Thursday, March 31, 2011

best of the blotter 40: sick squirrels and desperate men

ANIMALS, WILSON MILLS ROAD: On March 21, a woman reported that a sick squirrel walked into the Naya Bistro and Lounge.

She said the squirrel was moved outside but it would not leave the area.

Police removed the animal from the premises.

BURGLARY, BURTON STREET: A couple of handguns were stolen from a home on March 26 along with jewelry and electronic devices. While the theft of weapons is alarming, Sgt. Vince Molnar said firearms are targeted because they retain their value and criminals look to trade them in for cash or items like narcotics. He added, however, they’re obviously a tool of criminals. Detectives are investigating.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT, JAMESTOWN PARKWAY: Occupants of two vehicles executed a vendetta against Jamestown mailboxes on March 26, damaging at least four residential boxes that night. Police were unable to locate them.


Police were called to the Lakewood Hospital medical offices on Detroit Avenue after a man was upset that he couldn’t carry his gun into the doctor’s office March 10. The man had a conceal-carry permit.


A resident in the 2100 block of Clarence Avenue said his mom brought food home from a Brook Park store on March 11, and it appeared there was a “toe or a finger” in the package. Turns out it was a piece of kielbasa.

Two women reported being approached by panhandlers who were both a little too aggressive in their advances.

A woman leaving Dillard's at Westfield SouthPark about 6 p.m. March 23 told police a man in a car asked her for money. When she said she didn't have any, he said he would ride with her to go get some.

The man was in his 20s, short with a thin build.

Less than two hours later, a woman at Home Depot was followed to her car by a man around 50 with gray hair who said he was out of work, had no money and wanted her to take him to dinner.

An unwanted visitor tried to open the front door of a Trapper Trail home the morning of March 21. The visitor also left roses at the house.

No Elvis, Beatles, or The Rolling Stones...

"Everything you are and do from fifteen to eighteen is what you are
and will do for the rest of your life."
letter to his daughter, September 19, 1938

At a family function this past weekend, I made a snarky comment about my little sister's oh-so-twee indie bands, with "all their chimes and handclaps and stuff," to which my other more mature than myself sibling countered with "well you like all that weird world music" and thankfully dessert in the form of cherry pie arrived to end all sonic disputes.

We all prefer the sounds of our adolescence, though the prior generations have done a great job of monopolizing the canon, as if there wasn't good music made before 1965 and as if the world stopped ten years later.

It's not that I really hate Freedom Rock all that much, but the entitled mentality of certain members of that generation and infinite PBS fundraisers with washed up 60's burnouts doing The Songs That We Got High To and the assumption that well duh there hasn't been anything good since the Beatles and Bob Dylan and maybe I just don't understand the hagiography of the agnostics in my midst because when I think of St. John I don't think of Lennon and his primal screamer of a soulmate.

While I do love the first couple Police albums, this song exemplifies everything wrong with my Boomer Overlords. Ian Mackaye once sang that we're not the first and we know we're not the last, and that's a good kind of humbleness to have to realize that. Sting on the other hand, well...

This might be particularly sensitive to some of us peons, due to a time warp vortex especially strong in Parmastan, where classic rock never died, those who consider themselves more hip will maybe prefer the Velvet Underground or Elvis Costello but little beyond that or their influences, crackers still wash their Camaros while listening to "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" on the boombox, and every other classmate of mine in high school that wasn't into the Wu-Tang Clan seemed to own an AC/DC t-shirt. Something about those post-war bungalows and bowling alleys where time hasn't changed much. As inner-ring suburb Cleveland kids, a love of some kind of classic rock is almost a birthright even if some of us prefer more fuzz and weirdness.

I don't understand the appeal of Of Montreal or Throw Me the Statue or whatever the Urban Outfitters/American Apparel set are listening to these days, but I don't have to. I've still got power chords, black t-shirts, and my dad's flannels to fall back on.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

playlist 3/29/11

trip-hop and various musique from the UK, Mexico, France, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Burma, Angola, Mali, Turkey, the US of A, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.

blue sky black death - chloroform
bonobo - eyesdown
juana molina - hoy supe que viajas
janelle monae - sincerely jane
portishead - strangers
hope sandoval - the rest of your life
amesoeurs - video girl
cafe tacuba - tengo todo
autolux - capital kind of strain
mira - pieces
mogwai - too raging to cheer
cut chemist - the garden
trees - murdoch
rokia traore - n'gotolen
artur nunes - kisia ki nugui
wallias band - muzqawi silt
selda - megdan sizindir
khun khang - nga ley
terenchen - jeritau cinta
the keyboys - unknown
nahid akhtar - aise maisan me chu kayun ho
jo privat - minor swing
the pentangle - train song
amadou & mariam - coulibaly
dengue fever - tip my canoe
corin tucker - doubt

Monday, March 28, 2011


I missed my train and got to stand on the platform waiting to go home with no book to read and more DHS/TSA/transit cops than there were commuters. I've been seeing a lot more of this and I don't know why it makes me nervy, why I feel encroached upon. What the heck is up with the guns strapped to your legs dudes? Seriously. It creeps me out. I wonder how the woman getting on behind me wearing a hijab feels and avoid eye contact with everyone.

I'm relieved to get back to the car and the tunes, the routine of art-making, melting copper with copper, scraping off the firescale with stone, making mistakes and being overly ambitious with a form I've only begun to experiment with, trying to figure out what color to add next week since I'm going for something vaguely bronze-age looking.

Equilibrium restored, coming home to put together a playlist for tomorrow morning, heat up some dinner, try to figure out how to get the hair cut because it's getting split-endy and don't want to freeload on my sister-in-law. I have a benign neglect relationship with my keratin, hence the really long tresses in my teens that were more of an 'it just kind of grew' thing than any kind of subcultural statement.

I feel like I missed all those female memos that everyone else got, since I was reading Alternative Press and Guitar World instead of Seventeen and have no clue how to do makeup or do anything seasonal wardrobe-ish because that kind of thing is kind of boring and more than a little intimidating. I only started buying shoes other than black low-top converse when I got a Real Job four years ago and kind of couldn't get away with that anymore.

And as if I wasn't already hopelessly stuck in 1994, I'm kind of going for the Shirley Manson look sans crimson since The Powers That Be would probably frown upon such capriciousness. Garbage is more or less pop music for people who wouldn't have been caught dead in 1995 listening to Top 40, but darn it, I like my slick production and big hooks with the overdriven guitar every once in awhile.

tiki gods

And in more regional matters, the dumbassery of the Minor Powers That Were continues to be revealed and while some among the Peonage still maintain that the local Dems are like omg totally awesome the best ever, I doubt that any of us makes sufficient scratch to be bribing our favorite party bosses with tiki huts and fake palm trees.

And since Sony sucks, I couldn't post 'Tiki God' from everyone's favorite comedic Seattle band so you're all stuck with this.

Stay classy, dudes. Glad to know that my tax dollars are promoting good taste and general elegance in the Mistake By the Lake. Check out the Don King action on that tie! It's too bad I don't have swanky connections so I could see what kind of tackiness goes down in those wild eastern suburbs. At least the robber barons a century before you left us with some nice parks and some epic cemetery monuments.

At least his smirking mug is being removed from every gas pump and cash register in the kingdom of Cuyahoga, though we humble peons will no longer be able to draw devil horns with ballpoint pen or scratch his eyes out while our check goes through in a totally passive-aggressive manner anymore.

