Sunday, September 25, 2016

Protectors not protestors

Dakota Access Pipeline is, if completed, to bring hydro-fracked shale oil from Bakken oilfields in North Dakota to Illinois; a journey of over one thousand miles. ReZpect Our Water was formed in August 2016 by the Standing Rock Sioux of North Dakota to protect the source of water (Missouri River) for their reservation, and to protect their land. Already graves have been disturbed, and protestors attacked by private police (goons, and thugs) by pepper spray and dogs. This is a variation on the standard procedure that moneyed interests have always used in the United States. The United Nations knows of these actions:  American Indians are 'an aboriginal people' and as such are in similar positions as are other people of the third world. Many such people feel a stewardship to the land, and naturally through their culture act as guardians of  the natural world.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are suing, are trying to use legal methods in appeal to the courts, and government. The moneyed interest, the oil company, Energy Transfer Partners is determined to have its way. A coalition of Indians, environmentalists, and justice advocates are not the people that are respected by economic royalists. They have been successful in having a corporate media silence.

As i type this, there is a commercial on the television spouting their public relation bullshit by a pretty actress calling herself "an energy voter". These invented people want unlimited drilling and mining of oil, gas, and coal. The term 'energy' is a euphemism dressed in  a science term. The same people who whore science for their screen to gather wealth, vigorously protest science to suggest climate change, and pollution.  And now they have an actor in a suit, who says the same thing in another commercial before they come back to ABC national news.
 Placing signs along MLK Jr. Blvd. at the American Indian Cultural Garden site

Well, we are all connected. Sunday the 11th, i was driving to Mass on Liberty/MLKJr., a line of autos behind me, Serbs parked and gathered to the right, and Indians gathered to the left. I saw a sign lettered with "Our sacred water", i knew of the pipeline out west and many Indians united in opposition.  I wanted to get out and foto, but did not have a comfortable spot to turn off, and thought it rude if i stopped took some pictures, and jumped back in the car.

This is a news story. When i saw it, i did see it as the proper place for such a demonstration. That street is a cultural thoroughfare, and the Indians are standing on their designated land. It fit. Also, on a side note, i am reminded of the old Irish rebel song 'The Rising of the Moon': "O then, tell me Sean O'Farrell, Where the gath'rin' is to be" In the old spot by the river, Right well known to you and me".

A friend of mine, we will call him 'John' because his name is John, teaches geology at a community college. He and me knew of another prayer vigil near this spot. Saint Casimir is east of Rockefeller Park's cultural gardens. We, and many others came to a pray outside the church for 139 weeks. We wanted Rome to rescind the local bishop's closure. And so it came to pass, the 140th week we were inside the church.

A prayer picnic has been organised by “Pumpkin” Marian Renee Concha-Saastamoinen and Ruben Borunda.  They plan to come every week, no matter what the weather, every Sunday at 11 a.m. at Native American Cultural Garden site, 781 Martin Luther King Blvd, in Cleveland, Ohio.

To-day, i joined them in a prayer circle. Now, i also had joined several times with the Hungarians as they held a prayer circle outside their closed church, St. Emeric. 'Emeric' is a version of 'America'. There was similarity. Singing comes naturally to these prayer vigils. The circle is a natural formation for people to enter, the form permits any number (certainly above two) to gather face to face, and it has neither beginning nor end. The circle promotes inclusion. People's bodies can naturally form symbols. Afterwards, everyone went to table for food and tamarack tea.

Hit the lights

 one of two stilt walkers
Years ago, neighborhoods and small towns had a picture show. In the 1920s many of these 'theatres' were built to be impressive. Many of these were built before talking pictures became the norm. Before World War I (then called the European War, here), films were just beginning to progress beyond the state of being a curiosity. The war was an all consuming effort in many countries. When peace came, the United States was not devastated, the war was not here—it was over there. 'Normalcy' became an expansion. The movies became a big industry, with an eager audience. The buildings to view them were built to be showplaces, where there was enough of an audience. After television, and changing demographics, these picture shows became less popular (profitable). They decayed, and many were destroyed.

