Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
This just in the from the Cleveland Engineering Society (for all my engineer pals who read this blog regularly):
The 1st Annual Fall Engineering Extravaganza will take place in Cleveland on Wednesday, October 3 from 7 am to 4 pm at LaCentre, 25777 Detroit Road, Westlake, OH 44145.
Theme of this conference and trade show is Engineering a Sustainable Future. Keynote speakers include Holly Harlan, founder of the E4S Network and Chris Korleski, Governor Strickland's Director of the Ohio EPA. Lots of fascinating breakout sessions on topics such as:
Sustainability and the bottom line, utilization of agricultural waste products in value-added products for sustainability and lots lots more. For more info, go here. Wish I could go, but I can't take off that day. Maybe some of our Akron engineers will attend and get some good ideas for the mayor's "greenprint" for Akron.
Here are a couple of links for some fine online reading:
A new Tangled Bank is up at Balancing Life. What is a Tangled Bank? It's a carnival of science weblog articles, named after Charles Darwin's famous metaphor:
It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms.This week's Tangled Bank is full of fascinating articles on the origins of cattle, ten habits of highly effective brains, and where to order DNA double helix bracelets (very cool!).
Finally, not a science blog, but one well worth adding to your blog reader:
Aphra Behn -- Danger of Eclectic Shock, named after the first professional woman playwright. In this British blogger's latest post, she describes building a very unique book shelf (not case).
Homegrown Saturday at Lock 3 will feature more than the fabulous vegetables for sale:
This weekend we are having a sundial craft and orienteering challenge in thes prouts area. There is clay marble making with the museum. A super cool guy is coming down with his handmade game exhibit as well. Kids can play them too! They are each beautiful works of art.As always, the glorious Tom Dayton is broadcasting, $5 pancake breakfasts and delicious produce. One of the jam/jelly vendors is supposed to do a cooking demo as well.
If art is your thing, try the Northside Art Walk 5-10 pm. Trolleys transport walkers from site to site if they so feel the urge. You might want to start at the Red Light Galleries, so-named to honor its origins as a brothel. Climb up the stairs between Luigi's and The Northside Bar and you'll find yourself facing a long hallway, with tiny rooms along each side. Now instead of seedy mattresses, the rooms house artists who rent the spaces to work and to show their art. Pictured below is one such display.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
They must either be filled with self-loathing or are so determinedly hypocritical that they have no problem in pandering to fundamentalist religionists in order to maintain power. In this case, Craig's flailing excuses make diaper-fetishist Senator Vitter appear almost manly, in the Chris Matthews sense of the word.
Such a waste. All these closeted Republicans could have done so much for gay liberation, instead they chose to play the game of power-seeking and denial.
Monday, August 27, 2007
"Looks like the current mayor is far more realistic in his approach to urban problems than dreamer Finley. Finley makes lots of promises, but in reality he has had no success at implementing change during his years on city council. Plusquellic on the other hand has turned our downtown into a vibrant and exciting place to visit. He has brought about changes that have increased my quality of life.Indeed, I drew many responses, including accusations that I must be on drugs, that I work in the mayor's office and most amusingly, that I was Don P in disguise on a message board! For the record, I have never been introduced to the mayor and he doesn't know who I am and I can't imagine he's ever read this blog. I did get to ask him a question at his appearance before the Summit County Progressive Democrats. And I admit, I threw him a soft ball question, as I wanted to know more about his "greenprint" for Akron and how to get involved. (His answer in short -- talk to the people at Keep Akron Beautiful whom he is designating as chief Green planners for Akron.)
Some of Finley's promises are simply outrageous ploys to trick the voters. For example, just how is he going to increase street repairs while bringing down the costs?
I also wonder who his new cabinet might include, especially since the pay will be lowered ten percent? And I have no interest in a candidate who decides to cut off the rest of the world by restricting travel -- that's a recipe for sure disaster. Close your mind to what is effective elsewhere and see how fast we sink as a city. Finley lost in his last citywide run and there are plenty of reasons why. It is easy to harp and criticize, as can be seen on these boards day after day -- but to step up and get the job done -- we need a savvy and pragmatic person like Plusquellic."
Joe Finley also spoke before the SCPD on a separate occasion. Mister Right to Lifer put on his gosh all golly we are so friendly attitude and in a very telling moment, claimed that he was just about as progressive as we were. He didn't go into the parts of his platform that are anti-progressive. Joe Finley is an expert in pandering to whomever is in front of him. That was my impression.
An acquaintance of mine went to today's Press Club debate between Finley and Plusquellic. She said that Don came off like a CEO, confident in his leadership and what he has accomplished, while Finley seemed amateurish, especially with the obviously choreographed standing ovations given by his 8 or so children in attendance -- which was repeated after every Finley statement.
If you read the Akron Beacon Journal comments you might get the impression that all of Akron loathes Don Plusquellic. But look a little closer and you'll see that many of the most vicious ranters are from outlying communities. In fact, after going through several pages of comments, you might even begin to wonder if the bulk of them might very well be posted by Finley's campaign manager. They repeat the same talking points ad nauseum.
Finley is an opportunist. He has his list of mayoral "faults" and that's where his focus is. He gloms onto any and all disaffection within the community, but has very little to offer in the way of what he would do.