With my neighbors in hot water, shootings on the east side, stabbings in that wild country of Parmastan, it's going to be an interesting year. Here's hoping I can avoid the municipal courthouse this time around.

flood my eyes with light

"What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music.... And people flock around the poet and say: 'Sing again soon' - that is, 'May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful." - kierkegaard

The trees are still dead, the brown grass flattened and matted like tangled hair by the flooded riverbed, and the cloudless azure sky more suited to a place like Arizona seems like an irony with its clearness. We don't get skies like that here. But there is green coming up through the dead wood and the broken reeds, heart-shaped violet leaves.

"Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed." - pascal

I walked in the valley alone with God and my questions, drove home listening to Pearl Jam watched the light fade from golden to blue. I am thankful that this sea of emotions, this inarticulate ache, a sense of wonder at the strange beauty of creation even in its least sentimental seasons, a sense of things being so wrong and in need of righting, this cathartic sadness that shocks me out of a complacent existence, has precedence as the agony and ecstasy of the psalms resonates, the despair of human existence in Ecclesiastes, the anger and questioning and wonder of Job, the visions of medieval monastics, and of course, my favorite poet ever.

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fireV

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


My extended family came in tonight to celebrate my mom's birthday and ended up discussing aspects of the Bro Culture with my younger college-aged cousins, a phenomenon which has been greatly codified since my ever-growing-more-distant days as an undergrad. Much laughter and amusement ensued as my cousin described the process of "bromancing," the tastes and general habits, proper Bro Flow hair care, and the differences between east coast and west coast bros. Sadly, there is no Tupac/Biggie type rivalry, because that would involve doing something.

In other words, it seems that the Bros are college kid slackers who are richer than us and prefer more mellow groovy sounds to accompany the consumption of cheap beer while watching Fight Club.

This time the late night has nothing to do with angsting or coughing and everything to do with having my ears blow out in a beautiful way. The last show I went to was Greg Dulli back in October, which sucked due to rock star antics and drunk groupie chicks and groping dudes, and not being able to leave because my friend I went with really had a good time.

I haven't gone out since then, finding that I don't want to deal with crowds alone. I've been so used to going out with other people in part due to them being the driver, but I'm finding more and more that I like flying solo and coming and going as it works for me. Usually I just don't end up going anywhere and end up holed up in my apartment with the paints and music, or slacking on someone's porch if I'm feeling social.

Having a free ticket and needing some catharsis and sonic therapy after a long week made me willing to venture to the other side of town where I got to blend into a crowd of introverted souls where I wasn't out of place with my longish hair and black hoodie, and found that the earplugs I picked up to try and be responsible with my hearing really shut out most of the sound, so I'm slightly more deaf but whatever. It was worth it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

brews before shrews

I am eternally grateful for the sustaining caffeination provided by my fellow peons on days like this with late nights and early mornings, the never-ending production of strange discourse that bemuses the masses, and the liquid brew in the now relicked Mug of Madness to wake me up and soothe my barking-seal-sounding throat, which has raised some concern as far as Her Majesty goes.

While I didn't get tickets in time to see Henry Rollins tonight, and despite being arty and barely creative not being much of a film festival person (I can't remember the last movie I saw in the theater, it's been years), but looking forward to seeing the cousins and other relatives where there will be the usual goodness that comes from music-playing, heated political/cultural discourse, and just being around each other. And, of course, cathartic and gorgeous music. Yay.

best of the blotter 39: blind dating rules, whiny kids, and birds

DISTURBANCE, SOUTHPARK CENTER: At 9:53 p.m. March 19, Houlihan’s restaurant reported having a problem with male customer refusing to pay his entire bill.

Apparently, the man had been on a blind date with a woman who insulted him and left the restaurant after eating her meal, but before the check arrived.

The man did not believe he should be required to pay for her meal, since this is not in the “blind dating rules.”

Police convinced the man to pay the bill in order to avoid being arrested, but he did not include a tip.

THEFT, ROYAL PORTRUSH DRIVE: A Solon man, 30, reported March 15 that sometime after Christmas, someone took his watch, an Audemars Piguet Las Vegas Strip Special edition, valued at $18,900. Details were sketchy, other than the watch had a black alligator strap with red stitching

An Aurora Road boy was charged and taken downtown March 16 after he was not allowed to go skateboarding because he had not taken out the garbage, then went anyway after a parent left the home briefly. He then returned with two friends and packed some personal belongings with plans to leave again, before a family member attempted to stop him.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, PRINCETON COURT: A woman called police March 19 to report that her 26-year-old son had become enraged when she discarded some marijuana she found in the home.

He threw a candle at her, injuring her arm. He left the house for a while, and upon his return home, he was arrested by police and taken to the station and charged with domestic violence. The mother put in a request for a temporary protection order.

ANIMAL COMPLAINT, IRENE ROAD: A man said March 19 a bird somehow got into his dishwasher, and he requested help removing it. The bird was removed.

ASSAULT, BAGLEY ROAD: A 49-year-old man sitting in a theater at Regal Cinema with a woman on March 19 was struck in the head by the woman’s husband, 53, of Olmsted Township.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the minutes drag and the hours jerk

Working late, working on a paper for class (hooray Google docs!), realizing that I haven't written a paper like this since I don't know when, not feeling terribly social, drinking cup after cup of lukewarm tea from the mug of madness. It's been decent and I got a lot of work done, am reading fluff for a change (Bangkok 8), and saw a kid who looks just like Bruce Lee, trying to avoid eye contact with the Unabomber.

I'm learning to perfect the blank stare, the way of looking without looking, trying to force my face into something that isn't a smile. It's easier when I'm tired and hungry and want to go home and don't want to talk when there's so much thinking and nothing worth saying.

scams, paint, punk

At least the nights of insomnia and angst could end in sleeping and waking up to sun and snow. Henry Rollins is unsurprisingly sold out, but a message in my spam folder says I have some rich and deceased distant cousin in Malaysia with the same last name as mine so I'll be fabulously wealthy once I give all of my personal information to "Barrister Eric Anthony Esquire" and not ask the logical questions as to why someone Kuala Lumpur would have a long Polack surname like my own.

Meanwhile, in my fair city, the Powers That Be are more concerned about spraypaint than police brutality, because heaven forbid that the police union gets offended. I might be a bit biased to be sure, but this is everything that is wrong with the world encapsulated, with property and wealth being treated as more important than human life, and it's always the voiceless and the vulnerable who are more likely to get screwed in this twisted calculus.

While I love the non-legal artistry of those who make my RTA ride colorful, I've got no love for taggers either, especially the tagbanging types in my neighborhood who've turned vibrant graffiti spots into some macho lameness. But it bothers me way more that whenever I've called 911 I've been blown off by the dispatcher, that people who aren't creative class crackers get beat up at worst or ignored at best, and I know there's probably decent people out there on the force who actually do care about the city, but I get more doubtful by the day because I haven't always seen it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

they don't know, I'd never do you any good...

Is it that the late nights bring the truth to the surface or like the shadows of innocuous angles exaggerated by the tricks of lowlight, make things seem more scary than they really are.

I'm wondering why I'm still awake and why I'm being so damn emotional and pissed off because that's all it is, saltwater and estrogen and it's 1am so things that aren't the end of the world totally seem like it.

call me crank

Frustration with rank incompetence is a constant struggle for yours truly, but thankfully the ratio of awesome fellow peons to those who give us a bad name is pretty stacked in favor of the former.

I've been deprived of my art-making sanctuary this week, and miss the visceralness of twisting wire and shaping clay greatly, but having a flash drive full of cathartic tuneage of the heavy variety, potential rockingness of some kind and cousins coming in this weekend, some cinematic greatness arriving from another bibliotheque, and fabulous department soiree leftovers of the fruit/veggies/swanky cheese have turned my surly mood into one that's a little less curmudgeonly. As lame as it sometimes gets, there's a lot of things in my life that are good and it could always be much much worse.

space monkeys, storms of the yeti, and major players if all the world's a stage...

