Category Archives: Cleveland

Front Row Works

[flashvideo filename= width=”512″ height=”288″ bufferlength=”30″ /]

(Canon PowerShot s95)

Later, after finishing the clip, I went through the stills.

Set the scene:

Shaker Heights Fireworks July 4, 2011 (a1)

Shaker Heights Fireworks July 4, 2011 (a5)

Shaker Heights Fireworks July 4, 2011 (b4)

Then I had one of those intuitive ‘proof of concept ideas.’ I’ll roll it out tomorrow.

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A Manny We Can Believe In

Manny Acta

This post is going to be a: figure it out on your own terms kind-of-post.

Cleveland Indians – The Glory Years, and, 2007

1994 2nd 66 47 .584
1995 1st 100 44 .694
1996 1st 99 62 .615
1997 1st 86 75 .534
1998 1st 89 73 .549
1999 1st 97 65 .599
2000 2nd 90 72 .556
2001 1st 91 71 .562
(5 seasons out of it)
2007 1st 96 66 .593
(3 seasons out of it)

2007 Cleveland Indians – starters

C Victor Martinez
1B Ryan Garko
2B Josh Barfield
SS Jhonny Peralta
3B Casey Blake
LF Jason Michaels
CF Grady Sizemore
8 Franklin Gutierrez
DH Travis Hafner

also on team
Shin-Soo Choo
Astrubal Cabrera

pitching staff-2007
Fausto Carmona
Cliff Lee
Jason Stanford
CC Sabathia
Jake Westbrook
Paul Byrd
Jeremy Sowers
Rafael Betancourt
Joe Borowski
Aaron Fultz
Aaron Laffey
Edward Mujica
Matt Miller
Rafael Perez
Mike Koplove
Jason Davis
Juan Lara
Fernando Cabrera
Tom Mastny
Roberto Hernandez
Jensen Lewis

Sox See What May have Been (Boston herald, Tuesday, May 24)

CLEVELAND — When last night’s game finally got started, it was hard not to notice who was there.

And who wasn’t.

Justin Masterson was highly visible, throwing the first pitch for the Indians to his former teammates.

Victor Martinez, the player responsible for Masterson’s presence, was 169 miles away serving as the Detroit Tigers designated hitter.

The story of how Masterson became a reliable, effective starter for the major leagues’ best and most surprising team began July 31, 2009. That’s when he was traded by the Sox, along with left-hander Nick Hagadone (who recently was promoted to Triple A after posting excellent relief numbers in Double A) and right-hander Bryan Price, to the Indians for Martinez, who still had an affordable 2010 option on his deal before becoming eligible for free agency.

The Red Sox [team stats] never were willing to ink Martinez to the four-year deal he wanted, opting to use some of the dollars they saved on him and Adrian Beltre for even bigger contracts for Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Considering the Sox also will have the 19th pick in the first round of next month’s draft, and a supplemental pick, as compensation from the Tigers, it’s not fair to say they got nothing out of the Martinez deal. Don’t forget, Martinez hit .313 with a .865 OPS, 28 home runs and 120 RBI in 183 games with the Sox.

Still, last night the Sox came face to face with Masterson, who is 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA after tossing 72?3 strong innings in the Tribe’s 3-2 win. Martinez, with his .303 average, four homers and 25 RBI, was nowhere to be found.

“At this juncture in time, it looks as if the trade accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, but examining a trade at any static moment is difficult to really do,” said Mark Shapiro, currently the president of the Indians who dealt with Sox general manager Theo Epstein in the Martinez deal. “In the end, one thing we accomplished with that trade is that you want trades to be a win-win because you want them to be a platform for the next trade. So, Victor did exactly what we told Theo he would do. And, Masterson is developing into the pitcher that we hoped he could develop into. There was some uncertainty there. And Hagadone looks to be the guy we thought he would be.”

If the Masterson-Martinez trade stood out like a sore thumb to Sox followers last night, imagine how the game must have appeared to Seattle fans. The Mariners likely do not feel as if they are in a win-win situation after dealing with the Indians, who sent Ben Broussard and cash to Seattle for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in one deal and Eduardo Perez for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in another in the span of a month in the summer of 2006.

The small-market Indians and Shapiro have had to make other deals, of course: Bartolo Colon had to go, which brought in Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips. CC Sabathia was dealt for first baseman Matt LaPorta and center fielder Michael Brantley, Casey Blake for catcher Carlos Santana and Mark DeRosa for closer Chris Perez.

11-2 against Seattle and Kansas City, the Tribe is 19-13 against everybody else so far.

Baseball is my first sportsbo passion, ever since I was a kid. I could go into this but suffice to say it has a pace like that of my personality, and, similarly, weird and wonderful stuff happens in baseball on a regular basis.

