Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I've told this story many times over the years....actually, I thought I'd posted it here at PTC, but I haven't-so, here 'tis.

December, 1968, a week before Christmas, and Christmas for my Ma, my two brothers and me isn't looking too bright. Practically no money, barely enough for essentials, much less for the holiday.

Wednesday morning, we were awakened by my mother in the kitchen, yelling our names. We scrambled downstairs, to find her standing by the stove, pointing indignantly at the linoleum. There, seemingly smeared on the floor in greasy soot, was a cross, about a foot wide by eighteen inches long. Ma thought one of us had gotten up and done this, which we all denied, so she had me get the mop and bucket to clean it up.

Try as I might, the cross wouldn't erase, not a speck of it. Ma took the mop, and tried it herself, to no avail. Finally, she told us to eat breakfast, and get ready for school.

I got home first that afternoon, and I found Ma in the kitchen, sitting at the table, crying; in her hand was an envelope. I thought perhaps we were getting kicked out of our apartment, but when she showed me the envelope, there was fifty dollars inside-Ma said a man from the corner bar had come by, and given it to her .

The next day, there were boxes of food, and toys, courtesey of the Salvation Army. the day after that, presents of clothing.

Every day, until Christmas Day, someone, total strangers, came to our apartment, and left something to make our Christmas brighter.

The day after Christmas, when we got up....the cross was gone.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I was Google-walking down Broadway a few minutes ago-masochist that I am-and I was saddened, as usual, by the number of places closed, gone forever.

Saddest of all are the missing places that sold good things to eat, many of them gone before I ever left Lorain.

SCOTTS- Right near our house, with a soda fountain, and a humungous candy counter, with bins, scales, and the scent of chocolate permeating all.

MISTER S-Fast food to die for, better than most places around today.

KRESGEES / JUPITER- Another great soda fountain, and ice-cream sandwiches made with waffles.

THE NUT HUT- Very small, but worth it.

CORINTHIAN GRILL- I bought my first steak there, at fifteen, rare, with fries, more fries, and Coke; I think I spent less than $5.

SUTTERS- According to Google, it's now in Newbury; I loved their milkshakes, phosphates (especially chocolate) and the little jukeboxes in the booths.

PICCOLO'S PIZZA- One of the things that kept me sane during the 70' and subs to die for, and it stayed open until 4 am.

FAROH'S CANDY- More flavors of ice cream than a kid could count, and chocolate out the ever-lovin' wazoo. I once ate a whole half-pound of white chocolate chunks from there; I was sick as a dog, but content.

THE FLAME- I 0nly went there a couple of times, but I loved the food.

HEILMAN'S RANCH HOUSE- I mentioned them before, but they were worth another mention; there should be a plaque downtown.

BROADWAY LANES- In the basement of the Broadway Building-tastiest, greasiest hotdogs in town.

I'm sure I missed a few, but I miss them all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


To begin, it would be false of me to say that I never was mistreated in Lorain because of color. However, it would be equally false to characterize the city of Lorain as racist- there are other communities nearby that certainly would qualify for such a label, at least at one time.

There were always individuals around with, as we used to say. a "color problem"; generally, people ignored them unless they made a nuisance of themselves.

I remember in the early sixties, when there was such a push for school desegregation, what the fuss was about-our schools were intergrated when my mother attended them. The Grone Folx would talk about places they knew that refused service to black people, but these were generally places that had been and gone long before, or places we couldn't care less about.

When we got older, it was not uncommon to hear that such-and-such a bar wouldn't serve what? There was always another place, right nearby. Also (as I discovered) in some cases, what the problem was was not color, but behavior-a lot of us, when we'd be in our cups, would act like delinquent children, especially around white folks.

A couple of these places became regualr watering holes for me, as I didn't want to be bothered with such nonsense, either; I was perfectly welcome.

(FTR-If you were one of those obnoxious dillweeds who didn't get buzzed in at Shirley's, sometimes I was the one looking out the peephole, and shaking my head....sue me.)

In my family, we were raised to believe that "race" was foolishness, anyhow. I still see it that way.

You'd think we'd find better ways to entertain ourselves.

Friday, November 4, 2011


To this day, I watch Saturday morning cartoons, often sitting in my underwear, having breakfast.