The morning ritual of snark and caffeine consumption via homemade coffee mug of madness and access to the internets is the opiate for we peons of all credos or lack thereof. Where else can we make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn, especially with impending Vortexes of Doom and Iranian Flying Saucers shooting monkeys and worms into outer space that can also fly indoors? I know what I want for Christmas now.

As this is a by default Charlie Sheen-free zone, that doesn't stop me from being amused by other candidates for celebrity rehab, especially party-animal second stringers for a band that I never got into but that others dig. My brother in the struggle and slack has Won the Near Future by rebranding such alien abductions as Sammy Hagar Weekends because he's funnier than me. As said not-DLR-Van Halen dude contributed quite a bit to the previous version of the Evil Empire, someone might want to check his brain.

Meanwhile in world news, Muammar says there's something rotten in the state of Denmark though there's a whole lot of rotten going on in his neck of the woods and it makes me wonder what would have happened if he saved his massive egomania for community theater/made for teevee productions of Hamlet like this one with a pretty glamtastic ghost of Hamlet's dad.

Because we need a little faux intellectual-ness added to this discourse, no?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


There's more people than I'm used to here at the usual coffeeshop hangout, as I finish up my take-home quiz, drink ginger peach green tea, attempt to restructure the purgatorial novel along the lines of 'Dubliners,' scrawl feeble attempts at verse, and relish the solitude among texting teens, undergrads studying calculus, and a crew of middle-aged regulars.

It's nice to be somewhere where nobody knows your name but it's not unfriendly. The only person who's tried to talk to me was a bum who said I looked like a writer and tried to sell me a four-color pen in exchange for bus fare.

I keep thinking it's warmer than it is, not looking forward to going back outside because a thermal and a hoodie doesn't cut it yet. I don't want to go back out into the cold when it's so warm and golden in here, with the Christmas lights and the buzz of caffeine, the hum of indistinguishable conversation and muted music.

one more thing to put in line / one more thing to waste my time

So the economy of my state depends on the prison industry and people drinking themselves into oblivion or some combination thereof, we can't fund NPR but we can drop bombs in Libya, even though life is hard in the rust belt, it's way worse other places, and the family is suggesting strongly that I invest in a security system because I live in the almost-hood but what's the point if the cops don't come when you call anyway. Besides, given my clumsiness, I'm the kind of person that would trip the alarm on my own as it is.

I don't mean to sound so surly, but listening to powerpoint presentations of bureautechnocracy in all of its mind-numbing banality will do that. To think about all of these people who think they should know all your business, under the pretense that it's for your own good is spooky as anything, whether it's those who see us peons as expendable human resources or the general nanny-statism that has become the norm over the last decade.

I know that I participate in my own forms of escapism as much as those I deride for obsessing over the Kardashians or the last episode of whatever people are watching on TV, hence the nights spent honing artistic skills and writing my Chinese Democracy of an unfinished novel.

Ah well, I'll be going home to crash from the comedown of all the coffee I've drank, finish up that damn midterm, and try to retrieve my brain from the absurdity of modern life. And while this band really isn't all that good, this song is pretty awesome for those days when I just need some abstract angst and Butch Vig-produced power-chordness that sounds an awful lot like that guitar sound on 'Nevermind.'

Monday, March 21, 2011


I feel guilty taking sick time as I'm still not used to this whole idea of getting paid for a day of non-work but since I spent most of the weekend sleeping and coughing, and such perks are available to me, I took the day off to sleep, read, drink tea and make smoothies out of the leftover fruits and veggies in the fridge, dose on Dayquil, venture outside to pay off library fines and sundry miscellanea. I missed a midterm today, but it turns out it's a takehome one anyway. Hooray.

The sun and warmth was welcome today, but I find a strange comfort in the grey skies that are so familiar. It's been a good day to catch up with old friends on the phone even though I can barely speak and to listen to sweet sounds like this.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


A day that started with the yuppie looking at the condo across the street asking me about the hood, let to assorted radio station-ing, hanging out at the West Side Market, coffeeshop and other kinds of slacking of the good kind. And now after all that I have a sore throat (apologies to those with whom I've shared the fruit of the market), I'm out of it and not much fun, with a serious case of the writer's block and a sinkful of dishes needing to be washed, but fatigue makes cowards of us all, so to sleep perchance to dream it is...

Friday, March 18, 2011


The Supermoon of Doom doesn't look so strange as I come home, having been gone since 7 this morning... work, ceramics, my first City Music Experience, dinner and convo where we both started nodding off.

The church parking lot was full by the time I got to St. Ignatius, which I love because it reminds me of pictures I saw a kid of the Hagia Sofia, with its tall marble pillars, arabesque/romanesque flourishes, carved marble, the soaring of the ceilings as we found stray seats here and there on the pews.

It was unpretentious and packed with those of us who can't afford to go to Severance but like to get our culture on and this was a welcome stand-in. I like going to these kind of things by myself because I can get lost in the music but one of my friends who's a violinist and named her pets after composers found me and I joined her.

To watch someone perform a beautiful piece having mastered their instrument is something beyond words and I was spellbound, getting those shivers up my spine when I'm moved in ways impossible to explain, leaving me speechless and in awe that I had just seen and heard.

in my end is my beginning...

A couple hours more, and I will be making my way through a much more sane downtown that will be free of crazy kids and drunken ersatz Celts, to experiment with the alchemy of infinite shades of green glaze, catch some free classical music at the church up the street and improvise from there.

With the warmer nights ahead, I might peel the tape off my doors and the plastic from my windows and sit outside even if my balcony overlooks a parking lot full of trucks and a row of dilapidated houses.

Been on a huge Eliot kick. I wish I could write like this so badly... maybe someday, that attempt to articulate emotions and truths so deeply felt, without sentimentality or cliche which is my frustration with so much of my country's culture, especially among those who would say they believe. The references to Ecclesiastes, the observation of the continuing craziness of the world, renewal, unraveling, restoration, disintegration... so good.

(No. 2 of 'Four Quartets')

T.S. Eliot


In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.

In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
And the deep lane insists on the direction
Into the village, in the electric heat
Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.

In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.


What is the late November doing
With the disturbance of the spring
And creatures of the summer heat,
And snowdrops writhing under feet
And hollyhocks that aim too high
Red into grey and tumble down
Late roses filled with early snow?
Thunder rolled by the rolling stars
Simulates triumphal cars
Deployed in constellated wars
Scorpion fights against the Sun
Until the Sun and Moon go down
Comets weep and Leonids fly
Hunt the heavens and the plains
Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
The world to that destructive fire
Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.

That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us
Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

The houses are all gone under the sea.

The dancers are all gone under the hill.


O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.


The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.


So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

best of the blotter 38: being strange is not a crime

911 (MISCELLANEOUS), MITCHELL LANE: A woman whose March 3 emergency phone call concerning “a man walking around her house” was followed by muffled conversation and then a disconnection was called back and explained that she realized “it was the landscaper who cuts her grass.”

UFO, EASTERN BORDER OF AVON: Someone reported seeing three lights in “perfect diagonal shape” above the eastern border of the city on March 11. Upon further investigation, police said it appeared to be air traffic from the airport.

DISTURBANCE, GOLDEN GATE PLAZA: A woman called police March 13 after another woman threw a cup full of juice at her car and shouted obscenities at her while in the parking lot. She said the woman was mad at her because she had to wait in line behind her at Old Navy, while she had an involved return, which took time. Responding officers stopped the suspect on Interstate 271 and advised her of the consequences of her actions.

