Not So Positive About Positively Cleveland’s New Branding Idea For Cleveland


While I appreciate PC’s spirit and enthusiasm in promoting Cleveland through all the flashy videos, it seems to me that the impression of the new branding caters to a narrow demographic; the “easy and in-your-face- sell” demographic, contrary to the idea that such is not an easy target market.

Cleveland would not need all the fancy marketing videos and material its elected leaders, civic promoters, residents and the rest would just focus on cleaning up the basics and being the best it can be with what it already has.

Example, and while I know this is not the focus of PC, the city hierarchy and residents are its strongest asset and need to focus on improving quality of life issues like crime, excessive noise issues in neighborhoods, street sweeping,  litter all over the city (which is HORRIBLE), maintaining existing parks as best as possible with what resources we have.  The focus should be more on making the city more than a visitor and tourist destination, and rather, a place people would want to live and raise a family.

Guess what happens when you get back to focusing on basics including, but not limited to what I listed above?

YOUR CITY SELLS ITSELF and improves its image via word of mouth.

Videos like the new branding concept Positively Cleveland has unveiled—one which suggests we are “real” and down to earth–and not flashy with egos are contradictory as they still examples of tooting your own horn! The new video and branding concept can be construed as little snobbish in its own right.

At the same time it suggests that we are down to earth, it also exudes an arrogance that is resistant to positive change, and content with complacency. It is the typical and archaic love it or leaves it mentality, not love it or CHANGE it, as maybe it should be. In a way, the new branding concept glamorizes underachievement–And such thinking is why we make stupid people famous on stupid reality shows!

While I have always felt that making your city look better in pictures or fancy videos than the real thing was not a good idea, I also am not too sure about catering mostly to this demographic by showcasing what is in my opinion glamorized images of a complacent sloppy populace that has lowered standards so low that abnormal and slack is now the new norm and acceptable.

Can’t these promotional videos strike a balance which appeals to everyone and in various demographics and walks of life? Afterall, Cleveland is often touting how “diverse” it is in culture and populace.  As I tipped at in the opening statement of this commentary, marketers are always after the easy sell these days and have largely ignored a demographic 35 to 55 which actually spends the most in our economy.

Take notice how Positively Cleveland videos appeal mostly to visitors, young wannabes, students, and business folks. But, what about those who actually live here, could live here, and who want to improve the physical aspect of the city and its daily quality of life? There is little to nothing reaching out to those folks. City leaders and promoters ignore this important component of our existing and prospective population. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of bringing in fresh blood and ideas, but not at the dismissal of existing creative minds that are already here and go largely unrecognized if they are over 35.

Traditionally, Positively Cleveland has produced some great videos that actually promote and instill an image of more of what Cleveland can and should be which helps to promote more civic pride and a raising of the standards–BUT this should not be so good that when people see the real thing, they are underwhelmed and disappointed.

So, YES, it is important to promote an “as-is” theme as is the new branding idea—BUT, not such that simply accepts everything here as is showcasing beer drinking, sports, and mediocrity. There is a demographic and social scene on which they can focus that is neither overdoing it nor underplaying it, IF, they want to demonstrate a real Cleveland the promotions often fail to recognize as what I described above.

Still, If we all take part in promoting a cleaner and safer city with a better daily quality of life, the city will eventually sell itself to everyone as such are the basics of determining where we want to live and perhaps even visit.

As it stands now, no matter which extreme direction PC takes, be it the former or latter form of promotion, so much either presents a better image than reality, or now, perhaps an image of nothing that promotes a higher standard than complacency. Thus, we may further the economic and social type-cast that has made us look and feel second rate for decades now. Raise the bar, don’t follow a sloppy standard that has not seen any better in years.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 8:54 AM No comments:


I submitted this OP-ED to The Plain Dealer Commentary Section. 

In a perfect world the idea of “re-connecting” Cleveland’s citizens with access to its lakefront–a sentiment often expressed by community leaders, planners and activists–is surely noble and necessary.

However, such “re-connection” must also accompany understanding the significance and importance of the lake’s bio-integrity. If not, then the flood gates will open to more abuse and degradation that our once pristine but still recovering Lake does not need.

