Monday, October 31, 2011

GETTING READY TO TRAVEL?

If you love to travel, you likely get a rush from the anticipation of going somewhere completely different; submerging yourself in a culture opposite to your own. The thought of leaving behind the world and life you know and entering into another world--And, the moment you step on the plane, you feel free! Off you go high into the sky, ground disappears, and you're on your way!

You may takes weeks preparing for your journey by closing on such tasks such as finding someone to watch the house, your pet, gather your mail, or run various errands. The most fun part of the trip may involve selecting the kinds of useful things you may want to bring. Clothing, recreational items, maps, cameras, a good book, jewelery, shoes, health and hygiene items, and many other needs. At this time, it is fun going to the local store to obtain such items for your travels. Additionally, you may even want to search online for the unusual or international world item you just cannot find anywhere!

Everybody likes a quality product at a good price too, and at Canada Post, you just may find what you're looking for! So, if you are ready to travel and need anything mentioned above--and you cannot find it near you, you may be just a click away! Start your trip by vising Canada Post, online for an impressive array of items. Just look at the variety of high quality digital cameras available for starters!

Happy Travels!

The Reality Behind The Bottled Water Madness!

I am adamantly opposed to this bottled water nonsense. There was a time when I thought different, believe it or not, as I bought on to the marketing too! But in many cases the bottled water has its own kinds of contaminants, AND the fact it is stored in PLASTIC, which is not only bad for personal health, but for the environment too, as most wind up as litter.... The mere production of "clean bottled water" is so counter-productive to maintaining clean water resources!

However, tap water is not the cure
all either as many municipality filtration systems do not remove everything. Among common contaminants, there are traces rust, lawn chemicals, heavy metals, and of course the chlorine and chloramines.

The best and most affordable thing to do meanwhile would be to stop buying bottled water. Do we really want Pepsi owning the worlds water supplies? Less bottled means less energy spent on production (as outlined in below video), less litter, less need to recycle, so eventually, less means of polluting the environment just to make "clean water" for consumption.

Then, buy a high quality tap water filter that uses cartridges that last up to 18 months such as the 10 stage "New Wave Enviro-Products" filer available at Gardens Under Glass.

Here is a video outlining the madness of bottled water---which at beach cleanings, plastic bottles of all sorts, make up a large quantity of litter, specifically the water and soft drink kind. I find it interesting hat the video notes about "manufactured demand" and such is exactly where, but by the marketing machine.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se12y9hSOM0&feature=relmfu

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FOREST GARDENING INSTEAD OF LAWNS

Instead of wasting the world's energy on mowing, blowing, spraying, and working against nature maintaining a traditional lawn...let's work with nature instead! The energy intensive suburban yard model has got to go....as it is totally unsustainable and pointless, other than satisfying some cosmetic image created by companies like Scott's and "Chemical-Lawn".

No food does it yield for people or wildlife...and it demands an incredible amount of energy, all for the sake of the chemical companies conditioning people to think that diversity in a yard is bad...and anything other than a blade of grass is taboo! I never recall anyone dying of dandelions!

Sadly, through poisoning, we extinguish all the culinary and medicinally potential plants in a yard and keep grass that is not even native. We weaken the self supporting life systems in soils making plants even more susceptible to diseases, due to the mono-culture created as a result.

We cut it short--a plant that is meant to be tall and waving in the first place! How twisted is this logic? There is nothing brilliant or unusual about it when every one has a yard consisting of bland and boring patch after patch of green....that no one is lining up waiting in line to oooohh and ahhhwww over! I think Forest Gardening is really unique as an alternative! Check it out...


http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/about_gardening

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thoughts Dedicated To The Roadkill Slaughter Of Animals


To all the animals who are victims of vehicular murders....some unavoidable while many others go purposely perpetuated by careless and unconscious minds....

You were going about your daily routine for survival....
You frolicked and played with your brothers and sisters....
You breathe in the clean forest air and bask in the warmth of meadow sunlight and smell sweet fragrances of wildflowers....
You find food to share with your family...
You feel it is wonderful to be alive....

One day as night begins to fall, you follow a way...an instinct that your ancestors have been following for generations....
The path leads you to the loud and intimidating sound of huge machines roaring past you at high speeds....
The machines follow this long and straight smooth and wide trail made of stone....
You attempt to cross this scary place as its the only way you know how to get home, or perhaps find some food....

Suddenly, out of nowhere, lights blind you...
You are so surprised and stunned that you freeze in your path while looking up....
You know nothing of what is about to happen....
You are suddenly hit on the side of your legs...
You fall to the ground wounded as you cannot get up....
In excruciating pain you try desperately to walk...but you fall...
You are covered in blood....

You lay half conscious still sensing those huge machines whisking by at high speeds...
You lay lonely and frightened...breathing rapidly, heart racing...
Your body tenses up in intense pain and fear....cold and lonely gasping for air....
What did I do, you ask?
What am I experiencing, you sense to wonder....
All I know is that I am terrified, I hurt and am wishing I was at home with my family and friends.... I have a nest to attend..a home...

Those machines do not stop....they do not offer to help me....
What are they?
We never hurt another for fun or carelessness...
You lay there helpless.....
Just make me feel better....
I want to go home....

Now, will you, the driver, be the one out of thousands whipping by either not noticing, turning a blind eye, or thinking this creature is already dead while you sit cozy and comfy in your car?

Will you be one of the ones who says... "Its just another bit of roadkill?"

Will you be one of the ones who refuses to acknowledge the animal had a life that counted and was important to the web of life?

Will you be one of the ignorant that thinks hitting animals on the highway is a natural thing?

Will you be just one more fool who thinks the ever increasing assault on our natural world is something we're entitled to do perhaps because of your dedication to the ideology of profit today and who cares about tomorrow?....or because you have interpreted your God's words as placing you above all other life?

Or, maybe you will be the one who carries the common excuse of "I don't have the time" OR....will you be the ONE, who actually stands up and gives a damn and says enough is enough already...this is just wrong.....

Make your choice.

TAG: This post is dedicated to the little squirrel pictured at the top--we tried to rescue--that although not killed by vehicular traffic, was attacked by a domestic cat. Allowing pets to harass native wildlife is another story in itself.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reducing Litter In Cleveland

For approximately 12 months now, myself and several other dedicated volunteers came together in the interest of doing what we can to help reduce litter in the city and region--And to plant the seeds of change that can alter the mentalities that produce the litter in the first place.

So far, as a result, we have raised the awareness of this issue--and placed it on the radar of several key figures in the city who have graciously offered their cooperation in reducing liter and illegal dumping. Also coming forward have been other volunteers and several neighborhood community development corporations.

Neighborhoods that are aiming at leading the charge in this campaign are... downtown--as Gardens Under Glass at the Galleria will be the voice of the campaign slogan material and educational presentations at the Eco-Tuesday event. Adding to this will be a display in the Re-Source Educational Center courtesy of Keep Ohio Beautiful, that aims to recruit volunteers who will obligate to create Cleveland's first official chapter of this long time litter awareness and education organization.

Ohio City has also taken on a roll--as this neighborhood has worked to increase recycling/and or availability of trash bins, have a monthly neighborhood wide clean-up announcement, place law enforcement signage, and eventually get the word to schools, businesses, residents, and police on why litter is not acceptable, how it contributes to other quality of life degrading issues--and why laws need to be enforced. Cudell may be another neighborhood emerging and embracing the movement, with a storefront window planned and dedicated to artfully displaying awareness campaign material and its distribution.

Lastly, Edgewater Beach/Park and Euclid Beach/Park have also seen the addition of new anti-litter and educational signage and increased clean-ups. Additionally, a cooperative relationship between volunteers and park management is growing. These are just a few areas that are working toward helping to reduce litter. Other community development corporations have expressed interest in being a par of what hopefully will evolve into a city wide effort.

The above are just a few of multiple other efforts to help plant seeds of litter reduction. All who are dedicated to this understand that change on what seems to most who are concerned, as no-brainier logic, often comes very slow. Therefore, their patience and commitment will drive the ongoing success of the effort. I recently wrote an article for Cool Cleveland to help spread the word about impacts of litter--And, started a petition on Change Dot Org that promotes action being taken on plastic cigar tip/butt litter. Please see the article in the link below...and sign the petition on the Change site. --Thank You!

http://www.change.org/petitions/promoting-against-littering-of-plastic-cigar-tipsbutts-discontinue-their-use?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=own_wall


http://www.coolcleveland.com/blog/2011/07/litter-in-cleveland-to-clean-up-our-city-we-must-clean-up-our-act/#comments

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Scrubby Women and Children--Learn to lounge better!

You're tired after a long day's work, challenging people you encounter while you feel like the rat on the wheel, have you ready to sprint for the exit! Getting out of those binding clothes and taking a hot bath is all you can think of when you get home!