And in Strongsville...

Police were called to a Whitney Road apartment the morning of March 3 after an employee heard a woman screaming at her young child, asking "Do you want me to kill you?" and "I can't take this any more -- you're going to live with your father."

A report said the child, 2, was crying. Police spoke with the woman, who said she was yelling those things to her cat.

Employees at a Pearl Road bar called police about 11:10 p.m. March 7 about a man who was acting strange. Police spoke with the man, but said being strange is not a crime -- the man did not pose a threat to himself or others.

don't wait for the bang...

With the crazy that I saw yesterday, of angry drunks in large groups in a dying city, the machinations of many kinder gentler machine gun hands, our predator drones flying around south of the border, Denny K tried to get us out of Afghanistan and actually gives a damn about Bradley Manning and though we don't agree on other things I've got to give him mad props for being my congressman and not totally sucking, potential nuclear meltdown in Japan, nastiness as usual on the part of the usual trigger happy suspects, the Damoclean Sword of Austerity has spared me and my fellow peons for now but not most of the other things that make life in Ohio bearable, and now we're going into Libya as if we haven't learned our lesson from every single other stupid military excursion we've gone on.

Meanwhile, I look at the streets where the brick from who knows when is exposed from the potholes, watching innumerable deals going down on my way home, trying to avoid the drunks, knowing as the temperatures get warmer, the tempers get hotter and it's not that I live in fear, because I've hung out in every part of this city, but I'm always watching and I don't like what I see going on around the corner and around the world.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

the madding crowd

The place of employment was uncharacteristically quiet, with the occasional drunk, and a few bored conspiracy theorists. I should've taken the day off to spend it outside, since it was beautiful when I got out, and since the buses were backed up, me and one of my coworkers started walking downtown, encountering an increasing amount of drunks in various shades of green and varying states of wastedness.

I'm already feeling like I'm getting old even if my boomer overlords party harder than I do. I was glad I had someone with me who's also a fast walker so we could get past the stumblers and stragglers as bottles rolled past us from patios and the noise was deafening. Everyone looked half dead with their faces streaked in green paint and their red eyes. "It's like zombies," she says, "we've just got to get past them to get home and not make eye contact."

We got to the square and it was total chaos, and it was clear that something had gone down but we couldn't tell what. There was this tension in the air, the way that everyone was acting, I've never seen so many cops, so many cruisers and paddy wagons and after spending the afternoon reading about the Balkans and being jittery about massive displays of authority and the mentality of large drunken crowds it made me a little more than nervous but some weird survival instinct kicks in and I just move faster.

I couldn't process it completely, everything going on around us. The sound of yelling and sirens everywhere, masses of people swirling, cops in various states of uniform, cars trying to cut across, people getting belligerent, gang colors standing out from the green (like no one's gonna notice you head to toe in red if everyone else is themed different), new black panther types in berets and combat boots, way too many people looking for trouble in one place and we not-garishly clad white girls were able to dash across the street before the light changed, only to encounter more cops telling us that Tower City was closed and we had to go around past drunk girls crying on the phone, kids hanging out looking pissed off and menacing.

The entrance from the back was strangely quiet but when we got down to the platform it was cordoned off with what looked like bike racks and there were more cops in bulletproof gear with DHS prominently displayed, as drunk kids in Iron Maiden t-shirts who'd written "F--k Cops" on their knuckles with markers told us about how drunk they were and how awesome all this was.

People were standing around, trying to figure out which way to go, a girl was drinking a Budweiser on the platform and we caught the first train out which smelled like beer and weed as the bros who must never ever ride public transit ever were like "Dude! We're on a big bridge!" and were hitting on Puerto Rican chicks and calling people honkeys which was bearable and almost hilarious because this was more expected and I only had about five minutes before I'd get off at my stop. I was still so tense when I got to my stop and finally chilled out with the aid of tunes in the car and the weather being totally gorgeous.

So I get to my parents' and it's chill, and I'm home now, drinking tea and listening to Trees (yay for left-field Brit folkies) reading about what was about three hours of brawling and such in the square, which must have been what was going down when we were trying to get through.

Oh Cleveland.

suburban thrashers, awkward girls, and sexy huntresses

So I really wonder who responds to Craigslist personal ads. I really do.

When I worked at the Cleveland Zoo, I sold tickets to a family that we snarky kids working referred to as "The NRA Family" because their blond and blue-eyed children all had camouflage baseball caps saying "Daddy's Little Hunter" and they all had toy guns like they were going to go and hunt big game. The youngest was about three, and had his sippy cup in one hand and a toy rifle sticking out of his little backpack.

The following missed connection is the more estrogen driven model.

Sexy Huntress Baron's Supply - m4w - 31 (Lorain)
Date: 2011-02-26, 11:29PM EST
Reply To This Post

We met at Baron's today around 2 or 3 pm. We both had our two daughters with us. It was so cute when your little girl asked for a pink and purple crossbow. I am kicking myself for not asking you out for coffee or dinner or something. I was wearing sunglasses a peacoat and my boots jingle when I walk. You are so sexy and beautiful. I regret not talking to you more. you brought a shotgun there. Please if by some chance you read this contact me.

When super rich people end up looking for love and hot women with sports cars.

Porsche carrera "mean biz" - m4w - 29 (turnpike i 77 booths)
Date: 2011-03-08, 8:21AM EST
Reply To This Post

You were coming off the turnpike as I was getting on, you're a beautiful and obviously succesfull woman with fantastic taste in cars. I'm from Europe but I live in Akron Canton area. I drive a sports car myself so if you ever want to go riding, would be tons of fun. Anyway I hope you or a friend of yours reads this. Would love to hear from you. Love the license plate btw ;) send me the color of your car so I know it's you.

Now this next one hits me the wrong way probably because I've known too many of the male species like this who play the 'average guy' card but look down on people who don't have the same sophisticated taste. Because really, it's not like these things are so unique. If you're white and have a liberal arts degree, you probably like all this stuff too and if you live in Cleveland you might be reading this blog. So if I've totally misconstrued you, I'm sorry Dude.

It is true that I am an introverted chica who has some interest in most of the below (I've never been to the Cinematheque), but I'd resent being referred to as awkward, which is almost as bad as getting hit on with the line "You seem like you read a lot." Ya think?

Also, having worked in multiple bibliotheques in the course of my life, I can agree that a Greater Access card is amazing but it is hardly grounds for finding a soulmate. There's lots of freaks with library cards.

Any awkward girls that like going to thrift stores? - m4w - 28 (Westside)
Date: 2011-03-09, 7:00PM EST
Reply To This Post

I’m looking to meet an awkward, shy girl who enjoys similar interests, such as going to thrift stores, exploring small forgotten towns and watching movies at the Cinematheque. Being a card holding member of either the Cuyahoga County or Cleveland Public Library would be amazing.

I’m average height, average job, average car, and average mind. I enjoy the metroparks, reruns of Madmen/Leave it to Beaver, college radio, and when in Parma Heights, dining at fine restaurants such as The Whip and Udupi CafĂ©.

If you have kids or listen to WGAR, no thanks.

To exchange emails, please put the name of a thrift store you like in the subject line so I know it’s not spam.

And this last one is for the one and only Randal, as it mentions Darkthrone four times and confirms the hypothesis that there will always be a disaffected segment of The Kids that gravitates toward loud and fast rock and/or roll.