The abuse of which I write about is courtesy of the filth that nearby visitors and many residents leave behind. The current lack of understanding or care for such matters is clear every time I am close to the waterfront. Our waterfront is visually filthy with debris–and all coming from human activity and disregard for our environment as well as our everyday fellow citizens.

Please read the entire commentary here:

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 5:16 PM No comments:

Cleveland/Akron — Youngstown/Warren Missing the Bus and Train on Being linked through Public Transportation

Northeast Ohio needs a united regional people ground transportation network which would serve Cleveland/Akron-Canton, Youngstown/Warren.

All of these cities are within an hour or so drive from each other–and in the regional sense of thinking, form one tri-metro region of roughly 4 million. However, all are drastically under served in people transportation options when it comes to linking them together.

Once all connected by rail many years ago and united in their economic power, are now mostly divided. So close, yet so far, indeed! We need to have more sustainable options in stitching these places together—other than being forced to drive or own a car. A region with this many people having largely the only choice of a car to get around–and to and from each of these cities is insane and extremely taxing on the environment. What is more disturbing is the complacency of many people who seem to think this is normal and acceptable. Oh how things have changed from a time some 70 years ago when one could get almost anywhere in this region without a car–to a time when you can virtually get nowhere without one!

Federally and state wise, for the last 50 years or more, had we invested our tax dollars in promoting and improving our public transportation networks rather than putting most of the money into creating an automobile dominant and dependent society by building a maintenance intensive road and highway system—maybe it would have helped shaped the way more people chose to get around.

Still today, a largely ignored demographic that would prefer to not spend their money driving and on all other aspects of expenses associated with driving such as insurance, maintenance, fuel costs, risk of getting tickets, and so forth—includes some who cannot drive for health reasons—and more-so, the growing number of those who simply do not want to be living their life strapped inside an automobile—AND, who do not wish to own one for that matter. This sector includes many people young and old who want to live car light and who seek regions in which to live that offer either extended bus or rail services. Many are bright minded folks who will take their talents and monies elsewhere where such services exist.

Case in point of the dismal state of alternative transportation options that could link all N.E. Ohio….

Example: If you do not wish to drive: Try searching options to go from Warren to Cleveland. Well, there is the first and obvious option of trying to find a friend to get you to Cleveland….

But what if you cannot find anyone?

Their is the option of taking a cab, of which Warren hosts no legitimate cab company—just a couple guys who stick a taxi cab magnet on the side of their car and viola, instant cab! Oh, and the cost is only $150.00 dollars one way!

How about the Greyhound Bus? …Uhhhh…. Nope… does not stop in Warren anymore. Has Warren become so scary that even a Bus won’t stop there anymore?
Now, how about a shuttle from Youngstown Regional Airport… Nope…

This brings us back to feeling forced to drive… Ok, so  how about  a car rental?

Yes, but make sure you do not chose this option on a weekend or you are screwed as I had discovered they are all closed or with very limited hours! I

“Hey…WAIT!”….is their a commuter rail service?” An out of towner asks who is used to a diversity of transport options.

Uhhh.. No. Not since the late 70’s, early 80’s.

Ok, so its back to Greyhound…

Uh yes, there is the itinerary to travel only about an hour within our N.E. Ohio tri-metro area…  At last, I have found it!!! Get up at 6:00 AM and walk to Courthouse square….take the WRTA Warren express to their most beautiful Youngstown station (Sarcasm)…then take the 9:15 Greyhound to Cleveland via Akron and get to downtown Cleveland by 11:15 AM.

I really did not mind doing this as it proves one can get around without the car if they had too… BUT, for such a close distance, the itinerary could not be more indirect and just plain goofy! And, if time is of essence, this option is not likely. Other areas in N.E. Ohio actually do offer transportation options for further transport out of their cores, although in need of their own extensions.

But, why cannot we find a way to partner these transportation groups to connect the dots between Cleveland/Akron and Youngstown/Warren, more directly in our region?

Rail economy instead of fracking…..