By opening day, I had put in the hour of talent analysis, and, figuring Sizemore and Hafner were unlikely to have a career year ever again, and figuring the bullpen was mostly an X factor, and writing Fausto Carmona down for no more than ten wins, and, ignoring spring training, I came up with an “informed” estimate of the team’s potential: 65-75 wins.

I’m not sticking to this estimate anymore; 80-90 wins.

It’s been amusing to hear the homers call into the post game radio sports shows to highlight the spooky accuracy of their pre-season prognostications.

I told my freeplay pal and baseball elder Tom that there was one factor above all the rest I was most blown away with, in the revitalization of the Cleveland Indians. Manny Acta. He agreed. I highly recommend fans visit his Wikipedia page for the background.

Baseball, globally speaking, seems to be trending to 1968, with the advantage tipped toward the throwers. This is dandy as far as I am concerned. This also meshes with the Tribe’s main strength, pitching on both the major league roster and throughout the minor league system.

The Indians are really fun to watch. More fun than the 2007 team that scored a lot of runs, almost got back to the world series, and featured musical chairs in the bullpen. They are embarking on a very challenging part of the schedule without Sizemore and Haffner, so, even with another win against the Bosox in the pockets, the next three weeks will really show us what this team is made of.

Acta Predicted Indians Success in the Spring

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When Horrible Is Charitable

The cartoonish mascots or characters or whatever, waddling across the court at Quicken Loans Arena was the most amusing moment on Sunday, on Kid’s Day, as the Cleveland Cavaliers were humiliated by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game was not as close as the 95-75 score, and, the Thunder didn’t need their “A” game to dispose of the Cavs.

It was hard to watch. The high point for the Cavs was 30 seconds of Boobie Gibson playing his offensive game, and a block and an outlet score on the other end by Gee. Otherwise, the Cavs couldn’t have beaten the Washington Generals with their poor impersonation of an NBA team.

I realized TV doesn’t do the dreadfulness of our basketball team justice. Time and time again the Cavs would somehow get the ball in the paint with almost no velocity, coordination, or ability to protect the ball. Then bad things would happen, very bad things.

The Cavs may constitute the most inept collection of millionaires ever assembled. Why isn’t Ryan Hollins playing beach volleyball?

Hat tip this season to John Krolik and Colin McGowan for documenting this travesty at Cavs The Blog. They write so I, usually, don’t have to watch.

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Larchmere (thumbnail)

click on image for larger version, and be patient; 3mb

Bought a new camera, a nifty Canon S95, and shot some quick pics from the window in the main room of the office. As you can see, it has a commanding view of Larchmere Blvd. (in Cleveland of course.) Then I spent hardly anytime at all adjusting, or visually mixing, several shots using OSX Core filters. I was pleased to see reflections in the window flare up. Right now, I’m mostly using the camera to capture kitty antics.


Glori chillin'

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The Untamed Monad in the Happy World


extremely rare photo of Gershom Scholem & Henry Corbin loving time on Virginia Street, Lakewood, Ohio

But if the “root” and possibility of Declaration always goes back to the topology of Being itself, what fundamentally Declaration “sees” that authorizes its hazarding concrete steps toward the possibility field it originates and seeks to get underway, is in every case Being itself. The topological feature of Being that is relevant here, would be its propensity to take on appearances. …one can profess neither Thomism, Scotism, nor Augustinianism, and yet ‘valorize’ these theological universes positively, and, without taking up one’s abode in them, keep an abode for them in oneself…

The more perceptions and representations of the universe each monad integrates, the more it unfolds its own perfection and differs from every other. (Chuck Stein – Parimenides Project; Notes on some passages from Henry Corbin’s Avicenna and the Visionary Recital)

Sacrament of Heresy
The Sacrament of Heresy

The Village has set sail for the future, like all of unanchored America, set sail or set adrift, take your choice. A visit to the Village always provokes a crisis of nostalgia in those who have moved on but do not want the Village to move on. (Herbert Gold The Age of Happy Problems)

KW sends my way a deep feed. Miller hails from that great Wood shed of outsider genius. What Herbert Gold did for the outsider in the Wood with Birth of a Hero in 1951 Miller is doing now with Atrocity Parade. Michael A. Miller describes his work:

Atrocity Parade amplifies the sadistic trivia of day-to-day existence. It’s the hymnal and prayer book of society’s heretics. In its angst-riddled pages, post-goths, thrashing bohos, crumbly artqueens, liberal-arts grad students, and all other phyla of overly-ripe, choleric day-job hostages will find asylum.

Commentary. An iconoclastic notion of an active, and interactive urban anthropology could propose that the most determined modes of inquiry would both tease and dig out, first, the overt story, and, second, the covert story. Thirdly, in driving this inquiry beyond and beneath these promotional tales the goal, to borrow from Stein, would be to appear in the possibility field. So: the investigator arrives, body and soul, in the field where the possibilities, say–creative kinds, are unfolding in real time.