When you want to relax at home, just you, a book, maybe a candle or some incense, or background music, why not wear something that makes your skin itself, feel as relaxed as you do? So, instead of throwing on the typical T-shirt and shorts, why not slip into some stylish scrubs? "Scrubs?" you ask?..... "Those are for medical professionals".... you say?...... WRONG! Now you can enjoy comfy nursing scrubs at home while you relax, because scrubs are not just for surgery anymore!

That's right! At Blue Sky Scrubs, you can find an array of stylish scrubs in every color and pattern that will match your every mood or design taste. Scrubs are light, scrubs are comfortable...scrubs are fun and classy...and scrubs last forever....look great...and best of all, they're so affordable! Look at the selection of cheap scrubs!

Scrubs also make great lounging attire or even pajamas. But not all scrubs are the same... To learn why, just visit Blue Sky Scrubs right here: http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/categories/Scrubs/Scrubs-for-Women/

Not only will you find a great selection of scrubs for yourself, but there are also scrubs for babies, children, both boys and girls! So, instead of relaxing in the house, or going to bed in the same old daggy clothing, just try on a pair of Blue Sky Scrubs and discover the difference they make in the comfort of YOUR next lounging time or slumber! You will never think the same about what you wear when you want to relax! With a name like "Blue Sky" they have to be comfy--like lounging on your own personal cloud! Blue Sky Scrubs!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

COME TO BECOME: Save time, money, and resources!

With fuel prices rising and much of the population living in highly car dependent suburban landscapes these days, not many people can afford to joy ride and get their shopping needs done at the same time. This is where Become can help you save money not only fuel costs, but on the widest array of top quality products, goods, and services that you would use every day!

From A to Z, you are covered for whatever your consumer need may be; all on one convenient and easy to use website! From clothing to cameras....food or insurance...to all your travel needs! Here's an example of the savings you will experience at Become.... You can find Osiris Shoes, in any style and color, ranging from 10% to 40% off! Just have a look!

There is more to find at Become!.... From pet needs, jewelry or art....you will find it ALL at Become.... And, with the money you save, you can even book an airline ticket through our site, and take that long awaited get away you have been yearning for!...And while you're booking that trip, make sure you take along a new pair of sandals! Have a look at these savings on any style of Chacos Sandals.

Visit Become to save time, fuel, and resources in a time of increasing fuel costs. Stop by Become today for all your shopping needs, 24 hours a day! Welcome to Become!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

BENEVOLENT BIKERS; WOULD YOU RIDE FOR THE RIGHT TO QUIET?

THANK YOU TO RESPECTFUL MOTORCYCLE RIDERS


Before I get to the point of this article, which is about excessively and unnecessarily loud motorcycles and their operators, I wish to thank the motorcycle riders who actually respect the peace, or right to quiet and safety one has in one's own home. For the many who find loud motorcycle noise particularly obnoxious and downright frightening, we thank you for not altering your pipes illegally, or gunning your engines at three in the morning!


AS FOR THE ROGUE OTHERS



For those riders who do not care about respecting their surroundings and rights to reasonable peace, or have some sort of disturbing sense of entitlement or freedom. I have many questions and comments for you.

I wonder what pleasure you get out of unleashing acoustic terrorism on those who have done nothing to you? Those who may be ill, elderly, or even those who work daily--or innocent babies, all needing their sleep. What of the innocent animals who are literally terrified by your selfish, careless acoustic assault?

Sure, I know there are many kinds of noises in neighborhoods people deal with on a daily basis; many of which are just as irritating and unhealthy. Those such as boom cars or the relentless and non-stop operation of dirt blowers. Indeed, these in each and every one of themselves, can become excessive. But today, I am addressing one kind of noise of the most frequent noise offenders in neighborhoods today, and that is YOU, the Rice Rocket of Harley Hog.

Whatever the noise, you all seem to have in common one thing: And that is, some kind of low self esteem or lack of fulfillment in your life, that has you making such noises for attention or validation to compensate. Or, maybe it has something to do with something a bit below the belt! You have some twisted idea that you are allowed to do whatever you wish without regard to law, rules, or ordinance as you create an acoustic anarchy!

ROMANTICIZING YOUR BROTHERHOOD AS BENEVOLENT AND PATRIOTIC


As television helps perpetuate the romanticism surrounding the American biker these days with shows like "American Chopper", we also see the romanticism in local bars offering "Bike Night" or even more on television--on news reports showcasing how motorcyclists banned together to ride for a worthy cause or raise money for charity.

When I see this sort of propaganda, I really have to wonder: If many bikers ride for such great causes, claim to be such great patriots and caring individuals, then why are the majority ignoring their fellow human beings who do not wish to be continually subjected to their self indulgent need to make noise? Where is the "patriotism" in destroying the peaceful environment of your natural lands and natural heritage as you caravan in an endless line of noise through State Parks? How is it being a patriot to not care about the constitutional right to domestic peace and tranquility? You love your country, but spoil its air-scape with your noise, hold innocent people hostage in their own homes by denying them the right to enjoy a peaceful weekend afternoon.

LOUD PIPES DO NOT "SAVE LIVES"

What gives you, the noisiest bunch and many who are donning waving American flags on your bikes claiming to represent freedom, law and justice, etc. the right to break local noise ordinances, force communities to have to waste time and money just to deal with this new level of excessive noise? What gives you the right to break federal clean air laws in the beautiful country YOU say you LOVE, by illegally altering the pipes on your bike? You cannot claim your typical battle cry of "Loud Pipes Saves Lives" because there is no scientific evidence to support that claim--And, just go Google "The Hurt Report" and let the science of physics lay that outrageous claim to rest. This was a report featured in one of your very own pro-biker magazines.

Is it lives you really want to save? Or do you just want to be louder than the other guy? Is it your testosterone gone wild....or is it a lack there-of? If safety is what you really want, you may want to strive for a quieter community, learn how healthy that can be, and recognize that when we have lower noise in our communities, we do not have to be LOUDER than everyone else to be heard! If safety is what you really want, then don't ride drunk after hours--and get a helmet on too! Your extra caution, because you are the smaller vehicle will help too. If safety is what you want, then quiet down some. You will not go deaf, and instead, be able to hear what you need to hear around you, and so will the rest of us!

As for the loud pipes? No, they does NOT save lives and in fact can scare the hell out of a lot of people which can arguably shorten theirs. OR, you may scare a driver while you sneak up behind him with a sudden assault of loud, gut wrenching, brain splitting and ear ripping noise, causing him to swerve on the road and perhaps to hit you!

HOW YOU REACT WHEN EXPECTED TO SIMPLY RESPECT


Your defiance, arrogance, entitlement sense, lack of manners and consideration always manifests when asked kindly to not gun your engines in front of people's homes. You curse and lament that "You have a right" But then you whine like babies when you finally get a ticket. When you force communities and law enforcement to take a stand as you have tested their patience too long and too many times, you have the colossal nerve to complain.

You complain about the ticket after so many times being given the benefit of the doubt by having the local/federal noise laws and ordinances, NOT enforced. We hoped that you would have enough common sense and consideration, the cuddly teddy bears and riders of good causes you are, to do the right thing. Seems you have forgotten that your so called "right to make noise" will never supersede one's right to quiet in their own home.

IDEA FOR A CHARITY RIDE!

Indeed, the biker community often gets praise for its benevolence or patriotism. They have raised money and have ridden for many good causes. But there are many others as individuals and groups that have also done the same thing for many years, BUT without the noise. To the defiant and careless biker community" I have a final question for you. I appeal to your benevolent side and ask... Can you do a ride for the right to peace and quiet in ones own homes? How about a ride for the hurt you have caused many with your noise? Maybe this will get you to turn it down and discover the joy in quiet and what you are really doing. Maybe this will get others to see the dark side to your "hobby" Maybe you wont go deaf or force the rest of to...and maybe we will not be a drain on healthcare as a result!


THANKS FOR THOSE WHO GET IT!

For the respectful bikers out there who get it, you are thanked. maybe you can get through to the others who just don't get it! They truly give a bad name to those who do not engage in the pleasure of being loud, no matter who it hurts.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cleveland, Do We Really Need Gambling?....Or Kenny!

I hope that since many other casino operations offer entertainment such as live shows, that Cleveland's will create something similar by offering a chance to see some of the older performers like Kenny Loggins, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes... I noticed Kenny was performing at a casino in West Virginia, recently--and in previous years Harold and his Blue Notes were performing in the Poconos. This is the sort of thing other places offer and draws a more quality clientele. Maybe these kinds of shows can be offered at Quicken Loans Arena.

But entertainment is really not what I am going to focus on....I am more so, as in the past wondering if this whole casino bit is a good idea at all to place in a position to be some sort of benefactor to the city. I am not convinced that this is the best we can do for economic development, and certainly not the most creative, as casinos in this part of the country are becoming as common as another Wal-Mart!