Habit, I guess. Still, "Dragonball Z" and "Yu-Gi-Oh" just don't compare with the thrill of watching those first adventure cartoons, back in '66....

I'd never seen anything like them, except for "Jonny Quest", my favorite cartoon show.

Here were new shows

cheek by jowl with old favorites, brought to animated life

Add a bowl of instant Cream of Wheat, and it's magic.

What better way to spend Saturday morning?

The cartoons now are bland, with far too much talking; probably cheaper to animate.

Still, Saturday morning, there's my wife and I, in front of the tube, having breakfast, watching cartoons, in our undies.

Holding hands....and laughing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I was rushed to the hospital yesterday, from this very library-I was in terrible pain, sweating, gasping for breath, with Sarah standing about ten feet away, and I'm thinking, "What if I fall over dead, and my daughter has to see this?"

As it turned out, it wasn't a heart attack, or my appendix~I had a REALLY bad intestinal blockage. One X-ray and an enema later, I was on my way home, sore (still am), but much better.

Makes me think, though.

I can nuke a pound of weenies, wash them down with a Coke, and call it breakfast, eat steaks that're still quivering, ignore the pains, stiffness, and other hitches in my git-along, and pretend with all my might that I'm still living the NorthCoast Rock-and-Roll Lifestyle.

The tour bus stops here.

I finally have the kind of life I wanted, but never dared to dream for, and I'll not disrespect it or the good Lord Who gave it to me by acting like a teenager anymore.

I don't have to take up a life of rocking chairs and mush, but I've GOT to watch what I'm doing from now on.

I can still listen to the doesn't get old, or make you fat.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Over the years, some of the details have become fuzzy, while some remain sharp-I remember the sound of bees wrapping up their day's toil, preparing to head home, and the fact that I wanted to see "The Addams Family" and "The Munsters" later that evening-this tells me that this was in September rather than over summer vacation, as both programs had just begun airing.

There were about ten of us, all told, out there playing in the yards, Mike and I in ours, Tony Calhoun, his younger brother, and a couple cousins in the Craighead's yard next door, and the four youngest Jackson kids in their yard, just rippin', runnin', being kids.

I dunno who threw the first rock, although I always suspected Netty Jackson, tomboy that she was. It landed in our yard, and Mike picked it up, and threw it back, hitting a Jackson in the leg, as I recall. Well, one rock led to another, until we were all throwing rocks.

Calhoun's younger sibling hit Mike in the back with a rock, so I threw one at him, catching him just above his left eye, drawing blood. Calhoun stepped over the low fence between the yards, brandishing a stick, which he broke over the top of my head. I stepped back, and let fly with a chunk the size of a potato, which caught Tony upside the head.

This went on for another few minutes, until three mothers ran into three respective yards, shutting down the action. Mike and I were hustled into the family car, off to St. Joe's. All of us wound up at the ER, for minor dings-I took four stitches in the top of my head, Mike had two near the back of his head, and Tony got three or four in his head.

Us kids were all sitting there, laughing and carrying on as we were treated, but our mothers weren't speaking to each other, and didn't for a week or so.

Heck....we had fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


As I mentioned before, I spent most of my high-school years at Clearview, although most of the kids I grew up with went to Admiral King.

Clearview was okay-I wasn't in the mood to conform with anyone's ideas as to who I should be, except my own. You had your typical mix of kids, the Breakfast Club would've been right at home there, even in '74. I was a blend of Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, and Ally Sheedy.

I enjoyed some of my classes, and got along with some of the students and staff. I loved my junior English class, taught by a fantastic woman named Ms. Darcy, who passed away a few years ago. She (indeed, all the teachers I liked) made the subject interesting, and they took me (everyone) on a day-to-day basis, rather than just deciding we were "rotten kids".

I could've done a lot better, but I just wasn't interested....I suppose I was a mess. I was getting high by then, not all the time, and I don't recall ever coming to school high, but I had that "F%$# IT" mindset going full blast then.

I quit school two weeks before graduation-I wasn't graduating anyhow, as I generally did nothng in class but talk, and I'd been suspended twenty-three times that year.

I got my GED in 1990.

Kids....don't try this at home.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Since I started this blog, I've written a lot about my friend, Micheal McDowell, and the good times we had. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the rest of his family, as they always treated me as one of their own.