This is really to invoke anthropological inquiry as praxis, yet without carrying into the act of enjoining the field, any pretense of objectivity. Another way to put this is to suggest the observer is landed in the poetic Topos; is faced with the fleshy, pulsing, ‘outerward’ cast manifestation of the inner dealing. Asylum here is hideaway, shelter, and possesses both outer and inner wards.

To play with this forming projection would be to sit in a window seat, or on a public bench, or at the park’s picnic table, and intently watch the scurrying about of patients and personnel–as if sidewalk and street were hallway. Them you could ask, as Miller has done.

The, a, City’s deep creative life, in someway, always implicates a daring observer willing to participate. The Sacrament of Heresy seems to me to surface an inevitability, a necessary fluid–moist in the archetypal sense–turning of the conscious citizen.

hat tip to Ken Warren for the pointer to Herbert Gold. I sense with Gold a northcoast Lafcadio Hearn type.) I discovered, evidently, Gold is still alive and has turned or will turn eighty-seven this year. At the bottom of the brief Wikipedia article are links to recent writing on the web.

I love this:

“So I guess you haven’t read one of my actual texts.”

“Not personally. Like I explained, I’ve got a lot on my plate these days.”

That was okay with me; or at least okay enough while, like the gathering clouds of the thunderstorms of my Midwestern boyhood, rage accumulated in my vengeful heart—this is the typical inept poetic strophe of a confirmed author who doesn’t need precision anymore because he has already arrived in the marketplace. Bewitched, Bothered, Begoogled; November 2004; News From the Republic of Letters.

Gold is onto, here, one of the primary rationales for seeking stories in the hideaways.

The excerpt from Stein comes from an email Ken offered, January 5, 2006, about visionary knowledge platforms.


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Harvey ’74

Harvey Pekar, Cleveland literary illuminary – October 8, 1939 – July 12, 2010

I first noted Harvey retrospectively, after he visited the record store I worked at, when my boss identified him as Harvey Pekar, with, something along the lines of, ‘notable crank and local jazz freak.’ At this, I realized I had seen Harvey a bunch of times, at DISC Records downtown, and on Coventry, the bohemian culture capital of Cleveland circa 1968-1974. In other words, he was a familiar face to me. Later, I asked my friend and blues mentor Bill about Harvey. He filled in a few notable details, such as, he was a world class jazz hipster, diffident, and, proudly working class.

As it transpired, Harvey was the main force that set my course as a jazz head. He filled my sails over the course of three encounters at Music Madness on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights between 1973 and 1974. I doubt the three encounters lasted more than a total of ten minutes. I wish I could remember the verbatim exchanges. I can’t, but here’s my actively imagined recollection.

Some background is necessary. At the time I was assistant manager of a record store in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I was 19, very long-haired, and very observant but also callow. The store itself focused on the hippie and prog music of the day. We maintained one row of jazz records. However, since I started working there in 1971, the co-owner–my boss–had exposed me to a few choice records, and foremost among these several classics was Miles Davis’s In A Silent Way and Tribute to Jack Johnson. Still, I knew not much more than zero about jazz. At the time, the paragons of virtuosity in my expanding musical world were Earl Scruggs, Duane Allman, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Clarence White, and, B.B. King.

Well, You Needn’t – No. 1 (probably happened in the Winter 1973)

Harvey came into the store infrequently. There really wasn’t much of a reason for a jazzer to come into the store. However, on this visit he plucked an Audio Fidelity reissue of a Black Lion Monk session out of the single row of records and walked it up to the counter. I was familiar with Monk from a promo in our listening rack.

Me: Ahh, Monk, I like Monk.

Harvey: Yeah, well this is late Monk. Past his prime. But, Monk is worth investigating every last note.

Me: I’ll check it out.

Harvey: Sure. It’s too bad his Blue Notes come in and out of print. You know I’ve got good connections and hear what’s going on because I’m a writer and write about jazz. I hear that Capitol is preparing to reissue some of the classic Blue Note sides…

Me: Blue Note?

Harvey: Blue Note is a jazz label, past its prime too. It’s a goldmine. You should do your self a favor and keep an eye out for Monk’s Blue Note sides. Forties, nineteen forties. Essential. Bop some would say, but listening to Monk in the forties is listening to the first genius to move beyond bebop. You know bebop, right?

Me: Sure, Charlie Parker, Dizzy.

Harvey: Gotta go.

(note–I would have discovered Monk eventually, yet Harvey’s hot tip zeroed in on music that would comprise my top most desert island selection. In fact, when the Blue Notes were reissued, as Harvey said it would happen, in 1976, I listened to the twofer’s LP over and over and over. Monk came to be my top guy, comes to be the only religion I’m affiliated with.)