The folks on the boards are trying very hard to make it appear that the mayor is in trouble, but one thing to remember is that most Akronites are not reading the Beacon online. And the numbers of those who have benefited from the mayor's years of service far outnumber those who can't see the changes that have taken place in our city over the past 20 years. Half the negative comments deny that Akron has improved in any sort of way. The other half argue that whatever change has happened, it couldn't be due to our mayor. So who is delusional and who will be mayor on September 12th? Just a couple more weeks and we will all know who is going to have the last laugh.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
The original name for this blog was going to be simply "Village Green" -- however, much to my dismay, I found that somebody had already taken that name. What is really irksome is that they took the name and have done absolutely nothing with it!
Well, we've made up for it here with "Long Live the Village Green" which is a direct tribute to the greatest band to ever come out of the UK -- the Kinks, with their uniquely insightful views on society and culture exemplified by songs such as Village Green and The Village Green Preservation Society. Those songs contain longings for an ideal life that quite possibly never really existed with an acknowledgment that the pursuit of the idea of neighborhood and local sustainability is real and possible. They are also imbued with the ideal of preserving the things that make life worth living, while weeding out those things that prevent us from making social and economic progress.
A village green is a British tradition that provided common ground for all villagers to raise their animals. Nowadays, the village green provides common ground for healthy walks and meetings among neighbors. "Green" has taken on a new meaning in today's society, one that expresses the need for a healthy, sustainable and non-toxic life.
This blog began with the idea of commenting about local life in juxtaposition with the larger influences of state, national and global issues. The local blogs that continue to inspire and inform my life and my blog must be acknowledged here -- Pho's Akron Pages, Psychobilly Democrat and last but certainly not least Terra not Terror. I thank each of them for their support. Beyond Akron, the blogs I cannot do without are The Brain Police in France, Pharyngula (the best damn science blog in the land) in Minnesota, and No Impact Man in NYC.
This blog is not intended to attract thousands per day and I'll work hard to make sure that never happens! (6233 visits over the first year with 9007 page views) I used to do a self-published 'zine called The Dumpster Times, painstakingly prepared at first on a manual typewriter, columns cut with scissors and pasted with glue and photocopied for a print run of 100 per issue, then mailed out to subscribers around the world. It was a lot of fun and a hell of a lot more work than a blog!
At that time, I valued the intimacy of 'zine communication and still feel that way about my blog. The Village Green has managed to build up an Akron area following. My stats tell me that a number of local readers come here regularly and for this I am very grateful. I also am happy to have regular readers from unexpected places, such as France. It is fun to look at the referrals and the searched topics to see who comes here and why. It is also entertaining to look at the hits from exotic lands and wonder what a reader from the United Arab Emirates Dubail, Dubayy or Crafers, South Australia thinks about when they land here.
On a more somber note, I would like to point out that when I added the Cost of the Iraq War feature to this blog, it was under 350 billion dollars spent on that tragic mistake of a war. Look leftward and note that it is has grown to over 450 billions wasted in Iraq. Anybody have any predictions on when that ticker will finally grind to a halt?
Finally, in celebration of one year at Long Live the Village Green - from a July 2007 concert in Rochester UK, ladies and gentlemen -- Ray Davies sings Village Green:
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Art on the Square showcases the many fine talents that live in this neighborhood. Many of Akron's outstanding writers, musicians, visual artists, architects, photographers, film-makers, dancers and theatre artists live there. It is a community so unlike many of our city's neighborhoods, in that you see so many people out and about, walking here and there, waving and nodding to each other as they pass. If only Kenmore Blvd could regain that kind of vibe. Maybe when our new branch library becomes a reality, we'll have a chance.
Here's a photo of the Mayor speaking at the grand opening of the new branch library. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony and many of our local public servants were on hand to say a few words. Each person struck the same theme: how this project could not have been accomplished without the cooperation and collaboration of the library, the city and county governments, and the Albrecht family who have donated land for a reading garden. Afterwards, the crowd flowed into the brand new space, for ice cream and folk music, as well as to check out armfuls of books and videos.
Highland Square is a project not yet finished, with a gaping wound where the essential component for neighborhood sustainability should be -- there is no grocery store. I have been told by a resident that some of the senior citizens in Highland Square are buying their groceries at Walgreen's. Do we really think it is a good thing for our eldest citizens to exist on highly processed food on sale at a local drugstore?
There are some other problem spots on West Market St in Highland Square. The demise of the always popular Dodie's was not due to lack of neighborhood support, but rather bad management. The empty new store fronts on the other side of the street next to the new Chipotle need to find new tenants. Are they empty because of neighborhood turmoil or general economic malaise?
And then there is the fate of the Highland Theatre. I admit that at first I was skeptical about the value of saving this old neighborhood movie house. And then I listened to the the folks who are working to save it and thought their ideas were very creative and that the old theatre could indeed provide a valuable space for local artists and citizens. Akron only need look over at Kent to find a positive re-use of an old neighborhood movie theatre. Transformed into The Kent Stage, it is now home to the finest in acoustic music as well as home of the New World Children's Theatre, sponsored by Kent's Standing Rock Cultural Center.
Akron has done a great job in supporting the training and development of young artists, with its Lock 3 program every summer. The Highland Theatre could be a space where practicing artists of all types share their work and their knowledge with the up and coming generations. It could provide the community with a space that can host independent films as well as family movies and much more.
A Highland Square citizen told me that when plans for the new community learning center were on display for the public, the city wanted to tear down the theatre for parking and in return, the community could use the school's cafetorium because they'd have a projector installed there.
Cafetoriums started sprouting up all over Ohio during the Republican era of spend-the-least-money-possible on children and their schools. They are abominations that seem to be a clever consolidation of space usage. Sometimes, the "stage" is simply a large rectangular gap between a gym on one side and a cafeteria on the other. Sometimes it is one space used for all three purposes. Inevitably, your child's voice will not be heard on such a stage with its vast echoing volume-sucking space in which the audience must uncomfortably sit on folding chairs.
Cafetoriums may have fixed lighting that cannot be used for theatrical purposes, so expensive lighting instruments must be purchased. One techie told me that the grease from all those school lunches is drawn up and coats the lighting instruments. Doesn't sound good for the lights or the kids' nutritional needs being met!
For the residents of Highland Square, a cafetorium is not what they want or need. The Highland has a liquor license, and a community learning center does not. Adult works of art may not be always appropriate for a "learning center." The Highland Square Neighborhood Association is an active, thriving group of people who work hard to make their neighborhood a model urban community. I admire their efforts and envy their achievements.
It pains me to see the conflict between them and the city's administration. I hope both sides listened to the words spoken today at the library and renew their commitment to work together to solve the tough problems. I don't know if the legal threats and efforts to promote a maverick Democrat for mayor are the wisest choices of tactics. More visibility of the real problems caused by no grocery store is a better one. Getting the senior citizens out on the sidewalk with signs was an excellent tactic. It reminds the public that every delay affects the most needy of the neighborhood's residents.
Meanwhile the mayor and council -- please think about what makes urban life special and unique and keeps us city dwellers here rather than heading out to the suburbs. The commitment to neighborhood as exemplified by the folks in Highland Square is something I hope proves infectious and spreads out to all the wards in the city.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Don't forget that tomorrow is 4 Sides of the Square Festival at Highland Square. Should it rain, the whole thing is moving to First Grace Church.
Here's an advance look at the entertainment schedule for Saturday at the Art in the Park side of the square
11:00 Kick Off Art in the Square 2007 w/ The Twoboudors
12:00 The Mickey’s
Play "Funny Folk Tales from Around the World" On the grass by the drive way
1:30 Primitive Groove
2:00 Library Ceremony w/ the mayor at the library
3:00 House Popes
4:00 Play "Funny Folk Tales" at First Grace
4:30 Rachel Robert
My apologies for not keeping up this week. Back to school means lots of extras hours gearing up for the new year as well as being ready for Orientation, which happened yesterday. There's no air conditioning in our building which is uncomfortable for everybody. Let's hope the weather breaks before the start of school.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe, top-full
Of direst cruelty...
Allow me to introduce you to Lady Macbeth who is not in complete bloom yet, but is so amazing I had to get out the camera.
I can see how slipper orchids might become addictive. The variety of shapes and colors all based on the same theme of the crowned slipper is entrancing, that is for sure.
In the photo below, you can see how much more imposing Lady M is when compared to mischievous scamp Pinocchio.
You will notice that the leaves of Lady Macbeth are mottled green and white, while Pinocchio's are plain green. According to my various orchid books, that tells me that Lady M prefers dimmer light and more moisture. So they are in different places, and only together here for the comparison photograph.
Pinocchio's bloom has been out for over a month now, and there's a young bud growing on the stem below. That's another very pleasing aspect of orchids -- the blooms can stick around for months, providing lots of viewing and tending pleasure.
There's another paphiopedilum called Macbeth's ghost and one called Hamlet's Quest. I'm not going to be tempted until I've made it through to the next growing season with these two. Then we'll see!
Monday, August 20, 2007
But how? Can we blame the working class people for wanting to have everything on display at HGTV? Isn't it the American way to grow up and buy a four bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, with open kitchen featuring marble counters and tiles, the latest burnished stainless steel appliances with cozy breakfast nook and formal dining room, plus the obligatory "great hall" and triple garage?
I chanced upon HGTV a week or so ago and I've become at once hooked, appalled, horrified! There's one series that shows us what a certain amount of money can buy in various locations around the US. They never show anything under $150K, and often go up to 2 million and more. I wonder what people do for a living to make enough money to live in a 2 million dollar home.
Another show takes a potential home buyer out to see three houses, and then they make a bid on one of them. In this program you really get to see what is on the mind of the typical American consumer. It could be a fixation on black leather couches or a fear of too little space. And then I contemplate the sort of person who has such fixed ideas about what elements go into the perfect kitchen or "master" bedroom. I watched one couple immediately size up the lack of closet space and turn their noses way up as they headed out the door.
Another show teaches you how to spend a couple grand to redecorate their homes that are already on the market. Their sale price can go up up up!
Somebody once said that eventually, the only jobs left in the US revolve around selling each other houses. The furnishings will be provided by China, who will end up owning everybody's line of credit.
PBS once did a documentary called "Affluenza." Affluenza is the disease of mindless consumerism, the old keeping-up-with-the-Jones syndrome. If you haven't seen it, it is worth checking out.
It is not just the poor who are loaded with debt these days. The middle class are deep in it as well. We are bombarded constantly with ads for loans, alternating with ads for all the stuff that we simply must have to be in style. Can I possibly live in a house with dated kitchen cabinets? Who cares if it means cutting down more tropical rain forests to make those cupboards and drawers?
Meanwhile, people who long for a home of their own and who sweat and slave doing the jobs nobody else wants can't make their loan payments and that's the nasty dark underside to shows like Flip This House. Buy cheap and sell high, and sell out the workers while you are at it. Meanwhile, millions of people elsewhere will consider themselves lucky they have a plastic roof over their tiny shack with no utilities and no running water.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
So farewell summer and on to another sort of growing season. We'll sweat our way through the last hot humid days of August. When the seasons change, the cool temperatures and bright colors of fall transform the landscapes, we set off on the course of another year's learning.
So in honor of this time of high energy and excitement, we must have some Kinks:
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Storm, on the other hand, recently released her first post-Rockstar album, entitled Ladylike Side One. Storm and the Balls have been on tour pretty much all the time since Rockstar ended. Now she's set to star in a production of Cabaret in Portland this fall. Would that I had the time and cash to make it out there to see her.
The following clip from Rockstar is of a performance that all the male rockers hated. I really dug it, especially Storm's strut and sneers as she hits each note dead on:
Friday, August 17, 2007
(P. Judge Philip X P. glaucophyllum).
Paphs are also called slipper orchids, for obvious reasons. Pinocchio's slipper shape doubles as a very large schnozzola, all pink but more waxen than wooden.
My orchid arrived via US mail from a grower in Texas. I found it on Ebay, ordered it on a Monday and it arrived three days later, elaborately wrapped in newspaper shreds and sheets, so that the bloom was completely protected. I gave it a good long drink of water, and then set it under the grow lights I have set up . The first bloom dropped within days, but a new bud appeared almost immediately, which is the one you see in these photos.
Underneath this bloom, another bud is beginning to develop, so apparently it has made itself at home here.
The appeals of orchids are many: their amazing variety of shapes, exotic colors and blooms that last for weeks. They don't grow like "normal" house plants, in that you don't stick them in a pot with dirt and drench them with water. Their roots are usually used to attach themselves to tree trunks and branches or to piles of leaf mold and bark on the forest floor. So they must be potted in bits of bark, coconut hull chips, or sphagnum moss. Their roots often grow up over the lip of the pot, reaching out for moisture in the air, so it is wise to place orchids on a tray filled with pebbles and water not to the top of the pebbles. That way, you can set your plants on the pebbles so their roots don't get waterlogged, yet there is plenty of moisture wafting up from the tray.
Nero Wolfe, the famous fictional detective, has a roof top orchid green house in atop his building in NYC. He would take the elevator up to the plant rooms where nobody was allowed to disturb him. For an interesting take on Wolfe and his orchid obsession, read this.
When Rex Stout wrote his Nero Wolfe stories, orchids were not readily available to most people. Nowadays, you can find them at your local home improvement big box store and at various specialty nurseries and event florists. Dendorbriums and phaleonopsis are the types usually on display. They are easy care and quite adaptable to the home environment. And although some rare and collectible orchids are very expensive, most are quite reasonable in price.
I guess I got into orchids because I have had a variety of houseplants over the years, and I was getting bored with the same old plants. Living in this climate, house plants are absolutely essential to maintain my sanity during the cold winter months! Just looking at plants growing happily in my windows gives me comfort and alleviates stress when I come home from work.
Pinocchio is my first paph, but not my last. I just ordered another with a very dramatic name -- Lady Macbeth! She is blood red and arrived yesterday with an enormous bud. I will be posting her picture soon, I hope.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
But how do your favorite candidates for the 2008 presidential campaign stack up in terms of this political compass? The folks at politicalcompass.org took the test on behalf of the candidates by matching their expressed opinions and stands on issues with the test questions. Our of Republicans and Democrats, only two candidates land in the same quadrant as I do, although they are not nearly as far from the center as I am. Those two candidates happen to be the ones you see underneath the Village Green banner above: Gravel and Kucinich.
The rest of them all land in the upper right quadrant, home of right wing economic theory and authoritarian rule. Go here to see the graph for yourself. Those who think Edwards is so left wing are in for deep disappointment. Obama is more authoritarian than Clinton, who is further to the right than the rest of the candidates, but also closer to libertarian than anybody but Edwards and Ron Paul.
Basically, the graph shows the Dems all clustered near the center, while the Repubs are way far out on the Rightwing/Authoritarian continuum. (My position is about the same as Tom Toncredo's but in the lower left hand quadrant.)
Let us know where YOU appear on the political compass and how closely do you match up to your favorite candidate.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Spotted down town, this ghastly spectacle of a vehicle. I will defend their right to free speech, but I'll be damned if I can defend their right to park by a fire hydrant. There was no adult in the vehicle, just a bored kid hanging out by himself while daddy stood on the corner spewing forth. He tried his rant on me and I politely informed him that there is no god, have a nice day.
Speaking of that, readers please note the graceful scarlet letter A in the column to the right. It is courtesy of Richard Dawkins and PZ Meyers of Pharyngula who are instigating a global wide coming out party for atheists and agnostics. We are the last of the oppressed still waiting for something approaching acceptance. Mostly we are told that we will burn in hell. In graphic detail usually involving boiling oil and flesh that never is consumed totally, rather magically remaining burnable for all eternity. Quite a trick that. But I guess Satan is all powerful, so they tell me.
Nevertheless, I am happy to "come out" as an atheist and join my godless comrades in this endeavor. The idea is to reveal ourselves as ordinary people who are your fellow workers, bosses, shop keepers, soldiers, even teachers! We are harmless, really. We believe in one less god than you monotheists. As for pantheists, well -- I have a soft spot in my heart for the ancient Greek gods. They were the first ones I came to know.
For the record, I had the incredible good luck of being born into a godless family. We didn't go to church on Sundays. We went to museums, concerts and theatre. We'd go on family outings to historical sites or on nature walks. Instead of religious indoctrination, we discussed philosophy, science, literature and the arts. We created our own family values with much thought and debate. We learned to be polite in the face of great pressure to conform as well as in the face of horrendous prejudice. I learned what it was like to be hated for something irrational, so I grew up identifying with blacks, Jews and other minorities.
Even though Bush 41 said that atheists should forfeit their citizenship because this is a Christian nation, we are still here and we vote. We tend to avoid voting for those who base all their decisions on a book of old myths from primitive cultures. For a list of celebrity atheists, agnostics and skeptics, look here. And check out my friend Kevin's blog entry in which he comes out as an atheist.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
O'Neill has lead a full and rich life, from distinguished service in Vietnam to raising four children after the untimely death of his wife to going back to school at age 50 to become a pediatric nurse. He has served on Ohio's 11th District Court of Appeals
Now he has given up his position on the court and is running for Ohio's 14th congressional district against Republican Steven LaTourette. Here are some of his reasons:
"My health is excellent, my kids are enjoying new adventures, and I have the two greatest jobs in America. I defend justice by day and help sick kids at night. I have gone from a dishwasher at Ohio University to a Judge and it would be easy to sit back and reflect on my successes.
But that is not my style. As Robert Frost wrote, I have “miles to go before I sleep”. It didn’t take long to know that my service wasn’t over – especially as I look at the country I have served my entire adult life.
I see an America that is on the wrong course – a nation bogged down in Iraq where the greatest army in the world is caught in the middle of a civil war they did not start and cannot stop. I see doctors, nurses, and patients stuck in a broken health care system that should be the crown jewel of our society but instead has become a national nightmare. And I see an industrial base that has been sold out by our leaders in Washington in the name of enormous profits for a few and an uncertain future for the rest of us."
Bill O'Neill is an amazing guy and if you live in his district, please go here and read about him and consider sending him some money. Heck, even if you don't live in his district, consider sending him some bucks. Since he's not running for a judgeship, he is indeed accepting donations for his congressional run. I encourage all my friends in the 14th to give him their full support. Don't forget, the old 14th was stolen away from Tom Sawyer by Republican gerrymandering. How better to take it back than with Bill O'Neill as your representative!
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Next photo is a close up of a branch, with green figs forming.
Finally, we zero in on the figs themselves. These are about as large as a quarter.
Microdot commented here yesterday that he thinks my fig problem is due to lack of a particular pollinating wasp. I was out in the garden for awhile today and noticed a smaller wasp with yellowish markings -- like a yellow jacket but not as big and bright. It was buzzing around the fig bush, but it chose to land on the leaves, not the actual figs.
But my wasp was way too large to be a fig wasp. I found a blog entry about these creatures with very fine pictures. Check it out here, courtesy of Belgian student Cairnarvon.
I also found a page with growing tips. I am not the only one with figs that won't ripen:
Q: Why won't figs ripen on my fig tree?
A: It may be an environmental phenomenon or a problem with the variety. Often figs freeze to the ground in the winter. The regrowth is lush and vigorous and often the bush is growing too vegetatively to mature the fruit. Figs are also shallow rooted and easily stressed which can hinder ripening. Mulching and regular watering should help. Certain unadapted varieties will never mature the fruit regardless of the management program.
This autumn, I will try laying on the mulch before the weather hits freezing temps and see if that helps. Microdot's tip about growing against a brick wall and/or giving the fig a southern exposure is something that might be a bit difficult on my property. As for luring the proper wasps to my figs -- I'm at a complete loss as to how to accomplish that!
I did an image search and discovered fig trees that looked shrub-like and had leaves exactly like my fig. Other images looked like real trees, and most of them appeared to be growing in Europe. This one is from Australia:
Photo credit: Mike Bogle, May 2006
Photograph of a large fig tree taken at Centennial Park in Sydney, NSW, Australia
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
I was born in Akron, attended the University here, left for ten years, then returned to establish a career, buy a house and live a happy life in my hometown. The happy part would not be complete until my city began to take serious steps toward sustainability and lessening our collective carbon footprints. I am delighted to read this manifesto for a greener future here in my hometown.
With all due respect to my Finley supporting friends in Highland Square, I want a mayor who can make things happen. Plusquellic has done that many times in his public service career. I salute him for stepping up to the plate for green issues.
Recently, I read an article that listed the 15 greenest cities in the world, and my immediate thought was -- wow, why can't Akron be one of these cities? If we want to attract people, then this is the way to go. If you think so too, why not become part of this conversation? Let's send our environmental wish lists to the mayor and see what happens.
My first wish is that the building codes for this city be upgraded to include energy efficiency, sustainable materials and environmentally sound practices from plumbing to flooring to siding and so on.
The lovely cityscape banner and portrait of the mayor shown above was lifted from the city of Akron's web site. Since it is paid for by my taxes, then I figure I can use it free of charge!
Good luck Mayor Plusquellic! And go green Akron!
This year, a consortium of growers pulled out of the downtown venue and moved to Stan Hywet -- read about it here. That market is open on Thursdays, and I have yet to visit it. I would have to make a special trip across town to get there, and it just hasn't been at all convenient.
The city continues to host a minimal farmer's market at Cascade Plaza during lunch hours on Wednesday and Friday. I have made it down for this one, and have picked up some nice fruit and veggies there.
Last Saturday I finally made it to my first "Homegrown Saturday" at Lock 3. Lots of great veggies and fruits, including the best corn I've had this season!
The major problem with Homegrown Saturdays is that nobody knows about it. Whether it can attract enough people to downtown on a Saturday morning is still up in the air. If you support local farms and healthy foods and you live in Akron, here' s your chance. Homegrown Saturdays have a huge list of activities and events, which you can access here.
This week's events feature some science activities for the youngsters while the adults shop.
Every week you will find the following things at Homegrown Saturdays:
Farmer's and growers from 9 AM - 1 PM
WAKR's Tom Dayton's gardening show broadcast live 8 - 10 AM
Beacon Journal cooking demonstrations from 10:30 - noon
Pancake breakfast from 8:30 - 11:30 AM -- $5
The Akron History Exhibition from 9:00 - 2:oo PM - Free!
Trolley rides on Main Street from Spaghetti Warehouse to Northside Train Station
Tired of seeing Senator George Voinovich say one thing and vote for the opposite?
In June, Voinovich said, “I believe we can accomplish more in Iraq by gradually and responsibly reducing our forces.” A month later, he voted against a bill that would set a timeline for U.S. troop withdrawal.
What better way to get George Voinovich’s attention than a huge 10’x20’ billboard? We will drive this billboard around the state as part of the “Voinovich Double Talk Express.” Our message will reach thousands of Ohioans, including the Senator himself.
We came up with a few slogans ourselves ("Cleveland Voinovich and his evil twin D.C. Voinovich" and "Voinovich's House of Waffles") but after much debate, we’ve decided to leave it up to the people!
We’re asking YOU to come up with a creative slogan for a full side of our “Voinovich Double Talk Express” mobile billboard!
Please abide by these rules:
- No Profanity
- 100 character limit
- Must communicate a clear message about the war to the public and especially the Senator
We will announce the finalists on Monday, August 13th and a vote will determine the winner!
Ohio Field Director, Iraq Summer Campaign
Thursday, August 09, 2007
We've gone from drought to intense tropical storms and sweltering heat, with humidity, so thick you can almost swim through it.
So I didn't make it up to the Yell at Voinovich and Bush 41 Fund Raiser yesterday. The weather was extreme enough that I didn't want to get into a gas-burning vehicle and drive to the swank party to join in the fun. I hope a bunch of people showed up -- I was with you in spirit!
There's been no quality gardening time due to the turbulent weather. I've got green and yellow beans in abundance, peppers and eggplants growing rapidly and a few more squash. I've harvested exactly three tomatoes. There are multitudes of green ones everywhere, but none are turning color yet. Drat!
I have seen two grasshoppers in my yard. I have never seen them in my yard before. How very odd. Some friends are having Japanese beetle invasions, but by some oddity of nature there are none feasting on Dolly's pink rose bush. Dolly was the woman who owned and lived in my house from the early 50s until the 90s when she retired to Florida. She left me some very special garden delights, including the strawberries, the pink tea rose, and a fig tree! The latter is more like a bush and the figs never ripen all the way, but it is very pretty and it survives the winter without my doing a thing to help it through,
Today I wrestled and tamed a 9 ton pile of limestone and transformed my old rutted driveway into a charming gravel drive. Two neighbor kids helped me out and we were drenching wet in mere minutes from the heat and the intermittent storms. The wind kicked it up at one point later, after we'd finished the drive. Some major storm damage south of here. Nothing damaged here, thank dog! All gravel remained where it was placed.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Looking at it in terms of who won over the audience sweltering in the stadium, Kucinich was the one who kept hitting it out of the park. Certainly he gave us the most progressive responses, answering the questions directly and to the point. He also scored great style points in his delivery and emphasis, gaining many cheers for his principled positions on labor issues. Gotta love a candidate who is a member of IATSE! My mother agreed that he did well and noted that his debating skills have improved dramatically over the course of this long primary campaign.
And then there were Barack and Hillary, both with impressive debate skills on display last night. I love listening to Obama talk. His voice is is probably the best of them all in terms of pitch, resonance, and articulation. He has a freshness about him that is highly attractive, although sometimes that freshness can veer toward naivete, as some other candidates have been pointing out.
Hillary is, to be honest, sensational. There's no getting around it, she has been consistently impressive from the beginning. Although her voice is not what one would call beautiful, it is highly effective. She knows how to stump and she knows how to think on her feet. She also is presenting the image of a president that many Americans are longing for. We are looking for the anti-Bush, the president who is effective in working with all branches of government. We want a president who will extricate us from Iraq while at the same time is reaching out to collaborative political solutions for problems in the middle east.
The more I watch Hillary, the less I think about her husband. I think Hillary will be her own woman when it comes to running the show. She may not have Bill's schmoozing talents, but she sure has the intelligence and the self-discipline.
Who lost last night? Mike Gravel lost for not showing up. Evidently his people did not fill out a questionnaire and return it to the AFLCIO, and so lost his place on the stage. Joe Biden, very foolishly, brushed over a question from a miner's widow, yet another example of his recurring "foot in mouth" disease. Too bad, as I rather enjoy listening to Biden. I know he's very establishment, but he is personable, which is something Chris Dodd needs to work on. Dodd seems to be a very nice hard working democratic senator who doesn't have that something extra that lifts him above the pack -- until he went one on one with Bill O'Reilly over the Daily Kos website smears. That won't be enough to save his campaign, but I hope he gets a nice job in the upcoming Democratic white house.
John Edwards just doesn't do it for me. He appeared desperate last night, trying ever so hard to wave the banner of labor by boasting of his 200 walks on the picket line. The very announcement of that count of picket line appearances came across as calculating rather than someone who has an actual stake in the matter. It is hard to take his concerns for the working class seriously. He's rich, he's a lawyer, and I personally feel he should be at home taking care of his wife and family. I know, Elizabeth says she wants to be out on the campaign trail and isn't letting the big C change her life. However, it appears like the family is being driven by one member's obsession to become president -- at the expense of what may be their last few years with Elizabeth. Finally, he really needs to do something about the nasal quality of his speaking voice. It is not pleasant to hear.
Bill Richardson has expressed his support of arts education in all the schools and a nationwide starting teaching salary of 40K, so you know I support that. I am strongly leaning toward a Clinton/Obama ticket but if that doesn't work out, I'd be happy to see Richardson running as Hil's VP.
Meanwhile, I'm still displaying the banners of Gravel and Kucinich, because they have been pushing the debates in directions that are closest to my own positions. I do believe they have had an effect on the mainstream candidates, who hear the crowd responses and read the polls having to do with Iraq and know they must not let the public down.
Added later: I'm digging all the comments people are leaving -- love to hear what everybody is thinking at this point in the race. I'm a debate watching junkie! And my own response tends to be from the acting teacher's perspective. Then I reflect awhile and watch the next show, looking for signs of growth, and always looking for truthful performances. My acting teachers taught me to ask two questions of a performance:
Did you understand it?
Did you believe it?
I think we would all do well to keep those questions in mind as we watch these candidates.
Meanwhile, please check out tigercourse's diary at Daily Kos. It is a biography of Hillary's career up to the point she met Bill. There's no denying how hard she has worked to get where she is.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
PROTEST SEN. VOINOVICH’S SELL-OUT
FUNDRAISER WITH Fmr. PRESIDENT BUSH PAYBACK FOR VOTE AGAINST TROOP WITHDRAWAL
BUSH SR./VOINOVICH PROTEST
WHERE: Intersection of Fairmount Blvd and Chagrin River Rd. Hunting Valley, OH
Iraq Summer/Americans Against Escalation in Iraq
Wednesday August 8, 2007
-LAKE COUNTY CARPOOL: Meet at 7575 Tyler Blvd. Mentor, Ohio at 6:15 p.m.-
Too far away?
Political Payback You Be The Judge:
Former President George H.W. Bush comes to town tomorrow for a fundraiser for Senator George Voinovich which was announce on the same day Senator Voinovich – a sometimes vocal critic on Iraq – voted against an Amendment to begin withdrawal of troops.
- June 26, 2007: Senator Voinovich in a well publicized letter to President Bush announced his break with the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy and the need to bring troops home.
- July 10, 2007 the President then visited Cleveland to shore up GOP support for his Administration.
- July 18, 2007 the Plain Dealer reporter the President’s father would be hosting a fundraiser for Senator Voinovich.
- July 18, 2007 the Senator then announced his intention to vote against the Levin Amendment which would have laid out a plan for troop reduction in Iraq.
“This smacks of a political payback,” said Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director of ProgressOhio.org. “On the same day the President’s critic flip-flops and votes with the administration his family member announces a fundraiser. It hardly seems coincidental.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Is it the boulevard of broken dreams for the Akron Theosophical Society? Their meeting house has a Rubber City Realty sign planted in front of the house with the white cherub and Theosophical sign on the quiet eastern end of Kenmore Blvd. I went there once or twice, back in the 70s with some friends who were into whatever it is Thesophists do. The Akron group has a web presence, but sadly, the last dates displayed are from the year 2000.
The house is a nice big one with a fabulous porch, on the shady western end of Kenmore Boulevard headed toward the Manchester Rd bridge. Not much garden space in the back, however.
This is the first in a series of strolls and snapshots along Kenmore Blvd.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
The Village Green pointed out last fall that Taylor puts his money where his beliefs are, contributing to the state school board campaign of anti-science candidate Debora Owens Fink. We are glad that Owens Fink is no longer on the school board, however Taylor apparently has deep pockets -- enough to pay for a new headquarters in Bath and a new stadium to be named after his business that is based upon hiring Christians to get on the phone and pester a whole bunch of people for money.
This is not the first time U of Akron has taken his checks. Taylor and his wife donated enough big bucks to set up an Institute of Direct Marketing at the university. I can only hope that the next election cycle brings a further decline in fundamentalist influence in our society and that Gary Taylor's telemarketers find their work is make much more difficult as rational citizens continue to turn away from troglodyte belief systems.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
They are planning another fundraiser and are seeking items for a silent auction
"...to raise money for a commercial appraisal and legal fees for our Save the Highland Theater campaign. The American Legion across from Angel Falls will be the sight on Friday, August 24th from 6 to 9. There will be a $20 admission fee, a cash bar, hor d'oeuvres and desserts and a silent auction. We will have steel drums on the porch beckoning you in to the party.