The regional saturation component when standing alone, is enough reason why I feel ultimately the novelty will wear down, and nothing will be special about another casino. Surely not special enough to attract destination travelers with money to burn. We will never be a Las Vegas, nor should we strive to be, because we do not need to be. It is more likely the casino will attract mostly locals with little money, and many go hoke broker than when they came! Still, I hope that in the end, as reluctant as I am about this project, that it is not just about gambling and that other forms of entertainment, like Kenny, will be offered. Gaming can surely be part of some positive elements in a city, but not looked upon as "the savior" in typical Cleveland desperate fashion. We looked at LeBron James in this light, look where that got us...the manufacturing base...look where that got us! Maybe its time to not place all our chips on one number, for a change?


Not only will people be gambling, but so is the city as a governing unit, "gambling" under the daring notion that it will generate so much revenue and cure many ills. Again, this might be true, but the question remains: Should we place ourselves in a position where we have to depend on that which is related to fostering obsessive and dysfunctional habits, for revenue? I say no, let's not make a habit of relying on these industries.

It is similar to placing the tobacco and junk food industries in a position where they can claim to be some sort of benefactor to a community because smoking (sale of cigarettes) helped pay for a stadium--OR, because Coke, Pepsi, and Frito Lay chuck a few pennies back to the schools where they place their vending machines. We really should think a bit deeper and awaken ourselves to the fact that these are NOT benefactors in the long run. They're not because we must consider the trickle down repercussions resulting in fostering poor health which has been shown to be a drain on the economy and benefits only few financially. So, where we gain on one side in the short term, we still lose on another.

Gaming has its own associations with fostering bad habits that have people spending what they don't have in the hope of winning it big, and thus, creating financial chaos in the hoke life--which carries with it all that can affect family because of it. The classic "externality" the industry has removed itself from. The industry proclaims "people should gamble responsibly" Do "gamble" and "responsible" really belong in the same sentence? Such seems a classic oxymoron! Gaming industry's profits heavily rely upon IRRESPONSIBILITY! But let's face it, their profits depend upon people making insatiable, spontaneous, gullible, and irresponsible decisions. The profits, indeed, result from the irresponsibility they warn against in the first place!

The same can be said for bad eating habits and smoking, when those industries pass the whole blame on being more personally responsible. While it is certainly essential to learn how to exercise more personal responsibility, what I do not want to hear are industries who profits depend on being irresponsible, telling us we need to be responsible! If we were, they'd lost a hell of a lot of business! But they know that bad habits are hard to break, especially those as in the case of smoking, where knowingly addictive chemicals are purposely added to get you hooked. So any industry that relies on its customer developing a obsessive habit, can proclaim such advice with confidence in knowing that it is unlikely that a grand enlightenment will overcome its followers.

I am straying away from the pointed question, though.... Back to the pointed question in the beginning: Should we place ourselves in a position where we have to depend on that which is related to fostering obsessive and dysfunctional habits, for revenue? Again, I answer "NO"...and follow with more questions that sum up why I say no: Do we want Cleveland to be labeled the fattest and most unhealthy city by traditionally anti-Cleveland publications like Forbes? The last thing we need is to become this publication;s exclusive target and punching bag.

How about the most financially crippled from gaming? Seriously, this sounds absurd, but Forbes has come up with just about every kind of list you can imagine!

Do we want myths about our city and region to be perpetuated even further, or have the myths actually come true which can result in a shunning or disinvestment in the city by potential stakeholders?

Finally, here is a question that just might result in revenue! How about good old fashioned home ownership and fostering neighborhoods that are attractive for such, like focusing on quality of life issues, safety, and clean environment and good schools? I know the gaming industry has posed as a benefactor to schools, but again, I ask....Do we want to have our schools reliant on gambling for the funding they need? We welcomed in junk food and this was just one part of many components that got us to an obesity level so shameful, that that the current generation of children may not outlive their grandparents! What are the costs?

Do we really want the gaming industry, despite the dark side we seldom hear of amidst all the hype, to be in a position to proclaim.. "The schools/city cannot survive without us...so we must get what we want!" (How did the planet survive before Vegas?!) Well, they're already off to a good start because they got what they wanted with the destruction of the pedestrian oriented city block, to make way for one which encourages less street foot traffic and more driving--that is, unless the design is altered. This might be appealing for the generation of obese we have nurtured.


At the beginning of all this , I mentioned that I hope the gaming scene will at least offer some quality entertainment at the Q. Yes, despite all the above skepticism, maybe a song by Kenny Loggins will make it all a bit more easy to digest. Perhaps "Celebrate Me Home" to remind us of how much establishing a good home life can contribute to making a great place in which to live and raise a family, and for that family to do the same! It happened before deals with gaming industry, tobacco or junk food, and I am confident it can happen again without them. Cleveland should not be so desperate as to whore itself out to anything in the name of "economic development" that comes along. Development at any cost can be costly! Maybe the last song can be Kenny's "I'm Alright" to remind Cleveland it can be alright without gambling!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

100 Year Old Columbia Building Coming Down For Parking Garage--Oh, I'm Sorry... I Meant To Say, "A Welcome Center!"

Despite his structure being in good usable shape.... We can say goodbye!


The Landmarks Commission, responsible for delaying demolition of the historic Columbia Building in downtown Cleveland to build a parking garage for a casino, has now given the go-ahead to demolish this handsome pedestrian oriented downtown structure, in favor of a more car dominated street scene. No one can be this short sighted to not explore ideas for saving the Columbia and incorporating it into a design which would satisfy parking issues for visiting guests with cars glued to their rear ends--as well as needs of pedestrians and people who actually LIVE downtown.

Making this even more difficult to swallow, is a planning commission that has not sold me on the idea that they have "looked at all possible alternatives..and none are feasible" , or so we have heard a dozen times! I cannot accept this bone thrown to the public.

Someone whom I have kept in contact with about this dilemma, name withheld, had this to say: "I am now convinced that The Landmarks Commission is nothing but a mascaraed; another puppet on strings. When they say that "none of the alternatives are feasible", that is nothing more than those strings being pulled. In fact, they are literally mimicking whatever the developer says. They do not actually fight a real fight for historic buildings in this city, even when they are a designated Landmark as this one is.

They just go through some "motions" hoping to make it look like they're putting up some sort of protest. Some who have protested this demolition are now looking at ways to improve the design of the garage. They were pleased with the large turnout of people who opposed the demolition of the Columbia, and lament that "just because they have lost this battle, that it does not mean we have lost the war." That, referring to taking more enthusiastic action in the future where other historic buildings may be threatened.

Maybe it doesn't "mean" we lost the war, but, I guarantee you -- we "lost" this war before it even started. This city's government wants only one thing -- someone spending money in this city -- especially a LOT of money, as developers do. They will sell the historic City Hall that they work in -- also a designated Landmark -- and allow its destruction, if the price is right. The situation here is thoroughly pathetic and thoroughly hopeless.


I could not agree with the above comments more. Still, how could there be "no feasible alternatives" It seems many who have attended meetings about the demolition did just that, present feasible alternatives! So what can it be? Why the rubber stamp go ahead? Hmmmmm.....WAIT!!!....maybe there are too many demolition contractors standing to gain by being given the promise they will get a job! No one in city government probably ever expected this much protest to this demolition so ramming it through would be a cinch, no worries. A few in the good old "good 'ole boys club" can make some fast cash. Sure I am speculating, but one must wonder!

I hope people will realize why it is treading a risky path to allow a gaming industry, parking czars, and a developer be in some kind of position to act as a big benefactor and pillar member of the community. It is as close to a real life "deal with the devil" example as one can get! It is a perfect example of how letting developers, parking lot kings, and some gaming cronies dictate city planning, as I have mentioned before, is like letting loggers dictate forest management!

With the demolition of Columbia, what they want, they get, no matter how bad it is to the vision of creating a pedestrian friendly city-scape. Maybe those who run the show are used to the parking lot scene anyway, so to them they see nothing wrong with this picture! Maybe it is the quicker and cheaper way for them. But what is cheapest for the parties involved in this fiasco is not always best for the many in the long term. Indeed, screw the resident or stakeholder which bares the brunt of the long term costs such as ruining an already walkable infrastructure in favor of more cars and creating a pedestrian dead zone!

It is not as if the developer of this project would have walked away from it altogether had demolition of the Columbia Building been denied by the Planning and Landmarks Commissions. On the Contrary, it would have forced a more thoughtful re-design. The city neglected to use this scenario as leverage that would demand a design that would have integrated the Columbia Building into the plan. Here was an opportunity to achieve the best design possible to satisfy everyone, wasted!