The Real Shit – No. 2 (definitely in the early Spring, 1974)

(Kind of Blue is playing on the turntable. Harvey walks in. He fingers the jazz rack, walks over.)

Harvey: Miles Davis. I’m going to tell you something.

Me: Miles, man, I love this stuff.

Harvey: You like this, huh?

Me: Yeah. I like Jack Johnson the best.

Harvey: Oh. Too bad you can’t really check the real shit.

Me: What?

Harvey: Kind of Blue has the reputation. Best jazz record ever? It’s not even the best Miles. Well, it’s not my favorite Miles. You know Coltrane?

Me: Yup.

Harvey: I dunno. Kind of Blue. No, it’s the Prestige records starting in 1955; Coltrane, Garland, Chambers, Philly Joe Jones. You don’t know those guys, right.

Me: Well,

Harvey: Besides Coltrane. They do a song, in 1957, Diane. Oh, it’s all brilliant.

Me: The store should get some.

Harvey: Those sides are being reissued soon. I’ll help you out, get them all.

(He walks over to the jazz bin and pulls out a Trip reissue of Max Roach and Clifford Brown.)

Harvey: You need to realize the history of jazz goes back to before the twenties. Everything has its heritage. Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and then you have to go back and dig Fats Navarro, and, back to Eldridge. and back to Armstrong. And, then you have to cover people nobody knows about like Shorty Baker.

(He stops, mildly shakes his head.)

Me: I get what you’re saying.

Harvey: You’ll get it, sometime, after you put the time in.

Point Omega – No. 3 (definitely in the late Spring, 1974)

(Harvey walks in and heads to the jazz rack, fingers through it part way, and then notices a record displayed on the pegboard. He lifts it up and out of its holder and walks over to the counter.

Harvey: This is incredible.

Me: What?

Harvey: You have no idea how rare these sides are. This record isn’t rare.

Me: Huh?

Harvey: I mean this LP contains really rare music from Art Pepper. Until now you;d have to hunt for them and probably you wouldn’t find them.

Me: Okay!

Harvey: You don’t know Art Pepper. I don’t even know why this record is here. Art Pepper is an alto saxophonist–is this white cat with a ton of soul. He sort of takes off from Yardbird, You don’t know Pres, Lester Young.

Me: No.

Harvey: hmmph. Anyway, it’s useless to sound just like somebody else. Art found his own sound and, man, all his great records are collector’s items. This is a goldmine, this one right here. Ring me up. How much?

Less than a month later a holdup dude walked into the store and shot me in the back while I lay on the floor of the rear office. I escaped to Vermont, yet I held onto Harvey’s advisories. Sure enough, and soon enough, those Prestige and Blue Note twofers came rolling into my hands and life. All those rare Pepper’s ended up reissued and not so rare. They’re glorious. And, I spent the next fifteen years playing catch-up to all that glowing history.

A history, about which, Harvey was on the money.

There’s a funny last encounter to tell about. I returned to Cleveland in 1992, and by 2000 I was once again managing a record store in Cleveland Heights. Harvey never walked into the store, however I did happen upon him at the local post office. This was probably in 2000, so this moment came 26 years after Point Omega.

He was leaving and I was coming. I recognized him and turned around and curved my head around his shoulder. He wouldn’t stop walking after I announced,

“Harvey Pekar, I know you from what you told me years ago in a record store near here.”

“I don’t know you. What record store?”

“It was called Music Madness. It was next to the old post office.”

I’m still walking with him as we go through the front door, out toward the parking lot.

“Umm, yeah, I remember a record store there, but I don’t remember you.”

At which point I broke away, chuckling.

Dub Collision mix, Blues for Harvey Pekar, available at nogutsnoglorystudios. Here’s a taster.


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And, so it ends, and if one is feeling not very charitable, it did so in ignominy.

There was something inexplicable in watching the Cavaliers scramble to catch up, rather than control their on-court destiny. Is it possible they underestimated the degree of difficulty?

Who’s to say, but a lot of words will start to spill. Discuss.

The Cav’s depth wasn’t an advantage. If there were too many pieces to the puzzle, we’ll have to find out later how Dan Gilbert and Danny Ferry adjust to what seemed to be a problem of too many moving parts and not enough role definition and not enough go-to plays. For this fan and viewer, the Cavs seemed to be a bundle of different experiments throughout the season. But what it looked like was a team trying to gel–but with too many unproven recipes in the mix. There can’t be many fans in Cleveland who endorse the “waiting for LeBron to create” halfcourt O.

