Friday, September 29, 2006

I am cool with Sherrod once again

I finally got to hear Sherrod Brown give his reasons for the vote on detainees and torture. He says it wasn't a perfect bill and that his motivation was to resolve the situations of the detainees who have been held for up to five years without trials. He says it wasn't to prove that he is not soft on terrorism. DeWine has already hit him with that and he expects more of the same. The good news is that the Republicans will not be outspending him 5 to 1, but rather 3 to 2, so I guess I'll be clicking on that donate button real soon after all.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Can I take that endorsement back?

Sherrod Brown voted for the Republican "compromise" terrorist trial and torture bill today. It weakens the Geneva convention rules and disallows habeus corpus for terrorist suspects. From a BBC report:

"The new measures provide defendants with more legal rights than they had under the old system, but it eliminates their right to challenge their detention and treatment in federal court.

The bill forbids treatment of detainees that would constitute war crimes - such as torture, rape and biological experiments - but gives the president the authority to decide which other techniques interrogators can use."

I am sickened by this vote. His motivation can only be coldly political. If he actually believes these rule changes are ethical in any way, then I'm not going to vote for him after all. I won't vote for DeWine either. Is the Socialist party on the ballot? A nice choice we have -- the Cut and Run party or the Loot and Pillage Party.

I'm going to write an email in protest to my 13th district congressional representative before I hit the hay tonight. I may be draping the Sherrod Brown bumpersticker in black crepe tomorrow as I go into mourning for the death of principled reasoning once again.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Village Green Endorses Sherrod Brown for Senate

My blogging here tends to run long. I'm going to keep this one short and to the point.

This week, Mike Douglas of the Akron Beacon Journal editorial page, pretends to be fair and balanced in his commentary on Sherrod Brown vs. Mike DeWine in the race for the Senate, but it comes across as one big orgasm over the candidacy of Mike DeWine. Douglas adores Mike's ratings by the National Journal:

"The National Journal rates senators and representatives, charting votes as liberal or conservative. In 2004, DeWine voted 46 percent liberal and 53 percent conservative on economic matters, 49 percent and 49 percent on social issues, and 47 percent liberal and 51 percent conservative on foreign affairs. (Brown rated liberal across the board, his percentages in the 80s.)"

Douglas's entire column is one big smoke screen to hide his own support of corporate America and Big Business as usual. Either that or he really believes that having a senator who appears to sit on the fence is a good thing.

Here is is, short and simple, my endorsement of Sherrod Brown for US Senate, with three major reasons to vote for Sherrod Brown:

1. Sherrod voted against the Iraq war. (DeWine voted for it.)
2. Brown will not vote for another anti-women's rights Supreme Court Justice. DeWine voted for Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court and would do so again.
3. Ohio is going down the tubes, economically and its education system is in need of major repairs. DeWine, a representative of the ruling Republican party, had his chance and lost it. It's time to swing to the left.

Dear friends and anonymous visitors -- click on the Tip the Balance graphic above, which will take you to an online donation page for Sherrod Brown. He needs some more dough. DeWine's got the support of the folks with money. I've contributed $100 to Brown this year. I hope to scrape together another $50 before the end of October. Come on -- open your wallets -- you'll feel so damn liberal your heart will get all warm and fuzzy. Time to get over that "bleeding heart liberal" designation! Embrace the positive, vote for progress as well as change -- vote for Sherrod!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Akron's Trash Collection Sports a New Look

The city of Akron has spent a lot of money on brand new trash collection containers for all its citizens. Everybody gets one green bin and upon request, a blue one for recyclables. Those who sign up for the blue recycling bin get $2 off their trash bill every month. People who have more trash can obtain a second green bin for $50.

The program was announced late spring. Kenmore's containers arrived this past week. You can see my new green bin at left, snuggled into a convenient corner. They are very sturdy and the lid stays connected to the top, so no more problems with lids that come off and roll down the street. The lids also fit neatly on top of the container, so rain cannot enter the bin.

These sturdy bins are now collected by an automated trash truck that picks up the bin by use of mechanical arms that grab onto it and lift and tip it into the truck. This will decrease the amount of injuries to trash collection workers. According to reports in the local paper, no workers will lose their jobs.

Household furniture and appliances will still be collected and can still be placed by the curb, at least three feet away from the bins. All items in the bins must be bagged properly.

