Saturday, October 31, 2015

El Día de Muertos


Hector Castellanos has organised his eleventh Día de Muertos Festival for Cleveland. In Mexico and Guatemala the days co-incide with All Saints, and All Souls. These celebrations were ancient when the conquistadores came. Since then the customs have been christianised. And it fits well. A few main themes are universal. Remember man, thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return. Vanity of vanities, all life is vanity. We live to death, all others too. We remember those that we love, and loved us, have died. We are still connected.
At the main altar is an ofrenda (offerings) for San Oscar Romero. It is in traditional tiered form, with marigolds (cempazuchitl), lit candles, a representation of the Virgin, fotos of the deceased, calaveras (skulls), and items for refreshment.

Outside there is a cemetery scene. supra, lyrics from a Rolling Stones' song
Eleven sideshow type banners have skeletons as the actors of several current television reality shows. What an apt commentary, vanity, and nastiness are the subjects of much of these programmes, and very little substance, and what barrenness they expose of the performers.

Later in the day they will have a parade, and entertainment inside the old parish hall. Originally, the campus was St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox.

Friday, October 30, 2015

solstice steps

The city of Lakewood celebrated the completion of an addition to their park on Lake Erie to-day. A set of curved cement blocks terraced upon what was once a landfill. A stainless steel strip bisects the lot, and on the summer solstice the sun will set on that line. To celebrate, musical groups from the schools in Lakewood performed. It is a public space that makes well for people to enjoy themselves as they view one of the Great Lakes.
  



 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

same bat-channel

The third season (episodes 95-120) was a reduction, two nights became one night. Often episodes seem rushed. Management was worried, but the show relaxed. The Bat Duo and the the two top cops became chummier, and Alfred was often with the duo in the bat cave. The next episode began at the end of the current episode, new adventures in the same day. Earlier the episodes were self-contained, and rarely mentioned previous information, and could be broadcast, and especially could be watched in any order (with the caveat that each show was a in two parts).

New characters were introduced, and were prepared for in the later episodes of the second season. The addition of new characters is a sign of desperation, the old formula was becoming stale. The stamp episodes (85-86) of season 2 had introduced the bat computer as a character, it was acting up and on the fritz, it would be tinkered with from now on.
Robin: Fine time for the Batcomputer to let us down! 
Machines and gadgets were prominent from the batginning. The batmobile (a tricked out '55 Lincoln) had been a character immediately. Batman's utility belt had more stuff in than Fibber McGee's closet.

Barbara Gordon was mentioned to arrive, and when she did, she was Batgirl. She became a beloved character, and the Dynamic Duo became the Terrific Trio. Alfred got more time, and really became a member of a quartet.

But the bosses and the network were getting cheaper. The show was making money off of toys. Batman bubble gum cards were sold, in addition to lunch boxes, costumes, and assorted other stuff. A lot of recycled footage was being used. The sets had a black background, like the stages in high schools and small colleges. This began appearing at the end of the earlier season (89-90 and real noticeably in 91-92 with the Joker's paintings and Robin's deathtrap cliff hanger, but it looked good). 'Modern Art' was (and is) ridiculous. Alfred's elephant painting was good, and would be fine as a child's book illustration.

The show was changing its identity. Gotham City was a fictional New York City. The first few episodes of the 3rd season could have easily been written for the first two seasons. Librarian Barbra Gordon worked at Gotham Public Library, the exterior film footage shows the New York Public Library. The words are cut in stone. Also cut in stone, in similar footage, Gotham City Museum was Los Angeles County Museum (episode 109). Gotham City moved to the California coast for surfing (Episode 104). The next three episodes (105-7) were in 'Londinium', Gotham City's alternate London England identity.

Current events did not much seep in earlier, but with episode 100 (the 6th of season 3) we see a political acknowledgement of events. In a back lot, a movie theatre's street entrance becomes Gotham's soccer stadium, and the game is between the Doves and the Hawks—the political debate over the Viet Nam War and governmental policies. The next episode mentions the 'flower generation', and Batman approves.