I really didn't know Mike's mother that well; she died when I was a sophomore, and before then, I generally saw Mike at school.

Still, she was one of those kind, laughing Southern black ladies that make people feel welcome.

His dad was "Pop" to all of us, and he treated us like his own kids, even when we were all grown. He was hard working, honest,

easy-going, and he passed those qualities on to all his kids, even to a degree those who weren't of his blood.

I rarely saw Mike's brothers, but his sisters loomed large in my life. There was Laura, beautiful, sexy, great to be around.

Inez was like one of the guys, always making people laugh. She was the mother of Betty, whom we called Scoobie when she was little-Scoobie would hang out with us and listen to rock, dancing and turning the knobs up.

Then there was Sylvia....she was like someone of Faerie, ethereal, pretty, kind, gentle, and loving; I carried a torch for Sylvie I never would've admitted to anyone, even myself, and I'll bet a lot of other guys did, too. She made a dynamite pineapple upside down cake, and loved making sure we were well-fed when we were around the house.

Sylvie died a few months after Micheal, from diabetic complications-when I saw her at the house the day of the funeral, she'd gone blind.

Pop's been gone almost as long as my mother, and I miss him, I miss them....I miss them all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My colleague, Dan Brady, wrote a wonderful blog entry about Charleston Elementary the other day.

I was a Charleston student myself BITD, for a year. Most of my grade school time was spent at Boone, and most of the kids I knew from school I met there, in first grade.

I started Kindergarten there, in 1961, with a teacher named Miss Ferris, who loved kids, and drove a beige VW Bug. Thing is, I got promoted to first grade after a month.

Mrs. Hunt taught first grade-she remembered my mother from when she was a first-grader. I played hooky from her class the first three days I was there, half the day, anyway....I'd been in the morning Kindergarten class. Finally, I got caught, and went to class. Actually, I loved school full-time, once I got used to it.

Second grade was Mrs. Kretchman, who had flaming red hair, freckles, and an infectious laugh-I had a crush on her, as did a lot of the guys.

In third grade, we had three different teachers....Mrs. Rector, who took ill, Mrs. Friedman, who subbed when she wasn't helping out her husband at Eliott's Drug Store, and (TIMPANI!)

Mrs. Ross. Tall, slim, dark of skin and eye, beautiful, SERIOUS crush material. I hated her husband, although I didn't know him; he'd got there first.

I was in her class, enjoying a birthday party for Cynthia Williams, the day Thanksgiving vacation started, when Mr. Gidich, the Principal, came over the loudspeaker and told us President Kennedy had been shot.

Fourth grade was Miss Miller; there were actually two of them, one teaching fourth grade at Boone, and the other working as a school nurse at Admiral King. They lived together in a house a stone's throw from the school.

Fifth grade brought my first male teacher, Mr. Barnett, a big black man who laughed a lot, but could be strict if called for. In February of 1966, we moved to the projects, and I started school at Charleston.

Class dismissed....

Thursday, September 15, 2011


My cousin Todd got in touch with me recently; it's been thirty years since we've seen each other.

He's three years older than me, and when we were kids, he was like my big brother, letting me hang out with him, teaching me things, even getting me in trouble sometimes-I remember when he convinced me that, if I jumped off the garage roof with an umbrella, I'd float down like Jiminy Cricket....didn't exactly work out that way.

People often thought we were brothers, and I didn't mind that at all, because Todd was cool, and funny, and always had something going on; I was never bored around him.

As we got older, we drifted apart, as happens sometimes-no one's fault, just life being life, I guess. The last time I saw him was in '81, at my ma's place, Todd, his wife, and his kids stopped in to visit.

Over the years, I'd hear about him, as I'm sure he heard about me.


I'm looking forward to seeing him.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


About a week or so ago, I e-mailed pictures of my daughter, Sarah, to friends; she'd just turned twenty.

One reply, in addition to congradulating her, said, "ahh, to be twenty again...."which of course started me thinking.

Twenty, for me, was the Bicentennial, and the U.S. Navy; I spent the first six months of the year in the service, and got out on Micheal McDowell's (later, my niece Alana's) birthday, sixteen July.

I didn't see it a a defeat, just a return to Life My Own Way.

Lakeview Park was still jumping-it'd be three more years before the cops blitzkreiged the place. It seemed like the whole world was smoking pot, and I certainly smoked my share. All my friends were high, and it seemed like the straights weren't really concerned about it anymore.

Musically, we suffered through "Shannon", "Afternoon Delight", "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover", and "Convoy", not to mention disco. CKLW was still puttin' it out, but the handwriting was already on the wall. The local FM market was booming, with WMMS, WGCL, and WNCR in the forefront.

The Tivoli was still in operation, but would be gone in a year....the Palace closed its doors in '76, to be reborn as the Lorain Palace Civic Center-the las movie I saw at the Palace Theatre was "Carrie".

TV-what was good about it had already been on for a while.

That was being twenty then, for me....I dunno if I'd want to be twenty now. The world's not as forgiving of youthful ignorance as it was then.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Right off the bat, I'm sure there's folks who'd disagree with me, and they're more than welcome.

Here it is....


Now, I went to Clearview for most of my high school time, and I STILL thought that AKHS was the coolest.

I guess it's just a "me" thing.


Most of the kids I went to grade school and junior high with ended up at King, so that's gotta be part of it. I was a King student myself, from November of '71 to May of '72, when the fine folks at Children's Services decided I needed some more time away from home, and sent me to Hawthorne Hills School, mentioned previously.

King, at the time, was THE place to be-if you were into all the things the youth movement was going to bring about, if you were tired of kowtowing to the Man, if you were a young, ignorant, selfish, arrogant, overaged brat who wanted to eat, sleep, drink, smoke, and f___his way through life, King was where it was at.

Don't get me wrong....there were hard-working , level-headed students there, too-we just didn't notice least, I didn't.

The food was good, too....they had a speedline, that always had burgers and fries, which made perfect sense to me. Most everyone I knew there were kids I'd known since first grade, and they thought I was okay, rather than the attitude I got from other students at Clearview.

I loved the place, perhaps for the wrong reasons, but I felt at home there....a rarity for me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It's amazing, what can get started over a cup of coffee, especially if the coffee is a free refill....

It's 1975, and a friend and I had just been up to the football game at George Daniel. We had a ways to walk yet, so we decided to stop at Burger Chef-they were re-modeling, and the coffee was a dime, with free refills.

We went in, there were a couple other people we know already there, so we snag a booth. A bit later, here comes some more of our crowd, then a few more; that's how it started.

For ten years, we hung out there almost every night, for at least an hour or so, sometimes more. There we were, a mixed bag of late teen-early 20's slackers, usually stoned to one degree or other, riffing off each other and the people around us.

To be sure, we weren't popular-the management felt we took up space and made the other patrons nervous (no doubt we did), and we really didn't care. It was our version of That 70's Show, actually taking place in the 70's....

Hangin' out

Down the street

Same ol' thing

We did last week....

And we were laboring under those two potent delusions of the Ever-Popular Rock-And-Roll Lifestyle:

We were free


We weren't hurting anybody.

Stupid, wasteful, and quasi-criminal as it was, we had fun.

I got thrown out in '85 by the cops for cussing out the manager....I don't recall what started it.

Others hung on, or left, to persue other interests.

From what I hear, the chain is gone now. The one we hung out in became a Hardees....according to Google, it's still there....can't vouch for the coffee, though.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I was looking at a picture of Lorain from atop St. Joe's parking garage, and it started me thinking of all the times I've looked around the city, and had what I was seeing turned into a snapshot in my head, so potent that, even though I might not remember exactly when it occurred, I'll never forget the image....

Looking up at the winter sky, around three am, and seeing a diamond-sharp full moon, in the very center of a brilliant ice-ring, surrounded by tiny grayish-white clouds.

Flames, leaping high into the black night sky, as the B&O roundhouse burned, the flashing red of the fire trucks, tentacular hoses writhing on the asphalt.

Slag, lighting up the sky as it pours.

A three year old child, a split second before a car bumper knocks him down, me too far away to grab him. (He was okay.)

Seeing the Lakeview fountain at night for the first time, and the late, unlamented one that used to be at Oakwood.

The slow, easy, sexy smile of a pretty girl, as she asks me for the time.

My mother, in a hospital bed; I'm five minutes late to say goodbye.

Experiencing a White Night-the light reflecting between the snow and the clouds, so it never gets dark.

Me, in a mirror, stunned by how much I resemble my grandfather.

Seeing Tracy's face for real for the first time~ I'm at the bus station, Cleveland, waiting at the gate for her bus to arrive, when I hear a familiar voice....the bus debarked on the other side of the terminal, and she's behind me. I turn, and see that face, full of hope, and love, smiling at me, just me.

What's in your (mental) wallet?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Occasionally, the world , or at least the little bit you're sitting in, is touched by the poetic, the graceful, the beautiful....for no reason but that we NEED it sometimes, I guess.

A Wednesday night, back in ' FWB Brenda and I are at Club 1504, sitting by the basement dance floor, which won't open for another hour or so. Phil, her cousin, is in the DJ booth, sorting through records. I'm nursing a 151 and Coke, and she's got a coke, no venom.

I walk over to the booth, and start naming songs to Phil, a'la "Do you have__________?"
Everytime I name a song, the answer is, "No", until I mention "We're All Alone", by Rita Coolidge-that he's got.

I sit back down, and pick up my conversation with Brenda. Phil, in the meantime, fires up the spotlights and the ball.

Then, he starts up "We're All Alone".
Without a word, Brenda gets up from the table, walks to the dance floor, and begins a slow, smoky almost-ballet, graceful, seeming to glide along the crests of the music.

Me....I'm speechless. I've never seen Brenda dance before, and this dance is speech, telling her joy, her pain, our friendship, her loneliness, so much emotion in feminine undulation.

The music ends, and without a word, she sits down. There's silence-what could be said?
I don't even remember the rest of the evening.

That was twenty-three years ago. Brenda lives far away, and the last time I tried to get in touch with her, she ignored fault.

Still, I can't hear that song without seeing her, sinuously ghosting through my memory.
Slainte, Brenda.

Monday, August 15, 2011


This is in no way an endorsement of TR&RL, particularly as practiced by myself and my many peers; rather, it's just personal history, yes?

A FRIDAY IN AUGUST, 1977, A BIT AFTER SIX PM- The back door at 312 1/2 West 12th Street flies open, and out hurtles me, the sound of "Born to Run" ringing in my ears, long hair streaming behind me. I'm headed to the local Mecca for heads, Lakeview Park, to wallow in the fun, the buzzes, and maybe even (GASP!) some'a that funky stuff.

Through the hole in the back fence, across the tracks, across Tenth, through Library Park, stopping to say what's up to a friend....he's got somethin' por la cabeza, but no papers. No prob, MY papers are always in order. Since children frequent the park, I help him cremate the noxious weed before any show up. Then, suitably medicated, I saunter onward.

As usual, Lakeview is full, welconming any one who comes. Most of us grew up here, dug in its sand, raced in its surf, paddled and swum its water. Tonight, it's the place to consummate a thousand and one social transactions, anything goes.

The park is a sea of youth, people, pot, tunes all

swirled together into a cosmic melange of sight, sound and energy illuminating the soul.

You hadda be there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The shadows are getting longer, and any moment, the streetlights are gonna come on, as always, and the Grone Folx will make us come in....

Everyone hid real good; haven't found anyone for a while.

A LONG while.

It's probably time to call them in....


C'mon, guys, come in-

Kent Wallace, Marva Blakely, Shirley Sanchez, Ivan Harrell, Phillip Camera, the Catalanos, Julian Mykita, Nellie Pyatt, Jose Lopez, Mark Schultz, Debbie Hartman and her brothers, Barbara Carter, Terry Ross, Terry Smith, Terry Rivers, Tim Trigillio, Brad Fabrisio, Pam Hunt, Levi Springer, Tommy Harris, Marlene Velez, Kathy Box, Ronald Stavesky, Dean Tressel, Raymond Santiago, Hope Moon, Anna Gilbert, The Charltons, Theodore Graham, Willie Miller, Arlene Hagen, Marnina Burnett, The Reeses, Gloria Cyprian, Alan Ceol, Marty Buckosh, Raymond Jackson, Zeno Inchauregi, Nadine Victoria Jackson, Connie Clark, Lois Kringle, Billy Wallace, The Stevenses, the Epifanos, Karen Patrowski, Micheal McDowell....


Monday, August 1, 2011


There were people who knew me, BITD, who thought that "Funwell" was my surname, because they heard me called that so often.