Variety was the picture show on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland towards the edge of town. It was built in 1927. A tornado in 1953 came through the west side, and the vertical sign was destroyed. Now for some thirty years, the show was vacant. Yesterday afternoon and evening, a street party was held to see the restoration, and lighting of the marquee. One fellow sang as Frank Sinatra, and another as Dean Martin. It was a dog friendly crowd. Snacks were sold. People sang like Sinatra, 'Cleveland is my kinda town...'.
Government money and local activism came to make this project. Perhaps, in a couple of years pictures will be seen. The councilman for the ward has been Dona Brady, and she, Mayor Frank Jackson, and others spoke before the lights went on.
 First, the lower went on, and then the vertical.
The name of the movie house was 'Variety', and in the picture playing spot was 'This place matters'. Cleveland Restoration Society had used this slogan.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Château Hough

“...Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”—William Jennings Bryan 1896

Now, Bryan may have been this country's best orator. He was the Democratic candidate for the presidency three times. Many people loved Bryan. His popularity was a phenomenon in US history. There were many boys named after him. William Jennings Bryan Herman was an all star second baseman for the Cubs, and played later with other National League teams. He was also a team manager, and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bryan still may be the most liberal candidate nominated by a major party. Unfortunately, he did not win a term. Especially, his first run in 1896 was thought to have been fixed against him. Some writers have ridiculed him through malice. Militarists, economic royalists, and social darwinists despised him. Some of Bryan's programme came to be under Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Rural America was being crushed by bankers, railroads, and other financial interests that continued to gain power. Bryan was a populist, and a fervent Christian. He believed in social justice. The quote above affirmed the value of an agrarian society (not until 1920 census was the US an urban society), and its people, over an industrial society run by plutocrats. Well, Hough famously burned in riots in 1966. It has declined in population, and economically. The remaining population became poorer. Economic interests will not save them. Urban farming, horticulture, and raising and creating foodstuffs will make the urban land of value again. Small landholders may make a passable standard of living. So an hundred years on, Bryan's comment may be, “Your burned down cities, will be made into farms”.

Urban farming is starting to have a foundation in America. Mansfield Frazier had an idea, on Hough Avenue, Cleveland Ohio, there is a vineyard. Perhaps, it will be a pioneer in the city.
  Frontenac grapes were favored by birds. Netting was necessary.
  Traminette grapes
 The Frontenac berries were picked Saturday.
I first saw these vines in January 2011. The foot tracks, in the foreground, are on the sidewalk. There is no fencing. The house is gone, replaced by a bio-cellar building.

Monday, September 19, 2016

talkin' pirate

One of the silliest inventions of a celebration, to-day is Talk like a Pirate Day. What would a pirate's parrot palaver sound like? If one goes to Cornwall, many people are said to sound like movie pirates.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Dragon boat race

Before you race, the boats need to be loaded with people.
It was rainy, and the boats acted as pots. Bailing was necessary.
 Drummer waits in dock.

  Next teams wait in queue.

There were fourteen teams, this year. Past winners have been from Pittsburgh and Canada. Other than rain delays, there was a delay for a cruise ship to be boarded. This is the beginning of one of the delayed heats. There would three rounds, and three teams in the final.  Of course this is competitive, but it is fun first. Some of the team monikers point to that: Team Panda, Blazing Paddles, Raiders of the Lost Paddle, and several Dragons. I have said, Rocco's grease pole climb was a great sporting event; so is this.
Some of the teams play for cancer survivors. Dragon boat racing has been prescribed for post breast surgery patients to regain strength.

Dragon boats on the Cuyahoga

This was the tenth year of dragon boat races on Cleveland's Cuyahoga River. This has been on my 'Cleveland bucket list' for a few years. The last three years i did not make it, the weather didn't agree, and one year freighter traffic near scuttled it. For more than a week it has been forecast to rain, and it did so. My determination was a little stronger, this time, and it was not raining when i left house.

A little further, and earlier, more upriver there was a rowing regatta for 1, 2, 4,and 8 man sculls. This was a separate sport. Dragon boats have twenty paddlers, a drummer, and a tillerman.