There should be an aesthetic improvement to our neighborhoods from this upgrade in service. No longer will we see piles of trash bags spilling out smelly trash onto the curb. Animals searching for food will not be able to get into the trash bins.

I am most excited about the presence of the blue recycle bins and have great hopes that citizens of our city will make greater use of the recycle system. It has always bothered me to see how few set out their blue bags of collected bottles and cans, plus paper products. Let's hope that the $2 rebate on trash collection fees attracts new recyclers. Once you have both bins, you become aware of how much you throw away each week that is re-usable and how much is not.

I have been making a concerted effort to cut down on the amount of trash I produce. I am a faithful composter of vegetable matter from my kitchen as well as my garden weeds and cuttings. I now am aware when I go shopping which products are packaged in materials that can be recycled vs those that can't. I now take my own cloth shopping bags to the Acme, because they continue to issue brown plastic bags -- can't use those for recycling. And I take my own shopping bags to the ABJ Farmer's Market and to the Mustard Seed. I've got enough blue bags saved up to last many years!

{Here you see a tomato ready to be plucked from my garden, thriving in the composted earth I add each spring from the composter.)

What materials will the city of Akron recycle? The lid on the blue bin has a graphic label that shows you what is accepted for recycling.

The label gives you the idea that you can recycle any plastic containers, but the city's web page tells you that only plastics marked #1 or #2 should be recycled. Have you taken a close look at plastic packaging lately? There are many items marked with other numbers. Plastic food containers that I purchase at The Mustard Seed are marked #5. You'd think The Mustard Seed would be providing recyclable containers!

The label states cardboard, corrugated only. Ever since I started recycling, I have flattened any cardboard packaging and put it in my brown paper bag for collection -- everything from cereal boxes to toothpaste boxes, none of which are corrugated cardboard. Nobody has ever sent them back to me or left me a notice saying don't recycle these. I worry that these items get booted out and sent to the landfill. However, it feels very good to know that all junk mail is recyclable -- and that stuff piles up very fast indeed.

On the day of our first "automated" trash pickup, I noticed that all along Manchester Rd, there were a scattering of folks who weren't with the program. Trash bags were piled up and old containers still put out overflowing with a variety of refuse. The Akron Beacon Journal published a report that the process of giving out the carts had uncovered a number of people who were not on the public works billing lists! Some people had been putting out trash for years without paying for the service! But for every household that wasn't in compliance this first week, I saw many more who were using the recyle bins for the first time. And indeed, the aethetic view of the new bins all along the curbs was indeed far more pleasant than the old way of doing trash business. Let's hope it works for our collective advantage in the months and years to come.


I have some white iris that is blooming for the second time this growing season -- an effect of global warming?

Also my figs are now green and I'm not sure when I should harvest them or how to use them once they are plucked from the tree. Any suggestions would be welcome!

Trash Bin Update

I am noticing that a number of residents are keeping their trash bin on the curb. One of the big worries when this was move to automation was annoucned was that the bins would be too unwieldy for people to move and that senior citizens wouldn't be able to wheel them back and forth from home to curb. I loaded mine up with a lot of heavy stuff the first time around and it was still very easy to move. Tilt and roll! So far, I am pleased with the bins and with the way they handle.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Village Green on Stage at Dante's in Portland Oregon!

You are looking at nametags that decorated the stage for Storm Large's Meet and Greet at Dante's in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday, September 20. She made her first home appearance since the finale of RockStar: Supernova. I've been posting on her forum at since July, as have been many rabid new and old fans from around the world. When this event was announced a bunch of people posted whether or not they were going and those who weren't going expressed regrets.

A Ballzboard member by the name of "Stinkbug" designed name tags for all the online folks to wear at the Storm event on Wednesday, using a graphic anime-style image created by board member "PhoenixArtDesign" from Germany. Then Stinkbug actually took the time and trouble to make tags for everyone who couldn't be there and lined the edge of the stage with the tags. "RikkiStixx," another member of the forums, took digital images of all the tags (Scroll down the page to find them) and posted them on the boards the next day!

That was I got home from a long hard week on the job and find that in the past 24 hours, Storm has agreed to autograph all those nametags and "Stinkbug" will mail them to us if we send her a stamped, self-addressed envelope! Very cool!

