I am always someone who appreciates nostalgia especially when it comes to something like OLD VINTAGE POST CARDS! I love looking at places used to look. I also find charm in the artwork on many of the postcards which were illustrated by post card artists! This used to be a big business back in the days before there were many cameras around. The links I am including below feature many Cleveland area post cards. Browse these sites and have fun taking a stroll back through time. Notice the architecture, the streetcars, the street lighting and landscaping, the people, all of which evoke a bygone era–a seemingly simpler time at least by today’s living standards.

I think about then and now when I look at these postcards. In some ways, today’s urban environment has improved and in others I feel it has not. For example, in the case of the environment, while we may have seen improvement in the air, lakes and rivers from the industrial wastes spewed into the environment when Cleveland was the nation’s multi-industrial behemoth….these days we may have other less obvious forms of pollution doing just as much if, not more environmental harm, such as auto emissions and the excessive urban uses of lawn chemicals running off into our water. Anyway, share some comments and share with me ways you think times have improved or not improved, economically, socially or environmentally.

On the lower site, it is interesting to read the comments people wrote on the cards! Also see the video tour of old post cards of Cleveland below:

Have fun!

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 9:08 PM

Do You Have a Problem With School Kids Littering? Here is a letter I wrote to a local public school administrator

Hi Elizabeth,

I am following up on the litter discussions we had. I have been really busy with arranging clean-ups of litter in the neighborhood, writing to council to see that state laws are enforced more effectively, especially on illegal dumping, I have contacted McDonald’s to do their part to remind patrons to not litter (seeing that the majority of fast food litter is from there), have contacted the mission-like places in the neighborhood asking them to do their part and have spent countless hours every week picking it up all over with some block club help.

Simply treating the symptom by cleaning it up, however, and not addressing some of the causes is simply not enough. There are several constituents of litter and many sources. If we can reduce the input from each or many of the sources, we will have made a difference–because collectively many people/sources become a part of creating the problem, and so this is why I feel many can be a part of collectively reducing the problem Among one of the contributors to neighborhood litter is school kids. Junk food wrappers and sugar drink bottles lay everywhere, each day.

Originally when I contacted you I was a bit vague in what I wanted to achieve when explain it, but in my mind I knew exactly what I would have liked to see done. What I want to see done is for you or someone else who can spread the message of this letter to the students via school newsletters or public announcement—and ask students while walking home that they not discard rubbish of any kind onto people’s yards or anywhere else—and that they should wait until they get to a proper trash can for proper disposal. I have people who live in the neighborhood all the time telling me what they witness students doing and I have seen it as well.

Many see litter as a trivial issue but it is far from one and in fact the complete opposite–and something we should have evolved past not doing by now as more and more recycling is promoted. Ohio spent 4 million dollars alone last year retrieving litter just from around highways. Litter devalues property and the environment and harms its wildlife—here, especially harming Lake Erie and its wildlife and swimming areas, our biggest economic asset. It creates a health and public safety issue as well by attracting unwanted pests. Additionally, it degrades the curb appeal in any given area contributing to scaring off businesses that sustain neighborhoods with jobs—many of which could be for these same school kids in the future. Litter is a part of the broken window theory, which basically suggests if you let decline of any kind start in a neighborhood, it will only lead to and promote more—with bigger crimes to follow. Littering is among the first symptoms that foster this theory.

Considering the fact that it is against state law to litter for very valid reasons…. is reason enough to pay attention to this issue. Fines of up to $500.00 can be imposed locally and state wide. I think it is time we start paying attention to this law, so that when it is enforced, people will not look at the police like they are from Neptune.

Not that I think it will solve the problem–as more causes of litter are more deeply rooted—BUT, I do think it will show the schools are doing their part to exercise more social responsibility on this very important matter. I would still be interested in attending any meeting we discussed, but truthfully, I am very busy myself and would like to see the schools show some simple initiative on this issue by getting the word out. It does not take a host of meetings and debate to simply remind your students that littering is not acceptable. Then later, we can work on educating them as to why it is not acceptable. All common sense and all seemingly y lost on this issue.

As the new school year approaches and with the litter that will fall like rain from students, I would appreciate your assurance that you will get the message out. It should be announced daily. At least I can respect then… that like other places I have contacted have agreed to do their part to help, the schools also have done their part.

Robert Carillio
Ohio City

P.S. I still think we should have the guests I was talking about attend an appropriate meeting in the future, but until then, announcements about littering are a start. With all of the neighborhood issues on my plate, I cannot go from school to school, Principal to Principal, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 8:12 AM




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Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 6:51 PM

Meet Your Meat Video–Do you know how your food is produced?