To the rest of the outside progressive city designers and planners in the world..looking in, this demolition and parking garage design represents the poster child of HOW NOT to design a city if you want to promote more pedestrian traffic at street level, create connectivity for such, and create economic diversity and a walkable friendly feel... However, if you want to promote more oil use, pedestrian dead zones, noise, a building that will likely start to look crappy in a few years with its faux frontage cheesy looking building materials.....and build the city for cars and not people..The demolition with the current parking garage design is brilliant. Textbook right out of the 50's through 70's!

Yes, I should mention that the more historically significant Stanley Block Building will be saved and restored, (not because the developers were not prepared to knock this down too!--another story.) but to see it juxtaposed with a strip-mall type building, might look as ridiculous or awkward as seeing a new Westlake-style Taco Bell sitting right next to Severance Hall, or Liberace playing piano in a hip hop show. I Would such a "fusion" work?

Seriously, we need to ask.. "For whom are we designing our city?" Certainly NOT for attracting stakeholders...And rather, for fly by night visitors. They come, they gamble, they POOP, they leave...and continue to say how wrong Cleveland gets everything from the comfort of their sprawl-burb home.

If this demolition of an already pedestrian structured infrastructure for a parking garage... Oh, I forgot to mention what they're calling it.. "Welcome Center" does not create the street pedestrian lively area with galleries, shops, businesses, restaurants, future retail, etc... In my opinion it will be a failure. Afterall, isn't this the scene Cleveland touts it wants to create?....A walkable, day and night city of choice? Well, if your only choice in life is spending your penny rolls saved in the pickle jar at a casino to help pay for repairing the bungee attached bumper on your rusted car, for more cigarettes, or hungry man TV dinners, then maybe this is a perfect design! (Sorry, I am getting a bit nasty, but I cannot deny the scenes I witness in these kinds of places!)

I actually had a different vision for this part of the city...perhaps a bit more in line with promoting a healthy and more economically productive and diverse population that does not need The Lone Ranger to come in and "save the city" (Ie: MedMart, Casino) The current design of the garage that will replace the Columbia Building is so counter productive to the above described scene many would like to see downtown...as well as so counter productive to promoting a more sustainable city--also something that Cleveland is supposedly trying to achieve.

I cannot say much positive about this demolition/parking garage scenario, but I guess the light at the end of the tunnel is that if more opposition to demolitions as witnessed with Columbia happened every time city fathers partner with very un-creative developers and those with a lack of vision in quality city planning, then just maybe there would be a bit more caution exercised in how we lay out our city's future designs. Maybe there would be more demand to achieve everlasting appeal, purpose, and style--And in the spirit of a more sustainable future and economy that can spawn from such--there would be more demand in keeping the pedestrian in mind first, the car second! So, looking forward, maybe the opposition can/will result in the changing of the current design of the garage.


Here are a couple good quotes online today that reflect the immediate disappointment and dissatisfaction for this terrible design.



"At the end of the day it's not about "preserving the past" its about allowing lower prospect to continue a mixed use model that encourages people to use and live in the city and not creating a two block auto oriented dead zone for people who want to stop in for a couple hours and leave. Mixed use is "building for the future"... not lining our streets to make things easiest for temporary guests."



"I'm feeling quite depressed this afternoon. I just can't comprehend that we are tearing down this building for a parking garage. A parking garage for the folks of Streetsboro and Madison and Lagrange. The same people who talk crap about this city any chance they get won out. Congratulations to all those who comment on Cleveland.com, you are the true winners. You can now come and dump your quarters in my downtown while you laugh at what a terrible city this is from the comfort of your close parking garage and safety of your gerbil tube that "elevates" you above the dirt of the city.Another fine day of Cleveland politics. Still much work to be done ahead about final designs."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Galleria--Downtown Cleveland--New Vision and Life!

The Galleria
1301 E. 9th Street
216-861-4343


A photogenic and uniquely designed multi-use facility in Downtown Cleveland's business district--within a 10 minute walk of many attractions, including The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Playhouse Square, E. 4th Street District and many others.

This cheerful space resembles a giant green house with its all-glass barrel-vaulted arched ceilings measuring some 80 feet high and stretching for an entire city block!

Essentially, the inside of the facility is an indoor street. In here you will find an eclectic blend of small local art galleries, clothing shops, a Hungarian heritage museum, the Gardens Under Glass Re-source Center (featuring eco-related ideas and products which promote sustainable living and local indoor year 'round growing of produce.), a full service restaurant, indoor/outdoor park-like food court--and a variety of businesses including a full service bank and more.

The facility also hosts a myriad of major events, such as weddings, banquets, concerts, dances, wine tasting, farm markets, and fund raising functions. If you're feeling tired, the property is a fantastic space to take a leisurely stroll, or sit down and read a while and escape the noise of the city. The Galleria brings the light of day inside no matter the time of year!

* Hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Served by Cleveland Metropolitan Region Transportation Authority, and the free B-Line Trolley Bus which runs every 10 Minutes/7:00AM to 7:00 PM. Close proximity to major hotels, new convention center and interstates. Climate controlled, secure, well lit--underground parking garage off Lakeside Avenue.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

CLEVELAND STOREFRONT ART-- Making Broad Brush Strokes!

Cleveland Storefront Art's, "Adopt-a-Storefront" program---a vacant window makeover initiative targeting historical storefronts with efforts to make them more marketable through art--has caught the eye of a few area media sources as featured in the below links!

Hopefully, this program will continue to rescue empty storefronts awaiting new discovery for business that is functional to creating more pleasurable and safe walkable environments.

Additionally, the program helps foster recognition for local artists, and inspires unique new business to locate in one-of-a-kind business spaces. There are many benefits to a program like this to help establish a more positive atmosphere in any neighborhood. By "adopting-a-storefront", those who display art in windows maintain the fronts on an ongoing basis, and thus, help to encourage better storefront routine maintenance!

See the links below to see how the program has gained attention!


http://www.flickr.com/groups/clevelandstorefrontart/


http://qualitychatter.com/2009/09/storefront-makeover-opporhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giftunities-for.html



http://www.ideastream.org/news/feature/38489


http://erin-obrien.blogspot.com/2011/01/window-dressing.htmlLink


http://www.freshwatercleveland.com/features/storefrontart011311.aspx

Monday, May 30, 2011

Eliminating Boom Car Noise Paul Kersey Style?

Noise, excessive or totally unnecessary, loud or not loud is still unwanted sound, by definition--and a major attack on quality of life in neighborhoods across the country and around the world.

To date, and what we will talk about today is "boom car noise" from those loud car audio systems. It is a kind of noise that is especially irritating, as low frequency, high decibel and vibration are combined to make you feel there is NO escaping it. This is but one form of noise that has become a virulent plague in neighborhoods everywhere, robbing people's right to reasonable peace, quiet, and safety in their own homes. Some seem to think their "right" to behave anti-socially like this supersedes a constitutional right to domestic peace and tranquility!

This form of noise, I heard it described "as something that reaches through the walls of your home, grabs you by the neck and will not let go." It is obnoxious and all courtesy of some selfish attention starved individual who has some perverted idea of the definition of "freedom"--who thinks he/she can do whatever they wish, no matter who it harms!

Contained in the link included below, I would like to share a story I found at random about a noisy neighbor's incessant audio assault on the whole neighborhood---AND, how one neighbor who could not tolerate it any longer after a year, decided to protect himself by taking maters in his own hands. While I do not condone correcting wrong with a wrong, I do understand what could drive someone to feeling the way this person did in the story.

At the end of the story, it is dismissed as "junk" but I know such a device IS possible and perhaps the author was protecting his tail by making that disclaimer---and leaves it up to us to read between the lines. It is a shame that because of irresponsible and/or de-regulated corporations making these products--despite KNOWING the problems it will cost communities--that we have to see people become vigilant to protect themselves. (Just get off the corporation's back and they'll do right by us, eh Rush, Sarah? Oh well, just remember... there would be no need for regulation had the river not caught fire in Cleveland!)

Furthermore, the cost it levies on councils everywhere to have to make new laws and ordinances to deal with this form of audio assault is a sobering thought. Some places law enforcement is not an option, such as Warren, Ohio. In places like Warren, neither the city council or law enforcement body wants anything to do with dealing with this issue correctly--that is, until it results in a worse case scenario--when someone gets shot, beaten or stabbed because the noisemaker felt he was entitled to do whatever he wishes, and attacks someone for asking him to please turn it down......

OR the other way around: The person being assaulted by the audio terrorist, pulls a Popeye on him and proclaims.... "That's all I can stand and I can't stands NO MORE!" and perhaps resorts to a violent way of dealing with it.It is either a flight or fight response, in other words.