The Cavs played only two games in the two playoff series where their effort was controlling and determined for all four quarters. Otherwise, what it looked like, if I were to boil it down, was an uncoordinated effort at high risk, high reward, possessions. The Celtics are way to good and experienced to allow such an approach to work. Much of the time the Cavs were in reaction mode. The pattern of the series was to get the score close and then turn the ball over, or rush shots, or, ignore the weak side. The hallmark of the Cav’s stressed-out mode was indelible: fumbling and mishandling the ball, or, trying to bounce or thread high-degree-of-difficulty passes through the Celtic’s wingy ‘D.’ Oh, but then there was their inability to match the Celtic’s will on the glass too… Painful.

The Cavs had more than enough talent. Until the playoffs, the ride the goosy gang provided was a lot of fun. The Cavs are in a predicament in addition to the King’s uncertain future tenure. They have a large group of young players with uncertain upsides. As for LeBron, I’m with the 2,000,000+ in the area who are holding to a certain wish and hope. Be that as it is, we’ve gone from football town to baseball town to basketball town, and, could circle back if need be. Ha! We’d have to!

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Z’ riffic

Z. . .what a mensch!

During the Lebron era the Cavs have most often described by courtside commentators and b-ball media as being something like the King and his sub-stellar crew. This is a way of depicting secondary cast to be nothing more than a setting for the peerless one. So, as the NBA seasons rolls toward the end games, I’d like to wonder out loud how many other NBA teams would swap two or three starters for their choice among the four off the Cavs’ bench, Z, DWest, Varejao, Boobie? The point could be that having LeBron on your team tends to lead to his surrounding crew being discounted. It’s also seemingly the case, Mike Brown’s schemes elevate tightly defined roles and dial down the potential for a player to break out career-wise.

It also seems the Cavs just wear their opponents down. I like the odds.

My suggestion for the King is simple: it’s a-okay to realize the aspiration to be the greatest athlete to ever put on Cleveland colors. It’s just you and Jim Brown and Bob Feller at this point. (Žydrunas Ilgauskas is already the greatest Lithuanian athlete to ever play in Cleveland.) Go for it, King James.

Hat tip to:

Cavs: the Blog

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Sustainability, Systems Awareness, Eros

There are times when I compel myself to withhold an astringent critique. If I’m on the ball, I can figure out how to render a sweeter critique delicately, when the circumstances call for this. Tonight presented such an occasion.

After a roundtable, leaning toward my very close friend Holly, leader of the fine local sustainability organization E4S, I posed the following thought problem:

“What if it turns out ten years from now that sustainability activists came to realize that more thinking and less activism would have been more effective than the opposite?”

The roundtable was about Sustainable Business Development and Poverty. Almost since the inception of E4S I have been making suggestions to Holly about the human (and social,) system that any business system is but a part. Now E4S has widened its context to consider the how sustainability might be positively related to poverty. This is very exciting, but having contemplated something of these relations for almost 30 years, I’ll admit there a number of astringent critiques that lay close at hand.

The above thought problem is really a type of meta-thought problem. It doesn’t regard specifics, it just provides an inversion of the current normative tendencies ‘here on the ground’ which favor instrumental activism over robust and studious “social-critical” contextualizing.

In the background, there may be lots of collaborative thinking time given over to consideration of critiques and practical system factors such as leverage points, dependencies, interdependencies, and, to more foundational aspects such as core assumptions, and, certain operational conceptions/suppositions. However, if this is going on, not much of this bubbles up into the publicized open source. And, the public dialogs are almost entirely about what needs to be done and doing.

As a movement, is sustainability often one-sided in this way?

If so, there likely are a number of reasons for this, yet the most practical reason would be that, by definition, implementation, (those activities which are manifestations of instrumentalism,) always begin in real world actualities. At least in this, the instrumentalist, so-to-speak, keenly appreciates what the current, actual social system is able to provide for, produce, and support.

However, as my thought problem proposes, there’s no self-evident reasoning that supports the bias in favor of doing, (and the bias disfavoring more cogent understanding of systems,) as being, per force, optimal. In fact, there is a strong argument able to be made that a cogent understanding of systems may turn out to be mission-critical.

Let’s suppose this kind of awareness of systems, knowledge of context, and understanding could be a high value requisite of high leverage point activism and instrumentalism.
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Filed under Cleveland, psychological anthropology

The March of Capital

The Cleveland Heights Observer celebrated its first anniversary at the annual meeting of its sponsor (?) Future Heights. The journalist Charles Michener’s presentation was featured.

It’s interesting to compare the Heights Observer with The Lakewood Observer. After listening to several presentations that paid tribute to the volunteer efforts of the sizable CHOb team, I became aware of how organized the civic journalism project is over in the inner ring suburb where I was raised. It’s impressive. The paper itself has grown up over the past year. There’s always at least an article or two in each issue that pushes past the civic cheerleading.