The Ballzboards remain addictive not only because Storm and her boyfriend, bass player Davey Nipples, post there, but because the fans are such an interesting mix of people. There's a huge range of generations as well as gender orientations. The posting is lively, intelligent and kind-hearted. Most everybody there is not a reality tv fan. Many express amazement that they became hooked to this show. Every fan is of necessity a supporter of free speech and equal rights across all social, gender, and economic levels.

Reality TV has been my secret addiction. I try to keep it down to a few shows. Some are just too disgusting to waste any time on, such as Big Brother, Joe Millionaire etc. Rockstar's first season was very enjoyable. The second season was a huge drama that sucked me in and had me in its grip all summer long -- talk about manipulation of the audience. Whew. The Balboard forum was the place to go to immerse oneself in the drama, and then into who Storm Large really is and what her own music has addressed. Thousands of people arrive there on a quest -- to find out more about the one of a kind woman who rocked out for ten weeks this summer on CBS Primetime.

So thanks to Stinkbug for the card idea and to RikkiSixx for the photograph you see above, VillageGreen from Ohio appeared symbollically on stage in Portland this week! Next time I want to be in front of that stage at a Ballz show. Hoping they can put together a tour and that they come to NE Ohio.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Beacon Online part 2

Over the weekend, the ABJ online comments turned into a Lord of the Flies scene. Troops of trolls gang-tagged a long-standing poster: the reasonable and rational one, the fellow who always brought along a fistful of facts to back up his opinions, the one and only -- The Centrist. A polite guy who has put up with mounting abuse over the past few months, The Centrist has been a fixture on the comments boards. If I had a buck for every time somebody called him "Lefty" or "commie dem-o-rat" I'd be able to afford new brakes for my truck.

Some people seem to resent his willingness to express an opinion. They call him a show-off or a know-it-all. These folks are definitely stuck in junior high modes of communicating with their fellow human beings. Then there are the Ultra-rights, for whom anything left of Pat Buchanan is a bleeding heart tax and spend welfare-mama enabling pinko socialist. But the worst of them are the ones that attack blindly without any consideration for anybody else. Centrist has put up with a lot of crap, but this weekend's board activities finally drove him away. One troll began signing his posts with "The Centrist" -- and then one after another began copycatting and piling on until The Real Centrist announced his departure.

Earlier today, I read the comments on the dog pound story, the Stow schools hires an investigator story, and I think there was one on the gasoline price story. The Centrist mockers were running amok. A couple of the other saner posters spoke of leaving the boards as well. A number of posts had been deleted. The Centrist posted one final message about attempting to contact the Beacon about people taking over his identity and how unhappy he was that the Beacon was not interested in moderating their boards. I must say, I have been shocked at some of what has shown up and allowed to stand. I can't imagine what horrors actually provoked deletion.

The Centrist attackers kept up their viciousness at least through the lunch hour. I got home awhile ago from work and checked the ABJ. Mysteriously, all of today's stories with comments were now comment-less. Yesterday's hospital story still has its comment section however. In it, several posters laugh the whole thing off as "you ain't seen nothing til you've seen these sites." Here's an example:

To all of you goodie two shoes types who think you are going to shame the jesters away with your pompous comments, you obviously have no grasp of what the internet is about outside of this forum and your dial up AOL account. This is NOTHING!! Visit and read the comments under each news item. You'll see some outstanding bon mot there. (That means "humorous comments" to you Centrist level people who think you know it all but do not.)

The Middleist

Another poster proffers up this site as a great place for uncivilized discourse:

I checked both out and don't see the similarity to the Beacon's boards. For one thing, Something Awful and Fark both encourage snarkiness. You get the idea right away that these sites are for people who want to show off their superiority. Even so, both places require registration and both are moderated. This is what the ABJ sorely lacks. Online communities that don't have these two features are prone to troll attacks. Here's an informational posting about trolls for those who haven't read up on them. Even though I've been online for a long time now, the Beacon comment section is really the first time I've seen them in action. The worst I've seen was at the Sucks boards -- but even those are moderated and posters are forever being banned.

The Beacon trolls never bothered me much, probably because of my inconsistant posting. The experience did lead to one good thing -- it inspired me to post comments and then start this blog. I haven't written regularly since the days of my old zine, The Dumpster Times. I did manage to get a message through to The Centrist (I don't know who he is in real life) to check out Blogger and he has commented here that he's working on starting his own blog -- hooray! Looking forward to reading it regularly -- without all the chaos.

Now I'm back at square one with my quandry about paying for the Beacon. Don't want piles of newspaper to recycle. Do want to contribute to the salaries of my favorite reporters and feature writers. Don't want to read ignorant, racist, sexist remarks every day in an unmoderated comments section.

What I really want is to pay for the online version -- as long as it has some cool extra features for subscribers. The state of the comments sections is not cool at all.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Akron Reading Festival

The Akron Reading Festival is fast becoming my favorite local festival, because this is the one for readers! As I entered the Lock 3 grounds, a woman with five children surrounding her stopped to pick up a program of events. The volunteer at the table said, "All children get a free book!" The kids cheered and jumped up and down with anticipation!

All over the grounds, awnings and tents sprouted, covering a host of reading-related activities. Other local organizations brought displays of books, including the Akron Zoo, The Children's Ballet Theatre, Our Lady of the Elms and the Akron Art Museum. Akron Parks and Recreation had a large tent where children could make the most gorgeous hats built on a newspaper base. A whole lot of reading going on at the festival -- in author tents, on benches and in strollers.

Entertainment is also a part of the deal. Very odd stuff this year. I was fascinated to see a Bunraku-style puppet show only using Western Culture opera music and images. I quite liked the two monkeys watching the duet singers in this photo. Look close and you will see the operators completely garbed in black.

On the main stage, a different sort of puppets from a troupe based in Florida. These are oversized and more in the tradition of parade puppets, but put to use with a pre-recorded sound strack. The sizing choices didn't make sense to me. Why was Rip Van Winkle larger than all of them? His daughter was smaller than his faithful hound. I didn't stay for the entire performance.

I admired the dexterity with which the performers operated their puppets, however the musical adaptation along with the unappealing visuals of the puppets were not my cup of tea. They look like bad televison animation.

Here we see one young fellow totally absorbed by the performance.

I really enjoy going to events at Lock 3. The canal is always a pleasure to look upon and reflect over its history. The outdoor stage is simple and effective, while the Akron Civic Theatre proudly provides both backdrop and facilities for guest artists.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Yes we have no spinach

Why isn't every bag of spinach, lettuce and salad mix labeled with its field of origin? In today's ABJ, Mary Beth Breckenridge reported that the source of the toxic spinach is from a "natural foods company Natural Selection Foods, based in San Juan Bautista, CA."

What is really odd is how many brand names got their product from this company:

"The brands include: Dole, Natural Selection Foods, Pride of San Juan, Earthbound Farm, Bellissima, Rave Spinach, Emeril, Sysco, O Organic, Fresh Point, River Ranch, Superior, Nature's Basket, Pro-Mark, Compliments, Trader Joe's, Ready Pac, Jansal Valley, Cheney Bros., Coastline, D'Arrigo Bros., Green Harvest, Mann, Mills Family Farm, Pro*Act, Premium Fresh, Snoboy, The Farmer's Market, Tanimura & Antle, President's Choice, Cross Valley and Riverside Farms."

You'd think that if you purchased some Earthbound Spinach or O Organic brand that it would be really good stuff -- no E coli, no petroleum-based pesticides etc. But it turns out that the brand name has nothing to do with where and how the spinach grew from seed to harvest.

I want to know what else is growing at Natural Selection Foods and what was used as fertilizer in each field. How difficult would it be to have that on the packaging? Probably not very difficult at all. I'm betting that Big AgroBiz would not be keen on the idea somehow. Meanwhile, millions of bags of spinach have been thrown away. Does composting kill the E coli bacteria?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Invisible Woman

Nelly Ternan was the youngest daughter in the Ternan acting family. Her father, Thomas Ternan, was the son of a Dublin grocer and he had 15 siblings. Her mother was an actress named Fannie Jarman, and her grandmother was from Yorkshire and was the first of the family to work on the stage.

I wasn't familiar with Nelly until I picked up a book called The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin. Subtitled "The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens," it shines the light on the long-hidden story of the woman Dickens set up as his secret mistress. She had to be kept invisible in order not to stain Dickens' immense reputation as a social moralist/critic. Turns out it was all the rage among male authors and artists -- have a wife with lots of kids, and at least one mistress -- maybe more. Wilkie Collins maintained two separate households, with a mistress and children in each!

Beyond the fascinating details of how Dickens managed to lead a double life for 13 years, this book is also a most unusual look at backstage life for the working actor during the late 19th century. Nelly, her two sisters and her mother toured the length and breadth of the British Isles for many years, and all tried to crack the London stage, with varying levels of success. Fanny Jarman Ternan was the most successful of the family. Her husband Thomas was the least. His lackluster career was cut short by syphillitic mental illness. He was confined to an asylum for two years until he died.

The mother trained her girls in the art of acting. There were no performing arts schools -- it was on-the-job training from the womb on! Thanks to the volumnious crinolines of that era, actresses could keep working throughout their pregnancies. Although the social ranking of the actress was considered to be somewhat scandalous, it was one of the few opportunities that gave women some freedom in a very repressive era. The very nature of acting demands intellect, dedication and curiosity. The Ternan women were all well-read, fluent in several languages and were practiced writers. Nelly's sisters eventually left the stage, one to become a novelist and the other a journalist.

As for that Dickens fellow, we find that he was a man who was willing and able to get what he wanted. After fathering ten children, he decided to wall up the door between his bed room and his wife's. No, this was not Victorian birth control, it was Dickens way of shutting himself off from someone for whom he no longer cared. Eventually, he moved her out of his home and into a cottage, paying her an annual sum until his death. He kept the children and he kept her sister, Georgina, to oversee the house-keeping and child-rearing. And at the same time, he took up with Nelly Ternan.

They met in an amateur theatrical project, set up by Dickens. Her hired her entire family to perform in this piece. She was only 17. He was 45. He managed to win over her mother's approval and eventually Nelly herself. She traded in the stage life for the role of kept woman. After Dickens died, she was left with a bequest and freedom to do as she liked for the first time in her life. After travelling in Europe, she eventually married a young scholar who never knew of her past involvement. In fact, years after she died, her son and daughter from this marriage were shocked to find out about her mother's past and her actual age. She had chopped 13 years off her real age -- and no one knew except her sisters.

One interesting tidbit was that Dickens, rather like an alpha wolf, sent his sons away when they reached the earliest age of maturity -- 16! At least two of them were sent to Australia. He kept the daughters around, however. Daughters were more useful, and handy to keep around the home. Reading this book, I am again so glad that I was born into the latter half of the 20th century. Life as a woman still isn't the greatest thing, but it sure is a hell of a lot better than life for women in Victoria's England.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Beacon Online

Haven't heard anything new about changes at the ABJ. I have noticed that whoever is in charge of deciding which ABJ online articles get the public comments feature has been very sparing of late. Only one or two news articles per day. Yet on the left side of the screen, there are always numerous sports stories with comments attached.

I took a moment to check to see if I'm exaggerating. There's only one sports story with comments -- last night's Indian's game. Only four comments, all very spare and bleak. Rather like this season's Indians.

Over in local news, one story with comments focuses on the Ohio House Bill 3, which not only requires voters to carry ID into their pollling places, it also "forces write-in candidates to file earlier, further restricts who can circulate petitions and forbids the contesting of federal elections in state courts, Rosenfield said."

Many pages of comments for this article, most of which feature nastiness from the right wing folks. They spit venom at "lefties" and call them "commies" and "bleeding hearts." They seem so out of date, so antique in their attempts at political thinking. It is because their right wing rants remain the same, although their political circumstances are very changed. Like cornered rats, they puff and spit. They think themselves incredibly clever when they call out the "Dem-o-craps."

When you see a post begin like this: "I knew when I saw the article what liberal idiot Leftist was going to say" you know you are looking into the workings of a true automaton. The ones with any brains left have long since dropped their affection toward the current crop of right wing Republicans. They can smell it in the air -- the winds are blowing Leftward Ho. The only way back from so many years of Republican rule is to swing to the left, baby!

My favorite comment of the day is this: "why, if we are getting 25-30% voter turnout, do we need all this procedure and silliness to ensure that people don't vote illegally. no one cares enough to vote, let alone cheat at it."

Let's hope this vision isn't what takes place in November, because if the Dems don't turn out in force, we are up Shit Creek, so to speak.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Coming Together to Walk

Lovely day for a walk over the Y Bridge in downtown Akron. The humans and the dogs were out this morning to celebrate diversity. The event began in Cascade Plaza where we gathered to begin the walk up Main Street toward the bridge.

People and dogs of all shapes and sizes enjoyed the bright sunshine and the views from the bridge. Normally, pedestrians can't walk on the east side of the bridge, so it was an excellent opportunity to look down at the new housing going up next to the old Elizabeth Park public housing development.

Elizabeth Park has been a disgrace to our city. Long red brick buildings look more like prison camps than rental units. It always felt to me like it was put there to "keep those people hidden and in their place." Shameful, is what I call it.

The new housing is a mixture of single-family homes and town houses. Couldn't tell from so far away how good the construction of these units. They look like cheaper versions of suburban housing "estates." The biggest difference is the move from the straight lines and grid of the old brick apartments to curving drives integrated into the beautiful tree-filled valley. I wonder if the plan is to tear down the old brick ones and put in even more new housing?

Up a bit on the slope, the new trendy loft apartments look down on the valley to the north and to the Northside arts, culture and good food and drink area. A fellow gave me a sales pitch on this place at the University Arts in the Park festival a few weekends ago. You get to design your own interior once the lofts are built. Supposedly there will be underground parking, various amenities, including perhaps a restaurant and shops at ground level.

Will all this new construction help stem the tide of people moving out of Akron into the suburbs? The for sale signs dot the landscape, no matter which side of town you live on. As I was driving around today I tried to imagine myself in about 2o years, trying to live a sustainable lifestyle in the city. Could I live without a vehicle? Where would I go to get my groceries? I love the ABJ Farmer's Market and go there every Thursday, but that's only a few months out of the year. To get decent vegetables, one has to go to Montrose or to a chain store. There's a Giant Eagle and a Tops at South Plaza that isn't too far -- by vehicle. There's no place to shop for groceries within walking distance near Summit Lake.

Meanwhile, back at the lake, the swans were out in full force.
When I first moved into my house, there were no swans on the lake. One summer, a pair of them showed up but something must have happened to one of them, because there was only one lonely swan by summer's end. The next summer, there were three swans. The ducks, geese and swans are unflappable. They expect humans to feed them. I didn't have any food, only a camera.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Storm unleashed

In the most stunning reality show blow to the gut, Storm Large was voted out of contention for lead singer of SuperNova, the band made up of fading stars in their final throes. Storm was way too much for them to handle. They never gave her the opportunity to play with them on the show -- and this, after seizing the show and blowing everybody off the stage on Tuesday's performance episode. In last weekend's webisode, she handily passed the lyric writing clinic with Gilby Clark. She looked a cinch to go into the finals, but via fan voting, she ended up in the bottom three with the two major contenders: Canadian skunk-boy Lucas and They-wan-her Dilana. They had to vote her off the rock and roll island. She wasn't "roit" for the band.

I read the spoiler board when I got home from work yesterday. I could not bring myself to watch it go down last night. I've got it recorded for viewing some time this weekend. Evidently, she went out in tremendous style and had everybody crying with a Bottom 3 kick'em-in-the-gut vesion of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," dedicated to her mother. Her mother died awhile back, having spent most of her adult life institutionalized for schizophrenia. The Floyd song was a tribute to Syd Barrett, their bandmate who also fought mental problems. Reportedly, Storm brought everybody to tears.

Storm is a rarity in this society's climate of repressed sexuality and fundamentalist attacks on freedom of expression. She writes songs about girls and women who never fit the stereotypes -- just as Storm herself resisted the styling staff at the CBS show who kept trying to make her dress like "a girl."

I have ordered the single "Ladylike" and recomend it to you. It's available for download at MSN I hear. I ordered the single on CD. Limited edition with both the PG and R rated versions. "What the What is Ladylike?"

I'd point you in the direction of her official fan page, but it blew up the moment Supernova gave her the axe last night. Thousands of people all at once trying to post on her forum brought the site crashing down along with her fans' hopes and expectations. I've been hooked on those Storm boards since before the show started in July. Pre-internet fandom was such a lonely affair. Not anymore. Fan communities gather online from around the world. Today I read a heartfelt post from a new fan from Wales! And while I've enjoyed the benefits of internet fandom with my fellow Kinks fans for many years now, I've never experienced something like this -- an explosion of fan attraction, media attention and internet buzz in a matter of a few weeks time.