I feel more people should be aware of how the food they’re eating is brought to their plate, as it used to be before the mega-industrialization of food. Since the industrialization of our food, most people have become completely oblivious as to how it is produced, what sacrifices are made by the land/environment—and the animals which in the end are consumed.

We are too used to seeing food all pretty packaged up in stores, or handed to us through a window. I Hope more people will learn how an inhumane system that produces for quantity only, will result in a negative impact on ourselves and the world. Which choice dietary choices will you make after you have educated yourself on this issue? 1.An unsustainable one which has a very negative impact on this planet’s resources and its inhabitants (ourselves)….or 2. One that will have a much much lesser impact?

Perhaps the following website and video will help you make this choice and inform you about how the food you love so much is brought to you.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 3:49 PM



Cleveland and Similar Cities of the Nation’s “original” big cities–are being reborn, and not necessarily “dying!”’




Photos: The Terminal Tower and Downtown Cleveland as viewed from the west

A recent Forbes Magazine article examined what it saw to be America’s fading cities. The article seemed to be basing its “dying city” criteria on holding such cities to the level of success they had in the past—or what they used to be—as their model for what they should still be today. But if they are short of that level of success, then the city must be a failure by Forbes criteria. I believe lists and labels like these Forbes regularly produces are often misleading. Here is why…..

If one expected a city like Cleveland to be the KIND manufacturing powerhouse of a city it was in the past to be the same hit in the now and future, then of course such a city would be viewed upon as “dying” because most of America’s original manufacturing base has been shipped out steadily over the years due to globalization of the economy. Such is not endemic to Cleveland. Forbes also ignores the fact that some cities like Cleveland, through this economic evolution, are slowly re-inventing themselves. This can take a long time to shed years and years of what has been an economy built solely around a base of manufacturing.

Forbes assessments are also misleading because because with urban flight, subsidy of suburbs, and other push and pull factors, Cleveland, for example can not be expected to be the kind of city it was when it stood alone, with so much surrounding competition in a highly populated region of the state of Ohio. Additionally, and more recently, it has been stressed by a lot of failed economic policies from a federal level and a slew of predatory mortgage lending. (remember this, Ohio, in November!)

More encouraging as Cleveland re-invents itself, it has a lot going for it. Among some of these attributes start with the character and integrity of the people who get involved in their community. It is actually a city steeping with progressive activism that refuses to succumb to hard economic times. It is a city with a street grid and plat that was pedestrian orientated, walk-able—and green before green was cool. The park system is stunning, health care world class….art history and culture attributes second to none–and a new wave of high tech research and education will help shape part of the future of the city’s economy.

Forbes also cited population loss as a factor of a dying city ( but ignores the fact that most older major cities have indeed lost population within their propers and continue to do so) BUT, population numbers can deceive: Let’s take a look….. While inner Cleveland has dropped in population numbers, Greater Cleveland is basically stable. We need to look at things from a regional perspective before we say ‘woe is me’ to the bigger picture.

Ironically though, it seems Forbes takes into account other city’s metro-regions when making their population judgments, but does not observes Cleveland’s. The reality is many people have not left the area, they have just crept over the imaginary line to a nearby suburb—but, many more well to do professionals, retired empty nesters, etc. are moving back into the old city as neighborhoods slowly see revitalization.

Population wise, old Cleveland proper is focusing on quality instead of quantity. Add to the above, sunbelt cities (which Forbes regularly ego-strokes) for example, who’s mild weather conditions help them avoid some population loss. Have you ever experienced what a north eastern mid-west winter can be like?

One other thought to consider why it can be misleading to simply label such a city or metro area as “dying” is that while cities like Cleveland were among the nation’s “first” and original big cities already boasting all the infrastructure, art, history, culture and convenience as we expect of cities, places like the much touted Charlotte, Phoenix, Tampa, or Portland, were mere outposts—AND, therefore they have yet to go through the “growing pains” of heavy decline, or in some cases never have because they have only within the past 30 years, become legitimate major cities.

Cleveland’s and other rust belt cities economies from the start were destined to decline as a global economy would eventually undermine local economies–essentially forcing cities like Cleveland to re-invent. Again, re-invention after so many years of depending on a specific economy as the backbone of success takes time—And a city really should not be deemed a failure or dying while it goes through the metamorphic process that will have it become something new.

