both age 26, and a Euclid man, 54, face charges after police said they stole $856 in toiletries and other merchandise April 28 from a drug store. Employees called police after two of the suspects set off an anti-theft alarm while running from the store. The men were stopped on Crocker Road. One Cleveland man and the Euclid man were charged with theft. The other Cleveland man was charged with complicity as he drove, but did not enter the store. The driver is also wanted by Seven Hills police. The driver later told police that he was “used like a tool” by his accomplices. The Euclid man asserted his right to remain silent because “I watch Law and Order.”

COMPLAINT, LAKE AVENUE: A resident called the police to report that two men walking on the street were holding signs that read: “Call me.”
An officer explained that it was a group of St. Edward students promoting a mattress sale.
They were advised to stay out of the street.

NEIGHBOR TROUBLE, ALBION ROAD: A woman called to report that her neighbor had yelled at her husband after being hit with grass clippings.
The neighbor had originally headed to the woman’s house to complain about gravel and grass in her ditch from winter plowing. The couple’s son was cutting grass and grass clippings were blown onto the neighbor.
The woman was not injured. Everyone involved was advised to stay off each other’s property.

COMPLAINT, DETROIT AVENUE: Disturbed by a group of people dressed in Gothic clothing in the middle of the street, a caller reported them to the police, saying that they were blocking traffic.
The group was with the ninth annual Old School Sinema Zombie Walk and they were on the sidewalk, according to the responding officer.

that's why flags are such ugly things

Taking off yesterday to decompress and think and plant, reading Dorothy Day to get some perspective as to the living out of principles, because I have no use for platitudes, have seen too much to be an idealist, and want to know what the hell I should be doing or how I should be responding to the way that things are going here.

I can see through this expression
And you know I don't believe...

 We have a short historical memory as a country. The same things that are said about people in the Middle East are what was said about the Japanese sixty years ago, and it's often forgotten that FDR signed an executive order to intern thousands of citizens based solely on their race rather than anything else. To this day, there is next to no evidence that any of these people detained who lost almost everything were doing anything wrong or "unpatriotic."

But they hate us. You can't reason with people who blow themselves up for a cause. 

That is what was happening, right?   Kamikaze pilots were the suicide bombers of the 1940s. Kids were raised to die for an ideology if need be. People still justify the nuking of two cities, and no one remembers the devastation of the firebombing of Tokyo. Now things are more or less okay between our two countries, if only because history on both sides has been swept under the proverbial rug.

And we love to wear a badge, a uniform
And we love to fly a flag
But I won't
Let others live in hell
As we divide against each other
And we fight amongst ourselves

And I'm reading about police brutality, about scapegoating of anyone and everyone for the convenience of having a bogeyman, because in every movement, be it animal liberationists, Occupy, pro-lifers, whatever, there will always be unstable violent people that make everyone else look bad.  The faces might change, the movements have different names, but these principles are still the same.

Man's freedom stems from his free will, and he must respect the freedom of other men because they are made to the image and likeness of God and are temples of the Holy Spirit. To build up fear of other men is to build up hatred too. "Perfect love casts out fear." Such a witch hunt as has been set loose in the country today, serves to distract the mind from our own militarization and enslavement, our growing materialism, and to set us in the self righteous position of rooting out the evil in other men, paying no attention to the beam in our own eye. It is always so satisfactory to find a scapegoat on which to heap our sins. During the depression it was the international Jewish bankers. Now it is the communist.

And depending on what side you are, this scapegoat could be someone with an Arabic last name, the crusty punks on the public square, or the evangelical Christian with some weird views on fetuses and how the world came to be that you read about on the Internet and revile because you don't actually know any of these people in real life. 

The teacher is afraid to speak of interracial justice, of peace, of social justice these days, for fear he may be considered subversive. Loyalty oaths are beginning to be required at some state universities before a speaker can give an address to the students. This last month, Fritz Eichenberg, Quaker, who does magnificent illustrations for The Catholic Worker, refused to take the loyalty oath at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he teaches. I suppose that means he loses his job. One must accept voluntary poverty these days to keep his integrity.

I used to roll my eyes at this rhetoric when I was in college, but then I see this fly the flag and show your loyalty to the state business that's been resurrected and it starts to not seem so crazy after all. I stopped saying the pledge long ago, because I don't need to pledge allegiance to anyone's damn flag, because what it stands for goes against everything that I believe, cultural religious trappings be damned. One nation under God? The whole damn universe is, not just us, and not everyone believes in said higher power anyway. Liberty and justice for all? Ya think? And so I live here and obey the laws that don't go against my moral code and do my best to treat others the way I'd like to be treated, treat the land with respect. In theory this should make me a good citizen, but I'm sure that others would dispute this.

The occupied countries became the occupied countries because people were terrorized into saying yes, when they should have said no. Hitler and Stalin, Mussolini and Franco--this is the age of repression and McCarthy, in the guise of fighting Communism, is finding it in any honest criticism of the status quo?

Neither system proposed by the overlords or the economists or the protestors is working. Humans as a rule are broken, and therefore it's inevitable that our systems are too.

Angry words won't stop the fight
Two wrongs won't make it right
A new heart is what I need
Oh God, make it bleed
Is there nothing left?