Storm put herself through a huge ordeal, but ended up with an immense global following, after spending years plugging away in local scenes up and down the west coast. Thank dog she did the show, even though it ended with such a blow to the emotions. She is going to be heard!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Ray Davies once sang, "Rock songs come and rock songs go, but rock and roll will live on for ever...all of the day and all of the night." Rock and roll has become an endangered species. The kids are into hiphop and have been over the course of my teaching career (14 years). There are a few rockers left, but rock has splintered into various minor cults. The cult of Goth and emo. There are very specific "looks" that go along with each of these cults. I see small groups of them on the fringes of the middle school sock hops.

If you are one of the few who have been watching Rockstar: Supernova, you know what I mean. There is the South African tatooed woman or if you prefer, the tatooed skunk-haired Canadian guy. There's a bald man from Iceland and a hot lad from Australia. Seems like these days rock is far more popular in cultures other than the U$ of A. The only remaining representative from this country is called Storm Large. She is the most mature of the contestants in so many ways, and yet many viewers have not been able to get a handle on who she is and what she does.

Storm is the best singer and performer on the show and has been since day one. However, her appeal is not as strong among the young teenybopper girls. (Is "teenybopper" used as a descriptive any more? I really don't know!) She exudes intelligence , confidence, positive energy and is sexually appealing to people regardless of individual gender preferences. She turns people on in a non gratuitous way. I would guess that the people who do not like her performances are probably uptight in some way.

I've been watching this show all summer long and thanfully, there's only one more week after this and it wraps up. I've become addicted to the fan forum boards, bouncing around from Sucks to Television Without Pity to to, which is where I call home these days. If you haven't been there, that's where you can find links to her music online. See for yourself!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Phone Banking is not as fun as Online Banking

In fact, phone banking is not as fun as having major dental work. I phone banked today for the first time and I didn't like it very much, as you may gather. I don't like it when strangers call me on the phone, so why did I volunteer to spend two and a half hours calling strangers on a list? Perhaps I had some sort of grandious idea that I should do this because I can't afford to contribute lots of $$$. Or perhaps I thought this was an ordeal I must go through in order to prove my dedication to the cause. I must have created some kind of fantasy in order to get myself into this situation!

For the most part, I got the answering machine. Or nobody answered. I liked those calls the best. When I got through to people, I had to use a script. The majority of people who actually answered were not happy to hear from me, even though I was trying to use my most pleasant voice. So I got very few actual times to go through the script I was given.

The script made me nervous. I am more of an improvisational actor to begin with. I mostly improvised. There was a canned paragraph that I was supposed to say about the Democratic candidates. I got to it two or three times during the entire morning, and each time I choked on it. Just could not get all those words out as they sounded so fake. So I improvised and condensed it to something along the lines of "hope you'll consider the Democratic candidates this fall."

One woman was 100% sure she was going to vote for Blackwell for gov and absolutely vote for Sherrod Brown for senate -- I was afraid to ask why, so I didn't. I was working from a list of Independents, and most of them were VERY independent, or else right square in the middle of haven't-made-up-my-mind-yet.

I hear the Blackwell campaign is using robo-calling. I wonder if there are any studies as to the effectivness of robo-calling vs live calling? I can tell you the physical effect it has upon me -- my heart thumped wildly every time somebody answered the phone. After every call, no matter the outcome, I let out an audible exhale, a release of the internal stress building up. I will have to do some research and reflection on this matter of phone banking before I decide whether to continue.

Friday, September 01, 2006

ABJ Arts Coverage update

From sources within the paper, I'm hearing that the plan is to have one reporter cover all the arts including some reviews. The reviews will be for shows with multiple dates, so no more one-off show reviews. And sadly, Kerry Clawson the theatre critic is supposedly not the pick for arts writer. She will be reassigned to something that isn't her passion. How terribly sad this all is for Akron.

Damn, I get so depressed seeing how quickly this town is sliding down into emptiness and despair. The "For Sale" signs are sprouting like fungus all over the landscape. I've also noticed that some major music acts have not been booked into NE Ohio, but rather Columbus. The money's down there now, so that's where the big acts play. Who cares about the R&R Hall of Fame if there's nobody with enough bucks to pay expensive ticket prices.

Trying to end on a positive note -- I did hear that the ABJ has gotten a lot of mail on this topic, and that some of it has been very negative in tone. I wrote but I was polite. Passionate -- but polite. As if anything I can say will affect their bottom line.