Nora Clavicle (episode 113) is not politically correct to-day. The women's rights supremacist is flanked by two nordic goddesses. One issue extremists are still ridiculous. The series stupidest moment came with the 'Siamese love knot'.The pied piper scene of the mice going to the dock is surreal and silly. The props and the black background are silly, it is supposed to be day time. This reminds one of surreal silent cinema of Weimar Germany. The cast is having fun, as the stake body truck backs in with the tied up villianesses.

The most silly comic moment came in hatching a dinosaur egg (episode 103).  A zapping machine was to revive an egg. The six foot hatchling breaks the shell and puts fear into all of the criminals, whom run into a Paddy wagon. Batman was in a Lost in Space inter-galactic beast outfit. Another fun episode (118) has Joker flying his green gang in a beryllium space saucer. The trippiest was the next to final episode, which was heavy with current (and now extinct) clumsy slang, and double entendres. They knew the gig was up.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

same bat-time

 
Robin: The way we get into these scrapes and get out of them. It's almost as though someone was dreaming up these situations - guiding our destiny.
Batman:
Things like that only happen in the movies, Robin. This is real life.
Batman, the television show, was a cultural phenomenon. It was 120 episodes in 3 seasons of teevee, its first broadcasts were over a 26 month period from 12 January 1966 to 14 March 1968.  Very quickly, it became very popular, and then it cooled.

The show was a live action production of a comic book super hero. Here is a problem. They are comic book personages, they cannot be taken seriously; yet there are people who give comic books great gravity. Ignore them. The show was on at 7.30 p.m. Eastern time. It invited kids as an audience. Color tv was new, and the costumes, and practically everything was in bright candy colors on the show.  The main characters have become perennial favorites for Hallowe'en costumes, and it is easy to see why. They easily fit into a child's fantasy play life.

Now seasons of a television programme come complete on disc. One can go through all the episodes and compare.  And there are television channels that rerun the shows, creating more fans. And the internet has chat boards where opinions can be written. The third season was different from the first two, and was desperate. The only other programme televised in the evening more than once a week was Peyton Place, a soap opera. Most of Batman the episodes were self-contained, and not bound by chronology. Wednesday, the episode would end in a suspended death trap. The next night, the same time, same channel, matters would resolve and the villain of the week was defeated. People's opinions of different episodes vary widely. Those who care to comment like something of the series, but certain episodes are favorites and others are certainly not, but one fellow's disaster is another's prise and decidedly vice versa.

There was regularity. Children (and adults) like patterns, and are comfortable with such story telling. Rare was the show that did not have a choreographed group fight scene, with written sound effects as the comic strips had. Kids would play this out. No one died, or was injured in these fights. It was very easy for children to appropriate this acting into their play. This was also subversive to much of the story telling and attitudes of many. Rare was shooting on the show, the heroes never gunned. The episodes that i found detesting were with Ma Barker's machine guns, and the lame cowboy's pistoleros. Those characters wrongly drifted in. Westerns and 1930s gangsters are not super villain vehicles. They were out of place, and the actors (Shelley Winters, and Cliff Robertson were horrid—she yelling, and him with a face of the most idiotic disinterest).

Use of language and alliteration was fun. Costumes and color were bright. Ham acting was de jure. The word that comes up again and again is 'camp'. What is camp here? Farcical extravagance in presentation. The hero vs. villain, and the melodramatic gloomy narration ('Desmond Doomsday') had some suspense, but more comedy. Serious crime drama was not going to be the outcome, and television had enough of that; and now that genre is ridiculous in a different manner—'the procedural', or the protection of 'national security' to subconsciously and overtly instill fear in the viewer.

What made Batman work was the deadpan delivery of boy scout perfection and ultra seriousness in Adam West.  Any story of fiction involves a suspension of disbelief, i do remember Batman with his tongue planted in his cheek. He is wearing a cape and cowl over tight pajamas. Five year old 'Bobby' jumping from the couch with a bath towel about his neck fits.

Most of the first two years it is "Holy Establishment, Batman!". But...there is subversion. Some of the best performances, with the best lines, are by the arch-villains. Julie Newmar [in attractiveness and charisma, only Elizabeth Montgomery and Barbara Eden compare] is superlatively good in several ways. Frank Gorshin (Riddler), Burgess Meredith (Penguin), and Cesar Romero (Joker), with Newmar (Batwoman) were the core episodes. Police Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) played intensely dramatic seriousness even better than Batman, but overall the police were pretty worthless:  "The day I've dreaded has finally arrived, O'Hara! We'll have to solve this case ourselves!".

