Wednesday, August 16, 2017

When you're feeling down, remember: There used to be a company here in Cleveland that would come to your house and pick up any dead cows or horses.

Because animals dropping dead on your front lawn used to be a thing here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I dunno who he is, but I get a painfully hard erection just looking at him. I'd love to experience a night with someone like this. Just once.

Confederate Monument - S face - Arlington National Cemetery - 2011

Pro-slavery/pro-treason Confederate memorials are often similar to government-sanctioned displays of religion. There's a reason why we don't permit government to favor one religion over another. It implies government's approval and sanction.

Similarly, when public space is turned over to revisionist monuments or those which glorify treason and laud the fight for slavery, the implication is that government approves of these things.

American governments no longer approve of this. The monuments should come down.

Monuments to the suffering of slaves, monuments to those who opposed slavery, and monuments to those who WON the Civil War should be erected, if we want a Civil War monument.

If one wanted to continue to display the pro-slavery memorials somewhere, I suppose we could do that -- with the appropriate signs and documentation, pointing out how sick, warped, and twisted these memorials were. How they were erected by governments colluding with pro-slavery elements intent on warping our view of history. How they ignored the wishes of freed slaves -- citizens -- by lauding those who fought for slavery.

These statues were erected by pro-slavery white supremacists after the Civil War. No black citizen had a say in whether they should be erected. In many cases, city councils colluded with private white supremacist organizations to erect these statues and give them land and funding, without public input. These statues fetishize the treason and slavery-defending actions of the Confederacy and its supporters. Many of these statues depict a revisionist history of the causes of the Civil War, and teach that it was a noble, acceptable, and worth cause.

Similarly, the statues are now coming down because our society is more inclusive, we as a society no longer believe (or, most of us) in the fetishization of the causes those statues represent, and we as a society want to use the space for better and more constructive purposes. People in ex-communist states removed statues of Lenin and Stalin for similar reasons.

Let us also be clear about another point: Statues are removed all the time. Space in urban areas is at a premium, and statues wear out, or the causes which they represent are no longer timely, or the history which they purport to capture is misrepresented by the statue, or (in retrospect) it turns out the event/person the statue commemoriates wasn't very historical after all.
John Scalish headstone - Calvary Cemetery

Headstone of Mafia boss John T. Scalish in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

Scalish was born in Cleveland in 1912 and raised in the Italian American enclave that centered around the intersection of E. 110th Street and Kinsman Avenue. He was involved with the mob as a teenager, and at the age of 18 held up his first bank. Convicted in 1934 of the robbery of a bottling plant, he served only a few months in prison. Ohio Governor George White commuted his sentence only minutes before White's term of office ended. (The rumor is that White was bribed to do it.)

Scalish was close friends with Maishe (Milton) Rockman, a local Jewish mobster. Rockman married Scalish's sister, and Scalish married Rockman's sister. Angelo Lonardo, whose father Joseph "Big Joe" Lonardo was made mob boss in 1920 and was murdered in 1927, married Scalish's other sister.

Scalish worked his way up from small-time heists to become a clerk in casinos owned by the Cleveland mob. In time, he became a lieutenant to Alfred "The Owl" Polizzi. When Cleveland mob boss Frank "Ciccio" Milano fled the United States for Mexico, Polizzi took over. Scalish found himself the underboss of the Cleveland crime family. Polizzi was arrested in 1944, avoided conviction, and retired from the Mafia in 1945. With a fortune of about $100 million, he moved to Florida, investing in real estate and construction companies.

Scalish became the new boss. His were the "golden years" for the Cleveland mob, which built an empire of casinos, pinball machines, and loan sharking. The Cleveland mob was so wealthy, it co-funded the construction of Las Vegas casinos, which provided a steady stream of income. Although Ohio banned gambling in the 1950s, Scalish got into the vending machine business with Rockman and muscled out the competition. He was a decisive leader, and dispensed punishment and rewards with equal swiftness. He allowed subordinates to engage in their own criminal activities and make money, which earned him loyalty.

Scalish moved from Cleveland to Gates Mills Boulevard in Pepper Pike. Many of the Cleveland mob's top leadership followed him, turning Gates Mills Boulevard between SOM Center and Brainard roads into a kind of "embassy row" for organized crime. Scalish lived quietly and conservatively, and was little known outside the underworld. In 1957, he attended the "Apalachin Conference" with 50 other Mafia leaders at a farmhouse near Apalachin, New York. The police busted the conference, making Scalish a nationally known figure. A U.S. Senate committee investigating mob influence in labor unions subpoenaed him to testify before Congress, and he invoked the Fifth Amendment 35 times.