Typically, according to what anti-noise activists know who are associated with organizations like Lower the Boom Dot Org or Noise Off Dhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifot Org, it is the noise maker that is not only assaulting someone's senses to the point of insanity with audio terrorism--but resorts to further assaulting someone with physical violence who may have respectfully pleaded with them to simply turn it down!

But isn't our hearing part of our physical being? Yes it is... So, wouldn't torturing that sense be a form of physical assault? You would think so, but due to a very under-informed legal and judicial system as to this subject, we may just have to deal with it for now, unless you are this guy... read the story in the link below!

http://hubpages.com/hub/To-Kill-An-Atomic-Subwoofer-or-How-I-Blew-Up-My-Noisy-Neighbors-Car-Stereo

Also take some time to listen to the Pod Cast included on the right hand side of this blog page, titled "BOOM CAR NOISE POLLUTION DISCUSSION!" There are so many aspects as to why this noise is dangerous and why it should stop, and many are covered in this very educational podcast.Let's find out who will pay to take care of the plague of ensuing deafness in this country's future? Hmmmm... Listen and share your ideas!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Demolition of Columbia Building Not Justified

Given the current auto-oriented, anti-pedestrian design of a "Welcome Center" for the casino in downtown Cleveland---and considering the already many gaping holes of empty space and parking lots there---these, among other reasons do not justify the demolition of a part of the city's historical fabric for the sake of parking.


FOLLOW MY RANT.....


While an important part of the project, parking should not solely determine the design of downtown---Especially, if this is a temporary casino location and if we're trying to encourage more foot traffic at street level. And, if a temporary location, why permanently alter the already pedestrian oriented infrastructure downtown? The current street-scape not only encourages more walking and less dependency on oil, it also has the potential to bring much needed foot traffic at street level, and create the pedestrian connectivity of which casino supporters hope.

Seriously folks, the worst part of this design is a sky-pedestrian bridge that herds people like cattle going to slaughter, from their cars, to the bridge, to the casino? Are we TRYING to remove foot traffic from street level in an already desolate spot? Was this Gilbert and friends idea of "urban connectivity?" Is this designed for people who are too lazy to walk, or too afraid to walk outside and deal with a panhandler? (I just hope that when they lose money at the gambling tables, they're not joining the panhandlers!)
If the latter is the case, then we assure panhandling will be one of the few scenes in this area of downtown when no one else is placed on the street level!

Tearing down perfectly good buildings is also NOT a show of environmental sustainability that Cleveland is trying to demonstrate in contrast to its opposite polluting past. Adaptive re-use of a building, however, IS a shoe of sustainability and opportunity for local designers to cleverly alter the block while at the same time preserving the history there. Cities who demonstrate such ideas bask in the glow of international praise and have people wanting to visit them from all over. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco to name a few cities. Maybe we have something to lean about that....as those places are no slack places!

RANTING ON....

The current design of the welcome center does everything to discourage connectivity at street level, promotion of more walking and foot traffic downtown!
Seeing the current welcome center design, the city is allowing developers to dictate the planning; with developers making the city adapt around their plans. This is OPPOSITE of how it is supposed to be, and a failure on the city/planning commission to realize that.

What planners are paid to do: PLAN with critical thinking...and set the table of quality planning for our city---and NOT allow the developer to do it. He will do whatever is quickest and cheapest with residents bearing externality costs in the future in one way or another. Such is a recipe that does not guarantee goodness or benefits to the majority in the city, and only for a few.

Again, another example of what I have said before: That allowing developers to dictate city planning is like letting loggers dictate forest management! Some politicians here are obviously in the pockets of a few developers, parking czars, and gaming promoting salesmen.

This lack of vision, that does not demand a welcome center design that would be sensitive to the city's historical and pedestrian oriented fabric---And, to instead whore ourselves out to something inferior in the name of parking is utterly unreal! Such just demonstrates a low self esteem and that Cleveland will be anyone's whore as long as you mention jobs and tax revenue.

WAIT ONE MINUTE!!!....

Speaking of revenue... Hmmm.. Let's see: There is also revenue in making the city appealing to live in for stakeholders that will move here and pay property tax and raise a family. Those who desire a walking friendly and safe city with vibrant downtown streets lined with pedestrians walking, doing business, shopping, and entertaining.

Maybe we should focuses more on that component of revitalization instead of building an economy around that which ultimately seeds dysfunction and could very well cost us in other ways in the long run via social dysfunction and all that may be attached to compulsive gambling! Afterall, was this not the mayor's tag line in the election campaign to make Cleveland "A city of CHOICE?"

By "choice" I assumed he was talking about attracting new residents. Its time we pay attention to creating a place people want to live and raise a family, instead of just catering to fly by night visitors in the hope we'll gain at the expense of their vices or habits. Demolishing the Columbia Building, instead of exploring creative ways in adaptive re-use of the building and integrating it in with the project is an act in utter haste and waste.

NO OTHER ALTERNATIVES?... Really?...ARE YOU SURE???...

City officials promoting the project insist that there are no alternatives to demolishing the building. Really? I would like to see in detail all the alternatives they actually did review. I have noticed many urban enthusiasts on local city forum websites that have come up with plenty of possible alternative design ideas that could satisfy all.

Still I ask...Do city planners have answers when questioned about all the alternatives they sought to prevent demolition of the Columbia? I think there are none, as there was probably little expectation that people would actually stand up to the demolition and demand some answers. The design and request for demolition was probably assumed that this would be rammed through with ease and no one would take notice---therefore, they're not prepared to answer!


AND IN THE "NEWS"....


The local news appears to jump aboard the "rush it through" bandwagon in their brief coverage of the issue placing on it a spin as though this is about "preservationists opposing progress", probably hoping that those who oppose will be made to look like they're against something good for Cleveland. But, if they had done their job instead of fluffing and dramatizing, they would learn that for the opponents the demolition it is not about blindly opposing "progress" it is all about opposing BLIND progress and a piss poor design, or should I say lack there-of?


LET'S SEE SOME IDEAS...HOLD ON... STILL RANTING!


It is only fair to the public that all possibilities are unveiled to creating this welcome center. Personally, I feel the existing infrastructure can be integrated into a design that would offer parking too, while preserving and renovating a block of Cleveland history. Do you think visitors and residents alike will be more proud of just another parking deck that will likely look crappy in only 10 years time, or possibly be obsolete, given the current building maintenance ethics of many downtown Cleveland property owners?---OR more proud of an iconic restored block of classic history integrated well with the new?....

More proud of an intimidating auto dead zone that obstructs pedestrian traffic, or one filled with street life such as shops, galleries, restaurants, etc? I feel the project can be done in such a way that will have long lasting appeal. Let's not repeat the same logic and past mistakes that almost saw all the theaters on Playhouse Square demolished and have us looking down Ontario Street and wondering some day.. "What in the hell were they thinking?"

SPARE IT DON'T TEAR IT!....


The Columbia needs to be spared. It has great potential to be integrated into a quality design, perhaps for residential with street level business space (which the current welcome center design lacks!)These are just some of the reasons I can offer for saving this structure. I am sure many of you can chime in and add more reasons. I heard it said that in the future, we will be judged not only by what we create but also by what we refuse to destroy! This makes sense to me! How about you?


RANTING OVER!

Friday, May 20, 2011

“THE FISHES OF CLEVELAND”—A TOUR OF SOME OF THE METRO AREA'S LESSER KNOWN FISH SPECIES

Many of us are familiar with the bountiful life that inhabits the planet's lungs in the rain forest....BUT, did you know that Ohio, in general, is situated near the northern edges of what is the most diverse temperate fish fauna in the world? A habitat that in its own way is as important as any other more glamorous and exotic environment we have come to know.

WHAT'S IN AND AROUND CLEVELAND BESIDES WALLEYE?

As most of us know about the infamous '69 Cuyahoga River oil slick catching fire and it being one of several testaments to the decline of the nation's rivers---and eventually "sparking" a national movement to clean-up our waterways---little is known about the many "lesser known" fishes and bio-diversity of the river and other waters of our metro region and beyond. The Cuyahoga alone boasts over 80 species in the mainstem of the river.

You may have heard about the typical basses, walleyes, and perch, but what of the “other fish?” Many are simply referred to as “minnows” Many are little fish....with little known about them! What about their importance to our own existence as clean water indicator species which support the life systems that keep us alive? Did you know, for example, that Cleveland and N.E. Ohio is home to what is one of the world's most brightly colored fishes?

Let's take a look beneath local waters and examine just some of those “other” fish! These waters may include The Cuyahoga River and tributaries, The Grand River and tributaries and of course, Lake Erie!