Because my brief participation with the Lakewood project included the inception phase, my informed guess is that the CHOb didn’t go through the same sparking rough-and-tumble wilding the Lakewood Observer went through. It seems the CHOb never was wild, thus in need of being tamed. The biggest difference between the two projects is that the Cleveland Heights Observer’s forum hasn’t reached any kind of mass or gravity at all, whereas the Lakewood Observer’s deck centers Lakewood’s civic drama. The CHOb’s forum is thin, and Lakewood’s thich, long tail whips around.

Michener is writing a book on the revival of Cleveland. He’s in his late sixties and returns to Cleveland after a professional career as New Yorker and Newsweek journalist and editor. His roots are in Cleveland Heights, University School, Yale. His specialties at The New Yorker were restaurants and opera. He’s also an expert and author of a book about the east coast society bandleader Peter Duchin.

I don’t know if Cleveland is to be soon revived, but Michener’s combination of boilerplate observations, name dropping, and, offering Portland, Oregon as exemplar of urban cool, tracked aspects of many other similar presentations I’ve fidgeted through over the years. When the term ‘brain drain’ is trotted out for the umpteenth time, it’s easy enough to figure the speaker hasn’t yet done the kind of homework likely to be revelatory. Hopefully his book will subvert my initial impressions.

Still, as long as Michener mentioned it, I’d like to reveal my own take in the form of a question:

Why is it assumed that urban advancement will come upon the heels of the kind of people who have left returning to replace some of the people who have chosen to stay?

One aspect of the answer to this question I’ve smoked out over the years is that the person who offers this prescription–almost always–never has any purchase on the reasons why people stay, let alone what is the gravity of the “long” regional historical context. It strikes me as close to absurd, then, to hobnob with civic leaders, complain about their being “siloed,” prescribe variations of innovative collaboration, without driving their journalistic/research/observer’s consciousness into the ongoing urban and civic flux of the extant individual-group-neighborhood-community “creatura and pleorama.”

Top down prescriptives follow inexorably, almost as karmic consequence, from the failure to smartly go down and gather round the ripe dis-ease, and gather pearls, and firewalk through the thicket of in-the-moment reasons being here remains vital here, and, then gather why people choose to stay.

In Cleveland. What is here is the prima materia! It’s been cooking in the stew pot fired by long cycles of economic depredation. Some idealized admixture of cultural creatives and braininess doesn’t fit the bill of enlightened forces able to reverse trends not themselves the result of lack of the same.

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November 25th I sat at a table of participants I had just met, and then collaborated to create a vision for Cleveland’s sustainable future. In collaborating together and imagining together a middle ground where we fruitfully share our different interests, the group set about doing something I immensely enjoy. This is to then synthesize and express the collaborative product.

The piece of the vision I hoped others could relate to was the relationship between sustainability and human artistry and creativity. Well, my colleagues did relate to this. My own sense has been developing for forty-five years, ever since I conjured up in a boy’s daydream a picture of utopia, a idealized human universe in which everybody made art for everybody else.

In 2005, working with the Visionary Alignment team in Lakewood, I unleashed my conception of the CIMPLE Lit-Up Center. This concept integrates an egalitarian performance space, after school and continuing arts education, and, civic inquiry in the form of a dedicated folk anthropology.

Here’s the floor plan. Download the position paper. [pdf 13mb] It’s beyond open source. click pic to enlarge I’ll comment further soon.

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In the weeks during which the Cleveland Indians began to kick toward the Central Division crown, the lack of Jacobs Field sell-outs increasingly became the point of talk show conversation. Why weren’t the fans excited enough to start another string of sell-outs? After all, this 2007 team is somewhat in the same young and feisty mold of the legendary John Hart mini-dynasty of 1995-2001 (six crowns, two world series appearances.) Still, once the rebuilding phase commenced abruptly in 2002, the 455 sell out streak had long ended (2001.)

2006     78 84 .481 18.0 1,997,936
2005     93 69 .574 6.0 2,014,220
2004     80 82 .494 12.0 1,814,401
2003     68 94 .420 22.0 1,730,001
2002     74 88 .457 20.5 2,616,940
2001     91 71 .562 3,175,523
2000     90 72 .556 5.0 3,456,278
1999     97 65 .599 3,468,436
1998     89 73 .549 3,467,299
1997     86 75 .534 3,404,750
1996     99 62 .615 3,318,174
1995     100 44 .694 2,842,745
1994     66 47 .584 1.0 1,995,174

It is indicative of our town’s collective sports psychology that the basic reason given for the fans’ inability to ‘re-arouse’ themselves this year is that they won’t subject themselves to the potential heartbreak should they jump on the bandwagon and experience it to stall sometime at or before the final out of the world series.