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Waterloo revisited

In a previous post [click], Waterloo Road in Cleveland's Collinwood was glimpsed. For the longest time the road was ripped up, and now new sidewalks, parking lots, and mini-parks have been added. Several buildings are being remodelled now, and new businesses have already begun to replace empty stores.

Two hundred years ago Napoleon Bonaparte met his Waterloo, supra is part of a mural on bad plywood with Jacques-Louis David's Bonaparte Crossing the Alps. David painted five versions.
Excellent signage (not yet open0
Several artists have studios in the neighborhood. A metal worker has made a large electrical switch. Cleveland has a Free Stamp next to City Hall. Andy Warhol's pop art lives.
Here is a World War II memorial next to the Slovenian Workmen's Home. It has the names of the president (Franklin Roosevelt) and Gold Star (dead) servicemen. Practically every name is Slovene. The bronze plaque was stolen decades ago for scrap, many were taken for that in the 1970s all about the city.

Friday, October 23, 2015

no Joe, and the doctor is out

Well, Wednesday the 21st, Joseph Biden declared he was not running for the presidency. At about the same time, two semi-Democratic candidates dropped out since no one much was interested in them. Webb exited grousing. Lessig is not  being recognised as a candidate, O'Malley it would seem is interested in either the vice-presidency, or the future, or both.

On another interesting note, Carson is second in the polls for the Republicans. He has taken two weeks off from the campaign for a book tour. He does not want to be president, he wants to be Fox's Dr. Oz.

☐ John (Jeb) Bush
☐ Ben Carson
☐ Chris Christie
☐ Rafael (Ted) Cruz
☐ Carly Fiorina (née Cara Carleton Sneed)

☐ Jim Gilmore
☐ Lindsey Graham
☐ Mike Huckabee
☐ Piyush (Bobby) Jindal
☐ John Kasich

☐ George Pataki
☐ Rand(al) Paul
☑ Rick Perry  September 11, 2015 oops
☐ Marco Rubio
☐ Rick Santorum

☐ Donald Trump
Scott Walker  September 21, 2015
========================

Lincoln Chafee  October 23, 2015
☐ Hillary Clinton
☐ Lawrence Lessig
☐ Martin O'Malley
☐ Bernie Sanders
Jim Webb  October 20, 2015

diatribe № 2

Getting in touch with my inner geezer

I was young once, and was foolish with many hopes and some ambition. The world has battered, buffeted, beaten, and bruised me. In the film 'Breaking Away' (written by Steve Tesich) Dennis Quaid says, "...I'm just gonna be Mike; twenty year-old Mike; thirty year-old Mike; old, mean old man Mike...". The shadow of that realisation has lived with me for years.

So the world has whizzed past me. Romeo said, "O, I am Fortune’s fool!". But Romeo was a kid, he never lived a life seeing one generation of idiots passing another. We live in disappointment. Now i see younger people come to the line, and i am less hopeful. It is not just fashion as a change, a difference; it is a choice, or several choices, which indicate depth of reason has become shallower.

The geezer awakens.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

burning of the scrolls

Sunday, for the first time in my life, i was in a Baptist church. I came for two purposes: concert, windows. The Heights Chamber Orchestra was wonderful. They played diverse pieces. Their concertmaster/lead violinist/soloist (Emily Cornelius) was heavenly.

The church is a gothic building built in 1928, with windows coming later and not at once. They are large, and like mediæval cathedrals — multi-scened. The choir and altar (obstructed) windows are so busy they are not identifiable from the ground. There are nine main nave windows, the four evangelists, Jesus, Paul, Stephen, Peter, and John the Baptist. On this journal, i have had many pieces on stained glass. And i had thought, i was finished in presenting them here. I have seen much of the best windows about greater Cleveland. Still, there are windows new to me.

Most of the windows in First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland could be Catholic. Peter, Paul, and Stephen have elements that would not be. Jesus names Simon, 'Peter' the rock. The window suggests the 'rock' includes James and John. One would figure the Stephen window refers to martyrs, but it includes non-martyr Baptist ministers, and others. The Paul window has a vignette many would be surprised to see.