We should have rail and light options too! And, while this topic is up for a moment, rail will bring REAL and respectable jobs to N.E. Ohio with all that encompasses the development and fostering of it—yet at the same time, costs far less to maintain two steel rails than thousands of miles of roads. Hey, we could save tax payers money, but the guys who have road repair contracts will not like it. So what, they can get off the stage and find a new job with rail! This maintenance intensive “road only” option has drained tax dollars for far too long. Its time they get off the stage and fall by the wayside just like whale oil did! It will result in cleaner air and offshoot economic development in and around stations. Such could be the benefit of rail development and a more energy sustainable future would be promoted.
BUT ALAS…. instead, we opt for economic development containing all the false hype and promises of a fracking industry who takes advantage of the ignorance, desperation, and gullibility of so many people around here who jump on the hype bandwagon as long as the word “JOBS” is attached. We opt to have our water and environment contaminated and with a future price tag to clean it up—if it even can be—placed on the shoulders of the public. Cancer in water instead of cleaner air and water. We chose the promise of jobs at any cost. And, no matter how few people actually benefit short term in the long run.

So far we have seen jobs outsourced, energy products being extracted and taken elsewhere–while these companies leave our land and water polluted for taxpayers to pick up the tab not only with future costs of clean-up, but the untold costs on public health. Goodness, don’t we have high enough cancer rates around here?  I thought we learned a lesson when the heyday of heavy industry left our waters and air contaminated. I guess not. Fools flock to promises of the fracking propaganda as if it were the California Gold Rush. How foolish are we?

Let’s go FAT-MART!!!

Yes, this the choice: A mostly polluting economic development instead of reaping benefits of a cleaner greener economic development that could result from developing a better public transportation network via rail and bus. Yes, indeed…this is the best we seem to do and add to this, fuel to sustain an economy of 24 hour Fat Marts selling crap we don’t need…. and even chop shops who install noisy illegally modified equipment on vehicles which break laws—or call for more money spent to revamp local noise ordinances! Oh, and add fast food joints and wing shacks which help foster the obesity plague. Oh God…we surely could never have transportation alternatives which may actually involve a bit of walking! No, never…. we need to walk less, not more here, right? We would never want to promote ideas that could actually promote a healthier environment and populace, body, mind, and soul. That would be too difficult, then, for the fracking industry to sell their bill of bull shit to the resulting dumbed down public.

Don’t miss the bus….or train!…..

Other cities who offer comprehensive transportation options reap the rewards of attracting bright individuals who have money to spend in the economy. We are losing this opportunity by not offering what they want and look for in transportation. In particular, places like Warren. And even Amtrak does not make a stop in Youngstown anymore. By passed from a smarter, cleaner, and greener economy are we. In a time when we need transportation alternatives the most, we have them the least… and in a time when we needed them less, we had them more. The public, and elected officials as well, need to wake up and realize the utter dysfunction of this region not linking together to join economic integrity, diversity and stability! Revamping our transportation networks would be a great start!

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 12:27 PM No comments:

Should Have Been Posted In July! Fireworks Madness!

Cacophony, obnoxious, idiotic, excessive, acoustic anarchy, illegal, obscene, intrusive, selfish, arrogant, unnecessary, dangerous, and invasive are some common adjectives which describe the incessant and ongoing fireworks noise that took place near the 4th of July weekend in Warren, Ohio. Celebrations for which the true meaning of the holiday has all but been forgotten in what has become a perverted interpretation of America’s “Independence Day”

Fireworks products which would only be available for commercial and professional exhibitions in recent years are now in the hands of every drunken ignorant human lifeforms that one can imagine. Hospital ER’s are clogged with either the stupid, or the victims of the stupid who should not even be allowed to breed much less possess explosives! Someone who really needs a Doctor has to wait for treatment of the irresponsible. I witnessed a group of good ‘ole folks allowing a child, which had to be no more then 5, light extreme bottle rockets!

I fail to see the excitement in what is really a minority group of feral people in numbers, unleashing what has become a form of audio-terrorism on a helpless public. Innocent babies and animals, young children, elderly, and even veterans of military services are forced to hear this crap long before the 4th of July, ON the night itself, and beyond! Some fools possessing fireworks just do not seem to know when to STOP! Such begs the question of what is so special about seeing any local organized event of fireworks anymore when similar products are now in the hands of a general public?

Most people, especially many police, (especially in Warren) do not understand–nor are informed as to the negative impacts of this type of noise on the community, psychologically, socially, economically, and environmentally; how it can lead to major issues to which they claim need most of their attention and resources. I What goes on in Warren, Ohio–or any other city or suburb, is a shameful violation of one’s right to peace, safety and comfort in their OWN home and represents yet another example of the erosion of any higher standards relating to quality of life issues in neighborhoods across the country. The right to “domestic peace and tranquility” guaranteed by the US Constitution all the pseudo-patriotic zealots say they love so much, seems so conveniently forgotten! If this abuse and excessive indulgence of fireworks is not abated, we may as well have open gunfire in the streets too! Who would know the difference anyway?