In Parma, we were lucky enough to have kindred who also existed on the margins, though it seems like this kid's having a hard time finding other likeminded souls. It must suck in Avon Lake.

metal punk death squad - 18 (avon lake)
Date: 2011-03-12, 8:47PM EST
Reply To This Post

venom, hellhammer, bathory, motorhead, onslaught, sacrilege, bulldozer, dishammer, children of technology, sodom, kreator, destruction, slayer, anthrax, overkill, nuclear assault, agent steel, puke, discharge, black flag, anti cimex, judas priest, black sabbath, electric wizard, toxic holocaust, razor, slaughter (can), acid witch, apokalyptic raids, sepultura, sarcofago, vulcano, entombed, inquisition, autopsy, dismember, grave, black sabbath, candlemass, celtic frost, repulsion, terrorizer, carcass, iron maiden, midnight, nunslaughter, crucified mortals, DARKTHRONE, DARKTHRONE, DARKTHRONE, DARKTHRONE

leather jackets, studs, back patches, spikes, combat boots, no corpse paint


am i alone?

No kid, you're not alone, you just need to move to a cheap apartment in Lakewood and hang out at My Mind's Eye more. It'll make you happy even if you're into NO FUN.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

seeing green

Did you know almost half the girls in Cleveland are half Irish, half Polish? That is a fact I made up just now. - Bridget's right it seems.

Like many of my generation and possibly the previous, many of our parents were no longer obligated to marry within ethnicity, as the common bond of Catholicism tended to be sufficient, and we were mostly potato-eating peasant stock anyway on either side anyway, with some sense of diluted and abstract ethnicity.

I don't identify strongly with either side, as my parents and grandparents have little in the way of nationalistic tendencies, though I've evidently got rabble-rousers of the Easter Rising variety from way back when. I don't do much for St. Patrick's Day because while I enjoy infrequent libations, I don't drink in large quantities and can't stand large masses of drunk people. I don't like most bars. I think corned beef is gross, never tell anyone to "Erin Go Bragh" and the caricature of Irish culture gets to be a bit much.

It was bad enough in grade school doing fake stepdancing in music class or having your first grade teacher suggest adding "O'" or "Mc" to the front of your last name which looks really stupid when you've got a long certain ethnic surname like mine.

I dig the poetry and art, and the mythology and the music, but not on March 17th. Some people I know are way into the whole Irish festival thing and seeing these sucky local bands that sound great when you've chugged too much Guinness but having a fiddler in your group doesn't make it more authentic, and IRA t-shirts are not cool.

Still, despite my previous paragraphs, this is the best Deep Purple tribute act turned 70's punk band ever. I think one of the reasons why "The Kids" go back to the early punk acts has to do with some sense of relevance to the current situation paired with anger and power chords.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

on the street where nobody lives

I was in frustrated with the world mode this morning, finding catharsis in songs about the messed-up-ness of the world and those who run it, jittery Reagan-era post-punk, third world protest singers, apocalyptic roots reggae, played requests for midwest 80's three-chord goodness dedicated to a Cleveland punk rock mainstay that I was too young to have known.

"Sometimes I just wish the world would stop", someone said to me this morning, and I sometimes wish I could wake up without hearing about some crazy disaster made by nature or humans here or there or somewhere.

I was so sick of staring at a computer screen yesterday but recovered quickly upon coming home and changing clothes and running back out to play with enamel, digging into the cupboard and discovering copper wire used for cloisonne, fascinated by the process of melting, removing glowing gold red-hot metal from the kiln, twisting the wire into swirls with a pair of pliers as the copper discs cool, learning that I have so much at my disposal, everything except a forge to do small-level metalwork to make things. Mondays have become days I look forward to for this alone.

I always wanted to go to art school, but what some mistook for raw talent was really well-intentioned mediocrity and enthusiasm, and I didn't have the funds to buy my way in. I worked hard to be average, to get B's to correspond with my A's in all things writing, meanwhile admiring the work of others for whom creation seemed effortless. I'm finally getting where I want to be, and thankfully in a place where I don't have to worry about student loans or costly materials (thanks City of Cleveland in a totally non-sarcastic way) to keep on learning.

I've started sketching out ideas, working old aesthetics into new things, enthralled with the alchemy of colored powders of lead and glass with names like "garnet," "delft," and "amulet," that the luminescent hues that I fell in love with going through the part of the museum where all the old stuff is, is something that I can make my own.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

not much daylight to save...

It still feels like it gets dark early, making dinner and drinking green tea with an old friend from way back who looks like she could be my twin, as we attempt Thai food greatness and ponder earthquakes and the male species and laugh at the absurdity of life.

She teaches music in a small inner city school where some of the kids I used to work with go, and the ones who were struggling the most, who lost their dad to suicide after he beat their mom up so bad he thought he killed her, are her best kids, and they're doing really well and her best students on violin.

I got another phone call from an old friend, but that time in life was so long ago, and I don't know what he wants or even really who he is anymore. We started growing apart awhile ago, when I found myself distrusting his friends for reasons that I couldn't explain but could confirm when a month later one of them shot someone over a heroin deal gone bad.

The last time we talked I was on probation due to my poor judgment in artistic misadventures and he had a few warrants out from several different states for various hippie kid offenses, and I was already overwhelmed with the domestic drama and life in general and never did call him back. It's weird to hang out with someone one-on-one when all of your interactions were in the context of a large interconnected group including siblings and now in-laws almost a decade ago and now I'm much more skittish about a lot of things.

So no, I just don't know, and I don't want to go out anywhere for someone's birthday, and I'll leave my phone on vibrate and listen to soothing sounds of harp music composed a thousand years ago and chants for masses at the end of the first millennium, thinking about how close the end of the world always seems to be, and rework my dud of a lino block into something beautiful.

I find that I don't feel the need for constant companionship, that I am content in punctuated solitude, satisfied by the presence of the divine, finding meaning in ancient truths and timeless words, continually making and remaking art.

I can't process the massive amount of suffering from power-mad despots and tsunamis that stretch from one end of the Pacific to another. My life is finally resembling something like calmness compared to the chaos of last year and the year before, but things can change so quickly. One of my dear friends from my Kent days, with whom I giggled in haiku class and hung out with at parties where we drank tea instead of alcohol and danced to Queen is in Japan right now. I'm so glad she's ok.

I keep on living, knowing that there is so much I just don't understand, and that as hard I try, I'll never be able to wrap my head around it completely... I wonder why I try.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

rivers and trees

Home and drowsy, looking forward to longer days and walks to the lake.

It was a day of movement, of driving to the hometown for coffee with my mom and sister, checking up on my great uncle because he hadn't answered the phone and we wanted to be sure he was still alive.

Randal will be pleased to know that not all the suburban crackers think they're pretty fly for a white guy as the radio of the couple riding the bright yellow rice rocket turning the corner on Renwood was distinctly blaring (in a manner most tinny), the sounds of vintage Black Sabbath.

Me and my friend and her dog went out and wandered in the woods of Tinker's Creek, where neither of us anticipated the wetness of flooded riverbanks and melted snow, but we pressed on through the muck, working our way through mud and melting snow and drooping trees feeling like it was Narnia when the weather stopped being always winter and never Christmas. The river was swollen and brown and smelled lovely "even though it's probably sewage" as she says, but the power of the water rushing over rocks, wearing down the sides of cliffs and the lichen covered walls.

Up on top of the steep hills was a plan punctuated by trees, of water half frozen, pools like voids in the snow, stark profiles of trees and wild grass, fire hydrants, concrete slabs from homes never built, now reclaimed as wetland.