I don’t want to sound as though I am picking on other cities (what the heck, though, people have been laying it on Cleveland for years), but It is apparent that in some places, there is no evidence of a city with the cultural or other kinds of “infrastructure” that suggested a vibrant past. Rather, places like Phoenix or Las Vegas are merely large populations who just grew old, cold, and retired—or are young, and heard from a friend they need to move to the sunbelt to be a success. So in reality, such a place carries a great population and that’s about it. I refer to such places as “pretend cities” Some of the cities

Indeed, Cleveland is re-inventing itself—being reborn into a city with a town center which features what they originally were all about from the start—a place where independent small retail and other merchants such as, artists, restaurants, grocery, etc. as well as necessary business, arts, and residential needs will thrive. Cleveland is also becoming a place where more emphasis is placed on “green collar” jobs, greener, cleaner industry.

I will be the first to knock the local self esteem issue that often prevails and say people who live here and who have moved elsewhere from here, need to stop with the archaic knocking of this town/area and develop a better sense of of civic pride by learning about their city’s proud past and all it has to offer currently–and then see it for what it could and should be—and then try to be a part of solutions rather than a part of the problem.

Forbes portrayal of such cities like Cleveland, though, do no favors in changing local images, self esteem, or civic pride, OR, to attract new investment and population. Instead, the attitude merely piggy backs on outdated stereo-types of Cleveland and similar cities. So for this I say… Shame on Forbes and their lack of disregard for many of our nations original big cities which were major players in its formation and today’s success.

Photo: The Terminal Tower and Downtown Cleveland as viewed from the west

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 11:56 AM



Football Today, Football Yesterday

Photo: The one and Only, Jim Brown!

I am not the big football fan I used to be, or at least not a fan of what the environment surrounding the game has become. The reason for this is likely because I grew old enough to start paying attention to the business side of things, which seem to have become greedier and greedier as the years passed. The game has become, for a long time now, a circus for marketing everything from fast food, trucks/cars, booze, soft drinks, health insurance, pro-wear and the list could go on and on. Not to mention the ever growing arrogant and greedy attitude of the players–some who may be in court for drug dealing in the morning yet allowed to play the game by that same night. The game has also become a conduit to promote an anti-social Rap Music culture through many subtle and obvious tones in the commercials emphasizing on many of the products mentioned above. It has become a loud and ‘in-your-face’ obnoxious advertising campaign for national mega companies. Again, I know it has probably always been this way to some degree, and I am not romanticizing the past game, but things certainly have become obviously worse.

For example, If you watch today’s game, advertisers target market is clear: An overweight, low self esteemed, financially inept, under thinking crowd of complacent, oblivious white males 25 to 45. Here’s the game plan: Numb and dumb them down to important issues going on in the world with the game…..Get them fat with Pizza Hut, make them feel like a REAL MAN with the new truck, restore their potency with Viagra, that the fast food diet helped to deflate in the first place…sell them health insurance or a motorized chair because they’re too fat to walk….then make it all seem glamorous and shameless to indulge in a self destructive lifestyle and viola!!!!! We’ll have them coming back for more and we all make money from producing America‘s biggest crop, unhealthy people who cannot produce in the economy. Phewww! It is a shameless vicious cycle

Oh, let’s not forget…. Somewhere there is actually a game in here–one where the athleticism of the players the audience watches is certainly not reflective of many of today’s fans. When I used to watch the game a lot, my friends and me wanted to be as strong, healthy and fast as the players we watched. That was our role model, not the player being a thug, all mouth and no action, or us becoming a bunch of fat guys on a couch staring into space at the TV while awaiting pizza delivery! At half time we played the game, these guys on the other hand cannot get off the couch unless food or the smell of a TNT level fart does it for them!

Ok, you may think I have some opinion of today’s game and some of its fans, and all which surrounds it, but the fact is, I am still a fan of the game itself. Not one who watches every game of every team or one who bets on the games, but a fan of the Cleveland Browns. We really do have the best fans in all of football. We love them not because they’re good at any particular time, we love them because they’re just “our Browns” Corny, maybe, but this brings me to the part of this article I wanted to arrive, and that is, as the season approaches want to take some time to reflect on the game of the past.

How many are quick to point out that the athletes were not as good, bla..bla..bla… But at the same time, no one mentions about the fact that the players of yesteryear did not have the luxury of the training of today’s game. Naturally, the game has evolved in this way. At the same time one could argue that players of yesterday were less pampered with sports medicine, less pampered by the officials, less pampered by padding, less pampered by the perfect playing surface and climate controlled facilities, etc… So, in the end, it is all relevant–a trade off, if you will.

As for the health of the players, I can assure you this, most of them probably sat down to healthy home cooked meals, even while on the road, and rarely saw fast food because it simply did not exist as it does today. So , for overall health, I would say the player of the past was healthier in that respect and probably many other disciplinary aspects as well. The game was more pure in a sense not only from a physical stand point, but from a stand point that it was not the loud marketing machine it has become today with even many stadiums taking on the names of whomever has enough cash to flaunt to buy it. Speaking of “buy it“, players had more loyalty to the team, city, and fans, because the game was not as much a “I’ll play for the highest bidder” scenario! To a degree yeah, but nothing like today, and so all things considered, is it any wonder why I love watching old school, heavy hitting, down and dirty football films of the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s? I dedicate the following presentation below to all who share in this opinion. It is a highlight film of the 1968 Cleveland Browns. The heart and soul is evident because we really played for the love of the game more than the love of the money! This is classic!! Enjoy!


Warren Ohio City School Board Responsible For Bombarding Residents With Cannonfire

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The following letter was submitted to the Warren, Ohio City School Board after the home opening “cannon fire” attack on residents courtesy of Warren G. Harding High School.

Dear Superintendent/Warren City Schools,

I am extremely appalled by the decision of the city school board to approve and allow the excessive use of fireworks at the football games. Excusing this activity by wrapping it up in warm and cozy words like ‘tradition’, ‘school spirit’ and so forth is absolutely no excuse to impose the war-type sounds of cannon fire which continued for nearly 3 hours on a helpless public at the home opener. There is a silent majority out here that refrains from speaking up on this issue for apathetic reasons—-and which does not wish to have this kind of excessive noise pollution assault unleashed upon them.

While you may still want to drape this activity in whatever cloak that sounds good and satisfies you, the reality is you are causing a great deal of stress for people who need to rest to function properly on their job… and are acoustically assaulting people, young and old alike. Animals in particular are severely traumatized by this noise. What’s more, you’re also being very disrespectful to those who have served in war combat and suffer from shell shock by imposing excessive noise on these individuals.

I do not understand what making excessive cannon fire noise has to do with raising school spirit—instead, it merely raises adrenaline in an unhealthy way, and has many of us not wanting to support the schools for anything. As it was when I attended the same school in 1987, tolerable are of a couple ‘kabooms’ when the team scores–followed by the powerful sound of the high school band which, by the way, appears to be absent from the soundscape you created—BUT what you are doing is imposing a kind of noise assault above and beyond what is socially acceptable. No focus is on the talent of the band anymore because the focus is on setting off bombs. While this may appeal to the lowest common denominator in society, it is not appealing the vast majority of residents nearby this stadium. Additionally, these fireworks are louder than anything ever used while I attended this school.

The above problem you have created makes me wonder where the priorities are here. Education or sports related hype? Listen to this: Not everyone wishes to follow or attend sporting events! You do not have a right to impose on these residents the bomb blasts you apparently associate with your sporting events—or assume that everyone thinks the KIND of unnecessary cannon noise at these events is ok with the majority of the population not at the game!

Quite frankly, I find it alarming to come to the conclusion by the examples you are setting, that you have failed to expose your students to any other wonderful aspect of life such as art, history, nature—or world culture—that would help to foster and promote some of these students getting involved in more than just sports. Isn’t that a part of the social responsibility of the educational system?

Tell me, is this town so starved for some sort of identity that you decided to play up on the sports theme to attain one? If so, how sad is that! I believe in our students more than that and feel we can turn out more than just athletes or those addicted to noise. It is shameful that an institution of education of such does not even take the time to stop and think for a moment just what kind of harm you may be inflicting on many….from this belief that you have to set bombs off at games. We pay taxes to support schools, and education—not to be assaulted with cannon bombs. Please find a better and more creative, entertaining way to arouse enthusiasm instead of making those who profit from the sale of gun powder, rich!

As an avid activist in the arena of educating people about the ill-effects of excessive noise pollution on the community, I am well aware of the fact The City of Warren struggles with enforcement of its codified ordinance on noise—while at the same time, excessive and unnecessary noise is the number one complaint by residents to the city safety director! Excessive and unnecessary noise ranging from illegally modified, or deteriorating exhaust systems on cars or motorcycles, to incessant obsessive abuse of gas powered leaf blowers…to boom cars… is the under-recognized plague that is robbing this community of its right to reasonable peace affecting its property values in an negative way—-AND, now you are part of a growing problem! With a plague of deafness and hearing damage occurring in this country, who do you suppose will pay the price for it in society when disabilities reach epidemic proportions?