By 8.15 heavy rain came, and i was so pleased there was a tent by the opening ceremonial spot. There was to be at 8.30 a Buddhist blessing, and the painting of the dragon head's eyes. With the rain the paint was further diluted, and some of the eyes looked like cataracts. The rain delayed proceedings. The sandalwood incense was quenched.  A little thunder and lightning before hand.
Three heads, i mistakenly thought they were to be attached to the boats; but they remained on the platform.
Shih Ying-Fa gave the invocations. He sprinkled the crowd, and with good humour saying it would be redundant. Gus Chan of the local daily is in the foreground with camera.
The painting of the eyes.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

greasy job

Very rarely (in over 1200 posts here) do i get a question. I have some fotos to indicate an answer, "since 1998, parishioner Joe Trizio greases".


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

for the victory

Team Dempsey won the Saint Rocco greasy pole climb for the 10th time. This was the first successful climb of the pole in three years. As they were celebrating, four navy fighter planes flew over the parish in a diamond formation. The first four fotos below shows the final ascent. After the top guy touched and held the cross brace, the team stood straight on the pole celebrating. After they touched down, four navy fighter planes flew over the church campus.

Rocco's event

a voice from the rustbelt believes the most interesting, and impressive sporting event in Cleveland is Saint Rocco's greasy pole climb. It is held on Labor Day beginning at 2 o'clock during the last day of their parish festival. This year, the prise money was $3 thousand (the last two years had no winner), and team Dempsey would win for the 10th time. As they were celebrating, four navy fighter planes flew over the parish in a diamond formation.

This event is now a rarity. Before the first world war these events were common. Saint Rocco's began their parish with a festival, and the tradition lives on.

This year nine five man teams competed in the three rounds. In the first round only four are allowed to climb, it is not possible to win in the first round. What the first round does is to remove as much grease as possible, so as to make a climb and reach to the top possible. The pole would be six men high.

It was another hot day for the climb, officially reaching 89°F. The black asphalt in the open sun making it hotter. The guys wear grease absorbing clothes, cinched with duck tape. This year, the grease was a thinner coat; this did not aid as much as some thought. There was much less grease to throw down, fewer spectators caught the globs. Some years, the grease is so thick, and the air so hot, that the grease tumbles by itself.

The usual action has four men standing straight, with each man below bearing all the weight of his fellows above. A successful first round accomplishes this, some teams can not get the fourth guy up. The base man is largely invisible, there are so many people around him, the crowd can not see him. The next procedure has the guys at the top 'lock in', this is a more compact hugging of the pole, where their knees rise up. This causes their feet to be removed from the shoulders of the guy below. At that point, usually, the two guys on the bottom are free. Then the remaining group attempt to climb his brothers. Sometimes more than one tries to go higher, often the third guy (of the five) goes over the other two,and if successful makes the winning touch.
 After the climbing attempt, contenders recover their breath while carrying some grease on their bodies.

Climbing, very quickly, up and over a teammate, the point man for Team Ross makes his second attempt to reach the crossbar of victory.
...and two seconds later he is falling to the black top parking lot. Behind him is a cameraman filming a documentary. He lay on the ground for some minutes, but quickly telling people he would be all right. A wheeled stretcher came to transport him. He did give people the thumbs up gesture when he was taken away.

2016 Miscellany #5

 Dragon in the Chinese Garden
not a sign you expect to see daily
during an Independence Day parade
 Ich bin ein Idiot
happy girl in a koala onesie

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonised in Rome to-day. She was also celebrated in Cleveland at the Albanian Cultural Garden. Dona Brady, an Albanian, and long time west side councilman was the lead speaker and organiser. Proud Albanians, respectful Catholics, and friends of charity came. Overhead flew military jets from the air show, and other street traffic added to the occasional din. Speakers of the Cultural Garden, and members of religious orders added their reflections of thought. Bishop Gries remembered St. Teresa's concern for the unborn. Local television sent cameramen. Part of the ceremony was an echo of the unveiling of the bronze statue of Mother Teresa.

A white dove, symbolising peace, was released from a basket (a foto i could not capture). Dona Brady rang a bell for St. Teresa. People then laid flowers on the statue.