Idling Engines Wasting Fuel–Is this REALLY always necessary?

I have noticed a seemingly increasing unnecessary and wasteful act in the general public today. It is the increasing tendency to allow vehicles to idle for moments on end. A reason I can overlook an idling vehicle: A hot day where senior citizens with breathing problems are an issue or anyone else with one for that matter where excessive heat may exacerbate a breathing condition. OR, the opposite in cold weather conditions or emergencies like being stranded, where heat or cooling may be necessary for staying alive! After this I have to ask why I see–mostly young people on the kind of beautiful days where you would love to park under a tree, roll the windows down, read and enjoy a breeze–sealed up in a vehicle letting it run?

In a nation where we are destroying the environment for the sake of oil and gas energy which will be mostly used in an economy to produce excessive  “STUFF” we simply do NOT need, the last thing we should be doing is something like this. Every little bit of energy wasted simple contributes to the total sum of energy used and wasted for no legitimate reason. Additionally, allowing engines to idle for moments and hours, simply contributes to the conditions that result in weather extremities from which we are trying to shelter ourselves to begin with!

I would have thought we would have already learned such environmental ABC’s and basics in the 70’s, but it seems we have all but forgotten, and need to be trained all over again. And, this kind of collective waste that adds up to be a lot does not stop here…two other most preventable forms of energy waste are the use of plastic shopping bags and littering! But, these are stories that need separate attention. Maybe in a future post.

Meanwhile, to those young people with NO health issues sitting in cars letting them idle for moments at a time, get off your rear ends and out of the car–and go for a walk! Don’t become a future drain on healthcare or the environment!

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 11:02 AM 2 comments:

Hey Media…Stop being a PR Conduit for the Oil and Gas Industry!

Below, is a letter I sent to a reporter, or should I say “repeater” who is one of the thousands who have become a whore to the oil and gas industry:

Dear sir, I have worked with stream ecology for many years. The damage to our water from fracking is clear. Why would Dick Cheney, in ’05 push to ram through an energy bill that EXCLUDED the oil and gas industries from the federal clean water laws? Why? Because they knew this degree of fracking would indeed greatly harm water resources, When you pollute ground water, which fracking can and does, that’s it..water is pretty much ruined. It will be the tax payers who bare the cost of this problem in the future if it ever becomes addressed at all. All people hear is industry and chamber driven information about this activity.

The unreported harms and horror stories have been for years an continue to be covered up by a powerful oil and gas lobby/influence. The paper’s job is to seek the facts as best as we know them and this means not just regurgitating to an ill-informed and gullible public what industry gurus and those who will financially benefit, want us to hear. Any economic benefit from this procedure is short lived, serves a few, yet will bare a far greater cost and impact down the road. We will look back someday and wonder what in the hell were we thinking?

What have we become as a society when we reach the point we are willing to throw our own Mother into a pot of boiling water, think that it is OK, just because a few people make a few bucks for a short time. There are many other cleaner ways to develop a sustainable economy and reduce dependency on oil or foreign energy, and this is NOT one of them contrary to a desperate and demoralized public largely in denial is duped into believing.

It is time to Stop this insanity. We do not need this energy as it is mostly being used to sustain things we simply do NOT need in what has become an insatiable 24 hour FAT MART society of sick people! Stop listening to the hype, marketing and PR of the oil and gas industry and start reporting the unheard story they do not want the public to hear. This IS after-all, a true democratic media’s responsibility.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 10:44 AM No comments:

BOSTON BOMBING–Hardly “Terrorism”

Witnessing the sensational reactions of the mainstream news media as well as all the flags flying at half staff over this so called “Terror In Boston” it seems America just loves to throw pity parties for itself and behave in such a way that suggests our pain is always the worst. This isolated incident in Boston, has been molded into some kind of “attack on America” Immediately following the event, news screens on television posted in epic style fonts, headlines that resembled a Towering Inferno movie poster! It played like a bad script that once again, many gullible, self-centered Americans will embrace as a reason the world should feel sorry us–or worse, possibly a reason to wager an invasion on another country! The song “Dirty laundry” by Don Henley comes to mind.