It feels like something of a Bradbury novel, a future where civilization has been wiped clean, with only remnants of a past that look arcane in the wildness, as we step from one clump of grass to another, looking for paths back down into the ravine that dead end and we let the dog run down the hill as we feel our way from tree branch to tree branch, root to root, seeking ground that won't give way as we make our way down the hill.

We walk along the river, our feet cold and clothes dirty, but full of celebration at the thaw, at the stark beauty of empty trees and the endless shades of brown and gray like the rust and stone of our city.

I'm reminded of this part of the Four Quartets that is more beautiful than anything that will ever come from my hand.

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god - sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
The only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities - ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons, and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.
His rhythm was present in the nursery bedroom,
In the rank ailanthus of the April dooryard,
In the smell of grapes on the autumn table,
And the evening circle in the winter gaslight.

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land's edge also, the granite,
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale's backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.
The salt is on the briar rose,
The fog is in the fir trees.
The sea howl
And the sea yelp, are different voices
Often together heard: the whine in the rigging,
The menace and caress of wave that breaks on water,
The distant rote in the granite teeth,
And the wailing warning form the approaching headland
Are all sea voices, and the heaving groaner
Rounded homewards, and the seagull:
And under the oppression of the silent fog
The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future,
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
Whem time stops and time is never ending;
And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning,
The bell.

Friday, March 11, 2011

blood and coffee.

Having received a snow day call from the place of employment and the heat having been fixed, it was lovely to have a day at home to get things done and also do some superb slacking of the drink tea on the couch wrapped in blankets, listening to shoegaze, and reading.

I picked up 'The Tale of Genji' awhile back but didn't get through the first section, but this translation I got from the library last night is way better and I'm enjoying it so far, with its depth of detail, the inner life of the characters, and a culture and time period that I know little about make for good reading. It's over a thousand pages long so there's a lot to transpire.

Also started carving some wood blocks too, but I sliced my finger with the v-gouge and realized that I had no bandages in the house and that paper towels really don't do a good job. So after helping my downstairs neighbor shovel us out, I went up to the drugstore to get some.

I didn't realize I was still bleeding until I was standing line and all these tough guys behind me were like "Dang somebody got fucked up in here look at all that blood man" and then I look down and there's a trail of it around the store and big drops of it all around me. It's still pouring out and everyone is looking at me weird. "That's from YOU? You been playing with knives again or what?"

The lady there gave me another paper towel, and a customer card that I'm supposed to bring back but I am now That Girl with the Bleeding Finger All Over Rite Aid and I'll probably go to the Walgreens on Clark now instead. I bandaged it up in the car since one of the side benefits of being a former art student is that I'm damn good at DIY first aid after unfortunate incidents with etching acid and utility knives.

I've migrated to my favorite coffeeshop to do some writing before meeting up at the art center for creating and then dinner. The music is the Amelie soundtrack, the coffee is good (can I go a day without coffee? Yes, but not well), and I've done some revising and an extra page of writing so I'm not feeling too badly, and I'm snarking with the good Lady Pebbles Montoya (an old friend of the family from way back when and also a should-be-more-famous personage on the Internet) about what the Jane Austen Fight Club would involve.

I never thought I'd get snow days as a grown up but these are beautiful things.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

best of the blotter 37: bar fights, old men, and mummies

ASSAULT, PEARL ROAD: A 40-year-old Medina man reported being attacked by two unknown men outside Wingz Sports Grill between 12:15 a.m. and 12:45 a.m. Feb. 21. The men reportedly were angry with the victim's jukebox selection.

CIVIL MATTER, RACCOON COURT: At 1:21 March 1, a father told police that he had given his son a $4,000 Rolex watch and a $2,000 diamond rings as gifts.

The son was dancing on a table in Akron and it broke. The table must have been an expensive one because the son then gave the jewelry as collateral for the damage.

The son then went to his father for the $300 to pay for the table, but the father would not give him the money.

Police advised that the issue is a civil matter between the son and the owner of the table.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, ROYALTON ROAD: A 22-year-old female was the recipient of unwanted advances from a 71-year-old man at the Walter F. Ehrnfelt Recreation Center.

Police were told at 9:28 a.m. March 4 that the man started talking to the woman as he was entering the center, and asked her out.

He then allegedly told the woman that her fiance was probably cheating on her, and that she should go out with him.

Police spoke with the man, and advised him that he will be banned from the center should problems persist.

SIMPLE ASSAULT, YORK ROAD: On Mar. 2 at 10:36 p.m., two males were reported to have been punching cars in the parking lot at Pounders Bar and Grill. They also assaulted another patron, then left in a black Chevrolet Cobalt toward the police station. The vehicle was located and stopped, but no one at Pounders wanted to prosecute. Police were unsure if vehicles were damaged. The bartender did not want the subjects to return.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, BAY LANDINGS DRIVE: Residents reported another sighting of a person dressed as a mummy, smoking in a vehicle parked on Bay Landings Drive about 2:42 a.m. on March 30. Police responded to a similar report last week, but were unable to locate the suspicious character. Again this time, the mummy had vanished by the time officers responded to the scene.

the widening gap

I remember when phrases involving gaps regarding generations and haves and have-nots seemed like theoreticals discussed in Sociology 101 classes but more and more I'm seeing the way that these dynamics play out in a dying city where the ones who can afford to get out flee like rats off a sinking ship and the politicians still manage to get theirs for theirs and tell the rest of us to keep being nice and paying our taxes and our union dues because we don't really have a choice.

I live a simple life and don't ask for much, and I know I could get by all right, having ample networks in the way of support (family, church, friends), and I keep on going knowing that the future looks more and more bleak.

I just have to laugh when I listen to the foolish and selfish talk of those older than me who live a life of ease and self-centeredness who can't see beyond their own generational myopia because they make twice what I do and have nothing to worry about but maintaining the status quo while still trying to fight the system.

It's "those other people who tax our social services" not him and his fat public pension that I'm paying for. I blame the Republicans and Dems equally because the former have run the country into the ground, and the latter have continued to do so, not to mention having run my city into the ground and have bled us dry.

"We paid into this system and so we get what we're entitled to. You young people seem to think that you deserve everything handed to you. They paid into it for us and now it's your turn to do the same."

And then the talk about revolution which is a fashion statement to the Woodstock generation and its ideological whitewashing descendants who brag about their favorite whiskey and cool clothes as opposed to being musicians who often lost everything for speaking out against corrupt systems.

To which I say that you wouldn't like it because it'd keep you from watching sports and going to gamble at the casino that will only contribute more misery to those who don't live in the swanky cracker burbs. You're just as tone deaf as the neocons you rail against.

There's no point in trying to explain that everything is screwed because everyone's so obsessed with their own comfort that they don't think about how their decisions affect anybody else. No one they know is living paycheck to paycheck, they'll be totally fine when the bottom drops out for the rest of us.

Up in the morning and out to school
Mother says there'll be no work next year
Qualifications once the Golden Rule
Are now just pieces of paper

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

If you look the part you'll get the job
In last year's trousers and your old school shoes
The truth is son, it's a buyer's market
They can afford to pick and choose

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because I dress like this
Doesn't mean I'm a communist

The factories are closing and the army's full
I don't know what I'm going to do
But I've come to see in the Land of the Free
There's only a future for the chosen few

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

At twenty one you're on to of the scrapheap
At sixteen you were top of the class
All they taught you at school
Was how to be a good worker
The system has failed you, don't fail yourself

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

an attractively packaged bad idea

Dear Chris Cornell,

I've expressed dismay before, I'm assuming I'm in your target demographic as an aging late-to-the-party lover of most things rock-and/or roll, and my blue-collar Clevelandtown roots mean that I don't have any qualms of hipsterdom in admitting that I love overwrought 90's kings of angst/substance abuse and was once so enamored with downtuned guitars that I probably have freshman year mixtapes with the likes of Creed and Days of the New (statute of limitations, dear readers! A decade ago, it was either this or Limp Bizkit on the radio, and I had yet to discover college radio and more subculturally acceptable/superior sounds).

