Monday, July 30, 2007

our adolescent bombast has a life of its own

In the ’60s, a Future Candidate Poured Her Heart Out in Letters - New York Times -- This is an interesting look at the turbulent times of the college scene in the late '60s and what young people did before Facebook. I'd imagine little of my own turgid prose survives, and the world's probably better off for that.

What I do recall, and what this NYT piece reminds me about, is that these were exciting times, years when change accelerated as though in a cyclotron, finally coming to a jarring halt by running head-on into the wall that we now call The Great Society. But, we only know this now, as we look into the rear-view mirror, from the ambulance.

Back then, we thought that we could take over and work through government to solve all of our society's ills. So did Hilary. Most of us now think differently.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

PLJ articulates the points, for us, and for the other two

Medical Mart is a great idea, but the sales tax is the wrong way to pay for it - -- Jeff Buster over at RealNEO alerted me to this intelligent opinion-piece by Peter Lawson Jones. He certainly is the articulate one of the county-commissioner trio, and rational, too. The way he's phrasing it is a good way to begin the community dialogue. He's a uniter, not a divider. He's leading. Here's an excerpt:

Some assert that immediately raising the sales tax is the only viable Medical Mart/Convention Center funding option because "time is of the essence" and my proposal is too complex. I am not urging procrastination. Every element of my plan could be finalized by November. Is there reason to believe that, if the financing package were not in place until then, the potential developer's professed ardor for locating the complex here would lessen?

And what is so intricate about a funding package that includes reasonable private-sector support and public resources that are both available to the county and eminently equitable?

Like so many civic leaders and citizens, I sing the praises of the proposed Medical Mart/Convention Center. The crafting of a plan that most fairly finances it need not be sacrificed in our efforts to realize the project's promise. The proposed sales tax increase must be our last, not first, resort.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

will the real throwback please stand up? - Straight Outta Mansfield Polenseks Rage -- I read old, tired diatribes like this one we have from Mansfield Frazier and wonder why this guy has a forum at all. This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, or more specifically, "a throwback" and "White" with a capital "W" to boot. We were over in the Waterloo Road district yesterday, talking to people who have a stake there, and they told us they Mansfield can't begin to presume to speak for them, and that he was "bought and sold" --by whom, they didn't specify. All I know is that Mansfield is deeply discounted over off Waterloo, by just about everybody.

This is about good neighbors, and bad neighbors. "A clash of cultures"? Nonsense...drivel. Mansfield, let's quit the posturing; I don't know what audience you're playing for, but the act is old and tired. If you continue to have a forum, use it to benefit the community. Unite it; integrate it. Quit trying to form factions. Point out what we have in common. Try to lead. Get everybody moving in the same direction. If you're given a forum, you have a responsibility. Assume it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

their inherited birthright, your intrinsic loss

When Mobile Phones Aren’t Truly Mobile - New York Times -- I'm still wondering how Verizon can disallow use of VoIP over EV-DO broadband, to protect their cellphone franchise. We're starting to realize that these guys are actually proprietary and anti-competitive; they're bad for business and get in the way of progress, as they tend to their self-interests first, and to those of the customer someplace after that. Remember, their first duty is to the company and its shareholders; the customer is a target of opportunity. There are interesting comments in this article from Massachusetts' Ed Markey.

WIRELESS carriers in the United States are spiritual descendants of dear Ma Bell: they view total control over customers as their inherited birthright.

The younger generation — Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and the namesake child AT&T — would make their hallowed matriarch proud. They do everything they can to keep power firmly in their own hands. It is entirely at the carriers’ discretion to permit, or disable, the features that a factory loads into the newest phones. They also decide which software can be installed and how it may be used. Many wireless subscribers have ruefully become acquainted with gotcha clauses in their contracts. (more)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

from our Ingenuity Festival experience: things we'd like to see

We're having a good experience with the Ingenuity Festival, but it brings to the fore things we'd like to see around Cleveland.