I am waiting for the next chapter to somehow connect this incident with the Middle East, or “Terrorism!” WHY is this being called “terrorism?” Is it because the rating hungry conservative corporate owned media knows this word–which has been repeated a billion times over ten years–seems to resonate so well with paranoid Americans who stand a better chance of being eaten by Jaws in a gold fish bowel than being attacked by a terrorist? Calling this “terrorism” is like calling a blood type needle prick a fatal stabbing!

Let’s forget about the hundreds of thousands killed daily here and abroad over unspeakable atrocities, or how corporations pollute our environment daily with products that should be banned–but are allowed to exist under the guise of “commerce” and “Free Enterprise”–and instead, let’s create a 911 style atmosphere for a few casualties in Boston. Such daily incidents in Iraq courtesy of US occupation are called “Collateral Damage” and contain such horrors involving innocent people of all ages, that are conveniently hidden from the American public’s eye. Are we so arrogant, blind, and myopic that we actually believe “they” do not matter?

As I see all the attention given to this incident with the flag waving and news coverage–and how it has been blown out of proportion much larger than any bomb, I cannot help to think that such reactions are playing right into the hands of the perpetrators and doing EXACTLY what they want. When will America, the land of the so called brave with so many gripped in fear, will ever learn how they are played like a fiddle.

My heart goes out to the families who have either had anyone injured or lost in this terrible incident, but let’s still keep it in perspective. Let’s ask if anyone here crying over this outside those families has ever cried a tear for this kind of incident which is a daily occurrence somewhere else? Do not call yourselves ‘compassionate” or tell me I am being heartless if you have not!

Being from Ohio, I also have to ask if this incident would have been made into such a major deal if it happened in Cleveland or maybe Detroit? OR, do we have to do as we are told and cry for our precious New Yorks or Bostons? We have become such a delusional nation that has also become so “UN-critically” thinking or questioning….and its time we stop running from our own shadow!

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 3:44 PM No comments:


To all concerned about litter in the city….

If we can start a “Pick up your Pooch’s Poop” campaign downtown to address the issue of our four legged friends leaving their fragrant all- natural calling cards on lawns, in planters and on sidewalks; which is of course a good move -then why can’t we examine with equal concern, the impacts of litter waste (including cigarette/cigar butts), which makes the effects of dog poop on the environment seem pale by comparison?

Next, I would like to bring attention to another idea that could help reduce some of the more preventable and annoying components of plastic litter waste: the concept of phasing out or completely banning the use of “single-use” plastic grocery bags in retail establishments. I hope Councilman Cimperman will consider this most radical but necessary idea which is less radical than the problems and money plastic litter is costing us all. Like the city of San Jose, maybe Cleveland should slowly phase out use of those plastic bags for groceries and revert to paper and promote re-usable shopping bags.

It has been done before and needs to be done again as this is another unnecessary component of plastic litter that is choking the environment and simply making the place look ugly. These bags end up in trees, on beaches, along roadways, clogging sewer grates, stuck in the throats of animals and so on. This is common knowledge by now and people will gripe if such a measure is implemented, but so what?  They will get over it just like they did the smoking ban and every other change that comes down the pike.

Come on folks, people did not sit around and starve or wonder how to carry something before the advent of these bags and we would see benefits. At least if paper bags become litter, they break down to benign materials quickly. Let’s promote “bring your own”, “re-usable” or paper. Winners will be companies who meet this challenge by offering better alternatives, but the real benefit will be our community-its residents and environment as a whole.. San Jose made such a bold brave and smart move and I am sure we, in Cleveland/N.E. Ohio are just as smart, bold, and brave as our West Coast counterparts. Or not? Have a look:

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 3:35 PM No comments:


More of the race to the bottom in America. This time regarding: “Dressing for Downtown”

Before I write this story, I have to offer a disclaimer: Some who read  post this may be quick to label me as writing from a self righteous, conservative, or “elitist” position. Such statements would be rather prejudiced because I am none of the above.. Instead, I hope that many will be open enough to receive and consider the thoughts articulated here and accept them as the “constructive criticism” they are meant to be.. Often by rejecting information that could possibly improve something in our lives, such as our health or well being, we remain stagnant or chose to sit on our laurels. Many of us these days seem to have an allergy to information that challenges the status quo, which just may be a better alternative IF given the chance. The following story is solely a product of personal expereience and is not intended to belittle anyone who simply cannot afford any other alternative.