It is interesting to note that while very popular and familiar, what we know as game fish (Crappie, Bass, Walleye, Perch, etc.) make up less than 10 percent of the fishes on the North American Continent, and nearly the same amount in Cleveland and Ohio in general. We will observe these fish not from an angling perspective, but rather a “fish watching” perspective in just the same way bird and butterfly enthusiasts explore their creatures of affection! So, grab your waders, mask and snorkel, binoculars, viewing containers and pack a lunch...off we go into area waters! Yes, there are many places where water is still crystal clear!

Let’s begin with the DARTERS


Darters are a family of fish that include the familiar perches and walleyes. They could be described as “underwater hummingbirds” because of their size, quickness and colors. They are small, colorful or intricately patterned fish, seldom exceeding 5 inches in length. They require clean, clear running streams for their optimum survival. They are elongate fish, with a physique designed perfectly for remaining stable in swift moving water on stream bottoms. They feed on small insect larvae, worms, crustaceans and other small organisms. Darters swim along the bottom of streams in a quick “darting” fashion, hence the name “darters.”Greater Cleveland and beyond...of course, is a haven for many kinds of darters, including the rainbow darter, fantail darter, Johnny darter, banded darter, and greenside darter.


NO TROUT ABOUT it, they still exist!


It was recently believed by state wildlife officials that the Brook Trout was extirpated from Ohio, meaning that while not extinct, it was no longer found in Ohio. This was the belief up until about 15 years ago, when a small holdout population was discovered in Geauga County near park district lands. This land was under threat of the usual urban sprawl housing development which would surely see to the fishes demise by destroying its habitat and water quality. Thanks to the effort of several preservation minded individuals and through the park district, the land and the fish were protected! What makes this such a special find is that one would never think that within just a 40 minute drive of the epicenter of highly populated and industrialized N.E. Ohio, in downtown Cleveland, that a fish that represents the essence of virgin and wild Ohio” would still exist!

This fish prefers still crystal clear and coldwater pools in small headwater streams. These are limited habitats which are threatened due largely in part to encroaching development laying over small streams and adjacent water cleansing wetlands. The Ohio Brook Trout is a fish that when donning its breeding colors, looks like nature intended to make it the clown of the inland stream waters! Polka dots of white, set over a background of cobalt blue, red and orange...with fins trimmed in white! It's presence is truly a sign that the water in which it lives is amongst the highest quality. The Cleveland Metropaks Zoo features a Brook Trout exhibit in its aquatics building. There you can learn more about this amazing trout!


Next up, the MINNOW family.

There are approximately 231 species of minnows in North America, so the next time you gaze down into a stream in one of Cleveland's Metro-parks while crossing a trail bridge, try to identify which kinds of minnows you’re spotting. Even the most camouflaged or mundane colored minnow seems to come alive with the color and shine of sparkling jewels during spawning season when stream waters warm up a bit (approximately late March to late May). Watching a group of spawning minnows can be a sight to behold! You know something unique and complex is happening. Such a scene is similar in appearance to a flock of birds all darting about in tight formation in every direction.

Some minnow species, such as redside dace are indicators of higher water quality, while others, like the creek chub are more tolerant to the erosion and sedimentation that can occur in the parklands of the Cuyahoga River Valley where trails are heavily hiked--- OR after heavy rains. By the way, just a small tip for leaving a light footprint on aquatic environments: It is best to not hike too close to stream banks, because trampling plants along erosion sensitive banks eventually kills the plants, and ultimately the root structures stretching into sandbanks.

Southern red belly dace are another type of small minnow which are found in area tributaries of the Cuyahoga and Grand River. They are typically found in headwater streams---and in clean, clear, quiet pools. During spawning season, southern reds are surely to capture your attention easily, as they are brilliantly colored with a bright “stop sign red” underbody, yellowish- green fins and dark black stripes running the length of the body from near the head to tail.

The central stoneroller is colorful and easily recognized in the Spring. It sweeps clean the bottom of streams by eating excess algae off of rocks, as well as a host of other small organisms. This is a fish that keeps streams clean without anyone paying any extra taxes or fees for the service!


Among many other types of minnows likely to inhabit Cleveland area streams, are blacknose dace, sand shiners, bluntnose minnows, common shiners, silver jaw minnows, creek chub, mud minnows, and northern hog suckers. Some of the fishes names are as interesting as their physical features!

NATURE’S SIDESHOW!

Now let’s have some fun visiting nature’s fun house side-show in exploring the many ODDITIES of the Cleveland area streams……. Hurry hurry, step right up…right here you see the scary looking …mottled sculpin….The sculpin is a small but voracious eater, which like darters, are bottom dwelling fish, never turning away at the chance to lunge up and swallow an unsuspecting baby minnow! They have larger mouths than most small fishes so this is quite easy for this little guy. Against the stream bottom, the sculpin’s camouflage can fool even the sharpest eye. The easiest way to describe the sculpin is that it has the body of a darter, with the head of a toad, or even resembling a bull dog. This description may sound silly, but when you actually see the fish, it will make sense!

Brook Lamprey is another strange fish. Lamprey are one of the native fishes that have been swimming around since before the dinosaurs, and have changed little in millions of years. Resembling eels, an interesting role lamprey play in the underwater environment here is preying off of sick and dying fishes. By doing this, the lamprey help to keep the overall fish population strong and healthy, by "removing" those sick fish which may spread disease to others! They literally attach themselves to the weaker fish with their jawless and sucker-like mouth and suck fluids from their prey, eventually killing them! I guess you can call them the "Draculas" of the creek!

The lamprey is different from all fish because it is actually jawless and slithers along the bottom of the stream like a snake searching for food. Certain native lamprey species are endangered in Ohio and are another excellent indicator of cleaner water quality. Like most fishes which are either threatened or endangered, loss of habitat and poor water quality contribute to their declining numbers.

Continuing with nature’s sideshow, The Cuyahoga Watershed and other Cleveland area streams are home to Madtom catfish. Madtoms are small catfish usually inhabiting grassy and weedy river and stream banks, in shallow, moderately calm waters. They are very small fishes usually found under 5 inches and can deliver a nasty sting if handled improperly. The Stonecat Madtom is one example of a madtom indigenous to our region.

Yet another oddity lurking in the Cleveland region are the stickleback minnows. Sticklebacks are small, elongate fishes, olive green and yellowish in color with small spines jutting up from their backs. They are a distant relative of the salt water seahorses and pipe fishes, and resemble a little wind up bath tub toy, as they propel through the water with great precision, stopping instantly in mid-water like a helicopter hovering in midair! During spawning season, sticklebacks become little carpenters with fins. Carrying in their mouths, they will actually move small detritus (sticks, leaves, stones, and other small debris) to a safe spot, where a family nest can be constructed and guarded! The Brook Stickleback is a commonly known stickleback in Greater Cleveland/N.E. Ohio.


Lake Erie Monster....LAKE STURGEON????

The Sturgeon is another ancient element of the local aquatic fish heritage dating back to the last Ice Age. It is long, and shark-like with an armor-like covering instead of scales and is listed as a state endangered species. But, while it has long been believed by many wildlife professionals to be virtually absent from Lake Erie due to habitat loss and over-fishing in the late1800's, recent reports on sightings and catchings--some official, some unofficial--suggest the fish is either making a comeback, or finding its way into Lake Erie via locations in the Great Lakes region where populations are more stable.

When overfishing occurred, millions of pounds were taken out of Erie because they were considered to be a nuisance that damaged fishing nets. Lime firewood, the fishes were thrown into piles and burned. Later, a market was discovered for them, particularly for their roe, so millions more were taken from the waters. This practice continued until the early 1900s--And in less than twenty years, they were almost extinct! It is sad enough that protection of this fish for shear environmental reasons was not in the language of any laws at the time. Moreover, from even a sport perception, to not foresee any conservation needs for this fish is laughable. Why? Can you imagine what would be more challenging for fishing fun? An 8” bass or an 8' sturgeon???!!!

The Eastern Burbot is another odd looking fish that calls Lake Erie native waters. It is an elongate fish with adults ranging from 16" to 32" in length. If you could cross the shape of a carving knife, catfish and eel into one fish, you would best describe the burbot! The burbot has a coloration that is brown to olive mottled brown. Adults can range from 16" to 32" in length It prefers deeper and cooler waters It is the only freshwater member of the codfish family and is a relic of Lake Erie's glacial past!

Lastly, let us not forget the gars. Short-nosed and long-nosed. Gar fish are another group of fishes which have changed little since the days of dinosaurs! If an alligator could do it’s best impression of a fish, it would look like a gar fish! In fact, one gar fish, although not found in Cleveland area waters, is appropriately named the alligator gar---a gar fish that has historically been known to reach a length of 12 feet! Short-nosed and long-nosed gar, however, are found in the larger deeper rivers in the Cleveland area such as the Grand River region in backwater pools and along quiet banks where there is heavy weedy vegetation. They also native to certain areas and habitats in Lake Erie. They are passive predators feeding on other small fishes. Gars often swim just under the surface of calmer waters basking in sunlight. Most gars reach a maximum length of 3 feet.