First of all, the bus service has not been very good. Thursday, the first day of the festival, Gloria and I took the 79 in at different times of the afternoon. Each of us had to walk from Public Square out to Playhouse Square. The 6 and the E-Line did not accommodate us at any time in our 15-block trek. That means, to me, that they're running too infrequently to be useful, unless you have all the time in the world and can hang out around a bus stop until something shows up.

In the evenings, we've had to cut short our time at Ingenuity to catch the last bus home. They should run all night. They should be something you can count on.

They run way too infrequently. We have had far too many hour-long waits. They should run at quarter-hour to half-hour intervals. The routes should interconnect, on a timed basis, and you should be able to leapfrog your way across town in any number of combinations. For this to happen, I would think the routes have to be shorter.

Specific to the Ingenuity Festival, it seems the buses don't come near it. We found we had to walk from East 14th Street down to East Ninth Street before we had access to the E-Line. It should be routed onto 14th Street for the Festival, to bring people in and take people out of the area. This is a major happening, and it deserves better public-transit support.

Another thing we'd like to see are more restaurants and coffee shops in the downtown area that are open later at night. The Town Fryer is not open for late food any more. There are no 24-hour places until you get to West 117th Street, or Memphis, and I don't really count the Rapid Stop on East 55th as a place where anyone would want to hang out.

This is still sort of a little hick town where they roll up the streets and shut down the buses before midnight; this is not anything that could be termed "cosmopolitan." I would hope this can change. You can build all the convention centers and the merchandise marts you want, but if you don't have the amenities of a big city, nothing flies.

You have to build traffic and usage first. People have to feel safe, they have to have mobility options, and they have to have round-the-clock havens and destinations.

Friday, July 20, 2007

my solution: I'm just not going to play when it comes to paying the sales tax

Convention Center sales tax would end in 20 years - Cleveland Metro News – The Latest Breaking News, Photos and Stories from The Plain Dealer -- be sure to click through to look at the picture (respectfully called large_mart, not lard_mart) of the commissioners--perhaps the PD won't mind if we post it here as well. Tell me, are these happy campers?

Today, I took delivery from UPS of $112.22 worth of office supplies. They were exactly what I wanted, not what OfficeMaxx or Staples had on hand for me. I paid no county sales tax. I was ecstatic. I am doing my part to control my office's own little destiny and keep money out of the hands of the nefarious JimmyTimmy combo at the same time.

Just for spite and to put these jokers on notice, I'll go buy some fall clothes down in Wooster--Wayne County--next month. Perhaps we can even take a clothes-buying trip to Philadelpia, where there is no sales tax on shoes or clothes. Then we'll think where we should go buy the next car. Should I get my computers and peripherals on line? Of course. What other big buys can I shift out of Cuyahoga County?

Eventually, the only people who will be paying the Cuyahoga County tax will be those who have no internet access and those who can't leave the county to make their big buys. These boys are killing commerce to take care of short-term, self-declared solutions, bending us over and calling it a kindness. Let's face it, when we elected them, we put our money into the wrong hands. They're not trustworthy. They have no common sense. They do not respect numbers. They're withholding information. They're treating us as though we're stupid. Why are we putting up with this?

Of course, when the overall sales county-wide fall off and sales tax revenue heads towards the basement, they can always pick another popular target to tax, like smokers, and do it in the name of the arts, or the children. Maybe we can call it Issue 18-squared.
Consider, too, that if all the big-ticket sales leave the county, the only viable retail will be the Dollar Stores. Remember this the next time you hear JimmyTimmy mouth off about the benefits of their sales tax increase. Remember next time you go to the polls. The money's in the wrong hands. Fix it. Fix it good.