Now the story….

Once upon a time, a venture downtown in any typical American city or town, large or small, had most folks dressing tastefully and with quality. Whether you were shopping, working, out for a night of dinner and the theater, or simply taking care of some personal business, these activities were considered important enough to look one’s best and this was reflected in one’s choice of outerwear..

As I look at old post cards or photos of downtown scenes where people can be seen taking part in all of the above, I notice how people in the photos were dressed: in the tasteful attire of the everyday folks. Personally I do not interpret their “dressing-up”, as many seem to do today, as being about superficial vanity. Rather, I see it as making an effort to exude some basic self- respect and dignity–and, as an opportunity to engage in and honor important or special experiences. One might note that indigenous peoples of the world throughout history, those once thought to be “savage” by Western cultures, often dress most artfully on a daily basis, and do so especially when the occasion warrants it.

Downtowns that feature historic places and buildings and iconic attractions seemed to be peopled with those who dressed in such a way that even paid compliment or respect to the historical or important significances of a downtown.  Whether intentional or not, it was what it was. While there are still many who make the effort to “dress up” when going downtown-such as professionals who work downtown on a daily basis or those going out for a special night on the town, I witness a disturbing trend that sees many many more doing the complete opposite.

Let’s go to Downtown Cleveland….

Let’s examine a typical local Cleveland scene. Often mistakenly described by apologists who may have never been exposed to any other example  as “casual” or “trendy”, the outfits paraded around downtown these days are really nothing more than the product of downright laziness, sloppiness, and a lack of effort. Heck, even the poor bums I noticed in those old photos and post cards exude more respectful dress than what can be witnessed in most people in downtown Cleveland today! The scene can only be described as sad, sick, pathetic, and even boring, especially on Saturday when you see all the Wal-Mart…or, excuse me.. Casino goers. The project that was supposed to add so much to our fair city and downtown area!

Some of the attire I have seen would not even be suitable for working under a car or doing sweaty dirty yardwork! Here is the sample scene:  Men, typically between the ages of 18 to 35 (but not limited to that age group) wearing the typical “AMERICAN UNIFORM” of dirty tennis shoes, ripped blue jeans and a tucked in tee shirt. This serves to accent their often large pot bellies and is topped off with a baseball cap to round out this most cheerful attire. Not pretty..

Other guys wear pants that are falling off- exposing their rear ends as though all of us asked to see their underwear and more… The pants are so baggy that those who wear them cannot walk properly; instead they waddle and resemble clowns in a circus or perhaps a youngster who has made poo-poo in his pants.

On the other hand we see women in generally the same age range, wearing slippers and sweat pants, or even pajamas in broad daylight. Indeed, they are scenes that more resemble attire for a tractor pull, camping trip, yard work, etc. It is a phenomenon that may be more pervasive in some regions than others, but it can certainly be seen all over Cleveland and all across the United States, I would imagine.

What the hell happened to dress standards?

Having said this-and as I am not here to just pick on our locals in America, I must pose the following questions: Where is the dress standard anymore? Is there a standard? What in the hell happened to standards at all? Have people become so used to operating so far UNDER an average tasteful dress standard, or with NONE at all, that they they actually have become conditioned to believe that making an effort to look nice is elite, superficial, or snobby? Or worse, what if they consider what they are doing to be a decent, if not their best effort? If so, how sad that we have sunk this low to interpret what is and has been an average standard–or everyday thing–to be high society!

Come on guys, you are going out on a pre-planned date downtown for dinner in a rather nice setting with your partner and the best you can do is wear dirty jeans and a tee shirt-or those baggy crap catchers?  I would simply not allow this to cross the threshold of a nice restaurant–and it is too bad for those proprieters who have permitted it–that they have allowed crap to set the example for fear of losing business.