Much of the book, Acts of the Apostles, concerns the adventures of Paul. Some stories are better known than others. We all sort of expect the road to Damascus, and it is in the window. As many of you may have guessed, i am a Catholic Christian; and i am continually surprised on what some others focus on. Well, the one scene here is the burning of the books [scrolls] in Ephesus.
And many of them who had followed curious arts, brought together their books, and burnt them before all;... — Acts of the Apostles xix.19.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

random Jesuit

Isaac Jogues (October 18, 1646†) statue. Campus St. Ignatius Loyola Cleveland.

Jogues was a missionary and is one of the seven North American Martyrs. They were killed at Auriesville New York on the Mohawk (then: Ossernenon New France). Their collective feast day is  September 26th in Canada, and on 19th October in the US.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

lakewood doggy day afternoon

The 8th Spooky Pooch Parade in Lakewood on a mid 40s day. The pictures are better before the parade. People, most often women, who costume their hound like to have their pet photographed. Me, an absolute stranger to them, and they gladly pose.



 Django is dressed as sushi.
 Finnegan again, perhaps Lakewood's most well known dog.
 Panzer and his guardian have you bewitched.
Sometimes families find an enjoyable theme.

Friday, October 16, 2015

2015 Miscellany #2

 

 
 southern flying squirrel
 
 what sort of patch are babies found in?
 


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

diatribe № 1

“Advertising is a racket, like the movies and the brokerage business. You cannot be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald 

I am not the only one. I am against the death penalty, i am nearly a pacifist; but certain exceptions pass across my mind.

GMC pickup truck commercial has annoying noise that would be background theme 'music', this has become common, and happens during a local 'newscast', as an outro after the 'tease' before a commercial break, and as an intro. That is bad enough, but the most annoying bullshit is one about baseball calling a pitcher 'a Rembrandt'—absolute bullshit. This insults art aficionados, baseball fans, and people with respect for any of the language arts.

Television shows used to have censors who concerned themselves with risqué elements. There should be an office for one concerning mendacity and bullshit, but this the United States where lies are to be respected as if they were not lies. But that might begin an avalanche, to-day lying shysters who defame the language, and then an eventual to-morrow where 'Fox' must disappear.

Please allow for a marked decrease in sales for GMC. And the Matthew McConaughey commercials for Lincoln, well that too. “It’s not about huggin’ trees. It’s not about bein’ wasteful, either. Just gotta find that balance. Where taking care of yourself takes care of more than just yourself. That’s the sweet spot.”. Bullshit.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

gun goons

There is something deeply wrong with the United States (well several things). A killer fires his gun and kills several people, and immediately some people cheerlead guns. The sale of guns and ammunition spikes. Mass murder is free advertising for weaponry.

Two things happen again and again as shown in the two cartoons below:


In Roseburg Oregon nine people were shot to death by an armed young Republican. Our president announced that he would meet with the families of the deceased. Normal people, people in other countries would see this as an act of compassion, almost pastoral. But in this bizarre land, gun nuts (some armed) demonstrate their hatred by public protest, which had been immediately organised upon the news of the president's intention to come to Oregon. And of course, we have hypocrisy. President Obama came privately. The demented gun nuts criticised him for politicising a tragedy. One is not allowed to criticise guns after a shooting, and it is always after a shooting. So the gun nuts do not allow free speech.

Now, in one of history's many episodes of repetition and irony, Roseburg was the site of a martyred brother of a martyred president speaking on the folly of easy access to weaponry. That was the day before the Oregon primary, the crowd was not friendly. A few days later Robert Kennedy was shot dead. [click for video]

Now, on another point: anyone who is 'pro-life' must be for gun control, if not they are inconsistent liars. The National Rifle Association is a front for the gun and ammunition industry. They are the salesmen and spokesmen for the merchants of death. They are part of the combined worship of Mars the God of War, and Mammon. It is inconsistent with Christianity to be a gun nut.

