Sunday, July 20, 2014

Something gentle

I'm afraid, dear readership, that the headlines this weekend have left me humbled. I like to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark world, but quips and funny anecdotes don't seem appropriate with bodies strewn about Ukraine, Gaza, Syria and Iraq as well as our own fare and troubled country. And yes, I realize that list is not inclusive, but I just don't have it in me to make it so.

Hence, I'm offering up a few snaps from my weekend and profound thanks for all the gentle things that color my life.

The Sunday Market with Jessie

The old BF Goodrich stacks keeping watch over downtown Akron

The American Toy and Marble Museum

Stunning art at the Transformer Station

Open air lunch at The Game with Eric

Cleveland Tea Revival

Dean Rufus's House of Fun

Lastly, a random pic from inside this town I love

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Phone cam round-up

An admirable full disclosure effort

Either a Poltergeist moment or a television that has behaved very badly

Alternative foundation display

Among other things, yes, I am!

Coffee machine that longs to one day become a boombox

Or FOUND COCKTAIL in another universe

Did the Slinky beget Hope Springs or vice versa? Fishing license, please.

Table for one

Gypsy Rose clothing will make you look like this ...

... housecoats from Kmart will make you look like this.

Dazzling jewelry display at the discount grocery

Voort+man=the world's most disturbing name for a cookie

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

The bridge between King James and a herd of lumbering elephants

Tee shirts forgiving LeBron, on sale the
day after he announced his return to CLE
So it seems this town has gotten some attention this week, from Reince Priebus & Co. and one Lebron James. Who could have predicted such an odd tangential glancing? Not me.

As for the GOP, its members will descend upon our town, do their dirty business and leave. It will be much like a one night stand with all the terms and conditions carefully drawn out. Everyone will know what to expect and when it's all over, Cleveland will be just like Tampa in 2012: unchanged save for a few more coins in our pockets, maybe some kudos.

Hoops, Erin style
Conversely, a solitary King James is not nearly as predictable as a herd of lumbering elephants, perhaps due to the red-hot emotion he evokes in this locale. You cannot understand Northeast Ohio's LeBron fever until you've seen it from a center court seat. When I wrote about LeBron for the NYT four years ago in the wake of "The Decision," that fever had the fury of ten thousand women scorned. And then, in a stunning reversal, yesterday's "The Decision II" was greeted with ebullient celebrations. Tee shirts deeming LeBron James "forgiven" were on sale today--less than 24 hours after his announcement--and people were clamoring to buy them.

This crowd is not expecting a one night stand. We are expecting a long and splendorous affair. We are expecting trophies glittering with magic dust and happily ever-afters. Dangerous territory that, considering our first tumble between the sheets with this guy produced no trophy, but instead just an empty bed festooned with a tangle of sweaty sheets. Love is strange.

Yeah, yeah.

In other news that did not garner headlines in California or Kansas or Florida, as a beautiful dawn spread across the Northcoast this morning, the last of the old I-90 Innerbelt Bridge got blasted into oblivion.

I took photos of the new Innerbelt Bridge when it was under construction last year about this time. This is one of my favorite views of the city. From this bluff, you can see a hundred years of bridge history. This photo only captures a small angle of the panorama, but you get the idea.

So an old bridge comes down and a new one goes up as the Cleveland skyline quietly watches on. This is the real Cleveland. It was here when LeBron was not. It will survive whatever the GOP dishes out. And I will be here, a solid advocate, revealing this place in my funny way and seducing people who least expect it.

Yikes! Erin has made me Cleveland-curious!

Now let's take a walk along the Cuyahoga River. I know the most fascinating path.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Secondhand gunfire

The concept is simple: Secondhand gunfire is a lot like secondhand smoke, which is a dangerous byproduct of smoking. Secondhand gunfire applies to any weapon that discharges without the owner's intention. It is a byproduct of gun ownership.

Whenever you introduce a gun into a space, the people in the space are at risk of injury or death by secondhand gunfire, which is 100 percent preventable. It kills and injures all the time. When it does, watch jaws go agape, eyes blink in disbelief and lips start quivering. At these moments, the smug guns don't kill people, people kill people mantra is replaced with an incredulous how could this ha-ha-ha-happen?

Case in point: this abject failure at parenting and gross negligence that resulted in the death of 2-year-old was ruled an accident. Pure bullshit.

Gun rights advocates point to falling murder and crime rates and never, ever talk about the kids killing kids and gun owners shooting themselves. Shootings that have nothing to do with self-defense, standing your ground or the castle doctrine happen every day. These rarely make it to the national news venues, particularly if the shooting only injures.

Although I could fill page after page with examples of secondhand gunfire, here are a few:
A Missouri woman was shot in the face by a stray bullet while celebrating Independence Day after someone fired a gun into the air.

A 9-year-old was shot to death during a gun/play session after a North Carolina mom left the kids home alone.

You go on and try to figure out what happened to this poor devil.
 And this one from 2012 that I have never been able to shake:
A Pennsylvania man accidentally shot and killed his 7-year-old son in a gun store parking lot, when his pistol went off in his hand--a bullet remained in the chamber even though the man had removed the magazine.
The shot-in-the-face-on-the-fourth-of-July victim notwithstanding, the overwhelming majority of secondhand gunfire victims are gun owners and their friends and family members, simply because they associate with gun owners and are within the realm of secondhand gunfire, which brings me to the open carry camp.

The fact that a person would walk into a mall, taco joint or discount department store carrying an AR-15 immediately indicates that he is not a good guy with a gun. That weapon is for intimidation and killing and nothing else. And as soon as he shows up with it in an otherwise nonthreatening environment, everyone present is at risk of secondhand gunfire. His holster might malfunction, allowing the weapon to fall and fire. Someone might evoke him, causing him to feel threatened and start firing. What's to say he isn't a Jerad Miller wannabe?

Epiphany: If you don't want to be exposed to secondhand gunfire, stay away from guns.

I intend to do just that. If I am in any place of business or public area and someone shows up with an assault weapon strapped to his person, I am leaving. I am leaving a cart full of merchandise in the aisle, a half-eaten burrito on a plate and (god help me) a barely touched Ketel One on the bar. No, I will not pause to settle the bill.

I will not be subject to secondhand gunfire.

Yes, I understand that people are carrying concealed weapons all around me and that I am subject to the secondhand gunfire from those weapons whether I like it or not. Oh well. There's only so much I can do. At least a concealed carrier is not trying to intimidate everyone around him. The open carrier is. The concealed carrier doesn't strike me as having an itchy trigger finger. The open carrier does.

So it goes, but one thing's for sure. Eventually at one of the open carry rallies, there will be secondhand gunfire. It will be recorded by cell phones and security cameras and judged in the court of public opinion. Maybe it will kill or injure. Maybe it won't.

Either way, we'll see exactly how much support there is for a guy with a neck tattoo and an errant assault weapon who's only trying to "educate the public."

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