Jeans and Tees can be nice too!…

Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love a great summer tee shirt as much as anyone. I love a quality one, one that will last, not the $1.99 undershirts they pass off as dress tees! And, I  even love a nice pair of comfortable jeans. Such clothing can indeed look nice if it is taken care of and of quality. However, this is not the case with what I witness people wearing downtown inwhat looks to be like clothing unfit for even the homeless!  It leaves me to wonder if some believe that tee shirts, jeans, and tennis shoes are the “one suit fits all” solution to pesky wardrobe problems- a “no-brainer” choice suitable for all people and all occasions.

Discover what you had been missing!….

Many do not know what they are missing to invest, little by little, in a quality wardrobe to discover the joy and fun in artful, clean, and just tasteful dressing, or how easy it can be. They seem to be conditioned to believe common myths like “It costs too much” or “It is too much time or effort” In terms of cost, if we look to days gone by, people generally had less clothing, but it was better quality and what they had they took care of. IN contrast to today where we have a glut of cheaply made clothing that is ready for the donation box in a few months, leaving us the task to go out and spend more money on more throw aways. Add up the costs over time and this is not so economical afterall–NOR is it good for the environment to keep extracting resources to make more short life clothing.

Their are also health benefits of this investment and effort. I used to be going down the path of all I am criticizing in this article. Then it dawned on me one day how NO ONE seems to be making an effort to clean up a little anymore. I discovered the joy and feeling of wearing clothing that is well fitted and made of material that feels great on the skin. My moods changed, I simply felt better physically. I even felt more confident in my work and more respected by customers. So in summary, you could say that a more quality wardrobe has economic, social and environmental benefits!

I hope for change…..

When I am downtown Cleveland, the status in dress in so many individuals seems to be getting worse. Same old same old as I described at the top-outnumbering those who actually make an effort anymore-some seven to three! The filthy tennis shoes thing really has me shaking my head in disappointment. I have to wonder if the shoe shine guy makes money anymore. I often think about how–if more people learned about re-discovering the benefits of artful dressing–especially when going downtown–how it would result in creating a more positive energy, a friendlier and healthier populace of which Cleveland can be proud! It would be interesting to expereiemtnt in this idea alone.

Downtown has plenty of independent clothing stores from which to chose to make the discovery. For me, it is not “dressing-up”. I become annoyed when I hear people say to me with surprise… “Oh, you’re all dressed up today” I tell them that I am NOT dressed up….its just how I dress…and its actually very average. The ordinary has now become the extraordinary so it seems to so many. And so I hope that through the efforts of people like Mike Lang and Cynthia Lundeen, two local champions of artful dress, more and more people can discover the fun, joy, and happiness which can be found in the art of dressing for downtown once again!

I would now like to share sentiments on this topic from a guest who has also noticed the downtrodden state of the way so many of us are dressing these days……

We’ve all heard the expression: “All dressed up and nowhere to go.” but do we really need a special occasion or destination to feel motivated to look our best? Many people have jobs that require them to dress up and look nice and most likely they are in the habit of maintaining a look that is “pulled together”- nice haircut, decent shoes, flattering, well-cared for clothing.  But what about the rest of us? Can and has “casual, anything goes” dressing gone to far?

A look into an old t.v. show or photograph from the 1950’s would reveal a populace that looked quite dapper and chic on a regular basis, whether doing the weekly grocery shopping, running errands, walking the dog, even gardening or putting out the trash. Does how we dress affect how we feel and how we behave individually and collectively as a society? I think we have all experienced the difference in feeling of being caught off guard at one’s worst when people stop by the house unannounced vs. the feeling you get when you’ve just left the barber shop or hair and nail salon or are wearing your new or best dress or suit.

When we spend our daily lives feeling that there is no good reason to dress up, what does that say about how we feel about ourselves and our lives? It’s not that outward appearance is everything, but it certainly is something. When we show respect for ourselves, we also show respect for others and our community, as if saying: “This is my life. My life is an event worth dressing up for. You are my neighbor, or my husband, my wife or my child and I respect you and want you to see me in my light, the same way I enjoy seeing you..”

Stay tuned for information on more you can learn about dressing for downtown right here in this post!

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 5:56 PM No comments:

Warren, Ohio Mutilates Its Trees

As Arbor Day approaches in late April, the appreciation and stewardship of the city’s urban  forest canopy is an abomination. The city allows the utility companies–and the tree trimming services which are commissioned–to perform a mutilation trim job on city trees causing them to eventually become weak, die, or need to be totally removed. Such is a waste of money and energy.