I still like the big Seattle bands, but those last two Soundgarden records were pretty damn amazing, with enough heaviness and intricate minor key melodies to warm my Led Zeppelin-loving soul. Your solo record was overwhelming but that's because there was no Kim Thayil. I think a few of us tried to like Audioslave despite the name, but it was really boring and never got as rifftastic as it could've. And then as if genericness wasn't bad enough, you hooked up with Timbaland and became the creepy old cracker at the club.

Since anyone with any sense can see the huge amount of suck here, though in your interview with spin you think this is some of the best work you've ever done, you're cashing in on the filthy lucre and nostalgia tripping to get the old band back together.

As far as I know, nobody in your band is dead, but I have a feeling that I'm not going to be pleasantly surprised as I was when Alice in Chains got a new singer and put out something that was pretty good. Heck, even snakedancing Scott Weiland has embarrassed himself less than you and still put out a record with some actual guitar and songwriting instead of singing about bitches at the club.

Guess it keeps me from getting nostalgic for the nonexistent golden years.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ash wednesday

Ashes to ashes, friends, and despite my theoretical love of liturgical time, I went to sleep at 9pm last night, and didn't get ash on my forehead. I didn't have time in all honesty today, and I feel guilty at the thought of going to get a cross of black smeared on my forehead and then not taking communion.

I was frustrated with much of humanity today, be they punkass undergrads or boomer overlords, hypocritical powers that be, posturing rockstars that only talk about revolution when they know it's safe to when they have nothing to lose and look good doing it, but it's not like any of them know or care what I think so why do I bother getting pissy?

But I attempted pad thai tonight for my fellow musicians and it came out beautifully. I can't find my way around the Vietnamese grocery store near me in search of tamarind paste, and whatever I got was whole tamarinds so I had to strain out all the rinds and seeds and the fish sauce smells so bad but when it cooks down with everything else, it turns into something amazing.

I turned my heat off the past couple days because I thought it'd get warmer and I haven't been home but now snow is on its way and now it won't kick on so it's a bit nippy but we were wrapped in blankets around my dining room table laughing and planning the next couple months of music, sorting through old songs and discarding them based on cheesiness, not being able to sing them, or not being relevant to Sunday morning. "so why is 'God bless America in here anyway? Sure it says God but it's not really about Him...""

It's cold but the dishes are done and I can blow out the candles, dive under the pile of blankets and hope it doesn't freeze too badly in here, read the gorgeous words of Eliot, and ponder...

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

it's like Ohio, but even moreso...

Last night, over injera and fruity non-alky Lebanese beer, we spread out maps and plotted out train lines and potential destinations in between talking politics and work absurdity. I can't complain about public transit here nearly so much as it costs twice as much out there, but since we both like to walk and are adventurous improvisational souls, I'm sure we'll keep it interesting.

If any of you Boston-ish people know of cheap food and good places to go for two Ohio chicas whose current plans include general turista-ness with potential excursions to Chinatown and Salem, I'd be much obliged.

Being on probation last summer was frustrating as anything because even though I never go anywhere, knowing that if I got caught leaving the state, I'd be

Also, I was alerted to this place which sounds totally amazing on the level of PedroLand. Much of it got burned down, but I totally want a t-shirt with this on there.

From the good people at Coilhouse:

The exploits of George Daynor read like the synopsis of a Coen Brothers flick. As the story goes, Daynor was a former gold prospector who’d lost his fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929. Hitchhiking through Alaska, he was visited by an angel who told him to make his way to New Jersey without further delay. Divine providence had dictated that Daynor was to wait out the Great Depression there, building a castle with his bare hands.

Daynor had only four dollars in his pocket when he arrived in Vineland, NJ. He used the money to buy three swampy acres of land that had once been a car junkyard. For years he slept in an abandoned car on the mosquito-infested property, living off a steady diet of frogs, fish and squirrels while he built his elaborate eighteen-spired, pastel-hued Palace of Depression out of auto parts and mud. His primary objective? To encourage his downtrodden countrymen to hold onto their hope and stay resourceful, no matter what. Daynor opened his homemade castle to the public on Christmas Day, 1932, free of charge (he started charging an entrance fee after someone made fun of his beard), and proved an enthusiastic, albeit eccentric tour guide...

Daynor held back his wild red hair with bobby pins, wore lipstick and rouge, and enjoyed dressing alternately as a prospector or a Victorian dandy. Legend has it he kept his common-law wife, Florence Daynor, locked up in one of the Palace’s subterranean chambers during visiting hours. He offered his “living brain” to the Smithsonian for experiments (they declined). His Palace of Depression, a.k.a The Strangest House In the World, quickly became a popular tourist destination for folks on their way to Atlantic City.

I have a geographic crush on the state with the most toxic waste dumps in the nation, due to childhood memories of being at the Shore, which had less to do with Snooki and everything to do with spending mornings walking with my mom and watching the sunrise, swimming and building sandcastles, ice cream every night, riding bikes to the library for Nancy Drew novels, and watching the dolphins from the balcony, running down the beach in the darkness with my cousins.

It didn't occur to me that we were looked on with some degree of condescending pity by our hosts, who felt sorry for my mom losing a baby and wanted to give us underprivileged kids a holiday by the sea. My other NJ memories mostly involve driving to Trenton and noticing that if there weren't fields, there were porno stores everywhere and sometimes cars next to us would see our out of state plates and would turn up their car stereos so the subwoofers would make our car shake to see if they could weird out these Ohio crackers.

But anyway, I want to pay a visit to the remains of the Palace of Depression, and was recommended several other sites by sundry people whose suggestions are usually good, as this state also includes Asbury Park, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash and Ocean Grove.

In the meantime, if I don't get out of Ohio this year, I need to make good on my road trip plans with my usual partner in random adventures and get to some weirdness in my own home state like the Prehistoric Village, the fake "Indian Caverns," and Loveland Castle.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Currently on a search for a hard copy of 'Turkish Superman,' given a good lead by a comm prof who teaches film classes, and hoping that the b-movie underworld grants me this. I own maybe three DVDs, not counting the copy of U2's 'Rattle and Hum' that my friend's cat peed on.

This whole movie is on Youtube, with the greatest subtitles ever that include threats of both bisecting and incubation.

If such efforts fail, at least I was able to rip a copy of the Selda reissue that I found up the station. If the rest of it is anything like this slice of sonic amazingness, I will be somewhat consoled.

Otherwise, it's the unofficial Certain Ethnic Holiday involving paczki donuts of amazingness that go very well with strong black coffee, since in these climes it's too cold to really do Carnaval. My friend's Ethiopian roomie is making dinner for us tonight and then I'll probably come home and watch 'Black Orpheus,' and attempt pad thai goodness and possible creative writing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

mummies and madness

So we've been massively entertained by the absurdity of English Pravda, with its lurid reports of Yeti femme fatales seducing "Caucasian Men," the space aliens ritually sacrificing our cattle in the great Intergalactic Slaughterhouse In the Sky, and this item which would be worthy of many world leaders right now who are in the hot seat but doubtless still want immortality.