We are asking all our creative, talented, generous friends and artists iwho support the saving the Highland Theatre to donate an auction item, an hors d'oeuvres or a dessert, and of course, come to the event. If you are an artist, donate one of your pieces. If you are a masseuse/masseur, donate a massage. A baker...a certificate for a cake. A lawyer or accountant....an hour of your time. A musician......an hour of chamber music or a CD. An author....a signed copy of your upcoming book. A web designer.......an hour of your time. An optician....a pair of sunglasses. A teenager.....a job of mowing, leaf raking, snow shoveling, or baby-sitting. "
If you have items to donate, contact Rosemary Reymann at Rlreymann@aol.com. Hope to see you at the fundraiser!
For more information about the business plan for the Highland Theatre, go here.
Friday, August 03, 2007
How do they determine what is the Progressive vote, I asked myself and found their answer under a link to the page What is a Progressive Score? Essentially, they have developed an algorithm based upon key votes :
The algorithm that we've used to come up with these progressive scores is that we take ANY VOTE in which a majority of those progressives--so in the House say, if there were no absences, it would be 20 of the 39--voted in contradistinction to a majority of the Republican caucus then that vote then qualifies for the database. The same process is used in the Senate.
So how did my senators and representative figure on the progressive scale? With a Progressive Score across all issues of 94.81 Betty Sutton holds down postion 19 out of 433! Excellent way to jump in and represent us, Betty!
Incidentally, the house member with the lowest progressive score (a measly .81%) and dead last at 433 is a conservative representing Ohio's 4th District, Jim Jordan. Jim was named Pro-Life legislator of the year, according to his web site. Look at his voting record here and see how much he really cares about American families.
Next up, Senator Brown! I am happy to report that Sherrod is Number 5 in the US Senate with a progressive score of 96.41. He's higher than Ted Kennedy! The 4 senators with higher progressive scores are: Sidney Whitehouse (97.62), Benjamin Cardin (97.60), Bob Casey (97.02) and Jack Reed (96.61). Rhode Island must be the most progressive state in the country with two senators in the top four.
Senator Clinton comes in at a respectable 14th place with Barack Obama hard on her heels at 15. Senator Voinovich shows up in 58th place which sounds more middle of the roadish than bereft of common decency, however his progressive score is only 14.50. That means, that everybody from 59th place on is below 14.5! In fact, there are 34 senators with progressive scores lower than 10.0. The man on the bottom, truly representing the No Interest in Progress caucus, is John Barrasso from WY who has a score of 0. True, he has only been in office since June, but with his pro-life, anti-gay and let's all pray in school agenda he is sure to give John Cornyn (score 2.76/99th out of 100) a run for his money over the long term.
You will want to bookmark Progressive Punch, not just for the fun of checking out scores, but also because it is the one place I have found where you can actually track your duly elected officials voting records on specific bills.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
According to their manifesto:
The Akron Earthworm is a newly formed autonomous space in Akron, Ohio run by volunteers who work collectively wherein creative people from all of the arts can meet, unite, share, and perform. It is a cooperative of diverse individuals providing a vaudeville stage for Akron and for touring artists from all over where musicians, painters, writers, performance artists, film makers and others can share, collaborate and flourish. The Akron Earthworm will also act as an infoshop, fanzine library and will build and house an extensive selection of radical literature, t-shirts and hard-to-find vinyl. Grassroots organizations are welcome to meet and organize here. The space is substance-free and no sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia or any other brain drool will be tolerated.
The space is small but filled with lots of passion, poetry and DIY spirit. Check out their web page here. And get ready for Wormfest 2007, coming August 25th in conjunction with three other major Highland Square events all happening on the same day at the same time:
Wormfest -- Radical music, art and thought
Art in the Square -- Highland Square artists, writers, performers and activists share their work.
Party on the Path -- Arts and entertainment at Grace United Church
Official Opening -- the new Highland Square Branch Library
More details as they come in, but until then, gaze upon this and mark it on your calendar:
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Thanks to last week's drenching rains and cooler temps, my Akron garden is in full glow under the August sun. A bee is feasting upon this sunflower. I am relieved to see the bee -- may his hive never collapse. The vegetable garden has given up two squash, three tomatoes (with bountiful harvests ahead), and a first harvest of green beans. The lettuce bolted two weeks ago, but there are baby eggplants and bell peppers now emerging.
I spent the last half of Julius Caesar's month off line more than on, reading, writing and tending the garden. The smaller writing project is all finished, but the major one needs more work. The good news is that with one project finished, I feel much better about putting some time back into the blog once more. I've missed it a whole lot, I do confess, and there were days when I was sorely tempted....
But I resisted and looked toward activities that restored frazzled nerves and relaxed tense muscles: writing, yoga, good music, and time well spent with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
If teaching is your passion, you will throw yourself into it with all your mind and heart. Your body often suffers due to the accumulated stress of so many pressures to succeed. There are negative and positive ways to handle that stress, and this summer I've made it a point to incorporate more good habits into my daily routines.
Blogging being a good habit, I'm happy to return to it and you can expect to see me back on a daily basis from now on. I'll be writing here at the end of the day, after putting in quality hours on the major project (thesis).
However, be advised --
sometimes, it is absolutely essential to sit under a tree and contemplate all that grows, blooms, dies and turns into compost in the garden.