Worse, is what happens in private yards. Residents enlist the services of so called “tree experts” to take down trees yearly without taking responsibility of replacing any. I have to wonder just how many of these services employ a full time degreed, licensed, and certified Arborist. Or, are these mostly a bunch of guys who somehow got enough cash to buy some fancy equipment–and then suddenly proclaim themselves as “tree experts!” While it is understood that many trees need to be removed for either health compromises in the tree or potential safety hazards, many more completely healthy trees are removed which pose NO public safety threat or any other of any kind.

In the Genesee/Woodland area of the city I have monitored for the last decade, aside from trees hit by storms, or threatened by anything else–Or posing any threats whatsoever of falling onto a house–countless healthy native oak trees removed for the typical fear driven and sometimes frivolous decisions such as “I’m afraid it will fall on my house in a storm”, “Roots get into my drains”, ‘It has ants,” or the classic “Leaves are messy!” All of these concerns can be laid to rest with a simple preventative maintenance plan.

Have we forgotten the countless proven benefits of trees which far outweigh the unwarranted bad rap they receive? Do we cling to paranoia laced logic that now has neighborhood trees becoming public enemy number one–when the rare occasion (rare in contrast to how many DO NOT hit houses!) occurs that has a tree hitting a house after a storm?

The removal of trees in Warren, while none are replaced, is having many neighborhoods look like a bare, cheap, or dated development rather than the idyllic bucolic settings they once were. Trees add beauty and thus property value, prevent soil erosion, retain moisture in soil for healthy lawns in drought, shade, a place for kids to play or relax, clean the air, curb noise pollution, contribute to lower heating and cooling costs, serve as windbreaks and a refuge for harmless backyard friendly wildlife like birds or tree frogs(so they live there and NOT in your chimney!)–and the list goes on and on.

While many cities strive to plant more trees for promoting a more sustainable future, Warren residents and the city alike continue to employ hack artists to remove trees. These services could be wise (perhaps some already do the following) and secure their living for many years in the city of Warren by promoting their customers to save the tree so they can then offer a yearly routine tree preventative maintenance service. People already spend money hiring lawn chemical companies to dump countless gallons of toxic chemicals on their lawns yearly, so why not take on a more socially redeeming practice by seeing to the upkeep of the trees?
Tree services can secure continued repeat service through such a plan each year indefinitely.

They can achieve this plan by educating/reminding the customer on the many values trees provide and explain to them how a yearly service can prevent disease, improve the strength of the tree limbs, cost very little, and so on. This, as opposed to simply removing it altogether. Instead, it seems most of these services are riding that tidal wave of “the sky is falling” fear instilled in residents that results in a monkey see–monkey–do knee jerk reaction–whereby a tree cutting tirade ensues after a storm takes down branches of many trees that were poorly maintained in the first place–and perhaps, could have been prevented too! So many of these trees that are removed can easily be saved through some simple maintenance.

Instead of having trees to come back and service year after year, the current prevailing protocol of cut and remove by local tree services will result in no future repeat service for potential repeat clients. And, at the rate trees are removed in Warren while not developing any plan to replace them which could also educate and engage residents replacing them such a business will simply fade.

Another interesting thought is that tree services, by offering a yearly maintenance and stewardship program, could possibly spend less in labor and energy costs, and thus, make a yearly service protocol on the same trees, more profitable and cost effective!

Progressive cities and towns across the country take care of their trees and promote planting more.  Just have a look at Savannah Georgia, for example, or the many “Tree City USA’S” across the nation and in even in Ohio. They seem to recognize the value of trees in the city. Look at the heritage oak trees in Savannah, a town right on Hurricane coast. You don’t see people going into a shock wave of paranoia after a storm and then go on a tree cutting attack on healthy trees all over town. Maybe they do not  not let fear or ignorance govern their city tree policies like it appears to be the case in Warren by city and residents alike. Are they smarter than us down there or have we simply become too lazy to think of creative ways to care for our urban canopy?

So, as arbor day approaches, try and discover the benefits of  trees and the rewards in stewarding them in contrast to killing them. 150 years to grow by nature, 3 hours to destroy by the careless. Something to consider in a public environment that often has an allergy to any information that challenges the prevailing mentalities about trees in Warren.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 11:57 AM 2 comments: