Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"This I Believe"

About a month ago there was a post here about Arthur Tyler [click]. In two months he is scheduled to be executed by the state of Ohio, the governor can choose to intervene. To-day, is Saint Dismas Day. Dismas was the man who befriended Jesus while they both were being executed on crosses. The governor of that day also had an option for leniency. Arthur Tyler was a 'thief', but was condemned as a murderer; and it is very evident, that, he was not. The many years in confinement has allowed him to think, for as the old song has it „Die Gedanken sind frei” (Thoughts are free).

For some time National Public Radio had a running series, "This I Believe", wherein people submitted essays. Arthur Tyler submitted one (not aired) in June of 2013.

This I Believe...

I've lived in several different cells in my 29 years on death row, but this is the first time I've had a window in my cell. Who knew something so simple could be so transformative? I was recently transferred to an older, more run down prison. There is no running hot water and the drinking water is so contaminated we can't drink it, even after boiling it. It's flea-infested too. They tried to make it pretty by painting over the dirty walls, but somehow the paint trapped a stench that is almost unbearable.Yet this small window has made all the difference, made all the filth and stench and injustice bearable. I never realized how a window can turn you into a believer in goodness, how it can tamp down your anger, how it can turn you into a person full of gratitude.

Being convicted of a murder i did not commit, I long ago lost my life as I knew it. During my time in prison, people I loved like my mother and brothers have died—and I never got to say goodbye and I was mad about it. Yet this window has changed me, changed my outlook on life. Until this window, I had only a photograph of a sunrise and sunset on my cell wall to look at.

Now out my window I can watch an actual sunrise for the first time in a very long time and realize again that each day life begins anew in glory. I awoke my first morning here to the songs of birds. I had forgotten how beautiful a bird's song is—and I felt my heart wanting to join in. And the vastness of the sky was a new revelation that made me not feel so empty. And how was it that I didn't remember the beauty of trees, of flowers in full color? Until this window, I had forgotten how sweet it is to feel and smell a warm day, to watch it bloom.

The other day, I watched a storm brewing and I could hear the sound of raindrops before they hit the ground. I sit by my small window and meditate and for the first time in a long time, my heart doesn't feel so angry. And I believe again that life can be good despite the circumstances. All it took was to be able to look out this little window.

The window helps me believe that human nature is balanced more towards good than evil, that most people are essentially good at heart. Maybe everyone needs a window through which to believe. 
postscriptum: 7 p.m. 29 April 2014: "The Ohio Parole Board recommended to Gov. John Kasich today that convicted killer Arthur Tyler’s death sentence should be commuted to time served, making him immediately eligible for release from prison" [click]

Monday, March 17, 2014

people group into display

I have posted fotos from the Patricios parade in the past. Methought i did this enough, and for what ever reason, i caught fewer good shots this year; but i noticed how many huddled groups i snapped, and also people posed in lines. Well, both people grouped together, and it was not just people.

The wolfhounds assemble in and out. A few were looking out the window, two, three, four heads would poke out, and then they would constantly change position. They had names like Maeve, Fiona, Scarlet, Colin. It was fun to stand in their circle. They are extra-ordinarily pleasant with people. They want to touch people, and they liked to be touched. Standing with them is peaceful, and calming.
The Chinese brought a dragon, and two people dressed as pandas, later one of the pandas was playing two small cymbals. It was a colorfully balanced unit, and they were a crowd favorite.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mass Mobs Coming

We wish to attract people to come for a Mass, a celebration of Liturgy and Eucharist, in a parish community of an historical, and beautiful church. We plan to call for a flash mob, a group of people to present themselves at a location. This will be a Catholic Mass Mob to attend Mass.

In voting for Buffalo Mass Mob III:
Saint John Kanty ended up garnering the most votes over the two week voting period and will host the next Buffalo Mass Mob on Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 at the church’s 10:30am Mass.

Mass Mob in Philadelphia will be held on Sunday, March 23, 2014. St. Francis Xavier, The Oratory

             "Hey Boo-boo, what do you mean, there are two Saint Casimirs in Cleveland?"

St. Casimir Parish is located at 8223 Sowinski Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44103 between South of St. Clair and North of Superior, west off Ansel or east off East 79th.

West of Rockefeller Park and Martin L. King Jr. Blvd. (formerly Liberty [after WWI] on old maps, and Lower Blvd. before then [Saint Casimir's was from before then])

Now, on the Shoreway/Route 2/Interstate 90, there is an exit for MLK. Drive south towards University Circle; at the Latvian Garden there is an unmarked access road that has a sign with an arrow to Ansel. Driving uphill the towers of St. Casimir will be visible. Cleveland City Council has voted to name that access road Saint Casimir Way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

aren't we just ducky

 Monday, Monday (i was listening to the Mamas and the Papas discs in the car)
To-day we are to be hit with snow, and then arctic cold. Monday, and Tuesday were warm days. The electric just came back, after having shut it self off twice this morning. The First Energy conglomerate is not too particularly reliable, nor are they given to be honest with their customers.

Well, i went to the Cuyahoga to see the birds. The mouth dumps into Lake Erie past an abandoned Coast Guard station, and the banks there are buttressed. The first thing that transverses them is a vertical lift railroad bridge. An armada of several nations of ducks, and some others, filled those waters. Monday afternoon, the sun hit the water blue and the light falling on red feathers made them beautiful. It was such a pleasure in the viewing.
Where Scranton Road ends and it hits Carter Road, there is an abandoned lift bridge and a fire house. The Cuyahoga [which had caught on fire several times in the past, and was a reason the lakes were begun to be cleaned up after the creation of the Environmental  Protection Agency (one of the bugaboos of the fascist businessmen and Republican candidates)] is there, and on the other side is the Terminal Tower. The first picture snap of the birds yesterday has a red necked grebe, a male red breasted merganser, two ♀ and one ♀ canvasback ducks, and one ♂ redhead quacker.
♂, ♀ lesser scaup
A park path is being landscaped. On a birdy page, it is referred to as Scranton Road Flats. The orange sign reads, "this site closed to all entry". The far bridge is Lorain-Carnegie, two of the sandstone sculptured pylons are visible. There is another entrance just past the bridge with a viewing pier, and the same sign.
Canadian goose, ring bill gull, redhead duck
mergansers are also called sawbills
Postscriptum 1.11 pm  12 March 2014: Well ain't this something. Some of my posts are read by less than an handful of people. Thirty-three minutes after this was posted the electric company, mentioned above, read the story:

Visitor Analysis & System Spec
12 Mar    12:34:29

What a fast response. I wonder how long my electrical service will last?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A bit of the world came to Saint Casimir's

To-day was the first Sunday in Lent, a penitential season; but Sundays are always to be a celebration, and are not counted as one of the forty days, and parish life at St. Casimir was exceptionally non-ordinary. The Casmiri were celebrating two years since the decrees. 

They remembered several people and events, including the altar boy "Walter" who pulled the plug on the bishop during the Mass of Eviction. That was the spark that brought a scene similar to Casablanca  [click1click2] . After the invasion of Poland in 1939, he was a captured soldier and spent six years in the camps. Władysław Szylwian died February 2013, he had lived an hundred years and ten days. They remembered the days in the street, and the Mass of Homecoming. After Mass, there was a Benediction and the Gorzkie Żale (Bitter Lamentations) devotion. They sang in Latin, English, and Polish. 
  Monstrance and candles on high altar of St. Casimir Cleveland
Local television interviewing David Sutherland, a film producer for PBS Frontline. He came in from Boston (which has not always sent good émigrés to Cleveland). Two of his crew came in from Chicago. They are filming a documentary on immigration.
John Niedzialek, whose family has belonged to the parish an hundred years speaking on the history of the parish over the last five years. His was the first letter of appeal from the parish that reached the right desk in the right time frame in Rome. Even though the cause was just, and the action protested against was invalid and against canon law, without such a formal reception of such a letter as an object of appeal, the cause would have been lost. He has never mentioned that his was the first of two letters that reached such a desk in Rome from Saint Casimir's.

Joseph Feckanin speaks about the parish before introducing the first dancers. The Frontline fellow saw Joe speaking on film clips posted on the internet, and interviewed him. He has become the preferred de facto spokesman to the press. They don't ask who can they speak with, they head straight to Joe.

All sorts of electronic recording devices were used to 'film' the dancers. Some gadget hybridised from the original lines of Marconi, Bell, Edison, and others.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014 miscellany #1

In the past i have collected excess fotos and posted near year's end. But, here now.

On the Saturday before Lent began, Cleveland's Slovenes had their second Carnival. The star actors were the Kurenti. These feathered and ribboned bandits carry bats with hedgehog hides, and are to gather handkerchiefs from the gals. They have cowbells strapped to their backsides. Those are not cravats laying on their chests, but their tongues. They put fear into horses and pit bulls. The horses scatter, and the dogs bark.

 And generally people do not pose for pictures with those they fear.

 See, and other actors are to fill out the cast, as this wee devil with a tiny pitchfork does.
A troupe of Ukrainian dancers also paraded with the Kurenti. Supra, the arrival of some; note the extra sharp costumes. Do not be surprised to see them in the St. Patrick's parade.

Now, there is an interesting and dangerous historic episode unfolding in the old country. People protesting a corrupt government have died. The result was a change in government. The president then fled the country, to seek refuge in neighboring Russia. Russia has taken over a peninsula (the Crimea) that harbors their southern naval fleet, and whose population is majority Russian. It is a reminder that so many borders are arbitrary, and Europe has many areas of mixed population, and life may be precarious at any moment.
I photographed this before [clicky] . This is in front of St. Vladimir Parma. They have put up a cross for several years, for the Baptism of Jesus (Epiphany Sunday). This year's Julian calendar, that was 19 January. This foto was from the day before, a very cold day; and the day before it was raised. Part of the mural behind, shows the Baptism of Kiev in 988. Some hours ago, at midnight, some two hundreds of Ukranians left from St. Vladimir's to drive to the District of Columbia and demonstrate concerning the disturbances in the old country.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Kurentovanje — a Slovene Carnival

The only one in America, is in Cleveland Ohio. And it was done for the second time to-day. Somehow, for a couple of hours it caught one of the small windows of above freezing temperature this winter. Just off of St. Clair Avenue is Saint Vitus, a Slovene parish, in what was the oldest Slovene neighborhood in Cleveland. The formal carnival was first organised after WWII in the oldest city of Slovenia, Ptuj. Ptuj enters the history books in a.D. 69, when the Roman legions elected Vespasian as emperor. Any reason for a celebration is a good one, and these neighborhoods in Cleveland have long been battered, so this ethnic levity is good.

Carnival is the pre-Lenten season of merry making. This local one is celebrated on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. A 'kurent' is conjectured to be a character of the pre-christian slavonic mythos.
Here we see an horse and buggy to the left of center, and to the right a princess whom was to ride. The horse was spooked, and eventually was turned around and went back downtown. Last year two police horses were scared away. The horses were scared of the kurenti.
people posing with kurenti (in sheepskins)
Ukrainian dancers, Kurenti, St. Martin de Porres cheerleaders
 and the music is trucked in

At the Sochi Olympic Games, the Slovenes won eight skiing medals. Tina Maze won two gold.
After the parade was over there were a few minutes of dancing and photos. And almost immediately, the people had to retreat to the sidewalk under police orders.