before the storm, prelude to an exorcism

Storm sweeps through opening-night of Ingenuity - Cleveland Metro News – The Latest Breaking News, Photos and Stories from The Plain Dealer--Here's a picture of my goombah George Nemeth (hey, Goombah George, that has a ring to it!) and me right before the onset of the storm yesterday at the Ingenuity Festival. It was brief, it was violent, it was a huge surprise. It was almost as though the festival had created enough positive energy to exorcise whatever demons have been bedeviling this town these past few years, and they left indignant, but they left, and then the sun shone again as we prepared for the dawn of the new Golden Age, ingeniously. (The photo's compliments of Thomas Mulready of the CoolCleveland networks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

finding myself, revisited: suddenly transported

As of a few hours ago, I find that the MeetTheBloggers area for the Ingenuity Festival is now moved across the street, somewhere in between the State and the Palace Theatres. See you there, on my quest in search of my true location for the next few days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

on being ingenious, and finding myself

I needed to exercise ingenuity a bit early to find where MeetTheBloggers was listed on the website. I needed to know so that I could tell my mother and all my friends to come on down and visit, and here's the link. Well, the link is this,, and the listing is buried in a PDF, but what the heck, I found my future self coexisting with Peter Whitehouse at 1430 Euclid Avenue for the duration. Come on down. It's at or near the Hanna Building.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

the Vancouver vibe

36 Hours in Vancouver - New York Times--Most agree that Vancouver is one of the most cosmopolitan and liveable cities there is. Notice a few of its attributes in the article--it has restored (not "developed") its older districts, it is a 24-hour economy, it has public transit and bicycle traffic, it's walkable, and it capitalizes on its parks and its waterfront. A friend of mine from New York, now living in San Diego and Vancouver, tells me that being a black man is a totally different experience there as well; he's assimilated, or integrated, or just allowed to be himself; he leaves the baggage at the US border.

Perhaps we can learn a few things from Vancouver, and its "vibe".

Kerouac's tracks 50 years later

The beat goes on - The Boston Globe--The Boston GLOBE has a retrospective here on Jack Kerouac, who was from Lowell. Reading him, and later Ken Kesey, gave a lot of us the ideas that led to the road to San Francisco and the cultural upheaval of the '60s. And now, here is the romance of the beats cropping up again, getting aired out, helping us fall in love with America again, the real America, where "FREE" is something more than what you see on an ironic/iconic big stamp outside a neoclassical shrine to government.

Here are a few quotes from the article I wanted to spotlight, but take some time to read the whole thing. It's a trip:

"Sal, we've got to go and never stop 'til we get there."
"Where are we going to go?"
"I don't know, but we can't stop 'til we get there."

We battled traffic through Oakland and went over the bridge into San Francisco's Chinatown , where we rolled down the windows and took in the smells and sounds that drifted in the long shadows of the late afternoon.
We had arrived at the promised land of the beat generation.
This was where in the 1950s the seeds of a hip, new culture planted by Kerouac and the poets Allen Ginsberg , Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Gregory Corso formed the buds of the beat generation that would flower into the counterculture of the 1960s.

Friday, July 13, 2007

not paying attention to detail, Tubbs overflows

For at least the last half year, I've been getting this email reply from Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones "official" mailbox (

Your message

To: Tubbs Jones, Stephanie
Subject: going tactical
Sent: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 12:21:53 -0400

did not reach the following recipient(s):

Tubbs Jones, Stephanie on Wed, 11 Jul 2007 12:27:28 -0400
The message could not be delivered because the recipient's mailbox is full. 5.2.2

I'm removing her from my information lists, as of now. I guess she feels that what she doesn't know won't hurt her, but what about the rest of us?

How can she present herself as a representative of this region if her lines of communication are always down?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cool Community Forum sets ideas free

Ideas fly at forum about Medical Mart, funding ideas - Plain Dealer Metro News -- This was a really fine event at the downtown Cleveland Public Library auditorium; it's a marvelous place to work with the other members of your community in a free exchange of ideas and solutions. Roger Bundy live-blogs it. The PD's Rena Koontz gives a good recap:

More than three dozen people wanted to talk about the idea of a Medical Mart and the proposed .25 percent sales tax increase to fund it today at the Cleveland Public Library.