During the 1960s, several top- and mid-level Mafia leaders in Cleveland died or retired. Many of the up-and-coming low-level "made men" were killed. Not wishing to attract attention after the Senate investigation, Scalish let the "middle management" of the Cleveland crime family atrophy and grow smaller.

Scalish had been in increasingly ill health since the late 1940s. Bladder cancer forced him to undergo a colostomy. He suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two diseases which had no treatments until the late 1960s. By 1975, he not only had advanced heart disease but was also suffering from cancer. Scalish underwent heart bypass surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on May 26, 1976. He died a few hours later in the recovery room.

Scalish had refused to name a successor. Capo James T. Licavoli emerged as the new boss. Licavoli not only didn't want the job, he was a weak leader. Irish mob boss Danny Greene attempted to take over the Cleveland crime family, and a mob war broke out. Greene was finally assassinated by a car bomb on October 6, 1977. FBI informant Jimmy Fratianno eventually ratted out Licavoli, and he was convicted of various racketerring charges in 1982. Licavoli died in prison in 1985. The mob war broke the back of the Cleveland mafia, which never recovered.

Scalish headstone and memorial - Calvary Cemetery

Scalish family memorial - Calvary Cemetery
Nazis. I hate these guys.

I dunno who he is, but I get a painfully hard erection just looking at him.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... prominent Taft political family member and respected Ohio judge Frederick L. Taft took possesion of a new office at his law firm on December 1, 1870, and died within the hour?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

That's a skillset I would love to have in a partner.

Wow, that is some sort of handsome face. I'm not normally one of the beautiful, square-jawed, chiseled set, but... I could look at that for a lifetime.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sundae, a Korean dish.

Pronounced "soon-die", this is blood sausage. The main ingredient in the sausage is actually cellophane noodles and barley, cooked with blood and spices. It's served with a side of mineral salt for dipping. DEEEE-lish!

sundae - Korean sausage
I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that Patrick Calhoun, great-grandson of American statesman John C. Calhoun, made a fortune organizing railroads, went bankrupt building Euclid Heights, Ohio, made a fortune in streetcars in San Francisco, and went bankrupt again after being convicted of stock fraud?
I took some pictures of local waterfalls back in June, hoping to catch them with lots of water in them. Well, they didn't have much more than normal. But this was my first time photographing Chagrin Falls, so that was nice.

Chagrin Falls 01

This boy just didn't want to have his photo taken.

fisher boy - Chagrin Falls

This boy couldn't have cared less if you photographed him. The way he acted, you could have thrust your hands in the front of his pants and fondled him, and he'd have yawned. (Good for him!)

hunky brunette 01

hunky brunette 02

Thursday, August 10, 2017

red leaf

Sometimes, I take good pictures.

August 10, 1846 – The Smithsonian Institution is chartered by the United States Congress after English chemist and mineralogist James Smithson donates $500,000 in his will.

* * * * * * * * *

A Brief History of the Smithsonian Institution:

1829 - British scientist James Smithson dies and leaves his wealth to nephew Henry James Hungerford.

1835 - Hungerford dies childless. Under the terms of Smithson's will, the estate is now donated to the United States of America to establish an institution for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge". The will requires the organization to be called the Smithsonian Institution.

1838 - American diplomat Richard Rush returns from England with 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns (about $11.13 million in 2015 inflation-adjusted dollars).

1838 to 1846 - Congress haggles over how to interpret Smithson's will.

1841 - Arkansas defaults on its bonds. The Smithson legacy had been invested in the state's bonds, and is utterly lost.

1846 - Representative (and ex-President) John Quincy Adams persuades Congress to restore the lost funds with interest. He also convinces Congress to found a national museum of science and learning. The Smithsonian Institution is established in August.

1849 - Construction begins on the Smithsonian Institution Building ("the Castle").

1855 - The Smithsonian "Castle" opens.

1881 - The first expansion building, the Arts and Industries Building, opens. Congress had promised to build a new structure for the museum if the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition generated enough profit. It did.

1889 - The National Zoological Park opens in Rock Creek Park.