Finally, let us finish up our tour of Fishes Of Cleveland waters taking a brief look at the popular SUNFISH FAMILY.


Not all sunfish are “bluegill!”......

The following covers the most familiar fishes of the sunfish family, which are also found in certain waters of the Cuyahoga River Watershed, Greater Cleveland/N.E. Ohio, and in Lake Erie. In North America, this group of fishes comprises roughly 30 species. Many anglers mistakenly refer to various species of sunfish as bluegill, when in fact, bluegill are just one particular species of sunfish. For example, one who is fishing may refer to what is actually the brightly colored central long ear sunfish or the pumpkinseed sunfish as a bluegill. Looking closer, however, there are distinct differences.

The sunfish have all the earth-toned colors that seem to emulate and mimic the very same colors of the Autumn time woodlands to which they are indigenous. If you happen to enjoy fishing, examine the differences between these fishes in your catch. If you are catching and releasing, be sure to not handle a fish with dry hands, as this irritates their slime layer. The “slime layer” is a protective thin smooth coating over the body of fishes which helps to protect them from infection and disease.

Some common types of sunfish similar in appearance, but which are not all bluegill, are rock bass, warmouth sunfish, red ear/shell cracker sunfish (named because of this fishes’ appetite for small snails), orange spotted sunfish, (westernm Lake Erie/Maumee Watershed), northern longear sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, black crappie and green sunfish. Sunfish prefer habitats ranging from weedy shallows to open pools in a particular river system or lake. Sunfish, from an aquarist's perspective, are like the North American version of the ever popular chiclids raised in home aquaria.

LET'S GO HOME NOW....

Well, there you have it, an introductory tour to some of the “Fishes Of Cleveland!” If your interest in exploring fish in the metro area and beyond has been “baited,” learn more about what you can do to keep our local lakes and streams healthy and clean! Contact your state wildlife division to learn more, or consider joining their “Adopt-A-Stream“ or “ “Adopt-A-Beach” program. You can find much of this information at Gardens Under Glass in The Galleria complex in downtown Cleveland. You may also want to contact The North American Native Fishes Association, www.nanfa.org for a perspective in “fish watching” and other conservation initiatives regarding North American fishes. There are other components of this region’s unique wildlife assembly that deserve just as much attention to conservation as the more familiar ones. To lose these local species of fishes through habitat/water quality neglect, is to begin to lose the clean water and life support systems that ultimately support our own lives. We also stand to lose an integral and delicate part of our region’s unique diverse natural heritage. I hope that this article has helped to promote a better respect for our local waters and aquatic wildlife habitats in general. For in them, there is so much to learn, inspire and stimulate the imagination..while having fun doing so!




Note: You can search Google Images to find many photos of all the fishes mentioned in this article. You can identify all of these native fishes in the PETERSON’S FIELD GUIDE TO FRESHWATER FISHES. Also see The North American Native Fishes Association at www.nanfa.org to learn more about native fishes in our region and North America.

Sources: The North American Native Fishes Association, ODNR Division of Wildlife, Peterson's Field Guide To Freshwater Fishes-Page/Burr, The Fishes Of Ohio-Milton B. Trautman

Photos: coming soon!

Carillio is a former Ohio Regional Contact for The North American Native Fishes Association, avid self-taught naturalist, native fish enthusiast/advocate of 23 years, and volunteer for Gardens Under Glass in downtown Cleveland. For information on field trips to local streams, please contact Robert at riverlover33@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Can a Global Market Contribute To Depression in People AND The Economy?

I would like to share an article today that someone shared with me. Somehow, it reaffirms an idea I always felt that when society becomes overly-dependent on the mega multi-national corporate and global economy scene, it contributes to crippling communities and their ability to be self-sustaining.

As I see it, the reliance also contributes to alienating us from local community connections that we, as communal and tribal beings we are by nature, need to stimulate our sense of purpose and function in our lives. In western influenced cultures, technologically we have advanced far more rapidly than our spirits, which still are in need of community and connection to each other. Without such, we are left unhappy searching for that sense of belonging in life; the sense of purpose. We mindlessly consume thinking that we can fill the void with "stuff" that can never replace what nature intended. As a result, the disconnection from nature, our roots and sustenance, in a world otherwise disguised in concrete and plastic leave us lost.

It is sad to notice in largely western influenced cultures, that its citizens can hardly fathom any other way to live, any other economic system, other than the model of reality they know--which is someone else's idea so many of us have bought into. By relying on this economic scene that has "big corporation" housing, clothing, feeding, and employing us all...we cripple ourselves in the long run when we lack the knowledge and skills that create a true community where everyone has something to contribute for the betterment of the people, rather than the bottom line profit of the corporation.

When we build all life and economy around a few golden goose eggs that are a few corporate entities, we destroy the economic diversity (in what I refer to as an "economic ecosystem") that breeds economic stability. As in nature, the more diverse the ecology is, the more stable. So it is evident in the economy as well. When these few entities that we have grown to rely on fall, all that is connected and reliant upon them fall as well. On the other hand, when the economy is diverse and dependent upon many...when one or two fall, we have several others to pick up the slack. Ultimately, I feel that reliance on a few for all we need or want, when they fall or fail, breeds the need for a social welfare system that corporate captains, supporters, and far right leaning politicians customarily loathe!

Take some time to read the article below. After reading it, you may question the global economic world in which you live, and how you see it, if you thought it was the panacea example of how to live.


The happiness fix
By Caitlin Howlett
G Magazine


A wider network = greater opportunity = a happier life, right? In fact, the more globalised our lives become, the sadder we are as a society. It’s time to embrace the notion of localised community living again to get that smile back on our dials.

Read more at: http://www.gmagazine.com.au/features/2535/happiness-fix?page=0%2C0

Sunday, May 1, 2011

CUT OIL SUBSIDIES/INVEST IN A NEW ENERGY ECONOMY

In the video posted in the link at the end of this banter, it is commendable that President Obama has addressed the issue of oil company subsidy and record profits while so many people struggle to make ends meet--and as vital programs get scrapped in the name of "saving tax payers money"--but sad that he still has to coddle the oil industry by making the comment about being rewarded for their success....

Sad, only because somehow, someway, pro-oil, pro-polluter, and tea party-like ideologies will twist what he is saying in the video, into some rhetorical bull crap that hints at the tones of "He is ANTI-BUSINESS/AMERICA" And, in turn, such rhetoric is fixated in many minds only because we have been so dependent upon oil for so long, that it has become their GOD, with the company their benefactor, and so many cannot fathom ANY OTHER lifestyle that somehow can depend upon it much less. It is a typical smear tactic these days by hijackers of the Republican and Democratic Parties in The Corporate States Of America.

YOU TUBE COMMENTS: As usual, You Tube is a run way train wreck of short sighted and/or ignorant comments posted below the video by those who actually think they are being wise. They are missing the point that we need to trim the corporate welfare to huge oil companies and re-invest this money into renewable, cleaner energies. Someone will gain the fruits and bask in the glow of the benefits this economy will create. Will it be us? Or are we too stupid as a nation to see this? China will not be, so I guess they're smarter than us.

The oil industry had its time to get all the subsidy it needed. Maybe its time they get off the stage. Now we need to invest in cleaner and renewable sources for a more sustainable future--and, so we are not at the mercy of oil companies. I want to add--that in light of many thinking we can solve this issue with domestic drilling--that drilling domestically will not drill our way out of a crisis.

We simply use and waste too much fuel too fast to risk putting our dirty footprint on the planet's last great frontiers that are essential in supporting a healthy globe--to support healthy life. The Gulf spill is virtually a non-issue in the mainstream news right now, yet the damages it has done to the eco-system and economies that depend upon its health are suffering.

We have depended upon basically once source of fuel for so long, and as we phase out this burgeoning industry with newer, smaller, more progressive and diverse ones, promoting renewable energies, we will see affordable prices again.Oil should not have a monopoly on the worlds energy.

Lastly, I feel it is important to mention that for those in the US, despite oil companies making record profits, that for years we actually have been paying far too low for fuel prices---especially when you consider what the planet sacrifices to bring us that gallon of gasoline that we waste on frivolous things anyway. Many people are actually conditioned to think they "NEED" the amounts of fuel they are using.

I have witnessed time and again how wasteful people can be with existing energy. They mindlessly consume as if it were endless. And, having said this, I feel that in some way, and say with sarcasm, that Mother Earth will conduct an internal energy audit on the USA. She will yield no more finite fuels UNTIL, it has been re-evaluated how we are currently using existing resources.