Actually, the nickname was bestowed on me back in '76 by Mark Leach, during a get-high session attended ny myself, Mark, McDowell, and Nate, at Nate's apartment.

The discussion centered, at that point, on my proclivity for doing strange things to trip people out....I certainly wasn't the only one in the group to do so; 4-X, Terry did Curly-spins in a crowded restaurant one evening, complete with "Wub-wub-wub" sound effects. However, I was the one to do such things the most.

One of my favorites was "Judo for one":....I'd grasp my left wrist with my right hand, and with a mighty "HAI!" seem to flip myself to a crashing finish on the floor. I'd do all kinds of things, sing off-key, throw non-sequitur statements at people, hadda be there.


I guess because I was lonely, uncomfortable in social settings, and this behavior afforded me a measure of control. Also, I was accepted as a "trip" sorta person, easy to get along with, non-threatening, fun to have around.

No one calls me "Funwell" these days, and I'm glad. Y'see, no one expects a Funwell to have any depth, signifigance,or even feelings, just to be "on" constantly, and entertain. In reality, I was unraveling like a cheap sweater, and nobody knew it, not even me.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Considering all the "Twilight Zone" episodes I'd watched over the years, I should've known better.... you NEVER go into a curio shop that wasn't there last week, and you certainly don't buy anything.

Thing is, I was twenty one, and stupid, and literally boiling over with curiosity. So, armed with a few bucks, I ventured inside.

The proprietress greeted me warmly, and asked if I was looking for anything specific. "No", said I, "just browsing; I'll know it when I find it. "

My eye was drawn to a case near the register....I wandered over, looking at the usual assortment of rings, bracelets, and such, when I saw a small medallion near the center of the case. It was about the diameter of a quarter, perhaps as thick as a penny, gold-colored, with a design printed on its surface, an inverted five pointed star, with a lectern standing in the center. Upon the lectern was an open book, and between the points of the star were irregular shapes which I realized were letters, spelling out the word, "FATAL".

I asked for a closer look, and the woman took it from the case, and handed it to me; it was ice-cold to the touch. The woman couldn't recall exactly where she'd aquired the medallion (another bad sign), but I could have it, with matching chain, for seventy-five cents.

When I got home, I took the bag out of my pocket, and removed the object-it was still cold to the touch. I hung it around my neck, admiring the way it turned into a firey gold ball when sunlight hit it, although it never warmed up.

I looked at it under a large maker's marks anywhere, front or back. Just to see, I focused sunlight on it for several minutes through the glass, and it remained cold.

That night, I was awakened by a terrible nightmare, one which faded as soon as I awoke, leaving only the terror behind. The next two nights were the same. I decided to take the medallion off, because it might have something to do with the dreams. So....what to do with it?

I noticed my black cat, Satana, stretched out on the couch; I figured it'd look smashing on her. I walked over to the couch, the medalion dangling from my hand by the chain....Satana took one look at it, jumped up, hissed loudly, and bolted for the back room.

Well, ya dinna need tae drop a house on me....I put the medallion in a drawer in the kitchen.

Dave came over a couple hours later....we hadn't seen each other all week. I was telling him about the medallion, as I went into the kitchen to get it.

When I opened the drawer, it was gone. I turned the kitchen upside down, to no avail.

Perhaps 'twas best, nu?

Friday, July 22, 2011


This has been on my mind for a while....I've no idea how many people read this blog, but, as so much of it has been about my history, I felt it only fair to let you know about this.

From September of 1997 to August of 2006, I was locked up, mainly at Grafton Correctional, near Lorain. I was not one who was wrongly convicted-I was guilty of the crime, and it was a serious one; I nearly killed a young woman. As it was, I left her paralyzed for life.

Know this, was not my intent to harm her, or anyone else needlessly. I carried a weapon, for self-defense (I worked in downtown Cleveland, late), and carried a blade in case I was attacked on the street.

At the time, I was taking antidepressants, as part of a study testing drugs for their antidepressant qualities....depression runs in my family, and I had suffered from it myself. In addition, I'd had side effect problems with such drugs, and had joined the study in hopes of finding one I could use safely.

To make a long story short, while under the influence of such medications, I stabbed an eighteen -year old prostitute on the West Side of Cleveland; I barely remember the event, or have any understanding as to why I did this-she was a stranger to me, and I don't even recall being angry with her.