The public forum was sponsored by online newsletter and a group of local bloggers dedicated to open public discourse.

The good news for Dennis Roche, president of the
Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland, is that the consensus seemed to be that Cleveland needs development such as the one on the table. If done right, it could be a good thing for the city.

The burning issue is the method of funding a new convention center, which could cost $375 million or more.

A podcast and transcript of today's meeting will be posted at, and


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

going tactical

Here's an email I am in the process of sending out today to get people downtown tomorrow. This is the start of something bigger than just us, bigger than Cleveland, bigger than Ohio, and it bodes well for all of us. Let's make it happen:

Dear Tim--

We're going tactical on the issue of the sales tax. On July 12th at noon downtown in the Cleveland Public Library auditorium, Cool Cleveland and MeetTheBloggers are conducting a genuine public forum, where everybody gets a chance. Here's Thomas Mulready's commentary from the CoolCleveland newsletter just out this morning:

Commune. Communicate. Community. These are Cleveland's buzz words this week. With the critical issue of a convention center and medical mart in play because of a proposed county tax increase, we felt that the legal minimum two public sessions didn't give the community enough of an opportunity to discuss, raise questions and pose issues. So we're hosting our own Forum this Thu 7/12, increasing public debate by 50%, and you're invited to join us . . . keep the flow of communication open. By the way, the antonym of "communicate" is "hush up," "keep secret," or "suppress." We don't think that's very Cleveland-like, do you? --Thomas Mulready

Here are more details of the event and the instructions for registering (even though it's free, only a few hundred of you can fit)--

Cuyahoga County sales tax for convention center & medical mart-- Join your Cool Cleveland colleagues at this free and open Community Forum on July 12, 2007 from noon to 1:30PM at the Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Avenue N.E. in Downtown Cleveland, in the Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium.
While a number of subject matter experts will be invited to invited to be in the audience as resources in the fields of government, economic development and convention centers, this Community Forum is designed to allow the public to ask questions and raise issues about the 1/4% sales tax recently proposed by the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to raise money for a yet-to-be-determined convention center and attached medical mart. There will be no panels, no presentations and no speakers. After a brief outline of the issue, the public will be invited to step up to the microphones and raise questions and issues, which will be transcribed and then posted to, and the network of top regional blog sites.

To attend, please register by clicking here:

To post your comment or question in advance, or if you are unable to attend, please click here:

A copy of the press release is available for download as a PDF here:

The event appears on here:

Gloria gives background and perspective to the event in two blog posts:

There's a lot going on. This is becoming huge. It's no longer just about Cleveland; the whole county and the region are about to take the shot, unless we take our government and our money back.

We hope to see you there at noon tomorrow. Feel free to share this email, tactically.

Tim Ferris

Monday, July 09, 2007

free to be: audio outlaws

I was reading the Cleveland FREETIMES newsprint NEO-wish-fulfillment edition (the one featuring the Mafia plot to kill Dennis Kucinich) and happened to notice an ad on the back for "Audio Outlaws." The advertisement for auto-audio featured cleavage offset by two huge speakers and a subwoofer and mentioned a 600-watt amp. I think that's a lot, but I'm not really expert in that market.

The point I wanted to make is that, obviously, these merchants know that they are selling product to make people "outlaws," that is, people who break the law when they use the product. They flaunt this in their very name. They also know that enforcement of the noise ordinances is weak. They also know that if enforcement picks up, because of the "outlaws"'replacements of the confiscated boomboxes, they'll sell more product, for a while.

Is it possible to levy a nuisance tax on this kind of business, first of all?

This summer has been sort of noisy. It adds to the stress; you get no real peace, even at 3 in the morning. For those of us in town, it creates a siege mentality, or the incipient stages of PTSD. Businesses like Audio Outlaws know they're parasites, and they revel in it.