Just some questions to ponder in the audit: Are you leaving lights on all over the house? Are you mowing your lawn 3 times a week? Are you having it sprayed with petro-based chemicals by trucks that use oil?... Are you using gas powered tools to do the work of what can often and easily be done by hand...such as blowing dust all over the neighborhood with a gas powered blower as you walk along the curb? (I mean REALLY? Since when has this become necessary? ONLY when a machine was invented to do it.) Are you supporting the flooding of domestic markets with cheap plastic crap by shopping at the big box store scene only? Are you driving when walking can easily be an alternative?

If anyone answered yes to the above, Mother Nature says she will yield no more energy. So, perhaps we need to focus on living more sustainably--and understand that such does not mean you will be compromising your lifestyle. In fact, many may discover the joy in less being more.

Now, with that said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIc83PWSBF4

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Encore: Gardens Under Glass and its Re-Source Center: Much More Than Growing Local Foods!

Gardens Under Glass is an urban agriculture/local foods growing project in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, in what was a former high end retail shopping complex. The complex actually resembles a giant greenhouse, so the new theme is a perfect fit and fine example of adaptive re-use of a building that had been economically type-cast by its peers. Growing food inside the building is achieved by aquaponics and hydroponics. These growing systems do not use soil, but instead utilize organically nourished water from added nutrients, or straight from fish waste in accompanying aquarium systems. Conventional methods in soil are also practiced.

The grand vision, beyond local food, hopes for it to become a regional center for independent green businesses and innovation, where such entities can combine forces and increase their competitive edge in what has vastly become a highly franchised market economy in the US. Local and independent merchants who are already promoting sustainable philosophies, green products and/or technologies, have the opportunity to be positioned along one indoor street under one roof!

Such, in turn, helps to promote a daring ideal of a more economically self sustaining city--by setting an example of how a community need not always solely depend on mega corporate investment, upon which to be the center of an economy. An added bonus in promoting smaller enterprise can sustain economic stability through economic diversity.

The Gardens Under Glass Re-source and Education Center opened its doors in September 2010. It is best described as a place offering products and ideas which promote sustainable lifestyles and healthier local economies through adjusting our buying habits and learning through workshops. Some greener examples set by the complex itself, are incorporating more recycling and waste reduction within the facility, more efficient use of existing energy supply, use of food grown on site by cafes inside the complex, rainwater retention, litter prevention, promoting less energy dependent landscaping, and composting of yard and produce waste!

Workshops are open to the public and local schools--and may focus on cooking with seasonal and local produce, healing through herbs and diet, growing food at home utilizing hydroponics and aquaponics, or even a presentation about local river and stream habitats, their importance in our lives...and their conservation through more thoughtful agriculture. One of the best true examples of promoting refuse, reduce, re-use, and recycling the center can offer is in the design of the room itself. It is a place that was created with over 95% recycled materials found on site and/or donations!

The Re-source center also promotes focus on three components of the biosphere: Air, land, and water--and promotes products and/or ideas that when implemented by the consumer, can result in the cleaner of those three life supporting components. The patron gains an enlightened knowledge of how his/her purchases can either have a heavier or much lesser impact on the environment--and a more positive one on our local economy.


Many examples set at Gardens Under Glass can be a blue print for how cities across the country can gain a new vision of what can create a successful and stable economy when multiplied and put into practice. The project is ultimately a catalyst in creating community connections, walkable neighborhoods, local foods, products and business--AND self sustaining neighborhoods. It can demonstrate that their is an economy and jobs to be created in a healthier environment in contrast to an often prevailing archaic mentality that offers the choice of “us, OR the environment”


Please visit: http://www.gardensunderglass.net

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Wrong Right--12 ingredients to creating a divided and numbed down nation!

They certainly are not your Grandfather's Republican party! They're so far off the deep end...so far right they're WRONG in an extremely ugly way! A little tongue-in-cheek humor helps lighten the mood through the madness. I hope their "followers" or sheep, someday stop drinking that Jim Jones cool aid!

I have listed below, what in recent years, I have observed to be the typical right extreme formula for dividing the nation, hiding truth, and creating an ever growing dumb and numb populace:
(Disclaimer: By "right extreme", I mean the wack jobs like Sarah Palin who have hijacked the Republican party and operate in its name like abortion clinic bombers pose as "Christians!"...throw in Newt too...who maybe should stick to something which can be far more respectful and patriotic in life like posing as an aging Bob's Big Boy in an Americana Icon Museum...instead of supporting policies that lead to obliterating all life on the planet!)

I find it to be the best definition of immoral unethical, and downright deceptive there ever was. Oh, and I am sure I left out an important ingredient or two to create the recipe for the most gullible and numbed down populace on the planet---And, I am sure many of you can come up with many more ingredients so please share.... but the following are just some that come off the top of the mind....


1. First and foremost, convince yourself that world history begins with YOU...9-11 and within the confines of America!

2. Be more interested in "BEING right", than actually doing what is right and make sure you reserve time for worship---each day of the week for the Gods of Truth: O'Riley, Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, and Hannity!


3. Buy all the media sources and then get the flock to believe that there is a "liberal media bias."

4. Get rural and religious America on your side by striking the same rhetorical chords over and over again that appeal to their heartland rooted spirituality by telling them how much you love baseball, the NRA, hotdogs, apple pie, family values, Chevrolet, the Bible, and the flag...tell them you will solve their problems, BUT NEVER tell them at WHAT cost, because they might just figure out that your political and economic policies actually do NOTHING for the better moral and economic interests of heartland America!


5. Get the masses addicted to fast food, the boob tube and sports as all that is meaningful in their lives.

6. Yell louder than the other guy and keep repeating lies until people start believing them, including yourself!


7. Alter the facts to fit dogmatic opinions, rather than alter the opinions to fit the facts...and included in this rule is to also deny any accusation no matter how guilty as hell you may be...and then convince people that George Bush had a justified reason to throw their Mother into a pot of boiling water, so the numbed down masses can go on supporting such a person.

8. Have no regard for the environment upon which we and the economy depends---because when it is gone, no one will know the difference, OR... why our very bodies, minds and spirits depended upon it anyway, right? We'll simply make a drug for treating all the woeful as a result and make even more money!


9. When asked direct questions and you cannot answer them, stray the conversation off topic until you can blame "Those evil Liberals"...OR, if you live in Cleveland, make sure you blame Dennis Kucinich for all the reasons life in America has gone wrong, and even for your ED problem! (Disclaimer: Be sure to forget about the fact that America and the liberation from the British Empire was in no way a "conservative" movement!).

10. If rule number 9 fails, resort again, to going off topic...and divisive name calling, labeling, or catch phrases approved by Rush himself, such as "Those evil Liberals are a cancer to America!"


I guess you can throw "TREE HUGGERS" in the mix too, because you will need to understand how much a healthy clean environment will pose a threat to us all.. (Shhhhh...don't tell anyone that "ALL" means our socially unaccountable mega-corporate polluters!)

11. "Starve the Social Beast" (Disclaimer: But be totally oblivious to the fact that when you do such, you will very likely often breed the need for that same beast you say you hate in the first place!)

12. If none of the above works, simply holler...Heee Hawwww.. This is Amerrrrica...if you don't like it.. LEAVE"... as the ideology and wisdom of "love it or CHANGE it" is not an option.


Yep, all the above and more is what we get when we become so duped into thinking the mega multi-national corporate figures like Monsanto, McDonald's, Wal-Mart, or Donald Trump is our benefactor... and that we cannot possibly live without them, OR any other way, for that matter. The resulting recipe is a time when when what is probably more truth and reality has been twisted to sound more like the B.S. ...while which is likely more the B.S. is spun around to sound more like the truth!

Well, as Edward would say, Good Night and Good Luck!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Green When Green Wasn't Cool?

It is rare I share forwarded emails, but the one I am about to post, whom I do not know authored, struck many moral chords deep within, in that for so long, I have thought each and every line!

In a time when "going green" has become a household catch slogan---and unfortunately, a bandwagon PR and marketing tool for big companies to utilize in the hope of polishing their questionable images---the true concept and mission of lightening our footprints on the fragile biosphere by living a life where less can be discovered to be more---has been lost.

Let's take a look back in time to discover that while certain threats to the world's environments certainly existed, others, that we have recently introduced, did not! Just think if we could implement more of the ways of the old lady referenced below.



In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic
bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized to her and explained, We didn't have the green thing back in my day.

That's right, they didn't have the green thing in her day.
Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store.

The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and
refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator
in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and
didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two
blocks.

But she's right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the babies diapers because they didn't have the
throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts wind and solar power really did dry the
clothes.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house not a TV in every
room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a
screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded
up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut
the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power.

They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right, they didn't have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup
or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water.

They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school
or rode the school bus, instead of turning their mom's into a 24-hour taxi service.

They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of
sockets to power a dozen appliances.

And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But that old lady is right. They didn't have the green thing back in her day.