This is nonsense of course. Psychology doesn’t work this way. Its ridiculous, uninformed assumptions presume the 10,000-15,000 fans who are staying away are all staying away for this reason. This implies the fans who are showing up come for other reasons but no other reasons exist for all other fans, fans who come out of the sports-happy demographic of northeastern Ohio and its population of 3 million peeps.

This reasoning ignores the 300,000+ fans who have watched the team recently on STO and assumes there is in this group a lack of motivation to see the team in person, even if it is okay to assume they all have stilled this anxiety-provoking potential for heartbreak.

Actually, it is worth suggesting that the in-person audience is highly correlated with the at-home audience. Perhaps the figure is about 10% of the former. Yes, fans have to be motivated to invest time in watching their favorite diamond sons play, but the total figure is quite dynamic and quite unlikely to move south simply because people will defer today’s pleasure against the complete uncertainty of anxiety-provoking results in the distant future.

My guess is that the perfect storm of a good young team and a new ballpark in a city stripped of their beloved, inept Browns (1996) and with a putrid NBA team, constituted a marketer’s perfect storm in 1995.

This said, the rationale behind the idea that a critical mass of fans is prevented from re-forming because of a collective fear says an ore boat’s worth about the longstanding narrative floated by ignorant sports commentators, commentators at least ignorant of social psychology! In effect, it’s a meme floated to support the chip on the shoulder even if the sample of truly disgruntled and fearful fans is given only by those both disgruntled yet motivated to blather on over the phone during call-in shows.

Go Tribe. They are a very dangerous team completely unaware of the idea that they aren’t this year’s cream of the crop. Consider a playoff starting rotation of Sabathia, Carmona, Byrd, with Westbrook, Betancourt, Perez coming out of the bullpen, Borowski at the backend, and the simple revival of hitting with runners in scoring position, and you have to like the Tribe’s chances.

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Tony Felice (, Ken Warren (Lakewood Observer/dir. Lakewood Public library), Ed Morrison, and me, met for 3+ hours on August 15th. The purpose was to learn about Morrison’s I Open paradigm for collaborative, open source economic development.

(Notwithstanding my intuitive and inchoate pontificating about Morrison’s move outside of ‘the academy,’ the meetup was my first encounter with Ed and I Open.)

Ken is working on a full report for the Observer. Ed generously shared a lot of material with us about his own background, the I Open model, and, in the second half of the discussion, provided a rich response to a number of questions aimed to drill down into the human element (and touch) found in the I Open model.

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Recently, I’m under the spell of goings on in the economic development flux of Cleveland and brewedfreshdaily has provided a stylish foil. (I do wish george would restore me to the blog roll.) This is in the context of a different version of open source development I’m involved with in Lakewood. There the keynote is cooperative civic development rather than economic development, so this difference also provides another kind of foil.

At BFD Don Iannone wrote,

A lot of it has to do with the distribution of power and wealth in communities. That is not an easy situation to change.

I agree it’s hard to pry simoleons from tight grips, but I disagree with the degree of difficulty having to do with power. After all, what the heck is power?

Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.  (C.G. Jung. On the Psychology of the Unconscious:58)

What are we speaking of in the distribution of power in communities? People at the top of food chain-like hierarchies? What’s that about? is it about the ability to command resources, push your simoleons around, make people jump, get your inflated self-sense verified, get invited to all the best parties, etc?

For goodness sakes, powerful persons are powerful because of what mechanisms of group dynamics? Go look it up. (Alternately, see James Hillman; Kinds of Power). Short of this there is a consensus norm concerned with getting things done, which, in group-to-social contexts in a psychological sense and in a sociological sense, does have to do with a kind of mechanical power, a sort of provision for generation of impetus and influence.

But who would volunteer to be beholden to that at the same time they hold more enlightened values? I’ll give an easy-to-grok example. People say that their spiritual commitments are numero uno and then they yoke themselves to some narcissist  causing a lot of interpersonal and social harm for the sake of ‘making money’ and ‘gaining power’.

You might need somebody else’s money, but the only power worth a damn is your own power. And, if power is merely the ability to get things done, then we wouldn’t be talking about those other kinds of power, would we?

“Where love is lacking…” How about: where love is lacking in community development? See, this is heavy stuff when you drill down a bit. It has to be! The ol’ guy-thing drama is done for. We’re at the precipice. Right? You see it?

What interests me about people who are powerful in the normative, organizational sense? What their core values are; what they think the point of life and living is; what are we doing here, supposed to be doing here?

And, I ask ’em! The answers cut a number of ways. In fact, after years of conducting this kind of inquiry, I will reduce my rich findings to a blunt and commonsensical posit: when you ask a powerful person what life is all about you will learn whether all this power is chained to something shallow or is chained to something deep.