1911 - The National Museum of Natural History opens on the National Mall.

1923 - The Freer Gallery opens on the National Mall. The art and building were donated by Detroit philanthropist Charles Lang Freer.

1964 - The Museum of History and Technology (renamed the National Museum of American History in 1980) opens on the National Mall.

1967 - The Anacostia Community Museum, an "experimental store-front" museum created at the initiative of Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley, opens in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It is the first Smithsonian museum (not zoo) to open away from the National Mall.

1967 - The Smithsonian agrees to take over the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration (now the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum) after the Cooper Union nearly closes for lack of money. This becomes the Smithsonian's first museum not located in Washington, D.C.

1968 - The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum open in the Old Patent Office Building (built in 1867).

1972 - The Renwick Gallery opens near the White House. The building was constructed in 1874 to house the art collection of local philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran. The art collection later moved into the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The Renwick opened to house the Smithsonian's huge arts and crafts collection.

1974 - The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opens. This is the first Smithsonian museum to collect Modern Art. Uranium mining official Joseph H. Hirshhorn donates his huge collection of classic French Impressionism and American modernism and donates $1 million toward the building's construction.

1976 - The National Air and Space Museum opens.

1987 - The National Museum of African Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery opened in a new, joint, underground museum between the Freer Gallery and the Smithsonian Castle. The Smithsonian acquired the Museum of African Art from former Foreign Service diplomat Warren Robbins, who had previously run the museum out of the Frederick Douglass House. The Sackler Gallery was a joint effort by the government of Japan, which donated $1 million to construct a Smithsonian museum dedicated to Asian art, and Dr. Arthur Sackler, a psychiatrist and major collector of Asian art.

1993 - The National Postal Museum opens in the former City Post Office (1904) near Union Station in Washington, D.C.

2004 - The National Museum of the American Indian opens. The Smithsonian agreed to open the museum after settling a lawsuit over its collection of Native American remains.

2016 - The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens. The museum was the result of decades-long discrimination by the Smithsonian against African American researchers, historians, curators, janitors, secretaries, and other staff. The Smithsonian had pledged to stop the discrimination, and then failed. The Smithsonian agreed that the only way to stop institutional racism within the organization was to build a museum of equal standing with other museums.

NOTE: The National Gallery of Art (est. in 1937) and the United States Holocaust Museum (est. 1993) are not part of the Smithsonian.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Here I was today. I didn't have anything to hack at the grape vines with, so I just pulled on them until they gave way. Kind of. I got the gate open, as there was no lock or latch. There was a rusty iron staircase going down, just like the man at the wrecking yard said. I didn't realize how close the tracks really were. "Down there," he said.

I tried to explain that the railroad used to go across Rockefeller Avenue, but he gave me the impression that he thought I was either a moron, corporate spy, or drug dealer. Anyway, someone he was highly suspicious of.

I got about halfway down the steps, pulling vines out of the way and realizing that wearing a white shirt around blue grapes probably wasn't a good idea. Nor was going down a rickety, rusted-out iron staircase when no one knew where I was.

The lack sudden lack of staircase prevented my proceeding much further. It's all gone after about 20 feet.

Well, okay. I was in position to take my photo of the bridge. I did.

* * * * * * * * *

In context for today's rusted-rickety adventure:

The area in bright green is the Canal Tract. It used to be owned by John D. Rockefeller, and was sold in 1880 to the Cleveland Rolling Mill -- then Cleveland's largest steel mill, and largest employer. The mill built the Central Furnaces here, four 120-foot tall blast furnaces that operated day and night. Every 12 hours, each furnace would be loaded with coke, limestone, and raw iron ore, and set fire. Smoke would pour out of the top, drifting east over the city. At night the light would make it bright as day for a half-mile around. After 10 hours or so, someone would drill a hole into the base of the furnace and they'd draw the molten iron out. Then it would be shipped via the Cleveland & Mahoning Valley Railroad to the Cleveland Rolling Mill plant at Union Avenue and E. 93rd Street -- where other giant furnaces would turn it into steel. The sight of vast trains hauling molten metal in the dark must have been amazing.

