Friday, March 30, 2007

Around the Dial

It's old news already -- Radio Free Ohio is gone as of today. 1350 AM is now all sports all the time. Great. Just what this area needs, another sports station.

I had grave doubts that 1350 would survive when I first stumbled upon it over a year ago. It is owned by Clear Channel, who are not known for supporting liberal ideals. The stations chosen for this "radical" experiment were all low wattage stations. I expect they thought they might make better use of their resources and make some extra money with lib talk. But then the 2006 election indicated that change was afoot in this country. Is it a coincidence that Clear Channel is closing all its liberal stations in Ohio, a key state in election prognosis?

On its web site, 1350 claims that its listenership was down and that is why the switch to sports. Yet for months and months we heard that listenership was going up. So who to believe? And a more important question, what station do I set my radio alarm clock to get me up on time?

NPR does not work for me. The voices and the content are way too soothing and I would go right back to sleep. WAKR has local news, but it is so bland and conventional I cannot bear to tune it in. I don't want music waking me up, no matter the type. I need a bright energetic voice discussing the issues of the day -- but there is nothing like that any more. I guess I will have to pick something/anything and program it to be extra loud. Then I can jump up, turn on the computer and listen in on streaming Bill Press. No more staying in bed and gradually waking up as the daily issues prompt my brain to get going.

I looked online to find alternative radio programming and discovered this site, Pandora, where you can create your own radio programming. Naturally, I typed in "the Kinks" as my major influence. Oddly, the first song that came up was "Black Messiah," a somewhat controversial song. (Personal take -- it is not racist, but rather another one of Ray's observations of life songs.) So I signed up for an official Pandora account.

The downside is that there is no DJ on Pandora. In fact, the art of the DJ is no more. DJs are now paid voices that can be recorded anywhere at any time and automated into the music. Maybe that is why I am more into talk radio these days. The talk show host is attempting to communicate with the audience, whereas the paid voice is filler and functions primarily as a station ID rather than as intimate music guide and master of the segue.

As I write this entry, one song goes over and over in my brain, so I looked on YouTube to see if I could find a video version of the Kinks classic, Around the Dial. Alas, no -- but here are some of the lyrics. This song, written in 1982, comments upon the vanishing DJ. No mystery these days as to why any favorite radio voice has disappeared.

Radios of the world are tuning in tonight,
Are you on the dial, are you tuned in right?
One of our D.J.'s is missing.
Are you listening?
Are you listening to me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me clearly?
Around the dial.

I've been around the dial so many times,
But you're not there.
Somebody tells me that you've been taken off the air.
Well, you were my favorite D.J.,
Since I can't remember when.
You always played the best records,
You never followed any trend.
F.M., A.M. where are you?
You gotta be out there somewhere on the dial.
On the dial.

Where did you go Mr. D.J.?
Did they take you off the air?
Was it something that you said to the corporation guys upstairs?
It wasn't the pressure,
You never sounded down.
It couldn't be the ratings,
You had the best in town.
Somehow I'm gonna find ya, track you down.
Gonna keep on searchin',
Around and around and 'round and 'round...

I can't believe that you've been taken off the air.
Think I'll sell my radio now that you're not there.
You never gave in to fashion,
You never followed any trends,
All the record bums tried to hack you up,
But you were honest to the end.
Gonna keep my radio on,
'Till I know just what went wrong.
The answers out there somewhere on the dial.
On the dial.

Can you hear me (around the dial)
Are you listenin' (around the dial)
Are you out there (around the dial)
Can you hear me?
Around the dial.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Two days absent//Creationism 101

My apologies. Didn't even have the time to look for entertaining videos from YouTube to keep you going while I finished up the current project. However, I am almost free from the looming deadline and have been storing up a lot of commentary in my head. Expect to see more here very soon.

Meanwhile, students, we have a lesson for you on Creationism, as performed by Roy Zimmerman at the Skeptics Society. "Creation Science 101" is on Roy's album "Faulty Intelligence," available at

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Signs of Spring at the Village Green

Spring is officially here in the Village Green gardens. Out front, the crocus spreads its petals in the first day of spring sunshine. The past week gave us warmer temps and lots of rain, but no sunshine. I watched the green shoots pushing through the leaf and straw bed covers, happily greeting old friends. Hello Columbines! Looking good, Dafs and Tulips, shooting green spikes up toward the sun. A cluster of Hyacinth spikes bear blue buds and should be sending forth their blooms and perfumes very soon.

Inside, the need for spring cleaning is apparent. The companion animals are in full shed and the litter of the current big deadline project is begging to be sorted through and put away. Unfortunately, there are a few more days to go before I can give blog, house and garden the focus each deserves.

So much is going on in the world beyond, my head would be spinning if I were paying full attention. For Village Green regulars, I encourage you to visit the following sites to keep up on current events from local to international:

Pho's Akron Pages is THE best place to look for commentary on local Akron as well as state of Ohio politics and of course, state education policies.

Buckeye State Blog is a good place to go to get views of Ohio from beyond NE Ohio.

My favorite all round place to view breaking news and up to the minute commentary remains the Huffington Post.

For environmental issues, try Treehugger, a great collection of environmental news and ideas.

Speaking of global warming and human activities that contribute to it, check out this article (The Year Without Toilet Paper) in the NYT and then visit No Impact Man's blog for the day to day challenges of one family trying to make no environmental impact on the planet for one year. And I thought I was doing something special by saying NO to plastic bags!

And finally, check out my friend Kevin's blog, Daily BBG. Kevin lives in San Diego and is a comic book colorist and graphic artist. His blog features tips on Mac aps, along with commentary on politics, religion and popular culture. Kevin and I have been part of an informal atheist discussion email group for over ten years, having banded together during the purge of freethinkers from AOL's old Philosophy and Religion boards in the mid 90s. It's been an intensely interesting experience. One day, with the group's permission, I may write more about it, but for now all I can say is that we have spent years having many an argument over matters great and trivial, thus proving that there is no typical atheist response to anything other than we choose to live our lives without religion.

Meanwhile, the crocus are blooming and the sun is shining. Enjoy your rest of the day.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The many sides of Hugh Laurie

Singing in a jazz trio:

Doing a comedy sketch featuring Black Adder and Will Shakespeare:

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Night Folk Song

A search for "Limeliters" at YouTube yielded this gem. Glenn and Alex with two other guys. Wikipedia has the full Limeliter story, including all the lineup variations over the years. Meanwhile, I'm happy to hear this song again.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Night Poem

Here's a fresh new animation by a film student and featuring a poem written and performed by John Hall (King Missile):

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wed Night Punk Invasion

It's going to be music video time here at the Village Green for the next few days. Here's one that'll make you get up and dance:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bush puts on his best Nixonian tones

From NYT:

“We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants,” Mr. Bush said, vowing to fight any attempt by Congress to subpoena his top political adviser, Karl Rove; the former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers and others."

I tried to find a video clip of this statement. The delivery was so school yard, so taunting and more -- it was kingly. That royal "we" and the protective master's arm around his loyal public servants. How dare the commoners question those servants under oath?

Bush is charging down that old Nixonian road to Executive Privilege. He's got to keep Gonzalez as AG who will uphold the position. And hoping for a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. Dig out your Tricky Dick masks, boys and girls.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Happy Anniversary -- Not! Four years in Iraq and still counting

Four long bloody pointless years in Iraq, with "leaders" as dumb and hard-headed as rocks. The NO IRAQ WAR window sticker in my vehicle, hand-made and placed there in the lead-up to the Petroleum War, is fading and sad. Rather like my hopes that our elected officials will do anything other than wring their hands and say "we can't" and point to the other side and blame each other. sent me an email asking me to tell the Democrats in Congress what to do because they don't know.

I think the Dems do know what to do but they can't because they don't have a veto proof majority. The fate of Iraq really lies in the hands of the Republican minority in the senate. The question becomes how long they back up their Decider. Having been programmed in talking points for seven long years, is there any chance the Pubs might decide for themselves and their constituents.

Clearly the anti-war pressure has to be turned on the senators who resist. Anybody know if any of the groups are focusing on this as a project? Here's a Wikipedia list of a whole bunch of anti-Iraq war groups. The photo above is from a group called Voices for Creative Nonviolence. I like their name but know nothing about them. You can visit them here.

Meanwhile, what the Democrats are doing is keeping the pressure on in various ways. I'd like to see a little less harping at each other about differences in tactics and more shoving it in the faces of the Pubs. After all, there are new hearings to be opened every week, so it seems. Thanks to the Pubs who are lifting up their own slimy stones and showing us the dirt in new and different ways each day.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Swan Abuse in the Akron Area

Catching up with the news today, I found a disturbing report in Saturday's ABJ about the arrest of a man who had an injured wild swan in his car. The twenty year old suspect had just assaulted two neighbors and his mother, when police arrived and discovered the poor creature in the back seat. The story says that the swan:

"...was turned over to a Parks and Recreation Department worker and taken to a Street Department garage where the Lake Anna swans spend the winter.

The bird died the next day. It is not known whether [the suspect] found the swan injured or if it was hurt during the capture....

Peg Myers, a police records clerk, said the bird did not belong to the Lake Anna flock."

Some questions immediately leap to mind: Why was the injured swan taken to a garage? Should it not have been taken to an animal hospital?

Interesting that the Lake Anna swans are kept in a garage all winter. I have often wondered where the Summit Lake swans go during the cold months. And I really hope the dead swan is not one of ours.

Two summers after I moved into the Summit Lake area, the first pair of swans showed up on the lake. Such beautiful creatures! I am always amazed by the startling whiteness of their feathers, even as the swans float on this dirty old lake. The very next year, only one swan returned. I wondered every time I saw it what had happened to it's partner. The swan joined in the lake's growing water fowl community and certainly did not suffer for lack of companionship with all the ducks, geese and coots that make their homes here. The next summer, a new pair showed up at Summit Lake, forming a gliding trio that has expanded to at least three pairs plus the solo swan. (We also have in residence one blue heron. I keep hoping that it will show up with a mate one year.) Two of our current Summit Lake swans are pictured above.

The State of Ohio Wildlife Department is about to release 150 trumpeter swans into marsh lands around the state. Trumpeters have black beaks and are said to be native to this state, although there is some controversy over this. The OWD says that mute swans (the type that reside on Summit Lake with orange beaks) are exotics from Asia and Europe. Personally, I don't care where they came from. They are beautiful to contemplate and they bring life and add character to our lake.

I am still amazed that such creatures can live and seemingly thrive on the site of a lake that was once the repository for toxic factory wastes. Another Summit Lake resident once told me that the lakeside denizens had been pushing for a lake clean-up but were told that the cost of clearing the lake bottom of all the pollution was beyond anybody's ability to pay.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Escape to the fictitious past

When down with a cold, there's precious little to do except drink lots of liquids and sleep through it as much as possible. When awake, it's a good time to read a book until the eyes can't take it any more. So turn on the TV and watch what? It's Saturday night and by rights most people are out partying and drinking green beer. The TV schedule looks boring as can be. Random switching about leads me to BBC America and two episodes in a row of a new series -- Robin Hood.

Well I always liked Robin Hood. As a kid, I watched the old B&W series on Saturday mornings. "Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen. Robin Hood Robin Hood with his band of men. Feared by the bad. Loved by the good. Robin Hood, Robin Hood." There's a tribute page to the old series starring Richard Greene well worth the read here. Interesting to find out that political refugees from America, blackballed in Hollywood via the McCarthy hearings, were involved in this British made-series.

So I had to watch the new series and I'm glad I did. The new Robin (Jonas Armstrong) doesn't wear tights, but he looks good whether shooting arrows or fleeing from the dogs in Sherwood Forest. The rest of the cast features fine British actors, many with long years of service in all the performing venues of stage, film, radio and television. Lucy Griffiths (Maid Marian) is young and just starting out in the biz. This Marian has more than spunk -- she turns out to be Robin's equal in giving to the poor and shooting arrows. Fun stuff and a fine way to while away the cold. I've already switched on the "record entire series plus repeats" feature on the dvr so I don't have to wake up at 8 AM tomorrow to watch episode one.

The above photo is of course of the greatest movie Robin ever, Errol Flynn. I borrowed the picture from a fan site called You can find more Flynn pics to drool over there.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

This Time Tomorrow...

...I may be feeling better. Today I am down with a miserable cold. So I give you some Kinks and some footage from a French film just for Microdot! The Youtube credit lists it as Les Amants Reguliers by Philippe Garrel. I don't know the movie -- perhaps our favorite expatriot in France can fill us in. Speaking of Microdot, you can find out all about the candidates for president of France at his blog, The Brain Police. And what a fascinating lot of characters they are!

All right, time to give it over to the Kinks and head for recuperative rest.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Another looming shortage

My generation will be facing a shortage of oncologists by 2020, according to a report in Scientific American. From the article:

Many practicing oncologists are nearing retirement and only a few oncology fellowship training positions exist.

"We will graduate more oncologists," Dr. Michael Goldstein of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who heads ASCO work force efforts, told reporters. "But the increase is modest compared to the increase in demand."

Goldstein said unless medical leaders address this predicted shortage of cancer doctors, patients in the future may not get the high-quality care they expect and may not benefit from recent progress in cancer research and care.

"There's no way of rapidly opening the spigot and producing more medical oncologists because both the funding and the number of slots are limited," Goldstein added.

I heard this report referred to on Radio Free Ohio this morning and it added another layer of gloomy thoughts about the future to the ones already stirred up by watching An Inconvenient Truth one more time. The human brain works fast figuring out ways to make life easier but seems incapable of looking beyond the immediate to long-term consequences.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Growing Gonzales Scandal

I had to stop everything tonight to take in the growing scandal with Attorney General Gonzales and the fired federal prosecutors. Keith Olberman had some excellent commentary tonight and there's some good blog reading over at TPMmuckraker.

Have we finally uncovered incontrovertible evidence of corrupt behavior that can be traced deep into the command center of the White House? I want to be glued to the tube night after night as the sordid tale unfolds. I want to grow fascinated by underlings who reveal matters of great import.

The Watergate Scandal held me like none has since. All the pale imitation "Gates" that were attached to lesser acts of purported wrong-doing never equalled that amazing journey toward the fall of the house of Nixon, brought to us by the dedicated digging of Woodward and Bernstein.

There are many trails to follow in the current story. I'm fascinated at the involvement of Harriet Meirs. Is this why she was proposed for Supreme Court? And then there was the change slipped into the Patriot Act, permanently taking away congressional approval of federal attorney appointments.

I hope that tomorrow this scandal has grown big strong legs that look to carry the whole lot of them toward permanent ouster. Can the FoxRovian spinners and dodgers get out of this one?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Akron Antiquarian Book Fair

Mark this on your calendars:

The 25th Annual Akron Antiquarian Book Fair at the JS Knight Center on Friday, April 13th from 2 pm - 8:30 and Saturday, April 14th from 10 - 4 PM. Admission is $5.00 for adults, and $3.00 for students.

This book fair features dealers from Ohio and beyond, with a wide variety of specializations. From signed first editions to fine leather bound, from the wildly expensive to the affordable good read, you'll find something of interest here.

Sponsored by the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society (NOBS), the fair is in its second year at this venue, having left the less than attractive environs of that aging party place in the north of the county for the more professional downtown venue.

I have worked at this fair for years, and spent every penny I earned on books! Pictured above are several shelves containing just plays. Books have always surrounded me from the earliest days. For an interesting essay on books read by people of a certain generation (I refuse to use the B-- B-- term in reference to myself!) you can check out this Newsweek article. How many of those books did you read growing up?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Save the Akron Civic Theatre

As reported here over two weeks ago, the Akron Civic Theatre is in deep financial trouble. Today's ABJ gives the grim details. The place is expensive to run. It doesn't present acts that attract sell-out crowds. And even if it did, according to the article, it can't make a profit.

So why not tear the whole thing down and put up yet another parking lot? Who needs live entertainment in the 21st century anyway? We can Tivo and order up Netflix from the comfort of our Lazy Boy recliners. And if we tire of those options, there is always YouTube.

Let me be clear about it -- I am very willing to pay taxes to support this theatre. In fact, if the mayor wants my vote on his proposed tax increase, he needs to address what the city is going to do to save this theatre. It is a gorgeous historic venue and the last of the great old entertainment palaces that once adorned downtown Akron in the pre-televsion era. It has been completely upgraded backstage to accommodate touring shows.

One of the major problems with the Civic is heating it. Can the Civic turn Green? Lots of roof space for solar panels available -- or how about one of those new-fangled urban wind turbines? If one can be built in Bath, why not in downtown Akron? I like the idea put forth by Dave Lieberth:
"...the city has considered absorbing the Civic's steam bill from Akron Thermal as a way for the utility to pay down its $6 million debt to the city for unpaid water and sewer bills, rent and franchise fees, he said.
That would go a long way to making the Civic an affordable venue until something Greener can be put in place.

Meanwhile, I suggest making the Civic more available for local groups. Just like the schools are now to be community centers, let the taxpaying citizens of Akron use the Civic for a wider variety of events. We Akronites now must drive considerable distances to see concerts other than the Akron Symphony. When was the last time a major pop music group came to town? Even Cleveland is losing out to southern Ohio in terms of major concert tours. Perhaps the Civic could start looking for up and coming acts and book an evening or a weekend's worth of a particular format, such as indie rock or women's hip hop . We need creative thinking here.

Don't forget that the Civic has one of the few remaining large screens for movie viewing. I think movies have failed at the Civic because they have not been consistent about programming. Make classic movies a regular weekly feature and people will develop the habit of attending. If you only show a silent film with Wurlitzer accompaniment twice a year, chances are much greater that people will miss it. Foreign films, animation festivals, Oscar winning shorts -- these programming ideas work elsewhere and could work here.

The Civic at one time hosted many a great rock concert. I first saw the Kinks there in the early 70s, as well as Todd Rundgren and many more great artists. EJ Thomas gets all the big splashy musicals on tour, so the Civic needs to go in another direction with what it books. I'm hoping that with the split from the University, the Civic might be able to get back on its feet.

The picture above shows the Civic from canal level.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Black History Alive by the Citywide Theater Group

Akron's latest youth theatre group staged Black History Alive today at Buchtel High School. The group, under the direction of Diana Autry, is composed of students from PreK to 9th grade, from schools around the city. It is primarily comprised of black students and the focus is on presenting black history and culture.

The presentation uses dance and music as well as dramatic tableaux in the form of Museum displays of famous Black Americans. The characters step out of the frozen picture one by one and share the details of their lives. The actors are costumed appropriately for character and time period. The students are given the opportunity to try on the shoes of someone who lived before them. This direct experience has been shown to be a far more effective teaching strategy than any lecture or reading assignment could ever hope to be. Look at Dale's Cone of Experience and you'll see acting it out is in the 90% retention level.

With the untimely demise of Akron's Ingenue Theatre, another citywide venue for young people, it is good to see Citywide Theater Group stepping up and delivering a needed service for our community. The show has grown since its first appearance last year. Additional characters found their way into the museum. I'm afraid I could not refrain from cheering when a very handsome young fellow stepped forth to introduce himself by saying "I am a graduate of Columbia University and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review..."

Another very positive aspect of this production is its depiction of the history of black contributions to popular culture, particularly music. From African dance rhythms to the Harlem Renaissance and the Apollo Theatre and on through blues & rock, and the dazzle of Motown. They end with a museum tableau of Hip Hop, reminding us that this form is now a venerable 30 years old!

I talked with the director who is considering setting up non-profit status so she can look for funding to continue on with this project. I wish her the best and urge Akronites to give her and especially the students in her group, the support they deserve.

Try as I might, I can't keep the theatre from seeping into my blog entries. Although I am not interested in writing theatre reviews, I'm realizing that there is plenty of local theatre that will never earn a column inch or three in the local rag. The ABJ simply does not have the resources or inclination to cover educational theatre. If they reviewed one school play, they'd have to review all of them. They will sometimes go for a feature article on an educational theatre project, but nothing on a regular basis. In the spirit of "good things ought to be given attention," I reserve the right to blog about theatrical productions that interest me.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Night Rock-Out: Lego Kinks!

Friday night rock out with classic Kinks and Lego animations. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Last night's blog post...this evening's Dream

...vanished in a frozen moment of blogger frustration. I don't know if it was Blogger or Firefox or my own impatient fingers trying to too many things all at once. I'm working on a Mac Mini, pre-Mactel version. It does good work and I enjoy it immensely and have had minimal problems with it unlike old Windows days.

But back to the post -- I couldn't re-write it. It was late, I was traumatized by the inability to save the writing, and I'd never be able to recapture the words -- at least not late on a work night in the middle of a week demanding week of school teaching and learning.

Keeping this post short tonight as I did go to see A Dream Play at the University of Akron. The cast has been working on their version of the play for over a year. I love it that Slowiak gives his students the opportunity to totally commit to the work and make it their own. This is a really really cool version of A Dream Play. Still on this weekend thru Saturday night. Go see it. Details here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sleeping Through the Libby Verdict

Well not through the actual verdict as I was at work when it came down, but I did nod off in the middle of the MSNBC post mortem tonight. I heard a lot of words but I don't know that I've heard or read the definitive version of what really happened other than Libby is the fall guy and sure to get pardoned before Bush leaves office.

Questions I'd like answered:

Why didn't Armitage get charged with anything?

What would it take to nail Cheney and Rove as the perpetrators in the Plame outing?

And why do I have a sinking feeling that this entire sordid affair will have no effect on the way things operate in the current White House?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dreaming Out Loud -- A Dream Play at the University of Akron

Local theatre goers and people interested in the subject of dreams might want to attend A Dream Play at the University of Akron this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 8 - 10.

The play, by August Strindberg, begins at 8 PM in Sandefur Theatre. Each night prior to the performance, special "dream" topics will be addressed in a series of free seminars:

March 8th -- Musical Evocations of Dreams with Dr Brooks Toliver, professor of music.

March 9th -- Land of Dreamy Dreams: A Glimpse at Our Other-Worldly Selves with Dr Jeanne-Helene Roy, associate professor of modern languages

March 10th -- Dreams vs. Reality with Dr. Joseph LiVecchi, assistant professor of philosophy

I haven't seen A Dream Play yet, but have read it in numerous drama and lit classes over the years. This production is billed as "August Strindberg's A Dream Play in a new version by James Slowiak." So I am looking forward to a unique world view along with the physicality and edge that James brings to his work. I'm a longtime fan of Slowiak's company, the New World Performance Laboratory, but also make it a point to check in on his work with University of Akron theatre students. If you missed Winesburg, Ohio, you missed something very special indeed.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Recycle your plastic bags!

As you know, we like to keep our Village Green neat and tidy and we especially don't like to see plastic shopping bags stuck in trees and shrubs or floating in ponds and rivers.

Some members of Akron's Freecycle Cafe answered my call out for collection bin sightings in the Akron area. A member of the Yahoo group wanted to know if it was OK to put recyclables in bags other than blue into the new Akron recycle bins.

Here's what I posted:

In answer to your plastic bag question, I found the following on the City of Akron's official web site in a letter from the Mayor:
"How Does the New Trash/Recycle Service Work?*

On your regular collection day, place your household trash (all bagged) in your new cart and place your recycle materials (bagged in blue or clear bags) in your new, blue cart. These carts must be placed at the curb by no later than 4:30 a.m. on your normal collection day.

All bagged trash must be placed inside of the trash cart; if not, it will not be collected."
One would think that any plastic shopping bag would work fine, but the above indicates not. Also note that Akron's recycling program does not include plastic bags. The only plastics they will take are #1 and #2.

I am waging a personal war against plastic shopping bags that litter our landscapes and choke sea creatures. (Sea turtles think they the bags are jelly fish, try to eat them and then die.) Plastic shopping bags are a petroleum product and do not break down in to harmless substances. They are very toxic.

I take my own personal cloth bags with me whenever I go grocery shopping and say no to bags. This is the only way to shop at Acme, as they don't give out blue bags and refuse to provide a recycling box for used plastic bags. I have heard that some Giant Eagle and Walmart stores
provide plastic bag recycling containers. If anyone knows which stores do that, I would love to hear from you.

And here are the responses:
"Giant Eagle on Home/ Howe Ave ( Cuyahoga Falls ) has a HUGE recycle bin in front of their store for those pesky bags! The wally world in Stow used to have one but I haven't been over that way in a while."
"The Giant Eagle on Howe Ave...formerly Tops....has a HUGE receptacle for recycling plastic grocery bags out front. I use the canvas bag I got years ago when I lived on the west coast from Safeway still. It is so unfortunate that mainstream society feels the need to use plastic bags. From a business standpoint, it's cheaper and to make environmentalist "happy" they don't take any trees (the whole reason they were introduced). Shoppers like them because they have handles and are easier to carry. I shop frequently at West Point Market...they still use paper, and lovely LARGE bags they are with HANDLES."
So NE Akronites and folks in the Falls, you've got a collection point for your plastic bags. Still looking for a recycle bin closer to Kenmore and/or West Akron.

The Akron Freecycle Cafe is a Yahoo group that shares resource tips and comments about the main group, Akron Freecycle. Freecyclers are folks who use email to recycle items to keep them out of landfills. People recycle clothing, computer parts, books, electronics, furniture, baby formula coupons and so on. Follow the links to learn more about each group. Freecycle may be in your area. Check the global organization here.


This just in via The Akron Freecycle Cafe: Giant Eagle on Waterloo Rd. recycles plastic bags.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Women lag behind in state politics

In an AP story by Julie Carr Smyth, the dwindling numbers of women in state legislatures across the nation are examined and various reasons given for the decline:

Fewer than a quarter of state lawmakers across America are female, and the share has changed little in about a decade. Despite a slight gain in the overall percentage this year - to 23.5 percent, or 1,734 of 7,382 seats - the numbers are slipping in many legislatures.

