Sunday, November 05, 2006

Obama for President?

In Cleveland Heights at the Civic Saturday night, 1,600 people gathered to hear one of the political rising-stars of our country.

Barack was at his usual confident and oratorical best. The Democratic faithful patiently waited thru speeches from the entire Ohio delegation, before Obama spoke and eventually introduced Sherrod Brown.

He did not disappoint. It was apparent why some people think this guy is going places. His passion and articulation is not found in many places, in particular; politics.

But is that enough? As John Balzar mentions in the LA Times today after reviewing Obama's book, Democrats are going to need plans as well as passion if the tide turns our way on Tuesday. From California to Maine, passion will have to formulate actions so as to not end up in the same vacuum of ideas that the Republicans now find themselves.

Through a concerted effort--aligning with the evangelical right as well as the scientific analysis of apportionment--Republicans have mastered control for over ten years nationally and fifteen in Ohio. Not because they had the majority of American opinion on their side (as the last two Presidential elections have demonstrated) but because they were just better politicians. Now that the Democratic machine has figured that out they can no longer can be complacent about the mechanics of politics, let’s hope that they have as much focus on policy tactics as they do on fundraising.

But I suspect the mechanics of politics will not be the future playground. One positive thing I see happening from this past Republican control period; voters get charged up and interested when we send young men and woman off to war as well as when an expanding economy doesn’t put additional money into the hands of working people. Those issues tend to piss regular people off. Pissed off people creates a charged politic atmosphere.

Unfortunately, for the Dem's, they'll need to do something about this pissy feeling the voters have obtained. Passion alone won’t satisfy their hunger. It will take plans and action. If Barack's passion can get aligned with some bold and positive tactics, this country may never have to deal with the likes of a Rev. Ted Haggard or Dick Cheney again. The Republican's will certainly learn the new rules in short time. What will make the Rebublican's more difficult to deal with in the future will be the likes of Ted Flake from Arizona, a hard working, pragmatic and articulate politician. Someone who can speak as well as Obama, and lean to a new center.

In Ohio that means the Dem's need to fix school funding, enabling innovative industries without raising taxes, making higher education affordable and re-tooling our workforces. Nationally it means getting out of Iraq, lowering healthcare costs, resolving the debt crisis and fixing bad trade policies.

I like this Obama guy. He’s bringing a pragmatic and balanced intuition to the national discourse. I don’t know if it’s time for him to be President in 2008, but his time will be coming, that I do not doubt.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

From the Mouths of Babes...

As I am clearly prone to discussions about my offspring, pride and satisfaction notwithstanding, I feel compelled to share with you all the beginning products of a successful insertion into higher education in our great land.

Shannon and I have shared some discussion about socialization in NYC that has her searching for higher meaning. I can't even begin to wonder what her life will be like if she continues to excel like this in the non-social aspects of learning.

I have pilfered to publish here, excerpts from a recent paper Shannon has recently penned entitled: "Orestes a Teacher: In Likeness, Opposed" recently submitted to her English Literature professor, whose consideration is strong enough he intends for it to be published:

...Orestes demonstrates that he truly has ended the curse and provided a brighter future with his words, "We ourselves... will deal with those who break the oath I take" (266). In pledging this oath to Athens, he uses his words to cement a vow, rather than using violence. This contrast between Orestes' enlightened words and the dark, endless, and hopeless, cycle of revenge that has been replaced is important. Words over bloodshed: as soon as Orestes takes this oath, the pain and suffering is ended. This also speaks to how highly Aeschylus values democracy as a method of governance superior to tyranny. Revenge is a primitive urge. When we overcome it by stepping away from using brute force as a problem-solver and begin to use words, discussion, and diplomacy, only then do we characterize ourselves as more highly evolved than animals. Thus, when violence ends, intellectual and spiritual evolution begins...

...The Oresteia, then, can also serve as a more general guideline for happiness among all people. Once we become more aware of the mistakes we make and the lessons we learn from them, there is a brighter future possible for anyone.
Despite my overwhelming amazement that something from my loins, and still at the tender age of 18, could write so powerfully, what I immediately reflected on were the many discussions perpetrated over at BFD surrounding our worst President and his foolish cabinet of advisors who have let pure revenge guide our country into a quagmire that may not be fixed until my child's children are old enough to know better.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Cleveland Fireworks

The clouds parted and the night alighted.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ken the Madman

Dodd's is the Digital Illuminati of choice store for all things photographic. Ken runs the rental counter on Carnegie and is only sometimes prone to upselling! (Ahem!)

I encountered a wayward glance from Ken whilst testing a new flash unit and couldn't help myself here. I won't mention John Popp's role as I never see him anymore but if you have Mac's and are doing digital processing for still or video, he's your guy.