It is time to educate the educators: To educate yourselves as to the problems you are contributing to in this community, I would suggest you visit the website and read about the dark side of excessive noise and what it does to the body, our quality of life, and property values. I would hope that after reviewing this material, you, an institution of education, will make the choice to be a more socially responsible neighbor. Please try and see the picture from the outside in for a change to understand why this is a problem so you will try and be a more respectful neighbor and member of the community from now on. I will also follow up with you to request a sit down meeting to discuss this problem

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 6:58 PM

Making The Core City Storefront Scene More Attractive

                         The Old World Shopkeeper Way To Start The Day!

Photo: Storefront Scene in The Cleveland Neighborhood of Tremont

Remember when the old downtown shopkeeper used to have a daily routine before opening the shop that would consist of a 20 to 30 minute chore session which would include jobs such as quickly washing/sweeping the front walk, washing windows, spraying down store facades with the hose, picking up litter and viola!—then the open sign would be flipped over? On a regular basis, many merchants would even apply a fresh coat of paint to preserve and beautify the store facade . This made the core city old storefronts last forever and maintain their charming architectural appeal. How often do we see this happening these days? I don’t see it very much or at least as much as it really should be done!

Many storefronts are allowed to deteriorate to the point they become unattractive to patrons. Such storefronts, with their old world charm, coziness, and romantic allure, are what separates the core city from the suburbs. When left to decay by not doing the simple things mentioned above, we witness one more element of the kind of urban decline that contributes to sending life in the city packing or going elsewhere. Simply put, it is a symbol of neglect and lack of pride that does not exude confidence in our town.

By doing simple ‘little shopkeeper’ daily routines, we can assure out retail core in Cleveland remains attractive and competitive–hence attracting more urban activity inward toward the urban hub, and not sprawling outward and becoming a part of energy consumptive sprawl. Places like Crocker Park and Legacy Village are great retail centers, but are mere paper tiger imitations of what we already had in the Central Business District–but still, those areas are heavily shopped mainly because patrons are attracted to the fresh look and feeling of safety they offer.

When urban retail cores are allowed to slip beginning with not doing the small things mentioned in this article, or even by law enforcement not nipping potentially small crimes that could lead to bigger ones, in the bud—-more and more potential patrons will opt for supporting the suburban mega store—or the imitation downtowns like C.P. and L.V.

At the very least, picking up litter on a daily basis around your property makes a world of difference. Even something as simple as refreshing vegetation planters with native wildflowers is a sign of attentiveness, pride, and care. As I walk through the Flats and Ohio City, in many places it looks as though none of the above is ever done—or at least not nearly enough. It’s time we all pitch in and do a better job in performing all of the above; especially the commercial buildings and properties., because these are among the first areas visitors see — and will help shape the first impression of our city.

Another idea to improve the downtown storefront scene revolves around better presentation of downtown empty storefronts. Places that stand empty, have sat empty long enough with the basic “shoe polish smeared on windows with a ‘For Rent’ sign hanging on the door” Perhaps a more attractive way to present such space until it becomes rented out would be to allow local artists/designers and window merchandiser displayer to create art murals, and samples as to how such a downtown empty storefront COULD look when done up right.

Many malls implement such a plan. The Galleria does it now. I think it would exude a much better and more positive atmosphere than seeing, for example, the place on the corner of 4th and Euclid sitting so long with dirty windows and an array of construction debris and equipment scattered all around within.

Additionally, if done well, I think this would help to inspire more passersby who may be business inclined, to consider the possibility of opening up shop downtown. Having storefronts prepared and presented like this–and with a “FOR LEASE/RENT”–or “OPEN YOUR BUSINESS HERE!!!” posted as well…. Sure beats the old show polish method as described earlier. I think the best it offers is the aspects of presenting a more rejuvenated atmosphere, rather than a empty and desolate one.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 1:47 PM




Classic Television Movie Promos! Do you Remember?

I stumbled across these on You Tube. Whatever happened to the nightly movies we used to see years ago on the networks? Each station had a unique individual identity. Today, the movies are gone and reality shows are countless.

When I see this promo of the ABC Friday Night Movie, I am taken back to a more innocent time when Summers seemed longer, balmier, breezier, starrier, quieter, healthier—and all the rest of the warm and fuzzy feelings!

This promo also makes me think of BEDTIME, as when the movie came on the TV, it was usually time for bed–but sometimes we were allowed to stay up and watch!There is a certain ambiance about this promo I cannot describe, but no doubt evokes a certain mood. You watch and see if it brings back memories for you. Share them here!