One thing I’ve learned is that a certain personality type is distributed among the powerful just as it is among the ‘ittle people. This is the type that assumes that what they think life is about is what everybody else should think life is about. But, often this is a frustrating insight because such persons often think about the ‘ittle people that ‘they can’t get it and, besides, they don’t have any power anyway’. There are lots of ways to characterize this kind of shallow cognition, but my favorite is to term it magical thinking. In other words, ‘magically enough, the world and the people in it correspond to my brilliant personal sense of things’. Another word for this is solipsism.

My opinion is that we’re at the end of the line of doing any kind of smart development from solipsistic dispositions; this goes for economic, personal, social, cultural, political, development. For instance, the war in Iraq can be viewed as the culmination of self-absorbed assumptions about the nature of reality. I could make a good case for this being a feature of this war’s clash of fundamentalisms. And the harm being done on all sides is giant, heart-rending, hideous. Anyway, it’s a rich example in my meta-psychological perspective.

Self-absorbed power is silly and it is often harmful. This is why I unfurl thought problems about kinds of intelligence, and character, and depth of soul, and, ability to unlearn and re-learn, and openness, and, receptivity.

Can economic development start to become concerned with depth and love? Can sustainability? Can education? Hey, I’m just cutting to the chase!

Yes, perhaps masculine, self-absorbed, silly, harmful power distributed in communities is hard to change. Why bother? Learn a martial art instead! Build a pool, dig out a deep end, learn to swim again.

My view is surely idiosyncratic, yet I offer the suggestion: playing stupid games in the shallows where the sharks flop around isn’t anywhere near as ‘powerful’ as playing smart games in the deep end where you might actually learn something, create something without causing a lot of harm, and get to be the deeply powerful, lovesome, spiritual being (ha! you already are!). You know – the one you might otherwise think can somehow survive in the shallows.

My experience: it (your heart!) cannot survive there. And, the whole point of the open source paradigm, (and the cooperative paradigm too,) is to do development from a deep place, sans the magical illusions, and do so in collaboration with people detrained from being shallow and stupid about money, power, and love. And why do this? How about: to serve your fellow human beings?

Yeah, ‘where love rules…’ Economic development from there.

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Sorry, comments are in fact turned on. The In-Box broils a bit due to my my earlier controversial post. Accused of not knowing the other side or anything about Weatherhead internal politics, I admit t’is so. I also note better information didn’t tag along with the accusation.

When I returned to Cleveland in 1992, skinned a bit during a spell of music biz fear and loathing in West L.A., I networked through the non-profit arts community. Unable to elevate smarts over being a nobody, I received many lectures. None were memorable. Being a tracker, since that time I’ve listened to complaints about gatekeeping, who sits at the table, the sound of one hand clapping the speaker’s back, deaf calling card pushers, etc.. Sometimes like this: encounter. It’s all very funny and “Cleveland”.

(13 years later) Cleveland is the poorest large city in the U.S. Might I add too: Cleveland is a paragon of segregation, white flight, paranoia, and, pardon me, efacement. This motivates me to make a similar suggestion to the one I pose to Republican loyalists. Lessee, Nixon, Ford 1968-1976; Reagan, Bush, 1980-1992; Bush II 2000-2005. 25 of 37 years in executive power and what have you to show for it? Incomes at the median stagnant for three decades, executives making 100+ times the average salary of the workers who actually produce the products; and a savage neoliberalism riding quarterly profits -these days- based in aggregate returns accrued in the majority to capital holders rather than workers for the first time since good stats began being kept post world war 2.

Oh, the suggestion: the purported best and the brightest locally have achieved exactly what to benefit us all over their long reign? The bankers, tycoons, real estate emperors, foundations, sr.academics? Follow the money? It hasn’t landed on Broadway in decades.

How to spot revolutionary intelligences? I don’t spend great gobs of time out hobnobbing and networking so my spottings tend to be few in number, but, the approach scales so I assume Cleveland has a lot of revolutionary intelligence. The rich intelligence, (I know of,) isn’t, in fact could not, be thinking about, for example, casinos, convention centers, and new ‘university commons’.

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Meanwhile…over Lakewood way, I’m involved as advisor, facilitator, and writer in the Lakewood Observer project. As an east sider with one foot planted in Lakewood, I like to believe myself to be the observer of the Observer. The crew of characters has been uniquely open and have welcomed my involvement and the wild stuffs I bring with me, stuffs stuffed into the ol’ toolbox. Gracias — you know who you are.

The model of the project is open source to a large extent. This means that ideas, conversations, documentation, planning, is shared freely, and, overwhelmingly, the project’s internal works and generativity do not attach themselves to particular persons over time. This means the project, in effect, owns the creative capital. Crucially, the LO project is necessarily fueled by volunteers vitalized by the collaborative and cooperative ethic.

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