The yellow line is the route of the Cleveland & Mahoning Valley Railroad. Founded in 1852, the railroad linked the mouth of the Cuyahoga River with Youngstown, where Ohio's early iron industry was located. The railroad began in a yard that stretched along the Old Ship Channel of the Cuyahoga River in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland. It cut across the peninsula (paralleling Mulberry Avenue), then briefly ran along the Cuyahoga River. It cut overland to the southeast to avoid the Scranton Flats and Wheeling Bend, crossing the Cuyahoga just north of Kingsbury Run. The tracks then ran parallel to and east of modern Broadway Avenue, shifting to an east-southeast direction about E. 55th Street. After crossing the tracks of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad just north of Union Avenue and E. 82nd Street, the C&MV turned sharply southward. Before reaching Harvard Avenue, the tracks shifted southeast again, largely paralleling Harvard Avenue, Caine Avenue, and Miles Avenue before leaving the city for Youngstown.

Nothing is left of the railroad east of E. 37th Street. Over on the west side of the Cuyahoga, Cleveland MetroParks and the Cleveland Foundation are spending about $250 million to turn the old rail bed into a walking and biking trail. Part of it opened in June 2017.

Broadway Avenue used to be known as the Newburg Road. It was constructed in 1806, and connected Public Square with the nascent village of Newburgh (located at Broadway and Union Avenues). The Newburgh Road was so important to the area's economic health that it was widened to 99 feet from 66 feet in 1834, and renamed Broadway. With the extension of the Willow Freeway northward after 1948, Broadway was realigned to follow the old Kingsbury Run Viaduct. The old Broadway, west of E. 37th Street, became Rockefeller Avenue. Its bridge over the railroad tracks was removed (as was the E. 25th Street Bridge), so that it now terminated on the flats.

The blue line is the Standard Oil refining company land. Here is where John D. Rockefeller built the world's first billion-dollar corporation, and it's biggest monopoly. Here is where 90 percent of the oil in North America was refined from 1872 to 1913.

* * * * * * * * *

Here's the bridge I photographed.

The other picture, on "dry land" so to speak, on the east side of Rockefeller Avenue at the intersection with Independence Road. It shows what remains of the Jefferson Avenue Bridge on that side of the road. Just a few concrete blocks and an upright iron...something.

Jefferson Avenue bridge - Kingsbury Run

Jefferson Avenue bridge - abutment remains

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that the Euclid Golf Allotment is an exclusive neighborhood in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, built on land formerly owned by John D. Rockefeller and at one time leased to the Euclid Golf Club for its back nine holes?

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's a sad day on Mount Laundry.

Haruo Nakajima (January 1, 1929 - August 7, 2017)

The original suit actor from the Godzilla film series has died.

sad day - Godzilla on Mt Laundry
I never got into comparison-contests with other boys.

A blast furnace.

Iron has a huge amount of impurities in it. Until 1828, most iron was made by puddling: A trough or pit was lined with heat-resistant brick and then heated. Sometimes, the heat came from below, which meant the furnace had no cover. Sometimes, the heat came from above, which meant the furnace was covered. The heat in this "reverberatory furnace" bounced off the roof and went down into the iron in the trough. Either way, the iron melted. As it did, men would stir it with iron paddles on long iron shafts. This exposed the iron to oxygen, which helped reduce the carbon content. Limestone, and sometimes other elements, would be added to the iron. This would adhere to the unwanted impurities in the iron, causing them to float to the surface -- where they'd be skimmed or poured off.

Puddling was extremely hot, dangerous work. The heat could burn. The fumes destroyed lungs. Accidents were common, and men were consumed by molten metal. Many puddlers didn't live very long...

In 1828, two Scottish men invited the blast furnace. It had been understood for three centuries that a vertical furnace worked better than a horizontal one. Charcoal would be loaded into the furnace first, then limestone, then raw iron. When the charcoal was lit, it burned the limestone, causing a chemical reaction that worked better than just tossing in untreated limestone. This "slake" would gradually mix with the iron as it melted and dripped down from above. At the bottom of the furnace, tubes wrapped in water ("tuyeres") could be opened, and air would bubble up through the molten iron. This meant no stirring.

But these early blast furnaces were fuel-hogs. It took eight tons of charcoal to make a single batch of iron.

What the Scots discovered is the "hot blast". The air would be preheated first in nearby stoves, then allowed to bubble into the iron. Moreover, the hot air coming out the top of the blast furnace could also be recaptured, helping to heat the stoves and further reducing fuel needs. The iron melted much faster. All of this reduced fuel requirements by nearly 40 percent.