Our favorite commie tabloid with tells us that mummification is the new cryogenics, so I hope Hosni Moobie, Pooty Poot, Silvio, and Mr. Muammar, are paying attention.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

stillness for now

I've been everywhere this weekend yet I finally feel less exhausted, restored by art-and-dinner-talking-past-midnight, new tuneage from the library, good hanging out at a birthday party cut short by duty calling at the radio station where I definitely kept it rocking in the free world, though I told the guy who called up and requested the Doors that he could see if Michael Stanley would play "Texas Radio and the Big Beat" for him since I had goodness by way of latter day glorious noise to get to.

playlist half recalled:

Ataxia - The Sides
Afghan Whigs - Beware
Kyuss - 50 Million Year Trip
Kylesa - Spiral Shadow
Sleater Kinney - Steep Air
Sonic Youth - Purr
The Bellrays - Stone Rain
Bad Brains - House of Suffering
Fugazi - By you
Throwing Muses - Pandora's Box
Isis - In Fiction
Hoover - Route 7
Ameseours - Faux Semblants
Les Discrets - Svpijagr & Freya
Mira - Space is my middle name
the Dead Weather - I can't hear you
Mark Lanegan & PJ Harvey - Hit the City
Mudhoney - Hate the Police
MC5 - I want you right now
The Stooges - 1970
Soundgarden - Overfloater
Jesus & Mary Chain - Snakedriver
Jawbox - green glass

It's another coffeeshop night, and even after a mug of tea and a mocha, I'm not feeling inspired enough to do anything epic even though I'm doing everything I can to get into writing mode. I did work through a few designs in an old how-to-doodle-your-own Celtic knotwork book I got from the library and scribble some poetry so it hasn't all been for nothing. Sometimes it's just good to get out.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Drinking Royal Tea doesn't make me nostalgic for the dacha and the Russian countryside as I come from a long line of peons who've had most big decisions in life made for them, but in a few minutes I'll be running to catch the bus home to change into my oh-so-comfy weekend garb to pick up some of the projects I've been working on, celebrate sundry birthdays and hopefully do some writing in between a fill-in Saturday night slot where I won't be playing exclusive stoner rock but will at least keep it noisy and distortion drenched, and checking up on the sick kitty.

More Alice in honor of artistic projects and absurdity.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

since I didn't get my existential convos this week and am working late instead...

I find it amusing when those outside of evangelical circles like to generalize about an entire group in ways that are about as absurd as saying that Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan or Oprah speak for "the black community" or put-your-favorite-talking-head here speaking about their pet topic.

Immerse yourself in any subculture, whether it's musical or religious or whatever, and there are infinite permutations and variations and raging debates on what is true and good and what sucks and is totally ridiculous.

As far as serious issues go in the taboo topics of politics, sex, and religion, I am more willing to argue about religion than other things because I think that this kind of stuff actually matters in the great scheme of things as far as eternity goes, and as far as application to one's daily life in the meantime.

On the other hand, I don't really like to have these arguments because I don't believe that any of us mere mortals really get it half the time. There are certain things that I hold to, that I gauge the truth based on as far as I can tell. Any time anyone starts talking about "a new way of" this or that or anything resembling a "bright new future", I'm expecting a whole lot of bullshit platitudes coming my way.

So often we make God into our own image, assigning preferable personality traits and occasionally a skin color, political party, and language to fit the way we see the world, whether it's in a hellfire-and-brimstone-way or a Buddy Christ motivational booster kind of figure who just wants everybody to be happy and get along.

Anyways, Rob Bell has a new book coming out where he's talking about heaven and hell and not in a way that has anything to do with Dio and the inevitable evangelical subcultural debates have begun on whether or not he's keeping it real or something.

Most of you my dear readers (possibly all except for maybe one or two) may not realize that evangelicals are not all clones of Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin. Evangelical is if anything a catchall term for those who are not in mainline Protestant denoms or Eastern Orthodox or Catholic, and even then, there's occasional overlap. People take this stuff seriously and occasionally aren't friends anymore over hair-splitting doctrinal differences (I don't think that's a good thing, but more on that another time).

The book hasn't come out, so no one's read it yet, kind of like all the people who freaked out about Dogma but hadn't actually watched it. Having seen a few of Bell's videos and whatnot, I'm not a huge fan and while a lot of it sounds nice and looks pretty, it lacks a theological depth and seems to be more of an emotional and aesthetic appeal that looks deeper than it really is.

This is somewhat my issue with the whole Hipster Christianity thing because what looks all cool and edgy and relevant right now is going to look like Stryper 20 years from now if it doesn't already. And when I get mailings from these churches that talk about how they're relevant to me as a creative cynical questioning 20-something who doesn't feel like they fit in with the prevailing culture, I feel pandered to and I don't like feeling pandered to.

I don't pick who I worship with because the building looks cool or we all listen to U2 or there's candles or something. I like that they're not all earnest indie kids and that I find a commonality in God with people that I couldn't be more different from. I like that we're not all the same age and from the same walks of life and that it's scruffy and honest.

Not to sound like a bitter old record store clerk still mad that their favorite underground band got signed to a major and is played on commercial radio, but faith isn't supposed to be cool. And yet, I look at these articles and see myself there in a way that I assume is unconscious and accidental in an "oh snap" kind of way because I do love the writing of Flannery O'Connor and the music of U2 and try to give a damn in an "I want to do something good and right because it bothers the hell of out me that things are so bad" kind of way.

I understand my generation's disdain for poofy haired televangelists and the culture wars still fought by our parents, but there's just as much smug self-righteousness and keeping up appearances that becomes just as much a bubble with its own lines to tow, whether it's trendy and good intentioned causes that everyone thinks is bad (sex trafficking and genocide are generally non-controversial in this way) so that no boats are rocked and a cachet of cool is still maintained.

I get emotion and aesthetic appeal, but essence of what I believe is distilled down to "Love the Lord your God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself." I suck at both of these, but this is what I try to base my life on, to know and learn and love and try not to be a jerk, which is hard, because being a jerk is so easy and sometimes way too fun to do.

And what bothers me that is that the whole "mind" aspect of this equation gets checked in at the door more often than it should, both in hardcore fundamentalist circles and just as much among the more emergent types, when dissent can lead to accusations of "well you're not really a Christian" or "you obviously hate everyone especially poor people and are totally judgmental."

I've been told I was the former, because I didn't dress right, listen to the wrong music, and cuss when I get mad, and described as the latter because I do believe in structure and creed and not in the bright and shining hope of People Who Can Change the World Because They're So Nice and Awesome and Well-Intentioned. I know that they don't know me, that only God knows me better than I know myself, and the more I live, the more I realize how much about me needs to change.

It bothers me to see so much tied to "how this makes me feel" or "this is what I want to hear" or "this is what I want to believe." I'm probably guilty of this too, because I tend to tune out the talking heads and the drivel with every fiber in my being. These conversations are not conducive to facebook walls or message boards and as with anything that can get emotional or misconstrued, I always prefer face-to-face, preferably over dinner or coffee. Even then, sometimes it still gets dramatic.

Because who of us has all the answers or can comprehend these things? It's not that we don't try but we've had a couple millenia now and there will still be thinks that will be seen through a glass darkly. I know that I'm not always consistent and usually not content to just live and let live. It bothers me that there is so much that I just don't understand, and so much more to learn, and that I can't get complacent even if I wanted to because my mind is always working and my heart is always bleeding and my soul is always yearning.

I feel like the little kid in O'Connor's short story "Temple of the Holy Ghost" who makes fun of her ditzy Catholic schoolgirl cousins, the boys in the neighborhood who are going to be Church of God ministers because "You don't have to know nothing to be one," who's asking God to help her not be so snarky, who probably could never a saint but might be an ok martyr "if they killed her quick."