I know no one asked, but for reference I shoot with a Nikon D2X. Wonderful images. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Do You Live in Cleveland?

That's right. This is an American Bald Eagle. In my backyard last Sunday. That would be about W. 112th and Lake Erie, within site of downtown. Probably only 3 years old as his wing span was at least 6-7ft., but it's not yet acquired a white head.


And below, just yesterday, a beautiful deer who got so comfortable after he ate a good chunk of my foliage, he took a nap. That was until my five-year old and Wheaten Terrier decided to go catch him. Last week we saw a couple of gigantic Turkey Vultures hunting on the shore. I can hear an Owl somewhere in the trees right now but can't catch a glimpse of him.

Can you believe this is Cleveland?

Unfortunately for the deer, he's not in a good place for his health. Can't even imagine what he is doing right now in an urban setting.

It's a funny thing, I drafted a flyer to help sell our house last week and in it I wrote the description: "bucolic Medina woods feel with a view of the skyline." I had no idea how bucolic at the time. Anyone want to buy a house?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Never in My Life...

My recent journey out at night to see the legendary Leslie West and Mountain at Wilbert's was a bit of a disappointment. Not only was the audience in short supply, but the artist must have felt affronted as well because he only played for a little over an hour. He got the classics in but in the end, he was only a mere shell of his former self.

It was the first eight-track I ever owned; 'Best of Mountain," and because it was the first, it got played at least a hundred times before I purchased John Lennon's ‘Mind Games.’ It’s funny how certain songs or albums can get inside you and be played over and over with out burning-out.

How would you rate Sting today? (picture) It was a decent concert last winter at the convo center, but seemed to be lacking the punch that we all know he's got inside of him.

A friend and I were discussing vintage artists and their ability to stay relevant. The ‘Stones’ super bowl performance was just miserable for example. What happened to Dylan between 78-95? I came across the ‘Last Waltz' on HD last week for the very first time. What a classic! I was mesmerized by it. It took me back to my roots and re-awakened the musical junkie within. That stage was just full of raw energy and talent. Kudo’s to Scorsese in what must have been one of his first movies; actually a documentary.

Begs the question; what makes great artists sustain? Can only the exuberance of youth and frustration lead to true passion in music? Is it possible for great artists to keep at peak performance after accumulating untold wealth and comfort?

James Blunt. The first new artist I’ve experienced in a while that is coming right from the soul. Proves the sixties wasn’t the only basis for great music. Hope he stays tuned in.

‘Bring me a shot of whiskey… and a little bit of loving... too.’

Friday, March 24, 2006

Travelling Thru The Land of God...

It's easy to understand how small and worthless one's life is as you roll by millions of years of forming rock. This just outside of Vernal, Utah last Sunday.

I was once told by a wise old man how much you need to live for today. He should have known, he had seven bullet holes in and seven bullet holes coming out of his body. He lived a hard life in the neighborhood of E. 66th & Kinsman.

I was 14 at the time, he was 50-55. John Cole pressed cloths at the drycleaners next to the house where I grew up in Lakewood. I remember him being very old. He smoked unfiltered Lucky's and at almost any given moment, he had one dangling from his lips. I think he grew up in Georgia or Alabama, his mom eventually made her way to Cleveland to live with her brother, John's Uncle. In those days, he never really had a chance to make it on the mean streets of Cleveland so eventually he found himself in Uncle Sam's Army--in Germany. Not one of those bullet holes came from war. At least not the kind suburban kids thought of as war.

Even though he had every right to be a very angry black man, he was one of the most courteous, wise and penetrating souls of my entire childhood. Sure he cussed and loved telling me the stories of his own youth, stories which seemed unreal and quite separated from my own troubled times--but then, that's why I probably related to him. I never really fit into the whole suburban scene as a kid. We left all my childhood friends back on the near west side in 3rd grade.

John never took drugs and couldn't understand the kids that did at the time. He refused to even let me sip part of his cold Stroh's at the end of a hot summer day in that steam room. I never told him so at the time, but I respected him for that. He also taught me to just let it all go at times. "Can't control the world, kid" John would say, "but you can control what ya say bout it...and who you say it to!" "Never waste time arguing with your shadow," he always lamented me.

Now that I'm almost 50 myself, I don't think John was that old anymore. Funny heh? I increasingly come to remember him at certain times. I don't know when John Cole passed from this world but I'm certain he no longer breaths with us. I thought of him as I passed thru the Uintah basin last weekend. I stopped to take this picture soon after he came to me. I call this shot ‘John's Cliff’s’. It reminds me of the wise, proud, stoic and strong influence he was in the days of my youth.

Much like the cliffs in this picture, I hope I argue much less with the shadows these days.