The blast furnace changed the world. Suddenly, pure iron could be manufactured swiftly and easily.

Blast furnaces were monsters. Even early ones were 100 feet high, and 20 feet in width. When the tuyeres were opened, the furnace really got going -- and the roar of the gases coming out of the iron could be heard for three miles. The light of a blast furnace at night would light the surrounding area as if it were day. The smoke was immense.

Lucas the Retconner.

Short. Black. Magnificent shoulders. Just knock me over with a feather...

Serendipity. As I was about to conclude my research on the Union-Miles Park neighborhood, I discover this. After three weeks of searching.

It doesn't look like much, but by god it sure is.

I don't sit around on my butt all day watching TV. I write. Forty-seven Cleveland-related articles and 91 non-Cleveland-related articles in two and a half years on Wikipedia. Some of these articles existed before I touched them, but they were pieces of crap (poorly written, incomplete, uncited). I "claim" them only insofar as I say I worked heavily on them, and many have had edits and changes made to them since by others. (That's what the "History" tab is for.)

I'm trying to write about the Cermak Building, at E. 93rd and Union Avenue. It's on the National Register of Historic Places, and has no Wikipedia article. As I started in on it, I realized I knew nothing about the neighborhood. And no article about the Union-Miles Park neighborhood existed.

So "if not me, who? if not now, when?" I started writing about Union-Miles. That was July 18. It's taken me this long to get a handle on the history of the neighborhood -- about which nothing has been written. Every mention of it out there is piecemeal. A sentence here, a claim there, a paragraph in some book, a note in a government publication.

There are moderately good histories of Cleveland and even Cuyahoga County (to a degree) that cover the city's history about to 1910. After that, it's sketchy. I've been able to piece together much of the area's history up to about the 1960s. After that, I've run out of facts. Hardly anything has been written about the area. Not even the city publishes much about Union-Miles. Most of the focus in the academic literature and popular press is on Slavic Village, Corlett, Buckeye, Kinsman, Lee-Miles. It's like a vast black hole where Union-Miles is concerned.

I was about ready to close off the article and post it, and get back to the Cermak Building. Then I lucked out: Google's "we want to help you find what you are looking for" search algorithms often block me from seeing the stuff I want, since I am looking for such a vast amoung of material under all sorts of topics. So I have to play around with my search terms to find the stuff Google isn't letting me see.

This came up. Stuart Mendel is the director of the Center for Nonprofit Policy & Practice and the director of The Urban Center at the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State. His case study is of three community development corporations (the "private government" of the title) in Cleveland, one of which is Union-Miles. From what little Google Books is showing me, it's chock-a-block with the facts I'm seeking, as well as inside dope, interviews, and hidden history. (Wikipedia forbids all contributors from doing original research. The site relies solely on published, reliable, unbiased sources. Voila! Mendel's study!)

I'll have this study in my hands in four working days. One, if I take the trouble to go downtown myself and pick it up.
When I was in college, this kind of man could say "Hello" to me, and I'd be in love. I still have a deep thing for guys like this.

Friday, August 4, 2017

I thought this photo of Zac Efron said "hung". I was so disappointed when I realized I'd misread it.

That shill, the New York Times, today touted a big increase in employment numbers. More signs of the recovery, they claimed.

WHAT recovery? Don't be fooled.

The economy needs to create 205,000 jobs a month to recover all the missing jobs by 2020. Look at that graph: IT's NOWHERE CLOSE to that!!!

Had the Republican-caused Great Recession never occurred, the economy would have created 9 million jobs between 2008 and 2015, bringing total employment to 155.3 million.

Instead, the economy currently has 148.9 million jobs, which means 6.4 million jobs are missing. 6.4 million people without work. ON TOP OF the existing unemployment rate, because those people stopped looking for jobs.

Worse: Today's labor force includes 2 million more part-time employees than it did prior to the Great Recession. The jobs being created are NOT GOOD JOBS.
My new favorite phrase: "Trump’s itchy Twitter finger".

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Happy Lughnasadh!

It's time to climb a hill, hold some athletic contests, feast, flirt, visit a well, and watch a play in which the god Lugh gathers the harvest and defeats the powers of blight.

I don't have any of that.

So: I wrestled some rotting vegetables out of the crisper and threw them away, made myself some dinner, ate it, had a big glass of water, and am now sitting upstairs watching some eye-candy on TV.