I called 911, and pled guilty to a charge of Attempted Murder-my hand, on my weapon, my responsibility.

I imagine some of you might stop reading this, knowing this now....after all, I was a person who committed a terrible crime.

So be it. I don't ask your forgiveness....I didn't stab YOU.

I did something wrong, paid for it, and now live my life just as everyone else, one breath, one day at a time.

FTR, I don't wallow in guilt over it, but I can never forget that I did it, and cannot change it-

indeed, what kind of man would I be if I COULD forget?

Just thought you should know....see ya soon, Lord willin'.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Someone e-mailed me recently, to tell me how much they enjoyed POINTING THE CANNON, and to remind me of someone they knew, who spoke quite highly of me in the past.

Flattered though I was by this, I've no recollection of the person in question, although I'm certain the individual was as advertised.

I'm fifty-five-point six years old, the same age as Disneyland and other things a lot better known than me, and some stuff don't work like it used brain, 4-X.

An older post shows a photo of a bunch of kids enjoying a birthday party....except for myself and my two younger brothers, I dunno who these kids are, or even whose party it is. As much as I may think otherwise, entropy is creepin' up on me, and bits of my personal history are droppin' off like the little bits from an EC Comics walking corpse.

Sure, I'm not the only one, but I'd hoped it would wait a bit, like another fifty years.

Maybe that's why I write this that when the brainbucket is naught but cobwebs, I can re-read it, and capture some of it back.

Perhaps it helps you, as well.

Lord willin', I'll be here for a bit, regaling one and all with stories of Lorain, and of me.

Say hi to everyone.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I've made no secret of the fact that I spent a lot of the 70's high....a lot of the 80's, for that matter. Back then, almost every town had at least one store, usually referred to as a "head shop", that serviced the needs of those who got high, not with the drugs, but with what was called paraphenalia, which was legal for sale.

The best known of these in Lorain was the Stash Box, which started off by the tracks downtown, then moved to the corner of 8th and Broadway, which had been the site of another head shop, the Cosmic Boutique.

To be sure, I bought my share of papers, roach clips, bongs, and Power Hitters at the Box, but there was so much else there to be had....there were funky clothes, hats, vests and jackets, jewelry of all sorts, and even stash boxes....I bought my mother a beautiful engraved wood box from Poland, inlaid with silver wire, that she kept for years-I think my sister-in-law has it now.

When the new Utopia released their first album, RA, I bought my copy at the Stash Box, and played it all day, over and over. The first jewerly I bought for myself new I bought there, as well as a black Greek fisherman's hat that Mark Leach talked me out of.

I'd run into people I knew there, and Ron and Sly, the cats who ran the place, were cool-If you just wanted to browse, no problem.

In the very late 70's, Lorain enacted anti-paraphenalia laws, which spelled the end for the head shops, the Stash Box included.....these days, the building houses the Swiss-American Watch Repair Shop.

Time passes....

Friday, July 1, 2011


This isn't so much about the movie itself, as it is about when it was, and how it seemed to relate to everything going on then.

It was 1968....I was twelve, and my brother Mike was ten when we saw this at the Tivoli one fall evening. The movie was scary enough on its own-I'd never seen anything like it-but I think a lot of the impact it had had to do with the times, and the state of the world, particularly for those of us just becoming old enough to start to wonder about our place in it all.

Everything seemed to be in the span of five years, I'd seen seven of my heroes, a President, three astronauts, my favorite aunt, a beloved Pastor, and a respected Senator all die, violently, with nothing to help me understand why. We were fighting a hideous war overseas, as the country seemed to be locked in a sort of civil war, black against white, young against old, rich against poor. We'd gone from middle class to poverty in no time at all, and I was driven by a frustrated anger that even I couldn't understand; I cared about nothing, but wanted desperately to care, for something.

No wonder the images riveted me....loved ones, dying, then returning as ravening ghouls, mothers, children, those we trusted to keep us safe, shambling, multuiplying, unstoppable in their numbers. The stark black and white, so much like the news broadcasts, without a recognizable Karloff or Price to ground the horror.

Then, to see the hero, after surviving a night of unspeakable horror, lose his life to what would come to be known as "friendly fire".

This movie WAS the year 1968, and like the year, it left its mark.