Women lost ground in 20 of 50 Statehouses following the November election. This year, 17.4 percent of the Ohio Legislature is female, down from 18.4 percent in 2006. That's 23 of 132 lawmakers, down from 24 the year before.

According to the article, in 1971 the percentage of women in state offices was a paltry 4.5%. I guess we should be jumping up and down for joy that we've almost managed to get close to 25% in 30 some years.

Reasons for the current decline are that given:

1. Women are consensus builders and are not attracted to the current political style of swift boating.

2. Lingering stereotypes, especially in the south, of women as the ones who stay at home dissuade women from seeking office.

3. The burden of raising a family while participating in politics is something that men can hand off to their wives very easily -- not so for women. Hence men can get a great head start in their political careers while women often don't begin running for office until after their children are out of the home.

Not examined in the article was the difficulty in raising money to run for office. Could Hillary raise as much as she has if she hadn't been married to Bill? Emily's List has been pivotal in providing support for women candidates since the 80s.

Like Hillary Clinton, Emily's List is often vilified in the press. Uppity women still are not accepted, let alone liked in this society. It would seem that the great unspoken reason for the continuing marginalization of women in politics is still a deeply rooted sexism that doesn't trust ideas like consensus, negotiation and collaboration.

Certainly government could use a huge dose of consensus-building instead of the macho posturing and the drawing of lines in the sand and daring the opponent to cross them.

Smyth closes her article by referencing the rise of Nancy Pelosi, who is modeling effective leadership skills that hopefully will inspire the younger generations of women to get out there and campaign for office.

I'd like to see more Dead-Enders get involved and running for office. A Dead-Ender is what I call myself -- a woman or man who chooses not to reproduce and pass along our genetic material. We need a lot more Dead-Enders on this planet to have any kind of effect on stabilizing global population. Dead-Enders have more time to give to social and political movements -- though how many atheist Dead-Enders could make a run for office is another issue entirely.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Urinetown the musical

There are so many musicals that I really don't ever want to see again. Urinetown is not one of them. Urinetown is a wonderful slap in the face sort of show. Lots of self-referential musical theatre references that make it fun for the B'way musical crowd, giving 'em lots to guffaw about while taking them into a future that's already happening at various points of this globe.

Just around the time I saw the Carousel's production, there was an article in The New Yorker about the water shortages in India. Huge population vs limited resources. Wells have been drilled out and too deep. Sea water is seeping into the water tables, turning the water brackish.

And that of course is the story of Urinetown. Water shortages combined with corporate greed lead us down the road to water rationing so severe that the people must pay to pee.

If you are in the Akron area, you can see this show tomorrow, Saturday March 3rd at Firestone HS. 7:30 PM. Lots of bright shining talent over there: actors, singers and dancers, pit orchestra and tech crew. Too bad they have to work in such a crappy auditorium. It sucks up the sound and deadens it. There's nothing you can do about it either. When school systems build auditoriums, it seems they never consult an actual theatre architect. Of course, here in Ohio, new schools don't get auditoriums unless they are willing to pay for it themselves. Schools get those dread spaces known as cafetoriums...but that's a subject for another day. Go see Urinetown -- you'll dig it so much you'll be squeezing hard on your bladder in solidarity with the cast.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Kenmore to get a new library!

In the middle of all the gloomy news, one small ray of joyful news hit Kenmore this week. The last of the Akron Summit library branches to be rebuilt, the Kenmore branch will appear on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams by 2008 on property located next to its current location.

All the new branch libraries I have visited around the area are very well designed. I particularly like the Odom Branch (formerly Lane Wooster). It has some stunning art work inside and out. The mural from the former building was re-done on the new one. Added to the portraits of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass is the face of Sojourner Truth. Yay! Diversity rules!

In the library's community room is a portrait with faces of some of Akron's stand-out African-American citizens including Vern Odom, who gives the library and the boulevard in front of it his name. Odom was a community activist and former head of the Akron Urban League. The new Urban League building going up in conjunction with the the new Helen Arnold school is going to be named after Odom as well.

Places like Kenmore and the neighborhood around Lane Field next to the Odom Branch library are the ones that most need the services of a public library. I'm looking forward to summer walks to the new library in Kenmore.