O, and there is more. Lanza in Connecticut, and Harper-Mercer in Oregon had mothers who took them shooting. Both boys were noticeably odd to everyone, they were crazy. Mommy has a crazy boy she takes shooting. Both boys had access to an arsenal. When Lanza killed his mother, and twenty-six strangers at a grade school, and himself, Sheriff John Hanlin of Roseburg Oregon thought it was a conspiracy against gun rights. He wrote to the vice-president and said he would not enforce any laws that he considered unconstitutional concerning guns. The father of one of the wounded in Oregon, Stacy Boylan is a gun nut and his family would not meet with the president.

One of the Republicans wanting to be president, Ben Carson writes:
"As a Doctor, I spent many a night pulling bullets out of bodies. There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking – but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away."
The gun nuts are saying America does not have a gun problem, but that of mental illness. Well six of one, half a dozen of another.




They had access to legal guns, ones that they (or their mothers) bought. You have a gun store and you sell to customers that look like this? So the gun defenders say now "it's not guns but mental illness". Wanting so many guns, and assault rifles, and armour piercing and exploding bullets are indicative of mental illness, but hey--the cash register sings.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Get a Job


“We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have — for their usefulness. When a man is reduced to his function he is placed in a servile, alienated condition.”
 —Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

“Get a Job” is a dismissive retort. Even moreso in the past. People protest, and this is what they heard directed at them. That bon mot was supposed to be conclusive and final. When you are working, you have neither the time, energy, or freedom for other things. The cries of a slave are ignored.

Doo wop songs were all fun. The Silhouettes in 1957-8 had a great one, “Get a Job”; but the lyrics were about unemployment and how it ruined domestic peace.
And when I go back to the house
I hear the woman's mouth
Preaching and a-crying
Tell me that I'm lying
About a job
That I never could find
Bruce Hornsby in 1986 had the much sadder and political song “The Way It Is”.
Standing in line marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor ladies' eyes
Just for fun he says, “Get a job”


Friday, October 9, 2015

Republican speak: conservative = ultraconservative

Boehner wants out:
“The Bible says, beware of false prophets. And there are people out there spreading, you know, noise about how much can get done. ...We got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town, who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things they know — they know! — are never going to happen.”
Bernie Sanders, for one, phrased it correctly:
“Well, John has had an impossibly difficult job trying to reconcile the conservative wing of his caucus with the extreme, extreme right wing of his caucus that really will not do anything and pass any legislation that Barack Obama will sign.”
John Boehner is very conservative, yet there is a group within his own party in the House of Representatives that are more so. The press constantly refers to these extremists as 'conservatives'.

Many describe the Republican Party as composed of two large subgroups. Often a term that is used is 'moderate'. This is cloudy and inaccurate. We must start that they are all 'conservative', and the distinction is really that of degree, and there are "ultra-conservatives". The press, and the press teaches the public to shy away from saying 'extremist'; and there is more than one type of extremist in their ranks. The press is owned, and the financial interests of the owners tend conservative (and part of that press is extreme conservative), so they are soft to make such distinctions.

'Ultra' and 'ultras' have been used in other political and historical contexts elsewhere. I propose that the distinction is to be made between conservative Republicans, and ultra-conservative Republicans; and relegate the term "moderate Republican" to join the terms "liberal Republican", "progressive Republican", and "radical Republican" to the historical past. They have no present currency other than obfuscation. To argue that it is relative is incorrect. There is a continuum of degree.

For all serious applications, in the United States the political usage of 'conservative' is an euphemism for 'fascist'. In this country there are two political poles: democracy and fascism. It is not a choice between liberal or conservative, it is a choice between democrat and fascist.

In 1964 Lyndon Johnson defeated a Republican that the country considered an extremist beyond the rational spectrum of politics; and now if he were alive would be the most liberal Republican on the scene. Ronnie Reagan refashioned the Republican Party to begin the removal of all non-conservatives, he also effectively eliminated much of the Democratic 'left'.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cleveland

Victor Ving is a painter going about America painting murals of local postcards in city after city. He and his girlfriend, Lisa Beggs, travel in a recreational vehicle during the stops. This is their work done in the middle of September. The official unveiling was on the 18th.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lorain Pirates

On Lorain's east side someone has expanded their Hallowe'en art display. It began with the ship, and now a town. This is a gift to the community.