Second, is it possible to make them a party in some sort of lawsuit? Ill-gotten gain should not stay put; it should be recovered and redistributed. We need to take our neighborhoods back, and that includes recapturing some of the equity stolen in the past. If they rob us of our peace and quiet at our homes, they also reduce the value of those homes across an enforcement area, and we need to take our money back.

Friday, July 06, 2007

and today, another bronze

NatWest Island Games XII Rhodes 2007 Sports Cycling Men's Time Trial Team Award --Geri and the Bermuda team get the bronze this time. Geri's tally to this point is one silver, two bronze.

e24 Transcription | Web 2.0 Transcription Service

e24 Transcription Web 2.0 Transcription Service -- Somehow, when they offer to transcribe our podcasts with the advertisement "All transcriptions are down by Human and not by machines," my enthusiasm wanes.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

homie David Pogue explains why AT&T is running scared

Are U.S. Cellphone Carriers Calcified? - Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog -- David Pogue, son of Dick, or Richard Pogue, and now also home-boy expatriate in the NYC area, explains why AT&T was so frantic to jam SB117 up our nether parts, and all with the mindless cooperation of our elected lightweights at the state level: They're losing ARPU:

The cellular industry is going through insanely rapid change. Almost everyone there—800 attendees from 200 phone companies in 65 countries—was running scared of VOIP. That’s voice over I.P., better known as Internet phone. VOIP includes cheapo unlimited home-phone service like Vonage, as well as absolutely free computer-to-computer calling with programs like Skype. It’s all growing like crazy, which is making a huge dent in these companies’ ARPU.

Oh, yeah—that’s Average Revenue Per User. Telecom companies live and breathe ARPU. The talks at this conference were all about “Improving Your ARPU.” (They *love* acronyms in this business. Typical seminar description: “Learn how ISM and FSM can decrease your OPEX and CAPEX and boost your ARPU!”)

Most of these carriers intend to fight off VOIP by growing into a Double Play, Triple Play, or even Quad Play.

What, you don’t know those terms either!?

If you’re a single-play company, you just provide landline service. Add cellphone coverage, and you’re a double play. Add Internet service and TV, and you’re a quad play. You can see the same syndrome here in the U.S., too, as cellphone companies try to deliver TV service, cable companies roll out phone service, and so on.

why MTB's dynamic is so important

Network Weaving: 1 Day F2F = 1,000 emails -- Here's a post from our friend Valdis Krebs yesterday that explains why emailing and blogging alone are only part of the whole communicative process, and why MeetTheBloggers and The Cleveland Weblogger Meetup, Midtown Brews, I-Open, and Ryze, are so important. Make sure you click through his "excellent article" link.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

today, Geri gets bronze

NatWest Island Games XII Rhodes 2007 Sports Cycling Men's Individual Road Race -- And today, in the men's individual road race, Geri brings in a bronze medal for Bermuda with a third-place finish. Again, the first four are bunched.

The medal the other day was silver.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Geri gets second in the crit

There are some events called The Island Games going on right now on the Isle of Rhodes. Our son-in-law, Geri Mewett, just placed second in the Men's Individual Town Centre Criterium, also known as "the crit." It looks as though there were four of them all bunched up there at the finish.

We're looking forward to the individual time trials and the subsequent men's individual road race.

Back here in the States, Geri rides for the Hincapie Team out of Charlotte, NC.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

spending Sunday with LibraryThing

LibraryThing Catalog your books online --I was reading around the blogs this morning when I stumbled across LibraryThing on Derek Arnold's a subset of derek. That was probably around 1030, and it's now more than 6 hours later, and I've had a ball. I've been dragging out all the books that are easy to reach and cataloguing them online. I'm listing only the ones I've read all the way through or use fairly often. The first 200 are on the house, and it's only $25 for a lifetime of reading and cataloguing after that. There is an intermediate annual plan as well, and a blog, where there's a contest going on for $1,000 worth of books.